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Daf Notes Berakhot 6a

Posted by [email protected] on January 9, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (112)


Berakhot 6a

אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא: זוֹכֶה לַבְּרָכוֹת הַלָּלוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״לוּא הִקְשַׁבְתָּ לְמִצְוֹתָי וַיְהִי כַנָּהָר שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְצִדְקָתְךָ כְּגַלֵּי הַיָּם. וַיְהִי כַחוֹל זַרְעֶךָ וְצֶאֱצָאֵי מֵעֶיךָ״ וְגוֹ׳.

In terms of this reward, Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina said: One who waits in the synagogue for the other to finish his prayer merits the following blessings, as it is stated: “If only you had listened to My mitzvot then your peace would be as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea. Your seed would be as the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains thereof; his name would be neither cut off nor destroyed from before Me” (Isaiah 48:18–19). The explanation of this passage is based on the etymological similarity between the word mitzva and the word tzevet, which means group. If he keeps the other person company and does not abandon him after his prayer, all of the blessings that appear later in the verse will be fulfilled in him (Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona).

1

תַּנְיָא, אַבָּא בִּנְיָמִין אוֹמֵר: אִלְמָלֵי נִתְּנָה רְשׁוּת לָעַיִן לִרְאוֹת — אֵין כׇּל בְּרִיָּה יְכוֹלָה לַעֲמוֹד מִפְּנֵי הַמַּזִּיקִין.

In another baraita it was taught that Abba Binyamin says: If the eye was given permission to see, no creature would be able to withstand the abundance and ubiquity of the demons and continue to live unaffected by them.

2

אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: אִינְהוּ נְפִישִׁי מִינַּן, וְקָיְימִי עֲלַן כִּי כִּסְלָא לְאוּגְיָא.

Similarly, Abaye said: They are more numerous than we are and they stand over us like mounds of earth surrounding a pit.

3

אָמַר רַב הוּנָא: כֹּל חַד וְחַד מִינַּן, אַלְפָא מִשְּׂמָאלֵיהּ וּרְבַבְתָּא מִיַּמִּינֵיהּ.

Rav Huna said: Each and every one of us has a thousand demons to his left and ten thousand to his right. God protects man from these demons, as it says in the verse: “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; they will not approach you” (Psalms 91:7).

4

אָמַר רָבָא: הַאי דּוּחְקָא דְּהָוֵי בְּכַלָּה — מִנַּיְיהוּ הָוֵי. הָנֵי בִּרְכֵי דְּשָׁלְהִי — מִנַּיְיהוּ. הָנֵי מָאנֵי דְרַבָּנַן דְּבָלוּ — מֵחוּפְיָא דִידְהוּ. הָנֵי כַּרְעֵי דְּמִנַּקְפָן — מִנַּיְיהוּ.

Summarizing the effects of the demons, Rava said:

The crowding at the kalla, the gatherings for Torah study during Elul and Adar, is from the demons;

those knees that are fatigued even though one did not exert himself is from the demons;

those clothes of the Sages that wear out, despite the fact that they do not engage in physical labor, is from friction with the demons;

those feet that are in pain is from the demons.

5

הַאי מַאן דְּבָעֵי לְמִידַּע לְהוּ לַיְיתֵי קִיטְמָא נְהִילָא, וְנַהְדַּר אַפּוּרְיֵיהּ, וּבְצַפְרָא חָזֵי כִּי כַּרְעֵי דְתַרְנְגוֹלָא. הַאי מַאן דְּבָעֵי לְמֶחֱזִינְהוּ, לַיְתֵי שִׁלְיְיתָא דְּשׁוּנָּרְתָּא אוּכַּמְתָּא בַּת אוּכַּמְתָּא בּוּכְרְתָא בַּת בּוּכְרְתָא, וְלִיקְלְיֵהּ בְּנוּרָא, וְלִשְׁחֲקֵיהּ, וְלִימְלֵי עֵינֵיהּ מִנֵּיהּ, וְחָזֵי לְהוּ. וְלִשְׁדְּיֵיהּ בְּגוּבְתָּא דְפַרְזְלָא, וְלַחְתְּמֵיהּ בְּגוּשְׁפַּנְקָא דְפַרְזְלָא, דִּילְמָא גָּנְבִי מִנֵּיהּ, וְלַחְתּוֹם פּוּמֵּיהּ, כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלָא לִיתַּזַּק. רַב בִּיבִי בַּר אַבָּיֵי עֲבַד הָכִי, חֲזָא וְאִתַּזַּק, בְּעוֹ רַבָּנַן רַחֲמֵי עֲלֵיהּ, וְאִתַּסִּי.

One who seeks to know that the demons exist should place fine ashes around his bed, and in the morning the demons’ footprints appear like chickens’ footprints, in the ash. One who seeks to see them should take the afterbirth of a firstborn female black cat, born to a firstborn female black cat, burn it in the fire, grind it and place it in his eyes, and he will see them. He must then place the ashes in an iron tube sealed with an iron seal [gushpanka] lest the demons steal it from him, and then seal the opening so he will not be harmed. Rav Beivai bar Abaye performed this procedure, saw the demons, and was harmed. The Sages prayed for mercy on his behalf and he was healed.

6

תַּנְיָא, אַבָּא בִּנְיָמִין אוֹמֵר: אֵין תְּפִלָּה שֶׁל אָדָם נִשְׁמַעַת אֶלָּא בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל הָרִנָּה וְאֶל הַתְּפִלָּה״. בִּמְקוֹם רִנָּה — שָׁם תְּהֵא תְּפִלָּה.

It was taught in a baraita that Abba Binyamin said: One’s prayer is only fully heard in a synagogue, as it is stated with regard to King Solomon’s prayer in the Temple: “Yet have You turned toward the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, Lord my God, to listen to the song and the prayer which Your servant prays before You on this day” (I Kings 8:28). The following verse concludes: “To hear the prayer Your servant directs toward this place” (I Kings 8:29). We see that one’s prayer is heard specifically in the Temple, of which the synagogue is a microcosm (Rav Yoshiyahu Pinto). It may be inferred that in a place of song, a synagogue where God’s praises are sung, there prayer should be.

7

אָמַר רָבִין בַּר רַב אַדָּא, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: מִנַּיִן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מָצוּי בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת אֵל״.

In explaining Abba Binyamin’s statement, Ravin bar Rav Adda said that Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, is located in a synagogue? As it is stated: “God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judges” (Psalms 82:1). The congregation of God is the place where people congregate to sing God’s praises, and God is located among His congregation.

8

וּמִנַּיִן לַעֲשָׂרָה שֶׁמִּתְפַּלְּלִין שֶׁשְּׁכִינָה עִמָּהֶם — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת אֵל״.

And from where is it derived that ten people who pray, the Divine Presence is with them? As it is stated: “God stands in the congregation of God,” and the minimum number of people that constitute a congregation is a quorum of ten.

9

וּמִנַּיִן לִשְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִין בַּדִּין שֶׁשְּׁכִינָה עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט״.

From where is it derived that three who sit in judgment, the Divine Presence is with them? It is derived from this same verse, as it is stated: “In the midst of the judges He judges,” and the minimum number of judges that comprises a court is three.

10

וּמִנַּיִן לִשְׁנַיִם שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִין וְעוֹסְקִין בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁשְּׁכִינָה עִמָּהֶם — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״אָז נִדְבְּרוּ יִרְאֵי ה׳ אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁב ה׳״ וְגוֹ׳.

From where is it derived that two who sit and engage in Torah study, the Divine Presence is with them? As it is stated: “Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with the other, and the Lord listened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that fear the Lord, and that think upon His name” (Malachi 3:16). The Divine Presence listens to any two God-fearing individuals who speak with each other.

