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TA'ANIS 23
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TA'ANIS 23 (7 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., Niftar 7 Av 5757, by his wife and daughters. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.

SUMMARY

1. In the days of Shimon ben Shetach, when people were very righteous, there was a blessing in the rain.
 
2. The Gemara says that when Hurdus was renovating the Beis ha'Mikdash, the rain fell at the right time.
 
3. The Gemara relates the famous story of Choni ha'Me'agel.
 
4. The rain at first was only a drizzle, then a storm, and then a strong rain (but not as much as a storm).
 
5. The Chachamim also asked Choni ha'Me'agel's grandson, Aba Chilkiyah, to pray for rain.

A BIT MORE

1. This caused the wheat kernels to grow as large as human kidneys, barley to be the size of olives, and lentils to be the size of gold coins.
 
2. The rain fell only at night. During the day there would be a nice breeze that would blow away the clouds from the night, and the sun would shine.
 
3. When it was late Adar and rain did not fall, Choni prayed for rain but was not answered. He therefore drew a circle on the ground, stood inside of it, and said to Hashem that he would not come out circle until it rained.
 
4. Even though one normally does not pray for rain to stop, Choni eventually offered a sacrifice while praying that the rain should stop (so it should not totally flood Yerushalayim).
 
5. However, the Gemara says that Aba Chilkiyah's wife joined him in his prayers for rain, and that the clouds would come from her side of the loft where they prayed. The Gemara suggests different reasons for this. One reason was that she would give the poor cooked food, as opposed to Aba Chilkiyah who would give them money.

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