Friday, July 30, 2004

Berachos 27b - Tefillas Arvis R'shus Oy Chovah - Part I

On this page, and on 28a, we have the fascinating story of the disagreement between Rabban Gamliel and R' Yehoshua, Rabban Gamliel's dismissal, and his reinstatement. Because this is an open forum, I want to point out that a careful reading of the gemara shows that every participant in the story was acting for the sake of heaven - l'shem shamayim. Please keep that in mind. I will Iy"H put up a few posts on this sugya.
The gemara - ת"ר מעשה בתלמיד אחד שבא לפני ר' יהושע א"ל תפלת ערבית רשות או חובה אמר ליה רשות בא לפני רבן גמליאל א"ל תפלת ערבית רשות או חובה א"ל חובה א"ל והלא ר' יהושע אמר לי רשות א"ל המתן עד שיכנסו בעלי תריסין לבית המדרש כשנכנסו בעלי תריסין עמד השואל ושאל תפלת ערבית רשות או חובה א"ל רבן גמליאל חובה אמר להם רבן גמליאל לחכמים כלום יש אדם שחולק בדבר זה אמר ליה ר' יהושע לאו א"ל והלא משמך אמרו לי רשות אמר ליה יהושע עמוד על רגליך ויעידו בך עמד רבי יהושע על רגליו ואמר אלמלא אני חי והוא מת יכול החי להכחיש את המת ועכשיו שאני חי והוא חי היאך יכול החי להכחיש את החי - relates how a student asked R' Yehoshua if it was obligatory to daven Ma'ariv. R' Yehoshua answered that it isn't obligatory. The student subsequently asked Rabban Gamliel, the Nasi, and he answered that it is obligatory. When the student mentioned to Rabban Gamliel that R' Yehoshua disagreed, Rabban Gamliel publicly asked R' Yehoshua what his position was. R' Yehoshua publicly answered that it was obligatory - reversing what he had told the student. Rabban Gamliel told him, "We heard it said in your name that it isn't obligatory!" Rabban Gamliel made R' Yehoshua stand up to "face the charges." R' Yehoshua stood up, and said, "If I were alive, and he [the student] were dead, I could contradict him [and say that I never said that it isn't obligatory]. Now that I'm alive and he's alive, how can I contradict him?"
With this gemara we can possibly explain something else. The gemara on 28a, all the way at the end of the story, identifies the student as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Why did the gemara wait until the end? If it was important for us to know (as it obviously is - since the gemara ends up saying it), the gemara should have said it right away!
Also, we know from Shabbos 33b, that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai spent twelve years in exile, hiding from the Romans. Why was he punished in this manner?
The answer to both these questions may be based on the gemara later on on 56a. (Please see there for the whole story.) Rava cursed bar Hadaya with death. Bar Hadaya said to himself, "What should I do? We learned, that a Chacham's curse, even if based on a false premise is fulfilled! Certanly in my case - where I deserve the curse - it will be fulfilled. I'll go into exile, for we learned that exile atones for sin." We see from here that even if a Chacham curses someone inadvertantly it will be fulfilled. We also see that even if one is cursed with death - exile may atone.
It may be that when Rabbi Yehoshua said, "If I were alive, and he [the student] were dead," he inadvertantly cursed the student with death. The student, R' Shimon bar Yochai had to go to exile to ameliorate the effects of the curse. The gemara only tells us what's necessary. Therefore, when it says the story of R' Yehoshua and Rabban Gamliel it didn't feel it was necessary to tell us who the student was. However, although it has nothing to do with the story, there is something we may learn from knowing the student's identity. That's why the gemara tacks on the student's identity at the end.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

