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Today's Daf Yomi

June 19, 2014 | כ״א בסיון תשע״ד

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Ron and Shira Krebs to commemorate the 73rd yahrzeit of Shira's grandfather (Yitzchak Leib Ben David Ber HaCohen v'Malka), the 1st yahrzeit of Shira's father (Gershon Pinya Ben Yitzchak Leib HaCohen v'Menucha Sara), and the bar mitzvah of their son Eytan who will be making a siyum on Mishna Shas this month.

  • This month's learning is sponsored for the refuah shleima of Naama bat Yael Esther.

Taanit 8

שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל משנתו שאינה סדורה עליו שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

whose studies are hard as iron for him, i.e., difficult to understand, this is due to his lack of familiarity with the Mishna, which is not organized for him. If the Mishna is unclear, any further study of Gemara is rendered all the more difficult, as it is stated: “And does not whet [kilkal] the edge [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As panim can also mean surface, this indicates that the surface, i.e., the basic statements of the Mishna, is corrupted. As stated previously, kilkal can also mean corrupted.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה בישיבה שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם משנתו סדורה לו מעיקרא

What is his remedy? He must increase the time he sits and studies, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). The last part of the verse: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” means that all the more so, if his study of the Mishna is organized for him from the beginning, he will avoid this trouble.

כי הא דריש לקיש הוה מסדר מתניתיה ארבעין זמנין כנגד ארבעים יום שניתנה תורה ועייל לקמיה דרבי יוחנן רב אדא בר אהבה מסדר מתניתיה עשרין וארבע זמנין כנגד תורה נביאים וכתובים ועייל לקמיה דרבא

That is like this practice of Reish Lakish, who would review his studies forty times, corresponding to the forty days in which the Torah was given to Moses at Sinai, and only afterward would he go before Rabbi Yoḥanan to study from his teacher. Similarly, Rav Adda bar Ahava would review his learning twenty-four times, corresponding to the twenty-four books in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, i.e., the Bible, and only afterward go before Rava to study with him.

רבא אמר אם ראית תלמיד שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל רבו שאינו מסביר לו פנים שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

With regard to the aforementioned verse from Ecclesiastes, Rava said: If you see a student whose studies are as difficult for him as iron, this is due to his teacher, who does not show him a friendly countenance, but is overly strict with him. This practice inhibits the student’s learning, as it is stated: “And it has not whetted the surface [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As explained previously, panim can also mean countenance.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה עליו רעים שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם הוכשרו מעשיו בפני רבו מעיקרא

What is the remedy for this student? He must increase the number of friends he sends to the teacher to intercede for him, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength.” The term used for strength, ḥayalim, can also mean soldiers or colleagues. Nevertheless: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” meaning that all the more so would he be spared this trouble if his deeds were properly directed before his teacher from the beginning.

ואמר רבי אמי מאי דכתיב אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון אם ראית דור שהשמים משתכין כנחשת מלהוריד טל ומטר בשביל לוחשי לחישות שאין בדור

§ The Gemara returns to the topic of rain. And Rabbi Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the serpent [naḥash] bites [yishokh] before it is charmed [laḥash], then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? If you see a generation for whom the heavens corrode [meshatkhin] like copper [neḥoshet], which prevents them from bringing down dew and rain, this is due to the lack of those who whisper quiet [loḥashei leḥishot] prayers in the generation.

מאי תקנתן ילכו אצל מי שיודע ללחוש דכתיב יגיד עליו רעו ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון ומי שאפשר לו ללחוש ואינו לוחש מה הנאה יש לו

What is their remedy? They should go to one who knows how to whisper prayers in the proper manner, as it is written: “Its noise tells concerning it” (Job 36:33). As for the phrase: “Then the charmer has no advantage,” this is referring to one who is able to whisper his prayers correctly and yet does not whisper them correctly. In this case, of what benefit to him is his ability to pray?

ואם לחש ולא נענה מאי תקנתיה ילך אצל חסיד שבדור וירבה עליו בתפלה שנאמר ויצו עליה במפגיע ואין פגיעה אלא תפילה שנאמר ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה ואל תשא בעדם רנה ותפלה ואל תפגע בי

And if he whispered his prayers and yet was not answered, what is his remedy? He should go to the most pious individual of the generation, and this pious individual will increase his prayers on his behalf, as it is stated one verse earlier: “And He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 36:32). 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).

ואם לחש ועלתה בידו ומגיס דעתו עליו מביא אף לעולם שנאמר מקנה אף על עולה

And if he whispered his prayers for rain, and his prayers were successful, i.e., rain fell as he requested, and he becomes prideful as a result, he brings anger into the world, as it is stated: “The cattle [mikne] also [af ] concerning the rising storm [al oleh]” (Job 36:33). This verse can be read homiletically as: Anger [af ] is acquired [mikne] by one who raises [al oleh] his pride.

רבא אמר שני תלמידי חכמים שיושבין בעיר אחת ואין נוחין זה לזה בהלכה מתקנאין באף ומעלין אותו שנאמר מקנה אף על עולה

Following the same interpretation of this verse, Rava said: If there are two Torah scholars who live in one city, and they are not courteous with one another in their discussions of halakha, they arouse anger upon the world and cause it to rise up, as it is stated: “Anger is acquired by one who raises his pride.”

אמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון לעתיד לבוא מתקבצות ובאות כל החיות אצל הנחש ואומרים לו ארי דורס ואוכל זאב טורף ואוכל אתה מה הנאה יש לך אמר להם ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the aforementioned verse. Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the snake bites before it is charmed, then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? In the future, all the animals will gather together and come to the snake and say to him: A lion mauls its prey and eats it; a wolf tears apart its prey and eats it; but you, what pleasure do you have when you bite a person, as you are incapable of eating him? The snake will say to them: “The charmer has no advantage.” The Hebrew phrase for snake charmer literally means the master of the tongue, and therefore the snake is saying that he has a more difficult question: What pleasure does a slanderer receive, as he inflicts more harm for which he obtains no physical enjoyment.

אמר רבי אמי אין תפלתו של אדם נשמעת אלא אם כן משים נפשו בכפו שנאמר נשא לבבנו אל כפים איני והא אוקים שמואל אמורא עליה ודרש ויפתוהו בפיהם ובלשונם יכזבו לו ולבם לא נכון עמו ולא נאמנו בבריתו ואף על פי כן והוא רחום יכפר עון וגו׳

Rabbi Ami said: A person’s prayer is heard only if he places his soul in his palm, i.e., one must submit his entire soul with sincerity in his outstretched hands as he prays, as it is stated: “Let us lift up our heart with our hands” (Lamentations 3:41). The Gemara raises an objection: Is that so? But Shmuel once established for himself an interpreter to teach in public, and interpreted homiletically the verse: “But they beguiled Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue, for their heart was not steadfast with Him, neither were they faithful to His covenant” (Psalms 78:36–37), and nevertheless the psalm continues: “But He, being full of compassion, forgives iniquity, and does not destroy” (Psalms 78:38). This indicates that all prayers are accepted, even if they lack sincerity.

לא קשיא כאן ביחיד כאן בצבור

The Gemara responds: This is not difficult, as here Rabbi Ami is referring to an individual who prays without sincerity and consequently his prayer goes unheard, whereas there Shmuel is saying that when one prays with the community, even if his prayers are deficient, they are accepted in the merit of the congregation.

אמר רבי אמי אין גשמים יורדין אלא בשביל בעלי אמנה שנאמר אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף

Rabbi Ami further said: Rain falls only due to faithful people, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). When “truth springs out of the earth,” i.e., if people are faithful, they will find that “righteousness,” in the form of rain “has looked down from heaven.”

ואמר רבי אמי בא וראה כמה גדולים בעלי אמנה מניין מחולדה ובור ומה המאמין בחולדה ובור כך המאמין בהקדוש ברוך הוא על אחת כמה וכמה

And Rabbi Ami said: Come and see how great the faithful people are, and how God assists them. From where is it derived? From the story of the marten [ḥulda] and the pit. Once a young man saved a girl who had fallen into a pit. After rescuing her they swore to remain faithful to each other, and they declared the pit and a passing marten their witnesses. As time went by the young man forgot his vow and married another woman. They had two children, both of whom died tragically, one by falling into a pit and the other when he was bitten by a marten. Their unusual deaths led the young man to realize his error and he returned to the first woman. And if this is the outcome for one who believes in signs from a pit and a marten, all the more so for one who has faith in the Holy One, Blessed be He.

אמר רבי יוחנן כל המצדיק את עצמו מלמטה מצדיקין עליו הדין מלמעלה שנאמר אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רב הונא מהכא וכיראתך עברתך

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever is exacting with himself, by striving to act righteously in every way on earth below, he is judged in an exact manner in Heaven above, in order to improve him further still, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Rav Huna said that this idea is derived from here: “And Your wrath is according to the fear that is due to You” (Psalms 90:11). The level of God’s wrath correlates with the offender’s fear of God.

ריש לקיש אמר מהכא פגעת את שש ועשה צדק בדרכיך יזכרוך הן אתה קצפת ונחטא בהם עולם ונושע אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל השמח ביסורין שבאין עליו מביא ישועה לעולם שנאמר בהם עולם ונושע

Reish Lakish said that this principle is derived from here: “You took him away who joyfully performed righteousness, those who remembered You in Your ways, behold You were wroth, and we sinned, upon them have we stayed of old, that we might be saved” (Isaiah 64:4). This verse also teaches that God displays wrath specifically due to the transgressions of those who are accustomed to acting righteously. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said concerning the same verse: Whoever is joyful in the suffering that comes upon him brings salvation to the world [olam], as it is stated: “Upon them have we stayed of old [olam], that we might be saved.”

אמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב ועצר את השמים בשעה שהשמים נעצרין מלהוריד טל ומטר דומה לאשה שמחבלת ואינה יולדת והיינו דאמר ריש לקיש משום בר קפרא נאמרה עצירה בגשמים ונאמרה עצירה באשה

§ Returning to the topic of rain, Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And He will close up the heavens” (Deuteronomy 11:17)? This verse teaches that when the heavens are closed up from bringing down dew and rain, this is similar to a woman who has the pangs of labor and yet does not give birth, as the heavens themselves suffer from their inability to bring down rain and dew. And this is what Reish Lakish said in the name of bar Kappara: Closing up is stated with regard to rains, and closing up is likewise stated with regard to a woman.

