Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 2a
MISHNAH. FROM WHAT TIME MAY ONE RECITE THE SHEMA’ IN THE EVENING? FROM THE TIME THAT THE PRIESTS ENTER [THEIR HOUSES] IN ORDER TO EAT THEIR TERUMAH1 UNTIL THE END OF THE FIRST WATCH.2 THESE ARE THE WORDS OF R. ELIEZER. THE SAGES SAY: UNTIL MIDNIGHT. R. GAMALIEL SAYS: UNTIL THE DAWN COMES UP.3 ONCE IT HAPPENED THAT HIS4 SONS CAME HOME [LATE] FROM A WEDDING FEAST AND THEY SAID TO HIM: WE HAVE NOT YET RECITED THE [EVENING] SHEMA’. HE SAID TO THEM: IF THE DAWN HAS NOT YET COME UP YOU ARE STILL BOUND TO RECITE. AND NOT IN RESPECT TO THIS ALONE DID THEY SO DECIDE, BUT WHEREVER THE SAGES SAY UNTIL MIDNIGHT’, THE PRECEPT MAY BE PERFORMED UNTIL THE DAWN COMES UP. THE PRECEPT OF BURNING THE FAT AND THE [SACRIFICIAL] PIECES, TOO, MAY BE PERFORMED TILL THE DAWN COMES UP.5 SIMILARLY, ALL [THE OFFERINGS] THAT ARE TO BE EATEN WITHIN ONE DAY MAY LAWFULLY BE CONSUMED TILL THE COMING UP OF THE DAWN. WHY THEN DID THE SAGES SAY ‘UNTIL MIDNIGHT’? IN ORDER TO KEEP A MAN FAR FROM TRANSGRESSION.
GEMARA. On what does the Tanna base himself that he commences: FROM WHAT TIME?6 Furthermore, why does he deal first with the evening [Shema’]? Let him begin with the morning [Shema’]! — The Tanna bases himself on the Scripture, where it is written [And thou shalt recite them] . . . when thou liest down and when thou risest up,7 and he states [the oral law] thus: When does the time of the recital of the Shema’ of lying down begin? When the priests enter to eat their terumah.8 And if you like, I can answer: He learns [the precedence of the evening] from the account of the creation of the world, where it is written, And there was evening and there was morning, one day.9 Why then does he teach in the sequel: THE MORNING [SHEMA’] IS PRECEDED BY TWO BENEDICTIONS AND FOLLOWED BY ONE. THE EVENING [SHEMA’] IS PRECEDED BY TWO BENEDICTIONS AND FOLLOWED BY TWO?10 Let him there, too, mention the evening [Shema’] first? — The Tanna commences with the evening [Shema’], and proceeds then to the morning [Shema’]. While dealing with the morning [Shema’], he expounds all the matters relating to it, and then he returns again to the matters relating to the evening [Shema’].
The Master said: FROM THE TIME THAT THE PRIESTS ENTER TO EAT THEIR ‘TERUMAH’. When do the priests eat terumah? From the time of the appearance of the stars. Let him then say: ‘From the time of the appearance of the stars’? — This very thing he wants to teach us, in passing, that the priests may eat terumah from the time of the appearance of the stars. And he also wants to teach us that the expiatory offering is not indispensable,11 as it has been taught:12 And when the sun sets we-taher,13 the setting of the sun is indispensable [as a condition of his fitness] to eat terumah, but the expiatory offering is not indispensable to enable him to eat terumah. But how do you know that these words ‘and the sun sets’ mean the setting of the sun, and this ‘we-taher’ means that the day clears away?
(1) If the priests have become ritually unclean, they are not permitted to eat terumah, to which a certain holiness attaches, till they have taken a bath and the sun has set.
(2) I.e., until either a fourth or a third of the night has passed. V. infra 3a.
(3) Maim: about one and one fifth hours before actual sunrise. V. Pes. 93b.
(4) R. Gamaliel's.
(5) This sentence is parenthetical. It is nowhere laid down that the burning of the fat etc. is permitted only till midnight. It is mentioned here in order to inform us that wherever the time fixed for the performance of a duty is the night, it expires at the rise of the dawn (Rashi).
(6) I.e., where is it stated in the Law that the recital of the Shema’ is prescribed at all?
(7) Deut. VI, 7.
(8) This answers also the second question, as the Bible mentions first the recital of the evening time.
(9) Gen. I, 5.
(10) Infra 11a.
(11) For the eating of terumah even where it is necessary to complete the purification rites, v. Ker. II,1.
(12) Sifra, Emor.
(13) Lev. XXII, 7. This can be rendered as E.V.: ‘he (the man) is clean’, or it (the day) is clean (clear), as understood now by the Gemara.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 2b
It means perhaps: And when the sun [of the next morning] appears, and we-taher means the man becomes clean?1 — Rabbah son of R. Shila explains: In that case, the text would have to read we-yithar.2 What is the meaning of we-taher?3 The day clears away, conformably to the common expression, The sun has set and the day has cleared away. This explanation of Rabbah son of R. Shila was unknown in the West,4 and they raised the question: This ‘and the sun sets’, does it mean the real setting of the sun, and ‘we-taher’ means the day clears away? Or does it perhaps mean the appearance of the sun, and we-taher means the man becomes clean? They solved it from a Baraitha, it being stated in a Baraitha: The sign of the thing is the appearance of the stars. Hence you learn that it is the setting of the sun [which makes him clean] and the meaning of we-taher is the clearing away of the day.
The Master said: FROM THE TIME THAT THE PRIESTS ENTER TO EAT THEIR ‘TERUMAH’. They pointed to a contradiction [from the following]: From what time may one recite the Shema’ in the evening? From the time that the poor man5 comes [home] to eat his bread with salt till he rises from his meal. The last clause certainly contradicts the Mishnah. Does the first clause also contradict the Mishnah? — No. The poor man and the priest have one and the same time.
They pointed to a contradiction [from the following]: From what time may one begin to recite the Shema’ in the evening? From the time that the people come [home] to eat their meal on a Sabbath eve. These are the words of R. Meir. But the Sages say: From the time that the priests are entitled to eat their terumah. A sign for the matter is the appearance of the stars. And though there is no real proof of it,6 there is a hint for it. For it is written: So we wrought in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rise of the dawn till the appearance of the stars.7 And it says further: That in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labour in the day.8 (Why this second citation?9 — If you object and say that the night really begins with the setting of the sun, but that they left late and came early, [I shall reply]: Come and hear [the other verse]: ‘That in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labour in the day’). Now it is assumed that the ‘poor man’ and ‘the people’ have the same time [for their evening meal.]10 And if you say that the poor man and the priest also have the same time, then the Sages would be saying the same thing as R. Meir? Hence you must conclude that the poor man has one time and the priest has another time? — No; the ‘poor man’ and the priest have the same time, but the ‘poor man’ and the ‘people’ have not the same time.
But have the ‘poor man’ and the priest really the same time? They pointed to a contradiction [from the following]: From what time may one begin to recite the Shema’ in the evening? From the time that the [Sabbath] day becomes hallowed on the Sabbath eve. These are the words of R. Eliezer. R. Joshua says: From the time that the priests are ritually clean to eat their terumah. R. Meir says: From the time that the priests take their ritual bath in order to eat their terumah. (Said R. Judah to him: When the priests take their ritual bath it is still day-time!)11 R. Hanina says: From the time that the poor man comes [home] to eat his bread with salt. R. Ahai (some say: R. Aha). says: From the time that most people come home to sit down to their meal. Now, if you say that the poor man and the priest have the same time, then R. Hanina and R. Joshua would be saying the same thing? From this you must conclude, must you not, that the poor man has one time and the priest has another time. — Draw indeed that conclusion!
Which of them is later? — It is reasonable to conclude that the ‘poor man’ is later. For if you say that the ‘poor man’ is earlier, R. Hanina would be saying the same thing as R. Eliezer.12 Hence you must conclude that the poor man is later, must you not? — Draw indeed that conclusion.
The Master said:13 ‘R. Judah said to him: When the priests take their ritual bath it is still daytime!’ The objection of R. Judah to R. Meir seems well founded? — R. Meir may reply as follows: Do you think that I am referring to the twilight [as defined] by you?14 I am referring to the twilight [as defined] by R. Jose. For R. Jose says: The twilight is like the twinkling of an eye. This15 enters and that16 departs — and one cannot exactly fix it.17
(1) Through his sin-offering.
(2) The verb being in the future.
(3) Which may be taken as a past tense, the waw not being conversive.
(4) In the Palestinian schools.
(5) Who cannot afford an artificial light.
(6) That the day ends with the appearance of the stars.
(7) Neh. IV, 15.
(8) Ibid. 16.
(9) The first verse seems to afford ample proof.
(10) I.e., the time the ‘poor man’ mentioned in the first Baraitha comes home to take his evening meal is identical with that at which people generally come to eat their meals on Sabbath eve.
(11) And not even twilight, v. Shab. 35a.
(12) Tosef. points out that the ground for this statement is not clear.
(13) In the Baraitha just quoted.
(14) According to which definition it lasts as long as it takes to walk half a mil, v. Shab. 34b.
(15) The evening.
(16) The day.
(17) And consequently the priests may bathe at twilight as defined by R. Jose since it is still day, and one may also read at that time the Shema’ since it is practically night.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 3a
There is a contradiction between R. Meir [of one Baraitha]1 and R. Meir [of the last Baraitha]?2 — Yes, two Tannaim transmit different versions of R. Meir's opinion. There is a contradiction between R. Eliezer [of the last Baraitha]3 and R. Eliezer [of the Mishnah]?4 — Yes, two Tannaim5 transmit two different versions of R. Eliezer's opinion. If you wish I can say: The first clause of the Mishnah6 is not R. Eliezer's.7
UNTIL THE END OF THE FIRST WATCH. What opinion does R. Eliezer hold? If he holds that the night has three watches, let him say: Till four hours [in the night]. And if he holds that the night has four watches, let him say: Till three hours? — He holds indeed, that the night has three watches, but he wants to teach us that there are watches in heaven8 as well as on earth. For it has been taught: R. Eliezer says: The night has three watches, and at each watch the Holy One, blessed be He, sits and roars like a lion. For it is written: The Lord does roar from on high, and raise His voice from His holy habitation; ‘roaring He doth roar’9 because of his fold. And the sign of the thing is:10 In the first watch, the ass brays; in the second, the dogs bark; in the third, the child sucks from the breast of his mother, and the woman talks with her husband. What does R. Eliezer understand [by the word watch]? Does he mean the beginning of the watches? The beginning of the first watch needs no sign, it is the twilight! Does he mean the end of the watches? The end of the last watch needs no sign, it is the dawn of the day! He, therefore, must think of the end of the first watch, of the beginning of the last watch, and of the midst of the middle watch. If you like I can say: He refers to the end of all the watches. And if you object that the last watch needs no sign, [I reply] that it may be of use for the recital of the Shema’, and for a man who sleeps in a dark room11 and does not know when the time of the recital arrives. When the woman talks with her husband and the child sucks from the breast of the mother, let him rise and recite.
R. Isaac b. Samuel says in the name of Rab: The night has three watches, and at each watch the Holy One, blessed be He, sits and roars like a lion and says: Woe to the children, on account of whose sins I destroyed My house and burnt My temple and exiled them among the nations of the world.
It has been taught: R. Jose says, I was once travelling on the road, and I entered into one of the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. Elijah of blessed memory appeared and waited for me at the door till I finished my prayer.12 After I finished my prayer, he said to me: Peace be with you, my master! and I replied: Peace be with you, my master and teacher! And he said to me: My son, why did you go into this ruin? I replied: To pray. He said to me: You ought to have prayed on the road. I replied: I feared lest passers-by might interrupt me. He said to me: You ought to have said an abbreviated prayer.13 Thus I then learned from him three things: One must not go into a ruin; one may say the prayer on the road; and if one does say his prayer on the road, he recites an abbreviated prayer. He further said to me: My son, what sound did you hear in this ruin? I replied: I heard a divine voice, cooing like a dove, and saying: Woe to the children, on account of whose sins I destroyed My house and burnt My temple and exiled them among the nations of the world! And he said to me: By your life and by your head! Not in this moment alone does it so exclaim, but thrice each day does it exclaim thus! And more than that, whenever the Israelites go into the synagogues and schoolhouses and respond: ‘May His great name be blessed!’14 the Holy One, blessed be He, shakes His head and says: Happy is the king who is thus praised in this house! Woe15 to the father who had to banish his children, and woe to the children who had to be banished from the table of their father!
Our Rabbis taught: there are three reasons why one must not go into a ruin: because of suspicion,16 of falling debris and of demons. — [It states] ‘Because of suspicion’.17 It would be sufficient to say, because of falling debris’? —
(1) Where he says: When people come home for their Sabbath-meal, which is after twilight.
(2) Which fixes a time which is before twilight.
(3) Which fixes sunset as the time-standard.
(4) Which fixes as time-standard, the appearance of the stars (when priests enter to eat terumah).
(5) V. Glos.
(6) Where the beginning of the time is fixed.
(7) R. Eliezer's ruling being merely with reference to the terminus ad quem.
(8) Among the ministering angels.
(9) So literally. Thus ‘roaring’ is mentioned three times in the text.
(10) I.e., of each watch.
(11) That has no windows to admit the daylight.
(12) The Tefillah, v. Glos.
(13) V. infra 29a.
(14) The principal congregational response in the doxology, the Kaddish v. P.B. p. 37.
(15) V. D.S. cur. edd.; what is there for the father.
(16) That a woman may be waiting for him there.
(17) The Gemara now proceeds to explain why all the three reasons must be mentioned.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 3b
When the ruin is new.1 But it would be sufficient to say: ‘because of demons’? — When there are two people.2 If there are two people, then there is no suspicion either? — When both are licentious [there is suspicion]. — [It states] ‘Because of falling debris’. It would be sufficient to say: ‘because of suspicion and demons’? — When there are two decent people. [It states] ‘Because of demons’. It would be sufficient to say; ‘because of suspicion and falling debris’? — When there are two decent people going into a new ruin. But if there are two, then there is no danger of demons either? — In their haunt there is danger. If you like I can say, indeed the reference is to one man and to a new ruin which was situated in the fields; in which case there is no suspicion, for a woman would not be found in the fields, but the danger of demons does exist.
Our Rabbis taught: The night has four watches. These are the words of Rabbi. R. Nathan says: Three. What is the reason of R. Nathan? — It is written: So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came into the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch.3 And one taught: Under ‘middle’ is to be understood only something which is preceded by one and followed by one. And Rabbi?4 — ‘The middle’ means: one of the middle ones. And R. Nathan? — Not ‘one of the middle ones’ is written, but ‘the middle’ is written. What is Rabbi's reason? — R. Zerika, in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi, says: One verse reads, At midnight do I rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous ordinances.5 And another verse reads: Mine eyes forestall the watches.6 How is this?7 — [This is possible only if] the night has four watches. And R. Nathan? — He is of the opinion of R. Joshua, as we have learnt: R. Joshua says: until the third hour, for such is the custom of kings, to rise in the third hour.8 Six hours of the night and two hours of the day amount to two watches.9 R. Ashi says: One watch and a half are also spoken of as ‘watches’. (R. Zerika further said, in the name of R. Ammi in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: One may discuss in the presence of a dead body only things relating to the dead. R. Abba b. Kahana says: This refers only to religious matters,10 but as for worldly matter there is no harm. Another version is: R. Abba b. Kahana says: This refers even to religious matters. How much more so to worldly matters!)
But did David rise at midnight? [Surely] he rose with the evening dusk? For it is written: I rose with the neshef and cried.11 And how do you know that this word neshef means the evening? It is written: In the neshef, in the evening of the day, in the blackness of night and the darkness!12 — R. Oshaia, in the name of R. Aha, replies: David said: Midnight never passed me by in my sleep. R. Zera says: Till midnight he used to slumber like a horse,13 from thence on he rose with the energy of a lion. R. Ashi says: Till midnight he studied the Torah, from thence on he recited songs and praises. But does neshef mean the evening? Surely neshef means the morning? For it is written: And David slew them from the ‘neshef’ to the evening ‘ereb of the next day,14 and does not this mean, from the ‘morning dawn’ to the evening? — No. [It means:] from the [one] eventide to the [next] eventide. If so, let him write: From neshef to neshef, or from ‘ereb to ‘ereb? — Rather, said Raba: There are two kinds of neshef: [the morning neshef], when the evening disappears [nashaf] and the morning arrives,15 [and the evening neshef], when the day disappears [nashaf] and the evening arrives.16
But did David know the exact time of midnight? Even our teacher Moses did not know it! For it is written: About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt.17 Why ‘about midnight’? Shall we say that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: ‘About midnight’? Can there be any doubt in the mind of God?18 Hence we must say that God told him ‘at midnight’, and he came and said: ‘About midnight’. Hence he [Moses] was in doubt; can David then have known it? — David had a sign. For so said R. Aha b. Bizana in the name of R. Simeon the Pious: A harp was hanging above David's bed. As soon as midnight arrived, a North wind came and blew upon it and it played of itself. He arose immediately and studied the Torah till the break of dawn. After the break of dawn the wise men of Israel came in to see him and said to him: Our lord, the King, Israel your people require sustenance! He said to them: Let them go out and make a living one from the other.19 They said to him: A handful cannot satisfy a lion, nor can a pit be filled up with its own clods.20 He said to them: Then go out in troops and attack [the enemy for plunder]. They at once took counsel with Ahithofel and consulted the Sanhedrin and questioned the Urim and Tummim.21 R. Joseph says: What verse [may be cited in support of this]? And after Ahithofel was Jehoiada, the son of Benaiah,22 and Abiathar; and the captain of the King's host was Joab.23 ‘Ahithofel’, this was the counsellor. And so it is said: Now the counsel of Ahithofel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man inquired of the word of God.24
(1) So that there is no danger of falling debris.
(2) The assumption is that where two are together there is no danger of an attack by demons.
(3) Judg. VII, 19.
(4) How does he explain the term middle?
(5) Ps. CXIX, 62.
(6) Ibid. 148.
(7) That somebody may rise at midnight and still have two watches before him, the minimum of the plural ‘watches’ being two.
(8) V. infra 9b. With reference to the morning Shema’.
(9) Since the day for royal personages begins at eight a.m. that is with the third hour when they rise. David by rising at midnight forestalled them by eight hours, i.e., two watches each having four hours.
(10) Lit., ‘words of the Torah’. It would show disrespect for the dead.
(11) Ibid. 147. E.V. ‘dawn’.
(12) Prov. VII, 9.
(13) That has a very light sleep, v. Suk. 26a.
(14) I Sam. XXX, 17.
(15) Neshef in this case denoting ‘dawn’.
(16) Neshef in this case denoting ‘dusk’.
(17) Ex. XI, 4.
(18) Lit., ‘heaven’.
(19) Let the rich support the poor.
(20) We cannot be self-supporting to supply all our needs, any more than a handful can satisfy a lion, or the soil taken out of a pit fill its cavity.
(21) The divine oracle of the High-Priest's breast-plate.
(22) The text here has ‘Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada’, who is mentioned in II Sam. XX, 23.
(23) I Chron. XXVII, 34.
(24) II Sam. XVI, 23.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 4a
‘Benaiah the son of Jehoiada’, this means the Sanhedrin. ‘And Abiathar’,1 these are the Urim and Tummim. And so it says: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethi and Pelethi.2 Why are they3 called ‘Kerethi’ and ‘Pelethi’? Kerethi, because their words are decisive [korethim]; Pelethi, because they are distinguished [mufla'im] through their words. And then it comes ‘the captain of the King's host Joab’. R. Isaac b. Adda says: (Some say, R. Isaac the son of Addi says) Which verse?4 Awake, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp; I will awake the dawn.5
R. Zera says:6 Moses certainly knew and David, too, knew [the exact time of midnight]. Since David knew, why did he need the harp? That he might wake from his sleep. Since Moses knew, why did he say ‘about midnight’? — Moses thought that the astrologers of Pharaoh might make a mistake, and then they would say that Moses was a liar. For so a Master said: Let thy tongue acquire the habit of saying, ‘I know not’, lest thou be led to falsehoods [lying]. R. Ashi says: It7 was at midnight of the night of the thirteenth passing into the fourteenth [of Nisan], and thus said Moses to Israel: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Tomorrow [at the hour] like8 the midnight of to-night, I will go out into the midst of Egypt.
A prayer of David . . . Keep my soul, for I am pious.9 Levi and R. Isaac:10 The one says, Thus spoke David before the Holy One, blessed be He; Master of the world, am I not pious? All the kings of the East and the West sleep to the third hour [of the day], but I, at midnight I rise to give thanks unto Thee.11 The other one says: Thus spoke David before the Holy One, blessed be He: Master of the world, am I not pious? All the kings of the East and the West sit with all their pomp among their company, whereas my hands are soiled with the blood [of menstruation], with the foetus and the placenta, in order to declare a woman clean for her husband.12 And what is more, in all that I do I consult my teacher, Mephibosheth, and I say to him: My teacher Mephibosheth, is my decision right? Did I correctly convict, correctly acquit, correctly declare clean, correctly declare unclean? And I am not ashamed [to ask]. R. Joshua, the son of R. Iddi, says Which verse [may be cited in support]? And I recite Thy testimonies before kings and am not ashamed.13 A Tanna taught: His name was not Mephibosheth. And why then was he called Mephibosheth? Because he humiliated14 David in the Halachah. Therefore was David worthy of the privilege that Kileab15 should issue from him. R. Johanan said: His name was not Kileab but Daniel. Why then was he called Kileab? Because he humiliated [maklim] Mephibosheth [ab]16 in the Halachah. And concerning him Solomon said in his wisdom: My son, if thy heart be wise, my heart will be glad, even mine.17 And he said further: My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that taunteth me.18
But how could David call himself pious? It is not written: I am not sure [lule] to see the good reward of the Lord in the land of the living;19 and a Tanna taught in the name of R. Jose: Why are there dots upon the world ‘lule’?20 David spoke before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Master of the world, I am sure that you will pay a good reward to the righteous in the world to come, but I do not know whether I shall have a share in it’?21 [He was afraid that] some sin might cause [his exclusion].22 This conforms to the following saying of R. Jacob b. Iddi. For R. Jacob b. Iddi pointed to a contradiction. One verse reads: And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest,23 and the other verse reads: Then Jacob was greatly afraid!24 [The answer is that] he thought that some sin might cause [God's promise not to be fulfilled]. Similarly it has been taught: Till Thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over that Thou hast gotten.25 ‘Till Thy people pass over, O Lord’: this is the first entry [into the Land]. ‘Till the people pass over that Thou hast gotten’: this is the second entry. Hence the Sages say: The intention was to perform a miracle for Israel26 in the days of Ezra, even as it was performed for them in the days of Joshua bin Nun,27 but sin caused [the miracle to be withheld].28
THE SAGES SAY: UNTIL MIDNIGHT. Whose view did the Sages adopt?29 If it is R. Eliezer's view, then let them express themselves in the same way as R. Eliezer?
(1) He was the High Priest of David.
(2) II Sam. XX, 23.
(3) The Sanhedrin (Rashi). The Tosafists, however, refer this to the Urim and Tummim.
(4) May be cited in support of the story of David's harp.
(5) Ps. LVII 9.
(6) Here the Gemara resumes the discussion of the question raised above as to how it is possible that David knew something which Moses did not know.
(7) The incident of Ex. XI, 4.
(8) The particle ka being rendered ‘like’ and not ‘about’.
(9) Ps. LXXXVI, 1-2.
(10) Offer different homiletical interpretations.
(11) Ibid. CXIX, 62.
(12) The restrictions of Lev. XII, 2ff do not apply to all cases of abortion nor is all discharge treated as menstrual, and David is represented as occupying himself with deciding such questions instead of with feasting. MS.M. omits ‘blood’.
(13) Ps. CXIX, 46.
(14) The homiletical interpretation of the name is, Out of my mouth humiliation.
(15) Cf. II Sam. III, 3.
(16) Lit., ‘father’, a teacher.
(17) Prov. XXIII, 15.
(18) Ibid. XXVII, II.
(19) Ps. XXVII, 13.
(20) The dots are interpreted as meaning he was not quite sure.
(21) Hence you see that he was not so sure of his piety.
(22) This is the reply to the question. David was quite sure of his general pious character, but he feared that his sins might exclude him from the reward etc.
(23) Gen. XXVIII, 15.
(24) Ibid. XXXII, 8. The contradiction lies in the fact that Jacob was afraid in spite of having God's promise.
(25) Ex. XV, 16.
(26) Lit. ‘the Israelites were worthy to have a miracle performed for them’.
(27) When they entered victoriously.
(28) And they entered only as subjects of Cyrus.
(29) According to the Gemara, R. Eliezer and R. Gamaliel differ in the interpretation of the Bible words, ‘And when thou liest down’. R. Eliezer explains them to mean, when you go to bed; hence he says that the time expires at the end of the first watch. R. Gamaliel understands them to mean, when you sleep; hence he fixes the whole night as the time of the recital.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 4b
If it is R. Gamaliel's view, let them express themselves in the same way as R. Gamaliel? — In reality it is R. Gamaliel's view that they adopted, and their reason for saying, UNTIL MIDNIGHT is to keep a man far from transgression. For so it has been taught: The Sages made a fence for their words so that a man, on returning home from the field in the evening, should not say: I shall go home, eat a little, drink a little, sleep a little, and then I shall recite the Shema’ and the Tefillah, and meanwhile, sleep may overpower him, and as a result he will sleep the whole night. Rather should a man, when returning home from the field in the evening, go to the synagogue. If he is used to read the Bible, let him read the Bible, and if he is used to repeat the Mishnah, let him repeat the Mishnah, and then let him recite the Shema’ and say the Tefillah, [go home] and eat his meal and say the Grace. And whosoever transgresses the words of the Sages deserves to die. Why this difference that, in other cases, they do not say ‘he deserves to die’, and here they do say ‘he deserves to die’? — If you wish, I can say because here there is danger of sleep overpowering him. Or, if you wish, I can say because they want to exclude the opinion of those who say that the evening prayer is only voluntary.1 Therefore they teach us that it is obligatory.
The Master said:2 ‘Let him recite Shema’ and say the Tefillah’. This accords with the view of R. Johanan.3 For R. Johanan says: Who inherits the world to come? The one who follows the Ge'ullah4 immediately with the evening Tefillah. R. Joshua b. Levi says: The Tefilloth were arranged to be said in the middle.5 What is the ground of their difference? — If you like, I can say it is [the interpretation of] a verse, and if you like, I can say that they reason differently. For R. Johanan argues: Though the complete deliverance from Egypt took place in the morning time only,6 there was also some kind of deliverance in the evening;7 whereas R. Joshua b. Levi argues that since the real deliverance happened in the morning [that of the evening] was no proper deliverance.8 ‘Or if you like, I can say it is [the interpretation of] a verse’. And both interpret one and the same verse, [viz.,] When thou liest down and when thou risest up.9 R. Johanan argues: There is here an analogy between lying down and rising. Just as [at the time of] rising, recital of Shema’ precedes Tefillah, so also [at the time of] lying down, recital of Shema’ precedes Tefillah. R. Joshua b. Levi argues [differently]: There is here an analogy between lying down and rising. Just as [at the time of] rising, the recital of Shema’ is next to [rising from] bed,10 so also [at the time of] lying down, recital of Shema’ must be next to [getting into] bed.11
Mar b. Rabina raised an objection. In the evening, two benedictions precede and two benedictions follow the Shema’.12 Now, if you say he has to join Ge'ullah with Tefillah, behold he does not do so, for he has to say [in between], ‘Let us rest’?13 — I reply: Since the Rabbis ordained the benediction, ‘Let us rest’, it is as if it were a long Ge'ullah. For, if you do not admit that, how can he join in the morning, seeing that R. Johanan says: In the beginning [of the Tefillah] one has to say: O Lord, open Thou my lips [etc.],14 and at the end one has to say: Let the words of my mouth be acceptable?15 [The only explanation] there [is that] since the Rabbis ordained that O Lord, open Thou my lips should be said, it is like a long Tefillah.16 Here, too, since the Rabbis ordained that ‘Let us rest’ should be said, it is like a long Ge'ullah.
R. Eleazar b. Abina says: Whoever recites [the psalm] Praise of David17 three times daily, is sure to inherit18 the world to come. What is the reason? Shall I say it is because it has an alphabetical arrangement? Then let him recite, Happy are they that are upright in the way,19 which has an eightfold alphabetical arrangement. Again, is it because it contains [the verse], Thou openest Thy hand [and satisfiest every living thing with favour]?20 Then let him recite the great Hallel,21 where it is written: Who giveth food to all flesh!22 — Rather, [the reason is] because it contains both.23 R. Johanan says: Why is there no nun in Ashre?24 Because the fall of Israel's enemies25 begins with it. For it is written: Fallen is26 the virgin of Israel, she shall no more rise.27 (In the West28 this verse is thus interpreted: She is fallen, but she shall no more fall. Rise, O virgin of Israel). R. Nahman b. Isaac says: Even so, David refers to it by inspiration29 and promises them an uplifting. For it is written: The Lord upholdeth all that fall.30
R. Eleazar b. Abina said furthermore: Greater is [the achievement] ascribed to Michael than that ascribed to Gabriel. For of Michael it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim,31 whereas of Gabriel it is written: The man Gabriel whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly in a flight etc.32 How do you know that this [word] ‘one’ [of the Seraphim] means Michael? — R. Johanan says: By an analogy from [the words] ‘one’, ‘one’. Here it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim; and in another place it is written: But, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.33 A Tanna taught: Michael [reaches his goal] in one [flight], Gabriel in two, Elijah in four, and the Angel of Death in eight. In the time of plague, however, [the Angel of Death, too, reaches his goal] in one.
R. Joshua b. Levi says: Though a man has recited the Shema’ in the synagogue, it is a religious act to recite it again upon his bed. R. Assi says: Which verse [may be cited in support]? Tremble and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still, Selah.34 R. Nahman, however, says:
(1) V. infra 27b.
(2) In the Baraitha just quoted.
(3) That in the evening, too, the Shema’ has to precede the Tefillah.
(4) The benediction for the deliverance from Egypt (v. P. B. p. 99). It follows the Shema’ and precedes the Tefillah.
(5) Between the two Shema’ recitals. In the morning the Tefillah follows, and in the evening it precedes the Shema’.
(6) As it says, On the morrow of the Passover the children of Israel went forth (Num. XXXIII, 3).
(7) Hence even in the evening Ge'ullah must be joined closely to Tefillah.
(8) Hence in the evening the Ge'ullah must not be joined closely to Tefillah.
(9) Deut. VI, 7.
(10) I.e., it is the first prayer said on rising from the bed.
(11) I.e., it is the last prayer said before going to bed.
(12) V. infra 11a.
(13) This is the second benediction, to be said in the evening between Ge'ullah and Tefillah, v. P.B. p. 99. The prayer, ‘Blessed be the Lord for evermore’ that follows the second benediction is a later addition.
