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Today's Daf Yomi

January 6, 2020 | ט׳ בטבת תש״פ

Berakhot 3

Rabbi Eliezer says one can say shema until the end of the first watch. How many watches were there? Three or four? What are signs of each watch? Rabbi Yosi went into a ruin and prayed. Eliyahu Hanavi rebukes him for doing that. What are the three reasons why people can’t go into a ruin? Did King David wake up at midnight? Or before? How did he know even when midnight was if even Moshe Rabeinu didn’t know?

תוכן זה תורגם גם ל: עברית

קשיא דרבי מאיר אדרבי מאיר תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי מאיר

There is a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Meir and the other statement of Rabbi Meir. The Gemara responds: Two tanna’im, students of Rabbi Meir, expressed different opinions in accordance with Rabbi Meir’s opinion.

קשיא דרבי אליעזר אדרבי אליעזר

So too, the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in the mishna contradicts the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in the baraita. In the mishna, Rabbi Eliezer holds that the time for the recitation of Shema begins with the emergence of the stars: From the time when the priests enter to partake of their teruma, while in the baraita, he states that the time for the recitation of Shema begins when the day becomes sanctified on the eve of Shabbat.

תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי אליעזר ואיבעית אימא רישא לאו רבי אליעזר היא:

The Gemara responds: There are two possible resolutions to the apparent contradiction in Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion. Either two tanna’im expressed different opinions in accordance with Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, or if you wish, say instead that the first clause of the mishna, according to which we begin to recite Shema when the priests enter to partake of their teruma, is not actually Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion. Only the second half of the statement: Until the end of the first watch, was stated by Rabbi Eliezer.

עד סוף האשמורה:

In the mishna, we learned that Rabbi Eliezer establishes that one may recite the evening Shema until the end of the first watch. These watches are mentioned in the Bible as segments of the night, but it must be established: Into precisely how many segments is the night divided, three or four? Moreover, why does Rabbi Eliezer employ such inexact parameters rather than a more precise definition of time (Tosefot HaRosh)?

מאי קסבר רבי אליעזר אי קסבר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה לימא עד ארבע שעות ואי קסבר ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה לימא עד שלש שעות

What does Rabbi Eliezer actually hold? If he holds that the night consists of three watches, let him say explicitly that one recites the evening Shema until the fourth hour. If he holds that the night consists of four watches, let him say explicitly until the third hour.

לעולם קסבר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה והא קמשמע לן דאיכא משמרות ברקיע ואיכא משמרות בארעא דתניא רבי אליעזר אומר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקדוש ברוך הוא ושואג כארי שנאמר ה׳ ממרום ישאג וממעון קדשו יתן קולו שאג ישאג על נוהו

The Gemara responds: Actually, Rabbi Eliezer holds that the night consists of three watches, and he employs this particular language of watches in order to teach us: There are watches in heaven and there are watches on earth; just as our night is divided into watches, so too is the night in the upper worlds. As it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer says: The night consists of three watches, and over each and every watch, the Holy One, Blessed be He, sits and roars like a lion in pain over the destruction of the Temple. This imagery is derived from a reference in the Bible, as it is stated: “The Lord roars [yishag] from on high, from His holy dwelling He makes His voice heard. He roars mightily [shaog yishag] over His dwelling place, He cries out like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” (Jeremiah 25:30). The three instances of the root shin-alef-gimmel in this verse correspond to the three watches of the night.

וסימן לדבר משמרה ראשונה חמור נוער שניה כלבים צועקים שלישית תינוק יונק משדי אמו ואשה מספרת עם בעלה

And signs of the transition between each of these watches in the upper world can be sensed in this world: In the first watch, the donkey brays; in the second, dogs bark; and in the third people begin to rise, a baby nurses from its mother’s breast and a wife converses with her husband.

מאי קא חשיב רבי אליעזר אי תחלת משמרות קא חשיב תחלת משמרה ראשונה סימנא למה לי אורתא הוא אי סוף משמרות קא חשיב סוף משמרה אחרונה למה לי סימנא יממא הוא

With regard to these earthly manifestations of the three heavenly watches as established in the baraita, the Gemara asks: What did Rabbi Eliezer enumerate? If he enumerated the beginning of the watch, why do I need a sign for the beginning of the first watch? It is when evening begins; an additional sign is superfluous. If he enumerated the end of the watches, why do I need a sign for the end of the last watch? It is when day begins; an additional sign is similarly superfluous.

אלא חשיב סוף משמרה ראשונה ותחלת משמרה אחרונה ואמצעית דאמצעיתא ואיבעית אימא כולהו סוף משמרות קא חשיב וכי תימא אחרונה לא צריך

The Gemara answers: Rather, he enumerated the signs for the end of the first watch and the beginning of the last watch, both of which require a sign, as well as the middle of the middle watch. And if you wish, say instead: He enumerated the ends of all of the watches. And if you say that a sign indicating the end of the final watch is unnecessary because it is day, nevertheless, that sign is useful.

למאי נפקא מינה למיקרי קריאת שמע למאן דגני בבית אפל ולא ידע זמן קריאת שמע אימת כיון דאשה מספרת עם בעלה ותינוק יונק משדי אמו ליקום וליקרי

What is the practical ramification of this sign? It is relevant to one who recites Shema while lying in a dark house, who cannot see the dawn and who does not know when the time for reciting Shema arrives. That person is provided with a sign that when a woman speaks with her husband and a baby nurses from its mother’s breast, the final watch of the night has ended and he must rise and recite Shema.

אמר רב יצחק בר שמואל משמיה דרב שלש משמרות הוי הלילה ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקדוש ברוך הוא ושואג כארי ואומר אוי לי שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין אומות העולם:

Rav Yitzḥak bar Shmuel said in the name of Rav: The night consists of three watches, and over each and every watch the Holy One, Blessed be He sits and roars like a lion, because the Temple service was connected to the changing of these watches (Tosefot HaRosh), and says: “Woe to Me, that due to their sins I destroyed My house, burned My Temple and exiled them among the nations of the world.”