tropic of cancer

4/2/07 2:24 AM  

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Berachos 25a - Part I

Gemara: תניא כותיה דרב חסדא לא יקרא אדם ק"ש לא כנגד צואת אדם ולא כנגד צואת כלבים ולא כנגד צואת חזירים ולא כנגד צואת תרנגולים ולא כנגד צואת אשפה שריחה רע ואם היה מקום גבוה עשרה טפחים או נמוך עשרה טפחים יושב בצדו וקורא ק"ש ואם לאו מרחיק מלא עיניו "We have a B'raisa which aids R' Chisda's position: One may not recite the Shema in front of [various types of unclean substances]. If they were in a spot ten tefachim above or below him, he may even sit next to these substances, and recite the Shema. If they aren't [ten tefachim above or below him], he must distance himself from them as far as he can see them."
The gemara implies that the distance he must distance himself from them is based on his vision. Therefore, someone with 20/20 vision would have to move more than someone with 20/60 vision. Also, someone who is blind would not have to move away at all!
In fact, by a blind person the halacha is different. The Shulchan Aruch, in Orach Chaim 79:1 says: ומלפניו, צריך להרחיק מלא עיניו, אפילו בלילה, או שהוא סומא (תשובת הרשב"א סי' קס"ה וב"י בשם הר"י) שאינו רואה אותה, צריך להרחיק עד מקום שאינו יכול לראות ביום "If the objectionable substance is in front of him, he has to distance himself to a distance where he can't see it. Even at night (or if he's blind and can't see it) he has to distance himself to a distance where he wouldn't be able to see it during the day." On this, the Biur Halacha elaborates: "It is obvious that a blind person must evaluate the distance based on an average person's eyesight. At night, a person who can see must evaluate the distance based on how good his vision is during the day."
What I'm wondering is: A person with eyeglasses or contact lenses - what is considered normal vision for him? Is it as far as he usually sees (in other words, as far as he sees while wearing glasses), or, as far as he naturally sees?

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part VII

Continued from last post...
The Mishna Brurah in Siman 239:6 says: "One should make it a habit to lie on his side (even while he's not reciting Shema - just sleeping [Sha'ar HaTziyun] ). It is a great issur to sleep in the prakdan position (siman 63 [Sha'ar HaTziyun]) which is lying either face-up or face-down." (This is inconsistent with the explanation we said in the shittah of the Rambam and the Tur.) 
More bothersome is, that the Sha'ar HaTziyun references siman 63. In siman 63 the Shulcan Aruch says that one may not recite the Shema lying on one's back or face, consistant with his understanding of the Rambam in Hilchos Kriyas Shema. Still, the Shulchan Aruch in Even HaEzer 23:3 follows the Rambam to only forbid sleeping on one's back! Now, however one answers the contradiction, the fact is that regarding sleep the Shulchan Aruch only forbids lying on one's back. If so, how can the Mishna Brurah extrapolate from the Shulchan Aruch about reciting the Shema, that one may not sleep on one's face?
In siman 63, the Biur Halacha talks about the position of the Ramoh in 63:1 who is of the same opinion as the Rabbeinu Yonah. The Rabbeinu Yonah (cited in the Beis Yosef Orach Chaim 63:1) is of the opinion that it is forbidden to recite the Shema even lying completely on one's side, unless it would be difficult to get up - for example, if one is already undressed for the night. It seems that Rabbeinu Yonah learned that when the gemara permitted sleeping while tilted to the side, it is not referring to being a bit tilted, rather, lying completely on one's side. According to this, the Mishna Brurah would make sense, because the Mishna Brurah may be following the position of the Rabbeinu Yonah regarding sleep.
The problem with this is that Rabbeinu Yonah himself (Rif Berachos 7b) says that prakdan means lying on one's back! Additionally, in siman 63, the Biur Halacha discusses the disagreement between the Rambam and the Rabbeinu Yonah and says that one should l'chatchila be machmir like the Rabbeinu Yonah. If so, how can the Mishna Brurah call it, "A great issur," if he's only going according to Rabbeinu Yonah?

A note: B"H I have finished this piece, and will Iy"H continue to the next topic in the next post. I just want to make one comment: It seems to me that I've heard that women are under the impression that they, too,  may not sleep on their face or back. I have yet to see a source that would support this. If anyone can help, please comment!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daddy here.
I went through a lot of your divrei Torah and very much like the original ideas.
Did you end this particular piece with a teirutz?
I would be interested to see it.
Ahlei ve'hatzlach.

2/8/04 9:54 PM  
Blogger Moshe Y. Gluck said...

Thanks.
As far as a teirutz is concerned, sorry, it's Shver! (Ha ha!)