11

מַאי ״וּלְחֹשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ״? אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: חָשַׁב אָדָם לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה, וְנֶאֱנַס, וְלֹא עֲשָׂאָהּ — מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִילּוּ עֲשָׂאָהּ.

With regard to this verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase, “And that think upon His name”? Rav Ashi said: If a person intended to perform a mitzva, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he did not perform it, the verse ascribes him credit as if he performed the mitzva, as he is among those that think upon His name.

12

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֲפִילּוּ אֶחָד שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁשְּׁכִינָה עִמּוֹ — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בְּכָל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַזְכִּיר אֶת שְׁמִי אָבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ״.

The Gemara returns to Ravin bar Rav Adda’s statement: And from where is it derived that when even one who sits and engages in Torah study, the Divine Presence is with him? As it is stated: “In every place where I cause My Name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:21); God blesses even a single person who mentions God’s name, a reference to Torah study (Iyyun Ya’akov).

13

וְכִי מֵאַחַר דַּאֲפִילּוּ חַד, תְּרֵי מִבַּעְיָא?! תְּרֵי — מִכַּתְבָן מִלַּיְיהוּ בְּסֵפֶר הַזִּכְרוֹנוֹת, חַד — לָא מִכַּתְבָן מִלֵּיהּ בְּסֵפֶר הַזִּכְרוֹנוֹת.

The Gemara asks: Since the Divine Presence rests even upon one who engages in Torah study, was it necessary to say that the Divine Presence rests upon two who study Torah together? The Gemara answers: There is a difference between them. Two people, their words of Torah are written in the book of remembrance, as it is stated: “And a book of remembrance was written”; however a single individual’s words of Torah are not written in a book of remembrance.

14

וְכִי מֵאַחַר דַּאֲפִילּוּ תְּרֵי, תְּלָתָא מִבַּעְיָא?! מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא: דִּינָא שְׁלָמָא בְּעָלְמָא הוּא, וְלָא אָתְיָא שְׁכִינָה, קָמַשְׁמַע לָן דְּדִינָא נָמֵי הַיְינוּ תּוֹרָה.

The Gemara continues: Since the Divine Presence rests even upon two who engage in Torah study, is it necessary to mention three? The Gemara answers: Here too, a special verse is necessary lest you say that judgment is merely to keep the peace among the citizenry, and the Divine Presence does not come and rest upon those who sit in judgment as they are not engaged in Torah study. Ravin bar Rav Adda teaches us that sitting in judgment is also Torah.

15

וְכִי מֵאַחַר דַּאֲפִילּוּ תְּלָתָא, עֲשָׂרָה מִבַּעְיָא?! עֲשָׂרָה — קָדְמָה שְׁכִינָה וְאָתְיָא. תְּלָתָא — עַד דְּיָתְבִי.

The Gemara asks: Since the Divine Presence rests even upon three, is it necessary to mention ten? The Gemara answers: The Divine Presence arrives before a group of ten, as the verse: “God stands in the congregation of God,” indicates that when the ten individuals who comprise a congregation arrive, the Divine Presence is already there. For a group of three judges, however, the Divine Presence does not arrive until they sit and begin their deliberations, as in the midst of the judges He judges. God aids them in their judgment, but does not arrive before them.

16

אָמַר רַבִּי אָבִין בַּר רַב אַדָּא, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: מִנַּיִן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַנִּיחַ תְּפִילִּין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״נִשְׁבַּע ה׳ בִּימִינוֹ וּבִזְרוֹעַ עֻזּוֹ״.

The Gemara cites another aggadic statement: Rabbi Avin bar Rav Adda said that Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, wears phylacteries? As it is stated: “The Lord has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength” (Isaiah 62:8). Since it is customary to swear upon holy objects, it is understood that His right hand and the arm of His strength are the holy objects upon which God swore.

17

״בִּימִינוֹ״ — זוֹ תּוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״מִימִינוֹ אֵשׁ דָּת לָמוֹ״, ״וּבִזְרוֹעַ עֻזּוֹ״ — אֵלּוּ תְּפִילִּין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״ה׳ עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן״.

Specifically, “His right hand” refers to the Torah, as it is stated in describing the giving of the Torah: “From His right hand, a fiery law for His people” (Deuteronomy 33:2). “The arm of His strength,” His left hand, refers to phylacteries, as it is stated: “The Lord gave strength to His nation” (Psalms 29:11), in the form of the mitzva of phylacteries.

18

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהַתְּפִילִּין עוֹז הֵם לְיִשְׂרָאֵל — דִּכְתִיב: ״וְרָאוּ כׇּל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ כִּי שֵׁם ה׳ נִקְרָא עָלֶיךָ וְיָרְאוּ מִמֶּךָּ״. וְתַנְיָא, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר הַגָּדוֹל אוֹמֵר: אֵלּוּ תְּפִילִּין שֶׁבָּרֹאשׁ.

The Gemara asks: And from where is it derived that phylacteries provide strength for Israel? As it is written: “And all the nations of the land shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon you, and they will fear you” (Deuteronomy 28:10). It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer the Great says: This is a reference to the phylacteries of the head, upon which the name of God is written in fulfillment of the verse: “That the name of the Lord is called upon you.”

19

אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק לְרַב חִיָּיא בַּר אָבִין: הָנֵי תְּפִילִּין דְּמָרֵי עָלְמָא מָה כְּתִיב בְּהוּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ ״וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ״.

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said to Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin: What is written in the phylacteries of the Master of the world? Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin replied: It is written: “Who is like Your people, Israel, one nation in the land?” (I Chronicles 17:21). God’s phylacteries serve to connect Him, in a sense, to the world, the essence of which is Israel.

20

וּמִי מִשְׁתַּבַּח קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בְּשִׁבְחַיְיהוּ דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל? אִין, דִּכְתִיב: ״אֶת ה׳ הֶאֱמַרְתָּ הַיּוֹם״. וּכְתִיב: ״וַה׳ הֶאֱמִירְךָ הַיּוֹם״, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל: אַתֶּם עֲשִׂיתוּנִי חֲטִיבָה אַחַת בָּעוֹלָם, וַאֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶתְכֶם חֲטִיבָה אַחַת בָּעוֹלָם.

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak continues: Is the Holy One, Blessed be He, glorified through the glory of Israel? Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin answered: Yes, as indicated by the juxtaposition of two verses; as it is stated: “You have affirmed, this day, that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His laws and commandments, and listen to His voice.” And the subsequent verse states: “And the Lord has affirmed, this day, that you are His treasure, as He spoke to you, to keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 26:17–18). From these two verses it is derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Israel: You have made Me a single entity [ḥativa] in the world, as you singled Me out as separate and unique. And because of this, I will make you a single entity in the world, and you will be a treasured nation, chosen by God.

21

אַתֶּם עֲשִׂיתוּנִי חֲטִיבָה אַחַת בָּעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה׳ אֶחָד״, וַאֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶתְכֶם חֲטִיבָה אַחַת בָּעוֹלָם״, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ״.

You have made Me a single entity in the world, as it is stated that Israel declares God’s oneness by saying: “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). And because of this, I will make you a single entity in the world, unique and elevated with the utterance: “Who is like Your people, Israel, one nation in the land?” Consequently, the Holy One, Blessed be He, is glorified through the glory of Israel whose praises are written in God’s phylacteries.

22

אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב אַחָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרָבָא לְרַב אָשֵׁי: תִּינַח בְּחַד בֵּיתָא, בִּשְׁאָר בָּתֵּי מַאי?

Rav Aḥa, son of Rava said to Rav Ashi: It works out well with regard to the contents of one of the four compartments of God’s phylacteries of the head. However, all four compartments of Israel’s phylacteries of the head contain portions of the Torah that praise God. What portions in praise of Israel are written in the rest of the compartments of God’s phylacteries of the head?