(14) Ps. LI, 17. This verse said in introduction to the Tefillah ought to be considered an interruption.
(15) Ps. XIX, 15.
(16) I.e., part of the Tefillah.
(17) I.e., Ps. CXLV.
(18) Lit., ‘that he is a son of’.
(19) Ps. CXIX.
(20) Ibid. CXLV, 16.
(21) I.e., Ibid. CXXXVI. On Hallel, v. Glos.
(22) Ibid. v. 25.
(23) The alphabetical arrangement and the sixteenth verse, dealing with God's merciful provision for all living things.
(24) This is Psalm CXLV, which is arranged alphabetically, save that the verse beginning with the letter nun (N) is missing.
(25) Euphemistic for Israel.
(26) Heb. נפלח
(27) Amos V, 2.
(28) Palestine. V. supra p. 3, n. 4.
(29) Lit., ‘the Holy Spirit’. The meaning is, David knew by inspiration that Amos was going to prophesy the downfall of Israel, and he refers to that verse and prophesies their being raised up again, though their downfall is not mentioned by David.
(30) Ps. CXLV, 14.
(31) Isa. VI, 6.
(32) Dan. IX, 21. The meaning is: Michael covered the distance in one flight, without any stop, whereas Gabriel had to make two flights, resting in between. This is inferred from the fact that the word fly occurs twice.
(33) lbid. X, 13.
(34) Ps. IV, 5.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 5a
If he is a scholar, then it is not necessary. Abaye says: Even a scholar should recite one verse of supplication, as for instance: Into Thy hand I commit my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, Thou God of truth.1
R. Levi b. Hama says in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: A man should always incite the good impulse [in his soul]2 to fight against the evil impulse. For it is written: Tremble and sin not.3 If he subdues it, well and good. If not, let him study the Torah. For it is written: ‘Commune with your own heart’.4 If he subdues it, well and good. If not, let him recite the Shema’. For it is written: ‘Upon your bed’. If he subdues it, well and good. If not, let him remind himself of the day of death. For it is written: ‘And be still, Selah’.
R. Levi b. Hama says further in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: What is the meaning of the verse: And I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandment, which I have written that thou mayest teach them?5 ‘Tables of stone’: these are the ten commandments; ‘the law’: this is the Pentateuch; ‘the commandment’: this is the Mishnah; ‘which I have written’: these are the Prophets and the Hagiographa; ‘that thou mayest teach them’: this is the Gemara.6 It teaches [us] that all these things were given to Moses on Sinai. R. Isaac says: If one recites the Shema’ upon his bed, it is as though he held a two-edged sword in his hand.7 For it is said: Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.8 How does it indicate this? — Mar Zutra, (some say, R. Ashi) says: [The lesson is] from the preceding verse. For it is written: Let the saints exult in glory, let them sing for joy upon their beds,9 and then it is written: Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. R. Isaac says further: If] one recites the Shema’ upon his bed, the demons keep away from him. For it is said: And the sons of reshef10 fly [‘uf] upward.11 The word ‘uf refers only to the Torah, as it is written: Wilt thou cause thine eyes to close [hata'if]12 upon it? It is gone.13 And ‘reshef’ refers only to the demons, as it is said: The wasting of hunger, and the devouring of the reshef [fiery bolt] and bitter destruction.14 R. Simeon b. Lakish says: If one studies the Torah, painful sufferings are kept away from him. For it is said: And the sons of reshef fly upward. The word ‘uf refers only to the Torah, as it is written: ‘Wilt thou cause thine eyes to close upon it? It is gone’. And ‘reshef’ refers only to painful sufferings, as it is said: ‘The wasting of hunger, and the devouring of the reshef [fiery bolt]. R. Johanan said to him: This15 is known even to school children.16 For it is said: And He said: If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His eyes, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.17 Rather [should you say]: If one has the opportunity to study the Torah and does not study it, the Holy One, blessed be He, visits him with ugly and painful sufferings which stir him up. For it is said: I was dumb with silence, I kept silence from the good thing, and my pain was stirred up.18 ‘The good thing’ refers only to the Torah, as it is said: For I give you good doctrine; forsake ye not My teaching.19
R. Zera (some say, R. Hanina b. Papa) says: Come and see how the way of human beings differs from the way of the Holy One, blessed be He. It is the way of human beings that when a man sells20 a valuable object to his fellow, the seller grieves and the buyer rejoices. The Holy One, blessed be He, however, is different. He gave the Torah to Israel and rejoiced. For it is said: For I give you good doctrine; forsake ye not My teaching.
Raba (some say, R. Hisda) says: If a man sees that painful sufferings visit him, let him examine his conduct. For it is said: Let us search and try our ways, and return unto the Lord.21 If he examines and finds nothing [objectionable], let him attribute it to the neglect of the study of the Torah. For it is said: Happy is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest out of Thy law.22 If he did attribute it [thus], and still did not find [this to be the cause], let him be sure that these are chastenings of love. For it is said: For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth.23
Raba, in the name of R. Sahorah, in the name of R. Huna, says: If the Holy One, blessed be He, is pleased with a man, he crushes him with painful sufferings. For it is said: And the Lord was pleased with [him, hence] he crushed him by disease.24 Now, you might think that this is so even if he did not accept them with love. Therefore it is said: To see if his soul would offer itself in restitution.25 Even as the trespass-offering must be brought by consent, so also the sufferings must be endured with consent. And if he did accept them, what is his reward? He will see his seed, prolong his days.26 And more than that, his knowledge [of the Torah] will endure with him. For it is said: The purpose of the Lord will prosper in his hand.27
R. Jacob b. Idi and R. Aha b. Hanina differ with regard to the following: The one says: Chastenings of love are such as do not involve the intermission of study of the Torah. For it is said: Happy is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest out of Thy law.28 And the other one says: Chastenings of love are such as do not involve the intermission of prayer. For it is said: Blessed be God, Who hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.29 R. Abba the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said to them: Thus said R. Hiyya b. Abba in the name of R. Johanan: Both of them are chastenings of love. For it is said: For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth.30 Why then does it say: ‘And teachest him out of Thy law’? Do not read telammedennu, [Thou teachest him] but telammedenu, [Thou teachest us]. Thou teachest us this thing out of Thy law as a conclusion a fortiori from the law concerning tooth and eye.31 Tooth and eye are only one limb of the man, and still [if they are hurt], the slave obtains thereby his freedom. How much more so with painful sufferings which torment the whole body of a man! And this agrees with a saying of R. Simeon b. Lakish. For R. Simeon b. Lakish said: The word ‘covenant’ is mentioned in connection with salt, and the word ‘covenant’ is mentioned in connection with sufferings: the word ‘covenant’ is mentioned in connection with salt, as it is written: Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking.32 And the word ‘covenant’ is mentioned in connection with sufferings, as it is written: These are the words of the covenant.33 Even as in the covenant mentioned in connection with salt, the salt lends a sweet taste to the meat, so also in the covenant mentioned in connection with sufferings, the sufferings wash away all the sins of a man.
It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai says: The Holy One, blessed be He, gave Israel three precious gifts, and all of them were given only through sufferings. These are: The Torah, the Land of Israel and the world to come. Whence do we know this of the Torah? — Because it is said: Happy is the man whom Thou chastenest, o Lord, and teachest him out of Thy law.34 Whence of the Land of Israel? — Because it is written: As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee,35 and after that it is written: For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land.36 Whence of the world to come? — Because it is written: For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light, and reproofs of sufferings are the way of life.37
A Tanna recited before R. Johanan the following: If a man busies himself in the study of the Torah and in acts of charity
(1) Ibid. XXXI, 6.
(2) In the Talmud the good impulses and evil impulses of a man are personified as two genii or spirits dwelling in his soul, the one prompting him to do good things and the other one to do wicked things. The meaning of this saying here is that a man has always to make an effort and to fight against the evil instincts.
(3) Ibid. IV, 5. The word רגזו is translated, not as tremble, but as fight, incite to fight.
(5) Ex. XXIV, 12.
(6) MS. M. Talmud, v. B.M., Sonc. ed., p. 206, n. 6.
(7) To protect him against the demons.
(8) Ps. CXLIX, 6.
(9) Ibid. v. 5.
(10) E.V. ‘sparks’.
(11) Job V, 7.
(12) I.e., if thou neglect it (the Torah). E.V. ‘Wilt thou set thine eyes etc.’.
(13) Prov. XXIII, 5.
(14) Deut. XXXII, 24.
(15) That the Torah is a protection against painful disease.
(16) Who study the Pentateuch, where it is plainly said.
(17) Ex. XV, 26.
(18) Ps. XXXIX, 3. E.V. ‘I held my peace, had no comfort, and my pain was held in check’.
(19) Prov. IV, 2.
(20) Out of poverty and not for business.
(21) Lam. III, 40.
(22) Ps. XCIV, 12.
(23) Prov. III, 12.
(24) Isa. LIII, 10.
(25) Ibid. The Hebrew word for ‘restitution’ is asham which means also ‘trespass-offering’.
(28) Ps. XCIV, 12.
(29) Ps. LXVI, 20.
(30) Prov. III 12.
(31) V. Ex. XXI, 26, 27. If the master knocks out the tooth or eye of his slave, then the slave has to be set free.
(32) Lev. II, 13.
(33) Deut. XXVIII, 69. These words refer to the chapter dealing with the sufferings of Israel.
(34) Ps. XCIV, 12.
(35) Deut. VIII, 5.
(36) Ibid. v. 7.
(37) Prov. VI, 23.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 5b
and [nonetheless] buries his children,1 all his sins are forgiven him. R. Johanan said to him: I grant you Torah and acts of charity, for it is written: By mercy and truth iniquity is expiated.2 ‘Mercy’ is acts of charity, for it is said: He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, prosperity and honour.3 ‘Truth’ is Torah, for it is said: Buy the truth and sell it not.4 But how do you know [what you say about] the one who buries his children? — A certain Elder [thereupon] recited to him in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: It is concluded from the analogy in the use of the word ‘iniquity’. Here it is written: By mercy and truth iniquity is expiated. And elsewhere it is written: And who recompenseth the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children.5
R. Johanan says: Leprosy and [the lack of] children are not chastisements of love. But is leprosy not a chastisement of love? Is it not taught: If a man has one of these four symptoms of leprosy,6 it is nothing else but an altar of atonement? — They are an altar of atonement, but they are not chastisements of love. If you like, I can say: This [teaching of the Baraitha] is ours [in Babylonia], and that [saying of R. Johanan] is theirs [in Palestine].7 If you like, I can say: This [teaching of the Baraitha] refers to hidden [leprosy], that [saying of R. Johanan] refers to a case of visible [leprosy]. But is [the lack of] children not a chastisement of love? How is this to be understood? Shall I say that he had children and they died? Did not R. Johanan himself say: This is the bone of my tenth son?8 — Rather [say then] that the former saying refers to one who never had children, the latter to one who had children and lost them.
R. Hiyya b. Abba fell ill and R. Johanan went in to visit him. He said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? He replied: Neither they nor their reward.9 He said to him: Give me your hand. He gave him his hand and he10 raised him.
R. Johanan once fell ill and R. Hanina went in to visit him. He said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? He replied: Neither they nor their reward. He said to him: Give me your hand. He gave him his hand and he raised him. Why could not R. Johanan raise himself?11 — They replied: The prisoner cannot free himself from jail.12
R. Eleazar fell ill and R. Johanan went in to visit him. He noticed that he was lying in a dark room,13 and he bared his arm and light radiated from it.14 Thereupon he noticed that R. Eleazar was weeping, and he said to him: Why do you weep? Is it because you did not study enough Torah? Surely we learnt: The one who sacrifices much and the one who sacrifices little have the same merit, provided that the heart is directed to heaven.15 Is it perhaps lack of sustenance? Not everybody has the privilege to enjoy two tables.16 Is it perhaps because of [the lack of] children? This is the bone of my tenth son! — He replied to him: I am weeping on account of this beauty17 that is going to rot in the earth. He said to him: On that account you surely have a reason to weep; and they both wept. In the meanwhile he said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? — He replied: Neither they nor their reward. He said to him: Give me your hand, and he gave him his hand and he raised him.
Once four hundred jars of wine belonging to R. Huna turned sour. Rab Judah, the brother of R. Sala the Pious, and the other scholars (some say: R. Adda b. Ahaba and the other scholars) went in to visit him and said to him: The master ought to examine his actions.18 He said to them: Am I suspect in your eyes? They replied: Is the Holy One, blessed be He, suspect of punishing without justice? — He said to them: If somebody has heard of anything against me, let him speak out. They replied: We have heard that the master does not give his tenant his [lawful share in the] vine twigs. He replied: Does he leave me any? He steals them all! They said to him: That is exactly what the proverb says:19 If you steal from a thief you also have a taste of it!20 He said to them: I pledge myself to give it to him [in the future]. Some report that thereupon the vinegar became wine again; others that the vinegar went up so high that it was sold for the same price as wine.
It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says, All my life I took great pains about two things: that my prayer should be before my bed and that my bed should be placed north and south. ‘That my prayer should be before my bed’. What is the meaning of ‘before my bed’? Is it perhaps literally in front of my bed? Has not Rab Judah said in the name of Rab
(some say, in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi): How do you know that when one prays there should be nothing interposing between him and the wall? Because it says: Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed?21 — Do not read ‘before my bed’, but ‘near22 my bed’. ‘And that my bed should be placed north and south’. For R. Hama b. R. Hanina said in the name of R. Isaac: Whosoever places his bed north and south will have male children, as it says: And whose belly Thou fillest with Thy treasure,23 who have sons in plenty.24 R. Nahman b. Isaac says: His wife also will not miscarry. Here it is written: And whose belly Thou fillest with Thy treasure, and elsewhere it is written: And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold there were twins in her womb.25
It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says, When two people enter [a Synagogue] to pray, and one of them finishes his prayer first and does not wait for the other but leaves,26 his prayer is torn up before his face.27 For it is written: Thou that tearest thyself in thine anger, shall the earth be forsaken for thee?28 And more than that, he causes the Divine Presence to remove itself from Israel. For it says Or shall the rock be removed out of its place?29 And ‘rock’ is nothing else than the Holy One, blessed be He, as it says: Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful.30 And if he does wait, what is his reward? —
(1) An allusion to R. Johanan himself, who was a great scholar and a charitable man, and was bereft of his children.
(2) Ibid. XVI, 6.
(3) Ibid. XXI, 21.
(4) Ibid. XXIII, 23.
(5) Jer. XXXII, 18.
(6) Which are enumerated in Mishnah Nega'im I, I.
(7) In Palestine where a leprous person had to be isolated outside the city (cf. Lev. XIII, 46), leprosy was not regarded as ‘chastisements of love’ owing to the severity of the treatment involved.
(8) Who died in his lifetime. The Gemara deduces from that saying that he regarded the death of children as a chastisement of love. Aruch understands this to have been a tooth of the last of his sons which he preserved and used to show to people who suffered bereavement in order to induce in them a spirit of resignation such as he himself had in his successive bereavements.
(9) The implication is that if one lovingly acquiesces in his sufferings, his reward in the world to come is very great.
(10) R. Johanan. He cured him by the touch of his hand.
(11) If he could cure R. Hiyya b. Abba, why could not he cure himself?
(12) And the patient cannot cure himself.
(13) R. Eleazar was a poor man and lived in a room without windows.
(14) R. Johanan was supposed to be so beautiful that a light radiated from his body, v. B.M. 84a.
(15) Men. 110b.
(16) Learning and wealth. Or perhaps, this world and the next.
(17) I.e., the beautiful body of yours.
(18) You may perhaps have deserved your misfortune through some sin.
(19) Lit., ‘what people say’.
(20) Even if your tenant is a thief this does not free you from giving him his lawful share.
(21) Isa. XXXVIII, 2.
(22) Near in time. He used to pray immediately after rising.
(23) The word צפונך may mean treasure and also north.
(24) Ps. XVII, 14.
(25) Gen. XXV, 24.
(26) The synagogues were outside the town and it was dangerous to remain alone.
(27) I.e., rejected.
(28) Job. XVIII, 4. The homiletical interpretation of the verse is: ‘Your prayer will be thrown into your face, if on your account the earth or synagogue is forsaken’.
(30) Deut. XXXII, 18.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 6a
R. Jose b. R. Hanina says: He is rewarded with the blessings enumerated in the following verse: Oh that thou wouldest hearken to My commandments! Then would thy peace be as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea; Thy seed also would be as the sand, and the offspring of thy body like the grains thereof etc.1
It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says, If the eye had the power to see them, no creature could endure the demons. Abaye says: They are more numerous than we are and they surround us like the ridge round a field. R. Huna says: Every one among us has a thousand on his left hand and ten thousand on his right hand.2 Raba says: The crushing in the Kallah3 lectures comes from them.4 Fatigue in the knees comes from them. The wearing out of the clothes of the scholars is due to their rubbing against them. The bruising of the feet comes from them. If one wants to discover them,5 let him take sifted ashes and sprinkle around his bed, and in the morning he will see something like the footprints of a cock. If one wishes to see them, let him take the after-birth of a black she-cat, the offspring of a black she-cat, the first-born of a first-born, let him roast it in fire and grind it to powder, and then let him put some into his eye, and he will see them. Let him also pour it into an iron tube and seal it with an iron signet that they6 should not steal it from him. Let him also close his mouth, lest he come to harm. R. Bibi b. Abaye did so,7 saw them and came to harm. The scholars, however, prayed for him and he recovered.
It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says: A man's prayer is heard [by God] only in the Synagogue. For it is said: To hearken unto the song and to the prayer.8 The prayer is to be recited where there is song.9 Rabin b. R. Adda says in the name of R. Isaac: How do you know that the Holy One, blessed be He, is to be found in the Synagogue? For it is said: God standeth in the congregation of God.10 And how do you know that if ten people pray together the Divine presence is with them? For it is said: ‘God standeth in the congregation of God’.11 And how do you know that if three are sitting as a court of judges the Divine Presence is with them? For it is said: In the midst of the judges He judgeth.12 And how do you know that if two are sitting and studying the Torah together the Divine Presence is with them? For it is said: Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with another;13 and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name.14 (What does it mean: ‘And that thought upon His name’? — R. Ashi15 says: If a man thought to fulfill a commandment and he did not do it, because he was prevented by force or accident, then the Scripture credits it to him as if he had performed it.) And how do you know that even if one man sits and studies the Torah the Divine Presence is with him? For it is said: In every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and bless thee.16 Now, since [the Divine presence is] even with one man, why is it necessary to mention two?17 — The words of two are written down in the book of remembrance, the words of one are not written down in the book of remembrance. Since this is the case with two, why mention three? — I might think [the dispensing of] justice is only for making peace, and the Divine Presence does not come [to participate]. Therefore he teaches us that justice also is Torah. Since it is the case with three, why mention ten? — To [a gathering of] ten the Divine Presence comes first, to three, it comes only after they sit down.
R. Abin18 son of R. Ada in the name of R. Isaac says [further]: How do you know that the Holy One, blessed be He, puts on tefillin?19 For it is said: The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength.20 ‘By His right hand’: this is the Torah; for it is said: At His right hand was a fiery law unto them.21 ‘And by the arm of his strength’: this is the tefillin; as it is said: The Lord will give strength unto His people.22 And how do you know that the tefillin are a strength to Israel? For it is written: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon thee, and they shall be afraid of thee,23 and it has been taught: R. Eliezer the Great says: This refers to the tefillin of the head.24
R. Nahman b. Isaac said to R. Hiyya b. Abin: What is written in the tefillin of the Lord of the Universe? — He replied to him: And who is like Thy people Israel, a nation one in the earth.25 Does, then, the Holy One, blessed be He, sing the praises of Israel? — Yes, for it is written: Thou hast avouched the Lord this day . . . and the Lord hath avouched thee this day.26 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: You have made me a unique entity27 in the world, and I shall make you a unique entity in the world. ‘You have made me a unique entity in the world’, as it is said: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.28 ‘And I shall make you a unique entity in the world’, as it is said: And who is like Thy people Israel, a nation one in the earth.29 R. Aha b. Raba said to R. Ashi: This accounts for one case, what about the other cases?30 — He replied to him: [They contain the following verses]: For what great nation is there, etc.; And what great nation is there, etc.;31 Happy art thou, O Israel, etc.;32 Or hath God assayed, etc.;33 and To make thee high above all nations.34 If so, there would be too many cases? — Hence [you must say]: For what great nation is there, and And what great nation is there, which are similar, are in one case; Happy art thou, O Israel, and Who is like Thy people, in one case; Or hath God assayed, in one case; and To make thee high, in one case.
(1) lsa. XLVIII, 18, 19.
(2) Cf. Ps. XCI, 7 which verse is quoted in some editions.
(3) The Assemblies of Babylonian students during the months of Elul and Adar, v. Glos.
(4) For really the lectures are not overcrowded.
(5) MS. M.: their footprints.
(6) The demons.
(7) He put the powder into his eye.
(8) I Kings VIII, 28.
(9) The song of the community and of the officiating Cantor.
(10) Ps. LXXXII, I.
(11) And a congregation consists of not less than ten, v. Sanh. 2b.
(12) Ibid. A Beth din consists of three.
(13) A phrase denoting two.
(14) Mal. III, 16.
(15) MS.M.: R. Assi. This remark is made in passing by the editor of the Gemara, R. Ashi. Hence the reading ‘R. Ashi’ as given by the editions, seems to be correct.
(16) Ex. XX, 21. The lesson is derived from the use of the singular ‘thee’.
(17) This question is asked by the Gemara apropos of Rabin's statement.
(18) The same as the Rabin mentioned above.
(19) Phylacteries, v. Glos.
(20) Isa. LXII, 8.
(21) Deut. XXXIII, 2.
(22) Ps. XXIX, 11.
(23) Deut. XXVIII, 10.
(24) The tefillin of the arm are covered by the sleeves.
(25) I Chron. XVII, 21.
(26) Deut. XXVI, 17, 18.
(27) So the Aruch. Jastrow, however, translates חטיבה ‘the only object of your love’.
(28) Deut. VI, 4.
(29) I Chron. XVII, 21.
(30) The tefillin of the head has four cases.
(31) Deut. IV, 7, 8.
(32) Ibid. XXXIII, 29.
(33) Ibid. IV, 34.
(34) Ibid. XXVI, 19.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 6b
And all these verses are written on [the tefillin of] His arm. Rabin son of R. Adda in the name of R. Isaac says [further]: If a man is accustomed to attend Synagogue [daily] and one day does not go, the Holy One, blessed be He, makes inquiry about him. For it is said: Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, and now walketh in darkness and hath no light?1 [And still] if he absented himself on account of some religious purpose, he shall have light. But if he absented himself on account of a worldly purpose, he shall have no light. Let him trust in the name of the Lord.2 Why?3 Because he ought to have trusted in the name of the Lord and he did not trust.
R. Johanan says: Whenever the Holy One, blessed be He, comes into a Synagogue and does not find ten persons there,4 He becomes angry at once.5 For it is said: Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there no answer?6
R. Helbo, in the name of R. Huna, says: Whosoever has a fixed place for his prayer has the God of Abraham as his helper. And when he dies, people will say of him: Where is the pious man,7 where is the humble man,8 one of the disciples of our father Abraham! — How do we know that our father Abraham had a fixed place [for his prayer]? For it is written: And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood.9 And ‘standing’ means nothing else but prayer. For it is said: Then stood up Phinehas and prayed.10
R. Helbo, in the name of R. Huna, says [further]: When a man leaves the Synagogue, he should not take large steps. Abaye says: This is only when one goes from the Synagogue, but when one goes to the Synagogue, it is a pious deed to run. For it is said: Let us run to know the Lord.11 R. Zera says: At first when I saw the scholars running to the lecture on a Sabbath day, I thought that they were desecrating the Sabbath.12 But since I have heard the saying of R. Tanhum in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: A man should always, even on a Sabbath, run to listen to the word of Halachah, as it is said: They shall walk after the Lord, who shall roar like a lion,13 I also run. R. Zera says: The merit of attending a lecture lies in the running. Abaye says: The merit of attending the Kallah sessions14 lies in the crush. Raba says: The merit of repeating a tradition lies in [improving] the understanding of it. R. Papa says: The merit of attending a house of mourning lies in the silence observed. Mar Zutra says: The merit of a fast day lies in the charity dispensed. R. Shesheth says: The merit of a funeral oration lies in raising the voice.15 R. Ashi says: The merit of attending a wedding lies in the words [of congratulation addressed to the bride and bridegroom].16
R. Huna says: Whosoever prays at the rear of a Synagogue is called wicked. For it is said: The wicked walk round about.17 Abaye says: This only applies where he does not turn his face towards the Synagogue, but if he does turn his face towards the Synagogue there is no objection to it. There was once a man who prayed at the rear of a Synagogue and did not turn his face towards the Synagogue. Elijah passed by and appeared to him in the guise of an Arabian18 merchant. He said to him: Are you standing with your back to your Master?19 and drew his sword and slew him.
One of the scholars said to R. Bibi b. Abaye (some say: R. Bibi said to R. Nahman b. Isaac): What is the meaning of: When vileness is exalted among the sons of men?20 He replied to him: These are the things of supreme importance21 which nevertheless people neglect.22 R. Johanan and R. Eliezer both interpret: As soon as a man needs the support of his fellow-creatures his face changes colour like the kerum, as it is said: ‘As the kerum is to be reviled among the sons of men’. What is the ‘kerum’? When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said: There is a bird in the coast towns23 whose name is kerum, and as soon as the sun shines upon it it changes into several colours.24 R. Ammi and R. Assi both say: [When a man needs the support of his fellow-beings] it is as if he were punished with two [opposite] punishments, with fire and water. For it is said: When Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and through water.25
R. Helbo further said in the name of R. Huna: A man should always take special care about the afternoon-prayer. For even Elijah was favourably heard only while offering his afternoon-prayer. For it is said: And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening offering, that Elijah the prophet came near and said . . . Hear me, O Lord, hear me.26 ‘Hear me’, that the fire may descend from heaven, and ‘hear me’, that they may not say it is the work of sorcery. R. Johanan says: [Special care should be taken] also about the evening-prayer. For it is said: Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.27 R. Nahman b. Isaac says: [Special care should be taken] also about the morning.prayer. For it is said: O Lord, in the morning shalt Thou hear my voice; in the morning will I order my prayer unto Thee, and will look forward.28
R. Helbo further said in the name of R. Huna: Whosoever partakes of the wedding meal of a bridegroom and does not felicitate him does violence to ‘the five voices’ mentioned in the verse: The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that say, Give thanks to the Lord of Hosts.29 And if he does gladden him what is his reward? — R. Joshua b. Levi said: He is privileged to acquire [the knowledge of] the Torah which was given with five voices. For it is said: And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders30 and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a horn . . . and when the voice of the horn waxed louder . . . Moses spoke and God answered him by a voice.31 (This is not so!32 For it is written: And all the people perceived the thunderings?33 — These voices were before the revelation of the Torah.) R. Abbahu says: It is as if he34 had sacrificed a thanksgiving offering. For it is said: Even of them that bring offerings of thanksgiving into the house of the Lord.35 R. Nahman b. Isaac says: It is as if he had restored one of the ruins of Jerusalem. For it is said: For I will cause the captivity of the land to return as at the first, saith the Lord.36
R. Helbo further said in the name of R. Huna: If one is filled with the fear of God his words are listened to. For it is said: The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole man.37 What means, ‘For this is the whole man’? — R. Eleazar says: The Holy One, blessed be He, says: The whole world was created for his sake only. R. Abba b. Kahana says: He is equal in value to the whole world. R. Simeon b. ‘Azzai says (some say, R. Simon b. Zoma says): The whole world was created as a satellite for him.
R. Helbo further said in the name of R. Huna: If one knows that his friend is used to greet him, let him greet him first.38 For it is said: Seek peace and pursue it.39 And if his friend greets him and he does not return the greeting he is called a robber. For it is said: It is ye that have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.40
(1) Isa. L, 10.
(3) Has he no light.
(4) The number required for a public service.
(5) In the absence of a quorum of ten, a number of important features in the service are omitted.
(6) Sc. the congregational responses. Isa. L, 2.
(7) Aliter: Alas, the pious man (is no more)!
(8) Cf. previous note.
(9) Gen. XIX, 27.
(10) Ps. CVI, 30.
(11) Hos. VI, 3.
(12) It is forbidden to take large steps on the Sabbath, v. Shab. 113b.
(13) Hos. XI, 10. The text continues: For he shall roar, and the children shall come hurrying (E.V. ‘trembling’).
(14) V. Glos.
(15) I.e., in the loud lamentation of the listeners.
(16) These aphorisms are intended to bring home the lesson that the real merit of doing certain things lies not in themselves, but in their concomitants. For instance, the people running to the lectures do not benefit by the lectures, as they do not understand them. However they will be rewarded for enduring the rush and crush. The mechanical repetition of a tradition has no value if you do not try to understand it better. The merit of a fast day lies not in the fasting but in giving charity to the poor people, that they may have something to eat, etc.
(17) Ps. XII, 9.
(18) MS. M.: An Arab passed by and saw him.
(19) V. Jast. Rashi: ‘As if there were two powers’.
(21) Lit., ‘standing on the highest point of the world’.
(22) He interprets, ‘When the exalted things (kerum) are reviled among the sons of men’. The reference is to Prayer.
(23) The meaning is: In the distant countries lying across the sea.
(24) Lewysohn, Zoologie, p. 183 identifies the bird with the ‘bird of Paradise’.
(25) Ps. LXVI, 12.
(26) I Kings XVIII, 36,37.
(27) Ps. CXLI, 2.
(28) Ibid. V, 4.
(29) Jer. XXXIII, II.
(30) Lit., ‘voices’. The plural is counted as two.
(31) Ex. XIX, 16, 19.
(32) There were not only five, but seven voices.
(33) Ibid. XX, 15. Cf. n. 5.
(34) One who felicitates the bridegroom.
(35) Jer. XXXIII, II.
(37) Eccl. XII, 13. He interprets: ‘Everything is heard, if you fear God’.
(38) [MS.M.: If one is used to greet his neighbour and fails to do so a single day, he transgresses the injunction ‘Seek peace, etc.’]
(39) Ps. XXXIV, 15.
