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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Ta'anis 21

TA'ANIS 21, 22 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael



(a) Ilfa and Rebbi Yochanan both decided to leave the Yeshivah to do business - because they were both frightfully poor, and the Torah says in Re'ei "Efes Ki Lo Yihyeh *Becha* Evyon", meaning that everyone is obligated to see to it that *he* is not poor.

(b) When Rebbi Yochanan overheard one angel tell another that they could not push the rickety wall (besides which Rebbi Yochanan and Ilfa were eating) on them to kill them, because one of them was destined for greatness (and only *he* heard, but not Ilfa), he decided to go back to Yeshivah, and fulfill the other Pasuk in Re'ei "Ki Lo Yechdal Evyon Bekerev ha'Aretz".

(c) Rebbi Yochanan managed to survive as Rosh Yeshivah (in spite of his poverty) - because it was customary to ensure that the leader became wealthy (as we learned in Yuma with regard to the Kohen Gadol).

(d) When Ilfa returned to find that Rebbi Yochanan had been appointed Rosh Yeshivah - he said that, had he remained and not gone off to do business, then Rebbi Yochanan would not have been appointed Rosh Yeshivah (because *he* would).

(a) Ilfa referred to the Beraisos of Rebbi Chiya and Rebbi Oshaya, and not of any other Amora'im - because they are the only Beraisos that are truly authentic.

(b) If a father leaves in his will ...

1. ... that his sons (between them) are to receive one Shekel per month, then, should they actually need double (a Sela) - they receive double (because it is obvious that that is what their father would have wanted, had he known that that is what they need).
2. ... that they are to receive *only* a Shekel - then they receive only a Shekel, since, having stressed it, that is clearly what he wanted.
3. ... that his sons are to receive one Shekel per month, but he added that, should they die, then so-and-so is to receive whatever remains - then, seeing as he made a point of bequeathing what remains of the money to so-and-so, he wants him to receive something at all costs. Consequently, to ensure that his wishes are carried out, the sons cannot receive more than a Shekel.
(c) The underlying principle of this Beraisa - is 'Mitzvah le'Kayeim Divrei ha'Meis', and the author is Rebbi Meir, whose opinion this is?

(d) According to the Chachamim, once the sons inherit their father's money, it belongs to them, and their father has no more say as to what happens to it after his death.

(a) The legs of Nachum Ish Gamzu's bed were placed in bowls of water - because in addition to being bed-ridden, his hands were cut off, in which case, he would have been unable to remove the ants that would otherwise have crawled over his body.

(b) He also had no legs, no eyesight and was covered with boils.

(c) This all happened to him - because once, when he was traveling to his father-in-law's house with camel-loads of good things, he was too slow in providing a poor man who approached him for help (perhaps he should have jumped off the camel to help him, perhaps he should have torn open the sacks of food or perhaps he should not have told him to wait until he unloaded the sacks), and the man died before he had a chance to received help. He then decreed that his eyes that did not have pity on the poor man's eyes, should go blind, his hands that did not have pity on the poor man's hands, should be cut off, his feet that did not have pity on the poor man's feet, should be cut off. And he was not satisfied until he added that his whole body should be covered in boils.

(d) When his disciples said in anguish 'Woe to us that we see you in this state!' - he replied 'Woe to me if you would not see me in this state'!

(a) When his disciples planned to take his bed out of the rickety apartment first and the vessels afterwards - he instructed them to reverse the order, because he knew that, as long as he was in the house, it would not collapse.

(b) He was called by the title 'Ish Gamzu' - because whenever anything unpleasant happened to him, he would say 'Gam Zu le'Tovah'.

(c) The Chachamim decided to send specifically Nachum Ish Gamzu to present the Emperor with a gift - because he was accustomed to miracles (and they realized the possible hazards that faced a person on such a trip to Rome).

(d) He arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box of earth, and not with the jewels and precious stones with which he had set out - because the owners of one of the inn where he stayed overnight decided to investigate what the box contained whilst he slept. When they discovered what was in it, they emptied it, and replaced its previous contents with earth from their garden.

(a) When the Emperor found the box to contain nothing but earth, he had Nachum Ish Gamzu imprisoned. Nachum accepted this with his usual 'Gam Zu le'Tovah' - and a miracle occurred, in the form of Eliyahu ha'Navi, who suggested to the Emperor that this might be special earth from Avraham the father of the Jews, who, during the battle against the four kings, threw earth at them which turned into swords (and straw which turned into arrows). When the Emperor tried it out on an enemy whom he had hitherto found invincible, and he routed him, he set Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honor.

(b) When the owners of the inn realized what had happened - they demolished their house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all the earth on their property was special 'miracle earth'). But of course, nothing happened with the earth that they brought, and the Emperor had them killed for mocking him.

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that, if three people died on three consecutive days in a town of five hundred inhabitants, that constitutes pestilence, and one fasts and blows the Shofar immediately. In a town of fifteen hundred - nine people would need to die on three consecutive days to constitute pestilence.

