ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
TA'ANIS 2-5 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.
Please note that unless where otherwise indicated, we follow the explanation
Our notes and comments do not necessarily have a bearing on the
(a) According to Rebbi Eliezer, we begin to mention rain from the first day
of Sukos. Mentioning rain - means saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach u'Morid
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua says - that one only begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' on
(c) Rebbi Yehoshua asked Rebbi Eliezer why one should begin to ask for rain
on the first day of Sukos, when rain on Sukos is a curse. He replied - that
he was talking about mentioning the Power of Hashem, who produces the rain
in its time (which has nothing to do with asking for it).
(d) Rebbi Yehoshua counters that - if so, why not mention it the whole year
(a) According to the Tana of our Mishnah, we *ask* for rain - when it is
close to the rain season (though this will be explained later in the Sugya).
(b) According to Rebbi Yehudah, it is ...
(c) We refute the initial contention that the Tana of our Mishnah took his
cue from the Mishnah in B'rachos, which has already taught that we *mention*
rain in 'Gevuros Geshamim', and *ask* for it in Birchas ha'Shanim - because
if so, then what is Ta'anis doing *here* (so many Masaechtos after
Berachos), it should have been learned *there* in Berachos.
- ... the Ba'al Musaf - who begins mentioning rain on Shemini Atzeres?
- ... the Ba'al Shachris - who stops mentioning rain on the first day of Pesach.
(d) In fact, our Tana takes his cue from the Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah
'u've'Chag Nidudin al ha'Mayim'. It therefore follows that, seeing as we are
judged on Sukos for water, it is correct to mention Hashem's kindness in
providing us with water, to encourage Him to judge us favorably.
(a) The Tana refers to the rain as 'Gevuros Geshamim' - because their
descent demonstrates Hashem's might (i.e. even though the world often does
not deserve it, Hashem restrains Himself and sends it nonetheless - Rabbi
Kornfeld). See also Agados Maharsha DH 'K'siv'.
(b) There is no mention of 'Gevurah' in the Pasuk in Iyov which talks about
rain. The Tana nevertheless arrives at 'Gevuros Geshamim' from that Pasuk -
through a 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Cheiker" "Cheiker" from a Pasuk in Yeshayah
which talks about the creation, with regard to which another Pasuk in
Tehilim writes "Meichin Harim be'Ko'ach, Ne'ezar *bi'Gevurah"*.
(c) We learn that it is specifically in *Tefilah* that we mention rain -
from the Pasuk in Shema "u'le'Avdo be'Chol Levavechem"; worshipping with the
heart always refers to Tefilah, and the Pasuk continues "And I will give the
rain of your land ...".
(a) Rebbi Yochanan tells us that there are three keys over which Hashem
retains direct jurisdiction (he declines to hand them over to a Sh'li'ach) -
the key of rain, the key of birth and the key of Techi'as ha'Meisim.
(b) This does not mean that Hashem never handed any of them to a Sh'liach
(see Tosfos DH 'Sheloshah') - but that He did not hand them to a Sh'li'ach
(c) The B'nei Eretz Yisrael learn from the Pasuk in Tehilim "Posei'ach es
Yadecha ... " - that Hashem also retains the key of Parnasah (sustenance).
Note: A beautiful hint to the four keys (according to the B'nei Eretz
Yisrael), lies in the word 'Miftei'ach' (a key), which spells the first
letters of '*M*atar' - rain; '*P*arnasah' - sustenance; '*T*echi'ah' - the
revival of the dead; '*Ch*ayah' - a woman who gives birth.
(d) Nevertheless, Rebbi Yochanan did not include the key to Parnasah in his
list - because, in his opinion, Parnasah is synonymous with rain (which he
has already included).
(a) The difference whether Rebbi Eliezer learns the obligation to mention
rain on the first day of Sukos from *Lulav* or from *Nisuch ha'Mayim* - is
whether one begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' at Ma'ariv (like Nisuch
ha'Mayim) or at Shachris, like Lulav.
(b) Although Nisuch ha'Mayim did not take place at night-time -
nevertheless, like all Nesachim and Menachos, it is Kasher if performed by
night (whereas Lulav is Pasul by night even Bedieved).
(c) Rebbi Avahu concludes that Rebbi Eliezer learns it from Lulav. Some say
from tradition; others, from a Beraisa - which explicitly says that Rebbi
Eliezer learns it from Lulav, which comes mainly to appease Hashem for rain.
And just as the four species cannot not exist without water, so too, can the
world not exist without water.
(a) In the same Beraisa, Rebbi Eliezer counters Rebbi Yehoshua's Kashya by
comparing the prayer for rain to Techi'as ha'Meisim. Just as we mention
Techi'as ha'Meisim all the year round, even though it will only come in its
fixed time, so too, can we mention rain all the year round, and it will fall
in its fixed time.
(b) According to Rebbi Eliezer, one is permitted to say 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach'
the whole year round if one so wishes - according to Rebbi, the moment one
stops *asking* for rain one also stops *mentioning* it.
(a) According to Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira, one begins mentioning rain on
the *second* day of Sukos. Rebbi Akiva says - on the *sixth*.
(b) When Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah, says that it is the Ba'al Musaf who
begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' on Shemini Atzeres, but the Ba'al Shachris
who stops saying it on Pesach - he is quoting Rebbi Yehoshua (though which
Rebbi Yehoshua we shall see later).
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua counters Rebbi Eliezer's proof from Techi'as ha'Meisim
(that there is no harm in mentioning rain the whole year round) - by
differentiating between Techi'as ha'Meisim (which could take place at any
time), and rain (which is due in winter, but is a sign of curse in summer).
(b) We learn from the Pasuk "ha'Lo K'tzir Chitim ha'Yom" where Shmuel asked
for rain out of season - that rain after Nisan is a curse.
(c) According to Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah - the extra letters in the
Pesukim in Pinchas "ve'Niskeihe*m*" (on the second day of Sukos);
"u'Nesach*e*ha" (on the sixth day): "ke'Mishpata*m*" (on the seventh), which
form the word 'Mayim', is the source for the Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim.
(d) Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira's source for starting Nisuch ha'Mayim (as well
as Mashiv ha'Ru'ach) only from the *second* day of Sukos - lies in the fact
that the hint for Nisuch ha'Mayim begins with the'Mem' in "ve'Niskeihem"
only on the *second* day.
(a) According to Rebbi Akiva - "u'Nesacheha" (meaning 'and its drink-
offerings' - in the plural) is the source for Nisuch ha'Mayim.
(b) Rebbi Akiva knows that the Pasuk refers to Nisuch ha'*Mayim* and not
Nisuch ha*Yayin* - because in essence, he learns like Rebbi Yehudah ben
Beseira, who learns Nisuch ha'Mayim from "ve'Niskeihe*m*", "u'Nesach*e*ha"
(c) Nevertheless, he does not agree with Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira
completely - because of the extra hint ("u'Nesacheha"), which comes to teach
us that the Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim begins, not on the second day, but on