THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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TA'ANIS 6 & 7 - dedicated by Dovid and Zahava Rubner of Petach Tikva l'Iluy
Nishmas his late mother, Mrs. Seren Rubner. May Hashem grant all of her
offspring with joy, fulfillment, and all that they need!
1) RAIN IS THE HUSBAND OF THE EARTH
AGADAH: The Gemara says that the first rain of the season is called
"Revi'ah" because it impregnates (Rove'a) the land, as reflected by the
expression, "Rain is the husband of the earth." This metaphor has a number
of profound implications.
2) BLESSING THE "HOD'AOS"
(a) The Gemara earlier (2a) mentioned the three "keys" which Hashem holds
and does not give to any Shali'ach -- the key to rain, the key to birth, and
the key to Techiyas ha'Mesim. From the perspective of our Gemara that "rain
is the husband of the earth," we can see that rain is the key to *all* of
the unique keys mentioned in the Gemara earlier. Rain has in it an element
of each of the unique items that are not given to a Shali'ach. In addition
to being the source of Parnasah, sustenance, for the world, Rain brings
forth life (like a husband and a wife, as our Gemara says). Rainfall is also
compared to Techiyas ha'Mesim (7a), for two reasons. In a practical sense, a
poor person is like a Mes (Nedarim 64b), and when the rain causes his
produce to grow it brings the poor person back to life (Rashi, 7a).
Moreover, the verse (Tehilim 68:10) says that Hashem brings to life the dead
a rainfall. As such, it is appropriate to call rain, "Gevuros Geshamim," in
the plural ("Gevuros" instead of "Gevuras), because rain includes elements
of all of the acts which demonstrate the power of Hashem.
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (Peninim mi'Shulchan ha'Gra, Parshas Shemini) mentions
that there are two ways that Hashem makes the earth give birth. One is
through rain -- when the rain comes down it impregnates the earth, so to
speak, causing the earth to bear its produce. The other way that Hashem
makes the earth give birth is through Techiyas ha'Mesim, as the verse
(Tehilim 72:16) says that the people that come to life will "sprout from the
city like the grass of the land." In both cases, the rain comes first and
then the earth gives birth. However, when, in the natural world, Hashem
sends rain to cause plants to grow, the expression of Hashem's Rachamim is
the sending of the rain which causes the produce to come forth. (The rain
comes for the sake of sending rain; whether it will make the plants grow or
not is another question.) In the case of Techiyas ha'Mesim, Hashem's
Rachamim is expressed by bringing people back to life, which Hashem brings
about through rain. It is first Hashem's will to bring people back to life,
and in order to do that He brings the rain that will revive them. Sustenance
is "born" from the rain above, while Techiyas ha'Mesim comes from the earth
We may add that these two types of "giving birth" represent Ge'ulah in this
world, and the Ge'ulah of the World to Come. TOSFOS in Pesachim (116b)
quotes the Midrash that says that in this world, when we experience a
Ge'ulah, we sing to Hashem a "Shirah Chadashah," a "new song," in the
feminine form. In the future, when the complete and final Ge'ulah will
occur, we will sing to Hashem a "Shir Chadash," in the masculine form. The
Gemara in Berachos (60a) says that when the man is aroused first, the child
born of the union is a girl, and when the woman is aroused first, the child
born of the union is a boy. In this world, the rains, representing the man's
side, come first. Since the birth begins with the "husband" of the earth,
the resultant Ge'ulah is that of a feminine attribute, and that is why we
sing a "Shirah Chadashah." In the future, though, when Hashem will cause
"mother earth" to be aroused first and to give life to those buried within
it, the resultant Ge'ulah will have a masculine attribute, and thus the
world will sing a "Shir Chadash."
(c) The Vilna Ga'on points out that there is an impure bird which is called,
in Parshas Shemini, the "Racham" (Vayikra 11:18), while in Parshas Re'eh it
is called the "Rachamah" (Devarim 14:17). the Vilna Gaon (ibid.) explains
why it has two names.
The Gemara in Chulin (63a) says that it is called "Racham" because it is
able to indicate that "Rachamim" is coming to the world (that Hashem is
going to send rain -- Rashi). If the bird perches on top of something and
shrieks, then there will be rain. The Gemara says that we have a tradition
that if this bird would perch itself on the ground and shriek, then that
would be a sign that Mashi'ach is coming.
The Vilna Ga'on says that the Racham's shriek alludes to a birth that will
take place. (Birth is accompanied by shrieks, and the name "Racham" is
related to the word "Rechem," womb.) There are two types of births: if the
bird is perched upon something above the ground, it is a sign of a birth
that will start from above -- from the rain. If it is perched upon the
ground, then it is a sign of a birth that will start from the earth -- the
coming of Mashi'ach and Techiyas ha'Mesim.
