ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) Rava compares a Tzurva d'Rabanan to grains below the surface of the ground - inasmuch as, like grains, which, once they begin to sprout, do not stop until they have grown completely, so too, the budding Talmid-Chacham, once he starts to make a name for himself, he will continue to grow until he reaches the top.
1. Rava says that when a Tzurva d'Rabanan becomes angry - it is due to the Torah that he has acquired, which is compared to fire. Consequently, one should take this into account and judge him favorably ('Dan l'Kaf Zechus').
2. Rav Ashi says - that a Talmid-Chacham who is not hard like iron is not a Talmid-Chacham (this probably means that he is intolerant of evil - see next answer) .
1. Rav Ashi learns from the Pasuk in Yirmeyahu "u'che'Patish Yefotzetz Sela" - that a Talmid-Chacham should be hard like iron that breaks up the rock (symbolizing the powers of evil) into fragments.
2. Ravina learns from the Pasuk in Koheles "v'Haser Ka'as mi'Libcha - that, in spite of that, he should train himself to overcome the evil characteristic of anger.
(a) Eliezer Eved Avraham, Shaul ben Kish and Yiftach ha'Giladi - all made requests or promises that were potentially harmful due to their ambiguity.
1. Eliezer - prayed to Hash-m to send a Shiduch for Yitzchak, in the form of whichever girl responds to his request for water, by watering him and his camels. Now what if she had been lame or blind (see Tosfos DH 'Yachol')!?
2. Shaul - declared that whoever would kill Goli'as would, in addition to other rewards, receive his daughter's hand in marriage. What if he would be a slave or a Mamzer!?
3. Yiftach - made a vow that, if he won the war against Midian, then, upon his return, he would give to Hash-m, the first one to leave the doors of his house to meet him. And what if it would be a non-Kasher animal!?
(c) The Pasuk in Yirmeyahu "ha'Tzari Ein b'Gilad, ha'Rofei Ein Sham" - refers to Pinchas ha'Kohen, who was the Gadol ha'Dor ...
(d) ... to whom Yiftach should therefore have turned to release his vow ...
(e) ... but he waited for Pinchas to come to him. Similarly, when Pinchas saw Yiftach's predicament, he should have taken the initiative to go to Yiftach. Instead, he too, waited for Yiftach to come to him. And so between the two of them, Yiftach's daughter died.
(a) Another Pasuk in Yirmeyahu writes ...
1. ... "Asher Lo Tzivisi", with reference to Meisha King of Mo'av, who sacrificed his first-born son, albeit in the Name of Hash-m (according to one opinion in Sanhedrin).
2. ... "v'Lo Dibarti" - with reference to the above episode of Yiftach. From the fact that Hash-m complained about Yiftach and Pinchas, we see that He was dissatisfied with what Yiftach did. (Note: The Tanchuma switches "Asher Lo Tzivisi" and "v'Lo Dibarti", because it is to Yiftach (a Jew) that Hash-m issued commandments (though not this particular one), not to Meisha (a Nochri).
3. ... "v'Lo Alsah al Libi" - with reference to Akeidas Yitzchak, which Hash-m never intended Avraham to carry through to the end (only as a test, to see how far he was willing to go).
(b) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni Amar Rebbi Yonasan did not include in his list ...
1. ... Kalev, who promised his daughter to whoever would capture Kiryas Sefer (implying even a slave, even a Mamzer!) - because he explains the capture of Kiryas Sefer as a reference to the restoration of the three thousand Halachos that were forgotten during the mourning period of Moshe Rabeinu.
2. ... Gidon, who asked Hash-m to remove dew from the earth for a whole night - because dew not falling for one night cannot cause much harm.
(a) According to Rebbi Berechyah, Klal Yisrael did not ask correctly, either. In their quest to know Him, they asked that He should come to them like rain - but rain is not always needed (as we learned earlier, in the summer, it is a sign of curse).
(b) Hash-m therefore answered them - that He would be for them (not like rain, but) like dew, which is always needed.
(c) Asking Hash-m to place them like a seal next to His heart on His arm was not a wise request either - because that is a part of the body which is not always visible (when a person is dressed, one does not see his arm next to the heart), implying that Hash-m would not always see their troubles.
(d) Hash-m answered them - that He would place them like a seal on the palm of His Hand (a spot which is always visible).
(a) We learned in our Mishnah that one only asks for rain close to the rain season. According to the initial theory that the Tana of our Mishnah is referring to 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' - Rava establishes the author as Rebbi Yehoshua, because he is the Tana who holds in the Beraisa that we mention rain as soon as we put down the Lulav (and not earlier).
(b) Abaye however explains - that when the Tana says 'asks for rain', that is exactly what he means. Consequently, the author could even be Rebbi Eliezer, who will agree that, although one mentions rain from the beginning of Sukos, one only actually asks for it closer to the rain season.
(a) According to Rebbi Meir in the next Mishnah, one continues to ask for rain until the end of Nisan. Rebbi Yehudah says - only until the end of Pesach.
(b) Rebbi Yehudah seemingly contradicts his ruling in the first Mishnah - where he said that the Ba'al Musaf on the first day of Pesach no longer says 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach ... '.
