[15a - 37 lines; 15b - 46 lines]

1a)[line 8]צדיקיםTZADIKIM- righteous individuals who do not give in to their Yetzer ha'Ra (evil inclination)

b)[line 8]וישריםYESHARIM- righteous individuals who are not even tempted by their Yetzer ha'Ra (evil inclination)

2)[line 9]"אור זרוע לצדיק ולישרים שמחה""OR ZARU'A LA'TZADIK, UL'YISHREI LEV SIMCHAH."- "Light is sown for the righteous, and happiness for the straight of heart" (Tehilim 97:11).


3)[line 12]התיבהTEIVAH- the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) [containing the Sifrei Torah]

4)[line 12]לרחובה של עירRECHOVAH SHEL IR- the town square

5)[line 12]אפר מקלהEFER MAKLEH- burnt ash (as opposed to dirt)

6a)[line 13]הנשיאNASI- the spiritual leader of the generation

b)[line 13]אב בית דיןAV BEIS DIN- the head of the Rabbinic court; the prime Halachic authority

7)[line 14]דברי כבושיןDIVREI CHEVUSHIN- (a) words that pressure [those who hear them to repent (O.F. presse - a clothes press) (RASHI); (b) words [that reveal what is] hidden [in one's heart] (RABEINU GERSHOM to 16a)

8)[line 15]"וירא הא-לקים את מעשיהם כי שבו מדרכם הרעה [וינחם הא-לקים על הרעה אשר דבר לעשות להם ולא עשה]""VA'YAR HA'EL-KIM ES MA'ASEIHEM, KI SHAVU MI'DARKAM HA'RA'AH; [VA'YINACHEM HA'EL-KIM AL HA'RA'AH ASHER DIBER LA'ASOS LAHEM V'LO ASAH]" - "And HaSh-m saw their deeds, that they had repented from their evil ways; [and HaSh-m regretted the evil that He had promised to do to them, and He did not carry it out]" (Yonah 3:10) (THE GREAT CITY OF NINVEH REPENTS)

(a)The prophet Yonah was instructed by HaSh-m to inform the people of the great city of Ninveh that, due to their numerous sins, their city would be overturned in three days' time.

(b)The residents of the city took the warning to heart and repented. Additionally, they organized a public fast wherein men, women, children, and even animals neither ate nor drank. They donned sackcloth (a material woven from goat's hair) and cried out to HaSh-m.

9)[line 16]ובקבלהB'KABALAH- in Nevi'im

10)[line 16]"וקִרעו לבבכם וְאַל בגדיהם ושובו אל ה' א-לקיכם כי חנון ורחום הוא ארך אפים ורב חסד ונחם על הרעה""V'KIR'U LEVAVCHEM V'AL BIGDEICHEM, V'SHUVU EL HASH-M EL-KEICHEM KI CHANUN V'RACHUM HU ERECH APAYIM V'RAV CHESED V'NACHAM AL HA'RA'AH" - "And rend your hearts and not [just] your clothing, and return to HaSh-m your G-d; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundantly kind, and willing to change His evil decrees" (Yo'el 2:13) (IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO DO TESHUVAH)

(a)The Navi has just been describing in detail what was destined to become the worst plague of locusts in history.

(b)However, even at this final moment, HaSh-m was telling Yisrael — when the decree to send the terrible plague of locusts had already been sealed — that if Yisrael would do genuine Teshuvah, then HaSh-m would relent.

(c)Yisrael did not do Teshuvah, yet. The awesome plague of locusts struck. Nevertheless, as the Navi goes on to imply, they would do Teshuvah later and HaSh-m would subsequently send a tremendous blessing in the same year's crops.

11)[line 17]מורידין לפני התיבהMORIDIM LIFNEI HA'TEIVAH- we bring in front of the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) [to serve as the Shali'ach Tzibur]

12)[line 17]ורגילRAGIL- one who is well-versed in the prayers

13)[line 18]וביתו ריקםBEISO REIKAM- [at this point, this is assumed to mean] one whose house is empty [of necessities, and who will therefore pray more intently]

14)[line 19]זכרונות ושופרותZICHRONOS V'SHOFAROS- [the Berachos of] Zichronos (HaSh-m's Remembrance) and Shofaros (Shofar Blasts) [added to the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh of Rosh Hashanah, each of which incorporate ten verses dealing with their respective topics]

15)[line 20]"[שיר המעלות] אל ה' בצרתה לי קראתי ויענני""[SHIR HA'MA'ALOS,] EL HASH-M BA'TZARASAH LI KARASI VA'YA'ANEINI"- "[A song of ascents,] I called to HaSh-m when I was in distress and He answered me" (Tehilim 120:1) - The entire chapter of Tehilim 120 is incorporated into the first Berachah [in Rebbi Yehudah's count, which is the third Berachah according to the Tana Kama].

