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Berachos 30


QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that one should always include himself with the rest of Yisrael in his prayers; i.e. his prayers should always be in the plural (*our* G-d, help *us*...), so that they should be heeded by Hashem. Why, then, do we find that some of our prayers, such as Birchas ha'Mapil (Berachos 60b), are still said in the singular?

ANSWER: Perhaps the blessing of ha'Mapil is different since it begins with *praises* to Hashem for what Hashem gives the person. This may be said in the singular. When the blessing continues with the *request* that Hashem put us safely to rest for the night, we continue with the singular, since the blessing was already started with the singular. The blessing of Tefilas ha'Derech begins immediately with requests from Hashem, so it may be said in the plural. (The blessing of ha'Ma'avir Sheina in the morning also begins with praise in the singular, but it continues with requests in the plural. The reason for this is that the requests are not in the least related to the praise with which the blessing began, so it cannot be viewed as a true continuation.) -M. Kornfeld


QUESTION: Rebbi Yirmeyah looked too happy; Rebbi Zeira tried to somber him by mentioning the virtues of melancholy. What looks like a simple incident in their lives, actually reflects different general approaches to life.

The CHAVAS YAIR (#152, cited at the end of Sefer Chafetz Chayim) suggests that Rebbi Zeira and Rebbi Yirmeyah each had a very different path in Avodas Hashem. They continually debated whether abstinence is commendable or forbidden.

Rebbi Zeira understood that fasting and self-affliction is the correct way to reach Kedushah. We find that he fasted long periods. He would test himself with all kinds of self-afflictions to test his total devotion to Hashem (Bava Metzia end of 85a).

Rebbi Yirmeyah, on the other hand, was generally jolly. He ruled that it is forbidden for a person to afflict himself beyond the call of the Torah, as those who maintained that a Nazir is called a Chotei (Nedarim 9).

The Gemara in Nidah 23a tells how Rebbi Yirmeyah, in accordance with his path in Avodas Hashem, would try and break Rebbi Zeira's somberness since he thought this was an incorrect path in Avodas Hashem. In our Gemara, Rebbi Zeira tried -- unsuccessfully -- to cool Rebbi Yirmeyah's joyousness, in accordance with his own path in Avodas Hashem.

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