POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) MAZIKIN ARE ALL AROUND US
(a) Answer (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): He merits the following Berachos -- "Lu Hikshavta l'Mitzvosai va'Yhi cha'Nahar Shelomecha v'Tzidkascha k'Galei Yam va'Yhi k'Chol Zar'echa v'Tze'etza'ei Me'echa..."
(b) (Beraisa - Aba Binyamin): If a person could see the Mazikin around him, he would not be able to bear the fright.
(c) (Abaye): There are more Mazikin than people; they surround us like a furrow around a vine.
(d) (Rav Huna): Everyone has 1,000 Mazikin on his left, and 10,000 on his right.
1. (Rav Huna): Everyone has 1,000 Mazikin on his left, and 10,000 on his right. (Some texts learn this from "Yipol mi'Tzidcha Elef u'Revavah mi'Minecha" - Tehilim 91:7.)
(e) (Rava): They cause the cramped conditions at Kalah (gatherings of Talmidim on Shabbosos before Pesach and Sukos), weakness of knees, and knocking of feet. They sit next to (and rub against) Talmidim. This causes Talmidim's garments to fray.
(f) If one wants to verify their presence, he should put ground ashes around his bed. In the morning, he will see footprints resembling those of a chicken.
(g) To see the Mazikin, one should burn a fetal sac of a cat (meeting certain conditions) and put the ashes on his eye;
1. Rav Bivi bar Abaye did so, and they damaged him. Rabanan prayed for him, and he recovered.
2) PLACES WHERE THE SHECHINAH IS FOUND
(a) (Beraisa - Aba Binyamin): A person's prayer is heard only if he prays in a Beis ha'Keneses:
1. "Lishmo'a El ha'Rinah v'El ha'Tefilah" -- the place where we sing (Hashem's praises) is the proper place for Tefilah.
(b) Question (Ravin bar Rav Ada): What is the source that Hash-m is found in Batei Kenesiyos?
(c) Answer: "Elokim Nitzav ba'Adas Kel."
1. This also teaches that the Shechinah is with 10 people who pray together.
(d) Question: What is the source that the Shechinah is with three who judge a case?
(e) Answer: "B'Kerev Elokim Yishpot."
(f) Question: What is the source that the Shechinah is with two people learning Torah together?
(g) Answer: "Az Nidberu Yir'ei Hash-m Ish El Re'ehu va'Yakshev Hash-m..."
1. Question: What do we learn from the continuation, "ul'Choshvei Shemo"?
2. Answer (Rav Ashi): If a person Chashav (intended) to do a Mitzvah and was unable to, the verse considers it as if he did it.
(h) Question: What is the source that the Shechinah is with even one person learning Torah?
(i) Answer: "B'Chol Makom Asher Azkir Es Shemi Avo Elecha u'Verachticha."
(j) Question: Since the Shechinah is with even one person learning, why must a verse teach that it is with two?
(k) Answer: Hash-m records their words in a Sefer only when there are two.
(l) Question: Since the Shechinah is with two, why must a verse teach about three? (Sitting in judgment is also learning Torah!)
(m) Answer: One might have thought that judgment is merely making peace between people. The verse teaches that it is also Torah.
(n) Question: Since the Shechinah is with even three, why must a verse teach that it is with 10?
(o) Answer: When there are 10, the Shechinah comes before them. When there are only three, the Shechinah does not come until they begin to judge.
3) HASHEM'S TEFILIN
(a) Question (Ravin bar Rav Ada): What is the source that Hash-m wears Tefilin? (Obviously, His Tefilin are not physical.)
(b) Answer: "Nishba Hash-m bi'Yemino" refers to Torah. "Uvi'Zero'a Uzo" refers to Tefilin -- "Hash-m Oz l'Amo Yiten."
(c) Question: What is the source that the Oz (strength) of Yisrael is Tefilin?
(d) Answer (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ha'Gadol): "V'Ra'u Kol Amei ha'Aretz Ki Shem Hash-m Nikra Alecha v'Yar'u Mimeka" refers to Tefilin Shel Rosh. (Rashi - a "Shin" and "Dalet," two letters from the name of Hash-m, are seen from the outside.)