16)[line 20]"[שיר למעלות] אשא עיני אל ההרים...""[SHIR LA'MA'ALOS,] ESA EINAI EL HE'HARIM..."- "[A song for the ascents,] I raised my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?" (Tehilim 121:1) - The entire chapter of Tehilim 121 is incorporated into the second Berachah.

17)[line 21]"[שיר המעלות] ממעמקים קראתיך ה'""[SHIR HA'MA'ALOS,] MI'MA'AMAKIM KERASICHA HASH-M"- "[A song of ascents,] I called You from the depths, HaSh-m" (Tehilim 130:1) - The entire chapter of Tehilim 130 is incorporated into the third Berachah.

18)[line 21]"תפלה לעני כי יעטוף...""TEFILAH L'ANI CHI YA'ATOF..."- "A prayer of the poor one, when he wraps himself [in a garment, and he pours his words before HaSh-m]" (Tehilim 102:1) - The entire chapter of Tehilim 102 is incorporated into the fourth Berachah.

19)[line 22]"רעב כי יהיה בארץ דבר כי יהיה [שדפון ירקון ארבה חסיל כי יהיה כי יצר לו איבו שעריו כל נגע כל מחלה]""RA'AV KI YIHEYEH BA'ARETZ, DEVER KI YIHEYEH..." - "If there should be a famine in the land, if there should be a plague, [if there be windblast or withering or locust or grasshopper, if his (Yisrael's) enemy oppresses him in the land of his cities, any plague , any disease]" (Melachim I 8:37) (THE PRAYER OF SHLOMO HA'MELECH UPON COMPLETING THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH)

(a)Having completed the construction of the Beis ha'Mikdash, Shlomo ha'Melech beseeched HaSh-m to forgive the sins of Klal Yisrael, guide them, and bless them with rain as needed. He prayed also that HaSh-m always be receptive to the prayers of Klal Yisrael (as well as those of other nations). His main concern was that the Beis ha'Mikdash should draw Klal Yisrael close to HaSh-m, and that this relationship should express itself in a higher quality of Mitzvah observance. Shlomo then expressed his desire that "... all the nations of the earth should know that HaSh-m is G-d; there is no other" (Melachim I 8:60).

(b)Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the portion of the prayer beginning with this verse is incorporated into one of the six Berachos added on a Ta'anis, because it specifically asks of HaSh-m to have mercy on Eretz Yisrael.

20)[line 23]"אשר היה דבר ה' אל ירמיהו...""ASHER HAYAH DVAR HASH-M EL YIRMEYAHU..."- "The word of HaSh-m that came to Yirmeyahu, regarding the famine" (Yirmeyahu 14:1) - Rebbi Yehudah maintains that this chapter, which discusses how HaSh-m saves Klal Yisrael from a famine if they repent, is incorporated into one of the six Berachos added on a Ta'anis.

21)[line 24]חותמיהןCHOSMEIHEM- lit. their seals; the ending of the respective Berachos

22)[line 24]אברהם בהר המוריהAVRAHAM B'HAR HA'MORIYAH- the mountain upon which Akeidas Yitzchak took place. Because Avraham was the first Jew to be saved by HaSh-m (namely, from the fiery furnace of Nimrod), it is fitting to mention him in the Berachah of "Go'el Yisrael."

23)[line 25]צעקתכםTZA'AKASCHEM- your cries [in prayer]

24)[line 26]אבותינו על ים סוףAVOSEINU AL YAM SUF- our forefathers at the Sea of Reeds. Because Klal Yisrael were "forgotten," as it were, in Mitzrayim until HaSh-m redeemed them, it is fitting to mention them in the Berachah of "Zocher ha'Nishkachos." (The Girsa of TOSFOS DH Mai on 16b is "Zocher ha'Bris," which is indeed the version currently recited on Rosh Hashanah.)

25)[line 28]יהושע בגלגלYEHOSHUA BA'GIGAL- Yehoshua [regarding the capture of Yericho (see Background to 14:10) when the Mishkan was] in Gilgal. Because Shofaros were used in the capture of Yericho, it is fitting to make mention of it in the Berachah of "Shome'a Teru'a."

26)[line 30]שמואל במצפהSHMUEL BA'MITZPAH

(a)Following the death of Eli ha'Kohen, the Pelishtim harassed Klal Yisrael. Shmuel ha'Navi urged them to return wholeheartedly to HaSh-m, and eradicate any vestige of idol worship from amongst them. The nation complied and returned to serving HaSh-m and HaSh-m alone.

