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Berachos 58


QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan said that one should always run to see non-Jewish kings, "because if he merits, he will be able to differentiate between the kings of Israel and non-Jewish kings." RASHI (DH sh'Im Yizkeh) explains that "if he merits" refers to seeing the *honor* of the *Melech ha'Mashiach*." (RASHI DH Yav'chin).

Rashi's explanation here is not consistent with Rashi's explanation of the same Gemara on 9b. There, Rashi explains (DH sh'Im Yizkeh) that "if he merits" refers to seeing "the *greatness* of the *Jewish people* in the World to Come."

Here, on 58a, Rashi emphasizes seeing the *honor*, while there on 9b he emphasizes seeing the *greatness*. Second, here Rashi says the honor of *Melech ha'Mashiach*, while there Rashi says the greatness of *all the Jewish people*. Why does Rashi vary the explanation of the same Gemara in two different places?

ANSWER: RAV YAKOV DOVID HOMNICK (Sefer MARBEH SHALOM, #5) explains that there are two different aspects to the greatness of the Jews in the World to Come -- honor (= respectability) and greatness (= wealth). Since our Sugya is discussing the blessing recited upon seeing kings, in which we describes how Hashem gives from His *honor* to human kings, Rebbi Yochanan's statement emphasizes seeing the *honor* of the Jews in the World to Come, which is appropriate only for a *king* (as the blessing recited on kings makes clear), and therefore Rashi refers to the honor of Melech ha'Mashiach.

On Daf 9b, Rebbi Yehudah Bar Elyakim was quoting Rebbi Yochanan's statement in a different context. He wanted to show Rav Zeira that it was a privilege to be taken to see the non-Jewish king. Since it is discussing coming to the king's palace, rather than seeing the king with his entourage, the honor of the king is not immediately evident. However, the king's wealth, i.e. *greatness*, is seen even in that situation. Greatness may be ascribed to *all* of the Jews in the World to Come, and not just to the Mashiach. That is why Rashi there refers to the *greatness* of the *Jewish people*.

QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rav Sheshes "put his eyes" on the Tzeduki who was taunting him. If Rav Sheshes was blind, how could he "put his eyes" on him?


(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Hashem returned to him his eyesight temporarily in order to punish the heretic.

(b) The MAHARSHA also says that it does not really mean he *looked* at the heretic. Rather, it means that he cursed him. The MAGID TA'ALUMAH adds that the eyes here refer to the "Einei ha'Sechel," a higher, intellectual "sight" and not to the physical optical sense.


OPINIONS: The Gemara says that one who sees "the houses of Israel in their settled state" says the blessing, "Matziv Gevul Alamanah" ("He establishes the boundary of the widow"). When is this blessing said?

(a) RASHI (DH Baruch Matziv), according to the first understanding of the BEIS YOSEF (OC 224), says that this blessing is recited when one sees the Beis ha'Mikdash.

(b) RASHI, according to the second understanding of the Beis Yosef, says that this blessing is recited upon seeing Jewish settlements in Israel during the time of the Beis ha'Mikdash (those two conditions -- in Israel, and during the time of the Beis ha'Mikdash -- are necessary).

(c) The BACH explains that Rashi means to say that the blessing is recited upon seeing Jewish homes in their grandeur in Israel *the way they were in the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash*.

(d) The RIF understands the Gemara to be referring to when one sees synagogues, even outside of Israel (Levush).

QUESTION: According to the Rif's explanation, what do synagogues have to do with "the boundary of the widow?"


(a) The VILNA GA'ON explains that we find in the Gemara in Megilah (29a) that in the future, Hashem will bring all the synagogues from the Diaspora to Israel. The synagogues will not be put inside Israel proper, he asserts, in order not to take away space from those already residing in Israel. Rather, Hashem will place the synagogues around the borders of Israel. That is why we recite the blessing, "He establishes the *boundary* of the widow" no Diaspora synagogues.

(b) The EINAYIM LA'MISHPAT explains that in exile, the Jewish people is considered an Almanah, a widow. The verse at the beginning of Eichah describes the Jewish people as "*like* a widow" ("k'Almanah"), to intimate that her husband (Hashem) is not gone forever, but will yet return. We say, therefore, this blessing when we see synagogues flourishing in the Diaspora, because they are a sign that Hashem is returning to the Jewish people.

HALACHAH: The practice is in accordance with the Rif's explanation, to recite the blessing upon seeing synagogues even outside of Israel. However, because we are concerned that the other opinions might be true, we do not recite the blessing with Hashem's name (Shem u'Malchus). (SHULCHAN ARUCH 224:10, MISHNAH BERURAH 224:14)

QUESTION: Rav Papa and Rav Huna Brei d'Rav Yehoshua met Rav Chanina Brei d'Rav Ika and recited two blessings upon seeing him -- the blessing for seeing a great Torah scholar, and the blessing for seeing a friend after thirty days. Rav Chanina, in turn, recited *three* blessings on seeing them -- the two which they recited, and the blessing said upon seeing 600,000 Jews at one time ("Chacham ha'Razim"). Rav Papa and Rav Huna said to him, "You are so smart!" and they put their eyes upon him and he died.

Why did Rav Chanina recite such a blessing, and why did they cause his life to end simply because he showed his wisdom by making such a blessing?


(a) The RAMBAN (in MILCHAMOS) explains why Rav Chanina recited the blessing for seeing 600,000 Jews when he saw only two. A Chacham's knowledge is so great that he is able to discern what every person in Klal Yisrael can think of. When we see 600,000 people, we recite the blessing "Chacham ha'Razim," because we praise Hashem for creating so many different people with different ways of thinking. Rav Chanina made a blessing upon seeing these two Chachamim because he discerned from the aura of their countenance that they could understand as much as 600,000 Jews. They saw his profound wisdom and perceptiveness, and exclaimed how smart he was. The simple explanation is that they envied him and gave him an Ayin ha'Ra.

(b) The ASIFAS ZEKEINIM cites HILCHOS KETANOS (1:210) who writes that Rav Chanina was punished because he was Moreh Halachah bi'Fnei Rabo, he made a Halachic ruling in front of his Rebbi, since Rav Papa and Rav Huna were Gedolai ha'Dor.

(c) The TZAFNAS PANE'ACH (#50; see Insight 52:2) explains the reason Rav Chanina was punished as follows. Beis Shamai's methodology of Halachic ruling was based on following the essence or quality of a thing, and not the physical appearance or quantity of a thing. Beis Shamai, who were sharper intellectually but fewer in number than Beis Hillel, felt that the Halachic ruling is determined by the sharpness of minds of people that maintain a certain opinion, and not by their physical numbers. Rav Chanina was acting in accordance with the methodology of Beis Shamai when he recited a blessing on two people as if they were 600,000, as if to say that he considers the sharpness of these two sages to be qualitatively equivalent to the sharpness of the minds of 600,000. The Gemara earlier (11a) says that anyone who acts in accordance with the opinion of Beis Shamai is deserving of death. Therefore, Rav Chanina died.

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