February 5, 2020 | Brachos 33
This shiur has been dedicated by Howard & Ellen Wimmer, l'eluy nishmas their beloved son, דניאל בן-ציון זיל בן יחזקאל נחום, on his yahrtzait.
The pious man continued: And if you would greet him, what would they do to you?
The officer said to him: They would cut off my head with a sword.
The pious man said to him: Isn’t this matter an a fortiori inference?
You who were standing before a king of flesh and blood,
of whom your fear is limited because today he is here but tomorrow he is in the grave,
would have reacted in that way;
I, who was standing and praying before the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He,
Who lives and endures for all eternity,
all the more so that I could not pause to respond to someone’s greeting.,When he heard this, the officer was immediately appeased and the pious man returned home in peace.,We learned in the mishna that even if a snake is wrapped around his heel, he may not interrupt his prayer. In limiting application of this principle, Rav Sheshet said: They only taught this mishna with regard to a snake, as if one does not attack the snake it will not bite him. But if a scorpion approaches an individual while he is praying, he stops, as the scorpion is liable to sting him even if he does not disturb it.,The Gemara raises an objection based on what was taught in a Tosefta: Those who saw one fall into a lions’ den but did not see what happened to him thereafter, do not testify that he died. Their testimony is not accepted by the court as proof that he has died as it is possible that the lions did not eat him. However, those who saw one fall into a pit of snakes and scorpions, testify that he died as surely the snakes bit him.,The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. There, in the case of one who falls into a pit of snakes, it is different, as due to the pressure of his falling on top of them, the snakes will harm him, but a snake who is not touched will not bite.,The Gemara cites another halakha stating that he must interrupt his prayer in a case of certain danger. Rabbi Yitzḥak said: One who saw oxen coming toward him, he interrupts his prayer, as Rav Hoshaya taught: One distances himself fifty cubits from an innocuous ox [shor tam], an ox with no history of causing damage with the intent to injure, and from a forewarned ox [shor muad], an ox whose owner was forewarned because his ox has gored three times already, one distances himself until it is beyond eyeshot.,It was taught in the name of Rabbi Meir: While the head of the ox is still in the basket and he is busy eating, go up on the roof and kick the ladder out from underneath you. Shmuel said: This applies only with regard to a black ox, and during the days of Nisan, because that species of ox is particularly dangerous, and during that time of year Satan dances between its horns.,With regard to the praise for one who prays and need not fear even a snake, the Sages taught: There was an incident in one place where an arvad was harming the people. They came and told Rabbi Ḥanina ben Dosa and asked for his help. He told them: Show me the hole of the arvad. They showed him its hole. He placed his heel over the mouth of the hole and the arvad came out and bit him, and died.,Rabbi Ḥanina ben Dosa placed the arvad over his shoulder and brought it to the study hall. He said to those assembled there: See, my sons, it is not the arvad that kills a person, rather transgression kills a person. The arvad has no power over one who is free of transgression.,At that moment the Sages said: Woe unto the person who was attacked by an arvad and woe unto the arvad that was attacked by Rabbi Ḥanina ben Dosa.,MISHNA: This mishna speaks of additions to the standard formula of the Amida prayer and the blessings in which they are incorporated. One mentions the might of the rains and recites: He makes the wind blow and the rain fall, in the second blessing of the Amida prayer, the blessing of the revival of the dead. And the request for rain: And grant dew and rain as a blessing, in the ninth blessing of the Amida prayer, the blessing of the years. And the prayer of distinction [havdala], between the holy and the profane recited in the evening prayer following Shabbat and festivals, in the fourth blessing of the Amida prayer: Who graciously grants knowledge. Rabbi Akiva says: Havdala is recited as an independent fourth blessing. Rabbi Eliezer says that it is recited in the seventeenth blessing of the Amida prayer, the blessing of thanksgiving.,GEMARA: We learned in the mishna that one mentions the might of the rains in the second blessing of the Amida prayer, the blessing of the revival of the dead. The Gemara asks: What is the reason that the might of the rains is mentioned specifically in that blessing?,Rav Yosef said: Because the might of the rains is equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, as rain revives new life in the plant world (Jerusalem Talmud).,And we also learned in the mishna