1) ASKING FOR RAIN "NEAR THE TIME OF THE RAINS"
QUESTION: The Mishnah (2a) states that "we ask (Sho'alin) for rain only near the time of the rains." The Gemara initially assumes that "She'eilah," the request for rain, is the same as "Hazkarah" (the mention of "Morid ha'Geshem" in the beginning of Shemoneh Esreh), and thus the Mishnah is saying that "Morid ha'Geshem" is recited only near the time of the rains. The Gemara reasons that this statement of the Mishnah must have been made by Rebbi Yehoshua, who says that the Hazkarah of rain is recited from the time that the Lulav is placed down (on the seventh day of Sukos), because that day is near the season in which the fields need rain (which begins right after the festival).
If the Gemara is looking for a Tana who maintains that the Hazkarah is recited near the time when rain is needed, why does it quote the statement of Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa (on 2b), who says that the Hazkarah is said at the time the Lulav is placed down? The Gemara instead should quote the words of Rebbi Yehoshua mentioned earlier in this Mishnah (2a), who says that we begin to recite the Hazkarah on Shemini Atzeres. That day clearly is near the time when rain is needed! Why does the Gemara go out of its way to quote an opinion from a Beraisa?
(a) The GEVURAS ARI explains that Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa argues with Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah (as mentioned in Insights to Ta'anis 3:1) and maintains that the Hazkarah of "Morid ha'Geshem" begins on the seventh day and not the eighth day, Shemini Atzeres. When the Mishnah says that the Hazkarah begins "near the time of the rains," it implies that we are to begin reciting the Hazkarah for rain before the rains are needed. The rains are needed from Shemini Atzeres and onwards, when people no longer sit in the Sukah. Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah, however, maintains that the Hazkarah begins on the eighth day (on Shemini Atzeres), and thus the Mishnah should not say that we mention rain in the Shemoneh Esreh "near the time of the rains." The Hazkarah begins on the day that rain is needed, and not before ("near") the time it is needed. Therefore, the Gemara understands that the words of this Mishnah, "near the time of the rains," allude to a different opinion -- that of Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa, who says that the Hazkarah begins on the seventh day, when people still sit in the Sukah and the rain is not yet needed.
The NETZIV suggests that this may be Rashi's intention here as well. Rashi says that the time of placing down the Lulav is "the eighth day." Rashi seems to contradict what he writes earlier (2b and 3a), that the time of Hanachas Lulav is the seventh day. Why does he write here that it is the eighth day? The answer is that when Rashi says the eighth day, he is not referring to the time of Hanachas Lulav; rather, he is explaining when the time of the rains arrives. (According to this explanation, however, the words "d'Hainu Yom Shemini" should be three words later, after the words "Samuch l'Geshamim," and not before them.)
(b) As the words of Rashi appear in our texts, Rashi (when he mentions the eighth day) does not seem to refer to the time when rain is needed but to the time of Hanachas Lulav. How are the words of Rashi here to be reconciled with the words of Rashi earlier, where he says that the time of Hanachas Lulav is the seventh day?
Perhaps Rashi understands that when Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa mentions the time of Hanachas Lulav, he indeed refers to the seventh day (see proof for this assertion in Insights to Ta'anis 3:1). The Gemara here, however, uses the phrase "mi'She'as Hanachaso" the way the Yerushalmi uses it -- to describe the eighth day. The Gemara here is referring to Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah (as it is discussing a statement from the Mishnah) and not to Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa. Therefore, Rashi's words here do not contradict what he writes earlier. Rather, Rashi explains that the Gemara here uses the phrase "mi'She'as Hanachaso" in a different way than usual.
Why does the Gemara use these words to refer to the eighth day, and it does not say simply "the last day of Yom Tov" (as Rebbi Yehoshua says in the Mishnah)? The answer may be that the Gemara wants to explain why the eighth day is considered "near the time of the rains," the time when rain is needed. The Gemara explains that the fact that the Lulav is no longer held indicates that the Mitzvos of Sukos have passed, including the Mitzvah to live in the Sukah. Since there is no longer a Mitzvah to live in the Sukah, the time is fit for the rains to fall. (See DIKDUKEI SOFRIM 3a, footnote 400.)