2/8/04 10:17 PM  

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part VI

Continued from previous post...
The Tur in Orach Chaim 63 (quoted previously here) says: וקורא אותה בין מהלך בין עומד בין יושב חוץ מפרקדן פירוש ששוכב על גבו והרמב’’ם ז’’ל כתב בין שפניו למעלה או פניו טוחות בקרקע לא יקרא ואפילו אינו ממש על גביו אלא מוטה על צדו לא יקרא מפני שנראה כמקבל עול מלכות שמים דרך גאוה. Look closely: First he says that one can recite the Shema any way except for prakdan, which is lying on one's back. Then he says that the Rambam says that whether one is lying on his back, or on his face - he shouldn't recite the Shema. He continues, that even if one is tilted a bit to one side he shouldn't recite the Shema. All this was from the Rambam. Then, he finishes off by saying that to recite the Shema in this way is forbidden because it looks like he is accepting the yoke of Heaven upon himself in a haughty manner. The Rambam did not say this.
Now, if the Tur is saying that the Rambam is arguing on the definition of prakdan - he should have written: One can recite the Shema any way except for prakdan, which is lying on one's back.  The Rambam says that whether one is lying on his back, or on his face - it is called lying prakdan.
If the Tur would have written it this way, it would have been apparent that he felt that the Rambam was disagreeing with the definition of prakdan that the Tur had just written, and therefore one would not be allowed to recite the Shema lying on one's face. From the way he does write it ("The Rambam says that whether one is lying on his back, or on his face - he shouldn't recite the Shema") - we see that the Tur understood that the Rambam also held that the word prakdan only means lying on one's back - not on one's face. So that raises a problem - why then, does the Rambam say that one should not recite the Shema lying on his face? Because of this question the Tur explains the Rambam by finishing off and saying that to recite the Shema in this way is forbidden because it looks like he is accepting the yoke of Heaven upon himself in a haughty manner. This is exactly like we explained the shita of the Rambam - that even though prakdan by definition only refers to lying on one's back, still, one may not recite the Shema lying on one's face because it is disrespectful. 
Coming next: Based on all the above, what is p'shat in the Mishne B'rurah?
To be continued...

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part V

Continued from previous post...
Now, let's try to answer the contradiction in the Rambam. (It may be helpful to review the source here.) The easiest Rambam to deal with is the one in Hilchos Deios which forbids sleeping both on the face, and on the back. We can say that the Rambam is not saying this from a halachic standpoint, but from a health standpoint. The proof for this is, that if this was halachically mandated the Rambam should have said the clear exception - sleeping on one's face or back while tilted slightly to one side which is clearly permitted by the gemara in Berachos 13b. In this we would be arguing with the Pri Chadash and the Aleh L'Trufah who cite the aforementioned gemara on this Rambam, indicating that they read the Rambam as sourced from that gemara.
So, the Rambam in Hilchos Deios is not germane to the discussion of the meaning of the word prakdan. So what does prakdan mean according to the Rambam? (Noting that we have the contradiction from the Rambam in Hilchos Kriyas Shema to the Rambam in Hilchos Issurei Biah.)
It seems to me that the Rambam held that prakdan means lying on one's back. In this he holds like the first opinion that Rabbeinu Chananel brings down, Rashi and the Baalei Tosafos. That's the reason why in Hilchos Issurei Biah he only forbids sleeping on one's back - because that's all the gemara is talking about. And the gemara is only talking about lying on one's back because the subject is a chashash of hotzo'as zerah l'vatoloh, and for that there is only a problem on one's back.
However, in Hilchos Kriyas Shema the Rambam forbids saying the Shema both lying on one's face or lying on one's back. Why? Because the Rambam held that although the gemara only discusses lying on one's back, however, the reason for this halacha (because it is forbidden to recite the Shema while posed in a disrespectful manner) also applies to someone who is lying on his face. The Rambam held that too to be a disrespectful manner - derech srarah v'gaava (Rashi) - inappropriate for one accepting the dominion of Hashem upon himself. (Note that the reason of kishuy doesn't apply at all  when reciting the Shema - Maharsha in Niddah.)
This is arguing on the Beis Yosef and Prisha who said that the Rambam held that prakdan has both meanings, and arguing on the Biur HaGra who said that the Rambam was being machmir like both meanings. ומי אני לבא אחר הני מלכי -רבנן איקרי מלכים - אבל מה אעשה כשיש קושיא עצומה כזו ואין פותר אותו?
Coming next: A proof to this exposition of the Rambam's shitah from the words of the Tur.
To be continued...

2 Comments:

Blogger Zackary Sholem Berger said...

I enjoy your posts!

That pshat of prakdon is "lying on one's back" is also linguistically supported by a note in the Even-Shoshan Hebrew dictionary (Milon Khadash, 1956). There Rambam is quoted as saying (presumably in a letter) to R. Sh. Ibn-Tibbon: "Va-ani shokheyv prakdon mey-rov ho-ayafut."

Gut-shabbes.

23/7/04 11:21 AM  
Blogger Moshe Y. Gluck said...

