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Today's Daf Yomi

June 18, 2014 | כ׳ בסיון תשע״ד

  • This month's learning is dedicated by Debbie and Yossi Gevir to Rabbanit Michelle and the Hadran Zoom group for their kindness, support, and care during a medically challenging year.

Taanit 7

Study Guide Taanit 7


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נימרינהו לתרוייהו אל ההודאות ורוב ההודאות

we will recite them both: God of thanksgivings, and: Abundant thanksgivings.

אמר רבי אבהו גדול יום הגשמים מתחיית המתים דאילו תחיית המתים לצדיקים ואילו גשמים בין לצדיקים בין לרשעים ופליגא דרב יוסף דאמר רב יוסף מתוך שהיא שקולה כתחיית המתים קבעוה בתחיית המתים

§ The Gemara cites statements in praise of rainfall. Rabbi Abbahu said: The day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead. The reason is that while the resurrection of the dead benefits only the righteous, rain benefits both the righteous and the wicked. The Gemara comments: And this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rav Yosef, as Rav Yosef said: Since rainfall is equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, the Sages established its recitation in the second blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the resurrection of the dead. According to Rav Yosef, rainfall is the equivalent to, but not superior to, the resurrection of the dead.

אמר רב יהודה גדול יום הגשמים כיום שניתנה בו תורה שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי ואין לקח אלא תורה שנאמר כי לקח טוב נתתי לכם תורתי אל תעזבו רבא אמר יותר מיום שניתנה בו תורה שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי מי נתלה במי הוי אומר קטן נתלה בגדול

Similarly, Rav Yehuda said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine [likḥi] shall drop as the rain” (Deuteronomy 32:2), and lekaḥ means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For I give you good doctrine [lekaḥ]; do not forsake My Torah” (Proverbs 4:2). Rava said: Rainfall is even greater than the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain,” and when one makes a comparison, which object is made dependent upon which? You must say that the lesser object is dependent upon the greater one. If Torah is compared to rain, it follows that rain is greater than Torah.

רבא רמי כתיב יערף כמטר לקחי וכתיב תזל כטל אמרתי אם תלמיד חכם הגון הוא כטל ואם לאו עורפהו כמטר

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the verse from Deuteronomy. Rava raised a contradiction: At the beginning of the verse it is written: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof] as the rain,” in a harsh manner, and yet later in the verse, it is written: “My speech shall distill as the dew,” in a gentle tone. He resolves this apparent contradiction as follows: If he is a worthy Torah scholar, the Torah flows through him like the dew, but if he is not worthy, it snaps his neck [orfehu] like the powerful rain.

תניא היה רבי בנאה אומר כל העוסק בתורה לשמה תורתו נעשית לו סם חיים שנאמר עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ואומר רפאות תהי לשרך ואומר כי מצאי מצא חיים וכל העוסק בתורה שלא לשמה נעשית לו סם המות שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי ואין עריפה אלא הריגה שנאמר וערפו שם את העגלה בנחל

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Bena’a would say: Anyone who engages in Torah for its own sake, his Torah study will be an elixir of life for him, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18), and it says: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8), and it says: “For whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). And anyone who engages in Torah not for its own sake, e.g., for self-aggrandizement, his Torah will be an elixir of death for him, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof ] as the rain,” and arifa means nothing other than killing, as it is stated: “And they shall break the heifer’s neck [arefu] there in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4).

אמר ליה רבי ירמיה לרבי זירא ליתי מר ליתני אמר ליה חלש לבאי ולא יכילנא לימא מר מילתא דאגדתא אמר ליה הכי אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב כי האדם עץ השדה וכי אדם עץ שדה הוא

Rabbi Yirmeya once said to Rabbi Zeira: Let the Master come and teach a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Zeira said to him: My heart is weak and I cannot strain myself over a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Yirmeya replied to him: In that case, let the Master tell us a matter of aggada, which does not require as much effort. Rabbi Zeira said to him that Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19)? And is man actually a tree of the field?

אלא משום דכתיב כי ממנו תאכל ואתו לא תכרת וכתיב אתו תשחית וכרת הא כיצד אם תלמיד חכם הגון הוא ממנו תאכל ואתו לא תכרת ואם לאו אתו תשחית וכרת

Rather, it is because it is written earlier in the same verse: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” and it is written in the next verse: “Them you may destroy and cut down” (Deuteronomy 20:20). This indicates that there are certain trees which may be cut down, while others may not be destroyed. How so? If a Torah scholar is worthy: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” but if he is not worthy: “He you may destroy and cut down.”

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב ברזל בברזל יחד לומר לך מה ברזל זה אחד מחדד את חבירו אף שני תלמידי חכמים מחדדין זה את זה בהלכה

The Gemara cites other expositions that deal with Torah study. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17)? This verse comes to tell you that just as with these iron implements, one sharpens the other when they are rubbed against each other, so too, when Torah scholars study together, they sharpen one another in halakha.

אמר רבה בר בר חנה למה נמשלו דברי תורה כאש שנאמר הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה׳ לומר לך מה אש אינו דולק יחיד אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין ביחידי

Rabba bar bar Ḥana said: Why are matters of Torah compared to fire, as it is stated: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:29)? To tell you: Just as fire does not ignite in a lone stick of wood but in a pile of kindling, so too, matters of Torah are not retained and understood properly by a lone scholar who studies by himself, but by a group of Sages.

