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Rosh Hashanah 11

ROSH HASHANAH 11 (2 Av) - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Lipa ben Aryeh ha'Kohen on his Yahrzeit


Rav Yehudah says that when one sees blossoming fruit trees during the month of Nisan, one recites a special blessing. What conditions are necessary in order to recite this blessing?

(a) The HILCHOS KETANOS (2:28), cited by the BE'ER HEITEV (OC 226:1), rules that one recites this blessing only for a tree that bears edible fruit.

(b) Although the Gemara says that one recites the blessing when he sees the tree during the month of Nisan, the RITVA here writes that it does not mean specifically Nisan. *Whenever* happens to be the season for trees to blossom, depending on the climate, when one sees a blossoming fruit tree for the first time that year, he may recite a Berachah -- such as in Tishrei for the southern hemisphere. The Acharonim accept this ruling (MACHTZIS HA'SHEKEL; the BIRKEI YOSEF writes though that based on reasons of Kabalistic nature one should recite this blessing specifically during the month of Nisan). Why, then, does the Gemara mention the month of Nisan? It is possible that the Gemara means that one should not recite the blessing for the early bloomers, but only in the season when many trees are blossoming.

Some rule that one may recite the blessing even after the fruit has grown (VILNA GA'ON 226:2).

(c) The later Acharonim say that one should recite the blessing upon seeing at least *two* blossoming fruit trees together. This is because the Gemara says, "When one sees *trees* blossoming," in the plural.


QUESTION: The Beraisa says that according to Rebbi Yehoshua, the flood occurred in the month of Iyar, when the constellation of Kimah is "sinking" or descending (Shoke'a) during the daytime. However, in order to bring the flood upon the world, Hashem changed its pattern and made it "rise" (Oleh) during the daytime. According to Rebbi Eliezer, the flood occurred in Marcheshvan, when Kimah is rising, and thus Kimah was rising as usual and it was not necessary for Hashem to change its pattern.

Rashi explains that Kimah is the tail of the constellation Tleh (Aries), which is also the head of Shor (Taurus). The Mazal of the month of Iyar is the constellation Shor. This means that in Iyar, Shor is in the background behind the sun (and thus Shor is not visible at night the entire month - precession not being taken into consideration). Consequently, the constellation Tleh, which travels ahead of Shor, rises just before the sun rises (and thus is visible at the end of the night), and travels through the daytime sky, setting at the western horizon just before sunset. Therefore, during the entire month of Iyar, Kimah -- which is the tail of Tleh -- is up in the sky the entire day, until a moment before sunset when it sets (since it is traveling directly in front of the sun). If so, how can the Beraisa say that the constellation of Kimah is "Shoke'a" during the day in Iyar, which implies that it sinks, or sets, during the day. In Iyar, it is rising during the day!

Similarly, Rashi (near the end of 11b) writes concerning Tleh that in Iyar, "the entire day it is Shoke'a." How can he write that it is Shoke'a during the day in the month of Iyar? It is *rising* during the day (at least during the first half of the day). In fact, not only does Kimah not "sink" during the day in Iyar, but it *does* "sink" in Marcheshvan. Why does the Gemara say that according to Rebbi Eliezer Kimah rises during the day!

Rebbi Eliezer says that the flood occurred in the month of Marcheshvan. The Mazal of Marcheshvan is Akrav (Scorpio), which is six Mazalos away from Shor, just like Marcheshvan is six months away from Iyar, and at the opposite point in the sky. This means that in Marcheshvan, Kimah (the tail of Tleh) will be a little over six Mazalos ahead of the sun (six more Mazalos than Akrav is Shor, and a bit more is the tail of Tleh). Accordingly, Kimah is setting by the time the sun rises, because there are only six Mazalos in the sky at a time, and Kimah is more than six Mazalos away from the sun. Kimah rises again 12 hours later, or just before the sun sets. If so, according to Rebbi Eliezer, the Beraisa should say that Kimah is *Shoke'a* the entire day! Why does it say that Kimah is *Oleh* during the day according to Rebbi Eliezer, and *Shoke'a* during the day according to Rebbi Yehoshua? It should say the opposite!