Thank you! I've been wondering if anyone was enjoying.
The phrase you quote is indeed from a letter to R' Shmuel ibn Tibbon (Igros HaRambam - Jerusalem 1995, page 551). However in that context it could probably mean either definition. Additonally, that part of the letter was translated from Arabic. If you know anyone who knows Arabic it would be interseting to see what the original word meant. Part of the original letter is printed in that edition of the Igros HaRambam.
Gut Shabbos to you, too.

23/7/04 1:21 PM  

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part IV

Continued from previous post...
The Tur in Orach Chaim 63:1 says the following: וקורא אותה בין מהלך בין עומד בין יושב חוץ מפרקדן פירוש ששוכב על גבו והרמב’’ם ז’’ל כתב בין שפניו למעלה או פניו טוחות בקרקע לא יקרא ואפילו אינו ממש על גביו אלא מוטה על צדו לא יקרא מפני שנראה כמקבל עול מלכות שמים דרך גאוה. On this, the Bais Yosef and the Prisha say that the Rambam is saying that prakdan means both lying on one's face, and lying on one's back.
Now, if the Tur and the Bais Yosef and Prisha hold that prakdan means both, then it follows that as far as sleeping is concerned it should be forbidden both on one's face and back. The onlt difference between reciting Shema and sleeping would be that one would be permitted to sleep on one's back or face if they are tilted a bit to one side.
However, the Tur in Even HaEzer 23:3 says: ואסור לאדם שיקשה לדעת או שיביא עצמו לידי הרהור ואם יבא לידי הרהור יסיח נפשו מדברי הבאי והשחתה לדברי תורה שהיא אילת אהבים ויעלת חן לפיכך אסור לישן על ערפו ופניו למעלה עד שיטה מעט כדי שלא יבא לידי קישוי. And here, in regard to sleeping, he only forbids sleeping on one's back and not on one's face! This contradicts what he said in Orach Chaim. The Bais Yosef and Prisha don't say anything about this.
The bottom line is: The Tur contradicts himself the same way the Rambam does, when we compare the halacha by Shema to the halacha by sleeping.
The Vilna Gaon in Biur HaGra on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 63 says that Rambam wasn't sure which meaning prakdan had, and he was machmir both ways. But, if this is what the Rambam held - why isn't he machmir by sleeping also?
Coming next time: The answer!!!

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Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part III

Continued from previous post...
The Rambam, in Hilchos Isurei Biah 21:19 writes: וכן אסור לאדם שיקשה עצמו לדעת, או יביא עצמו לידי הרהור; אלא אם יבוא לו הרהור--יסיע ליבו מדברי הבאי והשחתה, ויפנה לדברי תורה שהיא "איילת אהבים, ויעלת חן".  לפיכך אסור לאדם לישן על עורפו ופניו למעלה, עד שיטה מעט כדי שלא יבוא לידי קישוי. Here, he forbids one from sleeping on his back - like Rashi and Tosafos, and it is clearly because of a chashash keri. Note that he doesn't say anything about sleeping on one's face.
However, the Rambam in Hilchos Kriyas Shema 2:2 writes: כל אדם, קורין כדרכן--בין עומדין, בין מהלכין, בין שוכבין, בין רוכבין על גבי בהמה.  ואסור לקרות קרית שמע, והוא מוטל ופניו טוחות בקרקע, או מושלך על גבו ופניו למעלה.  אבל קורא הוא, והוא שוכב על צידו; ואם היה בעל בשר הרבה, ואינו יכול להתהפך על צידו, או שהיה חולה--נוטה מעט לצידו, וקורא. Here, when he talks about reciting the Shema he forbids one to do so both on one's back and on one's face. We already explained how the Halacha of sleeping in the prakdan position, and saying the Shema in the prakdan position are based on the same gemara. How can the Rambam write in Isurei Biah like the Tosafos, and in Hilchos Kriyas Shema write both like the Tosafos and the Aruch (who disagree with each other)?
Similarly in Hilchos Deios 4:5 the Rambam writes: לא יישן אדם לא על פניו, ולא על עורפו, אלא על צידו--בתחילת הלילה על צד שמאל, ובסוף הלילה על צד ימין. Here also he forbids sleeping both on the face, and on the back. The Pri Chadash and the Aleh L'Trufah reference our gemara in Berachos 13b. From this also, we see that the Rambam held that prakdan is referring both to lying on one's back and lying on one's face. This too, contradicts what the Rambam writes in Hilchos Isurei Biah, where he only forbids sleeping on one's back. 
Next: The Tur...
To be continued...