נאמרה עצירה באשה שנאמר כי עצר עצר ה׳ בעד כל רחם ונאמרה עצירה בגשמים דכתיב ועצר את השמים

Reish Lakish elaborates: Closing up is stated with regard to a woman who cannot give birth, as it is stated: “For the Lord has fast close up all the wombs” (Genesis 20:18), and closing up is stated with regard to rains, as it is written: “And He will close up the heavens” (Deuteronomy 11:17).

נאמר לידה באשה ונאמר לידה בגשמים נאמר לידה באשה דכתיב ותהר ותלד בן ונאמר לידה בגשמים דכתיב והולידה והצמיחה

Likewise, an expression of giving birth is stated with regard to a woman, and an expression of giving birth is also stated with regard to rain. Specifically, giving birth is stated with regard to a woman, as it is written in the case of Rachel, when God had mercy on her: “And she conceived and gave birth to a son” (Genesis 30:23). And giving birth is stated with regard to rain, as it is written: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and does not return there, except it waters the earth and causes it to give birth and bud” (Isaiah 55:10).

נאמר פקידה באשה ונאמר פקידה בגשמים נאמר פקידה באשה דכתיב וה׳ פקד את שרה ונאמר פקידה בגשמים דכתיב פקדת הארץ ותשקקה רבת תעשרנה פלג אלהים מלא מים

Lastly, an expression of remembering is stated in connection with a woman, and an expression of remembering is also stated in connection to rain. Remembering is stated in connection with a woman, as it is written: “And the Lord remembered Sarah” (Genesis 21:1), and remembering is stated in connection to rain, as it is written: “You have remembered the earth and have watered it; greatly enriching it, with the pool of God that is full of water” (Psalms 65:10).

מאי פלג אלהים מלא מים תנא כמין קובה יש ברקיע שממנה גשמים יוצאין

The Gemara asks a question with regard to this verse. What is the meaning of the phrase: “With the pool of God that is full of water”? The Gemara answers that it was taught in a baraita: There is a kind of vault [kuba] in the sky, out of which the rain falls.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני מאי דכתיב אם לשבט אם לארצו אם לחסד ימצאהו אם לשבט בהרים ובגבעות אם לחסד ימצאהו לארצו בשדות ובכרמים

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Whatever he commands them upon the face of the habitable world, whether it is for correction, or for His earth, or for mercy that He causes it to come” (Job 37:12–13)? The phrase “whether it is for correction” means that if the people are judged unfavorably, the rain will fall on the mountains and on the hills. The phrase “or for His earth” indicates that if they have been judged “for mercy,” He will cause it to come “for His earth,” on the fields and on the vineyards.

אם לשבט לאילנות אם לארצו לזרעים אם לחסד ימצאהו בורות שיחין ומערות

Alternatively, the phrase “whether it is for correction” means that the rain will provide benefit only for the trees; “or for His earth” indicates that rain will fall solely for the benefit of seeds; and “or for mercy that He causes it to come” means that rain will fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves with enough water to last the dry season.

בימי רבי שמואל בר נחמני הוה כפנא ומותנא אמרי היכי נעביד ניבעי רחמי אתרתי לא אפשר אלא ליבעי רחמי אמותנא וכפנא ניסבול אמר להו רבי שמואל בר נחמני ניבעי רחמי אכפנא דכי יהיב רחמנא שובעא לחיי הוא דיהיב דכתיב פותח את ידך ומשביע לכל חי רצון

§ The Gemara relates: In the days of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani there was a famine and a plague. The Sages said: What should we do? Should we pray for mercy for two troubles, both the famine and the plague? This is not possible, as it is improper to pray for the alleviation of two afflictions at once. Rather, let us pray for mercy for the plague, and as for the famine, we must bear it. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said to them: On the contrary, let us pray for mercy for the famine, as when the Merciful One provides plenty, He gives it for the sake of the living, i.e., if God answers this prayer then he will certainly bring an end to the plague as well, as it is written: “You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor” (Psalms 145:16).

ומנלן דלא מצלינן אתרתי דכתיב ונצומה ונבקשה מאלהינו על זאת מכלל דאיכא אחריתי במערבא אמרי משמיה דרבי חגי מהכא ורחמין למבעא מן קדם אלה שמיא על רזא דנה מכלל דאיכא אחריתי

The Gemara explains: And from where do we derive that one should not pray for two troubles simultaneously? As it is written: “So we fasted and beseeched our God for this” (Ezra 8:23). From the fact that the verse states: “For this,” it may be inferred that there is another trouble about which the people did not pray. In the West, Eretz Yisrael, they say in the name of Rabbi Ḥaggai that this idea comes from here: “That they might ask mercy of the God of Heaven concerning this secret” (Daniel 2:18). From the fact that the verse states: “This secret,” it may be inferred that there is another trouble about which they did not pray.

בימי רבי זירא גזור שמדא וגזור דלא למיתב בתעניתא אמר להו רבי זירא נקבליה עילוון ולכי בטיל שמדא ליתביה

In a similar vein, the Gemara relates: In the days of Rabbi Zeira a decree of religious persecution was decreed against the Jews. And as the decree was that they were not allowed to fast, the Jews were certainly unable to fast and pray for the nullification of the decree itself. Rabbi Zeira said to the people: Let us take a fast upon ourselves, despite the fact that in practice we cannot observe it, and when the decree of religious persecution is annulled we will observe the fast.