(a) RASHI learns that when the Beraisa says that Kimah is Shoke'a in Iyar, it means that it has already made its appearance in the sky. From the moment that the Mazal fully appears in the sky, it is considered to be descending (i.e. it is heading towards the western horizon) until it sets and completely disappears beneath the horizon. At that point, after it has set, it is considered to be beginning its ascent (i.e. it is heading towards the eastern horizon) and is "Oleh." It completes its ascent the moment that it rises and fully appears in the sky. This also explains why the Beraisa says that according to Rebbi Eliezer, Kimah is considered to be rising during the day in the month of Marcheshvan, because by sunrise it has completely disappeared below the horizon, and therefore it is considered to be "Oleh" the entire day, as it makes its way up towards the horizon in order to rise and appear in the sky.

Rashi apparently learns that a Mazal is able to influence the world only during the time that it is Oleh (that is, when it is beneath the world), and more specifically, while it is rising over the eastern horizon. After it has completely risen and it begins to cross the sky, its power wanes. Hence the only time that the flood could begin was while the Mazal Kimah was rising and above the world, at which time the floodwaters could pour forth through the two stars that were removed from it and inundate the world (as Rashi says, the rain came through the holes that were made when two stars in Kimah were removed from their places). Therefore, according to Rebbi Yehoshua who says that the flood occurred in Iyar when Kimah rises before sunrise, the Mabul could not have occurred because Kimah was already on its way down by the time that the day began (sunrise). Therefore, Hashem had to change the pattern of the world and make Kimah rise later than usual, so that in would rise when it was already day.

According to Rebbi Eliezer, there was a moment at the end of the day, right before sunset, at which Kimah was in the process of rising, and therefore the flood could come to the world through Kimah at that time.

(b) TOSFOS, BA'AL HA'ME'OR and others reverse the Girsa, so that according to Rebbi Eliezer, Kimah is *Shoke'a* during the day (in Marcheshvan), and according to Rebbi Yehoshua, it is *Oleh* during the day (in Iyar). As such, the Gemara works out simply, because Kimah is indeed rising in the sky during the days in Iyar and it is descending beneath the world during the days in Marcheshvan, as we explained in our question.

The Me'or expresses wonderment at why Rashi found it necessary to change this Girsa and insist on his own Girsa, which just complicates matters. Perhaps Rashi was bothered by the wording of the Beraisa in the Gemara. Tosfos says that Kimah is up during the day in Iyar and it is down during the day in Marcheshvan. According to that explanation, the words "Shoke'a" and "Oleh" are inappropriate; it should say instead that Kimah is either "above" the earth or "below" it.

(c) The ARUCH (Erech Kimah, and as recorded in the addendum of Talmidei Rashi that is printed at the end of the Maseches, on Daf 35a) had the Girsa of Tosfos, but did not give the same explanation as Tosfos. Rather, he explains that the Mazalos of this Sugya have nothing to do with the actual position of the stars relative to the sun. Rather, these Mazalos are just an astrological formula which express a method for predicting world events. It is similar to the seven Mazalos of the hours (Sha'os) as described in the Gemara in Shabbos (156a), whereby each hour is represented by a different planet which has power over that hour, and they rotate in cycles of seven on an hourly basis.

According to this method of astrology, all twelve Mazalos serve during the daytime, as well as during the nighttime, each one "serving" one hour during the day and one hour during the night. Each month the night (and day) begins with a different Mazal. When the Gemara says that a Mazal is "Shoke'a," it is referring to the Mazal whose turn comes right after midday or after midnight. A Mazal that is "Oleh" refers to a Mazal whose hour comes during the first half of the day or night. Therefore, according to Rebbi Eliezer who says that the flood occurred in Marcheshvan, when Akrav is the leading Mazal, the hour of Shor (which includes Kimah, the tail of Tleh) comes six hours later, which is the first hour after midday, and therefore it is said to be "Shoke'a," because it only comes to power after midday. According to Rebbi Yehoshua, the flood occurred in Iyar, when the leading Mazal is Shor, and thus the hour of Kimah occurred when the sun was on the rise, in the first half of the day, and thus it is said to be "Oleh."

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