ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafTa'anis 16
TA'ANIS 16 (11 Elul) - dedicated to the memory of Chana (Birnbaum) bas Reb
Chaim, on the day of her Yarzeit.
(a) They Davened in the street, according to Rebbi Chiya bar Aba, as if to
say, 'We cried out discreetly, to no avail. Now let us disgrace ourselves in
public (perhaps that will evoke Divine mercy)'. Resh Lakish says that it is
symbolical of exile, to say that 'We have gone into exile. May our exile
atone for us'.
(b) The difference between the two explanations is that, according to the
Rebbi Chiya bar Aba, they had to go out into the open; whereas according to
Resh Lakish, an enclosed area is also called exile.
(c) They ...
1. ... took the Aron ha'Kodesh out into the street - to say 'We had a modest
vessel, which has now become disgraced due to our sins.
(d) After putting-on sack-cloth - they would go to the Beis-Olam and blow
2. ... wore sack-cloth - to demonstrate that they were worthless like
animals (since it is clothes that give a person esteem - like Rebbi
Yochanan, who used to refer to his clothes as 'Mechabdusai').
(a) According to Rebbi Yehudah ben Pazi, they placed ashes on the Aron
ha'Kodesh, because of the Pasuk in Tehilim "Imo Anochi be'Tzarah". Resh
Lakish says - from "be'Chol Tzarasam, Lo Tzar".
(b) When Rebbi Zeira saw the Rabbanan placing ashes on the Aron ha'Kodesh
for the first time - he shuddered.
(c) Rebbi Levi bar Chama and Rebbi Chanina (according to the Rif and the
Rosh it should be Rebbi Levi bar Lachma and Rebbi Chama bar Chanina) argue
over the reason why everyone placed ashes on their heads. One of them says
it was to demonstrate that they were before Hashem like ashes; the other one
says - that it was to remind Hashem of the Akeidas Yitzchak.
(d) The difference between the two reasons - is whether one may use ordinary
earth, or whether they must use ashes.
(a) The same Amora'im argue over the reason that they would go out to visit
the graves. One says that it is to demonstrate that they were like dead
people; the other, in order to encourage the dead to pray on their behalf.
According to the first reason, it makes no difference whether the graves are
those of Jews or those of gentiles, whereas according to the second, it must
be specifically Jews, since the gentile dead are not capable of praying for
gentiles, let alone for Jews.
(b) One of the same Amora'im explains that the mountain on which the Akeidas
Yitzchak took place is called 'Har ha'Mori'ah' because teaching went out
from it to Yisrael - as the Pasuk says in Yeshayah "Ki mi'Tzi'on Teitzei
(c) The other one says that it was called by that name - because it caused
the Nochrim to be afraid, when they saw the greatness of Yisrael.
(d) If, as some explain it, Har ha'Mori'ah refers to Har Sinai - then they
were afraid of the thunder and lightning that emanated from the mountain
when the Torah was given to Yisrael.
(a) If there is no Zaken present to say the 'humbling words', then a Chacham
says them. A Zakein means - an elder who is also a Chacham. If there is not
even a Chacham present - then it is a man of stature (who commands respect)
To prove that their Teshuvah was sincere, the people of Ninveh not only
returned all the articles that they had stolen, but they even pulled down
the house that contained a stolen beam, in order to return the stolen beam.
(b) The gist of the Musar given by the Zakein - is that it is not the sack-
cloth and ashes that count, but Teshuvah and good deeds.
(c) They bound the animals separately and their babies separately. They then
say to Hashem - that if Hashem does not have mercy on them, then they will
not have mercy on the animals.
(d) "va'Yikre'u el Elokim be'Chazkah" - they said to Him 'Ribono shel Olam,
if one person is unfortunate and the other, fortunate, if one can't and one
can, if one is a Tzadik and the other, a Rasha, who takes precedence?
(Surely it is the unfortunate, the one who is unable, the Rasha, who comes
first! - see Agados Maharsha.)