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part II

Continued from previous post...
This question is actually asked by Tosafos in Niddah 14a. He doesn't answer the question on Rashi, but he says alternate explanations of the gemara. Interestingly, Rashi himself, in Niddah, says another explanation of the gemara, on which we do not have a question. He says, that if one sleeps on his back, his yadayim will touch his milah, and he will get nischamem. Tosafos over there brings in the name of the Rashbam, that his clothing will touch the milah and he will get nischamem. Tosafos Yeshanim and the Tosafos HaRosh say that his lower back will get get heated up, and because of this his eiver will become b'kishuy, and he will come to keri. (These four explanations were generously paraphrased.  For the exact quote check Niddah 14a.)
The aforementioned explanations all only make sense if the word "prakdan" means one who is lying on his back. The Tosafos in Niddah points out that according to this the word "APaRKiD" is a contraction of the words "APuRyei KaDal," literally, "The back of his neck is on the bed." In other words, lying on his back.
However, Tosafos brings the Aruch, who held that a prakdan is one who lies on his face. (The Rabbeinu Chananel - recently printed on Berachos - brings this down as a "Yesh omrim.") Tosafos asks a strong question on this from a gemara in Kesuvos. Also, Tosafos in Pesachim 108a asks a question from the gemara over there to this Aruch.  Tosafos in Niddah asks another question - according to the Aruch, the word "AParKiD" would be a contraction for "APoy KiD," literally, "Bowing on his face." In other words, lying on his face. If so, why is there a Reish (R) in the word aparkid? In the original expansion there is no Reish! (By the way, the Rashash answers this question.)
To sum up: It seems pretty clear that the majority of Rishonim we have discussed, thought that prakdan means one who sleeps or lies on his back. And the problem with this by reciting Shema is a lack of respect for kabbolas malchus shamyim; and the problem with sleeping this way is that it may bring to inadvertant hotza'as zerah l'vatalah.
Now, let's take a look at the Rambam, and the contradiction in his shitah. Interesting - just about no Acharon talks about it!
To be continued...

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Berachos 13b Sugya d'Prakdan Lo Yikra Kriyas Shema - Part I

The following post of a slightly sensitive nature, and as such, I'll be using more Hebrew/Aramaic than I usually do. To understand it fully, I recommend seeing all the sources in the original. Perhaps someone will be kind enough to teach me how to post in Hebrew, and I'll be able to post the sources myself... (I can already cut-and-paste from mechon-mamre.org!) I'll try to post links to web-based sources where I know of them. Also, I'll probably post this over a few days.
B'zeh hachili, b'ezras tzuri v'goali:
The gemara in Berachos 13b: אמר רב יוסף פרקדן לא יקרא קריאת שמע מקרא הוא דלא ליקרי הא מיגנא שפיר דמי והא רבי יהושע בן לוי לייט אמאן דגני אפרקיד אמרי מיגנא כי מצלי שפיר דמי מקרא אע"ג דמצלי נמי אסור והא ר' יוחנן מצלי וקרי שאני ר' יוחנן דבעל בשר הוה - R' Yosef says: A prakdan should not recite the Shema. (Rashi explains: Prakdan - one who lies on his back, face-up.)  The gemara asks, we can extrapolate from R' Yosef's statement, that although a prakdan may not recite the Shema, one may sleep in that position. The gemara says that this would be inconsistent with R' Yehoshua ben Levi's cursing those who slept in the prakdan position (Rashi - shemah yiskasheh eivoroi while he's sleeping v'nirah l'rabim, which is a derech g'nai), which obviously indicates that one may not sleep in the prakdan position. The gemara answers, one may sleep in a prakdan position if he's slightly tilted to one side. However, one may not recite the Shema unless one is lying completely on his side (Rashi - because otherwise he is accepting the yoke of heaven upon himself, in a haughty manner). The gemara asks, why did R' Yochanan recite the Shema even though he was only tilted a little bit to the side? The gemara answers, that there were extenuating circumstances in R' Yochanan's situation, in that he was extremely heavy.
The bottom line after the gemara and the Rashi is: A man may not sleep on his back unless he's tilted a bit to one side; a man may not recite the Shema lying on his back - he must lie completely on his side. 
Now the cliffhanger: According to Rashi, the whole problem with sleeping in the prakdan position is the derech g'nai of being nirah l'rabim. If so, would it be permissible to sleep in the prakdan position in a locked, or dark room?
To be continued...
 

