Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lehamtik haDaf by RPML: Brachos 24b - 26b

Brochas Daf Ches Daled amud beis

Rav Assi said "Woe to those who pull sin upon themselves with cords of 'shav' falsehood." Rashi translates 'shav' as weak; Tosfos as gratuitous. Ritva writes that the majority of mankind sins in order to give themselves pleasure. And this person sins gratuitously because while he performs the mitzva of Krias Shema, he simultaneously degrades the Torah by praying in an inappropriate environment, thereby pulling the sin upon himself for no good reason.

Brochas Daf Ches Hey amud aleph

Rav Yehuda said (where there is) possible excrement, it is forbidden (to recite Krias Shema or pray)... Others say that Rav Yehuda said (where there is) possible excrement in a house, it is permissible (to recite Krias Shema or pray; but (where there is possible excrement in a) rubbish dump (one is) prohibited.

The Rashba holds that in the earlier case (the first half of the Brysa) he has identified a possible source of excrement, but has not bothered to check whether it is the offending substance or only cement/mud. In such a case were he to pray, he would be negligent and required to repeat his davening. By contrast, the second half of the Brysa, in the case of the house, were one to pray, one would have no obligation to repeat one's Shemone Esre, because the use of the word "permitted" ("muteres") indicates that one is not negligent in making the assumption that there is no excrement in the house. He points us to an earlier Gemara on daf Chaf Beis (amud beis) where he makes the same distinction between a man who begins davening and then sees excrement opposite him. He walks forward four amos (so that he can no longer see the excrement) and, the Rashba rules, resumes davening where he left off.

By contrast, one who davens in a place where there is a reasonable expectation that there may be excrement is guilty of failing to secure himself within a place which qualifies as "your camp should be holy" (Devorim 23:15). His davening is therefore an "abomination" and he is required to repeat it.

Question: as I benched Kiddush Levana tonight near a skip filled with household rubbish, including (perhaps) nappies/diapers I wondered whether it was permissible to stand within four amos facing it. I stood at a greater distance with my back to it, but did I have to?

Have concluded that since I couldn't smell anything and most people wrap their soiled nappies, the skip had the status of the house brought as an example in today's daf, so probably OK even within the four amos!

Brochas daf Chof Vov amud beis

R. Yosi, the son of R. Chanina, said that the Avos established the (three daily) tefillohs (of Shemone Esre) The Gemara discusses whether the Avos established the three tefillohs, or whether they were instead established post Churban by the Anshei Kneses haGedola as a means of symbolically acknowledging the daily korban tomidim.

The Ben Yehoyada suggests that if we accept the latter view we can understand why Maariv is "reshus" (optional), as held by R. Yeshosha (daf 27b) given that it represents the "aivorim v'prodim" rather than the morning or afternoon korban tomid. By contrast, if it was the Avos who established the tefillohs, why should Maariv which Chazal tell us was established by Yaakov, have a different and lower status than Shachris (Avraham) or Mincha (Yitzhok), particularly when Yaakov was the "b'hir sh'b'Avos"? His answer is based on a posuk (Bereishis 28:11) "and he slept there, when the sun set". Chazal tell us that the sun set early. In consequence, although Yaakov davened Maariv at "night", it was in reality still day, which is the time of Mincha. For this reason, even if we hold that the tefillohs were established by the Avos, Maariv is considered a "reshus".

The Ben Yehoyada also points out that the Zohar names three angels, Michoel, Gavriel and Nuriel, as the angelic powers representing respectively, Shachris, Mincha and Maariv. The acronym for these angels is MoGaiN, a shield, which Dovid haMelech hints at when he says (Shmuel 2:22) "and give me the shield of your salvation." Prayer is a shield.

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