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Today's Daf Yomi

February 3, 2020 | ח׳ בשבט תש״פ

Berakhot 31

The gemara brings situations where people were too happy at a wedding and the father of the groom (a rabbi) broke an expensive item to cause people to be sad. Tosafot say that this is the source for the custom to break a glass at a wedding. One must judge or learn before prayer as it will be distracting but one should learn a simple clear cut halacha like the chumra of women to wait seven clean days after seeing any blood or a leniency for tithes in order to feed one’s animals without having to tithe the food or a law regarding misuse of consecrated property regarding blood of a sanctified animal.  One should part with a friend with words of Torah. When Rabbi Akiva prayed with the community, he shortened his prayer so as not to inconvenience people and when he prayed alone, he bows many times. Many things are learned regarding prayer from Daniel, Shlomo and Chana. The gemara derives all sorts of laws about behavior and prayer from Chana. They also teach about sensitivity to barren women and how difficult their struggles are. According to one explanation, Chana threatened God that she would become suspected of being a Sotah in order to get the reward given to an excused woman who is innocent of bearing children.

תוכן זה תורגם גם ל: עברית

אייתי כסא דמוקרא בת ארבע מאה זוזי ותבר קמיהו ואעציבו

He brought a valuable cup worth four hundred zuz and broke it before them and they became sad.

רב אשי עבד הילולא לבריה חזנהו לרבנן דהוו קא בדחי טובא אייתי כסא דזוגיתא חיורתא ותבר קמיהו ואעציבו

The Gemara also relates: Rav Ashi made a wedding feast for his son and he saw the Sages, who were excessively joyous. He brought a cup of extremely valuable white glass and broke it before them, and they became sad.

אמרו ליה רבנן לרב המנונא זוטי בהלולא דמר בריה דרבינא לישרי לן מר אמר להו וי לן דמיתנן וי לן דמיתנן אמרי ליה אנן מה נעני בתרך אמר להו הי תורה והי מצוה דמגנו עלן

Similarly, the Gemara relates: The Sages said to Rav Hamnuna Zuti at the wedding feast of Mar, son of Ravina: Let the Master sing for us. Since he believed that the merriment had become excessive, he said to them, singing: Woe unto us, for we shall die, woe unto us, for we shall die. They said to him: What shall we respond after you? What is the chorus of the song? He said to them, you should respond: Where is Torah and where is mitzva that protect us?

אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אסור לאדם שימלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה שנאמר אז ימלא שחוק פינו ולשוננו רנה אימתי בזמן שיאמרו בגוים הגדיל ה׳ לעשות עם אלה אמרו עליו על ריש לקיש שמימיו לא מלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה מכי שמעה מרבי יוחנן רביה:

In a similar vein, Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: One is forbidden to fill his mouth with mirth in this world, as long as we are in exile (ge’onim), as it is stated: “When the Lord returns the captivity of Zion we will be as dreamers” (Psalms 126:1). Only “then will our mouths fill with laughter and our lips with song” (Psalms 126:2). When will that joyous era arrive? When “they will say among nations, the Lord has done great things with these” (Psalms 126:2). They said about Reish Lakish that throughout his life he did not fill his mouth with laughter in this world once he heard this statement from his teacher, Rabbi Yoḥanan.

תנו רבנן אין עומדין להתפלל לא מתוך דין ולא מתוך דבר הלכה אלא מתוך הלכה פסוקה

We learned in the mishna that it is appropriate to stand and begin to pray from an atmosphere of gravity. Regarding this, the Sages taught: One may neither stand and begin to pray, directly from involvement in judgment nor directly from deliberation over the ruling in a matter of halakha, as his preoccupation with the judgment or the halakhic ruling will distract him from prayer. Rather it is appropriate to pray directly from involvement in the study of a universally accepted conclusive halakha that leaves no room for further deliberation and will not distract him during prayer.

והיכי דמי הלכה פסוקה

And the Gemara asks: What is an example of a conclusive halakha?

אמר אביי כי הא דרבי זירא דאמר רבי זירא בנות ישראל החמירו על עצמן שאפילו רואות טיפת דם כחרדל יושבת עליה שבעה נקיים

The Gemara offers several examples: Abaye said: One like this halakha of Rabbi Zeira, as Rabbi Zeira said: The daughters of Israel were stringent with themselves; to the extent that even if they see a drop of blood corresponding to the size of a mustard seed she sits seven clean days for it. By Torah law, a woman who witnesses the emission of blood during the eleven days following her fixed menstrual period is not considered a menstruating woman; rather she immerses herself and is purified the next day. However, the women of Israel accepted the stringency upon themselves that if they see any blood whatsoever, they act as it if were the blood of a zava, which obligates her to count seven more clean days before becoming ritually pure (see Leviticus 15:25).

רבא אמר כי הא דרב הושעיא דאמר רב הושעיא מערים אדם על תבואתו ומכניסה במוץ שלה כדי שתהא בהמתו אוכלת ופטורה מן המעשר

Citing an additional example of a conclusive halakha, Rava said: One like this halakha of Rav Hoshaya, as Rav Hoshaya said: A person may employ artifice to circumvent obligations incumbent upon him in dealing with his grain and bring it into the courtyard in its chaff so that his animal will eat from it, and the grain is exempt from tithes. Halakha dictates that one is obligated to tithe grain that has been threshed and piled, regardless of the ultimate purpose for which the grain was intended. By Torah law, one is exempt from tithing grain that was not threshed and is therefore still in its chaff. By rabbinic law, one is prohibited from eating this grain in the framework of a meal. Feeding animals is permitted without first tithing that grain.

ואיבעית אימא כי הא דרב הונא דאמר רב הונא אמר רבי זעירא המקיז דם בבהמת קדשים אסור בהנאה ומועלין בו

And if you wish, say instead yet another example of a conclusive halakha, which is the recommended prelude to prayer. One like this halakha of Rav Huna, as Rav Huna said that Rabbi Zeira said: One who lets blood from a consecrated animal that was consecrated as a sacrifice; deriving benefit from that blood is prohibited. Although blood of an offering that was sprinkled on the altar is not considered Temple property, nevertheless, deriving benefit from the blood of a living, consecrated animal is considered prohibited use of Temple property. In so doing, one misuses property consecrated to the Temple, and as in any other case of misusing Temple property, if he did so unwittingly, he is liable to bring a guilt-offering.

רבנן עבדי כמתניתין רב אשי עביד כברייתא

It is related that the Sages acted in accordance with the opinion of our mishna and rose to pray from an atmosphere of gravity; Rav Ashi acted in accordance with the opinion of the baraita and preceded his prayer with a conclusive halakha.

תנו רבנן אין עומדין להתפלל לא מתוך עצבות ולא מתוך עצלות ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך שמחה של מצוה

On the topic of proper preparation for prayer, the Sages taught: One may neither stand to pray from an atmosphere of sorrow nor from an atmosphere of laziness, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of conversation, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of purposeless matters. Rather, one should approach prayer from an atmosphere imbued with the joy of a mitzva.

וכן לא יפטר אדם מחברו לא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך דבר הלכה שכן מצינו בנביאים הראשונים שסיימו דבריהם בדברי שבח ותנחומים

Similarly, a person should neither take leave of another from an atmosphere of conversation, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of purposeless matters. Rather, one should take leave of another from involvement in a matter of halakha. As we found in the books of the Bible dealing with the early prophets, that they would conclude their talks with words of praise and consolation.

וכן תנא מרי בר בריה דרב הונא בריה דרבי ירמיה בר אבא אל יפטר אדם מחבירו אלא מתוך דבר הלכה שמתוך כך זוכרהו

And so Mari, the grandson of Rav Huna, son of Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba, taught in a baraita: One should only take leave of another from involvement in a matter of halakha, so that, consequently, he will remember him; whenever he recalls the one from whom he took leave, he will think well of him because of the new halakha that he taught him (Eliyahu Zuta).