that the request for rain is added to the blessing of the years. Here, too, the Gemara asks: What is the reason that the request for rain is recited specifically in that blessing?,Rav Yosef said: Because rain is a component of sustenance, therefore it was inserted in the blessing of sustenance as part of our request for bountiful sustenance.,We also learned in the mishna that havdala, distinguishing between Shabbat and the weekdays, is added in the blessing of: Who graciously grants knowledge. Here too the Gemara asks: What is the reason that havdala is recited specifically in that blessing?,Rav Yosef said: Havdala is recited in that blessing because it requires wisdom to distinguish between two entities, they established it in the blessing of wisdom. The Rabbis say a different reason: Because havdala is the distinction between the sacred and the profane, the Sages established it in the blessing of weekdays. The first three blessings of the Amida prayer are recited both on weekdays and on Shabbat and Festivals. The blessing: Who graciously grants knowledge, is the first of the blessings recited exclusively during the week.,Having mentioned the blessing of wisdom, the Gemara cites that which Rav Ami said with regard to knowledge: Great is knowledge that was placed at the beginning of the weekday blessings; an indication of its significance.,And Rav Ami said in praise of knowledge: Great is knowledge that was placed between two letters, two names of God, as it is stated: “For God of knowledge is the Lord” (I Samuel 2:3). And since knowledge is regarded so highly, anyone without knowledge, it is forbidden to have compassion upon him, as it is stated: “For they are a people of no wisdom, so their Creator will have no compassion upon them and their Creator will not be gracious unto them” (Isaiah 27:11). If God shows no mercy for those who lack wisdom, all the more so should people refrain from doing so.,Similarly, Rabbi Elazar said: Great is the Holy Temple, as it too was placed between two letters, two names of God, as it is stated: “The place in which to dwell which You have made, Lord, the Temple, Lord, which Your hands have prepared” (Exodus 15:17).,Noting the parallel between these two ideas, Rabbi Elazar added and said: Anyone with knowledge, it is as if the Holy Temple was built in his days; knowledge was placed between two letters and the Temple was placed between two letters, signifying that they stand together.,Rav Aḥa Karḥina’a strongly objects to this approach that being placed between two names of God accords significance: However, if so, the same should hold true for vengeance. Great is revenge that was placed between two letters, as it is stated: “God of vengeance, Lord, God of vengeance shine forth” (Psalms 94:1).,He said to him: Yes. At least in its place, in the appropriate context, it is great. At times it is necessary. That is that which Ulla said: Why are these two vengeances mentioned in a single verse? One for good and one for evil. Vengeance for good, as it is written: “He shined forth from Mount Paran” (Deuteronomy 33:2) with regard to God’s vengeance against the wicked; vengeance for evil, as it is written: “God of vengeance, Lord, God of vengeance shine forth” with regard to the punishment of Israel.,A tannaitic dispute is cited in the mishna with regard to the appropriate blessing in which to recite havdala within the Amida prayer. Rabbi Akiva says: Havdala is recited as an independent fourth blessing. Rabbi Eliezer says that it is recited in the seventeenth blessing of the Amida prayer, the blessing of thanksgiving. The first tanna says that it is recited in the fourth blessing of the Amida prayer: Who graciously grants knowledge.,Regarding this, Rav Shemen, Shimon, bar Abba said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Now, since the eighteen blessings of the Amida prayer and the other prayer formulas for prayer were instituted for Israel by the members of the Great Assembly just like all the other blessings and prayers, sanctifications and havdalot; let us see where in the Amida prayer the members of the Great Assembly instituted to recite havdala.,Rabbi Yoḥanan replied that that would be impossible, as the customs associated with havdala went through several stages. He said to him: Initially, during the difficult, early years of the Second Temple, they established that havdala is to be recited in the Amida prayer. Subsequently, when the people became wealthy, they established that havdala is to be recited over the cup of wine. When the people became impoverished, they again established that it was to be recited in the Amida prayer. And they said: One who recites havdala in the Amida prayer must, if he is able (Shitta Mekubbetzet, Me’iri), recite havdala over the cup of wine as well. Due to all these changes, it was not clear when exactly havdala was to be recited.,It was also stated: Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The members of the Great Assembly established