Sunday, January 14, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 5 - Highlights


The Mishna presents a dispute regarding the date that we cease asking for rain. Rabbi Yehuda maintains that v’sen tal u’matar is recited until Pesach is over and Rabbi Meir holds that it is recited until the end of the month of Nissan. Rabbi Meir cites a Scriptural verse proving that it can be recited in the month of Nissan.

The Gemora asks on the verse which Rabbi Meir had cited to prove that we request rain throughout the month of Nissan. Rav Nachman asked that the word ‘yoreh’ which Rabbi Meir explained to be referring to the yoreh rain of Nissan is seemingly incorrect. He cites a braisa which explicitly states that yoreh rain falls in the month of Mar-Cheshvan and malkosh rain falls in the month of Nissan.

Rabbi Yitzchak answered that in the times of Yoel, there was yoreh rain which fell in the month of Nissan and that is what the verse is referring to. (5a)


The Gemora provides the details of the miracle that transpired in the times of Yoel. That year, the month of Adar passed and there was still no rainfall. The first rain fell on the first day of Nissan. The prophet Yoel told Klal Yisroel to go and plant their fields. The people protested that since they have a small amount of wheat and barley, they should eat it and not plant it. If they would plant it, they would die from starvation waiting for the new crop to grow. Yoel persisted and told them to plant the grain which they had. A miracle occurred and they found grain in the walls and in the ant holes. They planted on the second, third and fourth day of Nissan from the grain with which they had and the second rainfall came down on the fifth day of Nissan. They miraculously were able to bring the korban omer on the sixteenth of Nissan from the new crop which grew. It emerges that grain which normally grows in six months grew in eleven days. Regarding this generation, it is said “Those who plant with tears will harvest with bliss.”


 The Gemora discusses what Klal Yisroel ate during the seven years of famine prior to that miraculous harvest. Rabbi Yitzchak stated in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that in the first year they ate the food that they had stored in their houses. The second year, they ate from the food which was in the fields. The third year, they ate from kosher animals. During the fourth year, they ate from non-kosher animals. The fifth year, they ate from non-kosher creeping creatures. During the sixth year, they ate from the flesh of their children. In the seventh year, they ate from the flesh of their own arms. (5a)


 The Gemora cites questions which Rav Nachman inquired of Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Yitzchak’s responses in the name of Rabbi Yochanan. Rabbi Yochanan explained a verse in Hoshea to mean that Hashem said that He will not enter the Yerushalayim located in heaven until He enters the Yerushalayim on earth.

Rabbi Yochanan explained a verse in Yirmiyahu to mean that that there is one sin that causes the evil people to be burned in Gehinom and that is idolatry. (5a)


 Rabbi Nachman asked Rabbi Yitzchak another question. It is written in Shmuel that Shmuel was old. How can this be when we know that Shmuel died when he was fifty-two years old? Rabbi Yitzchak answered in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that Shmuel became old-looking suddenly.


 Rabbi Yochanan elaborates on what transpired towards the end of Shmuel’s life. Hashem related to Shmuel that it was time for King Shaul to die and for Dovid to replace him as king. Shmuel said that it was improper for Shaul, who was anointed to be king by Shmuel, to die while he, Shmuel, was still alive. Hashem said that he cannot cause Shmuel to die young because people will claim that he died young because of a sin that he committed. He cannot keep Shaul alive since once it is time for Dovid to become king, one reign cannot impinge upon another even by a hairbreadth. Hashem said that he will make Shmuel appear old and this way Shmuel can die without anyone alleging that he sinned and then Shaul can die in order for Dovid to become king. (5b)


 Rabbi Nachman and Rabbi Yitzchak were eating together. Rabbi Nachman asked Rabbi Yitzchak to relate some Torah words. Rabbi Yitzchak said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that one should not talk while he is eating since food might enter the windpipe causing him to choke. After they finished eating, Rabbi Yitzchak said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that Yaakov Avinu never died and he cited a Scriptural verse proving this.

When Rabbi Nachman and Rabbi Yitzchak were leaving each other, Rabbi Nachman asked Rabbi Yitzchak to give him a blessing. Rabbi Yitzchak responded with a parable. A person was walking in a desert and he was hungry, tired and thirsty. He happened upon a tree which had sweet fruits, a pleasing shade and a spring of water flowing beneath it. The man ate from the fruits, drank the water and sat in its shade. When he was leaving the tree, he pondered as to how he can bless the tree. He could not bless the tree that its fruits should be sweet, its shade should be nice or that it should have a stream of water flowing beneath it since it already possessed all these things. The blessing he gave was that it should be the will of Hashem that all the shoots planted from this tree should be just like it. Rabbi Yitzchak explained to Rabbi Nachman that he cannot bless him with Torah, riches or children since he already had all that. Rabbi Yitzchak blessed Rabbi Nachman that all his children should be just like him. (5b – 6a)