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Berachos 9b

Gemara: "Rabbi Yochanan says: One should always try to run towards Jewish kings, and not only Jewish kings - but even gentile kings, so that if he will merit to (in the world-to-come to see the greatness of Israel - Rashi), he will be able to differentiate between Jewish kings and gentile kings."
Perhaps we can reinterpret this gemara based on the gemara in Gittin 62a (see there for complete contexet): "He told them, 'Peace be unto you, kings, - peace be unto you, kings.' They told him, 'How do you know that Rabbis are called kings?' He told them, 'As it is said...' "
So we can interpret this gemara to be referring to scholars: One should always try to run towards Jewish scholars, and not only Jewish scholars - but even gentile scholars...

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10/11/05 4:22 PM  
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10/5/06 9:57 PM  

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Friday, July 16, 2004

Berachos 8a

Gemara: R' Chiya bar Ami said in the name of Ulla: One who sustains himself from his own handiwork is greater than one who is a Yarei Shamayim. Because, by a Yarei Shamayim it is said, "Lucky is the man who fears Hashem," and by someone who sustains himself from his own handiwork it is said, "When you support yourself from your own handiwork, you are lucky and it is good for you." [The gemara elaborates:] You are lucky in this world, and it is good for you in the world-to-come. But by a Yarei Shamayim it does not say, 'It is good for you.' "
It seems to me that we can explain this gemara based on the mishna in Avos 2:2. "R' Gamliel the son of R' Yehuda the Nasi says: Learning Torah is good, when it is accompanied by work - because working at both of them causes sin to be forgotten." If so, then one who is a Yarei Shamayim, and presumably spends a lot of time learning still has his Yetzer HaRah - while the one who sustains himself from his handiwork (and also spends time learning, of course) forgets to sin! That means that he doesn't even have the Yetzer Harah, so of course he's on a higher level, in that sense, than the Yarei Shamayim.
Please note: This should not be understood as an attack on the Kollel lifestyle, or an endorsement of the Torah uMadda or Torah Im Derech Eretz Lifestyle. That is left up to you and your Rebbe/Rabbi. Anyway, as it happens, most Kollel people do work some side job besides their regular Kollel learning.   

2 Comments:

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19/7/04 2:55 AM  
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19/7/04 3:05 AM  

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Berachos 7b

Gemara: "R' Yochanan said in the name of R' Shimon ben Yochai: From the day that Hashem created his world, there was no one who thanked him - until Leah came and thanked him, as it is said [at the birth of Yehuda] 'This time I shall thank Hashem."
Rashi says: "Because Leah saw with Ruach HaKodesh that Ya'akov will have twelve Shevatim, and he had four wives. When she had her fourth son, she thanked him that her portion was more than what should have been coming to her."
It is very difficult to understand - Adam, Avraham, Mesushelach, Noach, etc. etc. all never thanked Hashem?!
I'd like to suggest something based in part on the aforementioned Rashi. Possibly this is how the world worked then: Noach (or Adam, or Yitzchok, etc.) would go out of their house in the morning, and bump into a pile of gold. Now, the first thing we would say is, "Boruch Hashem!" But, they were extremely in tune with their spiritual selves and with what Hashem expected from them. So the first thing Noach would say is, "What did I do to deserve this pile of gold? It must have been mitzvah so-and-so that I did yesterday." In which case the pile of gold was richly deserved! So there wasn't occasion to thank Hashem, because he deserved that pile of gold based on the laws of reward and punishment that Hashem created the world with. However, in the situation of Leah, She got more than she deserved, like Rashi says, "that her portion was more than what should have been coming to her." Therefore, she thanked Hashem.

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Berachos 7a

Gemara: "We learned in the name of R' Meir: When the sun shines [in the morning] and all the kings of the east and west place their crowns on their heads and bow to the son, Hashem immediately becomes angry." The gemara seems to be talking about a specific single moment. How can we understand it in accordance with our knowledge of time zones? My only suggestion would be that in every time zone this moment would occur at a different time. Additionally, maybe this moment of anger of Hashem only affects those who are in the "zone" of that anger. This could be an explanation why Bilaam wanted to be in sight of the Jewish Nation to curse them, (as the gemara explained earlier that he wanted to curse them at the instant Hashem got angry).

