Friday, November 10, 2006

Daf Yomi Beitza 15b: Being Sad On Rosh haShana

A week or so ago, I noted an interesting post on dafNotes. Within that post, he noted the following gemara:

רבינא הוה יתיב קמיה דרב <אסי> [אשי] בשני ימים טובים של ראש השנה חזייה דהוה עציב אמר ליה אמאי עציב מר א"ל דלא אותיבי עירובי תבשילין אמר ליה ולותיב מר האידנא מי לא אמר רבא מניח אדם עירובי תבשילין מיו"ט לחבירו ומתנה אמר ליה אימר דאמר רבא בשני ימים טובים של גליות בשני ימים טובים של ראש השנה מי אמר והא אמרי נהרדעי אף ביצה מותרת אמר ליה רב מרדכי בפירוש אמר לי מר דלא סבר להא דנהרדעי

{Beitza 6a}
Ravina was sitting before Rav Ashi on the two days of Yom Tov of Rosh haShana {and it was the first day}. He {Ravina} saw that he {Rav Ashi} was sad. He said to him: Why are you sad?
He said to him: For I did not establish an eruv tavshilin {to cook from Yom Tov to Shabbat, which was the day after the second day of Rosh haShana}.
He {Ravina} said: So let Master establish one now {on Thursday}! For did not Rava state that one may establish an eruv tavshilin from one day of Yom Tov for the next and make a condition {namely: if today is indeed kodesh, then there is no need for an eruv, for Friday, erev Shabbat, is chol; and if today is chol and tomorrow is kodesh, then this is establishing an eruv tavshilin from before the actual day of Yom Tov, which would be effective to permit cooking from Yom Tov on Friday for Shabbat}.
He {Rav Ashi} said to him: One may say that Rava stated this about the two days of Yom Tov of the exile. But regarding the two days of Yom Tov of Rosh haShana, would he say?!
He {Ravina} said to him: But the Nehardeans say, even by an egg!

{That is, regarding what Rava said earlier: "A corpse on the first day of Yom Tov, gentiles deal with it. On the second day of Yom Tov, Israelites deal with it. And even on the two days of Yom Tov of Rosh haShana {this distinction is made}, which is not the case as regards an egg." And the Nehardeans say that this distinction is indeed made as regards an egg, and so similarly here, the two days of Rosh haShana have the same status as two days of Yom Tov of the exile -- two separate kedushot -- even as regards an egg, and so too one could make an eruv tavshilin from one day of Yom Tov to the next, as stated above.}

Rav Mordechai said to him: Master {=Rav Ashi} said to me explicitly that he does not hold like this of the Nehardeans.
The question on this gemara, by the Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha (as summarized at dafnotes):
Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha asks that perhaps Rav Ashi was dejected because it was Rosh HaShanah and he was fearful of the Day of Judgment? He answers that it is said explicitly in the Book of Nechemiah (8:9) that the leaders exhorted the Jewish People not to be sad on Rosh HaShanah as it is a holy day.
The formulation is a bit strange, since historically there was one true reason Rav Ashi was sad, and Rav Ashi told Ravina why he was sad. The meaning he is trying to get at is: why did Ravina think it was strange to be sad on this day, such that he would ask? The answer is that one should not be sad/grieved because of concern for the day of Judgment, so this was not a possibility.

I still think the answer is better than the question here. Historically, perhaps some were grieved and some were not. Perhaps in general Rav Ashi was not grieved, or it was a specific type of countenance not of fear of din but of aggravation. Perhaps it was possible that Rav Ashi was concerned about Judgment Day, and Ravina wanted to clarify any relevant halacha and thus asked. I am not bothered much at all by the concerns that spark the question, but the answer, linking this to the pesukim in Nechemia, are quite nice.

In fact, it gets even better than this. The relevant pesukim in Nechemia:
ט וַיֹּאמֶר נְחֶמְיָה הוּא הַתִּרְשָׁתָא וְעֶזְרָא הַכֹּהֵן הַסֹּפֵר וְהַלְוִיִּם הַמְּבִינִים אֶת-הָעָם לְכָל-הָעָם, הַיּוֹם קָדֹשׁ-הוּא לַה' אֱלֹקֵיכֶם--אַל-תִּתְאַבְּלוּ, וְאַל-תִּבְכּוּ: כִּי בוֹכִים כָּל-הָעָם, כְּשָׁמְעָם אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה. 9 And Nehemiah, who was the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people: 'This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep.' For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
י וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַקִּים, וְשִׁלְחוּ מָנוֹת לְאֵין נָכוֹן לוֹ--כִּי-קָדוֹשׁ הַיּוֹם, לַאֲדֹנֵינוּ; וְאַל-תֵּעָצֵבוּ, כִּי-חֶדְוַת ה הִיא מָעֻזְּכֶם. 10 Then he said unto them: 'Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'
יא וְהַלְוִיִּם מַחְשִׁים לְכָל-הָעָם, לֵאמֹר הַסּוּ--כִּי הַיּוֹם, קָדֹשׁ; וְאַל-תֵּעָצֵבוּ. 11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying: 'Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.'
יב וַיֵּלְכוּ כָל-הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת, וּלְשַׁלַּח מָנוֹת, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת, שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה: כִּי הֵבִינוּ בַּדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר הוֹדִיעוּ לָהֶם. {ס} 12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. {S}

So there is a connection between Rosh haShana and sadness -- that one should not be sad.