When it is a sign of rain it is called Racham, without the letter "Heh,"
indicating that the impending Ge'ulah is one originated by the "male,"
referring to the husband of the earth, the rain. "Racham" has a Gematriya of
248, which is the number of limbs in the body of the human male (Ohalos
1:7). In contrast, when the bird sits on the ground and shrieks, it is
called "Rachamah," with the letter "Heh"(a feminine suffix), because that
indicates that the earth, the feminine aspect, is being aroused first to
bring forth Techiyas ha'Mesim. Furthermore, the Gematriya of "Rachamah" is
253, which represents the female body, which has five more parts than the
male body (Bechoros 45a, according to Rebbi Akiva).
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that when the rains come, we say a prayer thanking
Hashem for every single drop. At the end of the prayer, says Rebbi Yochanan,
we say "Baruch Rov ha'Hoda'os." The Gemara asks that this praise is actually
derogatory, because it implies that Hashem is deserving of "Rov ha'Hoda'os"
-- most of the praises of gratitude -- but not *all* of them. Rava answers
that we say instead, "Baruch *Kel* ha'Hoda'os" -- "Blessed is the G-d [who
is deserving of all] of the praises of thanksgiving." Rav Papa says that we
should therefore say both, "Baruch Kel ha'Hoda'os v'Rov ha'Hoda'os" (see
3) RAV PAPA'S COMPROMISE
What do we mean when we say, "Baruch Rov ha'Hoda'os?" Translated literally,
the words mean, "Blessed are most (or many) thanksgivings," which has no
(a) RASHI says that "Baruch Rov ha'Hoda'os" means the same thing as "Baruch
*b'Rov* ha'Hoda'os" -- "Blessed [is Hashem] *with* [many] praises of
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 10:5) has a different Girsa in the
statement of Rav Papa. Rav Papa does not say that we should say, "Baruch Kel
ha'Hoda'os v'Rov ha'Hoda'os." Rather, Rav Papa says that we should say,
"Baruch Kel Rov ha'Hoda'os" -- "Rov ha'Hoda'os" is an adjective describing
"Kel," Hashem, Who is the G-d of many thanksgivings.
But what about Rebbi Yochanan's original suggestion of "Baruch Rov
ha'Hoda'os" -- what did that mean? The RAMBAN (Milchamos, Berachos 59b)
explains that "Rov ha'Hoda'os" can be descriptive of Hashem even without the
word "Kel" before it, as in the descriptive phrase, "Rov Onim v'Amitz
Ko'ach" (Yeshayah 40:26). It means, "Blessed is Hashem, the One of many
QUESTION: The Gemara says that when the rains come, we say a prayer thanking
Hashem for every single drop. At the end of the prayer, we say "Baruch Rov
ha'Hoda'os." The Gemara asks that this praise is actually derogatory,
because it implies that Hashem is deserving of "Rov ha'Hoda'os" -- most of
the praises of gratitude -- but not *all* of them. Rava answers that we say
instead, "Baruch *Kel* ha'Hoda'os" -- "Blessed is the G-d [who is deserving
of all] of the praises of thanksgiving." Rav Papa concludes, "Therefore, we
say both phrases, "Baruch Kel ha'Hoda'os Rov ha'Hoda'os."
Why do we say both, if the Gemara just explained that it is improper to say
(a) RASHI and the RAMBAN (Milchamos, Berachos 59b) explains that when the
phrase "Rov ha'Hoda'os" accompanies the phrase "Kel ha'Hoda'os," then it has
the connotation of "many." Without the phrase "Kel," the connotation is
"most" Hoda'os, which implies that He is not deserving of *all* of them.
Since "Kel ha'Hoda'os" already implies that Hashem is deserving of all
blessings ("Kel" means the all-powerful G-d), it is clear that the following
phrase, "Rov ha'Hoda'os," also has the same meaning. (This is especially
true according to the Rambam, in the previous Insights, who asserted that
the we combine the two phrases into a single statement, "Baruch Kel Rov
The Ramban adds that the reason we mention "Rov ha'Hoda'os," praising Hashem
as the G-d of many praises of thanksgiving, is because we are thanking
Hashem for each and every drop of rain (as the prayer begins), and thus we
mention the "many" praises of thanksgiving that He deserves for the many
droplets of rain.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 10:5; see previous Insight) explains that "Rov
ha'Hoda'os" is understood to be an adjective when said together with "Kel
(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR (Berachos 59b) has a different text of the Gemara.
His text does not say that we recite both "Kel ha'Hoda'os" and "Rov
ha'Hoda'os." Rather, when Rav Papa says that "we recite both," he is
referring to the two prayers of "Modim Anachnu Lach" and "Ilu Finu Malei