BERACHOS 54 (14 Nisan) - dedicated by Mr. D. Kornfeld l'Iluy Nishmas his grandmother, Chayah bas Aryeh Leib Shpira (nee Sole), on the day of her Yahrzeit.

[54a - 51 lines; 54b - 58 lines]

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We recommend using the textual changes suggested by the Bach and the marginal notes of the Vilna Shas. This section is devoted to any other important corrections that Acharonim have pointed out in the Gemara, Rashi and Tosfos.

[1] Mishnah 54a [at the end]:

"Heferu Sorasecha Mishum Es La'asos" הפרו תורתך משום את לעשות

The word "Mishum" does not appear in the Mishnayos. It also seems from the Rambam in Peirush ha'Mishnayos that it did not appear in his text of the Mishnah (see Insights).

[2] Gemara 54a [line 50]:

"Es Vahev b'Sufah Shnei Metzora'im" את והב בסופה שני מצוערים

The word "b'Sufah" does not appear in Dikdukei Sofrim #7.

[3] Gemara 54b [line 36]:

"v'Chomas Yericho she'Nivle'ah" וחומת יריחו שנבלעה

The colons before and after these words are unnecessary.

[4] Rashi 54b DH Moshe Kamah Hevei ד"ה משה כמה הוי:

Source: Shabbos 92a



1)[line 4]זיקיןZIKIN- shooting stars and comets

2)[line 5]זועותZEVA'OS- earthquakes

3)[line 5]רעמיםRE'AMIM- thunder

4)[line 6]ברקיםBERAKIM- bolts of lightning

5)[line 7]הריםHARIM- exceptionally high mountains

6)[line 11]לפרקיםL'FERAKIM- from time to time, i.e., less often than once every thirty days

7)[line 14]על הרעה מעין על הטובהAL HA'RA'AH ME'EIN AL HA'TOVAH- on a bad incident which will eventually turn out to be good, e.g. if one's field is flooded, but the water is saturated with minerals which in the future will help produce excellent crops

8)[line 15]הצועק לשעברHA'TZO'EK LESHE'AVAR- one who cries out in prayer for something that has already transpired

9)[line 23]בכל מדה ומדהB'CHOL MIDAH U'MIDAH- every measure [that HaSh-m metes out to you]; the reward or punishment that HaSh-m metes out to you

10)[line 24]שער המזרחSHA'AR HA'MIZRACH- the eastern gate of Har ha'Bayis, Sha'ar Shushan (see Background to Midos 34:11)

11)[line 25]פונדתוPUNDASO- and with a hollow belt used for holding money

12)[line 26]קפנדריאKAPANDARYA- a shortcut

13)[line 26]רקיקהREKIKAH- spitting

14)[line 29]"והנה בעז בא מבית לחם ויאמר לקוצרים ה' עמכם; ויאמרו לו יברכך ה'""V'HINEH BOAZ BA MI'BEIS LECHEM VA'YOMER LA'KOTZERIM, 'HASH-M IMACHEM;' VA'YOMERU LO, 'YEVARECHECHA HASH-M'"- "And behold Boaz arrived from Beis Lechem, and he said to the harvesters, 'May HaSh-m be with you!' And they said to him, "May HaSh-m bless you'" (Ruth 2:4).

15)[line 30]"וירא אליו מלאך ה' ויאמר אליו ה' עמך גבור החיל""[VA'YERA ELAV MAL'ACH HASH-M VA'YOMER ELAV:] HASH-M IMCHA GIBOR HE'CHAYIL" - "[And an angel of HaSh-m appeared to him (Gid'on), and he said to him:] HaSh-m is with you, mighty warrior!" (Shoftim 6:12) (GID'ON AND THE ANGEL)

(a)The Jewish people were suffering under the heavy yoke of the Midyanim. One day, Gid'on, the Shofet, was beating wheat in the winepress. An angel appeared to him and sat underneath the oak-tree in Ofrah that belonged to his father, Yo'ash, from the family of Aviezer and the tribe of Menasheh. The angel informed him that HaSh-m was with him. When he asked that if HaSh-m was with Yisrael then why were they subjugated by their oppressors, the angel replied that it was precisely on account of his defense of the people that he had been chosen to lead them to victory against the Midyanim, and that is why he would succeed.

(b)Gid'on then pointed out that the section of the family to which his father belonged was the least important in the wider family, and that he was the youngest of his father's children. How, he asked, could he possibly succeed in such an important mission? When HaSh-m replied that He would be with him and that he would defeat Midyan with ease, he asked HaSh-m for a sign that He was speaking with him.

