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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

Ta'anis 2

TA'ANIS 2-5 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


Please note that unless where otherwise indicated, we follow the explanation of Rashi.
Our notes and comments do not necessarily have a bearing on the practical Halachah.


(a) According to Rebbi Eliezer, we begin to mention rain from the first day of Sukos. Mentioning rain - means saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach u'Morid ha'Gashem'.

(b) Rebbi Yehoshua says - that one only begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' on Shemini Atzeres.

(c) Rebbi Yehoshua asked Rebbi Eliezer why one should begin to ask for rain on the first day of Sukos, when rain on Sukos is a curse. He replied - that he was talking about mentioning the Power of Hashem, who produces the rain in its time (which has nothing to do with asking for it).

(d) Rebbi Yehoshua counters that - if so, why not mention it the whole year round?

(a) According to the Tana of our Mishnah, we *ask* for rain - when it is close to the rain season (though this will be explained later in the Sugya).

(b) According to Rebbi Yehudah, it is ...

  1. ... the Ba'al Musaf - who begins mentioning rain on Shemini Atzeres?
  2. ... the Ba'al Shachris - who stops mentioning rain on the first day of Pesach.
(c) We refute the initial contention that the Tana of our Mishnah took his cue from the Mishnah in B'rachos, which has already taught that we *mention* rain in 'Gevuros Geshamim', and *ask* for it in Birchas ha'Shanim - because if so, then what is Ta'anis doing *here* (so many Masaechtos after Berachos), it should have been learned *there* in Berachos.

(d) In fact, our Tana takes his cue from the Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah 'u've'Chag Nidudin al ha'Mayim'. It therefore follows that, seeing as we are judged on Sukos for water, it is correct to mention Hashem's kindness in providing us with water, to encourage Him to judge us favorably.

(a) The Tana refers to the rain as 'Gevuros Geshamim' - because their descent demonstrates Hashem's might (i.e. even though the world often does not deserve it, Hashem restrains Himself and sends it nonetheless - Rabbi Kornfeld). See also Agados Maharsha DH 'K'siv'.

(b) There is no mention of 'Gevurah' in the Pasuk in Iyov which talks about rain. The Tana nevertheless arrives at 'Gevuros Geshamim' from that Pasuk - through a 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Cheiker" "Cheiker" from a Pasuk in Yeshayah which talks about the creation, with regard to which another Pasuk in Tehilim writes "Meichin Harim be'Ko'ach, Ne'ezar *bi'Gevurah"*.

(c) We learn that it is specifically in *Tefilah* that we mention rain - from the Pasuk in Shema "u'le'Avdo be'Chol Levavechem"; worshipping with the heart always refers to Tefilah, and the Pasuk continues "And I will give the rain of your land ...".

(a) Rebbi Yochanan tells us that there are three keys over which Hashem retains direct jurisdiction (he declines to hand them over to a Sh'li'ach) - the key of rain, the key of birth and the key of Techi'as ha'Meisim.

(b) This does not mean that Hashem never handed any of them to a Sh'liach (see Tosfos DH 'Sheloshah') - but that He did not hand them to a Sh'li'ach permanently.

(c) The B'nei Eretz Yisrael learn from the Pasuk in Tehilim "Posei'ach es Yadecha ... " - that Hashem also retains the key of Parnasah (sustenance). Note: A beautiful hint to the four keys (according to the B'nei Eretz Yisrael), lies in the word 'Miftei'ach' (a key), which spells the first letters of '*M*atar' - rain; '*P*arnasah' - sustenance; '*T*echi'ah' - the revival of the dead; '*Ch*ayah' - a woman who gives birth.

(d) Nevertheless, Rebbi Yochanan did not include the key to Parnasah in his list - because, in his opinion, Parnasah is synonymous with rain (which he has already included).




(a) The difference whether Rebbi Eliezer learns the obligation to mention rain on the first day of Sukos from *Lulav* or from *Nisuch ha'Mayim* - is whether one begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' at Ma'ariv (like Nisuch ha'Mayim) or at Shachris, like Lulav.

(b) Although Nisuch ha'Mayim did not take place at night-time - nevertheless, like all Nesachim and Menachos, it is Kasher if performed by night (whereas Lulav is Pasul by night even Bedieved).

(c) Rebbi Avahu concludes that Rebbi Eliezer learns it from Lulav. Some say from tradition; others, from a Beraisa - which explicitly says that Rebbi Eliezer learns it from Lulav, which comes mainly to appease Hashem for rain. And just as the four species cannot not exist without water, so too, can the world not exist without water.

(a) In the same Beraisa, Rebbi Eliezer counters Rebbi Yehoshua's Kashya by comparing the prayer for rain to Techi'as ha'Meisim. Just as we mention Techi'as ha'Meisim all the year round, even though it will only come in its fixed time, so too, can we mention rain all the year round, and it will fall in its fixed time.

(b) According to Rebbi Eliezer, one is permitted to say 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' the whole year round if one so wishes - according to Rebbi, the moment one stops *asking* for rain one also stops *mentioning* it.

(a) According to Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira, one begins mentioning rain on the *second* day of Sukos. Rebbi Akiva says - on the *sixth*.

(b) When Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah, says that it is the Ba'al Musaf who begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' on Shemini Atzeres, but the Ba'al Shachris who stops saying it on Pesach - he is quoting Rebbi Yehoshua (though which Rebbi Yehoshua we shall see later).

(a) Rebbi Yehoshua counters Rebbi Eliezer's proof from Techi'as ha'Meisim (that there is no harm in mentioning rain the whole year round) - by differentiating between Techi'as ha'Meisim (which could take place at any time), and rain (which is due in winter, but is a sign of curse in summer).

(b) We learn from the Pasuk "ha'Lo K'tzir Chitim ha'Yom" where Shmuel asked for rain out of season - that rain after Nisan is a curse.

(c) According to Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah - the extra letters in the Pesukim in Pinchas "ve'Niskeihe*m*" (on the second day of Sukos); "u'Nesach*e*ha" (on the sixth day): "ke'Mishpata*m*" (on the seventh), which form the word 'Mayim', is the source for the Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim.

(d) Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira's source for starting Nisuch ha'Mayim (as well as Mashiv ha'Ru'ach) only from the *second* day of Sukos - lies in the fact that the hint for Nisuch ha'Mayim begins with the'Mem' in "ve'Niskeihem" only on the *second* day.

(a) According to Rebbi Akiva - "u'Nesacheha" (meaning 'and its drink- offerings' - in the plural) is the source for Nisuch ha'Mayim.

(b) Rebbi Akiva knows that the Pasuk refers to Nisuch ha'*Mayim* and not Nisuch ha*Yayin* - because in essence, he learns like Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira, who learns Nisuch ha'Mayim from "ve'Niskeihe*m*", "u'Nesach*e*ha" and "ke'Mishpata*m*".

(c) Nevertheless, he does not agree with Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira completely - because of the extra hint ("u'Nesacheha"), which comes to teach us that the Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim begins, not on the second day, but on the sixth.

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