THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) THE "SHECHINAH" IS WITH THREE WHO LEARN
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Shechinah is with ten men who pray
together, and it is also with three men who sit in judgment (a form of
learning Torah together). The Gemara asks that once we are told that the
Shechinah is with three, why do we have to be told that it is with ten?
What is the Gemara's question? We were only told that the Shechinah is with
three people who learn Torah together. Perhaps learning Torah is on a
higher level than praying together (Tefilah), and therefore we need to be
told that the Shechinah is also with ten people who *pray* together!
ANSWER: Tefilah is indeed on an equal, if not higher, level than Torah
Tefilah is considered an act that one does in the very presence of the
Almighty (see Mishnah 30b, and Gemara 34a). Once we are told that the
Shechinah is with three who learn together, then it is obvious that the
Shechinah must also be with ten who pray together.
However, this suggestion is problematic. The Gemara in Shabbos (10a)
relates that when Rava saw Rav Hamnuna davening for a lengthy time he said
to him, "Why are you leaving the life of the next world (Torah study) for
the life of this world (Tefilah)?" It would seem from here that Torah study
is on a higher level than Tefilah!
We may suggest the following answre. Rav Hamnuna was praying for a long
time after the Minyan had finished, and this prolonged praying was not
considered Tefilah b'Tzibur. In our Gemara, though, we are discussing
Tefilah with a Minyan. Tefilah with a Minyan is on a higher level than
Torah learning, although Torah study is on a higher level than Tefilah
without a Minyan. (M. Kornfeld)
(The Beraisa does not discuss what happens when ten people *learn* together
because ten cannot learn *together*, as one. Each person (or pair of
people) is learning on his own in the presence of others. Also, praying
with ten has an advantage over praying or learning with less than ten --
that is, the Shechinah precedes ten who pray together. Ten who learn
together have no advantage over three learning together.)
2) HASHEM BECOMES ANGRY IF HE DOES NOT FIND TEN
QUESTION: The Gemara says that when Hashem comes to a synagogue and he does
not find ten men, immediately he becomes angry.
3) "FEAR G-D... FOR THIS IS ALL THAT MAN IS"
The Gemara on 6a just said that the Shechinah *precedes* ten who come to
pray together. If so, Hashem should *always* come to the synagogue before
ten men arrive! Why should He find ten already there?
(a) The RASHBA (Teshuvos ha'Rashba 1:50) explains that when the Gemara (6a)
said that the Shechinah comes before the ten men arrive, it means that it
comes *together* with them, and is there even before they sit down. (The
Rashba demonstrates that the word that the Gemara uses, "Kadmah"
("precedes"), is also used to mean "comes together with.")
(b) RAV SHLOMO ALGAZI (Ahavas Olam) writes that Hashem does not become
angry when He arrives and there are not ten men there. Only later, when ten
men do not show up, does He becomes angry. (That is, "He does not find"
means "He does not *later* find.")
(c) The ATERES ROSH explains that there is a difference between the
"Shechinah" and "the Holy One, blessed is He." On Daf 6a, it was the
Shechinah that precedes the ten men. Here, it is Hashem Himself, as it
were, that expects to find ten men already gathered.
(d) The G'RA and the SIFSEI CHACHAMIM read the Gemara differently. Instead
of reading the Gemara, "When Hashem comes to a synagogue and he does not
find ten men, immediately he becomes angry," the Gemara should be read,
"When Hashem comes to a synagogue and he does not find ten men
immediately, he becomes angry." But if ten men come right away, then He
does not become angry.
(e) RASHI (Megilah 3b, DH Asarah Batlanim) says that there used to always
be ten men present learning in the synagogue from morning to night so that
Hashem would not find the synagogue empty. If so, Hashem does not precede
their arrival since they did not come to pray together, but simply to learn
together. (M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: The Gemara cites the verse from Koheles (12:13), "At the end, all
will be clear; fear G-d and observe His commandments, for this is all that
man is." There are three opinions in the Gemara as to how to explain this
(a) "Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu says the entire world was created only for the
benefit of the person [who fears Hashem]."
What is the difference between these three ideas?
ANSWER: The explanation of this Agadah may be learned from the words of the
RAMBAM (in the introduction to his commentary on the Mishnah). The Rambam
explains that the purpose of everything in the world is to enable man to
reach the highest possible understanding of the Almighty. That is the the
goal that Hashem is interested in man attaining. Hashem's interest in the
man who reaches this level therefore surpasses His interest in everything
else in the world. This is what is meant by, "This person as precious to
Hashem as the entire world." This explains (b).
(b) "This person is as precious to Hashem as the entire world."
(c) "The entire world was created only to keep this person company."
If Hashem's interest is only in the person who fears Him, then why were all
other people (who do not fear Hashem) created. The Rambam explains that
they serve two puposes. Firstly, they exist in order to prepare food and
basice necessities for the one who fears Hashem (see Gemara 58a). This is
what is meant by (a), "The entire world was created only for the benefit of
Why, then, are there people who are not doing what they should be doing at
all? Why are they permitted to exist in the world? The Rambam explains that
these people exist in the world to keep the G-d-fearing people company.
(This is also why Hashem left the wild animals in the land of Israel when
the Jews came into the land, see Shemos 23:29). This what is meant by (c),
"The entire world was created only to keep this person company."