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Ta'anis 11


QUESTION: The Gemara says that during a time of famine, marital relations are prohibited, as we learn from the conduct of Yosef during the famine in Mitzrayim. If marital relations are prohibited during a time of famine, how was Yocheved conceived? Yocheved was born to Levi when the family of Yakov descended from Eretz Yisrael and entered Mitzrayim (as Rashi points out in Bereishis 46:26), which was two years into the famine! (TOSFOS)


(a) TOSFOS answers that our Gemara is only making a statement of preferable behavior, of Midas Chasidus, and it is not expressing an actual prohibition. Levi and his wife did not practice this Midas Chasidus, although Yosef did. (The RA'AVAD writes in Sha'ar ha'Kedushah that before the Torah was given, the Avos and their children did not observe practices such as Midas Chasidus, but only the actual Mitzvos.)

The OR HA'CHAIM (Bereishis 41:50), though, asks that the verse explicitly refers to Levi as "Ish Chasidecha" (Devarim 33:8), implying that he did conduct himself with Midas Chasidus!

(b) The DA'AS ZEKENIM (Bereishis 41:50) quotes RABEINU YEHUDAH HE'CHASID who explains that it is only prohibited when one knows, from the prophecy of a Navi, that the famine will continue. Yosef had heard the prophecy that was expressed in the dream of Pharaoh, and thus he knew that the famine would continue. Levi did not know this, and therefore it was permitted for him to engage in marital relations.

It appears that Rabeinu Yehudah he'Chasid understood that the reason for the prohibition so as not to stretch already limited resources by introducing another contender for the food supply. This only applies if the child will be *born* while there is still a famine (since that is the when he, or his mother, will need to need extra food).

(c) The MIZRACHI and the OR HA'CHAIM answer that if one does not have any children, marital relations are permitted during a famine, as our Gemara says. The reason is presumably because a person who has no children is obligated to fulfill the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. Levi, although he had boys, did not have any girls, and thus he had not yet fulfilled the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. Therefore, it was permitted for him during the time of famine.

The problem with this answer is that Yosef, too, did not have any daughters! Why, then, did Yosef refrain from marital relations, while Levi did not? (See OR HA'CHAIM.)

The DA'AS ZEKENIM, who also gives this answer, explains why Yosef acted differently from Levi even though they both had only boys. Yosef maintained that one fulfills the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah with two male children. Levi, on the other hand, was of the opinion that one must have at least one boy and one girl to fulfill the Mitzvah (both of these opinions are discussed in Yevamos 62a). Therefore, Yosef held that he did not fall into the category of those who are permitted to engage in marital relations during a famine, while Levi held that he did!

(d) The CHIZKUNI and OR HA'CHAIM further suggest that the reason Levi did not refrain was because his own family was not suffering; they had food during the famine. Only the natives around them were suffering, and there was no obligation to join in their suffering. (Although he did not know whether Yosef did or did not have food, Yosef was only a single person and the entire family should not have to suffer because of a single member's plight.) Yosef, though, did not know that his father and brothers had food and he thought that they were suffering from the famine. Therefore he joined them in their suffering and refrained from marital relations.

We may develop this answer further by suggesting that even if Yosef was confident that his family had food because of the great merit of Yakov Avinu (if Yosef merited to have food, certainly Yakov would merit the same), he nevertheless separated from his wife because the natives were suffering. Why, then, did Levi not separate from his wife out of empathy for the natives like Yosef did?

The MIZRACHI (beginning of Parshas Vayeshev) explains that when the young Yosef reported to his father that his brothers were eating Ever Min ha'Chai (limbs from a live animal), that was only his interpretation of their act; they were actually eating from an animal that had been slaughtered properly but was still kicking. An animal in such a state is permitted for a Jew to eat, and is prohibited as Ever Min ha'Chai for a Ben Noach to eat. The brothers maintained that they had a status of Jews, and therefore the animal was permissible to them. Yosef, though, maintained that they were considered Bnei Noach, since the Torah had not yet been given to them, and thus it was forbidden for them to eat the animal.

Levi, then, was following his previous reasoning when he did not separate from his wife. He held that he had a status of a Jew, and thus he did not have to share in the suffering of the natives who were Bnei Noach. Yosef, though, maintained that the sons of Yakov, too, were considered Bnei Noach, and therefore he had to be concerned for the feelings of his fellow Bnei Noach (just as Noach did during the Flood, Rashi Bereishis 7:7). That is why Yosef separated from his wife while Levi did not! (M. Kornfeld)


OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether a "Ta'anis Sha'os" is considered an actual Ta'anis, and if it is, whether or not one recites Aneinu, the prayer said on a Ta'anis, in the Shemoneh Esreh. What exactly is a Ta'anis Sha'os?