והיינו דאמר רבי יוסי בר חנינא מאי דכתיב חרב אל הבדים ונאלו חרב על שונאיהן של תלמידי חכמים שעוסקין בד בבד בתורה ולא עוד אלא שמטפשין שנאמר ונאלו

And this is what Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: There is a sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And not only that, but those who study by themselves grow foolish from their solitary Torah study, as it is stated: “And they shall become fools.”

ולא עוד אלא שחוטאין כתיב הכא ונאלו וכתיב התם אשר נואלנו ואשר חטאנו ואיבעית אימא מהכא נואלו שרי צען [וגו׳] התעו את מצרים

And not only that, but they sin, as it is written here: “And they shall become fools,” and it is written there: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu] and for that we have sinned” (Numbers 12:11). And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Zoan have become fools [noalu]…they have caused Egypt to go astray” (Isaiah 19:13).

אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק למה נמשלו דברי תורה כעץ שנאמר עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה לומר לך מה עץ קטן מדליק את הגדול אף תלמידי חכמים קטנים מחדדים את הגדולים והיינו דאמר רבי חנינא הרבה למדתי מרבותי ומחבירי יותר מרבותי ומתלמידי יותר מכולן

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Why are Torah matters likened to a tree, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18)? This verse comes to tell you that just as a small piece of wood can ignite a large piece, so too, minor Torah scholars can sharpen great Torah scholars and enable them to advance in their studies. And this is what Rabbi Ḥanina said: I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.

רבי חנינא בר פפא רמי כתיב לקראת צמא התיו מים וכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים אם תלמיד הגון הוא לקראת צמא התיו מים ואי לא הוי כל צמא לכו למים

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa raised a contradiction. In one verse it is written: “To him who is thirsty bring water” (Isaiah 21:14), which indicates that the one who has water must bring it to the thirsty person, and it is written elsewhere: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), from which it may be inferred that the thirsty person must seek out water himself. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa resolves this apparent contradiction by explaining that if he is a worthy student the teacher must seek him out, as in “to him who is thirsty bring water,” but if the student is not worthy, then “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” i.e., this student must seek out a teacher himself.

רבי חנינא בר חמא רמי כתיב יפוצו מעינתיך חוצה וכתיב יהיו לך לבדך אם תלמיד הגון הוא יפוצו מעינתיך חוצה ואם לאו יהיו לך לבדך

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama raised another contradiction. In one verse it is written: “Let your springs be dispersed abroad” (Proverbs 5:16), whereas in the next verse it is written: “Let them be your own” (Proverbs 5:17). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama explains: If the student sitting before you is worthy, then “Let your springs be dispersed abroad,” as you should teach him, but if he is not worthy, then “Let them be your own.”

ואמר רבי חנינא בר אידי למה נמשלו דברי תורה למים דכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים לומר לך מה מים מניחין מקום גבוה והולכין למקום נמוך אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין אלא במי שדעתו שפלה

And Rabbi Ḥanina bar Idi said: Why are matters of Torah likened to water, as it is written: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1)? This verse comes to tell you: Just as water leaves a high place and flows to a low place, so too, Torah matters are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly, i.e., a humble person.

ואמר רבי אושעיא למה נמשלו דברי תורה לשלשה משקין הללו במים וביין ובחלב דכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים וכתיב לכו שברו ואכלו ולכו שברו בלוא כסף ובלוא מחיר יין וחלב לומר לך מה שלשה משקין הללו אין מתקיימין אלא בפחות שבכלים אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין אלא במי שדעתו שפלה

And Rabbi Oshaya said: Why are matters of Torah likened to these three liquids: To water, wine and milk? As it is written with regard to water: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” and it is written in the same verse: “Come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” This verse comes to tell you: Just as these three liquids can be retained only in the least of vessels, e.g., clay pots, but not vessels of silver and gold, as they will spoil, so too, matters of Torah are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly.

כדאמרה ליה ברתיה דקיסר לרבי יהושע בן חנניה אי חכמה מפוארה בכלי מכוער אמר לה אביך רמי חמרא במני דפחרא אמרה ליה אלא במאי נירמי אמר לה אתון דחשביתו רמו במאני דהבא וכספא

The Gemara cites a related incident: This is as the daughter of the Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya, who was an ugly man: Woe to glorious wisdom such as yours, which is contained in an ugly vessel. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her, in a seemingly unrelated response: Does your father keep his wine in simple clay vessels? The emperor’s daughter said to him: Rather, in what, then, should he keep it? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: You, who are so important, should put it in vessels of gold and silver.

אזלה ואמרה ליה לאבוה רמייא לחמרא במני דהבא וכספא ותקיף אתו ואמרו ליה אמר לה לברתיה מאן אמר לך הכי אמרה ליה רבי יהושע בן חנניה קריוהו אמר ליה אמאי אמרת לה הכי אמר ליה כי היכי דאמרה לי אמרי לה והא איכא שפירי דגמירי

The emperor’s daughter went and said this to her father. He put the wine in vessels of gold and silver and it turned sour. When his advisors came and told the emperor that the wine had turned sour, he said to his daughter: Who told you to do this? His daughter responded: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya. The emperor summoned him and said to him: Why did you say this to her? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to him: Just as she said to me, so I said say to her, to demonstrate to her that fine material is best preserved in the least of vessels. The emperor said to him: But there are handsome people who are learned.

