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) ONE WHO LOST HIS PLACE WHILE SAYING SHEMA
(a) (Mishnah): If one said it out of order, he was not Yotzei... [if one erred...]
(b) (A reciter of Beraisos): If one erred (while saying Shema) and does not know exactly where:
1. If he was in the middle of a Perek, he should return to the beginning of that Perek;
2. If he was between Perakim, he should begin with the second Perek;
3. If he knows that he must say "u'Chesavtam," but is unsure which, he returns to "u'Chesavtam" in the first Perek.
(c) (R. Yochanan): This is only if he did not begin to say "Lema'an Yirbu Yemeichem." If he began to say this, we assume that he said it like he normally does (at the end of the second Perek).
2) LENIENCIES FOR WORKERS
(a) (Mishnah): Workers may say Shema on top of a tree or wall, but they may not pray there.
(b) A Chasan is exempt from Shema from the wedding night until Motzei Shabbos, if he did not yet have relations;
(c) R. Gamliel said Shema on his wedding night.
1. His Talmidim: You taught that a Chasan is exempt!
2. R. Gamliel: I refuse to exempt myself from accepting Ol Malchus Shamayim, even for a moment!
(d) (Gemara - Beraisa): Workers may say Shema on top of a tree or wall. They may pray on top of an olive tree or fig tree;
1. From any other tree, they must come down to pray.
(e) A Ba'al ha'Bayis (one who does not work for someone else) must come down from any tree to pray, for his mind is not settled on top.
(f) Question (Rav Mari - Mishnah): Workers may say Shema on top of a tree or wall.
1. Inference: Intent is not needed for Shema;
2. Contradiction (Beraisa): Intent is required for Shema. It says "Shema Yisrael," similar to "Haskes u'Shema Yisrael";
i. Just like there it refers to intent, also here!
(g) Rava could not answer; he asked Rav Mari if he had heard anything about this.
(h) Answer (Rav Mari citing Rav Sheshes): Workers cease working so that they can say Shema with intent.
(i) Question (Beraisa - Beis Hillel): We may say Shema while working.
(j) Answer: They cease working to read the first Perek (for it needs intent). They may read the second Perek while working. (It does not need intent. Tzelach - we do not resolve the contradiction (f:2) this way, for if the Mishnah allows workers to say only the second Perek of Shema on a wall, it should distinguish between the Perakim of Shema, rather than between Shema and Tefilah.)
(k) (Beraisa #1): One who works for someone else says Shema with the Berachos before and after, says the Berachos before and after eating, and prays Shemoneh Esreh, but he may not lead the prayer nor recite Birkas Kohanim.
(l) Contradiction (Beraisa #2): He prays an abridged form of Shemoneh Esreh.
(m) Resolution #1 (Rav Sheshes): Beraisa #1 is like R. Gamliel. Beraisa #2 is like R. Yehoshua. (They argue on 28b about whether one may pray an abridged Shemoneh Esre.)
(n) Objection: R. Yehoshua permits anyone to say the abridged Shemoneh Esreh, not only workers!
(o) Resolution #2: Rather, both are like R. Gamliel;
1. Beraisa #2 discusses a worker who receives wages (and a meal). Beraisa #1 discusses a worker who works (only) for a meal.
(p) Support (Beraisa): One working for someone else says Shema and prays;
1. He eats bread without blessing beforehand, but he makes two Berachos afterwards;
i. The first Berachah (ha'Zan) is like normal. Then he begins Birkas ha'Aretz, and includes in it Boneh Yerushalayim.
2. This applies to a worker who receives wages. If he receives only a meal, or if the employer eats with him, he says the full Birkas ha'Mazon.
3) PEOPLE EXEMPT FROM SHEMA
(a) (Mishnah): A Chasan is exempt from Shema.
(b) (Beraisa): "B'Shivtecha b'Veisecha" exempts one engaged in a Mitzvah;
1. "Uv'Lechtecha va'Derech" exempts a Chasan;
2. This exempts one who marries a virgin, and obligates one who marries a widow.
(c) Question: How do we learn this from the verse?
(d) 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), the obligation to say Shema applies only when one is engaged in Reshus.
2. Question: Perhaps the Torah obligates even one who is traveling to do a Mitzvah!
3. Answer: If so, it should have said "b'Leches";
i. Rather, "uv'Lechtecha" refers to when 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, one who heard that his ship sank should be exempt (but this is not so)!
i. (R. Aba bar Zavda): 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.
