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i¦Ax© ix§ ¥aC¦ ,d¨pFW`x¨ ¦d dxEn§ ¨ W`© d¨ sFq cr© ,oz¨ ¨ nExz¦ § A lk¡`¤l mi¦q¨pk§ p¦ mi¦p £ M©dW ¤ dr¨ ¨Xn¦ zi¦ax§r§ ©A E`¨AW ¤ d¤Ur© £n .x©gX ¨ d© cEOr© d¤lr© £I¤W cr© ,x¥nF` l¥`i¦ln§ ©B o¨Ax© .zFv£g cr© ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .x¤fri¦ ¤ l` ¡ oi¦a¨Ig© ,x©gX ¨ d© cEOr© d¨lr¨ `l m¦` ,m¤d¨l x©n`¨ .r©nW § z¤` Epix¨ ¦w `l ,Fl Ex§n`¨ ,dY§ ¤ WO¦ d© zi¥An¦ ei¨pa¨ cEOr© d¤lr© £I¤W cr© oz¨ ¨ ev§ n¦ ,zFv£g cr© mi¦nk¨ g £ Ex§n`¨ X ¤ d©n l¨M `¨N`¤ ,c©a§lA¦ Ff `l§e .zFx§w¦l mY© ¤` oz¨ ¨ ev§ n¦ ,c¨g`¤ mFi§l oi¦lk¨ ` ¡ ¤Pd© l¨k§e .x©gX ¨ d© cEOr© d¤lr© £I¤W cr© oz¨ ¨ ev§ n¦ ,mix¨ ¦a`¥ §e mi¦a¨lg £ xh§ ¥ wd¤ .x©gX ¨ d© o¦n mc¨ ¨`d¨ z¤` wi¦gx© §d§l ic§ ¥M ,zFv£g cr© mi¦nk¨ g £ Ex§n`¨ d¨O¨l ,o¥M m¦` .x©gX ¨ d© cEOr© d¤lr© £I¤W cr© :dxi¥ ¨ ar¨ £d 1. When do we recite the Evening Shma? According to Rebbe Eliezer: From the time the Kohanim enter to eat their teruma [1] and until the end of the First Watch [2] The Sages disagree: Until Midnight. Rabban [3] Gamaliel has a third opinion: From the ascent of dawn’s first rays. It happened that his sons once came back from a party and told him “We haven’t recited Shma”. He replied “If not, you remain obligated until the dawn’s first rays — and not in this situation alone; it is so whenever the Sages have ruled an obligation is until Midnight. Some examples include burning the fat and limbs [4] or eating the sacrifice on the same day.”[5] If this be so, why the the Sages legislate these mitzvot must be done by Midnight? To prevent one from trangression. [1] The food tax set aside for consumption by the Kohanim [2] The day or night is dived into 12 seasonal hours, which vary in length throughout the year: a day in summer is longer than a day in winter. If the longest summer day is 18 hours, there is six hours of evening and a proportional evening hour is 40 minutes long (six hours = 480 minutes divided by 12) [3] This title is reserved for use by the highest member of the Rabbinic guild. It is generally conferred on the hereditary Nasi from the House of Hillel who leads the Rabbinic guild as president of the Sanhedrin. In Roman times the Nasi was the chief Jewish governor after the dismantling of the Monarchy [4] These being left over from the sacrificial offerings brought throughout the day [5] This probably refers to the Pesah sacrifice, which had to be consumed on the day it was offered

z¤lk¥ Y § oi¥A ,x¥nF` x¤fri¦ ¤ l` ¡ i¦Ax© .o¨a¨l§l z¤lk¥ Y § oi¥A xi¦M©I¤Xn¦ .zix£ ¦gW © A§ r©nW § z¤` oixFw ¦ iz¨ © ni¥`n¥ a cFnr© £l mi¦k¨ln§ i¥pA§ Kx¤C¤ o¥MW ¤ ,zFr¨W Wl¨W cr© ,x¥nF` r© WFd§ ª i i¦Ax© .d¨Og© d© u¥pd¨ cr© Dx§ ¨nFb§e .iz ¦ x© §k§l :dxFY© ¨ a `xFT© ¥ d mc¨ ¨`M§ ,ci¦qt§ d¦ `l K¨li¥`§e o`¨Mn¦ `xFT© ¥ d .zFr¨W Wl¨WA§ 2. When do we recite Morning Shma? When it’s possible to recognise between Royal Blue [6] and white. Rebbe Eliezer had another opinion: when one could differentiate Royal Blue from the green of earthy vegetables. Either way, these distinctions were only useful until the termination of sunrise;[7] Rebbe Yehoshu’a held it was so until the the third hour, for it was the common custom of the bené malakhim [8]to then arise. Recital starting then [9]? It’s as if one reads directly from Torah. [6]There is no standard halakhic perspective on what this colour may be. It’ s the equivalent of the European Royal Purple. Current so-called “kosher”versions are a grayish-blue [7] Hebrew d¨Og© d© u¥pd¨ cr© Dx§ ¨nFb§e may also be understood as “Or garnet’ s range of colours compared to those of sunrise”[8] Variously translated as “kings”or “princes”; the literal meaning is “sons of kings”but this is a euphemism: it means that one is obligated to the kings; in the same sense “bar mitzva” means one is obligated to mitzvot, not that one is a “son of the commandment”. The bené malakhim are senior court officials responsible for orderly governance [9] R Yehoshu’ a is not of the opinion that Morning Shma should be said later than sunrise but he is concerned that if that were the universal standard it would exclude the court officials, who could not be expected to be awake to recite. If a single standard were applicable, it would cause a breach between the religion of the people and the religion of the rulers. It


was better to exempt the rulers from this provision and thus permit the third hour as the latest possible time for anyone to say Morning Shma.

L§Ak§ W ¨ a§ E (e mixac) x©n` ¡ ¤PW ¤ ,Ec§nr© £i x¤ A©aE ,E`x§ §w¦i§e EH©i mc¨ ¨` l¨M ax¤r¨ ¤A ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A b d¨O¨l ,o¥M m¦` .Kx¤C© ¤a LY§ § k¤la§ E (my) x©n` ¡ ¤PW ¤ ,FMx§c§ ©M `xFw ¥ mc¨ ¨` l¨M ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .L¤nEw§aE ,oFtx§h© i¦Ax© x©n`¨ .mic§ ¦nFr mc¨ ¨` i¥pA§ W ¤ dr¨ ¨Wa§ E ,mi¦ak§ FW mc¨ ¨` i¥pA§ W ¤ dr¨ ¨WA§ ,L¤nEw§aE L§Ak§ W ¨ a§ E x©n` ¡ ¤p ,Fl Ex§n`¨ .mih§ ¦ q¦Nd© i¥pR§ n¦ i¦nv§ r§ © a iY§ ¦ pM© q¦ §e ,i`©OW © zi¥a ix§ ¥ac§ ¦M ,zFx§w¦l iz ¦ H¦ ¥ d§e ,Kx¤C© ¤a `¨a izi¦ ¦ id¨ i¦p` £ :l¥Nd¦ zi¥a ix§ ¥aC¦ lr© Y ¨ x© §ar¤ ¨W ,L§nv§ r§ © A aFg¨l zi¦ ¨ id¨ ic§ ©M 3. Bét Shahm’I [1] teach that at night one lies down to say Shma and at dawn one arises. They use the proof text of Dvarim 6: “When you go to bed and when you arise”. Bét Hillel have another perspective: One may recite according to his or her personal inclination — and they use the same proof text, quoting instead “and when you are travelling on the road”. If so, what use is the phrase “When you go to bed and when you arise”? [2] It indicates the time –when one sleeps and awakens. Rebbe Tarfon recounts that he was once on the road. “I inclined to recite Shma, in accordance with Bét Shahm’I, and found this to be dangerous, since there were brigands about.” His colleagues rebuked him, saying “Next time don’t be so quick to obligate yourself to any perspective other than Bét Hillel’s”. [1] One of two political perspectives or schools current among the perushim, the immediate predecessors of the Rabbinic guild. Speaking generally, Bét Shahm’ I was patrician and Bét Hillel was plebian. [2] i.e., “Why is the phrase included in Shma?”

d¨Mx£ ª` z©g`© .¨dix£ ¤g`© §l m¦iY§ © WE d¨ i¤pt¨ §l m¦iY§ © W ax¤r¨ ¤aE ,¨dix£ ¤g`© §l z©g`© §e d¨ i¤pt¨ §l m¦iY§ © W Kx¨ ¥an§ x©gX © A© c Fpi¥` ,mY§g©l .Kix£ ¦`d© §l i`©Xx© Fpi¥` ,x¥Sw© §l .x¥Sw© §l i`©Xx© Fpi¥` ,Kix£ ¦`d© §l Ex§n`¨ W ¤ mFw§n .dx¨ ¨vw§ z©g`© §e :mY§g©l i`©Xx© Fpi¥` ,mY§g©l `N¤W§e .mY§g©l `N¤W i`©Xx© 4. In the Morning Shma one blesses twice before and once after. At night? Two before and two after: One is a long-form [1] brakha, the other a short-form [2] One may not shorten a long-form brakha nor lengthen a short-form brakha. A brakha with a prescribed ending must always be so ended. [1] This type of brakha both begins and ends with the formula d dz` jExA A Blessing: You Are G!d... The opening formula is called peti’ ha “opening”or “key”and the closing formula is called hatima “signature”. [2] A short-form braka opens with the formula d dz` jExA A Blessing: You Are G!d...


l§e ,d¨pW ¨ mir§ ¦ aW ¦ o¤aM§ i¦p` £ ix£ ¥d ,d¨ix© §fr£ o¤A x¨fr§ ¨l`¤ i¦Ax© x©n`¨ .zFli¥NA© m¦ix§ ©vn¦ z©`i¦v§i oixi¦ ¦ M§fn© d z¤` xM§fY ¦ or© © n§l (fh mixac) x©n` ¡ ¤PW ¤ ,`¨nFf o¤A D¨Wx¨C¤ § W cr© ,zFli¥NA© m¦ix§ ©vn¦ z©`i¦v§i x¥n`¨ Y¤ ¥ W izi¦ ¦ k¨f i¥n§i ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .zFli¥Nd© ,Li¤Ig© i¥n§i lM .mi¦n¨Id© ,Li¤Ig© i¥n§i .Li¤Ig© i¥n§i lM m¦ix§ ©vn¦ ux¤ ¤`n¥ Lz`¥ § v mFi :©gi¦WO¨ d© zFni¦l `i¦ad¨ §l ,(Li¤Ig© i¥n§i) lM .d¤Gd© m¨lFr¨d ,Li¤Ig© 5. We recall the departure from Egypt at night. [1] Rebbe Eliezer Ben Azr’ya often said [2] “I am like the aged, yet I could never understand why we recounted this story at night. Then Ben Zoma explained it. He put it this way: With respect to remembering, we recall the day we departed Egypt all the days of our life. This means ‘forever’, and that certainly includes the nights! But the Sages have another perspective. Days means this time and place; all he days means the time of the Messiah. [1] This is expressly stated because the departure from Egypt is mentioned also in the Morning Shma. It might be assumed that since we’ ve already mentioned it we need not do so again. [2] This mishna is repeated verbatim in the Hagada