תניא אמר רבי יוסי פעם אחת הייתי מהלך בדרך ונכנסתי לחורבה אחת מחורבות ירושלים להתפלל בא אליהו זכור לטוב ושמר לי על הפתח (והמתין לי) עד שסיימתי תפלתי לאחר שסיימתי תפלתי אמר לי שלום עליך רבי ואמרתי לו שלום עליך רבי ומורי ואמר לי בני מפני מה נכנסת לחורבה זו אמרתי לו להתפלל ואמר לי היה לך להתפלל בדרך ואמרתי לו מתירא הייתי שמא יפסיקו בי עוברי דרכים ואמר לי היה לך להתפלל תפלה קצרה

Incidental to the mention of the elevated significance of the night watches, the Gemara cites a related story: It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei said: I was once walking along the road when I entered the ruins of an old, abandoned building among the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. I noticed that Elijah, of blessed memory, came and guarded the entrance for me and waited at the entrance until I finished my prayer. When I finished praying and exited the ruin, Elijah said to me, deferentially as one would address a Rabbi: Greetings to you, my Rabbi. I answered him: Greetings to you, my Rabbi, my teacher. And Elijah said to me: My son, why did you enter this ruin? I said to him: In order to pray. And Elijah said to me: You should have prayed on the road. And I said to him: I was unable to pray along the road, because I was afraid that I might be interrupted by travelers and would be unable to focus. Elijah said to me: You should have recited the abbreviated prayer instituted for just such circumstances.

באותה שעה למדתי ממנו שלשה דברים למדתי שאין נכנסין לחורבה ולמדתי שמתפללין בדרך ולמדתי שהמתפלל בדרך מתפלל תפלה קצרה

Rabbi Yosei concluded: At that time, from that brief exchange, I learned from him, three things: I learned that one may not enter a ruin; and I learned that one need not enter a building to pray, but he may pray along the road; and I learned that one who prays along the road recites an abbreviated prayer so that he may maintain his focus.

ואמר לי בני מה קול שמעת בחורבה זו ואמרתי לו שמעתי בת קול שמנהמת כיונה ואומרת אוי לבנים שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין האומות ואמר לי חייך וחיי ראשך לא שעה זו בלבד אומרת כך אלא בכל יום ויום שלש פעמים אומרת כך ולא זו בלבד אלא בשעה שישראל נכנסין לבתי כנסיות ולבתי מדרשות ועונין יהא שמיה הגדול מבורך הקדוש ברוך הוא מנענע ראשו ואומר אשרי המלך שמקלסין אותו בביתו כך מה לו לאב שהגלה את בניו ואוי להם לבנים שגלו מעל שולחן אביהם:

And after this introduction, Elijah said to me: What voice did you hear in that ruin?
I responded: I heard a Heavenly voice, like an echo of that roar of the Holy One, Blessed be He (Maharsha), cooing like a dove and saying: Woe to the children, due to whose sins I destroyed My house, burned My Temple, and exiled them among the nations.
And Elijah said to me: By your life and by your head, not only did that voice cry out in that moment, but it cries out three times each and every day. Moreover, any time that God’s greatness is evoked, such as when Israel enters synagogues and study halls and answers in the kaddish prayer, May His great name be blessed, the Holy One, Blessed be He, shakes His head and says: Happy is the king who is thus praised in his house. When the Temple stood, this praise was recited there, but now: How great is the pain of the father who exiled his children, and woe to the children who were exiled from their father’s table, as their pain only adds to that of their father (Rabbi Shem Tov ibn Shaprut).

תנו רבנן מפני שלשה דברים אין נכנסין לחורבה מפני חשד מפני המפולת ומפני המזיקין מפני חשד ותיפוק ליה משום מפולת

The Sages taught, for three reasons one may not enter a ruin: Because of suspicion of prostitution, because the ruin is liable to collapse, and because of demons. Three separate reasons seem extraneous, so the Gemara asks: Why was the reason because of suspicion necessary? Let this halakha be derived because of collapse.

בחדתי

The Gemara answers: This halakha applies even in the case of a new, sturdy ruin, where there is no danger of collapse. Therefore, the reason because of suspicion is cited in order to warn one not to enter a new ruin as well.

ותיפוק ליה משום מזיקין בתרי

The Gemara continues to object: And let this halakha be derived because of demons? The Gemara answers: Demons are only a threat to individuals, so because of demons would not apply to a case where two people enter a ruin together.

אי בתרי חשד נמי ליכא בתרי ופריצי

The Gemara objects: But if there are two people entering a ruin together, then there is no suspicion either. There is no prohibition against two men to be alone with a woman as, in that case, there is no suspicion of untoward behavior. Consequently, if two men enter a ruin together, there is no room for suspicion. The Gemara answers: If two individuals known to be immoral enter together, there is suspicion even though there are two of them.

מפני המפולת ותיפוק ליה משום חשד ומזיקין

The Gemara considers why because of collapse is necessary. Let the prohibition be derived from suspicion and demons.

בתרי וכשרי

The Gemara responds: There are times when this reason is necessary, e.g., when two upstanding individuals enter a ruin together. Although there is neither concern of suspicion nor of demons, there remains concern lest the ruin collapse.

מפני המזיקין ותיפוק ליה מפני חשד ומפולת

The Gemara considers the third reason, because of demons. Why is it necessary to include: Because of demons? Let the prohibition be derived from suspicion and collapse.

בחורבה חדתי ובתרי וכשרי

The Gemara responds: There are cases where this is the only concern, for example where it is a new ruin into which two upstanding individuals enter, so there is neither concern lest it collapse nor of suspicion.

אי בתרי מזיקין נמי ליכא

The Gemara points out, however, that if there are two people, there is also no concern of demons. As such, the question remains: In what case can demons be the sole cause not to enter a ruin?

