Megillah 22bמגילה כ״ב ב
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22bכ״ב ב

מיפק לא נפקי

but they would not leave early, out of deference to Rav, and therefore it was not necessary for him to recite a blessing after he finished his portion. In any event, the incident with Rav does not provide conclusive proof as to the number of readers on a public fast day.

ת"ש זה הכלל כל שיש בו ביטול מלאכה לעם כגון תענית צבור ותשעה באב קורין ג'

The Gemara tries to adduce another proof: Come and hear the following baraita: This is the general principle: Any day on which labor is permitted and prolonging the prayer service would constitute a deprivation of labor for the masses, for example, a public fast day and the Ninth of Av, only three people read from the Torah, so as not to lengthen the prayer service unnecessarily.

ושאין בו ביטול מלאכה לעם כגון ראשי חדשים וחולו של מועד קורין ד' שמע מינה

But any day on which prolonging the prayer service would not constitute a deprivation of labor for the masses, for example, the days of the New Moon, when it is customary for women to refrain from work, and on the intermediate days of a Festival, when one may not perform labor unless refraining from labor will cause him to lose money, four people read from the Torah. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from here that on a public fast day three people read from the Torah.

אמר רב אשי והא אנן לא תנן הכי זה הכלל כל יום שיש בו מוסף ואינו יום טוב קורין ארבעה לאתויי מאי לאו לאתויי תענית ציבור ותשעה באב

Rav Ashi said: Didn’t we learn in the mishna as follows: This is the principle: Any day on which there is an additional offering sacrificed in the Temple and it is not a Festival, four people read from the Torah? What is added by the formulation of this principle? Does it not come to add a public fast and the Ninth of Av, when there is an addition to the prayer service, and therefore four people read from the Torah?

ולרב אשי מתניתין מני לא תנא קמא ולא רבי יוסי דתניא חל להיות בשני ובחמישי קורין ג' ומפטיר אחד בשלישי וברביעי קורא אחד ומפטיר אחד רבי יוסי אומר לעולם קורין ג' ומפטיר אחד

The Gemara asks: But according to Rav Ashi, who is the tanna of the mishna? It is not the first tanna of the following baraita and not Rabbi Yosei. As it is taught in a baraita: If the Ninth of Av occurs on a Monday or a Thursday, days on which there is always a Torah reading, three people read from the Torah. And the last one of them concludes with a reading from the Prophets [haftara]. If it falls on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, one person reads from the Torah, and the same one concludes with a reading from the Prophets. Rabbi Yosei said: Three people always read from the Torah on the Ninth of Av, and the last one concludes with a reading from the Prophets. All agree that no more than three people read from the Torah on the Ninth of Av and other public fast days.

ואלא קשיא זה הכלל לא לאתויי ראש חודש ומועד

The Gemara responds: However, if only three people read from the Torah on these days, the statement: This is the principle, is difficult, as the mishna has already specifically mentioned every case included in the principle. The Gemara explains: No, it is not difficult; it comes to add the New Moon and the intermediate days of a Festival.

הא בהדיא קתני לה בראשי חדשים ומועד קורין ארבעה

The Gemara challenges this explanation: Aren’t these days taught explicitly in the mishna: On the New Moon and on the intermediate days of a Festival, four people read from the Torah?

סימנא בעלמא יהיב דלא תימא יו"ט וחולו של מועד כי הדדי נינהו אלא נקוט האי כללא בידך כל דטפי ליה מילתא מחבריה טפי ליה גברא יתירא

The Gemara answers: The principle was not intended to add to what is stated explicitly in the mishna. The mishna merely gives a mnemonic by which to remember the number of readers on each day. It expresses the following: Do not say that a Festival and the intermediate days of the Festival are the same with regard to their sanctity, and therefore the same numbers of readers are called to the Torah on these days. Rather, hold this rule firmly in your hand: On any day when there is an additional element of the laws of the day, an extra person is added to the number of those who read from the Torah.

הלכך בר"ח ומועד דאיכא קרבן מוסף קורין ארבעה ביו"ט דאסור בעשיית מלאכה חמשה ביוה"כ דענוש כרת ששה שבת דאיכא איסור סקילה שבעה

Therefore, on the New Moon and the intermediate days of a Festival, when there is an additional offering, four people read from the Torah. On a Festival, when it is prohibited to perform labor, five people read from the Torah. On Yom Kippur, when performance of prohibited labor is punishable by karet, six people read from the Torah. On Shabbat, when there is a prohibition to perform labor that is punishable by stoning, seven people read.

גופא רב איקלע לבבל בתענית צבור קם קרא בספרא פתח בריך חתם ולא בריך נפול כולי עלמא אאנפייהו ורב לא נפל על אנפיה מ"ט רב לא נפיל על אפיה

The Gemara cited an incident involving Rav, and now it returns to examine the matter itself. Rav once happened to come to Babylonia on a public fast. He stood and read from a Torah scroll. When he began to read, he recited a blessing, but when he concluded, he did not recite a blessing. Everyone else fell on their faces, i.e., bowed down on the floor, during the taḥanun supplication, as was the custom, but Rav did not fall on his face. The Gemara asks: What is the reason that Rav did not fall on his face?

