BERACHOS 17 (30 Av) - Today's study material has been dedicated by Al and Sophie Ziegler of Har Nof, Yerushalayim, in honor of the Yahrzeit of Al's father Bernard B. Ziegler, Binyamin Baruch ben Avraham (and Miryam), which occurs on 30 Menachem Av.


(a)Rav Safra would request that Hash-m put peace among the angels appointed over the nations (for then there will be peace among the nations), among Chachamim, and among Talmidim engaged in Torah, whether or not they are Lishmah; may those learning Lo Lishmah learn Lishmah!

(b)(Maharsha - our plight in exile is like being constricted in the corner of a house;)

(c)Version #1: R. Alexandri would request that Hash-m establish us in an illuminated corner (save us from afflictions), not a dark corner; our hearts should not mourn, our vision should not wane.

(d)Version #2: He would say, "We want to do Your will, but the sourdough in the dough (i.e. the Yetzer ha'Ra in our hearts) and oppression of the kingdoms is stopping is! May it be Your will to save us from them!"

(e)Rava would say. "Before I was formed, I was not worthy (to be formed); now that I was formed, I am not important;

1.Even while alive, I am dirt, all the more so after I will die!

2.I am a vessel full of shame -- may it be Your will that I sin no more, and remove what I already sinned in Your mercy, but not through evil afflictions and sicknesses."

3.This is the confession that Rav Hamnuna Zuti would say on Yom Kipur.

(f)Mar brei d'Ravina would request, "Hash-m, guard my lips from speaking evil and deception, let my soul be silent to those who curse me, and like dirt to all (it is trampled on but not destroyed), open my heart to Your Torah, make my soul pursue Your Mitzvos, save me from bad encounters, the Yetzer ha'Ra, an evil woman and all evil happenings;

1.Thwart the counsel of those who plan evil against me; may my words and thoughts be pleasing to You, my Rock and Redeemer."

(g)When Rav Sheshes fasted, after his Shemoneh Esreh he would say, "When the Mikdash stood, a sinner would bring a Chatas, only the blood and Chelev were offered, and this would atone for him;

1.I just fasted, my blood and Chelev were diminished; may it be Your will to consider this as if I offered a Korban, and be pleased with me."


(a)When R. Yochanan would finish learning Iyov, he would say, "The end of man is to die, the end of an animal is to be slaughtered, everything is destined to die;

1.Happy is the one who was raised in Torah, and toils in Torah and is pleasing to his Maker, had a good reputation growing up and dies with a good reputation;

2.Shlomo said about such a person, 'Tov Shem mi'Shemen Tov v'Yom ha'Maves mi'Yom Hivaldo.'"

(b)R. Meir used to say, "Learn with all your heart and soul to know My ways, diligently guard the doors of My Torah (keep out heretical ideas), guard My Torah in your heart, let My fear be in front of your eyes, guard your mouth from all sin, purify and sanctify yourself from any guilt, and I will be with you everywhere."

(c)Version #1 (Rashi): Rabanan of Yavneh used to say, "I am a creation (who understands good and evil), like my colleague (an Am ha'Aretz, who does not learn Torah); my work is in the city (in the study hall), his is [harder,] in the field; each of us rises early to his work;

1.Just as he does not desire to do my work, I do not desire to do his;"

2.Perhaps the Am ha'Aretz justifiably does not learn, for he would not be able to learn as much as I!

3.Rejection: It does not matter whether one learns a lot or a little, as long as his intentions are for the sake of Shamayim!

(d)Version #2 (Maharsha): Rabanan of Yavneh used to say, "I am a creation, like my colleague (who learns less); my work is in the city, his is in the field (after he finishes his daily learning); each of us rises to his work;

1.Just like he is not outstanding in my work, I am not outstanding in his;

2.Perhaps he will not get reward like me, for he does not learn as much!

3.Rejection: It does not matter whether one learns a lot or a little, as long as his intentions are for the sake of Shamayim! (End of Version #2)

(e)Abaye used to say, "A person should be cunning to find ways to fear his Creator;

1.'Ma'aneh Rach Meshiv Chemah' (a gentle answer averts anger);

2.One should have great peace with his brothers, relatives and all people, even a Nochri in the market, in order that he will be beloved above and below, and people will accept him;

3.No one ever greeted R. Yochanan ben Zakai (he always greeted first), even a Nochri in the market."

(f)Rava used to say, "The purpose of Torah wisdom is repentance and good deeds;

1.A person should not learn Tanach and Mishnah and rebel against his parents, his Rebbi, and Chachamim greater than he -- 'Reishis Chachmah Yir'as Hash-m Sechel Tov l'Chol Oseihem';

i.It does not say 'l'Osim', rather, 'l'Chol Oseihem', to those who do Mitzvos Lishmah.

2.If one learns Lo Lishmah, it would have been better if he had not been created." (Here, this refers to learning with intent to persecute others; other forms of Lo Lishmah, e.g. in order to receive honor, are permitted.)

(g)Rav used to say, "The World to Come is unlike this world -- there, there is no eating or drinking, reproduction, business, jealousy, hatred or competition;

1.Tzadikim sit with crowns on their heads and enjoy the Shechinah -- 'va'Yechezu Es ha'Elokim va'Yochlu va'Yishtu' (beholding the Shechinah satiates like eating and drinking.)