במקומן חיישינן ואיבעית אימא לעולם בחד ובחורבה חדתי דקאי בדברא דהתם משום חשד ליכא דהא אשה בדברא לא שכיחא ומשום מזיקין איכא:

The Gemara responds: Generally speaking, two individuals need not be concerned about demons; but, if they are in their place, i.e., a place known to be haunted by demons (see Isaiah 13:21), we are concerned about demons even with two people. And if you wish, say instead: Actually, this refers to the case of an individual entering a new ruin located in a field. There, there is no suspicion, as finding a woman in the field is uncommon; and since it is a new ruin, there is no danger of collapse. However, there is still concern of demons.

תנו רבנן ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה דברי רבי רבי נתן אומר שלש

The Sages taught in a Tosefta: The night is comprised of four watches; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Rabbi Natan says: The night is comprised of three watches.

מאי טעמיה דרבי נתן דכתיב ויבא גדעון ומאה איש אשר אתו בקצה המחנה ראש האשמרת התיכונה תנא אין תיכונה אלא שיש לפניה ולאחריה

The Gemara explains: What is Rabbi Natan’s reasoning? As it is written: “And Gideon, and the one hundred men who were with him, came to the edge of camp at the beginning of the middle watch” (Judges 7:19). It was taught in the Tosefta: Middle means nothing other than that there is one before it and one after it. From the fact that the verse refers to a middle watch, the fact that the night is comprised of three watches may be inferred.

ורבי מאי תיכונה אחת מן התיכונה שבתיכונות

And what does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi say about this proof? He argues that it is inconclusive, as one could say: To what does middle refer? It refers to one of the two middle watches.

ורבי נתן מי כתיב תיכונה שבתיכונות תיכונה כתיב

And how would Rabbi Natan respond? He would say: Despite Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s objection, is: One of the middle watches, written in the verse? The middle watch is written. This indicates that the night is comprised of only three watches.

מאי טעמיה דרבי אמר רבי זריקא אמר רבי אמי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כתוב אחד אומר חצות לילה אקום להודות לך על משפטי צדקך וכתוב אחד אומר קדמו עיני אשמורות הא כיצד ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה

What is Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s reasoning? Rabbi Zerika said that Rabbi Ami said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s opinion is based on a comparison of two verses. One verse says: “At midnight I rise to give thanks for Your righteous laws” (Psalms 119:62), and the other verse says: “My eyes forestall the watches, that I will speak of Your word” (Psalms 119:148). Taken together, these verses indicate that their author, King David, rose at midnight, two watches before dawn, in order to study Torah. How is it possible to reconcile these two verses? Only if there are four watches in the night does one who rises two watches before dawn rise at midnight.

ורבי נתן סבר לה כרבי יהושע דתנן רבי יהושע אומר עד שלש שעות שכן דרך מלכים לעמוד בשלש שעות שית דליליא ותרתי דיממא הוו להו שתי משמרות

And how does Rabbi Natan reconcile these two verses? He holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, for we learned in a mishna that Rabbi Yehoshua says: One is permitted to recite the morning Shema during the time when people rise, until the third hour of the day, as it is the custom of kings to rise during the third hour. Since it is customary for kings to rise during the third hour of the day, if David rose at midnight, he would be awake for six hours of the night and two hours of the day, which amounts to two watches. Therefore King David could say that he “forestalls the watches,” as he rose two watches before the rest of the kings in the world.

רב אשי אמר משמרה ופלגא נמי משמרות קרו להו:

Rav Ashi said that the verses can be reconciled in accordance with Rabbi Natan’s opinion in another way: One and one-half watches are still called watches in plural. Therefore King David could rise at midnight yet maintain that he “forestalls the watches.”

ואמר רבי זריקא אמר רבי אמי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי אין אומרין בפני המת אלא דבריו של מת

Following this discussion, another halakha that Rabbi Zerika said that Rabbi Ami said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said is cited: Before the dead, one may speak only of matters relating to the dead, as speaking of other matters appears to be contemptuous of the deceased, underscoring that he is unable to talk while those around him can. Therefore, one must remain fully engaged in matters relating to him.

אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא לא אמרן אלא בדברי תורה אבל מילי דעלמא לית לן בה

Two traditions exist with regard to the details of this halakha in the name of Rabbi Abba bar Kahana. According to one version, Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: This halakha was only said with regard to matters of Torah. Speaking of other matters, however, is not prohibited, since no contempt is expressed for the deceased by the fact that he is unable to speak of such topics.

ואיכא דאמרי אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא לא אמרן אלא [אפילו] בדברי תורה וכל שכן מילי דעלמא:

Others say another version of this halakha in the name of Rabbi Abba bar Kahana: This halakha was said even with regard to matters of Torah, and all the more so with regard to other matters. If one must refrain from speaking of matters of Torah, regarding which one is commanded to speak, and limit himself to matters concerning the deceased, all the more so should he refrain from speaking of other matters, regarding which one is not commanded to speak.

ודוד בפלגא דליליא הוה קאי מאורתא הוה קאי דכתיב קדמתי בנשף ואשועה וממאי דהאי נשף אורתא הוא דכתיב בנשף בערב יום באישון לילה ואפלה

Incidental to the Gemara’s mention of King David, other sources are cited that describe his actions. Regarding that which was cited above, that he would rise in the middle of the night in order to serve his Creator, the Gemara asks: Did David rise at midnight? He rose in the evening. As it is written: “I rose with the neshef and cried, I hoped for Your word” (Psalms 119:147). And how do we know that this neshef is the evening? As it is written: “In the neshef, in the evening of the day, in the blackness of night and the darkness” (Proverbs 7:9). Apparently, King David did indeed rise when it was still evening.

אמר רב אושעיא אמר רבי אחא הכי קאמר (דוד) מעולם לא עבר עלי חצות לילה בשינה

The Gemara suggests several ways to resolve this contradiction. Rabbi Oshaya said that Rabbi Aḥa said: David said as follows: Midnight never passed me by in my sleep. Sometimes I fulfilled the verse, “I rose with the neshef and cried,” but I always, at least, fulfilled the verse, “At midnight I rise to give thanks for Your righteous laws.”