אי הוו סנו טפי הוו גמירי דבר אחר מה שלשה משקין הללו אין נפסלין אלא בהיסח הדעת אף דברי תורה אין משתכחין אלא בהיסח הדעת

Rabbi Yehoshua replied: Had they been ugly, they would have been even more learned. Alternatively, the Torah is likened to water, wine, and milk because just as these three liquids are spoiled only by diversion of attention, so too, are Torah matters forgotten only through diversion of attention. If water, wine and milk are guarded, they will not spoil or have dirty objects fall into them.

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא גדול יום הגשמים כיום שנבראו שמים וארץ שנאמר הרעיפו שמים ממעל ושחקים יזלו צדק תפתח ארץ ויפרו ישע וצדקה תצמיח יחד אני ה׳ בראתיו בראתים לא נאמר אלא בראתיו

§ The Gemara returns to the issue of rain. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the heavens and earth were created, as it is stated: “Drop down, heavens, from above, let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open that they may bring forth salvation, and let it cause righteousness to spring up together; I, the Lord, have created it” (Isaiah 45:8). The Gemara explains that the verse does not say: I have created them, in the plural, but: I have created it. In other words, the verse is referring to rain, rather than to the heavens and the earth, which indicates that rainfall is as important as the creation of the world.

אמר רב אושעיא גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו ישועה פרה ורבה בו שנאמר תפתח ארץ ויפרו ישע אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי אין הגשמים יורדים אלא אם כן נמחלו עונותיהן של ישראל שנאמר רצית ה׳ ארצך שבת שבית יעקב נשאת עון עמך כסית כל חטאתם סלה

Rabbi Oshaya likewise said: The day of rain is great, as rain even facilitates salvation, which is fruitful and multiplies on that day. It is a time of God’s favor, when salvation is brought forth into the world, as it is stated: “Let the earth open that they may bring forth salvation” (Isaiah 45:8). Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai said: Rain falls only if the Jewish people’s transgressions have been forgiven, as it is stated: “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have turned the captivity of Jacob; You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have pardoned all their sin. Selah” (Psalms 85:2–3). This chapter proceeds to discuss rainfall: “And righteousness has looked down from Heaven” (Psalms 85:12), in the form of rain.

אמר ליה זעירי מדיהבת לרבינא אתון מהכא מתניתו לה אנן מהכא מתנינן לה ואתה תשמע השמים וסלחת לחטאת וגו׳

The Sage Ze’iri from the town of Dihavat said to Ravina: You learned this idea from here, whereas we learned it from here, a different verse: “When heaven is closed up, and there is no rain, when they sin against You, if they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin, when You afflict them, then You, hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, when You teach them the good way in which they should walk, and send rain upon Your land, which You have given to Your people as an inheritance” (I Kings 8:35–36).

אמר רבי תנחום בריה דרבי חייא איש כפר עכו אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא אם כן נתחייבו שונאיהן של ישראל כליה שנאמר ציה גם חם יגזלו מימי שלג שאול חטאו אמר ליה זעירי מדיהבת לרבינא אתון מהכא מתניתו לה אנן מהכא מתנינן לה ועצר את השמים ואבדתם מהרה

Rabbi Tanḥum, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya of village of Akko, said: The rains are withheld only if the enemies of the Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people, have been sentenced to destruction for their sins, as it is stated: “Drought and heat will steal the snow waters; to the grave those who have sinned” (Job 24:19). According to this interpretation, snow water will be stolen by drought, i.e., there will be none available, when people have sinned to the point that they deserve the grave. Ze’iri from Dihavat said to Ravina: You learned this idea from here; we learned it from here: “And the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will close up the heavens, and there will be no rain, and the earth will not give its fruit, and you will perish quickly” (Deuteronomy 11:17).

אמר רב חסדא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל ביטול תרומות ומעשרות שנאמר ציה גם חם יגזלו מימי שלג מאי משמע תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשביל דברים שצויתי אתכם בימות החמה ולא עשיתם יגזלו מכם מימי שלג בימות הגשמים

Rav Ḥisda said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of the nullification of teruma and tithes, as it is stated: “Drought and heat will steal the snow waters” (Job 24:19). The Gemara asks: From where in the verse may this idea be inferred from the verse? The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: Due to matters that I have commanded you to do in the summer, e.g., take teruma and tithes from the summer produce, and that you did not do, the snow waters will be stolen from you in the rainy season.

אמר רבי שמעון בן פזי אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל מספרי לשון הרע שנאמר רוח צפון תחולל גשם ופנים נזעמים לשון סתר

Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of those who speak slander, as it is stated: “The north wind brings forth rain, but a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance” (Proverbs 25:23). This verse indicates that if the countenance of the heavens is angry, with neither clouds nor rain, it is due to slanderous speech.

אמר רב סלא אמר רב המנונא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל עזי פנים שנאמר וימנעו רבבים ומלקוש לוא היה ומצח אשה זונה היה לך וגו׳ ואמר רב סלא אמר רב המנונא כל אדם שיש לו עזות פנים סוף נכשל בעבירה שנאמר ומצח אשה זונה היה לך רב נחמן אמר בידוע שנכשל בעבירה שנאמר היה לך ולא נאמר יהיה לך

Rav Salla said that Rav Hamnuna said: The rains are withheld only due to impudent people, as it is stated: “Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no last rain, yet you had a harlot’s forehead, you refused to be ashamed” (Jeremiah 3:3). And Rav Salla said that Rav Hamnuna said, with regard to the same verse: Any man who is insolent will ultimately stumble over the transgression of prostitution, as it is stated: “Yet you had a prostitute’s forehead.” Rav Naḥman said: The verse does not mean that he will commit a sexual transgression in the future; rather, it is known that he has already stumbled over this transgression, as it is stated: “You had,” in the past tense, and it is not stated: You will.

