(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Berachos 7


QUESTION: The Gemara says that Hashem's anger lasts for an extremely short moment of time. (at longest, the length of time needed to pronounce two syllables.) Bil'am wanted to curse the Jewish People at that inauspicious moment of Hashem's anger. What curse could Bil'am possibly say in such a short amount of time?

ANSWER: (a) TOSFOS (DH she'Ilmalei) says that as long as the curse begins during the time of Hashem's anger, the rest of the curse would also be effective.
(b) TOSFOS (ad loc.) gives another answer. Bil'am could have said the word, "Kalem" -- "Destroy them!" in that short amount of time. Tosfos in Avodah Zarah (4b, DH Rega) adds that according to this explanation, Hashem literally reversed the curse. Instead of saying "Kalem" ("destroy them"), Bil'am said, "Melech" (Bamidbar 23:21). (The letters of "Kalem," when reversed, spell "Melech".)

This explains a Gemara in Horayos (10b). The Gemara there teaches that a person should engage himself in studying and fulfilling the Torah even if his motives are insincere, for he will eventually develop a sincere motivation. The Gemara demonstrates the value of even the insincere service of Hashem by the fact that as a result of the 42 sacrifices that Balak offered to Hashem, he merited to have Ruth among his descendants. Rashi explains that the import of this statement is that *King David*, Ruth's great-grandson, descended from Balak.

This may be the deeper meaning behind what Tosfos says in Avodah Zarah that Bil'am's curse of "Kalem" was reversed and became a blessing, "Melech." The very sacrifices which Bil'am had advised Balak to bring in the hope that they would lead to Moav's victory over Israel (represented by the word "Kalem") achieved the opposite result. They led to the birth of King David who would later lead Israel in the defeat of their own enemies, Moav among them! (M. Kornfeld)


2) NO ONE CALLED HASHEM "ADON" UNTIL AVRAHAM The Gemara says that Avraham was the first to call Hashem, "Adon." Rav Pinchas Altshul of Plotsk (a disciple of the Vilna Ga'on) in SIDUR SHA'AR HA'RACHAMIM uses this statement to explain why our morning prayers begin with "Adon Olam." When we recite "Adon Olam," we invoke the merit of Avraham Avinu.

The Gemara in Tamid (30a) says that it was instituted that the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash did not begin until someone said, "Daylight has reached *Hebron*." The purpose of this practice was to arouse the merit of the Avos, our forefathers, who lived in Hebron (Rashi, Yoma 28a DH v'Iy Ba'is Eima, citing the Yerushalmi.) Just as the Avodah began by invoking the merit of the forefathers, we begin our prayers by reciting "Adon Olam" to invoke the merit of Avraham Avinu.

This is also implicit in the verse that we say before we Daven each morning, "va'Ani b'Rov Chasdecha..." -- "And I, in Your *great kindness*, will come into Your house...." In the merit of Avraham Avinu, who aroused the great kindness of Hashem, we approach Him in prayer.

It may be added that it is particularly appropriate to mention the merit of Avraham more than the other Avos, since the morning prayers were instituted in the pattern of *Avraham's* morning prayer (Berachos 28b). (M. Kornfeld)

Next daf


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to daf@shemayisrael.co.il

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel

In the U.S.:
Tel. (908) 370-3344
Fax. (908) 367-6608

Toll free line for dedications: 1-800-574-2646