ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafTa'anis 21
TA'ANIS 21, 22 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi
publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael
(a) Ilfa and Rebbi Yochanan both decided to leave the Yeshivah to do business
- because they were both frightfully poor, and the Torah says in Re'ei "Efes
Ki Lo Yihyeh *Becha* Evyon", meaning that everyone is obligated to see to it
that *he* is not poor.
(b) When Rebbi Yochanan overheard one angel tell another that they could not
push the rickety wall (besides which Rebbi Yochanan and Ilfa were eating) on
them to kill them, because one of them was destined for greatness (and only
*he* heard, but not Ilfa), he decided to go back to Yeshivah, and fulfill the
other Pasuk in Re'ei "Ki Lo Yechdal Evyon Bekerev ha'Aretz".
(c) Rebbi Yochanan managed to survive as Rosh Yeshivah (in spite of his
poverty) - because it was customary to ensure that the leader became wealthy
(as we learned in Yuma with regard to the Kohen Gadol).
(d) When Ilfa returned to find that Rebbi Yochanan had been appointed Rosh
Yeshivah - he said that, had he remained and not gone off to do business,
then Rebbi Yochanan would not have been appointed Rosh Yeshivah (because *he*
(a) Ilfa referred to the Beraisos of Rebbi Chiya and Rebbi Oshaya, and not of
any other Amora'im - because they are the only Beraisos that are truly
(b) If a father leaves in his will ...
1. ... that his sons (between them) are to receive one Shekel per month,
then, should they actually need double (a Sela) - they receive double
(because it is obvious that that is what their father would have wanted, had
he known that that is what they need).
(c) The underlying principle of this Beraisa - is 'Mitzvah le'Kayeim Divrei
ha'Meis', and the author is Rebbi Meir, whose opinion this is?
2. ... that they are to receive *only* a Shekel - then they receive only a
Shekel, since, having stressed it, that is clearly what he wanted.
3. ... that his sons are to receive one Shekel per month, but he added that,
should they die, then so-and-so is to receive whatever remains - then, seeing
as he made a point of bequeathing what remains of the money to so-and-so, he
wants him to receive something at all costs. Consequently, to ensure that his
wishes are carried out, the sons cannot receive more than a Shekel.
(d) According to the Chachamim, once the sons inherit their father's money,
it belongs to them, and their father has no more say as to what happens to
it after his death.
(a) The legs of Nachum Ish Gamzu's bed were placed in bowls of water -
because in addition to being bed-ridden, his hands were cut off, in which
case, he would have been unable to remove the ants that would otherwise have
crawled over his body.
(b) He also had no legs, no eyesight and was covered with boils.
(c) This all happened to him - because once, when he was traveling to his
father-in-law's house with camel-loads of good things, he was too slow in
providing a poor man who approached him for help (perhaps he should have
jumped off the camel to help him, perhaps he should have torn open the sacks
of food or perhaps he should not have told him to wait until he unloaded the
sacks), and the man died before he had a chance to received help. He then
decreed that his eyes that did not have pity on the poor man's eyes, should
go blind, his hands that did not have pity on the poor man's hands, should be
cut off, his feet that did not have pity on the poor man's feet, should be
cut off. And he was not satisfied until he added that his whole body should
be covered in boils.
(d) When his disciples said in anguish 'Woe to us that we see you in this
state!' - he replied 'Woe to me if you would not see me in this state'!
(a) When his disciples planned to take his bed out of the rickety apartment
first and the vessels afterwards - he instructed them to reverse the order,
because he knew that, as long as he was in the house, it would not collapse.
(b) He was called by the title 'Ish Gamzu' - because whenever anything
unpleasant happened to him, he would say 'Gam Zu le'Tovah'.
(c) The Chachamim decided to send specifically Nachum Ish Gamzu to present
the Emperor with a gift - because he was accustomed to miracles (and they
realized the possible hazards that faced a person on such a trip to Rome).
(d) He arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box of earth, and not with the
jewels and precious stones with which he had set out - because the owners of
one of the inn where he stayed overnight decided to investigate what the box
contained whilst he slept. When they discovered what was in it, they emptied
it, and replaced its previous contents with earth from their garden.
(a) When the Emperor found the box to contain nothing but earth, he had
Nachum Ish Gamzu imprisoned. Nachum accepted this with his usual 'Gam Zu
le'Tovah' - and a miracle occurred, in the form of Eliyahu ha'Navi, who
suggested to the Emperor that this might be special earth from Avraham the
father of the Jews, who, during the battle against the four kings, threw
earth at them which turned into swords (and straw which turned into arrows).
When the Emperor tried it out on an enemy whom he had hitherto found
invincible, and he routed him, he set Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box
with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honor.
(b) When the owners of the inn realized what had happened - they demolished
their house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all
the earth on their property was special 'miracle earth'). But of course,
nothing happened with the earth that they brought, and the Emperor had them
killed for mocking him.
(a) We learned in our Mishnah that, if three people died on three consecutive
days in a town of five hundred inhabitants, that constitutes pestilence, and
one fasts and blows the Shofar immediately. In a town of fifteen hundred -
nine people would need to die on three consecutive days to constitute
(b) It is not considered pestilence if the same number of people died ...