אמר רבה בר רב הונא כל אדם שיש לו עזות פנים מותר לקרותו רשע שנאמר העז איש רשע בפניו רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר מותר לשנאותו שנאמר ועז פניו ישנא אל תקרי ישנא אלא ישנא

Rabba bar Rav Huna said: With regard to any man who is insolent, it is permitted to call him wicked to his face, as it is stated: “A wicked man makes his face insolent” (Proverbs 21:29). Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is permitted to hate him, as it is stated: “And the insolence of his face is changed” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). Do not read it as: “Is changed [yeshunne]”; rather, read it as: Is hated [yissane], as the two words are spelled the same way in Hebrew, albeit with different vocalization and pronunciation.

אמר רב קטינא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל ביטול תורה שנאמר בעצלתים ימך המקרה בשביל עצלות שהיה בישראל שלא עסקו בתורה נעשה שונאו של הקדוש ברוך הוא מך ואין מך אלא עני שנאמר ואם מך הוא מערכך ואין מקרה אלא הקדוש ברוך הוא שנאמר המקרה במים עליותיו

Rav Ketina said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of dereliction in the study of Torah, as it is stated: “By slothfulness the rafters [hamekare] will sink in [yimakh], and through idleness of the hands the house leaks” (Ecclesiastes 10:18). Due to slothfulness that was present amongst the Jewish people, that they did not occupy themselves with Torah, the enemy of the Holy One, Blessed be He, a euphemism for God Himself, has sunk. And sunk [makh] means nothing other than poor, as it is stated: “But if he is too poor [makh] for your valuation” (Leviticus 27:8). And “rafters [mekare]” means nothing other than a reference to the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “Who lays the beams [hamekare] of Your upper chambers in the water” (Psalms 104:3).

רב יוסף אמר מהכא ועתה לא ראו אור בהיר הוא בשחקים ורוח עברה ותטהרם ואין אור אלא תורה שנאמר כי נר מצוה ותורה אור בהיר הוא בשחקים תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל אפילו בשעה שרקיע נעשה בהורין בהורין להוריד טל ומטר רוח עברה ותטהרם

Rav Yosef said that this idea is derived from here: “And now that men do not see the light, it is bright in the skies, but the wind passes and cleanses them” (Job 37:21). And “light” means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For a mitzva is a lamp and Torah is a light” (Proverbs 6:23). According to this interpretation, the verse means that when “men do not see the light,” i.e., when they are not occupied with Torah, “it is bright in the skies,” as there are no rainclouds. With regard to this verse, the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: Even when the sky is comprised of bright clouds that serve to bring down dew and rain, no rain will fall, as “the wind passes and cleanses them.”

אמר רבי אמי אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בעון גזל שנאמר על כפים כסה אור בעון כפים כסה אור ואין כפים אלא חמס שנאמר ומן החמס אשר בכפיהם ואין אור אלא מטר שנאמר יפיץ ענן אורו

Rabbi Ami said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of robbery, as it is stated: “He covers His hands with the light, and He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 36:32). This means that due to the sin of stealing hands, God has covered the light and no rain will fall. And Rabbi Ami adds that the term “hand” means nothing other than a sin of violence, as it is stated: “And from the violence that is in their hands” (Jonah 3:8). And “light” means nothing other than rain, as it is stated: “He spreads abroad the cloud of His light” (Job 37:11).

מאי תקנתיה ירבה בתפלה שנאמר ויצו עליה במפגיע ואין פגיעה אלא תפלה שנאמר ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה וגו׳ ואל תפגע בי

What is the remedy of one who has caused the rain to be withheld? He should increase his prayers, as it is stated in the same chapter: “And He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 37:12), and “imploring” means nothing other than prayer, as it is stated: “Therefore, do not pray you for this nation, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither implore Me” (Jeremiah 7:16).

ואמר רבי אמי מאי דכתיב אם קהה הברזל והוא לא פנים קלקל אם ראית רקיע שקיהה כברזל מלהוריד טל ומטר בשביל מעשה הדור שהן מקולקלין שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

And Rabbi Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the iron is blunt, and does not whet the edge” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)? If you see a sky that is blunt as iron, in that it does not bring down dew and rain, this is due to the deeds of the generation, which are corrupt, as it is stated: “And does not whet [kilkal] the edge [panim].” Panim, which also means face, is often used in reference to the leaders of a generation, while the term kilkal is similar to the word for corrupt, mekulkalin.

מה תקנתן יתגברו ברחמים שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם הוכשרו מעשיהן מעיקרא

What is their remedy? They must increase their prayers for mercy, as it is stated in the same verse: “Then must he increase his strength, but wisdom is profitable to direct” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). This verse hints that rain will fall if one increases his strength, i.e., his prayers for mercy. The last part of the verse means that, all the more so, if their deeds had been righteous and direct from the beginning, the rains would not have been withheld.

ריש לקיש אמר אם ראית תלמיד

The Gemara cites a different interpretation of the same verse. Reish Lakish said: If you see a student

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נימרינהו לתרוייהו אל ההודאות ורוב ההודאות

we will recite them both: God of thanksgivings, and: Abundant thanksgivings.

