POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) INTERRUPTING PRAYER
(a) (Beraisa): A case occurred in which a Chasid was praying on the road. A nobleman came and greeted him. He did not answer. The nobleman waited until he finished praying, and rebuked him:
1. Your Torah says "Rak Hishamer Lecha u'Shemor Nafshecha...; v'Nishmartem Me'od l'Nafshoseichem." You should have answered me! Had I killed you, no one would have a claim against me!
2. The Chasid: Allow me to appease you! If you were standing in front of the king, and your friend greeted you, would you answer him?
3. The nobleman: No.
4. The Chasid: If you answered him, what would they do to you?
5. The nobleman: They would kill me!
6. The Chasid: Make a Kal va'Chomer! If you were standing in front of a mortal king, who is here today and will die tomorrow, you would not interrupt. I was standing in front of the King of kings, who lives for all eternity. All the more so I should not interrupt!
7. The nobleman was appeased.
(b) (Mishnah): Even if a snake wraps itself around his heel, he should not interrupt.
(c) (Rav Sheshes): This applies only to a snake, but if a scorpion is about to sting him, he should interrupt.
(d) Question (Beraisa): If a man fell into a lion's den, we may not testify that he died (to permit his wife to remarry);
1. If he fell into a pit of snakes or scorpions, we may testify that he died. (Even snakes definitely kill!)
(e) Answer: There it is different. Since he fell on them, they will surely kill him.
(f) (R. Yitzchak): If one was praying and saw bulls coming towards him, he should interrupt.
(g) (R. Oshaya): One should distance himself 50 Amos from a Tam bull, and as far as one can see from a Mu'ad (one that has gored three times in the past).
(h) (Beraisa - R. Meir): [Even] if a bull is eating from its trough, go up to the roof and throw down the ladder. (I.e. do not go down while it is around. We are not really concerned lest it climb the ladder.)
(i) (Shmuel): This applies only to a black bull in Nisan, for then [winter is over, it sees grass all around and becomes bold, and] the Satan dances between its horns (tempts it to gore).
(j) (Beraisa): Once, in a certain place, an Arod (a crossbreed of a serpent and lizard) was damaging people. R. Chanina ben Dosa put his foot over its hole. It bit him, and it died. He took it to the Beis Medrash and announced "see, the Arod does not kill. Rather, sin kills!"
(k) People said "woe to the person who encounters an Arod, and woe to the Arod that encounters R. Chanina ben Dosa!"
2) ADDITIONS TO SHEMONEH ESREH
(a) (Mishnah): [In winter] we mention the might of rain in Techiyas ha'Mesim (the second blessing). We request rain in Birkas ha'Shanim.
(b) [On Motza'ei Shabbos or Motza'ei Yom Tov] we say Havdalah in Chonen ha'Da'as;
(c) R. Akiva says, it is [a blessing by itself,] the fourth blessing;
(d) R. Eliezer says, one says Havdalah in Modim.
(e) (Gemara) Question: Why do we mention rain in Techiyas ha'Mesim?
(f) Answer (Rav Yosef): Because it is like Techiyas ha'Mesim (it gives life), we mention it in the blessing of Techiyas ha'Mesim.
(g) Question: Why do we request rain in Birkas ha'Shanim?
(h) Answer (Rav Yosef): Because it is livelihood, we request it in the blessing of livelihood.
(i) Question: Why do we say Havdalah in Chonen ha'Da'as?
(j) Answer #1 (Rav Yosef): Because it involves wisdom (the ability to differentiate), we say it in the blessing of wisdom.
(k) Answer #2 (Rabanan): Because it pertains to [the end of Kodesh and the beginning of] Chol, we say it in the [first] Chol (weekday) blessing.
(l) (R. Ami): Understanding is great, for we say it in the [first] weekday blessing.
(m) (R. Ami): Understanding is great, for a verse puts it between two names of Hash-m -- "Ki Kel De'os Hash-m."
(n) (R. Elazar): If a person does not have (i.e. does not use his) understanding, it is forbidden to have mercy on him -- "Ki Lo Am Binos Hu Al Ken Lo Yerachamenu."
(o) (R. Elazar): The Mikdash is great, for it is between two names of Hash-m -- "Pa'alta Hash-m Mikdash Hash-m Konenu Yadecha."
(p) (R. Elazar): Any person who has understanding, it is as if the Beis ha'Mikdash was built in his day, for both of these are put between two names of Hash-m.
(q) Question (Rav Ada Karchina'ah): If so, you should say that vengeance is great, for also it is between two names of Hash-m -- "Kel Nekamos Hash-m"!
