Torah Riddles Test #202

1.       Question: Why is a decree of men requiring enlisting into the army not as bad as years of famine?


a.       When there is a serious drought or famine in a certain area, the Mishna Berura (574:4:9) says that people in that area must act in a way of causing anguish on themselves, for example not having relations with their spouse, decreeing days of prayer and fasting, etc. In fact the Shulchan Aruch there says it is a mitzva to starve oneself in years of famine, and it is forbidden to have relations unless on the night of when your wife comes back from the mikva, or if you are trying to have a child. Anyone who doesn’t care and eats and does what he wants will not see comfort with the congregation.

 Answer: Since the government decree is only on part of the people, it does not apply to women and children, then it’s not as severe, whereas a famine applies to everyone therefore everyone must aggrieve. See Dirshu Mishna Berura footnote 7 there.