,dxFY© ¨ a `xFw ¥ d¨id¨ ` a wxt cFa¨Md© i¥pR§ n¦ l¥`FW mi¦wx§ ¨RA© .`¨v¨i `l ,e`¨l m¦`§e .`¨v¨i ,FA¦l o¥EM¦ m¦` ,`x§ ¨wO¦ d© o©n§f ri¦ © Bd¦ §e ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .xi¦`n¥ i¦Ax© ix§ ¥aC¦ ,ai¦Wn¥ E d¨`x¦§Id© i¥pR§ n¦ l¥`FW r©vn§ `¤ a¨ E ,ai¦Wn¥ E ai¦Wn¥ E ,cFa¨Md© i¥pR§ n¦ l¥`FW mi¦wx§ ¨RA© ,cFa¨Md© i¥pR§ n¦ ai¦Wn¥ E ,d¨`x¦§Id© i¥pR§ n¦ l¥`FW r©vn§ `¤ A¨ :mc¨ ¨` l¨k§l mFl¨W 1. One reciting Torah who happens upon Shma [1] has fulfilled the obligation if it coincides with the appropriate time, so long as the intent is present [2]; otherwise, it does not discharge the obligation of saying Shma. Between the paragraphs? [3]Enquire of another’s welfare from respect [4]; it goes without saying that one may reply! Within the paragraphs? Enquire of another’s welfare from fear [5] and reply. These are the opinions of Rebbe Mé’ir, though R Yehuda is of the opinion that within paragraphs one enquires from fear but responds from respect; between, one asks out of respect and responds as anyone would. [1] That is, Dvarim 6:4-9. This is the first paragraph of Shma [2] Torah study is assumed to be a type of meditation. Being aware of the time generally, not to mention the time to say Shma, is by no means a given. If the meditation includes an awareness of the time and a declaration that the recital of Shma in Torah fulfills the mitzva of saying Shma, one has discharged the mitzva [3] The assumption of saying Shma has now shifted to saying all three paragraphs [4] A parent, an adept’ s master, or one for whom you would normally stand to show respect, all or any of whom may forgo this acknowledgement [5] It is frankly refreshing to see that deference to authority is built in to the Jewish tradition. One might be inclined, in our time, to bring the matter before a human rights tribunal!

d¨id¨ §e¦l r©nW § oi¥aE ,r©nW § ¦l d¨I¦pW § oi¥A ,d¨I¦pW § ¦l d¨pFW`x¦ d¨kx§ ¨A oi¥A ,mi¦wx§ ¨Rd© oi¥A o¥d EN¥` a oi¥A ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .ai¦S©i§e z¤n` ¡ ¤l x¤n`I©e oi¥A ,x¤n`I©e§l © n¨W m¦` d¨id¨ §e oi¥A , © n¨W m¦` m¦` d¨id¨ §e¦l r©nW § d¨nc¨ § w d¨O¨l ,d¨gx¨ §w o¤A r© WFd§ ª i i¦Ax© x©n`¨ .wi¦qt§ ©i `l ai¦S©i§e z¤n` ¡ ¤l x¤n`I©e .zF§vn¦ lr ei¨lr¨ l¥Aw© §i K¨M x©g`© §e ,d¨Ng¦ Y § m¦in© W ¨ zEk§ln© lr ei¨lr¨ l¥Aw©§IW ¤ ic§ ¥M `¨N`¤ , © n¨W `¨N`¤ b¥dFp Fpi¥` x¤n`I©e ,d¨l§i©Na© E mFI©A b¥dFp © n¨W m¦` d¨id¨ §eW ¤ ,x¤n`I©e§l © n¨W m¦` d¨id¨ §e :(c¨a§lA¦ ) mFI©A 2. Between the paragraphs means between the first blessing and the second,and so between the second and Shma; follow this logic: between Shma and Ve’hyah [1]; between Ve’hyah and Vy’omér [2]; and between Vy’omér and Emet Ve’Yatziv, though R Yehuda maintains that here there is no break[3]. R Ye’hoshu’a Ben Qarha asked “Why does Shma precede Ve’hyah? The order indicates that one first receives the obligation to serve G!d, then accepts the mitzvot [4] Ve’hyah precedes Vy’omér because the mitzvot to love and to serve apply at all times; the mitzva of tzitzit [5] applies only during the day. 1] The 2nd paragraph of the Shma 2] The 3rd and final paragraph of Shma 3] This is the tradition as currently understood and practiced [4] Not by any means axiomatic. It can be argued that the mitzvot obligate one to serve


G!d; here we learn otherwise [5] The talit, for example, is worn only at Shahar’ it. A talit qatan, however, is worn as clothing. If one changes clothes at night there is no reason to put on the talit qatan again; otherwise it may stay on all day until you undress. Some sleep in a talit qatan but there is no obligation to do so.

wC§ ¥wC¦ `l§e `x¨¨ ¨w .`¨v¨i `l ,x¥nF` i¥qFi i¦Ax© .`¨v¨i ,Fp§f`¨ §l ri¦ © nW § d¦ `l§e r©nW § z¤` `xFT© ¥ db .`¨v¨i `l ,r© x§ ¥tn© §l `xFT© ¥ d .`¨v¨i `l x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© ,`¨v¨i x¥nF` i¥qFi i¦Ax© ,¨dizFI¦ ¤ zF`§A :dr¨ ¨H¤W mFw¨O§l xf£g©i ,dr¨ ¨h§e `x¨ ¨w 3. You need not hear yourself [1] say Shma to fulfil the obligation, though R Yosé says otherwise. If one recites the letters indistinctly [2] R Yosé maintains the obligation has been fulfilled; R Yehuda disagrees. Dyslexic recitation [3] is invalid. If you make an error? Start again from the place you erred and continue. [1] The Shma is a potent meditation but not necessarily a spoken one. We are accustomed to a vocal congregational recitation in our time but it was not always so. If one is in the midst of meditation there is no guarantee a strong verbal response, or any verbal response, will occur. [2] R Yosé prefers indistinct to silent, which suggests to me that he sees Shma as a spoken meditation. It was certainly used that way by some mystics, who also controlled their breathing to the rhythm imposed by Shma. Counting breaths could well be what the Hebrew idiom translated as “indistinctly”means: it literally translates as “without precision”, the idea being that we breath in a precise pattern and we need to break that pattern. The adepts of this discipline seek to constantly shatter patterns and expose them to new forces. The masters achieve low levels of prophetic insight. [3] Reciting the passages within a paragraph in an order other than given is a mystical approach to understanding text and context. This must not be done in Shma, for the focus of the meditation can be lost.

o¥M zFUr© £l oi¦`X ¨ x© o¨pi¥`X ¤ d©n ,K¨Ac¦ § Pd© W`x§a F` o¨li¦`d¨ W`x§A oixFw ¦ oi¦pO¨ `¨ ªd c :d¨Nt¦ Y© §A 4. Artisans may recite from the tops of trees but by no means is this so for Tefila [4]. [4] Clearly ridiculous. What are artisans doing on top of trees? Herzog (Berakoth 1:4) cites Talmud Yerushalmi, which emends the Mishna to read labourers..., so the Talmud is clearly also confused by this statement. The assumed plain meaning, which is actually an interpretation, is that field hands may recite Shma while picking fruit from the highest branches. Read not Hebrew o¨li¦` nor oFil` “tree”, “Supenral G!d”but o¨l i¦` “whence sleep”. This is an oblique reference to strong meditation. The obligation to Shma includes those who are otherwise occupied in deep meditative practices. Tefila, however, is a meditation of different type. It requires active, verbal meditation.

.d¤Ur© £n d¨Ur¨ `l m¦` ,z¨AW © i¥`v¨ Fn cr© oFW`x¨ ¦d d¨l§i©NA© r©nW § z©`ix§ ¦Tn¦ xEh¨R oz¨ ¨g d ,Ep¨Yc© § O¦l `l ,eici¦ ¨ n§lY © Fl Ex§n`¨ .`¨U¨PW ¤ oFW`x¨ ¦d d¨l§i©la§ `x¨ ¨TW ¤ l¥`i¦ln§ ©B o¨Ax§ ©A d¤Ur© £n lh© ¥ a§l m¤k¨l r¥ © nFW i¦pi¥` ,m¤d¨l x©n`¨ .oFW`x¨ ¦d d¨l§i©NA§ r©nW § z©`ix§ ¦Tn¦ xEh¨R oz¨ ¨ gW ¤ ,Ep¥Ax© :z¨g`¤ dr¨ ¨W EN¦t` £ m¦in© W ¨ zEk§ln© i¦PO¤ n¦ 5. A bridegroom is exempt from Shma from the first night until the end of Shabbat [1] if the primary activity of marriage remains unfulfilled. Rabban Gamaliel, however, did recite during the first night of his marriage. His students wondered about this and challenged him. “Did you not teach us,”they asked “that a bridegroom is exempt?!”He replied I cannot deny the yolk of


Heaven for myself for even a moment, even as your challenge may have some merit! [1] Weddings are most often held on Sundays but are permitted any day aother than Shabbat

l¥a`¨ W ¤ ,Ep¥Ax© ,Ep¨Yc© § O¦l `l ,eici¦ ¨ n§lY © Fl Ex§n`¨ .FY§W`¦ d¨z¥OW ¤ oFW`x¨ ¦d d¨l§i©l u©gx¨ e :i¦p` £ qi¦ph§ § q`¦ ,mc¨ ¨` l¨M x¨`W § M¦ i¦pi¥` ,m¤d¨l x©n`¨ .ugx¦ §l xEq¨` 6. Rabban Gamaliel washed himself on the first night after his wife died. His students enquired “Did you not tell us that washing is prohibited to a mourner?”He replied I am unlike others, for I am “istnis”[1]. [1] Standard translations identify this as “frail”. It is a Greek loan word. It is not used in modern Greek. The Jewish mourning tradition permits discomfort during the mourning period, on the assumption that the mourner won’ t feel like a normal person in an event, but that if the discomfort is obviated by deep spiritual attachment to both Hashem and the meory of he deceased? Such seems to be the case here. R Gamaliel refuses to mourn as others might because it is not true to his way. I teach my students to impose Jewish conformity on mourners whenever possible but to permit a wide latitude of observance nonetheless.