רבי זירא אמר עד חצות לילה היה מתנמנם כסוס מכאן ואילך היה מתגבר כארי רב אשי אמר עד חצות לילה היה עוסק בדברי תורה מכאן ואילך בשירות ותשבחות

Rabbi Zeira said: Until midnight, David would doze like a horse, as a horse dozes, but never sleeps deeply. From midnight on, he would gain the strength of a lion. Rav Ashi said: Until midnight, he would study Torah, as it is written: “I rose with the neshef and cried, I hoped for Your word,” and from midnight on, he would engage in songs and praise, as it is written: “At midnight I rise to give thanks.”

ונשף אורתא הוא הא נשף צפרא הוא דכתיב ויכם דוד מהנשף ועד הערב למחרתם מאי לאו מצפרא ועד ליליא

To this point, the discussion has been based on the assumption that neshef means evening. The Gemara asks: Does neshef really mean evening? Doesn’t neshef mean morning? As it is written: “And David slew them from the neshef until the evening of the next day” (I Samuel 30:17). Doesn’t this verse mean from the morning until the night, in which case neshef must mean morning?

לא מאורתא ועד אורתא

The Gemara responds: No, this verse means that David slew them from one evening until the next evening.

אי הכי לכתוב מהנשף ועד הנשף או מהערב ועד הערב

The Gemara rejects this response: If so, let the verse be written: From the neshef until the neshef, or from the evening until the evening. Why would the verse employ two different terms for a single concept?

אלא אמר רבא תרי נשפי הוו נשף ליליא ואתי יממא נשף יממא ואתי ליליא

Rather, Rava said: There are two times referred to as neshef, and the word can refer to either evening or morning. Neshef must be understood in accordance with its Aramaic root: The night moves past [neshaf ] and the day arrives, and the day moves past [neshaf ] and the night arrives.

ודוד מי הוה ידע פלגא דליליא אימת השתא משה רבינו לא הוה ידע דכתיב כחצות הלילה אני יוצא בתוך מצרים

When King David said: At midnight I rise, the assumption is that he rose precisely at midnight. The Gemara asks: Did David know exactly when it was midnight? Even Moses our teacher did not know exactly when it was midnight. How do we know this about Moses? As it is written that he said to Pharaoh: “Thus said the Lord: About midnight, I will go out into the midst of Egypt” (Exodus 11:4). The word about indicates that it was only an approximation.

מאי כחצות אילימא דאמר ליה קודשא בריך הוא כחצות מי איכא ספיקא קמי שמיא אלא דאמר ליה (למחר) בחצות (כי השתא) ואתא איהו ואמר כחצות אלמא מספקא ליה ודוד הוה ידע

The Gemara clarifies: What is the meaning of the expression: About midnight? Did Moses say it or did God say it? If we say that the Holy One, Blessed be He, Himself, said: About midnight, to Moses, is there doubt before God in heaven? Rather, this must be understood as follows: God told Moses: At midnight, but from the fact that when Moses came to Pharaoh he said: About midnight; apparently, Moses was uncertain about the exact moment of midnight. Moses, the greatest of all the prophets, was uncertain, and David knew?

דוד סימנא הוה ליה דאמר רב אחא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא כנור היה תלוי למעלה ממטתו של דוד וכיון שהגיע חצות לילה בא רוח צפונית ונושבת בו ומנגן מאליו מיד היה עומד ועוסק בתורה עד שעלה עמוד השחר כיון שעלה עמוד השחר נכנסו חכמי ישראל אצלו אמרו לו אדונינו המלך עמך ישראל צריכין פרנסה אמר להם לכו והתפרנסו זה מזה אמרו לו אין הקומץ משביע את הארי ואין הבור מתמלא מחוליתו אמר להם לכו ופשטו ידיכם בגדוד

The Gemara offers several answers to this question:
David had a sign indicating when it was midnight. As Rav Aḥa bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said: A lyre hung over David’s bed, and once midnight arrived, the northern midnight wind would come and cause the lyre to play on its own. David would immediately rise from his bed and study Torah until the first rays of dawn.
Once dawn arrived, the Sages of Israel entered to advise him with regard to the various concerns of the nation and the economy. They said to him: Our master, the king, your nation requires sustenance.
He said: Go and sustain one another, provide each other with whatever is lacking.
The Sages of Israel responded to him with a parable: A single handful of food does not satisfy a lion, and a pit will not be filled merely from the rain that falls directly into its mouth, but other water must be piped in (ge’onim). So too, the nation cannot sustain itself using its own resources.
King David told them: Go and take up arms with the troops in battle in order to expand our borders and provide our people with the opportunity to earn a livelihood.

מיד יועצים באחיתופל ונמלכין בסנהדרין ושואלין באורים ותומים

The Sages immediately seek advice from Ahitophel to determine whether or not it was appropriate to go to war at that time and how they should conduct themselves, and they consult the Sanhedrin in order to receive the requisite license to wage a war under those circumstances (Tosefot HaRosh). And they ask the Urim VeTummim whether or not they should go to war, and whether or not they would be successful.

אמר רב יוסף מאי קרא דכתיב ואחרי אחיתפל בניהו בן יהוידע ואביתר ושר צבא למלך יואב

Rav Yosef said: Upon what verse is this aggada based? As it is written: “And after Ahitophel was Yehoyada son of Benayahu and Evyatar, and the general of the king’s army, Yoav” (I Chronicles 27:34).

אחיתופל זה יועץ וכן הוא אומר ועצת אחיתפל אשר יעץ בימים ההם כאשר ישאל איש בדבר האלהים

The individuals named in this verse correspond with the roles in the aggada as follows: Ahitophel is the adviser whose advice they sought first with regard to going to war, and so it says: “Now the counsel of Ahitophel, which he counseled in those days, was as a man who inquires of the word of God; so was the counsel of Ahitophel both with David and with Absalom” (II Samuel 16:23).