(c)Asking HaSh-m to wait while he brought his gift, he returned a short while later with a kid-goat and an Eifah of Matzah-flour. He prepared the goat, placed the flesh in a basket and the gravy in a pot, and he placed everything under a local oak-tree. The angel instructed him to place the goat and the Matzos on a certain rock and to pour out the gravy.

(d)The angel then stretched out the edge of the staff he was holding and touched the meat and the Matzos, when fire emerged from the rock and consumed them. The angel himself disappeared. Realizing that he had just seen an angel face to face, Gid'on (like Mano'ach, Shimshon's father) was gripped with fear that he was about to die. HaSh-m assured him that all would be well and that he would not die. Gid'on built a Mizbe'ach there.

(e)Gid'on went on to defeat the Midyanim decisively.

16)[line 34]עבר ימינאEVER YEMINA- a district south of the Euphrates River

17)[line 35]דמטיתD'MATIS- that you come

18)[line 36]פקתא דערבותPIKSA D'ARAVOS- the valley of Aravos (Steppes) in Bavel

19)[line 37]צחא למיאTZACHA L'MAYA- he was thirsty for water

20)[line 37]איברי ליה עינא דמיאIVRI LEI EINA D'MAYA- a spring of water was created for him

21)[line 38]רסתקא דמחוזאRISTEKA DI'MECHOZA- the marketplace of Mechoza, a large Jewish trading town on the Tigris River

22)[line 38]נפל עליה גמלא פריצאNAFAL ALEI GAMLA PERITZA- a wild camel attacked him

23)[line 38]איתפרקא ליה אשיתאISPARKA LEI ASHISA- part of the wall of a house collapsed (and an opening was created)

24)[line 39]על לגוהAL L'GAVAH- he went inside

25)[line 42]מעברות הירדןMA'ABAROS HA'YARDEN- and the place where the Yarden River dried up when Bnei Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael, as is related in Yehoshua 3:1-24. The site is believed to be located below the modern-day Adam Bridge (for further insights to its location, refer to Audio Shiur to Berachos 54: The Places where Miracles Happened to Bnei Yisrael)

26)[line 42]מעברות נחלי ארנוןMA'ABAROS NACHALEI ARNON- the place where the Jews miraculously passed over the Arnon River, to which the verses in Bamidbar (21:13-15) allude. The Arnon is an enormous trench which cuts across the plateau of Moav, some 1700 feet deep and two miles wide (for further insights to its location, refer to Audio Shiur to Berachos 54: The Places where Miracles Happened to Bnei Yisrael).

27)[line 42]אבני אלגבישAVNEI ELGAVISH- unusually large hailstones; alt. meteors (based on the word found in Yechezkel 13:11, 13 and 38:22) (for further insights to these stones and their location, refer to Audio Shiur to Berachos 54: The Places where Miracles Happened to Bnei Yisrael)

28)[line 43]מורד בית חורוןMORAD BEIS CHORON

(a)Beis Choron is the name of twin towns on the border between Binyamin and Efrayim, located in the foothills leading up from Lod to Yerushalayim. The altitude of Beis Choron Elyon is 600 meters, and the altitude of Beis Choron Tachton is 400 meters. The distance between them is three and a half kilometers. The road that connects them is bordered on both sides by steep cliffs and wadis, and is called Morad Beis Choron.

(b)During the war of Yehoshua and Bnei Yisrael against the five Emorite kings who attacked the city of Giv'on, HaSh-m told Yehoshua not to fear the Emorim. After Bnei Yisrael routed the enemy and forced them to flee, HaSh-m caused great hailstones to rain down upon them, killing more soldiers than Bnei Yisrael had, as related in Yehoshua 10:2-11.

29)[line 47]"ויעמדו הכהנים נשאי הארון ברית ה' בחרבה בתוך הירדן הכן וכל ישראל עברים בחרבה עד אשר תמו כל הגוי לעבור את הירדן""VA'YA'AMDU HA'KOHANIM NOS'EI HA'ARON BRIS HASH-M BE'CHARAVAH B'SOCH HA'YARDEN HACHEN; V'CHOL YISRAEL OVERIM BE'CHARAVAH, AD ASHER TAMU HA'GOI LA'AVOR ES HA'YARDEN" - "And the Kohanim who were carrying the Aron of the covenant of HaSh-m stood on dry land in the middle of the Yarden, prepared, while all of Yisrael crossed on dry land (and they remained there) until the entire nation had finished crossing the Yarden" (Yehoshua 3:17) (THE KOHANIM AND THE SPLITTING OF THE YARDEN RIVER)

(a)It was on the ninth of Nisan, the third day after the two spies (Kalev and Pinchas) returned from their successful mission, that Yehoshua ordered Yisrael to prepare themselves for the great miracle of the splitting of the Yarden River. This miracle would be initiated by the Kohanim, who carried the Aron, as the verse mentions, and would enable Yisrael to enter Eretz Kena'an and begin the conquest of the land. In verse 12, the Navi describes how twelve leaders, one from each tribe, would step into the Yarden with the Kohanim to witness this miracle.