(a) Rav Ada bar Ahavah describes a person who confesses to having sinned but
does not relinquish the sin (i.e. he fails to return the stolen article) -
by comparing him to someone who Tovels in a Mikvah containing all the water
in the world with a dead Sheretz in his hand.
(b) He learns from the Pasuk in Mishlei "u'Modeh ve'Ozev Yerucham" and from
the Pasuk in Eichah "Nisa Levaveinu el Kapayim" - the importance of
following up one's confession with the appropriate action.
(c) If they had a choice of Chazen between a Zakein on the one hand, and
someone who was more conversant with the text of the Tefilah with the other
- they would choose the latter.
(a) According to Rebbi Yehudah, they looked for many additional qualities in
the Chazen. He needed to have many children and struggle to make ends meet -
because then he would Daven with all his heart.
(b) He also had to work hard (in the fields) - and he had to be humble.
(c) And he had to be well-liked, so that they would agree with his choice as
(d) A sweet and pleasant voice was important, too. And besides being fluent
in all the Berachos - he was also required to possess expertise in T'nach,
Medrash, Halachos and Agados, like Rav Yitzchak bar Ami.
(a) Having said that he struggled to make ends meet, Rebbi Yehudah adds 'his
house is empty' - meaning empty of sin.
(b) 'u'Pirko Na'eh' means - that even in his youth, he had done nothing that
(c) When Yirmiyahu ha'Navi writes " ... Nasnah Alai be'Kolah, Al-Kein
Seneisiha" - he is referring to a Shatz who goes 'down to the Teivah' even
though he is unworthy to fill that role (Rashi appears to have in his text
of the Gemara, that it refers to those who appoint such a Shatz, but that is
not how Rashi is quoted however, nor does our text condone this
(a) When they said 'Mi she'Anah es Avraham be'Har ha'Mori'ah Hu Ya'aneh
Eschem ve'Yishma Kol Tza'akaschem ha'Yom ha'Zeh' - the Berachah concluded
The Tana of the last Beraisa place what we have called until now 'the
conclusion' of the Berachah ('Mi she'Anah es Avraham ... ') literally at the
end of the Berachah (even after the people have answered 'Baruch Sheim ...
', whereas until now, the Tana'im placed it before 'Baruch Atah Hashem' -
because he is not referring to the Chazen, but to the Shamash, who repeated
'Mi she'Anah ... ' after the conclusion of the Berachah (see Rashash on
Rashi DH 'Chazan ha'Keneses').
(b) In the Beis Hamikdash, the same Berachah would end 'Baruch Hashem Elokei
Yisrael min ha'Olam ve'Ad ha'Olam (the standard text for every Berachah in
the Beis Hamikdash), Baruch ... Go'el Yisrael'. Everybody answered -
'Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso Le'olam Va'ed'.
(c) We learn from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Kumu Borchu es Hashem Elokeichem min ha'Olam ad ha'Olam" - that the
standard text of a Berachah in the Beis Hamikdash begins 'Baruch Hashem
Elokei Yisrael min ha'Olam Ad ha'Olam' (instead of 'Baruch Atah Hashem').
2. ... "vi'Yevarchu Sheim Kevodecha" - to answer in the Beis Hamikdash
'Baruch Shem ... ' (instead of 'Amen').
3. ... "u'Meromam al Kol Berachah u'Sehilah" - that each Berachah must begin
as in 1. (and not that the entire Tefilah is covered by one Berachah).
(a) We learned in our Mishnah that, according to Rebbi Yehudah, they did not
include Zichronos and Shofros among the six extra Berachos. In his
opinion, Zichronos and Shofros are only said on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kipur of
Yovel and in wartime.
(b) We learned this Din by Rosh Hashanah above (on Daf 16a - 'Say before Me
Malchiyos and Zichronos ... '), and on 26b., we learned that Yom Kipur of
Yovel has the same Din as Rosh Hashanah regarding Berachos (and Teki'ah).
Rashi does not know from where we learn that one says Berachos and Pesukim
of (Malchiyos - see Rashash) Zichronos and Shofros when going to war.