אמר רבי אבהו גדול יום הגשמים מתחיית המתים דאילו תחיית המתים לצדיקים ואילו גשמים בין לצדיקים בין לרשעים ופליגא דרב יוסף דאמר רב יוסף מתוך שהיא שקולה כתחיית המתים קבעוה בתחיית המתים

§ The Gemara cites statements in praise of rainfall. Rabbi Abbahu said: The day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead. The reason is that while the resurrection of the dead benefits only the righteous, rain benefits both the righteous and the wicked. The Gemara comments: And this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rav Yosef, as Rav Yosef said: Since rainfall is equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, the Sages established its recitation in the second blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the resurrection of the dead. According to Rav Yosef, rainfall is the equivalent to, but not superior to, the resurrection of the dead.

אמר רב יהודה גדול יום הגשמים כיום שניתנה בו תורה שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי ואין לקח אלא תורה שנאמר כי לקח טוב נתתי לכם תורתי אל תעזבו רבא אמר יותר מיום שניתנה בו תורה שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי מי נתלה במי הוי אומר קטן נתלה בגדול

Similarly, Rav Yehuda said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine [likḥi] shall drop as the rain” (Deuteronomy 32:2), and lekaḥ means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For I give you good doctrine [lekaḥ]; do not forsake My Torah” (Proverbs 4:2). Rava said: Rainfall is even greater than the day on which the Torah was given, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain,” and when one makes a comparison, which object is made dependent upon which? You must say that the lesser object is dependent upon the greater one. If Torah is compared to rain, it follows that rain is greater than Torah.

רבא רמי כתיב יערף כמטר לקחי וכתיב תזל כטל אמרתי אם תלמיד חכם הגון הוא כטל ואם לאו עורפהו כמטר

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the verse from Deuteronomy. Rava raised a contradiction: At the beginning of the verse it is written: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof] as the rain,” in a harsh manner, and yet later in the verse, it is written: “My speech shall distill as the dew,” in a gentle tone. He resolves this apparent contradiction as follows: If he is a worthy Torah scholar, the Torah flows through him like the dew, but if he is not worthy, it snaps his neck [orfehu] like the powerful rain.

תניא היה רבי בנאה אומר כל העוסק בתורה לשמה תורתו נעשית לו סם חיים שנאמר עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ואומר רפאות תהי לשרך ואומר כי מצאי מצא חיים וכל העוסק בתורה שלא לשמה נעשית לו סם המות שנאמר יערף כמטר לקחי ואין עריפה אלא הריגה שנאמר וערפו שם את העגלה בנחל

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Bena’a would say: Anyone who engages in Torah for its own sake, his Torah study will be an elixir of life for him, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18), and it says: “It shall be health to your navel” (Proverbs 3:8), and it says: “For whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35). And anyone who engages in Torah not for its own sake, e.g., for self-aggrandizement, his Torah will be an elixir of death for him, as it is stated: “My doctrine shall drop [ya’arof ] as the rain,” and arifa means nothing other than killing, as it is stated: “And they shall break the heifer’s neck [arefu] there in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4).

אמר ליה רבי ירמיה לרבי זירא ליתי מר ליתני אמר ליה חלש לבאי ולא יכילנא לימא מר מילתא דאגדתא אמר ליה הכי אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב כי האדם עץ השדה וכי אדם עץ שדה הוא

Rabbi Yirmeya once said to Rabbi Zeira: Let the Master come and teach a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Zeira said to him: My heart is weak and I cannot strain myself over a halakhic discourse. Rabbi Yirmeya replied to him: In that case, let the Master tell us a matter of aggada, which does not require as much effort. Rabbi Zeira said to him that Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19)? And is man actually a tree of the field?

אלא משום דכתיב כי ממנו תאכל ואתו לא תכרת וכתיב אתו תשחית וכרת הא כיצד אם תלמיד חכם הגון הוא ממנו תאכל ואתו לא תכרת ואם לאו אתו תשחית וכרת

Rather, it is because it is written earlier in the same verse: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” and it is written in the next verse: “Them you may destroy and cut down” (Deuteronomy 20:20). This indicates that there are certain trees which may be cut down, while others may not be destroyed. How so? If a Torah scholar is worthy: “You may eat of them but you may not cut them down,” but if he is not worthy: “He you may destroy and cut down.”

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב ברזל בברזל יחד לומר לך מה ברזל זה אחד מחדד את חבירו אף שני תלמידי חכמים מחדדין זה את זה בהלכה

The Gemara cites other expositions that deal with Torah study. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17)? This verse comes to tell you that just as with these iron implements, one sharpens the other when they are rubbed against each other, so too, when Torah scholars study together, they sharpen one another in halakha.

אמר רבה בר בר חנה למה נמשלו דברי תורה כאש שנאמר הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה׳ לומר לך מה אש אינו דולק יחיד אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין ביחידי

Rabba bar bar Ḥana said: Why are matters of Torah compared to fire, as it is stated: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:29)? To tell you: Just as fire does not ignite in a lone stick of wood but in a pile of kindling, so too, matters of Torah are not retained and understood properly by a lone scholar who studies by himself, but by a group of Sages.

והיינו דאמר רבי יוסי בר חנינא מאי דכתיב חרב אל הבדים ונאלו חרב על שונאיהן של תלמידי חכמים שעוסקין בד בבד בתורה ולא עוד אלא שמטפשין שנאמר ונאלו

And this is what Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: There is a sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And not only that, but those who study by themselves grow foolish from their solitary Torah study, as it is stated: “And they shall become fools.”