אמרי ליה מנא לך הא אמר להו דכתיב ויאמר אלי אל תירא דניאל כי מן היום הראשון אשר נתת את לבך להבין ולהתענות לפני אלהיך נשמעו דבריך

They said to him: From where do you know this, the fact that one may take a fast upon himself that he cannot observe? Rabbi Zeira said to them that the reason is as it is written: “Then he said to me: Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to fast before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12). This verse indicates that from the moment one turns his heart to fast, his prayers are heard.

אמר רבי יצחק אפילו שנים כשני אליהו וירדו גשמים בערבי שבתות אינן אלא סימן קללה היינו דאמר רבה בר שילא קשה יומא דמיטרא כיומא דדינא אמר אמימר אי לא דצריך לברייתא בעינן רחמי ומבטלינן ליה

The Gemara returns to the topic of rain. Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Even in years like the years of Elijah, when God decreed that no rain would fall, if rain falls on Shabbat eves it is nothing other than a sign of a curse, as the rain disrupts the preparations for Shabbat. This is the same as that which Rabba bar Sheila said: A rainy day is as difficult as a judgment day. Ameimar even said: Were it not for the fact that rain is needed by people, we would pray for mercy and to annul it, due to the nuisances that rain causes.

ואמר רבי יצחק שמש בשבת צדקה לעניים שנאמר וזרחה לכם יראי שמי שמש צדקה ומרפא ואמר רבי יצחק גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו פרוטה שבכיס מתברכת בו שנאמר לתת מטר ארצך בעתו ולברך את כל מעשה ידך

And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Sun on Shabbat is charity for the poor, who are then able to enjoy the outdoors without suffering from cold. As it is stated: “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 3:20). And Rabbi Yitzḥak further said: The day of the rains is great, as even a peruta in one’s pocket is blessed on it, as it is stated: “To give the rain of your land in its due time, and to bless all the work of your hand” (Deuteronomy 28:12).

ואמר רבי יצחק אין הברכה מצויה אלא בדבר הסמוי מן העין שנאמר יצו ה׳ אתך את הברכה באסמיך תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל אין הברכה מצויה אלא בדבר שאין העין שולטת בו שנאמר יצו ה׳ אתך את הברכה באסמיך

And apropos blessings, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A blessing is found only in an object that is hidden [samui] from the eye, not in an item visible to all, as public miracles are exceedingly rare. As it is stated: “The Lord will command His blessing upon you in your barns [ba’asamekha]” (Deuteronomy 28:8). Rabbi Yitzḥak’s exposition is based on the linguistic similarity between samui and asamekha. Likewise, the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: A blessing is found only in an object that is not exposed to the eye, as it is stated: “The Lord will command His blessing upon you in your barns.”

תנו רבנן הנכנס למוד את גרנו אומר יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלהינו שתשלח ברכה במעשה ידנו התחיל למוד אומר ברוך השולח ברכה בכרי הזה מדד ואחר כך בירך הרי זו תפלת שוא לפי שאין הברכה מצויה לא בדבר השקול ולא בדבר המדוד ולא בדבר המנוי אלא בדבר הסמוי מן העין

The Sages taught: One who enters to measure produce in his granary recites: May it be Your will, Lord our God, that You send a blessing upon the work of our hands. After he has begun to measure, he recites: Blessed is He who sends a blessing upon this pile. If one first measured and afterward recited the blessing, it is a prayer in vain, as a blessing is not found either in an object that is weighed or in an object that is measured or in an object that is counted, as these would constitute open miracles. Rather, a blessing is found only in an object that is hidden from the eye.

קבוץ גייסות צדקה מעשר פרנס סימן אמר רבי יוחנן גדול יום הגשמים כיום קבוץ גליות שנאמר שובה ה׳ את שביתנו כאפיקים בנגב ואין אפיקים אלא מטר שנאמר ויראו אפקי ים

§ The Gemara cites five statements of Rabbi Yoḥanan, in accordance with the following mnemonic: Ingathering; armies; charity; tithe; sustainer. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The day of the rains is as great as the day of the ingathering of the exiles, as it is stated: “Turn our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the dry land” (Psalms 126:4), and “streams” means nothing other than rain, as it is stated: “And the streams of the sea appeared” (II Samuel 22:16).

ואמר רבי יוחנן גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו גייסות פוסקות בו שנאמר תלמיה רוה נחת גדודיה ואמר רבי יוחנן אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל פוסקי צדקה ברבים ואין נותנין שנאמר נשיאים ורוח וגשם אין איש מתהלל במתת שקר

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The day of the rains is great, as even armies stop fighting on it due to the rain and mud. As it is stated: “Watering its ridges abundantly; settling down its furrows [gedudeha]” (Psalms 65:11). As the word gedudim can mean both furrows or armies and is spelled identically with each meaning, this alludes to the idea that during the rainy season soldiers become entrenched in place. And Rabbi Yoḥanan further said: Rain is withheld only due to those who pledge charity in public but do not give it, as it is stated: “As vapors and wind without rain, so is he who boasts of a false gift” (Proverbs 25:14).