4) CONDUCT OF MOURNING
(a) (Mishnah): R. Gamliel bathed on the night after his wife died.
1. His Talmidim: You taught us that a mourner may not bathe (for seven days)!
2. R. Gamliel: I am an exception. I am an Istenis. (Not bathing causes pain to me.)
(b) When R. Gamliel's slave Tavi died, he accepted consolation.
1. His Talmidim: But you taught us that we do not accept consolation for slaves!
2. R. Gamliel: Tavi was not a regular slave. He was proper.
(c) If a Chasan wants to say Shema on the first night, he may;
(d) R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, not everyone is fitting to flaunt his piety.
(e) (Gemara) Question: What is R. Gamliel's reason (why he bathed)?
(f) Answer: He holds that Aveilus (mourning) on the night after death is only mid'Rabanan -- "va'Acharisah k'Yom Mar." (Mid'Oraisa, it is only during the day);
1. Chachamim did not decree to forbid an Istenis (to bathe).
(g) (Mishnah): When his slave Tavi died...
(h) (Beraisa): When a slave dies, we do not make a line (to console mourners), say Birkas Aveilim, or say consolation of mourners (lest people think that the family of the deceased has proper lineage);
1. When R. Eliezer's slave died, his Talmidim came to console him. To avoid them, he went to the attic, and then to the reception room and to the banquet room. They kept following him.
2. R. Eliezer: You don't know how to take a hint! I taught you that when a slave dies, we do not make a line (to console mourners), say Birkas Aveilim, or say consolation of mourners;
i. Rather, we relate to it as if an animal died. We say "Hash-m should replace your loss."
(i) (Beraisa): We do not eulogize slaves;
(j) R. Yosi says, we say about a proper slave "he was good, trustworthy and ate from his own labor."
1. Rabanan: If so, what more can we say about proper Yisraelim?!
(k) (Beraisa): There are only three Avos (patriarchs) and four Imahos (matriarchs).
(l) Question: Why do we say that there are only three Avos (and exclude the Shevatim)? Presumably, it is because most people (except for Leviyim) do not know if they are from Shevet Reuven or Shimon...
1. We count four Imahos, even though most people do not know if they are from Rachel or from Leah!
(m) Answer: The Avos were more important (than the Shevatim).
(n) (Beraisa): We do not call slaves "Aba Ploni" or "Ima Plonis" (Me'iri - lest people think that the slave has proper lineage; Shitah Mekubetzes -- lest people think that the one who says this is the son of the slave).
(o) Slaves of R. Gamliel's house were called this way.
(p) Question: This contradicts the Halachah!
(q) Answer: They were more important (Shitah - R. Gamliel's household; Me'iri - the slaves were well known), therefore the above concern did not apply.
5) REQUESTS AFTER PRAYER
(a) (R. Elazar): "Ken Avarechecha v'Chayai" refers to Keri'as Shema. "B'Shimcha Esa Chapai" refers to Tefilah;
1. If one does so, "Kemo Chelev va'Deshen Tisba Nafshi" (it is as if he offered a Korban).
2. Additionally, he inherits two worlds, this world and the World to Come -- "v'Sifsei Renanos Yehalel Pi."
(b) After R. Elazar finished Shemoneh Esreh, he would say "Yehi Ratzon... that You will cause to dwell in our portion love, brotherhood, and peace; and fill our borders with disciples... and put our portion in Gan Eden... give us good colleagues... help our heart to desire to fear Your name."
(c) R. Yochanan (after Shemoneh Esreh) would request from Hash-m to look at our shame and troubles, and arouse His mercy, kindness, and humility.
(d) R. Zeira would request from Hash-m to help us avoid sin, and not be shamed and embarrassed from (Aruch - more than) our fathers.
(e) R. Chiya would request that Torah be our expertise, that our hope not falter and that our vision not wane.
(f) Rav would request that we have long life of peace, goodness, blessing, income, health, fear of sin, free of shame, life of honor and wealth, fear of Shamayim, and that our requests be answered for the good.
(g) Rebbi would request from Hash-m to save us from brazen people and brazenness, from evil people and evil happenings, the Yetzer ha'Ra, an evil companion or neighbor, an inciting Satan, a harsh judgment or harsh opponent, whether a Yisrael or Nochri;
1. He requested this even though the emperor's guards watched over him.