KNOWING THE EXACT MOMENT OF MIDNIGHT
(R. Yitzchak bar Ada): Rav Acha learns (about the harp over David's bed) from "Urah Chevodi Urah ha'Nevel v'Chinor A'irah ha'Shachar."
Answer #2 (to Question 4:i, 3b - R. Zeira): Moshe and David both knew when midnight is.
Question: If so, why did David need the harp to start playing then?
Answer: It was to wake him.
Question: If Moshe knew, why did he say, "ka'Chatzos"?
Answer #1: He was concerned lest Pharaoh's astrologers will err, and say that Moshe lied.
It was taught -- train yourself to say, "I do not know," lest you will be caught saying a falsity.
Answer #2 (Rav Ashi): Moshe was speaking to Yisrael at midnight of the 14th; he told them "ka'Chatzos," i.e. at this same time tomorrow, Hash-m will kill the firstborns.
(Levi or R. Yitzchak): "L'David Shamrah Nafshi Ki Chasid Ani" -- David considers himself a Chasid (one who goes beyond the letter of the law) because "other kings sleep until three hours of the day, and I rise at midnight to praise You."
(The other of Levi and R. Yitzchak): David considers himself a Chasid because "other kings sit amidst grandeur, and my hands are dirty with blood, Shefir (the outer skin of an aborted fetus) and Shilya (fetal sac), in order to be Metaher women to permit them to their husbands";
"Also -- I consult with my Rebbi, Mefiboshes, about everything -- I do not refrain on account of shame (even though sometimes he tells me that I erred)!"
(R. Yehoshua brei d'Rav Rav Idi bar Avin): He learns from "va'Adabrah v'Edosecha v'Lo Evosh."
(Beraisa): His real name was Ish Boshes -- he is called Mefiboshes because he shamed David in Halachah.
This is why David merited that Kal'ev descended from him.
(R. Yochanan): His real name was Daniel -- he is called Kal'ev because he was HiChLim (shamed) Mefiboshes in Halachah -- "Chacham Beni v'Samach Libi v'Ashivah Chorfi Davar."
Question: Did David really call himself a Chasid?!
(Beraisa - R. Yosi) Question: "Lulei He'emanti Lir'os b'Tuv Hash-m b'Eretz Chayim" -- why are there dots on top of "Lulei"?
Answer: David told Hash-m, "I know that You pay a good reward to Tzadikim in the World to Come, but I do not know whether or not I will have a share among them, for perhaps I will lose my portion on account of sin!"
Contradiction (R. Yakov bar Idi): Hash-m promised Yakov, "... u'Shemarticha b'Chol Asher Telech," yet it says, "va'Yira Yakov Me'od"!
Answer: He was concerned that he sinned and thereby forfeited Hash-m's promise.
(Beraisa): "Ad Ya'avor Amcha Hash-m Ad Ya'avor Am Zu Kanisa" -- these refer to the two times Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael, in the days of Yehoshua and the days of Ezra;
The verse equates them -- Yisrael should have entered the second time amidst miracles like the first time; they did not, because they sinned.
THE TIME FOR SAYING THE NIGHTTIME SHEMA
(Mishnah - Chachamim): The time extends until midnight.
Question: Like whom do Chachamim hold?
If they hold like R. Eliezer (that the Mitzvah is when most people go to sleep), they should say as he says (until four hours);
If they hold like R. Gamliel (it is as long as people are sleeping), they should say as he says (until dawn)!
Answer: Really, they hold like R. Gamliel; they say "until midnight" to distance people from transgressing (lest one not say the nighttime Shema before dawn).
(Beraisa): Chachamim made a protective fence, lest a person come home from the field and say, "I will eat and sleep a bit, and later I will say Shema and pray" -- perhaps he will sleep the entire night!
Rather, when a person comes from the field, he should go to the synagogue; he should read (Torah, Nevi'im or Kesuvim) or learn Mishnayos, whatever he is accustomed to learning. [In the proper time] he will read Shema and pray -- afterwards, he will eat his bread and bless;
Anyone who transgresses Chachamim's words is Chayav Misah.
Question: Why does it say specifically concerning this decree that anyone who transgresses Chachamim's words is Chayav Misah?
Answer #1: It is common that people are overcome by sleep.
