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) R. ELAZAR BEN AZARYAH BECOMES NASI
(a) They asked him if he would like to be Nasi; he said that he would consult with his wife.
(b) His wife: Perhaps they will depose you!
(c) R. Elazar: It is worthwhile to use a precious crystal for a day, even if it will break the next day!
(d) His wife: You have no white hairs (a white beard is fitting for one who will expound)!
(e) R. Elazar was 18 at the time; a miracle occurred, he grew 18 rows of white hair in his beard that day.
1. This is why he said (12b), "I am like a man of 70," and he did not say, "I am 70."
(f) (Beraisa): On the day that R. Gamliel was deposed, they removed the guard from the Beis Medrash and allowed all Talmidim to enter;
1. R. Gamliel used to announce that a Talmid may not enter unless his inside is like his outside (he does not give a false impression).
(g) Some say that 400 benches were added to accomodate the additional Talmidim, some say that 700 benches were added.
(h) R. Gamliel was pained, he was concerned that his policy had withheld Torah from Yisrael. In a dream he was shown a white cistern full of ashes (showing that the added Talmidim were unworthy).
1. This was not true, Hash-m merely wanted to appease his pain.
(i) (Beraisa): Maseches Eduyos was taught that day (the new Talmidim testified about what they had heard); whenever a Mishnah or Beraisa refers to "that day," it refers to that day on which R. Elazar ben Azaryah became Nasi.
(j) Every law was explained that day, nothing was left in doubt. Even R. Gamliel attended!
1. (Mishnah): On that day, Yehudah (an Amoni convert) entered the Beis Medrash and asked whether or not he may marry a Yisraelis. R. Gamliel forbade, R. Yehoshua permitted.
i. R. Gamliel: But it says, "Lo Yavo Amoni u'Mo'avi bi'Kehal Hash-m"!
ii. R. Yehoshua: Amon amd Mo'av are not in their places, Sancheriv mixed up all the nations by sending them into exile -- "v'Asir Gevulos Amim..."! Even though Yehudah comes from [the place called] Amon, he could be from any nation -- we follow the majority of nations, whose converts may marry a Yisraelis.
iii. R. Gamliel: But it says, "v'Acharei Chen Ashiv Es Shevus Benei Amon" -- they already returned!
iv. R. Yehoshua: It also says, "v'Shavti Es Shevus Ami Yisrael," and Yisrael did not return yet!
2. They immediately permitted Yehudah.
(k) R. Gamliel decided to appease R. Yehoshua; he went to his house, and saw that the walls were black.
(l) R. Gamliel: I can tell from the walls that you make wicks (alternatively: needles, or you are a smith).
(m) R. Yehoshua: Woe to the generation led by you -- you do not know the pain of [poor] Chachamim, how they must support themselves!
(n) R. Gamliel: I spoke against you too much -- please forgive me.
1. R. Yehoshua did not reply. R. Gamliel asked him, "Forgive me on account of my father!" He agreed.
2. They looked for someone to tell the Chachamim that R. Yehoshua forgave him; a launderer agreed to do so. R. Yehoshua sent a message that the one who normally wears the Nasi's garment should resume to be Nasi. (Maharsha - R. Gamliel is from the tribe of Yehudah, to whom kingship belongs; R. Elazar is a Kohen, kingship does not belong to Kohanim.)
3. R. Akiva: Close the doors, lest R. Gamliel's servants bother us (to ask us to reinstate him).
4. R. Yehoshua came himself, and knocked on the door. He said the Mazeh (i.e. a Kohen, who normally sprinkles Mei Chatas) the son of a Mazeh should sprinkle -- will one who is not a Mazeh nor the son of a Mazeh tell the Mazeh that his water is Pasul?! (Maharsha - Zarim should not interfere with Avodos given to Kohanim; likewise, Kohanim should not interfere with matters of the Nasi.)
5. R. Akiva: R. Yehoshua, you are appeased. We only deposed R. Gamliel on account of your honor. Tomorrow I will go with you to his house (Maharsha - to reinstate him; surely, all the Chachamim will go with us).