(b)The moment the Kohanim stepped into the water at the edge of the Yarden River, the water at one end flowed on, while the water at the other end piled up into a wall, and the riverbed dried up.

(c)They remained standing there until the whole of Yisrael had crossed, before stepping back up onto the east bank. At that point, the water that had been piling up continued to flow, and the Aron flew them across the river to join the rest of the people on the west bank.

30)[last line]כי הוו קא חלפי ישראלKI HAVU KA CHALFEI YISRAEL- when Bnei Yisrael were passing


31)[line 1]נקירותאNEKIRUSA- caves

32)[line 1]טשו בהוןVTASHU BEHON- they hid in them

33)[line 3]מסגיMASGEI- passing

34)[line 3]ממיך להוMEMICH LEHU- flatten for them

35)[line 8]"אשד""ESHED"- "waterfall" (lit. spilling) (Bamidbar 21:15)

36)[line 16]"ויהי בנסם מפני ישראל הם במורד בית חורון וה' השליך עליהם אבנים גדלות [מן השמים עד עזקה וימתו רבים אשר מתו באבני הברד מאשר הרגו בני ישראל בחרב]""VA'YEHI B'NUSAM MIPNEI YISRAEL, HEM B'MORAD BEIS CHORON VA'SH-M HISHLICH ALEIHEM AVANIM GEDOLOS [MIN HA'SHAMAYIM AD AZEIKAH, VA'YAMUSU; RABIM ASHER MESU BE'AVNEI HA'BARAD ME'ASHER HARGU BNEI YISRAEL BE'CHAREV]" - "And it was when they fled before Bnei Yisrael, they were on the slopes of Beis Choron, when HaSh-m cast upon them large stones [from the heavens until they reached Azeikah, and they died; there were more that died through the hailstones than those that Yisrael killed by the sword]" (Yehoshua 10:11) (YEHOSHUA RESCUES THE GIV'ONIM)

(a)Adoni-Tzedek, the Emorite king of Shalem (Yerushalayim), heard how Yehoshua captured Ai and its king, just as he had captured Yericho and its king, and that the men of Giv'on (who were all mighty warriors) had made a peace-treaty with Yisrael and joined forces with them, thereby weakening the resolve of the remaining Canaanites to fight against Yisrael. Gripped with fear, he sent a message to four other major kings in the region (every major city in Eretz Kena'an was ruled by a king) asking them to join forces with him and attack Giv'on.

(b)When the men of Giv'on suddenly found themselves under attack from this vast army, they sent an urgent message to Yehoshua to come to their aid. Yehoshua immediately mobilized the troops. After an assurance from HaSh-m that he would defeat Adoni-Tzedek and his army, Yehoshua's army marched all night from Gilgal and caught the enemy by surprise. Yehoshua defeated them, as HaSh-m had assured him, to the point that not one man remained.

(c)This was the famous battle in which Yehoshua ordered the sun to stand still until the victory was complete.

(d)The verse later describes how the army of Yisrael chased and killed all those who were not killed by the stones, and how they captured and humiliated the five kings (who had hidden in a cave) before putting them to death and hanging their bodies until the evening.

37)[line 20]גמרא גמירי להGEMARA GEMIRI LAH- we know it by tradition that Moshe received on Mount Sinai ("Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai")

38a)[line 22]קמציKAMTZEI- ants or locusts

b)[line 23]למשלפהL'MISHLEFA- to take it off

39)[line 23]משכי שיניהMASHCHEI SHINEI- his teeth stretched; grew longer

40)[line 26]שרבבתSHIRVAVTA- You lengthened, stretched

41)[line 26]נרגאNARGA- an ax

42)[line 27]שוורSHAVAR- he jumped

43)[line 27]מחייה בקרסוליהMACHYEI B'KARSULEI- he hit him in his ankle (O.F. cheville)