Answer #2: The Tana holds that Ma'ariv is mandatory, he says this to argue with the opinion that it is optional.
(Beraisa): He will read Shema and pray...
This supports R. Yochanan:
(R. Yochanan): A Ben Olam ha'Ba is one who is Somech Ge'ulah l'Tefilah (starts Shemoneh Esreh right after the Keri'as Shema and its Berachos, which discuss redemption) at Ma'ariv.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Tefilos (Shmoneh Esreh) were fixed in the middle (after the morning Shema, and before the nighttime Shema).
Question: What do they argue about?
Answer: They argue about reasoning, or about a verse:
Possibility #1: They argue about reasoning -- R. Yochanan holds that the redemption (from Mitzrayim) was also at night (therefore, we must be Somech Ge'ulah l'Tefilah), R. Yehoshua ben Levi holds that since it was not complete until the day, the Ge'ulah at night is not so important.
Possibility #2: They argue about a verse, "uv''Shochbecha uv''Kumecha" -- R. Yochanan holds that this equates lying down to rising;
Just like when we rise, [the morning] Shema is before Tefilah, also when we lie down (and say the nighttime Shema);
R. Yehoshua ben Levi equates lying down to rising differently -- just like when we rise, Shema is closer to sleep than Tefilah (i.e. before Tefilah), also when we lie down (saying Shema is closer to sleep, i.e. after Tefilah).
Question (Mar brei d'Ravina): At night one makes two Berachos before Shema and two afterwards;
If so, one is not being Somech Ge'ulah l'Tefilah, because the second Berachah after Shema, "Hashkiveinu," does not mention Ge'ulah!
Answer: Since the Chachamim appended it to the first Berachah (of Ge'ulah) after Shema, it is like part of Ge'ulah.
Support: We must give such an answer to explain how one is Somech Ge'ulah l'Tefilah at Shacharis!
(R. Yochanan): One must say "Hash-m Sefasai Tiftach..." before Shemoneh Esreh; afterwards, one must say "Yiheyu Leratzon...."
Answer: We must say that since the Chachamim appended it to Tefilah, it is like part of Tefilah.
Likewise, since the Chachamim appended "Hashkiveinu" to the Berachah of Ge'ulah, it is like part of Ge'ulah.
(R. Avina): Anyone who says "Tehilah l'David" ("Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha") three times a day is guaranteed to have a share in Olam ha'Ba.
Question: What is the reason?
Suggestion: This is because it is written according to the Alef-Beis (and declares the praise of Hash-m in a full manner; Penei Yehoshua -- it strengthens one's belief that the entire world is just for the sake of Torah, which was given through the Alef-Beis).
Rejection: If so, the same should apply to "Ashrei Temimei Derech" (Tehilim 119), which is written according to an eight-fold Alef-Beis!
Answer #1: It is because it says "Pose'ach Es Yadecha..." (Hash-m feeds the entire world).
Rejection: If so, the same should apply to Hallel ha'Gadol (Tehilim 136), which says "Nosen Lechem l'Chol Basar"!
Answer #2: It is because it has both of these attributes.
Question (R. Yochanan): Why is there no verse in Ashrei beginning with "Nun"?
Answer: "Nun" alludes to the downfall of the haters (this is a euphemism) of Yisrael -- "Naflah Lo Sosif Kum Besulas Yisrael";
In Eretz Yisrael, they explain "Naflah Lo Sosif" (Yisrael fell, she will not continue to fall); "Kum Besulas Yisrael" -- now, she will rise.
(Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Nevertheless, David mentions (in Ashrei) supporting the fallen -- "Somech Hash-m l'Chol ha'Noflim."
(R. Elazar bar Avina): Regarding Micha'el it says, "va'Ya'af Elai Echad Min ha'Serafim" (one jump), whereas "veha'Ish Gavri'el... Mu'af bi'Af" (he required two jumps).
Question: How do we know that the first verse refers to Micha'el?
Answer (R. Yochanan): We learn from a Gezeirah Shavah "Echad-Echad" -- "Micha'el Achad ha'Sarim."
(Beraisa): Micha'el gets to his destination in one jump, Gavri'el requires two jumps, Eliyahu requires four, the Malach ha'Maves requires eight;
At the time of a plague, the Malach ha'Maves only needs one.