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) MAY A BA'AL KERI LEARN TORAH?
(a) Question: R. Yehudah holds that a Ba'al Keri is not Meharher! (Rather, he says the words!)
1. (Beraisa - R. Meir): If a Ba'al Keri does not have a place to immerse, he says Shema but does not say the Berachos before or after;
2. He eats bread and says the Berachos afterwards, but not before;
i. He does not utter [Shema or Birkas ha'Mazon] with his lips, he is just Meharher.
3. R. Yehudah says, he says all of them with his lips.
(b) Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): R. Yehudah equates the law of a Ba'al Keri to Hilchos Derech Eretz (proper conduct):
1. (Beraisa): "V'Hodatam l'Vanecha uli'Vnei Vanecha... Yom Asher Amadta Lifnei Hash-m Elokecha b'Chorev" -- learning Torah should always be done with awe, fear, and trembling, just like at Matan Torah;
i. This is the source to permit a Bo'el Nidah (who immersed after relations), a Zav, and a Metzora to learn Torah, Nevi'im, Kesuvim, Mishnah, Gemara, Halachah and Agadah (even though they are Teme'im), and to forbid a Ba'al Keri (for this comes from frivolity).
2. R. Yosi permits a Ba'al Keri to learn Mishnayos that he knows fluently and can say quickly, but he may not teach others;
3. R. Yonasan bar Yosef permits him to teach Mishnayos, but not to teach Gemara;
4. R. Nasan bar Avishalom permits teaching even Gemara, but he may not say Hashem's name;
5. Version #1: R. Yochanan ha'Sandlar says, he should not expound at all (lest he need to cite verses);
6. Version #2: R. Yochanan ha'Sandlar says, he should not enter the Beis Medrash at all.
7. R. Yehudah says, he may learn Hilchos Derech Eretz.
8. A case occurred in which R. Yehudah was a Ba'al Keri. He was walking along the riverbank. His Talmidim asked him to teach them Hilchos Derech Eretz. He immersed and taught them.
i. His Talmidim: But you taught us that a Ba'al Keri may teach Hilchos Derech Eretz!
ii. R. Yehudah: For others I am lenient, but for myself I am stringent.
(c) (Beraisa - R. Yehudah ben Beseira): Divrei Torah cannot become Tamei. (A Ba'al Keri need not immerse before learning or teaching.)
(d) A case occurred in which a Talmid (a Ba'al Keri) was stuttering while reading the Torah. R. Yehudah ben Beseira told him "speak clearly. Divrei Torah are not Mekabel Tum'ah!"
1. It says, "ha'Lo Cho Devari ka'Esh" -- just like fire is not Mekabel Tum'ah, neither are Divrei Torah.
(e) (Beraisa - R. Yonasan bar Yosef): He may teach Mishnayos, but not Gemara.
(f) This supports R. Ila'i;
1. (R. Ila'i): The Halachah is, he may teach Mishnayos, but not Gemara.
(g) [Other] Tana'im [also] argue about this;
1. (Beraisa - R. Meir): He may teach Mishnayos, but not Gemara;
2. Version #1: R. Yehudah ben Gamliel says, both of them are forbidden;
3. Version #2: R. Yehudah ben Gamliel says, both of them are permitted.
4. Version #1 is like R. Yochanan ha'Sandlar. Version #2 is like R. Yehudah ben Beseira.
(h) (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Nowadays, people conduct themselves according to the lenient opinions of three Tana'im:
1. They follow R. Ila'i regarding Reishis ha'Gez (giving first shearings to a Kohen);
i. (Beraisa - R. Ila'i): Reishis ha'Gez applies only in Eretz Yisrael.
2. They follow R. Yoshiyah regarding Kil'ayim;
i. R. Yoshiyah derives from "Lo Sizra Karmecha Kil'ayim" (the Isur is when there is Kil'ayim even without the vineyard) that one is liable for Kil'ai ha'Kerem only if he seeds wheat, barley and a grape seed together.
3. They follow R. Yehudah ben Beseira regarding learning Torah;
i. (Beraisa - R. Yehudah ben Beseira): [A Ba'al Keri may learn Torah, because] Divrei Torah are not Mekabel Tum'ah.
