Ta’anit 9 - 15
“Give a tenth so that you will be wealthy.”
This statement by Rabbi Yochanan on our daf is based on a seeming repetition of words: “aser ta’aser”. Rabbi Yochanan explains that this comes to teach, “Aser (give a tenth) so that you will be rich (“titasher”).
Although in general we are prohibited from testing G-d to see if we will receive reward for fulfilment of a mitzvah — Do not test G-d” (Dev. 6) — Rabbi Hoshiya is cited in our gemara as teaching that this is an exception to the rule, as we see from a verse in Sefer Malachi, ch. 3.
While this teaching does not appear to be the ruling of the Mechaber in the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De’ah 247:4, the Rema writes there that “giving tzedaka (i.e. ma’aser kesafim money) makes one rich; one may not test G-d except in this matter; and some say that one may test G-d only by giving the agricultural tithe, but not with monetary charity.” (See Pitchei Teshuva there for further discussion.)
- Ta’anit 9a
“A large step (p’siya gasa) takes away one part in 500 of one’s vision.”
Based on this, if a person would take 500 large steps he would go blind, and we see this is not so! Tosefot points this out and explains that each step takes away one part in 500 of what remains, but not from the total amount which one began with. Another explanation offered by Tosefot is that only the first large step does the damage, but subsequent large steps do not add to the problem – “since once he did it, he already did it”.
The gemara in Masechta Shabbat (113b) adds that if a person drinks the Kiddush wine on Friday night this diminished vision returns to him.
- Ta’anit 10b