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) THE STARS TAKEN FROM KIMAH
(a) Question: What is the meaning of Ash?
(b) Answer (Rav Yehudah): It is Yusa.
(c) Question: What is the meaning of Yusa?
(d) Answer: Some say that it is the tail of Teleh (the lamb). Some say that it is the head of Eglah (calf).
(e) Presumably, it is the tail of Teleh -- "v'Ayish Al Baneha Sanchem" (it is consoled for the loss of its children). Ayish looks like it had holes [was lacking stars], and was beaten flat;
1. It follows [Kimah], seeking to get back its children.
2. When Hash-m brought the flood, He took two stars from Kimah (to allow the water to come down). Later, He took two stars from Ayish to seal the hole.
3. Question: Why didn't He return the same stars that He took?
4. Answer #1: A pit cannot be filled from the earth excavated when digging it.
5. Answer #2: The Kateigor (prosecution) cannot become the Saneigor (defender. Likewise, the punisher cannot become the remedy.)
6. Question: Why didn't He create two new stars to plug the holes?
7. Answer: "Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shemesh."
(f) (Rav Nachman): In the future, Hash-m will return them to her -- v'Ayish Al Baneha Sanchem."
2) HIS MIGHT FILLS THE WORLD
(a) (Mishnah): On Zo'os...
(b) Question: What are Zo'os?
(c) Answer (Rav Katina): They are earthquakes.
(d) Rav Katina was walking. When he came to the door of Uva Tamya (a Ba'al Ov, i.e. one who conjures up the dead), the land shook greatly.
(e) Question (Rav Katina): What causes earthquakes?
(f) Answer #1 (Uva): When Hash-m remembers his children dwelling in pain amidst the Nochrim, two tears descend into Yam ha'Gadol. The sound is heard all over the world. This causes earthquakes!
(g) Katina: You are a liar! If so, earthquakes should come two at a time (one for each tear)!
(h) This is not proper disproof. Indeed, earthquakes are double;
1. Rav Katina did not praise his explanation lest people admire Uva and be led astray. (Rav Nisim Ga'on, cited in ha'Kosev in Ein Yakov - the anthropomorphisms of Hash-m are parables to convey that everything that He does in the world is for the sake of Yisrael.)
(i) Answer #2 (Rav Katina): [Earthquakes come when] Hash-m claps his hands -- "v'Gam Ani Akeh Chapi El Kapi v'Hanichosi Chamasi."
(j) Answer #3 (R. Nasan): Hash-m is Mis'ane'ach (sighs over the afflictions that He put on Yisrael) -- "v'Hanichosi Chamasi Bam v'Hinechamti."
(k) Answer #4 (Rabanan): He kicks the firmament -- "Heidad k'Dorchim...."
(l) Answer #5 (Rav Acha bar Yakov): He presses His legs under the Kisei ha'Kavod -- "ha'Shamayim Kis'i veha'Aretz Hadom Raglai."
(m) (Mishnah): On thunder...
(n) Question: What causes thunder?
(o) Answer #1 (Shmuel): Clouds brush against [each other; alternatively, bang into] the Galgal (great sphere in heaven that revolves around the earth) -- "Kol Ra'amcha ba'Galal He'iru Verakim Tevel...."
(p) Answer #2 (Rabanan): Clouds pour water one to another -- "l'Kol Tito Hamon Mayim ba'Shamayim."
(q) Answer #3 (Rav Acha bar Yakov): Lightning breaks up hailstones in clouds."
(r) Answer #4 (Rav Ashi): Wind blows over the "mouths" of hollow clouds -- it makes a sound, just like wind over an open barrel.
(s) Presumably, Rav Acha bar Yakov is right. We see lightning, hear thunder and rain comes (from the broken hail).
3) WINDS, LIGHTNING AND CLOUDS
(a) (Mishnah): On Ruchos...
(b) (Abaye): These are Za'afa (whirlwinds).
(c) (Abaye): Za'afa do not come at night.
