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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Berachos 31



(a) When Mar B'rei de'Ravina saw the Rabbanan rejoicing excessively at his son's wedding, he broke a very expensive cup in front of them, and made them sad?

(b) Rav Hamnuna the younger sang 'Woe to us, for we are going to die, Woe to us, etc.!'
The refrain was 'Where are the Torah and the Mitzvos that will protect us (from the Din of Gehinom')?

(c) Rebbi Yochanan learnt from "*Az* Yimalei Sechok Pinu" that it is only in the World to Come that our mouths will be full of laughter, but not in this world.

(d) From the moment Resh Lakish heard that from Rebbi Yochanan, he never again allowed himself to indulge in uncontrolled laughter.

(a) According to the Beraisa, the criterion for beginning the Amidah is a clear-cut Halachah.

(b) A Din or Devar Halachah, both of which include Shakla ve'Tarya, which tend to linger in the mind, and which one will have difficulty in blocking from one's thoughts during the Amidah, are not good pre-Tefilah criteria.

(c) There is no Me'ilah on the blood of Kodshim that were Shechted in the Azarah (which was given as a Kaparah, and not to be Mo'eil). But that does not apply to other blood of Kodshim animals.

(a) Simchah shel Mitzvah incorporates Pesukim of Torah with positive connotations, such as Ge'ulas Mitzrayim (before Shachris), 'Ashrei' (before Minchah) and the Pesukim such as "Ki Lo Yitosh Hashem Amo" etc., which one is accustomed to say (in Chutz la'Aretz) before the Ma'ariv Amidah.

(b) Rav Kahana pointed out that those date-palms had been there since the time of Adam ha'Rishon, to which Rav Shimi bar Ashi, drawing from a Pasuk in Yirmiyah added that every town that was inhabited, was inhabited only because Adam ha'Rishon had decreed that it should be.

(c) We learn from "Tachin Libam, Takshiv Oznecha", that Hashem only listens to those prayers that one Davens with Kavanah.

(d) When Rebbi Akiva Davened at home, he would bow down so many times and with such fervor (see Tosfos d.h. 'u'Motz'o'), that he would begin the Amidah
in one corner, and would end up in another corner. But in Shul, he would remain still and Daven quickly, in order not to disturb the other members of the community, and make them wait for him.

(a) 1. We learn from "ve'Keivan Pesichan Lei", that one should Daven in a room with windows.
2. And "ve'Zimnin Telasa" and "Di Hu Avdas mi'Kadmas Dena" teach us that Daniel used to Daven three times daily, and that this was not a new custom which he began in Bavel, but an old one which he had practiced before going into Galus.

(b) We learn from David Hamelech, who wrote in Tehilim "Erev, va'Voker ve'Tzaharayim, Asichah ve'Ehemeh", that one is not permitted to Daven the three Tefilas consecutively, but one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night.

(c) "Rinah" means the praises of Hashem, and Tefilah, our requests; from which we learn that one must first praise Hashem, before filing one's personal requests.

(d) After 'Emes ve'Yatziv' one may say nothing, since immediately after the conclusion (i.e. 'Ga'al Yisrael') one is obligated to begin the Amidah. In 'Shomei'a Tefilah', one is permitted to petition Hashem for one's needs. Whereas after the conclusion of the final Berachah, one is even permitted to say the entire confession of Yom Kipur (which we actually do on Yom Kipur).

(a) 1. "ve'Chanah Hi Medaberes Al Libah" teaches us the obligation to Daven with Kavanah (Later on, we will learn something else from the same words).
2. We learn from "Rak Sefaseha Na'os", that one is obligated to pronounce all the words of Tefilah.
3. Nevertheless, it is forbidden to raise one's voice during the Amidah, because the Pasuk continues "ve'Kolah Lo Yishama".

(b) Since the Navi points out that Eli thought that Chanah was drunk, we can learn that someone should not Daven when he is drunk.

(c) Form the fact that Eli rebuked Chanah for being drunk, we see that one is obligated to point out unsavory behavior to the person who is guilty of it.

(d) By "Lo Adoni", Chanah was telling Eli that he was not a master in this matter, otherwise he would not have suspected her of something of which she was innocent. Alternatively, she was saying that he could not be possessed with Ruach ha'Kodesh, because he had judged her to the scale of guilt, and not to the scale of merit.