כי הא דרב כהנא אלוייה לרב שימי בר אשי מפום נהרא עד בי צניתא דבבל כי מטא להתם אמר ליה מר ודאי דאמרי אינשי הני צניתא דבבל איתנהו מאדם הראשון ועד השתא

As in the incident related by the Gemara that Rav Kahana accompanied Rav Shimi bar Ashi from the town of Pum Nahara to the palm grove in Babylonia. When he arrived there, Rav Kahana said to Rav Shimi bar Ashi: Master, what is meant by that which people say: These palm trees of Babylonia have been in this place from the time of Adam the first man until now?

אמר ליה אדכרתן מילתא דרבי יוסי ברבי חנינא דאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב בארץ אשר לא עבר בה איש ולא ישב אדם שם וכי מאחר דלא עבר היאך ישב אלא לומר לך כל ארץ שגזר עליה אדם הראשון לישוב נתישבה וכל ארץ שלא גזר עליה אדם הראשון לישוב לא נתישבה

Rav Shimi bar Ashi said to him: You reminded me of something that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said, as Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “In a land through which no man has passed and where no person [adam] has settled” (Jeremiah 2:6)? This verse is difficult; since it is a land through which no person has passed, how could anyone have settled there permanently? The statement that “no person has settled there” is redundant. Rather, this verse comes to teach that every land through which Adam the first man passed and decreed that it would be settled was settled, and every land through which Adam passed and decreed that it would not be settled was not settled. Based on this, what people say is true, and the palm trees of Babylonia are from the time of Adam, meaning that from the time of Adam this land was decreed to be suitable for growing palm trees (Me’iri). The Gemara cited an example of how one who parts from another with Torah learns something new.

רב מרדכי אלוייה לרב שימי בר אשי מהגרוניא ועד בי כיפי ואמרי לה עד בי דורא:

Having mentioned the mitzva for a student to accompany his Rabbi, the Gemara relates that Rav Mordekhai accompanied his mentor, Rav Shimi bar Ashi, a great distance, from the city of Hagronya to Bei Keifei; and some say that he accompanied from Hagronya to Bei Dura.

תנו רבנן המתפלל צריך שיכוין את לבו לשמים אבא שאול אומר סימן לדבר תכין לבם תקשיב אזנך

Returning to the topic of preparation for prayer, the Sages taught in the Tosefta: One who prays must focus his heart toward Heaven. Abba Shaul says: An indication of the importance of this matter is stated in the verse: “The desire of the humble You have heard, Lord; direct their hearts, Your ear will listen” (Psalms 10:17). In other words, if one focuses his heart in prayer as a result of God directing his heart, his prayer will be accepted as God’s ear will listen.

תניא אמר רבי יהודה כך היה מנהגו של רבי עקיבא כשהיה מתפלל עם הציבור היה מקצר ועולה מפני טורח צבור וכשהיה מתפלל בינו לבין עצמו אדם מניחו בזוית זו ומוצאו בזוית אחרת וכל כך למה מפני כריעות והשתחויות:

With regard to one’s intent during prayer, it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: This was the custom of Rabbi Akiva, when he would pray with the congregation he would shorten his prayer and go up, due to his desire to avoid being an encumbrance on the congregation by making them wait for him to finish his prayer. But when he prayed by himself he would extend his prayers to an extent that a person would leave Rabbi Akiva alone in one corner of the study hall and later find him still praying in another corner. And why would Rabbi Akiva move about so much? Because of his bows and prostrations. Rabbi Akiva’s enthusiasm in prayer was so great, that as a result of his bows and prostrations, he would unwittingly move from one corner to the other (Rav Hai Gaon).

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא לעולם יתפלל אדם בבית שיש בו חלונות שנאמר וכוין פתיחן ליה וגו׳

Many halakhot are derived from evoking the prayers of biblical characters. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said: One should always pray in a house with windows, as it is stated regarding Daniel: “And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went to his house. In his attic there were open windows facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt upon his knees and prayed and gave thanks before his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:11).

יכול יתפלל אדם כל היום כולו כבר מפורש על ידי דניאל וזמנין תלתא וגו׳

In the Tosefta, additional halakhot were derived from Daniel’s prayer. I might have thought that one could pray as many times as he wishes throughout the entire day; it has already been articulated by Daniel, with regard to whom it is stated: “And three times a day he knelt upon his knees and prayed.” This teaches that there are fixed prayers.

יכול משבא לגולה הוחלה כבר נאמר די הוא עבד מן קדמת דנא

I might have thought that this practice of fixed prayer began only when he came to the Babylonian exile; it was stated: “Just as he had done before.”

יכול יתפלל אדם לכל רוח שירצה תלמוד לומר (לקבל) נגד ירושלם

Further, I might have thought that one may pray facing any direction he wishes; the verse states: The appropriate direction for prayer is “facing Jerusalem.”

יכול יהא כוללן בבת אחת כבר מפורש על ידי דוד דכתיב ערב ובקר וצהרים וגו׳

Daniel does not describe how these three prayers are distributed during the day. I might have thought that one may include all three prayers at one time; it has already been articulated by David that one may not do so, as it is written: “Evening and morning and noon, I pray and cry aloud and He hears my voice” (Psalms 55:18).

יכול ישמיע קולו בתפלתו כבר מפורש על ידי חנה שנאמר וקולה לא ישמע

Furthermore, I might have thought that one may make his voice heard in his Amida prayer; it has already been articulated by Hannah in her prayer, as it is stated: “And Hannah spoke in her heart, only her lips moved and her voice could not be heard” (I Samuel 1:13).

יכול ישאל אדם צרכיו ואחר כך יתפלל כבר מפורש על ידי שלמה שנאמר לשמע אל הרנה ואל התפלה רנה זו תפלה תפלה זו בקשה אין אומר דבר בקשה אחר אמת ויציב אבל אחר התפלה אפילו כסדר ודוי של יום הכפורים אומר

Halakhot regarding the order of the prayers were also learned from the prayers of biblical characters. I might have thought that one should request his own needs first, and afterwards recite prayers of thanksgiving and praise; it has already been articulated by Solomon that this is not so, as in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Holy Temple it is stated: “To hear the song and the prayer that Your servant prays before You today” (I Kings 8:28). In this verse, song is prayer in the sense of thanks and praise, and prayer is one’s request of his personal needs. Therefore, one who is praying does not speak matters of request after he began to recite emet veyatziv prior to the Amida prayer, which is the essence of prayer. Rather, he begins with praise in the first three blessings of the Amida prayer, and only thereafter does he include requests for his needs. But after the Amida prayer there is no limit. If he desires to recite even the equivalent of the order of the confession of Yom Kippur, he may recite it.

איתמר נמי אמר רב חייא בר אשי אמר רב אף על פי שאמרו שואל אדם צרכיו בשומע תפלה אם בא לומר אחר תפלתו אפילו כסדר של יום הכפורים אומר:

This was also stated by an amora; Rav Ḥiyya bar Ashi said that Rav said: Although the Sages said that one requests his personal needs in the blessing: Who listens to prayer, that is with regard to one who wishes to do so as part of the Amida prayer. If he comes to add and recite additional requests after completing his Amida prayer, even if his personal requests are the equivalent of the order of the confession of Yom Kippur, he may recite them.

אמר רב המנונא כמה הלכתא גברוותא איכא למשמע מהני קראי דחנה וחנה היא מדברת על לבה מכאן למתפלל צריך שיכוין לבו רק שפתיה נעות מכאן למתפלל שיחתוך בשפתיו וקולה לא ישמע מכאן שאסור להגביה קולו בתפלתו ויחשבה עלי לשכרה מכאן ששכור אסור להתפלל

Rav Hamnuna said: How many significant halakhot can be derived from these verses of the prayer of Hannah? As it says: “And Hannah spoke in her heart, only her lips moved and her voice could not be heard, so Eli thought her to be drunk” (I Samuel 1:13). The Gemara elaborates: From that which is stated here: “And Hannah spoke in her heart,” the halakha that one who prays must focus his heart on his prayer is derived. And from that which is stated here: “Only her lips moved,” the halakha that one who prays must enunciate the words with his lips, not only contemplate them in his heart, is derived. From that which is written here: “And her voice could not be heard,” the halakha that one is forbidden to raise his voice in his Amida prayer as it must be recited silently. From the continuation of the verse here: “So Eli thought her to be drunk,” the halakha that a drunk person is forbidden to pray. That is why he rebuked her.

