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 FORMATION OF CHAVAH
(a) (Rav Huna): A person should say few words in front of Hash-m (Maharsha - he should not pray excessively for relief from his afflictions, speak about them or question His ways) - "Al Tevahel Al Picha v'Libcha Al Yemaher... Yiheyu Devarecha Me'atim."
(b) Question (Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda): Why are there two letters Yud in "va'Yitzer Hash-m Elokim Es ha'Adam"?
(c) Answer #1 (Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda): This teaches that man was created with two Yetzarim (inclinations), the Yetzer Tov and Yetzer ha'Ra. (However, Rashi to Bereishis 2:25 and Yeshayah 5:2-7 says that before eating from the Etz ha'Da'as, Adam did not have a Yetzer ha'Ra! Based on Nefesh ha'Chayim (1:6, Hagah DH veha'Inyan) we can say that his Yetzer ha'Ra was not an internal Yetzer ha'Ra. It was external (in the Nachash). Also, at first, each Yetzer was separate. After eating from the Etz ha'Da'as, they became mixed.)
(d) Objection (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Regarding animals, "va'Yitzer" has only one Yud. Will we say that they lack a Yetzer ha'Ra?! We see that they damage, bite and kick! (Rashash - we know that they have a Yetzer Tov, for they work for man.)
(e) Answer #2 (R. Shimon ben Pazi): (The two Yuds allude to two ways to read the word.) Woe to me from Yotzri (Hash-m, the One who formed me, if I succumb to Yitzri, my Yetzer ha'Ra). Woe to me from Yitzri (my Yetzer ha'Ra will torment me if I obey Yotzri, the One who formed me).
(f) Answer #3 (R. Yirmeyah ben Elazar): Hash-m created Adam with two Partzufim -- "Achor va'Kedem Tzartani." (The bodily form of his back resembled his front.)
(g) (Rav or Shmuel): "Va'Yiven Hash-m Elokim Es ha'Tzela" -- Chavah was formed from one Partzuf of Adam;
(h) (The other of Rav and Shmuel): She was formed from a tail (with which Adam was created).
(i) Question: According to the first opinion, we understand "Achor va'Kedem Tzartani." According to the latter opinion, What is the meaning of?
(j) Answer (R. Ami): Adam was Achor (the last) of Creation, and he was Kedem (first) to be punished.
(k) Question: We understand that he was the last of Creation, for he was created on Erev Shabbos. In what sense was he first to be punished?
1. Suggestion: He was first to be punished for the sin [of eating from the Etz ha'Da'as] due to the snake.
2. Rejection (Beraisa - Rebbi): When giving grandeur, we begin with the most important -- "va'Yedaber Moshe El Aharon v'El Elazar v'El Isamar..."
i. When punishing or cursing, we begin with the least important. First the snake was cursed, then Chavah, and then Adam.
(l) Answer: Man was punished first in the flood, before animals -- "va'Yimach... me'Adam v'Ad Behemah."
(m) Question: According to the first opinion (Chavah was formed from a Partzuf), we understand the two Yuds in "va'Yitzer";
1. However, according to the latter opinion, why are there two Yuds?
(n) Answer: It teaches like R. Shimon ben Pazi -- "woe to me from Yotzri..."
(o) Question: According to the first opinion, we understand "Zachar u'Nekevah Bera'am." (One Partzuf was male, and the other was female);
1. According to the latter opinion, how can we explain this?
(p) Answer - contradiction (R. Avahu): It says "Zachar u'Nekevah Bera'am," and it says "Ki b'Tzelem Elokim Asah Es ha'Adam," which implies that he was a single creation!
1. Resolution: Hash-m had intent to create two, but He actually created only one.
(q) Question: According the first opinion, we understand "va'Yisgor Basar Tachtenah." (He put skin in place of the removed Partzuf.) According to the latter opinion, how can we explain this?
(r) Answer (R. Yirmeyah): He covered up the place where he cut [off the tail].
