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Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 39


(a) If one intended to sprinkle in front, and it landed on something in front to the side, it is valid.
(b) (Rabah bar Rav Huna): Once the Sefer Torah is opened, it is forbidden to talk, even laws of Torah - "In its opening, all the people stood".
1. 'Standing' connotes silence.
(c) (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): A Kohen that did not wash his hands may not bless - "Lift your hands in sanctity and bless Hash-m".
(d) (R. Elazar ben Shamu'ah): I merited a long life through the following:
1. I never used a synagogue as a shortcut;
2. I never appeared to step on the heads of the Talmidim;
3. I never gave Birkas Kohanim without blessing (Hash-m).
(e) Question: What blessing did he make?
(f) Answer (R. Zeira): "That sanctified us with the sanctity of Aharon, and commanded us to bless his nation Yisrael with love".
(g) Question: What would R. Elazar say when he ascended to bless?
(h) Answer: "May it be your will, Hash-m, that there should be no stumbling block or sin in this blessing you commanded us to bless Yisrael.
(i) Question: What would R. Elazar say after blessing?
(j) Answer (Rav Chisda): "Master of the world - we did as you decreed upon us, do with us as you promised - "Look down from your holy dwelling..."


(a) (Rav Chisda): The Kohanim may not bend their fingers until they face away from the congregation (after blessing).
(b) (R. Zeira): The reader (the one who recites the words for the Kohanim to repeat) may not recite until the congregation finishes answering Amen (to the Chazan's blessing of Modim);
1. The Kohanim may not bless until the reader finishes;
2. The congregation may not answer Amen (to Birkas Kohanim) until the Kohanim finish each blessing;
3. The Kohanim may not begin the next blessing until the congregation finishes answering Amen from the previous blessing.
(c) (R. Zeira): The Kohanim may not turn away from the congregation (after the blessing) until the Chazan begins Sim Shalom;
1. They may not start returning to their places until the Chazan finishes Sim Shalom.
(a) (R. Zeira): The congregation may not answer Amen until the one called to read the Torah finishes his blessing;
1. He may not begin reading until the congregation finishes answering Amen;
2. The translator may not translate until the reader finishes the verse.
3. The reader may not read the next verse until the translator finishes the previous verse.
(b) (R. Tanchum): The one called to read from the prophets must first read from the Torah.
1. He may not begin reading from the prophets until the Torah is wrapped.
(c) (R. Tanchum): The Chazan may not take the coverings off the Aron during the service, for it is improper to make the congregation wait.
(d) (R. Tanchum): The congregation may not leave until the Torah is taken (to be removed);
1. (Shmuel): They must wait until it is removed.
2. They do not argue on each other - R. Tanchum's law applies when there is more than 1 exit; Shmuel's law applies when there is only 1 exit.
3. (Rava): Bar Ahina explained the source of Shmuel's law: "You will go after Hash-m".
(a) (R. Zeira): When the Kohanim bless, the congregation says "Bless Hash-m, mighty angels..."; "Bless Hash-m, all legions that do His will"; "Bless Hash-m, all His creations, in all places of His dominion ..."
(b) (Rav Asi): When Kohanim bless at the Musaf prayer on Shabbos, the congregation says "A song of the steps: Bless Hash-m, all servants of Hash-m"; "Lift your hands in sanctity and bless Hash-m"; "Blessed is Hash-m from Tziyon, He dwells in Yerushalayim..."
(c) Question: Why not say "Hash-m will bless you from Tziyon", which is in the same psalm as the 1st 2 verses?
(d) Answer (Yehudah, son of R. Shimon ben Pazi): Since the 1st verses are blessings to Hash-m, we conclude with a blessing to Hash-m.
(e) (Rav Acha bar Yakov): At the afternoon prayer on a fast day, the congregation says "If our sins incriminate us, Hash-m, act (mercifully) for the sake of Your name"; "The Mikveh of Yisrael, that saves them at the time of their distress - why will You be as a stranger in the land?"; "Why will You be as a man befuddled and oblivious, as a mighty one that cannot save?"
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