(a) Chanah, who pointed out to Eli that she was not drunk, teaches us that a person is obligated to justify himself in the eyes of the people, so that he should not be wrongly suspected.

(b) And because she used the words "Bas Beliya'al" in this context, we see that if a drunkard Davens, it is as if he served idols. Why?
Because the Torah also uses the word "B'nei Beliya'al" with regard to the inhabitants of the Ir ha'Nidachas, who had served Avodah Zarah.

(c) Eli felt obligated to make up to Chanah for having wrongly accused her. So we see that someone who has falsely accused a Jew of doing something wrong, is obligated to appease him.

(d) Moreover, he is obligated to give him a blessing, since Eli went on to bless Chanah that Hashem should grant her request, and bless her with a child.

(a) In a plea to Hashem, Chanah argued that from all the numerous hosts ('Tzeva'os') that Hashem had created, could He not spare her one son?

(b) Chanah 'threatened' Hashem, so to speak, arguing that she could, and would, use the very Torah as a lever to force Hashem to grant her a child.
How is that?
She could go with another man other than her husband Elkanah, into a room (in a way that would make her a Sotah), and, since she will not have actually sinned, the Torah promises that she will bear a child.
In that case, why should Hashem wait for that to happen? Surely it would be far more pleasant and expedient for all concerned, to give her a child without her having to become a Sotah first.

(c) There are however, opinions, which hold that the Torah only promises to improve the quality of childbirth or of the child, but not to grant a barren woman children (precisely for the reason that every barren woman should not be given the option of circumventing Hashem's decree, by becoming a Sotah.
According to them, "Im Ra'oh Sir'eh" is nothing more than a human colloquialism, a double expression, as is commonly used in ordinary speech (usually translated as 'surely').

(d) Chanah referred to herself three times as "Amasecha" (from the word 'Meis'- or literally, that she was Hashem's faithful *maidservant* in all three following areas), because of the three sins that examine or that cling to a woman during childbirth: Nidah, Chalah and Hadlakas ha'Ner. What she meant to ask Hashem was whether she had stumbled in any of the three; and if not, why could she not have a child?

(a) By "Zera Anashim" Chanah may have meant a man among men, a man who would anoint two men (Shaul and David), or a man who would not stand out, not excessively tall or short, not excessively thin or fat, not excessively white or red and not excessively wise or foolish - but average. That is he how she wanted him to be from birth (how he would develop, that was another matter).

(b) "ha'Nitzeves Imachah" implies that they were both standing (Eli as well as Chanah), from which we can learn that one should not sit within the four Amos of someone who is Davening the Amidah (se also Tosfos d.h. ' Imachah').

(c) It was because they Shechted the bull (after Shmuel had ruled that a Yisrael is also Kasher to Shecht Kodshim), that Shmuel was brought to Eli, for issuing a ruling in the presence of his Rebbi.

(d) When Eli insisted on the child having to die (at the Hand of Hashem), Chanah pleaded with him to forgive him. And when Eli still insisted that justice must take its course, and that he would pray to Hashem for her to have another, even more advanced child than this one, she pointed out to him that she was the woman who had prayed for *this child* two years earlier - *this child* and not another one. Upon hearing this, Eli relented and forgave Shmuel.

(a) When Chanah spoke "Al Libah", she was arguing with Hashem about the creation of a woman, every part of which has a specific use: eyes with which to see, ears with which to hear. Now why had He given her breasts, if not to suckle babies? Why create part of a body which was useless?

(b) "va'Tispalel Chanah *Al* Hashem implies that she Davened forcefully (words that overwhelmed Hashem, so to speak).

(c) When Eliyahu said "ve'Ata Hasibosa es Libam Achoranis", he was placing the blame of Yisrael for the sin of idolatry on Hashem, for having created such a strong Yeitzer ha'Ra.

(d) Hashem conceded to Eliyahu that He was indeed (at least partially) to blame, because He said to Michah the Navi "va'Asher Hari'osi" (I -Kevayachol - am the One who made them bad!).

(a) If someone fasts the day after he has had a bad dream, he cancels the evil decree inherent in the dream. But if the following day is Shabbos (when it is more difficult to fast, because everyone else is enjoying the pleasures of Shabbos), then he also causes all the evil decrees issued against him since he was a child to be cancelled.

(b) He is nevertheless punishable for breaking the Mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos.

(c) This can be rectified by fasting the following day.

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