(i) Version #1 (Ze'iri): Chachamim nullified the immersion.
(j) Version #2 (Ze'iri): Chachamim nullified the washing.
(k) Version #1 is like R. Yehudah ben Beseira (Ezra's decree was nullified).
(l) Version #2 is like Rav Chisda, who would curse one who delays praying (some explain - until after the allowed time) until he can wash his hands with water.
2) THE HETER OF NINE KABIM
(a) (Beraisa): If nine Kabim of water were poured on a Ba'al Keri, he is Tahor.
(b) Nachum Ish Gam Zu whispered this to R. Akiva, who then whispered this to Ben Azai, who then taught it to his Talmidim in public.
(c) Amora'im argue about this;
1. (R. Yosi bar Avin or R. Yosi bar Zvida): He (Ben Azai) taught it to his Talmidim.
2. (The other of R. Yosi bar Avin and R. Yosi bar Zvida): He whispered it to his Talmidim.
3. The first opinion says that he taught it. He wanted to publicize it to prevent Bitul Torah (to make it easier for Talmidim to learn) and to prevent Bitul of procreation. (The need to immerse could deter Talmidim from having relations with their wives.)
4. The second opinion says that he whispered it. He feared to publicize it, lest Talmidim be with their wives too often, like roosters.
(d) (R. Yanai): I heard that some are lenient (to rely on nine Kabim) and others are stringent (to immerse). If one is stringent, his days and years will be lengthened.
(e) R. Yehoshua ben Levi: What purpose is there to those who immerse in the morning (from Keri)?
1. Objection: Why does he ask? He himself requires a Ba'al Keri to immerse!
2. Answer: Since nine Kabim suffice (for a sick person, and most Talmidim are considered weak and sick), there is no need to immerse.
(f) (R. Chanina): Takanas Ezra was a great protection (against licentiousness)!
1. A case occurred in which a man solicited a woman to have relations with him. She rebuked him 'there is no place to immerse here!' (You will be unable to learn afterwards.) He desisted.
(g) Rav Huna (to Rabanan): Why do you [rely on R. Yehudah ben Beseira and] not immerse?
1. If it is because the water is cold, you can immerse in a heated bath!
(h) Objection (Rav Chisda): One may not immerse in hot water!
(i) Rav Huna: Rav Ada bar Ahavah holds like you. (He requires a proper Mikvah, and not a bathhouse.)
(j) R. Zeira was sitting in a barrel of water in a bathhouse. He told his servant "pour nine Kabim of water over me."
(k) Question (R. Chiya bar Aba): Why is this needed? You are in more than nine Kabim of water!
(l) Answer (R. Zeira): The Heter of nine Kabim is like [immersion in] 40 Sa'im. Just like 40 Sa'im works only in one way (immersion), also nine Kabim works only in one way (pouring).
(m) Rav Nachman made a vessel holding nine Kabim (for Talmidim).
(n) (Rav Dimi, citing R. Akiva and R. Yehudah Gelustra): The Heter of nine Kabim is only for a Choleh (sick person) who became a Ba'al Keri involuntarily (b'Ones), not for a Choleh ha'Margil (who brought it upon himself, i.e. had relations).
(o) Rav Yosef: Rav Nachman's vessel is rendered [virtually] useless.
(p) (Ravin): A case was discussed in Usha, in R. Oshiya's porch. Rav Asi said 'this is only for ha'Margil, but one who saw Keri b'Ones need not do anything.'
(q) Rav Yosef: Rav Nachman's vessel has been rendered useful!
3) WHEN NINE KABIM SUFFICE
(a) Question: Why do Amora'im and Tana'im argue? Let us see what Ezra enacted!
(b) Answer #1 (Abaye): Ezra enacted that a Bari (healthy person) ha'Margil must immerse in 40 Sa'im (a full Mikveh). Nine Kabim are for a Bari who saw b'Ones. Amora'im argue about a Choleh:
1. Rav Dimi equates a Choleh to a Bari. Ha'Margil must immerse, and nine Kabim suffice for one who saw b'Ones;
2. Rav Asi equates a Choleh ha'Margil to a Bari b'Ones. (Nine Kabim suffice.) A Choleh b'Ones is totally exempt.
(c) Objection (Rava): We do not find that Ezra enacted nine Kabim!