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written:

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Ron and Shira Krebs to commemorate the 73rd yahrzeit of Shira's grandfather (Yitzchak Leib Ben David Ber HaCohen v'Malka), the 1st yahrzeit of Shira's father (Gershon Pinya Ben Yitzchak Leib HaCohen v'Menucha Sara), and the bar mitzvah of their son Eytan who will be making a siyum on Mishna Shas this month.

  • This month's learning is sponsored for the refuah shleima of Naama bat Yael Esther.

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Taanit 8

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Taanit 8

שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל משנתו שאינה סדורה עליו שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

whose studies are hard as iron for him, i.e., difficult to understand, this is due to his lack of familiarity with the Mishna, which is not organized for him. If the Mishna is unclear, any further study of Gemara is rendered all the more difficult, as it is stated: “And does not whet [kilkal] the edge [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As panim can also mean surface, this indicates that the surface, i.e., the basic statements of the Mishna, is corrupted. As stated previously, kilkal can also mean corrupted.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה בישיבה שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם משנתו סדורה לו מעיקרא

What is his remedy? He must increase the time he sits and studies, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). The last part of the verse: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” means that all the more so, if his study of the Mishna is organized for him from the beginning, he will avoid this trouble.

כי הא דריש לקיש הוה מסדר מתניתיה ארבעין זמנין כנגד ארבעים יום שניתנה תורה ועייל לקמיה דרבי יוחנן רב אדא בר אהבה מסדר מתניתיה עשרין וארבע זמנין כנגד תורה נביאים וכתובים ועייל לקמיה דרבא

That is like this practice of Reish Lakish, who would review his studies forty times, corresponding to the forty days in which the Torah was given to Moses at Sinai, and only afterward would he go before Rabbi Yoḥanan to study from his teacher. Similarly, Rav Adda bar Ahava would review his learning twenty-four times, corresponding to the twenty-four books in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, i.e., the Bible, and only afterward go before Rava to study with him.

רבא אמר אם ראית תלמיד שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל רבו שאינו מסביר לו פנים שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

With regard to the aforementioned verse from Ecclesiastes, Rava said: If you see a student whose studies are as difficult for him as iron, this is due to his teacher, who does not show him a friendly countenance, but is overly strict with him. This practice inhibits the student’s learning, as it is stated: “And it has not whetted the surface [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As explained previously, panim can also mean countenance.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה עליו רעים שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כל שכן אם הוכשרו מעשיו בפני רבו מעיקרא

What is the remedy for this student? He must increase the number of friends he sends to the teacher to intercede for him, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength.” The term used for strength, ḥayalim, can also mean soldiers or colleagues. Nevertheless: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” meaning that all the more so would he be spared this trouble if his deeds were properly directed before his teacher from the beginning.

ואמר רבי אמי מאי דכתיב אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון אם ראית דור שהשמים משתכין כנחשת מלהוריד טל ומטר בשביל לוחשי לחישות שאין בדור

§ The Gemara returns to the topic of rain. And Rabbi Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the serpent [naḥash] bites [yishokh] before it is charmed [laḥash], then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? If you see a generation for whom the heavens corrode [meshatkhin] like copper [neḥoshet], which prevents them from bringing down dew and rain, this is due to the lack of those who whisper quiet [loḥashei leḥishot] prayers in the generation.

מאי תקנתן ילכו אצל מי שיודע ללחוש דכתיב יגיד עליו רעו ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון ומי שאפשר לו ללחוש ואינו לוחש מה הנאה יש לו

What is their remedy? They should go to one who knows how to whisper prayers in the proper manner, as it is written: “Its noise tells concerning it” (Job 36:33). As for the phrase: “Then the charmer has no advantage,” this is referring to one who is able to whisper his prayers correctly and yet does not whisper them correctly. In this case, of what benefit to him is his ability to pray?

ואם לחש ולא נענה מאי תקנתיה ילך אצל חסיד שבדור וירבה עליו בתפלה שנאמר ויצו עליה במפגיע ואין פגיעה אלא תפילה שנאמר ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה ואל תשא בעדם רנה ותפלה ואל תפגע בי

And if he whispered his prayers and yet was not answered, what is his remedy? He should go to the most pious individual of the generation, and this pious individual will increase his prayers on his behalf, as it is stated one verse earlier: “And He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 36:32). 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).

ואם לחש ועלתה בידו ומגיס דעתו עליו מביא אף לעולם שנאמר מקנה אף על עולה

And if he whispered his prayers for rain, and his prayers were successful, i.e., rain fell as he requested, and he becomes prideful as a result, he brings anger into the world, as it is stated: “The cattle [mikne] also [af ] concerning the rising storm [al oleh]” (Job 36:33). This verse can be read homiletically as: Anger [af ] is acquired [mikne] by one who raises [al oleh] his pride.

רבא אמר שני תלמידי חכמים שיושבין בעיר אחת ואין נוחין זה לזה בהלכה מתקנאין באף ומעלין אותו שנאמר מקנה אף על עולה

Following the same interpretation of this verse, Rava said: If there are two Torah scholars who live in one city, and they are not courteous with one another in their discussions of halakha, they arouse anger upon the world and cause it to rise up, as it is stated: “Anger is acquired by one who raises his pride.”

אמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון לעתיד לבוא מתקבצות ובאות כל החיות אצל הנחש ואומרים לו ארי דורס ואוכל זאב טורף ואוכל אתה מה הנאה יש לך אמר להם ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the aforementioned verse. Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the snake bites before it is charmed, then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? In the future, all the animals will gather together and come to the snake and say to him: A lion mauls its prey and eats it; a wolf tears apart its prey and eats it; but you, what pleasure do you have when you bite a person, as you are incapable of eating him? The snake will say to them: “The charmer has no advantage.” The Hebrew phrase for snake charmer literally means the master of the tongue, and therefore the snake is saying that he has a more difficult question: What pleasure does a slanderer receive, as he inflicts more harm for which he obtains no physical enjoyment.

אמר רבי אמי אין תפלתו של אדם נשמעת אלא אם כן משים נפשו בכפו שנאמר נשא לבבנו אל כפים איני והא אוקים שמואל אמורא עליה ודרש ויפתוהו בפיהם ובלשונם יכזבו לו ולבם לא נכון עמו ולא נאמנו בבריתו ואף על פי כן והוא רחום יכפר עון וגו׳

Rabbi Ami said: A person’s prayer is heard only if he places his soul in his palm, i.e., one must submit his entire soul with sincerity in his outstretched hands as he prays, as it is stated: “Let us lift up our heart with our hands” (Lamentations 3:41). The Gemara raises an objection: Is that so? But Shmuel once established for himself an interpreter to teach in public, and interpreted homiletically the verse: “But they beguiled Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue, for their heart was not steadfast with Him, neither were they faithful to His covenant” (Psalms 78:36–37), and nevertheless the psalm continues: “But He, being full of compassion, forgives iniquity, and does not destroy” (Psalms 78:38). This indicates that all prayers are accepted, even if they lack sincerity.

לא קשיא כאן ביחיד כאן בצבור

The Gemara responds: This is not difficult, as here Rabbi Ami is referring to an individual who prays without sincerity and consequently his prayer goes unheard, whereas there Shmuel is saying that when one prays with the community, even if his prayers are deficient, they are accepted in the merit of the congregation.

אמר רבי אמי אין גשמים יורדין אלא בשביל בעלי אמנה שנאמר אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף

Rabbi Ami further said: Rain falls only due to faithful people, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). When “truth springs out of the earth,” i.e., if people are faithful, they will find that “righteousness,” in the form of rain “has looked down from heaven.”

ואמר רבי אמי בא וראה כמה גדולים בעלי אמנה מניין מחולדה ובור ומה המאמין בחולדה ובור כך המאמין בהקדוש ברוך הוא על אחת כמה וכמה

And Rabbi Ami said: Come and see how great the faithful people are, and how God assists them. From where is it derived? From the story of the marten [ḥulda] and the pit. Once a young man saved a girl who had fallen into a pit. After rescuing her they swore to remain faithful to each other, and they declared the pit and a passing marten their witnesses. As time went by the young man forgot his vow and married another woman. They had two children, both of whom died tragically, one by falling into a pit and the other when he was bitten by a marten. Their unusual deaths led the young man to realize his error and he returned to the first woman. And if this is the outcome for one who believes in signs from a pit and a marten, all the more so for one who has faith in the Holy One, Blessed be He.

אמר רבי יוחנן כל המצדיק את עצמו מלמטה מצדיקין עליו הדין מלמעלה שנאמר אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רב הונא מהכא וכיראתך עברתך

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever is exacting with himself, by striving to act righteously in every way on earth below, he is judged in an exact manner in Heaven above, in order to improve him further still, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Rav Huna said that this idea is derived from here: “And Your wrath is according to the fear that is due to You” (Psalms 90:11). The level of God’s wrath correlates with the offender’s fear of God.

ריש לקיש אמר מהכא פגעת את שש ועשה צדק בדרכיך יזכרוך הן אתה קצפת ונחטא בהם עולם ונושע אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל השמח ביסורין שבאין עליו מביא ישועה לעולם שנאמר בהם עולם ונושע

Reish Lakish said that this principle is derived from here: “You took him away who joyfully performed righteousness, those who remembered You in Your ways, behold You were wroth, and we sinned, upon them have we stayed of old, that we might be saved” (Isaiah 64:4). This verse also teaches that God displays wrath specifically due to the transgressions of those who are accustomed to acting righteously. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said concerning the same verse: Whoever is joyful in the suffering that comes upon him brings salvation to the world [olam], as it is stated: “Upon them have we stayed of old [olam], that we might be saved.”

אמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב ועצר את השמים בשעה שהשמים נעצרין מלהוריד טל ומטר דומה לאשה שמחבלת ואינה יולדת והיינו דאמר ריש לקיש משום בר קפרא נאמרה עצירה בגשמים ונאמרה עצירה באשה

§ Returning to the topic of rain, Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And He will close up the heavens” (Deuteronomy 11:17)? This verse teaches that when the heavens are closed up from bringing down dew and rain, this is similar to a woman who has the pangs of labor and yet does not give birth, as the heavens themselves suffer from their inability to bring down rain and dew. And this is what Reish Lakish said in the name of bar Kappara: Closing up is stated with regard to rains, and closing up is likewise stated with regard to a woman.

