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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
But what of tefillah which is a thing with which the congregation is engaged, and yet we have learnt: If he was standing reciting the tefillah and he suddenly remembered that he was a ba'al keri he should not break off, but he should shorten [each blessing]. Now the reason is that he had commenced; but if he had not yet commenced, he should not do so? — Tefillah is different because it does not mention the kingdom of heaven.1 But what of the grace after meals in which there is no mention of the sovereignty of heaven, and yet we have learnt: AT MEALS HE SAYS GRACE AFTER, BUT NOT THE GRACE BEFORE? — [Rather the answer is that] the recital of the Shema' and grace after food are Scriptural ordinances, whereas tefillah is only a Rabbinical ordinance.2
Rab Judah said: Where do we find that the grace after meals is ordained in the Torah? Because it says: And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless.3 Where do we find that a blessing before studying the Torah is ordained in the Torah? Because it says: When I proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness to our God.4 R. Johanan said: We learn that a blessing should be said after studying the Torah by an argument a fortiori from grace after food; and we learn that grace should be said before food by an argument a fortiori from the blessing over the Torah. The blessing after the Torah is learnt a fortiori from the grace after food as follows: Seeing that food which requires no grace before it5 requires a grace after it, does it not stand to reason that the study of the Torah which requires a grace before it should require one after it? The blessing before food is learnt a fortiori from the blessing over the Torah as follows: Seeing that the Torah which requires no blessing after it5 requires one before it, does it not stand to reason that food which requires one after it should require one before it? A flaw can be pointed out in both arguments. How can you reason from food [to the Torah], seeing that from the former he derives physical benefit? And how can you reason from the Torah [to food], seeing that from the former he obtains everlasting life? Further, we have learnt: AT MEALS HE SAYS THE GRACE AFTER BUT NOT THE GRACE BEFORE?6 — This is a refutation.
Rab Judah said: If a man is in doubt whether he has recited the Shema', he need not recite it again. If he is in doubt whether he has said 'True and firm', or not, he should say it again. What is the reason? — The recital of the Shema' is ordained only by the Rabbis, the saying of 'True and firm' is a Scriptural ordinance.7 R. Joseph raised an objection to this,8 'And when thou liest down, and when thou risest up'. — Said Abaye to him: That was written with reference to words of Torah.9
We have learnt: A BA'AL KERI SAYS MENTALLY, AND SAYS NO BLESSING EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER. AT MEALS HE SAYS THE GRACE AFTER BUT NOT THE GRACE BEFORE. Now if you assume that 'True and firm' is a Scriptural regulation, let him say the blessing after the Shema'? — Why should he say [the blessing after]? If it is in order to mention the going forth from Egypt, that is already mentioned in the Shema'! But then let him say the former, and he need not say the latter?10 — The recital of Shema' is preferable, because it has two points.11 R. Eleazar says: If one is in doubt whether he has recited the Shema' or not, he says the Shema' again. If he is in doubt whether he has said the Tefillah or not, he does not say it again. R. Johanan, however, said: Would that a man would go on praying the whole day!
Rab Judah also said in the name of Samuel: If a man was standing saying the Tefillah and he suddenly remembered that he had already said it, he breaks off even in the middle of a benediction. Is that so? Has not R. Nahman said: When we were with Rabbah b. Abbuha, we asked him with reference to disciples who made a mistake and began the weekday benediction on a Sabbath, whether they should finish it, and he said to us that they should finish that blessing! — Are these cases parallel? In that case one12 is in reality under obligation,13 and it is the Rabbis who did not trouble him out of respect for the Sabbath, but in this case he has already said the prayer.
Rab Judah further said in the name of Samuel: If a man had already said the Tefillah and went into a synagogue and found the congregation saying the Tefillah, if he can add something fresh, he should say the Tefillah again, but otherwise he should not say it again. And both these rulings are required.14 For if I had been told only the first, I should have said, This applies only to [a case where he said the Tefillah] alone and [is repeating it] alone
, or [where he said it] with a congregation and [is repeating it] with a congregation,1 but when [one who has prayed] alone goes into a congregation, it is as if he had not prayed at all. Hence we are told that this is not so. And if we had been told only the second case, I might think that this ruling applies only because he had not commenced, but where he had commenced I might say that he should not [break off]. Therefore both are necessary.
