SPONTANEOUS FASTS (cont.)
(R. Chisda): A spontaneous fast is only valid if he fasted all day.
Question (Abaye): Obviously that is a perfectly valid and normal fast!?
Answer: It refers to a case where after not having eaten in the morning he spontaneously decided to fast all day.
(R. Chisda): A fast is only valid if it lasts until sunset.
Question: A Mishnah says that the men of the Mishmar would fast for only part of the day!?
Answer: They fast simply in solidarity with the community.
Question: We find that one family of Kohanim, when Tish'ah b'Av was delayed until Sunday, only fasted for part of the day, because that day was a festival for them!?
Answer: They, too, fasted simply in solidarity with the community.
Question: R. Yochanan once declared that he would fast until he arrived home!?
Answer: He said it only to avoid having to eat with the Nasi.
ADVANCE ACCEPTANCE OF FASTS
(Shmuel): Any fast that was not formally accepted from the day before is not considered a fast.
If he does fast, he is no better than a bellows full of air.
Question: When should he accept it?
Answer (Rav): At the time of Minchah.
Answer #2 (Shmuel): During the Minchah prayer.
(R. Yosef): Support for Shmuel can be seen in Megilas Ta'anis which refers to someone being Yeyaser, which presumably means committing himself during prayer.
Refutation: It means that he has become forbidden to eat (but not necessarily through Tefilah).
R. Chiya and R. Shimon b. Rebbi argue over whether the phrase says Yeyaser (meaning as explained) or Ye'aser.
According to the latter, it is saying that if someone accepted to fast on Monday and Thursday all year, and the festive days of Megilas Ta'anis coincided with one of these, then whichever came first takes precedence.
EATING BEFORE A FAST
(Beraisa): Before a daytime fast, one may eat:
(Rebbi): Until daybreak.
(R. Eliezer bar Shimon): Until the rooster crows.
(Abaye): If he had finished his meal, all agree that he may no longer eat.
Question: We find that he may eat even after standing after finishing his meal!?
Answer: That is only where the table was not removed from him.
Alternate version: (Rava) If he slept, all agree that he may no longer eat.
Question: We find that he may eat even after standing after sleeping!?
Answer: That is where he was only dozing.
Question: What is classified as dozing?
Answer (R. Ashi): It refers to someone who is half-awake and not fully able to converse.
WEARING SHOES DURING FASTS
(R. Kahana citing Rav): An individual who accepted a fast is forbidden to wear leather shoes, in case he undertook a Ta'anis Tzibur (a community fast).
(Rabah bar R. Shiloh): In order to avoid this, he should announce that he is accepting a Ta'anis Yachid (a private fast).
The Rabbanan told Rav Sheishes that other Rabbanan wore shoes during a Ta'anis Tzibur.
He angrily replied, 'Perhaps they also eat!'
Abaye and Rava would wear shoes without soles.
Mareimar and Mar Zutra would switch their right and left shoes.
The Rabbanan of Rav Ashi's Beis Hamedrash wore their shoes as normal, because they held that the only Ta'anis Tzibur in Bavel is Tish'ah b'Av.
MAKING UP FOR LOST FASTS
(R. Yehudah citing Rav): A person can eat on a voluntary fast and repay it another day.
(Shmuel): He need not repay it, as it is not a Neder; he simply undertook to afflict himself, and if he cannot do it, it doesn't matter.
Alternate version (Shmuel): Obviously this is true, as it is like a Neder which can be repaid on another day.
When R. Yehoshua b. R. Idi was offered steak at R. Asi's house, he declined as he was fasting.
They suggested that he repay the fast another day, in accordance with the aforementioned teaching.
He replied that he was fasting because of a dream that he had the previous night.
A fast is as effective for negating a bad dream as fire is for destroying flax.
(R. Chisda): It must be done on the next day.
(R. Yosef): This is true even if the next day is Shabbos.
Question: How can he rectify having fasted on Shabbos?
Answer: He should fast again in repentance for it.
MISHNAH: FURTHER SERIES OF FASTS
If the series of fasts beginning on Rosh Chodesh Kislev did not bring rain, Beis Din decree three further fasts on the community.
People may only eat until nightfall, and are forbidden from Melachah, washing, anointing, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations, and the bath-houses must be locked.
If these fasts did not work, Beis Din decree a further seven fasts on the community, totaling 13.
These have the extra features that the Shofar is blown and the stores are closed.
On Monday, the doors to the stores would be partially opened before dark, and on Thursday, all day, because of Shabbos.
If these fasts did not work either, people must decrease business, building, planting, betrothals, weddings, and greetings, like people who have been excommunicated from Hash-m.
The select individuals would fast until the end of Nisan.
If rain fell after Nisan had passed, it is a curse.
FASTS AND ATZERES
Question: Why is Melachah forbidden - it is pain rather than pleasure!?
Answer: The Pasuk compares the day to Shemini Atzeres/ Shavuos, and it is likewise forbidden from Melachah.
Question: Maybe it should likewise begin from the night before?
Answer: The Pasuk says that the elders should be gathered, which takes place by day; likewise, the Ta'anis is only by day.
Question: It should then begin at midday, when the elders gather?
Answer: This supports R. Huna's view that they would gather in the morning.
During the morning, they would investigate the spiritual affairs of the town; for the first half of the afternoon, they would Leyn the Torah and Haftorah, and for the rest of the afternoon, they would pray for mercy, as we see in a Pasuk that they did these things.
Question: Perhaps they did the reverse?
Answer: We see in another Pasuk that they did it in this order.