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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Ta'anis 19

TA'ANIS 17, 18, 19 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael



(a) We just learned that, according to the Tana Kama, if one town had sufficient rain, but its neighbor did not, then, apart from the fact that both towns must fast and blow the Shofar, all the surrounding towns must fast too, but not blow the Shofar - according to Rebbi Akiva, they blow the Shofar but do not fast.

(b) Rebbi Akiva and the Chachamim engage in the same Machlokes - by pestilence and by the walls of the town and of its houses falling due to storm-winds.

(c) In a town of five hundred inhabitants - three people dying on three consecutive days constitutes a plague of pestilence.

(a) If 'Shidafon' and 'Yerakon' (plagues that affect the produce), or a plague of locusts, occurred in one town, one fasts and blows the Shofar everywhere - because these are plagues that spread. Note: This is how the commentaries of the Mishnah explain 'Masri'in' here and in all the subsequent cases (except for those that refer to Shabbos). Rashi interprets 'Masri'in' here to mean the recital of 'Aneinu'. See also Rashash 22a. Rashi 'Shidafon ve'Yeirakon'.

(b) This Halachah also applies to - a plague of wild animals and to a town that was put to the sword.

(c) And the obligation of fasting and blowing the Shofar even extends to other countries - because we see in our Mishnah that the Chachamim decreed fasting and blowing the Shofar from the land of the P'lishtim and from Eiver ha'Yarden to Eretz Yisrael (see also Rashi DH 'Masri'im be'Chol Makom').

(d) The Tana Kama relates how they decreed a fast in Eretz Yisrael because wolves devoured two children in Eiver ha'Yarden. Rebbi Yossi says - that they did not actueally devour them. It was because the wolves were merely seen that they decreed the fast.

(a) One cries out (by saying 'Aneinu') even on Shabbos - if the town is besieged by the enemy, if a river overflows its banks and threatens to swamp the town, or for a sinking ship. (See Tosfos Tom-Tov regarding the Din in these cases during the week.)

(b) Rebbi Yossi says that one may call for help but not cry out to Hashem (see above, 14a.).

(c) Shimon ha'Teimani adds pestilence to this list, though the Rabbanan do not agree with him.

(a) The only calamity for which one does not fast or blow the Shofar - is too much rain.

(b) Choni ha'Me'agel ...

1. ... instructed the people - to take in their Korban Pesach ovens (which were made of earthenware, and would melt in the rain), when they asked him to pray for rain.
2. ... drew a circle - when initially no rain came, stood in the middle, and swore to Hashem that he would not move out of it until Hashem sent rain.
3. ... said, when only a trickle came - that what he had asked for was enough rain to fill the water-pits, not just a trickle.
4. ... said, when it came down in torrents - that what he had asked for was rain of goodwill, not of anger.
(c) He was loathe to pray for the rain to stop. However, before he so - he instructed the people to go and see whether the Even ha'To'en (the large stone next to which lost articles would be announced) had been covered by the rain-water.

(d) Shimon ben Shetach subsequently sent him a message that - if he had not been who he was (and a member of Hashem's family circle, so to speak, who was allowed the privilege of behaving in a familiar manner with his Father), he would have placed him in Cherem (for the brazen way in which he spoke to Hashem).

(a) According to the Tana Kama, if the rain began fall only after sunrise, they would nevertheless continue fasting. According to Rebbi Eliezer - as long as it began falling before mid-day, they would stop fasting.

(b) When, during a fast for rain, it began to rain before mid-day - Rebbi Tarfon once ruled in Lud that they should go and eat and declare that day a Yom-Tov (like Rebbi Eliezer).

(c) After they had eaten - they re-gathered, and they recited Hallel ha'Gadol ('Hodu la'Shem Ki Tov' - which we say on Shabbos morning).

(a) To avoid clashing with a Beraisa - Rav Yehudah (amends and) explains our Mishnah to mean that it is only if the first, second and third dates have passed and there has been no rain that the order of fasts prescribed by our Mishnah applies.

(b) The reason that the Tana mentioned the first fall of rain at all - is because of the continuation of the Mishnah, where he says that 'if rain did fall on the first date, and then the crops changed, one fasts immediately'.

(c) Rav Nachman establishes our Mishnah specifically in a case when the crops actually changed, but not when the produce dried up - because then, there is no point in fasting, because it is too late for Tefilah to have any effect.

(d) We explain Rav Nachman's Chidush to be in a case 'de'Hadar Ikun' - which means that, after it became dry, it grew a little. We might have thought that, since it began to grow a little, Tefilah *will* be effective after all; so the Tana teaches us that, once the grain has dried, it will never grow properly, so there is no point in Davening, fasting or blowing the Shofar (because of the principle 'Ein Somchin al ha'Nes').

(a) The Tana of our Mishnah rules that, if the rain began to fall in good time, but then stopped, one fasts and blows the Shofar, because it is Makas Betzores. This is not technically correct. What he actually means is - that it is a Makah that will lead to Betzores.