(40) Isa. III, 14.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 7a
R. Johanan says in the name of R. Jose: How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, says prayers? Because it says: Even them will I bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.1 It is not said, ‘their prayer’, but ‘My prayer’; hence [you learn] that the Holy One, blessed be He, says prayers. What does He pray? — R. Zutra b. Tobi said in the name of Rab: ‘May it be My will that My mercy may suppress My anger, and that My mercy may prevail over My [other] attributes, so that I may deal with My children in the attribute of mercy and, on their behalf, stop short of the limit of strict justice’.2 It was taught: R. Ishmael b. Elisha says: I once entered into the innermost part [of the Sanctuary] to offer incense and saw Akathriel Jah,3 the Lord of Hosts, seated upon a high and exalted throne. He said to me: Ishmael, My son, bless Me! l replied: May it be Thy will that Thy mercy may suppress Thy anger and Thy mercy may prevail over Thy other attributes, so that Thou mayest deal with Thy children according to the attribute of mercy and mayest, on their behalf, stop short of the limit of strict justice! And He nodded to me with His head. Here we learn [incidentally] that the blessing of an ordinary man must not be considered lightly in your eyes.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Jose: How do you know that we must not try to placate a man in the time of his anger? For it is written: My face will go and I will give thee rest.4 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Wait till My countenance of wrath shall have passed away and then I shall give thee rest. But is anger then a mood of the Holy One, blessed be He? — Yes. For it has been taught:5 A God that hath indignation every day.6 And how long does this indignation last? One moment. And how long is one moment? One fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-eighth part of an hour. And no creature has ever been able to fix precisely this moment except the wicked Balaam, of whom it is written: He knoweth the knowledge of the Most High.7 Now, he did not even know the mind of his animal; how then could he know the mind of the Most High? The meaning is, therefore, only that he knew how to fix precisely this moment in which the Holy One, blessed be He, is angry. And this is just what the prophet said to Israel: O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him . . . that ye may know the righteous acts of the Lord.8 What means ‘That ye may know the righteous acts of the Lord’? — R. Eleazar says: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: See now, how many righteous acts I performed for you in not being angry in the days of the wicked Balaam. For had I been angry, not one remnant would have been left of the enemies of Israel.9 And this too is the meaning of what Balaam said to Balak: How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? And how shall I execrate, whom the Lord hath not execrated?10 This teaches us that He was not angry all these days. And how long does His anger last? One moment. And how long is one moment? R. Abin (some say R. Abina) says: As long as it takes to say Rega’.11 And how do you know that He is angry one moment? For it is said: For His anger is but for a moment [rega’], His favor is for a lifetime.12 Or if you prefer you may infer it from the following verse: Hide thyself for a little moment until the indignation be overpast.13 And when is He angry? — Abaye says: In [one moment of] those first three hours of the day, when the comb of the cock is white and it stands on one foot. Why, in each hour it stands thus [on one foot]?14 — In each other hour it has red streaks, but in this moment it has no red streaks at all.
In the neighbourhood of R. Joshua b. Levi there was a Sadducee15 who used to annoy him very much with [his interpretations of] texts. One day the Rabbi took a cock, placed it between the legs of his bed and watched it. He thought: When this moment arrives I shall curse him. When the moment arrived he was dozing [On waking up]16 he said: We learn from this that it is not proper to act in such a way. It is written: And His tender mercies are over all His works.17 And it is further written: Neither is it good for the righteous to punish.18 It was taught in the name of R. Meir: At the time when the sun rises and all the kings of the East and West put their crowns upon their heads and bow down to the sun, the Holy One, blessed be He, becomes at once angry.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Jose: Better is one self-reproach in the heart of a man than many stripes, for it is said: And she shall run after her lovers . . . then shall she say,19 I shall go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.20 R. Simon b. Lakish says: It is better than a hundred stripes, for it is said: A rebuke entereth deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred stripes into a fool.21
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Jose: Three things did Moses ask of the Holy One, blessed be He, and they were granted to him. He asked that the Divine Presence should rest upon Israel, and it was granted to him. For it is said: Is it not in that Thou goest with us [so that we are distinguished, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth].22 He asked that the Divine Presence should not rest upon the idolaters, and it was granted to him. For it is said: ‘So that we are distinguished, I and Thy people’. He asked that He should show him the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, and it was granted to him. For it is said: Show me now Thy ways.23 Moses said before Him: Lord of the Universe, why is it that some righteous men prosper and others are in adversity, some wicked men prosper and others are in adversity? He replied to him: Moses, the righteous man who prospers is the righteous man the son of a righteous man; the righteous man who is in adversity is a righteous man the son of a wicked man. The wicked man who prospers is a wicked man son of a righteous man; the wicked man who is in adversity is a wicked man son of a wicked man.
The Master said above: ‘The righteous man who prospers is a righteous man son of a righteous man; the righteous man who is in adversity is a righteous man son of a wicked man’. But this is not so! For, lo, one verse says: Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,24 and another verse says: Neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers.25 And a contradiction was pointed out between these two verses, and the answer was given that there is no contradiction. The one verse deals with children who continue in the same course as their fathers, and the other verse with children who do not continue in the course of their fathers! — [You must] therefore [say that] the Lord said thus to Moses: A righteous man who prospers is a perfectly righteous man; the righteous man who is in adversity is not a perfectly righteous man. The wicked man who prospers is not a perfectly wicked man; the wicked man who is in adversity is a perfectly wicked man. Now this [saying of R. Johanan]26 is in opposition to the saying of R. Meir. For R. Meir said: only two [requests] were granted to him, and one was not granted to him. For it is said: And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, although he may not deserve it, And I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy,27 although he may not deserve it.28
And He said, Thou canst not see My face.29 A Tanna taught in the name of R. Joshua b. Korhah: The Holy One, blessed be He, spoke thus to Moses: When I wanted, you did not want [to see My face]30 now that you want, I do not want. — This is in opposition to [the interpretation of this verse by] R. Samuel b. Nahmani in the name of R. Jonathan. For R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: As a reward of three [pious acts]31 Moses was privileged to obtain three [favours]. In reward of ‘And Moses hid his face’, he obtained the brightness of his face.32 In reward of ‘For he was afraid’, he obtained the privilege that They were afraid to come nigh him.33 In reward of ‘To look upon God’, he obtained The similitude of the Lord doth he behold.34
And I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back.35 R. Hama b. Bizana said in the name of R. Simon the Pious: This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moses the knot of the tefillin.36
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Jose: No word of blessing that issued from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, even if based upon a condition, was ever withdrawn by Him. How do we know this? From our teacher Moses. For it is said: Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.37 Though Moses prayed that this might be mercifully averted and it was cancelled, [the blessing] was nevertheless fulfilled towards his children. For it is said: The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer . . . And the sons of Eliezer were Rehabia the chief . . . and the sons of Rehabiah were very many.38 And R. Joseph learnt: They were more than sixty myriads. This is to be learnt from two occurrences of the term ‘manifold’. Here it is written: were very many, and elsewhere It is written: And the children of Israel were very fruitful and increased abundantly, and became very many.39
(1) Ibid. LVI, 7. ‘In the house of My prayer’.
(2) I.e., not exact the full penalty from them.
(3) Lit., ‘crown of God’.
(4) Ex. XXXIII, 14.
(5) V. A.Z. 4a.
(6) Ps. VII, 12.
(7) Num. XXIV, 16.
(8) Micah VI, 5.
(9) Euphemism for Israel.
(10) Num. XXIII, 8.
(11) ‘A moment’.
(12) Ps. XXX, 6.
(13) Isa. XXVI, 20.
(14) A better reading is: ‘its comb is thus (viz., white)’.
(15) Var. lec. Min. v. Glos.
(16) Added with MS. M.
(17) Ps. CXLV, 9.
(18) Prov. XVII, 26.
(19) In her heart.
(20) Hos. II, 9.
(21) Prov. XVII, 10.
(22) Ex. XXXIII, 16.
(23) Ex. XXXIII, 13.
(24) Ibid. XXXIV, 7.
(25) Deut. XXIV, 16.
(26) That all the three requests of Moses were granted.
(27) Ex. XXXIII, 19.
(28) And God's ways therefore cannot be known.
(29) Ibid. v. 20.
(30) At the burning bush, Ex. III, 6.
(31) Mentioned in Ex. III, 6; (i) And Moses hid his face; (ii) for he was afraid; (iii) to look upon God.
(32) Cf. Ex. XXXIV, 29-30.
(33) Ibid. v. 30.
(34) Num. XII, 8.
(35) Ex. XXXIII, 23.
(36) Worn at the back of the head.
(37) Deut. IX, 14. This verse contains a curse and a blessing, the blessing being conditional upon the realization of the curse.
(38) I Chron. XXIII, 15-17.
(39) Ex. I, 7. And we know that they were about sixty myriads when leaving Egypt.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 7b
R. Johanan said [further] in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: From the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world there was no man that called the Holy One, blessed be He, Lord,1 until Abraham came and called Him Lord. For it is said: And he said, O Lord [Adonai] God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?2 Rab said: Even Daniel was heard [in his prayer] only for the sake of Abraham. For it says: Now therefore, O our God, hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.3 He ought to have said: ‘For Thy sake’, but [he means]: For the sake of Abraham, who called Thee Lord.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: How do you know that we must not try to placate a man in the time of his anger? Because it is said: My face will go and I will give thee rest.4
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: From the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, created His world there was no man that praised the Holy One, blessed be He, until Leah came and praised Him. For it is said: This time will I praise the Lord.5
Reuben. [What is the meaning of ‘Reuben’?]6 — R. Eleazar said: Leah said: See the difference between7 my son and the son of my father-in-law. The son of my father-in-law voluntarily sold his birthright, for it is written: And he sold his birthright unto Jacob.8 And, nonetheless, behold, it is written of him: And Esau hated Jacob,9 and it is also written: And he said, is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times.10 My son, however, although Joseph took his birthright from him against his will — as it is written: But, for as much as he defiled his father's couch, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph,11 — was not jealous of him. For it is written: And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand.12
Ruth. What is the meaning of Ruth? — R. Johanan said: Because she was privileged to be the ancestress of David, who saturated13 the Holy One, blessed be He, with songs and hymns. How do we know that the name [of a person] has an effect [upon his life]?14 — R. Eleazar said: Scripture says: Come, behold the works of the Lord, who hath made desolations in the earth.15 Read not shammoth, [‘desolations’], but shemoth, [names].
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: A bad son16 in a man's house is worse than the war of Gog and Magog. For it is said: A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son,17 and it is written after that: Lord, how many are mine adversaries become! Many are they that rise up against me.18 But in regard to the war of Gog and Magog it is written: Why are the nations in an uproar? And why do the peoples mutter in vain,19 but, it is not written: ‘How many are mine adversaries become!’
‘A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son’. ‘A Psalm of David’? He ought to have said: ‘A Lamentation of David’! R. Simeon b. Abishalom said: A parable: To what is this to be compared? To a man who has a bond outstanding against him; until he pays it he worries20 but after he has paid it, he rejoices. So was it with David. When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house,21 he began worrying. He thought: it may be a slave or a bastard who will have no pity on me. When he saw that it was Absalom, he was glad, and therefore he said: ‘A Psalm’.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: It is permitted to contend with the wicked in this world. For it is said: They that forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them.22 It has been taught to the same effect: R. Dosthai son of R. Mattun says: It is permitted to contend with the wicked in this world. For it is said: ‘They that forsake the law praise the wicked, etc.’ — Should somebody whisper to you: But is it not written: Contend not with evil-doers, neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness,23 then you may tell him: Only one whose conscience smites24 him says so. In fact, ‘Contend not with evil-doers’, means, to be like them; ‘neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness’, means, to be like them. And so it is said: Let not thy heart envy sinners, but be in the fear of the Lord all the day.25 But this is not so! For R. Isaac said: If you see a wicked man upon whom fortune26 is smiling, do not attack him. For it is said: His ways prosper at all times.27 And more than that, he is victorious in the court of judgment; for it is said: Thy judgments are far above out of his sight.28 And still more than that, he sees the discomfiture of his enemies; for it is said: As for all his adversaries, he puffeth at them.29 There is no contradiction. The one [R. Isaac] speaks of his private affairs, the other one [R. Johanan] of matters of religion.30 If you wish I can say: both speak of matters of religion, and still there is no contradiction. The one [R. Isaac] speaks of a wicked man upon whom fortune is smiling, the other one speaks of a wicked man upon whom fortune is not smiling. Or if you wish, I can say, both speak of a wicked man upon whom fortune is smiling, and still there is no contradiction. The one [R. Johanan] speaks of a perfectly righteous man, the other one of a man who is not perfectly righteous. For R. Huna said: What is the meaning of the verse: Wherefore lookest Thou, when they deal treacherously, and holdest Thy peace, when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he?31 Can then the wicked swallow up the righteous? Is it not written: The Lord will not leave him in his hand?32 And is it not written further: There shall no mischief befall the righteous?33 [You must] therefore [say]: He swallows up the one who is only ‘more righteous than he’, but he cannot swallow up the perfectly righteous man. If you wish I can say: It is different when fortune is smiling upon him.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: If a man has a fixed place for his prayer, his enemies succumb to him. For it is said: And I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disquieted no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as at the first.34 R. Huna pointed to a contradiction. [Here] it is written: ‘To afflict them’, and [elsewhere]: To exterminate them?35 [The answer is]: First to afflict them and then to exterminate them.
R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: The service of the Torah is greater than the study thereof.36 For it is said: Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.37 It is not said, who learned, but who poured water. This teaches that the service of the Torah is greater than the study thereof.
R. Isaac said to R. Nahman: Why does the Master not come to the Synagogue in order to pray?38 — He said to him: I cannot.39 He asked him: Let the Master gather ten people and pray with them [in his house]? — He answered: It is too much of a trouble for me. [He then said]: Let the Master ask the messenger of the congregation40 to inform him of the time when the congregation prays?41 He answered: Why all this [trouble]? — He said to him: For R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai:
(1) In Hebrew: Adon.
(2) Gen. XV, 8.
(3) Dan. IX, 17.
(4) Ex. XXXIII, 14. Cf. also supra 7a.
(5) Gen. XXIX, 35. She implied that this had never been done before.
(6) Words in brackets added from MS.M. This passage is suggested by the mention of Leah.
(7) Reuben is explained as ראו בין, ‘See the difference between’.
(8) Ibid. XXV, 33.
(9) Ibid. XXVII, 41.
(10) Ibid. XXVII, 36.
(11) I Chron. V, I.
(12) Gen. XXXVII, 21.
(13) רות is derived from רוה to saturate.
(14) Lit., ‘causes’, ‘determines (one's destiny)’.
(15) Ps. XLVI, 9.
(16) Lit., ‘training’, ‘upbringing’.
(17) Ibid. III, I.
(18) Ibid. 2.
(19) Ibid, II, I.
(20) MS. M.: To a man to whom it is said tomorrow a bill will be issued against you until he sees it . . . after he sees it etc.
(21) II Sam. XII, II.
(22) Prov. XXVIII, 4.
(23) Ps. XXXVII, I. E.V. ‘Fret not thyself’.
(24) Lit., ‘whose heart knocks him’.
(25) Prov. XXIII, 17.
(26) Lit., ‘the hour’.
(27) Ps. X, 5.
(30) You may fight him with regard to religious affairs, but not with regard to his private affairs.
(31) Hab. I, 13.
(32) Ps. XXXVII, 33.
(33) Prov. XII, 21.
(34) II Sam. VII, 10.
(35) I Chron. XVII, 9. The Gemara read there לכלותו. Our masoretic text, however, reads לבלותו. The meaning is the same.
(36) To act as the famulus of the teacher is even more meritorious than being his disciple.
(37) II Kings III, II.
(38) Why does he not pray publicly with the congregation?
(39) For physical reasons.
(40) The Reader.
(41) So that R. Nahman might say his prayers at the same time as the congregation.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 8a
What is the meaning of the verse: But as for me, let my prayer be made unto Thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time?1 When is the time acceptable? When the congregation prays. R. Jose b. R. Hanina says: [You learn it] from here: Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I answered thee.2 R. Aha son of R. Hanina says: [You learn it] from here: Behold, God despiseth not the mighty.3 And it is further written: He hath redeemed my soul in peace so that none came nigh me; for they were many with me.4 It has been taught also to the same effect; R. Nathan says: How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not despise the prayer of the congregation? For it is said: ‘Behold, God despiseth not the mighty’. And it is further written: ‘He hath redeemed my soul in peace so that none came nigh me, etc.’. The Holy One, blessed be He, says: If a man occupies himself with the study of the Torah and with works of charity and prays with the congregation, I account it to him as if he had redeemed Me and My children from among the nations of the world.
Resh Lakish said: Whosoever has a Synagogue in his town and does not go there in order to pray, is called an evil neighbour. For it is said: Thus saith the Lord, as for all Mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit.5 And more than that, he brings exile upon himself and his children. For it is said: Behold, I will pluck them up from off their land, and will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.6
When they told R. Johanan7 that there were old men in Babylon, he showed astonishment and said: Why, it is written: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, upon the land;8 but not outside the land [of Israel]! When they told him that they came early to the Synagogue and left it late, he said: That is what helps them. Even as R. Joshua b. Levi said to his children: Come early to the Synagogue and leave it late that you may live long. R. Aha son of R. Hanina says: Which verse [may be quoted in support of this]? Happy is the man that hearkeneth to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors,9 after which it is written: For whoso findeth me findeth life.10 R. Hisda says: A man should always enter two doors into the Synagogue.11 What is the meaning of ‘two doors’? Say: The distance of two doors, and then pray.12
For this let every one that is godly pray unto Thee in the time of finding.13 R. Hanina says: ‘In the time of finding’ refers to [the finding of] a wife. For it is said: Whoso findeth a wife findeth a great good.14 In the West they used to ask a man who married a wife thus: Maza or Moze?15 ‘Maza’, for it is written: Whoso findeth [maza] a wife findeth a great good. ‘Moze’, for it is written: And I find [moze] more bitter than death the woman.16 R. Nathan says: ‘In the time of finding’ refers to the [finding of] Torah. For it is said: For whoso findeth me findeth life, etc.17 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: ‘In the time of finding’ refers to the [finding of] death. For it is said: The issues of death.18 Similarly it has been taught: Nine hundred and three species of death were created in this world. For it is said: The issues of death, and the numerical value of Toza'oth is so. The worst of them is the croup, and the easiest of them is the kiss.19 Croup is like a thorn in a ball of wool pulled out backwards.20 Some people say: It is like [pulling] a rope through the loop-holes [of a ship].21 [Death by a] kiss is like drawing a hair out of milk. R. Johanan said: ‘In the time of finding’ refers to the [finding of a] grave. R. Hanina said: Which verse [may be quoted in support]? Who rejoice unto exultation and are glad, when they can find the grave.22 Rabbah son of R. Shila said: Hence the proverb: A man should pray for peace even to the last clod of earth [thrown upon his grave]. Mar Zutra said: ‘In the time of finding’, refers to the [finding of a] privy.23 They said in the West: This [interpretation] of Mar Zutra is the best of all.
Raba said to Rafram b. Papa: Let the master please tell us some of those fine things that you said in the name of R. Hisda on matters relating to the Synagogue! — He replied: Thus said R. Hisda: What is the meaning of the verse: The Lord loveth the gates of Zion [Ziyyon] more than all the dwellings of Jacob?24 The Lord loves the gates that are distinguished [me-zuyanim] through Halachah more than the Synagogues and Houses of study.25 And this conforms with the following saying of R. Hiyya b. Ammi in the name of ‘Ulla: Since the day that the Temple was destroyed, the Holy One, blessed be He, has nothing in this world but the four cubits of Halachah alone. So said also Abaye: At first I used to study in my house and pray in the Synagogue. Since I heard the saying of R. Hiyya b. Ammi in the name of ‘Ulla: ‘Since the day that the Temple was destroyed, the Holy One, blessed be He, has nothing in His world but the four cubits of Halachah alone’,I pray only in the place where I study. R. Ammi and R. Assi, though they had thirteen Synagogues in Tiberias, prayed only between the pillars where they used to study.26
R. Hiyya b. Ammi further said in the name of ‘Ulla: A man who lives from the labour [of his hands] is greater than the one who fears heaven.27 For with regard to the one who fears heaven it is written: Happy is the man that feareth the Lord,28 while with regard to the man who lives from his own work it is written: When thou eatest the labour of thy hands, happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.29 ‘Happy shalt thou be’, in this world, ‘and it shall be well with thee’, in the world to come. But of the man that fears heaven it is not written: ‘and it shall be well with thee’.
R. Hiyya b. Ammi further said in the name of ‘Ulla: A man should always live in the same town as his teacher. For as long as Shimei the son of Gera was alive Solomon did not marry the daughter of Pharaoh.30 — But it has been taught that he should not live [in the same place]? — There is no contradiction. The former [speaks of a disciple] who is submissive to him, the other [of a disciple] who is not submissive.
R. Huna b. Judah in the name of R. Menahem in the name of R. Ammi said: What is the meaning of the verse: And they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed?31 This refers to people who leave the Scroll of the Law [while it is being read from] and go out [from the Synagogue]. R. Abbahu used to go out between one reader and the next.32 R. Papa raised the question: What of going out between verse and verse? It remains unanswered. — R. Shesheth used to turn his face to another side and study. He said: We [are busy] with ours, and they [are busy] with theirs.33
R. Huna b. Judah says in the name of R. Ammi: A man should always complete his Parashoth together with the congregation,34 [reading] twice the Hebrew text and once the [Aramaic] Targum,
(1) Ps. LXIX, 14.
(2) Isa. XLIX, 8.
(3) Job. XXXVI, 5. I.e., the mighty and numerous people that pray to Him. E.V. God is mighty and despiseth not any.
(4) Joining me in prayer. Ps. LV, 19. (E.V. ‘for there were many that strove with me’.)
(5) Jer. XII, 14.
(7) Who was a Palestinian.
(8) Deut. XI, 21.
(9) Prov. VIII, 34.
(10) Ibid. 35.
(11) MS. M. adds: ‘and then pray, for it is written: Waiting at the posts of My doors".’
(12) Were he to remain at the entrance, near the door, it would look as if he was anxious to leave.
(13) Ps. XXXII, 6.
(14) Prov. XVIII, 22.
(15) Whereas the word maza is used in the Bible in connection with a good wife, the word moze is used in connection with a bad wife.
(16) Eccl. VII, 26.
(17) Prov. VIII, 35.
(18) Ps. LXVIII, 21. תוצאות is translated ‘findings’.
(19) The Talmud refers to an easy death as the ‘death by a kiss’.
(20) And drawing the wool with it.
(21) The’ friction being very great (Rashi). Jast.: Like the whirling waters at the entrance of a canal (when the sluicebars are raised).
(22) Job. III, 22.
(23) In Babylon, owing to the marshy character of the soil, privies were for the most part outside the town at some distance from the dwellings.
(24) Ps. LXXXVII, 2.
(25) Beth Midrash is here understood as the house of popular, aggadic lectures which, however, was not devoted to the study of Halachah.
(26) In the Beth-hamidrash.
(27) But for his living relies upon the support of other people.
(28) Ps. CXII, I.
(29) Ibid. CXXVIII, 2.
(30) The assumption is that he forbore to do so out of respect for his teacher.
(31) Isa. I, 28.
(32) I.e., when one portion was finished and before the next had commenced.
(33) They are engaged in listening to the public reading and we, more profitably, with more advanced study.
(34) I.e., recite (at home) the same weekly portion (parashah) from the Pentateuch.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 8b
and even [such verses as] Ataroth and Dibon,1 for if one completes his Parashoth together with the congregation, his days and years are prolonged. R. Bibi b. Abaye wanted to finish all the Parashoth of the whole year on the eve of the Day of Atonement. But Hiyya b. Rab of Difti2 recited to him [the following Baraitha]: It is written: And ye shall afflict your souls, in the ninth day of the month at even.3 Now, do we fast on the ninth? Why, we fast on the tenth! But this teaches you that if one eats and drinks on the ninth, Scripture accounts it to him as if he fasted on the ninth and tenth.4 Thereupon he wanted to finish them in advance. But a certain Elder recited to him a Baraitha teaching: However, he should not read them in advance of nor later [than the congregation]. Even so did R. Joshua b. Levi say to his children: Complete your Parashoth together with the congregation, twice the Hebrew text and once Targum; be careful with the jugular veins to follow [the teaching of] R. Judah, as we have learnt: R. Judah says: He must cut through the jugular veins; and be careful [to respect] an old man who has forgotten his knowledge through no fault of his own,5 for it was said: Both the whole tables and the fragments of the tables were placed in the Ark.6
Raba said to his children: When you are cutting meat, do not cut it upon your hand. (Some people say on account of danger;7 and some in order not to spoil the meal.)8 Do not sit upon the bed of an Aramaean woman, and do not pass behind a Synagogue when the congregation is praying. ‘Do not sit upon the bed of an Aramaean woman’; some say that this means: Do not go to bed before reciting the Shema’;9 some say it means: Do not marry a proselyte woman; and some say it means literally [the bed of] an Aramaean woman, and this rule was laid down because of what happened to R. Papa. For R. Papa once visited an Aramaean woman. She brought out a bed and said: Sit down. He said to her: I will not sit down until you raise the cover of the bed. She raised the cover and they found there a dead baby. Hence said the scholars: It is not permitted to sit down upon the bed of an Aramaean woman. ‘And do not pass behind a Synagogue when the congregation is praying’; this supports the teaching of R. Joshua b. Levi. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: It is not permitted for a man to pass behind a Synagogue when the congregation is praying. Abaye said: This applies only when there is no other door, but when there is another door,10 there is no objection. Furthermore, this applies only when there is no other Synagogue, but when there is another Synagogues there is no objection. And furthermore, this applies only when he does not carry a burden, and does not run, and does not wear tefillin. But where one of these conditions is present there is no objection.
It has been taught: R. Akiba says: For three things I like the Medes: When they cut meat, they cut it only on the table; when they kiss, they kiss only the hand; and when they hold counsel, they do so only in the field. R. Adda b. Ahabah says: Which verse [may be quoted in support of the last]? And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock.11 It has been taught: R. Gamaliel says: For three things do I like the Persians: They are temperate in their eating, modest in the privy, and chaste in another matter.12 I have commanded My consecrated ones.13 R. Joseph learnt: This refers to the Persians who are consecrated and destined for Gehinnom.14
R. GAMALIEL SAYS: UNTIL THE DAWN RISES. Rab Judah says in the name of Samuel: The Halachah is as laid down by R. Gamaliel. It was taught, R. Simeon b. Yohai says: Sometimes a man may recite the Shema’ twice in the night, once before the dawn breaks and once after the dawn breaks, and thereby fulfil his duty once for the day and once for the night.
Now this is self-contradictory. You say: ‘A man may sometimes recite the Shema’ twice in the night’, which shows that it is still night after the dawn breaks. And then you say: ‘He thereby fulfils his duty once for the day and once for the night’, which shows that it is daytime? — No! It is in reality night, but he calls it day because some people rise at that time. R. Aha b. Hanina said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: The Halachah is as stated by R. Simeon b. Yohai. Some people refer this [statement] of R. Aha b. Hanina to the following lesson,15 which has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai says in the name of R. Akiba: Sometimes a man may recite the Shema’ twice in the day-time, once before sunrise and once after sunrise, and thereby fulfill his duty once for the day and once for the night. Now this is self-contradictory. You say: ‘A man may sometimes recite the Shema’ twice in the daytime’, which shows that before sunrise it is daytime, and then you state: ‘He thereby fulfills his duty once for the day and once for the night’, which shows that it is night? —
(1) Num. XXXII, 3. Even strings of names which are left untranslated in the Targum should be recited in Hebrew and in the Aramaic version.
(2) Dibtha on the Tigris.
(3) Lev. XXIII, 32.
(4) Therefore he should not devote the whole day to study.
(5) I.e., as a result of illness or struggle for a livelihood.
(6) V. B.B. 14b.
(7) Lest he should cut his hand.
(8) With the blood that will ooze from the meat.
(9) So that your bed should not be like that of an Aramaean.
(10) By which he can enter and join in the prayers.
(11) Gen. XXXI, 4.
(12) In sexual matters.
(13) Isa. XIII, 3.
(14) R. Joseph experienced the Persecution under Shapor II.
(15) Which is most probably only another version of the previous one.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 9a
No! It is in reality day, but he calls it night because some people go to bed at that time. R. Aha b. Hanina said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: The Halachah is as stated by R. Simeon who said in the name of R. Akiba. R. Zera says: However, he must not say [the prayer]: ‘cause us to lie down’.1 When R. Isaac b. Joseph came [from Palestine], he said: This [tradition] of R. Aha b. Hanina in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi was not expressly said [by R. Joshua], but it was said [by R. Aha] by inference.2 For it happened that a couple of scholars became drunk at the wedding feast of the son of R. Joshua b. Levi, and they came before R. Joshua b. Levi [before the rise of the sun] and he said: R. Simeon is a great enough authority to be relied on in a case of emergency.
IT ONCE HAPPENED THAT HIS SONS CAME HOME [LATE], etc. How is it that they had not heard before of this opinion of R. Gamaliel? — [They had heard], but they asked thus: Do the Rabbis join issue with you? For if so, where there is a controversy between an individual and a group, the Halachah follows the group. Or do the Rabbis agree with you [in substance], but they say: UNTIL MIDNIGHT, in order to keep a man far away from transgression? — He replied: The Rabbis do agree with me, and it is your duty [to recite the Shema’]. But they say, UNTIL MIDNIGHT, in order to keep a man far from transgression.
AND NOT IN RESPECT TO THIS ALONE DID THEY SO DECIDE, etc. But does R. Gamaliel say ‘until midnight’, that he should continue AND NOT IN RESPECT TO THIS ALONE DID THEY SO DECIDE? — That is what R. Gamaliel said to his sons: Even according to the Rabbis who say, ‘UNTIL MIDNIGHT’, the obligation continues until the dawn breaks, but the reason they said, ‘UNTIL MIDNIGHT’, was in order to keep a man far away from transgression.
THE BURNING OF THE FAT, etc. But [the Mishnah] does not mention the eating of the Passover offering. This would point to a contradiction [with the following Baraitha]: The duty of the recital of the Shema’ in the evening, and of the Hallel3 on the night of the Passover, and of the eating of the Passover sacrifice can be performed until the break of the dawn? — R. Joseph says: There is no contradiction. One statement [the Mishnah] conforms with the view of R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and the other with the view of R. Akiba. For it has been taught: And they shall eat of the flesh in that night.4 R. Eleazar b. Azariah says: Here it is said: ‘in that night’, and further on it is said: For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night.5 Just as the latter verse means until midnight, so also here it means until midnight. R. Akiba said to him: But it is also said: Ye shall eat it in haste,6 which means: until the time of haste?7 [Until the break of the dawn]. [Said R. Eleazar to him,]8 If that is so, why does it say: in the night? [R. Akiba answered,]8 Because I might think that it may be eaten in the daytime9 like the sacrifices; therefore it is said: ‘in the night’, indicating that only in the night is it eaten and not in the day. We can understand why according to R. Eleazar b. Azariah, whose opinion is based on the Gezerah shawah,10 the word ‘that’ is necessary. But according to R. Akiba what is the purpose of this word ‘that’?11 — It is there to exclude another night. For, since the Passover sacrifice is a sacrifice of minor sanctity and peace-offerings are sacrifices of minor sanctity, I might think that just as the peace-offerings are eaten for two days and one night so is also the Passover-offering eaten for two nights instead of the two days, and therefore it might be eaten for two nights and one day! Therefore it is said: ‘in that night’; in that night it is eaten, but it is not eaten in another night. And R. Eleazar b. Azariah?12 He deduces it from the verse: And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning.13 R. Akiba? — If [you deduced it] from there, I could say that ‘morning’ refers to the second morning. And R. Eleazar? — He answers you: ‘Morning’ generally means the first morning.
