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by R. Nosson Slifkin
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Ta'anis 8

1) BLUNTED IRON (cont.)

(a) (Reish Lakish) If a Talmid Chacham is finding his studies as hard as iron, it is because he hasn't prepared his Mishnah properly.
1. The solution is for him to increase his time in yeshivah.
2. He is in all the better a position if he has prepared his Mishnah properly in the first place.
3. Reish Lakish would prepare his Mishnayos forty times, paralleling the forty days that Moshe spent learning the Torah, before going to study under R. Yochanan.
4. R. Ada bar Ahava would prepare his Mishnayos twenty-four times, paralleling the books of tenach, before going to study under Rava.
5. (Rava) If a student finds his studies as hard as iron, it is because his teacher is not treating him well.
i. the solution is for him to amass friends.
ii. He is in all the better a position if his deeds please his teacher in the first place.
(a) (R. Ami) A Pasuk refers to the Nachash biting because of Lachash. This means...
1. If the skies are as rusty as copper (Nechoshes), not giving rain, it is because there are none who pray the silent Amidah (Lachash).
i. The solution is to find someone who knows how to pray it.
ii. If he prays and is not answered, they should go to the Chasid of the generation for his intervention.
iii. If he prays, is answered, and grows conceited as a result, he brings anger to the world.
iv. (Rava) If two Talmidei Chachamim in a city do not cooperate in Halachah, they bring anger to the world.
2. (Reish Lakish) The Pasuk refers to a future assembly of all the animals with the snake, where they will challenge him as to what benefit he receives from biting others, since he doesn't eat them.
i. The snake responds that he is like the slanderer, who also receives no benefit.
(a) (R. Ami) A person's prayer is only heard if he places his soul in his hands.
1. Question: Shmuel showed that even if prayer is tutterly insincere, it is answered!
2. Answer: That is referring to the prayer of a congregation.
(b) (R. Ami) The rain falls in the merit of those who possess integrity.
1. We see how great such people are from the story of the Chuldah and the well.
2. If someone who places his trust in a Chuldah and a well succeeds, how much more so someone who places his trust in Hashem.
(c) (R. Yochanan) Anyone who conducts himself with righteous precision on earth will receive the same judgment Above (i.e. strict judging of his sins in order to cleanse him). (There is a dispute as to which Pasuk this is learned from.)
(d) (R. Yehoshua b. Levi) Anyone who rejoices in his suffering brings salvation to the world.
(a) (Reish Lakish) When the Heavens are stopped up from giving rain, it is like a woman who has labor pains but cannot give birth.
1. The Torah uses the word Atzirah (stopping up) with both the Heavens and women.

2. The Torah uses the word Leidah (giving birth) with both the Heavens and women.
3. The Torah uses the word Pekidah (marking down for giving birth) with both the Heavens and women.
4. One of these Pesukim refers to a container in the atmosphere from where the rains come.
(b) (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani) A Pasuk teaches us that if harsh rain was decreed but Israel repented, it will fall harmlessly on the mountains or on trees; if good rain was decreed, it will fall on fields and cisterns etc.
1. In his generation there was both famine and plague.
2. The people said that they can't pray to be saved from both, so they opted to pray for release from plague.
3. R. Shmuel bar Nachmani told them to pray to be saved from famine, as Hashem grants sustenance for people to live (and they will have to be saved from plague too).
4. We know that we cannot pray for two things from a Pasuk about praying for one request, implying that another request was not prayed for.
(c) In R. Zeira's generation the government issued decrees against the Jews, including one that they must not fast.
1. R. Zeira instructed the people to pledge to fast, and to carry it out when the decree would be revoked.
2. He knew to do this from a Pasuk about Daniel's prayer being answered from when he *decided* to fast.
(d) (R. Yitzchak) Even in years as parched as those of Eliyahu, rain on Erev Shabbos is a bad sign.
1. (Rabah bar Shila) The day of rainfall is as harsh (noisy) as the days of (Beis Din sitting in) judgment.
2. (Ameimar) If it wasn't that we needed the rain, we would pray that it be cancelled.
(e) (R. Yitzchak) Sun on Shabbos is charity for the poor.
(a) (R. Yitzchak) The day of rainfall is so great that even non-rain-related works are blessed on it.
1. Berachah only occurs in that which is concealed from the eye (i.e. whose amount is not known).
2. (Beraisa) One who enters his granary to measure it should pray that his work receives blessing; once he has started to measure it, he blesses Hashem for sending blessing upon it.
3. If he measured it and said the Berachah afterwards, it is in vain, as blessing cannot happen to items measured, only to those things concealed from the eye.
(b) (R. Yochanan) The day of rainfall is as great as that of the ingathering of the exiles.
(c) The day of rainfall is so great that even army troops halt on it.
(d) Rain is withheld because of those who are assigned to distribute charity in public and fail to do so.
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