(e) Question (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): What is written in Hashem's Tefilin?
(f) Answer (R. Chiya bar Avin): It says "u'Mi k'Amcha Yisrael Goy Echad ba'Aretz."
(g) Question: Does Hash-m aggrandize Himself with the praises of Yisrael?!
(h) Answer: Yes -- "Es Hash-m He'emarta ha'Yom; va'Shem He'emircha ha'Yom";
1. Hash-m told Yisrael, you made Me unique -- "Shema Yisrael Hash-m Elokeinu Hash-m Echad." I will make you unique -- "u'Mi k'Amcha Yisrael Goy Echad ba'Aretz."
(i) Question (Rav Acha brei d'Rava): That teaches about one of the four Batim (compartments of His Tefilin). What is written in the others?
(j) Answer (Rav Ashi): "Ki Mi Goy Gadol," "u'Mi Goy Gadol," "Ashrecha Yisrael," "O ha'Nisa Elokim," and "u'Lesitcha Elyon" are in the others.
(k) Question (Rav Acha): If so, there are six Batim. Tefilin have only four Batim!
(l) Answer (Rav Ashi): There are two pairs of similar verses. Each pair is together in one Bayis. "Ki Mi Goy Gadol" and "u'Mi Goy Gadol" are together, and "u'Mi k'Amcha Yisrael" and "Ashrecha Yisrael" are together;
1. All of these are written in the one Bayis of His hand Tefilin.
4) COMING TO THE BEIS HA'KENESES
(a) (Ravin bar Rav Ada): If one normally comes to the Beis ha'Keneses, and one day he does not come, Hash-m inquires about him -- "Mi Vachem Yerei Hash-m... Asher Halach Chashechim v'Ein Nogah Lo";
1. If he went to do a Mitzvah, he will have Nogah (light). If not, he will not.
2. "Yivtach b'Shem Hash-m" shows why he will not have light, for he should have trusted in Hash-m (that he will not lose by coming to Beis ha'Keneses.)
(b) (R. Yochanan): If Hash-m comes to a Beis ha'Keneses and does not find 10 people (when needed, e.g. to say Kaddish), He gets angry -- "Madu'a Basi v'Ein Ish Karasi v'Ein Oneh."
(c) (R. Chelbo): Anyone who has a fixed a place for Tefilah, the G-d of Avraham helps him. When he dies, he is called humble, a Chasid, and a Talmid of Avraham.
(d) Question: What is the source that Avraham fixed a place for Tefilah?
(e) Answer: "Va'Yashkem Avraham ba'Boker El ha'Makom Asher Amad Sham";
1. "Amidah" is prayer -- "va'Ya'amod Pinchas va'Yefalel."
(f) (R. Chelbo): One who leaves a Beis ha'Keneses should not take big steps. (This makes it look as if being in Beis ha'Keneses was a burden to him);
(g) (Abaye): This applies to leaving, but it is a Mitzvah to run to a Beis ha'Keneses -- "Nirdefah Lada'as Es Hash-m."
(h) (R. Zeira): At first, when I saw Talmidim running to the Kalah (public lecture on the Shabbos before the festival), I thought that they were disgracing Shabbos;
1. Later, I heard R. Tanchum teach that one should run to learn (some texts - to do a Mitzvah), even on Shabbos, for it says "Acharei Hash-m Yelchu k'Aryeh Yish'ag." Now, also I run.
(i) (R. Zeira): The primary reward for hearing a Torah discourse is for running to it. (This is because most people will not understand it well enough to repeat it);
1. (Abaye): The primary reward for attending the Kalah is for suffering the cramped conditions;
2. (Rava): The primary reward for learning is for struggling to understand;
3. (Rav Papa): The primary reward for visiting mourners is for being silent;
4. (Mar Zutra): The primary reward for a fast is the Tzedakah that one gives (afterwards to the Aniyim who fasted);
5. (Rav Sheshes): The primary reward for a eulogy is for making people cry;
6. (Rav Ashi): The primary reward for attending a wedding is for words (that gladden the Chasan).