ויאמר אליה עלי עד מתי תשתכרין וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לרואה בחברו

On the subject of Eli’s rebuke of Hannah, as it is stated: “And Eli said to her: How long will you remain drunk? Remove your wine from yourself” (I Samuel 1:14); Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that one who sees in another

דבר שאינו הגון צריך להוכיחו ותען חנה ותאמר לא אדוני אמר עולא ואיתימא רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה בדבר זה ולא רוח הקודש שורה עליך שאתה חושדני בדבר זה

an unseemly matter, he must reprimand him, is derived. “And Hannah answered and she said no, my master, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and I have drunk neither wine nor liquor, but I pour out my soul before the Lord” (I Samuel 1:15). Regarding the words: “No, my master,” Ulla, and some say Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said that she said to him, in an allusion: With regard to this matter, you are not a master, and the Divine Spirit does not rest upon you, as you falsely suspect me of this.

איכא דאמרי הכי אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה לאו איכא שכינה ורוח הקודש גבך שדנתני לכף חובה ולא דנתני לכף זכות מי לא ידעת דאשה קשת רוח אנוכי

Some say another version of her response. She said to him, questioning: Aren’t you a master? Aren’t the Divine Presence and Divine Spirit with you that you judged me to be guilty, and you did not judge me to be innocent? Didn’t you know that I am a woman of distressed spirit?

ויין ושכר לא שתיתי אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לנחשד בדבר שאין בו שצריך להודיעו

With regard to Hannah’s explanation that “I have drunk neither wine nor liquor,” Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who is suspected of something of which he is not guilty cannot suffice merely with the personal knowledge of his innocence, but must inform the one who suspects him that he is innocent and clear himself of suspicion.

אל תתן את אמתך לפני בת בליעל אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לשכור שמתפלל כאילו עובד עבודה זרה כתיב הכא לפני בת בליעל וכתיב התם יצאו אנשים בני בליעל מקרבך מה להלן עבודה זרה אף כאן עבודה זרה

“Do not take your maidservant as a wicked woman [bat beliya’al] for out of the abundance of my complaint and anger have I spoken until now” (I Samuel 1:16). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that when a drunk person prays it is as if he engaged in idol worship is derived as it is written here that Hannah, suspected of praying while drunk, defends herself and says: “Do not take your maidservant as a bat beliya’al”; and it is written there, with regard to a city that has been instigated to engage in idol worship: Benei beliya’al have gone out from your midst and have lured the inhabitants of their city, saying let us go and serve other gods which we have not known” (Deuteronomy 13:14). By means of this verbal analogy it is derived: Just as there, in the case of the idolatrous city, the term beliya’al indicates idol worship, so too here, in the case of one who prays drunk, beliya’al indicates idol worship.

ויען עלי ויאמר לכי לשלום אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לחושד את חברו בדבר שאין בו שצריך לפייסו ולא עוד אלא שצריך לברכו שנאמר ואלהי ישראל יתן את שלתך:

The verse continues: “And Eli answered and said: May you go in peace” (I Samuel 1:17). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who suspects another of something that he has not done, he must appease him. Moreover, the one who suspected him must bless him, as Eli continued and offered Hannah a blessing, as it is stated: “And may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of Him” (I Samuel 1:17).

ותדר נדר ותאמר ה׳ צבאות אמר רבי אלעזר מיום שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא את עולמו לא היה אדם שקראו להקדוש ברוך הוא צבאות עד שבאתה חנה וקראתו צבאות

Incidental to this discussion of Hannah’s prayer, the Gemara explores related topics. In her prayer, Hannah said: “And she swore an oath and said, Lord of Hosts [Tzeva’ot] if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant a male child, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall be no razor come upon his head” (I Samuel 1:11). Rabbi Elazar said: From the day that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created His world, there was no person who called the Holy One, Blessed be He, Lord of Hosts until Hannah came and called Him Lord of Hosts. This is the first time in the Bible that God is referred to by this name.

אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מכל צבאי צבאות שבראת בעולמך קשה בעיניך שתתן לי בן אחד

Rabbi Elazar explains that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, are You not the Lord of the Hosts, and of all of the hosts and hosts of creations that You created in Your world, is it difficult in Your eyes to grant me one son?

משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שעשה סעודה לעבדיו בא עני אחד ועמד על הפתח אמר להם תנו לי פרוסה אחת ולא השגיחו עליו דחק ונכנס אצל המלך אמר לו אדוני המלך מכל סעודה שעשית קשה בעיניך ליתן לי פרוסה אחת:

The Gemara suggests a parable: To what is this similar? It is similar to a flesh and blood king who made a feast for his servants. A poor person came and stood at the door. He said to them: Give me one slice of bread! And they paid him no attention. He pushed and entered before the king. He said to him: My lord, the King, from this entire feast that you have prepared, is it so difficult in your eyes to give me a single slice of bread?

אם ראה תראה אמר רבי אלעזר אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם אם ראה מוטב ואם לאו תראה

As for the double language in the verse, “if you will look upon [im ra’o tireh],” Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, if You will look upon [ra’o] me now, fine, and if not, in any case You will see [tireh].

אלך ואסתתר בפני אלקנה בעלי וכיון דמסתתרנא משקו לי מי סוטה ואי אתה עושה תורתך פלסתר שנאמר ונקתה ונזרעה זרע

What was Hannah threatening? She said: I will go and seclude myself with another man before Elkana, my husband. Since I secluded myself, they will force me to drink the sota water to determine whether or not I have committed adultery. I will be found innocent, and since You will not make Your Torah false [pelaster], I will bear children. With regards to a woman who is falsely suspected of adultery and drank the sota water, the Torah says: “And if the woman was not defiled, but was pure, then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” (Numbers 5:28).

הניחא למאן דאמר אם היתה עקרה נפקדת שפיר אלא למאן דאמר אם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח נקבות יולדת זכרים שחורים יולדת לבנים קצרים יולדת ארוכים מאי איכא למימר

However, Rabbi Elazar’s opinion works out well according to the one who said that the verse means: If she were barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children. But according to the one who said that the verse means that childbearing will be easier and more successful, i.e., if she had previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, or if she had previously given birth to daughters, she now gives birth to sons, or if she had previously given birth to black children, considered to be unattractive, she now gives birth to fair children, or if she had previously given birth to short, weak children, she gives birth to tall, strong children, what can be said?

דתניא ונקתה ונזרעה זרע מלמד שאם היתה עקרה נפקדת דברי רבי ישמעאל אמר ליה רבי עקיבא אם כן ילכו כל העקרות כולן ויסתתרו וזו שלא קלקלה נפקדת אלא מלמד שאם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח קצרים יולדת ארוכים שחורים יולדת לבנים אחד יולדת שנים

As it was taught in a baraita that the tanna’im disputed the interpretation of the verse in Numbers: “Then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” teaches that if she was barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children; this is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Akiva said to him: If so, all barren women will go and seclude themselves with men who are not their husbands, and any woman who did not commit the sin of adultery will be remembered by God and granted children. Rather, the verse teaches that this is merely a promise for greater ease in childbirth; if she has previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, if she has previously given birth to short children, she gives birth to tall children, if she has previously given birth to black children, she now gives birth to fair children, if she has previously given birth to one child, she now gives birth to two children.

מאי אם ראה תראה דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם:

According to Rabbi Akiva’s explanation, what is derived from the double language uttered by Hannah: Im ra’o tireh? The Torah spoke in the language of men, meaning that this double language is not extraordinary and nothing may be derived from it. It is common biblical vernacular.

