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) MOSHE'S DEFENSE OF YISRAEL
(a) (R. Chiya b'Rebbi Chanina): If not for three verses (which say that only Hash-m can remove the Yetzer ha'Ra), the haters of Yisrael (a euphemism for Yisrael) would falter in judgment;
1. They are "va'Asher Hare'osi," "Hineh cha'Chomer b'Yad ha'Yotzer Ken Atem b'Yadi Beis Yisrael," and "va'Hasirosi Es Lev ha'Even mi'Besarchem v'Nasati Lachem Lev Basar."
(b) (Rav Papa): We learn this from "v'Es Ruchi Eten b'Kirbechem v'Asisi Asher b'Chukosai Telechu."
(c) (R. Elazar): Moshe spoke sharply to Hash-m;
1. We read "va'Yispalel Moshe El Hash-m" like "Al Hash-m," for d'Vei R. Eliezer ben Yakov expound "Aleph" as if it was "Ayin", and vice-versa.
(d) (Tana d'Vei R. Yanai): We learn this from "v'Di Zahav";
1. Question: What does this mean?
2. Answer: Moshe said "the gold and silver that you gave to Yisrael (when leaving Mitzrayim) until they said 'Dai' (enough!), caused them to make the golden calf";
3. (D'Vei R. Yanai): A lion does not roar (and damage) when it has a basket of straw, rather, when it has a basket of meat.
(e) (R. Oshiya): A parable this is a man who had a lean cow with long limbs. He fed it vetch, and it kicked him. He said 'the vetch caused you to kick me!'
(f) (R. Chiya bar Aba): A parable for this is a man bathed his son, anointed him, gave to him to eat and drink, hung a wallet (with money) on his neck and put him in front of the door to a house of harlots. Surely, he will sin!
(g) (Rav Acha brei d'Rav Huna): This is like people say, "a full stomach is a type of evil" -- "k'Mar'isam va'Yisba'u Sav'u va'Yaram Libam Al Ken Shechechuni."
(h) (Rav Nachman): We learn from, "v'Ram Levavecha v'Shachachta Es Hash-m."
(i) (Rabanan): We learn from "v'Achal v'Sava v'Dashen u'Fanah," or from "va'Yishman Yeshurun va'Yiv'at."
(j) Question (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): What is the source that Hash-m agreed to Moshe?
(k) Answer: "V'Kesef Hirbesi Lahem v'Zahav Asu la'Ba'al."
(l) Question: What is the meaning of "va'Yedaber Hash-m El Moshe Lech Red"? (This was said when Yisrael made the Egel.)
(m) Answer (R. Elazar): Hash-m told him to descend from his greatness. "I elevated you due to Yisrael. Now that they sinned, you return to your previous level."
1. Moshe became weak and unable to speak.
2. When Hash-m said "Heref Mimeni v'Ashmidem" (leave Me alone and I will destroy them), Moshe understood that if he will pray, Hash-m could pardon Yisrael. He invigorated himself and prayed.
3. A parable for this is a king was striking his son severely. The king's friend was watching, but feared to say anything;
i. The king told his son "if my friend was not here, I would kill you." The friend realized that it is upon him to persuade the king to spare his son.
(n) (R. Avahu): "V'Atah Hanichah Li va'Yichar Api Vahem..." -- if this was not written, it would be forbidden to say this. It was as if Moshe was "holding" Hash-m, like one holds a person by his garment, and refused to let go until Hash-m forgave Yisrael.
(o) (R. Elazar): (After Hash-m said) "v'E'eseh Oscha l'Goy Gadol", Moshe responded 'if a chair of three legs (a nation founded by three Avos) cannot stand in front of Your anger, all the more so a chair of one leg (a nation You propose to make from me) cannot stand!
1. Also, I will be embarrassed in front of my Avos. They will say that I was an unworthy leader, that I sought my own greatness and did not pray for Yisrael!'
2) MOSHE'S DEFENSE OF YISRAEL
(a) (R. Elazar): "Va'Yechal Moshe Es Penei Hash-m" -- Moshe prayed for Yisrael to the point of becoming Chulin. (Maharsha, based on Shemos Rabah - he spoke harshly to Hash-m.)
(b) (Rava): He prayed until Hash-m annulled His "vow" (to destroy Yisrael). "Va'Yechal" is like "Lo Yachel Devaro";
1. One may not profane his own word (vow), but others may [annul it].
(c) (Shmuel): Moshe was willing to die (become a Chalal, i.e. corpse) for Yisrael -- "v'Im Ein Mecheni Na mi'Sifrecha."
