Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 41a
The view of him who says that [they1 are] dates blown down by the wind accords well with the fact that in one place2 nobeloth simply3 are spoken of and in the other4 nobeloth of the date-palm. But on the view of him who says they1 are fruit parched by the sun, in both places we should have nobeloth of the date-palm,5 or in both places nobeloth simply, should we not?6 — This is indeed a difficulty.
IF ONE HAD SEVERAL VARIETIES BEFORE HIM etc. ‘Ulla said: Opinions differ only in the case where the blessings [over the several varieties] are the same; in such a case R. Judah holds that belonging to the seven kinds is of more importance, while the Rabbis held that being better liked is of more importance. But where they have not all the same benediction, all agree that a blessing is to be said first on one variety7 and then on another. An objection was raised: If radishes and olives are set before a person, he says a benediction over the radish, and this serves for the olive also! — With what case are we dealing here? When the radish is the main item.8 If so, look at the next clause: R. Judah says that the benediction is said over the olive, because the olive is one of the seven species.9 Now would not R. Judah accept the teaching which we have learnt: Whenever with one article of food another is taken as subsidiary to it, a blessing is said over the main article and this serves for the subsidiary one also?10 And should you be disposed to maintain that in fact he does not accept it, has it not been taught: R. Judah said, If the olive is taken on account of the radish, a blessing is said for the radish and this serves for the olive? — In fact we are dealing with a case where the radish is the main item,11 and the difference of opinion between R. Judah and the Rabbis is really over a different matter, and there is a lacuna in the text and it should read as follows: If radish and olives are set before a person, he says a benediction over the radish and this serves for the olive also. When is this the case? When the radish is the main item; but if the radish is not the main item, all agree that he says a blessing over one and then a blessing over the other. If there are two varieties of food12 which have the same blessing, he says it over whichever he prefers. R. Judah, however, says that he says the blessing over the olive, since it is of the seven species.
R. Ammi and R. Isaac Nappaha understood this differently. One said that the difference between R. Judah and the Rabbis arises when the blessings over the two kinds of food are the same, R. Judah holding that the fact of belonging to the seven kinds is more important, while the Rabbis held that the fact of being better liked was more important; but where the blessings are not the same, both agreed that a blessing is first said over one kind and then over the other. The other said that R. Judah and the Rabbis differ even when the blessings are not the same. Now accepting the view of him who says that the difference arises when the blessings are the same, we find no difficulty. But accepting the view that they differ also when the blessings are not the same, [we have to ask] on what ground do they differ?13 — R. Jeremiah replied: They differ on the question of precedence. For R. Joseph. or as some say. R. Isaac, said: Whatever comes earlier in this verse has precedence in the matter of benediction, viz., A land of wheat and barley, and vine and fig-trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.14
[In the exposition of this verse, R. Isaac] differs from R. Hanan. For R. Hanan said: The whole purpose of the verse was to mention things which serve as standards of measurements. ‘Wheat’, as we have learnt: If one enters a house stricken with leprosy with his garments on his shoulder and his sandals and his rings in his hands, both he and they become unclean immediately. If he is wearing his garments and his sandals and has his rings on his fingers, he is immediately unclean but they remain clean until he stays in the house long enough to eat a piece of wheat bread,15 but not of barley bread, reclining and taking with it a relish.16 ‘Barley’, as we have learnt: A bone as large as a barleycorn renders unclean by touch and carrying, but it does not render a tent unclean.17 ‘Vine’, the measurement for a Nazirite18 is a fourth [of a log] of wine.19 ‘Figtree’, a dried fig is the measurement of what may be taken out of the house on Sabbath. ‘Pomegranates’, as we have learnt: For utensils of a private person20
(1) The nobeloth mentioned in Demai.
(2) In our Mishnah.
(3) Denoting fruit parched by the sun.
(4) In the passage from Demai.
(5) Because it is necessary to distinguish the two kinds of nobeloth.
(6) Because both passages are speaking about the same thing.
(7) Which he likes best.
(8) And the olive was only eaten to counteract the sharp taste.
(9) This shows that we are not dealing with the case where one of the two articles is more important.
(10) V. supra 35b.
(11) And we cannot say that in all cases a blessing is said first over one variety and then over the other.
(12) One of which is of the seven species, e.g., olives.
(13) Surely in this case the benediction for the one does not serve the other!
(14) Deut. VIII, 8. R. Judah agrees with R. Isaac, and therefore a fortiori holds that any of these species should have precedence over other species, whereas the Rabbis agree with the view of R. Hanan which follows.
(15) Which is eaten more quickly than barley bread.
(16) Neg. XIII, 9.
(17) Oh. II, 3.
(18) The quantity of grapes which he may eat without spoiling his Naziriteship.
(19) Which is somewhat larger than a log (v. Glos.) of water.
(20) As opposed to an artificer who makes them.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 41b
the measurement1 is a pomegranate.2 ‘A land of olive trees’, R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: A land in which the olive is the standard for all measurements. All measurements, do you say? What of those we have just mentioned? — Say rather, in which the olive is the standard for most measurements. ‘Honey’,3 as much as a large date [is the quantity which renders one liable for eating] on the Day of Atonement. What says the other to this? — Are these standards laid down explicitly? They were instituted by the Rabbis, and the text is only an asmekta.4
R. Hisda and R. Hamnuna were seated at a meal, and dates and pomegranates were set before them. R. Hamnuna took some dates and said a blessing over them. Said R. Hisda to him: Does not the Master agree with what R. Joseph, or as some say R. Isaac, said: Whatever is mentioned earlier in this verse has precedence in the matter of benediction? — He replied: This [the date] comes second after the word ‘land’, and this [the pomegranate] comes fifth.5 He replied: Would that we had feet of iron so that we could always [run and] listen to you!
It has been stated: If figs and grapes were set before them in the course of the meal, R. Huna says that they require a benediction before but they do not require a blessing after;6 and so said R. Nahman: They require a blessing before but they do not require a blessing after. R. Shesheth, however, said: They require a blessing both before and after, since there is nothing requiring a blessing before which does not also require a blessing after, save bread taken with the sweets.7 This is at variance with R. Hiyya; for R. Hiyya said: [A blessing said over] bread suffices for all kinds of food [taken in the meal], and a blessing said over wine for all kinds of drink. R. Papa said: The law is that things which form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of the meal require no blessing either before or after; things which do not form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of the meal require a blessing before but not after, and when taken after the meal require a blessing both before and after.
Ben Zoma was asked: Why was it laid down that things which form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of a meal require no blessing either before or after? — He replied: Because the [blessing over] bread suffices for them. If so, [they said] let the blessing over bread suffice for wine also? — Wine is different, he replied
(1) The size of a breakage which renders the utensil incapable of becoming unclean.
(2) V. Kel. XVI, 1.
(3) According to the Rabbis, the honey of dates is meant.
(4) Lit., ‘support’; here, a kind of mnemonic. For further notes on this passage v. Suk. (Sonc. ed.) pp. 19ff.
(5) The verse referred to is Deut. VIII, 8, where two lists are given of the products of the Land of Israel, each introduced with the word ‘land’, and in the first pomegranates are mentioned fifth, while in the second honey (i.e., date honey) is mentioned second.
(6) The grace after meals serves for them too.
(7) More exactly, ‘nibblings’ — things like nuts or dates brought in to nibble after the grace after meals.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 42a
because it is itself a motive for benediction.1
R. Huna ate thirteen rolls2 of three to a kab without saying a blessing after them. Said R. Nahman to him: This is what [you call] hunger.3 [R. Nahman is consistent with his own view, for R. Nahman said:]4 Anything which others make the mainstay of a meal requires a grace to be said after it. Rab Judah gave a wedding feast for his son in the house of R. Judah b. Habiba.5 They set before the guests bread such as is taken with dessert. He came in and heard them saying the benediction ha-Mozi.6 He said to them: What is this zizi that I hear? Are you perhaps saying the blessing ‘who bringest forth bread from the earth’? — They replied: We are, since it has been taught: R. Muna said in the name of R. Judah: Over bread which is taken with dessert the benediction ‘who bringest forth bread’ is said; and Samuel said that the halachah is as stated by R. Muna. He said to them: It has been stated that the halachah is not as stated by R. Muna. They said to him: Is it not the Master himself who has said in the name of Samuel that bread wafers may be used for an erub,7 and the blessing said over them is ‘who bringest forth bread’? — [He replied]: There [we speak] of a different case, namely, where they are made the basis of the meal; but if they are not the basis of the meal, this does not apply.
R. Papa was once at the house of R. Huna the son of R. Nathan. After they had finished the meal, eatables were set before them and R. Papa took some and commenced to eat. They said to him: Does not the Master hold that after the meal is finished it is forbidden to eat?8 He replied: ‘Removed’9 is the proper term.10
Raba and R. Zera once visited the Exilarch. After they had removed the tray from before them, a gift [of fruit] was sent them from the Exilarch. Raba partook, but R. Zera did not partake. Said the latter to him: Does not the Master hold that if the food has been removed it is forbidden to eat? He replied: We can rely on the tray of the Exilarch.11
Rab said: If one is accustomed to [rub his hands with] oil [after a meal], he can wait for the oil.12 R. Ashi said: When we were with R. Kahana he said to us: I, for instance, who am accustomed to use oil, can wait for the oil. But the law is not as stated in all those dicta reported above, but as thus stated by R. Hiyya b. Ashi in the name of Rab: Three things should follow immediately one on the other. The killing [of the sacrifice] should follow immediately on the laying on of hands. Tefillah should follow immediately on ge'ullah.13 Grace should follow immediately on the washing of hands.14 Abaye said: We will add another case. A blessing follows immediately on [the entertaining of] scholars, since it says, The Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.15 If you prefer, I can learn it from here: The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake.16
MISHNAH. A BLESSING SAID OVER THE WINE TAKEN BEFORE THE MEAL17 SERVES ALSO FOR THE WINE TAKEN AFTER THE MEAL.18 A BLESSING OVER THE HORS D'OEUVRES19 TAKEN BEFORE THE MEAL SERVES FOR THE SWEETS19 TAKEN AFTER THE MEAL. A BLESSING OVER BREAD SERVES FOR THE SWEETS BUT A BLESSING OVER THE HORS D'OEUVRES DOES NOT SERVE FOR THE BREAD. BETH SHAMMAI SAY: NEITHER [DOES IT SERVE] FOR A COOKED DISH. IF [THOSE AT THE TABLE] ARE SITTING UPRIGHT,20 EACH ONE SAYS GRACE FOR HIMSELF; IF THEY HAVE RECLINED, ONE SAYS GRACE FOR ALL.
(1) When used for such purposes as sanctification, and not merely as a beverage.
(2) With the ‘nibblings’.
(3) I.e., such is enough to satisfy any hunger, and therefore should necessitate grace after it. The original is obscure and the meaning doubtful.
(4) Inserted with MS.M. and deleting ‘but’ of cur. edd.
(5) Var. lec., R. Habiba.
(6) The ordinary blessing over bread.
(7) I.e., they are reckoned as substantial food.
(8) Until grace after meals had first been said, after which a fresh benediction has to be said.
(9) I.e., it is permissible (if grace has not yet been said) to eat as long as the table has not actually been cleared away.
(10) Lit., ‘it has been stated’.
(11) I.e., we can be sure that more food will come.
(12) I.e., he can go on eating till the oil is brought, even if the table has been cleared. Lit., ‘the oil impedes him’.
(13) v. supra. 4b, 9b.
(14) The second washing, at the end of the meal, the ‘latter water’ (v. infra 53b). and this washing is the signal that the meal is finished, whether or not the table has been cleared.
(15) Gen. XXX, 27.
(16) Ibid. XXXIX, 5.
(17) As an appetizer.
(18) Before grace is said.
(19) Lit., ‘dainty’.
(20) I.e., do not form a party.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 42b
IF WINE IS BROUGHT TO THEM IN THE COURSE OF THE MEAL, EACH ONE SAYS A BENEDICTION FOR HIMSELF; IF AFTER THE MEAL, ONE SAYS IT FOR ALL. THE SAME ONE SAYS [THE BENEDICTION] OVER THE PERFUME,1 ALTHOUGH THE PERFUME IS NOT BROUGHT IN TILL AFTER THE MEAL.2
GEMARA. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: This3 was meant to apply only to Sabbaths and festivals, because then a man makes wine an essential part of his meal.4 On others days of the year, however, a blessing is said over each cup,5 it has also been reported: Rabbah b. Mari said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: This was meant to apply only to Sabbaths and festivals, and to meals taken when a man leaves the bath or after bloodletting, because on such occasions a man makes wine an essential part of the meal. On other days of the year, however, a blessing is said over each cup. Rabbah b. Mari was once at the house of Raba on a weekday. He saw him say a blessing [over the wine taken] before the meal and again after the meal. He said to him: ‘Well done; and so said R. Joshua b. Levi!’
R. Isaac b. Joseph visited Abaye on a festival, and saw him say a blessing over each cup. He said to him: Does your honour not hold with the rule laid down by R. Joshua b. Levi? — He replied: I have just changed my mind.6
A question was asked: If wine was brought round in the course of the meal [but not before], can a blessing over it serve for the wine taken after the meal as well? Should you cite the ruling that A BLESSING SAID OVER THE WINE TAKEN BEFORE THE MEAL SERVES FOR WINE TAKEN AFTER THE MEAL, this may be because both are [drunk] for the sake of drinking. Here, however, where one cup is for steeping [the food in] and the other for drinking. shall I say that this is not the rule, or perhaps it makes no difference? — Rab replied that it does serve; R. Kahana that it does not; R. Nahman held that it does serve; R. Shesheth that it does not serve. R. Huna and Rab Judah and all the disciples of Rab held that it does not serve. Raba raised an objection to R. Nahman: IF WINE IS BROUGHT TO THEM IN THE COURSE OF THE MEAL, EACH ONE SAYS A BLESSING FOR HIMSELF; IF AFTER THE MEAL, ONE SAYS IT FOR ALL.7 — He replied: The meaning is this: If no wine was brought in during the course of the meal but only after the meal, one says the blessing on behalf of all.
A BLESSING OVER BREAD SERVES FOR THE SWEETS, BUT A BLESSING OVER THE HORS D'OEUVRES DOES NOT SERVE FOR THE BREAD. BETH SHAMMAI SAY: NEITHER [DOES IT SERVE] FOR A COOKED DISH. The question was asked: Do Beth Shammai differ with regard to the first part of the statement or the second part? [Do we understand] that the First Tanna said that A BLESSING OVER BREAD SERVES FOR THE SWEETS and a fortiori for cooked dishes, and Beth Shammai on the contrary maintained that not merely does the blessing over bread not suffice for the sweets but it does not serve even for the cooked dishes; or are we perhaps to understand that they differ as to the second half of the statement, that A BLESSING OVER THE HORS D'OEUVRES DOES NOT SERVE FOR THE BREAD, which implies that it does not indeed serve for bread but it does serve for cooked dishes, and Beth Shammai on the contrary maintain that it does not serve even for cooked dishes? — This is left undecided.
IF [THEY] ARE SITTING UPRIGHT, EACH ONE etc. If they are reclining he may, if not he may not. With this was contrasted the following: If ten persons were travelling on the road, even though all eat of one loaf, each one says grace for himself; but if they sat down to eat, even though each one eats of his own loaf, one may say grace on behalf of all. It says here, ‘sat’, which implies, although they did not recline? — R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: This is the case if for instance, they say: Let us go and eat bread in such and such a place.8
When Rab died, his disciples followed his bier. When they returned9 they said, Let us go and eat a meal by the river Danak.10 After they had eaten, they sat and discussed the question: When we learnt ‘reclining’, is it to be taken strictly, as excluding sitting, or perhaps, when they say, Let us go and eat bread in such and such a place, it is as good as reclining? They could not find the answer. R. Adda b. Ahabah rose
(1) I.e., spices put on coals and brought in after grace is said.
(2) And grace has intervened between it and the vine.
(3) That a blessing said over wine before the meal serves for wine after the meal. The reason is that from the beginning there is an intention to drink later.
(4) Rashi: he intends to linger at the table after the meal and drink wine.
(5) Because each cup requires a separate intention.
(6) To drink an additional cup,as I did not intend at first to take more wine after the meal.
(7) Assuming that the grace after the meal refers to a second serving of wine, this seems to show that wine taken in the course of the meal does not serve for wine taken after.
(8) Which is equivalent to making a party.
(9) Rab was buried in another town from that in which his Academy was situated.
(10) Perhaps a mistake for Anak, a river near Sura; v. MS.M.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 43a
and turned the rent in his garment1 from front to back and made another rent, saying, Rab is dead, and we have not learnt the rules about grace after meals! At length an old man came and pointed out the contradiction between the Mishnah and the Baraitha, and solved it by saying, Once they have said, Let us go and eat bread in such and such a place, it is as if they were reclining.
IF THEY HAVE RECLINED, ONE SAYS GRACE: Rab said: The rule is that only bread requires reclining, but wine does not require reclining.2 R. Johanan, however, says that wine also requires reclining. Some report thus: Rab said, This applies only to bread, for which reclining is of effect,3 but for wine reclining is not of effect. R. Johanan, however, says that for wine also reclining is of effect.
The following was cited in objection [to Rab]: ‘What is the procedure for reclining? The guests4 enter and sit on stools and chairs till they are all assembled. When water is brought, each one washes one hand.5 When wine is brought, each one says a blessing for himself. When they go up [on to the couches] and recline, and water is brought to them, although each one of them has already washed one hand, he now again washes both hands. When wine is brought to them, although each one has said a blessing for himself, one now says a blessing on behalf of all.6 Now according to the version which makes Rab say that ‘this applies only to bread which requires reclining, but wine does not require reclining’. there is a contradiction between his view and the first part of this statement?7 — Guests are different, since they intend to shift their place.8 According to the version which makes Rab say that this applies only to bread for which reclining is of effect, but for wine reclining is of no effect, there is a contradiction with the second part?9 — The case is different there because, since reclining is of effect for bread, it is also of effect for wine.10
Ben Zoma was asked: Why was it laid down that if wine is brought in the course of the meal, each one says a blessing for himself, but if after the meal, one may say a blessing for all? He replied: Because [during meals] the gullet is not empty.11
THE SAME ONE SAYS [THE BENEDICTION] OVER THE PERFUME. Since it says, THE SAME ONE SAYS [THE BENEDICTION] OVER THE PERFUME, we may infer that there is present someone superior to him. Why then does he say it? — Because he washed his hands first [after the meal]. This supports Rab; for R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: The one who first washes his hands [after the meal] can claim the right12 to say grace. Rab and R. Hiyya were once sitting before Rabbi at dinner. Rabbi said to Rab: Get up and wash your hands. He [R. Hiyya] saw him trembling.13 Said R. Hiyya to him: Son of Princes!14 He is telling you to think over the grace after meals.15
R. Zera said in the name of Raba b. Jeremiah: When do they say the blessing over the perfume? As soon as the smoke column ascends. Said R. Zera to Raba b. Jeremiah: But he has not yet smelt it! He replied: According to your reasoning, when one says ‘Who brings forth bread from the earth’, he has not yet eaten! But [he says it because] it is his intention to eat. So here, it is his intention to smell.
R. Hiyya the son of Abba b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Hisda reporting Rab — according to others, R. Hisda said in the name of Ze'iri: Over all incense-perfumes the blessing is ‘who createst fragrant woods’, except over musk, which comes from a living creature and the blessing is, ‘who createst various kinds of spices’. An objection was raised: The benediction ‘who createst fragrant woods’ is said only over the balsam-trees of the household of Rabbi and the balsam-trees of Caesar's household and over myrtle everywhere!16 — This is a refutation.
R. Hisda said to R. Isaac: What blessing is said over this balsam-oil? — He replied: Thus said Rab Judah: ‘Who createst the oil of our land’,17 He then said to him: Leaving out Rab Judah, who dotes on the Land of Israel, what do ordinary people say? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: ‘Who createst pleasant oil’. R. Adda b. Ahabah said: Over costum the blessing is, ‘Who createst fragrant woods’, but not over oil in which it is steeped. R. Kahana, however, says: Even over oil in which it is steeped, but not over oil in which it has been ground. The Nehardeans say: Even over oil in which it has been ground.
(1) Which he had made on hearing of the death of Rab.
(2) To constitute a party, and even without it one may say the blessing on behalf of all.
(3) For the purpose of constituting a party.
(4) Probably a party of Haberim (v. Glos.) is referred to.
(5) To take the wine which is to be offered before the meal.
(6) Since they now form a party.
(7) Which says that, till they have reclined, each one says a blessing for himself over wine.
(8) I.e., to go up from the stools on to the couches.
(9) Which says that having reclined one says a blessing on behalf of all also for wine.
(10) Since the guests on this occasion have been invited to partake of bread, the reclining is of effect also for the wine.
(11) The guests might be eating at the moment when the blessing was pronounced and would not be able to answer Amen (Tosaf).
(12) Lit., ‘he is prepared’.
(13) He thought Rab had told him to do this because his hands were dirty or something of the sort.
(14) V. supra p. 79’ n. 6.
(15) So as to be able to say it fluently.
(16) I.e., over plants of which the wood itself is fragrant.
(17) Balsam-trees grew near Jericho.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 43b
. R. Giddal said in the name of Rab: Over jasmine1 the blessing is ‘who createst fragrant woods’. R. Hananel said in the name of Rab: Over sea-rush2 the blessing is ‘who createst fragrant woods’. Said Mar Zutra: What Scriptural verse confirms this? She had brought them up to the roof and hid then, with the stalks of fax.3 R. Mesharsheya said: Over garden narcissus the blessing is ‘who createst fragrant woods’; over wild narcissus, ‘who createst fragrant herbs’. R. Shesheth said: Over violets the blessing is, ‘who createst fragrant herbs’. Mar Zutra said: He who smells a citron or a quince should say. ‘Blessed be He who has given a sweet odour to fruits’. Rab Judah says: If one goes abroad in the days of Nisan [spring time] and sees the trees sprouting, he should say, ‘Blessed be He who hath not left His world lacking in anything and has created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees for the enjoyment of mankind’. R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in the name of Rab: Whence do we learn that a blessing should be said over sweet odours? Because it says, Let every soul4 praise the Lord.5 What is that which gives enjoyment to the soul and not to the body? — You must say that this is fragrant smell.
Mar Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: The young men of Israel6 are destined to emit a sweet fragrance like Lebanon,7 as it says His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his fragrance as Lebanon.8
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: What is the meaning of the verse. He hath made everything beautiful in its time?9 It teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, made every man's trade seem fine in his own eyes. R. Papa said: This agrees with the popular saying:10 Hang the heart of a palm tree on a pig, and it will do the usual thing with it.11
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: A torch is as good as two [persons]12 and moonlight as good as three. The question was asked: Is the torch as good as two counting the carrier, or as good as two besides the carrier? — Come and hear: ‘Moonlight is as good as three’. If now you say, ‘including the carrier there is no difficulty. But if you say, ‘besides the carrier’, why do I want four, seeing that a Master has said: To one [person] an evil spirit may show itself and harm him; to two it may show itself, but without harming them; to three it will not even show itself? We must therefore say that a torch is equivalent to two including the carrier; and this may be taken as proved.
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab — according to others. R. Hanah b. Bizna said it in the name of R. Simeon the Pious, and according to others again. R. Johanan said it in the name of R. Simeon b Yohai: It is better for a man that he should cast himself into a fiery furnace rather than that he should put his fellow to shame in public.13 Whence do we know this? From Tamar, of whom it says, When she was brought forth etc.14
Our Rabbis taught: If oil and myrtle are brought before one,15 Beth Shammai say that he first says a benediction over the oil and then over the myrtle, while Beth Hillel say that he first says a benediction over the myrtle and then over the oil. Said Rabban Gamaliel: I will turn the scale.16 Of oil we have the benefit both for smelling and for anointing; of myrtle we have the benefit for smelling but not for anointing. R. Johanan said: The halachah follows the one who turned the scale. R. Papa was once visiting R. Huna the son of R. Ika. Oil and myrtle were brought before him and he took up the myrtle and said the blessing over it first, and then he said the blessing over the oil. Said the other to him: Does not your honour hold that the halachah follows the one who turned the scale? He replied: Thus said Raba: The halachah follows Beth Hillel. This was not correct,17 however; he said so only to excuse himself.
Our Rabbis taught: If oil and wine are brought before one,18 Beth Shammai say that he first takes the oil in his right hand and the wine in his left hand and says a blessing over the oil19 and then a blessing over the wine. Beth Hillel, however, say that he takes the wine in his right hand and the oil in his left, and says the blessing over the wine and then over the oil. [Before going out] he smears it on the head of the attendant; and if the attendant is a man of learning, he smears it on the wall, since it is unbecoming for a scholar to go abroad scented.
Our Rabbis taught: Six things are unbecoming for a scholar. He should not go abroad scented; he should not go out by night alone; he should not go abroad in patched sandals; he should not converse with a woman in the street; he should not take a set meal20 in the company of ignorant persons; and he should not be the last to enter the Beth ha-Midrash. Some add that he should not take long strides nor carry himself stiffly.21
‘He should not go abroad scented’. R. Abba the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: This applies only to a place where people are suspected of pederasty. R. Shesheth said: This applies only to [the scenting of] one's clothes; but [perfuming] the body removes the perspiration. R. Papa said: The hair is on the same footing as clothes; others, however, say: as the body.
‘He should not go out at night alone’, so as not to arouse suspicion.22 This is the case only if he has no appointment [with his teacher]; but if he has an appointment, people know that he is going to his appointment. ‘He should not go abroad in patched sandals’. This supports R. Hiyya b. Abba; for R. Hiyya b. Abba said: It is unseemly for a scholar to go abroad in patched sandals. Is that so? Did not R. Hiyya b. Abba go out in such? — Mar Zutra the son of R. Nahman said: He was speaking of one patch on top of another. And this applies only to the upper, but if it is on the sole, there is no objection. On the upper too this applies only to the public way; but in the house there is no objection. Further, this is the case only in summer; but in the rainy season there is no objection.23
‘He should not converse with a woman in the street’. R. Hisda said: Even with his wife. It has been taught similarly: Even with his wife, even with his daughter, even with his sister, because not everyone knows who are his female relatives.
‘He should not take a set meal with ignorant persons’. What is the reason? — Perhaps he will be drawn into their ways.
‘He should not be last to enter the Beth ha-Midrash’, because he will be called a transgressor.24
‘Some add that he should not take long strides’; because a Master has said: Long strides diminish a man's eyesight by a five-hundredth part. What is the remedy? He can restore it with [drinking] the sanctification wine of Sabbath eve.25
‘Nor should he carry himself stiffly’; since a Master has said: If one walks with a stiff bearing even for four cubits, it is as if he pushed against the heels of the Divine Presence,26 since it is written, The whole earth is full of His glory.27
(1) According to Krauss, it should be ‘elder-tree’.
(2) Which has stalks like flax.
(3) Lit., ‘flax of the tree’. Josh. II, 6.
(4) Heb. neshamah, lit., ‘breath’.
(5) Ps. CL, 6.
(6) MS.M. adds here: ‘who have not tasted sin’, and this seems to be the proper reading.
(7) From its trees and blossoms.
(8) Hos. XIV, 7.
(9) Eccl. III, 11.
(10) Lit., ‘this is what people say’.
(11) Sc. takes it to the dungheap.
(12) In respect of the injunction that a man should not go abroad at night unaccompanied, for fear of evil spirits.
(13) Lit., ‘cause his face to blanch’.
(14) Gen. XXXVIII, 25. Even to save herself from the stake, Tamar did not mention Judah's name.
(15) After a meal, oil for removing dirt from the hands, myrtle for scent.
(16) In favour of Beth Shammai.
(17) That Raba ever said so.
(18) After a meal on a weekday. the perfumed oil being for scent.
(19) ‘Blessed is He that created pleasant oil’.
(20) Lit., ‘recline’.
(21) Lit., ‘with erect stature’.
(22) Of immoral practices.
(23) Because the mud will hide it.
(24) Var. lec.: ‘idler’, which in any case is the meaning.
(25) V. Shab. 113b.
(26) I.e., acted haughtily against God.
(27) Isa. VI, 3.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 44a
MISHNAH. IF SALTED FOOD IS SET BEFORE HIM AND BREAD WITH IT, HE SAYS A BLESSING OVER THE SALTED FOOD AND THIS SERVES FOR THE BREAD, SINCE THE BREAD IS ONLY SUBSIDIARY TO IT. THIS IS THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE: WHENEVER WITH ONE KIND OF FOOD ANOTHER IS TAKEN AS SUBSIDIARY, A BENEDICTION IS SAID OVER THE PRINCIPAL KIND AND THIS SERVES FOR THE SUBSIDIARY.
GEMARA. But is it ever possible for salted food to be the principal item and bread subsidiary to it? — R. Aha the son of R. ‘Awira replied, citing R. Ashi: This rule applies to [one who eats] the fruit of Genessareth.1 Rabbah b. Bar Hannah said: When we went after R. Johanan to eat the fruit of Genessareth, when there were a hundred of us we used each to take him ten, and when we were ten we used each to take him a hundred, and a hundred could not be got into a basket holding three se'ahs, and he used to eat them all and swear that he had not tasted food. Not tasted food, do you say? — Say rather: that he had not had a meal. R. Abbahu used to eat of them [so freely] that a fly slipped off his forehead.2 R. Ammi and R. Assi used to eat of them till their hair fell out. R. Simeon b. Lakish ate until his mind began to wander, and R. Johanan told the household of the Nasi, and R. Judah the Prince send a band of men3 for him and they brought him to his house.
When R. Dimi came [from Palestine], he stated that King Jannaeus4 had a city in the King's Mountain5 where they used to take out sixty myriads of dishes of salted fish for the men cutting down fig-trees from one week-end to the next.6 When Rabin came, he stated that King Jannaeus used to have a tree on the King's Mountain from which they used to take down forty se'ahs of young pigeons from three broods every month. When R. Isaac came, he said: There was a town in the Land of Israel named Gofnith7 in which there were eighty pairs of brothers, all priests, who were married to eighty pairs of sisters, also all of priestly family. The Rabbis searched from Sura to Nehardea and could not find [a similar case] save the daughters of R. Hisda who were married to Rami b. Hama and to Mar ‘Ukba b. Hama; and while they were priestesses, their husbands were not priests.
Rab said: A meal without salt is no meal. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: A meal without gravy8 is no meal.
MISHNAH. IF ONE HAS EATEN GRAPES, FIGS OR POMEGRANATES HE SAYS A GRACE OF THREE BLESSINGS AFTER THEM. SO R. GAMALIEL. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAY: ONE BLESSING WHICH INCLUDES THREE. R. AKIBA SAYS: IF ONE ATE ONLY BOILED VEGETABLES, AND THAT IS HIS MEAL, HE SAYS AFTER IT THE GRACE OF THREE BLESSINGS. IF ONE DRINKS WATER TO QUENCH HIS THIRST, HE SAYS THE BENEDICTION ‘BY WHOSE WORD ALL THINGS EXIST. R. TARFON SAYS: ‘WHO CREATEST MANY LIVING THINGS AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS.
GEMARA. What is the reason of R. Gamaliel? — Because it is written, A land of wheat and barley. etc.,9 and it is also written, A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness,10 and it is written, And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord thy God.11 The Rabbis, however, hold that the word ‘land’12 makes a break in the context. R. Gamaliel also must admit that ‘land’ makes a break in the context? — He requires that for excluding one who chews wheat [from the necessity of saying grace].13
R. Jacob b. Idi said in the name of R. Hanina: Over anything belonging to the five species [of cereals],14 before partaking the blessing ‘who createst all kinds of food’ is said, and after partaking one blessing which includes three. Rabbah b. Mari said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: Over anything belonging to the seven kinds,15 before partaking the blessing ‘who createst the fruit of the tree’ is said, and after it the grace of one blessing which includes three.
Abaye asked R. Dimi: What is the one blessing which includes three? — He replied: Over fruit of the tree he says: ‘For the tree and for the fruit of the tree and for the produce of the field and for a desirable, goodly, and extensive land which Thou didst give our ancestors to inherit to eat of its fruit and to be satisfied with its goodness. Have mercy, O Lord our God, on Israel Thy people and on Jerusalem Thy city and on Thy Sanctuary and on Thy altar, and build Jerusalem Thy holy city speedily in our days and bring us up into the midst thereof and rejoice us therein,16 for Thou art good and doest good to all’.17 Over the five species [of cereals] one says: ‘For the provision and the sustenance and the produce of the field etc.’, and he concludes, ‘For the land and for the sustenance’.
How does one conclude [in the case of fruits]? When R. Dimi came, he said in the name of Rab: On New Moon one concludes, Blessed is He who sanctifies Israel and New Moons.18
What do we say in this case [over fruit]? — R. Hisda said: ‘For the land and for its fruits’; R. Johanan said: ‘For the land and for the fruits’. R. Amram said: They are not at variance: the one blessing19 is for us [in Babylon], and the other for them [in Palestine].20 R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred to this: Shall they eat and we bless?21 You must therefore reverse the names, thus: R. Hisda said: For the land and for the fruits; R. Johanan said, For the land and for its fruits.
(1) Which is highly prized. Tosaf. explains that the rule applies to salted food taken after the fruit of Genessareth to correct the excessive sweetness.
(2) They made his skin so smooth that it could not obtain a footing.
(3) Lit., ‘searchers’, ‘officials’.
(4) Of the Hasmonean House.
(5) Probably some district in Judea was known by this name.
(6) So many workers were required for the task.
(7) Supposed to be the Biblical Ophni, modern Jifna.
(8) So Rashi. Aliter: ‘vegetable juices’; aliter: ‘something sharp’. In all cases the idea is to aid digestion.
(9) Deut. VIII, 8.
(10) Ibid. 9.
(11) Ibid. 10. The first two verses show that grapes etc. are on the same footing as bread, while the third verse contains a hint of three blessings, as explained infra 48b.
(12) In the second half of v. 9 so that ‘and thou shalt bless’ in v. 10 refers only to ‘bread’ mentioned in v. 9.
(13) The break is necessary to indicate that ‘wheat’ mentioned must first be made into ‘bread’ before the three benedictions are necessary.
(14) Viz., wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt.
(15) Mentioned in v. 8, other than corn.
(16) Var. lec. (Similarly P.B.): Rejoice us in its rebuilding. MS.M. add (similarly P.B.): May we eat of the fruits of the land and be satisfied with its goodness and bless Thee for it in holiness and purity.
(17) Cf. P.B. p. 287.
(18) This paragraph seems to be out of place here and is deleted by Wilna Gaon. MS.M.: On New Moon one concludes etc. What do we say in this case?
(19) R. Hisda's.
(20) R. Hisda was from Babylon and R. Johanan from Palestine.
(21) They eat the fruit of Palestine, and we say its fruits!
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 44b
R. Isaac b. Abdimi said in the name of our Master:1 Over eggs and over all kinds of meat the blessing said before partaking is ‘by whose word etc.’, and after partaking ‘who createst many living creatures etc.’, vegetables, however, require no blessing [after]. R. Isaac, however, says that even vegetables also require a blessing [after], but not water. R. Papa says: Water also. Mar Zutra acted as prescribed by R. Isaac b. Abdimi and R. Shimi b. Ashi as prescribed by R. Isaac. (To remember which is which think of one2 acting as two and two as one.)3 R. Ashi said: When I think of it, I do as prescribed by all of them.4
We have learnt: Whatever requires a blessing to be said after it requires a blessing before it, but some things require a blessing before but not after.5 Now this is right on the view of R. Isaac b. Abdimi, since it is to exclude vegetables, and on the view of R. Isaac to exclude water; but on the view of R. Papa, what does it exclude? — It is to exclude the performance of religious duties.6 And according to the Palestinians7 who after removing their tefillin say ‘Blessed be Thou . . . who hast sanctified us with Thy commandments and commanded us to observe Thy statutes’ — what does it exclude? — It excludes scents.
R. Jannai said in the name of Rabbi: An egg is superior [in food value] to the same quantity of any other kind of food. When Rabin came [from Palestine] he said: A lightly roasted egg is superior to six kaysi8 of fine flour. When R. Dimi came, he said: A lightly roasted egg is better than six [kaysi]; a hard baked egg than four;9 and a [boiled] egg is better than the same quantity of any other kind of boiled food except meat.
R. AKIBA SAYS: EVEN IF ONE ATE BOILED VEGETABLES etc. Is there any kind of boiled vegetable of which one can make a meal? — R. Ashi replied: The rule applies to the stalk of cabbage.
Our Rabbis taught: Milt is good for the teeth but bad for the bowels; horse-beans are bad for the teeth but good for the bowels. All raw vegetables make the complexion pale and all things not fully grown retard growth. Living beings10 restore vitality11 and that which is near the vital organs12 restores vitality. Cabbage for sustenance and beet for healing. Woe to the house13 through which vegetables are always passing!
