Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 22 - Highlights

Rav Broka of Bnei Chuzaa would frequent the market of Lapat. Eliyahu HaNavi was accustomed to meeting him there.
"Is there anyone in this market," Rav Broka asked Eliyahu, "worthy of the world to come?"
"No," said Eliyahu HaNavi. Then he spotted a certain man wearing black shoes, unlike the custom of the Jews, and no tzitzis in his garment.
"That man," said Eliyahu HaNavi, "is worthy of the world to come."
Rav Broka ran over to the man. "Tell me what you do," he said to him.
"Leave me today," the man answered, "and ask me tomorrow."
The next day Rav Broka spotted the man. "Tell me what you do," he said to him.
"I am a prison guard," he told him, "and I am careful to keep the men separate from the women. I place my bed between them that they shouldn't sin in any way. When I see that the non-Jews there are eying a Jewish girl, I go to great lengths to save her from them. One day, a betrothed young woman faced just such a difficulty. I took wine dregs, which look like blood, and splashed them on the bottom of her dress. She is bleeding, I told them, and they left her alone."
"Why don't you have tzitzis on your garment," Rav Broka asked him, "and why do you wear black shoes, unlike other Jews?"
"I mix with non-Jews," the man answered, "and I don't want them to recognize that I'm Jewish. In this way when I hear that the government is plotting against the Jews, I run to tell the rabbis that they may pray and nullify the decree."
"Yesterday, when I approached you," Rav Broka asked him, "you said, leave me today, ask me tomorrow. Why was that?
"I was hurrying to tell the rabbis of just such a decree," the man answered.
While they were talking, two brothers passed by. "They also," Eliyahu HaNavi whispered to Rav Broka, "are worthy of the world to come."
"What do you do?" Rav Broka asked them.
"We are happy, and we make others happy," they answered. "If we see someone sad, we make a special effort to cheer him up. Also, if we see people fighting, we make a special effort to make peace between them." (22a)

The Mishna had stated that we declare a fast and cry out when wild animals come. The Gemora cites a braisa which rules that we only cry out if the wild animals are Heaven-sent but if the animals are behaving in their usual manner, we don’t cry out. The braisa continues that it is unusual if they are seen in the city or by day. If the animal saw two people and chased them, that is considered unusual. If it killed two people but ate only one, it is regarded as unusual. Eating both would be normal since we would assume that the animal was hungry. If it climbed onto a roof and grabbed a baby from its crib, this is deemed to be Heaven-sent and therefore we would cry out.
The Gemora explains these guidelines. If the animal is seen in the city by day, that is obviously Heaven-sent; however, if it is seen in the city at night or in the fields even by day, that is usual and we do not cry out.
The Gemora explains that if an animal is in a field which is near a marsh and it stands still, that is not unusual since it could easily flee into its natural habitat; however, if it is in a field that is not near the marsh and nevertheless, it remains standing, this is unnatural and obviously Heaven-sent.
Rav Pappa explains the last halacha in the braisa to be referring to a case where a hunter builds a structure in an uninhabited area, a place that wild animals do not fear. It is nevertheless considered unusual for the animal to climb onto the roof and grab a baby and therefore we would fast and cry out. (22a)
 The Mishna had stated that we cry out on the account of the sword. The Gemora cites a Scriptural verse proving that we cry out even if a foreign army wishes to pass through the land in peace.

Pharaoh Necho and his Egyptian army wanted to pass through Eretz Yisroel on his way to fight Assyria. King Yoshiyahu heard that Pharaoh placed his faith in idolatry and decided that he will do battle with Pharaoh even though the Egyptians were coming in peace.

Yoshiyahu was shot by the archers and so many arrows pierced his body that it resembles a sieve.

The Gemora explains the reason for his death was because he should have conferred with Yirmiyah HaNavi to see if he was acting correctly by battling Pharaoh.

The pesukim do indicate that when Klal Yisroel is completely righteous, an opposing army will not pass through the land even peacefully. Yirmiyah would have informed Yoshiyahu that the generation was sinning secretly.

As Yoshiyahu was dying, Yirmiyah heard him saying, “Hashem is righteous and I rebelled against Him.”(22a – 22b)

 The Mishna had stated that they once declared a fast due to an incident when wolves devoured two children on the other side of the Jordan River.

Ulla said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadok that there once was an incident where wolves swallowed two babies and excreted them through the excretory canal. The Chachamim heard about this and stated that the flesh of the babies is considered tahor (since it is viewed as excrement and not flesh) but the bones can transmit tumah. (22b)

 The Mishna states that we call out for any catastrophe that threatens the city except for an overabundance of rain.

Rabbi Yochanan explains that it is not proper to pray for something which is good to cease.

Rami bar Rav Yud qualifies this ruling and states that in Bavel, we do cry out on the account of excessive rain since the abundance of rain will cause a great loss to the low-lying lands.

Rabbi Eliezer said that in Eretz Yisroel, we never cry out on account of excessive rain. (22b)