And [the controversy of] these Tannaim is like [the controversy of] the other Tannaim in the following Baraitha: There thou shalt sacrifice the passover-offering at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.14 R. Eliezer says: ‘At even’,15 you sacrifice; ‘at sunset’, you eat; and ‘at the season that thou camest out of Egypt’,16 you must burn [the remainder]. R. Joshua says: ‘At even’, you sacrifice; ‘at sunset’, you eat; a and how long do you continue to eat? Till ‘the season that thou camest out of Egypt’.
R. Abba said: All agree that when Israel was redeemed17 from Egypt they were redeemed in the evening. For it is said: The Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.18 But they did not actually leave Egypt till the daytime. For it is said: On the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand.19 About what do they disagree? — About the time of the haste.20 R. Eleazar b. Azariah says: What is meant by ‘haste’? The haste of the Egyptians.21 And R. Akiba says: It is the haste of Israel.22 It has also been taught likewise: ‘The Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.’ But did they leave in the night? Did not they in fact leave only in the morning, as it says: ‘On the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand? But this teaches that the redemption had already begun in the evening.
Speak now [na] in the ears of the people, etc.23 In the school of R. Jannai they said: The word ‘na’ means: I pray. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: I pray of thee, go and tell Israel, I pray of you to borrow from the Egyptians vessels of silver and vessels of gold, so that
(1) V. P.B. p. 99. This is essentially a night prayer.
(2) From a decision of R. Joshua.
(3) V. Glos.
(4) Ex. XII, 8.
(5) Ibid. 12.
(6) Ibid. 11.
(7) The hour of the break of dawn, when they hastened out of Egypt, v. Ex. XII, 22.
(8) Inserted with MS.M.
(9) I.e., during the very day on which it was slaughtered.
(10) V. Glos.
(11) The text should have simply stated ‘in the night’.
(12) How does he deduce this latter ruling?
(13) Ibid. XII, 10.
(14) Deut. XVI, 6.
(15) In the afternoon.
(16) At the break of dawn. Hence according to R. Eliezer, the time of eating extends only till midnight.
(17) I.e., obtained permission to leave.
(18) Ibid. XVI, 1.
(19) Num. XXXIII, 3.
(20) Which is the termination of the time when it is permitted to eat; v. Ex. XII, 11 and the Gemara above.
(21) At midnight the Egyptians hastened to urge Israel to leave Egypt.
(22) I.e., in the morning when the Israelites hastened to go out.
(23) Ex. XI, 2.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 9b
this righteous man [Abraham] may not say: And they shall serve them, and they shall afflict them1 He did fulfill for them, but And afterward shall they come out with great substance2 He did not fulfill for them. They said to him: If only we could get out with our lives! A parable: [They were] like a man who was kept in prison and people told him: To-morrow, they will release you from the prison and give you plenty of money. And he answered them: I pray of you, let me go free today and I shall ask nothing more!
And they let them have what they asked.3 R. Ammi says: This teaches that they let them have it against their will. Some say, against the will of the Egyptians, and some say, against the will of the Israelites. Those that say ‘against the will of the Egyptians’ cite the verse: And she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil.4 Those that say: ‘against the will of the Israelites’, say it was because of the burden [of carrying it]. And they despoiled Egypt.5 R. Ammi says: This teaches that they made it like a snare6 without corn. Resh Lakish said: They made it like a pond without fish.
I am that I am.7 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Go and say to Israel: I was with you in this servitude, and I shall be with you in the servitude of the [other] kingdoms.8 He said to Him: Lord of the Universe, sufficient is the evil in the time thereof! Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: Go and tell them: I AM has sent me unto you.9
Hear me, O Lord, hear me.10 R. Abbahu said: Why did Elijah say twice: ‘Hear me’? This teaches that Elijah said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Lord of the Universe, ‘hear me’, that the fire may descend from heaven and consume everything that is upon the altar; and ‘hear me’, that Thou mayest turn their mind that they may not say that it was the work of sorcery. For it is said: For Thou didst turn their heart backward.11
MISHNAH. FROM WHAT TIME MAY ONE RECITE THE SHEMA IN THE MORNING? FROM THE TIME THAT ONE CAN DISTINGUISH BETWEEN BLUE AND WHITE. R. ELIEZER SAYS: BETWEEN BLUE AND GREEN. AND HE HAS TIME TO FINISH UNTIL SUNRISE. R. JOSHUA SAYS: UNTIL THE THIRD HOUR OF THE DAY, FOR SUCH IS THE CUSTOM OF KINGS, TO RISE AT THE THIRD HOUR. IF ONE RECITES THE SHEMA’ LATER HE LOSES NOTHING, BEING LIKE ONE WHO READS IN THE TORAH.12
GEMARA. What is the meaning of BETWEEN BLUE AND WHITE? Shall I say: between a lump of white wool and a lump of blue wool? This one may also distinguish in the night! It means rather: between the blue in it and the white in it.13 It has been taught: R. Meir says: [The morning Shema’ is read] from the time that one can distinguish between a wolf and a dog; R. Akiba says: Between an ass and a wild ass. Others say: From the time that one can distinguish his friend at a distance of four cubits. R. Huna says: The halachah is as stated by the ‘Others’. Abaye says: In regard to the tefillin,14 the halachah is as stated by the ‘Others’; in regard to [the recital of] the Shema’, as practised by the watikin.15 For R. Johanan said: The watikin used to finish it [the recital of the Shema’] with sunrise, in order to join the ge'ullah with the tefillah,16 and say the tefillah in the daytime. R. Zera says: What text can be cited in support of this? They shall fear Thee with the sun,17 and so long as the moon throughout all generations.18 R. Jose b. Eliakim testified19 in the name of the holy community of Jerusalem:20 If one joins the ge'ullah to the tefillah, he will not meet with any mishap for the whole of the day. Said R. Zera: This is not so! For I did join, and did meet with a mishap. They asked him: What was your mishap? That you had to carry a myrtle branch into the king's palace?21 That was no mishap, for in any case you would have had to pay something in order to see the king! For R. Johanan said: A man should always be eager to run to see the kings of Israel. And not only to see the kings of Israel, but also to see the kings of the Gentiles, so that, if he is found worthy,22 he may be able to distinguish between the kings of Israel and the kings of the Gentiles.
R. Ela said to ‘Ulla: When you go up there,23 give my greeting to my brother R. Berona in the presence of the whole college, for he is a great man and rejoices to perform a precept [in the correct manner]. Once he succeeded in joining ge'ullah with tefillah,24 and a smile did not leave his lips the whole day. How is it possible to join the two, seeing that R. Johanan has said:25 At the beginning of the tefillah one has to say, O, Lord, open Thou my lips,26 and at the end he has to say, Let the words of my mouth be acceptable etc.?27 — R. Eleazar replied: This28 must then refer to the tefillah of the evening. But has not R. Johanan said: Who is it that is destined for the world to come? One who joins the ge'ullah of the evening with the tefillah of the evening? — Rather said R. Eleazar: This must then refer to the tefillah of the afternoon. R. Ashi said: You may also say that it refers to all the tefillahs, but since the Rabbis instituted [these words]28 in the tefillah, the whole is considered one long tefillah. For if you do not admit this, how can he join in the evening, seeing that he has to say the benediction of ‘Let us rest’?29 You must say then that, since the Rabbis ordained the saying of ‘Let us rest’, it is considered one long ge'ullah.30 So here, since the Rabbis instituted these words in the tefillah, the whole is considered one long tefillah.
Seeing that this verse, ‘Let the words of my mouth be acceptable etc.’ is suitable for recital either at the end or the beginning [of the tefillah], why did the Rabbis institute it at the end of the eighteen benedictions? Let it be recited at the beginning? — R. Judah the son of R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: Since David said it only after eighteen chapters [of the Psalms],31 the Rabbis too enacted that it should be said after eighteen blessings. But those eighteen Psalms are really nineteen? — ‘Happy is the man’ and ‘Why are the nations in an uproar’32 form one chapter. For R. Judah the son of R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: David composed a hundred and three chapters [of psalms], and he did not say ‘Hallelujah’ until he saw the downfall of the wicked, as it says, Let sinners cease out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Hallelujah.33 Now are these a hundred and three? Are they not a hundred and four? You must assume therefore that ‘Happy is the man’ and ‘Why are the nations in an uproar’ form one chapter. For R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan:
(1) Gen. XV, 14.
(3) Ex. XII, 36.
(4) Ps. LXVIII, 13.
(5) Ex. XII, 36.
(6) For birds with corn for a lure. Var. lec.: like husks without grain, like a net without fish.
(7) Ibid. III, 14.
(8) Babylon and Rome.
(10) I Kings XVIII, 37.
(11) Ibid. Sc., from such a thought.
(12) It is not a transgression. On the contrary, he has the ordinary merit of one who reads in the Torah, though he has not fulfilled the obligation of reading the Shema’.
(13) In one and the same lump of wool which was dyed blue but had some white spots in it. J. T. refers it to the ‘fringes’ which contain a thread of blue and which are used when reading the Shema’.
(14) I.e., the time for putting them on. MS.M. reads Tefillah (v. Glos.).
(15) Lit., strong’ (sc.,in piety), a title probably applied to certain men who, in the time of the Hasmonean kingdom, set an example of exceptional piety. Some identify them with the Essenes.
(16) V. supra 4b.
(17) I.e., when the sun rises. E.V. ‘While the sun endureth’.
(18) Ps. LXXII, 5.
(19) I.e., transmitted a tradition.
(20) V. J.E. p. 226.
(21) He was compelled to do some forced labour. V. T.J.
(22) To live to the time of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom and to see the Jewish kings.
(23) To Palestine.
(24) Apparently this means, having read the Shema’ after the manner of the watikin. V. Tosaf. ad loc.
(25) V. supra, 4b.
(26) Ps. LI, 17.
(27) Ps. XIX, 15.
(28) The recital of these extra verses at the beginning and end of the tefillah.
(29) V. supra, 4b.
(30) The benediction of ‘Let us rest’ also comes between ge'ullah and tefillah.
(31) It comes at the end of Ps. XIX.
(32) The opening verses of Pss. I and II.
(33) Ibid. CIV, 35.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 10a
: Every chapter that was particularly dear to David he commenced with ‘Happy’ and terminated with ‘Happy’.1 He began with ‘Happy’, as it is written, ‘Happy is the man’, and he terminated with ‘Happy’, as it is written, ‘happy are all they that take refuge in Him’.2
There were once some highwaymen3 in the neighbourhood of R. Meir who caused him a great deal of trouble. R. Meir accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruria4 said to him: How do you make out [that such a prayer should be permitted]? Because it is written Let hatta'im cease? Is it written hot'im?5 It is written hatta'im!6 Further, look at the end of the verse: and let the wicked men be no more. Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked men! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked. He did pray for them, and they repented.
A certain Min7 said to Beruria: it is written: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear.8 Because she did not bear is she to sing? She replied to him: You fool! Look at the end of the verse, where it is written, For the children of the desolate shall be more than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.9 But what then is the meaning of ‘a barren that did not bear’? Sing, O community of Israel, who resemblest a barren woman, for not having born children like you for Gehenna.
A certain Min said to R. Abbahu: It is written: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.10 And it is also written, A mihtam of David when he fled from Saul in the cave.11 Which event happened first? Did not the event of Saul happen first? Then let him write it first? He replied to him: For you who do not derive interpretations from juxtaposition, there is a difficulty, but for us who do derive interpretations from juxtaposition there is no difficulty. For R. Johanan said: How do we know from the Torah that juxtaposition counts? Because it says, They are joined12 for ever and ever, they are done in truth and uprightness.13 Why is the chapter of Absalom juxtaposed to the chapter of Gog and Magog?14 So that if one should say to you, is it possible that a slave should rebel against his master,15 you can reply to him: Is it possible that a son should rebel against his father? Yet this happened; and so this too [will happen].
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: What is the meaning of the verse, She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue?16 To whom was Solomon alluding in this verse? He was alluding only to his father David who dwelt in five worlds and composed a psalm [for each of them]. He abode in his mother's womb, and broke into song, as it says, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all my inwards17 bless His holy name.18 He came out into the open air and looked upon the stars and constellations and broke into song, as it says, Bless the Lord, ye angels of His, ye mighty in strength that fulfil His word, hearkening unto the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all ye His hosts19 etc. He sucked from his mother's bosom and looked on her breasts and broke into song, as it says, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.20 What means ‘all His benefits’? — R. Abbahu said: That He placed her breasts at the source of understanding.21 For what reason is this? — Rab Judah said: So that he should not look upon the place of shame; R. Mattena said: So that he should not suck from a place that is foul. He saw the downfall of the wicked and broke into song, as it says, Let sinners cease out of the earth and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul, Hallelujah.22 He looked upon the day of death and broke into song, as it says, Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, Thou art very great, Thou art clothed with glory and majesty.23 How does this verse refer to the day of death? — Rabbah son of R. Shila said: We learn it from the end of the passage, where it is written: Thou hidest Thy face, they vanish, Thou withdrawest their breath, they perish etc.24
R. Shimi b. ‘Ukba
(others say, Mar ‘Ukba) was often in the company of R. Simeon b. Pazzi, who25 used to arrange aggadahs [and recite them] before R. Johanan. He26 said to him: What is the meaning of the verse, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name?27 — He replied: Come and observe how the capacity of human beings falls short of the capacity of the Holy One, blessed be He. It is in the capacity of a human being to draw a figure on a wall, but he cannot invest it with breath and spirit, bowels and intestines. But the Holy One, blessed be He, is not so; He shapes one form in the midst of another, and invests it with breath and spirit, bowels and intestines. And that is what Hannah said: There is none holy as the Lord, for there is none beside Thee, neither is there any zur [rock] like our God.28 What means, neither is there any zur like our God’? There is no artist [zayyar] like our God. What means, ‘For there is none beside Thee’? R. Judah b. Menasiah said: Read not, There is none bilteka, but, There is none lebalotheka [to consume Thee]. For the nature of flesh and blood is not like that of the Holy One, blessed be He. It is the nature of flesh and blood to be outlived by its works, but the Holy One, blessed be He, outlives His works. He said to him:29 What I meant to tell you is this: To whom did David refer in these five verses beginning with ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’? He was alluding only to the Holy One, blessed be He, and to the soul. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, fills the whole world, so the soul fills the body. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, sees, but is not seen, so the soul sees but is not itself seen. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, feeds the whole world, so the soul feeds the whole body. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, is pure, so the soul is pure. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, abides in the innermost precincts, so the soul abides in the innermost precincts. Let that which has these five qualities come and praise Him who has these five qualities.
R. Hamnuna said: What is the meaning of the verse, Who is as the wise man? And who knoweth the interpretation [pesher] of a thing?30 Who is like the Holy One, blessed be He, who knew how to effect a reconciliation [pesharah] between two righteous men, Hezekiah and Isaiah? Hezekiah said: Let Isaiah come to me, for so we find that Elijah went to Ahab,31 as it says, And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab.32 Isaiah said: Let Hezekiah come to me, for so we find that Jehoram son of Ahab went to Elisha.33 What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He brought sufferings upon Hezekiah and then said to Isaiah, Go visit the sick. For so it says, In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz, came to him and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live34 etc. What is the meaning of ‘thou shalt die and not live’? Thou shalt die in this world and not live in the world to come. He said to him: Why so bad? He replied: Because you did not try to have children. He said: The reason was because I saw by the holy spirit that the children issuing from me would not be virtuous. He said to him: What have you to do with the secrets of the All-Merciful? You should have done what you were commanded, and let the Holy One, blessed be He, do that which pleases Him. He said to him: Then give me now your daughter; perhaps through your merit and mine combined virtuous children will issue from me. He replied:35 The doom has already been decreed. Said the other: Son of Amoz, finish your prophecy and go. This tradition I have from the house of my ancestor:36 Even if a sharp sword rests upon a man's neck he should not desist from prayer.37 This saying is also recorded in the names of R. Johanan and R. Eleazar: Even if a sharp sword rests on a man's neck, he should not desist from prayer, as it says, Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.38
(1) In point of fact this is the only one. V. Tosaf. a.l.
(2) The last verse of Ps. II, which shows that according to R. Johanan Pss. I and II formed one Psalm.
(3) Baryone, a word of doubtful meaning.
(5) Pres. part. of the verb hata, to sin. Hence meaning sinners.
(6) Which can be read חטאים sins. M.T. vocalizes חוטאםי (sinners).
(7) So MS.M. (v. Glos.) curr. edd.: Sadducee.
(8) Isa. LIV, 1.
(9) Apparently the point is that at present she is barren, but in the future she shall have many children. Probably Beruria was thinking of Rome as ‘the married wife’ and Jerusalem as ‘the desolate’.
(10) Ps. III, 1.
(11) Ibid. LVII, 1.
(12) Heb. semukim, the same word as for juxtaposed. E.V. ‘established’.
(13) Ibid. CXI, 8.
(14) Ps. II, which is supposed by the Rabbis to refer to the rebellion of Gog and Magog against God and the Messiah.
(15) Sc. the nations against God.
(16) Prov. XXXI, 26.
(17) I.e., his mother's womb. E.V. ‘all that is within me’.
(18) Ps. CIII, 1.
(19) Ps. CIII, 20, 21.
(20) Ibid. 2.
(21) I.e., the heart, (the seat of understanding). R. Abbahu connects the word gemulaw (his benefits) with gamal (weaned).
(22) Ibid. CIV, 35.
(23) Ibid. I.
(24) Ibid. 29.
(25) Reading דהוה with MS.M.
(26) R. Shimi or Mar ‘Ukba.
(27) Ibid. CIII, 1.
(28) I Sam. II, 2.
(29) R. Shimi to R. Simeon b. Pazzi.
(30) Eccl. VIII, 1.
(31) The prophet went to the king.
(32) 1 Kings XVIII, 2.
(33) V. II Kings III, 12.
(34) Isa. XXXVIII, 1.
(35) Insert with MS.M. Behold I say to you ‘Set thy house in order’, and you say to me ‘Give me now your daughter’.
(37) Cf. II Sam. XXIV, 17.
(38) Job XIII, 15.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 10b
([Similarly] R. Hanan said: Even if the master of dreams1 says to a man that on the morrow he will die, he should not desist from prayer, for so it says, For in the multitude of dreams are vanities and also many words, but fear thou God).2 Thereupon straightway, Hezekiah turned his face to the kir [wall] and prayed unto the Lord.3 What is the meaning of ‘kir’? — R. Simeon b. Lakish said: [He prayed] from the innermost cham bers [kiroth] of his heart, as it says, My bowels, my bowels, I writhe in pain! Kiroth [The chambers] of my heart etc.4 R. Levi said: [He prayed] with reference to [another] ‘kir’. He said before Him: Sovereign of the Universe! The Shunammite woman made only one little chamber [on the roof] and Thou didst restore her son to life.5 How much more so then me whose ancestor6 overlaid the Temple with silver and gold! Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a whole heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight.7 What means, ‘I have done that which is good in Thy sight’? — Rab Judah says in the name of Rab: He joined the ge'ullah with the tefillah.8 R. Levi said: He hid away the Book of Cures.9
Our Rabbis taught:10 King Hezekiah did six things; of three of them they [the Rabbis] approved and of three they did not approve. Of three they approved: he hid away the Book of Cures; and they approved of it; he broke into pieces the brazen serpent,11 and they approved of it; and he dragged the bones of his father [to the grave] on a bed of ropes,12 and they approved of it.13 Of three they did not approve: He stopped up the waters of Gihon,14 and they did not approve of it; he cut off [the gold] from the doors of the Temple and sent it to the King of Assyria,15 and they did not approve of it; and he intercalated the month of Nisan during Nisan,16 and they did not approve of it. But did not Hezekiah accept the teaching: This month shall be unto you the beginning of months:17 [this means] that this is Nisan and no other month shall be Nisan?18 — He went wrong over the teaching enunciated by Samuel. For Samuel said: The year must not be declared a prolonged year on the thirtieth of Adar, since this day may possibly belong to Nisan;19 and he thought: We do not pay heed to this possibility.20
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Jose b. Zimra: If a man makes his petition depend on his own merit, heaven makes it depend on the merit of others; and if he makes it depend on the merit of others, heaven makes it depend on his own merit. Moses made his petition depend on the merit of others, as it says, Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel Thy servants!21 and Scripture made it depend on his own merit, as it says, Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen stood before Him in the breach to turn back His wrath, lest He should destroy them.22 Hezekiah made his petition depend on his own merit, as it is written: Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee,23 and God made it depend on the merit of others, as it says, For I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake and for My servant David's sake.24 And this agrees with R. Joshua b. Levi. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is the meaning of the verse, Behold for my peace I had great bitterness?25 Even when the Holy One, blessed be He, sent him [the message of] peace it was bitter for him.26
Let us make, I pray thee, a little chamber on the roof.27 Rab and Samuel differ.28 One says: It was an open upper chamber, and they put a roof on it. The other says: It was a large verandah, and they divided it into two.29 For him who says that it was a verandah, there is a good reason why the text says kir [wall]. But how does he who says that it was an upper chamber account for the word kir? — [It is used] because they put a roof on it [kiruah]. For him who says it was an upper chamber there is a good reason why the text uses the word ‘aliyath [upper chamber]. But how does he who says it was a verandah account for the word ‘aliyath? — It was the best [me'ulla]30 of the rooms.
And let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool and a candlestick.31 Abaye (or as some say, R. Isaac) said: If one wants to benefit from the hospitality of another, he may benefit, as Elisha did;32 and if he does not desire to benefit, he may refuse to do so, as Samuel the Ramathite did,33 of whom we read, And his return was to Ramah, for there was his house;34 and R. Johanan said: [This teaches that] wherever he travelled, his house was with him.35
And she said unto her husband: Behold now, I perceive that he is a holy man of God.36 R. Jose b. Hanina said: You learn from this that a woman recognizes the character of a guest better than a man. ‘A holy man’. How did she know this? — Rab and Samuel gave different answers. One said: Because she never saw a fly pass by his table. The other said: She spread a sheet of linen over his bed, and she never saw a nocturnal pollution on it. He is a holy [man]. R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: He is holy, but his attendant is not holy. For so it says: And Gehazi came near to thrust her away;37 R. Jose son of Hanina said: He seized her by the breast.38
That passeth by us continually.39 R. Jose son of R. Hanina said in the name of R. Eliezer b. Jacob: If a man entertains a scholar in his house and lets him enjoy his possessions, Scripture accounts it to him as if he had sacrificed the daily burnt-offering.40
R. Jose son of Hanina further said in the name of R. Eliezer b. Jacob: A man should not stand on a high place when he prays, but he should pray in a lowly place, as it says; Out of the depths have I called Thee, O Lord.41 It has been taught to the same effect: A man should not stand on a chair or on a footstool or on a high place to pray, but he should pray in a lowly place, since there is no elevation before God, and so it says, ‘Out of the depths have I called Thee, O Lord’, and it also says, A prayer of the afflicted, when he fainteth.42
R. Jose son of R. Hanina also said in the name of R. Eliezer b. Jacob: When one prays, he should place his feet in proper position,43 as it says, And their feet were straight feet.44
R. Jose son of R. Hanina also said in the name of R. Eliezer b. Jacob: What is the meaning of the verse, Ye shall not eat with the blood?45 Do not eat before ye have prayed for your blood.46 R. Isaac said in the name of R. Johanan, who had it from R. Jose son of R. Hanina in the name of R. Eliezer b. Jacob: If one eats and drinks and then says his prayers, of him the Scripture says, And hast cast Me behind thy back.47 Read not gaweka [thy back], but geeka [thy pride]. Says the Holy One, blessed be He: After48 this one has exalted himself, he comes and accepts the kingdom of heaven!49
R. JOSHUA SAYS: UNTIL THE THIRD HOUR. Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: The halachah is as stated by R. Joshua.
HE WHO RECITES THE SHEMA’ LATER LOSES NOTHING. R. Hisda said in the name of Mar ‘Ukba: Provided he does not say the benediction of ‘Who formest the light’.50 An objection was raised from the statement: He who recites the Shema’ later loses nothing; he is like one reading in the Torah, but he says two blessings before it and one after. Is not this a refutation of R. Hisda? It is [indeed] a refutation. Some there are who say: R. Hisda said in the name of Mar ‘Ukba: What is the meaning of HE LOSES NOTHING? He does not lose the benedictions. It has been taught to the same effect: He who says the Shema’ later loses nothing, being like one who reads from the Torah, but he says two blessings before and one after.
R. Mani said: He who recites the Shema’ in its proper time is greater than he who studies the Torah.51 For since it says, HE WHO SAYS LATER LOSES NOTHING, BEING LIKE A MAN WHO READS IN THE TORAH, we may conclude that one who recites the Shema’ at its proper time is superior. MISHNAH. BETH SHAMMAI SAY: IN THE EVENING EVERY MAN SHOULD RECLINE AND RECITE [THE SHEMA’], AND IN THE MORNING HE SHOULD STAND, AS IT SAYS, AND WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN AND WHEN THOU RISEST UP.52 BETH HILLEL, HOWEVER, SAY THAT EVERY MAN SHOULD RECITE IN HIS OWN WAY, AS IT SAYS, AND WHEN THOU WALKEST BY THE WAY.53 WHY THEN IS IT SAID, AND WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN AND WHEN THOU RISEST UP? [THIS MEANS], AT THE TIME WHEN PEOPLE LIE DOWN AND AT THE TIME WHEN PEOPLE RISE UP. R. TARFON SAID: I WAS ONCE WALKING BY THE WAY AND I RECLINED TO RECITE THE SHEMA’ IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY BETH SHAMMAI, AND I INCURRED DANGER FROM ROBBERS. THEY SAID TO HIM: YOU DESERVED TO COME TO HARM, BECAUSE YOU ACTED AGAINST THE OPINION OF BETH HILLEL.
(1) This seems to be simply a periphrasis for ‘if a man is told in a dream’. Two explanations are then possible of what follows. (i) If he dreams and the dream so far comes true that a sword is placed on his neck, still he should pray. (ii) Even if he only dreams this, he should still pray etc. (R. Bezalel of Regensburg.)
(2) Eccl. V, 6. Apparently this is how R. Hanan understands the verse. E.V. Through the multitude and vanities there are also many words.
(3) Isa. XXXVIII, 2. MS.M. adds: Finally he gave him his daughter (in marriage) and there issued from him Menasseh and Rabshakeh. One day he (Hezekiah) carried them on his shoulder to the Synagogue (Var. lec. to the house of learning) and one of them said, ‘Father's bald head is good for breaking nuts on’, while the other said, ‘it is good for roasting fish on. He thereupon threw them both on the ground and Rabshakeh was killed, but not Menasseh. He then applied to them the verse, The instruments also of the churl are evil; he deviseth wicked devices. (Isa. XXXII, 7).
(4) Jer. IV, 19.
(5) V. II Kings IV, 10.
(6) King Solomon.
(7) Isa. XXXVIII, 3. This comes in the prayer of Hezekiah.
(8) V. supra, 9b.
(9) A book containing remedies for various illnesses which Hezekiah hid from the public in order that people might pray for healing to God; v. infra.
(10) V. Pes. 56a.
(11) V. II Kings XVIII, 4.
(12) Instead of giving him a royal burial.
(13) Because Ahaz was a wicked man.
(14) V. II Chron. XXXII, 30.
(15) V. II Kings XVIII, 16.
(16) V. II Chron. XXX, 2.
(17) Ex. XII, 2.
(18) I.e., a second Nisan must not be intercalated.
(19) If the new moon is observed on it.
(20) And he declared the month Adar Sheni (Second Adar).
(21) Ex.XXXII, 13.
(22) Ps. CVI, 23.
(23) Isa. XXXVIII, 3.
(24) Ibid. XXXVII 35.
(25) Ibid. XXXVIII, 17.
(26) Because it was not made to depend on his own merit.
(27) II Kings IV, 10.
(28) In the explanation of עלית קיר which means literally ‘an upper chamber of (with) a wall’.
(29) By means of a wall.
(30) Lit., ‘elevated’.
(31) II Kings IV, 10.
(32) There is no prohibition against this.
(33) And this is not to be taken as a sign of pride or enmity.
(34) I Sam. VII, 17.
(35) I.e., he did not accept the hospitality of the people. R. Johanan takes the word ‘there’ to refer to all the places mentioned above.
(36) II Kings IV, 9.
(37) Ibid. 27.
(38) Lit. , ‘the pride of her beauty’, בהוד יפיה, a play on the word להדפה, ’to thrust her away’.
(39) Ibid. 9.
(40) Which is also called tamid, lit., ‘continually’.
(41) Ps. CXXX, 1.
(42) Ibid. CII, 1.
(43) I.e., close together and level.
(44) Ezek. I, 7.
(45) Lev. XIX, 26.
(46) I.e., life.
(47) I Kings XIV, 9.
(48) The same Hebrew word may be translated ‘behind’ and ‘after’.
(49) The technical term for reciting the Shema’.
(50) The first of the two introductory benedictions to the Shema’. V. P. B. p. 37.
(51) If he who says later is as good, he who says at the proper time must be better.
(52) Deut. VI, 7.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 11a
GEMARA. Beth Hillel cause no difficulty; they explain their own reason and the reason [why they reject the opinion] of Beth Shammai. But why do not Beth Shammai accept the view of Beth Hillel? — Beth Shammai can reply: If this is so,1 let the text say, ‘In the morning and in the evening’. Why does it say, ‘When thou liest down and when thou risest up’? To show that in the time of lying down there must be actual lying down, and in the time of rising up there must be actual rising up. And how do Beth Shammai explain the words ‘And when thou walkest by the way’? — They need it for the following, as has been taught: ‘When thou sittest in thy house’:2 this excludes a bridegroom. ‘And when thou walkest by the way’: this excludes one who is occupied with the performance of a religious duty.3 Hence they laid down that one who marries a virgin is free [from the obligation to say the Shema’ in the evening] while one who marries a widow is bound.4 How is the lesson5 derived? — R. Papa said: [The circumstances must be] like a ‘way’. As a ‘way’ [journey] is optional, so whatever is optional [does not exempt from the obligation]. But does not the text treat [also] of one who is going to perform a religious duty, and even so the All Merciful said that he should recite? — If that were so, the All Merciful should have written [simply], ‘While sitting and while walking’. What is the implication of when thou sittest and when thou walkest? — In the case of thy sitting and thy walking thou art under the obligation, but in the case of performing a religious duty thou art exempt. If that is so, one who marries a widow should also be exempt? — The one6 is agitated, the other not. If a state of agitation is the ground, it would apply also the the case of his ship sinking at sea! And should you say, Quite so, why did R. Abba b. Zabda say in the name of Rab: A mourner is under obligation to perform all the precepts laid down in the Torah except that of the tefillin, because the term ‘headtire’ is applied to them, as it says, Bind thy headtire upon thee?7 — In that case the agitation is over a religious duty, here it is over an optional matter.