נאמרה עצירה באשה שנאמר כי עצר עצר ה׳ בעד כל רחם ונאמרה עצירה בגשמים דכתיב ועצר את השמים

Reish Lakish elaborates: Closing up is stated with regard to a woman who cannot give birth, as it is stated: “For the Lord has fast close up all the wombs” (Genesis 20:18), and closing up is stated with regard to rains, as it is written: “And He will close up the heavens” (Deuteronomy 11:17).

נאמר לידה באשה ונאמר לידה בגשמים נאמר לידה באשה דכתיב ותהר ותלד בן ונאמר לידה בגשמים דכתיב והולידה והצמיחה

Likewise, an expression of giving birth is stated with regard to a woman, and an expression of giving birth is also stated with regard to rain. Specifically, giving birth is stated with regard to a woman, as it is written in the case of Rachel, when God had mercy on her: “And she conceived and gave birth to a son” (Genesis 30:23). And giving birth is stated with regard to rain, as it is written: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and does not return there, except it waters the earth and causes it to give birth and bud” (Isaiah 55:10).

נאמר פקידה באשה ונאמר פקידה בגשמים נאמר פקידה באשה דכתיב וה׳ פקד את שרה ונאמר פקידה בגשמים דכתיב פקדת הארץ ותשקקה רבת תעשרנה פלג אלהים מלא מים

Lastly, an expression of remembering is stated in connection with a woman, and an expression of remembering is also stated in connection to rain. Remembering is stated in connection with a woman, as it is written: “And the Lord remembered Sarah” (Genesis 21:1), and remembering is stated in connection to rain, as it is written: “You have remembered the earth and have watered it; greatly enriching it, with the pool of God that is full of water” (Psalms 65:10).

מאי פלג אלהים מלא מים תנא כמין קובה יש ברקיע שממנה גשמים יוצאין

The Gemara asks a question with regard to this verse. What is the meaning of the phrase: “With the pool of God that is full of water”? The Gemara answers that it was taught in a baraita: There is a kind of vault [kuba] in the sky, out of which the rain falls.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני מאי דכתיב אם לשבט אם לארצו אם לחסד ימצאהו אם לשבט בהרים ובגבעות אם לחסד ימצאהו לארצו בשדות ובכרמים

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Whatever he commands them upon the face of the habitable world, whether it is for correction, or for His earth, or for mercy that He causes it to come” (Job 37:12–13)? The phrase “whether it is for correction” means that if the people are judged unfavorably, the rain will fall on the mountains and on the hills. The phrase “or for His earth” indicates that if they have been judged “for mercy,” He will cause it to come “for His earth,” on the fields and on the vineyards.

אם לשבט לאילנות אם לארצו לזרעים אם לחסד ימצאהו בורות שיחין ומערות

Alternatively, the phrase “whether it is for correction” means that the rain will provide benefit only for the trees; “or for His earth” indicates that rain will fall solely for the benefit of seeds; and “or for mercy that He causes it to come” means that rain will fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves with enough water to last the dry season.

בימי רבי שמואל בר נחמני הוה כפנא ומותנא אמרי היכי נעביד ניבעי רחמי אתרתי לא אפשר אלא ליבעי רחמי אמותנא וכפנא ניסבול אמר להו רבי שמואל בר נחמני ניבעי רחמי אכפנא דכי יהיב רחמנא שובעא לחיי הוא דיהיב דכתיב פותח את ידך ומשביע לכל חי רצון

§ The Gemara relates: In the days of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani there was a famine and a plague. The Sages said: What should we do? Should we pray for mercy for two troubles, both the famine and the plague? This is not possible, as it is improper to pray for the alleviation of two afflictions at once. Rather, let us pray for mercy for the plague, and as for the famine, we must bear it. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said to them: On the contrary, let us pray for mercy for the famine, as when the Merciful One provides plenty, He gives it for the sake of the living, i.e., if God answers this prayer then he will certainly bring an end to the plague as well, as it is written: “You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor” (Psalms 145:16).

ומנלן דלא מצלינן אתרתי דכתיב ונצומה ונבקשה מאלהינו על זאת מכלל דאיכא אחריתי במערבא אמרי משמיה דרבי חגי מהכא ורחמין למבעא מן קדם אלה שמיא על רזא דנה מכלל דאיכא אחריתי

The Gemara explains: And from where do we derive that one should not pray for two troubles simultaneously? As it is written: “So we fasted and beseeched our God for this” (Ezra 8:23). From the fact that the verse states: “For this,” it may be inferred that there is another trouble about which the people did not pray. In the West, Eretz Yisrael, they say in the name of Rabbi Ḥaggai that this idea comes from here: “That they might ask mercy of the God of Heaven concerning this secret” (Daniel 2:18). From the fact that the verse states: “This secret,” it may be inferred that there is another trouble about which they did not pray.

בימי רבי זירא גזור שמדא וגזור דלא למיתב בתעניתא אמר להו רבי זירא נקבליה עילוון ולכי בטיל שמדא ליתביה

In a similar vein, the Gemara relates: In the days of Rabbi Zeira a decree of religious persecution was decreed against the Jews. And as the decree was that they were not allowed to fast, the Jews were certainly unable to fast and pray for the nullification of the decree itself. Rabbi Zeira said to the people: Let us take a fast upon ourselves, despite the fact that in practice we cannot observe it, and when the decree of religious persecution is annulled we will observe the fast.

