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) BERACHOS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
(a) (Mishnah): If one sees a place where miracles were done for Yisrael, he says "blessed is He Who did miracles for our ancestors in this place." (Almost all Rishonim explain that these Berachos are said with Shem u'Malchus, i.e. Hashem's name and kingship. In some cases this is only if they were not said for 30 days. Ra'avad - none have Shem u'Malchus.)
(b) If one sees a place from which idolatry was uprooted, he says "blessed is He Who uprooted idolatry from our land";
(c) On shooting stars, earthquakes, thunder, winds and lightning one says "blessed is He Whose might fills the world";
(d) If one sees mountains, hills, seas, rivers, and wildernesses, he says "blessed is He Who makes [many texts add 'works of'] creation";
(e) If one sees the Great Sea (this will be defined) sporadically, he says "blessed is He Who made the Great Sea";
(f) On rain and good tidings, one says "Baruch ha'Tov veha'Metiv" ;
(g) On bad tidings, one says "Baruch Dayan ha'Emes".
(h) If one built a new house or bought new vessels, he blesses Shehecheyanu;
(i) One blesses [Dayan ha'Emes] on bad tidings that include good, and [ha'Tov veha'Metiv] on good tidings that include bad.
(j) If one cries out (requests) about something that already happened, it is a vain prayer:
1. If one's wife is pregnant, it is a vain prayer to request that it will be a boy;
2. If one was traveling and heard a scream in the city, it is a vain prayer to request that it not be in his house.
(k) One says one prayer when entering a big city, and a second prayer when leaving;
1. Ben Azai says, he says two prayers when entering, and two more when leaving.
(l) One gives thanks for the past and cries out in prayer for the future.
(m) One blesses on bad tidings as one blesses on good tidings (this will be explained);
1. "V'Ahavta Es Hash-m Elokecha b'Chol Levavcha..." -- [the extra letter Beis in "Levavcha" alludes to two inclinations in the heart. You must love Him with] your Yetzer Tov and Yetzer ha'Ra;
2. [You must love Him] "Uv'Chol Nafshecha" -- even if [or when] he takes your life;
3. [You must love Him] "uv'Chol Me'odecha" -- with all your money. Alternatively, with every attribute He metes out to you, whether He bestows good or punishment, you must thank Him.
(n) One may not act lightheadedly when facing the eastern gate [of Har ha'Bayis], for it is in line with the Kodesh ha'Kodashim;
(o) One may not enter Har ha'Bayis with a staff, shoes, money belt or dust on his feet;
(p) One may not use Har ha'Bayis as a shortcut. All the more so, one may not spit there!
(q) In the Mikdash, they used to end all Berachos with "Ad (some texts - Min) ha'Olam" (e.g. "Baruch Atah Hash-m Elokei Yisrael Ad ha'Olam Baruch Chonen ha'Da'as"). After Tzedukim became corrupted and said that there is only one world (i.e. the dead will not be revived), they enacted to say "Min ha'Olam v'Ad ha'Olam."
(r) Chachamim enacted that one may (Rivan to Makos 23b; alternatively, must) greet people with Hashem's name -- "va'Yomer (Bo'az) la'Kotzrim Hash-m Imachem va'Yomru Lo Yevarechecha Hash-m";
1. It also says, "Hash-m Imcha Gibor ha'Chayil," "v'Al Tavuz Ki Zaknah Imecha," "Es La'asos la'Shem Heferu Torasecha."
2. R. Nasan says, they annulled Your Torah because [of a great need, i.e.] it was a time when we must do [so] for Hash-m.
2) BLESSING FOR MIRACLES
(a) (Gemara) Question: What is the source for this?
(b) Answer (R. Yochanan): "Va'Yomer Yisro Baruch Hash-m Asher Hitzil."
(c) Inference: We bless only for miracles done for the Tzibur.
(d) Question #1: A certain man was miraculously saved from a lion, and Rava told him to say "blessed is He Who did a miracle for me here," whenever he went there!