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At Tara in this Fateful Hour (Berakhot 2a-5b)

The first tractate of the Babylonian Talmud begins, rather surprisingly, with an extended discussion of the architectonics of the night....
Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Berakhot (chapters 1-3)

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Berakhot (chapters 1-3)

PEREK ALEPH: (2a) When may we say Shma at night? From the time the priests take their first bite ‘Til...

Berakhot 3

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Berakhot 3

קשיא דרבי מאיר אדרבי מאיר תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי מאיר

There is a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Meir and the other statement of Rabbi Meir. The Gemara responds: Two tanna’im, students of Rabbi Meir, expressed different opinions in accordance with Rabbi Meir’s opinion.

קשיא דרבי אליעזר אדרבי אליעזר

So too, the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in the mishna contradicts the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in the baraita. In the mishna, Rabbi Eliezer holds that the time for the recitation of Shema begins with the emergence of the stars: From the time when the priests enter to partake of their teruma, while in the baraita, he states that the time for the recitation of Shema begins when the day becomes sanctified on the eve of Shabbat.

תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי אליעזר ואיבעית אימא רישא לאו רבי אליעזר היא:

The Gemara responds: There are two possible resolutions to the apparent contradiction in Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion. Either two tanna’im expressed different opinions in accordance with Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, or if you wish, say instead that the first clause of the mishna, according to which we begin to recite Shema when the priests enter to partake of their teruma, is not actually Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion. Only the second half of the statement: Until the end of the first watch, was stated by Rabbi Eliezer.

עד סוף האשמורה:

In the mishna, we learned that Rabbi Eliezer establishes that one may recite the evening Shema until the end of the first watch. These watches are mentioned in the Bible as segments of the night, but it must be established: Into precisely how many segments is the night divided, three or four? Moreover, why does Rabbi Eliezer employ such inexact parameters rather than a more precise definition of time (Tosefot HaRosh)?

מאי קסבר רבי אליעזר אי קסבר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה לימא עד ארבע שעות ואי קסבר ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה לימא עד שלש שעות

What does Rabbi Eliezer actually hold? If he holds that the night consists of three watches, let him say explicitly that one recites the evening Shema until the fourth hour. If he holds that the night consists of four watches, let him say explicitly until the third hour.

לעולם קסבר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה והא קמשמע לן דאיכא משמרות ברקיע ואיכא משמרות בארעא דתניא רבי אליעזר אומר שלש משמרות הוי הלילה ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקדוש ברוך הוא ושואג כארי שנאמר ה׳ ממרום ישאג וממעון קדשו יתן קולו שאג ישאג על נוהו

The Gemara responds: Actually, Rabbi Eliezer holds that the night consists of three watches, and he employs this particular language of watches in order to teach us: There are watches in heaven and there are watches on earth; just as our night is divided into watches, so too is the night in the upper worlds. As it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer says: The night consists of three watches, and over each and every watch, the Holy One, Blessed be He, sits and roars like a lion in pain over the destruction of the Temple. This imagery is derived from a reference in the Bible, as it is stated: “The Lord roars [yishag] from on high, from His holy dwelling He makes His voice heard. He roars mightily [shaog yishag] over His dwelling place, He cries out like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” (Jeremiah 25:30). The three instances of the root shin-alef-gimmel in this verse correspond to the three watches of the night.

וסימן לדבר משמרה ראשונה חמור נוער שניה כלבים צועקים שלישית תינוק יונק משדי אמו ואשה מספרת עם בעלה

And signs of the transition between each of these watches in the upper world can be sensed in this world: In the first watch, the donkey brays; in the second, dogs bark; and in the third people begin to rise, a baby nurses from its mother’s breast and a wife converses with her husband.

מאי קא חשיב רבי אליעזר אי תחלת משמרות קא חשיב תחלת משמרה ראשונה סימנא למה לי אורתא הוא אי סוף משמרות קא חשיב סוף משמרה אחרונה למה לי סימנא יממא הוא

With regard to these earthly manifestations of the three heavenly watches as established in the baraita, the Gemara asks: What did Rabbi Eliezer enumerate? If he enumerated the beginning of the watch, why do I need a sign for the beginning of the first watch? It is when evening begins; an additional sign is superfluous. If he enumerated the end of the watches, why do I need a sign for the end of the last watch? It is when day begins; an additional sign is similarly superfluous.

אלא חשיב סוף משמרה ראשונה ותחלת משמרה אחרונה ואמצעית דאמצעיתא ואיבעית אימא כולהו סוף משמרות קא חשיב וכי תימא אחרונה לא צריך

The Gemara answers: Rather, he enumerated the signs for the end of the first watch and the beginning of the last watch, both of which require a sign, as well as the middle of the middle watch. And if you wish, say instead: He enumerated the ends of all of the watches. And if you say that a sign indicating the end of the final watch is unnecessary because it is day, nevertheless, that sign is useful.

למאי נפקא מינה למיקרי קריאת שמע למאן דגני בבית אפל ולא ידע זמן קריאת שמע אימת כיון דאשה מספרת עם בעלה ותינוק יונק משדי אמו ליקום וליקרי

What is the practical ramification of this sign? It is relevant to one who recites Shema while lying in a dark house, who cannot see the dawn and who does not know when the time for reciting Shema arrives. That person is provided with a sign that when a woman speaks with her husband and a baby nurses from its mother’s breast, the final watch of the night has ended and he must rise and recite Shema.

אמר רב יצחק בר שמואל משמיה דרב שלש משמרות הוי הלילה ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקדוש ברוך הוא ושואג כארי ואומר אוי לי שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין אומות העולם:

Rav Yitzḥak bar Shmuel said in the name of Rav: The night consists of three watches, and over each and every watch the Holy One, Blessed be He sits and roars like a lion, because the Temple service was connected to the changing of these watches (Tosefot HaRosh), and says: “Woe to Me, that due to their sins I destroyed My house, burned My Temple and exiled them among the nations of the world.”

