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) CONDUCT IN THE BATHROOM
(a) (Beraisa - R. Akiva): Once, I followed R. Yehoshua into a bathroom. I learned three things there:
1. We do not face east-west at the time, rather, north-south. We do not uncover while standing, rather, while sitting; we do not clean with the right hand, rather, with the left. (Maharsha - R. Akiva saw or knew that it would have been easier for R. Yehoshua to face east-west, and to uncover while standing, and to clean with the right hand. Surely, he refrained because it is improper.)
(b) Ben Azai (to R. Akiva): How could you be so brazen to follow your Rebbi into the bathroom (and look at him there)?!
(c) R. Akiva: How one conducts oneself in the bathroom is Torah. I needed to learn it!
1. (Beraisa - Ben Azai): Once, I followed R. Akiva into a bathroom. I learned three things there:
i. We do not face east-west at the time, rather, north-south. We do not uncover while standing up, rather, sitting. We do not clean with the right hand, rather, with the left.
2. R. Yehudah (to Ben Azai): How could you be so brazen to follow your Rebbi into the bathroom?!
3. Ben Azai: It is Torah, and I needed to learn it! (Gra - even though R. Akiva already taught him, what one sees for himself enters the heart deeper than what one hears. Maharsha - perhaps he would see other proper conduct that he had not yet heard!)
4. Rav Kahana went under Rav's bed. He heard Rav converse and joke with his wife before relations.
5. Rav Kahana: Rav speaks [light-headedly for pleasure,] like one who has never had relations before!
6. Rav: Kahana, you are here?! Leave! It is improper [for anyone to be present at such a time]!
7. Rav Kahana: It is Torah, and I need to learn it!
(d) Question: Why don't we clean with the right hand?
(e) Answer #1 (Rava): This is because the Torah was given with Hashem's right hand -- "mi'Mino Esh Das Lamo";
(f) Answer #2 (Rabah bar bar Chanah): This is because people regularly put the right hand in the mouth;
(g) Answer #3 (Reish Lakish): This is because the right hand is used to tie Tefilin (on the left arm);
(h) Answer #4 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): This is because it is used to show Ta'amei Torah (the musical notes for reading Torah. The notes are written in a Sefer, or he waves his hand like a conductor.)
(i) [Some] Tana'im argue like [some of] these Amora'im:
1. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): [The right hand is not used because] people normally use it to eat;
2. R. Yehoshua says, because people write [Divrei Kedushah] with it;
3. R. Akiva says, the right hand is used to show Ta'amim.
(j) (Rav Tanchum bar Chanilai): Anyone who is Tzanu'a (gentle, quiet and does not expose more than necessary) in the bathroom is saved from three things -- from snakes, scorpions and Mazikim. (Rashi - they are not aroused to make trouble for him. Maharsha - his accompanying angels protect him from them);
1. Some say, even his dreams are not disturbed [by Mazikin].
(k) [Even though, normally, Mazikin only bother people alone at night,] there was a privy in Tiverya in which even two people would be damaged during the day. R. Ami and R. Asi went in, one at a time, and they were not harmed.
1. Rabanan: You are not afraid [of the Mazikin]?!
2. R. Ami and R. Asi: We have a tradition that one should be quiet and Tzanu'a in the bathroom, and one should accept afflictions in silence and pray for mercy.
(l) Abaye's [foster] mother raised a sheep to follow him to the bathroom [so he would not be alone].
(m) Question: Why did she use a sheep, and not a goat?
(n) Answer: A goat's name (Sa'ir) is like that of the Shedim of bathrooms ("u'Se'irim Yerakdu Sham"), they can be confused (and he might be harmed).
(o) Before Rava became Rosh Yeshivah, when he relieved himself, Rav Chisda's daughter (his wife) would put a nut in a copper box and make noise outside;
1. After he became Rosh Yeshivah (Mazikim would be more envious of him), she made a window [in the house facing the bathroom] and would put her hand on his head at the time.
2) HOW FAR ONE MUST DISTANCE HIMSELF
(a) (Ula): One may relieve himself immediately in back of the fence. In a valley, he should go far enough that no one will hear if he passes gas (even if he can be seen).
(b) (Isi bar Nasan): In back of the fence; one should [go so far that gas will] not be heard. In a valley, he should not be seen.
