POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) Question: Is it indeed good to prolong prayer?!
1. (R. Chiya bar Aba): Anyone who prays at length and anticipates that it will be answered will come to heartache -- "Tocheles Memushachah Machalah Lev"!
2. (R. Yitzchak): Three things arouse mention of a person's sins [because he relies on his merits -- [endangering oneself, e.g. walking next to] a wall about to fall, Iyun (anticipation of an answer to one's) Tefilah, and asking Heaven to judge between him and someone else.
(b) Answer: It is bad if he anticipates being answered. It is good if he does not.
(c) Question: How should one pray at length?
(d) Answer: He should request much mercy.
(e) Prolonging one's [meal at his] table gives more opportunity for poor people to come and receive food;
1. Question: "Ha'Mizbe'ach Etz... Zeh ha'Shulchan Asher Lifnei Hash-m" -- first it calls it Mizbe'ach, and then it calls it Shulchan (table)!
2. Answer (R. Yochanan and R. Elazar): When the Mikdash stands, the Mizbe'ach atones for the sins of Bnei Yisrael. After the Churban, [hospitality done on] one's table atones.
(f) Question: Is it indeed good to prolong being in the bathroom?!
1. (Beraisa): Ten things lead to hemorrhoids - eating leaves of reeds or of vines, or vine tendrils (the part that clings to supporting poles), meat that is not smooth, the spine of a fish, salted fish that was not cooked enough, drinking dregs of wine, cleaning oneself with lime (after eliminating), a shard of earthenware, or a rock that someone else used to clean himself;
2. Some add suspending oneself [on his knees] too much in the bathroom.
(g) Answer: It is good to spend much time there without suspending oneself.
(h) A Nochris (to R. Yehudah): You look as happy as one who raises pigs or lends on interest! (They profit easily.)
1. R. Yehudah: Both are forbidden to me. Rather, I have 24 bathrooms from my lodging until the Beis Midrash. I check myself (if I need to relieve myself) in all of them. (Even Shlemah - Beis ha'Kisei refers to a place where one introspects and weeds out improper character traits.)
(i) (Rav Yehudah): There are three things that shorten one's life -- refusing to read from a Sefer Torah, or to be Mezamen (lead Birkas ha'Mazon), and one who acts with authority (R. Chananel - in private, but in public it is permitted; Maharsha - without being asked).
1. We learn about one who refuses to read from a Sefer Torah from "Ki Hu Chayecha v'Orech Yamecha";
2. We learn about one who refuses to be Mezamen (and bless the host) from "va'Avarcha Mevarchecha";
3. We learn about one who acts with authority from Rav Chama bar Chanina;
i. (Rav Chama bar Chanina): Yosef lived 10 years less than any of his brothers because he acted with authority.
(j) (Rav Yehudah): There are three that need mercy (R. Yehudah ha'Chasid - one should keep praying and not despair; Iyun Yakov - even if they look good, one must pray that they remain so) -- a good king, a good year, and a good dream.
1. We learn about a good king from "Palgei Mayim Lev Melech b'Yad Hash-m." (Maharsha - just like a river branches into two, Hash-m can veer a king's heart for good or bad, according to the merits of his subjects.)
2. We learn about a good year from "Tamid Einei Hash-m Elokecha Bah mi'Reshis ha'Shanah v'Ad Acharis Shanah."
3. We learn about a good dream from "va'Sachalimeni v'Hachayeni."
(k) (R. Yochanan): Hash-m Himself announces about three things -- famine, satiation, and a good leader:
1. We learn about famine from "Ki Kara Hash-m la'Ra'av";
2. We learn about satiation from "v'Karasi El ha'Degen v'Hirbesi Oso";
3. We learn about a good leader from "Re'eh Karasi b'Shem Betzalel..."
(l) (R. Yitzchak): We do not appoint a leader over the public without consulting with them -- "Re'u Kara Hash-m b'Shem Betzalel..."
1. Hash-m (to Moshe): Do you think Betzalel is proper?
2. Moshe: If he is proper to You, all the more so he is proper to me!
3. Hash-m: Even so, ask Bnei Yisrael if they think he is proper.
4. Bnei Yisrael: If he is proper to Hash-m, and to you, all the more so he is proper to us!
(m) (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): He was called Betzalel due to his wisdom:
1. Hash-m told Moshe (in Parshas Ki Sisa) to tell Betzalel to make the Mishkan, Aron and other Kelim. Moshe told him to make the Aron, other Kelim and Mishkan. (They are in this order in Parshas Terumah.)
2. Betzalel: Normally, one builds a house first and then puts his vessels inside. If I build the vessels first, then where will I put them until the Mishkan is built?! Perhaps Hash-m told you to build the Mishkan first!
