POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
Prepared by Kollel Iyun Hadafdaf@dafyomi.co.il http://www.dafyomi.co.il
1) "MISHNAH:" EVENTS WHICH INVOKE THE FASTS (cont.)
(a) A city which suffered pestilence or collapsing buildings
sounds the Shofar and fasts, and the surrounding cities
fast but do not sound the Shofar.
1. (R. Akiva): The surrounding cities should sound the
Shofar but not fast.
(b) The procedure is begun in all cities if one city
experienced plagues on the produce, locusts, attacks of
wild animals, or invaders.
2. Pestilence is defined as a city that can produce 500
troops suffering three deaths in three days.
(c) The elders once decreed a fast because a quantity of crop
plague was seen in Ashkelon.
(d) A fast was once decreed because wolves ate two children
beyond the Yarden.
1. (R. Yosi): The wolves did not eat anyone; they were
(e) The procedure is begun even on Shabbos for a city
surrounded by troops or flooded, and for a storm-tossed
1. (R. Yosi): The Shofar is only sounded as a call for
aid, but not for prayer.
(f) (Shimon haTeimani): The procedure is also done for
(g) (Chachamim): This is not so.
(h) The procedure is done to remove all types of trouble,
except for too much rain.
1. Choni ha'Me'agel was asked to pray for rain, but was
(i) If the people were fasting and rain fell, theny they
should complete their fast only if it fell after dawn.
2. He stood in a circle and vowed not to move until
3. Originally it was too light; then too heavy; then
4. Even when enough had fallen, he refused to pray that it should stop.
5. Shimon b. Shetach sent a message that for anyone
else to do this would be wholy inappropriate, but
Choni was beloved Above like a child.
1. (R. Eliezer): They should complete their fast only
if it fell after midday.
2. Once, when the people were fasting in Lod, rain fell
before midday. R. Tarfon told them to eat and
celebrate, and they recited Hallel in the afternoon.
2) STARTING THE FASTING PROCESS
(a) Question: The Mishnah said that the procedure of fasting
applies to where the first rainfall did not occur; but a
Beraisa states that the first two rainfalls are to be
asked for, and only the third is to be fasted for!?
(b) Answer: The Mishnah means to say that it applies to where
the sequence of the first three rainfalls did not occur.
(c) The Mishnah continues that if the crops were malformed,
the procedure is begun immediately.
(d) (R. Nachman): This is only true if they were malformed,
but not if they were dry, as then there is no hope for
(e) Question: This is obvious - the Mishnah only spoke of
(f) Answer: It refers to where the seeds recovered so far as
to produce stalks.
1. One might have thought that this is enough of a sign
of recovery to justify fasting, so R. Nachman tells
us that it is still pointless.
3) DEARTH AND FAMINE
(a) The Mishnah said that if there was a cessation of rain
for forty days between rainfalls, the procedure is begun,
as it is a punishment of dearth.
1. This means that it is a punishment which leads to
(b) (R. Nachman): If a city lacks produce and has to import
it by river, it is dearth; if it has to be imported from
a different country, it is famine.
(c) (R. Chanina): If a Se'ah can be bought for a Sela and it
is common, this is dearth; if four Se'ah can be bought
for a Sela but it is not common, this is famine.
(d) (R. Yochanan): This refers to where currency is plentiful
and fruit is expensive; but if currency is expensive and
fruit is plentiful, the procedure is begun immediately.
1. "I remember when four Se'ah could be purchased for a
Sela, yet people were swollen from starvation in
Tiverya because there was no currency."
4) RAIN THAT IS SOMEWHAT BENEFICIAL
(a) The Mishnah said that the procedure is started
immediately if rain that benefits only plants, trees or
1. Rain that benefits plants but not trees is rain that
falls gently but not hard.
(b) Question: How is it possible to have rain that is good
for cisterns but not for plants and trees?
2. Rain that benefits trees but not plants is rain that
falls hard but not gently.
3. Rain that benefits plants and trees but not cisterns
is rain that falls both gently and hard but not in
(c) Answer: When it falls overly powerfully.
(d) (Beraisa): The procedure is begun even during Pesach if
rain had not fallen for trees.
1. It is begun even during Sukkos if rain had not
fallen for the cisterns.
(e) All these apply only to the place where they happened.
2. It is begun immediately if there is no drinking
i. "Immediately" means on the ensuing Monday,
Thursday and Monday.
(f) For Askara (croup) the procedure is done only if it is
(g) For Gubai-locusts the procedure is done even if for the
1. (R. Shimon b. Elazar): This is also true for
(h) (Beraisa): The procedure is done for trees in the first
six years of the Shemittah cycle alone; for cisterns,
even in Shemittah.
1. (R. Shimon b. Gamliel): It is done for trees even in
Shemittah, as the poor require them for their
2. Another Beraisa states similarly, referring to
5) THE PATTERN OF RAIN NOWADAYS
(a) (Beraisa): Since the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash,
the rains do not fall as freely.
(b) In some years they are plentiful, in others scarce; in
some years they fall in their proper time, in others not.
1. A year when they fall in their proper time is like a
servant being paid on Sunday; he has time to bake
his bread for Shabbos properly.
2. A year when they do not fall in their proper time is
like a servant being paid on Erev Shabbos; he does
not have time to bake his bread for Shabbos
3. A year with plentiful rain is like a servant
receiving his payment all in one go so that only one
lot of flour is absorbed by the mill (and similarly,
the rain-water is absorbed by the earth and the wind
4. A year when there is insufficient rain is like a
servant who receives his sustenance little by
little, so that each time he kneads, he loses more
flour (and so it is with the rain-water).
5. (Alternative metaphor): It is like a person mixing
cement; he needs ample water to mix it properly.
6) THE STORY OF NAKDIMON BEN GURYON
(a) (Beraisa): Once during the pilgrimage there was no
(b) Nakdimon b. Guryon borrowed twelve cisterns of water from
a Roman nobleman against twelve Kikar of silver if it was
not repaid by a certain day.
(c) When the morning of the given date arrived, then midday,
and then late afternoon, and no rain came, he kept
telling the Roman that there was still time.
(d) The Roman scoffed that if had not rained the whole year,
it certainly wouldn'y rain now.
(e) He happily went to the bathhouse while Nakdimon sadly
went to the Beis Hamikdash.
Index to Outlines for Maseches Ta'anis