Taanit 8aתענית ח׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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8aח׳ א

שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל משנתו שאינה סדורה עליו שנאמר (קהלת י, י) והוא לא פנים קלקל

whose studies are hard as iron for him, i.e., difficult to understand, this is due to his lack of familiarity with the Mishna, which is not organized for him. If the Mishna is unclear, any further study of Gemara is rendered all the more difficult, as it is stated: “And does not whet [kilkal] the edge [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As panim can also mean surface, this indicates that the surface, i.e., the basic statements of the Mishna, is corrupted. As stated previously, kilkal can also mean corrupted.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה בישיבה שנאמר (קהלת י, י) וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כ"ש אם משנתו סדורה לו מעיקרא

What is his remedy? He must increase the time he sits and studies, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). The last part of the verse: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” means that all the more so, if his study of the Mishna is organized for him from the beginning, he will avoid this trouble.

כי הא דריש לקיש הוה מסדר מתני' ארבעין זמנין כנגד מ' יום שניתנה תורה ועייל לקמיה דר' יוחנן רב אדא בר אהבה מסדר מתני' עשרין וארבע זמנין כנגד תורה נביאים וכתובים ועייל לקמיה דרבא

That is like this practice of Reish Lakish, who would review his studies forty times, corresponding to the forty days in which the Torah was given to Moses at Sinai, and only afterward would he go before Rabbi Yoḥanan to study from his teacher. Similarly, Rav Adda bar Ahava would review his learning twenty-four times, corresponding to the twenty-four books in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, i.e., the Bible, and only afterward go before Rava to study with him.

רבא אמר אם ראית תלמיד שלמודו קשה עליו כברזל בשביל רבו שאינו מסביר לו פנים שנאמר והוא לא פנים קלקל

With regard to the aforementioned verse from Ecclesiastes, Rava said: If you see a student whose studies are as difficult for him as iron, this is due to his teacher, who does not show him a friendly countenance, but is overly strict with him. This practice inhibits the student’s learning, as it is stated: “And it has not whetted the surface [panim]” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). As explained previously, panim can also mean countenance.

מאי תקנתיה ירבה עליו רעים שנאמר וחילים יגבר ויתרון הכשיר חכמה כ"ש אם הוכשרו מעשיו בפני רבו מעיקרא

What is the remedy for this student? He must increase the number of friends he sends to the teacher to intercede for him, as it is stated: “Then must he increase his strength.” The term used for strength, ḥayalim, can also mean soldiers or colleagues. Nevertheless: “But wisdom is profitable to direct,” meaning that all the more so would he be spared this trouble if his deeds were properly directed before his teacher from the beginning.

ואמר ר' אמי מאי דכתיב (קהלת י, יא) אם ישוך הנחש בלא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון אם ראית דור שהשמים משתכין כנחשת מלהוריד טל ומטר בשביל לוחשי לחישות שאין בדור

§ The Gemara returns to the topic of rain. And Rabbi Ami said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the serpent [naḥash] bites [yishokh] before it is charmed [laḥash], then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? If you see a generation for whom the heavens corrode [meshatkhin] like copper [neḥoshet], which prevents them from bringing down dew and rain, this is due to the lack of those who whisper quiet [loḥashei leḥishot] prayers in the generation.

מאי תקנתן ילכו אצל מי שיודע ללחוש דכתיב (איוב לו, לג) יגיד עליו רעו ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון ומי שאפשר לו ללחוש ואינו לוחש מה הנאה יש לו

What is their remedy? They should go to one who knows how to whisper prayers in the proper manner, as it is written: “Its noise tells concerning it” (Job 36:33). As for the phrase: “Then the charmer has no advantage,” this is referring to one who is able to whisper his prayers correctly and yet does not whisper them correctly. In this case, of what benefit to him is his ability to pray?

ואם לחש ולא נענה מאי תקנתיה ילך אצל חסיד שבדור וירבה עליו בתפלה שנאמר (איוב לו, לב) ויצו עליה במפגיע ואין פגיעה אלא תפלה שנאמר (ירמיהו ז, טז) ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה ואל תשא בעדם רנה ותפלה ואל תפגע בי

And if he whispered his prayers and yet was not answered, what is his remedy? He should go to the most pious individual of the generation, and this pious individual will increase his prayers on his behalf, as it is stated one verse earlier: “And He has commanded it due to imploring” (Job 36:32). And “imploring” means nothing other than prayer, as it is stated: “Therefore, do not pray you for this nation, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither implore Me” (Jeremiah 7:16).

ואם לחש ועלתה בידו ומגיס דעתו עליו מביא אף לעולם שנאמר (איוב לו, לג) מקנה אף על עולה

And if he whispered his prayers for rain, and his prayers were successful, i.e., rain fell as he requested, and he becomes prideful as a result, he brings anger into the world, as it is stated: “The cattle [mikne] also [af ] concerning the rising storm [al oleh]” (Job 36:33). This verse can be read homiletically as: Anger [af ] is acquired [mikne] by one who raises [al oleh] his pride.

רבא אמר שני ת"ח שיושבין בעיר אחת ואין נוחין זה לזה בהלכה מתקנאין באף ומעלין אותו שנאמר מקנה אף על עולה

Following the same interpretation of this verse, Rava said: If there are two Torah scholars who live in one city, and they are not courteous with one another in their discussions of halakha, they arouse anger upon the world and cause it to rise up, as it is stated: “Anger is acquired by one who raises his pride.”

