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BERACHOS 61
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BERACHOS 61
 
12TH CYCLE:
 
Dedicated by Dr. Shalom Kelman of Baltimore in honor of Hagaon Rav Yehudah Copperman, dean of Michlala and author of many important Torah publications, including the annotated edition of the Meshech Chochmah and, most recently, "Mavo l'Limud Torah."

SUMMARY

1. A man may not walk behind a woman.
 
2. One is forbidden to gaze at any part of a woman (who is not his wife) in order to enjoy her beauty.
 
3. This world and the next world were created primarily for those who are totally evil or totally righteous, respectively.
 
4. The Gemara explains the verse, "And you should love Hashem with... all of your soul and all of your money."
 
5. Rebbi Akiva was executed by having his flesh combed off with metal combs as a punishment for having taught Torah.

A BIT MORE

1. The Gemara emphasizes the severity of this prohibition by saying that it is better to walk behind a lion than behind a woman. Even if the woman is his wife (and there is no prohibition against having illicit thoughts), it is deemed inappropriate.
 
2. Even if a man has learned Torah and fulfilled many Mitzvos, if he gazes at a woman's beauty he will not be spared from judgment in Gehinom.
 
3. The benefits of this world are given fully to those who are totally evil in order that they will receive all of their reward in this world and none in the World to Come. The opposite is true for those who are totally righteous and do not enjoy the benefits of this world; they will receive the full benefit of the World to Come.
 
4. Rebbi Eliezer: If a person loves his money more than himself, he should use his money to show his love for Hashem. If he loves his life more than his money, he should use his life for the service of Hashem, even if it means giving up his life (as Rebbi Eliezer's words are explained by Rebbi Akiva; see Maharsha).
 
5. As he was being killed, he recited the Shema and accepted the yoke of Heaven. When questioned by his students, he exclaimed how happy he was to finally be able to fulfill the verse he had wanted to fulfill his entire life, "And you should love Hashem... with all of your soul."

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