Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 2 - Hashem's Personal Keys

Rabbi Yochanan states that there are three keys that Hashem does not delegate to the hands of an agent. They are the key to rain, the key for childbirth and the key for reviving the dead.

The commentators ask from the tefillah which we recite on Shmini Atzeres when we say that Af-Bri is the name of the Heavenly angel who is appointed over the rain clouds.

The Gemora in the third perek (25b) cites Rabbah who said that he saw an image of the angel Ridya who is the angel placed in charge of rain (Rashi).

Tosfos in Niddah (16b) answers that the angel Af-Bri can only accomplish his mission with the permission of Hashem.

One can infer from Tosfos that the other emissaries of Hashem do not require His permission before performing their task. Mishna L’melech in his sefer Perashas Derochim (21) asks on Tosfos that is it possible to say that Yurkani, the angel appointed on hail and Gavriel, the angel placed in charge of fire can perform their mission without permission being granted from Hashem. There is nothing in this world that can function without Hashem’s authorization.

The Peri Megadim in Mishbitzos Zahav (114:9) explains that all matters are given over to an intermediary and Hashem’s supervision is constantly upon them. The exception is regarding rain where Hashem did not give over this responsibility to a messenger at all. When Hashem decides to give rain, He instructs Af-Bri to carry out His will.

Sfas Emes writes that Hashem Himself opens and closes the storerhouse of rain and after they are opened, permission is granted to Af-Bri to cause the rain.

The Perashas Derachim answers based on a braisa cited later in the perek (10a). The braisa states that Eretz Yisroel is watered personally by Hashem but the remainder of the world is water by Hashem’s messenger. Our Gemora is referring to the rain in Eretz Yisroel which is administered solely by Hashem. The angel Ridya and Af-Bri are appointed on the rainfall of all the rest of the world.

The Chidah in his sefer Pesach Einayim answers that while Hashem gives the rain, the angels distribute it to different places. The Tosfos HaRosh in Niddah seems to say similar to this.

The Maharsha answers based on Rashi that our Gemora means that the three keys were never given together to one messenger but they could have been given one at a time. This would answer a question that Tosfos asks. Tosfos cites a Gemora in Sanhedrin (113a) where the Gemora records an incident that Eliyahu was given over the keys for rain and for reviving the dead. According to Rashi, this is not difficult since our Gemora means that all three keys were not given over to the same messenger at the same time.

The Raavad answers Tosfos’ question by stating that Eliyahu was not handed the keys to bring forth rain, rather he was given the key to prevent the rain from coming.


ben said...

all this is under the assumption that the shliach mentioned in the gemara is a malach. yet we find that until Adam was created there was no rain. This would actually imply that rain is in the hands man i.e. by praying man allows the rain to descend. Proof to this theory may be from the fact that the Gemara juxtaposes the statement regarding reciting rain in tefillah and the statement regarding Hashem not giving over the key of rain to a shliach.

Avromi said...

I don't understand. You are saying that shliach is referring to man's tefillah, so let's learn the Gemora. These three keys were not given over to man's tefillos and the Gemora cites proof to this from the fact that it is written Hashem does it. In conclusion according to you, the Gemora is saying that man cannot pray for rain and the others but you yourself brought Rashi and obviously know that man can daven for rain and the others. Am I missing something in your pshat?

ben said...

let me elaborate. We find that Avraham himself gave the malachim food so HaShem Himself gave Bnei Yisroel food i.e. manna. Yet Avraham had a shliach give the malachim water so Hashem gave Bnei Yisroel water through a shliach. All shluchim mentioned were people. Similarly we find Elisha and Eliyahu performing techias hameisim. Rabbeinu Bachye writes that if the Torah was written in order then a person could perform techias hameisim. I am musing that shliach refers to man and the Gemara could mean that although it appears that man is capable of performing these 3 things the passuk teaches us that ultumatelty HaShem holds the strings. Besides for the piyut where else do we see a malach in control of these matters? We do find in Avinu Malkeinu and elsewhere a malach memunah on parnassah.

Avromi said...

First comment, you said through tefillah - second comment, i don't see tefillah mentioned - is that a retraction? If youre going back on that, at least one of my questions is answered. man is not capable of bringing rain but through tefillah, he can.

In answer to your question, it's explicit on 25b and rashi there that malach is memuneh on rain plus rashi on 7b plus all the rishonim that discuss the issue are all dealing with malach.

ben said...

my basic question here is what is the הכרח to say that shliach means malach? it can also refer to Adam, i.e. man. We automatically assume malach although the Gemara makes no mention of malach. The אף ברי question is valid but does not demonstrate that the Gemara refers to malach (and a local talmid chacham agrres with me on this point).

With regard to tefillah, obviously we can daven for rain and it can come, and like you mentioned, our actions determine where the rain goes. Even חוני המעגל could not bring rain on his own. רבי חנינא בן דוסא appears to have had some control over whether it should rain or not, but ultimately it was their Tefillos that prompted HaShem to make it rain. In conclusion, HaShem controls the key to rain but man has the ability to request from HaShem that it should or should not rain.

Avromi said...


ben said...

nothing better than a challnege. Can u show me a Rishon who states this explictly in the Gemara?

Avromi said...

Rashi 7b,
Gemora 25b and rashi there,
tosfos niddah 16b,
targum yerushalmi breishis 30:22,
piyut by geshem,
maharsha taanis 10a,

ben said...