March 25, 2021 | A Brachos 63
This shiur has been dedicated by Rabbi Jeffrey Cahn, l'eluy nishmas חוה קילא בת יעקב, on her yahrtzait.
and say as follows: With regard to the Temple Mount, where one is prohibited from wearing shoes, let us derive the prohibition of spitting from the case of shoes. However, with regard to a synagogue, where one is permitted to wear shoes, instead of deriving the law with regard to spitting from the case of shoes and permitting it, derive it from the case of a shortcut, and prohibit it.,Rather, Rava said a different reason: The synagogue is like one’s house. Just as one objects to a person using his house as a shortcut, but does not mind spitting and wearing shoes therein, so too in the case of a synagogue, a shortcut is prohibited while spitting and wearing shoes are permitted.,We learned in the mishna: At the conclusion of all blessings recited in the Temple, the one reciting the blessing would say: Blessed are You Lord, God of Israel, until everlasting.,The Gemara explains: Why were they insistent upon this formula to that extent? Because one does not answer amen in the Temple. Because there is a unique response to the blessings in the Temple, a unique formula for their conclusion was instituted. From where is it derived that one does not answer amen in the Temple? As it is stated: “Stand up and bless the Lord, your God, from everlasting to everlasting” (Nehemiah 9:5), which refers to the conclusion. The verse in Nehemiah continues: “And let them say: Blessed be Your glorious name, that is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Nehemiah 9:5). The response is exalted above other blessings.,From the beginning of the verse, I might have thought that all of the blessings there will have only a single expression of praise, amen. Therefore, the verse teaches: “That is exalted above all blessing and praise”; for every blessing, a unique praise is offered. Therefore, the appropriate response to a blessing in the Temple is: Blessed are You Lord, God of Israel, from everlasting until everlasting.,We learned in the mishna that the Sages instituted that a person will greet another with the name of God, and several biblical sources were cited. The Gemara asks: Why is it necessary for the mishna to cite all of those sources, introduced with the phrase: And it says? Why was the proof from Boaz’s statement to the harvesters: The Lord is with you, insufficient?,The Gemara explains: And if you say: Boaz said this on his own, and it proves nothing with regard to normative practice, come and hear a proof from the verse: “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). And if you say that it was an angel who said this to Gideon, that perhaps this verse was the angel informing Gideon that the Lord is with him, but it is not the standard formula of a greeting, come and hear proof from the verse: “And despise not your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22); the customs of the nation’s elders are an adequate source from which to derive halakha.,And the verse states: “It is time to work for the Lord; they have made void Your Torah” (Psalms 119:126). Of this, Rava said: This verse can be interpreted from beginning to end, and can be interpreted from end to beginning.,The Gemara elaborates: This verse can be interpreted from beginning to end: It is time to work for the Lord; what is the reason? Because they have made void Your Torah, so it must be remedied. Conversely, it can be interpreted from end to beginning as follows: They have made void Your Torah; what is the reason? Because it is time to work for the Lord. By means of violating the Torah, it is possible to fundamentally rectify the situation.,With regard to this verse, it was taught in a baraita that Hillel the Elder says: At the time of gathering, if the Sages of the generation see to it that the Torah remains the purview of the few, disseminate it to the public at large. At the time of dissemination, gather, and leave it to others to disseminate the Torah. And if you see a generation for whom Torah is beloved, disseminate, as it is stated: “There is who scatters, and yet increases” (Proverbs 11:24). However, if you see a generation for whom Torah is not beloved, gather; do not cause the Torah to be disgraced, as it is stated: “It is time to work for the Lord; they have made void Your Torah.” Preventing Torah study in that situation is a manifestation of work for the Lord.,On a similar note, bar Kappara taught: If the price of the merchandise has declined, jump and purchase from it; and where there is no man, there be a man; where there is no one to fill a particular role, accept that role upon yourself. Abaye said: Infer from this that where there is a man, there do not be a man.,The Gemara asks: Isn’t Abaye’s conclusion obvious? The Gemara explains: This statement is only necessary in a case where there are two who are equal. Although you, too, are suited to fill that role, since another qualified person is already filling that role, allow him to succeed.,Bar Kappara taught: Which is a brief passage upon which all fundamental principles of Torah are dependent? “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Rava said: One must apply this principle even to acts of transgression, as even then one must adhere to God and refrain from sinning excessively.,Bar Kappara taught: A person should always teach his child a clean and simple craft. The Gemara asks: What craft is considered clean and simple? Rav Ḥisda said: Cutting precious stones.,Several ethical tenets and guidelines for life were taught in a baraita. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: One should never have too many friends in his house, i.e., people should not become accustomed to being overly intimate in his house, as it is stated: “There are friends that one has to his own hurt” (Proverbs 18:24); one with friends of that kind will ultimately come to quarrel.,It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Do not appoint an administrator [apitropos] within your house, as had Potiphar not appointed Joseph as administrator within his house, Joseph would not have come to that incident involving him in allegations of sexual impropriety.,It was taught in a baraita, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Why is the portion of the Nazirite (Numbers ch. 6) juxtaposed with the portion of the sota (Numbers ch. 5)? They are juxtaposed to tell you that anyone who sees a sota in her disgrace, her transgression, should renounce wine, as wine is one of the causes of that transgression.,Ḥizkiya, son of Rabbi Parnakh, said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Why is the portion of sota juxtaposed with the portion of terumot and tithes (Numbers ch. 5)? They are juxtaposed to tell you: Anyone who has terumot and tithes and does not give them to a priest, will ultimately require the services of a priest by means of his wife, as it is stated: “And every man’s hallowed things shall be his” (Numbers 5:10). This refers to one who keeps those hallowed items for himself. To this the Torah juxtaposed: “If any man’s wife go aside and act unfaithfully against him” (Numbers 5:12). And it is written: “Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest” (Numbers 5:15). Moreover, ultimately that man will require assistance from the tithe given to the poor, as it is stated: “And every man’s hallowed things shall be his” (Numbers 5:10). He will himself need those very hallowed items that he was unwilling to give to others.,Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: And if he gave them, ultimately he will become wealthy, as it is said: “Whatsoever any man gives the priest, it shall be his” (Numbers 5:10); much property shall be his.,Rav Huna bar Berekhya said in the name of Rabbi Elazar HaKappar: Anyone who includes the name of heaven in his distress, i.e., who turns and prays to God in his time of trouble, his livelihood will ultimately be doubled, as it is stated: “And the Almighty be your treasure, and precious [toafot] silver unto you” (Job 22:25). If you include God in your trouble, your silver will be doubled. Eif, which in Aramaic means double, is etymologically similar to toafot.,Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said a different explanation: This means that his sustenance flies [meofefet] to him like a bird, as it is stated: “And precious silver [toafot] unto you.”,Rabbi Tavi said in the name of Rabbi Yoshiya: Anyone who is lax in his study of matters of Torah will ultimately lack the strength to stand on a day of adversity, as it is stated: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small indeed” (Proverbs 24:10). Rav Ami bar Mattana said that Shmuel said: And even if he was lax in the performance of a single mitzva, as it is stated: If you faint; this applies in any case, even in the case of a single mitzva.,Rav Safra said: Rabbi Abbahu would relate: When Ḥanina, son of Rabbi Yehoshua’s brother, went to the Diaspora, Babylonia, he would intercalate years and establish months outside of Eretz Yisrael. Because Judaism in Eretz Yisrael had declined in the wake of the bar Kokheva rebellion, he considered it necessary to cultivate the Jewish community in Babylonia as the center of the Jewish people. Among other things, he intercalated the years and established the months even though the halakha restricts those activities to Eretz Yisrael.,Eventually, the Sages of Eretz Yisrael sent two Torah scholars after him, Rabbi Yosei ben Keifar and the grandson of Zekharya ben Kevutal. When Ḥanina saw them, he asked them: Why did you come? They responded: We came to study Torah. Since he saw his standing enhanced by the Sages of Eretz Yisrael coming to study Torah from him, he proclaimed about them: These people are eminent scholars of our generation, and their fathers served in the Temple. As we learned in tractate Yoma: Zekharya ben Kevutal says: Many times I read before the High Priest from the book of Daniel on the eve of Yom Kippur.,These two scholars, however, began to dispute every decision Ḥanina rendered in response to questions raised in the study hall. He ruled it impure and they ruled it pure; he prohibited it and they permitted it. Eventually, he proclaimed about them: These people are worthless. They are good for nothing and they know nothing. They said to him: You have already built up our names and glorified us; you cannot now demolish. You have already built a fence and you cannot break through it.,He said to them: Why is it that when I rule something impure, you rule it pure; when I prohibit it, you permit it? They said to him: We do this because you intercalate the years and establish the months outside of Eretz Yisrael.,He said to them: Didn’t Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef also intercalate years and establish months outside of Eretz Yisrael? They replied to him: Leave the case of Rabbi Akiva, as, when he left, he did not leave behind anyone as great in Torah as he in Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Ḥanina said to them: I also did not leave behind anyone as great as me in Eretz Yisrael. They said to him: The kids who you left behind have grown into goats with horns; they are greater than you are. And they sent us to you, and this is what they said to us: Go and tell him in our name: If he obeys, fine; and if he does not obey, he will be ostracized.