(e) Question #2: Mar brei d'Ravina was in danger due to thirst in Arvos (a certain place). Miraculously, a spring sprouted and he drank;
1. Another time, a mad camel pounced on him in Risteka (a market). The wall of a nearby house fell, enabling him to take refuge;
2. When he would go to Arvos, he would say "blessed is He Who did a miracle for me in Arvos and with the camel." When he would go to Risteka, he would say "blessed is He Who did a miracle for me with the camel and in Arvos."
(f) Answer: All must bless on a miracle for the Tzibur. For a miracle for an individual, only the individual blesses.
(g) (Beraisa): One who sees any of the following must praise Hash-m:
1. Where Bnei Yisrael crossed the Yam Suf or the Yarden (in the days of Yehoshua);
2. The Arnon River, the rocks of Elgabish on the descent to Beis Choron, the rock that Og wanted to throw on Yisrael, or the rock that Moshe sat on (during the war with Amalek. These will be explained);
3. Lot's wife, or the wall of Yericho that was swallowed in its place [into the ground].
(h) Question: We understand the miracles of Keri'as Yam Suf and of the Yarden. [It says about the latter] "va'Ya'amdu ha'Kohanim b'Charavah... v'Chol Yisrael Ovrim b'Charavah...";
1. However, what miracle was at the Arnon River?
(i) Answer (Beraisa): "Al Ken Ye'amar b'Sefer Milchamos Hash-m Es va'Hev b'Sufah" -- "Es" and "Hev" were two Metzora'im walking in back of the camp of Yisrael. When Yisrael were about to pass by, the Emorites made caves (in the mountain) and hid in them, planning to [throw down arrows and boulders to] kill Yisrael;
1. They did not know that the Aron traveled in front of Yisrael and flattened out mountains. It came, and the mountains stuck together, and killing the Emorites. Their blood flowed into the Arnon River. Es and Hev saw the blood and told Yisrael. They sang Shirah -- "v'Eshed ha'Nechalim Asher Natah Lasheves Ar v'Nish'an li'Gevul Mo'av." (The mountain leaned on the mountain bordering Mo'av.)
(j) Question: What miracle was with the rocks of Elgabish?
(k) Answer (Beraisa): These are rocks that stood "Al Gav Ish" (for the sake of a man) and descended "Al Gav Ish" (for the sake of a man);
1. They stood (were suspended) for a man, i.e. for Moshe [who is called "Ish" --] "veha'Ish Moshe Anav Me'od." [He prayed, and] "veha'Barad u'Matar Lo Nitach Artzah";
2. They descended for an Ish, i.e. for Yehoshua -- "Ish Asher Ru'ach Bo." "B'Nus'am Mipnei Yisrael Hem b'Morad Beis Choron va'Hashem Hishlich Aleihem Avanim Gedolos."
(l) We have a tradition that Og wanted to throw a rock on Yisrael;
1. He said "Machaneh Yisrael is three Parsa'os (12 Mil long, and also 12 Mil wide). I will uproot a mountain of this size and throw it on them and kill them."
2. He uprooted a mountain and was holding it on his head. Hash-m brought ants, which made a hole (above his head). The mountain came down upon his head, around his neck. He wanted to cast it off. Hash-m made his teeth grow in different directions so he could not do so -- "Shinei Resha'im Shibarta."
i. (Reish Lakish): We read this "Shirvavta" (the teeth of the wicked that You lowered).
3. Moshe was 10 Amos tall. He took an ax 10 Amos long, jumped up 10 Amos and hit Og on the ankle, and killed him. (Rashba - really, Og wanted to throw an enormous rock or rocks on Yisrael, like the Mishnah says. It is called a mountain, because only in the merit of the Avos [who are called mountains] would Bnei Yisrael receive Eretz Yisrael. Og also had merit from the Avos, for he had helped Avraham by coming to inform him when Lot was captured. He thought that this would uproot Yisrael's Zechus Avos, and therefore he could kill them through his strength. This is why Moshe (who had not feared Sichon) feared Og, until Hash-m said not to fear him. Three merits were necessary to overcome him, at his ankle [a symbol of his merit of coming to tell Avraham] -- the merits of Moshe, of Yisrael, and of the Avos.)
