ASKING HASH-M TO HELP OR PUNISH RESHA'IM
Aba Chilkiya and his wife prayed for rain. The clouds came from where she was praying. Aba Chilkiya said that one reasonfor this is that there were crude people in the area. He was praying that they die, and she prayed that they do Teshuvah. They did Teshuvah.
Berachos 7a: A certain heretic used to bother R. Yehoshua ben Levi with (perverted explanations of) verses. R. Yehoshua set a rooster between the legs of his bed, intending to curse him (at Hash-m's daily moment of anger,) when the mane turns all white.
At the time, R. Yehoshua fell asleep. He realized that it was improper to curse him, for "v'Rachamav Al Kol Ma'asav," and "Gam Anosh la'Tzadik Lo Tov."
9b: There were evil people in R. Meir's area who used to bother him a lot. He prayed that they should die.
Bruriyah (his wife): It says, "Yitamu Chata'im (sins) Min ha'Aretz," not 'Chot'im' (sinners)! Also, the Seifa says, "u'Resha'im Od Einam" (only the termination of the Yetzer ha'Ra will ensure that there will be no more Resha'im). Rather, you should pray for mercy that Hash-m help them to repent!
R. Meir did so, and they repented.
57b (Mishnah): If one sees a place from which idolatry was uprooted (he says 'Baruch Atah Hash-m...Who is slow to anger against those who transgress His will'.
(Beraisa): If one sees a place from which idolatry was uprooted, he blesses '...Who uprooted idolatry from our land. Just as it was uprooted from here, may it be uprooted from all of Yisrael. May You return the hearts of those who serve it to serve You.'
In Chutz la'Aretz, he need not request for Teshuvah of idolaters, for most of the residents are Nochrim.
R. Shimon ben Elazar says, even in Chutz la'Aretz he must say it, for Nochrim will ultimately convert -- "Az Ehpoch El Amim Safah Berurah."
Sanhedrin 37a: Some uncivil people lived in R. Zeira's area. He endeared them in order to encourage them to repent. Other Rabanan disapproved.
When R. Zeira died, the people realized that until now R. Zeira used to pray for them; now no one will pray for them! They did a proper repentance.
111a (Beraisa): When Moshe went up to receive the Torah, he saw Hash-m writing "Erech Apayim" in the Torah. Moshe said that this should be only for Tzadikim.
Hash-m: It is even for Resha'im.
Moshe: Resha'im should perish!
Hash-m: You will (later) see the need for Erech Apayim for Resha'im.
When Yisrael sinned (with the Meraglim, and Moshe prayed that Yisrael be spared), Hash-m said 'you said that Erech Apayim should be only for Tzadikim!'
Moshe: "V'Atah Yigdal Na Ko'ach Hash-m Ka'asher Dibarta Leimor (Hash-m Erech Apayim)" - You said that it is even for Resha'im.
Rif and Rosh (Berachos 42b-43a and 9:6): One who sees Markulis (an idolatry) blesses '... Who is slow to anger against those who transgress His will.' For a place in Eretz Yisrael where idolatry was wiped out he blesses '...Who uprooted idolatry from our land.'
Rambam (Hilchos Berachos 10:9): One who sees a place where people serve idolatry blesses '... Who is slow to anger against those who transgress His will.' For a place where idolatry was wiped out he blesses... even in Chutz la'Aretz he adds 'Just like You uprooted it from here, may You uproot it from everywhere and return the hearts of Your servants to serve You.'
Tosfos (Sotah 10b DH d'Eisei): It says (Sanhedrin 104a) that a father does not save an evil son from being considered a Rasha. How did David save Avshalom? His prayer helped because Avshalom suffered a harsh death. Alternatively, the honor of a father does not automatically save his son from being called a Rasha, but prayer can help.
Question: Why did R. Yehoshua ben Levi try to curse the heretic who was bothering him? We do not cause Nochrim to fall into a pit and die!
Answer #1 (Tosfos R. Elchanan Avodah Zarah 4b DH Havah): He was excessively bothersome, therefore it was permitted to kill him. Alternatively, the curse would not kill him immediately, so it is not like putting him in a pit.