oi¥`W ¤ ,Ep¥Ax© ,Ep¨Yc© § O¦l `l ,eici¦ ¨ n§lY © Fl Ex§n`¨ .oi¦nEg§pY © ei¨lr¨ l¥Aw¦ FC§ar© i¦ah¨ z¥OW ¤ k§ E f x¥WM¨ ,mic¨ ¦ar¨ £d l¨M x¨`W § M¦ iC§ ¦ar© i¦ah¨ oi¥` ,m¤d¨l x©n`¨ .mic¨ ¦ar¨ £d lr© oi¦nEg§pY © oi¦lA§ w© n§ :d¨id¨ 7. And he accepted condolence when his servant Tavi died. His students protested “Our teacher! Does one receive condolences for a slave? Have you not taught us otherwise?!” He answered them Tavi, my servant [1], was not like other slaves. He was kashér[2]. [1] Feminists should note that Tavi is named yet R Gamaliel’ s wife is not named above. The use of the phrase “my servant”is significant. RG does not respond to his students by saying “my wife”in m. 6. The type of relationship he had with Tavi is, therefore, different. My wife, my teacher, Dr Susan J Landau-Chark, has suggested that it may be RG’ s wife who is frail in m. 6, not him. This suggests to me that R Gamaliel was, perhaps, long mourning his wife while she still lived or lingered. I can understand this, for I had a sim relationship to my father, obm, who lingered for some years, a man alive with no quality of life. How much more can one mourn death when he has mourned for so long? [2] Lit. “fit”. This implies Tavi was either Jewish or became so. It may mean, also, that Tavi was ger toshev, one who lives in Israel but is not of it.

l¥`i¦ln§ ©B o¤A oFr§nW ¦ o¨Ax© .`xFw ¥ ,oFW`x¦¨ ¦d d¨l§i©l r©nW § z©`ix§ ¦w zFx§w¦l d¨vx¨ m¦` ,oz¨ ¨g g :lH¦i m¥Xd© z¤` lFH¦l d¤vFx¨d l¨M `l ,x¥nF` 8. The bridegroom who wants to recite Shma on the first night may do so [1]. Rabban Shimon Ben-Gamaliel is of another opinion: Not everyone who wants can achieve the humility required for this practice [2] [1] This m. gives explicit permission for RG’ s practice in m. 5. [2] RG’ s son and successor. Heb. lit. means “lift up”, i.e., take up the practice, which requires a contemplative practice unavailable to many adepts, including me.


1. Mourners are exempt from Qriat Shma and from tefilin. Some say: from Tefila [1]. Escorts of the dead, and those who replace them throughout the procession, are exempt. Those who attend the funeral and burial but do not act as escorts or pall-bearers? Obligated. Everyone is exempt from Tefila. 2. After they return from the burial? If they can both begin and finish, they may begin [2] if they can conclude by the time they arrive at the receiving line [3]. If this is not possible, do not begin. Of those who are within the receiving line already? Exempt. Others must recite. 3. Women, slaves, and children are exempt from Qriat Shma and tefilin. They are obligated to Tefila, mezuza, and Birkat Hamazon [4] 4. A ba’al qeri may recite by rote without a brakha either before Shma or after [5], and recites Hamazon but not the benediction prior to eating [6]. Rebbe Yehuda maintains one bless both before and after eating.

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[1] The actual m. text as I have it reads “...from Q”Sh (and from the Tefila)...”. It’ s impossible to know if this parenthetical comment belonged to an early commentator who corrupted the text or if it is an editorial decision that Tefila is not Q”Sh and also not Tefilin (which includes Q”Sh). I have changed the order to reflect the understanding, current at least since Talmudic times, that Shma is the Rabbinic use of Torah as prayer, whereas Tefila is Rabbinic prayer par excellence [2] The text does not specify of this means Shma or Tefila. Context suggests Shma [3] To greet the mourners and those who directly participate in the burial [4] They are exempt but not prohibited. The exemption from Shma is not absolute. Shma occurs in two versions. One is timebound morning and evening, and this is what the rabbis mean when they exempt from it. The other is said before bed and upon arising. It is this version that Rashi considers as fulfilling the mitzva of Shma at night; this belies the extension of timebound, positive mitzvot to be prohibitions [5] A ba’ al qeri has had an emission. This concerns one who has not yet been to the miqva. See Dt 23:10-12 [6] There is Torahitic sanction for Hamazon, for it says “you shall eat, be satisfied, and bless”. Saying brakhot on food prior to eating is by Rabbinic sanction so one may be lenient on brakhot mandated by Rabbinic convention [7] In a maqiva [8] Perhaps three metres or six feet [9] The immersion is for saying Shma but does not restore personal purity and for which Torah mandates varied waiting periods.


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,x©gX © d© z©N¦tY§ c wxt `

1.The Morning Tefila may be said until Noon [1], though Rebbe Yehuda says until the fourth hour [2]. The Minha Tefila may be said until Nightfall. Rebbe Yehuda says plag ha’minha [3]. The Tefila for evening has no fixed times. Musaf? It maybe said all day, though Rebbe Yehuda specifies until the seventh hour expires [4]. 2. Rebbe Nehunya Ben Ha’Qana would pray as he entered the Bet Midrash and also as he left. They asked him “What do you say?” He replied A short prayer as I enter that no one should stumble about on my account and a short prayer as I leave that I be settled in my portion. [5] 3. Rabban Gamaliel states that every day one says the Shmona Esrai [6]. Rebbe Yehoshua has a different perspective. He maintains that it may be a meditation [7]. Rebbe Aqiva mediates. If fluent, let it be the 18; if not, let it be a meditation [8].

cr© d¨g§pO¦ d© z©Nt¦ Y § .zFr¨W r©Ax© §` cr© ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .zFv£g cr© D¨l oi¥` ax¤r¨ ¤d z©Nt¦ Y § .d¨g§pO¦ d© b©lR§ cr© ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .ax¤r¨ ¤d :(zFr¨W r©aW ¤ cr© ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax) © .mFI©d l¨M oi¦tq¨ En l¤W§e .r©aw¤ Wx¨c¦ § Od© zi¥a§l Fz¨qi¦pk§ A¦ l¥NR© z¦ § n d¨id¨ d¨pT¨ d© o¤A `¨i§pEg§p i¦Ax© a ,m¤d¨l x©n`¨ .Ff d¨Nt¦ z¦ § l mFw¨O d©n ,Fl Ex§n`¨ .dx¨ ¨vw§ d¨Nt¦ Y § Fz¨`i¦vi¦aE i¦p` £ iz¨ ¦ `i¦vi¦aE ,ic¨ ¦i lr© d¨lw¨ Y © rx¡ ©`z ¤ `N¤W l¥NR© z¦ § n i¦p` £ iz¨ ¦ qi¦pk§ A¦ :i¦w§lg¤ lr© d¨icFd ¨ ozFp ¥ i¦Ax© .dx§ ¥Ur¤ d¤pFn§W mc¨ ¨` l¥NR© z¦ § n mFi l¨kA§ ,x¥nF` l¥`i¦ln§ ©B o¨Ax© b dxEb§ ¨ W m¦` ,x¥nF` d¨ai¦wr£ i¦Ax© .dx§ ¥Ur¤ d¤pFn§W oir¥ ¥n ,x¥nF` r© WFd§ ª i d¤pFn§W oir¥ ¥n ,e`¨l m¦`§e .dx§ ¥Ur¤ d¤pFn§W l¥NR© z¦ § i ,ei¦tA§ Fz©Nt¦ Y § :dx§ ¥Ur¤

[1] The time of which varies based on a seasonal hour. In the Jewish calendar there are always 12 hours of daylight calculated from sunrise and 12 hours of night calculated from sunset. Noon is the sixth hour after sunrise. In Ottawa or Washington a winter day is less than 9 standard hrs and a summer day is almost 16 hrs. In Jerusalem a winter day is about 10 hrs and a summer day is about 14. The Morning Tefila in Israel can be said until approximately 12:30 pm if winter sunrise is 07:30 and until approx 13:10 if summer sunrise is 05:30 [2] This is one-third of the day instead of one-half [3] This is 1.25 seasonal hours before Nightfall. R Yehuda recognises that Jews outside the Land cannot daven based on times in the Land. During long summer days it would become difficult to have the Shabbat meal at a reasonable time. Plag ha’ minha means one can bring Shabbat in earlier, even if the sun is still shining. A summer day in Rome is about 15 standard hours, somewhat more than 1 standard hr longer than in Jerusalem [4] This is merely practical and very common even today, even if the halakha specifies Musaf may be said all day. I have only ever said Musaf as part of the general Shabbat service, which usu lasts into what is technically Minha [5] The rebbe does not want to lead anyone astray but realises after the day ends that whatever was said is G!d’ s Will [6] Lit., “eighteen”, by which he means the 18 benedictions of the Tefila. Today there are 19, though Rav Aaron Lichtenstein suggests that the last brakha may be seen as a brakha before Tahanun rather than as a concluding brakha to the weekday Amida, in which case there are still 18 [7] A standard translation is “he may say an abstract”. Heb. oi¥rn¥ is from oirl “to peruse”. Heb. xvw is more typical for “abstract”or “shorten”[8] Fluency in prayer in those days meant the mitpalel recited tefila by heart. A meditation did not rely on such fluency, it relied strictly on the mindset of the individual. It is my custom to pray fluently in Minha and to meditate in Shaharit. I rarely say Arvit other than to usher in Shabbat and in Havdala; erev Shabbat I meditate and in Havdala I pray fluently


