Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Daf Yomi -Taanis 9 - Highlights

Rabbi Yochanan states that a day of rain is as significant as the day of the ingathering of all the exiles.

Rabbi Yochanan states that a day of rain is great because even soldiers from an army halt due to the rain.

Rabbi Yochanan states that rain is withheld because people pledge to give charity in public and fail to do so.

Rabbi Yochanan teaches that fulfilling the mitzvah of ma'aser - tithes - guarantees wealth. He derives this from the passage (Devarim 14:22) asser ta-asser - surely you shall tithe - which he understands to mean asser bishvil she-titasher - separate tithes so that you should become wealthy. At first glance this appears to be a simple play-on-words, switching the Hebrew letter sin for a shin, thus changing the pronunciation of the word from asser (tithe) to osher (wealth). Others explain that this is a more straightforward interpretation of the pasuk (=verse) - separate tithes, and by doing so you will be given the opportunity to separate yet more tithes (i.e. you will see success in your endeavors).

The Gemora now records a fascinating exchange between Rabbi Yochanan and Rish Lakish's son. Rabbi Yochanan asks the child to share a passage that he had learned in school (a common practice in Talmudic times). The child quotes this pasuk - asser ta-asser - and asks Rabbi Yochanan to explain it. Following Rabbi Yochanan's explanation the child asks how he knows that someone who separates tithes becomes wealthy. Rabbi Yochanan responds that it could be tested - be careful in separating tithes, and see the results! The child responds that testing God is forbidden, quoting the passage in Devarim (6:16) that clearly forbids testing God. To this Rabbi Yochanan responds by quoting Rabbi Hoshaya as teaching that tithes are unique because of the pasuk in Malachi (3:10) in which God clearly allows the Jewish people to test Him with regard to the mitzvah of ma'aser, promising to open the storehouses of the skies and to pour out blessings without any limits to those who keep the mitzvah properly. (Courtesy of the Aleph Society)

What is meant by the verse “and to pour out blessings without any limits”? Rami bar Chama explains that people’s lips will wear out from saying, “Enough!”

The child said to Rabbi Yochanan that if he would have learned the passuk in Malachi himself, he would not have needed Rabbi Yochanan or Rabbi Hoshaya to understand the passuk in the same manner that they taught it. (8b – 9a)

Rabbi Yochanan states that rain will fall even for an individual but sustenance will only be provided if it’s for many people.

The Gemora asks on Rabbi Yochanan from a braisa. The braisa states that there were three excellent leaders for Klal Yisroel in the wilderness and there were three wonderful gifts bestowed upon the Jewish people. The first was the miraculous well which came on account of Miriam, the second was the pillar of cloud which came because of Aharon, and the third was the Manna which came in the merit of Moshe. The Gemora goes on to say that when Miriam passed away, the well went away but was returned on the merit of Aharon and Moshe. When Aharon passed away the Clouds of Glory went away, only to come back on Moshe’s merit. When Moshe passed away, all three of these precious gifts were gone forever.

It emerges from this braisa which states that the manna fell on the account of Moshe that sustenance can be granted even for the sake of a single person. The Gemora answers that Moshe is different since he would daven for many, he is regarded as many people.

Rish Lakish also held that rain will be provided for an individual, even if he is the only one requires the rain. The Gemora relates that Rav Daniel bar Katina had a garden that he would inspect every day. He would say that this row needs rain and this row does not. Rain would fall only on the places that needed the water. (9a – 9b)
The Gemora states that if small drops of rain descend before regular rain, this is an indication that the rains will persist a long time. If the small drops of rain follow after the regular rain, this means that the rains are about to stop.

Ula came to Bavel and he saw flying clouds. He instructed the people that were with him to clear away his belongings as rain is about to come. At the end, it didn’t rain. Ula said that just as the Babylonians lie, so too their rains lie.

Ula went to Bavel and he saw that they were selling a basketful of dates for only a zuz. Ula wondered why the people residing in Bavel would occupy their time with making money when food was so inexpensive. They should dedicate all their time to the study of Torah. Ula ate some of those dates and at night, he developed a severe case of diarrhea. Ula retracted from his earlier statement and instead marveled at the Babylonians who ate these dates and suffered but nevertheless were able to study Torah. (9b)
Rabbi Eliezer said that the world drinks from the ocean (water which evaporated from the ocean and comes back to the earth as precipitation) and he cites a Scriptural verse proving this point. Rabbi Yehoshua questioned him that isn’t seawater salty but rain is not? The Gemora answers that it is sweetened in
the clouds.

Rabbi Yehoshua maintains that the world drinks from the Upper Waters (the rain falls from heaven) and he cites a Scriptural verse proving this point.

The Gemora cites a verse and states that it teaches us that the day of rainfall is as great as the day that the Heavens and Earth were created.


Anonymous said...

Babylonians lie, so too their rains lie. I think thats a strong generalization as is Bavli Chachoi what is this whole the Israelis insulting the chutznicks the whole time and vice versa what is the significance what does the gemurah feel the need to always take note of these things whats the significance?

Avromi said...

The Ben Yehoyada cites the Gemora in Beitza 32b that the wealthy Babylonians will go down to Gehinom since they are not compassionate in giving charity. Even though they said "ha lachma anya," they lied and didn't provide the poor.