ולא עוד אלא שחוטאין כתיב הכא ונאלו וכתיב התם אשר נואלנו ואשר חטאנו ואיבעית אימא מהכא נואלו שרי צען [וגו׳] התעו את מצרים

And not only that, but they sin, as it is written here: “And they shall become fools,” and it is written there: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu] and for that we have sinned” (Numbers 12:11). And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Zoan have become fools [noalu]…they have caused Egypt to go astray” (Isaiah 19:13).

אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק למה נמשלו דברי תורה כעץ שנאמר עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה לומר לך מה עץ קטן מדליק את הגדול אף תלמידי חכמים קטנים מחדדים את הגדולים והיינו דאמר רבי חנינא הרבה למדתי מרבותי ומחבירי יותר מרבותי ומתלמידי יותר מכולן

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: Why are Torah matters likened to a tree, as it is stated: “It is a tree of life to them who lay hold upon it” (Proverbs 3:18)? This verse comes to tell you that just as a small piece of wood can ignite a large piece, so too, minor Torah scholars can sharpen great Torah scholars and enable them to advance in their studies. And this is what Rabbi Ḥanina said: I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.

רבי חנינא בר פפא רמי כתיב לקראת צמא התיו מים וכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים אם תלמיד הגון הוא לקראת צמא התיו מים ואי לא הוי כל צמא לכו למים

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa raised a contradiction. In one verse it is written: “To him who is thirsty bring water” (Isaiah 21:14), which indicates that the one who has water must bring it to the thirsty person, and it is written elsewhere: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), from which it may be inferred that the thirsty person must seek out water himself. Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa resolves this apparent contradiction by explaining that if he is a worthy student the teacher must seek him out, as in “to him who is thirsty bring water,” but if the student is not worthy, then “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” i.e., this student must seek out a teacher himself.

רבי חנינא בר חמא רמי כתיב יפוצו מעינתיך חוצה וכתיב יהיו לך לבדך אם תלמיד הגון הוא יפוצו מעינתיך חוצה ואם לאו יהיו לך לבדך

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama raised another contradiction. In one verse it is written: “Let your springs be dispersed abroad” (Proverbs 5:16), whereas in the next verse it is written: “Let them be your own” (Proverbs 5:17). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Ḥama explains: If the student sitting before you is worthy, then “Let your springs be dispersed abroad,” as you should teach him, but if he is not worthy, then “Let them be your own.”

ואמר רבי חנינא בר אידי למה נמשלו דברי תורה למים דכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים לומר לך מה מים מניחין מקום גבוה והולכין למקום נמוך אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין אלא במי שדעתו שפלה

And Rabbi Ḥanina bar Idi said: Why are matters of Torah likened to water, as it is written: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1)? This verse comes to tell you: Just as water leaves a high place and flows to a low place, so too, Torah matters are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly, i.e., a humble person.

ואמר רבי אושעיא למה נמשלו דברי תורה לשלשה משקין הללו במים וביין ובחלב דכתיב הוי כל צמא לכו למים וכתיב לכו שברו ואכלו ולכו שברו בלוא כסף ובלוא מחיר יין וחלב לומר לך מה שלשה משקין הללו אין מתקיימין אלא בפחות שבכלים אף דברי תורה אין מתקיימין אלא במי שדעתו שפלה

And Rabbi Oshaya said: Why are matters of Torah likened to these three liquids: To water, wine and milk? As it is written with regard to water: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water,” and it is written in the same verse: “Come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” This verse comes to tell you: Just as these three liquids can be retained only in the least of vessels, e.g., clay pots, but not vessels of silver and gold, as they will spoil, so too, matters of Torah are retained only by one whose spirit is lowly.

כדאמרה ליה ברתיה דקיסר לרבי יהושע בן חנניה אי חכמה מפוארה בכלי מכוער אמר לה אביך רמי חמרא במני דפחרא אמרה ליה אלא במאי נירמי אמר לה אתון דחשביתו רמו במאני דהבא וכספא

The Gemara cites a related incident: This is as the daughter of the Roman emperor said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya, who was an ugly man: Woe to glorious wisdom such as yours, which is contained in an ugly vessel. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her, in a seemingly unrelated response: Does your father keep his wine in simple clay vessels? The emperor’s daughter said to him: Rather, in what, then, should he keep it? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to her: You, who are so important, should put it in vessels of gold and silver.

אזלה ואמרה ליה לאבוה רמייא לחמרא במני דהבא וכספא ותקיף אתו ואמרו ליה אמר לה לברתיה מאן אמר לך הכי אמרה ליה רבי יהושע בן חנניה קריוהו אמר ליה אמאי אמרת לה הכי אמר ליה כי היכי דאמרה לי אמרי לה והא איכא שפירי דגמירי

The emperor’s daughter went and said this to her father. He put the wine in vessels of gold and silver and it turned sour. When his advisors came and told the emperor that the wine had turned sour, he said to his daughter: Who told you to do this? His daughter responded: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya. The emperor summoned him and said to him: Why did you say this to her? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to him: Just as she said to me, so I said say to her, to demonstrate to her that fine material is best preserved in the least of vessels. The emperor said to him: But there are handsome people who are learned.