(c) RABEINU CHANANEL, RABEINU GERSHOM, and the RITVA have an entirely different understanding of the Gemara. They understand that the inference of the Gemara is not that the Hazkarah for rain begins near the time that rain is needed, but rather the recitation of both the She'eilah and the Hazkarah begin on the same day. Since the Mishnah mentions the Halachah of the Hazkarah near the Halachah of the She'eilah (the petition for rain), it implies that both begin on the same day.
According to this explanation, the Mishnah cannot follow the opinion expressed earlier in the Mishnah by Rebbi Yehoshua, or the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer of the Mishnah. According to both views, the first time the Hazkarah is mentioned is on Yom Tov (either the first day of Yom Tov or the last day), but She'eilah is not said on Yom Tov at all. Therefore, the Gemara says that the Mishnah must follow the view of Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa, who says that the first day on which the Hazkarah is mentioned is the seventh day of Sukos, which is Chol ha'Mo'ed (Hoshanah Rabah), when the weekday Shemoneh Esreh is recited and thus it is possible to insert the She'eilah for rain into the Shemoneh Esreh on that day.
(d) The GILYON HA'SHAS quotes the SEFER HA'MACHRI'A of the RI'AZ who omits the words "mi'She'as Hanachaso" from the Gemara because of this problem. According to his Girsa, the Gemara indeed refers to Rebbi Yehoshua of the Mishnah.
2) "HAZKARAH" AS A "RITZUY" FOR "SHE'EILAH"
QUESTION: The Gemara points out a contradiction in the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah. In the first Mishnah (2a), Rebbi Yehudah says that we stop reciting the Hazkarah for rain at Musaf on the first day of Pesach. In the next Mishnah (5a), however, Rebbi Yehudah says that we ask for rain "until Pesach passes," and since we ask for rain ("She'eilah") through Pesach, certainly we also recite the Hazkarah for rain through Pesach (since the Hazkarah is said even when She'eilah is not said (on the last Yom Tov of Sukos)).
The Gemara gives several answers to resolve this contradiction. Rabah answers that when Rebbi Yehudah in the second Mishnah says that we ask for rain until Pesach passes, he means until the time of Shechitas ha'Pesach (the slaughtering of the Korban Pesach) passes, which is the day before Pesach. He is saying that Erev Pesach is when we stop asking for rain. The Hazkarah, however, continues through Shacharis of the first day of Yom Tov, even though the She'eilah stopped the day before.
Abaye challenges Rabah's answer and says that there is no point in reciting the Hazkarah once the She'eilah is no longer recited. The purpose of the Hazkarah is to serve as a Ritzuy, a praise of appeasement to Hash-m, before we recite the She'eilah in which we ask Hash-m to send rain. If we are not going to recite the She'eilah and ask Hash-m to send rain, there is no point in reciting the Hazkarah.
From a simple reading of the Gemara, it seems that when Rabah suggests that She'eilah stops after Erev Pesach, he means that She'eilah is said until Ma'ariv of the night following Erev Pesach (that is, Ma'ariv of the first day of Yom Tov Pesach), while the Hazkarah continues until the following morning. This indeed is how RABEINU GERSHOM and RABEINU CHANANEL explain the Gemara.
However, RASHI (DH Ad she'Ya'avor) explains that Rabah means that She'eilah stops after Shacharis of Erev Pesach. At Minchah of Erev Pesach we no longer recite She'eilah.
