i found a very interesting girsa in a manuscript at the JTS here in NY on berochos 28b Rashi d"h beyavne tiknihu: "leachar zman meruba kurov letarbuso shel yesho hanotzri she'limdan lahafoch divrei elokim chaim "
The manuscript # is RAB 846
Yasher Kochach! It indeed seems clear that this is the reason for the institution of v'Lamalshinim. Dikdukei Sofrim (#3) cites your Girsa in Rashi from many old printings of the Gemara and the Ein Yakov. In fact, all the old prints of the Gemara refer to Birkas ha'*Minim* as opposed to Birkas ha'*Tzedukim*. Minim is a term known to refer to the disciples of Yeshu (Ma'amin Yeshu Notzri=MIN).
Thank you so much for your quick and very thorough response to my question. I did log onto the site you suggested..........it's all in Heberew! I mean, of course, it's all in Hebrew...........is there any translated into English text I could read? My Heberew is awful to non existent. If you can dedictate any more time to this, otherwise, I'll find a way to get it translated for me...................thanks.
Well, you did write that you wanted to see "the exact text" in which this phrase appears!
The English translation of that passage in the Talmud is:
"When Rebbi Eliezer became ill, his students entered to visit him. They said to him, 'Our teacher! Teach us the paths of life so that we will merit, through them, eternal life in the World to Come!' He said to them, 'Be most careful with the honor of your colleagues, keep your children away from 'Higayon' (see Background to the Daf, Berachos 28:35, at http://www.dafyomi.co.il/berachos/backgrnd/br-in-28.htm) and sit them down among the knees of Torah scholars, and when you pray, know before Whom you are standing. For this, you shall merit eternal life in the World to Come."
Apparently, in Berachos 28b there is wordage that relates to a phrase I saw in a Shul...."Know Before Whom Thou Standest." >From my understanding, of late, this phrase, this quote comes from the Talmud, Berachos 28b. I wanted to see the exact text that states this phrase. I want to understand this quote in its entirety. Does it, in fact, from you knowledge come from this reference? And what does it mean? Thank you.
Yes. The Gemara there quotes Rebbi Eliezer's final words of advice to his disciples before he died. You can see the exact text by going to
The words, "De'u Lifnei Mi Atem Omdim," are on the 25th line from the top. The straightforward meaning of this statement is that one should be constantly aware and fully focused, while standing before G-d in prayer, that one is indeed speaking to Him.
I guess I was too "literal," when asking to see the exact text. I guess I should have been more clear. But thank you for the translated text. But may I ask one more question? How, from this text, do we truly interpret that "Know before whom you are standing" means to worship in a serious manner, not to take prayer lightly or in a casual joking manner? I know the text mentions, "when you pray......" but couldn't this means other things........like.......when you pray know that God is all powerful, know that he is to be feared, know what He can do? Seems to me that a dying Rabbi's last words to his students wouldn't have to remind them to pray in a serious manner, but more to submit to them who God is, in relation to them. Wouldn't ya think?
I'm not trying to be funny....I'm truly stuggling with this phase and I feel there is more to the meaning of thi,s than reminding people not to worship in a light hearted manner. I think it has more to do with awe and fear.
So I guess I want to know how we know that this is the correct interpretation from this text? Maybe it loses something in the Eglish translation, but reading the English, I don't necessarily get that this phrase is meant to mean how to worship. Your insights, please. Thank you.
You are absolutely correct. When I initially wrote, "The straightforward meaning of this statement is that one should be constantly aware and fully focused, while standing before G-d in prayer, that one is indeed speaking to Him," this includes much deeper connotations. But as I wrote, this is the straightforward meaning. Of course, this also includes a constant striving to know more and more about G-d, in order to know "before Whom you are standing," which includes recognizing His omnipotence, His absolute sovereignty and control, and so on. We must spend our entire lifetime learning, contemplating, and striving to understand G-d and His ways more and more. This is included in "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed." It is a profound and encompassing dictate which should not be taken lightly.
This is the underlying essence of the dictum. Nevertheless, the straightforward meaning still remains -- pray with an awareness of Whom you are praying to. The great sage in his wisdom recognized the great and vital importance of prayer, and he recognized that part of the nature of man is his difficulty in humbling oneself before a superior Authority, and thus we can still understand his statement in its simple sense, but, as you write, certainly there was more in his intention than that.