Daf Yomi

For the week ending 24 May 2014 / 24 Iyyar 5774

Rosh Hashana 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Four times of Heavenly judgment
  • When man is judged and when the sentence is sealed
  • How we influence each of these judgments
  • The shofar – why a ram horn and why sounded two times
  • The danger of inviting judgment and the merits which can annul an unfavorable sentence
  • Visiting a teacher and maintaining spiritual purity during the Festival
  • Three books of judgment on Rosh Hashana and three groups after Resurrection
  • Gaining Heavenly forgiveness by forgiving others
  • The thirteen attributes of Divine mercy
  • The impact of Teshuva, Torah and Gemulat Chasadim on judgment
  • The ten days of repentance from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur
  • When messengers are sent to inform about the new month
  • The four fast days related to destruction of Beit Hamikdash
  • The special days in the days of the Beit Hamikdash
  • The demonstration in Rome that saved the day
  • Full months and leap year
  • Why certain holidays cannot be on certain weekdays
  • Sighting of the new moon and testifying about it
  • Those who fasted two days on Yom Kippur
  • When Shabbat may be violated to establish the new month
  • When testimony is required and who is eligible to testify
  • Steps taken to combat the sect which tried to prevent the new moon procedure

Prayer Before and After

  • Rosh Hashana 16a

Is there a difference between praying to be spared from illness and praying for recovery?

This question arises in regard to the efficacy of our prayers for Torah scholars to enjoy good health. Rabbi Yosef suggests that such prayers make sense only according to the opinion of Rabbi Yossi that man is judged every day. What purpose, he asks, is there in such prayers according to the opinion of the other Sages that man is judged on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur for the entire year?

The problem with this approach is that those other Sages certainly agree that we include in our regular daily prayers the tefilah of refuainu in which we appeal to Heaven for the recovery of all Jews from their illness. How does this make sense if everything is decreed at the beginning of the year?

Tosefot cites the solution offered by Rabbeinu Tam who distinguishes between prayers to prevent illness and prayers for recovery. On Rosh Hashana it is indeed decreed whether one will become ill during that year, but there is no decree as to when one will recover from that illness, so that prayer can truly make a difference.

This is the meaning of the gemara's explanation of the prayers mentioned by Rabbi Yosef. These prayers "for the sick and the weak" are intended for the recovery of the ill and for the continued good health of the Torah scholars whose intensive study weakens them. While the prayer for the latter to remain healthy may be effective only according to Rabbi Yossi that judgment takes place daily, the prayers for recovery — such as in refuainu or in any prayers offered for the sick — are effective according to all.

What the Sages Say

"Four things are capable of abolishing a harmful judgment: charity, prayer, a change of name and a change of deeds."

  • Rabbi Yitzchak - Rosh Hashana 16b

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