1) "THE DAY THE LULAV IS PUT TO REST" -- THE SEVENTH OR EIGHTH DAY?
QUESTION: RASHI (DH Ela Rebbi Yehoshua) quotes Rebbi Yehoshua in the Beraisa (2b) who says that the prayer of Gevuros Geshamim is recited in the Shemoneh Esreh "at the time when the Lulav is placed down" ("mi'She'as Hanachaso"). Rashi explains that this refers to the seventh day of Sukos, the last day on which the Lulav is held. This is Rashi's explanation in two other places as well (2b, DH mi'She'as Hanachaso, and 3a, DH ha'Amar mi'She'as Hanachaso).
At the end of Rashi's comment, however, he writes that according to the Gemara's conclusion, the Mishnah in Sukah (42b) -- which states that Nisuch ha'Mayim is performed all seven days of Sukos -- could be the opinion of Rebbi Yehoshua, who says that Gevuros Geshamim is mentioned "on the last day of Yom Tov." Rashi's words imply that Gevuros Geshamim is said only on the eighth day of the festival (Shemini Atzeres).
Rashi seems to contradict himself within the same comment. He first says that Rebbi Yehoshua (in the Beraisa) maintains that we begin to recite the prayer of Gevuros Geshamim on the seventh day, and later he says that we begin to recite it on the eighth day. How are Rashi's words to be reconciled? (KEREN ORAH)
Moreover, Rashi later (4a, DH Rebbi Yehoshua) writes that "the day on which the Lulav is placed down" means the eighth day of Sukos. He contradicts his words here, where he explains that the day on which the Lulav is placed down is the seventh day. (GEVURAS ARI and others)
(a) TOSFOS (2b, DH mi'She'as) explains that when Rebbi Yehoshua in the Beraisa says that we begin to recite Gevuros Geshamim "at the time when the Lulav is placed down," he refers to the eighth day. Support for Tosfos' explanation can be found in the Mishnah (2a) in which Rebbi Yehoshua himself states that the Hazkarah of Geshamim begins "on the last day of Yom Tov," which refers to the eighth day. It is logical that Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah and Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa would express the same opinion. Further support for Tosfos is found in the Yerushalmi which clearly says that the time of Hanachas Lulav refers to the day after the seventh day, since the entire seventh day is fit for the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Lulav.
This is the approach which Rashi himself follows in two of his comments (3a, DH Ela, and 4a, DH Rebbi Yehoshua) when he writes that the time of Hanachas Lulav is the eighth day. Why does Rashi here say that it refers to the seventh day?
RAV BETZALEL RENSBURG (2b, based on the MAHARSHA to 3a) suggests that when Rashi says "the seventh day" he does not refer to the day on which we begin to recite Gevuros Geshamim. Rather, he means that the seventh day is the last day of the Mitzvah of Lulav, and after that day (on the eighth) we begin to recite the Hazkarah.
(b) Although this explanation resolves the first two comments of Rashi in which he says that the time of Hanachas Lulav is the seventh day, Rav Betzalel Rensburg does not address the third comment of Rashi (3a, DH Ha Amar mi'She'as Hanachaso) in which Rashi clearly implies that the Hazkarah itself begins on the seventh day and not the eighth. Moreover, Rav Betzalel's explanation of Rashi does not conform with Tosfos' explanation which is based on the Yerushalmi, because according to the Yerushalmi the time of Hanachas Lulav is also the eighth day (as the Mitzvah of Lulav still applies throughout the seventh day). (It is unlikely that Rashi's intention is to suggest a new way to explain how the Beraisa refers to the eighth day of Sukos, counter to the Yerushalmi.)
The GEVURAS ARI (2b) explains that the "time of Hanachas Lulav" (according to the Bavli) indeed may refer to the seventh day (not like Tosfos says), and that Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa argues with Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah. He proves from the Gemara (end of 3a) that the two statements are in disagreement. The Gemara there asks whether Rebbi Yehudah was quoting Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah or Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa. The Gemara's question clearly implies that the two statements, both said in the name of Rebbi Yehoshua, express two different opinions.
He adduces further proof that the two statements disagree with each other from the Gemara earlier (beginning of 3a). The Gemara initially suggests that according to Rebbi Yehoshua, the Nisuch ha'Mayim should be performed on only one day during Sukos just as the Hazkarah of Geshamim is recited on only one day during Sukos. If Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa is of the same opinion as Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah and maintains that the Hazkarah begins on the eighth day (Shemini Atzeres), there is no proof that the Nisuch ha'Mayim should also be performed for only one day. The Gemara (at this point) assumes that Nisuch ha'Mayim is not performed on the eighth day. Hence, if the Hazkarah is on the eighth day, no conclusions can be drawn about Nisuch ha'Mayim from the Hazkarah of Geshamim. Rather, it must be that the Gemara's statement refers to the view of Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa, and the Gemara understands that he maintains that the Hazkarah is recited on the seventh day, and thus it is able to deduce that the Nisuch ha'Mayim is also done only on that day.