(r) Answer (R. Elazar): Indeed, sometimes it is great, like Ula taught:
1. (Ula): The verse mentions two vengeances -- one was for good, "Hofi'a me'Har Paran." (When the Nochrim refused to accept the Torah, Hash-m made their property Hefker, i.e. if a Yisrael's animal damages it, he is exempt. Alternatively, He took Shechinah from the Nochrim and put it on Yisrael);
2. The other was for punishment -- "Kel Nekamos Hash-m Kel Nekamos Hofi'a"!
3) THE ENACTMENTS OF HAVDALAH
(a) (Mishnah - R. Akiva): It is [a blessing by itself,] the fourth blessing.
(b) Question (R. Shemen bar Aba): Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah established Berachos, Tefilos, Kedushos and Havdalos. If so, why do Tana'im argue about Havdalah? We should follow what they enacted!
(c) Answer (R. Yochanan): At first, Bnei Yisrael (those who returned with Ezra) were poor. They enacted to say Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh. Later, they became richer, and they enacted to say it over of wine;
1. They became poor again, so they enacted to say it in Shemoneh Esreh again, but one [who is able to] should say it again over wine.
(d) (Rabah and Rav Yosef): [Even] one who says Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh should say it again over wine.
(e) Question (Rabah against himself - Beraisa): If [in winter] one mistakenly omitted mention of rain in Techiyas ha'Mesim or the request for rain in Birkas ha'Shanim, he must go back and say them;
1. If he mistakenly omitted Havdalah in Chonen ha'Da'as, he does not go back, for he can say it later over wine. (Rabah holds that in any case one must say Havdalah over wine!)
(f) Answer: It means that he does not go back, for he will say it later over wine.
(g) (R. Binyamin bar Yefes): R. Yosi asked if one who says Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh must say it again over wine. R. Yochanan said that he must. (R. Yochanan did not merit to sit close to Rebbi. Surely R. Yosi, who was much greater than Rebbi, would not ask from him! Ya'avetz says that we discuss R. Yosi ben Chanina, a Talmid of R. Yochanan. The Rif's text says R. Asi.)
(h) Question: If one said Havdalah over wine, must he say it again in Shemoneh Esreh?
(i) Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): A Kal va'Chomer teaches that he must!
1. The primary enactment was to say Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh, yet one who says Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh must still say it again over wine. All the more so, one who says it over wine must fulfill the primary enactment to say it in Shemoneh Esreh!
(j) (Rav Acha Aricha - Beraisa): One who says Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh is more praiseworthy than one who says it over wine. If he says both of them, Berachos will rest on his head!
(k) Question: The Beraisa contradicts itself!
1. First it says that one who says Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh is more praiseworthy than one who says it again over wine. This implies that it suffices to say it in Shemoneh Esreh;
2. Then it says that if he says both of them, Berachos will rest on his head. Since he already fulfilled his obligation, saying it again is an unnecessary blessing!
i. (Rav): Anyone who says an unnecessary blessing transgresses "Lo Sisa [Es Shem Hash-m Elokecha la'Shav]."
(l) Correction: It should say "if he was Mavdil in Shemoneh Esreh and not over wine, Berachos will rest on his head."
(m) Question (Rav Chisda): If he forgot to say Havdalah in Shemoneh Esreh and over wine (Rashba - before eating or doing Melachah), what is the law?
(n) Answer (Rav Sheshes): He must pray again and say Havdalah over wine. (This is a penalty.)
(o) Question (Ravina): What is the Halachah?
(p) Answer (Rava): It is like Kidush. Even though one says it in Shemoneh Esreh, he repeats it over wine. The same applies to Havdalah.
4) WHERE TO SAY HAVDALAH
(a) (Mishnah - R. Eliezer): One says Havdalah in the blessing of Modim.
(b) R. Zeira (to R. Chiya bar Avin): Did you say in the name of R. Yochanan that the Halachah is like R. Eliezer when Yom Tov is after Shabbos?
(c) R. Chiya: Yes.
(d) R. Zeira: Saying that the Halachah follows him implies that there is an argument about it! (There is no argument!)
1. Objection: Chachamim explicitly argue in the Mishnah!
2. Answer: They argue about a regular Motza'ei Shabbos (when we say the blessing of Chonen ha'Da'as), but not when Motza'ei Shabbos is Yom Tov!
3. Question: R. Akiva argues (and says that it is a blessing by itself. Surely the same applies on Yom Tov!)
4. Answer: The Halachah does not follow R. Akiva (on a regular Motza'ei Shabbos). Why should it follow him on Yom Tov?!
i. The Halachah is unlike R. Akiva (on a regular Motza'ei Shabbos) because the Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah enacted 18 Berachos, and not 19. Likewise, they enacted seven Berachos on Yom Tov, and not eight!
(e) Version #1 (our text) R. Chiya bar Avin: [I myself do not hold like R. Yochanan who says that the Halachah follows R. Eliezer, rather,] we are inclined to follow R. Eliezer. (Devar Shmuel, cited in Gilyon ha'Shas -- R. Chiya never answered R. Zeira's objection. He relies on Rav (below), who surely holds that they argue.)