2) WE DO NOT WALK BEHIND A WOMAN
(a) Question: According the latter opinion, we understand "va'Yiven". (A tail was made into a person.) According to the first opinion, Chavah was already made!
(b) Answer #1 (R. Shimon ben Menasiya): Hash-m braided Chavah's hair and brought her to Adam;
1. Braiding is called "Binyan" in the language of certain islands.
(c) Answer #2 (Rav Chisda): Hash-m built her like a storehouse, wide at the bottom and narrow on top, in order to hold a fetus.
(d) (R. Yirmeyah ben Elazar): "Va'Yevi'eha El ha'Adam" -- Hash-m was like a Shushbin (a dear friend who helps make a wedding) to Adam;
1. This teaches proper conduct. Someone important should not scorn being a Shushbin for someone less important.
(e) Question: According to the opinion that there were two Partzufim, which one faced forward (the direction in which Adam walked)?
(f) Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Presumably, the male faced forward:
1. (Beraisa): One should not walk in back of a woman on the road, even one's wife. (Rashi - it is disgraceful. (Maharsha - he is more important. Einayim l'Mishpat - perhaps people do not know that she is his wife. Radvaz - if he is close enough to notice her movements, it is forbidden, lest it arouse his lust. Be'er Heitev - some permit walking more than four Amos in back of her.)
2. If he encounters a woman (Rashi - a married woman; the Poskim do not distinguish between married and unmarried) in front of him on a bridge, he should go to her side until he passes.
3. Anyone who (Tosfos - regularly) goes in back of a (Rashi - married) woman while crossing a river has no share in the World to Come. (She lifts up her clothing so it will not get wet, and he will see.)
(g) (Beraisa): If one counts out coins to a woman in order to look at her, even if he has [the merit of] Torah and Mitzvos like Moshe, he will not be spared from Gehinom -- "Yad l'Yad Lo Yinakeh Ra."
(h) (Rav Nachman): Mano'ach (Shimshon's father) was an ignoramus -- "va'Yelech Mano'ach Acharei Ishto." (He walked behind his wife.)
(i) Objection (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It also says "va'Yakam va'Yelech Achareha" (and "va'Yelech Elkanah Acharei Ishto") -- you cannot say that Elisha (or Elkanah) was unlearned! (Tosfos deletes what is in brackets, for there is no such verse. Maharshal - the text should say "va'Yakam Ishah va'Yelech Achareha", which discusses Pilegesh b'Giv'ah. Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak thought that the verse refers to Elkanah. Maharsha - the Gemara refers to the verse "va'Yelech Elkanah ha'Ramasah Al Beiso," which implies that he walked after his wife.)
1. Regarding Elisha (and Elkanah), you must say that it means that he "went after her words and counsel." The same applies to Mano'ach.
(j) (Rav Ashi): According to Rav Nachman's understanding, Mano'ach did not even learn Chumash [properly]! "Va'Takam Rivkah v'Na'aroseha... va'Telachnah Acharei ha'Ish," and not in front of him (Eliezer).
(k) (R. Yochanan): It is better to walk in back of a lion than in back of a woman;
1. It is better to walk in back of a woman than in back of a Nochri (Maharsha - lest he be lured to serve idolatry; Einayim l'Mishpat - lest the Nochri kill him);
2. It is better to walk in back of a Nochri than in back of a Beis ha'Keneses when the congregation is praying. (It looks like he does not want to pray with them. Maharsha - it looks like heresy);
i. Going in back of a Beis ha'Keneses is permitted in the following cases -- he is carrying a load, or there is another entrance, or he is riding a donkey, or he is wearing Tefilin. (In these cases, people understand why he does not enter to pray, or see that the fear of Heaven is upon him.)
3) FUNCTIONS OF THE ORGANS
(a) (Rav): The Yetzer ha'Ra is like a fly (a tiny creature that spoils great things). It sits between the two chambers of the heart -- "Zevuvei Maves Yav'ish Yabi'a Shemen Roke'ach". (Etz Yosef, citing Nefesh ha'Chayim - the Yetzer Tov is always in the right chamber. The Yetzer ha'Ra is normally in the left, but sometimes it switches, and gives counsel that looks virtuous, but really it is evil.)
