Suffering on the 9th or 10th of Av?

The Shikker Dovid went to a class last night by the Rabbi Prager. On page 29  tractate Taanit, Rabbi Yochanan says that he would have chosen the 10th day of Av rather than the 9th, since the Temple was really burnt and destroyed on the 10th. The process of burning began on the 9th. The more theoretical question is whether the “poraneout” (suffering, pain) is marked by the beginning or the end.

In the shiur, Rabbi Prager mentioned a question by the Chidushei HaRim who notes a contradiction. He explains that the same Rabbi Yochanan in Bava Kama says the damage of “Aish” (fire) is like an arrow and the damage begins once you release the arrow or the fire. Clearly a contradiction to the position in Taanit. No resolution offered in the shiur.

The Shikkur Dovid would like to offer an explanation. The damage to the Temple is in Gd’s hands. He could have averted the evil decree. Maybe, the destruction or the suffering could have been put off by teshuva, prayers and therefore, the fast is deferred. Maybe Gd will show mercy and avert the destruction or the fast. Rabbi Yochanan is saying in this instance, don’t give up on Gd mercy- wait until the end. This is a man-gd relationship.

In the case of the damage by fire and Rabbi Yochanan’s position, the opposite is true. It is all human hands. Our ability to be careful, to be considerate of others is in our hands. It is our responsibility which Gd gave to us. This is a man-man relationship. We cannot rely on gd to make this safety work. We must rely on each other to be prudent or charitable. We are the ones who guide the “aish” fire or arrows. Therefore, there is no looking to Gd, we must do the work here. Therefore, Rabbi Yochanan says, from the outset, we are responsible.

The Shikker Dovid believes they are integrated. When we are careful with others and sensitive to other people’s needs, then the second ruling of Rabbi Yochanan, will indeed defer the tragedy or ultimately push it off entirely.

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