23

אָמַר לֵיהּ: ״כִּי מִי גוֹי גָּדוֹל״, ״וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל״, ״אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל״, ״אוֹ הֲנִסָּה אֱלֹהִים״, ״וּלְתִתְּךָ עֶלְיוֹן״.

Rav Ashi said to him: In those three compartments it is written: “For who is a great nation, to whom God is close, like the Lord our God whenever we call upon Him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7); “And who is a great nation, who has righteous statutes and laws, like this entire Torah which I set before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:8); “Happy are you, Israel, who is like you? A people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and that is the sword of your excellence. And your enemies shall dwindle away before you, and you shall tread upon their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29); “Or has God attempted to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and by wonders” (Deuteronomy 4:34); “And to elevate you above all nations that He has made, in praise, in name and in glory; that you may be a holy people to the Lord, your God, as He has spoken” (Deuteronomy 26:19).

24

אִי הָכִי, נְפִישִׁי לְהוּ טוּבֵי בָּתֵּי? אֶלָּא: ״כִּי מִי גוֹי גָּדוֹל״ ״וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל״ דְּדׇמְיָין לַהֲדָדֵי — בְּחַד בֵּיתָא, ״אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל״ ״וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל״ — בְּחַד בֵּיתָא, ״אוֹ הֲנִסָּה אֱלֹהִים״ — בְּחַד בֵּיתָא, ״וּלְתִתְּךָ עֶלְיוֹן״ — בְּחַד בֵּיתָא.

Rav Aḥa, son of Rava, raises an objection: If all of these verses are included in God’s phylacteries of the head, there are too many compartments as more than four verses of praise were listed. Rather, the portions in God’s phylacteries must be arranged as follows: The verses “For who is a great nation” and “And who is a great nation” are included in one compartment, as they are similar. “Happy are you, Israel” and “Who is like your people, Israel” are in one compartment. “Or has God attempted” is in one compartment and “And to elevate you” is in one compartment

25

Berakhot 6b

וְכוּלְּהוּ כְּתִיבִי בְּאֶדְרָעֵיהּ.

in the phylacteries of the head, where there are four separate compartments. And all of the verses are written together on one parchment in the phylacteries of the arm, which has only one compartment.

1

אָמַר רָבִין בַּר רַב אַדָּא, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: כׇּל הָרָגִיל לָבֹא לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת וְלֹא בָּא יוֹם אֶחָד, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְשָׁאֵיל בּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״מִי בָכֶם יְרֵא ה׳ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקוֹל עַבְדּוֹ אֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ חֲשֵׁכִים וְאֵין נֹגַהּ לוֹ״.

Additionally, Ravin bar Rav Adda said that Rabbi Yitzḥak said: One who is accustomed to come to the synagogue and did not come one day, the Holy One, Blessed be He, asks about him, as it were, to determine what happened to him, as it is stated: “Who among you fears the Lord? Who hears the voice of His servant? Though he walks in darkness and has no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely upon his God” (Isaiah 50:10). In other words, God asks, who among you fears the Lord yet did not come to hear the voice of His servant the prayer leader, who engages in the service of God? He who went out before dawn and walks in darkness before prayer.

2

אִם לִדְבַר מִצְוָה הָלַךְ — נוֹגַהּ לוֹ, וְאִם לִדְבַר הָרְשׁוּת הָלַךְ — אֵין נוֹגַהּ לוֹ.

If it is for a matter involving a mitzva that he went and absented himself from prayer in the synagogue, then, despite the darkness, there is light for him, the aura of his mitzva will protect him. But if it is for an optional matter, some mundane purpose, that he went and absented himself from prayer in the synagogue, then, even once the day begins, there is no light for him (Maharsha).

3

״יִבְטַח בְּשֵׁם ה׳״ מַאי טַעְמָא? — מִשּׁוּם דַּהֲוָה לֵיהּ לִבְטוֹחַ בְּשֵׁם ה׳, וְלָא בְּטַח.

The verse continues: “Let him trust in the name of the Lord.” The Gemara asks: What is the reason that God is so exacting with this person? The Gemara answers: Because he should have relied on the name of the Lord, and trusted that he would not incur any loss if he postponed dealing with his mundane matters until after prayer in the synagogue, and he did not rely on God.

4

אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּא בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת, וְלֹא מָצָא בָּהּ עֲשָׂרָה — מִיָּד הוּא כּוֹעֵס, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״מַדּוּעַ בָּאתִי וְאֵין אִישׁ קָרָאתִי וְאֵין עוֹנֶה״.

On this same topic, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: When the Holy One, Blessed be He, enters a synagogue and does not find ten people there, He immediately becomes angry, as it is stated: “Why, when I came, was there no one? When I called, there was no one to answer…Behold, with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness” (Isaiah 50:2).

5

אָמַר רַבִּי חֶלְבּוֹ, אָמַר רַב הוּנָא: כׇּל הַקּוֹבֵעַ מָקוֹם לִתְפִלָּתוֹ — אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם בְּעֶזְרוֹ.

Concerning another aspect of the constancy of prayer, Rabbi Ḥelbo said that Rav Huna said: One who sets a fixed place for his prayer, the God of Abraham assists him. Since prayer parallels the Temple service, it is a sign of respect to set a fixed place for this sacred rite (Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto). The God of Abraham assists him because this pious custom evokes Abraham’s conduct.

6

וּכְשֶׁמֵּת, אוֹמְרִים לוֹ: ״אֵי עָנָיו, אֵי חָסִיד, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ״.

When he dies, those who eulogize one who set a fixed place for his prayer say about him: “Where is the humble one, where is the pious one, of the disciples of our father Abraham?” Presumably, one who sets a fixed place for prayer is a disciple of Abraham in every respect, including humility and piety (Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto).

7

וְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ מְנָא לַן דִּקְבַע מָקוֹם? דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר עָמַד שָׁם״, וְאֵין ״עֲמִידָה״ אֶלָּא תְּפִלָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיַּעֲמֹד פִּינְחָס וַיְפַלֵּל״.

The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that Abraham our father set a fixed place for his prayer? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And Abraham rose in the morning to the place where he had stood before God” (Genesis 19:27), and the verb “standing” means nothing other than prayer, as it is stated: “And Pinehas stood and prayed” (Psalms 106:30).

8

אָמַר רַבִּי חֶלְבּוֹ, אָמַר רַב הוּנָא: הַיּוֹצֵא מִבֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת אַל יַפְסִיעַ פְּסִיעָה גַסָּה. אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: לָא אֲמַרַן, אֶלָּא לְמִיפַּק. אֲבָל לְמֵיעַל — מִצְוָה לְמִרְהַט, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״נִרְדְּפָה לָדַעַת אֶת ה׳״.

Rabbi Ḥelbo said that Rav Huna said: One who leaves the synagogue should not take large strides because it creates the impression that he is eager to leave. Abaye explained Rav Huna’s statement and said: This halakha was only said with regard to leaving the synagogue, where large strides seem particularly disrespectful. However, with regard to entering a synagogue, it is a mitzva to run and one is permitted to rush and take large strides (Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto). As it is said: “And let us know, eagerly strive to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). One who eagerly enters a synagogue displays his enthusiasm to follow the path of God.

9

אָמַר רַבִּי זֵירָא: מֵרֵישׁ כִּי הֲוָה חֲזֵינָא לְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן דְּקָא רָהֲטִי לְפִרְקָא בְּשַׁבְּתָא, אָמֵינָא: ״קָא מְחַלַּיִין רַבָּנַן שַׁבְּתָא״. כֵּיוָן דִּשְׁמַעְנָא לְהָא דְּרַבִּי תַּנְחוּם אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי: לְעוֹלָם יָרוּץ אָדָם לִדְבַר הֲלָכָה וַאֲפִילּוּ בְּשַׁבָּת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״אַחֲרֵי ה׳ יֵלְכוּ כְּאַרְיֵה יִשְׁאָג״ וְגוֹ׳, אֲנָא נָמֵי רָהֵיטְנָא.

