POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) (Mishnah - R. Eliezer): ... Until the end of the first Mishmar.
(b) Question: What is R. Eliezer's opinion about Mishmaros?
1. If he holds that there are three Mishmaros in the night (each being four hours long), then he should say "until four hours"!
2. If he holds that there are four Mishmaros, then he should say "until three hours"!
(c) Answer: He holds that there are three Mishmaros. He says "until the end of the first Mishmar" in order to teach that there are Mishmaros in Shamayim and on earth.
1. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): There are three Mishmaros. At each Mishmar, Hash-m roars like a lion [over the Churban].
2. There is a sign for each Mishmar. A donkey brays in the first, dogs bark in the second, and babies nurse and wives talk with their husbands in the third.
(d) Question: At which part of the Mishmaros are the signs?
1. It cannot be at the beginning. We would not need a sign for the first Mishmar, for it starts at the arrival of night!
2. It cannot be at the end. We would not need a sign for the last Mishmar, for it ends at the arrival of day!
(e) Answer #1: The signs are for the end of the first Mishmar, the middle of the second, and the beginning of the last Mishmar.
(f) Answer #2: The signs are for the ends of each Mishmar;
1. Even though most people do not need a sign for the last Mishmar, it is useful for someone sleeping in a dark house (who will not see the light of dawn) to know that it is almost time for the morning Shema.
(g) (R. Yitzchak bar Shmuel): There are three Mishmaros. In each Mishmar, Hash-m roars like a lion "Woe unto My children, for due to their sins I destroyed My house, burned My sanctuary, and exiled them among the nations of the world!"
2) ENTERING A RUIN
(a) (Beraisa - R. Yosi): Once, when I was traveling, I entered one of the ruins of Yerushalayim to pray. Eliyahu waited for me at the door. Afterwards, he told me that I should have prayed on the road.
1. R. Yosi: I was afraid lest passersby interrupt me!
2. Eliyahu: You should have said an abridged prayer.
(b) (R. Yosi): I learned three things from this: one should not enter a ruin, one may pray on the road, and one who prays on the road may say an abridged prayer.
1. Eliyahu: What did you hear inside?
2. R. Yosi: I heard a voice like a dove, saying "woe unto My children, for due to their sins I destroyed My house, burned My sanctuary, and exiled them among the nations of the world!"
3. Eliyahu: A voice says that three times every day:
i. When Bnei Yisrael people enter Batei Kenesiyos and Batei Midrash and proclaim, "Yehei Shmei ha'Gadol Mevorach," Hash-m nods His head and says "how fortunate is the King Whom they praise in His house like that! Woe to the Father Who exiled His children, and woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father's table!" (Maharsha - after the Churban, Hashem's throne is not complete. He calls Himself "Father," and not "King.")
(c) (Beraisa): There are three reasons why one should not enter a ruin: it may cause suspicion, the ruin might collapse, and due to Mazikin (damaging spirits).
(d) Question: Why must the Beraisa say due to suspicion? It would suffice to say that it might collapse!
(e) Answer: This teaches that one should not enter even a new ruin (in which there is no concern of collapse).
1. Question: We would know that one should not enter a new ruin due to Mazikin!
2. Answer: It teaches that even two people should not enter (there is no concern for Mazikin with two people).
3. Question: If two people enter, there is no suspicion!
4. Answer: If two immoral people enter, there is suspicion.
(f) Question: Why must the Beraisa say that it might collapse? It would suffice to mention concern for suspicion and Mazikin!
(g) Answer: This teaches that even two Kosher people should not enter. (Then, the only concern is for collapse.)
(h) Question: Why must it say due to Mazikin? It would suffice to say due to suspicion and collapse!
(i) Answer #1: It teaches that even two Kosher people should not enter even a new ruin.
1. Question: With two people, there is no concern for Mazikin!
2. Answer: Where Mazikin normally reside, we are concerned for them (even with two people).
(j) Answer #2: It teaches that one person should not enter even a new ruin in a wilderness;
1. There is no concern for suspicion, since women are not frequent in the Midbar. There is concern for Mazikin.
(a) (Beraisa - Rebbi): There are four Mishmaros in the night;
(b) R. Nasan says there are three.