(c) Question (against Isi - Mishnah): People pressing olives b'Taharah eliminate in back of the fence. The olives and oil remain Tahor (Rashi; Rosh - the pressers (Amei ha'Aretz) remain Tehorim. We are not concerned lest they touched Tum'ah.)
(d) Answer: Chachamim were lenient (about how far one must distance himself) for the sake of [guarding] Taharos.
(e) Question (against Isi - Mishnah) Question: How far may one go and retain his Chezkas Taharah?
1. Version #1 (Rashi) Answer: He must be able to see the Taharos (even when he must eliminate. Others will be able to see him!)
2. Version #2 (Rosh) Answer: The Chaver (in the olivepress) must be able to see him.
(f) Answer #1: Chachamim were lenient [about a bathroom] for the sake of Taharos. (They were not lenient about Taharos for one who wants to be Tzanu'a (modest) in Beis ha'Kisei.)
(g) Answer #2 (Rav Ashi): Isi meant that what he exposes should not be seen, but he himself may be seen.
(h) A eulogizer said in front of Rav Nachman "[the deceased] was very Tzanu'a."
1. Rav Nachman: Did you enter the bathroom with him, to see if he was Tzanu'a there?
2. (Beraisa): One is called Tzanu'a only if he is Tzanu'a in the bathroom.
(i) Question: Why did Rav Nachman care if the deceased was really Tzanu'a or not?
(j) Answer (Beraisa): Just like the deceased are punished (Aruch - for their sins; Rosh (Mo'ed Katan 3:63) - when they are praised for merits they did not have at all, this arouses judgment against them), also [false] eulogizers and those who endorse their words are punished.
(k) (Beraisa): A Tzanu'a is one who eliminates in the same place (i.e. as far away) at night as he does during the day.
(l) Objection #1: Rav Yehudah taught that one should accustom himself to eliminate [before light of] morning and evening, in order that he will not have to distance himself!
(m) Objection #2: Rava would distance himself a Mil during the day, but at night he would tell his servant to clear [people from] a place so he could go there!
1. Also [at night] R. Zeira would tell his servant to make sure that there were no people in back of the meeting house in order that he could go there!
(n) Answer #1: Rather, a Tzanu'a is one who eliminates in the same way (exposing himself no more than he must) at night as he does during the day.
(o) Answer #2 (Rav Ashi): Really, it refers to the same place. The case is, there is a corner out of view. (One must use it, and not an exposed place.)
(p) (Rav Yehudah): One should accustom himself to eliminate morning and evening, in order that he will not have to distance himself.
(q) Support (Beraisa - Ben Azai): Get up early and go (to eliminate), and go in the evening, in order that you will not have to distance yourself;
1. Be Memashmesh (use a pebble to open the anus) before sitting, and not after;
2. One who is Memashmesh after sitting can be harmed by witchcraft, even if it is done overseas.
(r) Question: If one forgot and was Memashmesh after sitting, what remedy is there for this?
(s) Answer: When he gets up, he should say "not me (you cannot overcome me), not me. Not Tachim nor Tachtim (names of witchcraft done through hemorrhoids). Not these, nor any of these [will hurt me], whether done by a male or female witch."
3) ADVICE OF CHACHAMIM
(a) (Beraisa - Ben Azai): Lie on anything, except for the ground. Sit on any seat, except for a beam (lest you fall);
(b) (Shmuel): Sleeping (Aruch - urinating) at dawn is as good for the body as steel plating is for iron. The same applies to going to eliminate then.
(c) Bar Kapara would sell words [of Musar and proper conduct] for money. (Gra - alternatively, he would not say them until he knew that the listeners valued them like money);
1. Eat while you are hungry. (Later, the food will not help.) Drink while you are thirsty. Pour while your pot is hot. (Eliminate when you feel the need. Ben Yehoyada - learn Torah when you have desire for it, and conquer your Yetzer ha'Ra in your youth when it rages. Alternatively, share your hot food in the pot with the poor, and not the cold remnants at the end which you would not eat anyway);
2. If you hear a wagon in Rome, merchants seek to buy dates;
3. A son should sell dates of his father if the father is absent when people seek to buy them.
(d) Abaye (to Rabanan): When you go in the streets of the city to go out to the fields, do not look either way, lest women sit there. It is improper to look at them;
(e) Rav Safra went to the bathroom. R. Aba snorted outside (to see if someone was inside); Rav Safra told him to enter.