תניא אמר רבי יוסי פעם אחת הייתי מהלך בדרך ונכנסתי לחורבה אחת מחורבות ירושלים להתפלל בא אליהו זכור לטוב ושמר לי על הפתח (והמתין לי) עד שסיימתי תפלתי לאחר שסיימתי תפלתי אמר לי שלום עליך רבי ואמרתי לו שלום עליך רבי ומורי ואמר לי בני מפני מה נכנסת לחורבה זו אמרתי לו להתפלל ואמר לי היה לך להתפלל בדרך ואמרתי לו מתירא הייתי שמא יפסיקו בי עוברי דרכים ואמר לי היה לך להתפלל תפלה קצרה

Incidental to the mention of the elevated significance of the night watches, the Gemara cites a related story: It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei said: I was once walking along the road when I entered the ruins of an old, abandoned building among the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. I noticed that Elijah, of blessed memory, came and guarded the entrance for me and waited at the entrance until I finished my prayer. When I finished praying and exited the ruin, Elijah said to me, deferentially as one would address a Rabbi: Greetings to you, my Rabbi. I answered him: Greetings to you, my Rabbi, my teacher. And Elijah said to me: My son, why did you enter this ruin? I said to him: In order to pray. And Elijah said to me: You should have prayed on the road. And I said to him: I was unable to pray along the road, because I was afraid that I might be interrupted by travelers and would be unable to focus. Elijah said to me: You should have recited the abbreviated prayer instituted for just such circumstances.

באותה שעה למדתי ממנו שלשה דברים למדתי שאין נכנסין לחורבה ולמדתי שמתפללין בדרך ולמדתי שהמתפלל בדרך מתפלל תפלה קצרה

Rabbi Yosei concluded: At that time, from that brief exchange, I learned from him, three things: I learned that one may not enter a ruin; and I learned that one need not enter a building to pray, but he may pray along the road; and I learned that one who prays along the road recites an abbreviated prayer so that he may maintain his focus.

ואמר לי בני מה קול שמעת בחורבה זו ואמרתי לו שמעתי בת קול שמנהמת כיונה ואומרת אוי לבנים שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין האומות ואמר לי חייך וחיי ראשך לא שעה זו בלבד אומרת כך אלא בכל יום ויום שלש פעמים אומרת כך ולא זו בלבד אלא בשעה שישראל נכנסין לבתי כנסיות ולבתי מדרשות ועונין יהא שמיה הגדול מבורך הקדוש ברוך הוא מנענע ראשו ואומר אשרי המלך שמקלסין אותו בביתו כך מה לו לאב שהגלה את בניו ואוי להם לבנים שגלו מעל שולחן אביהם:

And after this introduction, Elijah said to me: What voice did you hear in that ruin?
I responded: I heard a Heavenly voice, like an echo of that roar of the Holy One, Blessed be He (Maharsha), cooing like a dove and saying: Woe to the children, due to whose sins I destroyed My house, burned My Temple, and exiled them among the nations.
And Elijah said to me: By your life and by your head, not only did that voice cry out in that moment, but it cries out three times each and every day. Moreover, any time that God’s greatness is evoked, such as when Israel enters synagogues and study halls and answers in the kaddish prayer, May His great name be blessed, the Holy One, Blessed be He, shakes His head and says: Happy is the king who is thus praised in his house. When the Temple stood, this praise was recited there, but now: How great is the pain of the father who exiled his children, and woe to the children who were exiled from their father’s table, as their pain only adds to that of their father (Rabbi Shem Tov ibn Shaprut).

תנו רבנן מפני שלשה דברים אין נכנסין לחורבה מפני חשד מפני המפולת ומפני המזיקין מפני חשד ותיפוק ליה משום מפולת

The Sages taught, for three reasons one may not enter a ruin: Because of suspicion of prostitution, because the ruin is liable to collapse, and because of demons. Three separate reasons seem extraneous, so the Gemara asks: Why was the reason because of suspicion necessary? Let this halakha be derived because of collapse.

בחדתי

The Gemara answers: This halakha applies even in the case of a new, sturdy ruin, where there is no danger of collapse. Therefore, the reason because of suspicion is cited in order to warn one not to enter a new ruin as well.

ותיפוק ליה משום מזיקין בתרי

The Gemara continues to object: And let this halakha be derived because of demons? The Gemara answers: Demons are only a threat to individuals, so because of demons would not apply to a case where two people enter a ruin together.

אי בתרי חשד נמי ליכא בתרי ופריצי

The Gemara objects: But if there are two people entering a ruin together, then there is no suspicion either. There is no prohibition against two men to be alone with a woman as, in that case, there is no suspicion of untoward behavior. Consequently, if two men enter a ruin together, there is no room for suspicion. The Gemara answers: If two individuals known to be immoral enter together, there is suspicion even though there are two of them.

מפני המפולת ותיפוק ליה משום חשד ומזיקין

The Gemara considers why because of collapse is necessary. Let the prohibition be derived from suspicion and demons.

בתרי וכשרי

The Gemara responds: There are times when this reason is necessary, e.g., when two upstanding individuals enter a ruin together. Although there is neither concern of suspicion nor of demons, there remains concern lest the ruin collapse.

מפני המזיקין ותיפוק ליה מפני חשד ומפולת

The Gemara considers the third reason, because of demons. Why is it necessary to include: Because of demons? Let the prohibition be derived from suspicion and collapse.

בחורבה חדתי ובתרי וכשרי

The Gemara responds: There are cases where this is the only concern, for example where it is a new ruin into which two upstanding individuals enter, so there is neither concern lest it collapse nor of suspicion.

אי בתרי מזיקין נמי ליכא

The Gemara points out, however, that if there are two people, there is also no concern of demons. As such, the question remains: In what case can demons be the sole cause not to enter a ruin?