(Regarding how Tosfos answers these proofs against his explanation (that Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa and Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah are of the same opinion), the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM (#400) writes that Tosfos' text of the Gemara did not include the words, "Iy Rebbi Yehoshua Hi," and indeed there are manuscripts of the Gemara which do not have those words. The Dikdukei Sofrim writes at length to resolve the explanation of Tosfos through all of the Sugyos.)
These inferences in the Gemara are the source for Rashi's assertion (in the three places quoted above) that Rebbi Yehoshua maintains that the Hazkarah is recited on the seventh day of Sukos.
How, though, is the contradiction in Rashi's words to be resolved? What does Rashi mean when he says that the first time the Hazkarah is recited is the eighth day?
When Rashi here (end of DH Ela Rebbi Yehoshua) writes that the Mishnah -- which says that Nisuch ha'Mayim is performed all seven days -- follows the opinion of Rebbi Yehoshua who says that the Hazkarah is said on the last (eighth) day of the festival, he means that the Mishnah can follow both Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa and Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah. Nisuch ha'Mayim is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai and is not related to the Hazkarah of Geshamim. The Hazkarah is said at the end of Sukos because rain during the festival is a "Siman Kelalah," an ominous sign (28b). Nevertheless, the Hazkarah of Geshamim is mentioned on the last, or second to last, day because that late in the festival rain is no longer considered a "Siman Kelalah." When Rashi says that Rebbi Yehoshua maintains that the Hazkarah is said on the last day of Yom Tov (the eighth day), he refers to Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah because the Gemara at this point is discussing both Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah and Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa. At the beginning of his comments, Rashi mentions Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa because the Mishnah of Nisuch ha'Mayim could also follow the view expressed by Rebbi Yehoshua in the Beraisa. Rashi mentions the two different opinions of Rebbi Yehoshua because the Mishnah of Nisuch ha'Mayim can follow either one of them. (See Insights to Ta'anis 4:1 regarding Rashi's words there.)
2) WHEN TO MENTION "RU'ACH" AND "TAL" IN THE SHEMONEH ESREH
QUESTION: The Gemara says that there is no need to mention Tal (dew), Avim (clouds), and Ru'ach (wind) in the Shemoneh Esreh. Since they are things that are always present and do not stop, there is no need to make a special request for them. The Gemara adds that although there is no obligation to mention them, one is permitted to mention them. The Gemara implies that these three things were not mentioned in the Shemoneh Esreh in the times of the Gemara.
The common practice today, however, seems problematic.
1. Today, a common practice is to mention Tal in the summertime ("Morid ha'Tal") in the blessing of Gevuros ("Atah Gibor...") at the beginning of the Shemoneh Esreh, but not in the wintertime. In addition, the widespread practice is to mention Tal in the wintertime in the blessing of Birkas ha'Shanim ("v'Sen Tal u'Matar"). Sefardic Jews mention Tal in that blessing throughout the year ("... Talelei Verachah").
Why do we mention Tal at all when there is no obligation to do so? If we mention it because we are permitted to do so, why do we mention it only during specific times of the year?
2. We mention Ru'ach in the wintertime ("Mashiv ha'Ru'ach u'Morid ha'Geshem") in the beginning of the Shemoneh Esreh, but not in the summertime. Why?
3. We do not mention Avim at all. Why do we not mention Avim if we do mention Tal and Ru'ach, the mention of which is also optional?
(a) The RITVA offers an approach to explain the common practice based on the rule that anything which provides irreplaceable benefit to the world, even if it is not essential for the world's survival, is worthy of mention in the Shemoneh Esreh.
1. He explains that Tal is mentioned in the summertime merely because without its mention the blessing of "Atah Gibor" would seem to be lacking. Since we cannot mention Geshem in the summertime, we mention Tal.
In Birkas ha'Shanim (She'eilah), we mention Tal as a request to Hash-m to send dew of blessing ("v'Sen Tal... l'Verachah"). The Tal of blessing does not always come and therefore it is appropriate to ask for it in the Shemoneh Esreh. In the wintertime, no mention of Tal is made in the Hazkarah of Geshamim because the Gevurah of Hash-m is not recognizable in Tal, for both types of Tal (Tal of blessing and Tal which is not of blessing) look exactly the same. (The element of blessing in Tal is spiritual.)
