Monday, September 24, 2012

L'Hamtik haDaf by RPML

Brochas: 54b
R. Yehuda said in the name of Rav: Four (types of people) must give thanks - Yordei haYam (seafarers), Holchei Midbaros (those travelling through deserts, one was ill and recovered, and one who was imprisoned and was released.

The Ben HaYehoyada raises a series of questions on this Brysa.

Q. Psalm 107 speaks first of travellers in deserts, and only then of seafarers. Why does the Brysa reverse the order? And why does the sick person precede the prisoner?
A. A ship requires a company of sailors, whereas those travelling in a desert can be few in number. The remaining cases refer to individuals, but the sick person is a more common occurrence than that of the prisoner.

Q. The Brysa's first two cases are in the plural while the third and fourth cases are in the singular. Why is this so?
A. The seafarer and desert caravan traveller take on the dangers of their profession of their own volition and have no need to separate themselves from their fellow man, unlike the sick person and the prisoner. In each of the two pairs, the more dangerous situation precedes the less dangerous.

Q. Why in the two final cases does it mention the means of redemption, recovery and release; whereas in the first two cases no mention is made of having survived the experience?
A. In the first two case one is required to give thanks even if there was no apparent danger i.e. even if there were no storms or robbers.

Beis Hillel said to Beis Shammai, "according to your opinion, do you hold that someone who ate at the top of a mansion and forgot and went down and did not recite Birchas HaMazon, must return to the top of the mansion and recite it (even though this involves considerable effort?)" Beis Shammai responded to Beis Hillel "according to your opinion, one who forgot a purse on top of a mansion, would he not go up and retrieve it?  If he goes up for his own honour, how much more (should he be required to go up) for the honour of heaven."

The Ben HaYehoyada points out that the two cases do not seem directly analogous, in as much as it is impossible to recover the purse without going up again, but it is possible to recite Birchas HaMazon in the lower level of the mansion. He answers this by saying that while it is possible to send someone else to recover the money, typically in such a situation we show considerable alacrity in wishing to recover the money ourselves. This being the case, we should be careful to exercise at least the same alacrity in performing the Mitzva in a fashion which is undoubtedly preferable.

One takes the cup with both his hands...

And places the cup in his right hand... What is the law as to whether the left hand may assist the right hand? Rav Ashi said, since the earlier ones asked the same question without resolving it, one should act stringently (and not do so.)

He raises it a tefach above the ground. R. Acha the son of R. Chanina said, which verse is the scriptural source for this (Psalms 116:13) I will raise up the cup of salvations and call out the name of Hashem

The Maharsha points out that the two hands represent Din (justice) and Rachamim (mercy). Since the right hand represents mercy it should end up holding the cup. The word Cos (cup) has the gematria 81, as does the word Elokim (the attribute of G-d represented by justice. Thus the Cos shel Brocha  (the cup of blessing drunk at the end of the meal) is a cup of salvation, achieved by calling on the name of Hashem (the attribute of mercy) to take precedence over Cos/Elokim, Din/strict justice.

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