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Ta'anis 30

TA'ANIS 27, 28, 29, 30 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael


(a) EATING MEAT - The Gemara concludes that the Isur of eating meat and drinking wine apply only during the Se'udah Mafsekes on Erev Tisha b'Av, when the Se'udah Mafsekes is eaten after midday (this is the practice of Jews of Yemenite descent today). According to the Gemara, it is permitted to eat meat and drink wine earlier during the day on Erev Tisha b'Av, as well as during the days before Tisha b'Av. However, the Rishonim write that the practice is to refrain from meat and wine all day on Erev Tisha b'Av. Moreover, some rule that meat and wine are prohibited during the week in which Tisha b'Av occurs (based on the Yerushalmi), and some say that this prohibition should be observed from Rosh Chodesh Av, which is the practice of Ashkenazim.

(b) WASHING CLOTHES AND CUTTING HAIR - The Tana'im argue when the Isurim of washing clothes and cutting hair apply. Rebbi Meir says that it is Asur to wash clothes and to cut hair from Rosh Chodesh Av until Tisha b'Av. Rebbi Yehudah says that it is Asur the entire month of Av. Raban Shimon ben Gamliel says that it is Asur only during the week in which Tisha b'Av falls. Rava rules like Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, that it is Asur to wash clothes and cut hair only during the week in which Tisha b'Av falls, and like Rebbi Meir, that it is only Asur on the days before Tisha b'Av and not afterwards.

It is the practice of Ashkenazic communities to refrain from washing clothes from Rosh Chodesh Av (REMA OC 551:3), and to refrain from cutting hair from the Seventeenth of Tamuz. However, RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN (Igros Moshe OC 4:102) rules that since the Gemara concludes that it is Asur only during the week of Tisha b'Av, one may wash clothes or cut hair before the week of Tisha b'Av in case of financial loss. During the week of Tisha b'Av, though, one may not wash clothes or cut hair even in case of financial loss.

Why did it become the practice to lengthen the times during which meat and wine, and washing clothes and cutting hair, are prohibited?

The BI'UR HA'GRA (OC 551:6) cites the Gemara in Bava Basra (60b) that says that when the people wanted to stop eating meat and drinking wine altogether after the Beis ha'Mikdash was destroyed, Rebbi Yishmael ben Elisha told them that "we do not enact Gezeiros upon the Tzibur if a majority of the Tzibur is unable to observe them." Ideally we should refrain from eating meat and drinking wine at all times while the Beis ha'Mikdash is in ruins, but that would be too difficult for the Tzibur to abide by.

The Gaon explains that since the Tzibur *is* able to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine for a short time period each year, the Chachamim introduced the custom of abstaining for them for as they saw to be practical (in each generation). We refrain from eating meat and drinking wine (and from washing our clothes) for the nine days from Rosh Chodesh until Tisha b'Av since most of the Tzibur is able to observe those stringencies for that amount of time. (A similar logic may be applied to cutting hair during the three weeks from the Seventeenth of Tamuz until Tisha b'Av.)


QUESTION: The Gemara states, "All who mourn for Yerushalayim, merit and see her joy." What does this mean? Many great Jewish men and women have mourned for Yerushalayim throughout the generations, but none of them merited to see the rebuilding of the city and the Beis ha'Mikdash! ANSWER: KOHELES YITZCHAK quotes RAV CHAIM BERLIN who gives a beautiful explanation for this Gemara.

The Torah relates that Yakov Avinu mourned for Yosef for twenty-two years, under the assumption that he had been killed. How could Yakov mourn for so long? The Gemara in Berachos (58b) says that the memory of the impact of the death of a loved one stays in one's heart for only twelve months, and after that one naturally forgets about the pain of the loss! The Midrash, cited by Rashi (Bereishis 37:35), answers that only if the person is actually dead does the pain of his death fade from the heart. But if he is still alive and his relative just does not know, the memory does not fade from the heart.

Similarly, after the Churban of the Beis ha'Mikdash, if the Beis ha'Mikdash was irrevocably destroyed, then the painful memory should fade from its mourners' hearts after twelve months, and they should no longer be mourning for the Beis ha'Mikdash. The fact that they continue to mourn over the loss of the Beis ha'Mikdash shows that it is not permanently destroyed, but that it is really "still alive" and it will be rebuilt. This knowledge gives the mourners encouragement, and they even experience joy knowing that the Beis ha'Mikdash will be rebuilt!

QUESTIONS: One of the things that occurred on the Fifteenth of Av, making it a day of celebration, was that no more Jews in the Midbar died ("Kalu Mesei Midbar"). Rashi cites the Midrash which says that in the Midbar, on every Tisha b'Av the people would dig graves for themselves, lie down in them overnight, and the next morning many of them would not arise. In the final year of their sojourn in the Midbar, all of those who went to sleep in their graves on the night of Tisha b'Av woke up the next morning. The next night, they continued to go to sleep in the graves, thinking that they had erred in the calculation of the date. They continued doing this until they saw the full moon in the sky and knew that it was the middle of the month, the Fifteenth of Av.