(b)Shmuel then next gathered Bnei Yisrael to Mitzpah (lit. "lookout"), a city on a high peak to the north of Yerushalayim (identified with either present-day Tel A-Natzbah or Nebi Samuel). Located there were a Mizbe'ach and a synagogue, and it was therefore perfectly suited as a place for assembly and prayer (RADAK to Shmuel I 7:5). Bnei Yisrael fasted and poured water before HaSh-m, symbolizing their subservience to Him and His will. Seeing an opportunity for attack, the Pelishtim followed them up to Mitzpah. Shmuel defeated the Pelishtim, and they did not enter Eretz Yisrael as long as Shmuel was alive (Shmuel I 7:3-13).

(c)Because the verse (Shmuel I 7:9) states that Shmuel cried out in prayer, it is fitting to mention this incident in the Berachah of "Shome'a Tze'akah." Furthermore, Chapter 120 of Tehilim, which describes HaSh-m responding to prayer, fits this theme as well.

27)[line 32]אליהו בהר הכרמלELIYAHU B'HAR HA'KARMEL

(a)In the times of the wicked, idol-worshipping king, Ach'av, the nation turned to worshipping the Avodah Zarah of Ba'al. Eliyahu ha'Navi decreed a famine in the land in retaliation for this desertion of HaSh-m. Ach'av then scornfully referred to Eliyahu as "Ocher Yisrael" — the destroyer of Yisrael. In response, Eliyahu suggested a confrontation with 850 "prophets" of Ba'al on Mount Carmel. All of Yisrael was invited to witness the event, at which Eliyahu intended to demonstrate that HaSh-m was the true and only G-d.

(b)Eliyahu challenged Yisrael to decide between the worship HaSh-m or that of Ba'al. He then invited the prophets of Ba'al to choose one of two bulls, leaving him with the other. Both parties were to prepare an altar and firewood, upon which they would place their slaughtered and quartered bull as an offering. Each party would then beseech his deity to send fire from Heaven to consume the animal. Whomever responded would prove Himself to be the true G-d.

(c)Eliyahu taunted the prophets of Ba'al for most of the day as they ranted and raved, pranced upon their altar, and even maimed themselves in their frenzied attempt to arouse their god. In the afternoon, Eliyahu called upon Yisrael to carefully observe. He rebuilt a Mizbe'ach that had been used by Sha'ul ha'Melech, and dug a trench around it. He then ordered four large jugs of water to be poured over his bull and the wood atop the altar. The water flowed into the ditch, filling it.

(d)The preparations were completed at Minchah time. Eliyahu beseeched HaSh-m to answer his prayers and demonstrate His omnipotence. As he finished his prayer, a G-dly fire descended and consumed the Olah, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, as well as the water in the trench. The assemblage was so moved that they cried in unison, "HaSh-m — He is the true G-d! HaSh-m — He is the true G-d!" (Melachim I 18).

(e)Since Eliyahu beseeched HaSh-m through prayer, it is fitting to mention this incident in the Berachah of "Shome'a Tefilah" on a Ta'anis. Furthermore, Chapter 121 of Tehilim, which makes mention of lifting one's eyes to the mountains, is reminiscent of Mount Carmel.

28)[line 34]יונה ממעי הדגהYONAH MI'ME'EI HA'DAGAH

(a)The prophet Yonah was instructed by HaSh-m to inform the people of the great city of Ninveh that, due to their numerous sins, their city would be overturned in three days' time.

Yonah knew that the Nochri inhabitants of Ninveh would listen to the message and repent. He also knew that their repentance would make Klal Yisrael look bad in comparison. Not wishing to be the instrument through which such an indictment of Klal Yisrael would be brought about, Yonah attempted to flee.

(b)The boat upon which he was traveling was accosted by a storm. Knowing that he was the cause, Yonah instructed the crew to throw him overboard. They did so, and he was swallowed by a large fish. Miraculously, he remained alive.

(c)From the depths of the sea, inside the fish's belly, Yonah sang a song full of praise to HaSh-m for having saved him. HaSh-m then caused the fish to spit Yonah onto dry land. HaSh-m had made His point, and Yonah commenced with his mission.

(d)Yonah said, "I called out to HaSh-m in my distress, and He answered me" (Yonah 2:3). It is therefore fitting that Yonah is mentioned in the Berachah of "ha'Oneh b'Es Tzarah." Furthermore, Chapter 130 of Tehilim, which makes mention of calling out to HaSh-m from the depths, is particularly suited to Yonah's plight.