6. Chachamim: We cannot depose R. Elazar -- we ascend in Kedushah, we do not descend!
i. If R. Elazar and R. Gamliel will expound on alternate weeks, there will be jealousy!
ii. Rather, R. Gamliel will expound three weeks, and R. Elazar on the fourth.
7. This explains the Beraisa which says, "Whose Shabbos was it? It was R. Elazar ben Azaryah's."
8. The Talmid who asked (if Ma'ariv is Reshus or Chovah) was R. Shimon ben Yochai.
2) PRAYING LATE
(a) (Mishnah): The time for Musaf is the entire day.
(b) (R. Yochanan): One who prays Musaf late is called a transgresser.
(c) (Beraisa): If one has an obligation [now] to pray both Minchah and Musaf, he prays Minchah first, for it is more frequent;
(d) R. Yehudah says, he prays Musaf first, for its time will expire soon, Minchah's time will not.
(e) (R. Yochanan): The Halachah is, one should pray Minchah first.
(f) When R. Zeira was weary from learning, he would sit in front of the door to Rav Nasan bar Tuvi's house, in order to stand up for Rabanan passing by and earn reward.
(g) R. Zeira: Who said that the Halachah follows R. Yehudah?
(h) R. Nasan: R. Yochanan said that the Halachah does not follow R. Yehudah. (Maharshal - it seems that Rashi's text is "the Halachah follows R. Yehudah" -- if so, we must attribute teaching (e) above to an Amora other than R. Yochanan.)
(i) R. Zeira learned this from him 40 times.
(j) R. Nasan: Why did you learn this so many times -- because it is unique (the only law you heard in the name of R. Yochanan), or because it is new (you thought that someone else ruled against R. Yehudah)?
(k) R. Zeira: It is new to me -- I was unsure if R. Yehoshua ben Levi had said it.
(l) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): According to R. Yehudah, if one prays Musaf after seven hours, the verse says about him, "Nugei mi'Mo'ed Asafti Mimech Hayu";
1. "Nugi" refers to breakage -- Rav Yosef translated the verse, the haters of Yisrael (a euphamism for Yisrael) will be broken on account of delaying the times of the [Musafim prayers of the] festivals.
(m) (R. Elazar): According to R. Yehudah, if one prays Shacharis after four hours, the verse says about him "Nugei mi'Mo'ed..."
1. "Nugei" refers to pain.
(n) (Rav Yosef used to teach a class on Shabbos morning before Musaf.) Rav Avya was weak, he missed Rav Yosef's class. Abaye wanted to make Rav Yosef feel better.
1. Abaye (to Rav Avya): Why didn't you come to Rav Yosef's class?
2. Rav Avya: I was weak.
3. Abaye: You should have eaten something beforehand!
4. Rav Avya: Rav Huna taught that it is forbidden to eat before praying Musaf!
5. Abaye: You should have prayed Musaf alone, eaten something, and come to the class!
6. Rav Avya: R. Yochanan taught that it is forbidden to pray before the Tzibur!
7. Abaye: R. Aba explained, that applies only to someone in the Tzibur (but outside, it is permitted)!
(o) The Halachah does not follow [the above ruling of] Rav Huna, nor R. Yehoshua ben Levi.
1. (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Once the time for Minchah comes, it is forbidden to eat before praying Minchah.
3) NOBLE DESIRES
(a) (Mishnah): R. Nechunyah ben Hakanah used to say a short Tefilah when entering and leaving the Beis Medrash;
1. When entering he would pray that no mishap should come through him; when leaving he would thank Hash-m for his portion (that he is a Chacham).
(b) (Beraisa): When entering one should pray, "May no mishap come through me, I should not err in Halachah and my peers will rejoice, I should not declare the Tamei to be Tahor or vice-versa, I should not rejoice over a mistake in Halachah of my peers";
(c) When entering one should thank Hash-m, "That You made my portion among those who learn in the Beis Medrash, not those who sit around and talk idly;
1. Both of us rise early -- I rise for words of Torah, they rise for futility;
2. Both of us toil -- I toil and receive reward, they toil and do not receive reward;
3. Both of us run -- I run to eternal life, they run to Gehinom."
(d) (Beraisa): When R. Eliezer fell sick, his Talmidim visited him; they asked him to teach them how to merit the World to Come.