K¥Nd© n§ d© ,x¥nF` r© WFd§ ª i i¦Ax© .mi¦pEp£gY © Fz¨Nt¦ Y § oi¥` ,r©aw¤ Fz¨Nt¦ z § d¤UFr¨d ,x¥nF` x¤fri¦ ¤ l` ¡ i¦Ax© c L§Or© z¤` m¥Xd© r©WFd ,x¥nF` .dx¨ ¨vw§ d¨Nt¦ Y § l¥NR© z¦ § n ,d¨pM¨ q© mFw§nA¦ 4. Rebbe Eliezer is of the .Li¤pt ¨ §l m¤di¥kx¨ §v Ei§d¦i xEAr¨ ¦ d z©Wx¨ ¨R l¨kA§ ,l¥`x§ ¨U¦i zix¥ ¦`W § z¤` opinion that prayer as a :d¨Nt¦ Y § r¥ © nFW 'd d¨Y©` KEx¨A routine is merely going ,ei¨pR¨ z¤` xi¦fg £ ©i ,cxi¥ ¥ l lFk¨i Fpi¥` m¦`§e .cx¥ ¥i ,xFn£gd© lr© a¥kFx d¨id¨ d through the motions and is § FA¦l z¤` o¥Ek© §i ,ei¨pR¨ z¤` xi¦fg £ d© §l lFk¨i Fpi`¥ m¦`§e not a spiritual experience. W ¤w zi¥A c¤b¤pM :mi¦Wc¢ ¨Td© Rebbe Yehoshua recognised the dangers of travel and zi¥A c¤b¤pM § FA¦l z¤` o¥Ek© §i ,dC§ ¨q`© a§ F` oFx¨Ta§ F` d¨pi¦tQ§ A¦ a¥WFi d¨id¨ e urged that a short prayer be :mi¦Wc¢ ¨Td© y ¤w said before setting out. He x¤ag¤ A§ `¨N`¤ oi¦tq¨ EO©d z©Nt¦ Y § oi¥` ,x¥nF` d¨ix© §fr£ o¤A x¨fr§ ¨l`¤ i¦Ax© f suggested Save the remnant ¨ i i¦Ax© .xir¦ x¤ag¤ a§ `N¤W§e xir¦ x¤ag¤ A§ ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .xir¦ of Your Nation Israel, dcEd§ ¦ Y¦ § n xEh¨R ci¦g¨Id© ,xir¦ x¤ag¤ W¥IW ¤ mFw¨n l¨M ,Fn§Xn¦ x¥nF` wherever they go and z©Nt forever long they may be :oi¦tq¨ EO©d about, and let them know they never truly depart from Your Presence [1]. A Blessing: You Are G!d. You Hear prayer. 5. Riding upon a donkey? Climb down [2]. If you are unable to do so [3]? Face Yerushalayim. If this is impossible [4]? Incline your mind and your heart to the place Most Holy [5] 6. Aboard ship, on a coach, or on a raft? Incline your mind and your heart to the place Most Holy [6] 7. Rebbe Elazar Ben Aazrya maintains that Musaf is said only among the hever ir [7] but the Sages permit either with or without the hever ir. Rebbe Yehuda reported R Elezar’s opinion differently: In every place there is a hever ir; alone you are not obligated to Musaf.

[1] Do not think that G!d is limited to the Land. Heb. xEard zWxt is mystical language. Wxt “depart” and xEar “pregnant”. G!d “Impregnates”, so to say, wherever you may be [2] To say Shmona Esrai [3] It may be dangerous or there may be no place to tether the donkey [4] Because you are travelling in the opposite direction or have no idea where it may be in relation to you [5] The “Holy of Holies”in the Temple [6] One loses a strong sense of direction on the seas, coaches take whatever path is prudent and so it is impossible to judge at any given time where Jerusalem might be, and rivers meander [7] This is the central community of the rabbinic guild in different locations. Today “Great” Synagogues are common outside N Am have, e.g., Great Synagogue of Europe, the G Syn of Stolkholm, the G Syn of Copenhagen, etc.


oic§ ¦nFr oi¥` d wxt `

Ep§Ek© §IW ¤ ic§ ¥M ,mi¦l§NR© z¦ § nE z©g`© dr¨ ¨W mi¦dFW Ei¨d mi¦pFW`x¨ ¦d mici¦ ¦ qg £ .W`x c¤ M KFY¦n `¨N`¤ l¥NR© z¦ § d§l ai¦W§i `l ,FnFl§WA¦ l¥`FW K¤lO¤ d© EN¦t` £ .mFw¨O©l m¨A¦l z¤` 1. Do not stand to pray without a .EP¤ great deal of concentration. The :wi¦qt§ ©i `l ,Fa¥wr£ lr© KEx¨M W¨gp¨ EN¦t` £ ©e original Hasidim [1] would seek oi¦l` £ FW§e ,miz¥ ¦ Od© z©I¦gz¦ § A mi¦nW ¨ §B zFxEa§B oixi¦ ¦ M§fn© a equilibrium [2] for an hour before i¦Ax© .zr© C© ¨d o¥pFg§A d¨lC§ ¨ad© §e ,mi¦pX ¨ d© z©Mx¦ §aA§ mi¦nW ¨ §Bd© Tefila so as to place their heart nv§ r© i¥pt§ A¦ ziri¦ ¦ ax§ d¨kx§ ¨A Dx§ ¨nF` ,x¥nF` `¨ai¦wr£ correctly. Even if a monarch i¦Ax© .D¨ :d¨`cFd§ ¨ A ,x¥nF` x¤fri¦ ¤ l` ¡ enquires of your welfare, stand your nW § x¥k¨G¦i aFh lr§ © e ,Li¤ng £ x© Eri¦B©i xFR¦v o©w lr© x¥nF`¨d b place [3]. Do not interrupt even if a ,L¤ snake winds itself around your ,dr¨ ¨h§e d¨aiY© ¥ d i¥pt§ ¦l x¥aFr¨d .FzF` oi¦wY© § Wn§ ,micFn ¦ micFn ¦ ankle [4]. `Ed o¦i©Pn¦ .dr¨ ¨W DzF`§ ¨ A o¨ax© §q `¥d§i `l§e ,ei¨Y§gY © x¥g`© xar© £i 2. We remember the rainy season :D¨a dr¨ ¨H¤W d¨kx§ ¨Ad© z©Ng¦ Y¦ § n ,li¦gz© §n [5] in Tehi’at Ha’Métim [6] but we i¥pR§ n¦ ,o¥n`¨ mi¦p £ M©d x©g`© d¤pr© £i `l ,d¨aiY© ¥ d i¥pt§ ¦l x¥aFr¨d c request rain in Birkat Ha’Shanim © z¤` `¨û¦i `l ,`Ed `¨N`¤ o¥ M m¨W oi¥` m¦`§e .sExH© ¥d [7]. We acknowledge Havdala in .ei¨RM ¦ z¦ § l x¥fFg§e ei¨RM© z¤` `¥UFp `Ed¤W Fz¨gh§ ¨ ad© m¦`§e Honén Ha’Daat [8], though Rebbe :i`©Xx© ,Fz¨Nt Aqiva is of the opinion Havdala should replace the fourth brakha [9] and R Eliezer thinks it should be in Hoda’a [10] 3. We silence [11] those who say (a) You Show mercy to even the bird’s nest, (b) For the best is Your Name, or (c) Thank You! Thank You! [12]. One standing before the Ark [13] who makes a mistake [14]? There is an understudy who takes over [15], who may not object [16] because this demands immediate attention [17] from the place where the mistake was first noted. 4. One standing before the Ark does not answer Ah’mén when leading the Kohanim [18] because confusion can occur. If he is the only kohén? He does not bless, unless he is assured that while doing so he can keep the public prayers in proper order.

[1] We do not know who they were [2] Heb. mi¦dFW from zeeWl [3] Tefila here is seen as deep meditation, during which an altered state may occur. Sudden surfacing from the depth of meditation can be dangerous [4] The acknowledgement of people is no simple matter while in deep meditation. Touch, however, can break meditation more easily; sudden awareness and ensuing panic can lead to snakebite. Stillness is essential [5] In our prayers [6] This is the 2nd brakha of the weekday Amida [7] This is the 9th brakha [8] The 4th brakha [9] This would be consistent with how the Amida is said throughout Shabbat, wherein the 4th brakha is called Qedushat Ha’ Yom “the Holiness of the Day”; it differs subtly whether it is said in Arvit Le’ Shabbat, Shaharit, or Minha. R Aqiva would have the same thing occur here for Havdala, presumably with the standard complement of 19 brakhot instead of the 7 said on Shabbat [10] The penultimate brakha [11] The Hebrew ends with this phrase. It begins the English to establish clarity [12] (a) A comparison of mercies between the human and animal world’ s is undignified; G!d Extends mercy as G!d Determines (b) We need to thank G!d no less for that which we think is not good (c) It might seems we are invoking not G!d but two gods. This may strike us as ridiculous now but it was earnest then, in a time when Gnostics were a serious threat to the established order both religiously and politically [13] Leading the community in prayer [14] There were no printed siddurim; the prayers were said from memory [15] The Heb. literally is “underneath him”; it’ s unusual for such accuracy in translating [16] Which would normally be the humble thing to do [17] Public prayer is theatre; furthermore, the original leader will become more flustered as he continues, thus jumbling the prayers and so on [1]8 The Kohanim blessed the congregation daily in these days. While much less common today, it is still the practice in some Oriental and Sefardic communities


5. A mitpalel who loses fluency? This is not a good omen for him. If the shali’ah tzibur loses fluency? This is not a good omen for the community. They tell the story of Rebbe Hanina Ben Dosa, who could pray for the sick and know who would live and who would die. How do you know?, they would ask. He answered When the prayer flows from my mouth I know it has been received favourably. If not, I know his time is near.

