BERACHOS 11 - Sponsored by Shlomo Wertenteil of Rechovot in memory of his wife, Esther Chaya Riva bas Kalman Zelig, who passed away on 29 Menachem Av 5761.


(a)(Gemara) Question: Beis Hillel explains his verse and that of Beis Shamai, but how does Beis Shamai resolve both verses?

(b)Answer: If the verse intends to teach about the time to say Shema, it should have said "ba'Erev uva'Boker";

1.Rather, "uv'Shochbecha uv'Kumecha" means, when you actually lie down and rise.

(c)Question: What does Beis Shamai learn from "uv'Lechtecha va'Derech"?

(d)Answer (Beraisa): "B'Shivtecha b'Veisecha" -- this exempts someone engaged in a Mitzvah (this entire Beraisa will be explained);

1."Uv'Lechtecha va'Derech" exempts a Chasan;

2.This is the source to exempt one who marries a virgin, and obligate one who marries a widow.

(e)Question: How do we learn this from the verse?

(f)Answer (Rav Papa): Sitting in your house (i.e. the time when you are obligated) is equated to going on the road;

1.Just like going on the road is Reshus (voluntary, and not a Mitzvah), the obligation to say Shema applies only when one is engaged in a voluntary activity (and not in another Mitzvah).

2.Question: Perhaps the Torah obligates even one who is traveling to do a Mitzvah!

3.Answer: If so, it should have said "b'Sheves" and "uv'Leches";

i.Rather, "b'Shivtecha" and "uv'Lechtecha" refer to when you are pursuing your own affairs, but one engaged in a Mitzvah is exempt.

4.Question: If so, even one who marries a widow should be exempt!

5.Answer: One who marries a virgin is distracted (he cannot concentrate), one who marries a widow is not distracted.

6.Question: If distraction exempts, then one who heard that his ship sank should be exempt!

i.Suggestion: Perhaps that is true!

ii.Rejection: R. Aba bar Zavda taught that an Avel (mourner) is obligated in all Mitzvos except for Tefilin, for Tefilin are called "Pe'er" (glory) -- "Pe'ercha Chavosh Alecha."

7.Answer: Distraction of a Mitzvah (such as a Chasan) exempts, distraction of Reshus (a loss of money, or mourning) does not.

(g)Question: Beis Shamai exempts one engaged in a Mitzvah from "uv'Lechtecha" -- what do they learn from "va'Derech"?

(h)Answer: That exempts someone on the way to do a Mitzvah.

(i)Beis Hillel agrees with these exemptions; however, they also infer that one who is on the way to a Reshus says Shema while going.


(a)(Beraisa - Beis Hillel): We may say Shema while standing, sitting, reclining, walking on the road, or working;

(b)A case occurred, R. Yishmael and R. Elazar ben Azaryah were sitting together, R. Yishmael was reclining and R. Elazar was erect; when the time for Shema came, R. Elazar reclined and R. Yishmael sat erect.

1.R. Elazar: You resemble a man who was praised for his nice long beard, and responded, "I will shave it off"!

i.At first, I was erect and you were reclining; when the time for Shema arrived, I reclined like you, and you sat erect!

2.R. Yishmael: I did like Beis Hillel, you did like Beis Shamai;

i.Also, perhaps Talmidim will see [us both reclining] and this will become the accepted Halachah for generations!

3.Question: Why did he need the second reason ("Also...")?

4.Answer: Perhaps you will say that Beis Hillel also permits reclining -- but this is only if one was already reclining;

i.Since you were erect until now, and now you reclined, onlookers will think that the Halachah follows Beis Shamai, perhaps this will become the Halachah.

(c)(Rav Yechezkeil - Beraisa): If one did like Beis Shamai, he was Yotzei (fulfilled his obligation); if one did like Beis Hillel, he was Yotzei.

(d)(Rav Yosef): If one did like Beis Shamai, he was not Yotzei!

1.(Mishnah - Beis Shamai): If the head and majority of a man are in a Sukah, and his table is in the house, it (the Sukah) is Pasul;

2.Beis Hillel is Machshir.

3.Beis Hillel: A case occurred, elders of Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel visited R. Yochanan ben ha'Choranis; his head and majority were in the Sukah, his table was in the house, and they did not comment about this!

4.Beis Shamai: No, they told him, "If you have always done so, then you have never fulfilled the Mitzvah!"

5.(Just like Beis Shamai says that one is not Yotzei in a Sukah that Beis Hillel is Machshir, Beis Hillel says that one who says Keri'as Shema like Beis Shamai is not Yotzei!)

(e)(Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): If one did like Beis Shamai, he is Chayav Misah (bi'Yedei Shamayim)!

1.(Mishnah - R. Tarfon): I was on the road and lied down to say Shema, like Beis Shamai -- I endangered myself on account of bandits.

2.Chachamim: You were liable to die for transgressing Beis Hillel's opinion!


(a)(Mishnah): In the morning one says two Berachos before Shema and one afterwards, in the evening one says two Berachos before Shema and two afterwards;

1.One of them (of the two afterwards) is long, the other is short;

2.Where Chachamim said that a long Berachah should be said, one may not say a short Berachah, and vice-versa.

3.Where Chachamim said to be Chosem (to end the Berachah with "Baruch..."), one must do so; where they said not to be Chosem, one may not.

(b)(Gemara) Question: What Berachos does one say (before the morning Shema)?

(c)Answer -- part 1 (R. Yakov): One Berachah is "Yotzer Or u'Vorei Choshech..."


(d)Interjection: Rather, we should say, "Yotzer Or u'Vorei Nogah"!

(e)Answer #1: We follow the wording of the verse.

(f)Objection: If so, we should conclude, "Oseh Shalom u'Vorei Ra"!

1.Rather, we say "[u'Vorei] ha'Kol" as a euphemism for "Ra" -- likewise, we should say "Nogah" (light) in place of "Choshech"!

(g)Answer #2 (Rava): We say "u'Vorei Choshech" for we want to mention the attribute of day at night, and the attribute of night during the day.

(h)Question: Granted, "u'Vorei Choshech" fulfills mentioning the attribute of night during the day;

1.Where do we mention the attribute of day at night?

(i)Answer (Abaye): We say "Golel Or Mipnei Choshech v'Choshech Mipnei Or."

(j)Question: What is the second Berachah before Shema?

(k)Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah and R. Elazar): It is Ahavah Rabah.

(l)Support (Beraisa): We do not say "Ahavas Olam," rather, "Ahavah Rabah";

(m)Answer #2 (Rabanan): We say "Ahavas Olam," as it is written, "v'Ahavas Olam Ahavtich."


(a)(Rav Yehudah): If one wakes up to learn before saying Keri'as Shema, he must bless (Birkas ha'Torah); if he already said Keri'as Shema, he does not bless, for Ahavah Rabah exempts him.

(b)(Rav Huna): One must bless for learning Mikra (Torah, Nevi'im or Kesuvim), but not for Midrash.

(c)(R. Elazar): One must bless for Mikra or Midrash, but not for Mishnah;

(d)(R. Yochanan): One must bless even for Mishnah, but not for Talmud (the reasons for the laws in the Mishnayos, and resolutions of the contradictions between them).

(e)(Rava): One must bless even for Talmud.

1.(R. Chiya bar Ashi): Many times I sat in front of Rav to learn Sifra d'Vei Rav (Midrash); he would wash his hands, bless and teach.

2.(Ritva (14b) - this supports R. Elazar, who says that one must bless for Medrash. Rashash assumes that it supports Rava -- perhaps they learned explanations on the Midrash, similar to Talmud. Alternatively, "Sifra d'Vei Rav" should be deleted from the text.)

(f)Question: What is the text of the blessing?

(g)Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): It is "Asher Kidshanu b'Mitzvosav v'Tzivanu La'asok b'Divrei Sorah."

(h)R. Yochanan would conclude, "Ha'arev Na... Divrei Sorascha b'Finu... Baruch Atah Hash-m ha'Melamed Torah l'Amo Yisrael."

(i)Answer #2 (Rav Hamnuna): It is "Asher Bachar Banu mi'Kol ha'Amim v'Nasan Lanu Es Toraso, Baruch Atah Hash-m Nosen ha'Torah."

(j)(Rav Hamnuna; Rif's text - the Gemara itself says this): This is the greatest Berachah.

(k)Therefore, one should say all of them.

(l)(Mishnah): An appointed Kohen would tell them (the Kohanim of the Mishmar) to say one Berachah (before Shema); they said one Berachah, Aseres ha'Dibros, Shema, v'Hayah Im Shamo'a, va'Yomer, and blessed (with the people - Rosh deletes this from the text) three Berachos -- Emes v'Yatziv, [the Berachah of Retzeh on account of the] Avodah, and Birkas Kohanim;

1.On Shabbos, an extra Berachah was given to the departing Mishmar.

(m)Question: Which one Berachah did they say before Shema?

(n)Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): It was Ahavah Rabah.

(o)Answer #2 (R. Zerika): It was Yotzer Or.