29)[line 36]את דוד ואת שלמה בנו בירושליםES DAVID V'ES SHLOMO BENO BI'YERUSHALAYIM- This refers to David ha'Melech praying for (a) the three-year famine to end (Shmuel II 21) (RASHI); (b) HaSh-m to end the plague in the silo of Arvanah (Shmuel II 24). Shlomo prayed that HaSh-m (a) mercifully prevent famine etc. (see above, entry #19); (b) open the doors of the Beis ha'Mikdash and allow the Aron ha'Kodesh (Holy Ark) to enter. Alternatively, both prayed regarding the Beis ha'Mikdash (RASHI 17b DH d'Ba'i; TOSFOS 16b DH Mai). Because they were so concerned for the welfare of Eretz Yisrael, their prayers belong in the Berachah of "ha'Merachem Al ha'Aretz." Furthermore, Chapter 102 in Tehilim deals with praying for a lack of rain, a regular amount of which is necessary in Eretz Yisrael.


30)[line 1]שעבר אחד לפני התיבהAVAR ECHAD LI'FNEI HA'TEIVAH- someone led the congregation in prayer

31)[line 3]ולא ענו אחריו אמןLO ANU ACHARAV AMEN- they did not answer after him "Amen" [but rather "Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l'Olam Va'ed" as they did in the Beis ha'Mikdash (see Insights to 16:4)]

32)[line 3]תקעו הכהנים (ו)תקעוTIK'U, HA'KOHANIM, (V)TIK'U!- [the Shamash (sexton) of the synagogue called out,] "Blow, Kohanim, blow!"

33)[line 10]בשער מזרח ובהר הביתB'SHA'AR (alt. SHA'AREI) MIZRACH UV'HAR HA'BAYIS- (a) at the eastern gates of the Temple Mount (Sha'ar Shushan); (b) at the eastern gates [of the Beis ha'Mikdash] as well as on the Temple Mount

34)[line 11]אנשי משמר... ואנשי בית אבANSHEI MISHMAR ... ANSHEI BEIS AV (MISHMAROS)

(a)Every family of Kohanim belongs to one of 24 shifts (Mishmaros). Each Mishmar serves in the Mikdash for one week at a time, meaning that each one performs the Avodah for at least two weeks out of the year. The Mishmaros change on Shabbos, when the outgoing Mishmar performs the Avodah in the morning and the incoming Mishmar performs the Avodah in the afternoon.

(b)Every Mishmar is further divided into six Batei Avos. Each Beis Av serves on a different day of the week. On Shabbos, the Kohanim of all of the Batei Avos perform the Avodah together (RASHI Menachos 107b). Some contend that the Mishmaros are divided into seven groups, and only one group serves on Shabbos (RASHI DH Anshei; see Insights to Shekalim 18b).

(c)On the Shalosh Regalim (the holidays of Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukos) all the Mishmaros Kehunah come to Yerushalayim to fulfill the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel. At those times, Kohanim from any Mishmar are permitted to perform the Avodah of the Regel.

35)[line 11]משלימיןMASHLIMIN- complete [the entire day while fasting]

36)[line 13]שניותSHNIYOS- the second [set of three fasts]

37)[line 21]אנשי משמרANSHEI MISHMAR...- This part of the Mishnah is brought into the discussion because it relates to Mishmaros in general, and is unrelated to fast days.

38)[line 21]אבל לא בימיםAVAL LO B'YAMIM- but not during the day [when they must perform the Avodah, which may not be performed by a Kohen under the influence of alcohol (Vayikra 10:9)]

39)[line 22]ואנשי מעמדANSHEI MA'AMAD (MA'AMADOS)

(a)The Mishnah (26a) teaches that the early prophets divided all of Bnei Yisrael into twenty-four Ma'amados (groups). Each Ma'amad includes Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim. The Ma'amados are responsible to see that the Korbanos in the Beis ha'Mikdash are sacrificed properly for one week at a time. Thus each Ma'amad is on duty approximately twice a year.

(b)The Kohanim and Leviyim of each Ma'amad travel to the Beis ha'Mikdash for their week of duty in order to perform the divine service. Although many of the Yisraelim in each Ma'amad stay in their cities, some travel to Yerushalayim to represent all of Klal Yisrael. Their job is to stand in the Beis ha'Mikdash while public Korbanos are offered and pray that the Korbanos be accepted by HaSh-m. On Monday through Thursday they fast. During the Avodah, they read certain portions of the Torah, and recite the special Shemoneh Esreh of communal fast days (see Background to Shabbos 24:1).