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.zFx¥Rd© l©r oi¦kx¨ §an§ c©vi¥M e wxt `

zFx¥R lr§ © e .o¤t¨Bd© ix§ ¦R `xFA ¥ x¥nF` o¦i©I©d lr¤ © W ,o¦i©I©d o¦n uEg ,ur¨ ¥d ix§ ¦R `xFA ¥ ,x¥nF` o¨li¦`d¨ zFx¥R lr© © lr¤ © W ,z©Rd© o¦n uEg ,d¨nc£ ¨`d¨ ix§ ¦R `xFA ¥ x¥nF` ux¨ ¤`d¨ 1. With respect to he blessings z©Rd on produce? On treefruits one `xFA ¥ x¥ e` zFwx§ ¨id© lr§ © e .ux¨ ¤`d¨ o¦n m¤g¤l `i¦vFO©d x¥nF` `Ed says boré pri ha’étz. Wine is an :mi¦`W ¨ c§ i¥pi¦n `xFA ¥ ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .d¨nc£ ¨`d¨ ix§ ¦R exception to the rule [1]: we say zFx¥R lr§ © e .`¨v¨i ,d¨nc£ ¨`d¨ ix§ ¦R `xFA ¥ o¨li¦`d¨ zFx¥R lr© Kx¥ ©A a boré pri ha’gefen [2]. On both ¤ x©n`¨ m¦` m¨NMª lr© .`¨v¨i `l ,ur¨ ¥d ix§ ¦R `xFA ¥ ux¨ ¤`d¨ [3] fruits which grow from the ,lM©dW :`¨v¨i ground and on vegetables we © e u¤ g©d lr© .lM©dW ¤ x¥nF` ux¨ ¤`d¨ o¦n FlEC¦B oi¥`W ¤ x¨aC¨ lr© b say boré pri ha’adama. Bread is lr§ an exception to the rule: we say lr§ © e d¨pi¦a§Bd© lr§ © e a¨lg¨ d¤ lr© lM©dW ¤ x¥nF` i`©aFB©d lr§ © e zFl§aFP©d ha’motzi lehem min ha’aretz. d¨l¨lw§ oi¦n `Ed¤ W l¨M ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .lM©dW ¤ x¥nF` mi¦vi¥Ad© Rebbe Yehuda says boré miné :ei¨lr¨ oi¦kx¨ §an§ oi¥` d’shah’im on vegetables [4]. m¤di¥pi¥A W¥i m¦` ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© ,d¥Ax© §d mi¦pi¦n ei¨pt¨ §l Ei¨d c 2. You have fulfilled your ` lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .ei¨lr¨ Kx¨ ¥an§ ,dr§ ¨ aW ¦ oi¦On¦ obligation if you bless treefruits d¤fi¥ :d¤vx¦§IW ¤ o¤dn¥ with boré pri ha’adama. The same is not so if you say ha’motzi lehem min ha’aretz [5] when you should say boré pri ha’étz. One who says sheh’hakol has fulfilled the [1] Any juice is exceptional to this rule. The blessing on fruit juice, obligation. including grape juice not used for qidush, is sheh’ hakol ni’ yeh bidvaro. When grape juice is used for qidush it takes the same brakha as wine [2] 3. Upon whatever does not grow This pronunciation follows Sefardic preference [3] Produce in this m. is from the ground? Say divided into three categories: treefruit, bush fruit, and vegetables. Bush fruit sheh’hakol. On vinegars, includes fruits such as berries and fermentation and locusts; and so also bananas, which grew on also for milk, cheese, and eggs. “pseudostem”bushes that grow quite tall but are not trees [4] Actually, he Rebbe Yehuda is of the opinion says this in herbs. Heb. “d’ shah’ im” that we do not say a brakha on rfrs to grasses and herbs, not to vegetables, which in any event do not growth subject to misfortune grow plentifully in Israel [5] Bread is [6]. prepared from raw ingredients and thus has nothing in common with 4. When a variety of foods is set treefruits, which may be eaten in out? [7] R Yehuda rules that if their natural state [6] What this the seven species [8] is among The Seven Species (clockwise) means is unreported. Heb. qlal them, one says the brakha on it. Wheat - Barley - Pomegranates means “curse”, e.g., perhaps a locust swarm wipes Grapes - Figs - Olives - Dates out the crop or the produce grows prematurely or late? The Sages rule otherwise: Say It may also rfr to something else, perhaps food either not kosher or not the braka representing most [9] subject to regulation by the Sages? [7] A variety of foods on which different brakhot are said [8] The 7 species: wheat; barley; grapes; figs; of the food.

pomegranates; olives; dates [9] If one type of food predominates, say the brakha on it and it covers the brakhot on all foods present. This is not my custom. I say separate brakhot on each food. A common custom is to ensure bread is at the table: the brakha on bread covers all other foods. I cannot eat most bread because of food disorders and gluten intolerance.


xh¨ © R ,oFf¨Od© i¥pt§ ¦NW ¤ zx¤ ¤Rx© §Rd© lr© Kx¥ ©A .oFf¨Od© x©g`© §NW ¤ o¦i©I©d z¤` xh¨ © R ,oFf¨Od© i¥pt§ ¦NW ¤ o¦i©I©d lr© Kx¥ ©A d ` xh¨ © R ,z©Rd© lr© Kx¥ ©A .oFf¨Od© x©g`© §NW ¤ zx¤ ¤Rx© §Rd© z¤` 5. A blessing on wine before z¤ the meal exempts wine from z¤` xh¨ © t `l ,zx¤ ¤Rx© §Rd© lr© .zx¤ ¤Rx© §Rd© that time on. The same is so :dx¨c§ ¥w d¥Ur© £n `l s©` ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A .z©Rd© of dainties, appetisers, or c¨g`¤ ,EA¥qd¥ .Fn§vr§ © l Kx¨ ¥an§ c¨g`¤ §e c¨g`¤ l¨M ,lk¡`¤l oi¦aW § Fi Ei¨d e savouries. Blessing the ¥an§ c¨g`¤ §e c¨g`¤ l¨M ,oFf¨Od© KFz§A o¦i©i m¤d¨l `¨A .o¨Nk§ ªl Kx¨ ¥an§ bread exempts the appetisers Kx¨ n§bO© ªd lr© x¥nF` `Ed§e .m¨Nk§ ªl Kx¨ ¥an§ c¨g`¤ ,oFf¨Od© x©g`© §l .Fn§vr§ ©l but the reverse is not so [1], ,x¨ and Bet Sham’I go so far as :dC¨r§ ªQd© x©g`© §l `¨N`¤ x¨n§bO© ªd z¤` oi¦`i¦an§ oi¥`W ¤ i¦R lr© s©` to say that this is so, too, for xhFtE ¥ g© i¦lO¨ d© lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,FOr¦ z©tE d¨Ng¦ Y© § A g© i¦ln¨ ei¨pt¨ §l E`i¦ad¥ f anything served hot from the FOr§ ¦ e x¨Tr¦ `Ed¤W l¨M ,l¨lM§ d© d¤f .Fl d¨lt¥ h§ z©Rd© W ¤ ,z©Rd© z¤` pot as an appetiser [2]. :d¨lt¥ H© § d z¤` xhFtE ¥ x¨Tr¨ ¦ d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,d¨lt¥ h§ 6. When several dine ix§ ¥aC¦ ,zFkx§ ¨A Wl¨W o¤dix£ ¥g`© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mi¦pFOx§¦e mi¦ap¨ r£ mi¦p`¥ Y § l©k`¨ g together, each blesses for ¥n z©g`© d¨kx§ ¨A ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .l¥`i¦ln§ ©B o¨Ax© him- or herself [3]. If it is a i¦Ax© .Wl¨W oir¥ ¨g`© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,FpFf§n `Ed§e w¤lW ¤ l©k`¨ EN¦t` £ ,x¥nF` `¨ai¦wr£ banquet,however, one may Wl¨W eix£ bless for all. If wine is i¦Ax© .Fx¨ac¦ § A d¨id§ p¦ lM©dW ¤ x¥nF` ,F`¨nv§ ¦l m¦in© dzFX© ¤ d .zFkx§ ¨A served as an apéritif? One :zFAx© zFW¨t§p `xFA ¥ ,x¥nF` oFtx§h© blesses for him- or herself. If the wine is served after the meal, one may bless for all. If incense is served at the banquet [4] one may bless for all. 7. Salted appetisers exempt bread [5] when used to dip. The general rule? Main foods accompanied by secondary foods exempt the secondary foods. 8. Figs, dates and pomegranates require one to say the Three Blessings [6] but the Sages say one may say an abstract of the Three. R Aqiva understand it this way: Even a small quanitity, so long as it makes a meal, requires the Three. One who drinks water? Sheh ha’kol niyeh bidvaro but R Tarfon is of another opinion: one says Boré nafashot rabot [7]

[1] What was true then is less so today, when “finger sandwiches” are common appetisers, and for which one must make Hamotzi if more than a certain amount (perhaps two or three) will be consumed [2] B Sh do not regard pot foods as appetisers [3] The blessing on the appropriate food [4] The m. may assume that the one who leads Birkat Hamazon may include the incense in his or her recitation, but anyone may do so. Incense was an accompaniment to many formal banquets in the ancient Near East. I have heard it said that the Bostoner Rebbe uses incense at the Friday evening meal. This custom is mentioned in Talmud Shabbat 33b, see there [5] These appetisers are accompanied by flatbreads used to absorb the taste of the salt. The bread, while normally predominant, is here secondary to the slated food, without which it would not be served [6] This is an abridged Birkat Hamazon applied to fruits, wines, and cakes. The rest of this m. concerns the brakhot which conclude a meal. Water used to quench thirst requires a brakha [7] R Tarfon differs on the appropriate brakha. Today we say R Tarfon’ s brakha after anything prefaced by Sheh ha’ kol niyeh bidvaro. A Turkish incense burner Note how similar it is to the typical Havdala spice box in use even today


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1. Three eat together. They are obligated le’zamen [1]. One who eats of dem’I [2], ma’asér rishon [3], truma [4], ma’asér shéni [5], or heqdesh sheh’nifdo [6] regardless of the quantity – and this includes also the wait staff or a Samaritan [7] – may be included in the mezuman. But one who cheats on these taxes or obligations, and so for a pagan, may not participate in the mezuman [8]. 2. Women, slaves and minors do not participate in the mezuman [9]. The minimum quantity [10] is a ka’zyit [11], though R Yehuda disagrees and specifies ka’bétza [12] 3. How does one say the mezuman? If three are present, say nevarékh [13] If three in addition, he says barkhu [14] If ten, one says nevarékh and adds elohénu. If ten in addition, he says barkhu. After a minyan is present one does not say anything else [15] in the mezuman, though there is an opinion that one should do so if 100 or more is gathered: ... continued

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[1] This is the formula and responsive reading that precedes Birkat Ha’ Mazon when three or more adults dine together [2] Produce, not income, was subject to tax; dem’ I is produce which may not have been taxed, and in the M. is usu produce that has definitely been consumed in spite of its uncertain status [3] This is a 10% tax placed on produce beneficial to the Temple and its personnel [4] This is a 1% tax on produce beneficial to the Kohanim [5] This is a 10% tax levied in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th years of the seven year taxation cycle called Shmita. The ma’ asér ani was taken in the 3rd and 6th years of the cycle. The land was to be fallow in the 7th year [6] Property donated to the benefit of the Temple, which coul dnot normally be used for secular purpose [7] The Shomronim, whom are called Kutim in M and T, are an ancient remnant of the Joseph Tribes. The rabbinic guild is of two minds and regards the Kutim normative in some respects [8] This is a low level of shunning, a type of subtle pressure imposed on people socially to warn them that paying obligations includes them in the community but cheating on obligations excludes them [9] This is not entirely clear. Nothing prevents women and adult slaves from forming their own mezuman; this m. merely indicates they may not be included in the quorum for the public banquet’ s recitation of Birkat Hamazon [10] Of bread [11] The size of an olive, the volume of which was then larger than now [12] The size of an egg [13] This remains the Sefardic and Oriental practice; Ashkanazim say Havér’ I nevarékh [14] The formula Barkhu et Hashem but this is controversial; see next note and further comments below [15] This m. immediately contradicts itself. The contradiction is explained by both the Talmud and the Vilna Ga’ on but neither explanation nourishes me. The remark that after 10 one does not add anything is parenthetical and represents the opinion of one who disagrees with all that occurs thereafter.