(m) "Vi'Ydei Moshe Kevedim va'Yikchu Even va'Yasimu Sachtav" is the rock that Moshe sat on. "Va'Tabet Ishto me'Acharav va'Tehi Netziv Melach" is Lot's wife. "Va'Tipol ha'Chomah Tachteha" is the wall of Yericho that was swallowed.
(n) Question: All of these are miracles, except for Lot's wife. That was a punishment!
(o) Answer: Indeed, if one sees her, he says "Baruch Dayan ha'Emes."
(p) Question: The Mishnah says that one thanks and praises [for all of these]!
(q) Answer: It should say that for Lot and his wife one blesses twice. For his wife one says "Baruch Dayan ha'Emes," and for Lot he says "Baruch Zocher Es ha'Tzadikim."
1. (R. Yochanan): Even when Hash-m is angry he remembers Tzadikim -- "va'Yhi b'Shaches Elokim Es Arei ha'Kikar va'Yizkor Elokim Es Avraham va'Yeshalach Es Lot mi'Toch ha'Hafechah."
(r) (Beraisa): The wall of Yericho that was swallowed.
(s) Question: It was not swallowed. It fell! "Va'Yari'u ha'Am Teru'ah Gedolah va'Tipol ha'Chomah Tachteha."
(t) Answer: Since its height and width were the same, it was swallowed (otherwise, it would not be known that it fell).
3) PEOPLE WHO MUST THANK HASH-M
(a) (Rav Yehudah): Four categories of people must thank Hash-m [after being saved from danger]: one who was at sea, one who was in the desert, a sick person who recovered, and one who was released from prison;
1. We learn one who was at sea from "Yordei ha'Yam ba'Aniyos... va'Yitz'aku El Hash-m ba'Tzar Lahem... Yodu la'Shem Chasdo..."
2. We learn one who was in the desert from "Ta'u ba'Midbar bi'Shimon... va'Yitz'aku El Hash-m... Yodu la'Shem Chasdo..."
3. We learn one who was cured from "... ume'Avonoseihem Yis'anu Kol Ochel Tesa'ev Nafsham... va'Yiz'aku El Hash-m ba'Tzar Lahem... Yishlach Devaro va'Yirpa'em... Yodu la'Hashem Chasdo."
4. We learn one who was released from prison from "Yoshvei Choshech v'Tzalmaves... va'Yachna be'Amal Libam... va'Yiz'aku El Hash-m ba'Tzar Lahem... Yotzi'em me'Choshech v'Tzalmaves... Yodu la'Hashem Chasdo."
(b) Question: What blessing do they say?
(c) Answer (Rav Yehudah): They say "Baruch Gomel Chasadim Tovim."
(d) (Abaye): They must bless in front of 10 people -- "vi'Romemuhu bi'Kehal Am."
(e) (Mar Zutra): Two of them must be Chachamim -- "uv'Moshav Zekenim Yehaleluhu."
(f) Objection (Rav Ashi): We should require all of them to be Chachamim!
(g) Answer: It does not say "bi'Kehal Zekenim," rather, "bi'Kehal Am"!
(h) Question: We should require 10 regular people and additionally two Chachamim!
(i) This is left difficult.
(j) Rav Yehudah fell sick and recovered. R. Chana Bagdata'ah and Rabanan visited him, and said "blessed is the merciful One who gave you to us, and not to the earth"!
1. Rav Yehudah: You exempted me from thanking Hash-m.
(k) Question: Abaye taught that one must bless in front of 10 people!
(l) Answer: There were 10 people there.
(m) Question: Rav Yehudah himself did not bless!
(n) Answer: It sufficed that he answered Amen.
(o) (Rav Yehudah): Three people must be guarded -- a Choleh (sick person), a Chasan, and a Kalah.
(p) (Beraisa): The following must be guarded -- a Choleh, a woman who just gave birth, a Chasan, and a Kalah
1. Some include even a mourner;
2. Some include even Chachamim at night.
(q) (Rav Yehudah): There are three things that if one spends more time on them, his life will be prolonged -- prayer, [his meal at] his table, and the bathroom.