The Master has said, ‘Milt is good for the teeth and bad for the bowels.’ What is the remedy? — To chew it well and then spit it out. ‘Horse-beans are bad for the teeth but good for the bowels’. What is the remedy? — To boil them well and swallow them. ‘All raw vegetables make the complexion pale’. R. Isaac said: That is, in the first meal taken after blood-letting. R. Isaac also said: If one eats vegetables before the fourth hour [of the day],14 it is forbidden to talk with him. What is the reason? Because his breath smells. R. Isaac also said: It is forbidden to a man to eat raw vegetables before the fourth hour. Amemar and Mar Zutra and R. Ashi were once sitting together when raw vegetables were set before them before the fourth hour. Amemar and R. Ashi ate, but Mar Zutra would not eat. They said to him: What is your reason? Because R. Isaac said that if one eats vegetables before the fourth hour it is forbidden to converse with him because his breath smells? See, we have been eating, and you have been conversing with us? He replied: I hold with that other saying of R. Isaac, where he said that it is forbidden to a man to eat raw vegetables before the fourth hour.15 ‘Things not fully grown retard growth’. R. Hisda said: Even a kid worth a zuz.16 This, however, is the case only with that which has not attained a fourth of its full size; but if it has attained a fourth, there is no objection. ‘Living being restore vitality’. R. Papa said: Even tiny fishes from the pools. ‘That which is near the vital organs restores vitality’. R. Aha b. Jacob said: Such as the neck.17 Raba said to his attendant: When you buy a piece of meat for me, see that you get it from a place near where the benediction is said.18 ‘Cabbage for sustenance and beet for healing’. Is cabbage then good only for sustenance and not for healing? Has it not been taught: Six things heal a sick person of his disease with a permanent cure, namely, cabbage, beet, a decoction of dry19 poley, the maw, the womb, and the large lobe of the liver’? — What you must say is that the cabbage is good for sustenance also. ‘Woe to the house through which vegetables are always passing’. Is that so? Did not Raba say to his attendant: If you see vegetables in the market, do not stop to ask me, What will you put round your bread.20 — Abaye said: [It means, when they are cooked] without meat;21 Raba said: [It means, when they are taken] without wine. It has been stated: Rab says, without meat, Samuel says, without wood,22 and R. Johanan says, without wine. Said Raba to R. Papa the brewer:23 We neutralize24 it with meat and wine; you who have not much wine, how you neutralize it? — He replied: With chips [of wood]. R. Papa's wife when she cooked vegetables neutralized their evil effects by using eighty Persian twigs.25
Our Rabbis taught: A small salted fish is sometimes deadly, namely on the seventh, the seventeenth and the twenty-seventh day of its salting. Some say, on the twenty-third. This is the case only if it is imperfectly roasted; but if it is well roasted, there is no harm in it. And even if it is not well roasted there is no harm in it unless one neglects to drink beer after it; but if one drinks beer after it,there is no harm.
IF ONE QUENCHES HIS THIRST WITH WATER etc. What does this exclude? — R. Idi b. Abin said: It excludes one
(1) V. supra p. 185. n. 4.
(2) Lit., ‘and thy sign is’.
(3) I.e., the authority who was mentioned alone without his father (Mar Zutra). acted as prescribed by the authority who is mentioned with his father (R. Isaac b. Abdimi) and vice versa.
(4) Saying even after water.
(5) Nid. 51b.
(6) Which require a blessing before the performance of them but not after, such as taking off the tefillin, laying aside of the lulab, etc.
(7) Lit., ‘the sons of the West’.
(8) A measure equal to a log.
(9) Var. lec.: a lightly baked egg is better than four hard-baked and a hard-baked than four boiled.
(10) Taken whole, like small fish.
(11) Lit., ‘soul’.
(12) Of a slaughtered animal.
(13) I.e., stomach.
(14) When the first meal was taken.
(15) But it is not forbidden to converse with him.
(16) I.e., a good fat one.
(17) Which is near the heart.
(18) I.e., the neck, on cutting which a benediction is said.
(19) Reading יבשין for דבש in the text, as infra .
(20) To eat with it as a kind of sandwich.
(21) The juices of which neutralize the evil effects of the vegetables.
(22) I.e., a good fire to cook it.
(23) Aliter: (a) the landowner (v. Obermeyer p. 309); (b) ‘Man of Mystery!’, i.e., acquainted with the divine mysteries (v. ‘Aruch).
(24) Lit., ‘break (the evil effects)’.
(25) Twigs from Persian trees.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 45a
who is choked by a piece of meat.1
R. TARFON SAYS: WHO CREATEST MANY LIVING THINGS AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS. Raba son of R. Hanan said to Abaye, according to others to R. Joseph: What is the law? He replied: Go forth and see how the public are accustomed to act.2
MISHNAH. IF THREE PERSONS HAVE EATEN TOGETHER, IT IS THEIR DUTY TO INVITE [ONE ANOTHER TO SAY GRACE].3 ONE WHO HAS EATEN DEMAI,4 OR FIRST TITHE5 FROM WHICH TERUMAH HAS BEEN REMOVED,6 OR SECOND TITHE OR FOOD BELONGING TO THE SANCTUARY THAT HAS BEEN REDEEMED,7 OR AN ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN AS MUCH AS AN OLIVE OR A CUTHEAN MAY BE INCLUDED [IN THE THREE]. ONE WHO HAS EATEN TEBEL8 OR FIRST TITHE FROM WHICH THE TERUMAH HAS NOT BEEN REMOVED, OR SECOND TITHE OR SANCTIFIED FOOD WHICH HAS NOT BEEN REDEEMED,9 OR AN ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN LESS THAN THE QUANTITY OF AN OLIVE OR A GENTILE MAY NOT BE COUNTED. WOMEN, CHILDREN AND SLAVES MAY NOT BE COUNTED IN THE THREE. HOW MUCH [MUST ONE HAVE EATEN] TO COUNT? AS MUCH AS AN OLIVE; R. JUDAH SAYS, AS MUCH AS AN EGG.
GEMARA. Whence is this derived?10 — R. Assi says: Because Scripture says, O magnify ye the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.11 R. Abbahu derives it from here: When I [one] proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe ye [two] greatness unto our God.12
R. Hanan b. Abba said: Whence do we learn that he who answers Amen should not raise his voice above the one who says the blessing? Because it says, O magnify ye the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.13 R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: Whence do we learn that the one who translates14 is not permitted to raise his voice above that of the reader? Because it says, Moses spoke and God answered him by a voice.15 The words ‘by a voice’ need not have been inserted. What then does ‘by a voice’ mean? [It means], by the voice of Moses.16 It has been taught similarly: The translator is not permitted to raise his voice above that of the reader. If the translator is unable to speak as loud as the reader, the reader should moderate his voice and read.
It has been stated: If two have eaten together, Rab and R. Johanan differ [as to the rule to be followed]. One says that if they wish to invite one another [to say grace] they may do so, the other says that even if they desire to invite one another they may not do so. We have learnt: IF THREE PERSONS HAVE EATEN TOGETHER IT IS THEIR DUTY TO INVITE ONE ANOTHER. That means to say, three but not two? — No; there [in the case of three] it is a duty, here [in the case of two] it is optional.
Come and hear: If three persons have eaten together, it is their duty to invite one another [to say grace], and they are not permitted to separate. This means to say, three but not two, does it not?17 — No; there is a special reason there [why they may not separate], because from the outset of the meal they laid upon themselves the duty to invite one another.18
Come and hear: If an attendant is waiting on two persons he may eat with them even without their giving him permission;19 if he was waiting on three, he may not eat with them unless they give him permission! — There is a special reason there
(1) And drinks simply to wash it down.
(2) And the general practice is to say ‘by whose word’ before and ‘that createst many living beings’ after.
(3) By means of the responses given in P.B. p. 279. This invitation is technically known as zimmun (inviting).
(4) Produce from which it is doubtful whether the tithe has been given.
(5) Due to the Levite, v. Num. XVIII, 21.
(6) The terumah (v. Glos) mentioned here is apparently the tithe, v. ibid. 26.
(7) And so has been made available for being eaten out of Jerusalem (cf. Deut. XIV, 22ff) or by a layman. All these are kinds of food which may be legitimately partaken of.
(8) Food from which it is known that tithe has not been separated.
(9) These are foods of which it is not legitimate to partake.
(10) That three who eat together should invite one another to say grace.
(11) Ps. XXXIV, 4. ‘Ye’ implies two, besides the speaker.
(12) Deut. XXXII, 3. E.V. ‘For I will proclaim etc..
(13) I.e., one not louder than the other.
(14) The public reading of the Pentateuch in Hebrew was followed by a translation in Aramaic.
(15) Ex. XIX, 19. Moses is here compared to a reader and God to a translator, v. however Tosaf. s.v. בקולו.
(16) I.e., a voice not raised above that of Moses.
(17) Because if two are sufficient, why may not one of the three separate?
(18) And though two may invite one another, yet to perform an obligation is more meritorious.
(19) And we assume that they approve of it so that they may be able to invite one another, and this is not presumptuous on his part.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 45b
, because [we assume that] it is with their approval1 since he [thereby] makes [the zimmun] obligatory on them.2
Come and hear: Women by themselves invite one another, and slaves by themselves invite one another, but women, slaves and children together even if they desire to invite one another may not do so. Now3 a hundred women are no better then two men,4 and yet it says, Women by themselves invite one another and slaves by themselves invite one another? — There is a special reason there, because each has a mind of her own.5 If that is so, look at the next clause: Women and slaves together, even though they desire to invite one another may not do so. Why not? Each has a mind! — There is a special reason in that case, because it might lead to immorality.
We may conclude that it was Rab who said, ‘Even though they [two] desire to invite one another they may not do so’, because R. Dimi b. Joseph said in the name of Rab: If three persons ate together and one of them went out, the others call to him and count him for zimmun.6 The reason is, is it not, that they call him, but if they did not call him they could not [invite one another]? — There is a special reason there, that the obligation to invite one another devolved upon them from the outset. Rather you may conclude that it is R. Johanan who said that even though they desire to invite one another they may not do so. For Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: If two persons eat together, one of them is exempted by the benediction of his fellow; and we were perplexed to know what it was that he tells us; for we have learnt: If he heard without responding [Amen], he has performed his obligation, and R. Zera explained that he tells us that they do not invite one another to say grace.7 We may therefore draw this conclusion.
Raba b. R. Huna said to R. Huna: But the Rabbis who came from the West8 say that if they desire to invite one another they may do so; and must they not have heard this from R. Johanan?9 — No; they heard it from Rab before he went down to Babylon.10
The [above] text [stated]: ‘R. Dimi b. Joseph said in the name of Rab: If three persons ate together and one of them went out into the street, they can call to him and count him for zimmun’. Abaye says: This is only when they call to him and he responds.11 Mar Zutra said: This applies only to three; but if it is for [the purpose of completing] ten,12 they must wait till he comes. R. Ashi demurred to this. We should rather [he said], suppose the contrary; for nine look like ten, but two do not look like three. The law, however, is as laid down by Mar Zutra. What is the reason? — Since they [ten] have to mention God's name,13 it is not proper that there should be less than ten.
Abaye said: We have a tradition that if two persons have eaten together, it is their duty to separate.14 It has been taught similarly: If two persons have eaten together, it is their duty to separate. When is this case? When they are both educated men. But if one is educated and the other illiterate, the educated one says the benedictions and this exempts the illiterate one.
Raba said: The following statement was made by me independently and a similar statement has been made in the name of R. Zera: If three persons have been eating together, one breaks off to oblige two,15 but two do not break off to oblige one. But do they not? Did not R. Papa break off for Abba Mar his son, he and another with him? — R. Papa was different because he went out of his way16 to do so.17 Judah b. Meremar and Mar son of R. Ashi and R. Aha from Difti took a meal with one another. No one of them was superior to the other18 that he should have the privilege of saying grace.19 They said: Where the Mishnah learnt20 that IF THREE PERSONS HAVE EATEN TOGETHER IT IS THEIR DUTY TO INVITE [ONE ANOTHER TO SAY GRACE], this is only where one of them is superior [to the others], but where they are all on a level, perhaps it is better that the blessings should be separate. They thus said [the grace] each one for himself. Thereupon they came before Meremar and he said to them: You have performed the obligation of grace, but you have not performed the obligation of zimmun. Should you say, Let us start again with zimmun, zimmun cannot be said out of its place.21
If one came and found three persons saying grace,22 what does he say after them? — R. Zebid says: Blessed and to be blessed [be His Name]. R. Papa said: He answers, Amen. They are not really at variance; the one speaks of the case where he found them saying ‘Let us say grace’, and the other where he found them saying ‘Blessed’. If he found them saying ‘Let us say grace’, he answers ‘Blessed and to be blessed’; if he found them saying ‘Blessed’, he answers ‘Amen’.
One [Baraitha] taught: One who answers ‘Amen’ after his own blessings is to be commended, while another taught that this is reprehensible! — There is no contradiction: the one speaks of the benediction ‘who buildest Jerusalem’,23 the other of the other benedictions. Abaye used to give the response24 in a loud voice so that the workmen should hear and rise,25 since the benediction ‘Who is good and does good’26 is not prescribed by the Torah.27 R. Ashi gave the response in a low voice, so that they should not come to think lightly of the benediction ‘Who is good and does good’.
(1) That the attendant joins them.
(2) Cur. edd. add in brackets ‘from the outset’, which is best omitted.
(3) Cur. edd. read here in brackets, ‘and surely as for women even a hundred’ which is best omitted.
(4) In respect of the obligation of zimmun. This proves that two by themselves are not sufficient to form a zimmun.
(5) Lit., ‘there are minds’ and therefore thanksgiving from three women is more valuable than from two men.
(6) Even while he remains outside, provided he joins in the response v. infra.
(7) But one may be exempted by the other.
(9) Who lived in Palestine.
(10) From Palestine to settle there, v. Git. (Sonc. ed.) p. 17. n. 3.
(11) I.e., he joins in the responses.
(12) V. infra 49b.
(13) In the response, ‘Blessed is our God of whose food we have eaten’. V. P.B. p. 279.
(14) For the purpose of saying grace.
(15) If one has not yet finished, he interrupts his meal to join with the two who have finished for the purpose of zimmun.
(16) Lit., ‘acted within the limits of strict justice’.
(17) To show respect to his son.
(18) In years or learning.
(19) So MS.M. Cur. edd. add: ‘for them’.
(20) Emended reading. v. Marginal Gloss. The text has, They sat and discussed the question. When the Mishnah says. etc.
(21) Lit., ‘retrospectively’. I.e., it must come before the actual grace.
(22) Sc. the zimmun responses.
(23) The last of the three Scriptural benedictions in the Grace, v. P.B. p. 282.
(24) To this third benediction.
(25) To go to their work.
(26) Which follows ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’; v. P.B. p. 283.
(27) Which prescribes only the first three.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 46a
R. Zera once was ill. R. Abbahu went to visit him, and made a vow, saying, If the little one with scorched legs1 recovers, I will make a feast for the Rabbis. He did recover, and he made a feast for all the Rabbis. When the time came to begin the meal,2 he said to R. Zera: Will your honour please commence for us.3 He said to him: Does not your honour accept the dictum of R. Johanan that the host should break bread? So he [R. Abbahu] broke the bread for them. When the time came for saying grace he said to him [R. Zera], Will your honour please say grace for us, He replied: Does your honour not accept the ruling of R. Huna from Babylon,4 who said that the one who breaks bread says grace? Whose view then did R. Abbahu accept? — That expressed by R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: The host breaks bread and the guest says grace. The host breaks bread so that he should do so generously,5 and the guest says grace so that he should bless the host. How does he bless him? ‘May it be God's will that our host should never be ashamed in this world nor disgraced in the next world’. Rabbi added some further items: ‘May he be very prosperous with all his estates, and may his possessions and ours be prosperous and near a town,6 and may the Accuser have no influence either over the works of his hands or of ours, and may neither our host nor we be confronted with7 any evil thought or sin or transgression or iniquity from now and for all time’.
To what point does the benediction of zimmun extend?8 — R. Nahman says: Up to [the conclusion of] ‘Let us bless’;9 R. Shesheth says: Up to [the conclusion of] ‘Who sustains’,10 May we say that there is the same difference between Tannaim? For one [authority] taught: The grace after meals is either two or three benedictions,11 while another has taught: Either three or four. Now we assume that all agree that ‘Who is good and does good’ is not Scriptural. Is not then the difference [between the two authorities cited] this, that the one who says two or three holds that [the benediction of zimmun] extends up to ‘Who sustaineth’,12 while the one who says three or four holds that it extends up to ‘Let us bless’?13 — No; R. Nahman explains according to his view and R. Shesheth explains according to his view. R. Nahman explains according to his view: All agree that it extends to ‘Let us bless’. On the view of him who says, ‘three or four’, this creates no difficulty.14 The one who says ‘two or three’ can say that here we are dealing with a grace said by work-people, regarding which a Master has said, He commences with ‘Who sustaineth’ and includes ‘Who builds Jerusalem’ in the benediction of the land.’ R. Shesheth can also explain according to his view: All agree that the blessing of zimmun extends up to ‘Who sustaineth’. On the view of him who says ‘two or three’, this creates no difficulty; while the one who says ‘three or four’ holds that the benediction ‘Who is good and does good’ is Scriptural.
R. Joseph said: You may know that the benediction ‘who is good and does good’ is not Scriptural from the fact that workpeople omit it. R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha said in the name of Rab: You may know that the benediction ‘who is good and does good’ is not Scriptural from the fact that it commences with ‘Blessed’ but does not conclude with ‘Blessed’, for so it has been taught: All benedictions commence with ‘Blessed’ and close with ‘Blessed’, except the blessing over fruits, the blessings said over the performance of precepts, one blessing which joins on to another, and the last blessing alter the recital of the Shema’.15 Some of these commence with ‘Blessed’ but do not close with ‘Blessed’16
(1) A nickname of R. Zera, explained in B.M. 85a.
(2) By breaking bread.
(3) I.e., break the bread.
(4) R. Huna's place of origin is mentioned here because the meal was taking place in Palestine.
(5) Lit., ‘with a pleasant eye’.
(6) So that he can visit them without difficulty.
(7) Lit., ‘may there not leap before him or us’.
(8) The point of this query is not clear. Rashi takes it to mean, How much is said by three which is not said by two or one; but in this case the answer of R. Shesheth is unintelligible, since all agree that one says the blessing ‘Who sustaineth’. Tosaf. therefore explain that it refers to the statement above that one person may interrupt his meal to join two others in zimmun, and the question is now asked, How long must he wait before resuming.
(9) The zimmun responses proper.
(10) The first benediction.
(11) Emended reading, the numeral being in the feminine, v, Marginal Gloss. In the text the numeral is in the masculine, and we must translate (with Tosaf.), ‘with either two or three men’. Tosaf. ad loc. accept this reading and explain it to mean that the recital of the blessings can be shared out between a number of people if no-one knows the whole of it, by assigning to each one benedictions which he happens to know.
(12) So that if zimmun is said there are three blessings,the zimmun formula together with the first blessing constituting on this view one benediction, otherwise two.
(13) So that without zimmun there are three and with the zimmun there is an extra one.
(14) If grace is said with zimmun, there are four blessings, if without, three. (7) They combine the second and third benedictions into one, and thus when two labourers eat together there are two benedictions, when three, they form zimmun and say three.
(15) Which is separated by the Shema’ from the two blessings before it, though it is really a continuation of these.
(16) E.g., the benediction to be said before the putting on of tefillin.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 46b
, while some close with ‘Blessed’ but do not open with ‘Blessed’;1 and ‘who is good and does good’ opens with ‘Blessed’ but does not close with ‘Blessed’. This shows that it is a separate blessing. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: You may know that ‘who is good and does good’ is not Scriptural from the fact that it is omitted in the house of a mourner,2 as it has been taught: What blessing is said in the house of a mourner? ‘Blessed is He that is good and does good’. R. Akiba says: ‘Blessed be the true Judge’. And does one [according to the first authority] say. ‘Blessed be He that is good and does good’, and not ‘Blessed be the true Judge’? — Read: He says also,’Blessed be He that is good and does good’. Mar Zutra visited R. Ashi when the latter had suffered a bereavement, and in the grace after meals he began and uttered the benediction: ‘Who is good and does good, God of truth, true Judge, who judges in righteousness and takes away in righteousness, who is Sovereign in His universe to do as pleaseth Him in it, for all His ways are judgment; for all is His, and we are His people and His servants, — and for everything it is incumbent upon us to give thanks to Him and to bless Him. He who closes up the breaches of Israel will close up this breach in Israel, granting life’.
Where does he3 commence again? — R. Zebid says in the name of Abaye: At the beginning; the Rabbis say, at the place where he left off.4 The law is, at the place where he left off.
Said the Exilarch to R. Shesheth: Although you are venerable Rabbis, yet the Persians are better versed than you in the etiquette5 of a meal. When there are two couches [in the set],6 the senior guest takes his place first and then the junior one above him.7 When there are three couches, the senior occupies the middle one, the next to him in rank takes the place above him, and the third one below him.8 R. Shesheth said to him: So when he wants to talk to him,9 he has to stretch himself and sit upright to do so!10 He replied: This does not matter to the Persians, because they speak with gesticulation. [R. Shesheth asked the Exilarch:] With whom do they commence the washing of the hands before the meal? — He replied: With the senior one. Is then the senior one to sit still [he exclaimed] and watch his hands11 until they have all washed? — He replied: They bring a table before him immediately.12 With whom do they begin the washing after the meal [he asked him]? — He replied: With the junior one present. And is the senior one to sit with greasy hands until all have washed? — He replied: They do not remove the table from before him till water is brought to him.13 R. Shesheth then said: I only know a Baraitha, in which it is taught: ‘What is the order of reclining? When there are two couches in a set, the senior one reclines first, and then the junior takes his place below him. When there are three couches, the senior takes his place first, the second next above him, and then the third one below him. Washing before the meal commences with the senior one, washing after the meal, if there are five, commences with the senior, and if there are a hundred14 it commences with the junior until five are left, and then they start15 from the senior one. The saying of grace is assigned to the one to whom the washing thus reverts’.16 This supports Rab; for R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: Whoever washes his hands first at the end of the meal has the right to say grace. Rab and R. Hiyya were once dining with Rabbi. Rabbi said to Rab: Get up and wash your hands. R. Hiyya saw him trembling and said to him: Son of princes, he is telling you to think over the grace.17
Our Rabbis taught: We do not give precedence [to others]18 either on the road or on a bridge
(1) E.g., the benedictions in the Tefillah.
(2) According to R. Akiba.
(3) Rashi explains this to mean the one who has interrupted his meal to join with two others in zimmun, (cf. supra 45b) and the question is, on the view of R. Shesheth, (cf. supra) where should he resume his grace.
(4) Viz., (on the view of R. Shesheth) at the second blessing. Tosaf. remark on this that it is very difficult to suppose that he is excused saying the first blessing after having eaten again. They accordingly refer it to the man who leads in the grace, and the question is, after the others have responded ‘Blessed be He of whose bounty we have partaken and through whose goodness we live’, where does he go on, and the reply is, on Abaye's view, that he repeats his own formula with the addition ‘Blessed be He of whose bounty etc.’, whereas according to the Rabbis he merely says ‘Blessed be He of whose bounty etc.’, v. P.B. p. 280.
(5) Lit., ‘requirements’.
(6) It was usual for guests at a set meal to recline on couches arranged in sets of two or three
(the latter being the Roman triclinium).
(7) I.e., head to head.
(8) I.e., with his head to the other's feet.
(9) When the senior wishes to speak to the one who is above him.
(10) If he wants to face him.
(11) I.e., do nothing. Aliter: ‘guard them against impurity’.
(12) It was usual to place a small table before each guest.
(13) And meanwhile he can go on eating.
(14) Sc., any number more than five.
(15) I.e., removing the table (Rashi).
(16) I.e., either the senior one, or the one to whom he delegates the honour.
(17) V. supra p. 262, nn. 9 and 10.
(18) Lit., ‘honour’, i.e., ask another to go first, out of politeness.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 47a
or in the washing of the greasy hands [at the end of a meal]. Once Rabin and Abaye were on the road and the ass of Rabin got in front of Abaye, and he [Rabin] did not say to him, Will your honour proceed. Said Abaye: Since this student has come up from the West,1 he has grown proud. When he arrived at the door of the synagogue, he said, Will your honour please enter. He said to him: Was I not ‘Your honour’, up to now? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: One gives precedence only in a doorway in which there is a mezuzah.2 [You say] only where there is a mezuzah, but not where there is no mezuzah. If that is so, then in the case of a synagogue and Beth hamidrash also where there is no mezuzah we do not give precedence? What you must say is, in a doorway which is suitable for a mezuzah.3
R. Judah the son of R. Samuel b. Shilath said in the name of Rab: The guests may not eat anything until the one who breaks bread has tasted. R. Safra sat and stated: The statement was, ‘May not taste’.4 What difference does it make [in practice]? — [It teaches that] one must repeat the exact words of his teacher.
Our Rabbis taught: Two wait for one another5 before commencing on the dish,6 but three need not wait.7 The one who has broken bread stretches out his hand first, but if he wishes to show respect to his teacher or to anyone senior to himself, he may do so. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah made a marriage feast for his son in the house of R. Samuel son of R. Kattina, and he first sat down and taught his son: The one who acts as host8 may not break the bread until the guests have finished responding, Amen. R. Hisda said: The bulk of the guests. Rama b. Hama said to him: Why should this be the case only with the majority? Presumably it is because the benediction had not yet been completed.9 The same should apply also to a minority, for the benediction has not yet been completed? — He replied: What I say is that whoever [draws out] the response of Amen longer than necessary is in error.10
Our Rabbis taught: The Amen uttered in response should be neither hurried11 nor curtailed12 nor orphaned,13 nor should one hurl the blessing, as it were, out of his mouth.14 Ben ‘Azzai says: If a man says an ‘orphaned’ Amen in response, his sons will be orphans; if a hurried Amen, his days will be snatched away; if a curtailed Amen, his days will be curtailed. But if one draws out the Amen, his days and years will be prolonged. Once Rab and Samuel were sitting at a meal and R. Shimi b. Hiyya joined them and ate very hurriedly.15 Said Rab to him: What do you want? To join us? We have already finished. Said Samuel to him: If they were to bring me mushrooms, and pigeon to Abba,16 would we not go on eating?17 The disciples of Rab were once dining together when R. Aha entered. They said: A great man has come who can say grace for us. He said to them: Do you think that the greatest present says the grace? One who was there from the beginning must say grace! The law, however, is that the greatest says grace even though he comes in at the end.
ONE WHO HAD EATEN DEMAI etc. But this is not a proper food for him?18 — If he likes he can declare his possessions hefker19 in which case he becomes a poor man, and it is suitable for him. For we have learnt: Demai may be given to the poor to ear and also to billeted soldiers.20 And R. Huna said: A Tanna taught: Beth Shammai say that demai is not given to the poor and to billeted soldiers to eat.21
OR FIRST TITHE FROM WHICH TERUMAH HAS BEEN REMOVED. This is obvious! — This had to be stated, for the case in which the Levite came beforehand [and thus obtained the first tithe] in the ear and he separated the terumah of the tithe,22 but not the great terumah.23 And the rule stated follows R. Abbahu; for R. Abbahu said in the name of Resh Lakish: First tithe for which [the Levite] has come beforehand [and obtained] in the ear is not liable to great terumah, since it says, ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.24 I bid you offer a tithe from the tithe, not the great terumah plus the terumah of the tithe from the tithe. Said R. Papa to Abaye: If that is so, the same should be the case even if he anticipates it at the heap?25 — He replied: It was in anticipation of your question that the text says,
(2) V. Glos.
(3) Excluding open roads and bridges.
(4) And not ‘may not eat’.
(5) When one interrupts his eating, the other must wait till he resumes. This was according to the old custom when all diners ate from the same dish.
(6) After breaking bread, it was the custom for each of the guests to take something out of the dish.
(7) If one interrupts his eating.
(8) Who in this case would be the bridegroom. Lit., ‘he who breaks
(9) As long as the Amen response had not been finished.
(10) And the minority who unduly prolong the Amen response need not be taken into consideration.
(11) I.e., the A should not be slurred over.
(12) The N should be clearly pronounced.
(13) Said by one who has not heard the blessing itself but only the others responding Amen.
(14) He should not gabble it.
(15) So as to be able to join them in the grace.
(16) A name of endearment given by Samuel to Rab.
(17) As dessert, these being our favourite dishes. Therefore it is as though we had not finished and he may join us.
(18) Sc. and it is as though he ate stolen property, over which it is forbidden to make a blessing.
(19) V. Glos.
(20) Dem. III, 1.
(21) I.e., it is only Beth Shammai who provided demai to the poor but Beth Hillel, with whom the law agrees, differ from them.
(22) The tithe given by the Levite to the priest.
(23) The ordinary terumah, (v. Glos. s.v. terumah).
(24) Num. XVIII, 26.
(25) The grain after winnowing, but before being ground.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 47b
Out of all your tithes ye shall offer.1 But still what reason have you [for including corn in the ear and not grain]? — One has been turned into corn the other has not.2
SECOND TITHE OR FOOD BELONGING TO THE SANCTUARY THAT HAS BEEN REDEEMED. This is obvious! — We are dealing here with a case where, for instance, he has given the principal but not the additional fifth;3 and he teaches us here that the fact that the fifth has not been given is no obstacle.4
OR IF AN ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN AS MUCH AS AN OLIVE etc. This is obvious! — You might object that the attendant does not sit through the meal.5 This teaches, therefore, [that this is no objection].
A CUTHEAN MAY BE INCLUDED [IN THE THREE]. Why so? Wherein is he better than an ‘am ha-arez, and it has been taught: An ‘am ha-arez is not reckoned in for zimmun? — Abaye replied: It refers to a Cuthean who is a haber. Raba said: You may even take it to refer to a Cuthean who is an ‘am ha-arez, the passage cited referring to an ‘am ha-arez as defined by the Rabbis who join issue in this matter with R. Meir. For it has been taught: Who is an ‘am ha-arez6 Anyone who does not eat non-sacred food in ritual cleanness. So R. Meir. The Rabbis, however, say: Anyone who does not tithe his produce in the proper way. Now these cutheans do tithe their produce in the proper way, since they are very scrupulous about any injunction written in the Torah; for a Master has said: Whenever the Cutheans have adopted a mizwah, they are much more particular with it than the Jews.6
Our Rabbis taught: Who is an ‘am ha-arez6 Anyone who does not recite the Shema’ evening and morning. This is the view of R. Eliezer. R. Joshua says: Anyone who does not put on tefillin. Ben ‘Azzai says: Anyone who has not a fringe on his garment. R. Nathan says: Anyone who has not a mezuzah on his door. R. Nathan b. Joseph says: Anyone who has sons and does not bring them up to the study of the Torah. Others say: Even if one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah, if he has not ministered to the disciples of the wise,7 he is an ‘am ha-arez. R. Huna said: The halachah is as laid down by ‘Others’.
Rami b. Hama refused to count to zimmun R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa who could repeat Sifra,8 Sifre,9 and halachah. When Rami b. Hama died, Raba said: Rami b. Hama died only because he would not count R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa for zimmun. But it has been taught: Others say that even if one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but has not ministered to the disciples of the wise, he is an ‘am ha-arez? — R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa was different because he used to minister to the Rabbis, and it was Rami b. Hama who did not make proper inquiries about him. According to another version, he used to hear discussions from the mouth of the Rabbis and commit them to memory. and he was therefore like a Rabbinical scholar.
ONE WHO HAS EATEN TEBEL AND FIRST TITHE etc. In the case of tebel this is obvious! — It required to be stated for the case of that which is tebel only by the ordinance of the Rabbis. What for instance? Food grown in a pot without a hole in the bottom.10
FIRST TITHE etc. This is obvious! — It required to be stated for the case where [the Levite] anticipated [the priest] at the heap. You might think that the law is as indicated by R. Papa's question to Abaye;11 this teaches that it is as indicated by the latter's answer.
SECOND TITHE etc. This is obvious! — It is required for the case in which the tithe etc., has been redeemed, but not properly redeemed. Second tithe, for instance, if it has been redeemed for bar silver,12 since the All-Merciful said; Thou shalt bind up [we-zarta] the silver in thy hands,13 implying, silver on which a form [zurah] is stamped. As to FOOD BELONGING TO THE SANCTUARY, if for instance it has been rendered profane for its equivalent in land but has not been redeemed for money, whereas the All Merciful laid down, He shall give the money and it shall be assured unto him.14
OR THE ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN LESS THAN AN OLIVE. This is obvious! — Since the first clause states the rule for the quantity of an olive, the second clause states it for less than an olive.
A GENTILE MAY NOT BE COUNTED. This is obvious! — We are dealing here with the case of a proselyte who has been circumcised but has not yet made ablution. For R. Zera said in the name of R. Johanan: One does not become a proselyte until he has been circumcised and has performed ablution; and so long as he has not performed ablution he is a gentile.
WOMEN SLAVES AND CHILDREN ARE NOT COUNTED [IN THE THREE]. R. Jose said: An infant in the cradle may be counted for zimmun. But we have learnt: WOMEN SLAVES AND CHILDREN MAY NOT BE COUNTED? — He adopts the view of R. Joshua b. Levi. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: Although it was laid down that an infant in a cradle cannot be counted for zimmun, yet he can be counted to make up ten. R. Joshua b. Levi also said: Nine and a slave may be joined [to make up ten].15
The following was cited in objection: Once R. Eliezer entered a synagogue and not finding there ten he liberated his slave and used him to complete the ten. This was because he liberated him, otherwise he could not have done so? — He really required two, and he liberated one and one he used to make up the ten. But how could he act so seeing that Rab Judah has said: If one liberates his slave he transgresses a positive precept, since it says, they shall be your bondmen for ever?16 — If it is for a religious purpose. It is different. But this is a religious act which is carried out by means of a transgression? — A religious act which affects a whole company17 is different.
R. Joshua b. Levi also said: A man should always rise early to go to synagogue so that he may have the merit of being counted in the first ten; since if even a hundred come after him he receives the reward of all of them. ‘The reward of all of them’, say you? — Say rather: He is given a reward equal to that of all of them.
R. Huna said: Nine and the Ark join together [to be counted as ten]. Said R. Nahman to him: Is the Ark a man? I mean, said R. Huna, that when nine look like ten, they may be joined together. Some say [this means] when they are all close together,18 others say when they are scattered. R. Ammi said: Two and the Sabbath may be joined together. Said R. Nahman to him: Is the Sabbath a man? What R. Ammi really said was that two scholars who sharpen one another in the knowledge of the halachah may count as three [for zimmun].19 R. Hisda gave an example: For instance, I and R. Shesheth. R. Shesheth gave an example: For instance, I and R. Hisda.20
R. Johanan said: A boy [who has reached puberty] before his years21 may be counted for zimmun. It has been taught similarly: A boy who has grown two hairs may be counted for zimmun, but if he has not grown two hairs he may not be counted; and we are not particular about a boy. Now this seems to contain a contradiction. You first say that if he has grown two hairs he may count and if not he may not, and then you say, We are not particular with a boy. What case does this include? Is it not
(1) Num, XVIII, 29. The actual word in the text is ‘gifts’.
(2) And it is only from what can be called ‘corn’ that terumah has to be given.
(3) Required for the redemption of second tithe or anything belonging to the Sanctuary.
(4) To render the redemption valid.
(5) He has always to be getting up to wait on the guests.
(6) Hence a Cuthean may be reckoned in.
(7) Rashi explains this to mean that he has not learnt Gemara, which explains the Mishnah.
(8) The Midrash on Leviticus.
(9) The Midrash on Deuteronomy.
(10) So that the earth in it is not in contact with the soil.
(11) V. supra 46b ad fin.
(12) I.e., silver not turned into current coin.
(13) Deut. XIV, 25.
(14) Lev. XXVII, 19. The exact words of the text are: he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy valuation unto it, and it shall be assured to him; v. B.M. (Sonc. ed.) p. 321, n. 1.
(15) For a congregational service which requires a minimum quorum of ten males over the age of thirteen.
(16) Lev. XXV, 46. V. Git. 38b.
(17) As in the case of R. Eliezer.
(18) In which case the absence of one is not so noticeable. The Ark is probably mentioned as being a focal point which enables us to determine whether the worshippers are close together or scattered.
(19) שבת is accordingly explained as an abbreviation for שוגים בדברי תורה (two) who study the Law; v. Goldschmidt.
(20) R. Shesheth and R. Hisda represented each a different type of scholar, the former's forte being an extensive knowledge of traditions, the latter's keen dialectical powers; v. ‘Er. 67a.
(21) I.e., before reaching the age of thirteen years and one day.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 48a
to include a boy who shows signs of puberty before his years? The law, however, is not as laid down in all these statements, but as in this statement of R. Nahman: A boy who knows to whom the benediction is addressed may be counted for zimmun. Abaye and Raba [when boys] were once sitting in the presence of Rabbah. Said Rabbah to them: To whom do we address the benedictions? They replied: To the All-Merciful. And where does the All-Merciful abide? Raba pointed to the roof; Abaye went outside and pointed to the sky. Said Rabbah to them: Both of you will become Rabbis. This accords with the popular saying: Every pumpkin can be told from its stalk.1
Rab Judah the son of R. Samuel b. Shilath said in the name of Rab: If nine persons have eaten corn and one vegetables, they may combine.2 R. Zera said: I asked Rab Judah, What of eight, what of seven,3 and he replied: It makes no difference. Certainly if six [were eating corn]4 I did not need to ask. Said R. Jeremiah to him: You were quite right not to ask. What was the reason there [in the first case]? Because there is a majority [eating corn]; here too there is a majority. He, however, thought that perhaps an easily recognizable majority is required.5
King Jannai and his queen were taking a meal together. Now after he had put the Rabbis to death,6 there was no-one to say grace for them. He said to his spouse: I wish we had someone to say grace for us. She said to him: Swear to me that if I bring you one you will not harm him. He swore to her, and she brought Simeon b. Shetah, her brother.7 She placed him between her husband and herself, saying. See what honour I pay you. He replied: It is not you who honour me but it is the Torah which honours me, as it is written, Exalt her and she shall promote thee,8 [she shall bring thee to honour when thou dost embrace her].9 He [Jannai] said to her: You see that he10 does not acknowledge any authority!11 They gave him a cup of wine to say grace over.12 He said: How shall I say the grace? [Shall I say] Blessed is He of whose sustenance Jannai and his companions have eaten? So he drank that cup, and they gave him another and he said grace over it. R. Abba the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said: Simeon b. Shetah in acting thus13 followed his own view. For thus said R. Hiyya b. Abba in the name of Johanan: A man cannot say grace on behalf of others until he has eaten at least the size of an olive of corn food with them. Even as it was taught:14 R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: If one went up [on the couch] and reclined with them, even though he only dipped [a little bit] with them in brine and ate only one fig with them, he can be combined with them [for zimmun]. Now he can be combined with them, but he cannot say grace on behalf of others until he eats the quantity of an olive of corn food. It has also been stated: R. Hanah b. Judah said in the name of Raba:
(1) Var. lec. from its sap; i.e., as soon as it begins to emerge from the stalk.
(2) To say the zimmun formula for ten, v. next Mishnah.
(3) Who ate corn while two or three ate vegetables.
