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Berachos 6


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.)


QUESTION: The Gemara says that when Hashem comes to a synagogue and he does not find ten men, immediately he becomes angry.

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 sentence.
(a) "Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu says the entire world was created only for the benefit of the person [who fears Hashem]."
(b) "This person is as precious to Hashem as the entire world."
(c) "The entire world was created only to keep this person company."
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).

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 this person."

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."

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