Ta'anit (tractate) - Summary of The Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud

Summary of The Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud

Chapter 1: Concerning the time after which one must begin to mention rain in the second benediction of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" and to pray for rain in the eighth benediction (§§ 1-3); the time during which one should fast on account of scarcity of rain—two successive periods of three days each, and a final one of seven days—and the distinctions between these various days with regard to strictness in fasting (§§ 4-6); nature of the national mourning in case no rain falls despite many fast-days (§ 7).

Chapter 2: The ceremonies which must be observed in fasting (§ 1); the prayers and the blowing of the trumpet in this connection (§§ 2-5); the participation of the priests both in the fasts of three days and in that of seven days (§§ 6-7); days on which public fasts are prohibited according to the Megillat Ta'anit (§§ 8-10).

Ch. 3: Cases in which the order of fasting may be changed, and the trumpet may be blown at the very beginning of the fast (§§ 1-3); other occasions on which a fast is held and the trumpet blown, as when a plague breaks out in a city or when an army marches against it (§§ 4-7); concerning Honi (Onias) ha-Me'aggel, who prayed for rain (§ 8); cases in which fasting ceases when rain begins to fall (§ 9).

Ch. 4: Days on which the priests raise their hands four times to bless the people (§ 1); the institution of lay assistants ("ma'amadot") for the sacrifice, the time when they assembled, the days on which they fasted, and the sections of Scripture which they read on each day (§§ 2-4); the day of the month appointed for the bringing of the wood-offering (Neh. x. 34) during the period of the Temple (§ 5); the Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tisha B'av, and the five sad events which befell the Jewish people on each of these days (§§ 6-7); the festivities which marked Yom Kippur and Tu B'av (the most important day of the wood-offering) in ancient times in Jerusalem, when the maidens, dressed in white, danced in the vineyards and called on the young men to seek worthy brides for themselves (§ 8).

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