Rabbi Zeira said: Initially, when I saw the Sages running to the Rabbi’s lecture on Shabbat, I said: These Sages are desecrating Shabbat. One is prohibited from running on Shabbat in deference to the sanctity of the day. Once I heard that which Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One should always run for a matter of halakha, even on Shabbat, as it is stated: “They shall walk after the Lord, who will roar like a lion” (Hosea 11:10). In other words, one should rush as though he were chased by a lion (Birkat Hashem), I too run.

10

אָמַר רַבִּי זֵירָא: אַגְרָא דְפִרְקָא — רִהֲטָא.

Rabbi Zeira said: The reward for attending the lecture is for running. Since most individuals attending the lecture did not fully understand the material taught, the primary reward for attendance was given for their intention to hear the Torah being taught, as evidenced by their rush to arrive.

11

אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: אַגְרָא דְכַלָּה — דּוּחְקָא.

Similarly, Abaye said: The reward for attending the kalla is for the crowding. Due to the large crowd, study was difficult, so the primary reward was given for their effort to hear and understand some part of the lecture.

12

אָמַר רָבָא: אַגְרָא דִשְׁמַעְתָּא — סְבָרָא.

Similarly, Rava said: The reward for learning the halakhic traditions of the amora’im is for the logical analysis, as the primary reward for studying Talmud was not given for knowing the halakhic conclusions, but for the logical reasoning that led to those conclusions.

13

אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא: אַגְרָא דְבֵי טַמְיָא — שְׁתִיקוּתָא.

Rav Pappa said: The primary reward for attending a house of mourning [bei tammaya] is for the silence, which is the optimal manner for those consoling the mourners to express their empathy.

14

אָמַר מָר זוּטְרָא: אַגְרָא דְתַעֲנִיתָא — צִדְקְתָא.

Mar Zutra said: The primary reward for fasting is for the charity given to the poor on the fast day (see Isaiah 58).

15

אָמַר רַב שֵׁשֶׁת: אַגְרָא דְהֶסְפֵּדָא — דַּלּוֹיֵי.

Rav Sheshet said: The primary reward for delivering a eulogy is for causing those in attendance to raise their voices and cry, as that increases the grief over the deceased.

16

אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: אַגְרָא דְבֵי הִלּוּלֵי — מִילֵּי.

Rav Ashi said: The primary reward for participating in a wedding is for the words, i.e., the good wishes with which the guests regale the bride and groom.

17

אָמַר רַב הוּנָא: כׇּל הַמִּתְפַּלֵּל אֲחוֹרֵי בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת נִקְרָא ״רָשָׁע״, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״סָבִיב רְשָׁעִים יִתְהַלָּכוּן״.

Back to the topic of deference for a synagogue, the Gemara records that Rav Huna said: One who prays behind the synagogue is called wicked, as while the entire congregation is facing one direction to pray, he faces the opposite direction creating the impression that he is treating the synagogue and its congregation with contempt. As it is stated: “The wicked walk round about, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men” (Psalms 12:9). In other words, only the wicked walk round about the synagogue in order to pray.

18

אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: לָא אֲמַרַן אֶלָּא דְּלָא מַהְדַּר אַפֵּיהּ לְבֵי כְּנִישְׁתָּא, אֲבָל מַהְ

Daf-notes-berakhot-4a-b

Posted by [email protected] on January 8, 2020 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Berakhot 4a

1

Benayahu ben Yehoyada corresponds to the Sanhedrin, since he was the head of the Sanhedrin, and Evyatar corresponds to the Urim VeTummim, as Evyatar ben Ahimelekh the priest would oversee inquiries directed to the Urim VeTummim (see I Samuel 23:9).

2

And so it says regarding Benayahu ben Yehoyada’s position as head of the Sanhedrin: “And Benayahu ben Yehoyada was over the Kereti and over the Peleti” (II Samuel 20:23). And why was the Sanhedrin called Kereti UPeleti? It was called Kereti because they were decisive [koretim] in their pronouncements. It was called Peleti because their pronouncements and wisdom were wondrous [mufla’im]. The head of the Kereti UPeleti was the head of the Sanhedrin. According to the order of the verse, upon being instructed by King David to go to war, the Sages first consulted with Ahitophel, then with the Sanhedrin, then they would ask the Urim VeTummim, and only thereafter was the general of the king’s army, Yoav, given the command to ready the military for battle.

3

Rav Yitzḥak bar Adda, and some say Rav Yitzḥak, son of Rav Idi, said: From what verse is it derived that David’s lyre would wake him at midnight? “Awake, my glory; awake, harp and lyre; I will wake the dawn” (Psalms 57:9). This means that the playing lyre has already woken, and now I must engage in Torah study until dawn.

4

Rabbi Zeira offered a different solution to the question of whether Moses and David knew exactly when it was midnight and said: Moses certainly knew when it was midnight, and David also knew.

5

The Gemara asks: If David knew, then why did he need the lyre? The Gemara answers: He needed the lyre to wake him from his sleep.

6

Similarly with regard to Moses, since Moses knew the precise moment of midnight, why did he say: About midnight, instead of: At midnight? Moses did so because he maintained: Lest Pharaoh’s astrologers err and believe midnight to be earlier. Since no disaster would have occurred, they would say: Moses is a liar. Moses spoke in accordance with the principle articulated by the Master: Accustom your tongue to say: I do not know, lest you become entangled in a web of deceit.

7

Rav Ashi said: This question is unfounded, as Moses was standing at midnight of the thirteenth, leading into the fourteenth, when he pronounced his prophecy, and Moses told Israel that the Holy One, Blessed be He, said that tomorrow, at the exact time like midnight tonight, I will go out into the midst of Egypt. This indicates that the passage should not be understood to mean about midnight, an approximation; but rather, like midnight, as a comparison, likening midnight tomorrow to midnight tonight.

8

The Gemara further explores King David’s character. It is said: “A prayer of David…Keep my soul, for I am pious” (Psalms 86:1–2). Levi and Rabbi Yitzḥak debated the meaning of this verse and how David’s piety is manifest in the fact that he went beyond his fundamental obligations. One said: David’s declaration of piety referred to his awakening during the night to pray, and so said David before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, am I not pious? As all of the kings of the East and the West sleep until the third hour of the day, but although I am a king like them, “At midnight I rise to give thanks” (Psalms 119:62).

9

And the other Sage said: David said the following before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, am I not pious? For all of the kings of the East and the West sit in groups befitting their honored status, but I sit as a judge who issues rulings for the people. Women come with questions of ritual impurity and my hands become soiled with their blood as I labor to determine whether or not it is blood of impurity and she has menstruating woman status, and with a fetus that miscarried at a stage of development before it was clear whether or not it is considered a birth, and with placenta, which women sometimes discharge unrelated to the birth of a child (see Leviticus 15:19–30 with regard to blood, and 12:1–8 with regard to miscarriage and placenta). King David went to all this trouble in order to render a woman ritually pure and consequently permitted to her husband. If, after examination, a Sage declares the woman ritually pure, she is permitted to be with her husband, which leads to increased love and affection, and ultimately to procreation (Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto). And not only do I engage in activity considered to be beneath the station of a king, but I consult my teacher, Mefivoshet, son of King Saul’s son, Jonathan, with regard to everything that I do. I say to him: Mefivoshet, my teacher, did I decide properly? Did I convict properly? Did I acquit properly? Did I rule ritually pure properly? Did I rule ritually impure properly? And I was not embarrassed. Forgoing royal dignity should make me worthy to be called pious.

10

Rav Yehoshua, son of Rav Idi, said: What verse alludes to this? “And I speak Your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed” (Psalms 119:46). This verse alludes both to David’s commitment to Torah, in contrast to the kings of the East and the West, as well as to the fact that he was not ashamed to discuss matters of Torah with Mefivoshet, a descendant of kings. David was not afraid to have his mistakes corrected by Mefivoshet.