And Beth Shammai?8 — They require it to exclude persons on a religious mission.9 And Beth Hillel?10 — They reply: Incidentally it tells you that one recites also by the way.11
Our Rabbis taught: Beth Hillel say that one may recite the Shema’ standing, one may recite it sitting, one may recite it reclining, one may recite it walking on the road, one may recite it at one's work. Once R. Ishmael and R. Eleazar b. Azariah were dining at the same place, and R. Ishmael was reclining while R. Eleazar was standing upright. When the time came for reciting the Shema’, R. Eleazar reclined and R. Ishmael stood upright. Said R. Eleazar b. Azariah to R. Ishmael: Brother Ishmael, I will tell you a parable. To what is this [our conduct] like? It is like that of a man to whom people say, You have a fine beard, and he replies, Let this go to meet the destroyers.12 So now, with you: as long as I was upright you were reclining, and now that I recline you stand upright!13 He replied: I have acted according to the rule of Beth Hillel and you have acted according to the rule of Beth Shammai. And what Is more, [I had to act thus], lest the disciples should see and fix the halachah so for future generations. What did he mean by ‘what is more’? He meant: Should you argue that Beth Hillel also allow reclining, [I reply that] this is the case only where one was reclining from the first. Here, however, since at first you were upright and now you recline, they may say, This shows that they [both] are of the opinion of Beth Shammai, and perhaps the disciples will see and fix the halachah so for future generations.
R. Ezekiel learnt: If one follows the rule of Beth Shammai he does right, if one follows the rule of Beth Hillel he does right. R. Joseph said: If he follows the rule of Beth Shammai, his action is worthless, as we have learnt: If a man has his head and the greater part of his body in the sukkah14 while the table is in the house, Beth Shammai declare his action void, while Beth Hillel declare it valid. Said Beth Hillel to Beth Shammai: Once the Elders of Beth Shammai and the Elders of Beth Hillel went to visit R. Johanan b. Ha-horanith, and they found him with his head and the greater part of his body in the sukkah while the table was in the house, and they made no objection. They replied: Do you bring a proof from this?15 [The fact is that] they also said to him: If such has been your regular custom, you have never performed the precept of the sukkah in your lifetime.16 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: One who follows the rule of Beth Shammai makes his life forfeit, as we have learnt: R. TARFON SAID: I WAS ONCE WALKING BY THE WAY AND I RECLINED TO RECITE THE SHEMA’ IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY BETH SHAMMAI, AND I INCURRED DANGER FROM ROBBERS. THEY SAID TO HIM: YOU DESERVED TO COME TO HARM, BECAUSE YOU ACTED AGAINST THE OPINION OF BETH HILLEL.
MISHNAH. IN THE MORNING TWO BLESSINGS ARE TO BE SAID BEFORE IT17 AND ONE AFTER IT. IN THE EVENING TWO ARE SAID BEFORE IT AND TWO AFTER IT, ONE LONG AND ONE SHORT.18 WHERE THEY [THE SAGES] LAID DOWN THAT A LONG ONE SHOULD BE SAID, IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO SAY A SHORT ONE. WHERE THEY ORDAINED A SHORT ONE A LONG ONE IS NOT PERMITTED. [A PRAYER] WHICH THEY ORDERED TO BE CONCLUDED [WITH A BENEDICTION]19 MUST NOT BE LEFT WITHOUT SUCH A CONCLUSION; ONE WHICH THEY ORDERED TO BE LEFT WITHOUT SUCH A CONCLUSION MUST NOT BE SO CONCLUDED.
GEMARA. What benedictions does one say [in the morning]? R. Jacob said in the name of R. Oshaia:
(1) That only the time of the recital is meant.
(3) This is the reading of MS.M., and this is the version found in Tosaf. Suk. 25a a.v. ובלכתך and elsewhere. Cur. edd. reverse the positions of ‘bridegroom’ and ‘one who is occupied, etc.’
(4) V. infra.
(5) Relating to one who is occupied with the performance.
(6) The one who marries a virgin is worried as to whether he shall find her really such.
(7) Ezek. XXIV, 17. Ezekiel, though a mourner, was commanded exceptionally to wear his headtire, i.e., (as the Rabbis understand) tefillin, from which it is deduced that ordinarily a mourner does not do so. But the fact remains that worry as a rule does not exempt from the precepts.
(8) How do they interpret the words ‘and when thou walkest by the way’? V. next note.
(9) This seems to be a repetition of the question and answer given above and is best left out with MS.M.
(10) How can they infer their view from this verse, seeing that it is required to exempt one who is occupied in performing a religious duty.
(11) I.e., in his own way, as explained above.
(12) As much as to say, I will have it cut off just to spite you.
(13) As if to spite me.
(14) V. Glos.
(15) In respect of fulfilling the precept of the sukkah, v. Suk. 28a.
(16) And since Beth Shammai invalidated action according to Beth Hillel, similarly Beth Hillel declared invalid action according to Beth Shammai.
(17) Sc. the Shema’.
(18) The reference is to the two that follow the evening Shema’.
(19) I.e., with the words, Blessed art Thou, O Lord, etc.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 11b
‘[Blessed art Thou] who formest light and createst darkness’.1 Let him say rather: ‘Who formest light and createst brightness’? — We keep the language of the Scripture.2 If that is so, [what of the next words in the text], Who makest peace and createst evil: do we repeat them as they are written? It is written ‘evil’ and we say ‘all things’ as a euphemism. Then here too let us say ‘brightness’ as a euphemism! — In fact, replied Raba, it is in order to mention the distinctive feature of the day in the night-time and the distinctive feature of the night in the day-time. It is correct that we mention the distinctive feature of the night in the day-time, as we say, ‘Who formest light and createst darkness’.3 But where do you find the distinctive feature of the day mentioned in the night-time? — Abaye replied: [In the words,] ‘Thou rollest away the light from before the darkness and the darkness from before the light’.4
Which is the other [benediction]?5 — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: ‘With abounding love’.6 So also did R. Eleazar instruct his son R. Pedath [to say]: ‘With abounding love’. It has been taught to the same effect: We do not say, ‘With everlasting love’, but ‘With abounding love’. The Rabbis, however, say that ‘With everlasting love’7 is said; and so it is also said, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with affection I have drawn thee.8
Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: If one rose early to study [the Torah] before he had recited the Shema’, he must say a benediction [over the study]. But if he had already recited the Shema’, he need not say a benediction, because he has already become quit by saying ‘With abounding love’.9
R. Huna said: For the reading of Scripture it is necessary to say a benediction,10 but for the study of the Midrash11 no benediction is required. R. Eleazar, however, says that for both Scripture and Midrash a benediction is required, but not for the Mishnah . R. Johanan says that for the Mishnah also a benediction is required, [but not for the Talmud]. Raba said: For the Talmud also it is necessary to say a blessing. R. Hiyya b. Ashi said:12 Many times did I stand before Rab to repeat our section in the Sifra of the School of Rab,13 and he used first to wash his hands and say a blessing, and then go over our section with us.14
What benediction is said [before the study of the Torah]? — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: [Blessed art Thou . . . ] who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments, and commanded us to study the Torah.15 R. Johanan used to conclude as follows:16 ‘Make pleasant, therefore, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, the words of Thy Torah in our mouth and in the mouth of Thy people the house of Israel, so that we with our offspring and the offspring of Thy people the house of Israel may all know Thy name and study Thy Torah. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who teachest Torah to Thy people Israel’.17 R. Hamnuna said: ‘[Blessed art Thou . . . ] who hast chosen us from all the nations and given us Thy Torah. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who givest the Torah’.18 R. Hamnuna said: This is the finest of the benedictions. Therefore let us say all of them.19
We have learnt elsewhere:20 The deputy high priest21 said to them [the priests], Say one benediction, and they said the benediction and recited the Ten Commandments, the Shema’, the section ‘And it shall come to pass if ye hearken diligently’, and ‘And the Lord said’,22 and recited with the people three benedictions, viz ., ‘True and firm’,23 the benediction of the ‘Abodah,24 and the priestly benediction.25 On Sabbath they said an additional benediction for the outgoing watch.26 Which is the ‘one benediction’ referred to above? The following will show. R. Abba and R. Jose came to a certain place the people of which asked them what was the ‘one benediction’ [referred to], and they could not tell them. They went and asked R. Mattena, and he also did not know. They then went and asked Rab Judah, who said to them: Thus did Samuel say: It means, ‘With abounding love’. R. Zerika in the name of R. Ammi, who had it from R. Simeon b. Lakish said: It is, ‘Who formest light’. When R. Isaac b. Joseph came [from Palestine] he said: This statement of R. Zerika was not made explicitly [by R. Simeon b. Lakish], but was inferred by him [from another statement]. For R. Zerika said in the name of R. Ammi, who had it from R. Simeon b. Lakish: This27 shows that the recital of one blessing is not indispensable for that of the other. Now if you say that they used to recite ‘Who formest the light’, it is correct to infer that the recital of one blessing is not indispensable for that of the other, since they did not say, ‘With abounding love’.
(1) V. P.B. P. 37.
(2) The words are a quotation from Isa. XLV, 7.
(3) This formula is said only in the morning prayer.
(4) V. P.B. p. 96.
(5) Said before the morning Shema’.
(6) V. P.B. p. 39.
(7) In fact this blessing is now said in the evening. V. P.B. p. 96.
(8) Jer. XXXI, 3.
(9) This blessing contains a benediction over the Torah, v. P.B. p. 39.
(10) In the morning, v. P. B. p. 4.
(11) The exegetical midrashim of the Torah (Sifra, Sifre and Mekilta) are referred to.
(12) So MS.M. Curr. edd., ‘For R. Hiyya b. Ashi, etc.’.
(13) Sifra debe Rab, an halachic Midrash on Leviticus, v. J.E. XI, p. 330.
(14) This proves that over Midrash a benediction is required.
(15) V. P.B. p. 4.
(16) In order both to open and close with a benediction.
(17) P.B. p. 4.
(19) Alfasi and R. Asher have before these last words: R. Papa says.
(20) Tamid 32b.
(21) Memuneh; lit., ‘the appointed one’; v. Yoma, Sonc. ed., p. 97, n. 3.
(22) The second and third sections of the Shema’, Deut. XI, 13ff. and Num. XV, 37ff. V. P.B. p. 40ff.
(23) V. P.B. p. 42.
(24) The benediction commencing ‘Accept, O Lord our God’ in the Amidah. V. P.B. p. 50.
(25) V. P.B. P. 53.
(26) The priestly watches in the Temple (which were twenty-four in number) were changed every week.
(27) The fact that they said one blessing only.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 12a
But if you say that they used to say, ‘With abounding love’, how can you infer that one blessing is not indispensable for the recital of the other? Perhaps the reason why they did not say, Who formest the light’ was because the time for it had not yet arrived,1 but when the time for it did arrive, they used to say it! And if this statement was made only as an inference, what does it matter? — If it was made only as an inference [I might refute it as follows]: In fact, they said, ‘With abounding love’, and when the time came for ‘Who formest the light’, they said that too. What then is the meaning of ‘One blessing is not indispensable for the other’? The order of the blessings is not indispensable.
‘They recited the Ten Commandments, the Shema’, the sections "And it shall come to pass if ye diligently hearken", and "And the Lord said", "True and firm", the ‘Abodah, and the priestly benediction’. Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: Outside the Temple also people wanted to do the same,2 but they were stopped on account of the insinuations of the Minim.3 Similarly it has been taught: R. Nathan says, They sought to do the same outside the Temple,4 but it had long been abolished on account of the insinuations of the Minim. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah5 had an idea of instituting this in Sura,6 but R. Hisda said to him, It had long been abolished on account of the insinuations of the Minim. Amemar had an idea of instituting it in Nehardea, but R. Ashi said to him, It had long been abolished on account of the insinuations of the Minim.
‘On Sabbath they said an additional blessing on account of the outgoing watch’. What was this benediction? — R. Helbo said: The outgoing watch said to the incoming one, May He who has caused His name to dwell in this house cause to dwell among you love and brotherhood and peace and friendship.
WHERE THEY ORDAINED THAT A LONG BENEDICTION SHOULD BE SAID. There is no question that where a man took up a cup of wine thinking that it was beer and commenced [with the intention to say the benediction] for beer but finished with that of wine, he has fulfilled his obligation. For even had he said the benediction, ‘By whose word all things exist’,7 he would have fulfilled his duty, as we have learnt: ‘In the case of all of them,8 if he says, "By whose word all things exist", he has performed his obligation’.9 But where he took up a cup of beer thinking it was wine and began [with the intention to say the benediction] for wine and finished with the benediction for beer, the question arises, do we judge his benediction according to its beginning or according to its ending? — Come and hear: ‘In the morning, if one commenced with [the intention to say] "Who formest light" and finished with "Who bringest on the evening twilight",10 he has not performed his obligation; if he commences [with the intention to say] "Who bringest on the evening twilight" and finished with Who formest the light", he has performed his obligation. In the evening, if one commenced [with the intention to say] "Who bringest on the evening twilight" and finished with "Who formest the light", he has not performed his obligation; if he begins with [the intention to say] "Who formest the light" and closes with "Who bringest on the evening twilight", he has performed his obligation. The principle is that the final form is decisive’. — It is different there because [at the end] he says, ‘Blessed art Thou who formest the luminaries’.11 This would be a good argument for Rab who said that any blessing that does not contain the mention of God's name is no blessing.12 But if we accept the view of R. Johanan who said that any blessing that does not contain a mention of the divine kingship is no blessing, what can be said?13 Rather [we must reply]: Since Rabbah b. ‘Ulla has said: So as to mention the distinctive quality of the day in the night-time and the distinctive feature of the night in the day-time,14 [we may assume that] when he said a blessing [with the divine name] and with the kingship15 in the beginning, he refers to both of them.16
Come and hear from the concluding clause: ‘The principle is that the final form is decisive’. What further case is included by the words ‘the principle is’? Is it not the one we have mentioned?17 — No; it is to include bread and dates. How are we to understand this? Shall I say that he ate bread thinking that he was eating dates,18 and commenced [with the intention of saying the benediction] for dates and finished [with the blessing for] bread? This is just the same thing! — No, this is required [for the case where] he ate dates thinking that he was eating bread, and he began with [the intention to say the blessing] for bread and finished with that of dates. In this case he has fulfilled his obligation; for even if he had concluded with the blessing for bread, he would also have fulfilled it. What is the reason? — Because dates also give sustenance.19
Raba b. Hinena the elder said in the name of Rab: If one omits to say True and firm’20 in the morning and ‘True and trustworthy’21 in the evening, he has not performed his obligation; for it is said, To declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning and Thy faithfulness in the night seasons.22
Raba b. Hinena the elder also said in the name of Rab: In saying the Tefillah, when one bows,23 one should bow at [the word] ‘Blessed’ and when returning to the upright position one should return at [the mention of] the Divine Name. Samuel said: What is Rab's reason for this? — Because it is written: The Lord raiseth up them that are bowed down.24 An objection was raised from the verse, And was bowed before My name?25 — Is it written, ‘At My name’? It is written, ‘Before My Name’.26 Samuel said to Hiyya the son of Rab: O, Son of the Law, come and I will tell you a fine saying enunciated by your father.27 Thus said your father: When one bows, one should bow at ‘Blessed’, and when returning to the upright position, one should return at [the mention of] the Divine Name.
(1) The priests of the watch used to say the Shema’ before daybreak. V. infra.
(2) To say the Ten Commandments before the Shema’.
(3) That the Ten Commandments were the only valid part of the Torah. V. Glos. s.v. Min.
(4) Lit., ‘in the borders’, ‘outlying districts’.
(5) MS.M. reads: ‘Rabbah b. R. Huna’, which is more correct; v. D.S. a.l.
(6) In Babylon, the seat of the famous School founded by Rab.
(7) The blessing over all liquors except wine. V. P.B. p. 290.
(8) Even wine.
(9) V. infra 40a.
(10) Instead of the morning formula ‘Who formest light’ he employed the evening formula, P.B. p. 96.
(11) Which is the concluding formula of the morning benediction and is a complete blessing by itself. Hence we can disregard the beginning. The same is not the case with wine and beer where there was no benediction to rectify the error made at the beginning.
(12) Which implies that if this condition is fulfilled, it is a blessing.
(13) According to R. Johanan, since the concluding formula does not contain the words ‘King of the Universe’, it cannot be considered a complete benediction.
(14) V. supra 11b.
(15) The reference is to the introductory words ‘who createst darkness’ in the morning benediction and ‘who rollest away light’ in the evening benediction, which makes either of them appropriate for either morning or evening. These in turn are introduced by the formula making mention of Divine Kingship.
(16) Hence in this case the beginning too was in order, but not in the case of wine and beer.
(17) Of wine and beer.
(18) The benediction after which is different from that after bread. V. P. B. p. 287 for the former and p. 280 for the latter.
(19) Like bread, which is regarded as food par excellence.
(20) V. P.B. p. 42.
(21) V. ibid. P.
(22) Ps. XCII, 3.
(23) One has to bow four times in the course of the Tefillah: at the beginning and end of the first benediction (v. P. B. p. 44) and at ‘We give thanks unto Thee’ (p. 51) and at the close of the last but one benediction (p. 53).
(24) Ps. CXLVI, 8.
(25) Mal. II, 5. E.V. ‘And was afraid of My name’.
(26) I.e., before the mention of the name.
(27) Samuel outlived Rab.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 12b
R. Shesheth, when he bowed, used to bend like a reed,1 and when he raised himself, used to raise himself like a serpent.2 Raba b. Hinena the elder also said in the name of Rab: Throughout the year one says in the Tefillah, ‘The holy God’, and ‘King who lovest righteousness and judgment’,3 except during the ten days between New Year and the Day of Atonement, when he says, ‘The holy King’ and ‘The King of judgment’. R. Eleazar says: Even during these days, if he said, ‘The holy God’, he has performed his obligation, since it says, But the Lord of Hosts is exalted through justice, and the holy God is sanctified through righteousness:4 When is the Lord of Hosts exalted through justice? In these ten days from New Year to the Day of Atonement; and none-the-less it says, ‘the holy God’. What do we decide?5 — R. Joseph said: ‘The holy God’ and ‘The King who loves righteousness and judgment’; Rabbah said: ‘The holy King’ and ‘The King of judgment’. The law is as laid down by Rabbah.
Raba b. Hinena the elder said further in the name of Rab: If one is in a position to pray on behalf of his fellow and does not do so, he is called a sinner, as it says, Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.6 Raba said: If [his fellow] is a scholar, he must pray for him even to the point of making himself ill. What is the ground for this? Shall I say, because it is written, There is none of you that is sick for me or discloseth unto me?7 Perhaps the case of a king is different. It is in fact derived from here: But as for me, when they8 were sick, my clothing was sackcloth, I afflicted my soul with fasting.9
Raba b. Hinena the elder further said in the name of Rab: If one commits a sin and is ashamed of it,10 all his sins are forgiven him, as it says, That thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame; when I have forgiven thee all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God.11 Perhaps with a whole congregation the case is different? — Rather [we derive it] from here: And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams; therefore I called thee that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.12 But he does not mention the Urim and Thummim13 because he had killed all [the people of] Nob, the city of the priests.14 And how do we know that Heaven had forgiven him? — Because it says, And Samuel said . . . Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me,15 and R. Johanan said: ‘With me means, in my compartment [in Paradise]. The Rabbis say [we learn it] from here: We will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord.16 A divine voice came forth and proclaimed: The chosen of the Lord.17
R. Abbahu b. Zutrathi said in the name of R. Judah b. Zebida: They wanted to include the section of Balak18 in the Shema’, but they did not do so because it would have meant too great a burden for the congregation.19 Why [did they want to insert it]? — Because it contains the words, God who brought them forth out of Egypt.20 Then let us say the section of usury21 or of weights22 in which the going forth from Egypt is mentioned? — Rather, said R. Jose b. Abin, [the reason is] because it contains the verse, He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?23 Let us then say this one verse and no more? — We have a tradition that every section which our master, Moses, has divided off we may divide off, but that which our master, Moses, has not divided off, we may not divide off. Why did they include the section of fringes?24 — R. Judah b. Habiba said: Because it makes reference to five25 things — the precept of fringes, the exodus from Egypt, the yoke of the commandments, [a warning against] the opinions of the Minim, and the hankering after sexual immorality and the hankering after idolatry. The first three we grant you are obvious: the yoke of the commandments, as it is written: That ye may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord;26 the fringes, as it is written: That they make for themselves fringes;27 the exodus from Egypt, as it is written: Who brought you out of the land of Egypt.28 But where do we find [warnings against] the opinions of the heretics, and the hankering after immorality and idolatry? — It has been taught: After your own heart:29 this refers to heresy; and so it says, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.30 After your own eyes:29 this refers to the hankering after immorality; and so it says, And Samson said to his father, Get her for me, for she is pleasing in my eyes.31 After which ye use to go astray:29 this refers to the hankering after idolatry; and so it says, And they went astray after the Baalim.32
MISHNAH. THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT IS TO BE MENTIONED [IN THE SHEMA’] AT NIGHT-TIME. SAID R. ELEAZAR B. AZARIAH: BEHOLD I AM ABOUT33 SEVENTY YEARS OLD,33 AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN WORTHY TO [FIND A REASON] WHY THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT SHOULD BE MENTIONED AT NIGHTTIME UNTIL BEN ZOMA EXPOUNDED IT: FOR IT SAYS: THAT THOU MAYEST REMEMBER THE DAY WHEN THOU CAMEST FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT ALL THE DAYS OF THY LIFE.34 [HAD THE TEXT SAID,] ‘THE DAYS OF THY LIFE’ IT WOULD HAVE MEANT [ONLY] THE DAYS; BUT ‘ALL THE DAYS OF THY LIFE’ INCLUDES THE NIGHTS AS WELL. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAY: ‘THE DAYS OF THY LIFE REFERS TO THIS WORLD; ALL THE DAYS OF THY LIFE’ IS TO ADD THE DAYS OF THE MESSIAH.
GEMARA. It has been taught: Ben Zoma said to the Sages: Will the Exodus from Egypt be mentioned in the days of the Messiah? Was it not long ago said: Therefore behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say: As the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, As the Lord liveth that brought up and that led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country and from all the countries whither I had driven them?35 They replied: This does not mean that the mention of the exodus from Egypt shall be obliterated, but that the [deliverance from] subjection to the other kingdoms shall take the first place and the exodus from Egypt shall become secondary. Similarly you read: Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.36
(1) I.e., sharply, all at once.
(2) Slowly and with effort.
(3) In the third and twelfth benedictions respectively, v. P.B. pp. 45 and 48.
(4) Isa. V, 16.
(5) What should be said on the ten days of penitence.
(6) I Sam. XII, 23.
(7) With reference to Saul. I Sam. XXII, 8. E.V. ‘that is sorry for me’.
(8) This is said to refer to Doeg and Ahitophel, who were scholars.
(9) Ps. XXXV, 13.
(10) I.e., conscience-stricken.
(11) Ezek. XVI, 63.
(12) I Sam. XXVIII, 15.
(13) Though from v. 6 of this chapter it appears that he did consult the Urim.
(14) And his silence shows that he was conscience-stricken.
(15) I Sam. XXVIII, 16 and 19.
(16) II Sam. XXI, 6.
(17) And it was not the Gibeonites who said, this.
(18) Num. XXII-XXIV.
(19) On account of its length.
(20) Ibid. XXIII, 22.
(21) Lev. XXV, 35-38.
(22) Ibid. XIX, 36.
(23) Num. XXIV, 9. The reason is that it mentions ‘lying down’ and ‘rising up’. Tanhuma substitutes XXIII, 24.
(24) Ibid. XV, 37-41.
(25) Var. lec.: ‘six’, which seems more correct.
(26) Ibid. XV, 39.
(27) Num. XV, 38.
(28) Ibid. 41.
(29) Ibid. 39.
(30) Ps. XIV, 1.
(31) Judg. XIV, 3.
(32) Ibid. VIII, 33.
(33) Or, ‘like one’. V. infra, 28a.
(34) Deut. XVI, 3.
(35) Jer. XXIII, 7. 8.
(36) Gen. XXXV, 10.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 13a
This does not mean that the name Jacob shall be obliterated, but that Israel shall be the principal name and Jacob a secondary one. And so it says: Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.1 ‘Remember ye not the former things’: this refers to the subjections to the other nations; ‘Neither consider the things of old’: this refers to the exodus from Egypt.
Behold I shall do a new thing; now shall it spring forth.2 R. Joseph learnt: This refers to the war of Gog and Magog. A parable: To what is this like? To a man who was travelling on the road when he encountered a wolf and escaped from it, and he went along relating the affair of the wolf. He then encountered a lion and escaped from it, and went along relating the affair of the lion. He then encountered a snake and escaped from it, whereupon he forgot the two previous incidents and went along relating the affair of the snake. So with Israel: the later troubles make them forget the earlier ones.
Abram the same is Abraham.3 At first he became a father to Aram [Ab-Aram] only, but in the end he became a father to the whole world.4 [Similarly] Sarai is the same as Sarah. At first she became a princess to her own people, but later she became a princess to all the world.5 Bar Kappara taught: Whoever calls Abraham Abram transgresses a positive precept, since it says, Thy name shall be Abraham.6 R. Eliezer says: He transgresses a negative command,7 since it says, Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram.8 But if that is so, then the same should apply to one who calls Sarah Sarai? — In her case the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.9 But if that is so, the same should apply to one who calls Jacob Jacob? — There is a difference in his case, because Scripture restored it [the name Jacob] to him, as it is written: And God spoke unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.10 R. Jose b. Abin (or, as some say, R. Jose b. Zebida) cited in objection the following: Thou art the Lord, the God who didst choose Abram!11 — The answer was given: There the prophet12 is recounting the noble deeds of the All Merciful [and relates] that that was the case originally.
MISHNAH. IF ONE WAS READING IN THE TORAH [THE SECTION OF THE SHEMA’] WHEN THE TIME FOR ITS RECITAL ARRIVED, IF HE HAD THE INTENTION13 HE HAS PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. IN THE BREAKS14 ONE MAY GIVE GREETING OUT OF RESPECT15 AND RETURN GREETING; IN THE MIDDLE [OF A SECTION] ONE MAY GIVE GREETING OUT OF FEAR16 AND RETURN IT. SO R. MEIR. RABBI JUDAH SAYS: IN THE MIDDLE ONE MAY GIVE GREETING OUT OF FEAR AND RETURN IT OUT OF RESPECT, IN THE BREAKS ONE MAY GIVE GREETING OUT OF RESPECT AND RETURN GREETING TO ANYONE. THE BREAKS ARE AS FOLLOWS: BETWEEN THE FIRST BLESSING AND THE SECOND,17 BETWEEN THE SECOND AND ‘HEAR’, BETWEEN ‘HEAR’ AND ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS’, BETWEEN AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS’ AND ‘AND THE LORD SAID AND BETWEEN AND THE LORD SAID’ AND ‘TRUE AND FIRM’.18 RABBI JUDAH SAYS: BETWEEN ‘AND THE LORD SAID’ AND ‘TRUE AND FIRM ‘ ONE SHOULD NOT INTERRUPT.
R. JOSHUA B. KORHAH SAID: WHY WAS THE SECTION OF ‘HEAR’ PLACED BEFORE THAT OF ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS’? SO THAT ONE SHOULD FIRST ACCEPT UPON HIMSELF THE YOKE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN19 AND THEN TAKE UPON HIMSELF THE YOKE OF THE COMMANDMENTS.20 WHY DOES THE SECTION OF ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS’ COME BEFORE THAT OF ‘AND THE LORD SAID’? BECAUSE [THE SECTION] ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS’ IS APPLICABLE BOTH TO THE DAY AND TO THE NIGHT,21 WHEREAS [THE SECTION] ‘AND THE LORD SAID’ IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO THE DAY.22
GEMARA. This23 proves that precepts must be performed with intent.24 [No, perhaps] what IF HE HAD THE INTENTION means is, if it was his intention to read the Scripture? ‘To read’? But surely he is reading! — [The Mishnah may refer] to one who is reading [a scroll] in order to revise it.25
Our Rabbis taught: The Shema’ must be recited as it is written.26 So Rabbi. The Sages, however, say that it may be recited in any language. What is Rabbi's reason? — Scripture says: and they shall be,27 implying, as they are they shall remain.28 What is the reason of the Rabbis? — Scripture says ‘hear’,29 implying, in any language that you understand.30 Rabbi also must see that ‘hear’ is written? — He requires it [for the lesson]: Make your ear hear what your mouth utters.21 , The Rabbis, however, concur with the authority who says that even if he did not say it audibly he has performed his obligation. The Rabbis too must see that ‘and they shall be’ is written? — They require this to teach that he must not say the words out of order. Whence does Rabbi derive the rule that he must not say the words out of order? — He derives it from the fact that the [text says] ‘ha-debarim’ [the words] when it might have said simply debarim [words]. And the Rabbis? — They derive no lesson from the substitution of ha-debarim for debarim.
May we assume that Rabbi was of opinion that the whole Torah is allowed to be read in any language, since if you assume that it is allowed to be read only in the holy tongue, why the ‘and they shall be’ written by the All-Merciful? — This was necessary, because ‘hear’ is written.31 May we assume that the Rabbis were of opinion that the whole Torah is allowed to be read only in the holy tongue. since if you assume that it is allowed to be read only in any language. why the ‘hear’ written by the All-Merciful? — It is necessary because ‘and they shall be’ is written.32
Our Rabbis taught: ‘And they shall be’.33 This teaches that they must not be read backwards. ‘These words upon thy heart’.33 Am I to say that the whole [first] section requires kawanah?34 Therefore the text says ‘these’: up to this point kawanah is necessary, from this point kawanah is not necessary. So R. Eliezer. Said R. Akiba to him: Behold it says.
(1) Isa. XLIII, 18.
(2) Ibid. 29.
(3) I Chron. I, 27.
(4) As it says, Behold I have made thee a father of a multitude of nations, Gen. XVII, 5.
(5) ‘Sarai’ means literally ‘my princess’, Sarah ‘princess’ simply.
(7) Which is more serious.
(9) Sc. for you but not necessarily for others. Gen. XVII, 15.
(10) Ibid. XLVI, 2.
(11) Neh. IX, 7.
(12) Nehemiah, so called because he was here speaking under the guidance of the holy spirit.
(13) This is explained in the Gemara. Lit., ‘he directed his heart’.
(14) Between the sections, as presently explained.
(15) E.g., to a teacher.
(16) To one who he is afraid will harm him if he does not give greeting, but not merely out of respect.
(17) V. P.B. p. 39.
(18) Ibid. p. 42.
(19) By proclaiming the unity of God.
(20) By saying the words, if ye shall diligently hearken to all My commandments.
(21) Since it mentions all the commandments.
(22) Since it mentions only the precept of fringes, which is not obligatory by night.