R. Huna said: If a man goes into a synagogue and finds the congregation saying the Tefillah, if he can commence and finish before the reader2 reaches 'We give thanks',3 he may say the Tefillah,4 but otherwise he should not say it. R. Joshua b. Levi says: If he can commence and finish before the reader reaches the Sanctification,5 he should say the Tefillah, but otherwise he should not say it. What is the ground of their difference? One authority held that a man praying by himself does say the Sanctification, while the other holds that he does not. So, too, R. Adda b. Abahah said: Whence do we know that a man praying by himself does not say the Sanctification? Because it says: I will be hallowed among the children of Israel;6 for any manifestation of sanctification not less than ten are required. How is this derived? Rabinai the brother of R. Hiyya b. Abba taught: We draw an analogy between two occurrences of the word 'among'. It is written here, I will be hallowed among the children of Israel, and it is written elsewhere. Separate yourselves from among this congregation.7 Just as in that case ten are implied,8 so here ten are implied. Both authorities, however, agree that he does not interrupt [the Tefillah].9
The question was asked: What is the rule about interrupting [the Tefillah] to respond. May His great name be blessed?10 — When R. Dimi came from Palestine, he said that R. Judah and R. Simeon11 the disciples of R. Johanan say that one interrupts for nothing except 'May His great name be blessed', for even if he is engaged in studying the section of the work of [the Divine] Chariot,12 he must interrupt [to make this response]. But the law is not in accordance with their view.13
R. JUDAH SAYS: HE SAYS THE GRACE BOTH BEFORE AND, AFTER. This would imply that R. Judah was of opinion that a ba'al keri is permitted to [occupy himself] with the words of the Torah. But has not R. Joshua b. Levi said: How do we know that a ba'al keri is forbidden to study the Torah? Because it says, Make them known unto thy children and thy children's children,14 and immediately afterwards, The day that thou stoodest [before the Lord thy God in Horeb],15 implying that just as on that occasion those who had a seminal issue were forbidden,16 so here too those who have a seminal issue are forbidden? And should you say that R. Judah does not derive lessons from the juxtaposition of texts, [this does not matter] since R. Joseph has said: Even those who do not derive lessons from the juxtaposition of texts in all the rest of the Torah, do so in Deuteronomy; for R. Judah does not derive such lessons in all the rest of the Torah, and in Deuteronomy he does. And how do we know that in all the rest of the Torah he does not derive such lessons? — As it has been taught; Ben 'Azzai says: Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live.17 and it says [immediately afterwards], Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.18 The two statements were juxtaposed to tell you that just as one that lieth with a beast is put to death by stoning, so a sorceress also is put to death by stoning. Said R. Judah to him: Because the two statements are juxtaposed, are we to take this one out to be stoned? Rather [we learn it as follows]: They that divine by a ghost or a familiar spirit come under the head of sorceress. Why then were they mentioned separately?19 To serve as a basis for comparison: just as they that divine by a ghost or familiar spirit are to be stoned, so a sorceress is to be stoned. And how do we know that he derives lessons from juxtaposition in Deuteronomy? — As it has been taught: R. Eliezer said, A man may marry a woman who has been raped by his father or seduced by his father, one who has been raped by his son, or one who has been seduced by his son. R. Judah prohibits one who has been raped by his father or seduced by his father. And R. Giddal said with reference to this: What is the reason of R. Judah? Because it is written: A man shall not take his father's wife and shall not uncover his father's skirt;20 which implies, he shall not uncover the skirt which his father saw. And how do we know that the text is speaking of one raped by his father? — Because just before it are the words, Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the father, etc.!21 — They replied: Yes, in Deuteronomy he does draw such lessons, but this juxtaposition he requires for the other statement of R. Joshua b. Levi. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: If any man teaches his son Torah, the Scripture accounts it to him as if he had received it from Mount Horeb, as it says, 'And thou shalt make them known unto thy children and thy children's children', and immediately afterwards it is written, 'The day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb.22
We have learnt: A sufferer from gonorrhoea who had an emission, a niddah from whom semen has escaped and a woman who became niddah during sexual intercourse require ritual ablution;23 R. Judah, however, exempts them.24 Now R. Judah's exemption extends only to a gonorrhoeic person who had an emission, because ritual ablution in his first condition25 is useless for him,26 but an ordinary person who has an emission requires ritual ablution!27 And should you maintain that R. Judah exempts an ordinary ba'al keri also, and the reason why he and the Rabbis joined issue over the gonorrhoeic person was to show how far the Rabbis are prepared to go, then look then at the next clause: 'A woman who became niddah during sexual intercourse requires a ritual ablution'. Whose opinion is here stated? Shall I say it is the Rabbis? Surely this is self-evident! Seeing that a gonorrhoeic person who has an emission, although a ritual ablution is useless in his first condition, was yet required by the Rabbis to take one, how much more so a woman who becomes niddah during sexual intercourse, for whom in her first condition a ritual ablution was efficacious!28 We must say therefore that it states the opinion of R. Judah, and he meant exemption to apply only to this case.
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