אי הוו סנו טפי הוו גמירי דבר אחר מה שלשה משקין הללו אין נפסלין אלא בהיסח הדעת אף דברי תורה אין משתכחין אלא בהיסח הדעת

Rabbi Yehoshua replied: Had they been ugly, they would have been even more learned. Alternatively, the Torah is likened to water, wine, and milk because just as these three liquids are spoiled only by diversion of attention, so too, are Torah matters forgotten only through diversion of attention. If water, wine and milk are guarded, they will not spoil or have dirty objects fall into them.

אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא גדול יום הגשמים כיום שנבראו שמים וארץ שנאמר הרעיפו שמים ממעל ושחקים יזלו צדק תפתח ארץ ויפרו ישע וצדקה תצמיח יחד אני ה׳ בראתיו בראתים לא נאמר אלא בראתיו

§ The Gemara returns to the issue of rain. Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: The day of the rains is as great as the day on which the heavens and earth were created, as it is stated: “Drop down, heavens, from above, let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open that they may bring forth salvation, and let it cause righteousness to spring up together; I, the Lord, have created it” (Isaiah 45:8). The Gemara explains that the verse does not say: I have created them, in the plural, but: I have created it. In other words, the verse is referring to rain, rather than to the heavens and the earth, which indicates that rainfall is as important as the creation of the world.

אמר רב אושעיא גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו ישועה פרה ורבה בו שנאמר תפתח ארץ ויפרו ישע אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי אין הגשמים יורדים אלא אם כן נמחלו עונותיהן של ישראל שנאמר רצית ה׳ ארצך שבת שבית יעקב נשאת עון עמך כסית כל חטאתם סלה

Rabbi Oshaya likewise said: The day of rain is great, as rain even facilitates salvation, which is fruitful and multiplies on that day. It is a time of God’s favor, when salvation is brought forth into the world, as it is stated: “Let the earth open that they may bring forth salvation” (Isaiah 45:8). Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai said: Rain falls only if the Jewish people’s transgressions have been forgiven, as it is stated: “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have turned the captivity of Jacob; You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have pardoned all their sin. Selah” (Psalms 85:2–3). This chapter proceeds to discuss rainfall: “And righteousness has looked down from Heaven” (Psalms 85:12), in the form of rain.

אמר ליה זעירי מדיהבת לרבינא אתון מהכא מתניתו לה אנן מהכא מתנינן לה ואתה תשמע השמים וסלחת לחטאת וגו׳

The Sage Ze’iri from the town of Dihavat said to Ravina: You learned this idea from here, whereas we learned it from here, a different verse: “When heaven is closed up, and there is no rain, when they sin against You, if they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin, when You afflict them, then You, hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, when You teach them the good way in which they should walk, and send rain upon Your land, which You have given to Your people as an inheritance” (I Kings 8:35–36).

אמר רבי תנחום בריה דרבי חייא איש כפר עכו אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא אם כן נתחייבו שונאיהן של ישראל כליה שנאמר ציה גם חם יגזלו מימי שלג שאול חטאו אמר ליה זעירי מדיהבת לרבינא אתון מהכא מתניתו לה אנן מהכא מתנינן לה ועצר את השמים ואבדתם מהרה

Rabbi Tanḥum, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya of village of Akko, said: The rains are withheld only if the enemies of the Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people, have been sentenced to destruction for their sins, as it is stated: “Drought and heat will steal the snow waters; to the grave those who have sinned” (Job 24:19). According to this interpretation, snow water will be stolen by drought, i.e., there will be none available, when people have sinned to the point that they deserve the grave. Ze’iri from Dihavat said to Ravina: You learned this idea from here; we learned it from here: “And the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will close up the heavens, and there will be no rain, and the earth will not give its fruit, and you will perish quickly” (Deuteronomy 11:17).

אמר רב חסדא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל ביטול תרומות ומעשרות שנאמר ציה גם חם יגזלו מימי שלג מאי משמע תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בשביל דברים שצויתי אתכם בימות החמה ולא עשיתם יגזלו מכם מימי שלג בימות הגשמים

Rav Ḥisda said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of the nullification of teruma and tithes, as it is stated: “Drought and heat will steal the snow waters” (Job 24:19). The Gemara asks: From where in the verse may this idea be inferred from the verse? The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: Due to matters that I have commanded you to do in the summer, e.g., take teruma and tithes from the summer produce, and that you did not do, the snow waters will be stolen from you in the rainy season.

אמר רבי שמעון בן פזי אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל מספרי לשון הרע שנאמר רוח צפון תחולל גשם ופנים נזעמים לשון סתר

Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of those who speak slander, as it is stated: “The north wind brings forth rain, but a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance” (Proverbs 25:23). This verse indicates that if the countenance of the heavens is angry, with neither clouds nor rain, it is due to slanderous speech.

אמר רב סלא אמר רב המנונא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל עזי פנים שנאמר וימנעו רבבים ומלקוש לוא היה ומצח אשה זונה היה לך וגו׳ ואמר רב סלא אמר רב המנונא כל אדם שיש לו עזות פנים סוף נכשל בעבירה שנאמר ומצח אשה זונה היה לך רב נחמן אמר בידוע שנכשל בעבירה שנאמר היה לך ולא נאמר יהיה לך

Rav Salla said that Rav Hamnuna said: The rains are withheld only due to impudent people, as it is stated: “Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no last rain, yet you had a harlot’s forehead, you refused to be ashamed” (Jeremiah 3:3). And Rav Salla said that Rav Hamnuna said, with regard to the same verse: Any man who is insolent will ultimately stumble over the transgression of prostitution, as it is stated: “Yet you had a prostitute’s forehead.” Rav Naḥman said: The verse does not mean that he will commit a sexual transgression in the future; rather, it is known that he has already stumbled over this transgression, as it is stated: “You had,” in the past tense, and it is not stated: You will.