3. Moshe: [You are correct.] Perhaps you know this because you were "b'Tzel Kel" (in the shade of Hash-m, i.e. through Ru'ach ha'Kodesh)! (R. Chayim - Hash-m commanded first to build the vessels, for they are the means through which Hash-m gives atonement and reward to Yisrael; Betzalel understood that we should first build the Mishkan, to honor Hash-m.)
(n) (Rav Yehudah): Betzalel knew how to join the letters with which Heaven and earth were created (through Hashem's speech):
1. It says here "va'Yemalei Oso Ru'ach Elokim b'Chachmah bi'Sevunah uv'Da'as," like it says "Hash-m b'Chachmah Yasad Eretz Konen Shamayim bi'Sevunah; B'Daito Tehomos Nivka'u'."
(o) (R. Yochanan): Hash-m gives Chachmah only to one who has Chachmah -- "Yahev Chachmesa l'Chakimim u'Mande'a l'Yod'ei Vinah."
(p) (R. Avahu): We learn this from "uv'Lev Kol Chacham Lev Nasati Chachmah."
2) GOOD AND BAD DREAMS
(a) (Rav Chisda): Any dream is fine, except for one in which one is fasting.
1. A dream that is not interpreted is like an unread letter. (Nothing will come from it, since dreams are according to the interpretion.)
2. A dream is not completely fulfilled, whether good or bad.
3. A bad dream [inspires one to repent. It] is better than a good dream.
4. The sadness caused by a bad dream suffices [to annul it.] The happiness caused by a good dream suffices. [Maharsha - this itself is its interpretion.]
(b) (Rav Yosef): Even for me (Etz Yosef - I do not jest much), a bit of gaiety annuls a good dream.
(c) (Rav Chisda): A bad dream is worse for the body than lashes (for it makes one worry) -- "veha'Elokim Asah she'Yir'u mi'Lefanav";
1. (Rabah bar bar Chanah): This refers to a bad dream.
(d) Question: "Ha'Navi Asher Ito Chalom... Mah la'Teven Es ha'Bar" -- what do straw and wheat have to do with a dream?
(e) Answer (R. Yochanan): Just like wheat always has straw with it, a dream always includes vain matters.
(f) (R. Berachiyah): Even if some of it will be fulfilled, all of it will not be fulfilled.
1. We learn from Yosef. In his dream "v'Hinei ha'Shemesh veha'Yare'ach" (the sun and moon, alluding to his father and mother, bow to him) -- Rachel was already dead at the time!
(g) (R. Levi): One should wait 22 years for a dream to be fulfilled:
1. Yosef was 17 when he had this dream. He was 30 when he stood in front of Pharaoh, 13 years later;
2. His dream was fulfilled when his brothers came to Mitzrayim nine years later, after seven years of plenty and two years of famine.
(h) (Rav Huna): A good person is shown a bad dream, and a bad person is shown a good dream. (We adopt Rashi's text. According to our text, the answer to the following question is difficult to understand.)
(i) Support (Beraisa): David never saw a good dream, and Achitofel never saw a bad dream.
(j) Question: Rav Chisda expounded "Lo Se'uneh Lecha Elecha Ra'ah" -- you will not be confounded by bad dreams or thoughts. (This is a blessing for one who is "Yada Shemi" - verse 14);
1. "Lo Se'uneh Elecha Ra'ah v'Nega Lo Yikrav b'Ohalecha" -- when you return from a trip, you will not find your wife a Safek Nidah. (This tempts a man. He thinks "perhaps she is really Tehorah!")
(k) Answer: A Tzadik himself does not have a bad dream. Others have a bad dream about him, and they tell him.
(l) Objection: It is not good that he not have bad [nor good] dreams!
1. (R. Ze'ira): If one does not have a dream for seven days, he is called a Rasha. we read "v'Save'a Yalin Bal Yipaked Ra" as if it says "v'Sheva."
(m) Correction: Rather, he has good dreams but does not understand (Rashi - remember) them.
3) WHAT TO DO ABOUT DREAMS
(a) (Rav Huna bar Ami): If one is bothered by a dream, he should interpret it in front of three people.
(b) Objection: [It is better not to interpret it.] Rav Chisda taught that a dream that is not interpreted is like an unread letter! (Nothing will come from it.)
(c) Correction: Rather, he should amend it in front of three people, as follows:
1. He tells them "I saw a good dream." They respond "it is good, it will be good, Hash-m will make it good. May Shamayim decree seven times that it will be good, and it should be good for you!"
