KERI'AS SHEMA AL HA'MITAH
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Even if a person said the nighttime Shema in synagogue, he should repeat it before sleeping.
(R. Asi): He learns from "Rigzu v'Al Techeta'u Imru bi'Levavchem (i.e. Shema, which mentions "Al Levavecha," should be) Al Mishkavtem (said upon going to sleep) v'Domu Sela";
(Rav Nachman): A Chacham need not repeat it (it suffices that he is always learning).
(Abaye): Even a Chacham should say verses arousing mercy, such as "b'Yadcha Afkid Ruchi Padisah Osi Hash-m Kel Emes."
(R. Levi bar Chama): A person should always arouse his Yetzer Tov to fight his Yetzer ha'Ra -- "Rigzu v'Al Techeta'u";
If he does not overpower his Yetzer ha'Ra, he should learn Torah -- "Imru bi'Levavchem";
If he still does not overpower it, he should recite Shema -- "Al Mishkavchem";
If he still does not overpower it, he should think about the day of death -- "v'Domu Sela."
(R. Levi bar Chama): "V'Etnah Lecha Es Luchos ha'Even veha'Torah veha'Mitzvah Asher Kasavti Lehorosam" -- "Luchos" are the Ten Commandments, "Torah" is the written Torah (Chumash), "Mitzvah" is Mishnah, "Asher Kasavti" is Nevi'im and Kesuvim, "Lehorosam" is Gemara;
This teaches that all of these were given at Sinai.
(R. Yitzchak): Anyone who reads Shema before sleep is like one who bears a double-edged sword (to kill Mazikin) -- "Romemos Kel bi'Gronam v'Cherev Pifiyos b'Yadam."
Question: How do we know that the verse refers to Keri'as Shema?
Answer (Mar Zutra): Before this it says "Yalzu Chasidim b'Chavod Yeranenu Al Mishkevosam."
(R. Yitzchak): Mazikin avoid one who reads Shema before sleep -- "u'Venei Reshef Yagbihu Uf";
"Uf" is Torah -- "Ha'sa'if Einecha v'Einenu" (if you close your eyes from Torah, you will forget it);
"Reshef" is Mazikin -- "Mezei Ra'av u'Lechumei Reshef."
(Reish Lakish): One who learns Torah is not beset by afflictions -- "u'Venei Reshef Yagbihu Uf";
"Uf" is Torah -- "Ha'sa'if Einecha v'Einenu."
(R. Yochanan): Even children learning Chumash know that -- "Im Shamo'a Tishma... Kol ha'Machalah Asher Samti b'Mitzrayim Lo Asim Alecha"!
(R. Yochanan): If one could engage in Torah and does not, he is beset by ugly afflictions -- "Ne'elamti Dumiyah Hechesheisi mi'Tov u'Ch'evi Nekar";
"Tov" is Torah -- "Ki Lekach Tov Nasati Lachem."
(R. Zeira): Hash-m's ways are unlike the ways of people:
When a person sells something, he is sad, the buyer is happy -- Hash-m gave Torah to Yisrael and was happy (He wants us to keep it) -- "Ki Lekach Tov Nasati Lachem Torasi Al Ta'azovu."
(Rava): If afflictions come upon a person, he should inspect his deeds -- "Nachpesah Derachenu v'Nachkorah v'Nashuvah Ad Hash-m";
If he inspected his deeds and did not find sin, he should attribute the afflictions to Bitul Torah -- "Ashrei ha'Gever Asher Teyasrenu Kah umi'Torascha Selamdenu." (Emes l'Yakov -- other sins would not bring afflictions unless they were b'Mezid, he would have found them.)
If he attributed the afflictions to Bitul Torah, but cannot find any, they are afflictions of love (not on account of sin, rather, to increase his reward in the World to Come - Rashi; Maharsha - to atone for others) -- "Ki Es Asher Ye'ehav Hash-m Yochi'ach."
