THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) PERSONAL CONDUCT DURING TIMES OF FAMINE
QUESTION: The Gemara says that during a time of famine, marital relations are
prohibited, as we learn from the conduct of Yosef during the famine in
Mitzrayim. If marital relations are prohibited during a time of famine, how
was Yocheved conceived? Yocheved was born to Levi when the family of Yakov
descended from Eretz Yisrael and entered Mitzrayim (as Rashi points out in
Bereishis 46:26), which was two years into the famine! (TOSFOS)
(a) TOSFOS answers that our Gemara is only making a statement of preferable
behavior, of Midas Chasidus, and it is not expressing an actual prohibition.
Levi and his wife did not practice this Midas Chasidus, although Yosef did.
(The RA'AVAD writes in Sha'ar ha'Kedushah that before the Torah was given,
the Avos and their children did not observe practices such as Midas Chasidus,
but only the actual Mitzvos.)
The OR HA'CHAIM (Bereishis 41:50), though, asks that the verse explicitly
refers to Levi as "Ish Chasidecha" (Devarim 33:8), implying that he did
conduct himself with Midas Chasidus!
(b) The DA'AS ZEKENIM (Bereishis 41:50) quotes RABEINU YEHUDAH HE'CHASID who
explains that it is only prohibited when one knows, from the prophecy of a
Navi, that the famine will continue. Yosef had heard the prophecy that was
expressed in the dream of Pharaoh, and thus he knew that the famine would
continue. Levi did not know this, and therefore it was permitted for him to
engage in marital relations.
It appears that Rabeinu Yehudah he'Chasid understood that the reason for the
prohibition so as not to stretch already limited resources by introducing
another contender for the food supply. This only applies if the child will be
*born* while there is still a famine (since that is the when he, or his
mother, will need to need extra food).
(c) The MIZRACHI and the OR HA'CHAIM answer that if one does not have any
children, marital relations are permitted during a famine, as our Gemara
says. The reason is presumably because a person who has no children is
obligated to fulfill the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. Levi, although he had
boys, did not have any girls, and thus he had not yet fulfilled the Mitzvah
of Piryah v'Rivyah. Therefore, it was permitted for him during the time of
The problem with this answer is that Yosef, too, did not have any daughters!
Why, then, did Yosef refrain from marital relations, while Levi did not? (See
The DA'AS ZEKENIM, who also gives this answer, explains why Yosef acted
differently from Levi even though they both had only boys. Yosef maintained
that one fulfills the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah with two male children.
Levi, on the other hand, was of the opinion that one must have at least one
boy and one girl to fulfill the Mitzvah (both of these opinions are discussed
in Yevamos 62a). Therefore, Yosef held that he did not fall into the category
of those who are permitted to engage in marital relations during a famine,
while Levi held that he did!
(d) The CHIZKUNI and OR HA'CHAIM further suggest that the reason Levi did not
refrain was because his own family was not suffering; they had food during
the famine. Only the natives around them were suffering, and there was no
obligation to join in their suffering. (Although he did not know whether
Yosef did or did not have food, Yosef was only a single person and the entire
family should not have to suffer because of a single member's plight.)
Yosef, though, did not know that his father and brothers had food and he
thought that they were suffering from the famine. Therefore he joined them in
their suffering and refrained from marital relations.
We may develop this answer further by suggesting that even if Yosef was
confident that his family had food because of the great merit of Yakov Avinu
(if Yosef merited to have food, certainly Yakov would merit the same), he
nevertheless separated from his wife because the natives were suffering. Why,
then, did Levi not separate from his wife out of empathy for the natives like
The MIZRACHI (beginning of Parshas Vayeshev) explains that when the young
Yosef reported to his father that his brothers were eating Ever Min ha'Chai
(limbs from a live animal), that was only his interpretation of their act;
they were actually eating from an animal that had been slaughtered properly
but was still kicking. An animal in such a state is permitted for a Jew to
eat, and is prohibited as Ever Min ha'Chai for a Ben Noach to eat. The
brothers maintained that they had a status of Jews, and therefore the animal
was permissible to them. Yosef, though, maintained that they were considered
Bnei Noach, since the Torah had not yet been given to them, and thus it was
forbidden for them to eat the animal.
Levi, then, was following his previous reasoning when he did not separate
from his wife. He held that he had a status of a Jew, and thus he did not
have to share in the suffering of the natives who were Bnei Noach. Yosef,
though, maintained that the sons of Yakov, too, were considered Bnei Noach,
and therefore he had to be concerned for the feelings of his fellow Bnei
Noach (just as Noach did during the Flood, Rashi Bereishis 7:7). That is why
Yosef separated from his wife while Levi did not! (M. Kornfeld)
2) DEFINITION OF A "TA'ANIS SHA'OS"
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether a "Ta'anis Sha'os" is considered an
actual Ta'anis, and if it is, whether or not one recites Aneinu, the prayer
said on a Ta'anis, in the Shemoneh Esreh. What exactly is a Ta'anis Sha'os?