(b) (Shmuel): It is like a wheat kernel -- "la'Pesach Chatas Rovetz" ("Chatas" is similar to the word "Chitah").
(c) (Beraisa): A person has two kidneys. One counsels to do good, and the other counsels evil;
(d) Presumably, the good counselor is on the right, the bad on the left -- "Lev Chacham li'Yemino v'Lev Kesil li'Smolo."
(e) (Beraisa): The kidneys counsel, the heart understands (whether or not to accept the counsel), the tongue articulates words, the mouth emits them, the esophagus takes in and discharges all kinds of food, and the windpipe emits voice;
(f) The lungs absorb liquids (from the stomach. Gra (YD 36:2) - this is why some say that a hole in each membrane of the lungs, even in they are not in line with each other, makes a Tereifah, just like as it does in the esophagus);
(g) The liver gets angry, and the gall bladder shoots a drop [of bile] at it to calm it;
(h) The spleen jests, and the crop (a stomach in birds) grinds;
(i) The stomach causes sleep, and the nose awakens. If they reverse their roles, a person deteriorates and dies.
(j) (Beraisa): If both cause sleep or both awaken, the person dies immediately.
(k) (Beraisa - R. Yosi ha'Glili): Tzadikim are ruled by their Yetzer Tov -- "v'Libi Chalal b'Kirbi." (David said that it is as if he has no Yetzer ha'Ra, for he can overcome it);
1. Resha'im are ruled by their Yetzer ha'Ra -- "Ne'um Pesha la'Rasha b'Kerev Libi Ein Pachad Elokim l'Neged Einav." (It tells them not to fear Hash-m);
2. Intermediate people are ruled by both -- "Ya'amod li'Min Evyon Lehoshi'a mi'Shoftei Nafsho." (He has two rulers.)
(l) (Rava (or Rabah)): People like us are intermediate. (Maharsha - his humility did not allow him to call himself a Tzadik.)
(m) (Abaye): If so, no one is a Tzadik nowadays!
(n) (Rava): [Pleasure in] this world is only for absolute Tzadikim and absolute Resha'im (the latter are paid for all their merits in this world, for they have no share in the World to Come. Maharsha deletes this teaching, for the following teaching is Rabah's response to Abaye.)
(o) (Rava): A person himself knows whether or not he is an absolute Tzadik.
(p) (Rav): The world was created for [people like] Ach'av and R. Chanina ben Dosa:
1. Ach'av received [awesome wealth] in this world. R. Chanina ben Dosa receives awesome reward in the World to Come.
4) B'CHOL NAFSHECHA
(a) (Mishnah): For it says "v'Ahavta Es Hash-m Elokecha..."
(b) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer) Question: Why must it say both "uv'Chol Nafshecha" and "uv'Chol Me'odecha"?
(c) Answer: [Even] if a person's life is dearer to him than his money, he must love Hash-m with all his life. (He must be ready to give up his life, if required to do so.) [Even] if his money is dearer to him than his life, he must love Hash-m with all his money.
(d) R. Akiva says, "uv'Chol Nafshecha" teaches that one must love Hash-m even when He takes your life.
(e) (Beraisa): The kingdom (Rome) once decreed that Bnei Yisrael may not learn Torah. Papus ben Yehudah found R. Akiva gathering multitudes and teaching Torah.
1. Papus: Are you not afraid of the kingdom?!
2. R. Akiva: I will give you a parable. A fox was walking next to the river and saw schools of fish frenziedly fleeing from place to place. He asked them why they flee.
3. The fish: We flee from nets that people set to catch us!
4. The fox: Would you like to come up on the dry land, and we will live together like my ancestors dwelled with yours?
5. The fish: You are reputed to be the cleverest animal, yet you are the most foolish! We are afraid even in the place where we can live, and all the more so in the place where we die!
