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TA'ANIS 21 (10 Shevat) - Dedicated by Hagaon Rav Yosef Pearlman of London, England, in memory of his father in law, Harav Yeshayah ben Rav David Chaim Goldberg Z"L, who passed away on 10 Shevat 5738.


1. Ilfa and Rebbi Yochanan both considered leaving Torah learning and going into business, as they were destitute.
2. Ilfa went into business, and Rebbi Yochanan remained in learning and became a great Rosh Yeshivah.
3. Even though Ilfa left full-time Torah learning, he still remembered his learning years later.
4. The Gemara explains why Nachum Ish Gam Zu was called "Gam Zu."
5. The Gemara discusses plagues that threatened, but did not harm, the city of famous Torah personalities even though the surrounding cities were affected.


1. When they were sitting together, Rebbi Yochanan heard an angel say to his friend that they should be immediately killed for leaving Torah. The second angel replied that they should not be killed, since one of them will become a great Torah scholar.
2. Rebbi Yochanan realized that the angels were talking about him, since Ilfa had not heard their conversation. He therefore continued learning despite his poverty, and eventually became a wealthy Rosh Yeshivah (as the custom then was to ensure that a Rosh Yeshivah be wealthy).
3. In fact, people told Ilfa that if he would not have left learning he would have become the Rosh Yeshivah instead of Rebbi Yochanan, because Ilfa was more learned than Rebbi Yochanan at the time they considered leaving learning.
4. Whenever anything seemingly bad happened to him, he would remark, "Gam Zu l'Tovah" -- "this, too, is for the best."
5. The Gemara explains that although people thought that this was due to the merit of these great Torah personalities (i.e. Rav), and it could have been, this would have been a small thing for their many merits to cover. In reality, the protection of the cities was in the merit of simple people in the town who did great things, as the Gemara goes on to relate.

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