3) SAYING "ANEINU" AFTER FASTING THROUGH THE NIGHT
RASHI seems to say that a Ta'anis Sha'os is simply a Ta'anis which one did
not formally accept upon himself during the previous day (one fasted without
a Kabalah to do so the day before). Why, though, should such a Ta'anis be
called a Ta'anis *Sha'os*? What does it have to do with "Sha'os" (literally
Second, why does the Gemara say that if remains fasting through the night
following a Ta'anis ("Lan b'Ta'aniso"), it is not even called a Ta'anis
Sha'os because "he was not Mekabel it." By definition, every Ta'anis that one
was not Mekabel is a Ta'anis Sha'os! Why should this not be considered a
(a) According to RASHI, who says that a Ta'anis Sha'os is simply a Ta'anis
that one was not Mekabel upon himself the day before, the reason it is called
a Ta'anis Sha'os is as follows. Since one was not Mekabel it the day before,
but only after nightfall, that day is not a full day of Ta'anis. It lasts
only for "hours" rather than days, since it starts at the time he accepted it
and continues until the end of that same day. When one is Mekabel the Ta'anis
the day before, the entire day -- and not just a certain number of hours in
the day -- is viewed as a "day of fasting."
This does not mean that if he accepts the Ta'anis from before nightfall he
will not be eating for 24 hours. It is permitted for him to eat at night.
Nevertheless, since he accepted it upon himself earlier, the night is
considered to be part of a "fast day." (Rashi says clearly in Shabbos 24a,
that one who was Mekabel a Ta'anis the day before says Aneinu even at night,
even if he is still eating and drinking at that time.) If one was Mekabel the
Ta'anis after the night began, then the whole day cannot be considered a
Ta'anis because the day began before the Ta'anis was accepted.
When Abaye says that the Ta'anis of our Gemara is different because the
person did not accept upon himself the Ta'anis, he means that the person not
only failed to accept the Ta'anis upon himself the day before, but he was
never accepted it upon himself it at all. Only *after* he fasted did he
express his desire to say Aneinu for his "retroactive fast," but by then it
is too late to convert his act of fasting into a formal Ta'anis.
(b) The ROSH holds that both a Ta'anis and Ta'anis Sha'os are the same with
regard to Kabalah -- one must accept upon himself either type of Ta'anis the
day before in order for it to be considered a valid Ta'anis. The difference
between them is that in a Ta'anis Sha'os, one accepts to fast only a certain
number of hours during the day, as the term "Ta'anis Sha'os" implies. A
regular Ta'anis is when one accepts to fast the entire day.
Abaye says that in the case of Rav Huna, the person was not Mekabel the
Ta'anis the day before, but only on the day that he started to fast (albeit
before the fast began). Therefore it is not even a Ta'anis Sha'os.
QUESTION: Rav Huna says that if one fasted during the day and continued to
fast through the night, he does not say Aneinu during the day that follows
that night. Why would we have thought that he says Aneinu on the day after
his fast? RASHI (DH l'Machar) explains what Rav Huna is teaching us. We might
have thought that one should say Aneinu in order to fulfill the recitation of
Aneinu for the fasting of the *night before*. Rav Huna teaches that one
cannot do that, because there was no Kabalah for the Ta'anis that one
observed during the night.
Why did Rashi have to explain that Aneinu is being said retroactively for the
fast of the previous night? The person has presumably not yet stopped
fasting. Rashi should explain that Aneinu is being said for the fast that he
is *still observing*, during the day after the night!
ANSWER: The Gemara (12a) states that it is only considered a Ta'anis Sha'os
if one does not eat anything *until the end of the day*. If so, when one
fasted throughout the night after his fast, how can he say Aneinu the
following day? Even though he is still observing his fast at the beginning of
the day, he is going to eat before the end of the day, and thus the fast will
not be a valid Ta'anis on which to say Aneinu!
For this reason, the ROSH says that Rav Huna is not discussing a case where
one fasts for a single day and wants to say Aneinu on the following day
before eating. Rather, the case is where one decides, on the morning after a
Ta'anis, to fast for two entire consecutive days. He wants to say Aneinu
after the first night and not eat again until nightfall. (KORBAN NESANEL
RASHI, on the other hand, found that explanation to be unlikely, because the
Gemara, which says "Lan b'Ta'aniso," implies that the person had no intention
to fast a second day, but merely to fast during the night following his one-
day fast. Therefore, Rashi explains that the prayer of Aneinu that one would
say during the day after fasting through the night is for the fast that he
*already observed* (the previous night), and not for the fast that he is
observing at that time, when he Davens, during the day. When the Gemara says
later (12a) that one must fast until sundown, it is referring to a case where
one starts his fast at sunrise. Rashi learns that just as one may fast from
sunrise to sunset, so may one fast from sunset to sunrise and it is
considered a full-fledged fast. That is why Rashi says that we might have
thought that one may say Aneinu because of the fast of the preceding night
which had a status of a Ta'anis Sha'os. On the other hand, there was no
reason for the Gemara to presume that one should say Aneinu for fasting a
short while on the next day, since he is going to eat before sundown and thus
that day does not have a status of a Ta'anis. (M. Kornfeld)