2. They should say three verses of rerversal, three of redemption, and three of Shalom;
i. The three of reversal: "Hafachta Mispedi l'Machol Li Pitachta Saki va'Te'azreni Simchah," and "Az Tismach Besulah... v'Hafachti Evlam l'Sason," and "v'Lo Avah Hash-m Elokecha Lishmo'a El Bil'am va'Yahafoch..."
ii. Three of redemption: "Padah b'Shalom Nafshi...," "u'Feduyei Hash-m Yehuvun," "va'Yomer ha'Am El Shaul... [va'Yifdu ha'Am Es Yehonason v'Lo Mes"].
iii. Three of Shalom: "Borei Niv Sefasayim Shalom Shalom la'Rachok vela'Karov...," "v'Ru'ach Lovshah Es Amasai...[Shalom Lecha v'Shalom l'Ozrecha]," "va'Amartem Ko Lechai v'Atah Shalom..."
(d) Each of Ameimar, Mar Zutra and Rav Ashi taught one of the following three teachings.
(e) (Teaching #1): If one saw a dream and does not know what he saw, he should say the following at the time of Birkas Kohanim:
1. "Hash-m -- I am Yours, and my dreams are Yours. I do not know what I dreamed;
2. Whether I dreamed for myself or for others, or if they dreamed about me -- if it was good, strengthen it, like the dreams of Yosef ha'Tzadik;
3. If it needs curing, cure it like You cured the [bitter] waters of Marah through Moshe; Miriam from her Tzara'as, Chizkiyah from his illness, and the waters of Yericho through Elisha;
4. Just like you reversed the [intended] curse of Bil'am to a blessing, reverse all of my dreams for my good."
(f) One should finish [saying all of this] together with the end of [each blessing of] Birkas Kohanim, so that the Tzibur answers "Amen" to both of them.
(g) If he finishes beforehand, he should say, "Adir ba'Marom..." [and finish saying this with Birkas Kohanim, so the Tzibur answers "Amen" for both].
(h) (Teaching #2): If one enters a city and is afraid of Ayin Ra'ah, he should hold each thumb in the other hand and say "I, Ploni ben Ploni, descend from Yosef, over whom Ayin ha'Ra does not rule." It says "Alei Ayin." We read this "Olei Ayin" (they rise above Ayin Ra'ah);
1. R. Yosi bar Chanina says, we learn from "v'Yidgu la'Rov" (Yosef's seed will increase like Dag, i.e. fish). Just like fish are covered by water and shielded from the eye, Yosef's seed are shielded from Ayin ha'Ra.
2. If he fears his own Ayin Ra'ah, he should look at the wall of his left nostril.
(i) (Teaching #3): If one is sick, he should not publicize it the first day, lest his Mazal will get worse;
1. Afterwards, he should publicize it.
(j) When Rava fell sick, the first day he would not reveal it, lest his Mazal turn bad. After this, he asked his servant to announce it. He reasoned as follows;
1. Whoever loves me will request mercy for me;
2. Whoever hates me will rejoice. It says "bi'Nefol Oivecha Al Tismach... Pen Yir'eh Hash-m... v'Heshiv me'Alav Apo (do not rejoice in the fall of your enemy, lest Hash-m... turn His anger away from him)";
(k) When Shmuel would have a bad dream, he would say "va'Chalamos ha'Shav Yedaberu" (dreams speak falsely);
1. When he would have a good dream, he would recite this verse as a [rhetorical] question -- do dreams speak falsely?! It says "ba'Chalam Adaber Bo"!
4) WHICH DREAMS ARE TRUE
(a) Contradiction (Rava): It says, "va'Chalamos ha'Shav Yedaberu," and it says "ba'Chalom Adaber Bo"!
(b) Resolution: Hash-m speaks [to prophets] in dreams through an angel. False dreams are through a Shed.
(c) (R. Bana'ah): There were 24 dream interpreters in Yerushalayim. I once had a dream, and each of them gave me a different interpretation, and all of them came true;
1. This fulfills what is said, that dreams are [fulfilled] according to the mouth (interpretation).
(d) Question: [Why does he say that this "fulfills" what is said?] Does a verse say that dreams are according to the mouth?!
(e) Answer: Yes, a verse teaches this!
1. Question (R. Elazar): What is the source that dreams are according to the mouth?
2. Answer: "Va'Yhi Ka'asher Pasar Lanu Ken Hayah."
3. (Rava): This is only if the interpretation fits the dream -- "Ish ka'Chalamo Pasar."
(f) Question: "Va'Yar Sar ha'Ofim..." -- how did he know that Yosef interpreted well?
(g) Answer (R. Elazar): This teaches that each of them (the baker and wine steward) was shown, in his own dream, the interpretation of the other's dream.
(h) (R. Yochanan): If one awakes with a verse on his lips, this is a minor prophecy.
(i) (R. Yochanan): Three dreams are fulfilled -- a morning dream, a dream about a friend, and a dream interpreted in a dream. (Maharsha - we do not attribute them to what he thought about during the day);
1. Some say, also a dream that is repeated -- "v'Al Hishanos ha'Chalom..."