(c) Rav Chisda tries to reconcile Rebbi Yehudah's two statements by differentiating between asking for rain (until the end of Nisan) and just mentioning it (which one stops already at Musaf of the first day). Ula however, describes Rav Chisda's words as being "like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes" - because, if, when one does not yet ask for rain (on Shemini Atzeres - since Birchas ha'Shanim is not said), one nevertheless mentions it, how much more so when one does ask, that one should also mention it.
(d) Ula therefore reconciles Rebbi Yehudah's two statements - by establishing a Machlokes Tana'im in what Rebbi Yehudah actually said.
(a) Rav Yosef tries to answer that when Rebbi Yehudah in the next Mishnah says that one asks for rain 'Ad she'Ya'avor Pesach', he means until the first Shatz (the Ba'al Shacharis) passes before the Amud on the first day of Pesach. Abaye objects to ...
1. ... that answer on the grounds - that one does not say Birchas ha'Shanim on the first day of Pesach, so how can the Ba'al Shacharis ask for rain then?!
2. ...the suggestion that it is the translator who asks for rain - because, he contends, why would the translator ask for something that the community does not need.
(b) Rabah answers that by 'after Pesach', Rebbi Yehudah means until after the time of the Shechitas ha'Pesach, in which case, one would stop ...
1. ... asking for rain - as from Minchah of Erev Pesach (when he would no longer ask for it in Birchas ha'Shanim).
2. ... mentioning rain - as from Shacharis on the first day of Pesach.
(c) Abaye however, refutes that answer too (leaving us with only the answer of Ula to reconcile Rebbi Yehudah's two statements) - because what is the point of mentioning rain if we are no longer going to ask for it (seeing as the mention of rain is a sort of prelude to asking for it; it may well precede it, like it does on Shemini Atzeres, but it is pointless to mention it once one no longer asks for it).
(a) According to the Tana Kama in a Mishnah later, one begins to ask for rain on the third of Mar-Cheshvan - Raban Gamliel says on the seventh.
(b) Rebbi Elazar rules - like Raban Gamliel.
(c) We ask on this from Rebbi Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan, who rules like Rebbi Yehudah (that one begins mentioning rain at Musaf of Shemini Atzeres at the first possible opportunity - immediately after the Chag). Rebbi Asi refutes the Kashya because of 'Gavra a'Gavra ka'Ramis' (How can one ask from one Amora on to another?)!
(d) We initially tried to reconcile Rebbi Elazar's ruling with that of Rebbi Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan - by establishing the former with regard to asking for rain (which we begin on the seventh of Mar-Cheshvan [like Raban Gamliel]), and the latter with regard to mentioning it (which we begin at Musaf of Shemini Atzeres [like Rebbi Yehudah]).
(a) We refute the previous explanation on the basis of Rebbi Yochanan, who said 'be'Makom she'Sho'el, Mazkir', which we know, he said with regard to Tishrei as well as to Nisan - because, in another statement, he specifically said that when one begins to mention one begins to ask, and when one stops asking, one stops mentioning.
(b) So we reconcile Rebbi Elazar's ruling with that of Rebbi Yochanan like Raban Gamliel, with the words 'Ha Lan, Ha Lehu' - meaning that Rebbi Yochanan was referring to the Bnei Bavel, who had produce and fruit lying in the fields for the entire month of Tishrei. Therefore one only begins mentioning rain as well as asking for it, on the seventh of Mar-Cheshvan (when rain will no longer be a threat to them). Whereas Rav Yehudah Amar Rav is speaking about the Bnei Eretz Yisrael, who gather their fruit into the barn in the month of Tishrei. They can therefore begin mentioning rain already on Shemini Atzeres. In effect, the two Amora'im are not arguing.
(c) Even if it were to rain, the Bnei Eretz Yisrael would have no problem with the people going home after Yom Tov (like the Bnei Bavel with the fruit in their fields) - because Rav Yehudah Amar Rav's ruling refers to after the Churban Beis-Hamikdash, when they has not visited the Beis-Hamikdash.
(d) In that case, we conclude, we may as well establish both rulings even by the Bnei Eretz Yisrael - only Rebbi Yochanan is referring to the time of when the Beis-Hamikdash stood.
(a) Rav maintains that, according to Rebbi Yehudah, in Chutz la'Aretz, one begins to say 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' at Musaf of Shemini Atzeres, and stops at Minchah, to start saying it permanently on Simchas Torah. Shmuel objects on the grounds that - once one has declared Shemini Atzeres, Kodesh (the eighth day, by saying Mashiv ha'Ruach at Musaf), how can retract and call it Chol (by not reciting it at Minchah, as if it was the seventh day)?
(b) According to Shmuel, one therefore says 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach' at Minchah too, and then stop saying it from Ma'ariv of Simchas Torah until Musaf (in the same way as they did on Shemini Atzeres).
(c) Rava however, concludes, that once one has begun saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach', one does not stop. Consequently, they begin saying it at Musaf of Shemini Atzeres and continue saying it until Pesach.
(d) Rav finally retracts from his initial ruling. He now holds - that one counts twenty-one days from Rosh Hashanah (i.e. until Hashanah Rabah and then one begins saying 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach'), and, having begun, one does not stop.