RASHI seems to say that a Ta'anis Sha'os is simply a Ta'anis which one did not formally accept upon himself during the previous day (one fasted without a Kabalah to do so the day before). Why, though, should such a Ta'anis be called a Ta'anis *Sha'os*? What does it have to do with "Sha'os" (literally "hours")?

Second, why does the Gemara say that if remains fasting through the night following a Ta'anis ("Lan b'Ta'aniso"), it is not even called a Ta'anis Sha'os because "he was not Mekabel it." By definition, every Ta'anis that one was not Mekabel is a Ta'anis Sha'os! Why should this not be considered a Ta'anis Sha'os?

(a) According to RASHI, who says that a Ta'anis Sha'os is simply a Ta'anis that one was not Mekabel upon himself the day before, the reason it is called a Ta'anis Sha'os is as follows. Since one was not Mekabel it the day before, but only after nightfall, that day is not a full day of Ta'anis. It lasts only for "hours" rather than days, since it starts at the time he accepted it and continues until the end of that same day. When one is Mekabel the Ta'anis the day before, the entire day -- and not just a certain number of hours in the day -- is viewed as a "day of fasting."

This does not mean that if he accepts the Ta'anis from before nightfall he will not be eating for 24 hours. It is permitted for him to eat at night. Nevertheless, since he accepted it upon himself earlier, the night is considered to be part of a "fast day." (Rashi says clearly in Shabbos 24a, that one who was Mekabel a Ta'anis the day before says Aneinu even at night, even if he is still eating and drinking at that time.) If one was Mekabel the Ta'anis after the night began, then the whole day cannot be considered a Ta'anis because the day began before the Ta'anis was accepted.

When Abaye says that the Ta'anis of our Gemara is different because the person did not accept upon himself the Ta'anis, he means that the person not only failed to accept the Ta'anis upon himself the day before, but he was never accepted it upon himself it at all. Only *after* he fasted did he express his desire to say Aneinu for his "retroactive fast," but by then it is too late to convert his act of fasting into a formal Ta'anis.

(b) The ROSH holds that both a Ta'anis and Ta'anis Sha'os are the same with regard to Kabalah -- one must accept upon himself either type of Ta'anis the day before in order for it to be considered a valid Ta'anis. The difference between them is that in a Ta'anis Sha'os, one accepts to fast only a certain number of hours during the day, as the term "Ta'anis Sha'os" implies. A regular Ta'anis is when one accepts to fast the entire day.

Abaye says that in the case of Rav Huna, the person was not Mekabel the Ta'anis the day before, but only on the day that he started to fast (albeit before the fast began). Therefore it is not even a Ta'anis Sha'os.

QUESTION: Rav Huna says that if one fasted during the day and continued to fast through the night, he does not say Aneinu during the day that follows that night. Why would we have thought that he says Aneinu on the day after his fast? RASHI (DH l'Machar) explains what Rav Huna is teaching us. We might have thought that one should say Aneinu in order to fulfill the recitation of Aneinu for the fasting of the *night before*. Rav Huna teaches that one cannot do that, because there was no Kabalah for the Ta'anis that one observed during the night.

Why did Rashi have to explain that Aneinu is being said retroactively for the fast of the previous night? The person has presumably not yet stopped fasting. Rashi should explain that Aneinu is being said for the fast that he is *still observing*, during the day after the night!

ANSWER: The Gemara (12a) states that it is only considered a Ta'anis Sha'os if one does not eat anything *until the end of the day*. If so, when one fasted throughout the night after his fast, how can he say Aneinu the following day? Even though he is still observing his fast at the beginning of the day, he is going to eat before the end of the day, and thus the fast will not be a valid Ta'anis on which to say Aneinu!

For this reason, the ROSH says that Rav Huna is not discussing a case where one fasts for a single day and wants to say Aneinu on the following day before eating. Rather, the case is where one decides, on the morning after a Ta'anis, to fast for two entire consecutive days. He wants to say Aneinu after the first night and not eat again until nightfall. (KORBAN NESANEL 1:10:5)

RASHI, on the other hand, found that explanation to be unlikely, because the Gemara, which says "Lan b'Ta'aniso," implies that the person had no intention to fast a second day, but merely to fast during the night following his one- day fast. Therefore, Rashi explains that the prayer of Aneinu that one would say during the day after fasting through the night is for the fast that he *already observed* (the previous night), and not for the fast that he is observing at that time, when he Davens, during the day. When the Gemara says later (12a) that one must fast until sundown, it is referring to a case where one starts his fast at sunrise. Rashi learns that just as one may fast from sunrise to sunset, so may one fast from sunset to sunrise and it is considered a full-fledged fast. That is why Rashi says that we might have thought that one may say Aneinu because of the fast of the preceding night which had a status of a Ta'anis Sha'os. On the other hand, there was no reason for the Gemara to presume that one should say Aneinu for fasting a short while on the next day, since he is going to eat before sundown and thus that day does not have a status of a Ta'anis. (M. Kornfeld)

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