(c) R. Nasan learns from "va'Yavo Gid'on... Rosh ha'Ashmores ha'Tichonah";
1. (Beraisa): "Middle" connotes that there is one before it and one after it.
(d) Rebbi must explain it is one of the [two] middle Mishmaros.
(e) R. Nasan does not accept this, for it does not say "one of the middle Mishmaros"!
(f) Question: What is Rebbi's reason?
(g) Answer (R. Zerika): It says, "Chatzos Lailah Akum Lehodos Lach," and "Kidmu Einai Ashmuros" (David would rise at midnight to sing to Hash-m; this was "Ashmuros" (plural) before morning);
1. Since there are two Mishmaros in half the night, there are four in all.
(h) R. Nasan holds like R. Yehoshua;
1. (Mishnah - R. Yehoshua): The morning Shema may be said until three hours of the day, for it is normal for kings to rise then;
2. [There are three Mishmaros, each is four hours.] David says that he rises eight hours (six of the night and two of the day) before other kings, i.e. two Mishmaros.
(i) (Rav Ashi): [R. Nasan need not hold like R. Yehoshua. David says that he rises six hours before morning.] The plural "Ashmuros" is used also for one and a half Mishmaros.
(j) (R. Zerika): In front of a Mes we say only things pertaining to the Mes.
(k) Version #1 (R. Aba bar Kahana): This refers only to words of Torah. Other things need not pertain to the Mes.
(l) Version #2 (R. Aba bar Kahana): This refers even to words of Torah. All the more so other things must pertain to the Mes.
4) DAVID WOULD RISE AT MIDNIGHT
(a) Contradiction: One verse (quoted above) says that David would rise at midnight. Another verse says "Kidamti va'Neshef va'Ashave'ah" (he rose at the beginning of the night)!
1. Question: What is the source that "Neshef" refers to night?
2. Answer: It says "b'Neshef b'Erev Yom b'Ishun Lailah va'Afeilah."
(b) Answer (R. Oshaya): In the previous verse, David says that he was never sleeping when midnight arrived.
(c) (R. Zeira): Until midnight, David would doze like a horse. (He would never sleep deeply. He would constantly arouse himself and engage in Torah.) From midnight and onwards, he would invigorate himself like a lion (and engage in Torah without dozing).
(d) (Rav Ashi): Until midnight, David would engage in Torah. From midnight and onwards, he would sing praises to Hash-m.
(e) Contradiction: We said that "Neshef" is night. Another verse says that it is morning -- "va'Yakem David meha'Neshef v'Ad ha'Erev l'Macharasam."
1. Suggestion: This means from morning until evening!
(f) Answer #1: No, it means from evening until evening.
(g) Rejection: If so, it should say, "meha'Neshef v'Ad ha'Neshef," or "meha'Erev v'Ad ha'Erev"!
(h) Answer #2 (Rava): Neshef can refer to the transition between night and day, or to the transition between day and night.
(i) Question: How could David know [exactly] when midnight is? Even Moshe did not know!
1. Question: Why does it say "ka'Chatzos ha'Lailah Ani Yotzei b'Soch Mitzrayim"?
i. Surely, Hash-m did not say this to Moshe. He has no doubt!
2. Answer: Rather, Hash-m told Moshe "ba'Chatzos". Since Moshe did not know exactly when midnight is, he would not be able to predict the exact time. Therefore, he said "ka'Chatzos."
(j) Answer: David had a sign to know when midnight is:
1. (Rav Acha bar Bizna): There was a harp above his bed. At midnight the north wind would blow and cause the harp to play; David would rise and engage in Torah until dawn.
(k) At dawn, the Chachamim came. They said that the nation cannot support itself financially. David told them to go to war. (Ya'aros Devash, cited in Anaf Yosef, based on a Midrash -- when David killed Golyas (Goliath), Bnos Yisrael showered him with tremendous wealth. The Chachamim wanted David to use that money to feed the hungry, but David was keeping it to build the Beis ha'Mikdash.)
(l) They took counsel from Achitofel, consulted the Sanhedrin, and asked the Urim v'Tumim -- "v'Acharei Achitofel Yehoyada ben Benayahu v'Evyasar v'Sar Tzava la'Melech Yo'av."