Why does Rashi not explain simply that She'eilah continues through Minchah of Erev Pesach and stops only at Ma'ariv? Why should She'eilah stop at Minchah of Erev Pesach? (GEVURAS ARI)
(a) The GEVURAS ARI explains that Rashi understands that Rabah cannot mean that She'eilah is recited at Minchah of Erev Pesach, because if that is what he means, then how does Rabah understand Rebbi Yehudah's statement that She'eilah is said "until Pesach (i.e. Shechitas ha'Pesach) passes"? According to Rabah, Rebbi Yehudah should have said simply, "Until the first day of Yom Tov Pesach." Why did Rebbi Yehudah establish the time of the Korban Pesach, and not the day of Yom Tov itself, as the reference for when to stop reciting She'eilah? It must be that Rebbi Yehudah meant that we stop reciting She'eilah even before Yom Tov arrives -- at Minchah of Erev Pesach.
(b) How does the Hazkarah serve as a "Ritzuy" (praise of appeasement) for the She'eilah? There are two ways to understand it. It could be that the Hazkarah is a preparatory praise which must be recited before the She'eilah is recited at a later time. Accordingly, it is necessary to recite the Hazkarah a day before the She'eilah.
Alternatively, it could be that the Hazkarah is a Ritzuy for the She'eilah that will be recited at the same time -- that is, on the same day as the She'eilah is recited. It serves as a Ritzuy because it is recited in the Shemoneh Esreh before the She'eilah is recited.
If the correct understanding of Ritzuy is that the Hazkarah is a Ritzuy for the She'eilah of the same day, then what is the point of saying the Hazkarah on Yom Tov or on Shabbos when no She'eilah is recited? The answer is that if it is a day on which rain is needed, even though no She'eilah is recited on that day (because it is Yom Tov or Shabbos) we nevertheless recite the Hazkarah as a Ritzuy for the potential She'eilah of that day.
(Proof for the second way of understanding the Ritzuy of Hazkarah can be adduced from Rebbi Yehudah's statement in the first Mishnah (2a). Rebbi Yehudah states that the Hazkarah is recited until (and including) Shacharis of the first day of Pesach, even though the She'eilah is recited only until the previous day (according to Ula's understanding of Rebbi Yehudah in the Mishnah). If the first explanation is correct and the Ritzuy of Hazkarah is for the She'eilah of the next day, then what is the point of saying the Hazkarah on the first day of Pesach when there will be no She'eilah the next day? It must be that the Hazkarah is a Ritzuy for the She'eilah of the same day, and for a potential She'eilah, such as when no actual She'eilah is recited because of Yom Tov or Shabbos.
The Gemara here also provides support for the second explanation. If the Hazkarah is a Ritzuy because it is a preparation for the She'eilah of the next day, then the Gemara's Kal v'Chomer does not make sense. It is logical that the recitation of the Hazkarah should start the day before She'eilah starts and end the day before She'eilah ends, because on the last day of She'eilah there is no need for a Ritzuy for the next day, and the She'eilah of today has Ritzuy from the Hazkarah that was recited yesterday. According to the second explanation of Ritzuy, however, the Gemara makes sense. The Gemara's Kal v'Chomer is that since the Hazkarah is a Ritzuy for the potential to say She'eilah on Yom Tov, if the Hazkarah is recited on Yom Tov (Sukos) even though the She'eilah does not actually begin until after Yom Tov, then certainly the Ritzuy should be recited on a day on which She'eilah is recited.)
If this is correct (that a Ritzuy may be said for the potential to say She'eilah), then what is the Gemara's question on Rabah when it asks that there is no point in saying a Ritzuy of Hazkarah when there is no She'eilah on the first day of Yom Tov? This is not a question, because the first day of Yom Tov is a day that potentially has She'eilah since it is a day on which rain is still needed. The only reason why the She'eilah is not said is because the day is Yom Tov and personal requests (such as a request for rain) are not made on Yom Tov. It is logical that the Hazkarah be recited because, in theory, it is still a time of She'eilah. What, then, is the Gemara's question on Rabah?
From the fact that the Gemara says that there is no need for Ritzuy on Yom Tov, it must be that Rabah maintains that Yom Tov is not a time of potential She'eilah, since the recitation of She'eilah already ended before Yom Tov. For that reason, Rashi says that the recitation of She'eilah ends at Minchah before Yom Tov. By the time the Hazkarah is recited, it is no longer a time fit for She'eilah.
According to the explanation of RABEINU GERSHOM and RABEINU CHANANEL, why is Ula's answer for Rebbi Yehudah better than Rabah's answer? According to Ula as well, Ritzuy is still being recited on a day when no She'eilah is recited (or will be recited)! Rabeinu Gershom explains that although the Gemara concludes like Ula (that the two Mishnayos argue about the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah), the first Mishnah (2a) maintains that She'eilah is recited on the first day of Chol ha'Mo'ed Pesach, and that is why Ritzuy is said on the first day of Pesach -- it is for the She'eilah of the following day.
When the Gemara proves that whenever She'eilah is recited Hazkarah is also recited from the fact that the recitation of Hazkarah begins even when She'eilah is not yet recited, it does not mean that Hazkarah must be recited on every day on which She'eilah is recited, including the last day of She'eilah. Rather, it means that Hazkarah is recited until the day before the last day of She'eilah. On the last day of She'eilah, however, there is no Kal v'Chomer to recite Hazkarah because no Ritzuy is necessary on the last day (since there will be no She'eilah on the following day). (M. Kornfeld)
3) "HAZKARAH" IS RECITED WHENEVER "SHE'EILAH" IS RECITED
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan says that the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah, who says that the Hazkarah for rain begins in Musaf on the last day of Yom Tov (Shemini Atzeres). The Gemara asks why Rebbi Yochanan rules like Rebbi Yehudah, when Rebbi Elazar rules like Raban Gamliel who says that the She'eilah for rain begins on the seventh of Marcheshvan (and not in Musaf of Shemini Atzeres).
The Gemara first answers that the two rulings were stated by two different Amora'im. No question can be asked on a ruling of Rebbi Yochanan from a ruling of Rebbi Elazar.
In its second answer, the Gemara says that Rebbi Elazar's ruling does not contradict Rebbi Yochanan's because Rebbi Elazar's ruling refers to She'eilah, while Rebbi Yochanan's ruling refers to Hazkarah. The Gemara rejects this answer and asks that Rebbi Yochanan elsewhere states that whenever She'eilah is recited, Hazkarah is also recited, and thus Rebbi Yochanan's ruling also refers to She'eilah.
The simple understanding of the Gemara's question, as RABEINU GERSHOM and RABEINU CHANANEL explain it, is that it is not logical that Rebbi Yochanan rules like both Raban Gamliel with regard to She'eilah (Raban Gamliel maintains that the recitation of She'eilah begins on the seventh of Marcheshvan) and like Rebbi Yehudah with regard to Hazkarah (Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the recitation of Hazkarah begins on the last day of Yom Tov, two weeks before the seventh of Marcheshvan). Rebbi Yochanan himself maintains that Hazkarah and She'eilah are always recited together! Therefore, the Gemara rejects the possibility that Rebbi Yochanan agrees with Rebbi Elazar (and that he refers only to Hazkarah, while Rebbi Elazar refers to She'eilah).
RASHI, however, explains the Gemara differently. According to Rashi, the Gemara asks how Rebbi Yochanan can rule that the recitation of Hazkarah begins at Musaf on the last day of Yom Tov if She'eilah cannot be recited on Yom Tov (since the weekday Shemoneh Esreh is not said).
Rashi's explanation is difficult to understand for several reasons.
First, why does Rashi not explain simply that the Gemara challenges the previous answer (that Rebbi Yochanan agrees with Rebbi Elazar)? According to Rashi's explanation, the Gemara's question is unrelated to the previous answer or to Rebbi Elazar's ruling. The Gemara ignores Rebbi Elazar altogether and poses a contradiction between two rulings of Rebbi Yochanan. Why does Rashi not give the simple explanation?
