THE GREATNESS OF TEFILAH B'TZIBUR
R. Yitzchak (to Rav Nachman): Why didn't you pray in the synagogue?
Rav Nachman: I was too weak.
R. Yitzchak: You should have gathered ten men to pray with you!
Rav Nachman: That is an exertion.
R. Yitzchak: You should have asked a messenger to tell you when the congregation prays, so that you could pray at the same time!
Rav Nachman: Why is this important?
(R. Yitzchak citing R. Yochanan): "Va'Ani Sefilasi Lecha Hash-m Es Ratzon" -- the time when Hash-m desires prayer is when the congregation prays.
(R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): We learn from "b'Es Ratzon Anisicha."
(R. Acha b'Rebbi Chanina): We learn from "Hen Kel Kabir Lo Yim'as" (Hash-m does not despise the prayer of a multitude) and "Podah v'Shalom Nafshi mi'Krav Li Ki v'Rabim Hayu Imadi."
Support (Beraisa - R. Nasan): Hash-m does not despise the prayer of a multitude -- "Hen Kel Kabir...";
It also says, "Podah v'Shalom Nafshi..." -- Hash-m says, if one engages in Torah and Chesed and prays with the congregation, I consider it as if he redeemed Me and My children from the nations.
(Reish Lakish): Anyone who has a synagogue in his city and does not pray there is called a bad neighbor -- "Kol Shochnei ha'Ra'im...";
Also, he causes himself and his children to be exiled -- "Hineni Nosesham me'Al Admasam."
When R. Yochanan heard that there are old people in Bavel, he was amazed, for it says, "Lema'an Yirbu Yemeichem vi'Yemei Veneichem Al ha'Adamah..." -- long life is only in Eretz Yisrael!
When he heard that they come early to synagogue and stay late, he understood that this is their merit for long life.
R. Yehoshua ben Levi (to his children): Come early to synagogue and stay late, in order that you will live a long life.
(Rav Acha b'Rebbi Chanina): He learns from "Ashrei Adam Shome'a Li Lishkod Al Dalsosai... Ki Motz'i Matza Chayim."
(Rav Chisda): A person should enter the synagogue [through] two doors.
Objection: This is unreasonable!
Correction: Rather, one should (Rashba - pause the time to) enter two doorway widths (eight Tefachim; some say eight Amos) into the synagogue before praying (Rashi - so it will not look like he is eager to leave).
THE THINGS FOR WHICH ONE MUST PRAY
(R. Chanina): "Al Zos Yispalel... l'Es Metzo" -- one should pray for a proper wife, "Matza Ishah Matza Tov";
In Eretz Yisrael, when someone gets married, they say to him, "[Is she] Matza or Motzei";
If the Kalah is proper, then "Matza Ishah Matza Tov"; if not, "Motzei Ani Mar mi'Maves Es ha'Ishah."
(R. Nasan): "L'Es Metzo" refers to Torah -- "Ki Motz'i Matza Chayim."
(Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It refers to an easy death -- "La'Maves Totza'os."
Support: (Beraisa): There are 903 kinds of death -- this is the Gematri'a of "Totza'os";
The worst is Askara (the throat constricts), the best is Neshikah (through the "kiss" of Hash-m);
A Neshamah leaving the body through Askara is like pulling out thorns stuck in wool, it tears the wool;
Some say, it is like pulling a rope through a hole that is no bigger.
Neshikah is like pulling a hair out of milk.
(R. Yochanan): "L'Es Metzo" refers to burial.
(R. Chanina): He learns from "ha'Semechim Elei Gil Yasisu Ki Yimtze'u Kaver."
(Rabah bar bar Shila): This is like people say, a person should pray for Hash-m's mercy until the last shovel of dirt is put on him.
(Mar Zutra): "L'Es Metzo" refers to having a bathroom nearby.
(Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael): This is the best explanation [for the thing for which one must pray].
Question (Rav Chisda): What do we learn from "Ohev Hash-m Sha'arei Tziyon mi'Kol Mishkenos Yakov"?
Answer: Hash-m loves places where learning leads to definitive Halachah, more than all the synagogues and Batei Medrash.
(R. Chiya bar Ami): After the Churban (when the Great Sanhedrin is not in its place), these places of Halachah are the only places dear to Hash-m.
(Abaye): At first, I used to learn in my house and pray in synagogue; after I heard R. Chiya's teaching, I pray only where I learn.
Even though there were 13 synagogues in Tzipori. R. Ami and R. Asi would pray only where they learned.
(R. Chiya bar Ami): One who benefits from his own exertion is better than one who fears Hash-m:
Regarding the latter it says, "Ashrei Ish Yarei Es Hash-m"; regarding the former it says "Yegi'a Kapecha Ki Sochal Ashrecha v'Tov Lach" -- you will be happy in this world and it will be good for you in the World to Come.
(R. Chiya bar Ami): One should always live near his Rebbi;
Shlomo did not marry the daughter of Pharaoh (which caused him to decline terribly) as long as Shim'i ben Gera (his Rebbi) was alive.
Question (Beraisa): One should not live near his Rebbi.
Answer: If he accepts his Rebbi's rebuke, it is better to live near him; if not, it is better not to (lest he will be considered to sin b'Mezid, intentionally, after receiving rebuke.)
LISTENTING TO KERI'AS HA'TORAH
(Rav Huna bar Yehudah): "V'Ozvei Hash-m Yichlu" -- this is one who leaves synagogue during the reading of the Torah.
R. Avahu would leave after one person finished, before the next began to read.
Question (Rav Papa): May one leave in between verses?
This question is unsettled.
Rav Sheshes would turn away and recite his learning -- "They are learning theirs, I am learning mine!"
