דְּאָמַר רַב חָנָא בַּר בִּיזְנָא אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן חֲסִידָא, מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״כֹּה אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה״. קָרֵי לְהוּ ״צוֹם״, וְקָרֵי לְהוּ ״שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה״! בִּזְמַן שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם — יִהְיוּ לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, אֵין שָׁלוֹם — צוֹם. As Rav Ḥana bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Thus said the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall become times of joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons, to the house of Judah” (Zechariah 8:19). It calls them days of “fast” and it calls them “times of joy and gladness.” How so? When there is peace in the world, they will be times of joy and gladness, on which eulogies and fasting are forbidden; but when there is no peace, they are days of fasting. In a time when there is no peace, why are messengers not sent out also for the fourth and tenth months, so that people can know when to observe the fasts?
אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא, הָכִי קָאָמַר: בִּזְמַן שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם — יִהְיוּ לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, יֵשׁ שְׁמָד — צוֹם, אֵין שְׁמָד וְאֵין שָׁלוֹם — רָצוּ מִתְעַנִּין, רָצוּ אֵין מִתְעַנִּין. Rav Pappa said that this is what it is saying: When there is peace in the world and the Temple is standing, these days will be times of joy and gladness; when there is persecution and troubles for the Jewish people, they are days of fasting; and when there is no persecution but still no peace, neither particular troubles nor consolation for Israel, the halakha is as follows: If people wish, they fast, and if they wish, they do not fast. Since there is no absolute obligation to fast, messengers are not sent out for these months.
אִי הָכִי, תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב נָמֵי? אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא: שָׁאנֵי תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב, הוֹאִיל וְהוּכְפְּלוּ בּוֹ צָרוֹת. דְּאָמַר מָר: בְּתִשְׁעָה בְּאָב חָרַב הַבַּיִת בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה וּבַשְּׁנִיָּה, וְנִלְכְּדָה בֵּיתָר, וְנֶחֶרְשָׁה הָעִיר. The Gemara asks: If so, the Ninth of Av should also be like the other fast days, that sometimes it is observed and sometimes not, depending upon the wishes of the community at the time. Why does the mishna state that messengers go out for the month of Av? Rav Pappa said: The Ninth of Av is different, since the calamities that occurred on that day were multiplied. As the Master said: On the Ninth of Av the Temple was destroyed, both the first one and the second one; on this day the city of Beitar was captured; and on this day the city of Jerusalem was plowed over by the enemies of the Jewish people, as a sign that it would never be rebuilt. Consequently, the fast of the Ninth of Av is obligatory, and not optional like the other fasts. Messengers are consequently sent out so that people will know when to fast.
תַּנְיָא אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן: אַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים הָיָה רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא דּוֹרֵשׁ, וַאֲנִי אֵין דּוֹרֵשׁ כְּמוֹתוֹ: ״צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי״ — זֶה תִּשְׁעָה בְּתַמּוּז שֶׁבּוֹ הוּבְקְעָה הָעִיר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בָּרְבִיעִי בְּתִשְׁעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ וַיֶּחֱזַק הָרָעָב בָּעִיר וְלֹא הָיָה לֶחֶם לְעַם הָאָרֶץ וַתִּבָּקַע הָעִיר״. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לֵיהּ ״רְבִיעִי״ — רְבִיעִי לֶחֳדָשִׁים. § The Sages disagreed about the fasts alluded to in the words of the prophet, as it is taught in a baraita. Rabbi Shimon said: Rabbi Akiva would expound four verses, but I would not expound the texts as he did. One of the disputes relates to the fasts mentioned by Zechariah. Rabbi Akiva would expound the verse as follows: “The fast of the fourth,” this is the ninth of Tammuz, on which the city of Jerusalem was breached, as it is stated: “And in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine was severe in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was breached” (Jeremiah 52:6–7). And why does the prophet call it the fast of the fourth? Because it is in Tammuz, the fourth of the months when counting from Nisan.
״צוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי״ — זֶה תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב, שֶׁבּוֹ נִשְׂרַף בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לֵיהּ ״חֲמִישִׁי״ — חֲמִישִׁי לֶחֳדָשִׁים. צוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי — זֶה שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּתִשְׁרִי, שֶׁבּוֹ נֶהֱרַג גְּדַלְיָה בֶּן אֲחִיקָם. וּמִי הֲרָגוֹ — יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן נְתַנְיָה הֲרָגוֹ, לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁשְּׁקוּלָה מִיתָתָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים כִּשְׂרֵיפַת בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לֵיהּ ״שְׁבִיעִי״ — שְׁבִיעִי לֶחֳדָשִׁים. “The fast of the fifth,” this is the Ninth of Av, on which the Temple of our Lord was burnt. And why does he call it the fast of the fifth? Because it falls in the fifth of the months. “The fast of the seventh,” this is the third of Tishrei, on which Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, was killed. And who killed him? Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, killed him (see II Kings 25:25; Jeremiah, chapter 41). The Sages established a fast to commemorate Gedaliah’s death to teach you that the death of the righteous is equivalent to the burning of the Temple of our Lord. And why did the prophet call it the fast of the seventh? Because Tishrei is the seventh of the months.
״צוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי״ — זֶה עֲשָׂרָה בְּטֵבֵת, שֶׁבּוֹ סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל עַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיְהִי דְבַר ה׳ אֵלַי בַּשָּׁנָה הַתְּשִׁיעִית בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִי בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ לֵאמֹר. בֶּן אָדָם כְּתׇב לְךָ אֶת שֵׁם הַיּוֹם אֶת עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל אֶל יְרוּשָׁלִַים״. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לֵיהּ ״עֲשִׂירִי״ — עֲשִׂירִי לֶחֳדָשִׁים. וַהֲלֹא הָיָה רָאוּי זֶה לִכְתּוֹב רִאשׁוֹן? וְלָמָּה נִכְתַּב כָּאן — כְּדֵי לְהַסְדִּיר חֳדָשִׁים כְּתִיקְנָן. “The fast of the tenth,” This is the tenth of Tevet, on which the king of Babylonia laid siege to Jerusalem, as it is stated: “And in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man, write the name of the day, of this same day: The king of Babylonia has laid siege to Jerusalem on this very day” (Ezekiel 24:1–2). And why did he call it the fast of the tenth? Because it is in Tevet, which is the tenth of the months. Wouldn’t it have been fitting to write this fast first, as the series of events began with the laying of the siege. Why was it written here at the end of the list? This was done in order to list the months in their proper order, as the prophet began with the fourth month and ended with the tenth month. This is the statement of Rabbi Akiva.
וַאֲנִי אֵינִי אוֹמֵר כֵּן, אֶלָּא: ״צוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי״ — זֶה חֲמִשָּׁה בְּטֵבֵת, שֶׁבּוֹ בָּאת שְׁמוּעָה לַגּוֹלָה שֶׁהוּכְּתָה הָעִיר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיְהִי בִּשְׁתֵּי עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה בָּעֲשִׂירִי בַּחֲמִשָּׁה לַחֹדֶשׁ לְגָלוּתֵנוּ בָּא אֵלַי הַפָּלִיט מִירוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר הוּכְּתָה הָעִיר״, וְעָשׂוּ יוֹם שְׁמוּעָה כְּיוֹם שְׂרֵיפָה. Rabbi Shimon disagreed and said: I do not say this, but rather I expound the verse as follows: “The fast of the tenth,” this is the fifth of Tevet, on which the report reached the Diaspora that the city had been smitten, as it is stated: “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying: The city is smitten” (Ezekiel 33:21); and they made the day of the report of the destruction like the day of the actual burning and decreed a fast on that day.
וְנִרְאִין דְּבָרַי מִדְּבָרָיו, שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר עַל רִאשׁוֹן רִאשׁוֹן וְעַל אַחֲרוֹן אַחֲרוֹן, וְהוּא אוֹמֵר עַל רִאשׁוֹן אַחֲרוֹן וְעַל אַחֲרוֹן רִאשׁוֹן. אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא מוֹנֶה לְסֵדֶר חֳדָשִׁים, וַאֲנִי מוֹנֶה לְסֵדֶר פּוּרְעָנִיּוֹת. And Rabbi Shimon added: And my statement seems more convincing than his statement, as I say about the first fast mentioned by the prophet that it marks the event that took place first, and about the last fast that it marks the event that took place last. According to Rabbi Shimon, the fasts are listed in accordance with the chronological order of the events. But he, Rabbi Akiva, says about the first fast mentioned by the prophet that it marks the event that took place last, and about the last fast mentioned that it marks the event that took place first, only that he lists the fasts in the order of the months, whereas I list them also in the order of the calamities that they mark.
אִיתְּמַר, רַב וְרַבִּי חֲנִינָא אָמְרִי: בָּטְלָה מְגִילַּת תַּעֲנִית. רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי אָמְרִי: לֹא בָּטְלָה מְגִילַּת תַּעֲנִית. § It was stated that the Sages disagreed about the following matter: Rav and Rabbi Ḥanina both say: Megillat Ta’anit, a listing of days on which fasting and eulogizing are forbidden, has been nullified, as in the present period of exile there is no reason to celebrate the joyous events that these days commemorate. Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi say: Megillat Ta’anit has not been nullified.
רַב וְרַבִּי חֲנִינָא אָמְרִי בָּטְלָה מְגִילַּת תַּעֲנִית, הָכִי קָאָמַר: בִּזְמַן שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם — יִהְיוּ לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, אֵין שָׁלוֹם — צוֹם. וְהָנָךְ נָמֵי כִּי הָנֵי. The Gemara explains: Rav and Rabbi Ḥanina say that Megillat Ta’anit has been nullified. This is what the prophet is saying: At a time when there is peace in the world, the dates listed will be times of joy and gladness, on which eulogies and fasting are forbidden; but when there is no peace, they are days of fasting. And those days mentioned in Megillat Ta’anit are also like these days of fasting, that is to say, the days of joy listed in Megillat Ta’anit are also nullified when there is no peace.
רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי אָמְרִי: לֹא בָּטְלָה מְגִילַּת תַּעֲנִית — הָנֵי הוּא דִּתְלִינְהוּ רַחֲמָנָא בְּבִנְיַן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, אֲבָל הָנָךְ — כִּדְקָיְימִי קָיְימִי. Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi say that Megillat Ta’anit has not been nullified, and they reason as follows: It was those fast days mentioned in the Bible that the Merciful One makes contingent on the building of the Temple, but these festive days listed in Megillat Ta’anit remain as they were and have not been nullified.
מֵתִיב רַב כָּהֲנָא: מַעֲשֶׂה וְגָזְרוּ תַּעֲנִית בַּחֲנוּכָּה בְּלוֹד, וְיָרַד רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְרָחַץ, וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְסִיפֵּר. וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם: צְאוּ וְהִתְעַנּוּ עַל מַה שֶּׁהִתְעַנִּיתֶם. Rav Kahana raised an objection against Rav and Rabbi Ḥanina from a baraita: There was an incident and the Sages decreed a fast on Hanukkah in Lod, and Rabbi Eliezer went down on that day and bathed in the bathhouse and Rabbi Yehoshua went down and cut his hair to show that they did not accept the fast. Furthermore, these two Sages said to the others: Go out and fast another fast as an act of penitence for what you have already fasted, as the days of Hanukkah are days of joy, on which fasting is forbidden. Hanukkah is one of the Festivals listed in Megillat Ta’anit. Even after the destruction of the Temple Hanukkah is celebrated, demonstrating that Megillat Ta’anit has not been nullified.
אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף: שָׁאנֵי חֲנוּכָּה דְּאִיכָּא מִצְוָה. אָמַר לֵיהּ אַבָּיֵי: וְתִיבְטַיל אִיהִי וְתִיבְטַל מִצְוָתָהּ! Rav Yosef said: Hanukkah is different, as there is the mitzva of lighting candles, and so, unlike the other days listed in Megillat Ta’anit, the festival of Hanukkah was not nullified. Abaye said to him: What is this argument? Let Hanukkah itself be nullified, and let its mitzva of lighting candles be nullified with it.
אֶלָּא אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף, שָׁאנֵי חֲנוּכָּה דְּמִיפַּרְסַם נִיסָּא. Rather, Rav Yosef retracted his previous explanation and said: Hanukkah is different, as its miracle is well known, and it has become so widely accepted by all the Jewish people that it would be inappropriate to nullify it.
מוֹתֵיב רַב אַחָא בַּר הוּנָא: בִּתְלָתָא בְּתִשְׁרִי בְּטֵילַת אַדְכָּרְתָּא מִן שְׁטָרַיָּיא. שֶׁגָּזְרָה מַלְכוּת יָוָן גְּזֵרָה שֶׁלֹּא לְהַזְכִּיר שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם עַל פִּיהֶם, וּכְשֶׁגָּבְרָה מַלְכוּת חַשְׁמוֹנַאי וְנִצְּחוּם הִתְקִינוּ שֶׁיְּהוּ מַזְכִּירִין שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם אֲפִילּוּ בִּשְׁטָרוֹת. וְכָךְ הָיוּ כּוֹתְבִים: בִּשְׁנַת כָּךְ וְכָךְ לְיוֹחָנָן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן. Rav Aḥa bar Huna raised an objection: It is stated in Megillat Ta’anit: On the third of Tishrei the ordinance requiring the mention of God’s name in legal documents was abolished, and on that day fasting is forbidden. For the kingdom of Greece had issued a decree against the Jews forbidding them to mention the name of Heaven on their lips. When the Hasmonean kingdom became strong and defeated the Greeks, they instituted that people should mention the name of Heaven even in their legal documents. And therefore they would write: In year such and such of Yoḥanan the High Priest of the God Most High.
וּכְשֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ חֲכָמִים בַּדָּבָר, אָמְרוּ: לְמָחָר זֶה פּוֹרֵעַ אֶת חוֹבוֹ וְנִמְצָא שְׁטָר מוּטָּל בָּאַשְׁפָּה, וּבִיטְּלוּם, וְאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם עֲשָׂאוּהוּ יוֹם טוֹב. וְאִי סָלְקָא דַעְתָּךְ בָּטְלָה מְגִילַּת תַּעֲנִית — קַמָּיָיתָא בְּטוּל, אַחְרָנְיָיתָא מוֹסִיפִין?! And when the Sages heard about this they said: Tomorrow this one, the borrower, will repay his debt, the lender will no longer need to save the loan document, the document will be cast on a dunghill, and the name of Heaven written there will come to disgrace. And so they annulled the ordinance to mention God’s name in documents, and they made that day into a Festival. And if it enters your mind to say that Megillat Ta’anit has been nullified, can you say that the first prohibitions against fasting they annulled, and then later ones were added?
הָכָא בְּמַאי עָסְקִינַן, בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּים. The Gemara answers: With what are we dealing here? This is referring to a time when the Temple was standing and all the days listed in Megillat Ta’anit were in force. From time to time new days of commemoration were added. When the amora’im stated that Megillat Ta’anit was nullified they were referring to the time after the destruction of the Temple.