(4) Aliter: If six were eating corn and four vegetables (omitting ‘certainly’). Rashi's reading (which is found also in Ber. Rab. XCI) is: I am sorry I did not ask what is the rule if six eat (corn). This accords better with what follows.
(5) And even if he were to permit in the first case, he would not permit in the case of six.
(6) V. Kid. (Sonc. ed.) pp. 332ff. notes.
(7) Who was a Pharisaic leader and had been in hiding
(8) Prov. IV, 8.
(9) Cf. Ecclus. XI, 1.
(10) Simeon b. Shetah.
(11) So according to some edd. Cur. edd.: He said to him, See how they (i.e., the Pharisees) do not accept my authority! His reply to the king was regarded by Jannai as an affront and evidence of the Pharisees’ hostility to the throne.
(12) Though he had not joined in the meal.
(13) In saying grace without having eaten anything.
(14) So Bah. Cur. edd.: An objection was raised.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 48b
Even though he only dipped [a little bit] with them in brine or ate with them only one fig, he can be combined with them; but for saying grace on behalf of others he is not qualified until he eats the quantity of an olive of corn food with them. R. Hanah b. Judah said in the name of Raba: The law is that if he ate with them a vegetable-leaf and drank a cup of wine, he can be combined; but he cannot say grace on behalf of others until he eats with them the quantity of an olive of corn food.
R. Nahman said: Moses instituted for Israel the benediction ‘Who feeds’1 at the time when manna descended for them. Joshua instituted for them the benediction of the land2 when they entered the land. David and Solomon instituted the benediction which closes ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’.3 David instituted the words. ‘For Israel Thy people and for Jerusalem Thy city’,4 and Solomon instituted the words ‘For the great and holy House’.4 The benediction ‘Who is good and bestows good’5 was instituted in Jabneh with reference to those who were slain in Bethar. For R. Mattena said: On the day on which permission was given to bury those slain in Bethar,6 they ordained in Jabneh that ‘Who is good and bestows good’ should be said: ‘Who is good’, because they did not putrefy, and ‘Who bestows good’, because they were allowed to be buried.
Our Rabbis taught: The order of grace after meals is as follows. The first benediction is that of ‘Who feeds’. The second is the benediction of the land. The third is ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’. The fourth is ‘Who is good and bestows good’. On Sabbath [the third blessing] commences with consolation and closes with consolation.7 and the holiness of the day is mentioned in the middle [of this blessing]. R. Eliezer says: If he likes he can mention it in the consolation, or he can mention it in the blessing of the land,8 or he can mention it in the benediction which the Rabbis instituted in Jabneh.9 The Sages, however, say that it must be said in the consolation blessing. The Sages say the same thing as the First Tanna? — They differ in the case where he actually did say it [in some other place].10
Our Rabbis taught: Where is the saying of grace intimated in the Torah? In the verse, And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless:11 this signifies the benediction of ‘Who feeds’.12 ‘The Lord Thy God’: this signifies the benediction of zimmun.13 ‘For the land’: this signifies the blessing for the land. ‘The good’: this signifies ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’; and similarly it says This good mountain and Lebanon.14 ‘Which he has given thee’: this signifies the blessing of ‘Who is good and bestows good’. This accounts for the grace after [meals]; how can we prove that there should be a blessing before [food]? — You have an argument a fortiori; if when one is full he says a grace, how much more so should he do so, when he is hungry! Rabbi says: This argument is not necessary. ‘And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless’ signifies the benediction of ‘Who feeds’. The responses of zimmun are derived from O magnify the Lord with me.15 ‘For the land’: this signifies the blessing of the land. ‘The good’: this signifies, ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’; and so it says, ‘This goodly mountain and Lebanon’. ‘Who is good and bestows good’ was instituted in Jabneh. This accounts for the grace after [meals]; whence do I learn that a blessing must be said before [food]? — Because it says, ‘Which He has given thee’, implying, as soon as He has given thee.16 R. Isaac says: This is not necessary. For see, it says, And He shall bless thy bread and thy water.17 Read not u-berak [and he shall bless] but u-barek [and say a blessing]. And when is it called ‘bread’? Before it is eaten. R. Nathan says: This is not necessary. For see, it says, As soon as ye be come into the city ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat; for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice, and afterwards they eat that be bidden.18 Why did they19 make such a long story of it? Because20 women are fond of talking. Samuel, however, says that it was so that they might feast their eyes on Saul's good looks, since it is written, From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people;21 while R. Johanan says it was because one kingdom cannot overlap another by a hair's breadth.22
We have found warrant for blessing over food; whence do we derive it for the blessing over the Torah? R. Ishmael says: It is learnt a fortiori: If a blessing is said for temporal life, how much more should it be said for eternal life! R. Hiyya b. Nahmani, the disciple of R. Ishmael, said in the name of R. Ishmael: This is not necessary. For see, it says, ‘For the good land which He has given thee’, and in another place it says, And I will give thee the tables of stone and a law and commandments, etc.23 (R. Meir says: Whence do we learn that just as one says a blessing for good hap, so he should say one for evil hap? — Because it says, Which the Lord thy God hath given thee, [as much as to say,] which He hath judged thee24 — for every judgment which He has passed on thee, whether it is a doom of happiness or a doom of suffering.) R. Judah b. Bathyrah says: This is not necessary. For see, it says ‘the good’ where it need only have said ‘good’. ‘Good’ signifies the Torah; and so it says, For I give you a good doctrine.25 ‘The good’ signifies the building of Jerusalem; and so it says, This good mount and Lebanon.26
It has been taught: If one does not say the words ‘a desirable, good and extensive land’ in the blessing of the land and does not mention the kingdom of the house of David in the blessing ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’, he has not performed his obligation. Nahum the Elder says: He must mention in it [the second blessing] the covenant. R. Jose says: He must mention in it the Torah. Pelimo says: He must mention the covenant before the Torah, since the latter was given with only three covenants27
(1) The first benediction of the grace.
(2) The second benediction.
(3) The third benediction.
(4) In the third benediction.
(5) The fourth benediction.
(6) The scene of the last stand of the Bar Kocheba Wars, in 135 C.E.
(7) I.e., no change is made. The third blessing commences with ‘Have mercy’, and ends with a prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which is also a prayer for ‘consolation’.
(8) I.e., the second.
(9) The fourth.
(10) In which case the First Tanna insists that it must be said again in the proper place.
(11) Deut. VIII. 10.
(12) This appears to be a mistake for ‘zimmun’. V. Wilna Gaon Glosses.
(13) This appears to be a mistake for ‘Who feeds’. V. Wilna Gaon Glosses.
(14) Deut. III, 25.
(15) Ps. XXXIV, 4.
(16) Even before partaking thereof.
(17) Ex. XXIII, 25.
(18) I Sam. IX, 13.
(19) The women who were talking to Saul.
(20) MS.M. inserts, Rab said: Hence (is proved) that women etc.
(21) Ibid. 2.
(22) Samuel's regime was destined to cease as soon as Saul's commenced.
(23) Ex. XXIV, 12; the derivation here is based on the principle of Gezerah Shawah.
(24) So Bah. Cur. edd.: ‘Thy Judge’, explaining the term ‘thy God Elohim’, which in Rabbinic thought represents God as Judge.
(25) Prov. IV, 2.
(26) The text is in disorder, v. D.S. a.l.
(27) At Mount Sinai (or the Tent of Meeting). at Mount Gerizim and in the plains of Moab.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 49a
but the former with thirteen.1 R. Abba2 says: He must express thanksgiving at the beginning and end of it, or at the very least once; and one who omits to do so at least once is blameworthy. And whoever concludes the blessing of the land with ‘Who givest lands in inheritance’ and ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’ with the words ‘Saviour of Israel’ is a boor.3 And whoever does not mention the covenant and the Torah in the blessing of the land and the kingdom of the house of David in ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’ has not performed his obligation. This supports R. Ela; for R. Ela said in the name of R. Jacob b. Aha in the name of our Teacher:4 ‘Whoever omits to mention covenant and Torah in the blessing of the land and the kingdom of the house of David in ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’ has not performed his obligation. There is a difference of opinion between Abba Jose b. Dosethai and the Rabbis. One authority says that [God's] kingship must be mentioned in the blessing ‘Who is good and bestows good’, the other says it need not be mentioned. The one who says it must be mentioned holds that this blessing has only Rabbinic sanction,5 the one who says it need not be mentioned holds that it has Scriptural sanction.
Our Rabbis taught: How does one conclude the blessing of the building of Jerusalem? — R. Jose son of R. Judah says: Saviour of Israel. ‘Saviour of Israel’ and not ‘Builder of Jerusalem’? Say rather, ‘Saviour of Israel’ also. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah was once at the house of the Exilarch. He mentioned one6 at the beginning of [the third blessing] and both at the end.7 R. Hisda said: Is it a superior way to conclude with two? And has it not been taught: Rabbi says that we do not conclude with two?
The [above] text [stated]: Rabbi says that we do not conclude with two. In objection to this Levi pointed out to Rabbi that we say ‘for the land and for the food’?8 It means, [he replied] a land that produces food. [But we say,] ‘for the land and for the fruits’?9 — [It means,] a land that produces fruits. [But we say], ‘Who sanctifiest Israel and the appointed seasons’?10 [It means,] Israel who sanctify the seasons. [But we say,] Who sanctifiest Israel and New Moons? — [It means,] Israel who sanctify New Moons. [But we say,] Who sanctifies the Sabbath, Israel and the seasons?11 — This is the exception.12 Why then should it be different? — In this case it13 is one act, in the other two, each distinct and separate.14 And what is the reason for not concluding with two? — Because we do not make religious ceremonies into bundles.15 How do we decide the matter? — R. Shesheth says: If one opens with ‘Have mercy on Thy people Israel’ he concludes with ‘Saviour of Israel’; If he opens with ‘Have mercy on Jerusalem’, he concludes with ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’. R. Nahman, however, said: Even if one opens with ‘Have mercy on Israel’, he concludes with ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’, because it says. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem. He gathereth together the dispersed of Israel,16 as if to say: When does God build Jerusalem? — When He gathereth the dispersed of Israel.
R. Zera said to R. Hisda: Let the Master come and teach us [grace]. He replied: The grace after meals I do not know myself, and shall I teach it to others? — He said to him: What do you mean? — Once, he replied. I was at the house of the Exilarch, and l said grace after the meal, and R. Shesheth stretched out his neck at me like a serpent,17 and why? — Because I had made no mention either of covenant or of Torah18 or of kingship.19 And why did you not mention them [asked R. Zera]? Because, he replied. I followed R. Hananel citing Rab; for R. Hananel said in the name of Rab: If one has omitted to mention covenant, Torah and kingship he has still performed his obligation: covenant, because it does not apply to women; ‘Torah and kingship’ because they apply neither to women nor to slaves. And you [he exclaimed] abandoned all those other Tannaim and Amoraim and followed Rab!
Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: The blessing ‘Who is good and bestows good’ must contain mention of [God's] kingship. What does he tell us? That any benediction which does not contain mention of [God's] kingship is no proper blessing? R. Johanan has already said this once!20 R. Zera said: He tells us that it requires kingship to be mentioned twice,21 once for itself and once for the benediction ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’.22 If that is so, we should require three times, once for itself, once for ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’, and once for the blessing of the land?23 Hence what you must say is: Why do we not require one for the blessing of the land? — Because it is a benediction closely connected with the one which precedes it. Then ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’ should also not require it, being a benediction closely connected with the one which precedes it? — The fact is that, strictly speaking, the blessing ‘Who buildest Jerusalem’ also does not require it, but since the kingdom of the house of David is mentioned,24 it is not seemly that the kingship of heaven also should not be mentioned.25 R. Papa said: What he [R. Johanan] meant is this: It requires two mentions of the kingship [of heaven] besides its own.26
R. Zera was once sitting behind R. Giddal, and R. Giddal was sitting facing R. Huna, and as he [R. Giddal] sat, he said: If one forgot and did not mention in the grace Sabbath, he says, ‘Blessed be He who gave Sabbaths for rest to His people Israel in love for a sign and a covenant, blessed is He who sanctifies the Sabbath!’ He [R. Huna] said to him: Who made this statement? — He replied, Rab. He then continued: If one forgot and did not mention the festival, he says, ‘Blessed is He who gave holy days to His people Israel for joy and for remembrance, blessed is He who sanctifies Israel and the festivals’. He again asked him who made the statement, and he answered, Rab. He then continued: If one forgot and did not mention the New Moon, he says, ‘Blessed is He who gave New Moons to His people Israel for a remembrance’. But, said R. Zera: I do not know whether he also said that he must add ‘for joy’, or not, whether he concluded with a benediction or not, or whether he said it on his own authority or was repeating the words of his teacher.27
Once when R. Giddal b. Manyumi was in the presence of R. Nahman, R. Nahman made a mistake [in the grace],28 ____________________
(1) The word of ‘covenant’ occurring thirteen times in the section of the circumcision of Abraham, Gen. XVII, 1-14.
(2) Rab is here intended, v. Marginal Gloss.
(3) Probably because he leaves out the reference to Palestine and Jerusalem; v. infra.
(4) This must refer to Rabbi, Rab, who is usually so designated, being excluded here, since Rab has already stated his view. (V. p. 294, n. 7.)
(5) Hence it is not a continuation of the preceding blessings, which are Scriptural; and therefore kingship must be mentioned afresh in it.
(6) Either Israel or Jerusalem. The third blessing begins ‘Have mercy . . . upon Israel Thy people and upon Jerusalem Thy city’.
(7) Of the third blessing.
(8) In concluding the second blessing.
(9) V. P.B. p. 289.
(10) Ibid. p. 229.
(11) V. P.B. p. 229.
(12) Israel do not sanctify the Sabbath by means of a formal proclamation, hence we cannot here apply the same explanation as in the case of festivals and New Moons.
(13) God's sanctifying of the Sabbath and Israel.
(14) Saving Israel and building Jerusalem.
(15) Cf. Pes. 102b.
(16) Ps. CXLVII. 2.
(17) In astonishment.
(18) In the second benediction.
(19) The kingship of the house of David in the third benediction.
(20) V. supra 40b.
(21) As in fact we find in the benediction of ‘Who is good etc.’, which begins with the formula, ‘Blessed art Thou . . . King of the Universe . . .’ and goes on, ‘Our father, our King . . .’.
(22) Which does not conclude with the formula, ‘Blessed art Thou . . . King of the universe,
(23) Which also concludes without the kingship formula.
(24) In the third blessing.
(25) And therefore we repair the omission in the next benediction.
(26) And in fact the benediction proceeds, ‘Our father our King . . . the king who is good etc.’.
(28) I.e., forgot to mention Sabbath or New Moon.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 49b
and he went back to the beginning. He said to him: What is the reason why your honour does this? — He replied: Because R. Shila said in the name of Rab: If one makes a mistake, he goes back to the beginning. But R. Huna has said in the name of Rab: If he goes wrong, he says, ‘Blessed be He who gave [etc.]’? — He replied: Has it not been stated in reference to this that R. Menashia b. Tahalifa said in the name of Rab: This is the case only where he has not commenced, ‘Who is good and bestows good’; but if he has commenced ‘Who is good and bestows good’, he goes back to the beginning.
R. Idi b. Abin said in the name of R. Amram quoting R. Nahman who had it from Samuel: If one by mistake omitted to mention New Moon in the Tefillah, he is made to begin again; if in the grace after meals, he is not made to begin again. Said R. Idi b. Abin to R. Amram: Why this difference between Tefillah and grace? — He replied: I also had the same difficulty, and I asked R. Nahman, and he said to me: From Mar Samuel personally I have not heard anything on the subject, but let us see for ourselves. [I should say that] in the case of Tefillah, which is obligatory, he is made to begin again, but in the case of a meal, which he can eat or not eat as he pleases, he is not made to begin again. But if that is so [said the other], in the case of Sabbaths and festivals, on which it is not possible for him to abstain from eating, I should also say that if he makes a mistake he must go back to the beginning? — He replied: That is so; for R. Shila said in the name of Rab: If one goes wrong, he goes back to the beginning. But has not R. Huna said in the name of Rab that if one goes wrong he says ‘Blessed is He who gave [etc.]’? — Has it not been stated in reference to this that this is the case only if he has not commenced ‘Who is good and bestows good’, but if he has commenced, ‘Who is good and bestows good’, he goes back to the beginning?
HOW MUCH [MUST ONE HAVE EATEN] TO COUNT etc. This would seem to show that R. Meir's standard is an olive and R. Judah's an egg. But we understand the opposite, since we have learnt: Similarly, if one has left Jerusalem and remembers that he has in his possession holy flesh, if he has gone beyond Zofim1 he burns it on the spot, and if not he goes back and burns it in front of the Temple with some of the wood piled on the altar. For what minimum quantity do they turn back? R. Meir says: In either case,2 the size of an egg; R. Judah says: In either case the size of an olive.3 R. Johanan said: The names must be reversed. Abaye said: There is no need to reverse. In this case [of zimmun] they differ in the interpretation of a Scriptural text. R. Meir holds that ‘thou shalt eat’ refers to eating and ‘thou shalt be satisfied’ to drinking, and the standard of eating is an olive. R. Judah holds that ‘And thou shalt eat and be satisfied’ signifies an eating which gives satisfaction, and this must be as much as an egg. In the other case, they differ in their reasoning. R. Meir considers that the return for a thing should be analogous to its defilement; just as its defilement is conditioned by the quantity of an egg, so is the return for it conditioned by the quantity of an egg.4 R. Judah held that the return for it should be analogous to its prohibition. Just as the prohibition thereof comes into force for the quantity of an olive, so is the return for it conditioned by the quantity of an olive.
MISHNAH. WHAT IS THE FORMULA FOR ZIMMUN? IF THERE ARE THREE, HE [THE ONE SAYING GRACE] SAYS, ‘LET US BLESS [HIM OF WHOSE BOUNTY WE HAVE EATEN]’. IF THERE ARE THREE BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS, ‘BLESS’. IF THERE ARE TEN, HE SAYS, LET US BLESS OUR GOD’; IF THERE ARE TEN BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS,’BLESS’. IT IS THE SAME WHETHER THERE ARE TEN OR TEN MYRIADS.5 IF THERE ARE A HUNDRED HE SAYS, ‘LET US BLESS THE LORD OUR GOD’; IF THERE ARE A HUNDRED BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS, ‘BLESS’. IF THERE ARE A THOUSAND HE SAYS ‘LET US BLESS THE LORD OUR GOD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL’; IF THERE ARE A THOUSAND BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS ‘BLESS’. IF THERE ARE TEN THOUSAND HE SAYS, ‘LET US BLESS THE LORD OUR GOD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, THE GOD OF HOSTS, WHO DWELLS AMONG THE CHERUBIM, FOR THE FOOD WHICH WE HAVE EATEN’. IF THERE ARE TEN THOUSAND BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS, ‘BLESS’. CORRESPONDING TO HIS INVOCATION THE OTHERS RESPOND, ‘BLESSED BE THE LORD OUR GOD THE GOD OF ISRAEL, THE GOD OF HOSTS, WHO DWELLS AMONG THE CHERUBIM, FOR THE FOOD WHICH WE HAVE EATEN’. R. JOSE THE GALILEAN SAYS: THE FORMULA OF INVOCATION CORRESPONDS TO THE NUMBER ASSEMBLED, AS IT SAYS: BLESS YE GOD IN FULL ASSEMBLIES, EVEN THE LORD, YE THAT ARE FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF ISRAEL.6 SAID R. AKIBA: WHAT DO WE FIND IN THE SYNAGOGUE? WHETHER THERE ARE MANY OR FEW7 THE READER SAYS, ‘BLESS YE THE LORD.8 R. ISHMAEL SAYS: BLESS YE THE LORD WHO IS BLESSED.
GEMARA. Samuel said: A man should never exclude himself from the general body.9 We have learnt: IF THERE ARE THREE BESIDE HIMSELF HE SAYS ‘BLESS’?10 —
(1) Mt. Scopus, the furthest point from which the Temple was still visible.
(2) The case of holy flesh just mentioned, and the case of leaven which one who is bringing the Paschal lamb remembers that he has not cleared out of his house.
(3) V. Pes. (Sonc. ed.) p. 23 notes.
(4) Less than the quantity of an egg does not communicate defilement in case of food.
(5) This is the opinion of R. Akiba, as appears infra.
(6) Ps. LXVIII, 27.
(7) Provided there are ten.
(8) V. P.B. p. 37 and p. 68.
(9) He should always say ‘Let us bless’.
(10) Thus excluding himself from their company.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 50a
Read: he may also say ‘Bless’; but all the same to say ‘Let us bless’ is preferable. For R. Adda b. Ahabah said: The school of Rab say: We have learnt that [a company consisting of from] six to ten may divide.1 Now if you say that ‘Let us bless’ is preferable, we can see a reason why they should divide. But if you say that ‘Bless’ is preferable, why should they divide?2 You must therefore conclude that ‘Let us bless’ is preferable; and so we do conclude.
It has been taught to the same effect: Whether he says ‘Bless’ or ‘Let us bless’, no fault is to be found with him for this. But those who are punctilious do find fault with him for this.3 And from the way a man says the benedictions it may be recognized whether he is a scholar or not. For example, Rabbi says: If he says ‘and by his goodness’, he is a scholar; if he says ‘and from his goodness’, he shows himself an ignoramus.4 Said Abaye to R. Dimi: But it is written, And from thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.?5 — In a petition it is different.6 But of a petition also it is written, Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it?7 — That was written with reference to words of Torah. It has been taught: Rabbi says: If one says, ‘And by his goodness we live’, he shows himself a scholar; if he says ‘they live’, he shows himself an ignoramus.8 The scholars of Neharbel9 state the opposite,10 but the law is not as stated by the scholars of Neharbel. R. Johanan says: If one says ‘let us bless Him of whose bounty we have partaken’ he shows himself a scholar; if he says ‘Let us bless the one of whose bounty we have partaken’, he shows himself an ignoramus.11 Said R. Aha the son of Raba to R. Ashi: But do we not say ‘We will bless the one who wrought for our ancestors and for us all these miracles’?12 — He replied: There the meaning is obvious, for who performs miracles? The Holy One, blessed be He. R. Johanan said: If one says ‘Blessed is He of whose bounty we have eaten’, he shows himself a scholar. If he says, ‘For the food which we have eaten’,13 he shows himself an ignoramus. R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: This is the case only where there are three, since the name of heaven is not mentioned [in the zimmun],14 but if there are ten, since the name of heaven is mentioned, it is clear what is meant, as we have learnt: CORRESPONDING TO HIS INVOCATION THE OTHERS RESPOND,’BLESSED BE THE LORD OUR GOD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, THE GOD OF HOSTS, WHO DWELLS AMONG THE CHERUBIM, FOR THE FOOD WHICH WE HAVE EATEN.’
IT IS THE SAME WHETHER THERE ARE TEN OR TEN MYRIADS. There seems here to be a contradiction. You say, IT IS THE SAME WHETHER THERE ARE TEN OR TEN MYRIADS, which would show that they are all alike. Then it states: IF THERE ARE A HUNDRED HE SAYS so and so, IF THERE ARE A THOUSAND HE SAYS, IF THERE ARE TEN THOUSAND HE SAYS? — R. Joseph said: There is no contradiction; the one statement expresses the view of R. Akiba, the other of R. Jose the Galilean, since we have learnt: R. JOSE THE GALILEAN SAYS: THE FORMULA OF INVOCATION CORRESPONDS TO THE NUMBER ASSEMBLED, AS IT SAYS: BLESS YE GOD IN ALL ASSEMBLIES, EVEN THE LORD, YE THAT ARE FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF ISRAEL.
SAID R. AKIBA: WHAT DO WE FIND IN THE SYNAGOGUE etc. And what does R. Akiba make of the verse cited by R. Jose the Galilean? — He wants it for the following lesson, as it has been taught: R. Meir used to say: Whence do we learn that even children [yet unborn] in their mothers’ womb chanted a song by the Red Sea? — Because it says, Bless ye the Lord in full assemblies, even the Lord, ye that are from the fountain of Israel.15 What says the other [R. Jose] to this? — He derives the lesson from the word ‘fountain’.
Raba said: The halachah is as laid down by R. Akiba. Rabina and R. Hama b. Buzi once dined at the house of the Exilarch, and R. Hama got up and commenced to look about for a hundred. Said Rabina to him: There is no need for this. For thus said Raba: The halachah is as stated by R. Akiba.
Raba said: When we take a meal at the house of the Exilarch, we say grace in groups of three.16 Why not in groups of ten?17 — Because the Exilarch might hear them and be angry.18 But could not the grace of the Exilarch suffice for them? — Since everybody would respond loudly, they would not hear the one who says grace.
Raba Tosfa'ah said: If three persons had a meal together and one said grace for himself before the others, his zimmun is effective for them but theirs is not effective for him,19 since zimmun cannot be said out of its place.20
R. ISHMAEL SAYS. Rafram b. Papa once attended the synagogue of Abi Gobar.21 He was called up to read in the Scroll and he said, ‘Bless ye the Lord’ and stopped, without adding ‘who is to be blessed’. The whole congregation cried out, ‘Bless ye the Lord who is to be blessed’. Raba said to him: You black pot!22 Why do you want to enter into controversy?23 And besides, the general custom is to use the formula of R. Ishmael.
MISHNAH. IF THREE PERSONS HAVE EATEN TOGETHER THEY MAY NOT SEPARATE [FOR GRACE].24 SIMILARLY WITH FOUR AND SIMILARLY WITH FIVE.25 SIX MAY DIVIDE,26 [AND HIGHER NUMBERS] UP TO TEN; BETWEEN TEN AND TWENTY THEY MAY NOT DIVIDE. IF TWO GROUPS EAT IN THE SAME ROOM, AS LONG AS SOME OF THE ONE CAN SEE SOME OF THE OTHER THEY COMBINE [FOR ZIMMUN], BUT OTHERWISE EACH GROUP MAKES ZIMMUN FOR ITSELF. A BLESSING IS NOT SAID OVER THE WINE UNTIL WATER IS PUT IN IT.27 SO R. ELIEZER. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAY THAT THE BLESSING MAY BE SAID.
GEMARA. What does this tell us? We have already learnt it once: Three persons who have eaten together must say zimmun?28 — This teaches us the same thing as was stated by R. Abba in the name of Samuel: If three persons have sat down to eat, even though they have not yet commenced, they are not at liberty to separate. Another version: R. Abba said in the name of Samuel: What is meant is this: if three persons sit down to eat together, even though each eats of his own loaf, they are not at liberty to separate. Or [it may teach us] the same as R. Huna; for R. Huna said: If three persons from these groups come together,29 they are not at liberty to separate.30 R. Hisda said: This is only if they come from three groups of three men each.31 Raba said:
(1) I.e., form groups of three or four. But ten may not divide, since they will not then be able to say ‘Our God’.
(2) Rashi reads: ‘Why should six divide?’ If they form two groups of three, neither can say ‘bless’.
(3) For excluding himself from the group.
(4) Because he belittles the goodness of the Almighty.
(5) 11 Sam. VII, 29.
(6) The Petitioner likes to be modest in his request.
(7) Ps. LXXXI, 11.
(8) Because he excludes himself from their company.
(9) Neharbel, east of Bagdad.
(10) Taking ‘they live’ to refer to the whole of mankind.
(11) Because this form may be taken to refer to the host.
(12) In the Haggadah on Passover eve.
(13) Without assigning its ownership to God.
(14) In the responses ‘Let us bless our God’.
(15) The lesson being derived from the word ‘assemblies’.
(16) Before the Exilarch finishes and says grace.
(17) So as to add the word ‘Our God’.
(18) At their not waiting for him.
(19) I.e., he does not perform the mizwah of zimmun.
(20) V. supra. p. 278. n. 6.
(21) Be Gobar, in the vicinity of Mahuzah.
(22) Probably he was of swarthy complexion.
(23) I.e., follow a minority view.
(24) But must say zimmun together.
(25) One or two may not say grace for themselves.
(26) Into two groups of three.
(27) To dilute it, otherwise it is too strong to be drunk.
(28) V. supra 45b.
(29) Each having left his group for one reason or another.
(30) But they must say grace together even though they have not eaten together.
(31) So that each of them was under the obligation of zimmun.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 50b
This applies only if the groups had not already counted them for zimmun; but if they had reckoned upon them where they were,1 the obligation of zimmun has departed from them. Said Raba: Whence do I derive this rule? Because we have learnt: If the half of a bed has been stolen or lost, or if a bed has been divided by brothers or partners, it cannot receive uncleanness. If it is restored [to its original state] it can receive uncleanness thenceforward. Thenceforward it can, but not retrospectively.2 This shows that from the time it was divided, uncleanness no longer attached to it.3 So here, once they had used them for zimmun, the obligation of zimmun no longer attached to them.4
TWO GROUPS etc. A Tanna taught: If there is an attendant waiting on both, the attendant combines them.5
A BLESSING IS NOT SAID OVER WINE. Our Rabbis taught: If wine has not yet been mixed with water, we do not say over it the blessing ‘Who createst the fruit of the vine’,6 but ‘Who createst the fruit of the tree’, and it can be used for washing the hands.7 Once water has been mixed with it, we say over it the blessing ‘Who createst the fruit of the vine’, and it may not be used for washing the hands. So R. Eliezer. The Sages, however, say: In either case we say over it the blessing ‘Who createst the fruit of the vine’, and we do not use it for washing the hands. Whose view is followed in this statement of Samuel: A man may use bread for any purpose he likes?8 — Whose view? That of R. Eliezer. R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: The Sages agree with R. Eliezer in the matter of the cup of wine used for grace, that a blessing should not be said over it until water has been added. What is the reason? — R. Oshaiah said: For a religious ceremony we require the best. And according to the Rabbis — for what kind of drink is undiluted wine suitable? — It is suitable for [mixing with] karyotis.9
Our Rabbis taught: Four things have been said with reference to bread. Raw meat should not be placed on bread; a full cup should not be passed along over bread;10 bread should not be thrown; and a dish should not be propped up on bread. Amemar and Mar Zutra and R. Ashi were once taking a meal together. Dates and pomegranates were served to them, and Mar Zutra took some and threw them in front of R. Ashi as his portion. He said to him: Does not your honour agree with what has been taught, that eatables should not be thrown? — [He replied]: That was laid down with reference to bread. But it has been taught that just as bread is not to be thrown, so eatables should not be thrown? But, he replied. it has also been taught that although bread is not to be thrown, eatables may be thrown? But in fact there is no contradiction; one statement refers to things which are spoilt by throwing,11 the other to things which are not spoilt.
Our Rabbis taught: Wine can be run through pipes12 before the bridegroom and the bride, and roasted ears of corn and nuts may be thrown in front of them in the summer season but not in the rainy season;13 while cakes may not be thrown in front of them either in the summer or the rainy season.14
Rab Judah said: If one forgot and put food into his mouth without saying a blessing, he shifts it to the side of his mouth and says the blessing. One [Baraitha] taught that he swallows it, and another taught that he spits it out, and yet another taught that he shifts it to one side. There is no contradiction. Where it says that he swallows it, the reference is to liquids; where it says that he spits it out, the reference is to something which is not spoilt thereby; and when it says that he shifts it, the reference is to something which would be spoilt [by being spat out].
(1) I.e., if the party to which they belonged consisted of four persons each and they had left only after their respective parties has said the zimmun formula introducing the grace.
(2) Kelim XVIII, 9.
(3) An incomplete article does not contract defilement.
(4) Lit., ‘flew away from them’.
(5) Even though they do not see one another.
(6) Because as yet it shows no improvement over its original condition. This, of course, refers to the very strong wine of the ancients.
(7) Like fruit juice.
(8) I.e., wiping his hands after a meal, in spite of the general rule that food must not be wasted.
(9) A kind of date with the shape of a nut, used for medicinal purpose.
(10) For fear some should spill on the bread.
(11) I.e., ripe, juicy figs.
(12) This was done either as a symbol of prosperity, or for the purpose of diffusing a pleasant odour; it could be caught up in cups and so not wasted.
(13) Because they may be spoilt by the muddy roads.
(14) Because in either case they may be spoilt.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 51a
But why should he not also shift to one side anything which would not be spoilt and say the blessing? — R. Isaac Kaskasa'ah1 gave the reason in the presence of R. Jose son of R. Abin, quoting R. Johanan: Because it says, My mouth shall be filled with Thy praise.2
R. Hisda was asked: If one has eaten and drunk without saying a blessing, should he say the blessing afterwards? — He replied: If one has eaten garlic so that his breath smells, should he eat more garlic so that his breath should go on smelling?3 Rabina said: Therefore4 even if he has finished his meal he should say the blessing retrospectively, since it has been taught: If a man has taken a ritual immersion and come out of the water, he should say on his emerging, ‘Blessed be He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning immersion’. This, however, is not correct. In that case [of immersion] the man at the outset was not in a fit state to say a blessing;5 in this case the man at the outset was in a fit state, and once it has been omitted it must remain omitted.
Our Rabbis taught: Asparagus brew6 is good for the heart and good for the eyes, and, needless to say, for the bowels. If one uses it regularly it is good for the whole body, but if one gets drunk on it it is bad for the whole body. Since it is stated that it is good for the heart, we infer that we are dealing with a brew of wine. Yet it states that it is, needless to say, good for the bowels; but surely it has been taught: For La'AT7 it is good. for Ramat8 it is bad? — Our statement9 was made with reference to a brew of old wine,10 as we have learnt: If one takes a vow to abstain from wine because it is bad for the bowels and they say to him, Is not the old wine good for the bowels, and he says nothing, he is forbidden to drink new wine but permitted to drink old wine.11 This proves [that we are dealing with old wine].
Our Rabbis taught: Six things were said with reference to asparagus. It is only taken when the wine is undiluted and from a [full] cup; it is received in the right hand and held in the left hand when drunk; one should not talk after drinking it, nor stop in the middle of drinking it, and it should be returned only to the person who served it; one should spit after drinking it, and he should take immediately after it12 only something of the same kind. But it has been taught: He should take immediately after it only bread? — There is no contradiction: the one statement applies to a brew of wine, the other to a brew of beer.
One [authority] teaches: It is good for La'AT and bad for Ramat, while another teaches that it is good for Ramat and bad for La'AT! There is no contradiction: one statement speaks of a brew of wine, the other of a brew of beer. One [authority] teaches that if he spits after it he will suffer, another that if he does not spit after it he will suffer! There is no contradiction: the one statement speaks of a brew of wine, the other of a brew of beer. R. Ashi said: Now that you say that if he does not spit after it he will suffer, he should eject the liquid even in the presence of a king.
R. Ishmael b. Elisha said: Three things were told me by Suriel the Officer of the [Divine] Presence.13 Do not take your shirt from the hand of your attendant when dressing in the morning,14 and do not let water be poured over your hands by one who has not already washed his own hands, and do not return a cup of asparagus brew to anyone save the one who has handed it to you, because a company of demons (according to others, a band of destroying angels) lie in wait for a man and say, When will the man do one of these things so that we can catch him.
R. Joshua b. Levi says: Three things were told me by the Angel of Death. Do not take your shirt from your attendant when dressing in the morning, and do not let water be poured on your hands by one who has not washed his own hands,15 and do not stand in front of women when they are returning from the presence of a dead person, because I go leaping in front of them with my sword in my hand, and I have permission to harm. If one should happen to meet them what is his remedy? — Let him turn aside four cubits; if there is a river, let him cross it, and if there is another road let him take it, and if there is a wall, let him stand behind it;16 and if he cannot do any of these things, let him turn his face away and say, And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan etc.,17 until they have passed by.
R. Zera said in the name of R. Abbahu — according to others, it was taught in a Baraitha: Ten things have been said in connection with the cup used for grace after meals. It requires to be rinsed and washed, it must be undiluted and full, it requires crowning and wrapping,18 it must be taken up with both hands and placed in the right hand, it must be raised a handbreadth from the ground, and he who says the blessing must fix his eyes on it. Some add that he must send it round to the members of his household. R. Johanan said: We only know of four: rinsing, washing, undiluted and full. A Tanna taught: Rinsing refers to the inside, washing to the outside. R. Johanan said: Whoever says the blessing over a full cup is given an inheritance without bounds, as it says, And full with the blessing of the Lord; possess thou the sea and the south.19 R. Jose son of R. Hanina says: He is privileged to inherit two worlds, this world and the next. ‘Crowning’: Rab Judah crowned it with disciples;20 R. Hisda surrounded it with cups. ‘And undiluted’: R. Shesheth said: Up to the blessing of the land.21 ‘Wrapping’: R. Papa used to wrap himself in his robe and sit down [to say grace over a cup]; R. Assi spread a kerchief over his head. ‘It is taken in both hands’: R. Hinena b. Papa said: What is the Scriptural warrant for this? — Lift up your hands in holiness and bless ye the Lord.22 ‘And placed in the right hand’. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: The earlier [students] asked: Should the left hand support the right? — R. Ashi said: Since the earlier [students] inquired and the question was not decided
(1) The reading is not certain.
(2) Ps. LXXI, 8. There should be no room for anything besides the benediction.
(3) I.e., having made one mistake, should he make another by not saying a blessing over the part he has still to eat (Maharsha).
(4) Since he stops in the middle to say the blessing which he did not say at the beginning.
(5) Having been unclean.
(6) A beverage made by soaking certain roots in wine or beer.
(7) L == leb (heart); ‘A == ‘ayin (eyes); T == tehol (milt).
(8) R == rosh (head); M == me'ayim (bowels); T == tahtonioth (piles).
(9) Lit., ‘that’.
(10) At least three years old (Rashi).
(11) Ned. 66a.
(12) Lit., ‘he must only support it with’. (9) According to Rashi, bread should be taken after wine; according to the Aruch, after beer.
(13) I.e., an angel of high rank.
(14) But get it yourself.
(15) MS.M. inserts: and do not return the cup of asparagus brew to anyone save the one who has handed it to you. Do not enter alone a synagogue in which children are not being taught, because I hide there my weapons; and when there is a pestilence raging in the city do not walk in the middle of the road but on the side, and when there is peace in the city, do not walk on the side but in the middle of the road.
(16) MS.M. inserts: and turn his face to the wall.
(17) Zech. III, 2.
(18) This is explained infra.
(19) Deut. XXXIII, 23.