[1] Lit. “G!d of Israel”[2] Lit. “G!d of Hosts”, sim to the Prophetic language used in the Qedusha to the Amida; see there [3] Ps 68:26 is as follows: zFt« tFY ¥ zF´n¨l£r KF¬z†A§ mi®p¦ bŸ § p x´©g`© mix¦W¨†E´nC§ w¦

The Name plus elohénu. If 100 in addition, he says brakhu. If a thousand? Nevarékh, The Name, elohénu, and elohé Yisraél. [1] In addition? Barkhu. If 10 thousand? Nevarékh, The Name, elohénu, elohé Yisraél and elohé hatzva’ot. [2] In addition? Barkhu. All this is merely Introduction. Thereafter? The community replies Barukh H” elo’ elohé Yisra’ elohé hatz’ yoshev hakruvim ahl hamazon sheh’akhalanu. R Yosé Ha’Glili teaches that the response is adapted to the size of the assembly and cites Ps 68:26 [3] to this effect. R Aqiva maintains that irrespective of gathering one says barkhu but R Ishma’él says barkhu et H” hamvor’akh [4]

“They advance to song, to drum, and to orchestration in the midst of the assembled”. The next v. reads: :l«`¥ x¨U¦ § i xFw¬ O§ n¦ dÀe¨Ÿdi§Œmi®¦dŸl¡` E´kx¨ §A zFld¥ w§ n© A§« † “From the communities they bless G!d, Yhvh, the root of Israel”. R Yosé is saying that the event must follow well-established, traditional rhythms based on both the size and the purpose of the assembly: Song for an assembly of one size; song and drumming for a larger assembly; song, drumming, and orchestration for an even larger gathering; and every gathering is a qahal “community”. R Aqiva maintains that Barkhu be included in any sizeable gathering. I should point out that the language of any m. follows a specific rhythm so as to permit easy recall from memory. The phrase “in addition”creates that rhythm here. It does not mean that the assembly should be 4 (3 plus 1), 11 (10 plus 1) or 101 (100 plus 1), etc. The phrase means that the muzman (that is, one who leads the mezuman) has two roles: He both leads the Birkat Hamazon and participates in it. His leadership necessitates humility and this is imposed by his reciting Barkhu. [4] R Ishma’ él maintains the formula should be that which is used in communal prayer, which includes the word “hamvor’ akh”. R Aqiva maintains, perhaps, that a truncated version is suitable for Birkat Hamazon, whereas R Ishma’ él sees the assembly as a synagogue Abbreviations and would have worship occur. This concurs with Rebbe Yosé’ s idea that the banquet is a community. I want to look at elo’elohénu a final v of Ps 68. Following is Ps 68:28: H”Ha’ Shem hatz’hatzva’ ot Yisra’Yisraél

:i«l¦ Y¨ t© § p i¬¥ xU»¨ oElÀ aªf§Œi¬¥ xU»¨ m®¨zn¨ b§ x¦ dcEd§† ¨ i i´¥ xU¨ mcŸ À¥x xir¨ ¿¦ v | o¸¦n¨ip§ A¦ m³¨ “There is Binyamin, youthful and intoxicated, among the princes of Yehuda and their communities, and also among the leaders of Zevulun and Naftali”. Rabb use of Ps or other scripture is an invitation to read further. Binyamin, Yehuda are in the S and Naftali, Zevulun in the N of the Land. These Tribes occupy polar opposite points on the Land’ s map, they are not a reality for the rebbe, they are a metaphor for the disconnection bet. historical perspectives. This last v. speaks to the Rebbe’ s main point. "Binyamin, youthful...”are those in search of knowledge. “Intoxicated” means they are full of themselves and their own perceived importance. The princes of Yehuda are the traditional ruling class elite and the structures of society that they control; in R Yosé’ s time the priesthood was a current memory and the remnant of monarchy entrusted to the House of Hillel was a present reality. The presence together at a banquet is, for R Yosé and R Ishma’ él both, an exercise in community. The latter sees it as a place to worship publically, the former sees it as a place to educate publically.


.dx¨ ¨Ur£ cr© ,oi¦w¨lg ¡ p¤ d¨XW ¦ .d¨Xn¦ g £ o¥k§e ,dr¨ ¨Ax© §` o¥k§e w¥lg¨ ¥l oi¦`X ¨ x© o¨pi¥` ,c¨g`¤ k§ El§k`¨ W ¤ d¨Wl§W c :mix§ ¦Ur¤ Ei§d¦IW ¤ cr© ,oi¦w¨lg ¡ p¤ o¨pi¥` dx¨ ¨Ur© £e 4. Three who dine EN¥ ` oi¦`Fx oz¨ ¨ vw§ O¦ W ¤ o©n§fA¦ ,c¨g`¤ z¦ia© A§ zFl§kF` Ei¨dW ¤ zFxEa£g iY§ ¥W d together should not EN¥ `§e ,o¨nv§ r§ © l oi¦pO§ ©fn§ EN¥` ,e`¨l m¦`§e .oEO¦G§l oi¦tx§h§ ¨ vn¦ EN¥` ix£ ¥d ,EN¥` z¤` separate [1], and this is i¦Ax© ix§ ¥aC¦ ,m¦in© FkFz§l oY¦ ¥ IW ¤ cr© o¦i©I©d lr© oi¦kx¨ §an§ oi¥` .o¨nv§ r§ © l oi¦pO§ ©fn§ so even if four or five :oi¦kx¨ §an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` mi¦nk¨ g £ ©e .x¤fri¦ ¤ l` ¡ are present [2]. Six may separate but not 10 [3], though 20 may separate. 5. If two parties dine in the same place they may combine for Birkat Ha’Mazon, so long as at least one partakes of some food with the other party [4]. If not, they each recite Birkat Ha’Mazon separately. R Eliezer warns not to bless over wine unless it is watered [5], but the Sages permit it.

[1] Bec. they can’ t then form a mezuman [2] Bec. a single mezuman remains present; a 2nd mezuman would require a 6th member of the party [3] The Name is added when a party of 10 gathers [4] Reuben’ s party has two people, Shimon’ s has two or three. So long as either Reuben or his guest partake of some together with Shimon they entire group may make a mezuman together [5] This wine is v strong. R Eliezer’ s suggestion is common sense; the Sages do not disagree, they merely permit blessing on undiluted wine.


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1. These are the matters which separate Bet Hillel from Bet Shahm’I with respect to banquets. The Bet Sh say that first we bless the day and then we bless the wine. Bet H first bless the wine then bless the day [1]. 2. Bet Sh say that first we wash our hands [2] and after we mix the cup [3]. Bet H have the cu prepared first and only after do we wash [4]. 3. Bet Sh have us wipe with a napkin and rest it on the table. Bet H place it on a cushion [5]. 4. Bet Sh would have the house swept before the washing for bread. Bet H disagree and wash before sweeping [6].

K¨M x©g`© §e mFI©d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A .dC¨r§ ªQA© l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE Kx¨ ¥an§ K¨M x©g`© §e o¦i©I©d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .o¦i©I©d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ :mFI©d lr© .qFM©d z¤` oi¦b§fFn K¨M x©g`© §e ,m¦ic¨ ©I©l oi¦lhFp § ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A a :m¦ic¨ ¨I©l oi¦lhFp § K¨M x©g`© §e qFM©d z¤` oi¦b§fFn ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE zi¥aE .o¨g§lX© ª d lr© D¨gi¦Pn© E d¨RO© A© eic¨ ¨i g© P¥w© n§ ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A b :z¤qM¤ d© lr© ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ .m¦ic¨ ¨I©l oi¦lhFp § K¨M x©g`© §e z¦iA© d© z¤` oic§ ¦Ak© n§ ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A c :z¦iA¨ d© z¤` oic§ ¦Ak© n§ K¨M x©g`© §e m¦ic¨ ©I©l oi¦lhFp § ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE

[1] This debate concerns reciting Qidush [2] For bread [3] The cup mixes water and wine. The alcohol content of traditional wines was quite high, as much as 16%, and it was common in these days to wait almost until the first frost of autumn before harvesting grapes to ensure that the sugar content was as high as possible. This tradition has recently become commonplace again, and he watering of wines has become a contentious issue in the industry; it is illegal in some jurisdictions [4] There is a common and practical sense to Bet Sh, for we at least are not drinking strong alcohol on an empty stomach [5] This concerns the rabbinic guild’ s concern with tahor and tamé, the concepts of purity and impurity. The question implied by this m. is whether or not a table can impart impurity. Bet Sh answer No. Bet H disagree. Where each places the napkin is important because the napkin, being moist and of a cloth that can impart impurity, can affect the surface on which it is placed. The discussion of tahor and tamé was applicable in the days of the Perushim, who are politically divided into the houses of Hillel and Shahm’ I, because the Temple stood and ritual purity/impurity was essential to the Temple’ s system of offferings and sacrifices. The discussion of tahor and tamé in this m. is purely academic, however, because the Temple’ s destruction by Rome was a 100 year old memory. This brings up the question of why the m. is included; for that matter, it begs the question of why the rabbinic guild spends as much time as it does on matters of ritual that have no direct impact on the present reality. The reason? To restore to Israel the dignity of a known history, a matters currently faced by the First Nations across N Am and, in deed, throughout the world [6] This concerns sweeping the household of crumbs. Washing here is not that before bread but that after the meal, which we call today “mayim aharonim”. A close reading of oic§ ¦Ak© n§ renders cak oin, lit. “derived from honour”. The point is that large chunks of bread littering the floor, a kazy’ it or larger, is undignified. Hillel’ s perspective is more practical, because the washing of hands includes dabbing the lips, from which crumbs would surely fall.


