מֵאֵימָתַי מַזְכִּירִין גְּבוּרוֹת גְּשָׁמִים. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, מִיּוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל חָג. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, מִיּוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל חָג. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין הַגְּשָׁמִים אֶלָּא סִימַן קְלָלָה בֶּחָג, לָמָּה מַזְכִּיר. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, אַף אֲנִי לֹא אָמַרְתִּי לִשְׁאוֹל, אֶלָּא לְהַזְכִּיר מַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ וּמוֹרִיד הַגֶּשֶׁם בְּעוֹנָתוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ, אִם כֵּן, לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא מַזְכִּיר:
From when, i.e., from which date, does one begin to mention the might of the rains by inserting the phrase: He makes the wind blow and rain fall, in the second blessing of the Amida prayer? Rabbi Eliezer says: The phrase is inserted from the first Festival day of the festival of Sukkot. Rabbi Yehoshua says: From the last Festival day of the festival of Sukkot. Rabbi Yehoshua said to Rabbi Eliezer: Since rain is nothing other than a sign of a curse during the festival of Sukkot, as rainfall forces Jews to leave their sukkot, why should one mention the might of rain during this period? Rabbi Eliezer said to him: I too did not say that it is proper to request rain at this time, but it is proper only to mention the phrase: He makes the wind blow and rain fall, in its due time. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: If so, i.e., if reciting the phrase does not constitute a request for rain, one should always mention rain, even in the summer.
אֵין שׁוֹאֲלִין אֶת הַגְּשָׁמִים אֶלָּא סָמוּךְ לַגְּשָׁמִים. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הָעוֹבֵר לִפְנֵי הַתֵּבָה בְּיוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל חַג, הָאַחֲרוֹן מַזְכִּיר, הָרִאשׁוֹן אֵינוֹ מַזְכִּיר. בְּיוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל פֶּסַח, הָרִאשׁוֹן מַזְכִּיר, הָאַחֲרוֹן אֵינוֹ מַזְכִּיר. עַד אֵימָתַי שׁוֹאֲלִין אֶת הַגְּשָׁמִים, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, עַד שֶׁיַּעֲבֹר הַפָּסַח. רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר, עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא נִיסָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יואל ב) וַיּוֹרֶד לָכֶם גֶּשֶׁם, מוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ בָּרִאשׁוֹן:
The mishna states a general principle: One requests rain only immediately preceding the rainy season. Rabbi Yehuda says: With regard to the one who passes before the ark as prayer leader on the concluding Festival day of the festival of Sukkot, the Eighth Day of Assembly: The last prayer leader, who leads the additional prayer, mentions rain, whereas the first prayer leader, for the morning prayer, does not mention rain. The opposite is the case at the conclusion of the period for mentioning rain on the first Festival day of Passover: Here, the first prayer leader, who leads the morning prayer, mentions rain, while the last prayer leader, who leads the additional prayer, does not mention rain. Until when does one request rain? Rabbi Yehuda says: We request rain until Passover has passed. Rabbi Meir says: Until the month of Nisan has ended, as it is stated: “And He causes to come down for you the rain, the first rain and the last rain, in the first month” (Joel 2:23). Since the verse states that it rains in Nisan, the first month, this indicates that the entire month is considered part of the rainy season.
בִּשְׁלשָׁה בְמַרְחֶשְׁוָן שׁוֹאֲלִין אֶת הַגְּשָׁמִים. רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, בְּשִׁבְעָה בוֹ, חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם אַחַר הֶחָג, כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ אַחֲרוֹן שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל לִנְהַר פְּרָת:
On the third of the month of Marḥeshvan one starts to request rain by inserting the phrase: And give dew and rain, in the blessing of the years, the ninth blessing of the Amida. Rabban Gamliel says: One starts to request rain on the seventh of Marḥeshvan, which is fifteen days after the festival of Sukkot. Rabban Gamliel explains that one waits these extra four days so that the last pilgrim of the Jewish people, who traveled to Jerusalem on foot for the Festival, can reach the Euphrates River without being inconvenienced by rain on his journey home.
הִגִּיעַ שִׁבְעָה עָשָׂר בְּמַרְחֶשְׁוָן וְלֹא יָרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים, הִתְחִילוּ הַיְחִידִים מִתְעַנִּין שָׁלשׁ תַּעֲנִיּוֹת. אוֹכְלִין וְשׁוֹתִין מִשֶּׁחֲשֵׁכָה, וּמֻתָּרִין בִּמְלָאכָה וּבִרְחִיצָה וּבְסִיכָה וּבִנְעִילַת הַסַּנְדָּל וּבְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה:
If the seventeenth of Marḥeshvan arrived and rain has not fallen, individuals, but not the entire community, begin to fast three fasts for rain. How are these fasts conducted? As the fast begins in the morning, one may eat and drink after dark, and one is permitted during the days of the fasts themselves to engage in the performance of work, in bathing, in smearing oil on one’s body, in wearing shoes, and in conjugal relations.
