דאמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר ר"ש חסידא מאי דכתיב (זכריה ח, יט) כה אמר ה' צבאות צום הרביעי וצום החמישי וצום השביעי וצום העשירי יהיה לבית יהודה לששון ולשמחה קרי להו צום וקרי להו ששון ושמחה בזמן שיש שלום יהיו לששון ולשמחה אין שלום צום
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?
אמר רב פפא הכי קאמר בזמן שיש שלום יהיו לששון ולשמחה יש גזרת המלכות צום אין גזרת המלכות ואין שלום רצו מתענין רצו אין מתענין
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.
אי הכי ט"ב נמי אמר רב פפא שאני ט' באב הואיל והוכפלו בו צרות דאמר מר בט' באב חרב הבית בראשונה ובשניה ונלכדה ביתר ונחרשה העיר
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.
תניא אמר ר"ש ארבעה דברים היה ר"ע דורש ואני אין דורש כמותו צום הרביעי זה ט' בתמוז שבו הובקעה העיר שנאמר (ירמיהו נב, ו) (ברביעי) בתשעה לחדש ויחזק הרעב בעיר ולא היה לחם לעם הארץ ותבקע העיר ואמאי קרי ליה רביעי רביעי לחדשים
§ 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.
צום החמישי זה תשעה באב שבו נשרף בית אלהינו ואמאי קרי ליה חמישי חמישי לחדשים צום השביעי זה ג' בתשרי שבו נהרג גדליה בן אחיקם ומי הרגו ישמעאל בן נתניה הרגו ללמדך ששקולה מיתתן של צדיקים כשריפת בית אלהינו ואמאי קרי ליה שביעי שביעי לחדשים
“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.
צום העשירי זה עשרה בטבת שבו סמך מלך בבל על ירושלים שנאמר (יחזקאל כד, א) ויהי דבר ה' אלי בשנה התשיעית בחדש העשירי בעשור לחדש לאמר בן אדם כתב לך את שם היום את עצם היום הזה סמך מלך בבל אל ירושלם ואמאי קרי ליה עשירי עשירי לחדשים והלא היה ראוי זה לכתוב ראשון ולמה נכתב כאן כדי להסדיר חדשים כתיקנן
“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.
ואני איני אומר כן אלא צום העשירי זה חמשה בטבת שבו באת שמועה לגולה שהוכתה העיר שנאמר (יחזקאל לג, כא) ויהי בשתי עשרה שנה בעשירי בחמשה לחדש לגלותנו בא אלי הפליט מירושלם לאמר הוכתה העיר ועשו יום שמועה כיום שריפה
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.
ונראין דברי מדבריו שאני אומר על ראשון ראשון ועל אחרון אחרון והוא אומר על ראשון אחרון ועל אחרון ראשון אלא שהוא מונה לסדר חדשים ואני מונה לסדר פורעניות
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.
איתמר רב ורבי חנינא אמרי בטלה מגילת תענית רבי יוחנן וריב"ל אמרי לא בטלה מגילת תענית
§ 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.
רב ורבי חנינא אמרי בטלה מגילת תענית הכי קאמר בזמן שיש שלום יהיו לששון ולשמחה אין שלום צום והנך נמי כי הני
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.
רבי יוחנן ורבי יהושע בן לוי אמרי לא בטלה מגילת תענית הני הוא דתלינהו רחמנא בבנין בהמ"ק אבל הנך כדקיימי קיימי
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.
מתיב רב כהנא מעשה וגזרו תענית בחנוכה בלוד וירד ר"א ורחץ ורבי יהושע וסיפר ואמרו להם צאו והתענו על מה שהתעניתם
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.
א"ר יוסף שאני חנוכה דאיכא מצוה א"ל אביי ותיבטיל איהי ותיבטל מצותה
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.
אלא אמר רב יוסף שאני חנוכה דמיפרסם ניסא
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.
מותיב רב אחא בר הונא בתלתא בתשרי בטילת אדכרתא מן שטרייא שגזרה מלכות יון גזרה שלא להזכיר שם שמים על פיהם וכשגברה מלכות חשמונאי ונצחום התקינו שיהו מזכירין שם שמים אפילו בשטרות וכך היו כותבים בשנת כך וכך ליוחנן כהן גדול לאל עליון
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.
וכששמעו חכמים בדבר אמרו למחר זה פורע את חובו ונמצא שטר מוטל באשפה וביטלום ואותו היום עשאוהו יו"ט ואי סלקא דעתך בטלה מגילת תענית קמייתא בטול אחרנייתא מוסיפין
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?
הכא במאי עסקינן בזמן שבית המקדש קיים
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.