THE ORDER OF THE FAST DAY
Question: Why did everyone go out into the street?
Answer #1 (R. Chiya bar Aba): To proclaim that we have cried out in the privacy of Shul and have not been answered, so now we are demeaning ourselves in public.
Answer #2 (Resh Lakish): To proclaim that we are undergoing exile as an atonement.
The practical difference would be in a case where they moved from one Shul to another, which would only be effective according to the second explanation.
Question: Why was the Aron taken out into the street?
Answer: To show that our private vessel has become demeaned through our sins.
Question: Why do the people wear sackcloth?
Answer: To proclaim that we are no better than animals (and therefore wear animal skins).
Question: Why are ashes placed on the Aron?
Answer: As Hash-m is with His people in their distress.
(R. Zeira): "When I first saw them place ashes on the Aron, my whole body trembled."
Question: Why would everybody place ashes on their head?
Answer #1: To proclaim that we are considered before Hash-m as ashes.
Answer #2: To raise the memory of the ashes of Yitzchak.
The practical difference is that according to the first answer, dust would suffice.
Question: Why would everyone go to the cemetery?
Answer #1: To proclaim that we are considered before Hash-m as the dead.
Answer #2: So that the dead should pray for mercy on our behalf.
The practical difference is that according to the first answer, a non-Jewish cemetery would suffice.
Question: Why was Har ha'Moriah so called?
Answer #1: It is the mountain from which teachings (Hora'ah) went out for Israel.
Answer #2: It is the mountain which caused fear (Mora) for the non-Jews.
The Mishnah said that the oldest present would deliver a moving speech.
(Beraisa): If there is an elder present, he delivers it; otherwise, a Chacham delivers it; otherwise, a person of stature should deliver it.
Question: Does this mean that the first choice is an elder even if he is not a Chacham?
Answer: It means that the first choice is an elder who is also a Chacham.
He should say that, as we find with the people of Ninveh, it is not sackcloth and fasting which help, but repentance and good deeds.
The people of Ninveh tied up the animals away from their young, and told Hash-m that if He did not have mercy on them, they wouldn't have mercy on their animals.
They challenged Hash-m that the righteous should sway the fate of the wicked, rather than vice-versa.
What does the Pasuk mean with "they repented from the violence of their hands"?
Answer: A person who stole a beam and built a building with it destroyed the building to return it to its owner.
A person who has stolen something and repents without returning it is like someone holding a Sheretz for whom all the waters in the world will not work for Tevilah.
But as soon as he discards it, forty Se'ah alone works as a Tevilah.
The Pasuk says that we have to place our heart in our hands i.e. to repent in deed.
THE SHALI'ACH TZIBUR
The Mishnah says that an elder etc. would act as the Shali'ach Tzibur.
(Beraisa): Even if there is an elder who is a Chacham present, the Shali'ach Tzibur must be someone who is practiced.
It must be someone with dependants whom he cannot support; agricultural concerns; an empty home; a noble history; humble; beloved to the people; pleasant voiced; familiar with Tenach, Midrash, Halachah and Agadah; and familiar with all the Berachos.
R. Yiztchak bar Ami was considered to meet these criteria.
Question: Is not having dependants whom he cannot support the same as having an empty house?
Answer: It refers to having a house empty of sin.
"A noble history" means that he did not get a bad name in his youth.
The Pasuk about a lion "roaring against me" refers to an unsuitable Shali'ach Tzibur.
THE EXTRA BERACHOS
Question: The Mishnah says that six Berachos were added; yet it lists seven concluding Berachos!?
Answer: The seventh does not conclude a seventh new Berachah, but rather the seventh Berachah from the one which was added on to:
This is the Berachah of Go'el Yisrael, which is lengthened and responded to with Amen; the Chazan then calls for a Tekiyah.
After the next Berachah, he calls for a Teruah, and alternates in this way for all of them.
This was only true in the rest of Eretz Yisrael, but not in the Beis ha'Mikdash, where they do not say Amen.
We know this as the Pasuk, referring to the Beis ha'Mikdash, says that when Hash-m is blessed, the people would respond with Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l'Olam Va'ed.
One might think that this response is only said once; the Pasuk therefore says that it is said in response to every Berachah.
The Chazan then calls for a Tekiyah, and after the next Berachah, he calls for a Teruah, and alternates in this way for all of them.
R. Chalafta acted in this way in Tzipori, as did R. Chananyah b. Tradyon in Sichni.
The Chachamim responded that the custom was to do so only in Sha'ar ha'Mizrach and Har ha'Bayis.
The Gemara then lists an alternative rendition of the Beraisa (as cited).
R. Yehudah said that Zichronos and Shofaros need not be amongst the six extra Berachos.
His reason is that these are only said on Rosh Hashanah, Yovel, and during times of war.