סֵדֶר תַּעֲנִיּוֹת אֵלוּ הָאָמוּר, בִּרְבִיעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה. אֲבָל צְמָחִים שֶׁשָּׁנוּ, מַתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶם מִיָּד. וְכֵן שֶׁפָּסְקוּ גְשָׁמִים בֵּין גֶּשֶׁם לְגֶשֶׁם אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם, מַתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶם מִיָּד, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מַכַּת בַּצֹּרֶת:
The order of these fasts of increasing severity, as explained in Chapter One, is stated only in a case when the first rainfall has not materialized. However, if there is vegetation that grew and its appearance changed due to disease, the court does not wait at all; they cry out about it immediately. And likewise, if rain ceased for a period of forty days between one rainfall and another, they cry out about it because it is a plague of drought.
יָרְדוּ לַצְּמָחִין אֲבָל לֹא יָרְדוּ לָאִילָן, לָאִילָן וְלֹא לַצְּמָחִים, לָזֶה וְלָזֶה אֲבָל לֹא לַבּוֹרוֹת לַשִּׁיחִין וְלַמְּעָרוֹת, מַתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶן מִיָּד:
If sufficient rain fell for the vegetation but not enough fell for the trees; or if it was enough for the trees but not for the vegetation; or if sufficient rain fell for both this and that, i.e., vegetation and trees, but not enough to fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves with water to last the summer, they cry out about it immediately.
וְכֵן עִיר שֶׁלֹּא יָרְדוּ עָלֶיהָ גְשָׁמִים, דִּכְתִיב (עמוס ד) וְהִמְטַרְתִּי עַל עִיר אֶחָת וְעַל עִיר אַחַת לֹא אַמְטִיר, חֶלְקָה אַחַת תִּמָּטֵר וְגוֹ', אוֹתָהּ הָעִיר מִתְעַנָּה וּמַתְרַעַת, וְכָל סְבִיבוֹתֶיהָ, מִתְעַנּוֹת וְלֹא מַתְרִיעוֹת. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, מַתְרִיעוֹת וְלֹא מִתְעַנּוֹת:
And likewise, if there is a particular city upon which it did not rain, while the surrounding area did receive rain, this is considered a divine curse, as it is written: “And I caused it to rain upon one city, but caused it not to rain upon another city; one piece was rained upon, and the portion upon which it did not rain withered” (Amos 4:7). In a case of this kind, that city fasts and cries out by blowing the shofar, and all of its surrounding areas join them in their fast, but they do not cry out. Rabbi Akiva disagrees and says: They cry out but they do not fast.
וְכֵן עִיר שֶׁיֶּשׁ בָּהּ דֶּבֶר אוֹ מַפֹּלֶת, אוֹתָהּ הָעִיר מִתְעַנָּה וּמַתְרַעַת, וְכָל סְבִיבוֹתֶיהָ מִתְעַנּוֹת וְלֹא מַתְרִיעוֹת. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, מַתְרִיעוֹת וְלֹא מִתְעַנּוֹת. אֵיזֶהוּ דֶבֶר, עִיר הַמּוֹצִיאָה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת רַגְלִי, וְיָצְאוּ מִמֶּנָּה שְׁלשָׁה מֵתִים בִּשְׁלשָׁה יָמִים זֶה אַחַר זֶה, הֲרֵי זֶה דֶבֶר. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן, אֵין זֶה דֶבֶר:
The mishna continues: And likewise, if a city is afflicted by pestilence or collapsing buildings, that city fasts and cries out, and all of its surrounding areas fast but they do not cry out. Rabbi Akiva says: They cry out but they do not fast. The mishna inquires: What is considered a plague of pestilence? When is a series of deaths treated as a plague? The mishna answers: If a city that sends out five hundred infantrymen, i.e., it has a population of five hundred able-bodied men, and three dead are taken out of it on three consecutive days, this is a plague of pestilence, which requires fasting and crying out. If the death rate is lower than that, this is not pestilence.
עַל אֵלּוּ מַתְרִיעִין בְּכָל מָקוֹם, עַל הַשִּׁדָּפוֹן וְעַל הַיֵּרָקוֹן, עַל הָאַרְבֶּה וְעַל הֶחָסִיל, וְעַל הַחַיָּה רָעָה וְעַל הַחֶרֶב, מַתְרִיעִין עָלֶיהָ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מַכָּה מְהַלֶּכֶת:
For the following calamities they cry out in every place: For blight; for mildew; for locusts; for caterpillars, a type of locust that comes in large swarms and descends upon a certain place; for dangerous beasts that have entered a town; and for the sword, i.e., legions of an invading army. The reason that they cry out about these misfortunes in every place is because these are calamities that spread.
מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁיָּרְדוּ זְקֵנִים מִירוּשָׁלַיִם לְעָרֵיהֶם, וְגָזְרוּ תַעֲנִית עַל שֶׁנִּרְאָה כִמְלֹא פִי תַנּוּר שִׁדָּפוֹן בְּאַשְׁקְלוֹן. וְעוֹד גָּזְרוּ תַעֲנִית עַל שֶׁאָכְלוּ זְאֵבִים שְׁנֵי תִינוֹקוֹת בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, לֹא עַל שֶׁאָכְלוּ, אֶלָּא עַל שֶׁנִּרְאָה:
An incident occurred in which Elders descended from Jerusalem to their cities throughout Eretz Yisrael and decreed a fast throughout the land because there was seen in the city of Ashkelon a small amount of blight, enough to fill the mouth of an oven. This fast was observed throughout Eretz Yisrael, as blight spreads quickly. And furthermore, they decreed a fast because wolves had eaten two children in Transjordan. Rabbi Yosei says: This fast was decreed not because they ate the children, but because these wolves were merely seen in an inhabited area.
עַל אֵלּוּ מַתְרִיעִין בְּשַׁבָּת, עַל עִיר שֶׁהִקִּיפוּהָ גוֹיִם אוֹ נָהָר, וְעַל הַסְּפִינָה הַמִּטָּרֶפֶת בַּיָּם. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, לְעֶזְרָה וְלֹא לִצְעָקָה. שִׁמְעוֹן הַתִּמְנִי אוֹמֵר, אַף עַל הַדֶּבֶר, וְלֹא הוֹדוּ לוֹ חֲכָמִים:
For the following calamities they cry out even on Shabbat: For a city that is surrounded by gentile troops, or for a place in danger of being flooded by a river that has swelled its banks, or for a ship tossed about at sea. Rabbi Yosei said: One may cry out on Shabbat to summon help, but it may not be sounded for crying out to God. Shimon the Timnite says: One may cry out on Shabbat even for pestilence, but the Rabbis did not agree with him.
עַל כָּל צָרָה שֶׁלֹּא תָבֹא עַל הַצִּבּוּר, מַתְרִיעִין עֲלֵיהֶן, חוּץ מֵרוֹב גְּשָׁמִים. מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁאָמְרוּ לוֹ לְחוֹנִי הַמְעַגֵּל, הִתְפַּלֵּל שֶׁיֵּרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים. אָמַר לָהֶם, צְאוּ וְהַכְנִיסוּ תַנּוּרֵי פְסָחִים, בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁלֹּא יִמּוֹקוּ. הִתְפַּלֵּל, וְלֹא יָרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים. מֶה עָשָׂה, עָג עוּגָה וְעָמַד בְּתוֹכָהּ, וְאָמַר לְפָנָיו, רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, בָּנֶיךָ שָׂמוּ פְנֵיהֶם עָלַי, שֶׁאֲנִי כְבֶן בַּיִת לְפָנֶיךָ. נִשְׁבָּע אֲנִי בְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁאֵינִי זָז מִכָּאן, עַד שֶׁתְּרַחֵם עַל בָּנֶיךָ. הִתְחִילוּ גְּשָׁמִים מְנַטְּפִין. אָמַר, לֹא כָךְ שָׁאַלְתִּי, אֶלָּא גִּשְׁמֵי בוֹרוֹת שִׁיחִין וּמְעָרוֹת. הִתְחִילוּ לֵירֵד בְּזָעַף. אָמַר, לֹא כָךְ שָׁאַלְתִּי, אֶלָּא גִּשְׁמֵי רָצוֹן, בְּרָכָה וּנְדָבָה. יָרְדוּ כְתִקְנָן, עַד שֶׁיָּצְאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִירוּשָׁלַיִם לְהַר הַבַּיִת מִפְּנֵי הַגְּשָׁמִים. בָּאוּ וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהִתְפַּלַלְתָּ עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁיֵּרְדוּ כָּךְ הִתְפַּלֵּל שֶׁיֵּלְכוּ לָהֶן. אָמַר לָהֶן, צְאוּ וּרְאוּ אִם נִמְחֵת אֶבֶן הַטּוֹעִים. שָׁלַח לוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטָח, אִלְמָלֵא חוֹנִי אַתָּה, גּוֹזְרַנִי עָלֶיךָ נִדּוּי. אֲבָל מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לְּךָ, שֶׁאַתָּה מִתְחַטֵּא לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וְעוֹשֶׂה לְךָ רְצוֹנְךָ כְּבֵן שֶׁהוּא מִתְחַטֵּא עַל אָבִיו וְעוֹשֶׂה לוֹ רְצוֹנוֹ. וְעָלֶיךָ הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (משלי כג), יִשְׂמַח אָבִיךָ וְאִמֶּךָ וְתָגֵל יוֹלַדְתֶּךָ:
The mishna adds: In general, they cry out on account of any trouble that should not befall the community, a euphemism for trouble that may befall the community, except for an overabundance of rain. Although too much rain may be disastrous, one does not cry out over it, because rain is a sign of a blessing. The mishna relates: An incident occurred in which the people said to Ḥoni HaMe’aggel: Pray that rain should fall. He said to them: Go out and bring in the clay ovens used to roast the Paschal lambs, so that they will not dissolve in the water, as torrential rains are certain to fall. He prayed, and no rain fell at all. What did he do? He drew a circle on the ground and stood inside it and said before God: Master of the Universe, Your children have turned their faces toward me, as I am like a member of Your household. Therefore, I take an oath by Your great name that I will not move from here until You have mercy upon Your children and answer their prayers for rain. Rain began to trickle down, but only in small droplets. He said: I did not ask for this, but for rain to fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves with enough water to last the entire year. Rain began to fall furiously. He said: I did not ask for this damaging rain either, but for rain of benevolence, blessing, and generosity. Subsequently, the rains fell in their standard manner but continued unabated, filling the city with water until all of the Jews exited the residential areas of Jerusalem and went to the Temple Mount due to the rain. They came and said to him: Just as you prayed over the rains that they should fall, so too, pray that they should stop. He said to them: Go out and see if the Claimants’ Stone, a large stone located in the city, upon which proclamations would be posted with regard to lost and found articles, has been washed away. In other words, if the water has not obliterated the Claimants’ Stone, it is not yet appropriate to pray for the rain to cease. Shimon ben Shetaḥ, the Nasi of the Sanhedrin at the time, relayed to Ḥoni HaMe’aggel: Were you not Ḥoni, I would have decreed that you be ostracized, but what can I do to you? You nag [mitḥatei] God and He does your bidding, like a son who nags his father and his father does his bidding without reprimand. After all, rain fell as you requested. About you, the verse states: “Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:25).
הָיוּ מִתְעַנִּין וְיָרְדוּ לָהֶם גְּשָׁמִים קֹדֶם הָנֵץ הַחַמָּה, לֹא יַשְׁלִימוּ. לְאַחַר הָנֵץ הַחַמָּה, יַשְׁלִימוּ. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, קֹדֶם חֲצוֹת לֹא יַשְׁלִימוּ, לְאַחַר חֲצוֹת יַשְׁלִימוּ. מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁגָּזְרוּ תַעֲנִית בְּלוֹד, וְיָרְדוּ לָהֶם גְּשָׁמִים קֹדֶם חֲצוֹת. אָמַר לָהֶם רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן, צְאוּ וְאִכְלוּ וּשְׁתוּ וַעֲשׂוּ יוֹם טוֹב. וְיָצְאוּ וְאָכְלוּ וְשָׁתוּ וְעָשׂוּ יוֹם טוֹב, וּבָאוּ בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם וְקָרְאוּ הַלֵּל הַגָּדוֹל:
The mishna teaches another halakha with regard to fast days: If they were fasting for rain, and rain fell for them before sunrise, they need not complete their fast until the evening. However, if it fell after sunrise, they must complete their fast. Rabbi Eliezer says: If rain fell before midday, they need not complete their fast; but if it rains after midday, they must complete their fast. The mishna relates: An incident occurred in which the court decreed a fast in Lod due to a lack of rain, and rain fell for them before midday. Rabbi Tarfon said to the people: Go out, and eat, and drink, and treat this day as a Festival. And they went out, and ate, and drank, and treated the day as a Festival, and in the afternoon they came to the synagogue and recited the great hallel, to thank God for answering their prayers.