However, it gets better! This is on a peshat level of the verse. However, on a derash level, the sadness would seem to be specifically one associated with not having made an eruv tavshilin, just as Rav Ashi neglected to make one.

The word here, just as in the gemara by Rav Ashi, is עצב. And we have the following gemara in Beitza 15b:
ושלחו מנות לאין נכון לו מאי לאין נכון לו
א"ר חסדא שלחו מנות למי שלא היה לו להניח עירובי תבשילין
אבל היה לו להניח ולא הניח פושע הוא

{Nechemia 8:10}:

י וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַקִּים, וְשִׁלְחוּ מָנוֹת לְאֵין נָכוֹן לוֹ--כִּי-קָדוֹשׁ הַיּוֹם, לַאֲדֹנֵינוּ; וְאַל-תֵּעָצֵבוּ, כִּי-חֶדְוַת ה הִיא מָעֻזְּכֶם. 10 Then he said unto them: 'Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'
What does it mean "unto him for whom nothing is prepared?"
Rav Chisda said: Send portions to he who did not have the ability to set up an eruv tavshilin. But he who had opportunity to set it up and did not is simply negligent.
Thus, the sending of portions in these verses, according to Rav Chisda's reading, are to help those who for reasons beyond their control, were unable to set up an eruv tavshilin. If so, we can understand why the people were grieved -- because they were not going to have any food for Rosh haShana. Thus Ezra and company gave a command to the rest of the Israelites to give them food, so they would not be aggravated.

Thus, there is an even deeper connection to this pasuk in Nechemia, and Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha was right to connect the pasuk to this gemara about Rav Ashi, but quite possibly for different reasons.

Indeed, other incidents in the gemara have being who are similarly sad, specifically because they did not make an eruv tavshilin -- including one in which the blind man who told over tannaitic statements before Mar Shmuel who was dejected two years in a row because he did not make an eruv tavshilin.


Avromi said...

Thank you - I like your connection.

I read this post a few times plus the comments on my site regarding SM"B's question. I am still not sure what is bothering you.
he is not asking for a different answer from Rav Ashi. All he is asking is, that the premise seems to be that one should be sad on Rosh Hashana due to the nature of Yom Hadin. If that would be true, Ravina would not have even asked the question "why is the rebbe sad?" Everyone is sad and it is not out of the ordinary.

By the fact that there is a question here, that indicates that the sadness is not due to the obvious and there must have been another reason.

Thanks again and have a good Shabbos.

joshwaxman said...

in that, i mostly agree with you, and thus the question sits better with me, and sat better with me since your reply on your blog.

i still am a bit unsettled by the premise of the question, though. it is difficult to prove anything from a negative -- lo ra`inu aino ra`aya and all that. historically, many things could account for the asking of the question. for example, even if it is OK to be sad on rosh haShana:

1) it being *OK* to be sad/distressed is not the same as it being required. perhaps Ravina thought that this was indeed the reason, but was not sure, and wanted to confirm one way or the other. So one cannot *prove* from this that being sad is not allowed.

2) different types of sadness/ distress/ being grieved manifest in different ways. All might be described by the word עצב, but they manifest on someone's face differently. Perhaps it was clear from Rav Ashi's face and mannerism that this was not worry over the result of the day, but rather being upset over something that went wrong.

3) Perhaps Rav Ashi was such a tzaddik that he would have no reason for concern on the Yom haDin, and so this was not a consideration.

and so on and so forth...

Finally, Mar son of Ravina (though note there were two Ravinas who worked on redacting the Talmud with Rav Ashi, an uncle and nephew of each other) fasted on every day of Yom Tov except Purim, Shabbat, and erev Yom Kippur. Thus, he would have fasted on Rosh haShana as well. Note the relation to this Ravina. So there is obviously an opinion that it is OK to fast on Rosh haShana, and perhaps related to that, be concerned over the fact that it is the Yom haDin. We don't necessarily pasken from interpretations, even peshat interpretations, of Acharonim of pesukim in Ketuvim.

But overall, while a nice question and answer, I am not really struck by the question, because of the difficulty of extracting concrete halacha from *lack of details* in a recording of an historical event.


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