(Rava): Anyone whom Hash-m likes, He crushes him with afflictions -- "v'Hashem Chafetz Dak'o Hecheli";
Suggestion: Perhaps they atone for him even if he does not accept them with love!
Rejection: "Im Tasim Asham Nafsho" -- just like a Korban Asham must be offered willingly, afflictions must be accepted willingly.
Question: If he accepts them, what is his reward?
Answer: "Yir'eh Zera Ya'arich Yamim" (he will have children and live a long life);
Also, he will remember his learning -- "v'Chefetz Hash-m b'Yado Yitzlach."
(R. Yakov bar Idi or R. Acha bar R. Chanina): Afflictions of love are those that do not cause Bitul Torah -- "Ashrei ha'Gever Asher Teyasrenu Kah umi'Torascha Selamdenu";
(The other of R. Yakov bar Idi and R. Acha bar R. Chanina): They are those that do not cause Bitul Tefilah -- "Baruch Elokim Asher Lo Hesir Tefilasi v'Chasdo me'Iti."
(R. Aba brei d'R. Chiya bar Aba): Both of these are afflictions of love -- "Ki Es Asher Ye'ehav Hash-m Yochi'ach";
Question: But it says "umi'Torascha Selamdenu" (You (Hash-m) will teach him, i.e. he will still be able to learn)!
Answer: We read this "Selamdeinu" (the Torah teaches us that one who is afflicted is fortunate; Maharshal -- we read it "Limadtanu," You taught this to us);
If a master knocks out the tooth or eye of his slave, a single limb, the slave goes free; afflictions scour the entire body, all the more so they free him (from liability for his sins).
(Reish Lakish): The Torah discusses Bris Melach -- "v'Lo Sashbis Melach Bris" (all Korbanos must be salted), and a Bris concerning afflictions (the curses in Ki Savo) -- "Eleh Divrei ha'Bris";
Just like salt makes meat tastier, also afflictions purge a person of his sin (some texts -- afflictions likewise turn his sins into merits - Etz Yosef).
(Beraisa - R. Shimon): Hash-m gave three great gifts to Yisrael, all came through afflictions -- Torah, Eretz Yisrael and the World to Come.
Question: What is the source that Torah was given through afflictions?
Answer: "Ashrei ha'Gever Asher Teyasrenu Kah umi'Torascha Selamdenu."
We know that Eretz Yisrael was given through afflictions, for it says "Ki ka'Asher Yeyaser Ish Es Beno," and then "Hash-m Elokecha Mevi'acha El Eretz Tovah."
We learn that the World to Come was given through afflictions, for it says "Ki Ner Mitzvah v'Sorah Or v'Derech Chayim Sochechos Musar."
AFFLICTIONS BRING ATONEMENT
(A reciter of Beraisos): If one engages in Torah and Chesed and buries his children, all of his sins are pardoned.
Question (R. Yochanan): I understand your source for Torah and Chesed -- it says "b'Chesed v'Emes Yechupar Avon";
"Emes" refers to Torah -- "Emes Keneh v'Al Timkor."
What is the source that burying one's children brings pardon?
Answer (an elder citing R. Shimon): We learn from a Gezeirah Shavah "Avon-Avon";
It says "b'Chesed v'Emes Yechupar Avon," and "u'Meshalem Avon Avos El Cheik Beneihem."
(R. Yochanan): Tzara'as and [loss of] children are not afflictions of love.
Question (Beraisa): Any of the four appearances of Tzara'as is like a Mizbe'ach to bring atonement for a person.
Answer #1: Tzara'as is like a Mizbe'ach of atonement, it is not afflictions of love.
Version #1 - Answer #2: It is afflictions of love for people in Chutz la'Aretz, but not for people in Eretz Yisrael (Rashi - they must leave the city; Tosfos - they must be careful about Tum'ah).
Version #2 - Maharsha - Answer #2: It is afflictions of love for others (who are forgiven through the suffering of Tzadikim), not for the Tzadikim stricken with the Tzara'as. (End of Version #2)
Answer #3: It is afflictions of love if it is in a covered place, not if it is exposed (then one is greatly embarrassed).