1. Ezra enacted that a Ba'al Keri must immerse (before learning Torah).
(d) Answer #2 (Rava): Rather, Ezra enacted that a Bari ha'Margil must immerse in 40 Sa'im. Later Chachamim enacted nine Kabim for a Bari who saw b'Ones. Amora'im argue about a Choleh:
1. Rav Dimi equates a Choleh to a Bari;
2. Ravin equates a Choleh ha'Margil to a Bari b'Ones. A Choleh b'Ones is totally exempt.
(e) (Rava): The Halachah is, a Bari or Choleh ha'Margil must immerse in 40 Sa'im. Nine Kabim suffice for a Bari b'Ones. A Choleh b'Ones is totally exempt.
(f) (Beraisa): If nine Kabim of water were poured on a Ba'al Keri, he is Tahor (to learn Torah);
1. This permits him to learn, but he may not teach others (or bless for them) until immersing in 40 Sa'im.
(g) R. Yehudah requires 40 Sa'im in any case. (R. Yochanan or Reish Lakish taught one of the next two teachings, and R. Elazar or R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina taught the other one.)
(h) (Chacham A): The first Tana distinguishes between learning himself and teaching others. This is only for Choleh ha'Margil, but nine Kabim always suffice for Choleh b'Ones;
(i) (Chacham B): He always requires 40 Sa'im to teach others. (Chachamim C and D are from the same pairs as above.)
(j) (Chacham C): R. Yehudah requires 40 Sa'im in any case. The water must be in the ground, and not in a vessel;
(k) (Chacham D): The water may be in a vessel.
(l) Question: Granted, according to Chacham D, R. Yehudah said "40 Sa'im in any case" to permit water in a vessel;
1. However, according to Chacham C, what does "in any case" include?
(m) Answer: It includes Mayim She'uvim (water that was drawn in a vessel).
(n) Rav Papa, Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua and Rava bar Shmuel ate together. Rav Papa asked to lead Birkas ha'Mazon, because nine Kabim were poured on him.
1. Rava bar Shmuel: A Beraisa teaches that nine Kabim permit one to learn, but not to teach or bless for others until immersing in 40 Sa'im!
(o) Rava bar Shmuel: Rather, I should lead Birkas ha'Mazon, because I immersed in 40 Sa'im.
(p) Rav Huna: I should lead, for I had no need to immerse.
(q) Rav Chama would immerse on Erev Pesach to exempt others (in Berachos, Hagadah or Hallel).
(r) The Halachah does not follow him. (Nine Kabim suffice.)
4) TIMES WHEN ONE MAY NOT PRAY
(a) (Mishnah): If during Shemoneh Esreh one remembered that he is a Ba'al Keri, he does not cease praying. Rather, he says abridged Berachos.
(b) If one descended to immerse --
1. If he can leave the water, get dressed and say Shema before sunrise, he does so. If not, he should cover himself in the water and say Shema;
2. He should not cover himself in smelly water or water in which flax was soaked, until adding water.
(c) One must distance himself four Amos from it, and from excrement.
(d) (Gemara - Beraisa): If during Shemoneh Esreh one remembered that he is a Ba'al Keri, he does not cease praying. Rather, he says abridged Berachos;
(e) If one was learning Torah and remembered that he is a Ba'al Keri, he does not cease learning. Rather, he is Megamgem. (Rashi - he says the words quickly. R. Yonah - he says them unclearly, or omits Hashem's name);
(f) R. Meir says, a Ba'al Keri may not read more than three verses.
(g) (Beraisa #1): If during Shemoneh Esreh one saw excrement in front of him, he should go four Amos in front of it.
(h) Contradiction (Beraisa #2): He should go [four Amos] to the side.
(i) Resolution: If it is possible, he should go in front of it. If not, he goes to the side.
(j) (Rabah): If one prayed (in a place where there could be excrement) and later found excrement, even though he transgressed, his Shemoneh Esreh was valid.
(k) Objection (Rava): "Zevach Resha'im To'evah" -- his Shemoneh Esreh was an abomination. (Ri - he should pray again. Tosfos - he cannot fix it.)