רצפה של אבנים היתה ותניא (ויקרא כו, א) ואבן משכית לא תתנו בארצכם להשתחות עליה עליה אי אתה משתחוה בארצכם אבל אתה משתחוה על אבנים של בית המקדש כדעולא דאמר עולא לא אסרה תורה אלא רצפה של אבנים בלבד

The Gemara answers: It was a stone floor, and it was taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “Nor shall you install any figured stone in your land, to bow down upon it” (Leviticus 26:1), that, upon it, i.e., any type of figured stone, you shall not bow down in your land, i.e., anywhere in your land other than in the Temple; but you shall bow down upon the stones of the Temple. This is in accordance with the opinion of Ulla, as Ulla said: The Torah prohibited bowing down only upon a stone floor.

אי הכי מאי איריא רב אפילו כולהו נמי קמיה דרב הואי

The Gemara asks: If so, why was it specifically Rav who did not bow down? All of the other people present were also prohibited from bowing down on the stone floor. The Gemara answers: The stone section of the floor was only in front of Rav, as the rest of the floor was not paved.

וליזיל לגבי ציבורא ולינפול על אפיה לא בעי למיטרח ציבורא ואיבעית אימא רב פישוט ידים ורגלים הוה עביד וכדעולא דאמר עולא לא אסרה תורה אלא פישוט ידים ורגלים בלבד

The Gemara comments: If so, Rav should have gone to where the rest of the congregation was standing and fallen on his face there. The Gemara responds: He did not want to trouble the congregation to make room for him. And if you wish, say the following: Rav would stretch out his arms and legs and fully prostrate himself on the ground, whereas the others would merely bend their bodies as a symbolic gesture but would not prostrate themselves on the ground. And this is in accordance with the opinion of Ulla, as Ulla said: The Torah prohibited bowing down upon a stone floor only when it is done with outstretched arms and legs.

וליפול על אפיה ולא ליעביד פישוט ידים ורגלים לא משני ממנהגיה

The Gemara challenges this response: Rav should have fallen on his face without stretching out his arms and legs. The Gemara answers: He did not want to change his usual custom of full prostration, and where he was standing he could not fully prostrate himself in his usual manner because there the floor was of stone.

ואיבעית אימא אדם חשוב שאני כדרבי אלעזר דאמר רבי אלעזר אין אדם חשוב רשאי ליפול על פניו אלא אם כן נענה כיהושע בן נון דכתיב (יהושע ז, י) ויאמר ה' אל יהושע קום לך [וגו']

And if you wish, say a different reason as to why Rav did not fall on his face: An important person is different, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, as Rabbi Elazar said: An important person is not permitted to fall on his face in public unless he knows that he will be answered like Joshua bin Nun in his time, as it is written: “And the Lord said to Joshua: Get up; why do you lie upon your face?” (Joshua 7:10). It is a disgrace for a distinguished person to fall on his face and have his prayers unanswered. Consequently, Rav did not prostrate himself in public.

תנו רבנן קידה על אפים שנאמר (מלכים א א, לא) ותקד בת שבע אפים ארץ כריעה על ברכים וכן הוא אומר (מלכים א ח, נד) מכרוע על ברכיו השתחואה זו פישוט ידים ורגלים שנאמר (בראשית לז, י) הבוא נבוא אני ואמך ואחיך להשתחות לך ארצה

Apropos Rav’s practice of prostrating himself, the Gemara continues with a discussion of different forms of bowing. The Sages taught in a baraita: The term kidda indicates falling upon one’s face, with one’s face toward the ground, as it is stated: “Then Bathsheba bowed [vatikod] with her face to the ground” (I Kings 1:31). Keria means bowing upon one’s knees, as it is stated with regard to Solomon: He finished praying and “he rose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling [mikkeroa] upon his knees” (I Kings 8:54). Finally, hishtaḥava’a, that is bowing with one’s arms and legs spread in total submission, as it is stated that Jacob asked, in response to Joseph’s dream: “Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down [lehishtaḥavot] to you to the ground?” (Genesis 37:10).

לוי אחוי קידה קמיה דרבי ואיטלע

The Gemara relates that Levi once demonstrated the form of kidda that was performed by the High Priest before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. This bowing was especially difficult, as it involved bending from the waist until his head reached the ground, supporting his body with his thumbs, and then rising at once. In the course of his demonstration, Levi dislocated his hip and became lame.

והא קא גרמא ליה והאמר רבי אלעזר לעולם אל יטיח אדם דברים כלפי מעלה שהרי אדם גדול הטיח דברים כלפי מעלה ואיטלע ומנו לוי הא והא גרמא ליה

The Gemara asks: Was it this that caused Levi to become lame? Didn’t Rabbi Elazar say: A person should never speak impertinently toward God on High, as a great man once spoke impertinently toward God on High and he became lame? And who was he? Levi. The reason Levi became lame was because of the way he spoke to God (see Ta’anit 25a), not due to having performed kidda. The Gemara answers: Both this and that caused Levi to become lame. Since he spoke impertinently toward God, he was worthy of punishment, and he therefore suffered an injury while exerting himself to perform kidda.

אמר רב חייא בר אבין חזינא להו לאביי

On the topic of bowing, Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin said: I saw Abaye