במקומן חיישינן ואיבעית אימא לעולם בחד ובחורבה חדתי דקאי בדברא דהתם משום חשד ליכא דהא אשה בדברא לא שכיחא ומשום מזיקין איכא:

The Gemara responds: Generally speaking, two individuals need not be concerned about demons; but, if they are in their place, i.e., a place known to be haunted by demons (see Isaiah 13:21), we are concerned about demons even with two people. And if you wish, say instead: Actually, this refers to the case of an individual entering a new ruin located in a field. There, there is no suspicion, as finding a woman in the field is uncommon; and since it is a new ruin, there is no danger of collapse. However, there is still concern of demons.

תנו רבנן ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה דברי רבי רבי נתן אומר שלש

The Sages taught in a Tosefta: The night is comprised of four watches; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Rabbi Natan says: The night is comprised of three watches.

מאי טעמיה דרבי נתן דכתיב ויבא גדעון ומאה איש אשר אתו בקצה המחנה ראש האשמרת התיכונה תנא אין תיכונה אלא שיש לפניה ולאחריה

The Gemara explains: What is Rabbi Natan’s reasoning? As it is written: “And Gideon, and the one hundred men who were with him, came to the edge of camp at the beginning of the middle watch” (Judges 7:19). It was taught in the Tosefta: Middle means nothing other than that there is one before it and one after it. From the fact that the verse refers to a middle watch, the fact that the night is comprised of three watches may be inferred.

ורבי מאי תיכונה אחת מן התיכונה שבתיכונות

And what does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi say about this proof? He argues that it is inconclusive, as one could say: To what does middle refer? It refers to one of the two middle watches.

ורבי נתן מי כתיב תיכונה שבתיכונות תיכונה כתיב

And how would Rabbi Natan respond? He would say: Despite Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s objection, is: One of the middle watches, written in the verse? The middle watch is written. This indicates that the night is comprised of only three watches.

מאי טעמיה דרבי אמר רבי זריקא אמר רבי אמי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כתוב אחד אומר חצות לילה אקום להודות לך על משפטי צדקך וכתוב אחד אומר קדמו עיני אשמורות הא כיצד ארבע משמרות הוי הלילה

What is Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s reasoning? Rabbi Zerika said that Rabbi Ami said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s opinion is based on a comparison of two verses. One verse says: “At midnight I rise to give thanks for Your righteous laws” (Psalms 119:62), and the other verse says: “My eyes forestall the watches, that I will speak of Your word” (Psalms 119:148). Taken together, these verses indicate that their author, King David, rose at midnight, two watches before dawn, in order to study Torah. How is it possible to reconcile these two verses? Only if there are four watches in the night does one who rises two watches before dawn rise at midnight.

ורבי נתן סבר לה כרבי יהושע דתנן רבי יהושע אומר עד שלש שעות שכן דרך מלכים לעמוד בשלש שעות שית דליליא ותרתי דיממא הוו להו שתי משמרות

And how does Rabbi Natan reconcile these two verses? He holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, for we learned in a mishna that Rabbi Yehoshua says: One is permitted to recite the morning Shema during the time when people rise, until the third hour of the day, as it is the custom of kings to rise during the third hour. Since it is customary for kings to rise during the third hour of the day, if David rose at midnight, he would be awake for six hours of the night and two hours of the day, which amounts to two watches. Therefore King David could say that he “forestalls the watches,” as he rose two watches before the rest of the kings in the world.

רב אשי אמר משמרה ופלגא נמי משמרות קרו להו:

Rav Ashi said that the verses can be reconciled in accordance with Rabbi Natan’s opinion in another way: One and one-half watches are still called watches in plural. Therefore King David could rise at midnight yet maintain that he “forestalls the watches.”

ואמר רבי זריקא אמר רבי אמי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי אין אומרין בפני המת אלא דבריו של מת

Following this discussion, another halakha that Rabbi Zerika said that Rabbi Ami said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said is cited: Before the dead, one may speak only of matters relating to the dead, as speaking of other matters appears to be contemptuous of the deceased, underscoring that he is unable to talk while those around him can. Therefore, one must remain fully engaged in matters relating to him.

אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא לא אמרן אלא בדברי תורה אבל מילי דעלמא לית לן בה

Two traditions exist with regard to the details of this halakha in the name of Rabbi Abba bar Kahana. According to one version, Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: This halakha was only said with regard to matters of Torah. Speaking of other matters, however, is not prohibited, since no contempt is expressed for the deceased by the fact that he is unable to speak of such topics.

ואיכא דאמרי אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא לא אמרן אלא [אפילו] בדברי תורה וכל שכן מילי דעלמא:

Others say another version of this halakha in the name of Rabbi Abba bar Kahana: This halakha was said even with regard to matters of Torah, and all the more so with regard to other matters. If one must refrain from speaking of matters of Torah, regarding which one is commanded to speak, and limit himself to matters concerning the deceased, all the more so should he refrain from speaking of other matters, regarding which one is not commanded to speak.

ודוד בפלגא דליליא הוה קאי מאורתא הוה קאי דכתיב קדמתי בנשף ואשועה וממאי דהאי נשף אורתא הוא דכתיב בנשף בערב יום באישון לילה ואפלה

Incidental to the Gemara’s mention of King David, other sources are cited that describe his actions. Regarding that which was cited above, that he would rise in the middle of the night in order to serve his Creator, the Gemara asks: Did David rise at midnight? He rose in the evening. As it is written: “I rose with the neshef and cried, I hoped for Your word” (Psalms 119:147). And how do we know that this neshef is the evening? As it is written: “In the neshef, in the evening of the day, in the blackness of night and the darkness” (Proverbs 7:9). Apparently, King David did indeed rise when it was still evening.

אמר רב אושעיא אמר רבי אחא הכי קאמר (דוד) מעולם לא עבר עלי חצות לילה בשינה

The Gemara suggests several ways to resolve this contradiction. Rabbi Oshaya said that Rabbi Aḥa said: David said as follows: Midnight never passed me by in my sleep. Sometimes I fulfilled the verse, “I rose with the neshef and cried,” but I always, at least, fulfilled the verse, “At midnight I rise to give thanks for Your righteous laws.”

