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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Berachos 5



(a) "Imru bi'le'Vavchem" refers to Keri'as Shema (as we learnt earlier). "ve'Domu Selah" - if the previous efforts do not succeed, then think of the day of death; that is bound to put the Yeitzer Hara in his place.
These three things seem to correspond to Neshamah Ru'ach and Nefesh (the Maharsha describes them as Seichel, Nefesh and Guf).

(b) "Luchos" - the Ten Commandments; "Torah" - the written Torah; "Mitzvah" - Mishnah; "Asher Kasavti" - Nevi'im and Kesuvim; "Lehorosam" - Gemara. This comes to teach us that all these were given to Moshe at Har Sinai.

(a) The Pasuk prior to that of "Romemos Keil bi'Geronam" etc. is "Ya'alzu Chasidim be'Chavod, Yeranenu *al Mishkevosam*" which prompts Rav Yitzchak to connect it to Keri'as Shema she'Al ha'Mitah.

(b) The purpose of the sword is to destroy the Mazikin (the demons), which apparently, are more numerous at night-time.

(a) "u'Venei Reshef Yagbihu Of". 'Of' means Torah (because the Pasuk in Mishlei writes "ha'Sa'if Einecha Bo, ve'Einenu" - just take your eyes off it - Torah for one moment, it will be gone). And 'Reshef' means demons (as the Torah writes in Devarim "Mezei Ra'av, u'Lechumei Reshef, ve'Ketev Meriri"). What the Pasuk is saying therefore, is, that someone who recites Keri'as Shema she'Al ha'Mitah (an area of Torah, as we shall see later), will remove from himself the power of the demons.

(b) The Torah writes in Beshalach "va'Yomer, Im Shamo'a Tishma ... Kol ha'Machalah Asher Samti ve'Mitzrayim Lo Asim Alecha, Ki Ani Hashem Rof'echa" - from which we learn that those who study Torah are protected from all forms of afflictions.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan learns from the Pasuk "Ne'elamti Dumyah" etc., that anyone who is able to learn Torah but fails to do so, will suffer terrible afflictions.

4) Normally, a private person (not a shopkeeper) who sells his personal things, is sad to sell, and the purchaser is happy to buy. But Hashem is different; He 'sold' us His Torah, yet He was happy to sell it; and Chazal learn it from the Pasuk "Ki Lekach Tov Nasati Lachem" etc. From the fact that Hashem exhorts Yisrael not to forsake their new acquisition and that He calls it 'good' and praises it in front of them, we see how pleased Hashem was that He had sold it to us.


(a) If someone sees that he is afflicted with suffering, he should examine his deeds, as it is written in Tehilim: "Let us examine our ways, and return to Hashem."
If he did this, but failed to find fault which might have been the cause for the suffering, then he should attribute his suffering to Bitul Torah (perhaps he did not study Torah to his fullest ability - either quantitatively or qualitatively, as is written again in Tehilim: Torah writes "How fortunate is the one whom Hashem punishes, and whom You teach Your Torah" (in other words, afflictions cause him to learn - there where before, he had not been learning).
If he cannot even find any Bitul Torah, then he should know that his afflictions are none other than Yisurin shel Ahavah, as the Pasuk in Mishlei writes: "Because the one whom He loves, He chastises!

(b) 'Yisurin shel Ahavah' is something like putting money into an investment, where you lose the money now, but gain the interest later. Similarly, one suffers here willingly, in order to gain a credit in the World to Come.

(c) Someone who accepts Yisurin shel Ahavah graciously, will merit children, live long, and he will retain all the Torah that he has studied - and that's just in *this* world!

(d) If the loss of a tooth or an eye take a non-Jewish slave out to freedom, then surely, afflictions, which cleanse one's entire body, should free one from sin.

(e) Resh Lakish brings a Gezeirah Shavah "B'ris" "B'ris" from salt. Just like salt, which appears to be totally unpleasant, yet, because Hashem made a B'ris with it, it is essential for the meat, sweetening it and making it edible; Much in the same way, Yisurin, which on the surface, appear to be totally unpleasant, yet when it comes to the crunch, it is necessary for the human flesh to make him sweet and to preserve him.

6) The three wonderful gifts that Hashem gave to Yisrael are Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Olam ha'Ba, but all of them, He gave to them only together with Yisurin.




(a) Anyone who busies himself with Torah and with the performing of kindness, is forgiven for all his sins, as is someone who buries his sons.