אמר רבה בר רב הונא כל אדם שיש לו עזות פנים מותר לקרותו רשע שנאמר העז איש רשע בפניו רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר מותר לשנאותו שנאמר ועז פניו ישנא אל תקרי ישנא אלא ישנא

Rabba bar Rav Huna said: With regard to any man who is insolent, it is permitted to call him wicked to his face, as it is stated: “A wicked man makes his face insolent” (Proverbs 21:29). Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is permitted to hate him, as it is stated: “And the insolence of his face is changed” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). Do not read it as: “Is changed [yeshunne]”; rather, read it as: Is hated [yissane], as the two words are spelled the same way in Hebrew, albeit with different vocalization and pronunciation.

אמר רב קטינא אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל ביטול תורה שנאמר בעצלתים ימך המקרה בשביל עצלות שהיה בישראל שלא עסקו בתורה נעשה שונאו של הקדוש ברוך הוא מך ואין מך אלא עני שנאמר ואם מך הוא מערכך ואין מקרה אלא הקדוש ברוך הוא שנאמר המקרה במים עליותיו

Rav Ketina said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of dereliction in the study of Torah, as it is stated: “By slothfulness the rafters [hamekare] will sink in [yimakh], and through idleness of the hands the house leaks” (Ecclesiastes 10:18). Due to slothfulness that was present amongst the Jewish people, that they did not occupy themselves with Torah, the enemy of the Holy One, Blessed be He, a euphemism for God Himself, has sunk. And sunk [makh] means nothing other than poor, as it is stated: “But if he is too poor [makh] for your valuation” (Leviticus 27:8). And “rafters [mekare]” means nothing other than a reference to the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “Who lays the beams [hamekare] of Your upper chambers in the water” (Psalms 104:3).

רב יוסף אמר מהכא ועתה לא ראו אור בהיר הוא בשחקים ורוח עברה ותטהרם ואין אור אלא תורה שנאמר כי נר מצוה ותורה אור בהיר הוא בשחקים תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל אפילו בשעה שרקיע נעשה בהורין בהורין להוריד טל ומטר רוח עברה ותטהרם

Rav Yosef said that this idea is derived from here: “And now that men do not see the light, it is bright in the skies, but the wind passes and cleanses them” (Job 37:21). And “light” means nothing other than Torah, as it is stated: “For a mitzva is a lamp and Torah is a light” (Proverbs 6:23). According to this interpretation, the verse means that when “men do not see the light,” i.e., when they are not occupied with Torah, “it is bright in the skies,” as there are no rainclouds. With regard to this verse, the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: Even when the sky is comprised of bright clouds that serve to bring down dew and rain, no rain will fall, as “the wind passes and cleanses them.”

אמר רבי אמי אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בעון גזל שנאמר על כפים כסה אור בעון כפים כסה אור ואין כפים אלא חמס שנאמר ומן החמס אשר בכפיהם ואין אור אלא מטר שנאמר יפיץ ענן אורו

Rabbi Ami said: The rains are withheld only due to the sin of robbery, as it is stated: “He covers His hands with the light, and He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 36:32). This means that due to the sin of stealing hands, God has covered the light and no rain will fall. And Rabbi Ami adds that the term “hand” means nothing other than a sin of violence, as it is stated: “And from the violence that is in their hands” (Jonah 3:8). And “light” means nothing other than rain, as it is stated: “He spreads abroad the cloud of His light” (Job 37:11).

מאי תקנתיה ירבה בתפלה שנאמר ויצו עליה במפגיע ואין פגיעה אלא תפלה שנאמר ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה וגו׳ ואל תפגע בי

What is the remedy of one who has caused the rain to be withheld? He should increase his prayers, as it is stated in the same chapter: “And He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 37:12), and “imploring” means nothing other than prayer, as it is stated: “Therefore, do not pray you for this nation, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither implore Me” (Jeremiah 7:16).

ואמר רבי אמי מאי דכתיב אם קהה הברזל והוא לא פנים קלקל אם ראית רקיע שקיהה כברזל מלהוריד טל ומטר בשביל מעשה הדור שהן מקולקלין שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

And Rabbi Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the iron is blunt, and does not whet the edge” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)? If you see a sky that is blunt as iron, in that it does not bring down dew and rain, this is due to the deeds of the generation, which are corrupt, as it is stated: “And does not whet [kilkal] the edge [panim].” Panim, which also means face, is often used in reference to the leaders of a generation, while the term kilkal is similar to the word for corrupt, mekulkalin.

מה תקנתן יתגברו ברחמים שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם הוכשרו מעשיהן מעיקרא

What is their remedy? They must increase their prayers for mercy, as it is stated in the same verse: “Then must he increase his strength, but wisdom is profitable to direct” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). This verse hints that rain will fall if one increases his strength, i.e., his prayers for mercy. The last part of the verse means that, all the more so, if their deeds had been righteous and direct from the beginning, the rains would not have been withheld.

ריש לקיש אמר אם ראית תלמיד

The Gemara cites a different interpretation of the same verse. Reish Lakish said: If you see a student

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