(h)Hash-m made a greater promise to women than to men -- 'Nashim Sha'ananos... Banos Botchos' (they are calm and assured)."

(i)Question (Rav): How do women merit [a large] portion in the World to Come? (They are exempt from learning Torah; every word of Torah is like all 613 Mitzvos (Gra)!)

(j)Answer (R. Chiya): They bring their children to synagogues to learn, and allow their husbands to learn Torah in other places, even though they must wait for them to return (therefore, they have a share in the learning).

(k)When the Rabanan would leave the academy of R. Ami, they would say [to each other], "May you see all your needs in your life, and may your end be life in the World to Come; your hope is for generations [of Mashi'ach and Techiyas ha'Mesim];

1.May you merit proper understanding, wisdom and knowledge, may you sing, radiate like the light of day, rejoice in virtue, and run to hear Hash-m's words."

(l)When the Rabanan would leave the academy of Rav Chisda, they would say, "Alufeinu Mesubalim";

(m)(Rav or Shmuel (or, R. Yochanan or R. Eliezer)): This means, our leaders in Torah are laden with Mitzvos;

(n)(The other one): This means, our leaders in Torah and Mitzvos are laden with suffering.


(o)"Ein Peretz v'Ein Yotzeis v'Ein Tzevachah" -- our company should not be like that of David, Shaul or Elisha, from which came out, respectively, Achitofel, Do'eg and Gechazi;

1."Bi'Rechovoseinu" -- we should not have a son or Talmid that will publicly go off the proper path.

(p)(Rav or Shmuel (or, R. Yochanan or R. Eliezer)): "Shim'u Elai Abirei Lev ha'Rechokim mi'Tzedakah" -- the entire world is fed through Tzedakah, except for them -- they are fed through their own merit;

(q)(The other one): The entire world is fed in their merit, they are not fed even in their own merits (they struggle to obtain their needs).

1.This is like Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav:

2.(Rav Yehudah): Every day, a voice from Heaven announces that the entire world is fed in the merit of R. Chanina ben Dosa, yet R. Chanina subsists on one Kav of carobs for an entire week!

(r)Both explanations of the verse argue with Rav Yehudah himself:

1.(Rav Yehudah): "Abirei Lev" refers to a foolish nation (descendants of the Giv'onim) in Bavel.

2.(Rav Yosef): A proof of their foolishness is that not one of them ever converted.

3.(Rav Ashi): The residents of Masa Mechasya are "Abirei Lev" -- even though they see the honor of Torah twice every year ( when the Chachamim gather to learn the laws of the festival; Tosfos - fire would descend from Shamayim), not one of them ever converted.


(a)(Mishnah): If a Chasan wants to say Shema... (R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, not everyone is fitting to flaunt his piety).

(b)Inference: R. Shimon ben Gamliel is concerned for haughtiness, Chachamim are not.

(c)Contradiction (Mishnah): In a locale where people work on the ninth of Av, we work; in a locale where people do not work, one may not work;

1.In every place, Chachamim do not work.

2.R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, everyone should conduct himself like a Chacham.

3.Both Chachamim and R. Shimon contradict themselves!

(d)Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): The opinions (in one of these Mishnayos) must be switched.

(e)Answer #2 (Rav Shisha brei d'Rav Idi): The opinions need not be switched:

1.Answer - part 1: Chachamim are not concerned for haughtiness regarding Keri'as Shema, for the Chasan acts like everyone else (who say it that night);

i.Regarding Tish'ah b'Av, since all other Amei ha'Aretz are working, it is haughtiness [for an Am ha'Aretz] not to work.

2.Answer - part 2: R. Shimon ben Gamliel is concerned for haughtiness regarding Keri'as Shema -- since it requires intent, one who says it flaunts his ability to concentrate, and we know that a Chasan cannot concentrate!

i.(Today, the Halachah is that a Chasan should say Shema -- omitting Shema would show that he normally has proper intent!)

ii.Regarding Tish'ah b'Av, not working does not show that one considers himself to be a Chacham -- rather, people will think that he is unemployed and has no work to do, like so many other people!



(a)(Mishnah): If Reuven lost a close relative (over whom he must mourn) and the Mes is in front of him (unburied), he is exempt from Keri'as Shema, Tefilah, Tefilin and all [positive] Mitzvos;

(b)The law of those carrying the coffin, Chilufeihem (those who will alternate with the carriers) and Chilufei Chilufeihem:

1.Version #1 (Rashi): Those in front of the coffin (where it has not yet reached) -- if they are needed to carry it, they are exempt (from Shema);

2.Those in back of the coffin (who already carried it) -- even if they are needed, they are obligated (because they already participated in the burial).

3.Version #2 (Tosfos): Those in front of or in back of the coffin -- if they are needed to carry it, they are exempt (from Shema); if not, they are obligated. (End of Version #2)

4.Both of them are exempt from Tefilah.

(c)After the burial:

1.If they can complete Shema before reaching the Shurah (rows of people consoling the mourners), they should begin Shema; if not, they should not begin.

(d)Those on the inside of the Shurah are exempt, those on the outside are obligated.