(e) R. Eliezer: Be careful about the honor of your colleagues, do not accustom your children to spend too much time on written Torah (alternatively, on child's talk), seat them between the knees of Chachamim, and when you pray, know in front of Whom you stand.
(f) When R. Yochanan ben Zakai fell sick, his Talmidim visited him; when he saw them he started to cry.
(g) Talmidim: You are the light of Yisrael, why are you crying?
(h) R. Yochanan ben Zakai: I would cry (from fear) even if I had to come in front of a mortal king, in spite of his limitations:
1. He is here today and will die later; if he gets angry at me, it is temporary; if he imprisons me, it is temporary; if he would kill me, it is not an eternal death; I can appease him with words and bribe him with money.
2. All the more so I should cry, for I will soon come in front of Hash-m, Who has no limitations-
i. He lives eternally; if He gets angry at me, it is permanent; if He imprisons me, it is permanent; if He would kill me, it is an eternal death; I cannot appease Him with words nor bribe Him with money.
3. Also, there are two paths in front of me, one to Gan Eden and one to Gehinom -- I do not know which I will go through! (Lev Eliyahu - his only doubt was that he might need to spend a few moments in Gehinom, nevertheless he cried over the possibility of those moments of punishment, and missing those moments in Gan Eden.)
(i) Talmidim: Bless us, Rabeinu!
(j) R. Yochanan ben Zakai: May it be His will that fear of Heaven should be upon you like fear of people.
(k) Talmidim: Should it not be greater?!
(l) R. Yochanan: If only it would be so great! When a person sins, he is concerned that no one see him. (If one would fear Heaven in this way, he would never sin!)
(m) Just before he died, he said, "Remove the vessels (lest they become Tamei), and prepare a chair for Chizkiyahu Melech Yehudah who is coming [to escort me]."
4) THE EIGHTEEN BLESSINGS OF SHEMONEH ESREH
(a) (Mishnah - R. Gamliel): Every day a person should pray Shemoneh Esreh;
(b) R. Yehoshua says, he may pray like (i.e. an abridged) Shemoneh Esreh.
(c) R. Akiva says, if he knows Shemoneh Esreh fluently, he should say it; if not, he should say the abridged Shemoneh Esreh.
(d) R. Eliezer says, if one makes his prayer "fixed" ("Keva" -- this will be explained), it is not considered supplications.
(e) R. Yehoshua says, one who travels in a dangerous place should say a short prayer:
1. "Hash-m, save Your nation... may their needs be in front of You; blessed are You, Hash-m, Who hears prayer."
(f) If one was riding on a donkey, he must come down to pray; if he cannot, he should turn to face [towards Yerushalayim]; if he cannot, he should direct his thoughts to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim.
(g) If one was on a ship or raft (or wagon), he should direct his thoughts to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim.
(h) (Gemara) Question: To what do the 18 blessings correspond?
(i) Answer #1 (R. Hillel): They correspond to the 18 mentions of Hash-m's name in "Havu la'Shem Benei Elim" (Tehilim 29, which alludes to the first three blessings);
(j) Answer #2 (Rav Yosef): They correspond to the 18 mentions of Hash-m's name in Keri'as Shema;
(k) Answer #3 (R. Tanchum): They correspond to the 18 vertebrae in the spine.
(l) (R. Tanchum): When praying, one must bow until all the vertebrae in the spine protrude;
(m) (Ula): He must bow until he could see a coin on the ground even with his heart (Rav Hai Gaon).
(n) (R. Chanina): As long as he moves his head, this is not necessary.
(o) (Rava): This is only if he is in pain and looks like he wants to bow.
(p) Question: There are 19 blessings, not 18!
(q) Answer (R. Levi): Birkas ha'Tzedukim (the blessing for the eradication of heretics) was enacted later, in Yavneh.
(r) Question: To what does the 19th blessing correspond?
(s) Answer (R. Levi): According to R. Hillel, it corresponds to "Kel ha'Kavod Hir'im"; according to Rav Yosef, it corresponds to "Echad" in Keri'as Shema; according to R. Tanchum, it corresponds to a small vertebra in the spine (which was not counted among the 18).