(20) I.e., made them sit around him.
(21) I.e., up to this point he leaves it undiluted, then he adds water. This is the reading of Alfasi; the reading of our text which has the words ‘R. Hanan said’ before ‘and undiluted’ is not intelligible.
(22) Ps. CXXXIV, 2.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 51b
we will follow the more stringent view.1 ‘He raises it a handbreadth from the ground’: R. Aha b. Hanina said: What Scriptural text have we for this? — I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.2 ‘He fixes his eyes on it’: so that his attention should not wander from it. ‘He sends it round to the members of his household’: so that his wife may be blessed.
‘Ulla was once at the house of R. Nahman. They had a meal and he said grace, and he handed the cup of benediction to R. Nahman. R. Nahman said to him: Please send the cup of benediction to Yaltha.3 He said to him: Thus said R. Johanan: The fruit of a woman's body is blessed only from the fruit of a man's body, since it says, He will also bless the fruit of thy body.4 It does not say the fruit of her body, but the fruit of thy body. It has been taught similarly: Whence do we know that the fruit of a woman's body is only blessed from the fruit of a man's body? Because it says: He will also bless the fruit of thy body. It does not say the fruit of her body, but the fruit of thy body. Meanwhile Yaltha heard,5 and she got up in a passion and went to the wine store and broke four hundred jars of wine. R. Nahman said to him: Let the Master send her another cup. He sent it to her with a message: All that wine6 can be counted as a benediction. She returned answer: Gossip comes from pedlars and vermin from rags.7
R. Assi said: One should not speak over the cup of benediction.8 R. Assi also said: One should not speak over the cup of punishment. What is the cup of punishment? — R. Nahman b. Isaac said: a second cup.9 It has been taught similarly: He who drinks an even number10 should not say grace,11 because it says, Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel,12 and this one is not fitly prepared.
R. Abbahu said (according to others, it was taught in a Baraitha): One who eats as he walks says grace standing; if he eats standing up he says grace sitting; if he eats reclining he sits up to say grace.
The law is that in all cases he says grace sitting.
MISHNAH. THESE ARE THE POINTS [OF DIFFERENCE] BETWEEN BETH SHAMMAI AND BETH HILLEL IN RELATION TO A MEAL. BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT THE BENEDICTION IS FIRST SAID OVER THE DAY13 AND THEN OVER THE WINE, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT THE BENEDICTION IS FIRST SAID OVER THE WINE AND THEN OVER THE DAY. BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT WASHING THE HANDS PRECEDES THE FILLING OF THE CUP,14 WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT THE FILLING OF THE CUP PRECEDES THE WASHING OF THE HANDS. BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT AFTER WIPING HIS HANDS WITH A NAPKIN THE DINER PLACES IT ON THE TABLE, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT HE PLACES IT ON THE CUSHION.15 BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT [AFTER THE MEAL] THE FLOOR IS SWEPT BEFORE THE WASHING OF THE HANDS,16 WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT [THE DINERS] WASH THEIR HANDS AND THEN THE FLOOR IS SWEPT. BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT [THE PROPER ORDER17 IS] LIGHT, GRACE, SPICES, AND HABDALAH, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY: LIGHT, SPICES, GRACE, AND HABDALAH.18 BETH SHAMMAI SAY [THAT THE BLESSING OVER LIGHT CONCLUDES WITH THE WORDS], WHO CREATED THE LIGHT OF THE FIRE, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY [THAT THE WORDS ARE], WHO IS CREATING THE LIGHTS OF THE FIRE.
A BENEDICTION MAY NOT BE SAID OVER THE LIGHTS OR THE SPICES OF IDOLATERS OR OVER THE LIGHTS OR THE SPICES OF DEAD,19 OR OVER THE LIGHTS OR THE SPICES OF IDOLATRY, AND A BLESSING IS NOT SAID OVER THE LIGHT UNTIL IT HAS BEEN UTILIZED.
IF ONE HAS EATEN AND FORGOTTEN TO SAY GRACE, BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT HE MUST RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE HE ATE AND SAY THE GRACE, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT HE SHOULD SAY IT IN THE PLACE WHERE HE REMEMBERED. UNTIL WHEN CAN HE SAY THE GRACE? UNTIL SUFFICIENT TIME HAS PASSED FOR THE FOOD IN HIS STOMACH TO BE DIGESTED. IF WINE IS SERVED TO THEM AFTER THE FOOD, AND THAT IS THE ONLY CUP THERE, BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT A BLESSING IS FIRST SAID OVER THE WINE AND THEN [THE GRACE] OVER THE FOOD, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT A BLESSING IS FIRST SAID OVER THE FOOD AND THEN OVER THE WINE. ONE SAYS AMEN AFTER A BLESSING SAID BY AN ISRAELITE BUT NOT AFTER A BLESSING SAID BY A CUTHEAN, UNLESS THE WHOLE OF IT HAS BEEN HEARD.20
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: The points of difference between Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel in relation to a meal are as follows: Beth Shammai say that the blessing is first said over the [sanctity of] the day and then over the wine, because it is on account of the day that the wine is used, and [moreover] the day has already become holy21 before the wine has been brought. Beth Hillel say that a blessing is said over the wine first and then over the day, because the wine provides the occasion for saying a benediction.22 Another explanation is that the blessing over wine is said regularly23 while the blessing of the day is said only at infrequent intervals, and that which comes regularly always has precedence over that which comes infrequently. The halachah is as laid down by Beth Hillel. What is the point of the ‘other explanation’? — Should you say that there [in explanation of Beth Shammai's view] two reasons are given and here [in explanation of Beth Hillel's] only one, we reply, there are two here also, [the second one being that] the blessing over wine is regular and the blessing of the day infrequent, and that which is regular has precedence over that which is infrequent, ‘And the halachah is as stated by Beth Hillel’. This is self-evident, for the Bath Kol24 went forth [and proclaimed so]!25 If you like I can reply that this statement was made before the Bath Kol [had issued forth], and if you like I can say that it was made after the Bath Kol ____________________
(1) And do not support with the left.
(2) Ibid. CXVI, 13.
(3) R. Nahman's wife.
(4) Deut. VII, 13.
(5) That ‘Ulla had refused to send her the cup.
(6) I.e., all the wine of the flask from which the cup of benediction was poured.
(7) As much as to say, what could he expected from a man like ‘Ulla.
(8) Once it is taken up for grace, it is not permitted to speak.
(9) Even numbers were supposed to he unlucky.
(10) Lit., ‘Doubles’.
(11) Probably it means, lead in the grace.
(12) Amos IV, 12.
(13) E.g., Sabbath or festival.
(14) The cup of benediction drunk before meals, v. supra 43a.
(15) The reason is given in the Gemara.
(16) The ‘latter water’ before grace.
(17) After a meal on the conclusion of the Sabbath or festival when habdalah (v. Glos.) has to be said.
(18) I.e., the principal benediction in the habdalah, v. Glos.
(19) Used at a funeral, cf. Roman turibula and faces.
(20) For fear he may have made all allusion to Mount Gerizim.
(21) At sunset or before by the formal acceptance of the sanctity of the day in prayers or otherwise.
(22) If there is no wine or its equivalent, no benediction is said.
(23) I.e., practically every day.
(24) Lit., ‘daughter of a voice’, ‘A heavenly voice’.
(25) V. ‘Er. 13b.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 52a
and that it represents the view of R. Joshua, who said that we pay no attention to a Bath Kol.1
But do Beth Shammai hold that the blessing over the day is more important, seeing that it has been taught: ‘When one goes into his house on the outgoing of Sabbath, he says blessings over wine and light and spices and then he says the habdalah [benediction].2 If he has only one cup, he keeps it for after the meal and then says the other blessings in order after it? — But how do you know that this represents the view of Beth Shammai? Perhaps it represents the view of Beth Hillel? — Do not imagine such a thing. For it mentions first light and then spices; and who is it that we understand to hold this view? Beth Shammai, as it has been taught: R. Judah says: Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel concurred in holding that the grace after food comes first and the habdalah [benediction] last. In regard to what did they differ? In regard to the light and the spices, Beth Shammai holding that light should come first and then spices, and Beth Hillel that spices should come first and then light. And how do you know that this represents the view of Beth Shammai as reported by R. Judah? Perhaps it represents the view of Beth Hillel as reported by R. Meir!3 — Do not imagine such a thing. For it states here, BETH SHAMMAI SAY, LIGHT, GRACE AND SPICES, AND HABDALAH; WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY LIGHT, SPICES, GRACE, AND HABDALAH, and there in the Baraitha it says, ‘If he has only one cup he keeps it for grace and says the others in order after it’. This shows that it represents the view of Beth Shammai as reported by R. Judah. In any case there is a difficulty?4 — Beth Shammai hold that the entrance of a [holy] day is different from its outgoing. At its entrance, the earlier we can make it the better, but at its exit, the longer we can defer it the better, so that it should not seem to be a burden on us.
But do Beth Shammai hold that grace requires a cup [of wine] seeing that we have learnt: IF WINE IS SERVED TO THEM AFTER THE FOOD,5 AND THAT IS THE ONLY CUP THERE, BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT A BLESSING IS FIRST SAID OVER THE WINE AND THEN [THE GRACE] OVER THE FOOD. Does not this mean that he says a blessing over it and drinks it?6 No; he says a blessing over it and puts it aside.7 But a Master has said: [After saying the blessing] one must taste it? — He does taste it. But a Master has said: If he tastes it he spoils it?8 — He tastes it with his finger. But a Master has said: The cup of benediction must have a certain quantity, and he diminishes it? — We must suppose that he has more than the prescribed quantity. But it says, ‘If there is only that cup’? — There is not enough for two but more than enough for one. But R. Hiyya taught: Beth Shammai say that he says a blessing over wine and drinks it and then says grace? — Two Tannaim report Beth Shammai differently.9
BETH SHAMMAI SAY etc. Our Rabbis taught: Beth Shammai say that washing of the hands precedes the filling of the cup. For should you say that the filling of the cup comes first, there is a danger lest liquid on the back of the cup will be rendered unclean through one's hands and it in turn will render the cup unclean. But would not the hands make the cup itself unclean? — Hands receive uncleanness in second degree,10 and that which has received uncleanness in the second degree cannot pass on the uncleanness to a third degree in the case of non-sacred things, save through liquids.11 Beth Hillel, however, say that the cup is first filled and then the hands are washed. For if you say that the hands are washed first, there is a danger lest the liquid on the hands should become unclean through the cup12 and should then in turn make the hands unclean. But would not the cup make the hands themselves unclean? — A vessel does not make a man unclean. But would not [the cup] render unclean the liquid inside it? — We are here dealing with a vessel the outside of which has been rendered unclean by liquid, in which case its inside is clean and its outside unclean, as we have learnt: If the outside of a vessel has been rendered unclean by liquids, its outside is unclean
(1) ‘Er. 7a.
(2) Which is the blessing of the day.
(4) That Beth Shammai seem to give precedence to the blessing over wine over that of the day.
(5) But before grace has been said.
(6) That is if he wishes, he can drink the wine before the grace.
(7) To serve as the cup of benediction.
(8) For other ceremonial purposes.
(9) R. Hiyya reporting them as saying that the grace after meals does not require a cup of benediction.
(10) They are rendered unclean by something which has become unclean through touching something by its nature unclean.
(11) This is a Rabbinic rule enunciated in Toh. II, 3.
(12) Supposing that this happens to be unclean.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 52b
while its inside, its rim, its handle and its haft are clean. If its inside has been rendered unclean, it is all unclean. What is the point at issue between them? — Beth Shammai hold that it is forbidden to use a vessel the outside of which has been rendered unclean by liquids for fear of drippings,1 and consequently there is no need to fear that the liquid on the hands will be rendered unclean by the cup.2 Beth Hillel on the other hand hold that it is permitted to use a vessel the outside of which has been rendered unclean by liquids, considering that drippings are unusual, and consequently there is a danger lest the liquid on the [undried] hands should be rendered unclean through the cup.3 Another explanation is, so that the meal should follow immediately the washing of the hands. What is the point of this ‘other explanation’? — Beth Hillel argued thus with Beth Shammai: Even from your standpoint, that it is forbidden to use a vessel the outside of which has been rendered unclean by liquids, for fear of drippings, even so our ruling is superior, because the washing of the hands is immediately followed by the meal.
BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT AFTER WIPING HIS HAND WITH THE NAPKIN etc. Our Rabbis taught: Beth Shammai say that [the diner] after wiping his hands with the napkin places it on the table. For if you say that he places it on the cushion, there is a danger lest liquid on the napkin may be rendered unclean through the cushion and then in turn render the hands unclean. But will not the cushion make the napkin itself unclean? — One vessel does not render another unclean. But will not the cushion make the man himself unclean? — A vessel does not render a man unclean. Beth Hillel, however, say that he puts it on the cushion. For if you say that he puts it on the table there is a fear lest the liquid on the napkin should be rendered unclean through the table and should in turn render the food unclean. But will not the table render the food on it unclean? — We are dealing here with a table which is unclean in the second degree, and that which is unclean in the second degree does not pass on uncleanness to a third degree in the case of non-sacred things, save through the medium of liquids. What is the point at issue between them? — Beth Shammai hold that it is forbidden to use a table which is unclean in the second degree for fear lest it may be used by persons eating terumah4 , while Beth Hillel hold that it is permissible to use a table which is unclean in the second degree since persons who eat terumah are careful [to avoid such]. Another explanation is that washing of hands for non-sacred food is not prescribed by the Torah. What is the point of the ‘other explanation’? — Beth Hillel argued thus with Beth Shammai: Should you ask what reason is there for being particular in the case of food5 and not being particular in the case of hands, even granting this, our rule is better, since washing of hands for non-sacred food is not prescribed by the Torah. It is better that hands, the rule for which has no basis in the Torah, should become unclean, rather than food, the rule for which has a basis in the Torah.
BETH SHAMMAI SAY THAT THE FLOOR IS SWEPT etc. Our Rabbis taught: Beth Shammai say: The floor is swept and then they wash their hands. For should you say that the hands are washed first, the result might be to spoil the food. (Beth Shammai do not hold that the washing of the hands comes first.)6 What is the reason? — On account of the crumbs [of bread]. Beth Hillel, however, say that if he the attendant is a scholar, he removes the crumbs which are as large as an olive and leaves those which are smaller than an olive. This supports the dictum of R. Johanan; for R. Johanan said: It is permissible to destroy wilfully crumbs [of bread] smaller than an olive.7 What is the ground of their difference? — Beth Hillel hold that it is not permissible to employ an attendant who is an ‘am ha-arez,8 while Beth Shammai hold that is is permissible to employ an attendant who is an ‘am ha-arez. R. Jose b. Hanina said in the name of R. Huna: In all this chapter the halachah is as stated by Beth Hillel, save in this point where it is as stated by Beth Shammai. R. Oshaia, however, reverses the teaching9 and in this point also the halachah follows Beth Hillel.
BETH SHAMMAI SAY, LIGHT, GRACE, etc. R. Huna b. Judah was once at the house of Raba, and he saw Raba say the blessing over spices first.10 He said to him: Let us see. Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel do not differ with respect to the light [that it should come first], as we learnt: BETH SHAMMAI SAY, [THE ORDER IS] LIGHT, GRACE, SPICES, AND HABDALAH, WHILE BETH HILLEL SAY THAT IT IS LIGHT, SPICES, GRACE AND HABDALAH! — Raba answered after11 him: These are the words of R. Meir, but R. Judah said: Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel agreed that grace comes first and habdalah last. Where they differed was in respect of light and spices, Beth Shammai maintaining that light comes first and then spices, while Beth Hillel held that spices comes first and then light; and R. Johanan has stated: The public have adopted the custom of following Beth Hillel as reported by R. Judah.
BETH SHAMMAI SAY, WHO CREATED etc. Raba said: All are agreed that the word bara12 refers to the past. Where they differ is with respect to the word bore.13 Beth Shammai maintain that bore means ‘who will create in the future’, while Beth Hillel hold that bore can also refer to the past. R. Joseph cited in objection [to Beth Shammai] the verses, I form the light and create [bore] darkness,14 He formeth the mountains and createth [bore] the wind,15 He that created [bore] the heavens and stretched them forth.16 Rather, said R. Joseph: Both sides are agreed that both bara and bore can refer to the past. Where they differ is as to whether ma'or [light] or me’- ore [lights] should be said. Beth Shammai are of the opinion that there is only one light in the fire, while Beth Hillel are of the opinion that there are several.17 It has been taught to the same effect: Said Beth Hillel to Beth Shammai: There are several illuminations in the light.
A BLESSING IS NOT SAID etc. There is a good reason in the case of the light [of idolaters], because it has not ‘rested’.18 But what reason is there in the case of the spices? — Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: We are dealing here with [spices used at] a banquet of idolaters19 because ordinarily a banquet of idolaters is held in honour of idolatry. But since it is stated further on, OR OVER THE LIGHT OR THE SPICES OF IDOLATRY, we may infer that the earlier statement does not refer to idolaters? — R. Hanina of Sura replied: The latter statement is explanatory. What is the reason why a blessing is not said over the light and the spices of idolaters? Because ordinarily a banquet of idolaters is in honour of idolatry.
Our Rabbis taught: A blessing may be said over a light which has ‘rested’, but not over one which has not ‘rested’. What is meant by ‘which has not rested’?
(1) Drops from the inside may spill on to the outside, and in virtue of the uncleanness of the cup the drops would render the hands unclean.
(2) Since ex hypothesi the cup may not be used. Hence it is quite safe to wash the hands before filling the cup.
(3) Hence it is safer to wash the hands after the cup has been filled.
(4) And terumah would be rendered unclean by a table unclean in the second degree.
(5) To protect it from uncleanness.
(6) This sentence seems to be an interpolation.
(7) In spite of the prohibition against wasting food.
(8) Who would not know the difference between crumbs of the size of an olive and those of smaller size. Probably a meal of haberim (v. Glos.) is referred to.
(9) I.e., ascribes to Beth Hillel the teaching that an ‘am ha-arez may be employed, and consequently the floor is swept first.
(10) I.e., before the light.
(11) I.e., supplemented the reading in our Mishnah as follows.
(12) Past tense, ‘he created’.
(13) Participle, ‘creating’, or ‘who creates’.
(14) Isa. XLV, 7.
(15) Amos. IV, 13.
(16) Isa. XLII, 5.
(17) I.e., several colours in the light-red, white, green etc.
(18) I.e., forbidden work has been done by its light.
(19) Lit., ‘Cutheans’ which throughout this passage is probably a censor's correction for ‘Gentiles’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 53a
. Shall we say that it has not rested on account of work [done by it], even permissible work?1 But it has been taught: A blessing may be said over a light used for a woman in confinement or for the sake of a sick person? — R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: What is meant by ‘rested’? That it rested from work which is a transgression on Sabbath. It has been taught to the same effect: A blessing may be said over a lamp which has been burning throughout the day2 to the conclusion of Sabbath.3
Our Rabbis taught: We may say the blessing over a light kindled by a Gentile4 from an Israelite or by an Israelite from a Gentile, but not by a Gentile from a Gentile. What is the reason for barring a light kindled by a Gentile from a Gentile? Because it may not have rested.5 But a light kindled by an Israelite from a Gentile also may not have rested? Perhaps you will say that the prohibited [flame] has vanished and the light is now a different one and is reborn in the hand of the Israelite.6 What then of this which has been taught: If one carries out a flame to the public way [on Sabbath],7 he is liable to a penalty.8 Why is he liable? That which he took up he did not set down and that which he set down he did not take up?9 — We must say therefore that [in our present case] the prohibited flame is still present, only the blessing which he says is said over the additional permitted part. If that is the case [a blessing over] a light kindled by a Gentile from a Gentile should also be permitted? — That is so; but [the prohibition is] a precaution on account of the first Gentile10 and the first flame.11
Our Rabbis taught: If one was walking [at the termination of Sabbath] outside the town and saw a light, if the majority [of the inhabitants] are Gentiles he should not say a benediction, but if the majority are Israelites he may say the benediction. This statement is self-contradictory. You first say, ‘if the majority are Gentiles, he may not say the blessing’, which implies that if they are half and half he may say it, and then it states, ‘if the majority are Israelites, he may say it’, which implies that if they are half and half he may not say it! — Strictly speaking, even if they are half and half he may say it, but since in the first clause it says ‘the majority are Gentiles’, in the second clause it says ‘the majority are Israelites’.
Our Rabbis taught: If a man was walking outside the town and saw a child with a torch in its hands, he makes inquiries about it; if it is an Israelite child, he may say the benediction, but if it is a Gentile he may not. Why does it speak of a child? The same applies even to a grown-up! — Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: We suppose this to happen immediately after sunset. In the case of a grown-up it is obvious that he must be a Gentile.12 In the case of a child, I can suppose that it is an Israelite child who happened to take hold [of the light].
Our Rabbis taught: If one was walking outside the town at the termination of Sabbath and saw a light, if it is thick like the opening of a furnace he may say the benediction over it,13 otherwise not. One [authority] states: A benediction may be said over the light of a furnace, while another says that it may not! — There is no contradiction: one speaks of the beginning of the fire, the other of the end.14 One [authority] teaches: A benediction may be said over the light of an oven or a stove, while another says that it may not, and there is no contradiction: one speaks of the beginning of the fire, the other of the end.15 One [authority] teaches: The benediction may be said over the light of the synagogue or the Beth ha-Midrash, while another says it may not, and there is no contradiction: one speaks of a case where an eminent man is present,16 the other of a case where no eminent man is present. Or if you like, I can say that both speak of where an eminent man is present, and there is no contradiction: one speaks of where there is a beadle,17 and the other of where there is no beadle. Or if you like, I can say that both speak of where there is a beadle, and there is no contradiction; one speaks of where there is moonlight,18 the other of where there is no moonlight.
Out Rabbis taught: If people were sitting in the Beth ha-Midrash and light was brought in [at the termination of the Sabbath], Beth Shammai say that each one says a blessing over it for himself, while Beth Hillel say that one says a blessing on behalf of all, because it says, In the multitude of people is the King's glory.19 Beth Hillel at any rate explain their reason; but what is the reason of Beth Shammai? — It is probably to avoid an interruption of study.20 It has been taught similarly: The members of the household of Rabban Gamaliel did not use to say ‘Good health’21 in the Beth ha-Midrash so as not to interrupt their study.
A BENEDICTION MAY NOT BE SAID OVER THE LIGHTS OR THE SPICES OF THE DEAD. What is the reason? — The light is kindled only in honour of the dead, the spices are to remove the bad smell. Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Wherever [the person buried is of such consequence that] a light would be carried before him either by day or by night, we do not say a blessing over the light [if he is buried on the termination of Sabbath];22 but if he is one before whom a light would be carried only at night, we may say the blessing.23
R. Huna said: A blessing is not said over spices used in a privy24 or oil used for removing grease [from the hands].25 This implies that wherever [spice] is not used for scent no blessing is said over it. An objection was raised [to this]: If one enters a spice-dealer's shop and smells the fragrance, even though he sits there the whole day he makes only one blessing, but if he is constantly going in and out he makes a blessing each time he enters. Now here is a case where it is not used for smell,26 and yet one makes a blessing? — In fact it is used for smell, the object being that people should smell and come and make purchases thereof.
Our Rabbis taught: If one was walking outside the town and smelt an odour [of spices], if the majority of the inhabitants are idolaters he does not say a blessing, but if the majority are Israelites he does say a blessing. R. Jose says: Even if the majority are Israelites he does not say a blessing, because the daughters of Israel use incense for witchcraft. Do all of them use incense for witchcraft? — The fact is that a small part is used for witchcraft and a small part for scenting garments, with the result that the greater part of it is not used for smell, and wherever the greater part is not used for smell a blessing is not said over it. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: If one was walking on the eve of Sabbath in Tiberias, or at the conclusion of Sabbath in Sepphoris, and smelt an odour [of spices], he does not say a blessing, because the probability is that they are being used only to perfume garments. Our Rabbis taught: If one was walking in a street of idolaters and smelt the spices willingly, he is a sinner.
(1) E.g., a light lit for the sake of a sick person.
(2) I.e., which was lit before Sabbath came in.
(3) Because no Sabbath transgression had been performed with it.
(4) On the termination of Sabbath.
(5) I.e., some forbidden work has been done by its light.
(6) The light being regarded as not having a continuous existence but as consisting of a series of flashes.
(7) E.g., if burning wick is placed in oil in a potsherd so small that the prohibition of carrying on Sabbath does not apply to it.
(8) For transferring from one domain to another on Sabbath, v. Bezah 39a.
(9) Such transference renders liable only when the same object is taken up from its place in one domain and set down in its place in the other. Here the flame which is taken from its place in the house is not the same as is set down outside. The reason therefore why he is liable must be because the flame is in fact considered throughout to be one and the same.
(10) I.e., against the light kindled by a Gentile on Sabbath.
(11) Lit., ‘pillar’. The first flame of the light kindled on Sabbath, by the Gentile.
(12) Since a grown-up Israelite would not use a light immediately on the termination of the Sabbath, before saying habdalah.
(13) Because this is a genuine light.
(14) A furnace (of lime burners) is first lit to burn the lime, but afterwards it is kept alight for the purpose of lighting.
(15) The fire is lit for cooking, but afterwards chips are thrown in to give light.
(16) In whose honour the light has been kindled.
(17) Who has his meals in the synagogue.
(18) Which suffices for the beadle, and the light must have been kindled out of respect for an eminent man.
(19) Prov. XIV, 28.
(20) One may be in the middle of a difficult part just at the moment for saying Amen.
(21) To someone who sneezed.
(22) Because the light is carried for his honour.
(23) Because the light is really to give light.
(24) To counteract the bad smell.
(25) This oil contained spices, and the blessing said over it was that for oil and not for spices.
(26) But for sale.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 53b
. A BLESSING IS NOT SAID OVER THE LIGHT TILL IT HAS BEEN UTILIZED. Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: This does not mean literally till it has been utilized, but it means a light which can be serviceable if one stands near enough to it, and then even those at a distance [may say the blessing]. So too said R. Ashi: We have learnt that it serves for those at a distance.
An objection was raised: If one had a light hidden in the folds of his dress or in a lamp, or if he could see a flame but could not use its light, or if he could do something by the light but saw no flame, he should not say the blessing; he must both see a flame and be able to use the light. We understand the statement ‘he can use its light but sees no flame’; this can happen when the light is in a corner. But how can it happen that he sees the flame and cannot make use of the light? Is it not when he is at a distance? — No; it is when, for instance, the flame keeps on flickering.
Our Rabbis taught: We may say the blessing over glowing coals but not over dying coals. How do you define ‘glowing’? — R. Hisda replied: This means coals from which a chip, if inserted between them, will catch of itself. The question was asked: Is the proper form omemoth or ‘omemoth?1 — Come and hear: for R. Hisda b. Abdimi quoted the verse, The cedars in the garden of God could not darken [‘amamuhu] it.2
Rab, however,3 said that [the Mishnah means literally] ‘utilize it’. How near must one be? — ‘Ulla said: Near enough to distinguish between an as and a dupondium.4 Hezekiah said: Near enough to distinguish between a meluzma5 of Tiberias and one of Sepphoris. Rab Judah used to say the blessing over the light in the house of Adda the waiter.6 Raba said the blessing over the light in the house of Guria b. Hama.7 Abaye said it over the light in the house of Bar Abbuha. Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: We do not go looking for a light8 in the same way as we do in the case of other commandments. R. Zera said: At first I used to go looking for a light. But since hearing this statement of Rab Judah reporting Rab, I also do not look for one, but if one comes my way I say the blessing over it.
IF ONE HAS EATEN etc. R. Zebid, or as some say R. Dimi b. Abba, said: Opinions differ only in the case where one forgot, but if he omitted wilfully he must return to his place and say grace. This is obvious! The Mishnah says ‘HAS FORGOTTEN’? — You might think that the rule is the same even if he did it purposely, and the reason why it says ‘HAS FORGOTTEN’ is to show you how far Beth Shammai are prepared to go. Therefore we are told [that this is not so]. It has been taught: Beth Hillel said to Beth Shammai: according to you, if one ate at the top of the Temple Mount and forgot and descended without having said grace, he should return to the top of the Temple Mount and say grace? Beth Shammai replied to Beth Hillel: According to you, if one forgot a purse at the top of the Temple Mount, is he not to go up and get it? And if he will ascend for his own sake, surely he should do so all the more for the honour of Heaven!
There were once two disciples who omitted to say grace. One who did it accidentally followed the rule of Beth Shammai9 and found a purse of gold, while the other who did it purposely10 followed the rule of Beth Hillel,11 and he was eaten by a lion. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah was once travelling with a caravan, and he took a meal and forgot to say grace. He said to himself: What shall I do? If I say to the others, I have forgotten to say grace, they will say to me, Say it [here]: wherever you say the benediction you are saying it to the All-Merciful. I had better tell them that I have forgotten a golden dove. So he said to them: Wait for me, because I have forgotten a golden dove. He went back and said grace and found a golden dove. Why should it have been just a dove? — Because the community of Israel are compared to a dove, as it is written, The wings of the dove are covered with silver, and her pinions with the shimmer of gold.12 Just as the dove is saved only by her wings, so Israel are saved only by the precepts.
UNTIL WHEN CAN HE SAY THE GRACE. How long does it take to digest a meal? — R. Johanan said: Until he becomes hungry again; Resh Lakish said: As long as one is thirsty on account of the meal. Said R. Yemar b. Shelemia to Mar Zutra, or, according to others R. Yemar b. Shezbi to Mar Zutra: Can Resh Lakish have said this? Has not R. Ammi said in the name of Resh Lakish: How long does it take to digest a meal? Long enough for one to walk four mil? — There is no contradiction: one statement refers to a light meal, the other to a heavy one.13
IF WINE IS SERVED etc. This implies, [if] an Israelite [says the grace],14 even though one has not heard the whole of it he responds [Amen]. But if he has not heard how can he have performed his duty by doing so?15 Hiyya b. Rab replied: This applies to one who has not joined in the meal. Similarly said R. Nahman in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: It refers to one who has not joined in the meal. Said Rab to his son Hiyya: My son, snatch [the cup of wine] and say grace.16 And so said R. Huna to his son Rabbah: My son, snatch and say grace. This implies that he who says the grace is superior to one who answers, Amen. But it has been taught: ‘R. Jose says: Greater is he who answers, Amen than he who says the blessing? — Said R. Nehorai to him: I swear to you by heaven that it is so. The proof is that while the common soldiers advance and open the battle, it is the seasoned warriors who go down to win the victory!’ — On this point there is a difference between Tannaim, as it has been taught: Both he who says the blessing and he who answers, Amen are equally implied,17 only he who says the blessing is more quickly [rewarded] than he who answers, Amen.
Samuel inquired of Rab: Should one respond Amen after [a blessing said by] schoolchildren? — He replied: We respond Amen after everyone except children in school, because they are merely learning. This is the case only when it is not the time for them to say the haftarah;18 but when it is the time for them to say the haftarah, we respond Amen after them. Our Rabbis taught: The absence of oil19 is a bar to the saying of grace. So said R. Zilai. R. Ziwai said: It is no bar. R. Aha said: Good oil is indispensable. R. Zuhamai said: Just as a dirty person is unfit for the Temple service, so dirty hands unfit one for saying grace. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: I know nothing either of Zilai or Ziwai or Zuhamai, but I do know the following teaching, viz.: Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: some say it was taught in a Baraitha, Sanctify yourselves:20 this refers to washing of the hands before the meal;21 And be ye holy: this refers to washing of the hands after the meal;22 ‘For holy’: this refers to the oil; ‘Am I the Lord your God’: this refers to the grace.
(1) I.e., does the word translated ‘dying’ commence with an alef or an ‘ayin.
(2) Ezek. XXXI, 8.
(3) This goes back to the statement of Rab Judah in the name of Rab above.
(4) A dupondium was twice the size of an as.
(5) According to Rashi, a weight; according to Jastrow, a stamp of a coin.
(6) Which was some distance away.
(7) Which was quite near.
(8) To say the blessing.
(9) And returned to the place where he forgot, thus following the stricter rule.
(10) Being in a hurry to go somewhere else.
(11) Which applies only to accidental omission.
(12) Ps. LXVIII, 14.
(13) According to Rashi, it takes the time for walking four mil to digest a heavy meal; according to Tosaf., to digest a light one.
(14) V. supra p. 312 n. 1.
(15) He assumes that he is one of the diners, who too must hear the grace.
(16) I.e., seize every opportunity of saying it on behalf of the company.
(17) In the text of Neh. IX, 5, which speaks of those who ‘stand up and bless’, and those who respond ‘Blessed be Thy glorious name’, which is equivalent to Amen, v. infra 63a.
(18) The prophetical reading following the public reading of the Pentateuch on Sabbath and festivals and public fasts.
(19) For cleansing the hands after the meal.
(20) Lev. XI, 44.
(21) Lit., ‘the first water’.
(22) Lit., ‘the latter water’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 54a
MISHNAH. IF ONE SEES A PLACE WHERE MIRACLES HAVE BEEN WROUGHT FOR ISRAEL, HE SHOULD SAY, BLESSED BE HE WHO WROUGHT MIRACLES FOR OUR ANCESTORS IN THIS PLACE. ON SEEING A PLACE FROM WHICH IDOLATRY HAS BEEN EXTIRPATED, HE SHOULD SAY, BLESSED BE HE WHO EXTIRPATED IDOLATRY FROM OUR LAND. [ON WITNESSING] SHOOTING STARS, EARTHQUAKES, THUNDERCLAPS, STORMS AND LIGHTNINGS ONE SHOULD SAY, BLESSED BE HE WHOSE STRENGTH AND MIGHT FILL THE WORLD. ON SEEING MOUNTAINS, HILLS, SEAS, RIVERS AND DESERTS HE SHOULD SAY, BLESSED BE HE WHO WROUGHT CREATION.1 R. JUDAH SAYS: IF ONE SEES THE GREAT SEA2 ONE SHOULD SAY, BLESSED BE HE WHO MADE THE GREAT SEA, [THAT IS] IF HE SEES IT AT [CONSIDERABLE] INTERVALS. FOR RAIN AND FOR GOOD TIDINGS ONE SAYS, BLESSED BE HE THAT IS GOOD AND BESTOWS GOOD. FOR EVIL TIDINGS ONE SAYS, BLESSED BE THE TRUE JUDGE. ONE WHO HAS BUILT A NEW HOUSE OR BOUGHT NEW VESSELS SAYS, BLESSED BE HE WHO HAS KEPT US ALIVE AND PRESERVED US AND BROUGHT US TO THIS SEASON. OVER EVIL A BLESSING IS SAID SIMILAR TO THAT OVER GOOD AND OVER GOOD A BLESSING IS SAID SIMILAR TO THAT OVER EVIL,3 BUT TO CRY OVER THE PAST IS TO UTTER A VAIN PRAYER. IF A MAN'S WIFE IS PREGNANT AND HE SAYS, [GOD] GRANT THAT MY WIFE BEAR A MALE CHILD, THIS A VAIN PRAYER. IF HE IS COMING HOME FROM A JOURNEY AND HE HEARS CRIES OF DISTRESS IN THE TOWN AND SAYS, [GOD] GRANT THAT THIS IS NOT IN MY HOUSE, THIS IS A VAIN PRAYER. ONE WHO [IN THE COURSE OF A JOURNEY] GOES THROUGH A CAPITAL CITY4 SHOULD SAY TWO PRAYERS, ONE ON ENTERING AND ONE ON LEAVING. BEN AZZAI SAYS, FOUR,5 TWO ON ENTERING AND TWO ON LEAVING- HE GIVES THANKS FOR PAST MERCIES AND SUPPLICATES FOR THE FUTURE. IT IS INCUMBENT ON A MAN TO BLESS [GOD] FOR THE EVIL IN THE SAME WAY AS FOR THE GOOD, AS IT SAYS, AND THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART ETC.6 ‘WITH ALL THY HEART, MEANS WITH THY TWO IMPULSES, THE EVIL IMPULSE AS WELL AS THE GOOD IMPULSE; ‘WITH ALL THY SOUL’ MEANS, EVEN THOUGH HE TAKES THY SOUL [LIFE]; ‘WITH ALL THY MIGHT’ MEANS, WITH ALL THY MONEY. ANOTHER EXPLANATION OF ‘WITH ALL THY MIGHT [ME'ODEKA]’ IS, WHATEVER TREATMENT7 HE METES OUT TO THEE.
ONE SHOULD AVOID SHOWING DISRESPECT TO THE EASTERN GATE8 BECAUSE IT IS IN A DIRECT LINE WITH THE HOLY OF HOLIES.9 A MAN SHOULD NOT ENTER THE TEMPLE MOUNT WITH HIS STAFF OR WITH HIS SHOES ON OR WITH HIS WALLET OR WITH HIS FEET DUST-STAINED; NOR SHOULD HE MAKE IT A SHORT CUT [KAPPANDARIA], AND SPITTING [ON IT IS FORBIDDEN] A FORTIORI.
AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE BENEDICTIONS SAID IN THE TEMPLE THEY USED AT FIRST TO SAY SIMPLY, ‘FOR EVER’.10 WHEN THE SADDUCEES PERVERTED THEIR WAYS AND ASSERTED THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE WORLD, IT WAS ORDAINED THAT THE RESPONSE SHOULD BE, FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING.11 IT WAS ALSO LAID DOWN THAT GREETING SHOULD BE GIVEN IN [GOD'S] NAME,12 IN THE SAME WAY AS IT SAYS, AND BEHOLD BOAZ CAME FROM BETHLEHEM AND SAID UNTO THE REAPERS, THE LORD BE WITH YOU; AND THEY ANSWERED HIM, THE LORD BLESS THEE;13 AND IT ALSO SAYS,THE LORD IS WITH THEE,THOU MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR;14 AND IT ALSO SAYS, AND DESPISE NOT THY MOTHER WHEN SHE IS OLD;15 AND IT ALSO SAYS, IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD; THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW.16 R. NATHAN SAYS: [THIS MEANS] THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW BECAUSE IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD.
