Shmini Atzeret and The Importance of Rain

Well done, Yael. 5.5/6

Added by: Ben Einsidler

(א) מֵאֵימָתַי מַזְכִּירִין גְּבוּרוֹת גְּשָׁמִים. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, מִיּוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל חָג. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, מִיּוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל חָג. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין הַגְּשָׁמִים אֶלָּא סִימַן קְלָלָה בֶּחָג, לָמָּה מַזְכִּיר. אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, אַף אֲנִי לֹא אָמַרְתִּי לִשְׁאוֹל, אֶלָּא לְהַזְכִּיר מַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ וּמוֹרִיד הַגֶּשֶׁם בְּעוֹנָתוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ, אִם כֵּן, לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא מַזְכִּיר:

(1) From when do we begin to mention the power of [bringing] rain [in the Shemoneh Esrai], Rabbi Eliezer says, from the first day of the festival [Sukkot]. Rabbi Yehoshua says, from the last day of the festival [Sukkot]. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him [Rabbi Eliezer], since rain on the festival is nothing but a sign of a curse why should he mention it? Rabbi Eliezer said to him: I also did not say to request [rain] but to make mention, “He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall” in its due season. He replied to him: if so one should at all times make mention of it.

מאימתי מזכירין גבורות גשמים- From when do we mention G-d's power through rain?

הואיל ואין הגשמים אלא סימן קללה בחג- since rain is nothing but an unfavorable sign on a festival

בעונתו- in its season

Rough Translation:

When do we include the rain the Bracha in Shmone esrei? Rabbi Eliezer says from the first day of Sukkot, Rabbi Yehoshua says from the last. Rabbi Yehoshua says that the rain is like a curse , and Rabbi Eliezer says that we only need to mention it.

Summary of the mishna:

  • We mention the rain on the first day.
  • We mention the rain on the last day.
  • Why do we bring it up in the first place?

(ד) הִגִּיעַ שִׁבְעָה עָשָׂר בְּמַרְחֶשְׁוָן וְלֹא יָרְדוּ גְשָׁמִים, הִתְחִילוּ הַיְחִידִים מִתְעַנִּין שָׁלשׁ תַּעֲנִיּוֹת. אוֹכְלִין וְשׁוֹתִין מִשֶּׁחֲשֵׁכָה, וּמֻתָּרִין בִּמְלָאכָה וּבִרְחִיצָה וּבְסִיכָה וּבִנְעִילַת הַסַּנְדָּל וּבְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה:

(4) If the seventeenth of Mar-Cheshvan has come without the rain having yet descended, private individuals commence to keep three fast-days. On the night beforehand, they are allowed to eat and drink, and it is allowed [on the fast day itself] to work, to bathe, to anoint the body, to wear [leather] shoes, and to perform the marriage duty.

1. What do we do if rain has not fallen by the seventeenth of Mar-Cheshvan?

We have to fast for 3 days. but were alowed to do things that we wrote down below.

2. What are we allowed to do, and what aren't we allowed to do?

-Eat

-drink

ON THE FAST DAY YOU CAN

-Work

-Bathe

-Wear leather shoes

-Anoint the body

-Marital ralations

3. What holiday(s) is this similar to? Why?

Tzom gidalia: its simaler because you can do all of things above besides eat and drinking

If we only ask for rain at certain times of the year, why do you think we mention it twice every day as part of the Shema?