Upon closer examination, this event poses several difficulties.

First, on that year, whoever had been decreed to die had already died. No one who was of age at the time of the sin of the Meraglim (for which it was decreed that all men between 20 and 60 would die and not enter Eretz Yisrael). Why, then, did they think that they had to dig graves?

Second, if no one died that Tisha b'Av, and Tisha b'Av was the only time that people died, then the last time people died was on the Tisha b'Av of the previous year! They should have instituted the day of celebration on the *tenth* of Av, and not on the Fifteenth of Av, because the last day on which people died was the ninth of Av of the previous year! The Shechinah's Dibur should have come back to Moshe the year before, since Tisha b'Av of the previous year was the last time that the Gezeirah applied!

Third, why does the Gemara have to mention that on that day, the Fifteenth of Av, communication between the Shechinah and Moshe Rabeinu was restored? If the celebration of the day is that nobody died, why mention the fact that the Shechinah began speaking again to Moshe Rabeinu?


(a) TOSFOS in Bava Basra (121a, DH Yom sh'Kalu) explains that it is true that the people died only on Tisha b'Av. However, even in the fortieth and final year, they also died! The rest of the Jewish people were mourning for their relatives who died on that Tisha b'Av. They mourned for seven days, during which time the Shechinah was not dwelling among the people, since the Shechinah dwells only amidst joy, and not amidst mournfulness. Since the Shechinah was not dwelling among the people, Moshe Rabeinu received no communication from it, until the Aveilus was finished. Seven days after Tisha b'Av (including Tisha b'Av itself, and part of the seventh day, for "Miktzas ha'Yom k'Kulo") -- came out on the Fifteenth of Av!

This is not in agreement with the Yerushalmi cited in Rashi of our Sugya, though.

(b) TOSFOS here cites an explanation that says that even though most of the people died each year on Tisha b'Av, there were some people who died on other days of the year. The last day that *anyone* died was the fourteenth of Av. After the fourteenth, no one died anymore, and therefore the fifteenth became a day of Simchah.

This answer, too, does not agree with the Yerushalmi that Rashi quotes, which says that no one died on Tisha b'Av of the last year and they dug graves unnecessarily.

(c) TOSFOS in Bava Basra cites RABEINU TAM who suggests that Hashem indeed annulled the Gezeirah that they died in the Midbar, and the people who were supposed to die on the last year did not die. That explains why they kept digging graves -- there were still people alive who were decreed to die!

Why did the Shechinah return to Moshe only on the fifteenth of Av, and why is that fact relevant? Furthermore, what is so special about the fifteenth if they stopped dying the year before?

It could be that until the fifteenth of Av, Hashem had not yet annulled the decree, and they were still destined to die. That is why they had to return to their graves each day. But on the fifteenth of Av, the Shechinah came back to Moshe Rabeinu and that showed that Hashem had annulled the Gezeirah and pardoned the people. Those who had been decreed to die lived.

(The Yerushalmi says that they knew that the Gezeirah was lifted because they saw the full moon.. On that point, our Gemara argues with the Yerushalmi and says that they knew that the Gezeirah was over because the Dibur returned to Moshe.)

However, how can it be that the decree was annulled, and some of the people of that generation lived? The verse says that the only ones left from that generation who lived were Yehoshua and Kalev (Bamidbar 26:65)!

Rabeinu Tam answers as follows. The Gezeirah had been that anyone between the ages of 20 and 60 at the time of the sin of the Meraglim was decreed to die in the Midbar. The Midrash says that each year, those who reached the age of 60 would die, so that at the end of forty years all of the people who were over 20 at the time of the Meraglim would have died. The last year, the only ones who were still alive who thought that they would die (for whom Hashem annulled the Gezeirah) were those who were exactly 20 at the time of the sin of the Meraglim.

Before Hashem annulled the Gezeirah, the intent of the Gezeirah was to be *inclusive* -- anyone between the ages of 20 and 60 was to die, including the 20 year-olds. When Hashem had mercy and decided to annul the remainder of the Gezeirah, He did not completely annul the Gezeirah; rather, He re-interpreted it: instead of being inclusive of the 20 year-olds, He made it *exclusive* of the 20 year-olds! Thus, it is correct to say both that the Gezeirah was entirely carried out and no one was left who was included in the Gezeirah, and to say that Hashem annulled the Gezeirah! Since Yehoshua and Kalev were older than 20 at the time of the Meraglim, they indeed were the only ones who remained of all of those between the ages of 20 (exclusive) and 60 who had to die, had Hashem not granted them life.

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