בעני אמתך אל תשכח את אמתך ונתתה לאמתך

In the oath/prayer uttered by Hannah, she refers to herself as “Your servant” [amatekha] three times: “The affliction of Your maidservant…and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant” (I Samuel 1:11).

אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שלש אמתות הללו למה אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שלשה בדקי מיתה בראת באשה ואמרי לה שלשה דבקי מיתה ואלו הן נדה וחלה והדלקת הנר כלום עברתי על אחת מהן:

Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Why are these three maidservants [amatot] cited in the verse? They are cited to teach that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, You have created three crucibles potentially leading to death in a woman, where she is particularly vulnerable. Alternatively, some say: Master of the Universe, You have created three accelerants of death in a woman. They are mitzvot that, as a rule, pertain to women: Observing the halakhot of a menstruating woman, separating ḥalla from dough, and lighting Shabbat candles. Have I ever violated one of them? Hannah attests to her status as God’s maidservant [ama]. The reference to these three mitzvot is drawn from the etymological similarity between amatekha, your maidservant, and mita, death.

ונתת לאמתך זרע אנשים

Later in her prayer, Hannah says: “And You will grant Your servant an offspring of men.”

מאי זרע אנשים אמר רב גברא בגוברין ושמואל אמר זרע שמושח שני אנשים ומאן אינון שאול ודוד ורבי יוחנן אמר זרע ששקול כשני אנשים ומאן אינון משה ואהרן שנאמר משה ואהרן בכהניו ושמואל בקוראי שמו ורבנן אמרי זרע אנשים זרע שמובלע בין אנשים

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “an offspring of men”? Rav said: Hannah prayed for a man among men, a son who would be outstanding and exceptional. And Shmuel said: This expression means an offspring who will anoint two men to royalty. And who were they? Saul and David. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Hannah prayed that she would bear an offspring who would be the equivalent of two of the world’s greatest men. And who were they? Moses and Aaron. As it is stated: “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call His name” (Psalms 99:6). In this verse, Hannah’s son, Samuel, is equated to Moses and Aaron. And the Rabbis say: “An offspring of men”: Hannah prayed for an offspring who would be inconspicuous among men, that he would not stand out in any way.

כי אתא רב דימי אמר לא ארוך ולא גוץ ולא קטן ולא אלם ולא צחור ולא גיחור ולא חכם ולא טפש:

The Gemara relates: When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said in explanation: Hannah prayed that her son would not be conspicuous among men; neither too tall nor too short; neither too small nor too fat; neither too white nor too red; neither too smart nor too stupid.

אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מכאן שאסור לישב בתוך ארבע אמות של תפלה:

When Hannah came to the Temple with her son Samuel, she told Eli: “My lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord” (I Samuel 1:26). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: From here the halakha that it is forbidden to sit within four cubits of one who is praying is derived. As the verse says: “Who stood here with you,” indicating that Eli stood alongside Hannah because she was praying.

אל הנער הזה התפללתי אמר רבי אלעזר שמואל מורה הלכה לפני רבו היה שנאמר וישחטו את הפר ויביאו את הנער אל עלי משום דוישחטו את הפר הביאו הנער אל עלי

Additionally, Hannah’s emphasis in speaking to Eli, “for this youth I prayed” (I Samuel 1:27), indicates that she came to protect him from danger. As Rabbi Elazar said: Samuel was one who taught halakha in the presence of his teacher. Hannah wanted to pray that he not be punished by death at the hand of Heaven for his transgression, as it is stated: “And they slaughtered the cow and they brought the youth to Eli” (I Samuel 1:25). This verse is puzzling. Because they slaughtered the cow, therefore, they brought the youth to Eli? What does one have to do with the next?

אלא אמר להן עלי קראו כהן ליתי ולשחוט חזנהו שמואל דהוו מהדרי בתר כהן למישחט אמר להו למה לכו לאהדורי בתר כהן למישחט שחיטה בזר כשרה אייתוהו לקמיה דעלי אמר ליה מנא לך הא אמר ליה מי כתיב ושחט הכהן והקריבו הכהנים כתיב מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה מכאן לשחיטה שכשרה בזר

Rather, this is what happened: Eli said to those who brought the offering: Call a priest; he will come and slaughter the offering. Samuel saw them looking for a priest to slaughter the animal. He said to them: Why do you need to look for a priest to slaughter it? Slaughter of an offering performed by a non-priest is valid. They brought him before Eli to clarify his statement. Eli said to him: How do you know this? Samuel said to him: Is it written in the Torah: And the priest shall slaughter indicating that the offering may only be slaughtered by a priest? It is written: “And the priests shall offer,” only from the stage of receiving the blood in the bowls and onward is it a mitzva incumbent upon priests alone. From here the halakha that slaughter by a non-priest is acceptable is derived.

אמר ליה מימר שפיר קא אמרת מיהו מורה הלכה בפני רבך את וכל המורה הלכה בפני רבו חייב מיתה אתיא חנה וקא צווחה קמיה אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה וגו׳ אמר לה שבקי לי דאענשיה ובעינא רחמי ויהיב לך רבא מיניה אמרה ליה אל הנער הזה התפללתי:

Eli said to Samuel: You have spoken well and your statement is correct, but nevertheless, you are one who issued a halakhic ruling in the presence of your teacher, and anyone who issues a halakhic ruling in the presence of his teacher, even if the particular halakha is correct, is liable for death at the hand of Heaven for showing contempt for his teacher. Hannah came and shouted before him: “I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord;” do not punish the child who was born of my prayers. He said to her: Let me punish him, and I will pray for mercy, that the Holy One, Blessed be He, will grant you a son who will be greater than this one. She said to him: “For this youth I prayed” and I want no other.

וחנה היא מדברת על לבה אמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא על עסקי לבה אמרה לפניו רבונו של עולם כל מה שבראת באשה לא בראת דבר אחד לבטלה עינים לראות ואזנים לשמוע חוטם להריח פה לדבר ידים לעשות בהם מלאכה רגלים להלך בהן דדים להניק בהן דדים הללו שנתת על לבי למה לא להניק בהן תן לי בן ואניק בהן:

The Gemara continues to deal with Hannah’s prayer. It is said: “And Hannah spoke on her heart.” Several interpretations are offered to explain her use of the phrase “on her heart” instead of the common phrase to her heart (Maharsha). Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Hannah spoke to God concerning matters of her heart. She said before Him: Master of the Universe, of all the organs You created in a woman, You have not created one in vain. Every organ fulfills its purpose; eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to smell, a mouth to speak, hands with which to perform labor, feet with which to walk, breasts with which to nurse. If so, these breasts that You placed upon my heart, to what purpose did You place them? Was it not in order to nurse with them? Grant me a son and I will nurse with them.

ואמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא כל היושב בתענית בשבת קורעים לו גזר דינו של שבעים שנה ואף על פי כן חוזרין ונפרעין ממנו דין עונג שבת

Tangentially, the Gemara also cites an additional statement that Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Anyone who sits in observance of a fast on Shabbat, his merit is great and they tear up and repeal his sentence of seventy years; because everyone is enjoying himself and a feast is prepared, it is more difficult to fast on Shabbat than on any other day. Nevertheless, they then hold him accountable for failing to fulfill the halakha of delight of Shabbat.

מאי תקנתיה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ליתיב תעניתא לתעניתא:

The Gemara asks: What is his remedy to atone and avoid punishment? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: He must sit in observance of another fast on a weekday to atone for the fast on Shabbat.

ואמר רבי אלעזר חנה הטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ותתפלל על ה׳ מלמד שהטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה

After explaining the uncommon expression, on her heart, the Gemara cites an additional statement in the matter of Hannah. And Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah spoke impertinently toward God on High. As it is stated: “And she prayed onto the Lord,” as opposed to the common phrase: To the Lord. This teaches that she spoke impertinently toward on High.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אליהו הטיח דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ואתה הסבת את לבם אחרנית אמר רבי שמואל בר רבי יצחק מנין שחזר הקדוש ברוך הוא והודה לו לאליהו

And on a similar note, Rabbi Elazar said that Elijah spoke impertinently toward God on High as well in his prayer at Mount Carmel, as it is stated: “Answer me, Lord, answer me, that this people will know that You are the Lord, God, and You have turned their hearts backward” (I Kings 18:37), claiming that God caused Israel to sin. On this topic, Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where do we know that the Holy One, Blessed be He, ultimately conceded to Elijah that he was correct?