(d) (R. Yitzchak): He caused Hashem's attribute of mercy Lachul (to rest) on Yisrael.
(e) (Rabanan): He said to Hash-m "it is Chulin (sacrilege) for you to destroy Yisrael."
(f) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): "Va'Yechal Moshe Es Penei Hash-m" -- Moshe prayed for Yisrael until he was seized by "Achilu".
(g) Question: What is Achilu?
(h) Answer (R. Elazar): It is fire of the bones.
(i) Question: What is this?
(j) Answer (Abaye): It is a fever.
(k) Question: What is the meaning of "Zechor l'Avraham... Asher Nishbata Lahem Bach"?
(l) Answer (R. Elazar): Moshe said "Had You sworn (to the Avos) by heaven and earth, I would say that just like they are not permanent, also your oath;
1. However, You swore by Your great name. Just like Your name is eternal, also Your oath!"
(m) Question: "Va'Tedaber Aleihem Arbeh Es Zar'achem k'Chochvei ha'Shamayim v'Chol ha'Aretz ha'Zos Asher Amarti" -- the citation of Hashem's words ends with "k'Chochvei ha'Shamayim." Moshe should have said "v'Chol ha'Aretz ha'Zos Asher Amarta"!
(n) Answer #1 (R. Elazar): Moshe said until "k'Chochvei ha'Shamayim." Hash-m said the rest of the verse.
(o) Answer #2 (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): Moshe said the entire verse;
1. In the end of the verse, Moshe says, "I told Bnei Yisrael (that You will bring them to Eretz Yisrael) like You told me (at the burning bush)." What should I tell them now (if You will not do so)?"
(p) Question: Why does it say "mi'Bilti Yecholes Hash-m"? It should say "Yachol"!
(q) Answer (R. Elazar): Moshe said 'nations will say that Your strength became weak, like a female, and You cannot save [them from the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael].'
1. Hash-m: They already saw My miracles and My might at the splitting of the Sea!
2. Moshe: They will say that You overcame one king (Pharoah), but could not overcome the 31 kings of Eretz Yisrael!
(r) (R. Yochanan): Hash-m agreed with Moshe -- "Salachti ki'Devarecha."
(s) (Beraisa - Tana d'Vei R. Yishmael): "Ki'Devarecha" - like you (Moshe) argued, that the nations will say so in the future;
1. Happy is the Talmid whose Rebbi agrees with him!
(t) (Rava): "V'Ulam Chai Ani" -- Hash-m told Moshe "You gave life to Me" [in the eyes of the nations, who would have doubted My power].
3) THE GREATNESS OF PRAYER
(a) (R. Simlai): One should praise Hash-m before praying (requests). We learn from Moshe -- "Hash-m... Hachilosa Lehar'os Es Avdecha Es Gadlecha... E'ebrah Na v'Er'eh Es ha'Aretz."
(b) (R. Elazar): Prayer is greater than Mitzvos:
1. No one has more Mitzvos than Moshe had, yet his Mitzvos did not enable him to enter Eretz Yisrael. In the merit of his prayer, he was allowed to look at it -- "Al Tosef Daber Alai... Aleh Rosh ha'Pisgah."
(c) (R. Elazar): Fasting is greater than giving Tzedakah.
(d) Question: What is the reason?
(e) Answer: A fast involves one's body. Tzedakah involves one's money.
(f) (R. Elazar): Prayer is greater than Korbanos -- "Lamah Li Rov Zivcheichem... uv'Farsechem Kapeichem..." (Even after Hash-m said that He does not desire our Korbanos, He needed to say that even prayer will not be accepted.)
(g) (R. Yochanan): A Kohen who killed someone may not give Birkas Kohanim -- "Yedeichem Damim Male'u."
(h) (R. Elazar): After the Churban, the gates of prayer were closed -- "... Sasam Tefilasi";
1. Even though the gates of prayer were closed, the gates of tears were not closed -- "Shim'ah Sefilasi Hash-m v'Shav'asi Ha'azinah El Dim'asi Al Techerash." (One must pray that one's prayer will be heard, but one need not pray that tears will be seen, only that they be accepted.)
(i) Rava would not decree a fast on a cloudy day (because the prayers would not be accepted easily) -- "Sakosa ve'Anan Lach me'Avor Tefilah."
(j) (R. Elazar): After the Churban an iron wall separates between Yisrael and Hash-m -- "... Kir Barzel Beincha u'Vein ha'Ir."