(b) It is not considered pestilence if the same number of people died ...

  1. ... in four days.
  2. ... in one day (according to the Tana of our Mishnah).
(c) Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda decree a fast in a town of five hundred residents when three people died in *one* day - because he held like Rebbi Meir, who says that if an animal becomes a 'Mu'ad' when it gores three times in *three* days, then how much more so will it become a Mu'ad if it does so in *one* day! And the same logic will apply here (If it is called pestilence when three people in a town of five hundred die in *three* days, then how much more so when they die in *one* day!)



(a) When Rav Nachman bar Rav Ya'akov's invited Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak to come and live in his town, he initially declined - because, he said, (if it is matter of location) it is not the place that honors the man, but the man that honors the place.

(b) When finally, he realized that it was not a matter of location with which Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda was concerned, but one of finding a good Chaver, he thought it preferable for *him* to go and live in *Rav Nachman bar Ya'akov's* town rather than *Rav Nachman bar Ya'akov* come and live in *his* - because, bearing in mind that a P'ras is half a Manah, it is better that a Manah ben P'ras (his father, Yitzchak, who was not called Rav) to go to a Manah the son of a Manah (Rav Chisda), than vice-versa.

(c) We prove that it is not the place that honors the 'person', but the 'person' that honors the place from ...

1. ... Har Sinai - because as long as the Shechinah was on the mountain, it was forbidden even for an animal to ascend it; but the moment the Shechinah departed (symbolized by the long Shofar blast), even a person was permitted to ascend.
2. ... the Ohel Mo'ed - because, as long as the partitions were up, Metzora'im and Zavim were forbidden to enter it; but the moment the partitions were removed, they were permitted.
(d) The Shechinah finally left Har Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, to go and dwell on the lid of the Aron in the Mishkan.
(a) The plague of pestilence that struck Sura did not affect the vicinity in which Rav resided - on the merit of the man who used to lend out a hoe and a shovel for burial purposes.

(b) It could not have been on the merits of Rav himself (as everyone initially thought) - because Rav had far more merit than that (i.e. it would have been a waste of a merit to use it for something so trivial.

(c) And it is for the same reason that the fire that raged in D'rukras, and which did not affect the vicinity in which Rav Huna resided, could not have been on account of the merits of Rav Huna. In fact, it was on the merits of a woman - who used to heat her oven and then lend it out to her neighbors.

(a) Rav Yehudah decree a fast when ...
1. ... a plague of locusts arrived in the area, even before they had actually done any harm - because, he maintained, it was obvious that they would devour the crops, since who has ever heard of locusts bringing their provisions with them?
2. ... a plague of pestilence began killing off the pigs, not because he maintained that one decrees one species on account of another - but because, due to the fact that pigs have similar stomachs to humans, a plague that affects *them* is likely to affect humans too.
(b) The reason that Shmuel decreed a fast in Neherda'a because of a plague of pestilence in Bei Chuza'a, even though the two were nowhere near each other - was because there was no barrier that would prevent the plague from spreading to Neherda'a (the full reason will become clear shortly - in d.).

(c) Rav Nachman decreed a fast in Bavel when a plague of pestilence struck in Eretz Yisrael - because when the mistress is smitten, the servant will certainly be smitten, too.

(d) Evidently, if not for that reason, he would not have decreed a fast (because we do not decree from one place to another). We reconcile this with Shmuel, who (we just learned) decreed a fast in Neherda'a because of a plague in Bei Chuza'a - by pointing out that there were caravans traveling between Bei Chuza'a and Neherda'a (which was not the case between Bavel and Eretz Yisrael in the time of Rav Nachman).

(a) Aba Umna (the blood-letter) merited a daily Divine greeting. this only happened to ...
1. ... Abaye - every Erev Shabbos.
2. ... Rava - every Erev Yom Kipur.
(b) Aba Umna gave ...
1. ... women - special treatment, inasmuch as he would attach the blood- letting horn that he used on them to a special garment, so as to ensure that they were properly covered when he treated them.
2. ... poor people - free treatment. This he did by placing the box into which people put their payments in some obscure corner, so that nobody knew who had payed and who had not.
3. ... Torah-scholars - free treatment and on top of that, a small sum of money for them to go and recuperate.
(c) He treated the two Talmidei-Chachamim whom Abaye sent to him to test him, royally. When they left the following morning, they put him to the test by folding up the mat on which they had slept and taking it to market with them. When they met Aba Umna there, they asked him to assess its price - to see whether he would accuse them of stealing the mat, or whether he would assess it for less than its price (it order to buy it back cheaply - though it is not clear what would have been wrong with that, even if he had).
(a) When the two Talmidei-Chachamim asked him to assess the value of his own carpet - Aba Umna actually thought that they urgently needed the money to redeem a captive and were too embarrassed to tell him.

(b) And when they told him that it was only a test, and that he could now take his carpet back - he replied that he had already designate the mat for Tzedakah, and that consequently, he could not now take it back.

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