11

It was taught in a Tosefta from a tannaitic tradition: His name was not Mefivoshet, but rather Ish Boshet was his name. Why was Ish Boshet referred to as Mefivoshet? Because he would embarrass [mevayesh] David in matters of halakha. According to this approach, Mefivoshet is an abbreviation of boshet panim, embarrassment. Because David was not embarrassed to admit his errors, he merited that Kilav, who, according to tradition, was exceedingly wise, would descend from him.

12

Rabbi Yoḥanan said: His name was not Kilav; rather, his name was Daniel, as it appears in a different list of David’s descendants. Why was he called Kilav? Because he would embarrass [makhlim] Mefivoshet, the teacher or authority figure [av] in matters of halakha.

13

In his book of wisdom, Solomon said about this wise son: “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will be glad, even mine” (Proverbs 23:15), as David enjoyed witnessing his son Kilav develop into a Torah luminary to the extent that Kilav was able to respond to Mefivoshet. And Solomon says about Kilav: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may respond to those who taunt me” (Proverbs 27:11).

14

With regard to David’s statement, “Keep my soul, for I am pious,” the Gemara asks: Did David call himself pious? Isn’t it written: “If I had not [luleh] believed to look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalms 27:13). The dots that appear over the word luleh in the text indicate doubt and uncertainty of his piety, and whether he was deserving of a place in the land of the living (see Avot DeRabbi Natan 34). In the name of Rabbi Yosei, it was taught in a Tosefta: Why do dots appear over the word luleh, as if there are some reservations? Because David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe. I have every confidence in You that You grant an excellent reward to the righteous in the World-to-Come since God’s ultimate goodness is manifest in the land of eternal life, but I still harbor uncertainty with regard to myself, and I do not know whether or not I definitely have a portion among them. In any case, apparently David was uncertain whether or not he deserved to receive a portion of God’s reward for the righteous; how, then, could he characterize himself as pious?

15

The Gemara responds: His concern does not prove anything, as King David knew that he was pious. He was simply concerned lest a transgression that he might commit in the future will cause him to lose his opportunity to look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

16

The Gemara cites a proof that there is room for one to fear lest he commit a transgression in the future in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ya’akov bar Idi, as Rabbi Ya’akov bar Idi raised a contradiction between two verses. It is written that God told Jacob in his vision of the ladder: “Behold, I am with you and I guard you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15), yet when Jacob returned to Canaan and realized that Esau was coming to greet him, it is written: “And Jacob became very afraid, and he was pained” (Genesis 32:8). Why did Jacob not rely on God’s promise? Jacob had concerns and said to himself: Lest a transgression that I might have committed after God made His promise to me will cause God to revoke His promise of protection.

17

Apparently, at times, transgression does cause God’s promise to go unfulfilled, as it was taught explicitly in a baraita with regard to the ostensibly redundant language in a verse in the Song of the Sea: “Until Your people will cross, Lord, until the people You have acquired will cross. You bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place, Lord, which You made for Your dwelling” (Exodus 15:16–17).

18

The Gemara interprets homiletically that until Your people will cross refers to the first entry into Eretz Yisrael during the time of Joshua, while until the people You have acquired pass over refers to the second entry following the exile in Babylonia. Based on the juxtaposition of these two entries in this single verse, the Sages said: Israel was worthy of having a miracle performed on its behalf in the time of Ezra the scribe, just as one was performed on their behalf in the time of Joshua bin Nun. However, transgression caused the absence of a miracle.

19

The Gemara returns to explain what we learned in the mishna: And the Rabbis say: The time for the recitation of the evening Shema is until midnight. The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion do they hold in explaining the verse: “When you lie down”? If they explain this verse in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, who says that “when you lie down” is the time when people customarily go to sleep, then let the Rabbis also say that the time for the recitation of Shema extends, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, until the end of the first watch.

Berakhot 4b

1

And if they explain this verse in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Gamliel who says that “when you lie down” refers to the entire night, then let the Rabbis also say that one may recite the evening Shema until dawn, in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Gamliel.

2

The Gemara answers: Actually, the Rabbis hold in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Gamliel, and the fact that they say until midnight is in order to distance a person from transgression. As it was taught in a baraita, the Rabbis created a “fence” for their pronouncements with regard to the recitation of Shema in order to prevent a situation where a person comes home from the field in the evening, tired from his day’s work, and knowing that he is permitted to recite Shema until dawn says to himself: I will go home, eat a little, drink a little, sleep a little and then I will recite Shema and recite the evening prayer. In the meantime, he is overcome by sleep and ends up sleeping all night. However, since one is concerned lest he fall asleep and fail to wake up before midnight in order to recite Shema at the appropriate time, he will come from the field in the evening, enter the synagogue, and until it is time to pray, he will immerse himself in Torah. If he is accustomed to reading the Bible, he reads. If he is accustomed to learning mishnayot, a more advanced level of study, he learns. And then he recites Shema and prays as he should. When he arrives home, he eats his meal with a contented heart and recites a blessing.

3

The baraita concludes with a warning: Anyone who transgresses the pronouncements of the Sages is liable to receive the death penalty.

4

This is a startling conclusion. What is different in all other places that it is not taught that one is liable to receive the death penalty and what is different here that it is taught that he is liable to receive the death penalty? There is no unique stringency apparent in the rabbinic restriction on the recitation of Shema.

5

The Gemara offers two answers, explaining that the conclusion of the baraita essentially stems not from the magnitude of the transgression, but rather from concern that the “fence” created around this particular mitzva may be neglected. If you wish, say that one returning from work is quite anxious to go to sleep, and due to the risk that he will be overcome by sleep, he must be particularly vigilant in the recitation of Shema. And if you wish, say instead that strong language is employed here in order to exclude the opinion of he who says that although the morning prayer and the afternoon prayer are mandatory, the evening prayer is optional. Therefore, it teaches us that the evening prayer is mandatory, and anyone who transgresses the pronouncement of the Sages in this regard is liable to receive the death penalty.

6

In this baraita, the Master said that when one returns from work in the evening, he enters the synagogue, recites Shema, and prays. From this baraita, we see that at night, just as during the day, one first recites Shema and then prays. This supports the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, as Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Who is assured of a place in the World-to-Come? It is one who juxtaposes the blessing of redemption, recited after Shema, to the evening prayer. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: The prayers were instituted to be recited between the two recitations of Shema. According to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, one recites the morning Shema, then recites all of the prayers and only after the recitation of the evening prayer does he recite the evening Shema.

7

Although the practical difference between these two positions is clear, the Gemara seeks to determine: With regard to what do they disagree? What is the basis of their argument?

8

The Gemara answers: If you wish, say that they disagree over the interpretation of a verse; if you wish, say instead that they disagree on a point of logic.

9

If you say that they disagree on a point of logic, then the argument relates to the redemption recited after Shema, whose focus is the exodus from Egypt, the first redemption. The question is whether that redemption began at night, which would render it appropriate to juxtapose redemption to the blessing of the evening prayers as well, in prayer for immediate redemption. Or, perhaps, the redemption from Egypt only began during the day.

10

Rabbi Yoḥanan holds: Redemption occurred in the evening as well; however, the full-fledged redemption was only in the morning. Since the redemption began in the evening, it is appropriate to juxtapose the blessing of redemption to the daily evening prayer. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, on the other hand, holds: Since full-fledged redemption only occurred in the morning, and the redemption of the previous evening was not a full-fledged redemption, there is no need to juxtapose the blessing of redemption to the evening prayer.

11

And if you wish, say instead that the dispute between Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi is not a difference over a point of logic, but over the interpretation of a verse. Both derived their opinions from the same verse: “When you lie down, and when you rise.” Both interpreted that the juxtaposition in this verse of the recitation of Shema at night and the recitation of Shema in the morning draws a parallel between them.