(j) (Rav Huna): One who prays behind a Beis ha'Keneses is called a Rasha -- "Saviv Resha'im Yis'halachun";
(k) (Abaye): This is only if he does not face the Beis ha'Keneses (for then he faces the opposite direction from the congregation). If he faces the Beis ha'Keneses, it is fine.
(l) A certain man prayed in back of a Beis ha'Keneses, and did not face the Beis ha'Keneses. Eliyahu appeared to him like an Arab merchant.
1. Eliyahu: You make it seem like there are two powers! (You pray to the opposite direction from the congregation..)
2. Eliyahu killed him.
(m) Question: What is the meaning of "Kerum Zulus li'Vnei Adam"?
(n) Answer #1 (Rav Bivi bar Abaye): This refers to things that are at the RoM (peak of importance) of the world, yet people are MeZaLZeL (disgrace) them.
(o) Answer #2 (R. Yochanan and R. Elazar): Once a person must take money from others, his face turns to Kerum.
1. Question: What is Kerum?
2. Answer (Rav Dimi): It is a coastal bird. When the sun shines on it, it turns to many colors.
(p) (R. Ami and R. Asi): If a person must take money from others, it is as if he was punished with fire and water -- "Hirkavta Enosh l'Rosheinu Banu va'Esh uva'Mayim."
5) THINGS TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT
(a) (R. Chelbo): A person should be very careful about Minchah, for this is when Eliyahu was answered -- "va'Yhi ba'Alos ha'Minchah va'Yigash Eliyahu... Aneni Hash-m Aneni";
1. He asked Hash-m to bring fire from the heavens to consume everything on the Mizbe'ach, and to distract people, lest they say that it was done through witchcraft.
(b) (R. Yochanan): A person should also be very careful about Ma'ariv -- "Tikon Tefilasi Ketores... Minchas Arev." (What I pray at night should be like a Minchah);
(c) (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): A person should also be very careful about Shacharis -- "Hash-m Boker Tishma Koli."
(d) (R. Chelbo): Anyone who benefits from a wedding feast and does not gladden the Chasan transgresses five Kolos (voices) with which Hash-m blessed Yisrael -- "Kol Sason v'Kol Simchah Kol Chasan v'Kol Kalah Kol Omrim Hodu Es Hash-m Tzevakos."
(e) Question: If he did gladden the Chasan, what is his reward?
(f) Answer #1 (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): He merits Torah, which was given with five Kolos -- "va'Yhi va'Yom ha'Shelishi... Kolos (plural, i.e. two) u'Verakim... v'Kol Shofar... va'Yhi Kol ha'Shofar... veha'Elokim Ya'anenu v'Kol."
1. Question: There are two more -- "v'Chol ha'Am Ro'im Es ha'Kolos"!
2. Answer: Those were before Matan Torah.
(g) Answer #2 (R. Avahu): It is as if he offered a Korban Todah -- [the verse "Kol Sason v'Kol Simchah..." continues:] "Mevi'im Todah Beis Hash-m."
(h) Answer #3 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It is as if he rebuilt a ruin of Yerushalayim -- "Ki Ashiv Es Shevus ha'Aretz keva'Rishonah."
(i) (R. Chelbo): If someone fears Shamayim, his words are heard -- "Sof Davar ha'Kol Nishma Es ha'Elokim Yera";
(j) Question: What do we learn from the end of the verse "Ki Zeh Kol ha'Adam"?
(k) Answer #1 (R. Elazar): The entire world was created for the sake of even one such person.
(l) Answer #2 (Rav Aba bar Kahana): Such a person is worth as much as the entire world.
(m) Answer #3 (Ben Azai): The entire world was created to accompany such a person.
(n) (R. Chelbo): If you know that a person normally greets you with "Shalom," you should greet him first -- "Bakesh Shalom v'Radfehu."
(o) If one gives "Shalom" and the receiver does not return it, he is called a robber -- "Gezelas he'Oni b'Vateichem" (Shalom can be "stolen" even from one who is penniless.)