2. No mention of (Hazkarah) or request for (She'eilah) Ru'ach is made in the summertime because the main benefit of the Ru'ach is when it accompanies the rain. Since no mention or request is made for rain in the summertime, no mention or request for Ru'ach is made either.
The reason why we mention Ru'ach in the winter, even though Ru'ach is something that does not stop, is because a specific type of Ru'ach -- a "Ru'ach she'Einah Metzuyah," a strong type of wind, is needed for the winnowing of the grains. This type of wind is uncommon. Although the Gemara says that we do not have to mention it in the Shemoneh Esreh since it is not absolutely necessary (for other instruments can be used for the winnowing of the grains), we still mention it because it is beneficial in two ways. First, such wind brings the rains (see also Rashi to 3a, DH l'Fi she'Einan). Second, such wind causes the grass and vegetation to grow. Therefore, even though we are not obligated to mention something which is not essential to the world, we mention something which is beneficial and which has no substitute. We mention Ru'ach only in the wintertime because only then do we benefit from it in these two ways.
3. Clouds are beneficial only when they accompany rain (as the Gemara says at the end of the Daf when it describes the clouds that follow rain). Therefore, we do not mention clouds in the summertime when we do not ask for rain. Why, though, do we not mention clouds in the wintertime, if clouds are beneficial when they accompany the rain?
The Ritva explains that clouds enhance the rain only when the rain is a poor, weak rain. If the rain is heavy and strong, the clouds do not enhance it at all. (The Gemara later continues and says that after a strong rain, "sun that follows the rain is beneficial....") Since we pray for heavy rains, we do not ask for clouds. The type of rain which the clouds benefit is not the type of rain for which we pray.
(b) The RAN suggests a different approach. He says that the general principle is that we pray for anything which provides benefit to the world, even though there is no obligation to pray for it.
1. We mention Tal in the summertime in Hazkarah and in wintertime in She'eilah. We do not mention Tal in Hazkarah in the wintertime only because of the necessity to emphasize the mention of and request for rain, which is something for which we are obligated to pray.
2. We mention Ru'ach in the wintertime in Hazkarah because, as mentioned above, we pray for whatever is beneficial to the world. We omit it from She'eilah in order to give emphasis to the request for rain.
Why do we not mention Ru'ach in the summertime at all? The Ran answers that Ru'ach is something which we do not need at all in the summer. It is beneficial only in the winter, when it is needed to dry the soil.
3. We do not mention clouds at all, even though they are beneficial in the wintertime when they accompany rain, because most people do not recognize the benefit of clouds and thus mention of clouds in the Shemoneh Esreh will appear out of place.
3) HALACHAH: "MORID HA'GESHEM" OR "MORID HA'GASHEM"?
QUESTION: In the wintertime Shemoneh Esreh, we mention the praise of Hash-m Who brings rain -- "Morid ha'Geshem" -- in the blessing of Gevuros ("Atah Gibor..."). The custom among Sefardic Jews (Edot ha'Mizrach), as well as those who pray according to Nusach Sefard (such as Chasidim), is to mention "Morid ha'Tal" in the summertime in the blessing of Gevuros (see previous Insight). This is also the custom in Eretz Yisrael, based on the practice of the Vilna Ga'on and the Ba'al ha'Tanya. Most other Ashkenazic communities (outside of Eretz Yisrael) do not make this addition in the Shemoneh Esreh in the summertime.
Many Sidurim vowelize the word "Morid ha'*Geshem*" with a Segol (the "eh" sound) and not "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz (the "aw" or "ah" sound). This seems grammatically correct, because only at the end of a sentence (or at the semi-sentence break marked by an Esnachta) is the Segol under the Gimel replaced by a Kamatz. The words "Morid ha'Geshem" are in the middle of a sentence in the Shemoneh Esreh, and thus the word "ha'Geshem" should retain its Segol. The fact that the word "ha'Geshem" does not mark the end or pause in a sentence is evident from the words of the TUR (OC 114). The Tur writes that the reason why we recite "Morid ha'Geshem" immediately before the words "Mechalkel Chayim" (and not at another point in the blessing) is because rain is also a form of Kalkalah (sustenance) and Parnasah (livelihood). Hence, the mention of rain is the beginning of the passage which mentions Kalkalah, and it is not the end of the previous passage ("Atah Gibor...").