12

Rabbi Yoḥanan holds: The verse juxtaposes lying down and rising. Just as when one rises, the recitation of Shema is followed by prayer, as everyone agrees that in the morning one juxtaposes redemption to the morning prayer, so too, when one lies down, the recitation of Shema is followed by prayer. And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi maintains: The verse juxtaposes lying down and rising in a different sense. Just as when one rises, he recites Shema adjacent to rising from his bed, as the verse, when you rise, means when one awakens, so too when one lies down, he recites Shema adjacent to lying down in his bed. Therefore, the recitation of the evening Shema should be performed as close as possible to the moment when one actually lies down.

13

According to Rabbi Yoḥanan, it is a mitzva to recite Shema before the evening prayer. Mar, son of Ravina, raises an objection from a mishna: How can one do that? We learn in a later mishna: In the evening, one recites two blessings prior to the recitation of Shema and two blessings afterward. And if you say that one must juxtapose redemption to prayer, doesn’t he fail to juxtapose redemption to prayer, as he must recite: Help us lie down [hashkivenu], the blessing recited after the blessing of redemption, which constitutes an interruption between redemption and prayer?

14

They say in response: Since the Sages instituted the practice of reciting: Help us lie down, it is considered one extended blessing of redemption, and therefore does not constitute an interruption. As if you fail to say that the sections added by the Sages are considered no less significant than the original prayers, then can one juxtapose redemption to prayer even in the morning? Didn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan say: Before every prayer one recites the verse: “Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your glory” (Psalms 51:17) as a prelude to prayer? Afterward, one recites the verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You” (Psalms 19:15). Doesn’t the verse: Lord, open my lips, constitute an interruption between redemption and prayer?

15

Rather, there, since the Sages instituted that one must recite: Lord, open my lips, it is considered as an extended prayer and not as an interruption. Here, too, with regard to the evening prayer, since the Sages instituted to recite the blessing Help us lie down, it is considered as one extended blessing of redemption.

16

Tangential to Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement that one who juxtaposes redemption and prayer is assured of a place in the World-to-Come, a similar statement is cited. Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Avina said: Anyone who recites: “A Psalm of David” (Psalms 145) three times every day is assured of a place in the World-to-Come.

17

This statement extolling the significance of this particular chapter of Psalms, usually referred to as ashrei because its recitation is preceded by recitation of the verse, “Happy [ashrei] are those who dwell in Your House, they praise You Selah” (Psalms 84:5), raises the question: What is the reason that such significance is ascribed to this particular chapter?

18

If you say that it is because it is arranged alphabetically, then let us say: “Happy are they who are upright in the way” (Psalms 119) where the alphabetical arrangement appears eight times.

19

Rather, if you suggest that this particular chapter is recited because it contains praise for God’s provision of sustenance to all of creation: “You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor” (Psalms 145:16), then let him recite the great hallel (Psalms 136), in which numerous praises are written, including: “Who provides food to all flesh, Whose kindness endures forever” (Psalms 136:25).

20

Rather, the reason why tehilla leDavid is accorded preference is because it contains both an alphabetic acrostic as well as mention of God’s provision of sustenance to all creation.

21

Additionally, with regard to this psalm, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Why is there no verse beginning with the letter nun in ashrei? Because it contains an allusion to the downfall of the enemies of Israel, a euphemism for Israel itself. As it is written: “The virgin of Israel has fallen and she will rise no more; abandoned in her land, none will raise her up” (Amos 5:2), which begins with the letter nun. Due to this verse, ashrei does not include a verse beginning with the letter nun.

22

In order to ease the harsh meaning of this verse, in the West, in Eretz Yisrael, they interpreted it with a slight adjustment: “She has fallen but she shall fall no more; rise, virgin of Israel.” Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak adds: Even so, David went and provided support, through divine inspiration. Although King David did not include a verse beginning with the letter nun alluding to Israel’s downfall, he foresaw the verse that would be written by Amos through divine inspiration; and the very next verse, which begins with the letter samekh, reads: “The Lord upholds the fallen and raises up those who are bowed down” (Psalms 145:14). Therefore, through divine inspiration, David offered hope and encouragement; although the virgin of Israel may have fallen, the Lord upholds the fallen.

23

After this discussion of the statement that Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Avina said, another statement of Rabbi Elazar is cited. Rabbi Elazar bar Avina said: What was said about the angel Michael is greater than what was said about the angel Gabriel. As about Michael, it is written: “And one of the seraphim flew to me” (Isaiah 6:6), indicating that with a single flight, the seraph arrived and performed his mission, while regarding Gabriel, it is written: “The man, Gabriel, whom I had seen at the beginning, in a vision, being caused to fly swiftly, approached close to me about the time of the evening offering” (Daniel 9:21). The double language used in the phrase “to fly swiftly [muaf biaf],” indicates that he did not arrive at his destination in a single flight, but rather, that it took him two flights.

24

To Rabbi Elazar bar Avina, it is clear that “one of the seraphim” refers to Michael, and the Gemara asks: From where is it inferred that the one mentioned in the verse is Michael?

25

Rabbi Yoḥanan said: This is derived through a verbal analogy between the words one and one. Here, it is written: “And one of the seraphim flew to me” (Isaiah 6:6), and there, it is written: “And behold, Michael, one of the chief ministers of the king, came to my aid” (Daniel 10:13). Since the verse from Daniel refers to Michael as “one,” which aggadic midrash interprets as “the unique one,” so, too, “one of the seraphs” described in Isaiah must also refer to the unique one, Michael.

26

This discussion in the Gemara concludes with a Tosefta that arrives at a hierarchy of angels based on the number of flights required by each to arrive at his destination. It was taught in a Tosefta: Michael, as stated above, in one flight; Gabriel, in two flights; Elijah the Prophet, in four flights; and the Angel of Death, in eight flights. During a time of plague, however, when the Angel of Death seems ubiquitous, he arrives everywhere in one flight.

27

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Even though one recited Shema in the synagogue, it is a mitzva to recite it upon his bed in fulfillment of the verse: “When you lie down.” Rabbi Yosei said: What verse alludes to the fact that one must recite Shema in the evening, upon his bed, as well? “Tremble, and do not sin; say to your heart upon your bed and be still, Selah” (Psalms 4:5). This is understood to mean: Recite Shema, about which it is written, “on your hearts,” upon your bed, and afterward be still and sleep.

28

With regard to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s statement, Rabbi Naḥman said:


Parashat Vayechi�?

Posted by [email protected] on January 5, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Parasha for the Week: Vayechi: Genesis 47: 28 – 50:26

Haftarah for the Week: 1 Kings 2:1 – 12

Besorat Yeshua: Mark 13:32 – 14:9

 

