Thursday, November 02, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 6 - Displaying Joy on Rosh HaShanah

The Gemara relates an incident where Ravina was sitting in front of Rav Ashi on the first day of Rosh HaShanah and Ravina noticed that Rav Ashi was dejected. Ravina wondered why Rav Ashi was sad and Rav Ashi informed Ravina that he had forgotten to make an eruvei tavshilin. Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha asks that perhaps Rav Ashi was dejected because it was Rosh HaShanah and he was fearful of the Day of Judgment? He answers that it is said explicitly in the Book of Nechemiah (8:9) that the leaders exhorted the Jewish People not to be sad on Rosh HaShanah as it is a holy day.

The Gemara in Rosh HaShanah (26b) states that it is preferred that one subjugate his heart and his mind on Rosh HaShanah. The explanation for this ruling is that one should pray with a broken heart, but he should still be filled with joy. Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chaim 582:10) rules that one should not recite the words moadim lesimcha on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur as these are Days of Awe and not days of joy. (this matter is also discussed in Sefer HaPardes L’Rashi 176). Yet, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav himself writes further on (Ibid 597:1) that one is obligated to be in a state of joy on Rosh HaShanah. (See further in Shearim Hametzuyanim B’Halacha to Taanis 30b.) The Zohar (Emor 95b) states that chedvesa, joy, is not found on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

The Maharil in his responsa (128) writes that someone that wrote to him that one is required to be more in joyful on Shabbos than on Rosh HaShanah. The Maharil disagrees and he cites several proofs that support the idea that one is required to be joyful on Rosh HaShanah similar to the other Yomim Tovim.

The Shagaas Aryeh (102) infers from the Rambam in Hilchos Yom Tov (6:17) that there is no obligation for one to be joyful on Rosh HaShanah. The Ohr Sameach disagrees with the inference of the Shagaas Aryeh.

The Rosh at the end of Rosh HaShanah quotes Rav Natrinoai Gaon who rules that one is permitted to fast on the second day of Rosh HaShanah. Rav Hai Gaon and others disagree and they maintain that one is prohibited to fast on both days of Rosh HaShanah. There are two sources for the requirement that one should be joyful on Rosh HaShanah. In the Book of Nechemiah (8:10) it is said that one should eat and drink on any holy day. This verse implies that there is a requirement to be joyful on all the Yom Tovim, including Rosh HaShanah. The Rosh cites a Yerushalmi as another source. Rav Simon states that the Jewish People are not like the other nations of the world. Prior to our day of judgment, we wear respectable white clothing, we trim our beards, we cut our fingernails and we eat, drink and we are joyful. We engage in all these activities because we know that Hashem will perform miracles on our behalf and we are confident that he will judge us favorably.

The Maharshal notes that the requirement to be joyful on Rosh HaShanah is based on the words of the Yerushalmi that maintains that we are supposed to demonstrate our confidence in being granted a favorable verdict. This, nonetheless, would not be akin to the joy that one is required to exhibit on an ordinary Yom Tov. Based on this reasoning, the Maharshal maintains that one is permitted to fast after midday on Rosh HaShanah, whereas on other Yomim Tovim one is prohibited to fast even after midday. One can fast on Rosh HaShanah after midday because it is sufficient that one demonstrates his confidence in his anticipated positive verdict by eating and drinking in the latter part of the day.

The Maaglei Tzedek writes that the reasoning offered by the Maharshal can support the dispute whether one is permitted to pray on Rosh HaShanah after midday. If the requirement that one should be joyful on Rosh HaShanah is derived from the same source as the requirement to be joyful on other Yomim Tovim, then we will say that just like one cannot pray after midday on an ordinary Yom Tov, so too one should not pray after midday on Rosh HaShanah. If, however, we are joyful on Rosh HaShanah to demonstrate our confidence in an anticipated positive verdict, then one would be permitted to pray even after midday and we can be joyful following our prayers.

Rav Ezriel Cziment, Shlita, the Rosh Kollel in Telz Chicago, in a pamphlet entitled Zmanei Sasson, writes that the Magen Avrohom rules that if one forgot to recite yaaleh veyavo in Bircas HaMazon on Rosh HaShanah, he is not required to repeat Bircas HaMazon because there are opinions that maintain that one is permitted to fast on Rosh HaShanah. This ruling, however, appears to contradict the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch who writes that one is forbidden to fast on Rosh HaShanah.