for Israel blessings and prayers, sanctifications and havdalot. Initially, they established that havdala is to be recited in the Amida prayer. Subsequently, when the people became wealthy, they established that havdala is to be recited over the cup of wine. When the people again became impoverished, they established that it was to be recited in the Amida prayer. And they said: One who recites havdala in the Amida prayer must recite havdala over the cup of wine as well.,It was also stated: Rabba and Rav Yosef who both said: One who recites havdala in the Amida prayer must recite havdala over the cup of wine as well.,Rava said: We raise an objection to our halakha based on what was taught in a Tosefta: One who erred and did not mention the might of the rains in the second blessing in the Amida, the blessing on the revival of the dead, and one who erred and failed to recite the request for rain in the ninth blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the years, we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it. However, one who erred and failed to recite havdala in the blessing: Who graciously grants knowledge, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, as he can recite havdala over the cup of wine. Apparently, havdala over the cup of wine is optional, not obligatory, at it says because he can recite and not that he must.,The Gemara answers: Do not say as it appears in the Tosefta: Because he can recite havdala over the cup of wine. Rather, say: Because he recites havdala over the cup of wine.,Proof that one must recite havdala over the cup of wine as well as in the Amida prayer was also stated: Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Yosei asked Rabbi Yoḥanan in Sidon, and some say that Rabbi Shimon ben Ya’akov from the city of Tyre asked Rabbi Yoḥanan, and I, Binyamin bar Yefet, heard: One who already recited havdala in the Amida prayer, must he recite havdala over the cup of wine or not? And Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: He must recite havdala over the cup.,Having clarified the question whether one who recited havdala during the Amida prayer must also recite havdala over the cup of wine, a dilemma was raised before the Sages: One who already recited havdala over the cup of wine, what is the ruling as far as his obligation to recite havdala in the Amida prayer is concerned?,Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: This can be derived a fortiori from the established halakha regarding havdala in the Amida prayer. Just as havdala in the Amida prayer, which is where the principal ordinance to recite havdala was instituted, the Sages said that it is not sufficient and one who recited havdala in the Amida prayer must recite havdala over the cup of wine as well, all the more so that one who recited havdala over the cup of wine, which is not where the principal ordinance to recite havdala was instituted, but was merely a later addition, did not fulfill his obligation and must recite havdala in the Amida prayer.,Rabbi Aḥa Arikha, the tall, taught a baraita before Rav Ḥinnana: One who recited havdala in the Amida prayer is more praiseworthy than one who recites it over the cup of wine, and if he recited havdala in this, the Amida prayer, and that, over the cup of wine, may blessings rest upon his head.,This baraita is apparently self-contradictory. On the one hand, you said that one who recites havdala in the Amida prayer is more praiseworthy than one who recites havdala over the cup of wine, indicating that reciting havdala in the Amida prayer alone is sufficient. And then it is taught: If one recited havdala in this, the Amida prayer, and that, over the cup of wine, may blessings rest upon his head. And since he fulfilled his obligation to recite havdala with one, he is exempt, and the additional recitation of havdala over the cup of wine is an unnecessary blessing. And Rav, and some say Reish Lakish, and still others say Rabbi Yoḥanan and Reish Lakish both said: Anyone who recites an unnecessary blessing violates the biblical prohibition: “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).,Rather, emend this baraita and say as follows: If one recited havdala in this and not in that, may blessings rest upon his head.,Rav Ḥisda asked Rav Sheshet with regard to these blessings: If one erred in havdala both in this and in that, what is the ruling? Rav Sheshet said to him: One who erred in this, the Amida prayer, and that, over the cup of wine, returns to the beginning of both the Amida prayer and the havdala over the cup of wine.
and taught us to perform Your will’s decrees.
You have given us as our heritage seasons of joy and Festivals of voluntary offerings.
You have given us as our heritage the holiness of Shabbat, the glory of the festival and the festive offerings of the Pilgrim Festivals.
You have distinguished between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the Festival,
and have made the seventh day holy over the six days of work.