Genesis Chapter 47

1 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said: ‘My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.’ 2 And from among his brethren he took five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren: ‘What is your occupation?’ And they said unto Pharaoh: ‘Thy servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.’ 4 And they said unto Pharaoh: ‘To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants’ flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.’ 5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying: ‘Thy father and thy brethren come unto thee; 6 the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell. And if thou knowest any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.’ 7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob: ‘How many are the days of the years of thy life?’ 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh: ‘The days of the years of my sojournings are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojournings.’ 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph sustained his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to the want of their little ones. 13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said: ‘Give us bread; for why should we die in thy presence? for our money faileth.’ 16 And Joseph said: ‘Give your cattle, and I will give you [bread] for your cattle if money fail.’ 17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph. And Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks, and for the herds, and for the asses; and he fed them with bread in exchange for all their cattle for that year. 18 And when that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him: ‘We will not hide from my lord, how that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s; there is nought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands. 19 Wherefore should we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be bondmen unto Pharaoh; and give us a seed, that we may live, and not die, and that the land is not desolate.’ 20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine was sore upon them; and the land became Pharaohs. 21 And as for the people, he removed them city by city, from one end of the border of Egypt even to the other end thereof. 22 Only the land of the priests bought he not, for the priests had a portion from Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them; wherefore they sold not their land. 23 Then Joseph said unto the people: ‘Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh. Lo, here is the seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. 24 And it shall come to pass at the ingatherings, that ye shall give a fifth unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for the seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.’ 25 And they said: ‘Thou hast saved our lives. Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s bondmen.’ 26 And Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests alone became not Pharaoh’s. 27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were a hundred forty and seven years. 29 And the time drew near that Israel must die; and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him: ‘If now I have found favour in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt. 30 But when I sleep with my fathers, thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place.’ And he said: ‘I will do as thou hast said.’ 31 And he said: ‘Swear unto me.’ And he swore unto him. And Israel bowed down upon the bed’s head. {P} explain the text, it frequently fails and the translation remains obscure. The Targumist characteristically and purposely renders some verses contrary to their plain meaning. Frequently and inexplicably, the Targum all too often offers more than one interpretation of a single phrase. The irregular character of this chapter s translations is most probably the result of the efforts of scribes rewriting the ancient targumist’s work by inserting alien duplicative material.

 

One example of the inscrutability and intricacy of the many passages that beg to understand in this chapter is 49:10 (pages 336 and 337), which contains the only reference in the Targum to a Messiah. The verse is apparently, but by no mean certainly, addressing the future of the Judean dynasty begun by King David. The Hebrew reads, “A staff will not depart from Judah, or the ruler’s staff from between his legs until he comes to Shiloh; and the nations will obey him.”The following commentary shows the views of some commentators other than Onkelos on Scripture’s “Shiloh.”

UNTIL THE MESSIAH COMES. Scripture’s “until he comes to Shiloh,” which could also mean “until Shiloh comes,” is one of the most captivating and obscure passages of the Bible. There has been a multitude of suggested interpretations, and many scholars have offered ways of amending the text in order to clarify it. Rashbam views the

verse’s initial two phrases as a description of David and his son Solomon, who would reign over all twelve Israelite tribes—until Solomon’s son traveled to Shiloh,

which was close to Shechem, in an attempt to retain the solidity of his sovereignty after his father’s death. But ten tribes seceded from serving him and set Jeroboam as

 

their king. Hence, according to Rashbam, the next phrase refers to Jeroboam, whom

“the nations will obey.” Chazkunee agrees with Rashbam that the section of the verse discussed here refers to Solomon’s son and that Shiloh was the site where the Davidic kingdom was split but offers that Shiloh could also refer to the prophet Ahijah who came from Shiloh and tore Solomon’s son’s garment into twelve pieces to foretell the split in the Davidic kingdom (I Kings 11:30 31).

The commentary continues with the view of Onkelos and others on “Shiloh.” Although there is no explicit mention in the Pentateuch of a Messiah, Onkelos, Genesis Rabbah, the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b), the other Targums, other Midrashim, and other commentators such as Saadiah, Rashi, Nachmanides, and Radak, treat the final (Hebrew) letter “ hay ” of the word “ Shiloh ” as if it was a “ vav.” As such they translate the word as “his,” and consider the pronoun a reference to the Messiah. Ibn Ezra notes that some commentators also interpret Shiloh as if the letters “yud” and “hay” were reversed, yielding “draw out”; others read it as “shelil,” “embryo”; and still others take it as a simple reference to the city of Shiloh to which Jacob is referring as the location of the Tabernacle until the onset of David’s reign.

Rashi adds that we can read Shiloh as two words meaning “a tribute to him.” The

fact that this prophecy of the everlasting reign of David’s family was not fulfilled should not be regarded as problematic, since, as the Tosaphists wrote, “ The prophets did not prophesy what will be, but, rather, what should be.”

3

In the commentary that immediately follows, we find the suggestion that

Onkelos ’reference to the Messiah may actually be a scribal insert.

FOR THE KINGDOM IS HIS. This is added as part of the Targum ’s explanation of “

Shiloh” (see prior commentary). However, it is probable that this addition is the Onkelos targumist’s only interpretation, while the wording “until the Messiah comes”

is a late interpolation of a pious but inexact copyist.

To add to the discussion, we cite the views of two additional commentators in our appendix (page 465):

Bechor Schor interprets 49:10 as Jacob’s prophecy of when the Davidic line of kings will begin.

The verb “yavo,” in “ad kee yavo Shiloh,” means “destroyed,” as in

Isaiah60:20, and means that a member of the tribe of Judah would not become king over the Israelites until the Tabernacle that was situated in the city of Shiloh was destroyed

a prediction that was fulfilled. Bechor Schor maintains that verse 18 is stating that as long as God protects the tribe of Judah, Judah will protect the rest of the Israelites. Ibn Kaspi interprets verse 10 as a prediction concerning the end of the Davidic rule.

The term “ shiloh ” means “error,” as in II Samuel 6:7; the verb yavo” means “occur”; and “ad,” “until,” denotes when the promise will cease. Thus, Jacob is promising that there will be Davidic kings until ( ad ) there occurs ( yavo ) an error ( “shiloh” ). This error happened during the reign of King Zedekiah, the last king of David’s line, who

foolishly rebelled against Babylon. The Babylonians smote the Judeans, destroyed the

Temple, and “ Judah was carried away captive out of his land” ( II Kings 25:21). Jacob ibn Kaspi continues, is not predicting the destruction of the Second Temple, since there were no Davidic kings during the Second Temple period. In summary, 49:10 is obscure and there have been many radically different interpretations of what it intends to say. Onkelos has two interpretations of Scripture’s“Shiloh ”; an unusual occurrence since our Targumist generally offers only a single view.The Targum reads the verse to say that the tribe of Judah will produce a ruler —“for the kingdom is his” to rule over the nation of Israel. This interpretation does not suggest that the ruler will be anything other than a normal king. However, the Onkelos text in our hands today also renders “Shiloh ” as “until the Messiah comes.”

We suggest that the reference to the Messiah was not in the original translation composed by our targumist. He does not generally offer two interpretations of a word or passage and does not offer theological interpretations such as the advent of a messiah. The idea of the Messiah was added by an overzealous copyist who felt that this

was the Torah’s intent and that he had an obligation to make this clear to fellow Jew

4

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSIONS

ONKELOS

We know that our Targumist eschews theological notions in his translation. Could

this be an exception because the anticipated “coming of the Messiah” was a hope

strongly entrenched in the hearts of persecuted Jews during the age when he lived?Could it also be that he wanted to emphasize that the Messiah had not yet come, for the belief that he had arrived was maintained by Christians

and he didn’t want his fellow religionists to be misled? Or, are we correct that the inclusion of the phrase “until the Messiah comes” is an insert by a later copyist? After all, the concept of a miraculous arrival of a “Messiah” is not explicit anywhere in the Torah.

There is one other reference to meshicha in Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic word that can be translated as “Messiah” or as “anointed

one.” The term “Messiah ”has a somewhat supernatural connotation, while “anointed one” can simply mean a priest or king, both of whom were anointed with oil when they assumed their positions. The word is in Numbers 24:17. Scripture reads

“a scepter will stand from Israel.”

Onkelos has “an anointed one will be anointed.” We

explain in our commentary, “AN ANOINTED ONE WILL BE ANOINTED

”:

Our translator understands the metaphor “scepter,” as he did “

star,” to refer to a“king,” but since he already used the noun “king” in the prior phrase, he inserted the synonym “an anointed one,” which refers to kings who were anointed upon taking office. He also understands “scepter” as a “ruler,” as in

Genesis 49:10.

Thus, while Nachmanides sees this verse speaking of the Messiah and Messianic times, we agree with other commentators who realize that our verse is mentioning some future human king and we understand that this is what our Targumist is saying.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

The word “Messiah” is derived from the Hebrew Mashiach, “anointed one.”