(f) R. Aba (after Rav Safra left): You never went to Se'ir, yet you learned their [bad] conduct [in the bathroom]! (You should have snorted back. I would have known not to enter!)
1. (Mishnah): There was a bonfire near the Mikvah (in the Beis ha'Mikdash), and a bathroom of honor;
2. One could tell whether or not someone was inside by seeing if it was locked or open.
3. This sign was used because it is dishonorable to talk in a bathroom!
(g) Rav Safra talked because he feared that if R. Aba would go away, the delay before eliminating could endanger him!
1. (Beraisa - R. Shimon ben Gamliel): If a bowel movement started to leave and returned to the body, this can cause Hidrokan (swelling of the stomach);
2. If urine started to leave and returned, this can cause jaundice.
(h) R. Elazar went to a bathroom. A Roman pushed him. R. Elazar left. A snake dislocated the Roman's anus.
1. (R. Elazar): "V'Eten Adam Tachtecha" -- we read "Adam" like "Edom". (They will receive punishments in place of Yisrael.)
4) DAVID'S PUNISHMENT
(a) Question: Why does it say "v'Amar Laharagcha va'Tachas Alecha" (David told Shaul "I could have killed you when you entered the cave to eliminate")? It should say "v'Amarti" and "va'Chasti," (in the first person), not "v'Amar" and "va'Tachas"!
(b) Answer (R. Elazar): David told him "mid'Oraisa, I could have killed you, for you were chasing me to kill me, and the Torah says 'if someone seeks to kill you, kill him first!' However, your Tzni'us (you entered the cave to eliminate, and acted modestly there) spared you."
(c) Question: What was his Tzni'us?
(d) Answer (Beraisa): "Va'Yavo El Gidros ha'Tzon... v'Sham Me'arah... Lehasech Es Raglav" -- there was a fence inside of another fence, a cave inside of another cave;
(e) (R. Elazar): "LehaSech" teaches that he covered ("Sikech") himself like a Sukah (to avoid being exposed).
(f) (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): "Va'Yakam David va'Yichros Es Kenaf ha'Me'il..." -- anyone who disgraces clothing, in the end he will not benefit from clothing -- "veha'Melech David... va'Yechasuhu ba'Begadim v'Lo Yicham Lo." (Iyun Yakov - even though he cut it to convince Shaul not to pursue him, he did not have to cut the entire corner. Ben Yehoyada - there were Tzitzis on it. He could have cut a different part to avoid invalidating the Mitzvah.)
(g) (R. Elazar): "Im Hash-m Hesischa Vi Yarach Minchah" -- Hash-m said to David "do you call Me an enticer (that I enticed Shaul to pursue you)? I will cause you to stumble in a matter that even children learning [Chumash] from their Rebbi know!"
1. "Ki Sisa Es Rosh Bnei Yisrael... v'Nasnu Ish Kofer Nafsho." (Bnei Yisrael may not be counted directly, only indirectly, e.g. through giving half-Shekalim.)
2. "Va'Ya'amod Satan Al Yisrael," "va'Yases Es David... Lech Meneh Es Yisrael." (David was tempted to count Yisrael, and he succumbed.) He did not do so through Shekalim for atonement. (Ramban - he did not realize this is an obligation for all generations.)
(h) Question: What is the meaning of "va'Yiten Hash-m Dever b'Yisrael meha'Boker v'Ad Es Mo'ed"?
(i) Answer #1 (Shmuel Sava): It was from the time the morning Tamid was slaughtered until its blood was thrown. (Regarding the Tamid it says "Lehakriv Li b'Mo'ado");
(j) Answer #2 (R. Yochanan): It was until midday. (Rashash - this is the earliest time (mid'Oraisa) for the afternoon Tamid.)
(k) (R. Elazar): "Va'Yomer la'Mal'ach ha'Mashchis ba'Am Rav" -- Hash-m told the angel of death "I prefer to kill the Rav (important one) among them. His death atones for many sins";
1. At that moment Avishai ben Tzeruyah died. He was as important as the majority of the Sanhedrin.
(l) Question: "Uv'Hashchis Ra'ah Hash-m va'Yinachem" -- what did He see?