(Tosfos - one may not do so out loud, for this would make it hard for others to hear. Rif - this is permitted only if ten others are listening to the reading; moreover, perhaps it is permitted only for one who is not involved with anything other than Torah. Some permit this only for a blind person, who is exempt from learning the written Torah - Tosfos Sotah 39a.)
(Rav Huna bar Yehudah): One should finish reading the weekly Torah portion, twice in Lashon ha'Kodesh and once in the Targum (Aramaic translation of Onkelus), with the congregation (before it is read on Shabbos);
(Rosh - a commentary that explains every word is acceptable in place of Targum.)
This applies even to a verse such as "Ataros v'Divon" (which has no Targum Onkelus. Rashi - such a verse should be read three times; Tosfos - he should read its Yerushalmi Targum).
One who finishes the Parshiyos with the congregation is rewarded with lengthened days (some explain - filled with goodness) and years.
Rav Bivi bar Abaye planned to finish the Parshiyos of the entire year on Erev Yom Kipur. (Aruch's text - the Parshiyos read during the Kalah (in the months of Adar and Elul, when he was occupied with the learning of the Kalah.)
(Chiya bar Rav mi'Difti - Beraisa) Question: "V'Inisem Es Nafshoseichem b'Sish'ah la'Chodesh ba'Erev" -- the fast of Yom Kipur is on the tenth, not on the ninth!
Answer: This teaches that anyone who eats on the ninth (Rashi - to prepare for the fast; R. Yonah - to show his joy that the time for pardon of sins is coming) is considered as if he fasted on the ninth and tenth.
(Therefore, do not plan to spend the entire day finishing the Parshiyos.)
Rav Bivi accepted this; he planned to finish all the Parshiyos at the beginning of the year.
(An elder - Beraisa): One may not read them before or after (the Tzibur, which starts reading a Parshah at Minchah of the previous Shabbos - Tosfos).
ADVICE OF TANA'IM TO THEIR CHILDREN
R. Yehoshua ben Levi (to his sons): Finish the Parshiyos, twice in Lashon ha'Kodesh and once in Targum, with the congregation; be careful about veins, like R. Yehudah;
(Mishnah - R. Yehudah): One who slaughters must also cut the veins (of a bird, which is often roasted whole, for otherwise the blood will not exude).
Also, be careful about [honoring] a Chacham who, against his will, forgot his learning;
The Luchos and the broken Luchos were both in the Aron.
Rava (to his sons): When you cut meat, do not cut it over your hand.
Version #1: This is lest he will cut his hand.
Version #2: This is lest he will make a minor cut in his hand, and the blood will come on the meat, and no one will want to eat it.
Also, do not sit on the bed of a Nochris:
Version #1: This means, do not go to sleep without saying Keri'as Shema;
Version #2: It means, do not marry a convert.
Version #3: It literally means, do not sit on the bed of a Nochris, because of an incident with Rav Papa.
A Nochris asked Rav Papa to sit on a bed -- he inspected it, and found a dead baby underneath (she wanted to blame him for killing it);
Chachamim forbade to sit on a Nochris' bed on account of this.
Also, one must not pass in back of a synagogue when the congregation is praying (for it looks like he does not want to pray with them).
(Abaye): It is forbidden only if the following conditions are met:
There is no other entrance, and there is no other synagogue in the city, he is not carrying a load, running, or wearing Tefilin;
If even one of these is not met, it is permitted (people will assume that he already prayed, or will pray with a Tzibur, or will understand why he cannot, or will see that the fear of Heaven is upon him.)
(Beraisa - R. Akiva): I admire the Persians for three things:
They cut meat only over a table (not over their hands);
They kiss only on the back of the hand (a kiss leaves saliva, this is improper on the other's face);
They take counsel only in the field (lest others will hear);
(Rav Ada bar Ahavah): We learn [that it is proper to do] this from "va'Yishlach Yakov l'Rachel ul'Leah ha'Sadeh."
(Beraisa - R. Gamliel): I admire the Persians for three things -- their modesty in eating, the bathroom (they had latrines in which the excrement falls along an incline, away from the person), and in relations.
(Rav Yosef - Beraisa): Nevertheless, "Ani Tziveisi l'Mekudashai" -- this refers to the Persians, they are Mekudash (designated) for Gehinom.
THE LATEST TIME FOR THE EVENING SHEMA
(Mishnah - R. Gamliel): The evening Shema may be said until dawn.
(Rav Yehudah): The Halachah follows R. Gamliel.
Version #1 (Beraisa - R. Shimon): A person can read Shema twice during the night, once before dawn and once after dawn, and fulfill his obligation for the night and morning Shema.
Objection: He contradicts himself!
He says "twice during the night" -- this implies that after dawn (but before sunrise) is night;
He says that he fulfills his obligation for the morning Shema -- this implies that it is day!
Answer: Really, it is night; since some people rise then, it is time for morning Shema.
(Rav Acha bar Chinena citing R. Yehoshua ben Levi): The Halachah follows R. Shimon.
Version #2 (Beraisa - R. Shimon citing R. Akiva): A person can read Shema twice during the day, once before sunrise and once after sunrise, and fulfill his obligation for the night and morning Shema.
Objection: He contradicts himself!
He says "twice during the day" -- this implies that before sunrise (but after dawn) is day;
He says that he fulfills his obligation for the evening Shema -- this implies that it is night!
Answer: Really, it is day; since some people are sleeping then, it is still time for the evening Shema.
(Rav Acha bar Chinena citing R. Yehoshua ben Levi): The Halachah follows R. Shimon citing R. Akiva.
(R. Zeira): This is the Halachah, but one may not say "Hashkivenu" (for people do not go to sleep then).