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No, of course Hannah wasn’t drunk

In which we learn to rebuke when appropriate and to stand up for ourselves in the face of rebuke, when...

Berakhot 31

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Berakhot 31

אייתי כסא דמוקרא בת ארבע מאה זוזי ותבר קמיהו ואעציבו

He brought a valuable cup worth four hundred zuz and broke it before them and they became sad.

רב אשי עבד הילולא לבריה חזנהו לרבנן דהוו קא בדחי טובא אייתי כסא דזוגיתא חיורתא ותבר קמיהו ואעציבו

The Gemara also relates: Rav Ashi made a wedding feast for his son and he saw the Sages, who were excessively joyous. He brought a cup of extremely valuable white glass and broke it before them, and they became sad.

אמרו ליה רבנן לרב המנונא זוטי בהלולא דמר בריה דרבינא לישרי לן מר אמר להו וי לן דמיתנן וי לן דמיתנן אמרי ליה אנן מה נעני בתרך אמר להו הי תורה והי מצוה דמגנו עלן

Similarly, the Gemara relates: The Sages said to Rav Hamnuna Zuti at the wedding feast of Mar, son of Ravina: Let the Master sing for us. Since he believed that the merriment had become excessive, he said to them, singing: Woe unto us, for we shall die, woe unto us, for we shall die. They said to him: What shall we respond after you? What is the chorus of the song? He said to them, you should respond: Where is Torah and where is mitzva that protect us?

אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אסור לאדם שימלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה שנאמר אז ימלא שחוק פינו ולשוננו רנה אימתי בזמן שיאמרו בגוים הגדיל ה׳ לעשות עם אלה אמרו עליו על ריש לקיש שמימיו לא מלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה מכי שמעה מרבי יוחנן רביה:

In a similar vein, Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: One is forbidden to fill his mouth with mirth in this world, as long as we are in exile (ge’onim), as it is stated: “When the Lord returns the captivity of Zion we will be as dreamers” (Psalms 126:1). Only “then will our mouths fill with laughter and our lips with song” (Psalms 126:2). When will that joyous era arrive? When “they will say among nations, the Lord has done great things with these” (Psalms 126:2). They said about Reish Lakish that throughout his life he did not fill his mouth with laughter in this world once he heard this statement from his teacher, Rabbi Yoḥanan.

תנו רבנן אין עומדין להתפלל לא מתוך דין ולא מתוך דבר הלכה אלא מתוך הלכה פסוקה

We learned in the mishna that it is appropriate to stand and begin to pray from an atmosphere of gravity. Regarding this, the Sages taught: One may neither stand and begin to pray, directly from involvement in judgment nor directly from deliberation over the ruling in a matter of halakha, as his preoccupation with the judgment or the halakhic ruling will distract him from prayer. Rather it is appropriate to pray directly from involvement in the study of a universally accepted conclusive halakha that leaves no room for further deliberation and will not distract him during prayer.

והיכי דמי הלכה פסוקה

And the Gemara asks: What is an example of a conclusive halakha?

אמר אביי כי הא דרבי זירא דאמר רבי זירא בנות ישראל החמירו על עצמן שאפילו רואות טיפת דם כחרדל יושבת עליה שבעה נקיים

The Gemara offers several examples: Abaye said: One like this halakha of Rabbi Zeira, as Rabbi Zeira said: The daughters of Israel were stringent with themselves; to the extent that even if they see a drop of blood corresponding to the size of a mustard seed she sits seven clean days for it. By Torah law, a woman who witnesses the emission of blood during the eleven days following her fixed menstrual period is not considered a menstruating woman; rather she immerses herself and is purified the next day. However, the women of Israel accepted the stringency upon themselves that if they see any blood whatsoever, they act as it if were the blood of a zava, which obligates her to count seven more clean days before becoming ritually pure (see Leviticus 15:25).

רבא אמר כי הא דרב הושעיא דאמר רב הושעיא מערים אדם על תבואתו ומכניסה במוץ שלה כדי שתהא בהמתו אוכלת ופטורה מן המעשר

Citing an additional example of a conclusive halakha, Rava said: One like this halakha of Rav Hoshaya, as Rav Hoshaya said: A person may employ artifice to circumvent obligations incumbent upon him in dealing with his grain and bring it into the courtyard in its chaff so that his animal will eat from it, and the grain is exempt from tithes. Halakha dictates that one is obligated to tithe grain that has been threshed and piled, regardless of the ultimate purpose for which the grain was intended. By Torah law, one is exempt from tithing grain that was not threshed and is therefore still in its chaff. By rabbinic law, one is prohibited from eating this grain in the framework of a meal. Feeding animals is permitted without first tithing that grain.

ואיבעית אימא כי הא דרב הונא דאמר רב הונא אמר רבי זעירא המקיז דם בבהמת קדשים אסור בהנאה ומועלין בו

And if you wish, say instead yet another example of a conclusive halakha, which is the recommended prelude to prayer. One like this halakha of Rav Huna, as Rav Huna said that Rabbi Zeira said: One who lets blood from a consecrated animal that was consecrated as a sacrifice; deriving benefit from that blood is prohibited. Although blood of an offering that was sprinkled on the altar is not considered Temple property, nevertheless, deriving benefit from the blood of a living, consecrated animal is considered prohibited use of Temple property. In so doing, one misuses property consecrated to the Temple, and as in any other case of misusing Temple property, if he did so unwittingly, he is liable to bring a guilt-offering.

רבנן עבדי כמתניתין רב אשי עביד כברייתא

It is related that the Sages acted in accordance with the opinion of our mishna and rose to pray from an atmosphere of gravity; Rav Ashi acted in accordance with the opinion of the baraita and preceded his prayer with a conclusive halakha.

תנו רבנן אין עומדין להתפלל לא מתוך עצבות ולא מתוך עצלות ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך שמחה של מצוה

On the topic of proper preparation for prayer, the Sages taught: One may neither stand to pray from an atmosphere of sorrow nor from an atmosphere of laziness, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of conversation, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of purposeless matters. Rather, one should approach prayer from an atmosphere imbued with the joy of a mitzva.

וכן לא יפטר אדם מחברו לא מתוך שיחה ולא מתוך שחוק ולא מתוך קלות ראש ולא מתוך דברים בטלים אלא מתוך דבר הלכה שכן מצינו בנביאים הראשונים שסיימו דבריהם בדברי שבח ותנחומים

Similarly, a person should neither take leave of another from an atmosphere of conversation, nor from an atmosphere of laughter, nor from an atmosphere of frivolity, nor from an atmosphere of purposeless matters. Rather, one should take leave of another from involvement in a matter of halakha. As we found in the books of the Bible dealing with the early prophets, that they would conclude their talks with words of praise and consolation.

וכן תנא מרי בר בריה דרב הונא בריה דרבי ירמיה בר אבא אל יפטר אדם מחבירו אלא מתוך דבר הלכה שמתוך כך זוכרהו

And so Mari, the grandson of Rav Huna, son of Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba, taught in a baraita: One should only take leave of another from involvement in a matter of halakha, so that, consequently, he will remember him; whenever he recalls the one from whom he took leave, he will think well of him because of the new halakha that he taught him (Eliyahu Zuta).

כי הא דרב כהנא אלוייה לרב שימי בר אשי מפום נהרא עד בי צניתא דבבל כי מטא להתם אמר ליה מר ודאי דאמרי אינשי הני צניתא דבבל איתנהו מאדם הראשון ועד השתא

As in the incident related by the Gemara that Rav Kahana accompanied Rav Shimi bar Ashi from the town of Pum Nahara to the palm grove in Babylonia. When he arrived there, Rav Kahana said to Rav Shimi bar Ashi: Master, what is meant by that which people say: These palm trees of Babylonia have been in this place from the time of Adam the first man until now?

