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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Ta'anis 25



(a) Every Erev Shabbos - Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa's wife would to heat up the oven as if she was about to bake Challes for Shabbos, and place inside something that caused the oven to emit smoke. She did this to avoid embarrassment - so that the neighbors should not know that they could not afford flour to bake Challes.

(b) It happened once, when an inquisitive neighbor came to discover How she could possibly be baking when she knew that they had no money - that Rebbi Chanina's wife went into the living-room (out of shame). The neighbor entered the house, and, when she found an oven-full of bread and a dish-full of dough, she called to Rebbi Chanina's wife to quickly bring a spatula to remove the bread before it got burnt.

(c) Rebbi Chanina's wife explained to the inquisitive neighbor - that that was precisely why she had gone into the living-room. Indeed, she was so accustomed to miracles, that her statement was true (though it is unclear why the Gemara stated earlier that she left the kitchen out of shame.

(a) Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa advised his wife - to pray to Hashem to alleviate their financial situation. Hashem responded by sending a golden table-leg from Heaven.

(b) He subsequently prayed for the golden leg to be withdrawn, after his wife had had a dream in which all the Tzadikim were sitting at tables of three legs (on the merits of the Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim - which earned them the title of Tzadikim - Agados Maharsha), and they, at a table of only *two* (and he did not wish to improve his situation in this world at the expense of his reward in the World to Come).

(c) The second miracle was greater than the first - because Hashem enjoys *giving*, but not taking away.

(a) Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa told his daughter not to worry about her having mistakenly kindled vinegar for the Shabbos-lights instead of oil - - because the One who instructed oil to burn (at the creation) will instruct vinegar to burn (for those who believe that even oil burns because it is the will of Hashem).

(b) The lights burned right through Shabbos and he even took a light for Havdalah from them. He declined to use them directly for Havdalah - because one should avoid using something that came through a miracle.

(a) Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa's goats come home one day carrying wolves in their horns - because people had been accusing them of causing havoc, at which, Rebbi Chanina replied 'If that is true, then let wolves devour them, but if not, then let them come home, each one with a wolf in its horns.

(b) It is strange that the impoverished Rebbi Chanina should have owned goats in the first place. In any event, it is forbidden to rear small animals in Eretz Yisrael (as we shall see in Bava Kama).

(c) The goats actually belonged to someone who had left chickens outside their house many years earlier. His wife had found them. They kept the chickens and the eggs, until such time as they could no longer manage them. Then they sold them and, with the proceeds, they purchased goats. Eventually, the loser passed by the same spot and after giving the appropriate Simanim, took the goats (see Hagahos ha'Gra).

(d) 'The house whose beams were built by Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa' - refers to the house of a neighboring woman called Eichu, whose beams had been build too short and did not meet in the middle. He gave her a Berachah and the beams extended.

(a) Rebbi Elazar ben Pedas was extremely poor. He fainted from weakness one day - when, possessing nothing to eat after having let blood, he found a piece of garlic and ate that (and it is vital to eat the correct food after blood-letting).

(b) The Rabbanan who came to visit him found him crying and laughing in his sleep. He was ...

1. ... crying - because he had just been told that he had already lived more than half his life (presumably he was still very young).
2. ... laughing - because he had been informed that for his decision not to be born again (and rather to remain abjectly poor), he would receive thirteen rivers of Afarsemon-oil.
3. ... emitting flashes of lightning - because Hashem had just flicked Him on his forehead.
(c) He decline Hashem's offer to be re-born with the possibility of being born in a more affluent period - because he had already lived the majority of his years, and it was not worth the trouble (particularly because it was not even certain that he would improve his lot).

(d) There are no spare portions in the World to Come. When he asked why his reward for declining to be re-born was only thirteen rivers of pure Afarsemon-oil and no more - he was asking for the portion of Resha'im who forfeited their portions in Olam ha'Ba (which are given to the Tzadikim, who have earned extra).

(a) Rebbi Chama bar Chanina decreed a fast but, in contrast to when Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi decreed one, no rain came. The community's united effort did not help, nor did his commanding the sky to become overcast. The rain came - when he accused the sky of brazenness for refusing to become overcast in face of communal prayers.

(b) Levi decreed a fast and no rain came. He was sentenced to becoming lame - for accusing Hashem of ascending to the Heaven and of refusing to have mercy on His children.

(c) He became lame - when he tried to demonstrate 'Kidah' (a sort of press- ups where one is supported by the weight of his thumbs only).

(a) Rebbi Chiya bar Luliani was not happy with the clouds' decision to move on to Amon and Mo'av and to empty their load there - Amon and Mo'av (among the other nations of the world) did not accept the Torah at Har Sinai when it was offered to them, he argued, so why should the rain now fall there? The clouds complied and emptied there load there and then (in Eretz Yisrael).

(b) David Hamelech compared a Tzadik to both a date-palm and a cedar. Rebbi Chiya bar Luliani explains the fact that he needed to mention both, and not just ...