Question: Does R. Yochanan really hold that [loss of] children is not an affliction of love?
He used to console people by saying, "This is a bone from my tenth son (all of them died. Tosfos - surely, he only said this to others because it is afflictions of love; Rashi - surely, afflictions of a Tzadik like R. Yochanan are of love)!
Answer: If one had children and lost them, this is an affliction of love (the mourning atones for him); if one never had children, this is not an affliction of love.
R. Chiya bar Aba fell sick; R. Yochanan came to visit him.
R. Yochanan: Do you cherish afflictions?
R. Chiya: I do not desire them nor their reward (because they are causing Bitul Torah).
R. Yochanan took his hand, and R. Chiya recovered.
The same dialogue occurred when R. Yochanan fell sick, and R. Chanina resuscitated him.
Question: Why didn't R. Yochanan cure himself?
Answer: A prisoner cannot free himself from prison.
R. Elazar fell sick; R. Yochanan came to visit him, and saw that the house was dark. He uncovered his arm, illuminating the house (R. Yochanan had a great radiance); he saw that R. Elazar was crying.
R. Yochanan: If you are crying because you did not learn enough Torah, do not cry -- we learned that it does not matter whether one learns a lot or a little, as long as his intentions are for the sake of Shamayim!
If you are crying because you were poor, do not cry -- not everyone merits two worlds of wealth (Torah and monetary)!
If you are crying because you lost children, do not cry -- this is a bone from my tenth son!
(R. Elazar): I cry because your beauty (Maharsha - the last remnant of the beautiful people of Yerushalayim) will eventually rot in the ground.
R. Yochanan agreed that it is worthy to cry over this; he also cried. He asked, "Do you cherish afflictions?" R. Elazar said that he does not desire them nor their reward; R. Yochanan resuscitated him.
Four hundred barrels of Rav Huna's wine spoiled; he came to Rav Yehudah and Rabanan, they told him to examine his deeds.
Rav Huna: Do you suspect me?!
Rabanan: Do you suspect that Hash-m would punish you without reason?!
Rav Huna: Does anyone know anything that I did wrong?
Rabanan: You did not give to your sharecropper his share of vine branches.
Rav Huna: He stole much more than that from me!
Rabanan: This is like people say, one who steals from a thief tastes theft.
Rav Huna: I accept upon myself to give to him from now on.
Version #1: Rav Huna's wine became good again.
Version #2: Vinegar rose in price and equaled the price of wine.
PROPER CONDUCT REGARDING PRAYER
(Beraisa - Aba Binyamin): I always exerted myself about two things:
That my Tefilah should be near my bed.
Question: What does this mean?
Answer #1: This is meant literally.
Rejection: Rav Yehudah taught that when one prays, nothing should separate him from the wall in front -- "va'Yasev Chizkiyahu Panav El ha'Kir va'Yispalel"!
Answer #2: It means, "my Tefilah should be close to my bed," i.e. to say Keri'as Shema and pray right after rising, before working (Rashi - or learning).
That my bed should be north-south.
(R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): Anyone who put his bed between north-south merits to have sons -- "u'Tzefuncha Temalei Vitnam Yibe'u Vanim." (Ramban (Igeres ha'Kodesh)- this refers to having relations at the intermediate time, between the extremes of north (cold, i.e. hunger) and south (heat, i.e. satiation).)
(Beraisa - Aba Binyamin): If two people enter a synagogue together to pray, and one leaves before the other finishes, the Tefilah [of the first] is torn up -- "Toref Nafsho b'Apo ha'Lema'ancha Te'azev Aretz";
Also, it causes the Shechinah to depart from Yisrael -- "v'Yetak Tzur mi'Mekomo."
Question: If he waits for him, what is his reward?
Answer (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): He merits the following Berachos -- "Lu Hikshavta l'Mitzvosai va'Yehi cha'Nahar Shelomecha..."