Rav Ezriel answers that one can maintain that it is forbidden to fast on Rosh HaShanah, yet one can also maintain that there is no requirement to eat a meal. This can only be understood according to the Yerushalmi that states that the source for being joyful on Rosh HaShanah is because we anticipate a positive verdict in our judgment. This requirement to be joyful would necessitate that we eat and drink and be joyful, but we would not necessarily be required to eat an entire meal. The halacha that mandates that one repeat yaaleh veyavo, however, is contingent on the requirement that one eat a meal, and for this reason the Magen Avrohom rules that one who forgot to recite yaaleh veyavo would not have to repeat Bircas HaMazon.

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joshwaxman said...

"Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha asks that perhaps Rav Ashi was dejected because it was Rosh HaShanah and he was fearful of the Day of Judgment"

It is a somewhat strange question for Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha, given that in the story itself, Ravina asks Rav Ashi why he is dejected and he answers, something of a different situation than where the gemara suggests different possible reasons. Though it is a good way to lead up to his answer. Perhaps Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha is commenting on the fact that Ravina thought it *strange* that Rav Ashi was dejected, enough to make him ask for what cause...

Avromi said...

Josh: that is exactly the point - why didnt he answer that he was sad due to it being Rosh Hashana. Perhaps you can make your point clearer. I didn't understand it.

joshwaxman said...

He didn't answer that that was why he was sad because historically, that was *not* why he was sad. Historically, he was distressed because he did not make the eruv tavshilin.

That doesn't necessarily mean that he (=Rav Ashi) felt that one couldn't be distressed because of the day.

It is difficult to ask on an historical event "how come he wasn't sad because of reason X rather than reason Y," or to say "how come he did not answer that he was sad because of reason Y?"

This is different from the typical pattern of asking on stories that one finds in the gemara. For one example among many, we have the following story on Beitza 14a:

"Rav Sheshet heard the sound of a {stone} pestle and said "this is not coming from my house." And we ask, perhaps he {whoever was using the pestle} leaned it? And we answer that he heard that its sound was clear {which would not be the case by a leaned pestle}. And perhaps it was spices being crushed? Spices make a loud sound when being crushed."

In this case, there is an initial incident. That incident is merely
"Rav Sheshet heard the sound of a {stone} pestle and said "this is not coming from my house."

We do not know any more about the incident. If we have such a declaration of blanket prohibition, it seems to be at odds with the various leniencies discussed earlier (about what one may do for salt, or for spices, and with tilting the mortar, etc.) It could be that Rav Sheshet actually disagrees with all these leniences and is extremely machmir. The gemara does not assume this and starts asking questions on the story. How did Rav Sheshet not know that it was not a case of X, which would be permitted. How did he know it was not a case of Y?

These questions are fair game, and standard operating procedure for the gemara, because these are details which were not made clear in the initial account of the incident.

On the other hand, this question by the Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha, appears at first glance to be of another kind entirely. It is as if Rav Sheshet said "I know that this sound is not coming from my house (because such is prohibited)" and the gemara asked, "but how come he wasn't upset about the sound of tanning leather? Nobody mentioned tanning leather!

In the case at hand, Rav Ashi was upset for a specific reason, and when asked why, *Rav Ashi himself* gives a reason why. We can analyze that reason. But to ask, how come he didn't answer that he was upset because of the fear of the day? The answer is that that was not why he was distressed, so to say so would be a lie! The gemara can give alternate explanations and theories of things when the details were not originally given, but would not when it is given.

That is, let us say the story was that Rav Ashi was distressed. Then, no question was asked to Rav Ashi. Ravina, or else the gemara itself, concludes that the reason he was upset was that he forgot to make an eruv tavshilin. If that were so, Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha would have an excellent question! Why *assume* it was because of X? It is quite possible that it was because of Y, namely, fear of the day. The answer would then be that it could NOT have been Y, because Y is prohibited on Rosh haShana.

The statement "Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha asks that perhaps Rav Ashi was dejected because it was Rosh HaShanah and he was fearful of the Day of Judgment," though I have not seen it inside, fits better into the latter scenario. It suggests that this is a question of a reason presented in the gemara, when another reason was possible. But in fact Rav Ashi historically said why he was sad, so how could you even have a question.

That was what was troubling me. The answers I gave in the first comment would be how I would resolve my troubles.

Avromi said...

SM"B is not suggesting an alternative response to a actual event - he wants to know why was it surprising to Ravina that Rav Ashi was sad? R"H is a day of sadness, seemingly. His answer is that the assumption is wrong - it is a day of joy and that is why Ravina was troubled regarding Rav Ashi's expression.