How does the man de'amar who holds "agra de'ta'anisa tzedikutza" explain this daf which says the ikar is the fasting, not tzedaka
Dovid, Broooklyn, USA
The Maharsha asks your question. He explains that the statement "agra de'ta'anisa tzedikutza" (6b) means that the perfect fast is when one also gives tzedaka, but it does not mean the tzadaka is the main purpose.
Shalom Aleichem Rebbi, Yehi Noam Hashem Alav, Vi'ol Kol Haneelveem Eilav,
Greetings and well wishes with continued appreciation for your wonderful Kollel Iyun Hadaf.
Even according to any of the 4 approaches offered by the DAF. Insights to Berachos 32b regarding the comparison between charity and fasting, there still seems to remain an astonishing contradiction between R' Elazar's statement here (32b) and R' Elazar's statement on Bava Basra 9b. There, he declares that one who gives charity discreetly is greater than Moshe Rabbeinu (in terms of neutralizing wrath), for by Moshe Rabbeinu (who was fasting 40 days after the golden calf episode) Deuteronomy 9:19 says ki yagorti mipnei ha'af vihacheimah, whereas by discrete charity Proverbs 21:14 says mattan biseisser yichpeh af !
Thank you very kindly.
Shalom Spira, Montreal, Canada
To answer your question, it will suffice to say that the Gemara is merely comparing Moshe, who fasted and who did not give Tzedakah, because he was in Heaven, to someone who gives Tzedakah discreetly and who is not fasting.
I must admit though, that to give precedence to one act of Tzedakah be'Seiser over forty days of fasting, is remarkable. Why then, one may well ask, did Moshe take the trouble to fast forty days, when he could have done better by giving Tzedakah discreetly.
This does not, however, create a problem with the Gemara on Daf Vav, which is talking about a fixed fast-day. It is obvious that since there is an obligation to fast, one cannot replace this with Tzedakah; one can only improve the quality of the fast by giving Tzedakah as well. And the reason that Chazal fixed a fast-day (and not giving Tzedakah) seems to me to be because there is a time to fast and a time to give Tzedakah. The power of Tzedakah, as Shlomoh Hameleh said, is to dispel anger. Fasting on a Ta'anis comes to atone for the sin for which the calamity occurred, something which Tzedakah alone cannot do. In other words, Tzedakah atones for the present, fasting, for the past.
It seems to me that one can also differentiate between an individual, by whom Tzedakah takes precedence, and the community at large, in connection with whom fasting is more effective.
Either way, may I add another explanation to the Gemara on Daf 'Vav' (over and above the four of the Insights to the Daf).
According to what we just explained, a person is obligated to fast on a Ta'anis Tzibur. Only, even assuming that his motives are one hundred per cent pure, the fact remains that he benefits from the money that he saves, and that will inevitably detract from his reward. Therefore, Chazal said 'Agra de'Ta'anisa, Tzedakta', to teach us that if he uses the money that he gains for Tzedakah, his reward will be complete. This I think, is what the Maharsha means.