(d) Question: We see them at night!
(e) Answer: They start during the day.
(f) (Abaye): Za'afa do not last for two hours -- "Lo Sakum Pa'amayim Tzarah."
(g) Question: We see that they last for two hours!
(h) Answer: There is a break in the middle.
(i) (Mishnah): On Barakim one says "blessed is He whose might fills the world."
(j) (Rava): Barakim is Barka (lightning).
(k) (Rava): All of the following are bad -- a single flash of lightning, white or green lightning, clouds that leave [the sky] from the west and return from the south, and two clouds that encounter each other.
(l) Question: Why is this important for us to know?
(m) Answer: One should pray for mercy.
(n) This applies only at night. During the day, they are not bad.
(o) (R. Shmuel bar Yitzchak): Morning clouds are insubstantial -- "v'Chasdechem ka'Anan Boker...."
(p) Question (Rav Papa): People say that if it rains when you open the door in the morning, don't go to buy wheat! (There will be much rain, and wheat will be cheap.)
(q) Answer (Abaye): If the sky is covered by thick clouds, it is a sign of much rain. Nothing will come from thin clouds.
(r) (R. Alexandri): Hash-m made thunder to straighten crookedness of the heart -- "veha'Elokim Asah she'Yir'u mi'Lefanav."
4) WHICH BERACHOS ARE MADE?
(a) (R. Alexandri): If one sees a rainbow in a cloud, he must fall on his face [for it is a vision of His glory] -- "ka'Mar'eh ha'Keshes Asher Yihyeh ve'Anan... va'Er'eh va'Epol Al Panai."
(b) In Eretz Yisrael, they vehemently opposed this, for it looks like he bows to the rainbow;
1. However, one must bless "Baruch Zocher ha'Bris" (He remembers the covenant with Noach).
(c) (Beraisa - R. Yishmael, son of R. Yochanan ben Berokah): One blesses "He is faithful about His covenant and fulfills His word."
(d) (Rav Papa): Therefore, we say both of them -- "Baruch Zocher ha'Bris v'Ne'eman bi'Vriso v'Kayam b'Ma'amaro."
(e) (Mishnah): If one sees mountains or hills... (he says "blessed is He who makes [works of] creation").
(f) Question: Was nothing mentioned previously in the Mishnah a work of creation?! It says "Berakim la'Matar Asah"!
(g) Answer #1 (Abaye): [Even though the Mishnah says that we recite only "she'Kocho u'Gevuraso Malei Olam" on occurrences, and "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis" on enduring sights,] both Berachos apply to both of them.
(h) Answer #2 (Rava): Both Berachos apply to occurrences (Tosfos - one makes one blessing or the other). Only "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis" is said for sights.
(i) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): If one sees the firmament b'Taharasah (without any obstruction), he blesses "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis."
(j) Question: When is considered seeing it b'Taharasah?
(k) Answer #1 (Abaye): This is when it rained all night, and in the morning wind removes the clouds.
(l) This is unlike Rafram bar Papa;
1. (Rafram bar Papa): From the time of the Churban, the firmament was not seen b'Taharasah -- "Albish Shamayim Kadrus v'Sak Asim Kesusam."
(m) (Beraisa): One blesses "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis" on the following:
1. Seeing the sun in its Tekufah (in the same position in which it was created).
2. Seeing the moon in its Gevurah (Rosh - in its Taharah), and the stars and constellations in their paths.
(n) Question: When is the sun in its Tekufah?
(o) Answer (Abaye): This occurs once every 28 years, on the fourth night of the week, when Shabtai (Saturn) is first to dominate at night. (The five closest planets, and sun and moon, are called "Kochvei Lechet." At any time, one of them "dominates" (has the greatest influence), according to a fixed rotation.)
5) BERACHOS FOR BODIES OF WATER
(a) (Mishnah - R. Yehudah): If one sees the Yam ha'Gadol [sporadically]...
(b) Question: What is considered sporadically?
(c) Answer (Rami bar Aba): This is [at least] 30 days [since he last saw it].