The noun describes the ritual that symbolized the dedication of priests and Israelite kings for service. In post-biblical times, the word is used for a Messiah, a descendant of KingDavid, who many Jews believe will gather the Jewish exiles, restore the Holy Temple, and usher in a period of peace and harmony. Tragically, while the idea of a Messiah is based on a yearning for peace, the diverse views of different people about the Messiah have led to division, dislike, and discord between people.Why has there been and why is there still such intolerance between religious communities based on irreconcilable theological views? Is the real cause of the hatred between many religious people something other than theology? Is it psychological? Will the contemporary quest for dialogue help?

 

5

FOR FURTHER STUDY

1.

See 48:14 and commentary, “WISELY”

(page 328). Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh in an unusual manner.2. See 49:27 (pages 344 and 346) and commentary. The Targumist expands and interprets

Benjamin’s blessing.

3.

See 49:29 and commentary, “WITH

. . . IN

(page 347). Understanding a common stylistic change inTargum Onkelos

to avoid repetitions

May One Disagree With One??s Rabbi?

Posted by [email protected] on December 31, 2019 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)



Who is Considered One’s “Rabbi”?

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 110a) states that one who disagrees with one’s rabbi is tantamount to disagreeing with Hashem’s presence. We have already discussed in the Halacha Yomit that there are three categories of rabbis (Torah scholars) being discussed here: The first is one’s primary, i.e. the rabbi under whom one has studied most of one’s Torah knowledge or a Torah luminary of the generation. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules that the law regarding one who disagrees with one’s rabbi is tantamount to disagreeing with Hashem’s presence only applies to one’s primary and not to a Torah scholar who is not one’s primary rabbi. Based on this, the prohibition to disagree with one’s rabbi applies to a Torah luminary of the generation as well.

 

What Does “Disagreeing” Mean?

The Rishonim disagree regarding the definition of “disagreeing with one’s rabbi”: Does this mean simply ruling on halachic matters against one’s rabbi or does this refer to the student establishing his own Bet Midrash where he sits, learns, and teaches without his rabbi’s permission thereby accepting authority upon himself without his rabbi’s express permission and only this is considered disagreeing with Hashem’s presence.

 

The Rambam, Tur, and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rule in accordance with the latter opinion that one who establishes a place for himself to learn and teach without one’s rabbi’s permission is tantamount to disagreeing with Hashem presence. Nevertheless, one may disagree with one’s rabbi on matters of Halacha, such as we find many times throughout the Talmud that Rabbi Yehuda Ha’Nassi disagreed with his father and rabbi, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, as did Rava with his primary rabbi, Rav Yosef. However, in order to do so, one must certainly have solid sources and proofs to support one’s opinion and one must likewise weigh one’s rabbi’s opinion carefully and not rush to disagree with his opinion for naught, thus causing one to disagree with one’s rabbi contrary to Halacha in addition to rendering a mistaken halachic ruling.

 

Derech Eretz

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that when disagreeing with one’s rabbi on a given matter, one should not do so in his presence; however, doing so not in the rabbi’s presence is permissible provided that this is being done in a humble and respectful manner and not as a display of victory. We should add that nowadays, it is quite common for some Torah scholars to disagree with their rabbis who are leader of the generation and upon analyzing the words of the students, it is apparent that their words have no substance and that they are causing needless disagreements in the Jewish nation and issuing mistaken halachic rulings. About such people does the Rambam write: “Such small students who have not studied Torah sufficiently and wish to elevate themselves in the eyes of the general public and in the eyes of the members of their city by jumping to sit in the front in order to judge and rule for the Jewish nation increase arguments, destroy the world, extinguish the flame of the Torah, and damage the vineyard of Hashem. About such individuals does King Solomon exclaim, ‘Little foxes who damage vineyards.’”

 

We have mentioned all of this so that when one chooses a rabbi for one’s self that will rule on matters of Halacha and the like for the individual, one must make sure that this rabbi is a true Torah scholar who has found favor in the eyes of the Torah luminaries of the generation and is deeply G-d-fearing, for a Torah scholar’s fear of Heaven must precede his Torah knowledge and he must likewise possess excellent character traits, as we shall, G-d-willing, discuss in the future. One must not take this lightly, for the decision one makes regarding who one’s rabbi will be will have tremendous implications in all areas of one’s life. We have seen rabbis who did not possess fear of Heaven and who ended up infliction irreparable damage on entire Jewish communities.

Numerical Surprises

Posted by [email protected] on December 27, 2019 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)


In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value. The numerical value of the dreidel’s nun, gimmel, hey and shin is 358. This is also the numerical value of some key words in Hebrew. It’s the same as Nachash – the snake that tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge in the book of Genesis. It’s also the numerical value of the Hebrew word Moshiach, or Messiah, who will ultimately redeem the Jewish people.

 

Echoing both the lowest and the highest reaches of Jewish history, the letters of the dreidel remind us that Jewish history is ours to shape; through our actions we have the power to raise our Jewish nation up. The fact that the letters remind us of the Messiah also reassure us that no matter how much danger the Jewish people seem to be in, God will never abandon us.

 

 

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Netzari Emunah

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Parashat Miketz

Posted by [email protected] on December 26, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)



Parashat Miketz – 08 December 2018

 

Torah: Genesis 41:1 – 44:17 8th aliyah: Numbers 28:9 – 28:15 | Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah Maftir: Numbers 7:42 – 7:47 | Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7 | Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah

 

Summary

Parashat Miketz is the 10th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle and the 10th reading of Bereshit (“Genesis”;). Miketz (מִקֵּץ;) is Hebrew for At the End and is the second word of the parashah, which begins two years after Yosef (Josef) had successfully interpreted the dreams of the Chief Cup-Bearer and the Chief Baker. When Pharaoh has dreams of his own and the magicians and wise men of Mitzrayim (Egypt) are unable to interpret, the Chief Cup-Bearer remembers Yosef and speaks of him to Pharaoh. Pharaoh, therefore, calls for Yosef and HaShem provides Pharaoh the interpretation of the dream to Pharaoh through Yosef. Yosef also advises Pharaoh on how to prepare for the inevitable fulfillment of the dream.

 

The parashah records Yosef’s exaltation over Mitzrayim, his preparations for the famine, the children that his wife bore to him while in Mitzrayim, and how all the world came to him for grain for bread. His brothers, too, eventually go to Yosef for bread, bowing down before him, and the parashah records how Yosef deals with them and tests them until he is ready to reveal himself to them.

 

Parashat Miketz concludes with Yosef’s brothers falling down before him, Yehudah (Judah) acknowledging their guilt and declaring he and his brothers to be the servants of Yosef.

 

Torah Portion: Genesis 41:1 – 44:17

 

1st Aliyah: Genesis 41:1-14 (14 verses)

2nd Aliyah: Genesis 41:15-38 (24 verses)

3rd Aliyah: Genesis 41:39-52 (14 verses)

4th Aliyah: Genesis 41:53-42:18 (23 verses)

5th Aliyah: Genesis 42:19-43:15 (35 verses)

6th Aliyah: Genesis 43:16-29 (14 verses)

7th Aliyah: Genesis 43:30-44:17 (22 verses)

Maftir: Genesis 44:14-17 (4 verses)

 

Special Maftir

Shabbat Chanukah, Day 3: Numbers 7:24-35

Shabbat Chanukah, Day 4: Numbers 7:30-41

Shabbat Chanukah, Day 7: Numbers 7:48-59

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah:

8th Aliyah: Numbers 28:9-15

Maftir: Numbers 7:42-47

 

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):

I Kings 3:15 – 4:1

 

When Parashat Miketz coincides with a special Shabbat, a different passage of the Prophets is traditionally read:

 

Shabbat Chanukah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7


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