(23) The words IF HE HAD INTENTION.
(24) And not, as it were, accidentally.
(25) And is not attending to the sense.
(26) I.e., in the original language.
(27) Deut. VI, 6.
(28) Lit., ‘in their being they shall be’.
(29) Ibid. 4.
(30) The Hebrew verb shema’, like the French entendre, means both ‘hear’ and ‘understand’. (21) I.e., say it audibly.
(31) And otherwise I might take this to imply, in any language.
(32) Which otherwise I might take to imply, in the original only.
(33) Deut. VI, 6.
(34) The Hebrew word kawanah combines the meanings of attention and intention-attention to what is being said, intention to perform the commandment.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 13b
Which I command thee this day upon thy heart. From this you learn that the whole section requires to be said with kawanah. Rabbah b. Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: The halachah is as laid down by R. Akiba. Some refer this statement1 to the following. as it has been taught: One who reads the Shema’ must pay proper attention2 to what he says. R. Aha said in the name of R. Judah: If he has paid proper attention to the first section, he need not do so for the rest. Rabba b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: The halachah is as stated by R. Aha in the name of R. Judah.
Another [Baraitha] taught: ‘And they shall be’: this teaches that they must not be said backwards. ‘upon thy heart’: R. Zutra says: Up to this point extends the command of kawanah,3 from this point only the command of reciting applies. R. Josiah says: Up to this point extends the command of reciting; from this point the command of kawanah applies. Why this difference in the application from this point of the command of reciting? [presumably] because it is written ‘to speak of them’;4 here too [in the first] also it is written, ‘and thou shalt speak of them’!5 What he means is this: Up to this point applies the command both of kawanah and reciting; from this point onwards applies the command of reciting [even] without kawanah.6 And why this difference in the application up to the point of the command both of reciting and kawanah? [presumably] because it is written, upon thy heart and thou shalt speak of them?7 [In the second section] there too it is written, ‘upon thy hearts to speak of them.8 That text was required for the lesson enunciated by R. Isaac, who said: ‘Ye shall put these my words [upon your hearts]’;8 it is requisite that the placing [of the tefillin] should be opposite the heart.
The Master stated [above]: ‘R. Josiah said: Up to this point extends the command of reciting; from this point onwards the command of kawanah applies’. Why this difference in the application from this point onward of the command of kawanah? [Presumably] because it is written, ‘upon your heart’? There too [in the first section] also it is written upon thy heart? — What he meant is this: Up to this point applies the command of reciting and kawanah, from this point onwards applies that of kawanah [even] without reciting.9 Why this difference in the application up to this point of the command of reciting and kawanah? [Presumably] because it is written, ‘upon thy heart and thou shalt speak of them?’ There too [in the second section] also it is written, ‘upon your heart to speak. of them’! These words have reference to words of Torah, and what the All-Merciful meant is this: Teach your children Torah, so that they may be fluent in them.
Our Rabbis taught: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.10 Up to this point concentration11 is required. So says R. Meir. Raba said: The halachah is as stated by R. Meir.
It has been taught: Symmachus says: Whoever prolongs the word ehad [one]. has his days and years prolonged. R. Aha b. Jacob said: [He must dwell] on the daleth.12 R. Ashi said: Provided he does not slur over the heth.13 R. Jeremiah was once sitting before R. Hiyya b. Abba, and the latter saw that he was prolonging [the word ehad] very much. He said to him: Once you have declared Him king14 over [all that is] above and below and over the four quarters of the ‘heaven, no more is required.
R. Nathan b. Mar ‘Ukba said in the name of Rab Judah: ‘upon thy heart’ must be said standing. [Only] ‘Upon thy heart’? How can you assume this? Rather say: Up to ‘upon thy heart’ must be said standing; from there onwards not [necessarily]. R. Johanan, however, said: The whole [first] section must be said standing. And R. Johanan in this is consistent; for Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: The halachah is as stated by R. Aha in the name of R. Judah.15
Our Rabbis taught: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’: this was R. Judah the Prince's recital of the Shema’.16 Rab said once to R. Hiyya: I do not see Rabbi accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.17 He replied to him: Son of Princes!18 In the moment when he passes his hand over his eyes, he accepts upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. Does he finish it afterwards or does he not finish it afterwards?19 Bar Kappara said: He does not finish it afterwards; R. Simeon son of Rabbi said, He does finish it afterwards. Said Bar Kappara to R. Simeon the son of Rabbi: On my view that he does not finish it afterwards, there is a good reason why Rabbi always is anxious to take a lesson in which there is mention of the exodus from Egypt.20 But on your view that he does finish it afterwards, why is he anxious to take such a lesson? — So as to mention the going forth from Egypt at the proper time.21
R. Ela the son of R. Samuel b. Martha said in the name of Rab: If one said ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’, and was then overpowered by sleep, he has performed his obligation. R. Nahman said to his slave Daru: For the first verse prod me,22 but do not prod me for any more. R. Joseph said to R. Joseph the son of Rabbah: How did your father use to do? He replied: For the first verse he used to take pains [to keep awake], for the rest he did not use to take pains.
R. Joseph said: A man lying on his back should not recite the Shema’. [This implies] that he may not read [the Shema’ lying on his back], but there is no objection to his sleeping in this posture. But did not R. Joshua b. Levi curse anyone who slept lying on his back?23 In reply it was said: To sleeping thus if he turns over a little on his side there is no objection, but to read the Shema’ thus is forbidden even if he turns over somewhat. But R. Johanan turned over a little and read the Scripture? — R. Johanan was an exception, because he was very corpulent.
IN THE BREAKS HE MAY GIVE GREETING etc. For what may he RETURN GREETING? Shall I say, out of respect? But seeing that he may give greeting, is there any question that he may return it? Rather [what I must say is]: He gives greeting out of respect and returns greeting to anyone. [But then] read the next clause: IN THE MIDDLE HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF FEAR AND RETURNS IT. Returns it for what reason? Shall I say, out of fear? But seeing that he may give greeting, is there any question that he may return it? Rather [what we must say is], out of respect. But then this is the view of R. Judah,24 as we learn, R. JUDAH SAYS: IN THE MIDDLE HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF FEAR AND RETURNS IT OUT OF RESPECT, AND IN THE BREAKS HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF RESPECT AND RETURNS GREETING TO ANYONE? — There is a lacuna, and [our Mishnah] should read as follows: IN THE BREAKS HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF RESPECT, and needless to say he may return it, AND IN THE MIDDLE HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF FEAR and needless to say he may return it. So R. Meir. R. Judah says: IN THE MIDDLE HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF FEAR AND RETURNS IT OUT OF RESPECT,
(1) Of Rabbah b. Bar Hanah's statement of the halachah.
(2) Lit., ‘direct his heart’. I.e., have kawanah.
(3) Presumably kawanah here means concentration without reciting. i.e., reading with the eyes.
(4) Ibid. VI; XI. This is the command of reciting.
(5) Deut. VI.
(6) I.e., attention is optional.
(7) Ibid. 6.
(8) Ibid. XI, 18. E.V. ‘lay up in your heart’.
(9) I.e., it is permitted to read with the eyes.
(10) Ibid. VI, 4.
(11) Lit., ‘direction of the heart’.
(12) Because the word does not mean ‘one’ till he comes to this letter.
(13) Omitting its vowel and so make the word meaningless.
(14) I.e., in your thoughts while saying the word.
(15) Supra, that the first section requires kawanah.
(16) I.e., he said only this verse and no more.
(17) V. supra, p. 75 n. 7. Rabbi commenced studying with his disciples before daybreak and did not break off when the time came for reciting the Shema’
(18) I.e., of great scholars; Rab was a nephew of R. Hiyya.
(19) After he dismisses his disciples.
(20) As a substitute for this, the third section, which deals with the exodus.
(21) I.e., when the Shema’ is to be recited.
(22) Lit., ‘worry me so that I may be wide awake’.
(23) V. infra 15a.
(24) Who is supposed to differ from R. Meir, whose views we have been stating so far.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 14a
AND IN THE BREAKS HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF RESPECT AND RETURNS IT TO ANYONE. It has been taught similarly: If one was reciting the Shema’ and his teacher or superior meets him in the breaks, he may give greeting out of respect, and needless to say he may return it, and in the middle he may give greeting out of fear and needless to say he may return it. So R. Meir. R. Judah said: In the middle he may give greeting out of fear and return it out of respect, and in the breaks he may give greeting out of respect and return it to anyone.
Ahi the Tanna1 of the school of R. Hiyya put a question to R. Hiyya: What of interrupting [to give greeting] during the recital of Hallel2 and the reading of the Megillah?2 Do we argue a fortiori that if he may interrupt during the recital of the Shema’ which is a Biblical precept, there is no question that he may do so during the recital of Hallel, which is a Rabbinical precept, or do we say that the proclaiming of the miracle3 is more important? — He replied: He may interrupt, and there is no objection. Rabbah said: On the days on which the individual says the complete Hallel,4 he may interrupt between one section and another but not in the middle of a section; on the days on which the individual does not say the complete Hallel5 he may interrupt even in the middle of a section. But that is not so. For surely Rab b. Shaba once happened to visit Rabina on one of the days on which the individual does not say the complete Hallel and he [Rabina] did not break off to greet him? — It is different with Rab b. Shaba, because Rabina had no great respect for him.
Ashian the Tanna’ of the school of R. Ammi enquired of R. Ammi: May one who is keeping a [voluntary]6 fast take a taste?7 Has he undertaken to abstain from eating and drinking, and this is really not such, or has he undertaken not to have any enjoyment, and this he obtains? — He replied: He may taste, and there is no objection. It has been taught similarly: A mere taste does not require a blessing, and one who is keeping a [voluntary] fast may take a taste, and there is no objection. How much may he taste? — R. Ammi and R. Assi used to taste as much as a rebi'ith.8
Rab said: If one gives greeting to his fellow before he has said his prayers9 it is as if he made him a high place, as it says, Cease ye from man in whose nostrils is a breath, for how little is he to be accounted!10 Read not bammeh [how little], but bammah [high place].11 Samuel interpreted: How come you to esteem this man and not God?12 R. Shesheth raised an objection: IN THE BREAKS HE GIVES GREETING OUT OF RESPECT AND RETURNS IT!13 — R. Abba explains the dictum to refer to one who rises early to visit another.14 R. Jonah said in the name of R. Zera: If a man does his own business before he says his prayers, it is as if he had built a high p]ace. He said to him: A high place, do you say? No, he replied; I only mean that it is forbidden.15 R. Idi b. Abin said in the name of R. Isaac b. Ashian:16 It is forbidden to a man to do his own business before he says his prayers, as it says, Righteousness shall go before him and then he shall set his steps on his own way.17
R. Jonah further said in the name of R. Zera: Whoever goes seven days without a dream is called evil, as it says, And he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.18 Read not sabea’, [satisfied] but sheba’ [seven].19 R. Aha the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said to him: Thus said R. Hiyya in the name of R. Johanan: Whoever sates himself with words of Torah before he retires will receive no evil tidings, as it says, And if he abides sated he shall not be visited with evil.
THE BREAKS ARE AS FOLLOWS etc. R. Abbahu said in the name of R. Johanan: The halachah follows R. Judah, who says that one should not interrupt between ‘your God’ and ‘True and firm’. R. Abbahu said in the name of R. Johanan: What is R. Judah's reason? Because we find in Scripture the words,
(1) The one who repeated the section of the Mishnah for the teacher to expound. V. Glos. s.v. (b).
(2) V. Glos.
(3) The Hallel proclaims the exodus on Passover, and the Megillah the miraculous deliverance from Haman.
(4) E.g., Tabernacles and Hanukah. V. ‘Ar. 10b.
(5) Viz., New Moon and the last six days of passover.
(6) V. Tosaf s.v.
(7) To see if food is cooked properly.
(8) A fourth of a log, i.e., about an egg and a half.
(9) I.e., before he recites the tefillah.
(10) Isa. II, 22.
(11) And render, if he is esteemed he becomes a high place.
(12) Samuel draws a similar lesson without altering the text.
(13) Though the Shema’ is said before the tefillah.
(14) After the manner of the Roman clientes with their patrons. But if one meets his neighbour he may greet him.
(15) But it is not so bad as idolatry.
(16) This is the reading of Rashi. Cur. edd. have: This agrees with the dictum of R. Idi b. Abin etc., which is obviously a contradiction.
(17) Ps. LXXXV, 14. ‘Righteousness’ here is taken to mean justification by prayer. E.V., ‘Righteousness shall go before Him and shall make His footsteps a way’.
(18) Prov. XIX, 23.
(19) And render, ‘if he abides seven nights without and is not visited (with a dream, this shows that) he is evil’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 14b
The Lord God is truth.1 Does he repeat the word ‘true’2 or does he not repeat the word ‘true’? — R. Abbahu said in the name of R. Johanan: He repeats the word ‘true’; Rabbah says: He does not repeat the word ‘true’. A certain man went down to act as reader before Rabbah, and Rabbah heard him say ‘truth, truth’, twice; whereupon he remarked: The whole of truth has got hold of this man.3
R. Joseph said: How fine was the statement which was brought by R. Samuel b. Judah when he reported that in the West [Palestine] they say [in the evening], Speak unto the children of Israel and thou shalt say unto them, I am the Lord your God, True.4 Said Abaye to him: What is there so fine about it, seeing that R. Kahana has said in the name of Rab: [In the evening] one need not begin [this third section of the Shema’] but if he does begin, he should go through with it? And should you say that the words, ‘and thou shalt say unto them’ do not constitute a beginning, has not R. Samuel b. Isaac said in the name of Rab, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel’ is no beginning, but ‘and thou shalt say unto them’ is a beginning? — R. Papa said: In the West they hold that ‘and thou shalt say unto them’ also is no beginning, until one says, ‘and they shall make unto themselves fringes’. Abaye said: Therefore we [in Babylon] begin [the section], because they begin it in the West; and since we begin we go through with it, because R. Kahana has said in the name of Rab: One need not begin, but if he begins he should go through with it.
Hiyya b. Rab said: If one has said [in the evening] ‘I am the Lord your God,’ he must say also, ‘True [etc.]’; if he has not said ‘I am the Lord your God’, he need not say ‘True’. But one has to mention the going forth from Egypt?5 — He can say thus: We give thanks to Thee O Lord our God, that Thou hast brought us forth from the land of Egypt and redeemed us from the house of servitude and wrought for us miracles and mighty deeds, by the [Red] Sea, and we did sing unto Thee.6
R. JOSHUA B. KORHAH SAID: WHY IS THE SECTION OF ‘HEAR’ SAID BEFORE etc. It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai says: It is right that ‘Hear’ should come before ‘And it shall come to pass because the former prescribes learning7 and the latter teaching,8 and that ‘and it shall come to pass’ should precede ‘And the Lord said’ because the former prescribes teaching and the latter performance. But does then ‘hear’ speak only of learning and not also of teaching and doing? Is it not written therein, ‘And thou shalt teach diligently, and thou shalt bind them and thou shalt write them’? Also, does ‘and it shall come to pass’ speak only of teaching and not also of performance? Is it not written therein, ‘and ye shall bind and ye shall write’? — Rather this is what he means to say: It is right that ‘hear’ should precede ‘and it shall come to pass’, because the former mentions both learning, teaching, and doing; and that ‘and it shall come to pass’ should precede ‘and the Lord said’, because the former mentions both teaching and doing, whereas the latter mentions doing only. But is not the reason given by R. Joshua b. Korhah sufficient? — He [R. Simeon b. Yohai] gave an additional reason. One is that he should first accept Upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and then accept the yoke of the commandments. A further reason is that it [the first section] has these other features.
Rab once washed his hands and recited the Shema’ and put on tefillin and said the tefillah. But how could he act in this way,9 seeing that it has been taught: ‘One who digs a niche in a grave for a corpse is exempt from reciting Shema’ and tefillah and from tefillin and from all the commandments prescribed in the Torah. When the hour for reciting the Shema’ arrives, he goes up and washes his hands and puts on tefillin and recites the Shema’ and says the tefillah?’ Now this statement itself contains a contradiction. First it says that he is exempt and then it says that he is under obligation? — This is no difficulty; the latter clause speaks of where there are two,10 the former of where there is only one. In any case this seems to contradict Rab? — Rab held with R. Joshua b. Korhah, who said that first he accepts the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and then he accepts the yoke of the commandments.11 I will grant you that R. Joshua b. Korhah meant that the recital [of one section] should precede that of the other. But can you understand him to mean that the recital should precede the act [of putting on the tefillin]? And further, did Rab really adopt the view of R. Joshua b. Korhah? Did not R. Hiyya b. Ashi say: On many occasions I stood before Rab when he rose early and said a blessing and taught us our section and put on phylacteries and then recited the Shema’?12 And should you say, he did this only when the hour for reciting the Shema’ had not yet arrived — if that is so what is the value of the testimony of R. Hiyya b. Ashi? — To refute the one who says that a blessing need not be said for the study of the Mishnah;13 he teaches us that for the Mishnah also a blessing must be said. All the same there is a contradiction of Rab?14 — His messenger was at fault.15
‘Ulla said: If one recites the Shema’ without tefillin it is as if he bore false witness against himself.16 R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: It is as if he offered a burnt-offering without a meal-offering and a sacrifice without drink-offering.
R. Johanan also said: If one desires to accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven in the most complete manner
(1) Jer. X, 10. E.V. ‘the true God’.
(2) After concluding the Shema’ with the word true, does he have to repeat the word which is really the beginning of the next paragraph in the prayers?
(3) Sc., he cannot stop saying ‘truth’.
(4) I.e., the opening and closing words of the third section, omitting the middle part which deals with the fringes since the law of fringes does not apply at night.
(5) And if he omits both the third section and ‘True and faithful’ where does he mention it?
(6) And he then continues, ‘Who is like unto Thee’ and ‘Cause us to lie down’. P.B., p. 99.
(7) As it says, and thou shalt speak.
(8) As it says, and ye shall teach them to your children.
(9) Viz., say the Shema’ before putting on tefillin.
(10) And one prays while the other goes on digging.
(11) By putting on tefillin.
(12) ‘Teaching’ is here regarded as equivalent to accepting the yoke of the commandments.
(13) V. supra 11b.
(14) The original contradiction has not yet been solved.
(15) And brought him his tefillin late, so he said the Shema’ first.
(16) Rather, he accuses himself of falsehood, i.e., inconsistency.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 15a
, he should consult nature and wash his hands and put on tefillin and recite the Shema’ and say the tefillah: this is the complete acknowledgment of the kingdom of heaven. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: If one consults nature and washes his hands and puts on tefillin and recites the Shema’ and says the tefillah, Scripture accounts it to him as if he had built an altar and offered a sacrifice upon it, as it is written, I will wash my hands in innocency and I will compass Thine altar, O Lord.1 Said Raba to him: Does not your honour think that it is as if he had bathed himself, since it is written, I will wash in purity and it is not written, ‘I will wash my hands’.2
Rabina said to Raba: Sir, pray look at this student who has come from the West [Palestine] and who says: If one has no water for washing his hands, he can rub3 his hands with earth or with a pebble or with sawdust. He replied: He is quite correct. Is it written, I will wash in water? It is written: In cleanliness — with anything which cleans. For R. Hisda cursed anyone who went looking for water at the time of prayer.4 This applies to the recital of the Shema’, but for the tefillah one may go looking. How far? — As far as a parasang. This is the case in front of him, but in the rear, he may not go back even a mil. [From which is to be deduced], A mil he may not go back; but less than a mil he may go back.
MISHNAH. IF ONE RECITES THE SHEMA’ WITHOUT HEARING WHAT HE SAYS, HE HAS PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. R. JOSE SAYS: HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. IF HE RECITES IT WITHOUT PRONOUNCING THE LETTERS CORRECTLY, R. JOSE SAYS THAT HE HAS PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION, R. JUDAH SAYS THAT HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. IF HE RECITES IT BACKWARD,5 HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. IF HE RECITES IT AND MAKES A MISTAKE HE GOES BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE HE MADE THE MISTAKE.
GEMARA. What is R. Jose's reason? — Because it is written, ‘Hear’ which implies, let your ear hear what you utter with your mouth. The first Tanna, however, maintains that ‘hear’ means, in any language that you understand. But R. Jose derives both lessons from the word.
We have learnt elsewhere: A deaf person who can speak but not hear should not set aside terumah;6 if, however, he does set aside, his action is valid. Who is it that teaches that the action of a deaf man who can speak but not hear in setting aside terumah is valid if done, but should not be done in the first instance? — Said R. Hisda: It is R. Jose, as we have learnt: IF ONE RECITES THE SHEMA’ WITHOUT HEARING WHAT HE SAYS, HE HAS PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. R. JOSE SAYS: HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. Now R. Jose holds that he has not performed his obligation only in the case of the recital of the Shema’, which is Scriptural, but the setting aside of terumah, [is forbidden] only on account of the blessing, and blessings are an ordinance of the Rabbis,7 and the validity of the act does not depend upon the blessing. But why should you say that this8 is R. Jose's opinion? Perhaps it is R. Judah's opinion, and he holds that in the case of the recital of the Shema’ also, it is valid only if the act is done, but it should not be done in the first instance, and the proof of this is that he states, IF ONE RECITES, which implies, if done, it is done, but it should not be done in the first instance? — The answer is: The reason why it says, IF ONE RECITES, is to show you how far R. Jose is prepared to go, since he says that even if it is done it is not valid. For as to R. Judah, he holds that even if he does it in the first instance he has performed his obligation. Now what is your conclusion? That it is the opinion of R. Jose. What then of this which we have learnt: A man should not say the grace after meals mentally, but if he does so he has performed his obligation. Whose opinion is this? It is neither R. Jose's nor R. Judah's. For it cannot be R. Judah's, since he said that even if he does so in the first instance he has performed his obligation; nor can it be R. Jose's, since he says that even if done it is not valid!9 What must we say then? That it is R. Judah's opinion’ and he holds that it is valid only if done but it should not be done in the first instance. But what of this which was taught by R. Judah the son of R. Simeon b. Pazzi: A deaf man who can speak but not hear may set aside terumah in the first instance. Whose view does this follow? It can be neither R. Judah's nor R. Jose's. For as for R. Judah, he says that it is valid only if done but it should not be done in the first instance; while R. Jose says that even if done it is not valid! In fact it follows R. Judah's view, and he holds that it may be done even in the first instance, and there is no contradiction [between the two views attributed to him], one being his own and the other that of his teacher, as we have learnt: R. Judah said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah: When one recites the Shema’, he must let himself hear what he says,10 as it says, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’. Said R. Meir to him: Behold it says, ‘Which I command thee this day upon thy heart’: on the intention of the heart depends the validity of the words.11 If you come so far, you may even say that R. Judah agreed with his teacher, and there is no contradiction: one statement12 gives R. Meir's view, the other R. Judah's.
We have learnt elsewhere:13 All are qualified to read the Megillah14 except a deaf-mute, an imbecile and a minor; R. Judah declares a minor qualified. Who is it that declares the act of a deaf-mute, even if done, to be invalid?15 R. Mattena says: It is R. Jose, as we have learnt: IF ONE RECITES THE SHEMA’ WITHOUT HEARING WHAT HE SAYS, HE HAS PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. SO R. JUDAH. R. JOSE SAYS: HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION. But why should we say that the above statement [regarding a deaf-mute] follows R. Jose, and that the act even if done is invalid?
(1) Ps. XXVI, 6.
(2) Raba apparently stresses the order of the words in the original, and renders: I will (do the equivalent) of bathing in purity [by washing] my hands.
(3) Lit., ‘wipe’.
(4) And so delayed to say his prayers.
(5) I.e., with the sections in the wrong order.
(6) Because he cannot hear the blessing which he has to say over the action.
(7) V. Pes. 7.
(8) That a deaf man should not set aside terumah.
(9) Since grace after meals is a Scriptural injunction.
(10) I.e., in the first instance, but the act if done is valid.
(11) Hence even in the first instance the act is valid.
(12) That of R. Judah son of R. Simeon b. Pazzi.
(13) Meg. 1b.
(14) V. Glos.
(15) The questioner assumes this to be the intention of the statement just quoted.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 15b
Perhaps it follows R. Judah, and while the act may not be done [only] in the first instance, yet if done it is valid? — Do not imagine such a thing. For the statement puts a deaf-mute on the same level as an imbecile and a minor, [implying that] just as in the case of an imbecile and a minor the act if done is not valid,1 so in the case of a deaf-mute the act if done is not valid. But perhaps each case has its own rule?2 — But [even if so] can you construe this statement as following R. Judah? Since the later clause3 says that ‘R. Judah declares it valid’, may we not conclude that the earlier clause does not follow R. Judah? — Perhaps the whole statement follows R. Judah, and two kinds of minor are referred to, and there is a lacuna, and the whole should read thus: All are qualified to read the Megillah except a deaf-mute, an imbecile and a minor. This applies only to one who is not old enough to be trained [in the performance of the precepts].4 But one who is old enough to be trained may perform the act even in the first instance. This is the ruling of R. Judah: for R. Judah declares a minor qualified. How have you construed the statement? As following R. Judah, and that the act is valid only if done but should not be done in the first instance. But then what of that which R. Judah the son of R. Simeon b. Pazzi taught, that a deaf person who can speak but not hear may set aside terumah in the first instance-which authority does this follow? It is neither R. Judah nor R. Jose! For if it is R. Judah, he says that the act is valid only if done, but it may not be done in the first instance; and if R. Jose, he says that even if done it is not valid! — What then do you say, that the authority is R. Judah and that the act may be done even in the first instance? What then of this which has been taught: A man should not say the grace after meals mentally, but if he does so he has performed his obligation? Whose opinion is this? It can be neither R. Judah's nor R. Jose's. For as to R. Judah, he has said that it may be done even in the first instance, and as to R. Jose, he has said that even if done it is not valid! — In truth it is the opinion of R. Judah, and the act may be done even in the first instance, and there is no contradiction between his two statements; in one case he is giving his own view, in the other that of his teacher, as it has been taught: R. Judah said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah: One who recites the Shema’ must let his ear hear what he says, as it says, ‘Hear, O Israel’. Said R. Meir to him: ‘Which I command thee this day upon thy heart’, indicating that the words derive their validity from the attention of the heart. Now that you have come so far, you may even say that R. Judah was of the same opinion as his teacher, and still there is no contradiction: one statement gives the view of R. Judah, the other that of R. Meir.
R. Hisda said in the name of R. Shila: The halachah is as laid down by R. Judah in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and the halachah is as laid down by R. Judah. Both these statements are necessary. For if we had been told only that the halachah is as stated by R. Judah I might have thought that the act may be done even in the first instance. We are therefore informed that the halachah is as laid down by R. Judah in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah. And if we had been told that the halachah is as laid down by R. Judah in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah, I might have thought that the act must [be performed thus] and if not there is no remedy.5 We are therefore informed that the halachah is as stated by R. Judah.
R. Joseph said: The difference of opinion relates only to the recital of the Shema’, but in the case of other religious acts all agree that he has not performed his obligation [if he says the formula inaudibly], as it is written, attend and hear, O Israel.6 An objection was raised: A man should not say grace after meals mentally, but if he does he has performed his obligation! — Rather, if this statement was made it was as follows: R. Joseph said: The difference of opinion relates only to the Shema’, since it is written, ‘Hear O Israel’; but in regard to all the other religious acts, all are agreed that he performs his obligation. But it is written, ‘Attend and hear, O Israel’? — That [text] applies only to words of Torah.7
IF ONE RECITED WITHOUT PRONOUNCING THE LETTERS DISTINCTLY. R. Tabi said in the name of R. Josiah: The halachah in both cases follows the more lenient authority.8
R. Tabi further said in the name of R. Josiah: What is meant by the text, There are three things which are never satisfied, . . . the grave and the barren womb?9 How comes the grave next to the womb? It is to teach you that just as the womb takes in and gives forth again, so the grave takes in and will give forth again. And have we not here a conclusion a fortiori: if the womb which takes in silently gives forth with loud noise,10 does it not stand to reason that the grave which takes in with loud noise11 will give forth with loud noise? Here is a refutation of those who deny that resurrection is taught in the Torah.12
R. Oshaia taught in the presence of Raba: And thou shalt write them:13 the whole section must be written [in the mezuzah14 and tefillin], even the commands.15 He said to him: From whom do you learn this?16 This is the opinion of R. Judah, who said with reference to the sotah:17 He writes the imprecation but not the commands. [And you argue that] this is the rule in that case, since it is written, And he shall write these curses,18 but here, since it is written, ‘and thou shalt write them’, even the commands are included. But is R. Judah's reason because it is written, ‘and he shall write’? [Surely] R. Judah's reason is because it is written, ‘curses’, which implies, curses he is to write but not commands!19 — It was still necessary.20 You might have thought that we should draw an analogy between the ‘writing’ mentioned here and the ‘writing’ mentioned there, and that just as there he writes curses but not commands, so here he should not write commands. Therefore the All-Merciful wrote ‘and thou shalt write them’, implying, commands also.
R. Obadiah recited in the presence of Raba: ‘And ye shall teach them’:21 as much as to say thy teaching must be faultless22 by making a pause ‘between the joints’.23 For instance, said Raba, supplementing his words ‘Al lebabeka [upon thy heart], ‘al lebabekem [upon your heart], Bekol lebabeka [with all thy heart], bekol lebabekem [with all your heart], ‘eseb be-sadeka [grass in thy field], wa-’abaddetem meherah [and ye shall perish speedily], ha-kanaf pesil [the corner a thread], etthkem me-erez [you from the land]. R. Hama b. Hanina said: If one in reciting the Shema’ pronounces the letters distinctly, hell is cooled for him, as it says, When the Almighty scattereth kings therein, it snoweth in Zalmon.24 Read not be-fares [when he scattereth] but befaresh [when one pronounces distinctly], and read not be-zalmon [in Zalmon] but be-zalmaweth [in the shadow of death].
R. Hama b. Hanina further said: Why are ‘tents’ mentioned
(1) This is deduced in respect of a minor from the fact that he is mentioned in conjunction with an imbecile.
(2) I.e., we do not put a deaf-mute on the same footing as an imbecile, although they are mentioned in conjunction.
(3) In the passage cited from Meg.
(4) I.e., up to nine or ten years old; v. Yoma 82a.
(5) I.e., even if done, it is not valid.
(6) Deut. XXVII, 9. E.V. ‘Keep silence and hear’.
(7) As explained infra 63b.
(8) I.e., R. Judah in the matter of audibility, and R. Jose in the matter of pronouncing distinctly.
(9) Prov. XXX, 15, 16.
(10) The crying of the child.
(11) The wailing of the mourners.
(12) V. Sanh. 92a.
(13) Deut. VI, 9.
(14) V. Glos.
(15) I.e., the words ‘and thou shalt write them, and thou shalt bind them’. This is derived from וכתבתם being interpreted as וכתבתם a complete writing.
(16) That o special text is required to include the writing of the commands.
(17) The woman suspected of adultery, v. Num. V, 11ff.