5. Bet Sh maintain that the light precedes the meal, which precedes the spices, and Havdala follows. Bet H generally agree but place the meal before the Havdala. Bet Sh say sheh’bara m’or ha’esh but Bet H say boré m’oré ha’esh [1]. 6. Nothing originating with pagans or heathens may be used for light or for incense [2], and neither the light nor the incense used for the dead may be used again [3]. Nothing used to serve an idol [4] may be used for light or incense. We do not say the brakha on light until the light is appropriate [5] 7. One who forgets to say Birkat Ha’Mazon? Bet Sh maintain that he retrun to the place he ate as soon as he recalls, so as to recite. Bet H permit one to recite where he is. How long has one to say it? Until it begins to settle. 8.If a single cup of wine is brought as the meal concludes, Bet Sh bless the wine and then make Birkat Ha’Mazon. Bet H make Birkat Ha’Mazon first. If you hear Israel make a brakha, respond Amén. You may do so if a Samaritan makes a brakha only if you have heard it entirely [6].

l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .d¨lC§ ¨ad© §e mi¦nU ¨ a§ E oFf¨nE x¥p ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A d `x¨ ¨AW ¤ ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A .d¨lC§ ¨ad© §e oFf¨nE mi¦nU ¨ a§ E x¥p ,mix§ ¦nF` :W¥`d¨ ixF`§ ¥ n `xFA ¥ ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .W¥`d¨ xF`§n lr© `l§e ,mix§ ¦kp¨ l¤W mi¦nU ¨ A§ d© lr© `l§e x¥Pd© lr© `l oi¦kx¨ §an§ oi¥` e mi¦nU ¨ A§ d© lr© `l§e x¥Pd© lr© `l§e ,miz¥ ¦ n l¤W mi¦nU ¨ A§ d© lr© `l§e x¥Pd© :FxF`§l EzF`¥IW ¤ cr© x¥Pd© lr© oi¦kx¨ §an§ oi¥` .dx¨ ¨f dcFa ¨ r£ i¥pt§ ¦NW ¤ FnFw§n¦l xf£g©i ,mix§ ¦nF` i`©OW © zi¥A ,Kx¥ ©a `l§e g©kW ¨ §e l©k`¨ W ¤ i¦n f `Ed iz¨ © ni¥` cr© .x¨M§f¦PW ¤ mFw§OA¦ Kx¨ ¥a§i ,mix§ ¦nF` l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .Kx¨ ¥ai¦e :eir¥ ¨nA§ W ¤ oFf¨Od© l¥Mr© z¦ § IW ¤ ic§ ¥M cr© .Kx¨ ¥an§ i`©OW © zi¥A ,qFM©d FzF` `¨N`¤ m¨W oi¥`§e oFf¨Od© x©g`© §l o¦i©i m¤d¨l `¨A g l¥Nd¦ zi¥aE .oFf¨Od© lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ K¨M x©g`© §e o¦i©I©d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` o¥n`¨ oi¦pFr .o¦i¨Id© lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ K¨M x©g`© §e oFf¨Od© lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,mix§ ¦nF` cr© ,Kx¨ ¥an§ d© izEM© ¦ d x©g`© o¥n`¨ oi¦pFr oi¥`§e ,Kx¨ ¥an§ d© l¥`x§ ¨U¦i x©g`© :d¨kx§ ¨Ad© l¨M r©nW § ¦IW ¤ [1] There is no practical difference between the schools in these matters. What matters if spices or meals precede Havdala? Both version of the brakha mean the same thing: “Who Creates firelight”. The lit. translations would differ somewhat: “From which the light is created by fire”vs “From the light created by fire”. Either way we have the creation of firelight! These are not controversies. The order preceding Havdala and the different wording of the brakhot are intended to restore to the memory of Israel that there are different routes to the same path [2] No controversies bet. Bet Sh and Bet H are recorded in this m. [3[ It’ s undignified. The light is used to memorialise the dead, either during the shiva or at the hiloula (for Sefaradim/Mizrahim) or yahrtzeit (for Ashkenazim). The incense is used to mitigate the fumes of decay natural to a dead body [4] This differs from how the m. opened, for these spices and oils do not originate with pagans. Why would they then be used? As common folk-custom, much the same as today we have a “kitchen witch”or a dreamcatcher. The m. does not deny the practices; it does deny the uses of anything associated with it [5] Appropriate light is that which we may see by. It must be sufficiently dark, in other words, for the light to be useful [6] The worldviews of Samaritans and Jews sufficiently differ to require that a Samaritan blessing be heard so one knows to what he or she is responding. The same applies, in my opinion, to the blessings of Xians, who will most usu pray in the name of Jesus. It is not the blessing that may be controversial but rather to whom it is directed. Such controversy does not attend to a Muslim praying because you can be assured they direct the prayer to G!d. One should still listen to a Muslim prayer, however, because it may concern something to which we cannot affirm.


mi¦Q¦p Fa EU£r©P¤W mFw¨n d¤`Fx¨d h wxt `

x¥nF` ,dx¨ ¨f dcFa ¨ r£ EP¤On¦ dx§ ¨wr¤ ¤PW ¤ mFw¨n .d¤Gd© mFw¨OA© EpizFa£ ¥ `©l mi¦Qp¦ d¨Ur¤ ¨W KEx¨A x¥nF` ,l¥`x§ ¨U¦i§l :Ep¥vx© §`n¥ dx¨ ¨f dcFa ¨ r£ x©wr¤ ¨W KEx¨A 1. Are you viewing a place lr§ © e ,mi¦nr¨x¨ §d lr§ © e ,mi¦wx§ ¨Ad© lr§ © e ,zFr¨e§Gd© lr§ © e ,oi¦wi¦Gd© lr© a where a miracle occurred for Israel? If so, say the brakha ,zFr¨a§Bd© lr§ © e ,mix¨ ¦dd¤ lr© .m¨lFr `¥ln¨ FgM¤W KEx¨A x¥nF` ,zFgEx¨d Sheh’ahsah nisim la’avoténu d¥UFr KEx¨A x¥nF` ,zFx¨Ac¦ § Od© lr§ © e ,zFx¨d§Pd© lr§ © e ,mi¦O©I©d lr§ ©e ba’maqom hazeh [1]. If x¥nF` lFc¨Bd© m¨Id© z¤` d¤`Fx¨d ,x¥nF` dcEd§ ¨ i i¦Ax© .zi¦W`x§ ¥a d¥Ur© £n avoda zara was uprooted, lr© .mi¦wx§ ¨t¦l FzF` d¤`Fx¤W o©n§fA¦ ,lFc¨Bd© m¨Id© z¤` d¨Ur¤ ¨W KEx¨A one says Sheh’aqar avoda lr§ © e ,aih¥ ¦ Od© §e aFH©d KEx¨A x¥nF` zFaFH©d zFxFU§A lr§ © e mi¦nW ¨ §Bd© zara mé’artzénu [2] :z¤n` ¡ d¨ o©IC© KEx¨A x¥nF` zFrx¨ zFrEn§W 2. Celestial storms [3] accompanied by fire [4] damage [5]; earthquakes; lightning and thunderstorms; tempests? All these require the brakha malé olam [6]. When you see the highlands, the foothills, the great seas [7], the great rivers [8], or the deserts [9]? Say the brakha ma’asé bréshit [10]. R Yehuda teaches that one who sees the Great Sea [11] says the brakha Sheh’ahsah et Ha’Yahm Hagadol [12], though only after being distant from it for a time [13]. Rain and good tidings [14]? Say Ha’tov U’métiv [15]. Bad tidings? Say dy’ahn ha’emet [16]

[1] Lit. “This was a place of great miracles for our ancestors”[2] Lit. “Idolatry was banished from our land”. But what about being banished from our hearts? This is much harder to eradicate and it must happen wherever we find ourselves, inside the Land or not [3] A common translation is “comets”based on Rambam’ s understanding, however I am more interested in the natural understanding of the language as we now know it and use this whenever possible. Heb wif “storm”[4] Heb. dwif

“spark” [5] Heb. wifp [6] Lit. “the fullness of the universe” [7] The rabbis would have considered what we now call the Anti-Lebanon range as part of the Land. That part which is now Ramat Ha’ Golan is merelyt he S extension of the entire range, most of which would be been in the Land according to halakha. The Sea always refers to the Mediterranean. There is no precise definition of “seas” but the rabbis knew geography and were aware of that which we now call the Adriatic, the Aegean, the Black, the Caspian, the Ionian, not to mention the Red and Arabian Seas, and the Atlantic and Inidan Oceans. [8] The great rivers of the area are the Prat (Euhprates), the Tigris, the Indus, and the Ganges to the east and the Nile to the south [9] Three great deserts are found in the area. The Red Sea separates the Sahara in Africa from the Arabian in Asia; the Syrian Desert connects the Levant to Arabia. Sinai is a peninusla and land bridge connecting N Africa to SW Asia and has desert features but does not compare to the great deserts [10] Lit. “acts of nature”[11] The Mediterranean, though some say the Atlantic Ocean, which borders Alexandria and Algiers, two ancient cities of Jewish settlement on Africa [12] Lit. “Creator of the Great Sea”[13] After returning from a trip [14] These being firmly enmeshed in a climate dependant on irrigation from rain [15] Lit. “good and better”[16] Lit. “truthful Judge”


3. Build a new house? Acquire new tools or household implements? Say Sheh’hehi’anu [1]. We make a blessing on misfortune knowing that some good may come of it, and we bless fortune even though misfortune may result [2]. Shouting about the past, even in prayer, is useless [3]. Other examples of a useless prayer? If you pray something like may it be your will that I have a son after your wife goes into labour. Or a traveller returns home and hears the din of screams in the city and says may it be your will that my home is not affected. 4. On arrival to a city or town [4], pray twice: On arriving and on leaving. Ben Ahz’I has a different perspective. He advises one to pray four times: twice both on entering and leaving [5].