(b) The difference between having to transport grain down the river from one town to another (which has no food of its own), on the one hand, and having to transport it from one country to another by donkey, on the other is - that, in the former case, where the food is transported easily and efficiently, it falls under the category of Betzores (that will not lead to starvation - see Tosfos DH 'Nahara'), and for which does not therefore blow the Shofar (though presumably, one does fast); whereas in the latter case, where transporting the food is difficult and tedious, it falls under the category of starvation and one fasts and blows the Shofar.




(a) Rebbi Chanina describes a case of 'a Sa'ah for a Sela, but it is available', as 'Betzores' - because a Sa'ah for a Sela is an exorbitant price.

(b) He then goes on to describe 'famine' - as when the grain is hard to come by, even if it is going at the cheap price of four Sa'ah for a Sela.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan commented on the latter case - that the previous distinction only applies to when the grain is expensive and the money is steady; but in the reverse case, one fasts and blows Shofar immediately. He recalled from his early days in Teverya - how the grain was once very cheap, yet the people were starving because there was a shortage of money.

(a) A light rain is good for the plants but not for the trees. Rain that is good for ...
1. ... the trees but not for the plants - is a heavy rain.
2. ... the trees and the plants but not for the water-pits - is when there is first a heavy (but short) downpour, and then a light rain.
3. ... the water-pits but not for the trees and the plants - when a lot of falls in the form of an extremely heavy downpour, which damages the plants and the trees.
(b) If there is insufficient water for ...
1. ... the trees - one blows the Shofar and begins fasting around Pesach- time.
2. ... to fill the pits - around the following Sukos-time.
3. ... to drink - one begins to fast immediately.
(c) 'Immediately' cannot be taken literally - because one always begins fasting on the Monday (then on Thursday and Monday).

(d) The neighboring towns do not need to blow Shofar and fast, too.

(a) There are two kinds of Askara (croup) - one fasts and blow the Shofar for the type which kills, but not for the type which does not.

(b) Guva'i and Chagav are two kinds of locusts - the former is more devastating; it totally destroys the crops, whereas the Chagav does not. Consequently, one fasts and blows the Shofar for even the smallest amount of the former, but not for the latter (unless they appear in large hordes), according to the Tana Kama.

(c) But according to Raban Shimon ben Elazar - one fasts and blows the Shofar for even the smallest amount of Chagav, just as one does for Guva'i.

(a) One fasts and blows the Shofar for ...
1. ... water to fill the water pits in the Shmitah (despite the fact that the rain will also water the earth) - but not ...
2. ... for the trees (according to the Tana Kama) - seeing as the fields are Hefker.
(b) According to Raban Shimon ben Gamliel - one fasts and blows the Shofar even for the trees and the wild seeds in the Shmitah (even though they are not valuable), because the poor (presumably this refers to everyone, since nobody owns land in the Shmitah) rely in them for their food.

(c) Rebbi Elazar ben Perata says 'mi'Yom she'Charav Beis Hamikdash, Na'aseh Geshamim Tzimokin', meaning that sometimes there is plenty of rain, sometimes there is a shortage; sometimes the rain falls in its time, sometimes it does not. He compares a year when ...

1. ... the rain falls in its time - to a slave to whom the master gave his sustenance already on Sunday, giving him ample time to bake his dough for Shabbos, with the result that his Chalah is well-baked, and tastes nice.
2. ... it does not - to one whom the master gave his sustenance only on Friday, so that he does not have the time to bake the dough properly. Consequently, his Chalah is not well-baked and it does not taste nice.
(d) According to the first Lashon, he compares a year when there is sufficient rain to a slave who receives his sustenance all in one go, so that only one lot of flour is absorbed by the mill (and similarly, the rain- water is absorbed by the earth and the wind only once); and a year when there is insufficient rain to a slave who received his sustenance little by little, so that each time he kneads, he loses more flour (and so it is with the rain-water). The second Mashal - compares the former case to a mixer who mixes cement using ample water, in which case, the water mixes with the cement without any problem; whereas in the latter case, the same mixer uses only little water, in which case he runs out of water and the cement is still not properly mixed.
(a) Nakdimon ben Gurion ask the Roman aristocrat - for a loan of twelve water-wells. Should it not have rained by a certain date - he promised to give him in return twelve Kikar (thirty-six thousand Shekels) of silver.

(b) When first the morning of the given date arrived, then noon and then late afternoon, and no rain was forthcoming - he kept on telling the aristocrat that there was still time.

(c) The third time that Nakdimon gave him that answer - the aristocrat replied - that if had not rained the whole year, why made him think that it would rain now?

(d) A sad-looking Nakdimon was going to the Beis-Hamikdash, when he met a happy-looking aristocrat going to the bathhouse - *he* was going to ask Hashem to have mercy and send rain.

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