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Berachos 6b

Maybe this will seem very simple to some of you, but I didn't understand what the following Rashi was saying, until today. The gemara says: "R' Yochanan says: When Hashem comes into a shul and doesn't find ten people there, he immediately gets angry, as it says, 'Why did I come and there is no man, I called out and there is no answer.' " Rashi says: "And there is no answer. The amount of people who could answer a Davar Kedusha."
Rashi is answering this question: What is the proof from the pasuk that Hashem gets angry if there aren't ten people in the shul, maybe the pasuk is talking about when there isn't anyone in the shul, and only then does Hashem get angry! To that Rashi answers that the words, "There is no answer," mean there is no tzibbur of ten to answer to a Davar Kedusha, like Kaddish or Borchu, even though there may be some people in the shul.

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Berachos 5b II

Gemara: "R' Chiya bar Abba got sick, and R' Yochanan went to visit him. R' Yochanan asked him, "Are these troubles beloved to you?" He answered, "Not them, and not their reward." R' Yochanan told him R' Chiya bar Abba to give him his hand. R' Chiya gave R' Yochanan his hand, and R' Yochanan healed him."

It is interesting to note, that earlier on 5a, R' Chiya bar Abba says something in the name of R' Yochanan, in praise of "yissurin shel ahava," but it seems that he himself didn't want them. The gemara on 5a says: "R' Chiya bar Abba said in the name of R' Yochanan [even if a person can't learn or daven because of troubles that Hashem sends him] these are still called "yissurin shel ahava, as it is said, 'Because Hashem admonishes those whom he loves.' "

(We find the very same thing in the following gemara, when R' Yochanan himself got sick, and he had the same dialogue with R. Chanina.)

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Berachos 5b

The Gemara says that someone who had children who died, is receiving "yissurin shel ahava," troubles from love. Rashi explains that this is because his mourning for them atones for his sins. The problem with this is that the gemara on 5a first brings up the issue of "yissurin shel ahava," and Rashi over there defines them as: "The Holy One, Blessed Be He, causes him pain in this world although he has no appropriate sin to account for it, so that he should get more reward in the world to come than he would otherwise merit." If that's the case, how come Rashi over here says that the mourning atones for his sins? The whole point of "yissurin shel ahava" is that there are no sins for them to be atoning for!

I found that the Maharsha asks this, but he doesn't answer.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Berachos 5a

Gemara: "Rabbi Levi bar Chama said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish: One should always incite the Good Inclination against the Evil Inclination, as it is said, "Rigzu v'al techet'u." If he was victorious, good. If not, he should busy himself with Torah, as it is said, "Imru b'lvavechem." If he was victorious, good. If not, he should recite the Shema, as it is said, "Al mishkavchem." If he was victorious, good. If not, he should remind himself of the day of death, as it is said, "V'domu selah." "

Rashi, on the words, "V'domu selah": "The day of domiah (silence) is the day of death which is an eternal silence."

It seems to me that we can interpret this last bit of the gemara in a different way, based on the gemara later on on 18b. The gemara says, "Maybe Domah came first and announced it to them." Rashi says on that, "Domah - the angel who is appointed over dead people..."

If that's the case, then we can interpret the words, "V'domu selah," not as referring to, "The eternal silence," (as Rashi puts it), but rather as referring to the angel appointed over dead people.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Berachos 4b

Gemara, discussing why according to the chachomim one may only say the Shema until midnight: "The Sages made a safeguard for their words. [Why?] So one shouldn't come from the field at night and say, "I'll go to my house and I'll eat a little, I'll drink a little and I'll sleep a little, and then I'll recite the Shma and daven." And he'll remain sleeping all night. Rather, a person who comes home from the field at night should go into shul, if he knows how to read Chumash, he should do that. If he knows how to learn Mishnayos, he should learn them. Then, he should recite the Shema, daven, eat supper, and recite Birchas HaMazon."

Besides being a blueprint for one's evening, this gemara contradicts a shitah brought by the Sha'ar HaTziyun in siman 238:1. "The Be'er Heitiv writes that one should not learn Chumash at night..." In our gemara we clearly see that if someone only knows how to learn Chumash he should learn it, and our gemara is specifically during the night.

[The Sha'ar HaTziyun continues that the Pri Megadim seems to be lenient in this regard; but even those who are stringent are not saying that it is an issur, rather that it is better to learn Chumash during the day. He also says that this concept is derived from a Medrash that says that Hashem learned Chumash with Moshe during the day, and Mishna at night.]

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. The "prohibition" is, I believe, based on Kabbalah. But you seem to have found a source in nigleh to contradict it. Have you looked in any of the acharonim, like the Tzlach or the Gra's Imrei Noam?