.Ep¨ig ¡ d¤ W ¤ KEx¨A x¥nF` ,mi¦Wc£ ¨g mi¦lk¥ d¨pw¨ §e ,Wc¨ ¨g z¦ia© d¨pA¨ b wrFS© ¥ d .dr¨x¨ ¨d oir¥ ¥n d¨aFH©d lr§ © e ,d¨aFH©d oir¥ ¥n dr¨x¨ ¨d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ ,zx¤ ¤Ar§ ªn FY§W`¦ dz§ ¨ id¨ .c©vi¥M .`§eW ¨ z©Nt¦ Y § Ff ix£ ¥d ,x©ar¤ ¨W§l `¨a d¨id¨ .`§eW ¨ z©Nt¦ Y § Ff ix£ ¥d ,x¨k¨f iY§ ¦ W`¦ c¥lY¤ ¥ W oFvx¨ i¦d§i ,x©n`¨ §e i¥pA§ EN¥` Ei§d¦i `N¤W oFvx¨ i¦d§i ,x©n`¨ §e ,xir¨ ¦ A d¨g¨ev§ lFw r©nW ¨ §e Kx¤C© ¤a :`§eW ¨ z©Nt¦ Y § Ff ix£ ¥d ,izi¥ ¦ a .Fz¨`i¦vi¦A z©g`© §e Fz¨qi¦pk§ A¦ z©g`© ,m¦iY§ © W l¥NR© z¦ § nKx§ ©M©l q¨pk§ ¦Pd© c ozFp§ ¥ e ,Fz¨`i¦vi¦A m¦iY§ © WE Fz¨qi¦pk§ A¦ m¦iY§ © W ,r©Ax© §` ,x¥nF` i`©Gr© o¤A :`a¨l ciz ¦ r¤ ¨l wrFv§ ¥ e ,x©ar¤ ¨W§l d`¨ cFd ¨

[1] Lit. “Who Has envlivened us”. The story is told of the Bluzhover Rebbe’ s dilemma: does one say Sheh’ hehi’ anu in Auschwitz? Yaffa Eliach recounts the story in her book Hasidic Stories of the Holocaust. The Bluzhover lit the first candle of Chanuka. He said the braka on the Chanuka light. He said the brakha Sheh’ ahsah nisim la’ avoténu. He hesitated at Sheh’ hehi’ anu. Should he say it? He was going to ask for a learned opinion from a Rav who was gathered with the other prisoners in the Block when he saw a sea of expectant faces. The Rebbe realised that they expected him to say Sheh’ hehi’ anu. He did so. And thus Chanuka in Auschwitz. The Rebbe died, aged 99, in Borough Park, Brookyn, in 1989 [2] A devastation of hurricane winds may bring news seed growth. The loss of a house is misfortune but the new seed variety is fortune. On the other hand? A new crop, such as kudzu, has attendant benefits only to outgrow its usefulness. The fortune is replaced by misfortune [3] Not entirely. Shouting about the past may bring you to a present reality and finally ground you there. In 12 Step programs this is most often called “hitting bottom”. Some bottoms, of course, are lower than others. I do agree w this anon m., however, that merely complaining or whining is useless. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is a wish. The only reality is today [4] Any city or town is an unknown quantity, even if the traveller has been there many times: one simply cannot fathom what awaits even today, when society is more stable than was the norm in the first 300 years of the common era [5] Two general prayers on entering and leaving; two specific prayers in gratitude for what is past and for what awaits. The order teaches us something. Why would one first pray about what is past? This contradicts m. 3! Furthermore, wouldn’ t we pray about what is past as we leave? The m. may simply have reversed the order without intent, but to me is speaks to overcoming what has happened, in which case this is not the vanity prayer of the last m. Travellers were usu on sales trips. Some destinations are better or worse than others. Perhaps a monetary loss was nec in order to win a client, perhaps merchandise was lost to raiders or weather, etc. And if nothing untoward occurred? Be grateful! Gratitude is a type of prayer.


5. It is an obligation to bless both fortune and misfortune, as we see from Love G!d entirely... [1] and what can this mean other than with both inclinations [2]? And it remains so even if I give up my life [3]! Or my wealth. Another interpretation [4]: Whatever my measured [5] portion may be is something I remain grateful [6] for. Every day is a gift [7]. One does not behave with any but reverence at the East Gate, for this is in direct line with the Qodshé Qedoshim [8]. Neither enter the Har Ha’By’it [9] with your stick, shoes, money belt, or trail dust lingering about you, nor use it as a shortcut; certainly spitting is forbidden! Benedictions in the Temple ended with mé’olahm but the Tzaduqim corrupted the practice by teaching there was no afterlife [10], thus the practice evolved of saying min ha’olahm v’ahd ha’olahm [11]. It was also established [12] that an appropriate greeting was to use a Name, for it is said G!d Be with you. And they replied G!d Bless you [13]. Or you may find it based on Hashem is with you... [14] Finally Do not hate your old mother [15]. It is time for Your Acts, Dear G!d, for Your Law they make void. [16]. Rebbe Natan saw it quite differently. He said They void Your Law because it is a time to act...[17]

,d¨aFH©d lr© Kx¨ ¥an§ `Ed¤W m¥WM§ dr¨x¨ ¨d lr© Kx¨ ¥a§l mc¨ ¨` a¨Ig© d L§Wt§ ©p l¨ka§ E L§aa¨ §l l¨kA§ Li¤ l¡` ¨i§i z¥` Y§ ¨ ad© `¨ §e (e mixac) x©n` ¡ ¤PW ¤ l¨ka§ E .rx¨ x¤v¥ia§ E aFh x¤v¥iA§ ,Lix¨ ¤v§i i¥pW § A¦ ,L§aa¨ §l l¨kA§ .L ¤`§n l¨ka§ E x¨aC¨ .L¤pFn¨n l¨kA§ ,L ¤`§n l¨ka§ E .L¤Wt§ ©p z¤` lhFp ¥ `Ed EN¦t` £ ,L§Wt§ ©p Fl dcFn ¤ i¥ed ¡ L§l ccFn ¥ `Ed¤W dC¦ ¨nE dC¦ ¨n l¨kA§ ,L ¤`§n l¨kA§ x¥g`© `Ed¤W ,gx§¨fO¦ d© xr© © W c¤b¤pM§ FW`x z¤` mc¨ ¨` l¥w¨i `l .c`§n c`§nA¦ ,Fl§wn© A§ z¦iA© d© x©d§l q¥pM¨ ¦i `l .mi¦Wc¢ ¨Td© i¥Wc¨ § w zi¥A c¤b¤pM§ o¨Ek§ ªn ,`¨ix§C§ ©pR© w© EP¤Ur© £i `l§e ,ei¨l§bx© lr¤ © W w¨a`¨ a§ E ,FzC§ ¨pt§ ªaE ,Flr§ ¨pn¦ a§ E mix§ ¦nF` Ei¨d ,WC§ ¨wO¦ a© Ei¨dW ¤ zFkx§ ¨a i¥nzFg § l¨M .x¤ g¨e l©Tn¦ d¨wi¦wxE§ Epi¦wz¦ § d ,c¨g`¤ `¨N`¤ m¨lFr oi¥` ,Ex§n`¨ §e ,oi¦pi¦Od© El§w§lT¦ X ¤ n¦ .m¨lFr¨d o¦n l¥`FW mc¨ ¨` `¥d§IW ¤ ,Epi¦wz¦ § d§e .m¨lFr¨d cr§ © e m¨lFr¨d o¦n ,mix§ ¦nF` Ed§IW ¤ ,m¤g¤l zi¥An¦ `¨A f © a d¥Pd¦ §e (a zex) x©n` ¡ ¤PW ¤ ,m¥XA© Fx¥ag £ mFl§W z¤` (e mihtey) x¥nF`§e .¨i§i L§kx¨ ¤a§i ,Fl Ex§n`I©e ,m¤kO¨ r¦ ¨i§i mix§ ¦vFT©l x¤n`I©e .L¤O`¦ d¨pw§ ¨f i¦M fEaY ¨ l©` (bk ilyn) x¥nF`§e .l¦ig¨ d¤ xFA¦B L§Or¦ ¨i§i ,x¥nF` oz¨ ¨ p i¦Ax© .Lz ¤ xFz ¨ Ex¥td¥ ¨ii©l zFUr© £l zr¥ (hiw mildz) x¥nF`§e :¨ii©l zFUr© £l zr¥ Lz ¤ xFz ¨ Ex¥td¥ [1] See Para 1 of Shma [2] Entirely includes the good inclination (yetzer tov) and the bad (yetzer ha’ ra) [3] Entirely also includes, Heaven Forbid, martyrdom. The comment of the great former Rav Ha’ Réshit Rabbi Y.D. Herzog that “countless martyrs... have... cheerfully given their lives...”must be a lapse of judgement. I will give my life away if dignity and Divinity demand it. Would I smile about it? No! [4] Based on punning Heb. L«¤`§n [5] Heb. dcn [6] Heb. dcFn [7] A figurative interpretation. A lit. rendering might be “Whatever may be the length of my measure I am very grateful in exceeding measure to You, Dear G!d”. [8] The Most Holy Place, usu called “Holy of Holies”in poor Engl rendering. The Téva (Ark of the Covenant) was kept there in the 1st Temple. In the 2nd Temple the Most Holy Place was empty [9] The Temple Mount. The Temple was a ruin in the rebbe’ s day. He means to say that one does not stand on the Temple Mt reverently unless staff, shoes, and wealth are stored away upon arrival. [10] This is not a corruption except from a rabbinic perspective. There is no support in Torah and only oblique references in the Prophets and Writings which do not provide a proven basis for the belief in an afterlife. Believing in G!d is one thing, believing an afterlife exists is entirely different. The Tzaduqim were actually not opposed to the notion as such: personal belief was fine; they opposed elevation of afterlife to be a focus of Jewish belief and practice [11] Lit. “From one world to the next”. It must be pointed out that this change could not occur without collusion from the priestly guild. The Tzaduqim were not at all entirely representative of the priesthood, any number of whom sided with the Perushim [12] Presumably at the same time as min ha’ olahm v’ ahd ha’ olahm, though this is not known [13] See Ruth 2:4 [14] Judges 6:12 [15] Prov. 23:22 Not every old practice is antiquated, which can mean one thing to Tzaduqim and another to Perushim! [16] Ps 119:126. This sentiment is opposed to the story of the oven of Akhnin, where Rebbe Eliezer calls on G!d and Nature to prove his point. The Academy is not impressed and tells Eliezer that halakha is made in the Academy, not in Heaven. That Heaven is invoked here is hard to understand, since the Tzaduqim pay it no heed. This is preaching to the choir [17] Times have changed and the Tzaduqim are not willing to admit it.


The Storyteller's Mishna - Brachot