1)[line 2]הרוגי ביתרHARUGEI BEITAR

(a)Beitar was a large city in Eretz Yisrael destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish revolt some 54 years following the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash (circa 122 C.E.). The carnage was so great that the blood of the murdered men, women, and children flowed into the Mediterranean Sea, a full Mil away (Gitin 57a; according to Eichah Rabah 2:4 it was four Mil [alt. 40 Mil]). The Gemara (ibid.) records that the neighboring Nochrim had no need to fertilize their vineyards for seven years following this massacre due to the blood that had been absorbed into the ground.

(b)The Roman Government did not allow the burial of the martyrs of Beitar. They were so numerous; one emperor fenced in his vineyard with dead bodies (Eichah Rabah 2:4). After quite some time, the next emperor permitted the burial. Miraculously, the bodies had not decomposed. In commemoration of both this favor from HaSh-m and that burial had been granted, the Chachamim at that time established the fourth blessing of Birkas ha'Mazon, "ha'Tov veha'Metiv" ("He Who is good and He Who benefits others").

2)[line 3]ביבנהYAVNEH- a city near the coast of Eretz Yisrael (near present-day Rechovot), which was the first seat of the Sanhedrin when it went into exile following the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash

3)[line 4]הטוב והמטיבHA'TOV VEHA'METIV- He Who is good and He Who benefits others; this is the name of the fourth blessing of Birkas ha'Mazon (see above, entry #1)

4)[line 4]הסריחוHISRICHU- decomposed

5)[line 6]מלכרות עצים למערכהLI'CHROS ETZIM L'MA'ARACHAH- to chop wood for the arrangement of wood in the middle of the Mizbe'ach [upon which Korbanos are offered]

6)[line 8]תשש כחה של חמהTASHASH KOCHAH SHEL CHAMAH- the strength of the sun weakens

7)[line 9]שאינן יבשיןEINAN YEVESHIM- they are not dry [and therefore become infested with worms, rendering them unfit for use in the Ma'arachah]

8)[line 10]יום תבר מגלYOM TEVAR MAGAL- the Day of the Breaking of the Axe (although a Magal is usually translated as a sickle, here it refers to a type of axe)

9a)[line 11]דמוסיף יוסיףD'MOSIF YOSIF- he who increases [the amount of time he spends learning Torah at night during the longer nights of the winter] will have his [life] extended

b)[line 11]ודלא מוסיף (יאסף) [יסף]UD'LO MOSIF (YE'ASEF) YASEIF- and he who does not increase [the amount of time he spends learning at night during the longer nights of the winter] will perish

10)[line 13]תקבריה אימיהTIKBEREI IMEI- his mother will bury him; i.e., he will die young

11a)[line 15]סגןSEGAN- the Segan Kohen Gadol [who has been designated as understudy to the Kohen Gadol in case he becomes unfit to perform the Yom Kippur service]


(a)A Milchemes Reshus is the term used to refer to a war begun by the Jewish people of their own volition. One example of such a war was that waged by David ha'Melech against Aram Tzova (Syria) in order to annex that territory to Eretz Yisrael. A king may not mobilize his troops for a Milchemes Reshus without the approval of the Beis Din ha'Gadol (court of seventy-one judges; Sanhedrin 20b).

(b)A Kohen is appointed at the onset of war to motivate and encourage the soldiers. This Kohen is anointed with the Shemen ha'Mishchah (see Background to Shekalim 16:6), and he is referred to as the Kohen Meshu'ach Milchamah (Sotah 42a; see Background to Sotah 42:12). Shotrim (officers) are appointed to lead the troops in battle. All soldiers must be at least twenty years of age. In addition, the soldiers must meet certain requirements in order to fulfill the injunction of "v'Hayah Machanecha Kadosh" — "and your [war] camp shall be holy" (Devarim 23:15, RAMBAM Hilchos Melachim 6:14-15).