אמר ליה אדכרתן מילתא דרבי יוסי ברבי חנינא דאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב בארץ אשר לא עבר בה איש ולא ישב אדם שם וכי מאחר דלא עבר היאך ישב אלא לומר לך כל ארץ שגזר עליה אדם הראשון לישוב נתישבה וכל ארץ שלא גזר עליה אדם הראשון לישוב לא נתישבה

Rav Shimi bar Ashi said to him: You reminded me of something that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said, as Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “In a land through which no man has passed and where no person [adam] has settled” (Jeremiah 2:6)? This verse is difficult; since it is a land through which no person has passed, how could anyone have settled there permanently? The statement that “no person has settled there” is redundant. Rather, this verse comes to teach that every land through which Adam the first man passed and decreed that it would be settled was settled, and every land through which Adam passed and decreed that it would not be settled was not settled. Based on this, what people say is true, and the palm trees of Babylonia are from the time of Adam, meaning that from the time of Adam this land was decreed to be suitable for growing palm trees (Me’iri). The Gemara cited an example of how one who parts from another with Torah learns something new.

רב מרדכי אלוייה לרב שימי בר אשי מהגרוניא ועד בי כיפי ואמרי לה עד בי דורא:

Having mentioned the mitzva for a student to accompany his Rabbi, the Gemara relates that Rav Mordekhai accompanied his mentor, Rav Shimi bar Ashi, a great distance, from the city of Hagronya to Bei Keifei; and some say that he accompanied from Hagronya to Bei Dura.

תנו רבנן המתפלל צריך שיכוין את לבו לשמים אבא שאול אומר סימן לדבר תכין לבם תקשיב אזנך

Returning to the topic of preparation for prayer, the Sages taught in the Tosefta: One who prays must focus his heart toward Heaven. Abba Shaul says: An indication of the importance of this matter is stated in the verse: “The desire of the humble You have heard, Lord; direct their hearts, Your ear will listen” (Psalms 10:17). In other words, if one focuses his heart in prayer as a result of God directing his heart, his prayer will be accepted as God’s ear will listen.

תניא אמר רבי יהודה כך היה מנהגו של רבי עקיבא כשהיה מתפלל עם הציבור היה מקצר ועולה מפני טורח צבור וכשהיה מתפלל בינו לבין עצמו אדם מניחו בזוית זו ומוצאו בזוית אחרת וכל כך למה מפני כריעות והשתחויות:

With regard to one’s intent during prayer, it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda said: This was the custom of Rabbi Akiva, when he would pray with the congregation he would shorten his prayer and go up, due to his desire to avoid being an encumbrance on the congregation by making them wait for him to finish his prayer. But when he prayed by himself he would extend his prayers to an extent that a person would leave Rabbi Akiva alone in one corner of the study hall and later find him still praying in another corner. And why would Rabbi Akiva move about so much? Because of his bows and prostrations. Rabbi Akiva’s enthusiasm in prayer was so great, that as a result of his bows and prostrations, he would unwittingly move from one corner to the other (Rav Hai Gaon).

אמר רבי חייא בר אבא לעולם יתפלל אדם בבית שיש בו חלונות שנאמר וכוין פתיחן ליה וגו׳

Many halakhot are derived from evoking the prayers of biblical characters. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said: One should always pray in a house with windows, as it is stated regarding Daniel: “And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went to his house. In his attic there were open windows facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt upon his knees and prayed and gave thanks before his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:11).

יכול יתפלל אדם כל היום כולו כבר מפורש על ידי דניאל וזמנין תלתא וגו׳

In the Tosefta, additional halakhot were derived from Daniel’s prayer. I might have thought that one could pray as many times as he wishes throughout the entire day; it has already been articulated by Daniel, with regard to whom it is stated: “And three times a day he knelt upon his knees and prayed.” This teaches that there are fixed prayers.

יכול משבא לגולה הוחלה כבר נאמר די הוא עבד מן קדמת דנא

I might have thought that this practice of fixed prayer began only when he came to the Babylonian exile; it was stated: “Just as he had done before.”

יכול יתפלל אדם לכל רוח שירצה תלמוד לומר (לקבל) נגד ירושלם

Further, I might have thought that one may pray facing any direction he wishes; the verse states: The appropriate direction for prayer is “facing Jerusalem.”

יכול יהא כוללן בבת אחת כבר מפורש על ידי דוד דכתיב ערב ובקר וצהרים וגו׳

Daniel does not describe how these three prayers are distributed during the day. I might have thought that one may include all three prayers at one time; it has already been articulated by David that one may not do so, as it is written: “Evening and morning and noon, I pray and cry aloud and He hears my voice” (Psalms 55:18).

יכול ישמיע קולו בתפלתו כבר מפורש על ידי חנה שנאמר וקולה לא ישמע

Furthermore, I might have thought that one may make his voice heard in his Amida prayer; it has already been articulated by Hannah in her prayer, as it is stated: “And Hannah spoke in her heart, only her lips moved and her voice could not be heard” (I Samuel 1:13).

יכול ישאל אדם צרכיו ואחר כך יתפלל כבר מפורש על ידי שלמה שנאמר לשמע אל הרנה ואל התפלה רנה זו תפלה תפלה זו בקשה אין אומר דבר בקשה אחר אמת ויציב אבל אחר התפלה אפילו כסדר ודוי של יום הכפורים אומר

Halakhot regarding the order of the prayers were also learned from the prayers of biblical characters. I might have thought that one should request his own needs first, and afterwards recite prayers of thanksgiving and praise; it has already been articulated by Solomon that this is not so, as in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Holy Temple it is stated: “To hear the song and the prayer that Your servant prays before You today” (I Kings 8:28). In this verse, song is prayer in the sense of thanks and praise, and prayer is one’s request of his personal needs. Therefore, one who is praying does not speak matters of request after he began to recite emet veyatziv prior to the Amida prayer, which is the essence of prayer. Rather, he begins with praise in the first three blessings of the Amida prayer, and only thereafter does he include requests for his needs. But after the Amida prayer there is no limit. If he desires to recite even the equivalent of the order of the confession of Yom Kippur, he may recite it.

איתמר נמי אמר רב חייא בר אשי אמר רב אף על פי שאמרו שואל אדם צרכיו בשומע תפלה אם בא לומר אחר תפלתו אפילו כסדר של יום הכפורים אומר:

This was also stated by an amora; Rav Ḥiyya bar Ashi said that Rav said: Although the Sages said that one requests his personal needs in the blessing: Who listens to prayer, that is with regard to one who wishes to do so as part of the Amida prayer. If he comes to add and recite additional requests after completing his Amida prayer, even if his personal requests are the equivalent of the order of the confession of Yom Kippur, he may recite them.

אמר רב המנונא כמה הלכתא גברוותא איכא למשמע מהני קראי דחנה וחנה היא מדברת על לבה מכאן למתפלל צריך שיכוין לבו רק שפתיה נעות מכאן למתפלל שיחתוך בשפתיו וקולה לא ישמע מכאן שאסור להגביה קולו בתפלתו ויחשבה עלי לשכרה מכאן ששכור אסור להתפלל

Rav Hamnuna said: How many significant halakhot can be derived from these verses of the prayer of Hannah? As it says: “And Hannah spoke in her heart, only her lips moved and her voice could not be heard, so Eli thought her to be drunk” (I Samuel 1:13). The Gemara elaborates: From that which is stated here: “And Hannah spoke in her heart,” the halakha that one who prays must focus his heart on his prayer is derived. And from that which is stated here: “Only her lips moved,” the halakha that one who prays must enunciate the words with his lips, not only contemplate them in his heart, is derived. From that which is written here: “And her voice could not be heard,” the halakha that one is forbidden to raise his voice in his Amida prayer as it must be recited silently. From the continuation of the verse here: “So Eli thought her to be drunk,” the halakha that a drunk person is forbidden to pray. That is why he rebuked her.