(m) Answer #1 (Rav): He saw Yakov (Ben Yehoyada - whose image is on the Kisei ha'Kavod) - "va'Yomer Yakov ka'Asher Ra'am..." (Yakov could distinguish between ordinary angels and Mal'achei Elokim (angels near the Shechinah) because his Mazal sees the entourage of the Shechinah);
(n) Answer #2 (Shmuel): He saw the ashes of [the ram offered in place of] Yitzchak (Midrash - it is considered as if Yitzchak was offered and his "ashes" are in front of Hash-m) -- "Elokim Yir'eh Lo ha'Seh."
(o) Answer #3 (R. Yitzchak Nafcha): He saw Kesef ha'Kipurim (Rashi - the Shekalim that Bnei Yisrael gave for the Mishkan atone also for David's count. Rif - the money Yisrael gave to buy the Makom ha'Makdish atoned, just like the Shekalim for the Mishkan atoned for the sin of the golden calf) -- "v'Lakachta... [v'Hayah li'Vnei Yisrael l'Zikaron Lifnei Hash-m Lechaper]";
(p) Answer #4 (R. Yochanan): He saw the (Maharsha - Shekalim that Bnei Yisrael will give every year in the) Beis ha'Mikdash [that will be built] -- "b'Har Hash-m Yera'eh."
(q) R. Yakov bar Idi and R. Shmuel bar Nachmani argued like R. Yitzchak Nafcha and R. Yochanan. (It is not known who held like whom);
1. Presumably, R. Yochanan is correct, for it says "Asher Ye'amer ha'Yom b'Har Hash-m Yera'eh." (Maharsha - "ha'Yom" is more appropriate regarding the merit of the Shekalim given every year.)
5) AWE OF HAR HA'BAYIS
(a) (Mishnah): One may not enter Har ha'Bayis with a staff... [nor make it a Kapandriya].
(b) Question: What is Kapandriya?
(c) Answer #1 (Rava): It means "a shortcut."
(d) Answer #2 (R. Chana Bar Ada): It is an acronym for "ad'Makifna a'Darei, Ei'ol b'Ha" ("instead of going around the rows [of houses], I will enter from here. Megilah 29a connotes that this is not a second opinion. Rather, it explains what is Kapandriya.)
(e) (Rav Nachman): If one entered a Beis ha'Keneses without intent to make it a shortcut, he may make it a shortcut.
(f) (R. Avahu): If there was a path (and the Beis ha'Keneses was built over it), one may make it a shortcut.
(g) (R. Chelbo): If one entered a Beis ha'Keneses to pray, he may make it a shortcut -- "uv'Vo Am ha'Aretz... ha'Ba Derech Sha'ar Tzafon Lehishtachavos Yetzei Derech Sha'ar Negev" (it is a Mitzvah to [traverse the entire width and] be seen well in the Azarah).
(h) (Mishnah): All the more so, one may not spit there!
(i) (Rav Bivi): [Even] nowadays, spitting in Har ha'Bayis is like spitting in the apple of Hashem's eye -- "v'Hayu Einai v'Libi Sham Kol ha'Yamim."
(j) (Rava): Spitting in a Beis ha'Keneses is permitted, just like entering there with shoes:
1. One may not enter Har ha'Bayis with shoes, but this is permitted in a Beis ha'Keneses. The same applies to spitting.
(k) Question (Rav Papa): Why do you learn spitting from [the Heter to enter with] shoes, and not from [making it] a shortcut (which is forbidden in Batei Kenesiyos, just like in Har ha'Bayis)!
(l) Answer #1 (Rava): A Tana learns from shoes (and we have no source that others argue)!
1. (Beraisa): One may not enter Har ha'Bayis with a staff, shoes, coins wrapped in his turban or money belt hanging in back, nor make it a shortcut;
2. A Kal va'Chomer from shoes forbids spitting. Wearing shoes is not disgraceful and yet [it is forbidden in front of the Shechinah, like it says] "Shal Ne'alecha me'Al Raglecha." Spitting, which is disgraceful, certainly is forbidden!
3. R. Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah says, we need not learn from there;
i. Even though sackcloth is not repulsive, it is improper in front of a mortal [king] -- "Ein Lavo El Sha'ar ha'Melech bi'Levush Sak." Spitting is disgraceful. All the more so it is forbidden in front of the King of kings!