However, there is an apparent inconsistency in the Sidurim. In most Sidurim which include the text "Morid ha'Tal" (for the summertime), the word "Tal" is spelled with a Kamatz (pronounced "ha'Tawl" in the Ashkenazic pronunciation) and not with a Patach ("ha'Tahl"). According to the rules of grammar, the word should have a Patach and not a Kamatz since it comes in the middle of a sentence and not at the end. When the word "Tal" appears in the Torah, the letter "Tes" usually is vowelized with a Patach, which changes to a Kamatz only when it is at the end of a sentence or at a pause marked by an Esnachta (see, for example, Shemos 11:9, Devarim 32:2). Since "Morid ha'Tal" is recited in place of "Morid ha'Geshem" and is in the middle of a sentence, why is the word "Tal" spelled with a Kamatz and not a Patach? If the Sidurim consider "Morid ha'Tal" (with a Kamatz") to be the end of the sentence, why do they not spell "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz as well?
(a) RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (IGROS MOSHE OC 4:40) writes that the Kamatz of "Tal" is correct because this phrase is indeed at the end of the sentence (as many Sidurim place a period after "Morid ha'Tal"). Accordingly, it is proper to say "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz as well, in contrast to the spelling in many Sidurim. Such an opinion is cited by the LIKUTEI MAHARICH. This is the way the word is punctuated ("ha'Gashem") in the authoritative Redelheim Sidur.
(b) Others, however, point out that the text of "ha'Geshem" (with a Segol) appears in all early Sidurim, of all Jewish communities, as well as most current Sidurim (except for those based on the Redelheim Sidur). Moreover, as mentioned above, the logical flow of the sentence clearly indicates that "Morid ha'Geshem" is not the end of the sentence (regardless of whether or not the printer placed a period there). According to SEFER MECHALKEL CHAYIM, Rav Moshe Feinstein himself retracted his opinion. Why, then, do most Sidurim spell "ha'Tal" with a Kamatz and not a Patach?
The author of SEFER SHA'AR HA'KOLEL, printed in the back of the SHULCHAN ARUCH HA'RAV (who explains the Nusach of the Sidur of the Ba'al ha'Tanya) suggests that the word "Tal" is spelled with a Kamatz because it is not part of the regular text of the Shemoneh Esreh as established by the Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah (as indicated by the fact that many Ashkenazic communities do not say it, and the Gemara says that it is not obligatory). Rather, it was added to the text of the Shemoneh Esreh by the Mekubalim. As such, it is a separate insertion that stands by itself and is not part of the phrase that follows, and therefore it has a Kamatz and not a Patach.
(c) RAV YAKOV KAMINETZKY zt'l (IYUNIM B'MIKRA, p. 26) suggests that "Morid ha'Geshem" is part of the sentence which continues with "Mechalkel Chayim," as the TUR says, because rain brings Kalkalah and Parnasah. In contrast, the words "Morid ha'Tal" do not refer to the Parnasah-providing elements of dew. Rather, they refer to the Tal of Techiyas ha'Mesim, the Tal which will resurrect the dead. It is mentioned at this point because it follows the phrase "Mechayeh Mesim Atah Rav l'Hoshi'a." As such, it is actually a continuation of the previous sentence and it does not flow into the following sentence. Therefore, it is appropriate to pause after "Morid ha'Tal" before the phrase "Mechalkel Chayim," which discusses a different topic. Accordingly, "Morid ha'Tal" is the end of the previous sentence which discusses Techiyas ha'Mesim, while "Morid ha'Geshem" flows into the following sentence which discusses Parnasah! (Even though the verse in Tehilim 68:10 refers to "Geshem Techiyah" (see Targum there), that is not the Geshem to which we refer in the Shemoneh Esreh.)
(d) Grammarians point out that this may not be an inconsistency at all. Although the Segol of "Geshem" becomes a Kamatz only when the word completes a sentence or a clause (either at the end of a verse or at an Esnachta pause), the Patach of "Tal" is different. It becomes a Kamatz even at a "semi-stop," such as when the word "Tal" has the cantillation "Zakef-Katan" (see, for example, Shemos 16:13 and Devarim 33:13). (It is easier to turn a Patach into a Kamatz than a Segol into a Kamatz.) Since a slight pause (a "comma") follows the words "Morid ha'Tal" in the blessing, even though it is not a full stop the word "Tal" acquires a Kamatz.
(It is also possible that the pronunciation of the word in rabbinical texts may differ slightly from the Biblical pronunciation. Perhaps in the times of the Mishnah, the word "Tal" was commonly pronounced with a Kamatz, like "Par" or "Har," unless it was associated with the word that followed it, such as "Tal ha'Shamayim" or "Tal Techiyah.")