GEMARA. Whence is this rule17 derived?-R. Johanan said: Because Scripture says, And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you, etc.18 And is a blessing said only for a miracle wrought for a large body, but not for one wrought for an individual? What of the case of the man Who was once travelling through Eber Yemina19 when a lion attacked him, but he was miraculously saved,and when he came before Raba he said to him, Whenever you pass that place say, Blessed be He who wrought for me a miracle in this place? There was the case, too, of Mar the son of Rabina who was once going through the valley of ‘Araboth20 and was suffering from thirst and a well of water was miraculously created for him and he drank, and another time he was going through the manor of Mahoza21 when a wild camel attacked him and at that moment the wall of a house just by fell in and he escaped inside; and whenever thereafter he came to ‘Araboth he used to say, Blessed be He who wrought for me miracles in ‘Araboth and with the camel, and when he passed through the manor of Mahoza he used to say, Blessed be He who wrought for me miracles with the camel and in ‘Araboth?-The answer [is that] for a miracle done to a large body it is the duty of everyone to say a blessing, for a miracle done to an individual he alone22 is required to say a blessing.
Our Rabbis taught: If one sees the place of the crossing of the Red Sea, or the fords of the Jordan, or the fords of the streams of Arnon, or hail stones [abne elgabish] in the descent of Beth Horon, or the stone which Og king of Bashan wanted to throw at Israel, or the stone on which Moses sat when Joshua fought with Amalek, or [the pillar of salt of] Lot's wife,23 or the wall of Jericho which sank into the ground,24 for all of these he should give thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty. I grant you the passage of the Red Sea, because it is written, And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground;25 also the fords of the Jordan, because it is written, And the priests that bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, while all Israel passed over on dry ground, until all the nation were passed clean over the Jordan.26 But whence is the title derived for the fords of the streams of Arnon? — Because it is written: Wherefore it is said in the book of the Wars of the Lord, Eth and Heb in the rear;27 [in explanation of which] a Tanna taught: ‘Eth and Heb in the rear’ were two lepers who followed in the rear of the camp of Israel, and when the Israelites were about to pass through [the valley of Arnon] the Amorites came
(1) Var. lec.: who fashions the work of creation.
(2) Generally taken to refer to the Mediterranean Sea.
(3) This is explained in the Gemara.
(4) The residence of a governor or ruler.
(5) As explained in the Gemara.
(6) Deut. VI, 5.
(7) Heb. Lit., ‘measure’; Heb. middah, a play on me'odeka.
(8) Of the Temple Mount.
(9) I.e., a direct line led from it through the other gates up to the inner shrine.
(10) Heb. le'olam, which can also mean ‘for the world’.
(11) Or ‘from world to world’, i.e., two worlds.
(12) I.e., the Tetragrammaton, although this might appear to be breaking the third commandment. The reason of this ordinance is not certain. Marmorstein, The Old Testament Conception of God, etc. I, pp. 24ff conjectures this to have been designed to counteract the Hellenistic teaching that God had no name.
(13) Ruth 11, 4.
(14) Judg. VI, 12.
(15) Prov. XXIII, 22.
(16) In time of emergency the law of God may be set aside. Ps. CXIX, 126. E.V. ‘for the Lord to work’. The relevance of these citations is explained in the Gemara.
(17) Of saying a blessing over a miracle.
(18) Ex. XVIII, 10.
(19) Lit., ‘the south side’. The southern suburb of Mahoza, v. Obermeyer, p. 181.
(20) Between the river Chabor and the canal of Is.
(21) Rostaka di Mahoza, v. Obermeyer, p. 172.
(22) Alfasi adds, His son and his son's son.
(23) V. Gen. XIX, 26.
(24) Lit., ‘was swallowed in its place’.
(25) Ex. XIV, 22.
(26) Josh. III, 17.
(27) Num. XXI, 14. E.V. ‘Vahab in Suphah’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 54b
and made cavities [in the rocks] and hid in them, saying, When Israel pass by here we will kill them. They did not know, however, that the Ark Was advancing in front of Israel and levelling the hills before them. When the Ark arrived there, the mountains closed together and killed them, and their blood flowed down to the streams of Arnon. When Eth and Heb came they saw the blood issuing from between the rocks1 and they went and told the Israelites, who thereupon broke out into song. And so it is written, And he poured forth the streams2 [from the mountain] which inclined toward the seat of Ar3 and leaned upon the border of Moab.4 ‘Hailstones [abne elgabish]’. What are ‘abne elgabish’? A Tanna taught: Stones [abanim] which remained suspended for the sake of a man [‘al gab ish] and came down for the sake of a man. ‘They remained suspended for the sake of a man’: this was Moses, of whom it is written, Now the man Moses was very meek,5 and it is also written, And the soldiers and hail ceased, and the rain poured not upon the earth.6 ‘They came down for the sake of a man’: this was Joshua, of whom it is written, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit,7 and it is written, And it came to pass as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-Horon, that the Lord cast down great stones.8
‘The stone which Og, king of Bashan wanted to throw at Israel’. This has been handed down by tradition. He said: How large is the camp of Israel? Three parasangs. I will go and uproot a mountain of the size of three parasangs and cast it upon them and kill them. He went and uprooted a mountain of the size of three parasangs and carried it on his head. But the Holy One, blessed be He, sent ants which bored a hole in it, so that it sank around his neck. He tried to pull it off, but his teeth projected on each side, and he could not pull it off. This is referred to in the text, Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked,9 as explained by R Simeon b. Lakish. For R. Simeon b. Lakish said: What is the meaning of the text, Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked? Do not read, shibbarta [Thou hast broken], but shirbabta [Thou hast lengthened]. The height of Moses was ten cubits.10 He took an axe ten cubits long, leapt ten cubits into the air, and struck him on his ankle and killed him.
‘The stone on which Moses sat’. As it is written, But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone and put it under hint and he sat thereon.11 ‘Lot's wife’. As it says, But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt.12
‘And the wall of Jericho which sank into the ground’. As it is written, And the wall fell down flat.13
We understand [why this blessing should be said over] all the others, because they are miracles, but the transformation of Lot's wife was a punishment. One should say on seeing it, Blessed be the true Judge,14 yet [the Baraitha] says: ‘Thanksgiving and praise’? — Read: ‘For Lot and his wife two blessings are said. For his wife we say, "Blessed be the true Judge", and for Lot we say, "Blessed be He who remembereth the righteous"’. R. Johanan said: Even in the hour of His anger the Holy One, blessed be He, remembers the righteous, as it says, And it came to pass when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, that God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.15
‘And the wall of Jericho which sank [into the ground]’. But did the wall of Jericho sink [into the ground]? Surely it fell, as it says, And it came to pass when the people heard the sound of the horn, that the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat?16 — Since its breadth and its height were equal, it must have sunk [into the ground].17
Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: There are four [classes of people] who have to offer thanksgiving: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traversed the wilderness, one who has recovered from an illness, and a prisoner who has been set free. Whence do we know this of those who cross the sea? — Because it is written, They that go down to the sea in ships . . . . these saw the works of the Lord . . . . He raised the stormy wind . . . . they mounted up to the heaven, they went down to the deeps . . . . they reeled to and fro and staggered like a drunken man . . . . they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He made the storm a calm . . . . then were they glad because they were quiet . . . . Let them give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.18 Whence for those who traverse the desert? — Because it is written: They wandered in the wilderness in a desert way; they found no city of habitation . . . . Then they cried unto the Lord . . . . and He led them by a straight way . . . . Let them give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy.19 Whence for one who recovers from an illness? — Because it is written: Crazed because of the way of their transgressions and afflicted because of their iniquities, their soul abhorred all manner of food . . . . They cried unto the Lord in their trouble. He sent His word unto them . . . . Let them give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy.20 Whence for a prisoner who was set free? — Because it is written: Such as sat in darkness and in the shadow of death . . . . Because they rebelled against the words of God . . . . Therefore He humbled their heart with travail . . . . They cried unto the Lord in their trouble . . . . He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death . . . . Let them give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy.21 What blessing should he say? Rab Judah said: ‘Blessed is He who bestows lovingkindnesses’. Abaye said: And he must utter his thanksgiving in the presence of ten, as it is written: Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people.22 Mar Zutra said: And two of them must be rabbis, as it says, And praise Him in the seat of the elders.23 R. Ashi demurred to this: You might as well say [he remarked], that all should be rabbis! — Is it written, ‘In the assembly of elders’? It is written, ‘In the assembly of the people’! — Let us say then, in the presence of ten ordinary people and two rabbis [in addition]? — This is a difficulty.
Rab Judah was ill and recovered. R. Hanna of Bagdad and other rabbis went to visit him. They said to him: ‘Blessed be the All Merciful who has given you back to us and has not given you to the dust’. He said to them: ‘You have absolved me from the obligation of giving thanks’. But has not Abaye said that he must utter his thanksgiving in the presence of ten! — There were ten present. But he did not utter the thanksgiving? — There was no need, as he answered after them, Amen. Rab Judah said: Three persons require guarding,24 namely, a sick person, a bridegroom, and a bride. In a Baraitha it was taught: A sick person, a midwife, a bridegroom and a bride; some add, a mourner, and some add further, scholars at night-time.
Rab Judah said further: There are three things the drawing out of which prolongs a man's days and years; the drawing out of prayer, the drawing out of a meal, and the drawing out of [easing in] a privy. But is the drawing out of prayer a merit? Has not R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan:
(1) Lit., ‘mountains’. After they had opened out again.
(2) E.V. ‘and the slope of the valleys’.
(3) I.e., Moab.
(4) Ibid. 15.
(5) Num. XII, 3.
(6) Ex. IX, 33.
(7) Num. XXVII, 18.
(8) Josh. X, 11.
(9) Ps. III, 8.
(10) About fifteen feet.
(11) Ex. XVII, 12. MS.M adds: ‘Had not Moses a cushion or bolster to sit upon? Moses said to himself: Since Israel are suffering, I will suffer with them’; v. Ta'an. 11a.
(12) Gen. XIX, 26.
(13) Josh. VI, 20. This sentence is obviously out of place and should be transferred to the next paragraph.
(14) The formula recited on hearing bad news.
(15) Gen. XIX, 29.
(16) Josh. VI, 20.
(17) To enable the people to enter the city. According to Rashi this is also signified by the word translated ‘flat’, which means literally ‘under it’ or ‘in its place’.
(18) Ps, CVII, 23-31.
(19) Ibid. 4-8.
(20) Ibid. 17-21.
(21) Ibid. 10-15.
(22) Ibid. 32.
(24) Against evil spirits (Rashi).
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 55a
If one draws out his prayer and expects therefore its fulfilment, he will in the end suffer vexation of heart, as it says, Hope deferred maketh the heart sick;1 and R. Isaac also said: Three things cause a man's sins to be remembered [on high], namely, [passing under] a shaky wall,2 expectation of [the fulfilment of] prayer, and calling on heaven to punish his neighbour?3 — There is no contradiction; one statement speaks of a man who expects the fulfilment of his prayer, the other of one who does not count upon it. What then does he do? — He simply utters many supplications. ‘He who draws out his meal’, because perhaps a poor man will come and he will give him something, as it is written, The altar of wood three cubits high . . . . and he said to me, This is the table that is before the Lord4 [Now the verse] opens with ‘altar’ and finishes with ‘table’? R. Johanan and R. Eleazar both explain that as long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel, but now a man's table atones for him. ‘To draw out one's stay in a privy’, is this a good thing? Has it not been taught: Ten things bring on piles; eating the leaves of reeds, and the leaves of vines, and the sprouts of vines, and the rough parts of the flesh of an animal,5 and the backbone of a fish, and salted fish not sufficiently cooked, and drinking wine lees, and wiping oneself with lime, potters’ clay or pebbles which have been used by another. Some add, to strain oneself unduly in a privy! — There is no contradiction: one statement refers to one who stays long and strains himself, the other to one who stays long without straining himself. This may be illustrated by what a certain matron said to R. Judah b. R. Ila'i: Your face is [red] like that of pig-breeders and usurers,6 to which he replied: On my faith, both [occupations] are forbidden me, but there are twenty-four privies between my lodging and the Beth ha-Midrash, and when I go there I test myself in all of them.7
Rab Judah also said:8 Three things shorten a man's days and years: To be given a scroll of the Law to read from and to refuse, to be given a cup of benediction to say grace over and to refuse, and to assume airs of authority. ‘To be given a scroll of the Law to read from and to refuse’, as it is written: For that is thy life and the length of thy days.9 ‘To be given a cup of benediction to say grace over and to refuse’, as it is written: I will bless them that bless thee.10 ‘To assume airs of authority’, as R. Hama b. Hanina said: Why did Joseph die before his brethren?11 Because he assumed airs of authority.
Rab Judah also said in the name of Rab: There are three things for which one should supplicate: a good king, a good year, and a good dream.12 ‘A good king’, as it is written: A king's heart is in the hands of the Lord as the water-courses.13 ‘A good year’, as it is written: The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.14 ‘A good dream’, as it is written; Wherefore cause Thou me to dream15 and make me to live.16
R. Johanan said: There are three things which the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself proclaims, namely, famine, plenty, and a good leader. ‘Famine’, as it is written: The Lord hath called for a famine.17 ‘Plenty’, as it is written: I will call for the corn and will increase it.18 ‘A good leader’, as it is written: And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, See I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri.19
R. Isaac said: We must not appoint a leader over a Community without first consulting it, as it says: See, the Lord hath called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri.20 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Do you consider Bezalel suitable? He replied: Sovereign of the Universe, if Thou thinkest him suitable, surely I must also! Said [God] to him: All the same, go and consult them. He went and asked Israel: Do you consider Bezalel suitable? They replied: If the Holy One, blessed be He, and you consider him suitable, surely we must!
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Bezalel was so called on account of his wisdom. At the time when the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses; Go and tell Bezalel to make me a tabernacle, an ark and vessels,21 Moses went and reversed the order, saying, Make an ark and vessels and a tabernacle. Bezalel said to him: Moses, our Teacher, as a rule a man first builds a house and then brings vessels into it; but you say, Make me an ark and vessels and a tabernacle. Where shall I put the vessels that I am to make? Can it be that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to you, Make a tabernacle, an ark and vessels? Moses replied: Perhaps you were in the shadow of God22 and knew!
Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Bezalel knew how to combine the letters by which the heavens and earth were created.23 It is written here, And He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in understanding, and in knowledge,24 and it is written elsewhere, The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens,25 and it is also written, By His knowledge the depths were broken up.26
R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, gives wisdom only to one who already has wisdom, as it says, He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.27 R. Tahlifa from the West28 heard and repeated it before R. Abbahu. He said to him: You learn it from there, but we learn it from this text, namely, In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom.29
R. Hisda said: Any dream rather than one of a fast.30 R. Hisda also said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.31 R. Hisda also said: Neither a good dream nor a bad dream is ever wholly fulfilled. R. Hisda also said: A bad dream is better than a good dream.32 R. Hisda also said: The sadness caused by a bad dream is sufficient for it and the joy which a good dream gives is sufficient for it.33 R. Joseph said: Even for me34 the joy caused by a good dream nullifies it. R. Hisda also said: A bad dream is worse than scourging, since it says, God hath so made it that men should fear before Him,35 and Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: This refers to a bad dream.
A prophet that hath a dream let him tell a dream: and he that hath My word let him speak My word faithfully. What hath the straw to do with the wheat, saith the Lord.36 What is the connection of straw and wheat with a dream? The truth is, said R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai, that just as wheat cannot be without straw, so there cannot be a dream without some nonsense. R. Berekiah said: While a part of a dream may be fulfilled, the whole of it is never fulfilled. Whence do we know this? From Joseph, as it is written, And behold the sun and the moon [and eleven stars bowed down to me,]37 and
(1) Prov, XIII, 12. Cf. 32b, p. 200.
(2) Which is, as it were, tempting Providence.
(3) Which is a mark of selfrighteousness. Lit., ‘surrendering the case against his fellow to heaven’.
(4) Ezek. XLI, 22.
(5) E.g., the palate. Lit., ‘threshing-sledge’.
(6) Who were notoriously good livers.
(7) Cf. Ned. 49b.
(8) We should probably add, ‘In the name of Rab’.
(9) Deut. XXX, 20.
(10) Gen. XII, 3. The one who says grace blesses his host.
(11) As we learn from Ex. I, 6: ‘And Joseph died and (then) all his brethren’.
(12) These things depending directly upon the will of God.
(13) prov. XXI, 1.
(14) Deut. XI, 12.
(15) E.V. ‘Recover Thou me’. The Talmud, however, connects the word in the text tahalimeni with halom, a dream.
(16) Isa. XXXVIII, 16.
(17) II Kings VIII, 1.
(18) Ezek. XXXVI, 29.
(19) Ex. XXXI, 1.
(20) Ibid. XXXV, 30.
(21) This is the order in Ex. XXXI, 7.
(22) Heb. bezel el.
(23) The Kabbalah assigns mystic powers to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
(24) Ibid. XXXV, 31.
(25) prov. III, 19.
(26) Ibid. 20.
(27) Dan. II, 21.
(28) I.e., palestine.
(29) Ex. XXXI, 6. It was preferable to learn it from a text of the Pentateuch.
(30) I.e., to dream oneself fasting. So Rashi. The Aruch, however, explains: There is reality in every dream save one that comes in a fast.
(31) Compare the dictum infra, ‘A dream follows its interpretation
(32) Because it incites one to repentance.
(33) I.e., there is no need for them to be fulfilled.
(34) R. Joseph was blind, and consequently could not derive so much pleasure from a dream.
(35) Eccl. III, 14.
(36) Jer. XXIII, 28.
(37) Gen. XXXVII, 9.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 55b
at that time his mother was not living. R. Levi said: A man should await the fulfilment of a good dream for as much as twenty-two years. Whence do we know this? From Joseph. For it is written: These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph being seventeen years old, etc.;1 and it is further written, And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh.2 How many years is it from seventeen to thirty? Thirteen. Add the seven years of plenty and two of famine,3 and you have twenty-two.
R. Huna said: A good man is not shown a good dream, and a bad man is not shown a bad dream.4 It has been taught similarly; David, during the whole of his lifetime, never saw a good dream and Ahitophel, during the whole of his lifetime, never saw a bad dream. But it is written, There shall no evil befall thee,5 and R. Hisda said, in the name of R. Jeremiah: this means that you will not be disturbed either by bad dreams or by evil thoughts, neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent5 . . . . i.e., thou shalt not find thy wife doubtfully menstruous when thou returnest from a journey? — Though he does not see an evil dream, others see one about him. But if he does not see one, is this considered an advantage? Has not R. Ze'ira said: If a man goes seven days without a dream he is called evil, since it says, He shall abide satisfied, he shall not be visited by evil?6 — Read not sabe'a [satisfied] but [seven] sheba’.7 What he means is this: He sees, but he does not remember what he has seen.
R. Huna b. Ammi said in the name of R. Pedath who had it from R. Johanan: If one has a dream which makes him sad he should go and have it interpreted in the presence of three. He should have it interpreted! Has not R. Hisda said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read?8 — Say rather then, he should have a good turn given to it in the presence of three. Let him bring three and say to them: I have seen a good dream; and they should say to him, Good it is and good may it be. May the All-Merciful turn it to good; seven times may it be decreed from heaven that it should be good and may it be good. They should say three verses with the word hapak [turn], and three with the word padah [redeem] and three with the word shalom [peace]. Three with the word ‘turn’, namely (i) Thou didst turn for me my mourning into dancing, Thou didst loose my sackcloth and gird me with gladness;9 (ii) Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow;10 (iii) Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee.11 Three verses with the word ‘redeem’, namely, (i) He hath redeemed my soul in peace, so that none came nigh me;12 (ii) And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion . . . . and sorrow and sighing shall flee away;13 (iii) And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? . . . . So the people redeemed Jonathan that he died not.14 Three verses with the word ‘peace’, namely, (i) Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, saith the Lord that createth the fruit of the lips; and I will heal him;15 (ii) Then the spirit clothed Amasai who was chief of the captains: Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: Peace, peace, be unto thee and peace be to thy helpers, for thy God helpeth thee;16 (iii) Thus ye shall say: All hail! and peace be both unto thee, and peace be to thy house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.17
Amemar, Mar Zutra and R. Ashi were once sitting together. They said: Let each of us say something which the others have not heard. One of them began: If one has seen a dream and does not remember what he saw, let him stand before the priests at the time when they spread out their hands,18 and say as follows: ‘Sovereign of the Universe, I am Thine and my dreams are Thine. I have dreamt a dream and I do not know what it is. Whether I have dreamt about myself or my companions have dreamt about me, or I have dreamt about others, if they are good dreams, confirm them and reinforce them19 like the dreams of Joseph, and if they require a remedy, heal them, as the waters of Marah were healed by Moses, our teacher, and as Miriam was healed of her leprosy and Hezekiah of his sickness, and the waters of Jericho by Elisha. As thou didst turn the curse of the wicked Balaam into a blessing, so turn all my dreams into something good for me’.20 He should conclude his prayer along with the priests, so that the congregation may answer, Amen! If he cannot manage this,21 he should say: Thou who art majestic on high, who abidest in might, Thou art peace and Thy name is peace. May it be Thy will to bestow peace on us.
The second commenced and said: If a man on going into a town is afraid of the Evil Eye,22 let him take the thumb of his right hand in his left hand and the thumb of his left hand in his right hand, and say: I, so-and-so, am of the seed of Joseph over which the evil eye has no power, as it says: Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain.23 Do not read ‘ale ‘ayin [by a fountain] but ‘ole ‘ayin [overcoming the evil eye]. R. Jose b. R. Hanina derived it from here: And let them grow into a multitude [weyidgu] in the midst of the earth;24 just as the fishes [dagim] in the sea are covered by the waters and the evil eye has no power over them so the evil eye has no power over the seed of Joseph.25 If he is afraid of his own evil eye, he should look at the side of his left nostril.
The third commenced and said: If a man falls ill, the first day he should not tell anyone, so that he should not have bad luck; but after that he may tell. So when Raba fell ill, on the first day he did not tell anyone, but after that he said to his attendant: Go and announce that Raba is ill. Whoever loves him, let him pray for him, and whoever hates him, let him rejoice over him; for it is written: Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth, lest the Lord see it and it displease Him and He turn away His wrath from him.26
When Samuel had a bad dream, he used to say, The dreams speak falsely.27 When he had a good dream, he used to say, Do the dreams speak falsely, seeing that it is written, I [God] do speak with him in a dream?28 Raba pointed out a contradiction. It is written, ‘I do speak with him in a dream’, and it is written, ‘the dreams speak falsely’. — There is no contradiction; in the one case it is through an angel, in the other through a demon.
R. Bizna b. Zabda said in the name of R. Akiba who had it from R. Panda who had it from R. Nahum, who had it from R. Biryam reporting a certain elder — and who was this? R. Bana'ah: There were twenty-four interpreters of dreams in Jerusalem. Once I dreamt a dream and I went round to all of them and they all gave different interpretations, and all were fulfilled, thus confirming that which is said: All dreams follow the mouth.29 Is the statement that all dreams follow the mouth Scriptural?30 Yes, as stated by R. Eleazar. For R. Eleazar said: Whence do we know that all dreams follow the mouth? Because it says, and it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was.31 Raba said: This is only if the interpretation corresponds to the content of the dream: for it says, to each man according to his dream he did interpret.32 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good.33 How did he know this? R. Eleazar says: This tells us that each of them was shown his own dream and the interpretation of the other one's dream.34
R. Johanan said: If one rises early and a Scriptural verse comes to his mouth,35 this is a kind of minor prophecy. R. Johanan also said: Three kinds of dream are fulfilled: an early morning dream, a dream which a friend has about one, and a dream which is interpreted in the midst of a dream. Some add also, a dream which is repeated, as it says, and for that the dream was doubled unto Pharoah twice, etc.36
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts, as it says, As for thee, Oh King, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed.37 Or if you like, I can derive it from here: That thou mayest know the thoughts of the heart.38 Raba said: This is proved by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle.39
(1) Ibid. 2.
(2) Gen. XLI, 46.
(3) After which Joseph saw his brothers.
(4) Rashi reads: A good man is shown a bad dream and a bad man is shown a good dream. The purpose is to turn the good man to repentance and to give the bad man his reward in this world.
(5) Ps. XCI, 10.
(6) Prov. XIX, 23.
(7) And translate: If he abides seven nights without being visited, it is evil.
(8) And therefore what harm can it do?
(9) Ps. XXX, 12.
(10) Jer. XXXI, 13.
(11) Deut. XXIII, 6.
(12) Ps, LV, 19.
(13) Isa. XXXV, 10.
(14) I Samuel XIV, 45.
(15) Isa. LVII, 19.
(16) I Chron. XII, 19.
(17) I Sam. XXV, 6.
(18) To say the priestly benediction.
(19) Var. lec. adds here the words: And may they be fulfilled.
(20) This prayer is included in the prayer books and recited in some congregations between each of the three blessings constituting the priestly benediction, whether they have dreamt or not.
(21) I.e., he is unable to finish it together with the priests. Var. lec.: When the priests (at the conclusion of the benediction) turn their faces (to the ark).
(22) I.e., his own sensual passions.
(23) Gen. XLIX, 22.
(24) Ibid. XLVIII, 16.
(25) V. supra p. 120, nn. 9 and 10.
(26) Prov. XXiv, 17.
(27) Zech. X, 2.
(28) Num. XII, 6.
(29) ‘Mouth’ here seems to have the sense of interpretation.
(30) As the formula ‘thus confirming’ etc., would seem to imply.
(31) Gen. XLI, 13.
(32) Ibid. 12.
(33) Ibid. XL, 16.
(34) R. Eleazar stresses the word ‘saw’.
(35) I.e., either he spontaneously utters it, or he hears a child repeating it.
(36) Ibid. XLI, 32.
(37) Dan. II, 29.
(38) Ibid. 30.
(39) Because he never thinks of such things.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 56a
The Emperor [of Rome]1 said to R. Joshua b. R. Hananyah: You [Jews] profess to be very clever. Tell me what I shall see in my dream. He said to him: You will see the Persians2 making you do forced labour, and despoiling you and making you feed unclean animals with a golden crook. He thought about it all day, and in the night he saw it in his dream.3 King Shapor [I] once said to Samuel: You [Jews] profess to be very clever. Tell me what I shall see in my dream. He said to him: You will see the Romans coming and taking you captive and making you grind date-stones in a golden mill. He thought about it the whole day and in the night saw it in a dream.
Bar Hedya was an interpreter of dreams. To one who paid him he used to give a favourable interpretation and to one who did not pay him he gave an unfavourable interpretation. Abaye and Raba each had a dream. Abaye gave him a zuz, and Rab did not give him anything, They said to him: In our dream we had to read the verse, Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes,4 etc. To Raba he said: Your business will be a failure, and you will be so grieved that you will have no appetite to eat. To Abaye he said: Your business will prosper, and you will not be able to eat from sheer joy. They then said to him: We had to read in our dream the verse, Thou shalt beget sons and daughters but they shall not be thine,5 etc. To Raba he interpreted it in its [literal] unfavourable sense. To Abaye he said: You have numerous sons and daughters, and your daughters will be married and go away, and it will seem to you as if they have gone into captivity. [They said to him:] We were made to read the verse: Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people.6 To Abaye he said: You have numerous sons and daughters; you will want your daughters to marry your relatives, and your wife will want them to marry her relatives, and she will force you to marry them to her relatives, which will be like giving them to another people. To Raba he said: Your wife will die, and her sons and daughters will come under the sway of another wife. (For Raba said in the name of R. Jeremiah b. Abba, reporting Rab: What is the meaning of the verse: ‘Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given to another people’? This refers to a step-mother.) [They further said]: We were made to read in our dream the verse, Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, etc.7 To Abaye he said: Your business will prosper, and you will eat and drink, and recite this verse out of the joy of your heart. To Raba he said: Your business will fail, you will slaughter [cattle] and not eat or drink and you will read Scripture to allay your anxiety. [They said to him]: We were made to read the verse, Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, [and shalt gather little in, for the locusts will consume it].8 To Abaye he interpreted from the first half of the verse; to Raba from the second half. [They said to him:] We were made to read the verse, Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy borders, [but thou shalt not anoint thyself, etc.]9 To Abaye he interpreted from the first half of the verse; to Raba from the second half. [They said to him:] We were made to read the verse: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon thee, etc.10 To Abaye he said: Your name will become famous as head of the college, and you will be generally feared. To Raba he said: The King's treasury11 will be broken into, and you will be arrested as a thief, and everyone will draw an inference from you.12 The next day the King's treasury was broken into and they came and arrested Raba: They said to him: We saw a lettuce on the mouth of a jar. To Abaye he said: Your business will be doubled like a lettuce. To Raba he said: Your business will be bitter like a lettuce. They said to him: We saw some meat on the mouth of a jar. To Abaye he said: Your wine will be sweet, and everyone will come to buy meat and wine from you. To Raba, he said: Your wine will turn sour, and everyone will come to buy meat to eat with it.13 They said: We saw a cask hanging on a palm tree. To Abaye he said: Your business will spring up like a palm tree. To Raba he said: Your goods will be sweet like dates.14 They said to him: We saw a pomegranate sprouting on the mouth of a jar. To Abaye he said: Your goods will be high-priced like a pomegranate. To Raba he said: Your goods will be stale like a [dry] pomegranate. They said to him: We saw a cask fall into a pit. To Abaye he said: Your goods will be in demand according to the saying: The pu'ah15 has fallen into a well and cannot be found.16 To Raba he said: Your goods will be spoilt and they will be thrown into a pit. They said to him: We saw a young ass standing by our pillow and braying. To Abaye he said: You will become a king,17 and an Amora18 will stand by you. To Raba he said: The words ‘The first-born of an ass’19 have been erased from your tefillin. Raba said to him: I have looked at them and they are there. He replied to him: Certainly the waw of the word hamor [ass] has been erased from your tefillin.20
Subsequently Raba went to him by himself and said to him: I dreamt that the outer door fell. He said to him: Your wife will die. He said to him: I dreamt that my front and back teeth fell out. He said to him: Your sons and your daughters will die. He said: I saw two pigeons flying. He replied: You will divorce two wives.21 He said to him: I saw two turnip-tops.22 He replied: You will receive two blows with a cudgel. On that day Raba went and sat all day in the Beth ha-Midrash. He found two blind men quarrelling with one another. Raba went to separate them and they gave him two blows. They wanted to give him another blow but he said, Enough! I saw in my dream only two.
Finally Raba went and gave him a fee. He said to him: I saw a wall fall down. He replied: You will acquire wealth without end. He said: I dreamt that Abaye's villa fell in and the dust of it covered me. He replied to him: Abaye will die and [the presidency of] his College will be offered to you. He said to him: I saw my own villa fall in, and everyone came and took a brick. He said to him: Your teachings will be disseminated throughout the world. He said to him: I dreamt that my head was split open and my brains fell out. He replied: The stuffing will fall out of your pillow. He said to him: In my dream I was made to read the Hallel of Egypt.23 He replied: Miracles will happen to you.
Bar Hedya was once travelling with Raba in a boat. He said to himself: Why should I accompany a man to whom a miracle will happen?24 As he was disembarking, he let fall a book. Raba found it, and saw written in it: All dreams follow the mouth. He exclaimed: Wretch! It all depended on you and you gave me all this pain! I forgive you everything except [what you said about] the daughter of R. Hisda.25 May it be God's will that this fellow be delivered up to the Government, and that they have no mercy on him! Bar Hedya said to himself: What am I to do? We have been taught that a curse uttered by a sage, even when undeserved, comes to pass; how much more this of Raba, which was deserved! He said: I will rise up and go into exile. For a Master has said: Exile makes atonement for iniquity. He rose and fled to the Romans. He went and sat at the door of the keeper of the King's wardrobe. The keeper of the wardrobe had a dream, and said to him: I dreamt that a needle pierced my finger. He said to him: Give me a zuz! He refused to give him one, and he would not say a word to him. He again said to him: I dreamt that a worm26 fell between two of my fingers. He said to him: Give me a zuz. He refused to give him one, and he would not say a word to him. I dreamt that a worm filled the whole of my hand. He said to him: Worms have been spoiling all the silk garments. This became known in the palace, and they brought the keeper of the wardrobe in order to put him to death. He said to them: Why execute me? Bring the man who knew and would not tell. So they brought Bar Hedya, and they said to him: Because of your zuz, the king's silken garments have been ruined
(1) Probably Trajan, when he passed through Palestine during his expedition to Persia.
(2) I.e., the Parthians.
(3) Trajan was defeated by the Parthians in 116 C.E.
(4) Deut. XXVIII, 31.
(5) Ibid. 41.
(6) Deut. XXVIII, 32.
(7) Eccl. IX, 7.
(8) Deut. XXVIII, 38.
(9) Ibid. 40.
(10) Ibid. 10.
(11) Where the tax payments were received.
(12) Saying: If Raba is suspect, how much more so are we.
(13) I.e., to dip in it.
(14) Rashi explains this to mean: Sweet to the customer because of its cheapness.
(15) A vegetable dyer's madder, a prophylactic.
(16) I.e., it is a useless remedy, v. Shab. 66b. MS.M. reads: Your goods will be in demand like something which has fallen into a pit.
(17) I.e., president of a college.
(18) An interpreter.
(19) Ex. XIII, 13. This passage is one of the four contained in the tefillin.
(20) Bah adds: ‘Raba examined and found that the waw of hamor had been erased etc.’.
(21) A wife is compared to a dove in Cant. V, 2.
(22) Looking like sticks.
(23) I.e., the Hallel as said on Passover Eve to celebrate the going forth from Egypt, v. Glos. s.v. Hallel.
(24) As much as to say, he will be saved but I will not.
(25) Raba's wife, whose death Bar Hedya had foretold.
(26) Aliter: ‘decay’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 56b
. They tied two cedars together with a rope, tied one leg to one cedar and the other to the other, and released the rope, so that even his head was split.1 Each tree rebounded to its place and he was decapitated and his body fell in two.
Ben Dama, the son of R. Ishmael's sister, asked R. Ishmael: I dreamt that both my jaws fell out; [what does it mean]? — He replied to him: Two Roman counsellors2 have made a plot against you, but they have died.
Bar Kappara said to Rabbi: I dreamt that my nose fell off. He replied to him: Fierce anger3 has been removed from you. He said to him: I dreamt that both my hands were cut off. He replied: You will not require the labour of your hands. He said to him: I dreamt that both my legs were cut off. He replied: You will ride on horseback.1 dreamt that they said to me: You will die in Adar and not see Nisan. He replied: You will die in all honour [adrutha], and not be brought into temptation [nisayon].
A certain Min said to R. Ishmael: I saw myself [in a dream] pouring oil on olives. He replied: [This man]4 has outraged his mother. He said to him: I dreamt I plucked a star. He replied: You have stolen an Israelite.5 He said to him: I dreamt that I swallowed the star. He replied: You have sold an Israelite and consumed the proceeds. He said to him: I dreamt that my eyes were kissing one another. He replied: (This man] has outraged his sister. He said to him: I dreamt that I kissed the moon. He replied: He has outraged the wife of an Israelite. He said to him: I dreamt that I was walking in the shade of a myrtle. He replied: He has outraged a betrothed damsel.6 He said to him: I dreamt that there was a shade above me, and yet it was beneath me. He replied: It means unnatural intercourse. He said to him: I saw ravens keep on coming to my bed. He replied: Your wife has misconducted herself with many men. He said to him: I saw pigeons keep on coming to my bed. He replied: You have defiled many women. He said to him: I dreamt that I took two doves and they flew away. He replied: You have married two wives and dismissed them without a bill of divorce. He said to him: I dreamt that I was shelling eggs. He replied: You have been stripping the dead. He then said to him: You are right in all of these, except the last! of which I am not guilty. Just then a woman came and said to him: This cloak which you are wearing belonged to So-and-so who is dead, and you have stripped it from him. He said to him: I dreamt that people told me: Your father has left you money in Cappadocia. He said to him: Have you money in Cappadocia? No, he replied. Did your father ever go to Cappadocia? No. In that case, he said, kappa means a beam and dika means ten.7 Go and examine the beam which is at the head of ten, for it is full of coins. He went, and found it full of coins.
R. Hanina said: If one sees a well in a dream, he will behold peace,since it says: And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of living water.8 R. Nathan said: He will find Torah, since it says, Whoso findeth me findeth life9 and it is written here, a well of living water.10 Raba said: It means life literally.
Rab Hanan said: There are three (kinds of dreams which signify] peace, namely, about a river, a bird, and a pot. ‘A river’,for it is written: Behold I will extend peace to her like a river.11 ‘A bird’, for it is written: As birds hovering so will the Lord of Hosts protect Jerusalem.12 ‘A Pot’ for it is written, Lord, thou wilt establish13 peace for us.14 Said R. Hanina: But this has been said of a pot in which there is no meat, [for it says]:15 They chop them in pieces, as that which is in the pot and as flesh within the cauldron.16
R. Joshua b. Levi said: If one sees a river in his dreams, he should rise early and say: Behold I will extend peace to her like a river,11 before another verse occurs to him, viz., for distress will come in like a river.17 If one dreams of a bird he should rise early and say: As birds hovering, so will the Lord of Hosts protect,12 before another verse occurs to him, viz., As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.18 If one sees a pot in his dreams, he should rise early and say, Lord thou will establish [tishpoth] peace for us,14 before another verse occurs to him, viz., Set [shefoth] on the pot, set it on.19 If one sees grapes in his dream, he should rise early and say: I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness,20 before another verse occurs to him, viz., their grapes are grapes of gall.21 If one dreams of a mountain, he should rise early and say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings,22 before another verse occurs to him, viz.,for the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing.23 If one dreams of a horn he should rise early and say: And it shall come to pass in that day that a great horn shall be blown,24 before another verse occurs to him, viz., Blow ye the horn of Gibeah.25 If one sees a dog in his dream, he should rise early and say: But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog whet his tongue,26 before another verse occurs to him, viz., Yea, the dogs are greedy.27 If one sees a lion in his dream he should rise early and say: The lion hath roared, who will not fear?28 before another verse occurs to him, viz., A lion is gone up from his thicket.29 If one dreams of shaving, he should rise early and say: And Joseph shaved himself and changed his raiment,30 before another verse occurs to him, viz., If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me.31 If one sees a well in his dream, he should rise early and say: A well of living waters,32 before another verse occurs to him, viz., As a cistern welleth with her waters, so she welleth with her wickedness.33 If one sees a reed, he should rise early and say, A bruised reed shall he not break,34 before another verse occurs to him, viz., Behold thou trusteth upon the staff of this bruised reed.35
Our Rabbis taught: If one sees a reed [kaneh] in a dream, he may hope for wisdom, for it says: Get [keneh] wisdom.36 If he sees several reeds, he may hope for understanding, since it says: With all thy getting [kinyaneka] get understanding.37 R. Zera said: A pumpkin [kara], a palm-heart [kora] wax [kira], and a reed [kanya] are all auspicious in a dream.38 It has been taught: Pumpkins are shown in a dream only to one who fears heaven with all his might.39 If one sees an ox in a dream, he should rise early and say: His firstling bullock, majesty is his,40 before another verse occurs to him, viz., If an ox gore a man.41
Our Rabbis taught: There are five sayings in connexion with an ox in a dream. If one [dreams that he] eats of its flesh, he will become rich; if that an ox has gored him, he will have sons who will contend together42 in the study of the Torah; if that an ox bit him, sufferings will come upon him; if that it kicked him, he will have to go on a long journey; if that he rode upon one, he will rise to greatness. But it has been taught: If he dreamt that he rode upon one,43 he will die? — There is no contradiction. In the one case the dream is that he rides on the ox, in the other that the ox rode upon him.