44)[line 30]"[וירע העם ויתקעו בשופרות ויהי כשמע העם את קול השופר ויריעו העם תרועה גדולה] ותפל החומה תחתיה [ויעל העם העירה איש נגדו וילכדו את העיר]""[VA'YARA HA'AM VA'YISKE'U BA'SHOFAROS,VA'YEHI CHI'SHMO'A HA'AM ES KOL HA'SHOFAR VA'YARI'U HA'AM TERU'AH GEDOLAH] VA'TIPOL HA'CHOMAH TACHTEHAH [VA'YA'AL HA'AM HA'IRAH ISH NEGDO, VA'YILKEDU ES HA'IR]" - "[And the people (the Kohanim) sounded a Teru'ah and they sounded a Teki'ah on the Shofaros, and it was when the people heard the sound of the Shofar, the people blew a Teru'ah Gedolah,] and the wall fell in its place (it sunk into the ground) [and the people entered the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city]" (Yehoshua 6:20) (YEHOSHUA CAPTURES YERICHO)

(a)Yericho, the first city against which Yehoshua fought, was impregnable. The governing body of the city allowed nobody to leave or enter it the moment the siege of Yericho began, in order to deny Yisrael any information that might enable them to gain access to the city.

(b)After assuring Yehoshua that He would deliver Yericho and its king into his hands, HaSh-m told Yehoshua to have the soldiers to walk around the city once a day for six days (from Sunday to Friday). Seven Kohanim were to walk in front of the Aron (which was carried by other Kohanim in front of the troops) as they held seven Shofaros, which they blew as they encircled the city. The troops were led by Reuven, Gad, and half of Menasheh, in fulfillment of their promise to Moshe Rabeinu to lead the nation in the conquest of the land, as they promised Moshe they would, and at the rear of the camp was the tribe of Dan, as consistent with its position through the sojourn in the desert. During these six days, the troops were ordered not to blow their Shofaros and to remain silent until they received instructions to the contrary. Each night, they would encamp in their place until the morning.

(c)On the seventh day, beginning at the break of dawn, they were to walk around the city seven times in the same manner as they had done during the previous six days. This time, however, after completing the seventh circuit, the Kohanim were to blow a long Teki'ah (a Teki'ah Gedolah), at which the people were to respond with a Teru'ah Gedolah, as the verse describes.

(d)Yehoshua gave them a severe warning against taking any spoils from the city. (As described in the next chapter, this command was violated by Achan.) All the silver, gold, and other metal vessels that they found there belonged to the treasury of the House of HaSh-m. The city itself was razed to the ground, and all its inhabitants, as well as all the animals, were killed by the sword. The one exception was Rachav ha'Zonah and her entire family, whom Yehoshua commanded Pinchas and Kalev to save as they had promised her. (See Background to Berachos 43:17.)

(e)Yehoshua then made an oath that whoever would rebuild Yericho would lose all of his children, starting with his firstborn son as he established its foundation stone, and ending with his youngest son as he put up the doors.

(f)In the time of Eliyahu ha'Navi, this oath was violated by Chi'el from Beis El.

(g)The fall of Yericho was the beginning of the conquest of Kena'an.

45a)[line 38]פותיהPUSYAH- its width

b)[line 38]רומהRUMAH- its height

46)[line 42]"יחוגו...""YACHOGU..."- "they reel and they stagger like a drunkard" (Tehilim 107:27) - This verse describes a rough sea voyage.

47)[line 43]"ויצעקו... בצר להם וממצוקותיהם יוציאם""VA'YITZ'AKU... BATZAR LAHEM, UMI'METZUKOSEIHEM YOTZI'EM"- "They cried out... in their distress, and from their woes He removed them" (Tehilim 107:28) - They are saved by HaSh-m after they cry out to Him, when they are worthy of being saved.

48)[line 44]"בישימון""B'YESHIMON"- "in the wilderness" (Tehilim 107:4)

49)[line 45]"אוילים""EVILIM"- "fools" (Tehilim 107:17)

50)[line 48]"ויכנע בעמל לבם [כשלו ואין עזר]""VA'YACHNA BE'AMAL LIBAM; [KASHLU V'EIN OZER]"- "He humbled their heart with toil; [they stumbled, and there was no one who would help]" (Tehilim 107:12) - This verse describes how HaSh-m causes captives to repent, such that they cry out to Him and are worthy of being saved.

51)[line 52]אתפחISPACH- and he was cured

52)[line 52]רב חנא בגדתאהRAV CHANA BAGDESA'AH- (a) Rav Chana of Baghdad (RASHBAM to Bava Basra 142b); (b) Rav Chana, the expert on Agadaic literature (RASHI to Yevamos 67a)

53)[line 55]חיהCHAYAH- a woman who has recently given birth