Answer #2 (Tosfos Avodah Zarah 4b DH Shma): R. Yehoshua intended to harm him through a curse, not to kill him. Some texts say that the heretic was a Yisrael. Even though we seek to cause the death of such people, and when the Mikdash stands we may directly kill them, one should not prompt Hash-m to do so since Hash-m is not doing so on His own.
Answer #3 (Avi ha'Ezri, cited in Einayim l'Mishpat Berachos 7a:1): It was improper to curse him because he would surely be punished. This is like overtly killing him. Otherwise, it is permitted if one has no recourse in Beis Din.
Tosfos ha'Rosh (Berachos 10a DH Havah): At first R. Meir prayed that the sinners die. He thought that "Gam Anosh la'Tzadik Lo Tov" does not apply because they were bothering him excessively, or they were excessively evil.
Me'iri (Berachos 10a DH Talmid): If people are bothering a Chacham, he should not curse them. Rather, he should pray that they do Teshuvah. There are some matters for which he may curse or excommunicate them.
Shulchan Aruch (OC 224:1): One who sees idolatry blesses '... Who is slow to anger against those who transgress His will.'
Rema: Nowadays we do not bless this, for we live among it and see it constantly.
Shulchan Aruch (2): One who sees a place where idolatry was wiped out, even in Chutz la'Aretz... and he adds 'May You uproot it from everywhere and return the hearts of Your servants to serve You.'
Mishneh Halachos (6:27 DH Shuv): This proves that we are obligated to pray for everyone to return to Hash-m.
Question (Tur): Why does the Rambam rule like R. Shimon ben Elazar against Chachamim?
Answer (Beis Yosef DH ul'Inyan): R. Shimon's opinion is more reasonable. Further, Chachamim do not forbid the addition, just they do not require it. By saying it one fulfills all opinions.
Gra (DH bi'Shteihen): The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 24a) says that all Nochrim will convert (albeit without Beis Din), like R. Shimon.
Question (Maharsha Berachos 10a DH Chata'im): Even though Yir'as Shomayim is not b'Yedei Shomayim, surely a person may ask Hash-m to help him do Teshuvah. Hash-m leads a person in the path he desires. It is not difficult that in Shemoneh Esre we ask Hash-m to help us do Teshuvah, for one includes oneself. But how could Bruriyah ask that Hash-m help others do Teshuvah?
Answer #1 (Chazon Ish Sof OC p.516 DH Devarim): Even though free choice is given to man, on a can make another serve Hash-m, by force or through persuasion. This does not Mevatel free choice, since it is due to a person's choice. All of Yisrael are like one person. "Mi Yiten v'Hayah Levavam" - if only there will be Tzadikim who will strive to make Yisrael serve Hash-m! Hash-m does not put into people's hearts the desire to Mekarev others, for then it would not due to the person. If one prays that another repent and Hash-m fulfills this, this is due to the person.
Rebuttal (and Answer #2 - Igros Moshe OC 4:40:13): It is not reasonable to say that since she prayed, their Teshuvah is not called b'Yedei Shomayim. Rather, she prayed that they not have difficulties such as poverty, which was why they sinned. Without the difficulties, they would repent. A better answer is that she prayed that they would hear rebuke from Tzadikim, which would cause them to repent.
Answer #3 (Hora'as Sha'ah on Maharsha, ibid.): We have a Mitzvah to rebuke sinners. David himself prayed "Yitamu Chata'im Min ha'Aretz", i.e. that words of rebuke should enter the sinners' hearts. Then, they will be motivated to repent. A person must begin to repent, and then Hash-m helps him finish - "Shuvah Yisrael Ad Hash-m Elokecha... V'Shuvu El Hash-m".
Mishneh Halachos (6:28 DH u'Mah): The Gemara (Sotah 14a) expounds that Moshe prayed that Resha'im repent, and there the Maharsha himself (DH ul'Posh'im) supports this from a verse in Torah - "Mi Yiten v'Hayah Levavam..."!
Note: Hash-m said this verse (Devarim 5:26); it continues "...l'Yir'ah Osi"! The Rambam (5:3, brought above) learns from here that Yir'as Shomayim is not b'Yedei Shomayim. It is not clear how the Maharsha calls this Moshe's Tefilah.