(b) Rebbi Yochanan used to carry with him a little bone from his tenth and youngest son (since all his children died in his lifetime).
Now Rebbi Yochanan was one of the great Tzadikim of his time, and it is not conceivable that he should have sinned to such an extent. So the loss of his can only have been Yisurin shel Ahavah?
Either he carried a bone with the volume of less than a barley-grain, or it was a tooth, or it was not really one of his son's bones at all, but the bone taken from a chicken (presumably) eaten at the Se'udas Havra'ah of his youngest son.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan had sons and all if them dies in his lifetime. *That* is Yisurin shel Ahavah. Why?
Because the Aveilus serves as a Kaparah, so that the death itself is Yisurin shel Ahavah.
But when Rebbi Yochanan said earlier that children are not Yisurin shel Ahavah, he meant someone who had no children to begin with. There it is purely a Kaparah for one's sins.

(a) The reason that Tzara'as is a Kaparah in Eretz Yisrael, is because a Metzora was sent outside the town, and that served as a Kaparah. But in Bavel, or in other places in Chutz la'Aretz, where nothing happens to a Metzora, other than that he walks around with a mark of Tzara'as, it is be considered Yisurin shel Ahavah.

(b) Presumably, when the Yisurin are open for all to see, then they serve as a Kaparah (because the disgrace is the Kaparah, whereas when they are hidden, and no-one knows about them, then there is no place for their Kaparah, and it must be Yisurin shel Ahavah.

(a) It seems that all of the Amora'im preferred not to suffer pains (presumably, in order not to be distracted from their learning).

(b) Just like a captive is unable to free himself from jail, even if he is very active in freeing others from there, so too, can a person not free himself from his own ailments - which explains why Rebbi Yochanan was unable to free himself from his ailments.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan considered that it was inappropriate to cry for a larger portion in Torah, since all Hashem asks of is, is to learn according to our limited capacity - not beyond it! So as long as we learn Torah according to best ability, Hashem will not take us to task, only we are lax.
Nor is it worthwhile crying over poverty, since not everyone merits to eat from two tables.
And if it is children that he was worried about, there too, he comforts him that he himself lost ten sons.

(d) In the end, it transpired that Rebbi Elazar was not crying over the beauty of Rebbi Yochanan, which was destined to turn into dust.

(a) 'Do you suspect me of doing wrong" Rav Yehudah the brother of Rav Sala Chasida asked the Rabbanan?
"And do you suspect Hashem of having punished you for nothing" came the reply?

(b) Rav Yehudah had failed to pay his resident gardener the percentage of vine-branches to he was customarily entitled. The reason for this was because the gardener took way above the percentage of crops (resident-gardeners would receive as their wage a certain percentage of the annual crop which they were employed to tend)to which he was entitled. However for a Chasid like Rav Yehudah his actions were not justified, because 'two wrongs don't make a right' - a Chasid should not taste the taste of theft.

(c) The moment he merely undertook to rectify his mistake, his wine turned back into wine (an open miracle). Others say that the price of vinegar rose to match the price of wine (a hidden miracle).

(a) Aba Binyamin would certainly not have Davened in front of his bed (meaning that he placed his bed between himself and the wall) because we have learnt (from Chizkiyahu ha'Melech) that one should always Daven, wherever possible, with one's face to the wall (with nothing movable in between - Tosfos d.h. 'she'Lo'). So what he must have done is to Daven as soon as he arose in the morning (without engaging in any other business - even Torah-study - see Tosfos d.h. 'Ela' - first).

(b) He would place his bed (when sleeping with his wife) facing from North to South, because the Shechinah is in the East or in the West.
(See Agados Maharsha who disagrees with Rashi and Tosfos' interpretation of the entire Sugya.)

(c) Someone who places his bed facing from North to South can expect to have many sons, and his wife will not miscarry.

(a) Someone who walks out of Shul at night-time, leaving his friend alone in the field in the dark (See Tosfos 6a d.h. 'ha'Mispalel'), causes the Shechinah to depart (because he walked out on the Shechinah, seemingly of the opinion that the Shechinah is only there for his benefit).

(b) If on the other hand, he had the courtesy to wait for his friend, then "his peace will stretch like a river, his righteousness will be considered like the waves of the sea and he will have numerous children and offspring", as the Navi Yeshayah testifies.

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