ויאמר אליה עלי עד מתי תשתכרין וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לרואה בחברו

On the subject of Eli’s rebuke of Hannah, as it is stated: “And Eli said to her: How long will you remain drunk? Remove your wine from yourself” (I Samuel 1:14); Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that one who sees in another

דבר שאינו הגון צריך להוכיחו ותען חנה ותאמר לא אדוני אמר עולא ואיתימא רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה בדבר זה ולא רוח הקודש שורה עליך שאתה חושדני בדבר זה

an unseemly matter, he must reprimand him, is derived. “And Hannah answered and she said no, my master, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and I have drunk neither wine nor liquor, but I pour out my soul before the Lord” (I Samuel 1:15). Regarding the words: “No, my master,” Ulla, and some say Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said that she said to him, in an allusion: With regard to this matter, you are not a master, and the Divine Spirit does not rest upon you, as you falsely suspect me of this.

איכא דאמרי הכי אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה לאו איכא שכינה ורוח הקודש גבך שדנתני לכף חובה ולא דנתני לכף זכות מי לא ידעת דאשה קשת רוח אנוכי

Some say another version of her response. She said to him, questioning: Aren’t you a master? Aren’t the Divine Presence and Divine Spirit with you that you judged me to be guilty, and you did not judge me to be innocent? Didn’t you know that I am a woman of distressed spirit?

ויין ושכר לא שתיתי אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לנחשד בדבר שאין בו שצריך להודיעו

With regard to Hannah’s explanation that “I have drunk neither wine nor liquor,” Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who is suspected of something of which he is not guilty cannot suffice merely with the personal knowledge of his innocence, but must inform the one who suspects him that he is innocent and clear himself of suspicion.

אל תתן את אמתך לפני בת בליעל אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לשכור שמתפלל כאילו עובד עבודה זרה כתיב הכא לפני בת בליעל וכתיב התם יצאו אנשים בני בליעל מקרבך מה להלן עבודה זרה אף כאן עבודה זרה

“Do not take your maidservant as a wicked woman [bat beliya’al] for out of the abundance of my complaint and anger have I spoken until now” (I Samuel 1:16). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that when a drunk person prays it is as if he engaged in idol worship is derived as it is written here that Hannah, suspected of praying while drunk, defends herself and says: “Do not take your maidservant as a bat beliya’al”; and it is written there, with regard to a city that has been instigated to engage in idol worship: Benei beliya’al have gone out from your midst and have lured the inhabitants of their city, saying let us go and serve other gods which we have not known” (Deuteronomy 13:14). By means of this verbal analogy it is derived: Just as there, in the case of the idolatrous city, the term beliya’al indicates idol worship, so too here, in the case of one who prays drunk, beliya’al indicates idol worship.

ויען עלי ויאמר לכי לשלום אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לחושד את חברו בדבר שאין בו שצריך לפייסו ולא עוד אלא שצריך לברכו שנאמר ואלהי ישראל יתן את שלתך:

The verse continues: “And Eli answered and said: May you go in peace” (I Samuel 1:17). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who suspects another of something that he has not done, he must appease him. Moreover, the one who suspected him must bless him, as Eli continued and offered Hannah a blessing, as it is stated: “And may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of Him” (I Samuel 1:17).

ותדר נדר ותאמר ה׳ צבאות אמר רבי אלעזר מיום שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא את עולמו לא היה אדם שקראו להקדוש ברוך הוא צבאות עד שבאתה חנה וקראתו צבאות

Incidental to this discussion of Hannah’s prayer, the Gemara explores related topics. In her prayer, Hannah said: “And she swore an oath and said, Lord of Hosts [Tzeva’ot] if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant a male child, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall be no razor come upon his head” (I Samuel 1:11). Rabbi Elazar said: From the day that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created His world, there was no person who called the Holy One, Blessed be He, Lord of Hosts until Hannah came and called Him Lord of Hosts. This is the first time in the Bible that God is referred to by this name.

אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מכל צבאי צבאות שבראת בעולמך קשה בעיניך שתתן לי בן אחד

Rabbi Elazar explains that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, are You not the Lord of the Hosts, and of all of the hosts and hosts of creations that You created in Your world, is it difficult in Your eyes to grant me one son?

משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שעשה סעודה לעבדיו בא עני אחד ועמד על הפתח אמר להם תנו לי פרוסה אחת ולא השגיחו עליו דחק ונכנס אצל המלך אמר לו אדוני המלך מכל סעודה שעשית קשה בעיניך ליתן לי פרוסה אחת:

The Gemara suggests a parable: To what is this similar? It is similar to a flesh and blood king who made a feast for his servants. A poor person came and stood at the door. He said to them: Give me one slice of bread! And they paid him no attention. He pushed and entered before the king. He said to him: My lord, the King, from this entire feast that you have prepared, is it so difficult in your eyes to give me a single slice of bread?

אם ראה תראה אמר רבי אלעזר אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם אם ראה מוטב ואם לאו תראה

As for the double language in the verse, “if you will look upon [im ra’o tireh],” Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, if You will look upon [ra’o] me now, fine, and if not, in any case You will see [tireh].

אלך ואסתתר בפני אלקנה בעלי וכיון דמסתתרנא משקו לי מי סוטה ואי אתה עושה תורתך פלסתר שנאמר ונקתה ונזרעה זרע

What was Hannah threatening? She said: I will go and seclude myself with another man before Elkana, my husband. Since I secluded myself, they will force me to drink the sota water to determine whether or not I have committed adultery. I will be found innocent, and since You will not make Your Torah false [pelaster], I will bear children. With regards to a woman who is falsely suspected of adultery and drank the sota water, the Torah says: “And if the woman was not defiled, but was pure, then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” (Numbers 5:28).

הניחא למאן דאמר אם היתה עקרה נפקדת שפיר אלא למאן דאמר אם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח נקבות יולדת זכרים שחורים יולדת לבנים קצרים יולדת ארוכים מאי איכא למימר

However, Rabbi Elazar’s opinion works out well according to the one who said that the verse means: If she were barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children. But according to the one who said that the verse means that childbearing will be easier and more successful, i.e., if she had previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, or if she had previously given birth to daughters, she now gives birth to sons, or if she had previously given birth to black children, considered to be unattractive, she now gives birth to fair children, or if she had previously given birth to short, weak children, she gives birth to tall, strong children, what can be said?

דתניא ונקתה ונזרעה זרע מלמד שאם היתה עקרה נפקדת דברי רבי ישמעאל אמר ליה רבי עקיבא אם כן ילכו כל העקרות כולן ויסתתרו וזו שלא קלקלה נפקדת אלא מלמד שאם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח קצרים יולדת ארוכים שחורים יולדת לבנים אחד יולדת שנים

As it was taught in a baraita that the tanna’im disputed the interpretation of the verse in Numbers: “Then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” teaches that if she was barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children; this is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Akiva said to him: If so, all barren women will go and seclude themselves with men who are not their husbands, and any woman who did not commit the sin of adultery will be remembered by God and granted children. Rather, the verse teaches that this is merely a promise for greater ease in childbirth; if she has previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, if she has previously given birth to short children, she gives birth to tall children, if she has previously given birth to black children, she now gives birth to fair children, if she has previously given birth to one child, she now gives birth to two children.

מאי אם ראה תראה דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם:

According to Rabbi Akiva’s explanation, what is derived from the double language uttered by Hannah: Im ra’o tireh? The Torah spoke in the language of men, meaning that this double language is not extraordinary and nothing may be derived from it. It is common biblical vernacular.

בעני אמתך אל תשכח את אמתך ונתתה לאמתך

In the oath/prayer uttered by Hannah, she refers to herself as “Your servant” [amatekha] three times: “The affliction of Your maidservant…and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant” (I Samuel 1:11).

אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שלש אמתות הללו למה אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שלשה בדקי מיתה בראת באשה ואמרי לה שלשה דבקי מיתה ואלו הן נדה וחלה והדלקת הנר כלום עברתי על אחת מהן:

Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Why are these three maidservants [amatot] cited in the verse? They are cited to teach that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, You have created three crucibles potentially leading to death in a woman, where she is particularly vulnerable. Alternatively, some say: Master of the Universe, You have created three accelerants of death in a woman. They are mitzvot that, as a rule, pertain to women: Observing the halakhot of a menstruating woman, separating ḥalla from dough, and lighting Shabbat candles. Have I ever violated one of them? Hannah attests to her status as God’s maidservant [ama]. The reference to these three mitzvot is drawn from the etymological similarity between amatekha, your maidservant, and mita, death.

ונתת לאמתך זרע אנשים

Later in her prayer, Hannah says: “And You will grant Your servant an offspring of men.”

מאי זרע אנשים אמר רב גברא בגוברין ושמואל אמר זרע שמושח שני אנשים ומאן אינון שאול ודוד ורבי יוחנן אמר זרע ששקול כשני אנשים ומאן אינון משה ואהרן שנאמר משה ואהרן בכהניו ושמואל בקוראי שמו ורבנן אמרי זרע אנשים זרע שמובלע בין אנשים

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “an offspring of men”? Rav said: Hannah prayed for a man among men, a son who would be outstanding and exceptional. And Shmuel said: This expression means an offspring who will anoint two men to royalty. And who were they? Saul and David. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Hannah prayed that she would bear an offspring who would be the equivalent of two of the world’s greatest men. And who were they? Moses and Aaron. As it is stated: “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call His name” (Psalms 99:6). In this verse, Hannah’s son, Samuel, is equated to Moses and Aaron. And the Rabbis say: “An offspring of men”: Hannah prayed for an offspring who would be inconspicuous among men, that he would not stand out in any way.

כי אתא רב דימי אמר לא ארוך ולא גוץ ולא קטן ולא אלם ולא צחור ולא גיחור ולא חכם ולא טפש:

The Gemara relates: When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said in explanation: Hannah prayed that her son would not be conspicuous among men; neither too tall nor too short; neither too small nor too fat; neither too white nor too red; neither too smart nor too stupid.

אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מכאן שאסור לישב בתוך ארבע אמות של תפלה:

When Hannah came to the Temple with her son Samuel, she told Eli: “My lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord” (I Samuel 1:26). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: From here the halakha that it is forbidden to sit within four cubits of one who is praying is derived. As the verse says: “Who stood here with you,” indicating that Eli stood alongside Hannah because she was praying.

אל הנער הזה התפללתי אמר רבי אלעזר שמואל מורה הלכה לפני רבו היה שנאמר וישחטו את הפר ויביאו את הנער אל עלי משום דוישחטו את הפר הביאו הנער אל עלי

Additionally, Hannah’s emphasis in speaking to Eli, “for this youth I prayed” (I Samuel 1:27), indicates that she came to protect him from danger. As Rabbi Elazar said: Samuel was one who taught halakha in the presence of his teacher. Hannah wanted to pray that he not be punished by death at the hand of Heaven for his transgression, as it is stated: “And they slaughtered the cow and they brought the youth to Eli” (I Samuel 1:25). This verse is puzzling. Because they slaughtered the cow, therefore, they brought the youth to Eli? What does one have to do with the next?

אלא אמר להן עלי קראו כהן ליתי ולשחוט חזנהו שמואל דהוו מהדרי בתר כהן למישחט אמר להו למה לכו לאהדורי בתר כהן למישחט שחיטה בזר כשרה אייתוהו לקמיה דעלי אמר ליה מנא לך הא אמר ליה מי כתיב ושחט הכהן והקריבו הכהנים כתיב מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה מכאן לשחיטה שכשרה בזר

Rather, this is what happened: Eli said to those who brought the offering: Call a priest; he will come and slaughter the offering. Samuel saw them looking for a priest to slaughter the animal. He said to them: Why do you need to look for a priest to slaughter it? Slaughter of an offering performed by a non-priest is valid. They brought him before Eli to clarify his statement. Eli said to him: How do you know this? Samuel said to him: Is it written in the Torah: And the priest shall slaughter indicating that the offering may only be slaughtered by a priest? It is written: “And the priests shall offer,” only from the stage of receiving the blood in the bowls and onward is it a mitzva incumbent upon priests alone. From here the halakha that slaughter by a non-priest is acceptable is derived.

אמר ליה מימר שפיר קא אמרת מיהו מורה הלכה בפני רבך את וכל המורה הלכה בפני רבו חייב מיתה אתיא חנה וקא צווחה קמיה אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה וגו׳ אמר לה שבקי לי דאענשיה ובעינא רחמי ויהיב לך רבא מיניה אמרה ליה אל הנער הזה התפללתי:

Eli said to Samuel: You have spoken well and your statement is correct, but nevertheless, you are one who issued a halakhic ruling in the presence of your teacher, and anyone who issues a halakhic ruling in the presence of his teacher, even if the particular halakha is correct, is liable for death at the hand of Heaven for showing contempt for his teacher. Hannah came and shouted before him: “I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord;” do not punish the child who was born of my prayers. He said to her: Let me punish him, and I will pray for mercy, that the Holy One, Blessed be He, will grant you a son who will be greater than this one. She said to him: “For this youth I prayed” and I want no other.

וחנה היא מדברת על לבה אמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא על עסקי לבה אמרה לפניו רבונו של עולם כל מה שבראת באשה לא בראת דבר אחד לבטלה עינים לראות ואזנים לשמוע חוטם להריח פה לדבר ידים לעשות בהם מלאכה רגלים להלך בהן דדים להניק בהן דדים הללו שנתת על לבי למה לא להניק בהן תן לי בן ואניק בהן:

The Gemara continues to deal with Hannah’s prayer. It is said: “And Hannah spoke on her heart.” Several interpretations are offered to explain her use of the phrase “on her heart” instead of the common phrase to her heart (Maharsha). Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Hannah spoke to God concerning matters of her heart. She said before Him: Master of the Universe, of all the organs You created in a woman, You have not created one in vain. Every organ fulfills its purpose; eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to smell, a mouth to speak, hands with which to perform labor, feet with which to walk, breasts with which to nurse. If so, these breasts that You placed upon my heart, to what purpose did You place them? Was it not in order to nurse with them? Grant me a son and I will nurse with them.

ואמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא כל היושב בתענית בשבת קורעים לו גזר דינו של שבעים שנה ואף על פי כן חוזרין ונפרעין ממנו דין עונג שבת

Tangentially, the Gemara also cites an additional statement that Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Anyone who sits in observance of a fast on Shabbat, his merit is great and they tear up and repeal his sentence of seventy years; because everyone is enjoying himself and a feast is prepared, it is more difficult to fast on Shabbat than on any other day. Nevertheless, they then hold him accountable for failing to fulfill the halakha of delight of Shabbat.

מאי תקנתיה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ליתיב תעניתא לתעניתא:

The Gemara asks: What is his remedy to atone and avoid punishment? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: He must sit in observance of another fast on a weekday to atone for the fast on Shabbat.

ואמר רבי אלעזר חנה הטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ותתפלל על ה׳ מלמד שהטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה

After explaining the uncommon expression, on her heart, the Gemara cites an additional statement in the matter of Hannah. And Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah spoke impertinently toward God on High. As it is stated: “And she prayed onto the Lord,” as opposed to the common phrase: To the Lord. This teaches that she spoke impertinently toward on High.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אליהו הטיח דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ואתה הסבת את לבם אחרנית אמר רבי שמואל בר רבי יצחק מנין שחזר הקדוש ברוך הוא והודה לו לאליהו

And on a similar note, Rabbi Elazar said that Elijah spoke impertinently toward God on High as well in his prayer at Mount Carmel, as it is stated: “Answer me, Lord, answer me, that this people will know that You are the Lord, God, and You have turned their hearts backward” (I Kings 18:37), claiming that God caused Israel to sin. On this topic, Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where do we know that the Holy One, Blessed be He, ultimately conceded to Elijah that he was correct?

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