BERACHOS 34 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the Yahrzeit of her father, Rav Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Rabbi Morton Weiner) Z'L, who passed away on 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Dafyomi study -- which was so important to him -- during the weeks of his Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.

OPINIONS: Rav Asi says that "there is no order to the middle blessings of Shemoneh Esreh." What does he mean by this statement?
(a) According to RASHI and RABEINU CHANANEL, Rav Asi means that if one skips one of the middle blessings, he may fill it in anywhere before the last three blessings, and not necessarily in the place that it is supposed to be said. The middle blessings may be recited out of order.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Emtza'iyos) cites the RASHBAM and the RIF who disagree with Rashi and Rabeinu Chananel and maintain that even according to Rav Asi, the blessings must be said in order. (That is, if a person skips a blessing and adds it later, he must continue from the blessings that follow the skipped blessing, in order, until the end of Shemoneh Esreh.) Rav Asi means that it is not necessary to begin again from the first of the middle blessings just because a mistake was made in one of the later middle blessings.
(These two explanations depend upon the Girsa in our Sugya. Rashi must have had the Girsa recorded in the Gilyon ha'Shas of Rebbi Akiva Eiger, while Tosfos had the Girsa that appears in our texts, as the marginal note in Dikdukei Sofrim #9 points out.) The Halachah is in accordance with Tosfos.
QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that one does not need to mention the name of the sick person for whom he is praying. The MIDRASH HA'ZOHAR, however, implies that one does need to mention the name of the sick person, as it derives from Yakov's prayer, "Save me, Hash-m, from my brother, from Esav" (Bereishis 32:12). The Zohar learns from here that one must be very specific when praying to Hash-m!
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 119:1) writes in the name of the MAHARIL that the Gemara is referring to someone who is praying for a sick person in the presence of that sick person. When not in the presence of the afflicted, the name of the person for whom one is praying must be mentioned. Yakov was specific in his prayer, because it was not said in the presence of Esav. (EINAYIM LA'MISHPAT)
(Of course, the requirement to mention the name applies only when it is possible to do so. Rashi says (to Bamidbar 21:1), "They prayed without mentioning names." Alternatively, perhaps the Jewish people were praying when the enemy was already nearby, and since the enemy was before them there was no need to mention his name!)
(b) We may also suggest that he does not need to name the specific person for whom he is praying. However, he must mention the specific situation from which he would like to be saved. Hash-m knows whom we intend to pray for. When we refrain from mentioning what we want Hash-m to save us from, though, we appear to be belittling the anticipated salvation by failing to fully recognize the potential calamity. (This is similar to what the Maharsha suggests in Megilah 15b regarding Esther's prayer to be saved "from the dog.") (M. KORNFELD)


QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that Rava bowed both at the beginning and at the end of Modim, and the Rabanan were surprised by his actions. Why does the Gemara consider Rava's actions to be so novel, and why were the Rabanan surprised? The Beraisa (34a) says explicitly that one must bow at the beginning and end of Modim!
ANSWERS: The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and RASHBA give two answers.
(a) First, they answer that the Beraisa (on 34a) did not have the text of "beginning and end," but it said only that one must bow at Modim. It was Rava's interpretation that added that one must bow both at the beginning and end of Modim.
(b) The Tosfos ha'Rosh and Rashba give a second answer in the name of the RA'AVAD. The Ra'avad explains that Rava did not bow down at the beginning and end of Modim in his own Shemoneh Esreh, but at the beginning and end of Modim d'Rabanan which is recited during the Chazan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh.
(a) The BEIS YOSEF (OC 127) explains that the practice in his time was to bow only at the beginning of Modim d'Rabanan. This is also the VILNA GA'ON'S ruling.
(b) However, he concludes, and writes in the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 127:1), that it is better to be stringent, like the Ra'avad's ruling, and to bow at both the beginning and end of Modim d'Rabanan.
(c) The Beis Yosef mentions that he saw a compromise written by a certain great Sage: one is to bow down once at the beginning of Modim d'Rabanan, and to remain bowed until the end. The REMA records this practice as the Halachah, and writes also that such was the practice in his area.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person must have Kavanah at least for the first blessing, the blessing of Avos, when reciting Shemoneh Esreh. This implies that if one does not have Kavanah during the rest of Shemoneh Esreh, he nevertheless fulfills his obligation b'Di'eved.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Tefilah 10:1) records this as the Halachah. However, the Rambam elsewhere (Hilchos Tefilah 4:1) seems to rule that one must have Kavanah in all of the blessings of Shemoneh Esreh, and if one does not have Kavanah in even one blessing of Shemoneh Esreh, he does not fulfill his obligation! How can the two rulings of the Rambam be reconciled?
ANSWER: RAV CHAIM SOLOVEITCHIK explains that the Kavanah that the Rambam is discussing earlier (in Hilchos Tefilah 4:1) is a different type of Kavanah than that of our Gemara. The Rambam there is discussing the awareness that one is standing before Hash-m while he prays Shemoneh Esreh, as the Rambam himself writes later (Hilchos Tefilah 4:16). The Gemara here, on the other hand, is referring to a simpler form of Kavanah, that of understanding the meaning of what one is saying.
Rav Chaim gives two reasons why the lack of Kavanah that one is standing before Hash-m at any point in Shemoneh Esreh invalidates one's Shemoneh Esreh. First, if one does not have this Kavanah, his action of praying is considered to be no more than "Mis'asek" (his body does the action mindlessly), and he does not fulfill his obligation. Second, the rule of "Mitzvos Tzerichos Kavanah" requires that one have Kavanah that he is fulfilling a Mitzvah, in order to actually fulfill that Mitzvah. If one does not have Kavanah that he is standing before Hash-m during Shemoneh Esreh, he is lacking this basic, required Kavanah.