(k) (R. Chanin): Anyone who prays at length, his prayer will have an effect;
1. We learn from Moshe. "Va'Espalel El Hash-m... va'Yishma Hash-m Elai Gam ba'Pa'am ha'Hi."
(l) Question: R. Chiya bar Aba taught that anyone who prays at length and anticipates that it will be answered will come to heartache -- "Tocheles Memushachah Machalah Lev"!
1. Question: What remedy can he take?
2. Answer: He should engage in Torah -- "v'Etz Chayim Ta'avah Va'ah"
i. Etz Chayim refers to Torah - "Etz Chayim Hi la'Machazikim Bah."
(m) Answer: If one prays at length without anticipating results, it will have an effect;
1. If he expects to be answered, this arouses mention of his sins (and causes that his prayer will not be answered).
(n) (R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): If one prays and is not answered, he should pray again -- "Kaveh El Hash-m Chazak v'Ya'ametz Libecha v'Kaveh El Hash-m."
(o) (Beraisa): One must invigorate himself about four things -- Torah, good deeds, prayer and livelihood;
1. We learn Torah and good deeds from "Rak Chazak ve'Ematz Me'od Lishmor k'Chol ha'Torah." "Chazak" in Torah, and "ve'Ematz" in good deeds;
2. We learn prayer from "Kaveh El Hash-m Chazak v'Ya'ametz...";
3. We learn livelihood from "Chazak v'Nischazek b'Ad Amenu..."
(p) Question: "Va'Tomer Tziyon Azavani Hash-m va'Hashem Shechechani" -- what is the difference between "Azavani" and "Shechechani"?
(q) Answer (Reish Lakish): Keneses Yisrael says to Hash-m "when a man takes a second wife, he remembers the deeds of his first wife (even though he somewhat abandons her). You abandoned and forgot me!"
1. Hash-m: I created 12 constellations. There are 30 generals for each. There are 30 lieutenants for each general. There are 30 captains for each lieutenant. There are 30 sergeants for each captain. There are 30 officers for each sergeant. For each officer there are 365 times 10 million stars, corresponding to the number of days in a solar year;
2. I created all of them just for you. I did not forget or abandon you!
3. "Ha'Sishkach Ishah Ulah" (will a woman forget her baby?) Will I forget the Olos and Bechoros that you offered to Me in the Midbar?!
4. Keneses Yisrael: Since You do not forget, perhaps You will not forget the Egel?
5. Hash-m: "Gam Eleh Sishkachnah." (It will be forgotten, also that you said "Eleh Elohecha Yisrael.")
6. Keneses Yisrael: Since You allow things to be forgotten, perhaps You will forget Ma'amad Har Sinai?
7. Hash-m: "V'Anochi Lo Eshkachech." (I will not forget "Anochi Hash-m Elokecha.")
8. This is like R. Elazar taught:
i. (R. Elazar): "Gam Eleh Sishkachnah" refers to the Egel. "V'Anochi Lo Eshkachech" refers to Ma'amad Har Sinai.
4) PREPARATION FOR PRAYER
(a) (Mishnah): Chasidim of old would wait one hour...
(b) Question: What is the source for this?
(c) Answer (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): We learn from "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha."
(d) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): One must wait one Sha'ah after praying -- "Ach Tzadikim Yodu li'Shmecha Yeshvu Yesharim Es Panecha." (After praising Hash-m, they remain in His presence. Surely, here and in the coming Beraisa 'Sha'ah' means some time. If it meant an hour, the Gemara would not have asked incredulously about the early Chasidim!)
(e) Support (Beraisa): One who prays must wait one Sha'ah before praying and one Sha'ah after. It says "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha," and "Ach Tzadikim..."
(f) (Beraisa): Chasidim of old would wait one hour before praying, spend one hour in prayer, and wait one hour after praying;
(g) Question: They spent nine hours a day in prayer. This leaves little time for Torah or livelihood. How did they remember their Torah and make a livelihood?
(h) Answer: Because they were Chasidim, Hash-m enabled them to remember their Torah and He blessed their livelihood.
(i) (Mishnah): Even if the king greets a person during prayer, he should not answer.
(j) (Rav Yosef): This refers only to a Yisrael king. If a Nochri king greets him, he should answer (lest the king kill him).
(k) Question (Beraisa): If one was praying and saw an extortionist or wagon coming towards him, he should not interrupt. Rather, he shortens his prayer (omit the middle of the remaining Berachos) and leave.
(l) Answer: If it is possible to finish quickly, he should do so. If not, he interrupts.