(f) Version #2 - R. Zeira: R. Yochanan did not say that the Halachah follows R. Eliezer, rather, Chachamim agree with R. Eliezer. (end of Version #2)
1. Version A (R. Yitzchak bar Avodimi citing Rav): The Halachah follows R. Eliezer.
2. Version B (R. Yitzchak bar Avodimi citing Rav): We are inclined to follow R. Eliezer. (End of Version B)
3. (R. Yochanan): Chachamim agree with R. Eliezer (when Motza'ei Shabbos is Yom Tov).
4. (R. Chiya bar Aba): R. Eliezer's opinion appears to be correct (in this case).
(g) R. Zeira: One should rely on R. Chiya bar Aba, for he is as careful about what he learns (from R. Yochanan) as Rachbah of Pumbedisa:
1. (Rachbah citing Rav Yehudah): Har ha'Bayis was surrounded by a double Stav (ledges to sit on), one inside the other. (He used the same word (Stav) that his Rebbi did, even though the Mishnayos use a different word.)
(h) (Rav Yosef): I do not rely on any of the above opinions, rather, on the beautiful text that Rav and Shmuel enacted in Bavel. (It puts Havdalah in Kedushas ha'Yom when Motza'ei Shabbos is Yom Tov):
1. "Hash-m, You made known to us Your laws... You bequeathed to us times of joy... You distinguished between the Kedushos of Shabbos and Yom Tov... Give us... [times of Simchah]..."
5) IMPROPER PRAYERS
(a) (Mishnah): If one says "Your mercy is even upon a bird's nest (therefore, You commanded us to send away the mother before taking her young)," or "Your name will be mentioned for good [deeds that You do]," or "Modim Modim (we thank You, we thank You)," we silence him.
(b) (Gemara) Question: Granted, we silence one who says "Modim Modim," for it sounds like he prays to two powers;
1. Granted, we silence one who says, "Your name will be mentioned for good," for this implies that we do not bless over misfortune. (This is wrong!)
i. (Mishnah): One must bless over misfortune just like he one blesses over the good.
2. However, why do we silence one who says "Your mercy is upon a bird's nest"?
(c) Answer #1 (R. Yosi bar Avin or R. Yosi bar Zvida): This arouses jealousy among the creations;
(d) Answer #2 (The other of R. Yosi bar Avin and R. Yosi bar Zvida): He says that the Mitzvos are due to Hashem's mercy. This is wrong. They are decrees (to publicize that Yisrael are His servants).
(e) A man came in front of Rabah and said "You (Hash-m) had mercy on a bird's nest. May You have mercy on us!"
1. Rabah: He really knows how to appease his Master!
2. Abaye: The Mishnah says that we silence him!
3. Rabah knew this. He was just testing Abaye.
(f) A man came in front of R. Chanina and said, "ha'Kel ha'Gadol ha'Gibor veha'Nora veha'Adir..."
(g) R. Chanina (after the man finished): Have you exhausted the praises of your Master?!
1. Why did you say so many? We may say [the first] three only because they are written in the Torah, and the Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah enacted to say them in Shemoneh Esreh!
2. This is like a mortal king who had millions of gold coins, and someone was praising him for having silver. This is a insult to him!
(h) (R. Chanina): Everything is in the hands of Shamayim, except for Yir'as Shamayim -- "v'Atah Mah Hash-m Elokecha Sho'el me'Imach Ki Im l'Yir'ah."
(i) Question: Is Yir'as Shamayim such a small matter?!
1. (R. Chanina): Hashem's treasure-house contains only Yir'as Shamayim -- "Yir'as Shamayim Hi Otzaro" (it is most dear to Hash-m)!
(j) Answer: Indeed, for Moshe it was a simple matter. (Maharsha - the simple Yir'as Shamayim, fear of punishment, is indeed easy. R. Chanina did not discuss this, for it is bi'Yedei Shamayim (Hash-m punishes others to instill fear in Bnei Yisrael)! Rather, he discusses an intellectual awe of His greatness. For those who saw the radiance of Moshe and feared to approach him, it was simple to similarly fear Hash-m.)
(k) R. Chanina: This is like one who is asked for a large vessel. If he has it, it is like a small vessel;
1. If one is asked for a small vessel and he lacks it, it is like a big vessel. (He feels his lack acutely).
(l) (Mishnah): If one says "Modim Modim," we silence him.
(m) (R. Zeira): Saying "Shema Shema" is like saying "Modim Modim."
(n) Question (Beraisa): Saying Shema and repeating it is detestable.
1. Inference: It is detestable, but we do not silence him!
(o) Answer: If he says each word and repeats it, it is only detestable; if he says the entire verse and repeats it, we silence him.
(p) Question (Rav Papa): Perhaps he did not have proper intent the first time, and he repeats it with proper intent! (Why is this detestable?)
(q) Answer (Abaye): Is he a peer of Hash-m (that he speaks to Him without intent)?! If one normally does so, we hit him with a hammer until he says it with intent!