הִגִּיעַ רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ כִּסְלֵו וְלֹא יָרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים, בֵּית דִּין גּוֹזְרִין שָׁלשׁ תַּעֲנִיוֹת עַל הַצִּבּוּר. אוֹכְלִין וְשׁוֹתִין מִשֶּׁחֲשֵׁכָה, וּמֻתָּרִין בִּמְלָאכָה וּבִרְחִיצָה וּבְסִיכָה וּבִנְעִילַת הַסַּנְדָּל וּבְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה:
If the New Moon of Kislev arrived and rain has still not fallen, the court decrees three fasts on the entire community. Similar to the individual fasts, everyone may eat and drink after dark, and they are permitted to engage in the performance of work, in bathing, in smearing one’s body with oil, in wearing shoes, and in conjugal relations.
עָבְרוּ אֵלּוּ וְלֹא נַעֲנוּ, בֵּית דִּין גּוֹזְרִין שָׁלשׁ תַּעֲנִיּוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת עַל הַצִּבּוּר. אוֹכְלִין וְשׁוֹתִין מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם, וַאֲסוּרִין בִּמְלָאכָה וּבִרְחִיצָה וּבְסִיכָה וּבִנְעִילַת הַסַּנְדָּל וּבְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה, וְנוֹעֲלִין אֶת הַמֶּרְחֲצָאוֹת. עָבְרוּ אֵלּוּ וְלֹא נַעֲנוּ, בֵּית דִּין גּוֹזְרִין עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹד שֶׁבַע, שֶׁהֵן שְׁלשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה תַּעֲנִיּוֹת עַל הַצִּבּוּר. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ יְתֵרוֹת עַל הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת, שֶׁבָּאֵלּוּ מַתְרִיעִין וְנוֹעֲלִין אֶת הַחֲנוּיוֹת, בַּשֵּׁנִי מַטִּין עִם חֲשֵׁכָה, וּבַחֲמִישִׁי מֻתָּרִין מִפְּנֵי כְבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת:
If these three regular fasts have passed and they have not been answered with rain, the court decrees three other fasts upon the community. These are severe fasts, in which one may eat and drink only while it is still day, before the beginning of the night of the fast, and on the day of the fast itself they are prohibited to engage in the performance of work, in bathing, in smearing with oil, in wearing shoes, and in marital relations; and they lock the bathhouses so that no one should come to bathe on that day. If these three fasts have passed and they still have not been answered, the court decrees on them another seven fasts, which are a total of thirteen fasts, upon the community, not including the first three fasts observed by individuals. These seven fast days are more severe than the first ones, as on these days, in addition to all the earlier stringencies, they sound the alarm, as will be explained in the Gemara, and they lock the stores. Although shops must remained closed most of the time on these days, on Monday they open them a little at nightfall to allow people to purchase food for breaking their fast, and on Thursday they are permitted to open the stores all day in deference to Shabbat, so that people may purchase food for the sacred day.
עָבְרוּ אֵלּוּ וְלֹא נַעֲנוּ, מְמַעֲטִין בְּמַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן, בְּבִנְיָן וּבִנְטִיעָה, בְּאֵרוּסִין וּבְנִשּׂוּאִין וּבִשְׁאֵלַת שָׁלוֹם בֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ, כִּבְנֵי אָדָם הַנְּזוּפִין לַמָּקוֹם. הַיְחִידִים חוֹזְרִים וּמִתְעַנִּים עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא נִיסָן. יָצָא נִיסָן וְלֹא יָרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים, סִימַן קְלָלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א יב) הֲלוֹא קְצִיר חִטִּים הַיּוֹם, וְגוֹ':
If these fasts have passed and they have not been answered the court does not decree additional fasts, but the entire community observes the customs of mourning. They decrease their engagement in business transactions, in building and planting, in betrothals and marriages, and in greetings between each person and his fellow, like people who have been rebuked by God. The individuals, i.e., Torah scholars, resume fasting every Monday and Thursday until the month of Nisan ends. After this date they no longer pray for rain, since if Nisan has ended and rains subsequently fall, they are a sign of a curse, as it is stated: “Is not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord that He may send thunder and rain, and you will know and see that your wickedness is great” (I Samuel 12:17). The wheat harvest is around the time of Shavuot, well after Nisan.