אמרי ליה מנא לך הא אמר להו דכתיב ויאמר אלי אל תירא דניאל כי מן היום הראשון אשר נתת את לבך להבין ולהתענות לפני אלהיך נשמעו דבריך

They said to him: From where do you know this, the fact that one may take a fast upon himself that he cannot observe? Rabbi Zeira said to them that the reason is as it is written: “Then he said to me: Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to fast before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12). This verse indicates that from the moment one turns his heart to fast, his prayers are heard.

אמר רבי יצחק אפילו שנים כשני אליהו וירדו גשמים בערבי שבתות אינן אלא סימן קללה היינו דאמר רבה בר שילא קשה יומא דמיטרא כיומא דדינא אמר אמימר אי לא דצריך לברייתא בעינן רחמי ומבטלינן ליה

The Gemara returns to the topic of rain. Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Even in years like the years of Elijah, when God decreed that no rain would fall, if rain falls on Shabbat eves it is nothing other than a sign of a curse, as the rain disrupts the preparations for Shabbat. This is the same as that which Rabba bar Sheila said: A rainy day is as difficult as a judgment day. Ameimar even said: Were it not for the fact that rain is needed by people, we would pray for mercy and to annul it, due to the nuisances that rain causes.

ואמר רבי יצחק שמש בשבת צדקה לעניים שנאמר וזרחה לכם יראי שמי שמש צדקה ומרפא ואמר רבי יצחק גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו פרוטה שבכיס מתברכת בו שנאמר לתת מטר ארצך בעתו ולברך את כל מעשה ידך

And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Sun on Shabbat is charity for the poor, who are then able to enjoy the outdoors without suffering from cold. As it is stated: “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 3:20). And Rabbi Yitzḥak further said: The day of the rains is great, as even a peruta in one’s pocket is blessed on it, as it is stated: “To give the rain of your land in its due time, and to bless all the work of your hand” (Deuteronomy 28:12).

ואמר רבי יצחק אין הברכה מצויה אלא בדבר הסמוי מן העין שנאמר יצו ה׳ אתך את הברכה באסמיך תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל אין הברכה מצויה אלא בדבר שאין העין שולטת בו שנאמר יצו ה׳ אתך את הברכה באסמיך

And apropos blessings, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A blessing is found only in an object that is hidden [samui] from the eye, not in an item visible to all, as public miracles are exceedingly rare. As it is stated: “The Lord will command His blessing upon you in your barns [ba’asamekha]” (Deuteronomy 28:8). Rabbi Yitzḥak’s exposition is based on the linguistic similarity between samui and asamekha. Likewise, the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: A blessing is found only in an object that is not exposed to the eye, as it is stated: “The Lord will command His blessing upon you in your barns.”

תנו רבנן הנכנס למוד את גרנו אומר יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלהינו שתשלח ברכה במעשה ידנו התחיל למוד אומר ברוך השולח ברכה בכרי הזה מדד ואחר כך בירך הרי זו תפלת שוא לפי שאין הברכה מצויה לא בדבר השקול ולא בדבר המדוד ולא בדבר המנוי אלא בדבר הסמוי מן העין

The Sages taught: One who enters to measure produce in his granary recites: May it be Your will, Lord our God, that You send a blessing upon the work of our hands. After he has begun to measure, he recites: Blessed is He who sends a blessing upon this pile. If one first measured and afterward recited the blessing, it is a prayer in vain, as a blessing is not found either in an object that is weighed or in an object that is measured or in an object that is counted, as these would constitute open miracles. Rather, a blessing is found only in an object that is hidden from the eye.

קבוץ גייסות צדקה מעשר פרנס סימן אמר רבי יוחנן גדול יום הגשמים כיום קבוץ גליות שנאמר שובה ה׳ את שביתנו כאפיקים בנגב ואין אפיקים אלא מטר שנאמר ויראו אפקי ים

§ The Gemara cites five statements of Rabbi Yoḥanan, in accordance with the following mnemonic: Ingathering; armies; charity; tithe; sustainer. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The day of the rains is as great as the day of the ingathering of the exiles, as it is stated: “Turn our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the dry land” (Psalms 126:4), and “streams” means nothing other than rain, as it is stated: “And the streams of the sea appeared” (II Samuel 22:16).

ואמר רבי יוחנן גדול יום הגשמים שאפילו גייסות פוסקות בו שנאמר תלמיה רוה נחת גדודיה ואמר רבי יוחנן אין הגשמים נעצרין אלא בשביל פוסקי צדקה ברבים ואין נותנין שנאמר נשיאים ורוח וגשם אין איש מתהלל במתת שקר

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The day of the rains is great, as even armies stop fighting on it due to the rain and mud. As it is stated: “Watering its ridges abundantly; settling down its furrows [gedudeha]” (Psalms 65:11). As the word gedudim can mean both furrows or armies and is spelled identically with each meaning, this alludes to the idea that during the rainy season soldiers become entrenched in place. And Rabbi Yoḥanan further said: Rain is withheld only due to those who pledge charity in public but do not give it, as it is stated: “As vapors and wind without rain, so is he who boasts of a false gift” (Proverbs 25:14).

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב

And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written:

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