You have distinguished and sanctified Your people Israel with Your holiness,
And You have given us, etc.,MISHNA: Concluding the laws of prayer in this tractate, the mishna raises several prayer-related matters. This mishna speaks of certain innovations in the prayer formula that warrant the silencing of a communal prayer leader who attempts to introduce them in his prayers, as their content tends toward heresy. One who recites in his supplication: Just as Your mercy is extended to a bird’s nest, as You have commanded us to send away the mother before taking her chicks or eggs (Deuteronomy 22:6–7), so too extend Your mercy to us; and one who recites: May Your name be mentioned with the good or one who recites: We give thanks, we give thanks twice, they silence him.,GEMARA: Our mishna cited three instances where the communal prayer leader is silenced. The Gemara clarifies: Granted, they silence one who repeats: We give thanks, we give thanks, as it appears like he is acknowledging and praying to two authorities. And granted that they also silence one who says: May Your name be mentioned with the good, as clearly he is thanking God only for the good and not for the bad, and we learned in a mishna: One is required to bless God for the bad just as he blesses Him for the good. However, in the case of one who recites: Just as Your mercy is extended to a bird’s nest, why do they silence him?,Two amora’im in Eretz Yisrael disputed this question; Rabbi Yosei bar Avin and Rabbi Yosei bar Zevida; one said that this was because he engenders jealousy among God’s creations, as it appears as though he is protesting the fact that the Lord favored one creature over all others. And one said that this was because he transforms the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, into expressions of mercy, when they are nothing but decrees of the King that must be fulfilled without inquiring into the reasons behind them.,The Gemara relates that a particular individual descended before the ark as prayer leader in the presence of Rabba, and said in his prayers: You have shown mercy to the bird’s nest, now have mercy and pity upon us. Rabba said: How much does this Torah scholar know to appease the Lord, his Master. Abaye said to him: Didn’t we learn in a mishna that they silence him?,The Gemara explains: And Rabba too held in accordance with this mishna but merely acted this way because he wanted to hone Abaye’s intellect. Rabba did not make his statement to praise the scholar, but simply to test his nephew, Abaye, and to encourage him to articulate what he knows about that mishna.,With regard to additions to prayers formulated by the Sages, The Gemara relates that a particular individual descended before the ark as prayer leader in the presence of Rabbi Ḥanina. He extended his prayer and said: God, the great, mighty, awesome, powerful, mighty, awe-inspiring, strong, fearless, steadfast and honored.,Rabbi Ḥanina waited for him until he completed his prayer. When he finished, Rabbi Ḥanina asked him: Have you concluded all of the praises of your Master? Why do I need all of this superfluous praise? Even these three praises that we recite: The great, mighty and awesome, had Moses our teacher not said them in the Torah and had the members of the Great Assembly not come and incorporated them into the Amida prayer, we would not be permitted to recite them. And you went on and recited all of these. It is comparable to a king who possessed many thousands of golden dinars, yet they were praising him for silver ones. Isn’t that deprecatory? All of the praises we could possibly lavish upon the Lord are nothing but a few silver dinars relative to many thousands of gold dinars. Reciting a litany of praise does not enhance God’s honor.,Tangentially, the Gemara cites an additional statement by Rabbi Ḥanina concerning principles of faith. And Rabbi Ḥanina said: Everything is in the hands of Heaven, except for fear of Heaven. Man has free will to serve God or not, as it is stated: “And now Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you other than to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all of His ways, to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). The Lord asks man to perform these matters because ultimately, the choice is in his hands.,The verse says: What does the Lord your God ask of you other than to fear the Lord your God. The Gemara asks: Is fear of Heaven a minor matter that it can be presented as if God is not asking anything significant? Didn’t Rabbi Ḥanina say in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: The Holy One, Blessed be He, has nothing in his treasury other than a treasure of fear of Heaven, as it is stated: “Fear of the Lord is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). The Lord values and treasures fear of Heaven over all else.,The Gemara responds: Indeed, for Moses fear of Heaven is a minor matter. As Rabbi Ḥanina stated: It is comparable to one who is asked for a large vessel and he has one, it seems to him like a small vessel because he owns it. However, one who is asked for just a small vessel and he does not have one, it seems to him like a large vessel. Therefore, Moses could say: What does the Lord your God ask of you other than to fear, because in his eyes it was a minor matter.,We learned in the mishna if one repeats: We give thanks, we give thanks, they silence him.,Rabbi Zeira said: One who repeats himself while reciting Shema and says: Listen Israel, Listen Israel is like one who says: We give thanks, we give thanks.,The Gemara raises an objection: It was taught in a baraita: One who recites Shema and repeats it, it is reprehensible. One may infer: It is reprehensible, but they do not silence him.,The Gemara answers: This is not difficult; this case, where although it is reprehensible when one repeats Shema, they do not silence him, is referring to one who recites and repeats each individual word as he says it. In so doing he ruins the recitation of Shema. However, this case, where Rabbi Zeira holds that one who repeats Shema they silence him, refers to one who recites and repeats an entire verse, as it appears that he is worshiping separate authorities.,Rav Pappa said to Abaye with regard to this halakha: And perhaps initially he did not focus his attention on the recitation of Shema, so he repeated it and ultimately he focused his attention as he recited it the second time?,Abaye said to him: