Moed Katan 9: To Fast or Not To Fast

The Gemara (Megillah 5b) relates that Rebbe wanted to abolish Tisha B'Av. Interestingly, no reason is given for this idea of Rebbe's[1]. And while this might be a popular move, "his colleagues would not consent". So much so, that Rabbi Abba the son of Zavda could not fathom that Rebbe truly meant to abolish Tisha B'Av. As much as we might prefer to get rid of it, it is a crucial day in our calendar. "Whoever eats and drinks on Tisha B'Av will not see the comfort of Jerusalem" (Ta'anit 30b).

Taanit 10: To Fast or Not to Fast

Sukkot marks the beginning of the rainy season, and Rabbi Eliezer opines that we should start saying  masheev haruach umoreed hageshem starting the first day of Sukkot. While Rabbi Yehoshua does not disagree that, in theory, Sukkot is the correct starting point, "since rain on Sukkot is a sign of a curse", he ruled that we should push off the recital of masheev haruach until Shemini Azeret—which is the practice we follow today.

Some Opening Thoughts on Masechet Taanit

"Memati mazkirin gevurat geshamim, from when do we begin to mention the power of rain?" (Ta'anit 2a). Masechet Ta'anit opens with a discussion of when we are to begin reciting masheev haruach umoreed hageshem and v'ten tal umatar during davening. While most of us think of fast days in the context of either Yom Kippur or the destruction of the Temple, Masechet Ta'anit, the tractate of fasting, deals primarily with fasts due to lack of rain.

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