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TA'ANIS 24 (13 Shevat) - dedicated by the Farber family l'Iluy Nishmas Esther (bas Moshe) Farber of Riverdale, NY, who passed away on 13 Shevat 5763. A descendant of the Chasam Sofer, Esther was a courageous woman whose dedication to Torah ideals affected the lives of many students and friends.


1. The Gemara discusses a certain person who was righteous but overly zealous.
2. The charity collectors would hide from Elazar Ish Birta because they knew he would give them everything he had.
3. Rebbi instituted a fast for rain, but rain came only after Ilfa (some say Rebbi) prayed for rain.
4. The Gemara discusses many instances where fasts were instituted due to lack of rain.
5. The Gemara explains that the amount of Torah knowledge one had acquired did not determine if his prayers for rain would be answered.


1. When his righteous son miraculously caused a tree to grow fruit on the spot, his father cursed him that just as he troubled his Creator to make the tree give fruit before its proper time, he should die before his proper time.
2. The Gemara relates how it happened once that the charity collections did not hide quickly enough, and Elazar Ish Birta gave them all of the money for his daughter's dowry in order to help an orphan marry another orphan.
3. The Gemara explains that Ilfa (or Rebbi) said that this was in the merit of his ensuring that everyone in his town had wine for Kidush and Havdalah.
4. Many of these ended well when the Chachamim who instituted the fasts at first were not answered with rain, but then were humbled and bothered by this fact. It appears that it was their humility after they were not answered (perhaps coupled with even better prayers) that caused the rain to fall.
5. This is evident from the fact that in the generation of Rav Yehudah, when they did not learn as many Masechtos, the prayers for rain were answered almost immediately, while in later generations they sometimes would pray all day and not be answered.

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