If one sees an ass in a dream, he may hope for salvation, as it says, Behold thy king cometh unto thee; he is triumphant and victorious, lowly and riding upon an ass.44 If one sees a cat in a dream, if in a place where they call it shunara, a beautiful song [shirah na'ah] will be composed for him; if in a place where they call it shinra, he will undergo a change for the worse [shinnui ra’].45 If one sees grapes in a dream, if they are white, whether in their season or not in their season, they are a good sign; if black, in their season they are a good sign, not in their season a bad sign.46 If one sees a white horse in a dream, whether walking gently or galloping, it is a good sign, if a red horse, if walking gently it is a good sign, if galloping it is a bad sign. If one sees Ishmael in a dream, his prayer will be heard.47 And it must be Ishmael, the son of Abraham, but not an ordinary Arab.48 If one sees a camel in a dream, death has been decreed for him from heaven and he has been delivered from it. R. Hama b. Hanina said: What is the Scriptural text for this? — I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will also surely bring thee up again.49 R. Nahman b. Isaac derives it from here: The Lord also hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die.50 If one sees Phineas in a dream, a miracle will be wrought for him. If one sees an elephant [pil] in a dream, wonders [pela'oth] will be wrought for him; if several elephants, wonders of wonders will be wrought for him. But it has been taught: All kinds of beasts are of good omen in a dream except the elephant and the ape? — There is no contradiction.
(1) Another reading is: ‘released the rope till he was split in two. Said Raba: I will not forgive him till his head is split. Each tree, etc.’.
(2) Signified by ‘jaws’ because of their powers of speech.
(3) The word for ‘nose’
(af) means also ‘anger’.
(4) In attributing to him such a crime he would not address him in the second person.
(5) The Israelites being compared to stars. Gen. XV, 5.
(6) For whom it is usual to make a canopy of myrtle.
(7) Kappa in the sense of ‘beam’ is an Aramaic word (Kofa), while dika in the sense of ten is the Greek GR.** The Jer. more plausibly explains kappa as the Greek letter equivalent to twenty, and dokia as representing the Greek GR.**, a beam.
(8) Gen. XXVI,19.
(9) Prov. VIII, 35.
(10) Lit. ‘water of life’.
(11) Isa. LXVI, 12.
(12) Ibid. XXXI, 5.
(13) Heb. tishpoth, which is also used for placing a pot on a fire.
(14) Ibid. XXVI, 12.
(15) V. Marginal Gloss.
(16) Micah III, 3.
(17) Isa. LIX, 19.
(18) Prov. XXVII, 8.
(19) Ezek. XXIV, 3.
(20) Hos. IX, 10.
(21) Deut. XXXII, 32.
(22) Isa. LII, 7.
(23) Jer. IX, 9.
(24) Isa. XXVII, 13.
(25) Hos. V, 8. This introduces a denunciation.
(26) Ex. XI, 7.
(27) Isa. LVI, 11.
(28) Amos III, 8.
(29) Jer. IV, 7.
(30) Gen. XLI, 24.
(31) Judg. XVI, 17. Spoken by Samson.
(32) Cant. IV, 15.
(33) Jer. VI, 7.
(34) Isa. XLII, 3.
(35) Ibid. XXXVI, 6.
(36) Prov. IV, 5.
(37) Ibid. 7.
(38) They all resemble in sound the word ‘reed’ and hence have a favourable significance.
(39) Despite their large size they do not grow high above the ground, and are plants symbolic of the Godfearing man who, despite his worth, remains lowly and humble. (R. Nissim, Gaon.)
(40) Deut. XXXIII, 17.
(41) Ex. XXI, 28.
(42) Lit., ‘gore’ (one another).
(43) The original can equally mean ‘it rides upon him’.
(44) Zech. IX, 9.
(45) MS.M. reads: If in a place . . . shunara he will undergo a change for the worse; if shunara a beautiful song, etc.
(46) MS.M. adds: He should offer supplication. If (he dreamt) that he had eaten these, he can be assured that he is a son of the world to come.
(47) Cf. Gen. XXI, 17.
(48) Who is also called Ishmael.
(49) Gen. XLVI, 4. The last words in the Hebrew are gam ‘aloh, which resemble gamal, ‘a camel’.
(50) II Sam. XII, 13. The derivation in this case is not clear; perhaps it is from the word gam ‘also’ which resembles gamal.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 57a
The elephants are of good omen1 if saddled, of bad omen if not saddled. If one sees the name Huna in a dream, a miracle will be wrought for him.2 If one sees the name Hanina, Hananiah or Jonathan, miracles will be wrought for him.3 If one dreams of a funeral oration [hesped] mercy will be vouchsafed to him from heaven and he will be redeemed.4 This is only if he sees the word in writing.5 If one [in a dream] answers, ‘May His great name be blessed’, he may be assured that he has a share in the future world. If one dreams that he is reciting the Shema’, he is worthy that the Divine presence should rest upon him, only his generation is not deserving enough. If one dreams he is putting on tefillin, he may look forward to greatness, for it says: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon thee, and they shall fear thee;6 and it has been taught: R. Eliezer the Great says: This refers to the tefillin of the head.7 If one dreams he is praying, it is a good sign, for him, provided he does not complete the prayer.8
If one dreams that he has intercourse with his mother, he may expect to obtain understanding, since it says, Yea, thou wilt call understanding ‘mother’.9 If one dreams he has intercourse with a betrothed maiden, he may expect to obtain knowledge of Torah, since it says, Moses commanded us a law [Torah], an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.10 Read not morashah [inheritance], but me'orasah [betrothed]. If one dreams he has had intercourse with his sister, he may expect to obtain wisdom, since it says, Say to wisdom, thou art my sister.11 If one dreams he has intercourse with a married woman, he can be confident that he is destined for the future world,12 provided, that is, that he does not know her and did not think of her in the evening.
R. Hiyya b. Abba said: If one sees wheat in a dream, he will see peace, as it says: He maketh thy borders peace; He giveth thee in plenty the fat of wheat.13 If one sees barley14 in a dream, his iniquities will depart, as it says: Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin expiated.15 R. Zera said: I did not go up from Babylon to the Land of Israel until I saw barley in a dream.16 If one sees in a dream a vine laden with fruit, his wife will not have a miscarriage, since it says, thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine.17 If one sees a choice vine, he may look forward to seeing the Messiah, since it says, Binding his foal unto the vine and his ass's colt unto the choice vine.18 If one sees a fig tree in a dream, his learning will be preserved within him, as it says: Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof.19 If one sees pomegranates in a dream, if they are little ones, his business will be fruitful like a pomegranate; if big ones, his business will increase like a pomegranate. If they are split open, if he is a scholar, he may hope to learn more Torah , as it says: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate;20 if he is unlearned, he may hope to perform precepts, as it says: Thy temples are like a pomegranate split open.21 What is meant by ‘Thy temples’ [rakothek]? — Even the illiterate [rekanim]22 among thee are full of precepts like a pomegranate. If one sees olives in a dream, if they are little ones his business will go on fructifying and increasing like an olive. This is if he sees the fruit; but if he sees the tree he will have many sons, as it says: Thy children like olive plants, round about thy table.17 Some say that if one sees an olive in his dream he will acquire a good name, as it says , The Lord called thy name a leafy olive-tree, fair and goodly fruit.23 If one sees olive oil in a dream, he may hope for the light of the Torah, as it says, That they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light.24 If one sees palm-trees in a dream his iniquities will come to an end, as it says, The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion.25
R. Joseph said: If one sees a goat in a dream, he will have a blessed year; if several goats, several blessed years, as it says: And there will be goat's milk enough for thy food.26 If one sees myrtle in his dream, he will have good luck with his property,27 and if he has no property he will inherit some from elsewhere. ‘Ulla said — according to others, it was taught in a Baraitha: this is only if he sees myrtle on its stem.28 If one sees citron [hadar] in his dream, he is honoured [hadur] in the sight of his Maker, since it says: The fruit of citrons,29 branches of palm-trees.30 If one sees a palm branch in a dream, he is single-hearted in devotion to his Father in Heaven.31 If one sees a goose in a dream, he may hope for wisdom, since it says: Wisdom crieth aloud it, the street;32 and he who dreams of being with one will become head of an academy. R. Ashi said: I saw one and was with one, and I was elevated to a high position.33 If one sees a cock in a dream he may expect a male child; if several cocks, several sons; if a hen, a fine garden and rejoicing.34 If one sees eggs in a dream, his petition remains in suspense;35 if they are broken his petition will be granted. The same with nuts and cucumbers and all vessels of glass and all breakable things like these.
If one dreams that he enters a large town, his desire will be fulfilled, as it says, And He led them unto their desired haven.36 If one dreams that he is shaving his head, it is a good sign for him; if his head and his beard, for him and for all his family. If one dreams that he is sitting in a small boat, he will acquire a good name; if in a large boat, both he and all his family will acquire one; but this is only if it is on the high sea. If one dreams that he is easing himself, it is a good omen for him, as it is said, He that is bent down shall speedily be loosed,37 but this is only if he did not wipe himself [in his dream]. If one dreams that he goes up to a roof, he will attain a high position; if that he goes down, he will be degraded. Abaye and Raba, however, both say that once he has attained a high position he will remain there. If one dreams he is tearing his garments, his evil decree38 will be rent. If one dreams that he is standing naked, if in Babylon he will remain sinless,39 if in the Land of Israel he will be bare of pious deeds.40 If one dreams that he has been arrested by the police, protection will be offered him; if that he has been placed in neck-chains,41 additional protection will be afforded him. This is only [if he dreams] of neck-chains, not a mere rope. If one dreams that he walks into a marsh, he will become the head of an academy;42 if into a forest he will become the head of the collegiates.43
R. Papa and R. Huna the son of Joshua both had dreams. R. Papa dreamt that he went into a marsh and he became head of an academy.44 R. Huna the son of R. Joshua dreamt that he went into a forest and he became head of the collegiates. Some say that both dreamt they went into a marsh, but R. Papa who was carrying a drum45 became head of the academy, while R. Huna the son of R. Joshua who did not carry a drum became only the head of the collegiates. R. Ashi said: I dreamt that I went into a marsh and carried a drum and made a loud noise with it.
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Nahman b. Isaac: If one dreams that he is undergoing blood-letting, his iniquities are forgiven.46 But it has been taught: His iniquities are recounted? — What is meant by recounted? Recounted so as to be forgiven.
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Shesheth: If one sees a serpent in a dream, it means that his living is assured;47 if it bites him it will be doubled; if he kills it he will lose his living. R. Shesheth said to him: [In this case] all the more will his living be doubled! This is not so, however; R. Shesheth [explained thus] because he saw a serpent in his dream and killed it.48
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Johanan: All kinds of drinks are a good sign in a dream except wine; sometimes one may drink it and it turns out well and sometimes one may drink it and it turns out ill. ‘Sometimes one may drink it and it turns out well’, as it says: Wine that maketh glad the heart of man’.49 ‘Sometimes one may drink it and it turns out ill’, as it says: Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul.’50 Said R. Johanan unto the Tanna: Teach that for a scholar it is always good, as it says: Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled.51
(1) Lit., ‘this is . . . that is’.
(2) The Hebrew for miracle, nes, also contains the letter nun.
(3) These names contain more than one nun.
(4) Heaped is here connected with hus ‘to have pity’ and padah ‘to redeem’.
(5) And similarly the proper names Huna, etc. enumerated above.
(6) Deut. XXVIII, 10.
(7) V. supra 6a.
(8) I.e., wakes up before it is finished.
(9) Prov. II, 3 with a slight change of reading. E.V. Yea, If thou wilt call for understanding.
(10) Deut. XXXIII, 4.
(11) Prov. VII, 4.
(12) The signification being that he obtains his own share and that of his neighbour (Rashi).
(13) Ps. CXLVII, 14.
(14) Se'orim (barley) equals sar ‘awon, ‘iniquity has departed’.
(15) Isa VI, 7.
(16) A visit to the Holy Land was held to bring with it an expiation for sin.
(17) Ps. CXXVIII, 3.
(18) Gen. XLIX, 11. This verse is supposed to refer to the Messiah.
(19) Prov. XXVII, 18.
(20) Cant. VIII, 2.
(21) Ibid. IV, 3.
(22) Lit., ‘the empty ones’.
(23) Jer. XI, 16.
(24) Ex. XX VII, 20.
(25) Lam. IV, 22. Temarin (palm-trees) suggest tammu morin, ‘finished are rebels (sins)’.
(26) Prov. XXVII, 27.
(27) Like a myrtle which has numerous leaves.
(28) I.e., attached to the soil.
(29) E.V. ‘Goodly trees’.
(30) Lev. XXIII, 40.
(31) The palm branch having no twigs.
(32) Prov. I, 20.
(33) He became the head of the Academy of Matha Mehasia (a suburb of Sura).
(34) The Hebrew word for cock (tarnegol) suggests these interpretations.
(35) Like the contents of the egg, of which one is doubtful as long as the shell is unbroken (Rashi).
(36) Ps. CVII, 30.
(37) Isa. LI, 14.
(38) The evil decreed against him from heaven.
(39) V. Keth. 110b. He who dwells outside the Land of Israel is as though he worshipped idols. To stand naked in a dream in Babylon hence means to be sinless.
(40) V. Keth. 111a. He who dwells in the Land abides sinless. To stand naked in a dream in Palestine hence means to be bare of pious deeds.
(41) With which criminals were strung together to be led to execution.
(42) Short and long reeds in a marsh are figurative of the students of different ages and standards attending the Academy.
(43) The full-grown trees in a forest represent the mature students who meet often for discussion and study. V., however, Rashi.
(44) He became the head of the school in Naresh, near Sura.
(45) Such as was used for announcing the approach of a man of distinction.
(46) Sins are described as crimson, cf. Isa. I, 18.
(47) Because the serpent eats dust of which there is always abundance.
(48) And he wished to give his dream a favourable interpretation.
(49) Ps. CIV, 15.
(50) Prov. XXXI, 6.
(51) Ibid. IX, 5.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 57b
R. Johanan said: If at the moment of rising a text occurs to one, this is a minor kind of prophecy.
Our Rabbis taught there are three kings [who are important for dreams]. If one sees David in a dream, he may hope for piety; if Solomon, he may hope for wisdom; if Ahab, let him fear for punishment. There are three prophets [of significance for dreams]. If one sees the Book of Kings, he may look forward to greatness; if Ezekiel, he may look forward to wisdom; if Isaiah he may look forward to consolation; if Jeremiah, let him fear for punishment. There are three larger books of the Hagiographa [which are significant for dreams]. If one sees the Book of Psalms, he may hope for piety; if the Book of Proverbs, he may hope for wisdom; if the Book of Job, let him fear for punishment. There are three smaller books of the Hagiographa [significant for dreams]. If one sees the Songs of Songs in a dream, he may hope for piety;1 if Ecclesiastes, he may hope for wisdom; if Lamentations, let him fear for punishment; and one who sees the Scroll of Esther will have a miracle wrought for him. There are three Sages [significant for dreams]. If one sees Rabbi in a dream, he may hope for wisdom; if Eleazar b. Azariah, he may hope for riches;2 if R. Ishmael b. Elisha, let him fear for punishment.3 There are three disciples4 [significant for dreams]. If one sees Ben ‘Azzai in a dream, he may hope for piety; if Ben Zoma, he may hope for wisdom; if Aher,5 let him fear for punishment.
All kinds of beasts are a good sign in a dream, except the elephant, the monkey and the long-tailed ape. But a Master has said: If one sees an elephant in a dream, a miracle will be wrought for him?6 — There is no contradiction; in the latter case it is saddled, in the former case it is not saddled. All kinds of metal implements are a good sign in a dream, except a hoe, a mattock, and a hatchet; but this is only if they are seen in their hafts.7 All kinds of fruit are a good sign in a dream, except unripe dates. All kinds of vegetables are a good sign in a dream, except turnip-tops. But did not Rab say: I did not become rich until I dreamt of turnip-tops? — When he saw them, it was on their stems.8 All kinds of colours are a good sign in a dream, except blue.9 All kinds10 of birds are a good sign in a dream, except the owl, the horned owl and the bat.
(Mnemonic: The body, The body, Reflex, Restore, Self-esteem.) Three things enter the body without benefiting it: melilot,11 dateberries, and unripe dates. Three things benefit the body without being absorbed by it: washing, anointing, and regular motion. Three things are a reflex of the world to come: Sabbath, sunshine, and tashmish.12 Tashmish of what? Shall I say of the bed?13 This weakens. It must be then tashmish of the orifices. Three things restore a man's good spirits: [beautiful] sounds, sights, and smells. Three things increase a man's self-esteem:14 a beautiful dwelling, a beautiful wife, and beautiful clothes.
(Mnemonic: Five, Six, Ten). Five things are a sixtieth part of something else: namely, fire, honey, Sabbath, sleep and a dream. Fire is one-sixtieth part of Gehinnom. Honey is one-sixtieth part of manna. Sabbath is one-sixtieth part of the world to come. Sleep is one-sixtieth part of death. A dream is one-sixtieth part of prophecy.
Six things are a good sign for a sick person, namely, sneezing, perspiration, open bowels, seminal emission, sleep and a dream. Sneezing, as it is written: His sneezings flash forth light.15 Perspiration, as it is written, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.16 Open bowels, as it is written: If lie that is bent down hasteneth to be loosed, he shall not go down dying to the pit.17 Seminal emission, as it is written: Seeing seed, he will prolong his days.18 Sleep, as it is written: I should have slept, then should I have been at rest.19 A dream, as it is written: Thou didst cause me to dream and make me to live.20
Six things heal a man of his sickness with a complete cure, namely, cabbage, beet, a decoction of dried poley, the maw [of an animal], the womb, and the large lobe of the liver. Some add small fishes, which [not only have this advantage] but also make fruitful and invigorate a man's whole body.
Ten things bring a man's sickness on again in a severe form, namely, to eat beef, fat meat, roast meat, poultry and roasted egg, shaving, and eating cress, milk or cheese, and bathing. Some add, also nuts; and some add further, also cucumbers. It was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: Why are they called kishshu'im [cucumbers]? Because they are painful [kashim] for the body like swords. Is that so? See, it is written: And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb.21 Read not goyim [nations] but ge'im [lords], and Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: These are Antoninus and Rabbi, whose table never lacked either radish, lettuce or cucumbers either in summer or winter!22 — There is no contradiction; the former statement speaks of large ones, the latter of small ones.
Our Rabbis taught: [If one dreams of] a corpse in the house, it is a sign of peace in the house; if that he was eating and drinking in the house, it is a good sign for the house; if that he took articles from the house, it is a bad sign for the house. R. Papa explained it to refer to a shoe or sandal. Anything that the dead person [is seen in the dream] to take away is a good sign except a shoe and a sandal; anything that it puts down is a good sign except dust and mustard.
A PLACE FROM WHICH IDOLATRY HAS BEEN UPROOTED. Our Rabbis taught: If one sees a statue of Hermes,23 he says, Blessed be He who shows long suffering to those who transgress His will. If he sees a place from which idolatry has been uprooted, he says, Blessed be He who uprooted idolatry from our land; and as it has been uprooted from this place, so may it be uprooted from all places belonging to Israel; and do Thou turn the heart of those that serve them24 to serve Thee. Outside Palestine it is not necessary to say: Turn the heart of those that serve them to serve Thee, because most of them are idolaters. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: Outside Palestine also one should say this, because they will one day become proselytes, as it says, For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language.25
R. Hamnuna said in a discourse: If one sees the wicked Babylon, he should say five benedictions: On seeing [the city] Babylon itself he says, Blessed be He who has destroyed the wicked Babylon. On seeing the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, he says, Blessed be He who destroyed the palace of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar. On seeing the lions’ den, or the fiery furnace, he says, Blessed be He who wrought miracles for our ancestors26 in this place. On seeing the statue of Hermes, he says, Blessed be He who shows long suffering to those that transgress His will. On seeing the place from which dust is carried away,27 he says, Blessed be He who says and does, who decrees and carries out. Rab, when he saw asses carrying dust, used to give them a slap on the back and say, Run, ye righteous ones, to perform the will of your Master. When Mar the son of Rabina came to [the city of] Babylon, he used to put some dust in his kerchief and throw it out, to fulfil the text, I will sweep it with the besom of destruction.28 R. Ashi said: I had never heard this saying of R. Hamnuna, but of my own sense I made all these blessings.
(1) The Song of Songs being calculated to implant in the reader the love of God.
(2) R. Eleazar was very wealthy.
(3) R. Ishmael suffered martyrdom under the Romans, v. Halevi, Doroth I, p. 309.
(4) Who became authorities though they were never ordained as Rabbis.
(5) Elisha b. Abuya, called Aher (lit., ‘Another’) when he came a renegade, v. Hag. 15a.
(6) V. supra 56b.
(7) Otherwise they portend blows, as stated above.
(8) I.e., attached to the soil.
(9) The colour of sickness.
(10) MS.M. inserts: ‘of reptiles are a good sign in a dream except the mole. All kinds’.
(11) A kind of clover.
(12) Lit., ‘service’.
(13) I.e., sexual intercourse.
(14) Lit., ‘enlarge his spirit’.
(15) Job XLI, 10.
(16) Gen. III, 19.
(17) Isa. LI, 14. E.V. ‘He that is bent down shall speedily, etc.’.
(18) Ibid. LIII, 10.
(19) Job. III, 13.
(20) Isa. XXXVIII, 16. V. p. 335, n. 10.
(21) Gen. XXV, 23.
(22) V. A.Z. (Sonc. ed.) p. 50, n. 3.
(23) Heb. Markolis, the Latin Mercurius. This was the commonest of the heathen images.
(24) I.e., of renegade Israelites.
(25) Zeph. III, 9.
(26) Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
(27) The ruins of the city of Babylon from which earth was taken for building elsewhere, v. Obermeyer, p. 303.
(28) Isa. XIV, 23.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 58a
R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: When Babylon was cursed, her neighbours were also cursed; but when Samaria was cursed, her neighbours were blessed. ‘When Babylon was cursed her neighbours were cursed’, as it is written: I will also make it a possession for the bittern and pools of water.1 ‘When Samaria was cursed her neighbours were blessed’, as it is written: Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the field, a place for the planting of vineyards.2
R. Hamnuna further said: If one sees a crowd of Israelites, he should say: Blessed is He who discerneth secrets.3 If he sees a crowd of heathens, he should say: Your mother shall be ashamed, etc.4
Our Rabbis taught: If one sees a crowd of Israelites, he says, Blessed is He who discerneth secrets, for the mind of each is different from that of the other, just as the face of each is different from that of the other. Ben Zoma once saw a crowd on one of the steps of the Temple Mount. He said, Blessed is He that discerneth secrets, and blessed is He who has created all these to serve me. [For] he used to say: What labours Adam had to carry out before he obtained bread to eat! He ploughed, he sowed, he reaped, he bound [the sheaves], he threshed and winnowed and selected the ears, he ground [them], and sifted [the flour], he kneaded and baked, and then at last he ate; whereas I get up, and find all these things done for me. And how many labours Adam had to carry out before he obtained a garment to wear! He had to shear, wash [the wool], comb it, spin it and weave it, and then at last he obtained a garment to wear; whereas I get up and find all these things done for me. All kinds of craftsmen5 come early to the door of my house, and I rise in the morning and find all these before me.
He used to say: What does a good guest say? ‘How much trouble my host has taken for me! How much meat he has set before me! How much wine he has set before me! How many cakes he has set before me! And all the trouble he has taken was only for my sake!’ But what does a bad guest say? ‘How much after all has mine host put himself out? I have eaten one piece of bread, I have eaten one slice of meat,I have drunk one cup of wine! All the trouble which my host has taken was only for the sake of his wife and his children!’ What does Scripture say of a good guest? Remember that thou magnify his works, where of men have sung.6 But of a bad guest it is written: Men do therefore fear him; [he regardeth not any that are wise of heart].7
And the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among men.8 Raba (or, as some say, R. Zebid; or again, as some say, R. Oshaia) said: This is Jesse, the father of David, who went out with a crowd and came in with a crowd, and expounded [the Torah] to a crowd. ‘Ulla said: We have a tradition that there is no crowd9 in Babylon. It was taught: A multitude is not less than sixty myriads.
Our Rabbis taught: On seeing the Sages of Israel one should say: Blessed be He who hath imparted of His wisdom to them that fear Him. On seeing the Sages of other nations, one says, Blessed be He who hath imparted of His wisdom to His creatures. On seeing kings of Israel, one says: Blessed be He who hath imparted of His glory to them that fear Him. On seeing non-Jewish kings, one says: Blessed be He who hath imparted of His glory to His creatures. R. Johanan said: A man should always exert himself and run to meet an Israelitish king; and not only a king of Israel but also a king of any other nation, so that if he is deemed worthy,10 he will be able to distinguish between the kings of Israel and the kings of other nations.
R. Shesheth was blind. Once all the people went out to see the king, and R. Shesheth arose and went with them. A certain Sadducean11 came across him and said to him: The whole pitchers go to the river, but where do the broken ones go to?12 He replied:I will show you that I know more than you. The first troop passed by and a shout arose. Said the Sadducean: The king is coming. He is not coming, replied R. Shesheth. A second troop passed by and when a shout arose, the Sadducean said: Now the king is coming. R. Shesheth replied: The king is not coming. A third troop passed by and there was silence. Said R. Shesheth: Now indeed the king is coming. The Sadducean said to him: How did you know this? — He replied: Because the earthly royalty is like the heavenly. For it is written: Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.13 When the king came, R. Shesheth said the blessing over him. The Sadducean said to him: You, you say a blessing for one whom you do not see? What happened to that Sadducean? Some say that his companions put his eyes out; others say that R. Shesheth cast his eyes upon him and he became a heap of bones.
R. Shila administered lashes to a man who had intercourse with an Egyptian14 woman. The man went and informed against him to the Government, saying: There is a man among the Jews who passes judgment without the permission of the Government . An official was sent to [summon] him. When he came he was asked: Why did you flog that man? He replied: Because he had intercourse with a she-ass. They said to him: Have you witnesses? He replied: I have. Elijah thereupon came in the form of a man and gave evidence. They said to him: If that is the case he ought to be put to death! He replied: Since we have been exiled from our land, we have no authority to put to death; do you do with him what you please. While they were considering his case, R. Shila exclaimed, Thine, Oh Lord, is the greatness and the power.15 What are you saying? they asked him. He replied: What I am saying is this: Blessed is the All-Merciful Who has made the earthly royalty on the model of the heavenly, and has invested you with dominion, and made you lovers of justice. They said to him: Are you so solicitous for the honour of the Government? They handed him a staff16 and said to him: You may act as judge. When he went out that man said to him: Does the All-Merciful perform miracles for liars? He replied: Wretch! Are they not called asses? For it is written: Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses.17 He noticed that the man was about to inform them that he had called them asses. He said: This man is a persecutor, and the Torah has said: If a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first.18 So he struck him with the staff and killed him. He then said: Since a miracle has been wrought for me through this verse, I will expound it. ‘Thine, Oh Lord, is the greatness’: this refers to the work of creation; and so it says: Who doeth great things past finding out.19 ‘And the power’: this refers to the Exodus from Egypt, as it says: And Israel saw the great work, etc.20 ‘And the glory’: this refers to the sun and moon which stood still for Joshua, as it says: And the sun stood still and the moon stayed.21 ‘And the victory [nezah]’: this refers to the fall of Rome,22 as it says: And their life-blood [nizham] is dashed against my garments.23 ‘And the majesty’: this refers to the battle of the valleys of Arnon, as it says, Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord: Vaheb in Supah, and the valleys of Arnon.24 ‘For all that is in heaven and earth’: this refers to the war of Sisera, as it says: They fought front heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.25 ‘Thine is the kingdom, O Lord’: this refers to the war against Amalek. For so it says: The hand upon the throne of the Lord, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.26 ‘And Thou art exalted’: this refers to the war of Gog and Magog; and so it says: Behold I am against thee, Oh Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.27 ‘As head above all’: R. Hanan b. Raba said in the name of R. Johanan: Even a waterman28 is appointed from heaven. It was taught in a Baraitha in the name of R. Akiba: ‘Thine, oh Lord, is the greatness’: this refers to the cleaving of the Red Sea. ‘And the power’: this refers to the smiting of the first-born. ‘And the glory’: this refers to the giving of the Torah. ‘And the victory’: this refers to Jerusalem. ‘And the majesty’: this refers to the Temple.
(1) Ibid. The whole neighbourhood of Babylon became desolate.
(2) Micah I, 6.
(3) Lit., ‘wise in secrets’. Vi., the secrets of each one's heart.
(4) Jer. L, 12.
(5) So Marginal Gloss. Cur. edd. ‘peoples’.
(6) Job XXXVI, 24.
(7) Ibid. XXXVII, 24.
(8) I Sam. XVII, 12.
(9) Of Israelites assembled to hear the Torah.
(10) Of the Messianic age.
(11) MS.M. min (v. Glos.).
(12) As much as to say: What is the use of a blind man going to see the king.
(13) 1 Kings XIX, 11f.
(14) Var. lec. Gentile.
(15) I Chron. XXIX, 11.
(16) Or perhaps, ‘strap’ (J.T.).
(17) Ezek. XXIII, 20.
(18) This lesson is derived by the Rabbis from Ex. XXII, 1 which declares it legitimate to kill a burglar who is prepared to commit murder.
(19) Job. IX, 10.
(20) Ex. XIV, 31.
(21) Josh. X, 13.
(22) MS.M.: The wicked kingdom.
(23) Isa. LXIII, 3.
(24) Num. XXI, 14.
(25) Judg. V, 20.
(26) Ex. XVII, 16.
(27) Ezek. XXXVIII, 3.
(28) A man who looked after the well from which fields were irrigated — quite a menial office.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 58b
Our Rabbis taught: On seeing the houses of Israel, when inhabited one says: Blessed be He who sets the boundary of the widow;1 when uninhabited, Blessed be the judge of truth. On seeing the houses of heathens, when inhabited, one says: The Lord will pluck up the house of the proud;2 when uninhabited he says: O Lord, thou God, to whom vengeance belongeth, thou God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shine forth.3
Once when ‘Ulla and R. Hisda Were walking along the road, they came to the door of the house of R. Hana b. Hanilai. R. Hisda broke down and sighed. Said ‘Ulla to him: Why are you sighing, seeing that Rab has said that a sigh breaks half a man's body, since it says, Sigh therefore thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins,4 etc.; and R. Johanan said that it breaks even the whole of a man's body, as it says: And it shall be, when they say unto thee, wherefore sighest thou? Thou shalt say: Because of the tidings for it cometh; and every heart shall melt, etc.?5 — He replied: How shall I refrain from sighing on seeing the house in which there used to be sixty6 cooks by day and sixty cooks by night, who cooked for every one who was in need. Nor did he [R. Hana] ever take his hand away from his purse, thinking that perhaps a respectable poor man might come, and while he was getting his purse he would be put to shame. Moreover it had four doors, opening on different sides, and whoever went in hungry went out full. They used also to throw wheat and barley outside in years of scarcity, so that anyone who was ashamed to take by day used to come and take by night. Now it has fallen in ruins, and shall I not sigh? — He replied to him: Thus said R. Johanan: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed a decree has been issued against the houses of the righteous that they should become desolate, as it says: In mine ears, said the Lord of hosts: Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitants.7 R. Johanan further said: The Holy One, blessed be He, will one day restore them to their inhabited state, as it says: A Song of Ascents. They that trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion.8 Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, will restore Mount Zion to its inhabited state, so will He restore the houses of the righteous to their inhabited state. Observing that he was still not satisfied, he said to him: Enough for the servant that he should be like his master.9
Our Rabbis taught: On seeing Israelitish graves, one should say: Blessed is He who fashioned you in judgments who fed you in judgment and maintained you in judgment, and in judgment gathered you in, and who will one day raise you up again in judgment. Mar, the son of Rabina, concluded thus in the name of R. Nahman: And who knows the number of all of you; and He will one day revive you and establish you. Blessed is He who revives the dead.10 On seeing the graves of heathens one says: Your mother shall be sore ashamed, etc.
R. Joshua b. Levi said: One who sees a friend after a lapse of thirty days says: Blessed is He who has kept us alive and preserved us and brought us to this season. If after a lapse of twelve months he says: Blessed is He who revives the dead. Rab said: The dead is not forgotten till after twelve months, as it says: I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind; I am like a lost vessel.11 R. Papa and R. Huna the son of R. Joshua were once going along the road when they met R. Hanina, the son of R. Ika. They said to him: Now that we see you we make two blessings over you: ‘Blessed be He who has imparted of His wisdom to them that fear Him’, and ‘That has kept us alive etc.’. He said to them: I, also, on seeing you counted it as equal to seeing sixty myriads of Israel, and I made three blessings over you, those two, and ‘Blessed is He that discerneth secrets’. They said to him: Are you so clever as all that? They cast their eyes on him and he died.12
R. Joshua b. Levi said: On seeing pock-marked persons one says: Blessed be He who makes strange creatures. An objection was raised: If one sees a negro, a very red or very white person, a hunchback, a dwarf or a dropsical person, he says: Blessed be He who makes strange creatures. If he sees one with an amputated limb, or blind, or flatheaded, or lame, or smitten with boils, or pock-marked, he says: Blessed be the true Judge! — There is no contradiction; one blessing is said if he is so from birth, the other if he became so afterwards. A proof of this is that he is placed in the same category as one with an amputated limb; this proves it.
Our Rabbis taught: On seeing an elephant, an ape, or a long-tailed ape, one says: Blessed is He who makes strange creatures. If one sees beautiful creatures and beautiful trees, he says: Blessed is He who has such in His world.
OVER SHOOTING-STARS [ZIKIN]. What are ZIKIN? Samuel said: A comet.13 Samuel also said: I am as familiar with the paths of heaven as with the streets of Nehardea, with the exception of the comet, about which I am ignorant. There is a tradition that it never passes through the constellation of Orion, for if it did, the world would be destroyed. But we have seen it pass through? — Its brightness passed through, which made it appear as if it passed through itself. R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: Wilon14 was torn asunder and rolled up,15 showing the brightness of Rakia.16 R. Ashi said: A star was removed from one side of Orion and a companion star appeared on the other side, and people were bewildered and thought the star had crossed over.17
Samuel contrasted two texts. It is written, Who maketh the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades.18 And it is written elsewhere, That maketh Pleiades and Orion.19 How do we reconcile these? Were it not for the heat of Orion the world could not endure the cold of Pleiades; and were it not for the cold of Pleiades the world could not endure the heat of Orion. There is a tradition that were it not that the tail of the Scorpion has been placed in the Stream of Fire,20 no one who has ever been stung by a scorpion could live. This is what is referred to in the words of the All-Merciful to Job: Canst thou bind the chains of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion?21
What is meant by Kimah [Pleiades]?18 Samuel said: About a hundred [ke'me-ah] stars. Some say they are close together; others say that they are scattered. What is meant by ‘’Ash [the Bear]’?18 — Rab Judah said: Jutha. What is Jutha? — Some say it is the tail of the Ram; others say it is the hand of the Calf.22 The one who says it is the tail of the Ram is more probably right, since it says: ‘Ayish will be comforted for her children .23 This shows that it lacks something,
(1) Sc., Jerusalem.
(2) Prov. XV, 25.
(3) Ps. XCIV, 1.
(4) Ezek. XXI, 11.
(5) Ibid. 22.
(6) I.e., a great many.
(7) Isa. V, 9.
(8) Ps. CXXV, 1.
(9) I.e., that R. Hana's house should be like the house of God.
(10) V. P.B. p. 319.
(11) Ps. XXXI, 13. A thing is not given up as lost till after twelve months.
(12) Apparently they thought he was sarcastic.
(13) Kokeba di-Shabi Lit., ‘Star that draws’. What exactly is meant is a matter of dispute. Rashi explains as ‘shooting-stars’.
(14) The lowest of the seven firmaments, which is a kind of ‘Veil’ to the others.
(15) Rashi and Tosaf. omit ‘and rolled up’.
(16) Lit., ‘firmament’. The next of the seven firmaments.
(17) I.e., mere error of perspective, v. on the passage Brodetsky, Jewish Review July, 1909, p. 167 ff.
(18) Job IX, 9.
(19) Amos V, 8. The order is here reversed.
(20) Mentioned in Dan. VII, 10, denoting probably the Milky Way.
(21) Job. XXXVIII, 31.
(22) This constellation follows that of the Ram.