(c)Before the soldiers leave Eretz Yisrael for the battlefront, the Kohen Meshu'ach Milchamah reads the portion of the Torah (Devarim 20:5-7) which details those who are exempt from the battle. These are:

1.one who built a house but has not yet moved into it;

2.one who planted a vineyard but has not yet redeemed its fourth-year fruits (Orlah; see Background to Pesachim 75:4);

3.one who betrothed a woman but has not yet married her.

4.A Shoter then reads the next verse (ibid. 20:8), which states that all who are afraid of the battle should return to their homes, lest their attitude rub off on the remaining soldiers.

12)[line 19]מקופליןMEKUPALIN U'MUNACHIN B'KUFSA- [those clothing which had been] folded and [were] lying in a box [and presumably were not put away while in a state of Tum'ah, so as to avoid embarrassing anyone]

13)[line 20]נפנהNIFNEH- turned

14a)[line 21]יפיפיותYEFEIFIYOS- those [maidens] who are beautiful

b)[line 22]מיוחסותMEYUCHASOS- those [maidens] who come from a distinguished lineage

c)[line 23]מכוערותMECHU'AROS- those [maidens] who are homely [and cannot boast of a distinguished lineage]

15)[line 22]שאין האשה אלאEIN HA'ISHAH ELA...- one of the main purposes of a wife is...

16)[line 24]לשום שמיםL'SHUM SHAMAYIM- for the sake of Heaven

17)[line 24]שתעטרונו בזהוביםTA'ATRUNU B'ZEHUVIM- you will adorn us with golden jewelry [and attractive clothing so that we are able to appear attractive to you]

18)[line 25]מחולMACHOL- a moving circle

19)[line 26]מראהMAR'EH- point

20)[line 26]"ואמר ביום ההוא הנה א-לקינו זה קוינו לו, ויושיענו; זה ה' קוינו לו נגילה ונשמחה בישועתו""V'AMAR BA'YOM HA'HU, HINEH E-LOKEINU ZEH KIVINU LO, V'YOSHI'ENU; ZEH HASH-M KIVINU LO, NAGILAH V'NISMECHAH BI'YESHU'ASO" - "And Yisrael will say on that day: Behold this is my G-d, we hoped for Him to save us; this is HaSh-m in Whom we hoped, let us rejoice and be happy in His salvation" (Yeshayah 25:9) (DANCING IN A CIRCLE)

(a)The Gemara explains that this verse refers to the time of Mashi'ach, when the Tzadikim will dance in a circle with HaSh-m's presence in the middle and each one of them will point at Him with his finger and say, "Behold this is my G-d...."

(b)The verse begins with the Divine name "E-lokeinu," and ends with the name "HaSh-m." Perhaps what it means is that each Tzadik will now be able to see the hand of E-lokim (the name which represents Divine judgment) in all of the troubles that he and the world experienced. He will realize simultaneously that all those troubles were really acts of kindness, since each and every one helped bring about the salvation. In other words, in times of trouble, we may well believe that our suffering is a result of Midas ha'Din, but when the Mashi'ach arrives and the truth is revealed, we will realize that they were all acts of Midas ha'Chesed.

(c)The concept of a circular dance which is expressed in this verse may be understood as follows: When people dance around someone, they all see the person in the center from different angles, while at the same time all of the people are exactly the same distance from him, with nobody closer and nobody farther. Since they are in a circle, it takes only one person to leave the circle to break it. Accordingly, each and every Tzadik understands HaSh-m from a different perspective, and yet each Tzadik is as close to HaSh-m as the one dancing next to him and the one dancing opposite him. Moreover, they are not standing still, but dancing in a circle; Tzadikim constantly strive to understand HaSh-m from different angles and with different perspectives, using their changing circumstances and environments to understand more. Once they have danced full circle, they have seen HaSh-m, so to speak, from every conceivable angle.

(d)What is of vital importance is that no Tzadik leave the circle, for that would break the circle.

21)[line 27]קוינו לוKIVINU LO- we [placed our] hope in Him