1. ... a date-palm - because a date-palm, whose trunk does not re-grow once it is cut down (which would mean that a Tzadik will *not* arise at Techi'as ha'Meisim); therefore he mentions a cedar, whose trunk *does* re-grow when it is cut down.
2. ... a cedar - because it does not bear fruit (meaning that a Tzadik will *not* receive reward in the World to Come); therefore he mentions a date- palm, which *does*.
(c) The Beraisa in Bava Basra (which states that a cedar does *not* re-grow once it is cut down) - speaks about a regular cedar, whereas our Sugya (which says that it *does*) is speaking about one of the other species of cedars.



(a) If someone buys a tree to cut down and take away, he must leave one Tefach of the trunk standing for it to re-grow. He is obligated to leave of a ...
1. ... a 'Shikmah'-tree that had already been cut down once - two Tefachim. Note: a 'Shikmah-tree' is a sort of a wild fig tree (some translate it as a sycamore-tree).
2. ... a 'Shikmah'-tree that was being cut down for the first time - three Tefachim.
3. ... bamboos and vines - from above the first knot in the tree.
(b) By date-palms and cedar-trees, the purchaser is permitted to take them out by the roots - because they will not re-grow anyway.

(c) There are ten different species of cedars.

(a) Rebbi Eliezer decreed thirteen fasts, but no rain came. As the people were leaving the Shul, he told them - that they were digging their own graves, at which they burst into tears. That was when the rain came.

(b) On another occasion, no rain came even after he had recited the twenty- four Berachos. On that occasion, the rain came - when Rebbi Akiva went to the Amud, and said 'Avinu Malkeinu, Ein Lanu Melech Ela Ata. Avinu Malkeinu, Lema'ancha Racheim Aleinu'. Note: Rebbi Akiva is purported to have composed 'Avinu Malkeinu'.

(c) This does not mean that Rebbi Akiva was superior to his Rebbe (in good deeds or in Torah-learning) - but that he was willing to give in to others and not to insist on his rights more than him.

(a) According to Rebbi Meir, the community stop fasting (provided the rain fell before the prescribed time - see question 12) only if enough rain fell to fill the ditch of the plowed furrow. The Chachamim disagree. According to them, the fast is abolished if it has seeped into ...
  1. ... dry earth (virgin soil) - one Tefach;
  2. ... medium earth - two Tefachim;
  3. ... very soft earth - three Tefachim.
(b) Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar says in a Beraisa that, for every Tefach of rain that penetrates the earth, *three* Tefachim of water rise from the depths. That speaks by virgin soil - whereas the Beraisa, which says only *two*, speaks by soft plowed earth.
(a) When they poured out the water for Nisuch ha'Mayim on Sukos - the upper Tehom would say to the lower Tehom - 'Start flowing!'

(b) David Hamelech in Tehilim mentions two pipes in this regard - one refers to the 'Nisuch ha'Yayin', the other, to 'Nisuch ha'Mayim'.

(c) Rabah claimed that he saw Ridayah (from the word 'Rediyah' - plowing), the Angel of rain, standing in between the two Tehomos.

  1. ... He resembled - a calf, and ...
  2. ... he had a split lip.
(d) He told ...
  1. ... the upper Tehom - 'Let your water drip to the lower Tehom'!
  2. ... the lower Tehom - 'Start flowing'!
(a) Our Mishnah quotes a Machlokes between the Chachamim (who say that they stopped fasting if the rain fell before sunrise), and Rebbi Eliezer (in whose opinion the criterion is midday). The Beraisa quotes the same Machlokes in the name of Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yehudah - respectively. Rebbi Yossi maintains - that as long as it begins to rain before the ninth hour, one may break the fast. He learns this from King Ach'av, who (like all kings), would not normally eat before the ninth hour (six hours after getting-up. And when he humbled himself before Hashem and fasted (for three hours), Hashem considered it a fast, when he said (in Melachim) "ha'Ra'isa, Ki Nichna Ach'av"?

(b) When Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a decreed a fast, and rain came after sunrise, he wanted to complete the fast. However, Rebbi Ami told him - that we have learned that the criterion is mid-day (like Rebbi Yehudah).

(c) Shmuel ha'Katan decreed a fast. When the people considered it a good sign when ...

1. ... on one occasion, it began to rain before sunrise - he told them that, on the contrary, it was like a servant who wanted to ask the king for a portion of food, but the king said to give it to him straightway, because he did not want to hear his voice.
2. ... on another occasion, the rain came after sunset - he told them that, on the contrary, this can be compared to a king who said to let the servant suffer first, and to give it to him later after he had suffered.
(d) Shmuel ha'Katan will consider it a good sign - if, the moment they say 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach', the wind blows, 'Morid ha'Gashem', it begins to rain.
(a) In our Mishnah (in the days of Rebbi Tarfon), they did not say Hallel ha'Gadol until after they had eaten - because (due to the fact that it contains the Pasuk "Nosen Lechem le'Chol Basar"), it is correct to say it on a full stomach.

(b) Nevertheless, when Rav Papa decreed a fast in the Shul of Avi Gubar, and rain came, they said it *before* eating - because that took place in Mechuza, where drunkenness was common, and if they were to say it only after eating, there is a strong suspicion that they will become drunk, and not say it at all.

***** Hadran Alach, Seider Ta'aniyos Eilu! *****

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