Ta'anit 23 - 31
- The timely rains of earlier generations and the lesson they taught
- The circle and prayers for rain of the Sage Choni HaMeagel
- Choni's 70-year slumber and the value of friendship
- The extraordinary behavior of his grandsons Abba Chilkiyahu and Chanan Hanechba
- The special power of the Eretz Yisrael Sages Rabbi Yonah and Rabbi Yitzchak ben Eliyashiv
- Rabbi Yossi of Yokrat putting concern for Heaven above family
- The generosity of Elazar of Birta and the miracle he refused to benefit from
- Merits which brought rain and reasons for its being withheld
- The Sage Chanina ben Dossa and the Kohen Gadol's Yom Kippur prayer for rain
- The righteousness and miracles of Chanina and Rabbi Elezar ben Padot
- The difference between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer in praying for rain
- When rain comes before end of fast
- The ma'amadot – universal participation in sacrifices
- When the blessings of the kohanim take place
- How the kohanim were divided up into family watches
- The fasts, prayers and Torah readings of the ma'amodot participants
- The donations of wood to the Beit Hamikdash
- When complete and partial Hallel are recited
- The five tragedies which occurred on 17 Tammuz and 9 Av
- Destruction of First and Second Beit Hamikdash temples
- Activities forbidden in days leading up to Fast of 9 Av and on that day
- The holiday of 15 Av and six explanations for its source
A Tale of Two Months
- Ta’anit 29a
What possible connection can there be between the sad month of Av, in which we fast for the destruction of the Beit amikdaHJHHamikdash and other tragedies which took place on the ninth day of that month, and the happy month of Adar in which we celebrate the Purim miracle which saved Jewry from the genocidal plot of Haman?
The outline of an answer to this question is supplied by one of the Sages in the name of the great Sage Rav:
"Just as we reduce our activities of joy with the arrival of the month of Av, so do we increase our joy with the arrival of the month of Adar."
A deeper understanding of the equation presented in this statement can be gained when we recall a scene that almost everyone has experienced or observed.
A father takes a child along with him when he goes shopping. As he enters one establishment where children are not welcome he asks his child to wait outside for a minute while he takes care of something inside. That minute stretches into many more and the child begins to weep hysterically. Psychologists say that there is no greater trauma than that of a child who feels he has been abandoned by its parent, and this youngster is loudly demonstrating the truth of that observation. Then the father comes out of the door and the child rushes happily into his arms. If the fear of abandonment is the ultimate tragedy in the child's life, then the reunion with his father is the ultimate joy.
Recalling the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash in the Month of Av awakens in us that sense of being abandoned by our Heavenly Father Who is really only "hiding His face" from us as he allows our enemies to harm us in order to stimulate us to mend our ways. The Month of Adar, on the other hand, recalls our happy reunion with our Heavenly Father Who saved us from the destruction of our people with the miracle of Purim.
Now the equation is clear. Only by reliving the intense trauma of abandonment in Av can we appreciate the ultimate joy of reunion in Adar.
What the Sages Say
"Whoever mourns for the destruction of Yerushalayim will merit to share in the joy of its reconstruction; whoever does not mourn for Yerushalayim will not share in its joy."
- The Sages in a Beraita - Ta’anit 30b