POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
by R. Nosson Slifkin
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous dafTa'anis 23
1) Ta'anis 23
2) IDEAL RAIN
(a) (Beraisa) The Pasuk about Hashem giving rain in its
proper time means that it will neither soak the people
nor leave them thirsty but will be in the correct amount.
3) CHONI HA'ME'AGEL AND THE RAIN
1. Too much rain washes away the soil and prevents
(b) (Alternate explanation) "In its proper time" means that
on Tuesday and Friday nights.
1. Such rain fell in the time of R. Shimon b. Shetach and
caused the produce to grow to great size.
(c) By day, the sun shone, and the people knew that their
work was for Heaven.
2. They preserved samples as a lesson in what sin might
3. Likewise in the days of Hurdus, when they were
building the Beis ha'Mikdash, the rain fell by
(a) (Beraisa) It happened once that most of Adar had passed
and there was still no rain.
4) CHONI HA'ME'AGEL AND THE BIG SLEEP
(b) Choni ha'Me'agel was asked to pray for rain, but was
(c) He drew a circle, stood inside, and told Hashem that he
wouldn't move until rain fell.
(d) The rain began to trickle, and his students said that the
Heavens were trying to release him from his oath.
(e) Choni asked for substantial rain, and it fell strongly in
(f) When his students said that it would destroy them, he
asked for rain of blessing.
(g) The rain fell appropriately, until everyone had to seek
refuge on Har ha'Bayis.
(h) When asked to pray that the rain should stop, Choni
replied that one shouldn't pray about too much good; but
he took a cow as a thanks-offering and said to Hashem
that the people cannot accept too much good.
(i) The rain stopped, the sun shone, and the people gathered
mushrooms from the fields.
(j) Shimon b. Shetach said that Choni deserved to be
excommunicated; had Eliyahu decreed no rain, and Chon
ireversed it, it would have been a Chilul Hashem.
1. But he said that he was powerless, as Choni was before
Hashem like a child whose father fulfills his every
(k) The Sanhedrin sent praise to Choni, expounding Pesukim to
speak of how his prayers had helped.
(a) (R. Yochanan) Choni was always troubled by the Pasuk
which referred to Galus Bavel as a dream - how can one
sleep for seventy years?
5) THE HABITS OF ABA CHELKIYA
(b) He once met a man planting a carob tree, and asked when
it would bear fruit.
(c) When the man replied that it would take seventy years,
Choni asked how he expected to benefit.
(d) The man replied that his ancestors planted it for him,
and he was planting it for his descendants.
(e) Choni fell asleep, and when he awoke, he saw a man
harvesting the carobs.
(f) The man turned out to be the grandson of the original
man, and Choni realized that he had slept for seventy
(g) Choni's son was no longer alive, but his grandson was.
(h) Nobody believed who he was, despite his being able to
answer all their difficulties.
(i) Lacking the appropriate respect, he was grieved and
prayed to die.
(j) (Rava) Thus people say, "Either friends or death."
(a) Aba Chelkiyah, Choni's grandson, would be asked to pray
for rain when it was needed.
(b) Once, the rabbis found him plowing in the field; he
didn't respond to their greeting.
(c) Later, when collecting firewood, he placed it on one
shoulder and his cloak on the other shoulder.
6) PEOPLE WHO COULD BRING RAIN
(d) He didn't wear shoes except when he had to cross water.
(e) When he had to cross thorns, he lifted up his clothing.
(f) Arriving home, his wife wore make-up to greet him.
(g) She entered the house, then him, then the rabbis.
(h) he didn't invite the rabbis to join his family in their
(i) He gave his older son one loaf of bread and two to the
(j) He told his wife that the rabbis had come about the rain,
so they should go pray on the roof and perhaps be spared
taking credit for it.
(k) They went to the roof and stood in opposite corners; the
clouds approached his wife first.
(l) Upon descending, he asked the rabbis why they had come.
(m) When they replied that they came to ask him for rain, he
blessed Hashem that he wasn't needed.
(n) They said that they knew the rain fell in his merit, and
asked him to explain all of his actions.
1. He didn't respond to their greeting as he was a worker
hired for his time.
2. He put the firewood on the shoulder without the cloak
as the cloak was borrowed, and not for that purpose.
3. He only wore shoes while walking through water as only
then was he unable to see what he was stepping on.
4. He lifted his clothes amongst thorns as flesh heals
but clothing doesn't.
5. His wife wore make-up to greet him so that he
shouldn't think of other women.
6. His wife entered before him so that she shouldn't be
left outside with the rabbis (who he didn't know).
7. He didn't offer the rabbis food as he didn't have
enough and he didn't want to take credit for an
offer that he couldn't honor.
8. He gave more bread to the younger son as he had been
away at yeshivah and had not eaten.
9. His wife's prayers were answered first as she gave
food directly to the poor, whereas he only gave them
money to buy food.
10. Alternately, he prayed that the local bandits should
die, whereas she prayed that they should repent,
which they did.
(a) Chanan ha'Nichva was the grandson of Choni ha'Me'agel.
(b) When there was a need for rain, the rabbis would send
children to him; they would tug his cloak and beg for
(c) He would pray to Hashem to give rain for the sake of the
children that could not discern who was really giving it.
1. He was so called because he would conceal himself
(Machvi) while relieving himself.
(d) The difference between the mighty ones of Eretz Yisrael
and the pious ones of Bavel is that the latter had to
pray for rain in groups.
(e) The former, such as R. Yonah, could pray for rain alone;
he would say that he was going to buy grain, but would
instead pray that rain should fall, and then tell his
family that it was plentiful.
1. R. Mani, his son, was being molested by the people of
the prince's house.
2. He prayed at his father's grave, and their horses legs
became trapped until they consented to stop
3. He told R. Yitzchak b. Elyashav that members of his
father-in-law's householf were opressing him, and he
prayed that they should become poor.
4. But when they grew overly dependant on R. Mani's
charity, he prayed for them to grow wealthy again.
5. He told R. Yitzchak that he wasn't attracted to his
wife, so he prayed for her to become beautiful.
6. But R. Mani told him that she had become conceited, he
prayed for her to return to her ugliness.
7. Two students of R. Yiztchak b. Elyashiv asked him to
pray that they should become wiser, but he told them
that he no longer possessed the power.