(18) Num. V, 23.
(19) And but for that implied limitation the expression ‘he shall write’ by itself would have included commands.
(20) To appeal to the exposition based on וכתבתם.
(21) Deut. XI, 19.
(22) We-limmadetem (and you shall train them) is read as we-limmud tam (and the teaching shall be perfect); cf. p. 91, n. 10.
(23) I.e., not running together two words of which the first ends and the second begins with the same letter. The expression is from 1 Kings XXII, 34.
(24) Ps. LXVIII, 15.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 16a
alongside of ‘streams’ as it says, [How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob . . . ]1 as streams2 stretched out, as gardens by the river side, as aloes planted3 etc.? To tell you that, just as streams bring a man up from a state of uncleanness to one of cleanness, so tents4 bring a man up from the scale of guilt to the scale of merit.
IF ONE RECITES IT BACKWARD, HE HAS NOT PERFORMED HIS OBLIGATION etc. R. Ammi and R. Assi were once decorating the bridal chamber for R. Eleazar. He said to them: In the meantime I will go and pick up something from the House of Study and come back and tell you. He went and found a Tanna reciting before R. Johanan: If [reciting the Shema’] one [recollects that] he made a mistake but does not know where, if he is in the middle of a section he should go back to the beginning; if he is in doubt which section he has said, he should go back to the first break;5 if he is in doubt which writing6 he is on, he goes back to the first one. Said R. Johanan to him: This rule applies only where he has not yet got to ‘In order that your days may be prolonged’, but if he has got to ‘In order that your days may be prolonged’, then [he can assume that] force of habit has kept him right.7 He came and told them, and they said to him, If we had come only to hear this, it would have been worth our while.
MISHNAH. WORKMEN MAY RECITE [THE SHEMA’] ON THE TOP OF A TREE OR THE TOP OF A SCAFFOLDING, A THING THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO IN THE CASE OF THE TEFILLAH. A BRIDEGROOM IS EXEMPT FROM THE RECITAL OF THE SHEMA’ FROM THE FIRST NIGHT UNTIL THE END OF THE SABBATH, IF HE HAS NOT CONSUMMATED THE MARRIAGE.8 IT HAPPENED WITH R. GAMALIEL THAT WHEN HE MARRIED HE RECITED THE SHEMA ON THE FIRST NIGHT: SO HIS DISCIPLES SAID TO HIM: OUR MASTER, YOU HAVE TAUGHT US THAT A BRIDEGROOM IS EXEMPT FROM THE RECITAL OF THE SHEMA’. HE REPLIED TO THEM: I WILL NOT LISTEN TO YOU TO REMOVE FROM MYSELF THE KINGSHIP OF HEAVEN EVEN FOR A MOMENT.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Workmen may recite [the Shema’] on the top of a tree or on the top of a scaffolding, and they may say the tefillah, on the top of an olive tree and the top of a fig tree,9 but from all other trees they must come down to the ground before saying the tefillah, and the employer must in any case come down before saying the tefillah,10 the reason in all cases being that their mind is not clear.11 R. Mari the son of the daughter of Samuel12 pointed out to Rab a contradiction. We have learnt, he said: WORKMEN MAY RECITE [THE SHEMA’] ON THE TOP OF A TREE OR THE TOP OF A SCAFFOLDING which would show that the recital does not require kawanah.13 Contrast with this: When one recites the Shema’, it is incumbent that he should concentrate his attention14 on it, since it says, ‘Hear, O Israel’, and in another place it says, Pay attention and hear, O Israel,15 showing that just as in the latter ‘hearing’ must be accompanied by attention, so here it must be accompanied by attention. He gave no reply. Then he said to him: Have you heard any statement on this point? — He replied: Thus said R. Shesheth: This is the case only if they stop from their work to recite. But it has been taught: Beth Hillel say that they may go on with their work while reciting? — There is no contradiction. The former statement refers to the first section, the latter to the second section [of the Shema’].
Our Rabbis taught: Labourers working for an employer recite the Shema’ and say blessings before it and after it and eat their crust and say blessings before it and after it, and say the tefillah of eighteen benedictions, but they do not go down before the ark16 nor do they raise their hands [to give the priestly benediction].17 But it has been taught: [They say] a resume of the eighteen benedictions?18 — Said R. Shesheth: There is no contradiction: one statement gives the view of R. Gamaliel, the other of R. Joshua.19 But if R. Joshua is the authority, why does it say ‘labourers’ ? The same applies to anyone! — In fact, both statements represent the view of R. Gamaliel, and still there is no contradiction: one refers to [labourers] working for a wage, and the other to [those] working for their keep;20 and so it has been taught: Labourers working for an employer recite the Shema’ and say the tefillah and eat their crust without saying a blessing before it, but they say two blessings after it, namely, [he says] the first blessing21 right through22 and the second blessing he begins with the blessing for the land, including ‘who buildest Jerusalem’ in the blessing23 for the land. When does this hold good? For those who work for a wage. But those who work for their keep or who eat in the company of the employer say the grace right through.21
A BRIDEGROOM IS EXEMPT FROM RECITING THE SHEMA’.24 Our Rabbis taught: ‘When thou sittest in thy house’: this excludes one engaged in the performance of a religious duty. ‘And when thou walkest by the way’: this excludes a bridegroom. Hence they deduced the rule that one who marries a virgin is exempt, while one who marries a widow is not exempt. How is this derived? — R. Papa said: [The sitting in the house] is compared to the way: just as the way is optional, so here it must be optional. But are we not dealing [in the words ‘walkest by the way’] with one who goes to perform a religious duty, and even so the All-Merciful said that he should recite? — If that were so, the text should say, ‘in going’. What is meant by ‘in thy going’? This teaches that it is in thy going that thou art under obligation, and in the going for a religious duty thou art exempt.
(1) V. Tosaf., s.v. אהלים
(2) E.V. ‘valleys’.
(3) Num. XXIV, 5, 6.
(4) Where the Torah is studied.
(5) I.e. , to ‘and it shall come to pass’.
(6) I.e., ‘and thou shalt write them’ in the first section or ‘and ye shall write’ in the second.
(7) Lit., ‘he has taken his usual course’.
(8) Lit., ‘performed the act’.
(9) These trees have thick branches which afford a firm foothold.
(10) Seeing that he is not bound to work.
(11) To concentrate on their prayers, from anxiety lest they may fall.
(12) His mother was carried away captive and he was not born in lawful wedlock, and therefore his father's name is not mentioned. (Rashi). V. Keth. 23a.
(13) V. Glos.
(14) Lit., ‘direct his heart’.
(15) V. supra, p. 91 n. 1.
(16) I.e., act as reader to a congregation.
(17) Because this would rob their employer of too much of their time.
(18) V. P.B. p. 55.
(19) Infra, 28b.
(20) Those who work for a wage have less time to spare.
(21) V. P. B. p. 280.
(22) Lit., ‘as arranged’.
(23) The benedictions beginning with ‘We thank thee’ (ibid.) and ‘And rebuild Jerusalem’ (p. 282) are condensed into one.
(24) For notes on this passage, v. supra p. 60.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 16b
If that is the case, why does it say, ‘One who marries a virgin’? The same would apply to one who marries a widow! — In the former case he is agitated, in the latter case he is not agitated. If his agitation is the ground, then even if his ship has sunk in the sea he should also be exempt? [And if this is so] , why then has R. Abba b. Zabda said in the name of Rab: A mourner is under obligation to perform all the precepts laid down in the Torah except that of tefillin, because they are called ‘headtire’, as it says, ‘Thy headtire bound upon thy head’ etc.? — The reply is: There the agitation is over an optional matter, here it is over a religious duty.
MISHNAH. [RABBAN GAMALIEL] BATHED ON THE FIRST NIGHT AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE. HIS DISCIPLES SAID TO HIM: YOU HAVE TAUGHT US, SIR, THAT A MOURNER IS FORBIDDEN TO BATHE. HE REPLIED TO THEM: I AM NOT LIKE OTHER MEN, BEING VERY DELICATE. WHEN TABI HIS SLAVE DIED HE ACCEPTED CONDOLENCES FOR HIM. HIS DISCIPLES SAID TO HIM: YOU HAVE TAUGHT US, SIR, THAT CONDOLENCES ARE NOT ACCEPTED FOR SLAVES? HE REPLIED TO THEM: MY SLAVE TABI WAS NOT LIKE OTHER SLAVES: HE WAS A GOOD MAN. IF A BRIDEGROOM DESIRES TO RECITE THE SHEMA ON THE FIRST NIGHT, HE MAY DO SO. RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS: NOT EVERYONE WHO DESIRES TO PASS AS A SCHOLAR1 MAY DO SO.
GEMARA. How did Rabban Gamaliel2 justify his action?3 — He held that the observance of aninuth4 by night is only an ordinance of the Rabbis, as it is written, [And I will make it as the mourning for an only son,] and the end thereof as a bitter day,5 and where it concerns a delicate person the Rabbis did not mean their ordinance to apply.
WHEN TABI HIS SLAVE DIED etc. Our Rabbis taught: For male and female slaves no row [of comforters]6 is formed, nor is the blessing of mourners7 said, nor is condolence offered. When the bondwoman of R. Eliezer died, his disciples went in to condole with him. When he saw them he went up to an upper chamber, but they went up after him. He then went into an ante-room and they followed him there. He then went into the dining hall and they followed him there. He said to them: I thought that you would be scalded with warm water; I see you are not scalded even with boiling hot water.8 Have I not taught you that a row of comforters is not made for male and female slaves, and that a blessing of mourners is not said for them, nor is condolence offered for them? What then do they say for them? The same as they say to a man for his ox and his ass: ‘May the Almighty replenish your loss’. So for his male and female slave they say to him: ‘May the Almighty replenish your loss’. It has been taught elsewhere: For male and female slaves no funeral oration is said. R. Jose said: If he was a good slave, they can say over him, Alas for a good and faithful man, who worked for his living! They said to him: If you do that, what do you leave for free-born?
Our Rabbis taught: The term ‘patriarchs’ is applied only to three,9 and the term ‘matriarchs’ only to four.10 What is the reason? Shall we say because we do not know if we are descended from Reuben or from Simeon? But neither do we know in the case of the matriarchs whether we are descended from Rachel or from Leah! — [Rather the reason is] because up to this point they were particularly esteemed, from this point they were not so particularly esteemed. It has been taught elsewhere: Male and female slaves are not called ‘Father so-and so’ or ‘Mother so-and so’; those of Rabban Gamaliel, however, were called ‘Father so-and-so’ and ‘Mother so-and-so’. The example [cited] contradicts your rule? It was because they were particularly esteemed.
R. Eleazar said: What is the meaning of the verse, So will I bless Thee as long as I live; in Thy name will I lift up my hands?11 ‘I will bless Thee as long as I live’ refers to the Shema’; ‘in Thy name I will lift up my hands’ refers to the tefillah. And if he does this, Scripture says of him, My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness.12 Nay more, he inherits two worlds, this world and the next, as it says, And my mouth doth praise Thee with joyful lips.13
R. Eleazar on concluding his prayer14 used to say the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to cause to dwell in our lot love and brotherhood and peace and friendship, and mayest Thou make our borders rich in disciples and prosper our latter end with good prospect and hope, and set our portion in Paradise, and confirm us15 with a good companion and a good impulse in Thy world, and may we rise early and obtain the yearning of our heart to fear Thy name,16 and mayest Thou be pleased to grant the satisfaction of our desires!17
R. Johanan on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to look upon our shame, and behold our evil plight, and clothe Thyself in Thy mercies, and cover Thyself in Thy strength, and wrap Thyself in Thy lovingkindness , and gird Thyself with Thy graciousness, and may the attribute of Thy kindness and gentleness come before Thee!
R. Zera on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, that we sin not nor bring upon ourselves shame or disgrace before our fathers!18
R. Hiyya on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, that our Torah may be our occupation, and that our heart may not be sick nor our eyes darkened!
Rab on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to grant us long life, a life of peace, a life of good, a life of blessing, a life of sustenance, a life of bodily vigour,19 a life in which there is fear of sin, a life free from shame and confusion, a life of riches and honour, a life in which we may be filled with the love of Torah and the fear of heaven, a life in which Thou shalt fulfil all the desires of our heart for good!20
Rabbi on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, and God of our fathers, to deliver us from the impudent and from impudence, from an evil man, from evil hap, from the evil impulse, from an evil companion, from an evil neighbour, and from the destructive Accuser, from a hard lawsuit and from a hard opponent, whether he is a son of the covenant or not a son of the covenant!21 [Thus did he pray] although guards22 were appointed23 to protect Rabbi.
R. Safra on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to establish peace
(1) Lit., ‘to take the name’, viz., of a scholar.
(2) Cur. edd.: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, which can hardly be justified.
(3) In bathing while onan.
(4) The name given to the mourning of the first day, or the whole period before the burial.
(5) Amos VIII, 10. This shows that according to Scripture mourning is to be observed only by day.
(6) It was customary for those returning from a burial to the mourner's house to stand in a row before him to comfort him.
(7) Said after the first meal taken by the mourner after the funeral, v. Keth. 8a.
(8) As much as to say: I thought you would take the first hint, and you do not even take the last!
(9) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(10) Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah.
(11) Ps. LXIII, 5.
(12) Ibid. 6.
(13) Ibid. Lit. , ‘lips of songs’, i.e., two songs.
(14) I.e., after the last benediction of the Amidah.
(15) Or perhaps, cause us to obtain.
(16) I.e., may we be filled with pious thoughts on waking.
(17) Lit., may the coolness of our soul come before Thee for good’.
(18) ‘Aruch: more than our fathers.
(19) Lit,. ‘vigour of the bones’.
(20) This prayer is now said on the Sabbath on which the New Moon is announced. V. P.B. p. 154.
(21) I.e., a Jew or non-Jew. This now forms part of the daily prayers. V. P. B. p. 7
(22) Lit., eunuchs’.
(23) By the Roman Government.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 17a
among the celestial family,1 and among the earthly family,2 and among the disciples who occupy themselves with Thy Torah whether for its own sake or for other motives; and may it please Thee that all who do so for other motives may come to study it for its own sake!
R. Alexandri on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to station us in an illumined corner and do not station us in a darkened corner, and let not our heart be sick nor our eyes darkened! According to some this was the prayer of R. Hamnuna, and R. Alexandri on concluding his prayer used to add the following: Sovereign of the Universe, it is known full well to Thee that our will is to perform Thy will, and what prevents us? The yeast in the dough3 and the subjection to the foreign Powers. May it be Thy will to deliver us from their hand, so that we may return to perform the statutes of Thy will with a perfect heart!
Raba on concluding his prayer added the following: My God, before I was formed I was not worthy [to be formed], and now that I have been formed I am as if I had not been formed. I am dust in my lifetime, all the more in my death. Behold I am before Thee like a vessel full of shame and confusion. May it be Thy will, O Lord my God, that I sin no more, and the sins I have committed before Thee wipe out in Thy great mercies, but not through evil chastisements and diseases! This was the confession of R. Hamnuna Zuti on the Day of Atonement.4
Mar the son of Rabina on concluding his prayer added the following: My God, keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile. May my soul be silent to them that curse me and may my soul be as the dust to all. Open Thou my heart in Thy law, and may my soul pursue Thy commandments, and deliver me from evil hap, from the evil impulse and from an evil woman and from all evils that threaten to come upon the world. As for all that design evil against me, speedily annul their counsel and frustrate their designs!5 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before Thee, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer!6
When R. Shesheth kept a fast, on concluding his prayer he added the following: Sovereign of the Universe, Thou knowest full well that in the time when the Temple was standing, if a man sinned he used to bring a sacrifice, and though all that was offered of it was its fat and blood, atonement was made for him therewith. Now I have kept a fast and my fat and blood have diminished. May it be Thy will to account my fat and blood which have been diminished as if I had offered them before Thee on the altar, and do Thou favour me.7
When R. Johanan finished the Book of Job,8 he used to say the following: The end of man is to die, and the end of a beast is to be slaughtered, and all are doomed to die. Happy he who was brought up in the Torah and whose labour was in the Torah and who has given pleasure to his Creator and who grew up with a good name and departed the world with a good name; and of him Solomon said: A good name is better than precious oil, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.9
A favourite saying of R. Meir was: Study with all thy heart and with all thy soul to know My ways and to watch at the doors of My law. Keep My law in thy heart and let My fear be before thy eyes. Keep thy mouth from all sin and purify and sanctify thyself from all trespass and iniquity, and I will be with thee in every place.
A favourite saying of the Rabbis of Jabneh was: I am God's creature and my fellow10 is God's creature. My work is in the town and his work is in the country. I rise early for my work and he rises early for his work. Just as he does not presume to do my work, so I do not presume to do his work. Will you say, I do much11 and he does little? We have learnt:12 One may do much or one may do little; it is all one, provided he directs his heart to heaven.
A favourite saying of Abaye was: A man should always be subtle in the fear of heaven.13 A soft answer turneth away wrath,14 and one should always strive to be on the best terms with his brethren and his relatives and with all men and even with the heathen in the street, in order that he may be beloved above and well-liked below and be acceptable to his fellow creatures. It was related of R. Johanan b. Zakkai that no man ever gave him greeting first, even a heathen in the street.
A favourite saying of Raba was: The goal of wisdom is repentance and good deeds, so that a man should not study Torah and Mishnah and then despise15 his father and mother and teacher and his superior in wisdom and rank, as it says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do thereafter.16 It does not say, ‘that do’,17 but ‘that do thereafter’, which implies, that do them for their own sake and not for other motives.18 If one does them for other motives, it were better that he had not been created.
A favourite saying of Rab was: [The future world is not like this world.]19 In the future world there is no eating nor drinking nor propagation nor business nor jealousy nor hatred nor competition, but the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads feasting on the brightness of the divine presence, as it says, And they beheld God, and did eat and drink.20
[Our Rabbis taught]:21 Greater is the promise made by the Holy One, blessed be He, to the women than to the men; for it says, Rise up, ye women that are at ease; ye confident daughters, give ear unto my speech.22 Rab said to R. Hiyya: Whereby do women earn merit? By making their children go to the synagogue23 to learn Scripture and their husbands to the Beth Hamidrash to learn Mishnah, and waiting for their husbands till they return from the Beth Hamidrash. When the Rabbis24 took leave from the school of R. Ammi — some say, of R. Hanina — they said to him: May you see your requirements provided25 in your lifetime, and may your latter end be for the future world and your hope for many generations; may your heart meditate understanding, your mouth speak wisdom and your tongue indite song; may your eyelids look straight before you,26 may your eyes be enlightened by the light of the Torah and your face shine like the brightness of the firmament; may your lips utter knowledge, your reins rejoice in uprightness27 and your steps run to hear the words of the Ancient of Days. When the Rabbis took leave from the school of R. Hisda — others Say, of R. Samuel b. Nahmani — they said to him: We are instructed, we are well laden28 etc. ‘We are instructed, we are well laden’. Rab and Samuel — according to others, R. Johanan and R. Eleazar — give different explanations of this. One Says: ‘We are instructed’ — in Torah, ‘and well laden’ — with precepts. The other says: ‘We are instructed’ — in Torah and precepts; ‘we are well laden’ — with chastisements.
(1) The Guardian Angels of the various nations.
(2) From the context this would seem to refer to the nations of the earth. Rashi, however, takes it to mean the assembly of the wise men.
(3) I.e., the evil impulse, which causes a ferment in the heart.
(4) It occupies the same place in the present day liturgy. V. P.B. p. 263.
(5) MS.M adds: Pay them their recompense upon their heads; destroy them and humble them before me, and deliver me from all calamities which are threatening to issue and break forth upon the world!
(6) In the present day liturgy this prayer is also added (in a slightly altered form) at the end of every Amidah. V. P.B. p. 54. The last sentence is from Ps. XIX, 15.
(7) MS.M. adds: A certain disciple after he prayed used to say: ‘Close mine eyes from evil, and my ears from hearing idle words, and my heart from reflecting on unchaste thoughts, and my veins from thinking of transgression, and guide my feet to (walk in) Thy commandments and Thy righteous ways, and may Thy mercies be turned upon me to be of those spared and preserved for life in Jerusalem’!
(8) M. reads: R. Johanan said: When R. Meir finished etc.
(9) Eccl. VII, 1. R. Johanan was prompted to this reflection by the fact that Job departed with a good name.
(10) I.e., the ‘am ha-arez, or nonstudent.
(11) In the way of Torah.
(12) Men. 110a.
(13) I.e., in finding out new ways of fearing heaven.
(14) Prov. XV, I.
(15) Lit., ‘kick at’.
(16) Ps. CXI, 10.
(17) Another reading is, that learn them.
(18) I.e., to criticise and quarrel. V. Rashi and Tosaf. ad loc.
(19) These words are bracketed in the text.
(20) Ex. XXIV, 11 . These words are interpreted to mean that the vision of God seen by the young men was like food and drink to them.
(21) These words are missing in cur. edd., but occur in MS.M.
(22) Isa. XXXII, 9. The women are said to be ‘at ease’ and ‘confident’, which is more than is said of the men.
(23) Where children were usually taught.
(24) Who had left home to study with R. Ammi.
(25) Lit., ‘see your world’.
(26) The expression is taken from Prov. IV, 25. The meaning here seems to be, may you have a correct insight into the meaning of the Torah’.
(27) The reins were supposed to act as counsellors.
(28) Ps. CXLIV, 14. E.V. Our oxen are well laden.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 17b
There is no breach: [that is], may our company not be like that of David from which issued Ahitophel.1 And no going forth: [that is] may our company not be like that of Saul from which issued Doeg the Edomite.2 And no outcry: may our company not be like that of Elisha, from which issued Gehazi.3 In our broad places: may we produce no son or pupil who disgraces himself4 in public.5
Hearken unto Me, ye stout-hearted, who are far from righteousness.6 Rab and Samuel — according to others, R. Johanan and R. Eleazar — interpret this differently. One says: The whole world is sustained by [God's] charity, and they7 are sustained by their own force.8 The other says: All the world is sustained by their merit, and they are not sustained even by their own merit. This accords with the saying of Rab Judah in the name of Rab. For Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Every day a divine voice goes forth from Mount Horeb and proclaims: The whole world is sustained for the sake of My son Hanina, and Hanina My son has to subsist on a kab of carobs from one week end to the next. This [explanation] conflicts with that of Rab Judah. For Rab Judah said: Who are the ‘stout-hearted’? The stupid Gubaeans.9 R. Joseph said: The proof is that they have never produced a proselyte. R. Ashi said: The people of Mata Mehasia10 are ‘stout-hearted’,for they see the glory of the Torah twice a year,11 and never has one of them been converted.
A BRIDEGROOM IF HE DESIRES TO RECITE etc. May we conclude from this that Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel deprecates showing off12 and the Rabbis do not deprecate it? But do we not understand them to hold the opposite views, as we have learnt: In places where people are accustomed to work in the month of Ab they may work, and in places where it is the custom not to work they may not work; but in all places Rabbinical students abstain from study. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: A man should always conduct himself as if he were a scholar.13 We have here a contradiction between two sayings of the Rabbis, and between two sayings of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel! — R. Johanan said: Reverse the names; R. Shisha the son of R. Idi said: There is no need to reverse. There is no contradiction between the two sayings of the Rabbis. In the case of the recital of the Shema’, since everybody else recites, and he also recites, it does not look like showing off on his part; but in the case of the month of Ab, since everybody else does work and he does no work, it looks like showing off. Nor is there a contradiction between the two sayings of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. In the case of the Shema’, the validity of the act depends on the mental concentration and we are witnesses that he is unable to concentrate. Here, however, anyone who sees will say, He has no work; go and see how many unemployed there are in the market place.14
MISHNAH. ONE WHOSE DEAD [RELATIVE] LIES BEFORE HIM15 IS EXEMPT FROM THE RECITAL OF THE SHEMA’ AND FROM THE TEFILLAH AND FROM TEFILLIN AND FROM ALL THE PRECEPTS LAID DOWN IN THE TORAH. WITH REGARD TO THE BEARERS OF THE BIER AND THOSE WHO RELIEVE THEM AND THOSE WHO RELIEVE THEM AGAIN,16 WHETHER IN FRONT OF THE BIER OR BEHIND THE BIER17 — THOSE IN FRONT OF THE BIER, IF THEY ARE STILL REQUIRED, ARE EXEMPT; BUT THOSE BEHIND THE BIER EVEN IF STILL REQUIRED, ARE NOT EXEMPT.18 BOTH, HOWEVER, ARE EXEMPT FROM [SAYING] THE TEFILLAH. WHEN THEY HAVE BURIED THE DEAD AND RETURNED [FROM THE GRAVE], IF THEY HAVE TIME TO BEGIN AND FINISH [THE SHEMA’] BEFORE FORMING A ROW,19 THEY SHOULD BEGIN, BUT IF NOT THEY SHOULD NOT BEGIN. AS FOR THOSE WHO STAND IN THE ROW, THOSE ON THE INSIDE20 ARE EXEMPT, BUT THOSE ON THE OUTSIDE ARE NOT EXEMPT. [WOMEN, SLAVES AND MINORS ARE EXEMPT FROM RECITING THE SHEMA’ AND PUTTING ON TEFILLIN, BUT ARE SUBJECT TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF TEFILLAH, MEZUZAH, AND GRACE AFTER MEALS].21
GEMARA. [If the dead] LIES BEFORE HIM, he is exempt.22 [implying] if it does not lie before him,23 he is not exempt.24 This statement is contradicted by the following:25 One whose dead lies before him eats in another room. If he has not another room, he eats in his fellow's room. If he has no fellow to whose room he can go,he makes a partition and eats [behind it]. If he has nothing with which to make a partition, he turns his face away and eats. He may not eat reclining, nor may he eat flesh or drink wine; he does not say a blessing [over food] nor grace after meals26
(1) Who made a ‘breach’ in the kingdom of David. V. Sanh. 106b.
(2) Who went forth to evil ways (ibid.).
(3) Who became a leper and had to cry ‘unclean, unclean’.
(4) Lit., ‘spoils his food’, by addition of too much salt. A metaphor for the open acceptance of heretical teachings.
(5) MS.M. adds: like the Nazarene.
(6) Isa. XLVI, 12. Heb. zedakah, which is taken by the Rabbis in the sense of ‘charity’.
(7) The ‘stout-hearted’, i.e., righteous.
(8) Lit., ‘arm’. I.e., the force of their own good deeds.
(9) A tribe in the neighbourhood of Babylon.
(10) A suburb of Sura, where one of the great Academies was situated.
(11) At the ‘kallahs’ (v. Glos). In Adar and Elul.
(12) I.e., show of superior piety or learning.
(13) V. Pes. 55a.
(14) Even on working days.
(15) I.e., is not yet buried.
(16) In carrying the bier to the grave.
(17) Those in front of the bier have still to carry; those behind have already carried.
(18) Since they have already carried once.
(19) To comfort the mourners. v. p. 97, n. 2.
(20) If they stand two or more deep.
(21) Words in brackets belong properly to the next Mishnah, v. infra 20a.
(22) Lit., ‘yes’.
(23) This phrase is now understood literally and thus to include the case where he is in a different room.
(24) Lit., ‘No’.
(25) M.K. 23b.
(26) So Rashi. V. however M.K., Sonc. ed., p. 147,n. 2.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 18a
, nor do others say a blessing for him nor is he invited to join in the grace. He is exempt from reciting the Shema’, from saying the tefillah, from putting on tefillin and from all the precepts laid down in the Torah. On Sabbath, however, he may recline and eat meat and drink wine, and he says a blessing, and others may say the blessing for him and invite him to join in grace, [and he is subject to the obligation of reading the Shema’ and tefillah],1 and he is subject to all the precepts laid down in the Torah. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Since he is subject to these, he is subject to all of them; and R. Johanan said: Where do they differ in practice? In regard to marital intercourse.2 At any rate it states that he is exempt from the recital of the Shema’ and from saying the tefillah and putting on tefillin and all the precepts laid down in the Torah?3 — Said R. Papa: Explain this [Baraitha] as applying only to one who turns his face away and eats.4 R. Ashi, however, said: Since the obligation of burial devolves on him, it is as if the corpse was before him,5 as it says: And Abraham rose up from before his dead,6 and it says. That I may bury my dead out of my sight:7 this implies that so long as the obligation to bury devolves upon him, it is as if the corpse were lying before him.8
[I infer from our Mishnah] that this is the rule for a dead relative but not for one whom he is merely watching.9 But it has been taught: One who watches a dead [body] even if it is not his dead [relative], is exempt from reciting the Shema’ and saying the tefillah and putting on tefillin and all the precepts laid down in the Torah? — [We interpret therefore]: He who watches the dead, even if it is not his dead [relative], [is exempt], and [likewise in the case of] his dead relative, even if he is not watching it, he is [exempt], but if he is walking in the cemetery, he is not. But it has been taught: A man should not walk in a cemetery with tefillin on his head or a scroll of the Law in his arm, and recite the Shema’,10 and if he does so, he comes under the heading of ‘He that mocketh the poor11 blasphemeth his Maker’?12 — In that case the act is forbidden within four cubits of the dead, but beyond four cubits the obligation [to say Shema’ etc.] devolves. For a Master has said: A dead body affects four cubits in respect of the recital of the Shema’. But in this case he is exempt even beyond four cubits.
[To turn to] the above text: One who watches a dead [body], even though it is not his own dead [relative], is exempt from the recital of the Shema’ and from saying the tefillah and from putting on tefillin and from all the precepts laid down in the Torah. If there were two [watching], one goes on watching while the other recites, and then the other watches while this one recites. Ben ‘Azzai says: If they were bringing it in a ship, they put it in a corner and both say their prayers in another corner. Why this difference? — Rabina said: They differ on the question whether there is any fear of mice13 [on board ship]. One held that there is a fear of mice and the other held that there is no fear of mice.
Our Rabbis taught: A man who is carrying bones from place to place should not put them in a saddle-bag and place them on his ass and sit on them, because this is a disrespectful way of treating them. But if he was afraid of heathens and robbers, it is permitted. And the rule which they laid down for bones applies also to a scroll of the Law. To what does this last statement refer? Shall I say to the first clause?14 This is self-evident: Is a scroll of the Law inferior to bones? — Rather; it refers to the second clause.15
Rehaba said in the name of Rab Judah: Whoever sees a corpse [on the way to burial] and does not accompany it16 comes under the head of ‘He that mocketh the poor blasphemeth his Maker’. And if he accompanies it, what is his reward? R. Assi says: To him apply the texts: He that is gracious unto the poor lendeth unto the Lord,17 and he that is gracious unto the needy honoureth Him.18
R. Hiyya and R. Jonathan were once walking about in a cemetery, and the blue fringe of R. Jonathan was trailing on the ground. Said R. Hiyya to him: Lift it up, so that they [the dead] should not say: Tomorrow they are coming to join us and now they are insulting us! He said to him: Do they know so much? Is it not written, But the dead know not anything?19 He replied to him: If you have read once, you have not repeated; if you have repeated, you have not gone over a third time; if you have gone over a third time, you have not had it explained to you. For the living know that they shall die:20 these are the righteous who in their death are called living as it says. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a living21 man from Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, he smote the two altar-hearths of Moab; he went down and also slew a lion in the midst of a pit in the time of snow.22
(1) Inserted with MS.M.