(c) Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda decree a fast in a town of five hundred
residents when three people died in *one* day - because he held like Rebbi
Meir, who says that if an animal becomes a 'Mu'ad' when it gores three times
in *three* days, then how much more so will it become a Mu'ad if it does so
in *one* day! And the same logic will apply here (If it is called pestilence
when three people in a town of five hundred die in *three* days, then how
much more so when they die in *one* day!)
- ... in four days.
- ... in one day (according to the Tana of our Mishnah).
(a) When Rav Nachman bar Rav Ya'akov's invited Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak to
come and live in his town, he initially declined - because, he said, (if it
is matter of location) it is not the place that honors the man, but the man
that honors the place.
(b) When finally, he realized that it was not a matter of location with which
Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda was concerned, but one of finding a good Chaver,
he thought it preferable for *him* to go and live in *Rav Nachman bar
Ya'akov's* town rather than *Rav Nachman bar Ya'akov* come and live in *his*
- because, bearing in mind that a P'ras is half a Manah, it is better that a
Manah ben P'ras (his father, Yitzchak, who was not called Rav) to go to a
Manah the son of a Manah (Rav Chisda), than vice-versa.
(c) We prove that it is not the place that honors the 'person', but the
'person' that honors the place from ...
1. ... Har Sinai - because as long as the Shechinah was on the mountain, it
was forbidden even for an animal to ascend it; but the moment the Shechinah
departed (symbolized by the long Shofar blast), even a person was permitted
(d) The Shechinah finally left Har Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, to go and
dwell on the lid of the Aron in the Mishkan.
2. ... the Ohel Mo'ed - because, as long as the partitions were up,
Metzora'im and Zavim were forbidden to enter it; but the moment the
partitions were removed, they were permitted.
(a) The plague of pestilence that struck Sura did not affect the vicinity in
which Rav resided - on the merit of the man who used to lend out a hoe and a
shovel for burial purposes.
(b) It could not have been on the merits of Rav himself (as everyone
initially thought) - because Rav had far more merit than that (i.e. it would
have been a waste of a merit to use it for something so trivial.
(c) And it is for the same reason that the fire that raged in D'rukras, and
which did not affect the vicinity in which Rav Huna resided, could not have
been on account of the merits of Rav Huna. In fact, it was on the merits of
a woman - who used to heat her oven and then lend it out to her neighbors.
(a) Rav Yehudah decree a fast when ...
1. ... a plague of locusts arrived in the area, even before they had actually
done any harm - because, he maintained, it was obvious that they would devour
the crops, since who has ever heard of locusts bringing their provisions with
(b) The reason that Shmuel decreed a fast in Neherda'a because of a plague of
pestilence in Bei Chuza'a, even though the two were nowhere near each other -
was because there was no barrier that would prevent the plague from spreading
to Neherda'a (the full reason will become clear shortly - in d.).
2. ... a plague of pestilence began killing off the pigs, not because he
maintained that one decrees one species on account of another - but because,
due to the fact that pigs have similar stomachs to humans, a plague that
affects *them* is likely to affect humans too.
(c) Rav Nachman decreed a fast in Bavel when a plague of pestilence struck in
Eretz Yisrael - because when the mistress is smitten, the servant will
certainly be smitten, too.
(d) Evidently, if not for that reason, he would not have decreed a fast
(because we do not decree from one place to another). We reconcile this with
Shmuel, who (we just learned) decreed a fast in Neherda'a because of a plague
in Bei Chuza'a - by pointing out that there were caravans traveling between
Bei Chuza'a and Neherda'a (which was not the case between Bavel and Eretz
Yisrael in the time of Rav Nachman).
(a) Aba Umna (the blood-letter) merited a daily Divine greeting. this only
happened to ...
1. ... Abaye - every Erev Shabbos.
(b) Aba Umna gave ...
2. ... Rava - every Erev Yom Kipur.
1. ... women - special treatment, inasmuch as he would attach the blood-
letting horn that he used on them to a special garment, so as to ensure that
they were properly covered when he treated them.
(c) He treated the two Talmidei-Chachamim whom Abaye sent to him to test
him, royally. When they left the following morning, they put him to the test
by folding up the mat on which they had slept and taking it to market with
them. When they met Aba Umna there, they asked him to assess its price - to
see whether he would accuse them of stealing the mat, or whether he would
assess it for less than its price (it order to buy it back cheaply - though
it is not clear what would have been wrong with that, even if he had).
2. ... poor people - free treatment. This he did by placing the box into
which people put their payments in some obscure corner, so that nobody knew
who had payed and who had not.
3. ... Torah-scholars - free treatment and on top of that, a small sum of
money for them to go and recuperate.
(a) When the two Talmidei-Chachamim asked him to assess the value of his own
carpet - Aba Umna actually thought that they urgently needed the money to
redeem a captive and were too embarrassed to tell him.
(b) And when they told him that it was only a test, and that he could now
take his carpet back - he replied that he had already designate the mat for
Tzedakah, and that consequently, he could not now take it back.