Simcha

14/7/04 2:16 PM  
Blogger Moshe Y. Gluck said...

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16/7/04 3:04 AM  
Blogger Moshe Y. Gluck said...

I looked through many acharonim, both on the gemara and on the Shulchan Aruch, including the Tzlach and the Imrei Noam. I did not find anything that sheds light on this. BTW, I appreciate your introducing me to the Imrei Noam, I had never heard of it before.
mslatfatf

16/7/04 3:09 AM  

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Monday, July 12, 2004

Blogging B'shem Omro, Part II

Maybe I would agree to give out my name in a private email to anyone who asks. Then maybe it would be considered b'shem omro.

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Berachos 3a

Rabbi Eliezer says that the night is divided into three mishmoros. The gemara says that each mishmor has a sign that signifies when that mishmor is. The signs are: For the first mishmor - the donkies bray; the second mishmor - the dogs bark; the third mishmor - children nurse from their mother, and women speak to their husbands. The gemara asks, "Which part of the mismor is Rabbi Eliezer giving a sign for? If the sign is the beginning of each mishmor (i. e. that the donkies bray at the beginning of the first mismor, the dogs bark at the beginning of the second mishmor, etc.) then why does the first mishmor need a sign? It's at the beginning of the night! (In other words, look out the window and you can tell that it is night time because it is dark!)And if he's talking about the end of each mishmor then we don't need a sign for the end of the third mishmor, because that's the day!" The gemara answers (in its second answer), "Rabbi Eliezer is giving a sign for the end of each mishmor. If you'll ask me, 'Why does the last mishmor need a sign?' (It's the morning!) The last mishmor needs a sign for someone who is sleeping in a dark room, and he doesn't know when the time for reading the Shema is, once he hears wives speaking with their husbands, and mothers nursing their children, he can say the Shema."
One could ask on this gemara, why didn't the gemara give the following answer: It could have said: Really Rabbi Eliezer is talking about the beginning of each mishmor. And the reason why he needs to give a sign for the beginning of the first mishmor, is, because sometimes it becomes very cloudy and people don't know when to say the Shema; but, when they hear the donkies bray they could say Shema? [This is not a far-fetched mistake - the gemara later on (on 27b) brings a story in which a community davened Ma'ariv early because it was so cloudy they thought it was already night.]
I think one may base the answer on a different halacha of Rabbi Eliezer lator on on 9b. "Rabbi Eliezer says: One may read the Shema from when he can tell the difference between Techeiles and Karsi, until sunrise" This is a very short amount of time. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that Rabbi Eliezer would give a sign to someone who is in a dark room, because without that sign it is very likely that he'll miss the proper time to say the Shema. However, at night, according to Rabbi Eliezer one has a third of the night to say the Shema in. Therefore even if one is not exactly sure if it is yet time to say the Shema at night, all he has to do is to wait a little and then it will surely be the correct time. While if he waits (just in case) in the morning, it is quite likely that he completely will miss the proper time to say the Shema. Therefore, the gemara couldn't say the answer we suggested, because Rabbi Eliezer would not have said it.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Blogging B'shem Omro...

I was thinking. Everything I say on this blog will Iy"H (of course) be attributed to the right source (to the best of my knowledge). So, everything else can be assumed by the reader to originate from me. If that is the case, since I am anonymous, am I contravening the "Mavee g'ulah l'olam?"

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Berachos 58a

Gemara: "He (Ben Zoma) used to say: Adam HaRishon had to work so hard to make bread to eat! He had to plow, and plant, and harvest..." This gemara is problematic because of the gemara in Shabbos 73b, where the gemara says that in Israel (where the ground was hard) the custom was to plant first, and then to plow (in order to bring the seeds under the surface of the earth); while in Babylon the common practice was to first plow, and then to plant seeds. If so, why did Ben Zoma, who lived in Israel say that, "He had to plow, and plant," he should have said, "He had to plant, and plow."

I'd love to hear any suggestions...


Addition: I found a Chidushei HaRan in Shabbos 73b who specifically says that in Israel they plowed twice, once before and once after the seeding. I didn't understand that way from Rashi and the Ritva, but now that I saw the Ran It could be that they mean that, too. If that's the case, then it makes a lot of sense that Ben Zoma should say plowing first, because that was the first step in the bread-making process. He didn't repeat it after he said seeding, because he had already said it once.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11/7/04 10:36 PM  

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