(2) At a time when it is a duty. Rabban Simeon declares the mourner subject to this duty on the Sabbath, though it is otherwise forbidden during the week of mourning.
(3) Apparently even if he eats in a neighbour's house, contra the implied ruling of our Mishnah.
(4) I.e., has no other room and so it does not contradict our Mishnah.
(5) And this is the case mentioned n the Baraitha.
(6) Gen. XXIII, 3.
(7) Ibid. 4.
(8) Even if he is in another room. The phrase ‘lying before him’ is not to be understood literally, and consequently there is no contradiction between the Baraitha and our Mishnah.
(9) And which he is not under obligation to bury. A dead body, according to Jewish law, must be watched to protect it from mice, v. infra.
(10) And the same applies even if he is not carrying a scroll.
(11) I.e., the dead, who are ‘poor’ in precepts.
(12) Prov. XVII, 5.
(13) The reason why a corpse has to be watched is to protect it from mice.
(14) That it must not be ridden upon.
(15) That in time of danger it is permitted.
(16) MS.M. adds, for four cubits.
(17) Prov. XIX, 17.
(18) Ibid. XIV, 31.
(19) Eccl. IX, 5.
(21) So the kethib. E.V., following the keri, ‘valiant’.
(22) II Sam XXIII, 20.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 18b
‘The son of a living man’: are all other people then the sons of dead men? Rather ‘the son of a living man’ means that even in his death he was called living. ‘From Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds’: this indicates that he gathered [kibbez] numerous workers for the Torah. ‘He smote two altar-hearths of Moab’; this indicates that he did not leave his like either in the first Temple or in the second Temple.1 ‘He went down and also slew a lion in the midst of a pit in the time of snow’: some say that this indicates that he broke blocks of ice and went down and bathed;2 others say that he went through the Sifra of the School of Rab3 on a winter's day. ‘But the dead know nothing’: These are the wicked who in their lifetime are called dead, as it says. And thou, O wicked one, that art slain, the prince of Israel.4 Or if you prefer. I can derive it from here: At the mouth of two witnesses shall the dead be put to death.5 He is still alive! What it means is, he is already counted as dead.
The sons of R. Hiyya went out to cultivate their property,6 and they began to forget their learning.7 They tried very hard to recall it. Said one to the other: Does our father know of our trouble? How should he know, replied the other, seeing that it is written, His sons come to honour and he knoweth it not?8 Said the other to him: But does he not know? Is it not written: But his flesh grieveth for him, and his soul mourneth over him?9 And R. Isaac said [commenting on this]: The worm is as painful to the dead as a needle in the flesh of the living? [He replied]: It is explained that they know their own pain, they do not know the pain of others. Is that so? Has it not been taught: It is related that a certain pious man gave a denar to a poor man on the eve of New Year in a year of drought, and his wife scolded him, and he went and passed the night in the cemetery, and he heard two spirits conversing with one another. Said one to her companion: My dear, come and let us wander about the world and let us hear from behind the curtain10 what suffering is coming on the world.11 Said her companion to her: I am not able, because I am buried in a matting of reeds.12 But do you go, and whatever you hear tell me. So the other went and wandered about and returned. Said her companion to her: My dear, what have you heard from behind the curtain? She replied: I heard that whoever sows after the first rainfall13 will have his crop smitten by hail. So the man went and did not sow till after the second rainfall,14 with the result that everyone else's crop was smitten and his was not smitten.15 The next year he again went and passed the night in the cemetery, and heard the two spirits conversing with one another. Said one to her companion: Come and let us wander about the world and hear from behind the curtain what punishment is coming upon the world. Said the other to her: My dear, did I not tell you that I am not able because I am buried in a matting of reeds? But do you go, and whatever you hear, come and tell me. So the other one went and wandered about the world and returned. She said to her: My dear, what have you heard from behind the curtain? She replied: I heard that whoever sows after the later rain will have his crop smitten with blight. So the man went and sowed after the first rain with the result that everyone else's crop was blighted and his was not blighted.16 Said his wife to him: How is it that last year everyone else's crop was smitten and yours was not smitten, and this year everyone else's crop is blighted and yours is not blighted? So he related to her all his experiences. The story goes that shortly afterwards a quarrel broke out between the wife of that pious man and the mother of the child,17 and the former said to the latter, Come and I will show you your daughter buried in a matting of reeds. The next year the man again went and spent the night in the cemetery and heard those conversing together. One said: My dear, come and let us wander about the world and hear from behind the curtain what suffering is coming upon the world. Said the other: My dear, leave me alone; our conversation has already been heard among the living. This would prove that they know? — Perhaps some other man after his decease went and told them. Come and hear; for Ze'iri deposited some money with his landlady, and while he was away visiting Rab18 she died. So he went after her to the cemetery19 and said to her, Where is my money? She replied to him: Go and take it from under the ground, in the hole of the doorpost, in such and such a place, and tell my mother to send me my comb and my tube of eye-paint by the hand of So-and-so who is coming here tomorrow. Does not this20 show that they know? — Perhaps Dumah21 announces to them beforehand.22 Come and hear: The father of Samuel had some money belonging to orphans deposited with him. When he died, Samuel was not with him, and they called him, ‘The son who consumes the money of orphans’. So he went after his father to the cemetery, and said to them [the dead]. I am looking for Abba.23 They said to him: There are many Abbas here. I want Abba b. Abba, he said. They replied: There are also several Abbas b. Abba here. He then said to them: I Want Abba b. Abba the father of Samuel; where is he? They replied: He has gone up to the Academy of the Sky.24 Meanwhile he saw Levi sitting outside.25 He said to him: Why are you sitting outside? Why have you not gone up [to heaven]? He replied: Because they said to me: For as many years as you did not go up to the academy of R. Efes and hurt his feelings,26 we will not let you go up to the Academy of the Sky. Meanwhile his father came. Samuel observed that he was both weeping and laughing. He said to him: Why are you weeping? He replied: Because you are coming here soon. And why are you laughing? Because you are highly esteemed in this world. He thereupon said to him: If I am esteemed, let them take up Levi; and they did take up Levi. He then said to him: Where is the money of the orphans? He replied: Go and you will find it in the case of the millstones. The money at the top and the bottom is mine, that in the middle is the orphans’ He said to him: Why did you do like that? He replied: So that if thieves came, they should take mine, and if the earth destroyed any, it should destroy mine. Does not this27 show that they know? — Perhaps Samuel was exceptional: as he was esteemed, they proclaimed beforehand, Make way [for him]!
R. Jonathan also retracted his opinion. For R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Whence do we know that the dead converse with one another? Because it says: And the Lord said unto him: This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying.28 What is the meaning of ‘saying’?29 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Say to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: The oath which I swore to you I have already carried out for your descendants.
(1) ‘Altar-hearths of Moab’ are taken by the Rabbis to refer to the two Temples, on account of David's descent from Ruth the Moabitess.
(2) To cleanse himself of pollution in order to study the Torah in cleanliness.
(3) The halachic midrash on Leviticus. Lion-like he mastered in a short time (a winter's day) all the intricacies of this midrash.
(4) Ezek. XXI, 30. E.V. ‘that art to be slain’.
(5) Deut. XVII, 6. E.V. ‘he that is to die’.
(6) Lit., ‘to the villages’.
(7) Lit., ‘their learning grew heavy for them’.
(8) Job XIV, 21.
(9) Ibid. 22.
(10) Screening the Divine Presence.
(11) Sc., in the divine judgment pronounced on New Year.
(12) And not in a linen shroud.
(13) The first fall of the former rains, which would be about the seventeenth of Heshvan (Rashi).
(14) Which would be about six days after the first.
(15) Being not yet sufficiently grown.
(16) Being by now strong enough to resist.
(17) Whose spirit the pious man had heard conversing
(18) Or ‘the school house’.
(19) Lit., ‘court of death’.
(20) That she knew someone else was going to die.
(21) Lit., ‘Silence’. The angel presiding over the dead.
(22) That So-and-so will die, but they know nothing else.
(23) This was his father's name.
(24) Where the souls of the pious learned foregathered.
(25) Apart from the other dead.
(26) v. Keth. 113b.
(27) His knowing that Samuel would soon die.
(28) Deut. XXXIV,4.
(29) Lit., ‘to say’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 19a
Now if you maintain that the dead do not know, what would be the use of his telling them? — You infer then that they do know. In that case, why should he need to tell them? — So that they might be grateful to Moses. R. Isaac said: If one makes remarks about the dead, it is like making remarks about a stone. Some say [the reason is that] they do not know, others that they know but do not care. Can that be so? Has not R. Papa said: A certain man made1 derogatory remarks about Mar Samuel and a log fell from the roof and broke his skull?2 — A Rabbinical student is different, because the Holy One, blessed be He, avenges his insult.3
R. Joshua b. Levi said: Whoever makes derogatory remarks about scholars after their death4 is cast into Gehinnom, as it says, But as for such as turn aside5 unto their crooked ways, the Lord will lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel:6 even at a time when there is peace upon Israel, the Lord will lead them away with the workers of iniquity.7 It was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: If you see a scholar who has committed an offence by night, do not cavil at him by day, for perhaps he has done penance. ‘Perhaps’, say you? — Nay, rather, he has certainly done penance. This applies only to bodily [sexual] offences, but if he has misappropriated money, [he may be criticised] until he restores it to its owner.
R. Joshua b. Levi further said: In twenty-four places we find that the Beth din inflicted excommunication for an insult to a teacher, and they are all recorded in the Mishnah.8 R. Eleazar asked him, Where? He replied: See if you can find them. He went and examined and found three cases: one of a scholar who threw contempt on the bashing of the hands, another of one who made derogatory remarks about scholars after their death, and a third of one who made himself too familiar towards heaven. What is the case of making derogatory remarks about scholars after their death? — As we have learnt:9 He10 used to say: The water [of the sotah]11 is not administered either to a proselyte or to an emancipated woman; the Sages, however say that it is. They said to him: There is the case of Karkemith an emancipated bondwoman in Jerusalem to whom Shemaiah and Abtalyon administered the water? He replied: They administered it to one like themselves.12 They thereupon excommunicated him, and he died in excommunication, and the Beth din stoned his coffin.13 What is the case of treating with contempt the washing of the hands? — As we have learnt: R. Judah said: Far be it from us to think that Akabiah b. Mahalalel was excommunicated, for the doors of the Temple hall did not close on any man in Israel14 the equal of Akabiah b. Mahalalel in wisdom, in purity and in fear of sin. Whom did they in fact excommunicate? It was Eleazar b. Hanoch, who raised doubts about washing the hands, and when he died the Beth din sent and had a large stone placed on his coffin, to teach you that if a man is excommunicated and dies in his excommunication, the Beth din stone his coffin.15
What is the case of one behaving familiarly with heaven? — As we have learnt: Simeon b. Shetah sent to Honi ha-Me'aggel:16 You deserve to be excommunicated, and were you not Honi, I would pronounce excommunication against you. But what can I do seeing that you ingratiate yourself17 with the Omnipresent and He performs your desires, and you are like a son who ingratiates himself with his father and he performs his desires; and to you applies the verse: Let thy father and thy mother be glad, and let her that bore thee rejoice.18
But are there no more [instances of excommunication]? Is not there the case learnt by R. Joseph: Thaddeus a man of Rome accustomed the Roman [Jews] to eat kids roasted whole19 on the eve of Passover. Simeon b. Shetah sent to him and said: Were you not Thaddeus, I would pronounce sentence of excommunication on you, because you make Israel [appear to] eat holy things outside the precincts.20 — We say, in our Mishnah. and this is in a Baraitha. But is there no other in our Mishnah? Is there not this one, as we have learnt: If he cuts it21 up into rings and puts sand between the rings.22 R. Eliezer declares that it is [permanently] clean, while the Rabbis declare that it is unclean; and this is the stove of Akna'i. Why Akna'i? Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: Because they surrounded it with halachoth like a serpent [akna'i] and declared it unclean. And it has been taught: On that day they brought all the things that R. Eliezer had declared clean23 and burnt them before him, and in the end they blessed24 him.25 — Even so we do not find excommunication stated in our Mishnah.26 How then do you find the twenty-four places? — R. Joshua b. Levi compares one thing to another,27 R. Eleazar does not compare one thing to another.
THOSE WHO CARRY THE BIER AND THOSE WHO RELIEVE THEM. Our Rabbis taught: A dead body is not taken out shortly before the time for the Shema’, but if they began to take it they do not desist. Is that so? Was not the body of R. Joseph taken out shortly before the time for the Shema’? — An exception can be made for a distinguished man.
BEFORE THE BIER AND BEHIND THE BIER. Our Rabbis taught: Those who are occupied with the funeral speeches, if the dead body is still before them, slip out one by one and recite the Shema’; if the body is not before them, they sit and recite it, and he [the mourner] sits silent; they stand up and say the tefillah and he stands up and accepts God's judgement and says: Sovereign of the Universe, I have sinned much before Thee and Thou didst not punish me one thousandth part. May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to close up our breaches and the breaches of all Thy people the house of Israel in mercy! Abaye said: A man should not speak thus,28 since R. Simeon b. Lakish said, and so it was taught in the name of R. Jose: A man should never speak in such a way as to give an opening to Satan. And R. Joseph said: What text proves this? Because it says: We were almost like Sodom.29 What did the prophet reply to them? Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom.30
WHEN THEY HAVE BURIED THE DEAD BODY AND RETURNED, etc. [I understand]: If they are able to begin and go through all of it, yes, but if they have only time for one section or one verse, no. This statement was contradicted by the following: When they have buried the body and returned, if they are able to begin and complete even one section or one verse, [they do so]! — That is just what he says: If they are able to begin and go through even one section or one verse before they form a row, they should begin, but otherwise they should not begin.
(1) MS.M.: Did not R. Papa make etc.; cf. next note.
(2) MS.M.: and nearly broke (lit., ‘wished to break’) his skull. This suits better the reading of MS.M. mentioned in previous note.
(3) Lit., ‘his honour’.
(4) Lit., ‘Speaks after the bier of scholars’.
(5) Heb. mattim, connected by R. Joshua with mittathan (their bier) above.
(6) Ps. CXXV,5.
(7) To Gehinnom.
(8) I.e., the Mishnah as a whole.
(9) ‘Ed. V, 6.
(10) Akabiah b. Mahalalel.
(11) A woman suspected of infidelity. V. Num. V, 11ff.
(12) They were supposed to be descended from Sennacherib and so from a family of proselytes. Others render: they only pretended to administer it.
(13) V. ‘Ed. V. 6 (Sonc. ed.) notes.
(14) When they all assembled there to kill their paschal lambs.
(15) Pes. 64b.
(16) The word Me'aggel probably means ‘circle-drawer’; v. Ta'an. 19a.
(17) Aliter: ‘take liberties with’.
(18) Prov. XXIII, 25. V. Ta'an 19a.
(19) Lit., ‘Helmeted goats’ — goats roasted whole with their entrails and legs placed on the head, like a helmet. This was how the Passover sacrifice was roasted.
(20) V. Pes. (Sonc. ed.) p. 260 notes.
(21) An earthenware stove which has been declared unclean, and cannot be used till it has been broken up and remade.
(22) To cement them.
(23) After contact with such a stove.
(24) Euphemism for ‘excommunicated’.
(25) V. B.M. (Sonc. ed.) 59b notes.
(26) The last statement being from a Baraitha.
(27) I.e., he takes count of all the cases where the ruling of the Rabbis was disregarded by an individual, and excommunication should have been incurred, even if this is not mentioned.
(28) Saying, ‘Thou didst not punish me’, which is like a hint to punish.
(29) Isa. I, 9. E.V.’ . . a little. We were like etc.’
(30) Ibid. 10.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 19b
THOSE WHO STAND IN A ROW etc. Our Rabbis taught: The row which can see inside1 is exempt, but one which cannot see inside is not exempt. R. Judah said: Those who come on account of the mourner are exempt, but those who come for their own purposes2 are not exempt.
R. Judah said in the name of Rab: If one finds mixed kinds3 in his garment, he takes it off even in the street. What is the reason? [It says]: There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord;4 wherever a profanation of God's name is involved no respect is paid to a teacher.
An objection was raised: If they have buried the body and are returning, and there are two ways open to them, one clean and the other unclean,5 if [the mourner] goes by the clean one they go with him by the clean one, and if he goes by the unclean one they go with him by the unclean one, out of respect for him. Why so? Let us say, There is no wisdom nor understanding against the Lord? — R. Abba explained the statement to refer to a beth ha-peras,6 which is declared unclean only by the Rabbis;7 for Rab Judah has said in the name of Samuel: A man may blow in front of him8 in a beth ha-peras and proceed. And Rab Judah b. Ashi also said in the name of Rab: A beth ha-peras which has been well trodden is clean.9 — Come and hear; for R. Eleazar b. Zadok10 said: We used to leap over coffins containing bodies to see the Israelite kings.11 Nor did they mean this to apply only to Israelite kings, but also to heathen kings, so that if he should be privileged [to live to the time of the Messiah], he should be able to distinguish between the Israelite and the heathen kings. Why so? Let us say, ‘There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel before the Lord’? — [It is in accord with the dictum of Raba; for Raba said: It is a rule of the Torah12 that a ‘tent’13 which has a hollow space of a handbreadth14 forms a partition against uncleanness, but if it has not a hollow space of a handbreadth it forms no partition against uncleanness.15 Now most coffins have a space of a handbreadth, and [the Rabbis] decreed that those which had such a space [should form no partition] for fear they should be confused with those which had no space, but where respect to kings was involved they did not enforce the decree.
Come and hear. ‘Great is human dignity, since it overrides a negative precept of the Torah’.16 Why should it? Let us apply the rule, ‘There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord? — Rab b. Shaba explained the dictum in the presence of R. Kahana to refer to the negative precept of ‘thou shalt not turn aside’.17 They laughed at him. The negative precept of ‘thou shalt not turn aside’ is also from the Torah!18 Said R. Kahana: If a great man makes a statement, you should not laugh at him. All the ordinances of the Rabbis were based by them on the prohibition of ‘thou shalt not turn aside’19 but where the question of [human] dignity is concerned the Rabbis allowed the act.20
Come and hear.21 And hide thyself from them.22 There are times when thou mayest hide thyself from them and times when thou mayest not hide thyself from them. How so? If the man [who sees the animal] is a priest and it [the animal] is in a graveyard, or if he is an elder and it is not in accordance with his dignity [to raise it], or if his own work was of more importance than that of his fellow.23 Therefore it is said, And thou shalt hide. But why so? Let us apply the rule, ‘There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord’? — The case is different there, because it says expressly, And thou shalt hide thyself from them. Let us then derive from this [the rule for mixed kinds]?24 — We do not derive a ritual ruling from a ruling relating to property.25 Come and hear:26 Or for his sister.27 What does this teach us? Suppose he28 was going to kill his paschal lamb or to circumcise his son, and he heard that a near relative of his had died, am I to say that he should go back and defile himself? You say, he should not defile himself.29 Shall I say that just as he does not defile himself for them, so he should not defile himself for a meth mizwah?30 It says significantly, ‘And for his sister’: for his sister he does not defile himself,
(1) I.e., which can see the mourner, if they stand several deep.
(2) To see the crowd.
(3) Linen and wool.
(4) Prov. XXI, 30.
(5) Because there is a grave in it.
(6) A field in which there was once a grave which has been ploughed up, so that bones may be scattered about.
(7) But not by the Scripture.
(8) To blow the small bones away.
(9) V. Pes. (Sonc. ed.) p. 492-4 notes.
(10) He was a priest.
(11) Which proves that showing respect overrides the rules of uncleanness.
(12) I.e., a ‘law of Moses from Sinai’.
(13) I.e., anything which overshadows, v. Num. XIX, 14.
(14) Between its outside and what it contains.
(15) The uncleanness which it overshadows breaks through and extends beyond its confines.
(16) Men. 37b.
(17) Deut. XVII, 11, and not to negative precepts in general.
(18) And the objection still remains.
(19) They based on these words their authority to make rules equally binding with those laid down in the Torah, and Rab b. Shaba interprets the words ‘negative precept of the Torah’ in the passage quoted to mean, ‘Rabbinical ordinances deriving their sanction from this negative precept of their Torah’.
(20) V. Shab. 81b.
(21) For notes V. B.M. (Sonc. ed.) 30a.
(22) Deut. XXII, 1, 4.
(23) I.e., if he stood to lose more from neglecting his own work than the other from the loss of his animal.
(24) Of which it was said supra that he takes off the garment even in the street.
(25) Lit., ‘money’. To override a ritual rule is more serious.
(26) Nazir 48b.
(27) Num. VI, 7.
(28) A Nazirite who is also a priest.
(29) Because those things must be done at a fixed time, and cannot be postponed.
(30) Lit., ‘(the burial of) a dead, which is a religious obligation’. V. Glos.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 20a
but he does defile himself for a meth mizwah. But why should this be? Let us apply the rule, ‘There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord?1 — The case is different there, because it is written, ‘And for his sister’. Let us then derive a ruling from this [for mixed kinds]? — Where it is a case of ‘sit still and do nothing’, it is different.2
Said R. Papa to Abaye: How is it that for the former generations miracles were performed and for us miracles are not performed? It cannot be because of their [superiority in] study, because in the years of Rab Judah the whole of their studies was confined to Nezikin, and we study all six Orders, and when Rab Judah came in [the tractate] ‘Ukzin [to the law], ‘If a woman presses vegetables in a pot’3 (or, according to others, ‘olives pressed with their leaves are clean’),4 he used to say, I see all the difficulties of Rab and Samuel here.5 and we have thirteen versions of Ukzin.6 And yet when Rab Judah drew off one shoe,7 rain used to come, whereas we torment ourselves and cry loudly, and no notice is taken of us!8 He replied: The former generations used to be ready to sacrifice their lives for the sanctity of [God's] name; we do not sacrifice our lives for the sanctity of [God's] name. There was the case of R. Adda b. Ahaba who saw a heathen woman wearing a red head-dress9 in the street, and thinking that she was an Israelite woman, he rose and tore it from her. It turned out that she was a heathen woman, and they fined him four hundred zuz. He said to her: What is your name. She replied: Mathun. Mathun, he said to her: that makes four hundred zuz.10
R. Giddal was accustomed to go and sit at the gates of the bathing-place.11 He used to say to the women [who came to bathe]: Bathe thus, or bathe thus. The Rabbis said to him: Is not the Master afraid lest his passion get the better of him? — He replied: They look to me like so many white geese. R. Johanan was accustomed to go and sit at the gates of the bathing place. He said: When the daughters of Israel come up from bathing they look at me and they have children as handsome as I am.12 Said the Rabbis to him: Is not the Master afraid of the evil eye? — He replied: I come from the seed of Joseph, over whom the evil eye has no power, as it is written, Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine above the eye,13 and R. Abbahu said with regard to this, do not read ‘ale ‘ayin, but ‘ole ‘ayin’.14 R. Judah son of R. Hanina derived it from this text: And let them multiply like fishes [we-yidgu] in the midst of the earth.15 Just as the fishes [dagim] in the sea are covered by water and the evil eye has no power over them, so the evil eye has no power over the seed of Joseph. Or, if you prefer I can say: The evil eye has no power over the eye which refused to feed itself on what did not belong to it.16
MISHNAH. WOMEN, SLAVES AND MINORS ARE EXEMPT FROM RECITING THE SHEMA’
(1) For notes V. Sanh. (Sonc. ed.) 35a.
(2) Wearing mixed kinds is certainly an active breaking of a rule, but it is not clear how attending to a meth mizwah comes under the head of ‘sit and do nothing’. V. Rashi and Tosaf. ad loc.
(3) ‘Ukzin, II, 1.
(5) I.e., this Mishnah itself presents as many difficulties to me as all the rest of the Gemara.
(6) I.e., the Mishnah and the various Baraithas and Toseftas. Aliter: We have thirteen colleges which are well versed in it.
(7) In preparation for fasting.
(8) For fuller notes on the passage, v. Sanh. (Sonc. ed.) p. 728.
(9) Aliter: ‘mantle’.
(10) The Aramaic for two hundred is mathan. Mathun also means ‘deliberate’; had he been less rash he would have saved himself 400 zuz; there is here a double play on words.
(11) Where the women took their ritual bath.
(12) R. Johanan was famous for his beauty. V. supra 5b.
(13) Gen. XLIX, 22.
(14) Lit., ‘rising above the (power of the) eye’. I.e., superior to the evil eye.
(15) So lit. E.V. ‘grow into a multitude’. Ibid. XLVIII, 16.
(16) Sc. Potiphar's wife.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 20b
AND FROM PUTTING ON TEFILLIN. BUT THEY ARE SUBJECT TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF TEFILLAH AND MEZUZAH1 AND GRACE AFTER MEALS.
GEMARA. That they are exempt from the Shema’ is self-evident — It is a positive precept for which there is a fixed time?2 You might say that because it mentions the kingship of heaven it is different. We are therefore told that this is not so.
AND FROM PUTTING ON THE TEFILLIN. This also is self-evident?3 You might say that because it is put on a level with the mezuzah4 [therefore women should be subject to it]. Therefore we are told that this is not so.
THEY ARE SUBJECT TO THE OBLIGATION OF TEFILLAH. Because this [is supplication for Divine] mercy. You might [however] think that because it is written in connection therewith, Evening and morning and at noonday,5 therefore it is like a positive precept for which there is a fixed time. Therefore we are told [that this is not so].
AND MEZUZAH. This is self-evident?6 You might say that because it is put on a level with the study of the Torah,7 [therefore women are exempt]. Therefore it tells us [that this is not so]. AND GRACE AFTER MEALS. This is self-evident? — You might think that because it is written, When the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full,8 therefore it is like a positive precept for which there is a definite time. Therefore it tells us [that this is not so].
R. Adda b. Ahabah said: Women are under obligation to sanctify the [Sabbath] day9 by ordinance of the Torah. But why should this be? It is a positive precept for which there is a definite time, and women are exempt from all positive precepts for which there is a definite time? — Abaye said: The obligation is only Rabbinical. Said Raba to him: But it says, ‘By an ordinance of the Torah’? And further, on this ground we could subject them to all positive precepts by Rabbinical authority? Rather, said Raba. The text says Remember and Observe.10 Whoever has to ‘observe’ has to ‘remember’; and since these women have to ‘observe’,11 they also have to ‘remember’.12
Rabina said to Raba: Is the obligation of women to say grace after meals Rabbinical or Scriptural? — What difference does it make in practice which it is? — For deciding whether they can perform the duty on behalf of others. If you say the obligation is Scriptural, then one who is bound by Scripture can come and perform the duty on behalf of another who is bound by Scripture. But if you say the obligation is only Rabbinical, then [a woman] is not strictly bound to do this, and whoever is not strictly bound to do a thing cannot perform the obligation on behalf of others. What [do we decide]? — Come and hear: ‘In truth they did say: A son13 may say grace on behalf of his father and a slave may say grace on behalf of his master and a woman may say grace on behalf of her husband. But the Sages said: A curse light on the man whose wife or children have to say grace for him.’14 If now you say that [the obligation of these others] is Scriptural, then there is no difficulty: one who is bound by the Scripture comes and performs the duty on behalf of one who is bound by the Scripture. But if you say that the obligation is Rabbinic, can one who is bound only Rabbinically come and perform the duty on behalf of one who is bound Scripturally? — But even accepting your reasoning, is a minor subject to obligation [Scripturally]?15 Nay. With what case are we dealing here? If, for instance, he ate a quantity for which he is only Rabbinically bound [to say grace],16 in which case one who is Rabbinically bound17 comes and performs the duty on behalf of one who is only Rabbinically bound.18
R. ‘Awira discoursed — sometimes in the name of R. Ammi, and sometimes in the name of R. Assi — as follows: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Sovereign of the Universe, it is written in Thy law, Who regardeth not persons19 nor taketh reward,20 and dost Thou not regard the person of Israel, as it is written, The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee?21 He replied to them: And shall I not lift up My countenance for Israel, seeing that I wrote for them in the Torah, And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord thy God,22 and they are particular [to say the grace] if the quantity is but an olive or an egg.23
MISHNAH. A BA'AL KERI24 SAYS THE WORDS [OF THE SHEMA’]25 MENTALLY26 WITHOUT SAYING A BLESSING EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER. AT MEALS HE SAYS THE GRACE AFTER, BUT NOT THE GRACE BEFORE. R. JUDAH SAYS: HE SAYS THE GRACE BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER.
GEMARA. Said Rabina: This would show that saying mentally is equivalent to actual saying.27 For if you assume that it is not equivalent to actual saying, why should he say mentally?28 What then? [You say that] saying mentally is equivalent to actual saying. Then let him utter the words with his lips! — We do as we find it was done at Sinai.29 R. Hisda said: Saying mentally is not equivalent to actual saying. For if you assume that saying mentally is equivalent to actual saying, then let him utter the words with his lips! What then? [You say that] saying mentally is not equivalent to actual saying? Why then should he say mentally? — R. Eleazar replied: So that he should not have to sit saying nothing while everyone else is engaged saying the Shema’. Then let him read some other section? — R. Adda b. Ahaba said: [He must attend to that] with which the congregation is engaged.
(1) V. Glos.
(2) And women are exempt from such precepts. V. infra.
(3) For the same reason.
(4) Since it is written, and thou shalt bind them, and thou shalt write them.
(5) Ps. LV, 18.
(6) For what reason is there for exempting them?
(7) As it says, And ye shall teach them to your sons, and ye shall write them; and the obligation of teaching applies only to the males.
(8) Ex. XVI, 8.
(9) Over wine. V. P.B. p. 124.
(10) In the two versions of the Fourth Commandment, viz., Ex. XX, 8 and Deut. V, 12 respectively.
(11) I.e., abstain from work.
(12) I.e., say sanctification. (Kiddush). V. Glos.
(13) I.e., a minor.
(14) Because he cannot say it himself; v. Suk. 38a.
(15) As would be presupposed in your argument.
(16) Viz., the quantity of an olive according to R. Meir and an egg according to R. Judah. Infra 45a.
(17) A minor.
(18) The father who had less than the minimum quantity. And it is only in such a case that a woman may say grace on behalf of her husband.
(19) Lit., ‘Who lifteth not up the countenance’.
(20) Deut. X, 17.
(21) Num. VI, 26.
(22) Deut. VIII, 10.
(23) Cf. supra n. 2.
(24) V. Glos.
(25) When the hour arrives for reciting it.
(26) Lit., ‘in his heart’.
(27) Lit., ‘thinking is like speech’.
(28) What religious act does he perform thereby?
(29) Moses ordered the Israelites to keep away from woman before receiving the Torah, but those who were unclean could still accept mentally.