(d) (Rami bar Aba): If one sees the Pras (Euphrates) River at the bridge of Bavel or above, he blesses "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis." (There, it flows its natural course. Below the bridge, people rerouted it);
(e) Now that the Persians rerouted it (above the bridge, until Bei Shavor), one may bless only above Bei Shavor.
(f) (Rav Yosef): One may bless only above Ihi Dekira.
(g) (Rami bar Aba): If one sees the Diglas (Chidekel) River at the Shevistena bridge [or above], he blesses "Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishis."
(h) Question: Why is it called "Chidekel"?
(i) Answer (Rav Ashi): Its water is Chad (sharp) and Kal (Rashi - light; Maharsha - makes a Kol (noise)).
(j) Question: What is the meaning of the name "Pras"?
(k) Answer: Its waters increase (the river widens) and make things grow.
(l) (Rava): People of Mechuza (my city) are Charif (sharp) because they drink water of the Diglas;
1. They are red because they have relations during the day. (This causes the children to be red);
2. Their eyes move around because they dwell in dark houses.
6) THE BLESSING HA'TOV VEHA'METIV
(a) (Mishnah): On rain [one blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv].
(b) Question: We say a different blessing!
1. (R. Avahu): We bless on rain when "the Chasan goes to meet the Kalah" (most Rishonim - the rain makes many bubbles in puddles, and the bubbles collide; Rashi - there are puddles on the ground. When a raindrop falls in one, the drop below rises to greet it);
2. Question: What blessing do we make?
3. Answer (Rav Yehudah): "We thank You for every drop...."
4. (R. Yochanan): We conclude ''if our mouths were full of song like the sea... we could not thank You [for a tiny fraction of Your good deeds]... Baruch Atah Hash-m Rov ha'Hoda'os."
5. Question: Are only most thanks due to Him, but not all?!
6. Correction (Rava): Rather, we say, "ha'Kel ha'Hoda'os."
7. Version #1 (our text, most Rishonim) (Rav Papa): Therefore, we say both -- "Rov ha'Hoda'os veha'Kel ha'Hoda'os."
8. Version #2 (Ba'al ha'Me'or) (Rav Papa): Therefore, we say both texts (of Rav Yehudah and R. Yochanan). (End of Version #2)
9. Question (b) remains!
(c) Answer #1: If one hears that rain fell, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv. If he saw it, he blesses "we thank You for every drop...."
(d) Objection: Hearing about rain is good tidings. The Mishnah explicitly teaches good tidings! (Surely, rain is a different case.)
(e) Answer #2: In both cases, he saw it;
1. If much rain fell, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv. If only a little fell, he says "we thank You...."
(f) Answer #3: In both cases, much rain fell;
1. If he owns land he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv (Hash-m did good to him). If not, he says "we thank You...."
(g) Question (Beraisa): If one built a new house or bought new vessels, he blesses Shehecheyanu;
1. (If they are for him and for others, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv - Gra deletes this.)
(h) Answer: He blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv only if he has a partner [who shares the benefit].
(i) Support (Beraisa): The rule is, if it is [only] his, he blesses Shehecheyanu. If it belongs to him and someone else, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv.
(j) Question: Sometimes one says ha'Tov veha'Metiv even if he has no partner!
1. (Beraisa): If a man was told that his wife gave birth to a boy, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv.
(k) Answer: There, also his wife is happy to have a boy.
(l) Question (Beraisa): If Reuven's father died and he will inherit him, first he blesses Dayan ha'Emes, and then he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv.
(m) Answer: The case is, he has brothers who inherit with him.
(n) Question (Beraisa): If one [was drinking wine and] changed his place, he must bless again [in the new place]. If he changed wines, he does not bless on the new wine;
1. (Rav Yosef bar Aba): Even though he does not bless Borei Peri ha'Gafen on the new wine, he blesses ha'Tov veha'Metiv.
(o) Answer: The case is, there are others drinking with him.