40a)[line 22]מלספרL'SAPER- to receive a haircut

b)[line 22]ומלכבסL'CHABES- to wash their clothing

41)[line 23]במגילת תעניתMEGILAS TA'ANIS

(a)Megilas Ta'anis is a document written in the times of the Tana'im, at the end of the period of the second Beis ha'Mikdash. It lists those dates set aside as holidays due to the miracles that occurred upon them. Fasting was prohibited on these days, and some of them were so joyous that even delivering a eulogy was forbidden. These days were recorded in the Megilah so that they would not be forgotten.

(b)Following the destruction of the second Beis ha'Mikdash, the holidays of Megilas Ta'anis are no longer observed. The exceptions to this rule are the holidays of Chanukah and Purim (Rosh Hashanah 19b). The Gemara (Shabbos 13b) explains that since we require Divine help so frequently while under the rule of the nations, it is impossible to celebrate every occurrence of Divine salvation.

42)[line 23]למספדL'MISPED- to deliver eulogies

43)[line 24]לפניוL'FANAV- the previous day

44)[line 24]להתענאהL'HIS'ANA'AH- to fast

45)[line 25]תעניתTA'ANIS- [a series of] fast[s]

46)[line 26]שלא להפקיע השעריםSHE'LO L'HAFKI'A HA'SHE'ARIM- so as not to raise the market value of produce. This may occur when a fast is decreed on a Thursday, since (a) people will purchase enough food for their Shabbos meals as well as for the large meal they plan to eat following their fast. This abnormally large purchase may cause the merchants to fear the onset of a famine, causing them to raise their prices (RASHI); (b) Those farmers who supply the cities with foodstuffs on the market days of Monday and Thursday will not have heard about the fast, and will therefore bring only enough produce for Shabbos. This will not suffice for the meal following the fast, causing the price of food for Shabbos to rise (RABEINU GERSHOM); (c) Merchants will assume that the fast is intended to forestall a calamity. Fearing that it may arrive, they will hoard their grain, causing the price of food for Shabbos to rise. When the fast is declared on Monday, however, they will have calmed before the end of the week (BA'AL HA'TZEROROS).

47)[line 31]וכןV'CHEN- and so, too [one should not complete his fast]

48)[line 32]ואפילו בקמייתאVA'AFILU B'KAMAISA?- and [is the Aron Kodesh brought out into the town square] even during the first [two sets of three fasts]?

49)[line 33]כדרך שמתפללין כל השנה כולהK'DERECH SHE'MISPALELIN KOL HA'SHANAH KULAH- [(a) without adding an additional six Berachos or bringing the Aron Kodesh into the town square (RASHI); (b) without bringing the Aron Kodesh into the town square (TOSFOS DH va'Afilu)] just as they pray over the course of the entire year

50)[line 35]אפרEFER- in this instance, dirt (see Insights to 16:1-2)

51)[line 39]בגדולהBI'GEDULAH- regarding something positive [such as the commanding of a Mitzvah]

52)[line 40]"ויאמר משה אל אהרן ולאלעזר ולאיתמר...""VA'YOMER MOSHE EL AHARON UL'ELAZAR UL'ISAMAR..."- And Moshe said to Aharon and [his sons] Elazar and Isamar, ['Do not let your hair grow long nor rend your clothing...']" (Vayikra 10:6) - This verse follows the death of Nadav and Avihu (see Background to Sukah 25:20). According to the Girsa of RASHI, the verse is "VA'YEDABER MOSHE EL AHARON V'EL ELAZAR V'EL ISAMAR..." - "And Moshe spoke to Aharon and his sons [who remained,] Elazar and Isamar, [saying, 'Take the Minchah offering...']" (Vayikra 10:12). This verse appears after the aforementioned event as well.

53)[line 42]חשיבותא לדידהוHA CHASHIVUSA L'DIDHU- in this way we are honoring you

54)[line 42]אתוןATUN- you (plural)

55)[line 43]למיבעי עלן רחמי אכולי עלמאL'MIBA'EI ALAN RACHAMEI A'KULEI ALMA- to request mercy on behalf of the entire world

56)[line 45]נשקלו אינהו ונינחו בראשייהוNISHKELU INHU V'NINCHU B'ROSHAIHU!- let them take [ashes] and place them upon their own heads! The Mishnah implies that ashes were placed by others on the Aron and the Nasi and Rosh Beis Din, whereas every other individual placed them upon his own head.

57)[last line]דמן קסריD'MIN KESARI- from the town of Caeseria

58)[last line]מתבייש מעצמוMISBAYESH ME'ATZMO- a [distinguished] individual who is embarrassed at the hand of another