And in order to underscore this, tell our brethren in exile: If they obey the Sages of Eretz Yisrael to excommunicate Ḥanina, fine; and if they do not obey us, it is as if they are seceding from the Jewish people. They should climb a mountain; Aḥiya, one of the leaders of the Babylonian Jewish community, will build an altar, Ḥananya, son of Rabbi Yehoshua’s brother, who was a Levite, will play the lute, and all will proclaim heresy and say that they have no portion in the God of Israel.,This message had a profound impact on the people, and immediately the entire nation burst into tears, saying: God forbid. We do have a portion in the God of Israel. They reconsidered their plans to establish Babylonia as the center of the Jewish people.,The Gemara asks: Why did the Sages of Eretz Yisrael go to that extent to stop Ḥanina? The Gemara answers: Because it is stated: “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).,The Gemara considers the details of this event: Granted, Ḥanina would rule an item pure and the Sages from Eretz Yisrael would rule it impure; they ruled stringently. But in a case where he ruled an item impure and they ruled it pure, what are the circumstances? How could they rule pure that which he ruled impure? Was it not taught in a baraita: If a Sage ruled an item impure, his colleague is not permitted to rule it pure; if he prohibited it, his colleague may not permit it? The Gemara explains: They held that they must do so in this case, so that people would not be drawn after him; due to the exigencies of the time they overturned his rulings.,The Sages taught: When our Rabbis, the Sages of the Mishna, entered the vineyard, the academy, in Yavne, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yosei, Rabbi Neḥemya, and Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, were there presiding over the Sages. They all began to speak in honor of their hosts, the local population hosting them and their students as guests, and they taught.,Rabbi Yehuda, head of the speakers in every place, opened his speech in honor of Torah, and taught: It is stated: “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the Tent of Meeting. And it came to pass, that every seeker of God went out unto the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp” (Exodus 33:7). He said: Isn’t this an a fortiori inference? Just as the Torah says of the ark of God, which was only twelve mil from the camp: “Every seeker of God went out unto the Tent of Meeting”; all the more so should Torah scholars, who wander great distances and go from city to city and country to country to study Torah, be called seekers of God.,The Gemara continues: It is stated: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, face to face” (Exodus 33:11). Rabbi Yitzḥak said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Moses, you and I will show cheerful faces in the study of halakha to those who come to study. Some say that the Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moses: Just as I showed you a cheerful face, so too you will show Israel a cheerful face and restore the tent to its place in the camp.,It is said: “And he would return into the camp; but his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent” (Exodus 33:11). Rabbi Abbahu said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moses: Now, they will say: The Master, God, is angry and the student, Moses, is also angry, and what will happen to Israel? Rather, you must restore the tent to its place among the people. If you restore the tent to its place, fine; and if not, Joshua bin-Nun, your student, will serve as Israel’s leader in your place.,And that is what is written: “And he would return into the camp; but his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent.” Rava said: Nevertheless, though Moses obeyed and restored the tent, the statement written with regard to the role of Joshua was not uttered for naught. Joshua bin-Nun remained as deputy to Moses, and ultimately served in his place, as it is stated: “But his minister, Joshua bin-Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent.”,And Rabbi Yehuda again began to speak in honor of Torah and taught: When Moses took leave of Israel on his last day in this world, he said: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel; this day you have become a people unto the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 27:9). This is surprising: Was the Torah given to Israel on that day? Wasn’t that day at the end of forty years since the Torah was given? Rather, it comes to teach that each and every day the Torah is as dear to those who study it, as it was on the day it was given from Mount Sinai.,Rabbi Tanḥum, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya, of the village of Akko, said: Know that the Torah is indeed beloved, as one who recites Shema, morning and evening, for his entire life, and does not recite it one evening, it is as if he never recited Shema. He cannot compensate for what he missed.,The Gemara interprets the word hasket in this verse homiletically, as an acronym of the words as, make, and kat, group. Form [asu] many groups [kitot] and study Torah, for the Torah is only acquired through study in a group. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina; as Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the boasters [habaddim], and they shall become fools [noalu]” (Jeremiah 50:36)? This verse can be interpreted homiletically: A sword upon the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for the Torah scholars themselves, who sit alone [bad bevad] and study Torah. And furthermore, those who study alone grow foolish, as it is written here, noalu, and elsewhere it is written that after Miriam was afflicted with leprosy, Aaron told Moses: “For that we have done foolishly [noalnu]” (Numbers 12:11). And furthermore, they sin due to that ignorance, as at the end of that same verse it is stated: “For that we have done foolishly, and for that we have sinned.”,If you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “The princes of Tzoan are become fools [noalu]” (Isaiah 19:13).,The Gemara offers an alternative explanation of this verse: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel”; break [kattetu] yourselves over words of the Torah. This is in accordance with the opinion of Reish Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: From where is it derived that matters of Torah are only retained by one who kills himself over it? As it is stated: “This is the Torah: When one dies in a tent” (Numbers 19:14); true Torah study demands the total devotion of one who is willing to dedicate his life in the tent of Torah.,The Gemara offers yet another alternative explanation of this verse: “Keep silence [hasket] and hear, Israel”; first be silent [has] and listen and then study intensively in order to analyze [kattet] and clarify the details. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rava, as Rava said: One must always study Torah and gain expertise in it, and only then analyze and delve into it.,In the school of Rabbi Yannai they said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For the churning of milk brings forth curd, and the wringing of the nose [af] brings forth blood, so the forcing of wrath [appayim] brings forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33)?,With regard to the beginning of the verse: For the churning of milk brings forth curd; in whom do you find the cream of Torah? With one who spits out the milk that he nursed from his mother’s breasts over it; one who struggles with all his might to study Torah.,With regard to: And the wringing of the nose brings forth blood, any student whose rabbi is angry [af] with him the first time and he is silent and does not react, will merit to be able to distinguish between blood that is ritually impure and blood that is ritually pure.,As for: And the forcing of wrath [appayim] brings forth strife; any student whose rabbi is angry with him for the first and second times, appayim being the plural of af, and he is silent, merits to distinguish between monetary cases, strife, and capital cases, as that is the highest level of learning. As we learned in a mishna: Rabbi Yishmael says: One who seeks to become wise should engage in monetary laws, as there is no greater discipline in Torah, as they are like a flowing well in which innovations constantly spring forth.,Similarly, Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have planned devices [zamota], lay your hand over your mouth” (Proverbs 30:32)? Anyone who abases himself over matters of Torah, asking questions despite the shame he feels for his ignorance, will ultimately be exalted. And if he muzzles [zamam] himself due to embarrassment, he will end up with his hand over his mouth, unable to answer.,The Gemara returns to the homilies offered by the Sages in the vineyard of Yavne. Rabbi Neḥemya began to speak in honor of the hosts and taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And Saul said unto the Kenites: Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites lest I destroy you with them, for you showed kindness to all the Children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt” (I Samuel 15:6)? Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as Jethro, the forbearer of the Kenite tribe, who only befriended Moses for his own honor, is treated in this way and rewarded that his merit would protect his descendants; all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions, be rewarded with that protection.,Rabbi Yosei began to speak in honor of the hosts, and taught: It is said: “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (Deuteronomy 23:8). Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as the Egyptians, who only befriended Israel, even when they hosted them, for their own benefit, as Pharaoh said to Joseph, as it is stated: “And if you know any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle” (Genesis 47:6), are treated this way, all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions without concern for personal gain, be treated this way.,Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, began to speak in honor of the hosts, and taught: It is stated: “The Lord has blessed the house of Oved-edom…because of the ark of God” (II Samuel 6:12). Isn’t this an a fortiori inference: Just as in reward for honoring the ark, which neither ate nor drank, but before which Oved-edom simply swept and sprinkled water to settle the dust, he was treated this way and merited a blessing, all the more so should one who hosts a Torah scholar in his home, providing him with food and drink and availing him of his possessions without concern for his personal gain, be rewarded with such a blessing.,The Gemara asks: What is that blessing with which Oved-edom was blessed? Rav Yehuda bar Zevida said: This is Ḥamot and her eight daughters-in-law, each of whom bore six in a single womb,