Second, the Gemara answers its question on Rebbi Yochanan by saying that "b'Hafsakah Itmar": when Rebbi Yochanan says that Hazkarah and She'eilah must be recited together, he refers to when their recitation stops (on Erev Pesach). According to Rashi, the Gemara means that the recitation of Hazkarah ends in the last Shemoneh Esreh of Erev Pesach (the Shemoneh Esreh of Minchah) so that it is no longer recited at Ma'ariv on the first night of Yom Tov (because there is no She'eilah on Yom Tov).
According to the Gemara's answer, even though Rebbi Yochanan rules like Rebbi Yehudah, he rules like Rebbi Yehudah only with regard to when the recitation of Hazkarah begins, but not when it ends, because Rebbi Yochanan maintains that the recitation of Hazkarah ends a day earlier (at Minchah on Erev Pesach) than the day on which Rebbi Yehudah maintains that it ends (at Shacharis on the first day of Pesach). This is an original opinion which no Tana expresses. What forces Rashi to create a new opinion? (REBBI AKIVA EIGER; see also RASHASH.)
According to the simple explanation (that of Rabeinu Chananel), the first day of Pesach is considered a day on which She'eilah is said (at least in potential), and thus it fulfills Rebbi Yochanan's requirement that Hazkarah must be recited only when She'eilah is recited. (She'eilah potentially can be recited on the first day of Pesach because the day itself comes at a time during the year when a request for rain is still appropriate. It is only the fact that it is Yom Tov and no weekday Shemoneh Esreh is recited which prevents She'eilah from being recited in practice.) The Gemara's question is that Rebbi Yochanan rules that Hazkarah is recited on the last day of Yom Tov (Sukos), but he also rules that the recitation of She'eilah begins only on the seventh of Marcheshvan.
ANSWER: Rashi does not explain the Gemara like Rabeinu Chananel because he is bothered by the Gemara's question. Why does the Gemara consider it problematic if Rebbi Yochanan rules one way and Rebbi Elazar rules another way? There is no reason why the two Amora'im should have to agree. The Gemara's first response to this question is clear: no question may be asked on Rebbi Yochanan's ruling from a ruling of Rebbi Elazar.
The second answer of the Gemara is also a true statement: Rebbi Elazar discusses only She'eilah and not Hazkarah. However, the Gemara's next question does not seem to make sense. The Gemara asks why Rebbi Yochanan says that Hazkarah must be recited on the same day as She'eilah, if he rules like Rebbi Elazar that the recitation of She'eilah begins only on the seventh of Marcheshvan (two weeks after the recitation of Hazkarah began). What is the Gemara's question? The Gemara just a few lines earlier states that no contradiction can be asked on Rebbi Yochanan's ruling from a statement of Rebbi Elazar! Why is the Gemara now concerned that the two opinions be in agreement?
For this reason, Rashi explains that the Gemara is not asking a question on Rebbi Yochanan from Rebbi Elazar's statement, but rather from Rebbi Yochanan's own statement. The Gemara is asking why Rebbi Yochanan rules like Rebbi Yehudah, if Rebbi Yochanan himself maintains that Hazkarah and She'eilah must always be recited together? According to Rebbi Yehudah, the recitation of Hazkarah begins a day before She'eilah. (M. Kornfeld)
Rabeinu Chananel, on the other hand, maintains that it is not unreasonable to ask a question on a statement of Rebbi Yochanan from a statement of Rebbi Elazar. Rebbi Elazar was a close disciple of Rebbi Yochanan, and thus his rulings should be the same as his teacher's (see Yevamos 96b, Shekalim 11a). Rashi does not follow this approach because the Gemara here makes no mention that Rebbi Elazar was a disciple of Rebbi Yochanan and that he should have ruled like his teacher. (See MITZPEH EISAN and MAR'EH KOHEN.)