6. R. Akiva: The same applies to us. Now, when we engage in Torah, about which it says "Ki Hu Chayecha v'Orech Yomecha," we are in danger. If we would cease to learn, all the more so!
7. Shortly after this, R. Akiva was imprisoned. Also Papus was imprisoned, and he was quartered near R. Akiva.
8. R. Akiva: Why were you taken?
9. Papus: You are fortunate, you were taken for engaging in Torah. Woe to me, for I was taken for worthless things!
(f) When R. Akiva was taken to be executed, it was the time for Keri'as Shema. They were tearing off his skin with iron combs, and he was accepting upon himself Ol Malchus Shamayim.
1. His Talmidim: Rebbi, to this extent?! (You are able to do so even amidst such pain?!)
2. R. Akiva: My entire life I was troubled by the verse "uv'Chol Nafshecha," even when He takes your life. When will I be able to fulfill it? Now that I have the opportunity, will I not fulfill it?!
(g) He was prolonging the word "Echad," and died while saying it. A voice from heaven announced "happy are you R. Akiva! You died while saying 'Echad'!" (Tzelach - one may not interrupt during the verse "Shema Yisrael..."! R. Akiva's Talmidim knew that he wanted to die while saying Shema. They thought that he should not seek an early end to the torture, but rather should endure everything for the sake of Kidush Hash-m. Einayim l'Mishpat - one may interrupt to discuss Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. Ramaz - he said all of Shema, and afterwards he answered the Talmidim, and then repeated "Shema Yisrael..." and died.)
1. The angels (to Hash-m): Is this the reward for Torah?! "Mi'Mesim Yadcha Hash-m mi'Mesim..." (his death should be through Your hands)!
2. Hash-m: [The verse concludes] "Chelkam ba'Chayim." (The portion of Tzadikim is in the World to Come, the world of eternal life.)
5) RESPECT WHEN FACING THE MIKDASH
(a) (Mishnah): One may not act light-headedly when facing the eastern gate [of Har ha'Bayis], for it is in line with the Kodesh ha'Kodashim.
(b) (Rav Yehudah): This applies only within Tzofim (the furthest place from which Har ha'Bayis can be seen), in a place where Har ha'Bayis can be seen.
(c) (R. Aba): This applies only within Tzofim, when no fence interrupts (from there until Har ha'Bayis), at a time of Shechinah (when the Beis ha'Mikdash stands).
(d) (Beraisa #1): One who moves his bowels in Yehudah must not face east-west at the time (for then his front or back will be exposed towards the Beis ha'Mikdash), rather, north-south. In Galil, he must face east-west, but not north-south.
(e) R. Yosi permits. He forbids only from a place where Har ha'Bayis can be seen, when no fence interrupts, at a time of Shechinah;
(f) Chachamim forbid.
(g) Question: How do Chachamim argue with the first Tana?
(h) Answer: They argue about one who is not directly in line with the Beis ha'Mikdash. (The first Tana forbids, and Chachamim permit.)
(i) (Beraisa #2): One who moves his bowels in Yehudah must not face east-west at the time, rather, north-south. In Galil, he must face east-west, but not north-south;
(j) R. Yosi permits. He forbids only from a place where Har ha'Bayis can be seen;
(k) R. Yehudah says, [it is forbidden] only when the Mikdash stands.
(l) R. Akiva forbids everywhere.
(m) Question: How does R. Akiva argue with the first Tana?
(n) Answer: R. Akiva forbids even in Chutz la'Aretz. (Tosfos citing Yerushalmi - this is only if there is no wall.)
(o) (Rabah would sit on bricks while eliminating.) He arranged two bricks facing east-west, one to the north and one to the south, and he faced north-south while sitting on them and eliminated between them. (Eretz Yisrael is west of Bavel.)
(p) Abaye switched them to north-south (to see if Rabah was indeed particular about this).
(q) Rabah fixed the bricks, and said "who is annoying me? I hold like R. Akiva, who forbids everywhere!"