Babylonian Talmud Ta’anit 24a - 2
1 א
תלמוד בבלי מסכת תענית דף כד עמוד א
2 ב
רב איקלע לההוא אתרא, גזר תעניתא ולא אתא מיטרא. נחית קמיה שליחא דצבורא, אמר משיב הרוח ונשב זיקא, אמר מוריד הגשם - ואתא מיטרא, אמר ליה: מאי עובדך? - אמר ליה: מיקרי דרדקי אנא ומקרינא לבני עניי כבני עתירי, וכל דלא אפשר ליה לא שקלינא מיניה מידי. ואית לי פירא דכוורי, וכל מאן דפשע - משחדינא ליה מינייהו, ומסדרינן ליה, ומפייסינן ליה, עד דאתי וקרי.
Once Rab came to a certain place and decreed a fast but no rain fell. The prayer leader then stepped down at his request before the ark and recited, “God causes the wind to blow,” and the wind blew; he continued, “God causes the rain to fall”, and rain fell. Rab thereupon asked him, “What is your special merit?” The latter replied, “I am a teacher of young children and I teach the children of the poor as well as those of the rich; I take no fees from any who cannot afford to pay; further, I have a fish pond, and any child who is reluctant to learn I bribe with some of the fish and prepare them, and entice the child so that they come and learn.” This text was compiled by Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY, for Rabbi Matalon’s teaching on the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation. Their work was based on and inspired by The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Edited for gender neutrality.
3 ג

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What were the two problems the teacher encountered? What can we learn from him about providing services to those who are reluctant to accept them?

2. What values does the teacher represent, and how might this give him power to affect the weather?

4 ד
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)