רבי זירא אמר עד חצות לילה היה מתנמנם כסוס מכאן ואילך היה מתגבר כארי רב אשי אמר עד חצות לילה היה עוסק בדברי תורה מכאן ואילך בשירות ותשבחות

Rabbi Zeira said: Until midnight, David would doze like a horse, as a horse dozes, but never sleeps deeply. From midnight on, he would gain the strength of a lion. Rav Ashi said: Until midnight, he would study Torah, as it is written: “I rose with the neshef and cried, I hoped for Your word,” and from midnight on, he would engage in songs and praise, as it is written: “At midnight I rise to give thanks.”

ונשף אורתא הוא הא נשף צפרא הוא דכתיב ויכם דוד מהנשף ועד הערב למחרתם מאי לאו מצפרא ועד ליליא

To this point, the discussion has been based on the assumption that neshef means evening. The Gemara asks: Does neshef really mean evening? Doesn’t neshef mean morning? As it is written: “And David slew them from the neshef until the evening of the next day” (I Samuel 30:17). Doesn’t this verse mean from the morning until the night, in which case neshef must mean morning?

לא מאורתא ועד אורתא

The Gemara responds: No, this verse means that David slew them from one evening until the next evening.

אי הכי לכתוב מהנשף ועד הנשף או מהערב ועד הערב

The Gemara rejects this response: If so, let the verse be written: From the neshef until the neshef, or from the evening until the evening. Why would the verse employ two different terms for a single concept?

אלא אמר רבא תרי נשפי הוו נשף ליליא ואתי יממא נשף יממא ואתי ליליא

Rather, Rava said: There are two times referred to as neshef, and the word can refer to either evening or morning. Neshef must be understood in accordance with its Aramaic root: The night moves past [neshaf ] and the day arrives, and the day moves past [neshaf ] and the night arrives.

ודוד מי הוה ידע פלגא דליליא אימת השתא משה רבינו לא הוה ידע דכתיב כחצות הלילה אני יוצא בתוך מצרים

When King David said: At midnight I rise, the assumption is that he rose precisely at midnight. The Gemara asks: Did David know exactly when it was midnight? Even Moses our teacher did not know exactly when it was midnight. How do we know this about Moses? As it is written that he said to Pharaoh: “Thus said the Lord: About midnight, I will go out into the midst of Egypt” (Exodus 11:4). The word about indicates that it was only an approximation.

מאי כחצות אילימא דאמר ליה קודשא בריך הוא כחצות מי איכא ספיקא קמי שמיא אלא דאמר ליה (למחר) בחצות (כי השתא) ואתא איהו ואמר כחצות אלמא מספקא ליה ודוד הוה ידע

The Gemara clarifies: What is the meaning of the expression: About midnight? Did Moses say it or did God say it? If we say that the Holy One, Blessed be He, Himself, said: About midnight, to Moses, is there doubt before God in heaven? Rather, this must be understood as follows: God told Moses: At midnight, but from the fact that when Moses came to Pharaoh he said: About midnight; apparently, Moses was uncertain about the exact moment of midnight. Moses, the greatest of all the prophets, was uncertain, and David knew?

דוד סימנא הוה ליה דאמר רב אחא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא כנור היה תלוי למעלה ממטתו של דוד וכיון שהגיע חצות לילה בא רוח צפונית ונושבת בו ומנגן מאליו מיד היה עומד ועוסק בתורה עד שעלה עמוד השחר כיון שעלה עמוד השחר נכנסו חכמי ישראל אצלו אמרו לו אדונינו המלך עמך ישראל צריכין פרנסה אמר להם לכו והתפרנסו זה מזה אמרו לו אין הקומץ משביע את הארי ואין הבור מתמלא מחוליתו אמר להם לכו ופשטו ידיכם בגדוד

The Gemara offers several answers to this question:
David had a sign indicating when it was midnight. As Rav Aḥa bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said: A lyre hung over David’s bed, and once midnight arrived, the northern midnight wind would come and cause the lyre to play on its own. David would immediately rise from his bed and study Torah until the first rays of dawn.
Once dawn arrived, the Sages of Israel entered to advise him with regard to the various concerns of the nation and the economy. They said to him: Our master, the king, your nation requires sustenance.
He said: Go and sustain one another, provide each other with whatever is lacking.
The Sages of Israel responded to him with a parable: A single handful of food does not satisfy a lion, and a pit will not be filled merely from the rain that falls directly into its mouth, but other water must be piped in (ge’onim). So too, the nation cannot sustain itself using its own resources.
King David told them: Go and take up arms with the troops in battle in order to expand our borders and provide our people with the opportunity to earn a livelihood.

מיד יועצים באחיתופל ונמלכין בסנהדרין ושואלין באורים ותומים

The Sages immediately seek advice from Ahitophel to determine whether or not it was appropriate to go to war at that time and how they should conduct themselves, and they consult the Sanhedrin in order to receive the requisite license to wage a war under those circumstances (Tosefot HaRosh). And they ask the Urim VeTummim whether or not they should go to war, and whether or not they would be successful.

אמר רב יוסף מאי קרא דכתיב ואחרי אחיתפל בניהו בן יהוידע ואביתר ושר צבא למלך יואב

Rav Yosef said: Upon what verse is this aggada based? As it is written: “And after Ahitophel was Yehoyada son of Benayahu and Evyatar, and the general of the king’s army, Yoav” (I Chronicles 27:34).

אחיתופל זה יועץ וכן הוא אומר ועצת אחיתפל אשר יעץ בימים ההם כאשר ישאל איש בדבר האלהים

The individuals named in this verse correspond with the roles in the aggada as follows: Ahitophel is the adviser whose advice they sought first with regard to going to war, and so it says: “Now the counsel of Ahitophel, which he counseled in those days, was as a man who inquires of the word of God; so was the counsel of Ahitophel both with David and with Absalom” (II Samuel 16:23).

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