אמר ר"ל מאי דכתיב אם ישוך הנחש בלא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון לעתיד לבא מתקבצות ובאות כל החיות אצל הנחש ואומרים לו ארי דורס ואוכל זאב טורף ואוכל אתה מה הנאה יש לך אמר להם ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון

The Gemara cites another interpretation of the aforementioned verse. Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If the snake bites before it is charmed, then the charmer has no advantage” (Ecclesiastes 10:11)? In the future, all the animals will gather together and come to the snake and say to him: A lion mauls its prey and eats it; a wolf tears apart its prey and eats it; but you, what pleasure do you have when you bite a person, as you are incapable of eating him? The snake will say to them: “The charmer has no advantage.” The Hebrew phrase for snake charmer literally means the master of the tongue, and therefore the snake is saying that he has a more difficult question: What pleasure does a slanderer receive, as he inflicts more harm for which he obtains no physical enjoyment.

אמר רבי אמי אין תפלתו של אדם נשמעת אלא אם כן משים נפשו בכפו שנאמר (איכה ג, מא) נשא לבבנו אל כפים [איני והא] אוקים שמואל אמורא עליה ודרש (תהלים עח, לו) ויפתוהו בפיהם ובלשונם יכזבו לו ולבם לא נכון עמו ולא נאמנו בבריתו ואף על פי כן (תהלים עח, לח) והוא רחום יכפר עון וגו'

Rabbi Ami said: A person’s prayer is heard only if he places his soul in his palm, i.e., one must submit his entire soul with sincerity in his outstretched hands as he prays, as it is stated: “Let us lift up our heart with our hands” (Lamentations 3:41). The Gemara raises an objection: Is that so? But Shmuel once established for himself an interpreter to teach in public, and interpreted homiletically the verse: “But they beguiled Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue, for their heart was not steadfast with Him, neither were they faithful to His covenant” (Psalms 78:36–37), and nevertheless the psalm continues: “But He, being full of compassion, forgives iniquity, and does not destroy” (Psalms 78:38). This indicates that all prayers are accepted, even if they lack sincerity.

לא קשיא כאן ביחיד כאן בציבור

The Gemara responds: This is not difficult, as here Rabbi Ami is referring to an individual who prays without sincerity and consequently his prayer goes unheard, whereas there Shmuel is saying that when one prays with the community, even if his prayers are deficient, they are accepted in the merit of the congregation.

אמר ר' אמי אין גשמים יורדין אלא בשביל בעלי אמנה שנאמר (תהלים פה, יב) אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף

Rabbi Ami further said: Rain falls only due to faithful people, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). When “truth springs out of the earth,” i.e., if people are faithful, they will find that “righteousness,” in the form of rain “has looked down from heaven.”

וא"ר אמי בא וראה כמה גדולים בעלי אמנה מניין מחולדה ובור ומה המאמין בחולדה ובור כך המאמין בהקב"ה עאכ"ו

And Rabbi Ami said: Come and see how great the faithful people are, and how God assists them. From where is it derived? From the story of the marten [ḥulda] and the pit. Once a young man saved a girl who had fallen into a pit. After rescuing her they swore to remain faithful to each other, and they declared the pit and a passing marten their witnesses. As time went by the young man forgot his vow and married another woman. They had two children, both of whom died tragically, one by falling into a pit and the other when he was bitten by a marten. Their unusual deaths led the young man to realize his error and he returned to the first woman. And if this is the outcome for one who believes in signs from a pit and a marten, all the more so for one who has faith in the Holy One, Blessed be He.

אמר רבי יוחנן כל המצדיק את עצמו מלמטה מצדיקין עליו הדין מלמעלה שנאמר אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף רבי חייא בר אבין אמר רב הונא מהכא (תהלים צ, יא) וכיראתך עברתך

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever is exacting with himself, by striving to act righteously in every way on earth below, he is judged in an exact manner in Heaven above, in order to improve him further still, as it is stated: “Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12). Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin said that Rav Huna said that this idea is derived from here: “And Your wrath is according to the fear that is due to You” (Psalms 90:11). The level of God’s wrath correlates with the offender’s fear of God.

ריש לקיש אמר מהכא (ישעיהו סד, ד) פגעת את שש ועושה צדק בדרכיך יזכרוך הן אתה קצפת ונחטא בהם עולם ונושע אמר ריב"ל כל השמח ביסורין שבאין עליו מביא ישועה לעולם שנאמר בהם עולם ונושע

Reish Lakish said that this principle is derived from here: “You took him away who joyfully performed righteousness, those who remembered You in Your ways, behold You were wroth, and we sinned, upon them have we stayed of old, that we might be saved” (Isaiah 64:4). This verse also teaches that God displays wrath specifically due to the transgressions of those who are accustomed to acting righteously. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said concerning the same verse: Whoever is joyful in the suffering that comes upon him brings salvation to the world [olam], as it is stated: “Upon them have we stayed of old [olam], that we might be saved.”

אמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב (דברים יא, יז) ועצר את השמים בשעה שהשמים נעצרין מלהוריד (טל ומטר) דומה לאשה שמחבלת ואינה יולדת והיינו דאמר ריש לקיש משום בר קפרא נאמרה עצירה בגשמים ונאמרה עצירה באשה

§ Returning to the topic of rain, Reish Lakish said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And He will close up the heavens” (Deuteronomy 11:17)? This verse teaches that when the heavens are closed up from bringing down dew and rain, this is similar to a woman who has the pangs of labor and yet does not give birth, as the heavens themselves suffer from their inability to bring down rain and dew. And this is what Reish Lakish said in the name of bar Kappara: Closing up is stated with regard to rains, and closing up is likewise stated with regard to a woman.