(23) Ibid. 32. E.V. ‘or canst thou guide the Bear with her sons’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 59a
and in fact it looks like a piece torn off;1 and the reason why she follows her is because she is saying to her: Give me my children. For at the time when the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to bring a flood upon the world, He took two stars from Kimah and brought a flood upon the world. And when He wanted to stop it, He took two stars from ‘Ayish and stopped it. But why did He not put the other two back? — A pit cannot be filled with its own clods;2 or another reason is, the accuser cannot become advocate. Then He should have created two other stars for it? — There is nothing new under the sun.3 R. Nahman said: The Holy one, blessed be He, will one day restore them to her, as it says: and ‘Ayish will be comforted for her children.4
AND OVER EARTHQUAKES [ZEWA'OTH]. What are ZEWA'OTH? R. Kattina said: A rumbling of the earth. R. Kattina was once going along the road, and when he came to the door of the house of a certain necromancer, there was a rumbling of the earth. He said: Does the necromancer know what this rumbling is? He called after him, Kattina, Kattina, why should I not know? When the Holy One, blessed be He, calls to mind His children, who are plunged in suffering among the nations of the world, He lets fall two tears into the ocean, and the sound is heard from one end of the world to the other, and that is the rumbling. Said R. Kattina: The necromancer is a liar and his words are false. If it was as he says, there should be one rumbling after another! He did not really mean this, however. There really was one rumbling after another, and the reason why he did not admit it was so that people should not go astray after him. R. Kattina, for his own part, said: [God] clasps His hands, as it says: I will also smite my hands together, and I will satisfy my fury.5 R. Nathan said: [God] emits a sigh, as it is said: I will satisfy my fury upon them and I will be eased.6 And the Rabbis said: He treads upon the firmament, as it says: He giveth a noise as they that tread grapes against all the inhabitants of the earth.7 R. Aha b. Jacob says: He presses his feet together beneath the throne of glory, as it says: Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne and the earth is my foot-stool.8
AND OVER THUNDERS [RE'AMIM]. What are RE'AMIM? — Clouds in a whirl, as it says: The voice of Thy thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning lighted up the world, the earth trembled and shook.9 The Rabbis, however, say: The clouds pouring water into one another, as it says: At the sound of His giving a multitude of waters in the heavens.10 R. Aha b. Jacob said: A powerful lightning flash that strikes the clouds and breaks off hailstones. R. Ashi said: The clouds are puffed out and a blast of wind comes and blows across the mouth of them and it makes a sound like wind blowing across the mouth of a jar. The most probable view is that of R. Aha b. Jacob; for the lightning flashes and the clouds rumble and then rain falls.
AND OVER STORMS [RUHOTH]. What are RUHOTH? — Abaye said: A hurricane. Abaye further said: We have a tradition that a hurricane never comes at night. But we see that it does come? — It must have commenced by day. Abaye further said: We have a tradition that a hurricane does not last two hours, to fulfil the words of Scripture, Troubles shall not rise up the second time.11 But we have seen it lasting as long? — There was an interval in the middle.
OVER LIGHTNINGS [BERAKIM] ONE SAYS, BLESSED IS HE WHOSE STRENGTH AND MIGHT FILL THE WORLD. What are BERAKIM? Raba said: Lightning. Rab also said: A single flash, white lightning, blue lightning, clouds that rise in the west and come from the south, and two clouds that rise facing one another are all [signs of] trouble. What is the practical bearing of this remark? That prayer is needed [to avert the omen]. This is only the case by night; but in the daytime there is no significance in them. R. Samuel b. Isaac said: Those morning clouds have no significance,12 as it is said: Your goodness is as a morning cloud.13 Said R. Papa to Abaye: But there is a popular saying: When on opening the door you find rain, ass-driver, put down your sack and go to sleep [on it]?14 — There is no contradiction; in the one case the sky is covered with thick clouds, in the other with light clouds.
R. Alexandri said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: Thunder was created only to straighten out the crookedness of the heart, as it says: God hath so made it that men should fear before him.15 R. Alexandri also said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: One who sees the rainbow in the clouds should fall on his face, as it says, As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud, and when I saw it I fell upon my face.16 In the West [Palestine] they cursed anyone who did this, because it looks as if he was bowing down to the rainbow; but he certainly makes a blessing. What blessing does he say? — ‘Blessed is He who remembers the Covenant’. In a Baraitha it was taught: R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan b. Beroka says: He says: Who is faithful with his Covenant and fulfils his word.
FOR MOUNTAINS AND HILLS, etc. Do all the things we have mentioned hitherto not belong to the work of creation? Is it not written, He maketh lightnings for the rain?17 — Abaye said: Combine the two statements.18 Raba said: In the former cases he says two blessings, ‘Blessed be He whose strength fills the world and who has wrought the work of creation’; in this case there is ground for saying ‘Who has wrought creation’ but not for ‘Whose strength fills the world’.19
R. Joshua b. Levi said: If one sees the sky in all its purity, he says: Blessed is He who has wrought the work of creation. When does he say so? — Abaye said: When there has been rain all the night, and in the morning the north wind comes and clears the heavens. And they differ from Rafram b. Papa quoting R. Hisda. For Rafram b. Papa said in the name of R. Hisda: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed there has never been a perfectly clear sky, since it says: I clothe the heavens with blackness
(1) And then stuck on artificially.
(2) V. supra, p. 10, n. 1.
(3) Eccl. 1, 9.
(4) Job. XXXVIII, 32. E.V. ‘or canst thou guide the Bear with her sons’.
(5) Ezek. XXI, 22.
(6) Ibid. V, 13.
(7) Jer. XXV, 30.
(8) Isa. LXVI, 1.
(9) Ps. LXXVII, 19.
(10) Jer. X, 13.
(11) Nahum I, 9.
(12) I.e., do not portend a good fall of rain.
(13) Hosea VI, 4.
(14) Because corn will be cheap on account of the abundant rain.
(15) Eccl. III, 14.
(16) Ezek. I, 28.
(17) Ps. CXXXV, 7.
(18) I.e., say in all cases the double blessing.
(19) Because the mountains are not all in one place.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 59b
and I make a sackcloth their covering.1 Our Rabbis taught:* He who sees the sun at its turning point,2 the moon in its power,3 the planets in their orbits,4 and the signs of the zodiac in their orderly progress,5 should say: Blessed be He who has wrought the work of creation. And when [does this happen]?6 — Abaye said: Every twenty-eight years when the cycle7 begins again and the Nisan [Spring] equinox falls in Saturn on the evening of Tuesday,8 going into Wednesday.
R. JUDAH SAYS: IF ONE SEES THE GREAT SEA etc. How long must the intervals be? Rami b. Abba said in the name of R. Isaac: From thirty days. Rami b. Abba also said in the name of R. Isaac: If one sees the River Euphrates by the Bridge of Babylon, he says: Blessed is He who has wrought the work of creation.9 Now, however, that the Persians have changed it,10 only if he sees it from Be Shapor11 and upwards. R. Joseph says: From Ihi Dekira12 and upwards. Rami b. Abba also said: If one sees the Tigris by the Bridge of Shabistana,13 he says: Blessed is He who wrought the work of creation. Why is it [the Tigris] called Hiddekel?14 — R. Ashi said: Because its waters are sharp [had] and swift [kal]. Why is it [the Euphrates] called Perath? — Because its waters are fruitful [parim] and multiply. Raba also said: The reason why people of Mahoza are so sharp is because they drink the waters of the Tigris; the reason why they have red spots is because they indulge in sexual intercourse in the daytime; the reason why their eyes blink is because they live in dark houses.15
FOR THE RAIN etc. Is the benediction for rain ‘Who is good and does good’? Has not R. Abbahu said — some say it has been taught in a Baraitha: From when do they say the blessing over rain? From the time when the bridegroom goes out to meet his bride.16 What blessing do they say? R. Judah said: We give thanks to Thee for every drop which Thou hast caused to fall for us; and R. Johanan concluded thus: ‘If our mouths were full of song like the sea . . . . we could not sufficiently give thanks unto Thee, O Lord our God, etc.’ up to ‘shall prostrate itself before Thee. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, to whom abundant thanksgivings are due’.17 (Is it abundant thanksgivings and not all thanksgivings? — Raba said: Say, ‘the God to whom thanksgivings are due’. R. Papa said: Therefore let us say both ‘to whom abundant thanksgivings are due’ and ‘God of thanksgivings’.) But after all there is a contradiction? — There is no contradiction; the one blessing18 is said by one who has heard [that it has been raining]; the other by one who has seen it. But one who hears of it hears good tidings, and we have learnt: For good tidings one says: Blessed is He who is good and does good?19 In fact both are said by one who sees it, and still there is no contradiction: the one is said if only a little falls, the other, if much falls. Or if you like, I can say that both are said for a heavy fall, and still there is no contradiction: the one is said by a man who has land, the other by one who has no land. Does one who has land say the blessing, ‘Who is good and does good’? Has it not been taught: One who has built a new house or bought new clothes says: Blessed is He who has kept us alive and brought us to this season; [if it is] for himself along with others, he says: ‘Who is good and does good’?20 This is no contradiction. The one blessing21 is said if he has a partnerships the others if he has no partnership. And thus it has been taught: In a word, for his own things he says: Blessed is He who has kept us alive and preserved us; for things which belong to him in conjunction with this neighbour, he says: Blessed is He who is good and does good.22 And if no-one is associated with him in the ownership, does he never say the blessing, Who is good and does good? Has it not been taught: If a man is told that his wife has borne a son, he says: Blessed is He that is good and does good? — In that case, too, his wife is associated with him, because she is glad to have a son. Come and hear: If a man's father dies and he is his heir, first he says: Blessed is the true Judge, and afterwards he says: Blessed is He who is good and does good? — There, too, it is a case where there are brothers who inherit with him. Come and hear: Over a new kind of wine23 there is no need to make a blessing; but if one goes to another place,24 he must say a blessing again; and R. Joseph b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: Although they said that over a fresh kind of wine there is no need to make a blessing, still he says: Blessed is He who is good and does good? — There, too, It is a case where there are other members of the company who drink with him.
ONE WHO HAS BUILT A NEW HOUSE OR BOUGHT NEW VESSELS etc. R. Huna said: This is the rule only if he does not possess similar things; but if he has similar ones, he need not say the blessing. R. Johanan, however, says: Even if he has similar ones25 he must make the blessing.26
(1) Isa. L. 3.
(2) In its apparent motion in the ecliptic, the sun has four ‘turning points’ which mark the beginnings of the four respective seasons. These points are generically referred to as the tekufoth
(sing. tekufah). They are: the two equinoctial points when the sun crosses the equator at the beginning of spring and autumn respectively, and ‘turns’ from one side of the equator to the other; and the two solstices, when the sun is at its maximum distance, or declination, from the equator, at one or other side of it, at the beginning (*) Note 6 and the notes on the following page are based on material supplied by the late Dr. W. M. Feldman, M.D., B.S., F.R.C.P., F.R.A.S., F.R.S. (Edin.), shortly before his death on July 1st, 1939. of summer and winter respectively, and instead of progressively increasing its declination it ‘turns’ to decrease it progressively. (It may be mentioned that the term ‘tekufah’ is also used not only for the beginning of a season but for the whole of the season itself.)
(3) As the sun and moon were created to rule the day and night respectively (Gen. I, 16), they are necessarily endowed with the attribute of power (cf. Sabbath Liturgy כח וגבורה נתן בהם). In this passage, however, ‘the moon in its power’ may have a special significance, because at the Nisan, or spring equinox, the spring tides are greatest, owing to the combined action of the sun and the moon in conjunction, or new moon. The moon in its power to cause tides (a fact known to Pliny and Aristotle, and referred to by Maimonides (Guide II, 10), although never directly mentioned in the Talmud), is therefore best seen at this time.
(4) The orbits of the planets which are now known to be ellipses, were, on the Ptolemaic system, which prevailed at that time, assumed to be traced out by a most ingenious combination of eccentric circles and epicycles, (v. for instance, the epicyclic theory of the moon in Feldman W.M., Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy, London, 1931, pp. 132ff). Hence the contemplation of the planets in their orbits was an adequate reason for pronouncing the blessing.
(5) The vernal or autumnal equinox is not a fixed point in relation to the signs of the zodiac, but keeps on changing its position to the extent of 50.1". (50.1 seconds of arc) per year. This movement which is called ‘precession of the equinoxes’ is due to the continual shifting of the point of intersection of the ecliptic with the equator, but was believed by the ancients to be due to the progressive movement of the signs of the zodiac. As the result of precession, the equinoctial point which 2,000 years ago was the beginning of the sign Ram (first point of Aries) has since shifted 30¡ to the sign Pisces, although it is still spoken of as the first point of Aries.
(6) The reference is to the sun at its turning point (Rashi).
(7) This means here the Big or Solar Cycle. Taking a Samuel, or Julian, year to consist of 365 1/4 days or 52 weeks 1/4 days, every tekufah occurs 1 1/4 days later in the week every consecutive year, so that after 4 years it occurs at the same time of the day but (1 1/4 X 4 =) 5 days later in the week. After 28, or 4 X 7 years, the tekufah will recur not only at the same time of the day, but also on the same day of the week. V. Feldman, op. cit. p. 199.
(8) As the sun and moon were created on the 4th day, the beginning of the 28 years cycle is always on a Wednesday which begins at the vernal equinox at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. This, according to computation coincides with the rise of Saturn, v. Rashi.
(9) Because it was supposed that the River Euphrates from that point upwards had never changed its course since the days of Adam (Rashi).
(10) By making canals.
(11) Piruz Shabur on the eastern side of the Euphrates at the part where the Nahr Isa Canal branches off from the Euphrates connecting it at Bagdad with the Tigris (Obermeyer P. 57).
(12) The modern Hit.
(13) The bridge on the southern Tigris forming part of the great trading route between Khurzistan and Babylon during the Persian period (Obermeyer pp. 62ff.). For a full discussion and explanation of this whole passage v. Obermeyer pp. 52ff.
(14) Gen. II, 14.
(15) I.e., well-shaded from the sun.
(16) I.e., when the drops commence to rebound from the earth.
(17) V. P.B. p. 125.
(18) I.e., ‘Who is good and does good’.
(19) And why should we be taught this again in the case of rain?
(20) And a landowner presumably does not share his land with others.
(21) The blessing, ‘Who has kept us alive, etc.’.
(22) And the landowner shares the rain with all other landowners. (V. Rashi and Asheri).
(23) I.e., if one drinks a new (and better) kind of wine in the course of a meal.
(24) To finish his meal, and wine is brought to him there.
(25) E.g., from an inheritance.
(26) Because the buying at any rate is fresh.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 60a
We infer from this that if one bought things, and then bought some more, all agree that he need not say a blessing.1 Some say: R. Huna said, This rule applies only where he does not buy again after already buying; but if he buys again after already buying, he need not say the blessing. R. Johanan, however, says: Even if he buys again after already buying, he must make a blessing. We infer from this that if he buys a kind of thing which he has already,2 all agree that he has to say a blessing. An objection was raised: If one builds a new house, not having one like it already, he must say a blessing. If he already has any like them, he need not say a blessing. So R. Meir. R. Judah says: In either case he must make a blessing. Now this accords well with the first version, R. Huna following R. Meir and R. Johanan following R. Judah. But if we take the second version, it is true that R. Huna follows R. Judah, but whom does R. Johanan follow? It is neither R. Meir nor R. Judah!3 — R. Johanan can reply: The truth is that according to R. Judah also If one buys again after already buying, he must make a blessing, and the reason why they join issue over the case of his buying something of a kind which he has already is to show you how far R. Meir is prepared to go, since he says that even if he buys something of a kind which he already has, he need not make a blessing, and all the more so if he buys again after already buying, he need not make a blessing. But should they rather not join issue over the case of buying again after already buying, where there is no need to say a blessing,4 to show how far he [R. Judah] is prepared to go?5 — He prefers that the stronger instance should be a case of permission.6
OVER EVIL A BLESSING IS SAID etc. How is this to be understood? — For instance, if a freshet flooded his land. Although it is [eventually] a good thing for him, because his land is covered with alluvium and becomes more fertile, nevertheless for the time being it is evil.7
AND OVER GOOD etc. How can we understand this? — If for instance he found something valuable. Although this may [eventually] be bad for him, because if the king hears of it he will take it from him, nevertheless for the time being it is good.
IF A MAN'S WIFE IS PREGNANT AND HE SAYS, MAY [GOD] GRANT THAT MY WIFE BEAR etc. THIS IS A VAIN PRAYER. Are prayers then [in such circumstances] of no avail? R. Joseph cited the following in objection: And afterwards she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.8 What is meant by ‘afterwards’? Rab said: After Leah had passed judgment on herself, saying, ‘Twelve tribes are destined to issue from Jacob. Six have issued from me and four from the handmaids, making ten. If this child will be a male, my sister Rachel will not be equal to one of the handmaids’. Forthwith the child was turned to a girl, as it says, And she called her name Dinah!9 — We cannot cite a miraculous event [in refutation of the Mishnah]. Alternatively I may reply that the incident of Leah occurred within forty days [after conception], according to what has been taught: Within the first three days a man should pray that the seed should not putrefy; from the third to the fortieth day he should pray that the child should be a male; from the fortieth day to three months he should pray that it should not be a sandal;10 from three months to six months he should pray that it should not be still-born; from six months to nine months he should pray for a safe delivery. But does such a prayer11 avail? Has not R. Isaac the son of R. Ammi said: If the man first emits seed, the child will be a girl; if the woman first emits seed, the child will be a boy?12 — With what case are we dealing here? If, for instance, they both emitted seed at the same time.
IF HE WAS COMING FROM A JOURNEY. Our Rabbis taught: It once happened with Hillel the elder that he was coming from a journey, and he heard a great cry in the city, and he said: I am confident that this does not come from my house. Of him Scripture says: He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.13 Raba said: Whenever you expound this verse you may make the second clause explain the first, or the first clause explain the second. ‘You may make the second clause explain the first’, thus: ‘He will not fear evil tidings’. Why? Because ‘his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord’. ‘You may explain the second clause by the first’, thus: ‘His heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord’; therefore, ‘he shall not be afraid of evil tidings’. A certain disciple was once following R. Ishmael son of R. Jose in the market place of Zion. The latter noticed that he looked afraid, and said to him: You are a sinner, because it is written: The sinners in Zion are afraid.14 He replied: But it is written: Happy is the man that feareth alway?15 — He replied: That verse refers to words of Torah.16 R. Judah b. Nathan used to follow R. Hamnuna. Once he sighed, and the other said to him: This man wants to bring suffering on himself, since it is written; For the thing which I did fear is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of hath overtaken me.17 But [he replied] it is written: ‘Happy is the man who feareth alway’? — He replied: That is written in connection with words of Torah.
ONE WHO GOES THROUGH A CAPITAL CITY. Our Rabbis taught: What does he say on entering? ‘May it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to bring me into this city in peace’. When he is inside he says: ‘I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast brought me into this city in peace’. When he is about to leave he says: ‘May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, and God of my fathers, to bring me out of this city in peace’. When he is outside he says: ‘I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast brought me out of this city in peace, and as Thou hast brought me out in peace, so mayest Thou guide me in peace and support me in peace and make me proceed in peace and deliver me from the hands of all enemies and liers-in-wait by the way’. R. Mattena said: This applies only to a city where criminals are not tried and sentenced:18 but in a city where criminals are tried and sentenced, this is unnecessary. Some report: R. Mattena said: Even in a city where criminals are tried and sentenced, for sometimes he may happen not to find a man who can plead in his defence.
Our Rabbis taught: On entering a bath-house one should say: ‘May it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to deliver me from this and from the like of this, and let no humiliation or iniquity befall me; and if I do fall into any perversity or iniquity, may my death be an atonement for all my iniquities’. Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, so as not to open his mouth for the Satan.19 For Resh Lakish said-and so it was taught in the name of R. Jose: A man should never open his mouth for the Satan. R. Joseph said: What text proves this? Because it is written, We should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.20 What did the prophet answer them? Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, etc.21 On leaving the bath-house what does he say? R. Aha said: ‘I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast delivered me from the fire’. R. Abbahu once went into the bathhouse and the floor of the bath-house gave way beneath him, and a miracle was wrought for him, and he stood on a pillar and rescued a hundred and one men with one arm. He said: This is what R. Aha meant.22
On23 going in to be cupped one should say: ‘May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, that this operation may be a cure for me, and mayest Thou heal me, for Thou art a faithful healing God, and Thy healing is sure, since men have no power to heal, but this is a habit with them’.24 Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, since it was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: [It is written], He shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.25 From this we learn that permission has been given to the physician to heal. When he gets up [after cupping] what does he say? — R. Aha said: Blessed be He who heals without payment.
(1) Because in this case it is not a fresh buying.
(2) By inheritance or presentation.
(3) Because even R. Judah holds that if he buys again after already buying, he need not make a blessing.
(4) For the second purchase according to R. Meir.
(5) In demanding a blessing for the second purchase.
(6) I.e., a case in which a blessing need not be made.
(7) Because it spoils the produce of this year, and he has to say the blessing, ‘Blessed is the true Judge’.
(8) Gen. XXX, 21.
(9) Lit., ‘judgment’.
(10) A kind of abortion resembling a flat-shaped fish called sandal.
(11) That the child should be a male.
(12) Which shows that it is all fixed beforehand.
(13) Ps CXII, 7.
(14) Isa. XXXIII, 14.
(15) Prov. XXVIII, 14.
(16) A man should always be afraid lest he may forget them.
(17) Job III, 25.
(18) I.e., where the protection of the law can not be relied on
(19) Cf. supra 190.
(20) Isa. I, 9.
(21) Ibid., 10.
(22) In saying that one should give thanks on emerging.
(23) Cur. edd. introduce this with the words ‘for R. Aha said’: but this is best left out.
(24) To be cupped.
(25) Ex. XXI, 19.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 60b
On entering a privy one should say: ‘Be honoured, ye honoured and holy ones1 that minister to the Most High. Give honour to the God of Israel. Wait for me till I enter and do my needs, and return to you’. Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, lest they should leave him and go. What he should say is: ‘Preserve me, preserve me, help me, help me, support me, support me, till I have entered and come forth, for this is the way of human beings’. When he comes out he says: ‘Blessed is He who has formed man in wisdom and created in him many orifices and many cavities. It is fully known before the throne of Thy glory that if one of them should be [improperly] opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee’. How does the blessing conclude? Rab said: ‘[Blessed art Thou] that healest the sick’. Said Samuel: Abba2 has turned the whole world into invalids! No; what he says is, ‘That healest all flesh’. R. Shesheth said: ‘Who doest wonderfully’. R. Papa said: Therefore let us say both, ‘Who healest all flesh and doest wonderfully’.3
On going to bed one says from ‘Hear, oh Israel’ to ‘And it shall come to pass if ye hearken diligently’. Then he says: ‘Blessed is He who causes the bands of sleep to fall upon my eyes and slumber on my eyelids, and gives light to the apple of the eye. May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, to make me lie down in peace, and set my portion in Thy law and accustom me to the performance of religious duties, but do not accustom me to transgression; and bring me not into sin, or into iniquity, or into temptation, or into contempt. And may the good inclination have sway over me and let not the evil inclination have sway over me. And deliver me from evil hap and sore diseases, and let not evil dreams and evil thoughts disturb me, and may my couch be flawless before Thee, and enlighten mine eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death. Blessed art Thou, oh Lord, who givest light to the whole world in Thy glory.’4
When he wakes he says: ‘My God, the soul which Thou hast placed in me is pure. Thou hast fashioned it in me, Thou didst breathe it into me, and Thou preservest it within me and Thou wilt one day take it from me and restore it to me in the time to come. So long as the soul is within me I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, my God, and the God of my fathers, Sovereign of all worlds, Lord of all souls. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who restorest souls to dead corpses’.5 When he hears the cock crowing he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has given to the cock understanding to distinguish between day and night’. When he opens his eyes he should say: ‘Blessed is He who opens the eyes of the blind’. When he stretches himself and sits up he should say: ‘Blessed is He who looseneth the bound’. When he dresses he should say: ‘Blessed is He who clothes the naked’. When he draws himself up he should say: ‘Blessed is He who raises the bowed’. When he steps on to the ground he should say: ‘Blessed is He who spread the earth on the waters’. When he commences to walk he should say: Blessed is He who makes firm the steps of man’. When he ties his shoes he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has supplied all my wants’. When he fastens his girdle, he should say: ‘Blessed is He who girds Israel with might’. When he spreads a kerchief over his head he should say: ‘Blessed is He who crowns Israel with glory’. When he wraps himself with the fringed garment he should say: ‘Blessed is He who hast sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enwrap ourselves in the fringed garment’. When he puts the tefillin on his arm he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on tefillin’. [When he puts it] on his head he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the commandment of tefillin’. When he washes his hands he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the washing of hands’.6 When he washes his face he should say: ‘Blessed is He who has removed the bands of sleep from mine eyes and slumber from mine eyes. And may it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to habituate me to Thy law and make me cleave to Thy commandments, and do not bring me into sin, or into iniquity, or into temptation, or into contempt, and bend my inclination to be subservient unto Thee, and remove me far from a bad man and a bad companion, and make me cleave to the good inclination and to a good companion in Thy world, and let me obtain this day and every day grace, favour, and mercy in Thine eyes, and in the eyes of all that see me, and show lovingkindness unto me. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who bestowest lovingkindness upon Thy people Israel’.7
IT IS INCUMBENT ON A MAN TO BLESS etc. What is meant by being bound to bless for the evil in the same way as for the good? Shall I say that, just as for good one says the benediction ‘Who is good and bestows good’, so for evil one should say the benediction ‘Who is good and bestows good’? But we have learnt: FOR GOOD TIDINGS ONE SAYS, WHO IS GOOD AND BESTOWS GOOD: FOR EVIL TIDINGS ONE SAYS, BLESSED BE THE TRUE JUDGE? — Raba said: What it really means is that one must receive the evil with gladness. R. Aha said in the name of R. Levi: Where do we find this in the Scripture? I will sing of mercy and justice, unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing praises,’8 whether it is ‘mercy’ I will sing, or whether it is ‘justice’ I will sing. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: We learn it from here: In the Lord I will praise His word, in God I will praise His word.9 ‘In the Lord10 I will praise His word’: this refers to good dispensation; ‘In God11 I will praise His word’: this refers to the dispensation of suffering. R. Tanhum said: We learn it from here: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord;12 I found trouble and sorrow, but I called upon the name of the Lord.13 The Rabbis derive it from here: The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away,’ blessed be the name of the Lord.14
R. Huna said in the name of Rab citing R. Meir, and so it was taught in the name of R. Akiba: A man should always accustom himself to say ‘ ‘Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good’, [as exemplified in] the following incident. R. Akiba was once going along the road and he came to a certain town and looked for lodgings but was everywhere refused. He said ‘Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good’, and he went and spent the night in the open field. He had with him a cock, an ass and a lamp. A gust of wind came and blew out the lamp, a weasel came and ate the cock, a lion came and ate the ass. He said: ‘Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good’. The same night some brigands came and carried off the inhabitants of the town. He said to them:15 Did I not say to you, ‘Whatever the All-Merciful does
(1) These words are addressed to the angels who are supposed to accompany a man to the privies, which were regarded as the haunt of evil spirits, v. infra 61a.
(3) P.B. p. 4.
(4) Ibid. p. 293.
(5) Ibid. p. 5.
(6) For all these blessings v. P.B. P. 5f. These blessings are now no longer said after each act, but are all said together in the morning service.
(7) Ibid. p. 6.
(8) Ps. CI, 1.
(9) Ibid. LVI, 11. in the M.T. the order of the divine names is reserved.
(10) The name of the Attribute of Mercy.
(11) The name of the Attribute of Justice.
(12) Ibid. CXVI, 13.
(13) Ibid. 3.
(14) Job. I, 21.
(15) Apparently to the men of the town, on a subsequent occasion; or perhaps to his disciples who accompanied him.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 61a
is all for good?1
R. Huna further said in the name of R. Meir: A man's words should always be few in addressing the Holy One, blessed be He, since it says, Be not rash with thy mouth and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God,’ for God is in heaven and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few.2
R. Nahman b. R. Hisda expounded: What is meant by the text, Then the Lord God formed [wa-yizer] man?3 [The word wa-yizer] is written with two yods,4 to show that God created two inclinations, one good and the other evil. R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred to this. According to this, he said, animals, of which it is not written wa-yizer,5 should have no evil inclination ‘ yet we see that they injure and bite and kick? In truth [the point of the two yods] is as stated by R. Simeon b. Pazzi; for R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: Woe is me because of my Creator [yozri],6 woe is me because of my evil inclination [yizri]!7 Or again as explained by R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar; for R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: God created two countenances in the first man,8 as it says, Behind and before hast Thou formed me.9
And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman.10 Rab and Samuel explained this differently. One said that [this ‘rib’] was a face, the other that it was a tail.11 No objection can be raised against the one who says it was a face, since so it is written, ‘Behind and before hast Thou formed me’. But how does he who says it was a tail explain ‘Behind and before hast Thou formed me’? — As stated by R. Ammi; for R. Ammi said: ‘Behind’ [i.e.,last] in the work of creation, and ‘before’ [i.e., first] for punishment. We grant you he was last in the work of creation, for he was not created till the eve of Sabbath. But when you say ‘first for punishment’, to what punishment do you refer? Do you mean the punishment in connection with the serpent? Surely it has been taught: Rabbi says, in conferring honour we commence with the greatest , in cursing with the least important . ‘In conferring honour we commence with the greatest’, as it is written, And Moses spoke to Aaron and to Eleazar and to Ithamar his sons that were left, Take the meal-offering that remaineth etc.12 ‘In cursing we commence with the least’; first the serpent was cursed then Eve and then Adam!13 I must say then that the punishment of the Flood is meant, as it is written, And He blotted out every living substance which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle.14
No difficulty arises for the one who says that Eve was created from the face, for so it is written, wa-yizer, with two yods. But he who says it was a tail , what does he make of wa-yizer? — As explained by R. Simeon b. Pazzi? For R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: Woe is me because of my Creator [yozri,] woe is me because of my evil inclination [yizri]! No difficulty arises for one who says it was a face, for so it is written, Male and female created He them’,15 But he who says it was a tail, what does he make of ‘male and female created He them’? — As explained by R. Abbahu. For R. Abbahu contrasted two texts. It is written, ‘Male and female created He them’, and it is also written, For in the image of God made He man.16 How are these statements to be reconciled? At first the intention was to create two, but in the end only one was created. No difficulty arises for him who says it was a face, since so it is written, He closed up the place with flesh instead thereof.17 But he who says it was a tail, how does he explain, ‘he closed up the place with flesh instead thereof18 — R. Jeremiah, or as some say R. Zebid, or again as some say, R. Nahman b. Isaac, replied: These words are meant to apply only to the place of the cut. No difficulty arises for the one who says it was a tail, for so it is written, And God built.18 But he who says, it was a face, what does he make of the words ‘And God built’?19 As explained by R. Simeon b. Menasia. For R. Simeon b. Menasia expounded: What is meant by the words, ‘And the Lord built the rib’? It teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, plaited Eve's hair and brought her to Adam; for in the seacoast towns ‘plaiting’ [keli'atha]20 is called, ‘building’ [binyatha]. Another explanation: R. Hisda said (some say, it was taught in a Baraitha): It teaches that [God] built Eve after the fashion of a storehouse. Just as a storehouse is narrow at the top and broad at the bottom so as to hold the produce [safely], so a woman is narrower above and broader below so as to hold the embryo. And he brought her to the man.21 R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: This teaches that [God] acted as best man22 to Adam. Here the Torah teaches a maxim of behaviour, that a man of eminence should associate himself with a lesser man in acting as best man, and he should not take it amiss.
According to the one who says it was a face, which of the two faces went in front? — R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: It is reasonable to suppose that the man's face went in front, since it has been taught: A man should not walk behind a woman on the road,23 and even if his wife happens to be in front of him on a bridge he should let her pass on one side, and whoever crosses a river behind a woman will have no portion in the future world.24
Our Rabbis taught: If a man counts out money from his hand into the hand of a woman so as to have the opportunity of gazing at her, even if he can vie in Torah and good deeds with Moses our teacher, he shall not escape the punishment of Gehinnom, as it says, Hand to hand, he shall not escape from evil,25 he shall not escape from the punishment of Gehinnom.
R. Nahman said: Manoah was an ‘am ha-arez:, since it is written, And Manoah went after his wife.26 R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred to this. According to this, [he said,] in the case of Elkanah when it says, ‘And Elkanah went after his wife’,27 and in the case of Elisha when it says, And he rose and went after her,28 are we to suppose that this means literally after her? No; it means, after her words and her advice. So here [in the case of Manoah] it means, after her words and her advice! Said R. Ashi: On the view of R. Nahman that Manoah was an ‘am ha'arez, he cannot even have known as much of Scripture as a schoolboy;29 for it says, And Rebekah arose and her damsels, and they rode upon the cammels and followed the man,30 [after the man] and not in front of the man.
R. Johanan said: Better go behind a lion than behind a woman; better go behind a woman than behind an idol; better go behind an idol than behind the synagogue when the congregation are praying.31 This, however, is the case only when he is not carrying a load; if he is carrying a load, there is no objection. And also this is the case only when there is no other entrance; but if there is another entrance there is no objection. And again this is the case only when he is not riding on an ass, but if he is riding on an ass, there is no objection. And again this is the case only when he is not wearing tefillin; but if he is wearing tefillin there is no objection.
Rab said: The evil inclination resembles a fly32 and dwells between the two entrances of the heart, as it says, Dead flies make the ointment of the perfumers fetid and putrid.33 Samuel said: It is a like a kind of wheat [hittah], as it says, Sin [hattath] coucheth at the door.34
Our Rabbis taught: Man has two kidneys, one of which prompts him to good, the other to evil; and it is natural to suppose that the good one is on his right side and the bad one on his left, as it is written, A wise man's understanding is at his right hand, but a fool's understanding is at his left.35 Our Rabbis taught: The kidneys prompt, the heart discerns, the tongue shapes [the words], the mouth articulates, the gullet takes in and lets out all kinds of food, the wind-pipe produces the voice,
(1) Because the lamp or the cock or the ass might have disclosed his whereabouts to the brigands.
(2) Eccl. V, 1.
(3) Gen. II, 7.
(5) In Gen. II, 19, And the Lord God formed all the beasts of the field, etc., the word wa-yizer is spelt with one yod.
(6) If I follow my inclination.
(7) If I combat it.
(8) And out of one of them Eve was made.
(9) Ps. CXXXIX, 5. E.V. ‘ Thou host hemmed me in’.
(10) Gen. II, 22.
(11) I.e., projected like a tail.
(12) Lev. X, 12. Aaron is mentioned first.
(13) V. Gen. III, 14-20.
(14) Ibid. VII, 23. Man is here mentioned before cattle.
(15) Ibid. V, 2.
(16) Ibid. IX, 6.
(17) Ibid. II, 22.
(18) Ibid. 22. E.V. ‘made’.
(19) The face needed no ‘building’, since it was already there.
(20) This word in Aramaic also means ‘tents’.
(21) Gen. II, 22.
(22) Heb. shoshbin, the man who looks after the wedding arrangements; v. B.B. , Sonc. ed., p. 618 n. 10.
(23) To avoid unchaste thoughts.
(24) Because the woman in crossing will naturally lift up her dress.
(25) Prov. XI, 21. E.V. ‘My hand upon it! The evil man shall not be unpunished!’
(26) Judg. XIII, 11.
(27) This text is not found in the Scripture, and Tosaf. deletes the mention of Elkanah here; v. Rashal and Maharsha.
(28) II Kings IV, 30.
(29) Lit., ‘he did not read Scripture in a schoolhouse’.
(30) Gen. XXIV, 61.
(31) V. supra 8b.
(32) V. Suk. 52b.
(33) Eccl. X, 1.
(34) Gen. IV, 7. This is probably connected with the view that the forbidden fruit of which Adam ate was wheat; v. supra 40a (Maharsha).
(35) Eccl. X, 2.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 61b
the lungs absorb all kinds of liquids,1 the liver is the seat of anger, the gall lets a drop fall into it and allays it, the milt produces laughter, the large intestine grinds [the food], the maw brings sleep and the nose awakens. If the awakener sleeps or the sleeper rouses,2 a man pines away. A Tanna taught: If both induce sleep or both awaken, a man dies forthwith.
It has been taught: R. Jose the Galilean says, The righteous are swayed3 by their good inclination, as it says, My heart4 is slain within me.5 The wicked are swayed by their evil inclination, as it says, Transgression speaketh to the wicked, methinks, there is no fear of God before his eyes.6 Average people are swayed by both inclinations, as it says, Because He standeth at the right hand of the needy,7 to save him from them that judge his soul.8 Raba said: People such as we are of the average. Said Abaye to him: The Master gives no one a chance to live!9 Raba further said: The world was created only for either the totally wicked or the totally righteous.10 Raba said: Let a man know concerning himself whether he is completely righteous or not! Rab said: The world was created only for Ahab son of Omri and for R. Hanina b. Dosa; for Ahab son of Omri this world, and for R. Hanina b. Dosa the future world.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God etc.11 It has been taught: R. Eliezer says: If it says ‘with all thy soul’, why should it also say, ‘with all thy might’,12 and if it says ‘with all thy might’, why should it also say ‘with all thy soul’? Should there be a man who values his life more than his money, for him it says; ‘with all thy soul’; and should there be a man who values his money more than his life, for him it says, ‘with all thy might’ . R. Akiba says: With all thy soul’: even if He takes away thy soul.13
Our Rabbis taught: Once the wicked Government14 issued a decree forbidding the Jews to study and practise the Torah. Pappus b. Judah came and found R. Akiba publicly bringing gatherings together and occupying himself with the Torah. He said to him: Akiba, are you not afraid of the Government? He replied: I will explain to you with a parable. A fox was once walking alongside of a river, and he saw fishes going in swarms from one place to another. He said to them: From what are you fleeing? They replied: From the nets cast for us by men. He said to them: Would you like to come up on to the dry land so that you and I can live together in the way that my ancestors lived with your ancestors? They replied: Art thou the one that they call the cleverest of animals? Thou art not clever but foolish. If we are afraid in the element in which we live, how much more in the element in which we would die! So it is with us. If such is our condition when we sit and study the Torah, of which it is written, For that is thy life and the length of thy days,15 if we go and neglect it how much worse off we shall be! It is related that soon afterwards R. Akiba was arrested and thrown into prison, and Pappus b. Judah was also arrested and imprisoned next to him. He said to him: Pappus, who brought you here? He replied: Happy are you, R. Akiba, that you have been seized for busying yourself with the Torah! Alas for Pappus who has been seized for busying himself with idle things! When R. Akiba was taken out for execution, it was the hour for the recital of the Shema’, and while they combed his flesh with iron combs, he was accepting upon himself the kingship of heaven.16 His disciples said to him: Our teacher, even to this point? He said to them: All my days I have been troubled by this verse, ‘with all thy soul’, [which I interpret,] ‘even if He takes thy soul’. I said: When shall I have the opportunity of17 fulfilling this? Now that I have the opportunity shall I not fulfil it? He prolonged the word ehad18 until he expired while saying it. A bath kol19 went forth and proclaimed: Happy art thou, Akiba, that thy soul has departed with the word ehad! The ministering angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Such Torah, and such a reward? [He should have been] from them that die by Thy hand, O Lord.20 He replied to them: Their portion is in life.21 A bath kol went forth and proclaimed, Happy art thou, R. Akiba, that thou art destined for the life of the world to come.
