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) ATTRIBUTES AND REWARDS OF CHACHAMIM
(a) (R. Avin ha'Levi): Whoever makes excessive efforts to attain wealth or grandeur will not attain it;
(b) Anyone who does not receive now what he was entitled to will receive it later. We learn from Rabah and Rav Yosef;
1. Rav Yosef was Sinai. [He knew all the Mishnayos and Beraisos, like they were given on Sinai.] Rabah uprooted mountains (through his sharp power of reasoning). [After Rav Yehudah died in Pumbedisa,] they needed one of them to be Rosh Yeshivah. They asked Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael which takes precedence.
2. (Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael): Sinai comes first. All need the bearer of wheat (Mishnayos and Beraisos are the source of all Halachah)!
3. Even so, Rav Yosef did not accept, for astrologers had told him that he would reign for two years (and, presumably, he would die after this. Rashba (Teshuvos attributed to Ramban, #283) permits following astrology, and questions whether one may go against it and rely on a miracle to be saved. Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 11:9) forbids astrology (among other "follies"). It is not clear how he explains Rav Yosef and other Chachamim who were concerned for it.)
4. Rabah reigned for 22 years; he died, and Rav Yosef ruled for two and a half years. During the 22 years, Rav Yosef did not call a blood-letter to his house. (Rashi - he wanted to avoid any conduct of authority. Ramah - he had no need for any doctors. This was a reward for humbling himself).
(c) Question (R. Avin ha'Levi): Why does it say "Ya'ancha Hash-m b'Yom Tzarah Yesagevcha Shem Elokei Yakov," as opposed to Elokei Avraham or Yitzchak?
(d) Answer: This teaches that [when people carry a beam together,] the owner should hold the beam in the middle (to bear the brunt of its weight. Yakov had the greatest toil raising the 12 tribes, so he is most qualified to request mercy for Yisrael.)
(e) (R. Avin ha'Levi): Whoever benefits from a meal with a Chacham is considered to have enjoyed the radiance of the Shechinah -- "va'Yavo Aharon v'Chol Ziknei Yisrael Le'echol Lechem Im Chosen Moshe Lifnei Elokim";
1. Question: They were in front of Moshe, not in front of Hash-m!
2. Answer: This teaches that it is as if they enjoyed the radiance of the Shechinah.
(f) (R. Avin ha'Levi): One who takes leave of his friend should not say "Lech b'Shalom," rather, "Lech l'Shalom";
1. Yisro told Moshe "Lech l'Shalom," and Moshe succeeded. David told Avshalom "Lech b'Shalom," and Avshalom was hung (by his hair, and died).
(g) (R. Avin ha'Levi): One who takes leave of a Mes [after accompanying it on the way to burial] should not say "Lech l'Shalom," rather, "Lech b'Shalom," like Hash-m said to Avraham "v'Atah Tavo El Avosecha b'Shalom."
(h) (R. Levi bar Chiya): If one leaves Beis ha'Keneses and goes to the Beis Midrash to learn Torah, he merits to greet the Shechinah -- "Yelchu me'Chayil El Chayil Yera'eh El Elokim b'Tziyon."
(i) (R. Chiya bar Ashi): The verse teaches that Chachamim have no rest (ha'Kosev in Ein Yakov - cessation from learning) in this world, nor in the next.
(j) (R. Elazar): Chachamim increase Shalom in the world. We read 'Chol Banayich Limudei Hash-m v'Rav Shelom Banayich" like "Bonayich" (your builders);
1. It also says, "Shalom Rav l'Ohavei Sorasecha v'Ein Lamo Michshol" (Tzelach - when there is peace among Chachamim, they learn together and are saved from mistakes);
2. "Yehi Shalom b'Chelech Shalvah b'Armenosayich";
3. "Lema'an Achai v'Re'ai Adabrah Na Shalom Bach Lema'an Beis Hash-m Elokeinu Avakshah Tov Lach";
4. "Hash-m Oz l'Amo Yiten Hash-m Yevarech Es Amo va'Shalom."
TAM V'NISHLAM, B'EZRAS HA'TZUR