YOREH AND MALKOSH
"Yoreh" (the early rains) are so called because they teach (Moreh) people to prepare for winter.
Alternatively, they saturate (Marveh) the land.
Alternatively, they descend gently (like gentle teachings).
Question: Perhaps Yoreh is harmful?
Answer: Just as Malkosh (the late rains, mentioned adjacently) are beneficial, so is Yoreh.
Question: Perhaps Malkosh is harmful?
Answer: Just as Yoreh is beneficial, so is Malkosh.
Question: But how do we know that Yoreh is beneficial?
Answer: A Pasuk states that Hash-m will give Moreh as Tzedakah.
THE TIMES FOR YOREH AND MALKOSH
Yoreh falls in Cheshvan and Malkosh in Nisan.
Question: Perhaps Yoreh falls in Tishrei and Malkosh in Iyar?
Answer: The Pasuk states that Hash-m will give it "in its proper time."
"Malkosh" is so called because, in the nation's desperation for it, it crushes their stubbornness (Mol Kashyuseihen).
Alternate explanation: It causes the grain to fill out (Memalei) in its stalks (Kasheha).
Alternate explanation: It descends on the ears (Melilos) and stalks (Kashin).
(Beraisa): Yoreh falls in Cheshvan and Malkosh in Nisan.
Question: Perhaps Yoreh falls in Kislev?
Answer: Just as the Pasuk says that Malkosh will fall in its proper time, so will Yoreh.
(Beraisa): (R. Meir) Yoreh is in Cheshvan and Malkosh in Nisan.
(Chachamim): Yoreh is in Kislev.
Question: Who are these Chachamim?
Answer: It is R. Yosi, as seen in the Beraisa:
The correct time for the first rainfall:
(R. Meir): The first part falls on the third of Cheshvan, the middle part on the seventh, and the last part on the seventeenth.
(R. Yehudah): The first part falls on the seventh, the middle part on the seventeenth, and the last part on the twenty-third.
(R. Yosi): The first part falls in the seventeenth, the middle part on the twenty-third, and the last part on the first of Kislev.
Similarly, R. Yosi ruled that those who fast in the absence of rain do not do so until Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
(R. Chisda): The Halachah follows R. Yosi.
Ameimar understood R. Chisda to have said as follows:
We ask for rain on the third of Cheshvan.
(R. Gamliel): On the seventh.
(R. Chisda): The Halachah follows R. Gamliel.
Question: According to whose opinion is the following Beraisa:
(R. Shimon b. Gamliel): Rain that fell for seven consecutive days counts as the first, second and third rainfalls.
Answer: It follows R. Yosi (who holds that there is a seven-day gap between each rainfall).
(R. Chisda): The Halachah follows R. Yosi.
Question: We need to know the time for the first rainfall, so that we can begin asking for it, and the time for the third rainfall, so that we know when to begin fasting if there has been no rain; but why do we need to know the time for the second rainfall?
Answer #1: For the purposes of Nedarim:
(Beraisa): Someone who makes a vow until the rains, is bound until the second rainfall.
Answer #2: For olives
(Mishnah): A person is allowed to take his Leket, Shikchah and Peyah once the "Nemushos" have been;
He may take his Peret and Olelos once the poor people have been;
He may take his olives after the second rainfall.
Question: What are "Nemushos"?
Answer (R. Yochanan): Old men on staffs.
Alternate answer (Reish Lakish): Those who collect after others have already collected.
Answer #3: To take short cuts through the fields of others, which can be done until the second rainfall.
Answer #4: To remove produce of Shemitah:
(Mishnah): One may use and burn straw of Shemitah until the second rainfall.
The reason is that the Pasuk says that you can use it as long as there is produce still in the fields.
TYPES OF RAIN
Rainfall is called Reviyah because it fertilizes (Rova) the land:
(R. Yehudah): The rain is the husband of the land, as we see in a Pasuk referring to the land giving birth.
(R. Avahu): The first rainfall penetrates one Tefach into the ground, the second makes the soil suitable for sealing a cask.
(R. Chisda): Rain that fell to this degree has not been subjected to the punishment of stopping up the Heavens.
Rain that fell earlier in the day than that punishment is read aloud (in Shema) shows that it is not subject to it.
(Abaye): This is only true if it fell before the evening Shema, but not if it fell before the morning Shema:
The morning clouds are worthless, as seen in a Pasuk.
Question: Surely a folk saying has it that rain in the morning means rain all day!?
Answer: That is only when it pours down from a heavy cloud.
(R. Yehudah): It is a good year if Teves is a widow (i.e. rainless).
Some say: Because the roads to the schools will not become pot-holed.
Others say: Because the crops will not be subject to blast.
Question: Surely R. Chisda said that it is a good year if Teves is slushy?
Answer: That referred to where no rain fell previously.
(R. Chisda): Rain that fell on part of the country has not been subjected to the punishment of stopping up the Heavens.
Question: Surely a Pasuk about rain falling on one town but not on another was explained to be a curse for both?
Answer: That referred to where the town received excessive rain.
This is also seen from the wording of the Pasuk.
THE BLESSING UPON RAIN
(R. Avahu): We bless on the rain from when the Chasan goes to meet the Kalah (the raindrops hit the rebounding raindrops).
Question: Which Berachah do we say?
Answer (R. Yehudah citing Rav): "We thank you, Hash-m our G-d, for each drop that You cause to descend."
(R. Yochanan): Conclude: "If our mouths were as full of song..." until "Blessed is the One of Rov ("many" or "most") acknowledgments."
Question: Only "most" and not all?
Answer (Rava): Say, "G-d of acknowledgments."
(R. Papa): Say both.