ONE SHOULD AVOID SHOWING DISRESPECT TO THE EASTERN GATE BECAUSE IT IS IN A DIRECT LINE WITH THE HOLY OF HOLIES, etc. Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: These rules apply only to this side of Mount Scopus22 and to one who can see the Temple.23 It has also been recorded: R. Abba the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said: Thus said R. Johanan: These rules apply only to this side of Scopus and to one who can see [Jerusalem], and when there is no fence intervening, and at the time when the Divine Presence rests on it.24
Our Rabbis taught: One who consults nature in Judea should not do so east and west25 but north and south. In Galilee he should do so only east and west.26 R. Jose, however, allows it, since R. Jose said: The prohibition was meant to apply only to one in sight of the Temple and in a place where there is no fence intervening and at the time when the Divine Presence rests there. The Sages, however, forbid it. The Sages say the same as the First Tanna? — They differ with regard to the sides.27 It has been taught elsewhere: One who consults nature in Judea should not do so east and west but south and north, and in Galilee north and south is forbidden, east and west is permitted. R. Jose, however, permits it, since R. Jose used to say: This prohibition was meant to apply only to one who is in sight [of Jerusalem]. R. Judah says: When the Temple is in existence it is forbidden, when the Temple is not in existence it is permitted. R. Akiba forbids it in all places. R. Akiba says the same as the First Tanna? — They differ in the matter of outside of Palestine. Rabbah had bricks placed for him east and west.28 Abaye went and changed them round to north and south. Rabbah went in and readjusted them. He said, Who is this that is annoying me? I take the view of R. Akiba, who said that it is forbidden in every place.
(1) I.e.,they absorb some moisture from the stomach.
(2) I.e., if the nose induces sleep or the maw waking.
(3) Lit., ‘judged’.
(4) I.e., evil promptings
(5) Ps CIX, 22. E.V. ‘wounded’.
(6) Ibid. XXXVI, 2.
(7) I.e., in good deeds.
(8) I.e., his two inclinations. Ibid. CIX, 31.
(9) If Raba is only average, what must other people be?
(10) I.e., this world for the wicked and the next for the righteous.
(11) Deut. VI, 5.
(12) This word is interpreted by the Rabbis to mean money.
(13) I.e., thy very self, thy life.
(14) I.e., Roman.
(15) Deut. XXX, 20.
(16) I.e., recited the Shema’. V. supra 130.
(17) Lit., ‘when will it come to my hands’.
(18) ‘One’ in Hear, O Israel etc.
(19) V. Glos.
(20) Ps. XVII, 14. E.V. ‘From men by thy hand, O Lord’.
(22) From the other side of Mount Scopus the Temple was no longer visible.
(23) Even from this side of Scopus, not being in a hollow.
(24) I.e., when the Temple is in existence.
(25) So as not to turn his back to Jerusalem.
(26) Galilee being north of Jerusalem.
(27) I.e., those parts of Judea and Galilee which were not due east or due north of Jerusalem. The first Tanna prohibits even in these parts, since they speak of the whole of Judea, whereas the Sages permit, referring as they do only to R. Jose's statement.
(28) So that he should not turn his back on Palestine.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 62a
. It has been taught: R. Akiba said: Once I went in after R. Joshua to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not sit east and west but north and south; I learnt that one evacuates not standing but sitting; and I learnt that it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said Ben Azzai to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn. It has been taught: Ben ‘Azzai said: Once I went in after R. Akiba to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not evacuate east and west but north and south. I also learnt that one evacuates sitting and not standing. I also learnt it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said R. Judah to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? — He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn. R. Kahana once went in and hid under Rab's bed. He heard him chatting [with his wife] and joking and doing what he required. He said to him: One would think that Abba's mouth had never sipped the dish before! He said to him: Kahana, are you here? Go out, because it is rude.1 He replied: It is a matter of Torah, and I require to learn.
Why should one wipe with the left hand and not with the right? — Raba said: Because the Torah was given with the right hand, as it says, At His right hand was a fiery law unto them.2 Rabbah b. Hanah said: Because it is brought to the mouth.3 R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Because one binds the tefillin [on the left arm] with it. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: Because he points to the accents in the scroll with it.4 A similar difference of opinion is found among Tannaim. R. Eliezer says, because one eats with it; R. Joshua says, because one writes with it; R. Akiba says, because one points with it to the accents in the scroll.
R. Tanhum b. Hanilai said: Whoever behaves modestly in a privy is delivered from three things: from snakes, from scorpions, and from evil spirits. Some say also that he will not have disturbing dreams.5 There was a certain privy in Tiberias which if two persons entered together even by day, they came to harm. R. Ammi and R. Assi used to enter it separately, and they suffered no harm. The Rabbis said to them, Are you not afraid? They replied: We have learnt a certain tradition.6 The tradition for [avoiding harm in] the privy is modesty and silence; the tradition relating to sufferings is silence7 and prayer. The mother of Abaye trained for him a lamb to go with him into the privy.8 She should rather have trained for him a goat?9 A satyr might be changed into a goat.10 Before Raba became head of the Academy, the daughter of R. Hisda11 used to rattle a nut in a brass dish.12 After he became head, she made a window for him,13 and put her hand on his head.14
‘Ulla said: Behind a fence one may ease himself immediately; in an open field, so long as he can break wind without anyone hearing it. Issi b. Nathan reported thus: Behind a fence, as long as he can break wind without anyone hearing it; in a open field, as long as he cannot be seen by anyone. An objection was raised: [The watchers]15 may go out by the door of the olive press and ease themselves behind a fence [immediately] and they [the olives] remain clean! — For the sake of ritual purity they made a concession. Come and hear: How far can one go without affecting the cleanness [of the olive press]? Any distance as long as he can still see it!16 — The case of food-stuffs prepared in purity is different, as the Rabbis made a concession for them. R. Ashi said: What is meant by the words ‘as long as he cannot be seen by anyone’ used by Issi b. Nathan? As long as the exposed part of his body cannot be seen; but the man himself may be seen.
A certain funeral orator went down in the presence of R. Nahman [to deliver an address] and said: This man was modest in all his ways. Said R. Nahman to him: Did you ever follow him into a privy so that you should know whether he was modest or not? For it has been taught: A man is called modest only if he is such in the privy. And why was R. Nahman so much concerned about it? Because it has been taught: Just as the dead are punished,17 so the funeral orators are punished18 and those who answer [Amen] after them.
Our Rabbis taught: Who is a modest man? One who eases himself by night in the place where he eased himself by day.19 Is that so? Has not Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: A man should always accustom himself [to consult nature] in the early morning and in the evening20 so that he may have no need to go a long distance? And again, in the day-time Raba used to go as far as a mile, but at night he said to his attendant, Clear me a spot in the street of the town, and so too R. Zera said to his attendant, See if there is anyone behind the Seminary as I wish to ease myself? — Do not read ‘in the place’, but read, ‘in the same way as he eases himself by day’.21 R. Ashi said, You may even retain the reading ‘place’, the reference being to a private corner.22
The [above] text [states:] ‘Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: A man should always accustom himself to consult nature morning and evening so that he may have no need to go a long distance’. It has been taught similarly, Ben ‘Azzai said: Go forth before dawn and after dark, so that you should not have to go far. Feel yourself before sitting, but do not sit and then feel yourself, for if one sits and then feels himself, should witchcraft be used against him even as far away as Aspamia,23 he will not be immune from it. And if he forgets and does sit and then feels, what is his remedy? — When he rises he should say, thus: Not for me, not for me; not tahim nor tahtim;24 not these nor any part of these;25 neither the sorceries of sorcerers nor the sorceries of sorceresses!
(1) Lit., ‘it is not the way of the world’.
(2) Deut. XXXIII, 2.
(3) It was usual to bring food to the mouth with the right hand and not with the left.
(4) Rashi explains: Because in chanting he makes corresponding movements with the right hand, this having been the custom of Palestinians in his day.
(5) Lit., ‘his dreams will be settled on him’.
(6) Jastrow, with a slight change of reading (kible), renders ‘charm’.
(7) I.e., resignation.
(8) As a protection against evil spirits.
(9) Goats were associated by the ancients with evil spirits.
(10) The Hebrew word sa'ir means both ‘he-goat’ and ‘satyr’.
(11) His wife.
(12) To frighten away the evil spirits.
(13) In the wall of the house, through which she could put her hand.
(14) As a protection. After becoming head of the Academy, he was more exposed to danger from the evil spirits.
(15) Men who watched the olive-oil press to see that no unclean person entered.
(16) But not further, so that he would himself still be visible. This refutes Issi.
(17) If they were sinners.
(18) For uttering false eulogies.
(19) I.e., a long way off.
(20) I.e., before daylight and after dark.
(21) I.e., modestly; v. supra, p. 389.
(22) To be used by night as well as by day.
(23) A name given to several far-distant places, including Spain.
(24) Words apparently used in incantations
(25) Aliter: ‘Let not avail against me either the sorceries etc.’.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 62b
. It has been taught: Ben ‘Azzai says: Lie on anything but not on the ground;1 sit on anything but not on a beam.2
Samuel said: Sleep3 at dawn is like a steel edge to iron; evacuation at dawn is like a steel edge to iron. Bar Kappara used to sell sayings for denarii. ‘While thou art still hungry, eat; while thou art still thirsty, drink; while thy pot is still hot, empty it out.4 When the horn is sounded in [the market of] Rome, do you, O son of the fig-seller, sell thy father's figs’.5 Abaye said to the Rabbis: When you go through the lanes of Mahoza to get to the fields, do not look to this side or to that, for perhaps women6 are sitting there, and it is not proper to gaze at them.
R. Safra entered a privy. R. Abba came and cleared his throat at the entrance.7 He said to him: Let the master enter. When he came out, he [R. Abba] said to him: You have not yet been turned into a satyr,8 but you have learnt the manners of a satyr.9 Have we not learnt as follows: There was a fire there,10 and a superior privy. Its superiority lay in this: if one found it locked, he could be sure that someone was in there, but if he found it open, he could be sure that there was no one there. We see therefore, that it is not proper [for two to be in a privy].11 He [R. Safra], however, was of opinion that it was dangerous [to keep him waiting], as it has been taught:12 R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: To keep back the fecal discharge causes dropsy; to keep back the urinary discharge causes jaundice.
R. Eleazar once entered a privy, and a Persian13 came and thrust him away. R. Eleazar got up and went out, and a serpent came and tore out the other's gut.14 R. Eleazar applied to him the verse, Therefore will I give a man for thee.15 Read not adam [a man] but edom [an Edomite].
And he bade to kill thee, but he spared thee.16 ‘And he bade’! It should be, ‘And I bade’!17 ‘And he spared’! It should be, ‘And I spared’! R. Eleazar said: David said to Saul: According to the law, you deserve to be slain, since you are a pursuer, and the Torah has said, If one comes to kill your rise and kill him first.18 But the modesty which you have shown has caused you to be spared. What is this? As it is written: And he came to the fences19 by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in le-hasek [to cover his feet].20 It has been taught: There was a fence within a fence, and a cave within a cave. R. Eleazar says: It [the word le-hasek] teaches that he covered himself like a booth [sukkah].
Then David arose and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.21 R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: Whoever treats garments contemptuously will in the end derive no benefit from them; for it says, Now King David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he could get no heat.22
If it be the Lord that hath stirred thee up against me, let Him accept an offering.23 R. Eleazar said: Said the Holy One blessed be He, to David: Thou callest me a ‘stirrer-up’. Behold, I will make thee stumble over a thing which even school-children know, namely, that which is written, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel according to their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul into the Lord. ... [that there be no plague among them] etc.24 Forthwith, Satan stood up against Israel;25 and it is further written, He stirred up David against them saying, Go, number Israel.26 And when he did number them, he took no ransom from them and it is written, So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed.27 What is meant by ‘the time appointed’? Samuel the elder, the son-in-law of R. Hanina, answered in the name of R. Hanina: From the time of slaughtering the continual offering until the time of sprinkling the blood. R. Johanan said: Right up precisely to midday.
And He said to the Angel that destroyed the people, It is enough28 [rab]. R. Eleazar said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the Angel: Take a great man [rab] among them, through whose death many sins can be expiated for them.29 At that time there died Abishai son of Zeruiah, who was [singly] equal in worth to the greater part of the Sanhedrin.
And as he was about to destroy, the Lord beheld, and He repented Him .30 What did He behold? — Rab said: He beheld Jacob our ancestor, as it is written, And Jacob said when he beheld them.31 Samuel said: He beheld the ashes of [the ram of] Isaac, as it says, God will see32 for Himself the lamb.33 R. Isaac Nappaha said: He saw the money of the atonement, as it says, And thou shalt take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and it shall be a memorial34 etc. R. Johanan said: He saw the Temple, as it is written, In the mount where the Lord is seen.35 R. Jacob b. Iddi and R. Samuel b. Nahmani differed on the matter. One said that He saw the atonement money, the other that He saw the Temple. The more likely view is that of him who says that He saw the Temple, since it is written, As it will be said on that day, in the mount where the Lord is seen.
A MAN SHOULD NOT ENTER THE TEMPLE MOUNT WITH HIS STAFF etc. What is the meaning of kappandaria? Raba said: A short cut, as its name implies.36 R. Hanah b. Adda said in the name of R. Sama the son of R. Meri: It is as if a man said, instead of going round the blocks [makkifna adari], I will go in here. R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah: If one enters a synagogue not intending to use it as a short cut, he may use it as a short cut. R. Abbahu said: If there was a path there originally,37 it is permitted. R. Helbo said in the name of R. Huna: If one entered a synagogue to pray, he may use it as a short cut, as it says, But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the appointed seasons [he that entereth by the north gate shall go forth by the south gate, etc.].38
AND SPITTING [ON IT IS FORBIDDEN] A FORTIORI. R. Bibi said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: If one spits in these times39 on the Temple mount, it is as if he spat into the pupil of His eye, since it says: And Mine eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually.40 Raba said: It is permitted to expectorate in the synagogue, this being on the same footing as wearing a shoe. Just as wearing a shoe is forbidden on the Temple mount but permitted in the synagogue, so spitting is forbidden in the Temple mount but permitted in the synagogue. Said R. Papa to Raba — according to others, Rabina said to Raba, while others again report that R. Adda b. Mattena said it to Raba, Instead of learning the rule from the analogy of a shoe, why not learn it from that of a short cut?41 — He replied: The Tanna derives it from a shoe, and you want to derive it from a short cut! What is this [reference]? As it has been taught: ‘A man should not enter the Temple mount either with his staff in his hand or his shoe on his foot, or with his money tied up in his cloth, or with his money bag slung over his shoulder, and he should not make it a short cut, and spitting [on it is forbidden] a fortiori from the case of the shoe: seeing that regarding a shoe, the wearing of which does not show contempt, the Torah has said, Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,42 must not the rule all the more apply to spitting, which does show contempt? R. Jose b. Judah said: This reasoning is not necessary. For see, it says, For none might enter within the king's gate clothed in sackcloth.43 Now have we not here an argument a fortiori: if such is the case with sackcloth which is not in itself disgusting, and before an earthly king, how much more so with spitting which is in itself disgusting, and before the supreme King of Kings!’44 He [R. Papa] replied to him [Raba]: What I mean is this. Let us be stringent in both cases,45 and reason thus:
(1) For fear of serpents.
(2) Lest it may break.
(3) The Aruch renders the word shinah here ‘Making water’.
(4) The proverb is applied to relieving oneself.
(5) And do not wait for thy father to come; an admonition against procrastination.
(6) MS.M. ‘men’.
(7) To find out if anyone was within.
(8) שעיר Lit., ‘goat’ v. supra p. 389, n. 6.
(9) Inviting me to come in, not in accordance with the rules of propriety. The meaning is not clear, Rashi seems to read שעיר (Seir), thus rendering: You have not yet entered Seir (Edom) and you have learnt the manners of (the people of) Seir, v. Maharsha.
(10) In the Temple court, to keep the priests warm.
(11) V. Strashun Glosses.
(12) V. supra 25a.
(13) This is obviously a censor's correction for ‘Roman’, v. MS.M.
(14) Jast. renders ‘his gut dropped’, from fright.
(15) Isa. XLIII, 4.
(16) I Sam. XXIV, 11.
(17) Since David is reporting his own action.
(18) V. supra 58a.
(19) E.V. ‘sheepcotes’.
(20) Ibid. 4.
(21) Ibid. 5.
(22) I Kings I, 1.
(23) I Sam. XXVI, 19.
(24) Ex. XXX, 12.
(25) I Chron. XXI, 1.
(26) II Sam. XXIV, 1.
(27) Ibid. 15.
(28) Ibid. 16.
(29) According to the dictum that the death of the righteous is an atonement.
(30) I Chron. XXI, 15.
(31) Gen. XXXII, 3.
(32) So lit., E.V. ‘provide’.
(33) Ibid. XXII, 8.
(34) Ex. XXX, 16.
(35) Adverting to the name of the mountain which is ‘The Lord shall see’. Gen. XXII, 14.
(36) Representing as it does the Latin compendiaria via. Raba seems to imply that there is no need to try to interpret it as an Aramaic expression.
(37) Before the synagogue was built.
(38) Ezek. XLVI, 9.
(39) When the Temple is no longer there.
(40) I Kings IX, 3.
(41) A synagogue may not be used as a short cut, v. Meg. 28a.
(42) Ex. III, 5.
(43) Esth. IV, 2.
(44) Thus we see that the Tanna derives the rule regarding spitting from the analogy of a shoe.
(45) Of spitting on the Temple mount and in the synagogue.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 63a
The rule [about spitting] for the Temple mount where the shoe is forbidden we may derive from the analogy of the shoe, but in the case of the synagogue where the shoe is permitted, instead of deriving the rule from the shoe and permitting it, let us rather derive it from the short cut and forbid it? — Rather, said Raba: [The synagogue is] on the same footing as a man's house. Just as a man objects to his house being made a short cut but does not object to the wearing of shoes or to spitting there, so in the case of the synagogue, the using it as a short cut is forbidden, but wearing the shoe and spitting in it is not forbidden.
AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE BENEDICTIONS SAID IN THE TEMPLE [THEY USED TO SAY, FOR EVER etc.]. Why all this? — Because the Amen response is not given in the Sanctuary. And whence do we know that the Amen response was not made in the Sanctuary? — Because it says, Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting,1 and it goes on, And let them say,2 Blessed be Thy glorious name that is exalted above every3 blessing and praise. I might think that one praise would suffice for all the blessings.4 It therefore says, ‘Above every blessing and praise’, implying, for every blessing assign to Him praise.5
IT WAS LAID DOWN THAT GREETING SHOULD BE GIVEN IN [GOD'S] NAME etc. Why the further citation? — You might think that Boaz spoke thus on his own accord;6 come and hear, therefore, [the other text] ‘THE LORD IS WITH THEE, THOU MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR’. You might still say that it was an angel who spoke thus to Gideon;7 come and hear, therefore, the other text, ‘DESPISE NOT THY MOTHER WHEN SHE IS OLD’;8 and it says, ‘IT IS TIME TO WORK FOR THE LORD, THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW.9 Raba said: The first clause of this verse can be taken as explaining the second, and the second can be taken as explaining the first. ‘The first clause may be taken as explaining the second’, thus: It is time to work for the Lord.10 Why? Because they have made void Thy law.’The second clause may be taken as explaining the first’, thus: They have made void Thy law.11 Why? Because it is time to work for the Lord.
It was taught: Hillel the Elder said: When the scholars keep in [the teaching of] the Torah, do thou disseminate it,12 and when they disseminate it do thou keep it in.13 If thou seest a generation which is eager for the knowledge of the Torah, spread it abroad,14 as it says, There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.15 But if thou seest a generation which takes no interest in the Torah, keep it in to thyself, as it says, When it is time to work for the Lord,16 they make void Thy law. Bar Kappara expounded: When goods are cheap, collect17 [money] and buy. In a place where there is no man, there be a man. Abaye said: You may infer from this that in a place where there is a man [to teach the Torah], there you should not be a man. This is obvious? — It required to be stated for the case where the two are equal.18
Bar Kappara expounded: What short text is there upon which all the essential principles of the Torah depend? In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.19 Raba remarked: Even for a matter of transgression.20 Bar Kappara [further] expounded: A man should always teach his son a clean and not laborious trade. What, for example? R. Hisda said: Needle-stitching.21
It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not invite too many friends to his house, as it says, There are friends that one hath to his own hurt.22 It has been taught: Rabbi says, A man should not appoint a steward over his house, for had not Potiphar appointed Joseph as steward over his house, he would not have fallen into such trouble as he did. It has been taught: Rabbi says, Why does the section of the Nazirite23 follow immediately on that of the unfaithful wife?24 To teach you that anyone who sees an unfaithful wife in her evil ways should completely abstain from wine. Hezekiah the son of R. Parnak said in the name of R. Johanan: Why does the section of the unfaithful wife follow immediately on one dealing with terumoth25 and tithes?26 To teach you that if one has terumoth and tithes and does not give them to the priest, in the end he will require the priest's services to deal with his wife. For so it says, Every man's hallowed things shall be his,27 and immediately afterwards it says, If any man's wife go aside,28 and later is it written, And the man shall bring his wife, etc.29 Nay more, in the end he shall be in need of them,30 as it says, ‘Every man's hallowed things shall be his’.31 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: If he does give, he will eventually become rich, as it says, Whatever a man giveth the priest, he shall have32 — he shall have much wealth.
R. Huna b. Berekiah said in the name of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar: Whoever associates the name of heaven with his suffering33 will have his sustenance doubled, as it says, And the Almighty shall be in thy distress, and thou shalt have double silver.34 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: His sustenance shall fly to him like a bird, as it says, And silver shall fly to thee.35
R. Tabi said in the name of R. Josiah: Whoso is faint36 in the study of the Torah will have no strength to stand in the day of trouble, as it says, If thou art faint [in the study of the Torah] in the day of adversity thy strength will be small.37 R. Ammi b. Mattenah said in the name of Samuel: Even if only in the performance of a single precept, as it says, ‘If thou faint’, in any case.
R. Safra said: R. Abbahu used to relate that when Hananiah the son of R. Joshua's brother went down to the Diaspora,38 he began to intercalate the years and fix new moons outside Palestine. So they [the Beth din] sent after him two scholars, R. Jose b. Kippar and the grandson of R. Zechariah b. Kebutal. When he saw them, he said to them: Why have you come? — They replied: We have come to learn Torah [from you]. He thereupon proclaimed: These men are among the most eminent of the generation. They and their ancestors have ministered in the Sanctuary
(as we have learnt: Zechariah b. Kebutal said: Several times I read to him39 out of the book of Daniel). Soon they began to declare clean what he declared unclean and to permit what he forbade. Thereupon he proclaimed: These men are worthless, they are good for nothing. They said to him: You have already built and you cannot overthrow, you have made a fence and you cannot break it down.40 He said to them: Why do you declare clean when I declare unclean, why do you permit when I forbid? — They replied: Because you intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine. He said to them: Did not Akiba son of Joseph intercalate years and fix new moons outside of Palestine?41 — They replied: Don't cite R. Akiba, who left not his equal in the Land of Israel. He said to them: I also left not my equal in the Land of Israel. They said to him: The kids which you left behind have become goats with horns, and they have sent us to you, bidding us, ‘Go and tell him in our name. If he listens, well and good; if not, he will be excommunicated.
(1) Neh. IX, 5.
(2) Those who made the response.
(3) E.V. ‘all’.
(4) I.e., that one response should be made at the end of all the blessings (Rashi).
(5) V. Sot. (Sonc. ed.) p. 198, n. 2.
(6) And his action need not be taken as a precedent.
(7) Simply transmitting his message.
(8) I.e., despise not the example of Boaz.
(9) V. p. 329, n. 4.
(10) As much as to say, Boaz had good warrant for what he did. This rule apparently was cavilled at in certain quarters, and the Rabbis felt that some very strong justification was needed for it.
(11) Like Elijah in sacrificing on Mount Carmel.
(12) So that it should not be forgotten. Lit., ‘scatter’, like a sower scattering.
(13) So as not to compete with them.
(14) Lit., ‘scatter’. Cf. n. 7.
(15) Prov. XI, 24.
(16) I.e., when disseminating the Torah would bring it into contempt.
(17) The Aruch reads, ‘make haste’.
(18) For there is no question that a superior may displace an inferior.
(19) Prov. III, 6.
(20) Weigh the pros and cons of it. This must be linked with the foregoing principle which permits the violation of the law when the exigencies of the time demand it.
(21) Lit., ‘the stitching of furrows’.
(22) Prov. XVIII, 24.
(23) Num. VI.
(24) Ibid. V, 11-31.
(25) Plural of terumah, v. Glos.
(26) Ibid. V, 5-10.
(27) Ibid. 10.
(28) Ibid. 12. The juxtaposition implies: ‘If a man keeps his hallowed things to himself and does not give them to the priest, then this wife, etc.’.
(29) Ibid. 15.
(30) Since he will lose his money.
(31) In the form of poor man's tithe.
(32) Ibid. 10. E.V. ‘it shall be his’.
(33) By blessing God for the evil, or praying.
(34) Job XXII, 25. E.V. ‘And the Almighty shall be thy treasure, and thou shalt have precious silver. The word to'afoth
(precious) is connected by the Rabbis with the Aramaic word ‘af, to double.
(35) Here the word to'afoth is connected with the Hebrew ‘uf, to fly.
(36) I.e., is negligent.
(37) Prov. XXIV, 10. E.V. ‘If thou art faint in the day of adversity, thy strength shall be small indeed’.
(38) Golah, Babylon. Here the reference is to Pumbeditha. This was during the Hadrianic persecution following the Bar Kochebah Wars. V. J.E. VI, p. 207.
(39) The High Priest. V. Yoma 18b.
(40) I.e., you cannot take away from us the name you have conferred on us.
(41) Yeb. 122a.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 63b
Tell also our brethren in the Diaspora [not to listen to him]. If they listen to you, well and good; if not, let them go up to the mountain, let Ahia1 build an altar and let Hananiah play the harp,2 and let them all become renegades and say that they have no portion in the God of Israel’. Straightway all the people broke out into weeping and cried, Heaven forbid, we have a portion in the God of Israel. Why all this to-do? — Because it says, For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.3 We can understand that if he declared clean they should declare unclean, because this would be more stringent. But how was it possible that they should declare clean what he declared unclean, seeing that it has been taught: If a Sage has declared unclean, his colleague is not permitted to declare clean? — They thought proper to act thus so that the people should not be drawn after him.
Our Rabbis have taught: When our teachers entered the vineyard at Jabneh,4 there were among them R. Judah and R. Jose and R. Nehemiah and R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean. They all spoke in honour of hospitality and expounded texts [for that purpose]. R. Judah, the head of the speakers in every place,5 spoke in honour of the Torah and expounded the text, Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it without the camp.6 Have we not here, he said, an argument a fortiori? Seeing that the Ark of the Lord was never more than twelve mil distant7 and yet the Torah says, Everyone that sought the Lord went out unto the tent of meeting,8 how much more [is this title9 applicable to] the disciples of the wise who go from city to city and from province to province to learn Torah!
And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face.10 R. Isaac said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, Moses, I and thou will propound views11 on the halachah. Some say that the Holy One, blessed be He, said thus to Moses: Just as I have turned upon thee a cheerful face, so do thou turn upon Israel a cheerful face and restore the tent to its place. And he would return to the camp.12 R. Abbahu said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Now they will say, The Master13 is angry and the disciple14 is angry, what will happen to Israel? If thou wilt restore the tent to its place, well and goods but if not, Joshua son of Nun, the disciple, will minister in thy place. Therefore it is written, ‘And he would return to the camp’. Raba said: All the same [God's] word was not uttered in vain, since it says, But his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tent.15
R. Judah spoke further in honour of the Torah, expounding the text, Attend [hasket] and hear, O Israel: this day thou art become a people unto the Lord thy God.16 Now was it on that day that the Torah was given to Israel? Was not that day the end of the forty years [of the wandering]? It is, however, to teach thee that the Torah is as beloved every day to those that study it as on the day when it was given from Mount Sinai. R. Tanhum the son of R. Hiyya, a man of Kefar Acco17 said: The proof is that if a man recites the Shema’ every morning and evening and misses one evening, it is as if18 he had never recited the Shema’. The word ‘hasket’ implies: Make yourselves into groups [kittoth] to study the Torah, since the knowledge of the Torah can be acquired only in association with others, as stated by R. Jose b. Hanina; for R. Jose b. Hanina said: What is the meaning of the text, A sword is upon the boasters [baddim] and they shall become fools?19 A sword is upon the enemies of the disciples of the wise20 who sit separately [bad bebad] and study the Torah. What is more, they become stupid. It is written here, ‘and they shall become fools’, and it is written elsewhere, For that we have done foolishly.21 What is more, they are sinners, as it says, and we have sinned.22 If you prefer, I can learn the meaning from here: The princes of Zoan are become fools [no'alu].23 Another explanation of ‘Attend [hasket] and hear, Israel’. Cut yourselves to pieces [kattetu] for words of Torah, as was said by Resh Lakish. For Resh Lakish said: Whence do we learn that words of Torah are firmly held by one who kills himself for it? Because it says, This is the Torah, when a man shall die in the tent.24 Another explanation of ‘Attend and hear, O Israel’: Be silent [has] and then analyse [katteth],25 as stated by Raba; for Raba said: A man should always first learn Torah and then scrutinize it.
They said in the school of R. Jannai: What is meant by the verse, For the churning of milk bringeth forth curd, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife?26 With whom do you find the cream of the Torah? With him who spits out upon it the milk which he has sucked from the breasts of his mother.27 ‘The wringing of the nose28 bringeth forth blood’. Every student who is silent when his teacher is angry with him the first time will become worthy to distinguish between clean blood and unclean. ‘The forcing of wrath29 bringeth forth strife’: Every student who is silent when his teacher is angry with him a first and a second time will be worthy to distinguish between money cases and capital cases,30 as we have learnt: R. Ishmael says, One who desires to be wise should occupy himself with money judgments, since no branch of the Torah surpasses them, for they are like a perpetual fountain [of instruction]. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: What is meant by the verse, If thou hast done foolishly [nobaltah] in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast planned devices [zammotah], lay thy hand upon thy mouth?31 Whoever abases [menabbel] himself for words of Torah32 will in the end be exalted, but if one muzzles [zamam] himself, his hand will be upon his mouth.33
R. Nehemiah began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the text, And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.34 Have we not here an argument a fortiori: if such was the reward of Jethro35 who befriended Moses only for his own benefit, how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions!
R. Jose began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the verse, Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.36 Have we not here an argument a fortiori? If such was the reward of the Egyptians who befriended the Israelites only for their own purposes, as it says, And if thou knowest any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle,37 how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions!
R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean began to speak in praise of hospitality, expounding the verse, And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his house . . . . because of the Ark of God.38 Have we not here an argument a fortiori? If such was the reward for attending to the ark which did not eat or drink, but before which he merely swept and laid the dust, how much more will it be for one who entertains a scholar in his house and gives him to eat and drink and allows him the use of his possessions! What was the blessing with which God blessed him [Obed-Edom]? — R. Judah b. Zebida says: This refers to Hamoth39 and her eight daughters-in-law who each bore six children at a birth,
(1) The head of the community.
(2) Hananiah was a Levite.
(3) Isa. II, 3.
(4) The Academy at Jabneh, so called either because it actually was in a vineyard, or because the disciples sat in rows like the vines in a vineyard. The incident is related in a somewhat different form in the Midrash Rabbah on Cant. II, 5.
(5) V. Shab. 33b.
(6) Ex. XXXIII, 7.
(7) This being the extent of the Israelitish camp.
(8) Ex. XXXIII, 7.
(9) Of ‘one who seeks the Lord’.
(10) Ibid. 11.
(11) Lit., ‘faces’.
(15) Ibid. This is taken to mean that he succeeded Moses.
(16) Deut. XXVII, 9.
(17) In Lower Galilee.
(18) I.e., he feels as if.
(19) Jer. L, 36.
(20) Euphemism for the disciples themselves.
(21) Num. XII, 11. In both texts the Hebrew word is no'alu.
(23) Isa. XIX, 13.
(24) Num. XIX, 14. ‘Tent’ is taken to mean a place of study.
(25) I.e., first listen to the teacher, and then discuss what he has said.
(26) Prov. XXX, 33.
(27) I.e., who commences to learn in his earliest childhood.
(28) Heb. af, which also means anger.
(29) Heb. appayim, lit., ‘two angers’.
(30) I.e., to decide to which category an intricate case belongs.
(31) Prov. XXX, 32.
(32) I.e., is not ashamed to ask questions which may at first sound foolish.
(33) He will be unable to answer questions put to him.
(34) I Sam. XV, 6.
(35) Who is called the Kenite, Judg. I, 16.
(36) Deut. XXIII, 8.
(37) Gen. XLVII, 6.
(38) II Sam. VI, 12.
(39) The wife of Obed-Edom.
Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 64a
as it says, Peullethai the eighth son1 for God blessed him,2 and it is written, All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren, able men in the strength for the service, threescore and two of Obed-Edom.3
R. Abin the Levite said: Whoever tries to force his [good] fortune will be dogged by [ill] fortune,4 and whoever forgoes his [good] fortune will postpone his [ill] fortune.5 This we can illustrate from the case of Rabbah and R. Joseph. For R. Joseph was ‘Sinai’6 and Rabbah was ‘an uprooter of mountains’.7 The time came when they were required [to be head of the Academy].8 They [the collegiates] sent there [to Palestine] to ask, As between ‘Sinai’ and an ‘uprooter of mountains’, which should have the preference? They sent answer: Sinai, because all require the owner of wheat.9 Nevertheless, R. Joseph would not accept the post, because the astrologers had told him that he would be head for only two years. Rabbah thereupon remained head for twenty-two years, and R. Joseph after him for two years and a half.10 During all the time that Rabbah was head, R. Joseph did not so much as summon a cupper to come to his house.11
R. Abin the Levite further said: What is the point of the verse, The Lord answer thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high?12 The God of Jacob and not the God of Abraham and Isaac? This teaches that the owner of the beam should go in with the thickest part of it.13
R. Abin the Levite also said: If one partakes of a meal at which a scholar is present, it is as if he feasted on the effulgence of the Divine Presence, since it says, And Aaron came and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.14 Was it before God that they ate? Did not they eat before Moses? This tells you, however, that if one partakes of a meal at which a scholar is present,it is as if he feasted on the effulgence of the Divine Presence.
R. Abin the Levite also said: When a man takes leave of his fellow, he should not say to him, ‘Go in peace’. but ‘Go to peace’. For Moses, to whom Jethro said, Go to peace,15 went up and prospered, whereas Absalom to whom David said, Go in peace,16 went away and was hung.
R. Abin the Levite also said: One who takes leave of the dead17 should not say to him ‘Go to peace’, but ‘Go in peace’, as it says, But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace.18
R. Levi b. Hiyya said: One who on leaving the synagogue goes into the House of Study and studies the Torah is deemed worthy to welcome the Divine Presence, as it says, They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.19
R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: The disciples of the wise have no rest either in this world or in the world to come,20 as it says, They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion’.
R. Eleazar said in the name of R. Hanina: The disciples of the wise increase peace in the world, as it says, And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.21 Read not banayik [thy children] but bonayik [thy builders].22 Great peace have they that love Thy law, and there is no stumbling for them.23 Peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces.24 For my brethren and companions’ sake I will now say, Peace be within thee.25 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.26 The Lord will give strength unto His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace.27
(1) Omitting with Bah: ‘and it is written’ inserted in cur. edd.
(2) I Chron. XXVI, 5. This shows that he had eight sons.
(3) Ibid. 8. The sixty-two are made up of the eight sons mentioned, six more to his wife at one birth, and six to each of his eight daughters-in-law.
(4) Lit., ‘whoever pushes his hour will be pushed by his hour’.
(5) Lit., ‘if one is pushed away from before his hour, his hour is pushed away from before him’.
(6) I.e., possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the traditions.
(7) I.e., exceptionally skillful in dialectic.
(8) Sc. of Pumbeditha.
(9) I.e., to know the authentic traditions.
(10) Rabbah was head 309-330. R. Joseph who succeeded him died in 333.
(11) But went instead to him, like any ordinary individual. On the whole passage v. Hor. (Sonc. ed.) p. 105 notes.
(12) Ps. XX, 2.
(13) He should put the thicker end in the ground so as to give better support. So the name of Jacob would be more efficacious in prayer because he was the more immediate ancestor of the Jewish people.
(14) Ex. XVIII, 12.
(15) Ibid. IV, 18.
(16) II Sam. XV, 9.
(17) On leaving the funeral procession.
(18) Gen. XV, 15.
(19) Ps. LXXXIV, 8.
(20) Because they are always progressing in their spiritual strivings.
(21) Isa. LIV, 13.
(22) I.e., learned men.
(23) Ps. CXIX, 165.
(24) Ibid. CXXII, 7.
(25) Ibid. 8.
(26) Ibid. 9.
(27) Ibid. XXIX, 11.