Daf A Week Berakhot 29a-b

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29a

and scrutinized it, in an attempt to remember the blessing for two or three hours, and they did not remove him from serving as prayer leader.

The Gemara asks: Why did they not remove him? Didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Rav said: One who was serving as the prayer leader before the congregation and erred in reciting any of the blessings, they do not remove him from serving as the prayer leader. However, one who erred while reciting the blessing of the heretics they remove him, as we suspect that perhaps he is a heretic and intentionally omitted the blessing to avoid cursing himself. Why, then, did they not remove Shmuel HaKatan?

The Gemara answers: Shmuel HaKatan is different because he instituted this blessing and there is no suspicion of him.

The Gemara continues: Let us suspect that perhaps he reconsidered and, although he had been righteous, he had a change of heart? Abaye said: We learned through tradition that a good person does not become wicked.

The Gemara challenges this: And does he not become wicked? Isn’t it explicitly written: “And when the righteous one returns from his righteousness and does wicked like all of the abominations that the wicked one has done, will he live? All of the righteous deeds that he has done will not be remembered given the treachery that he has carried out, and in his sin that he has transgressed, for these he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:24)? Abaye responds: That verse refers to a righteous individual who was initially wicked and repented, but ultimately returned to his evil ways. However, one who is initially righteous does not become wicked.

The Gemara asks: And does he not become wicked? Didn’t we learn in a mishna: Do not be sure of yourself until the day you die, as Yoḥanan the High Priest served in the High Priesthood for eighty years and ultimately became a Sadducee. Even one who is outstanding in his righteousness can become a heretic.

Abaye responded: He is Yannai he is Yoḥanan. In other words, from its inception, the entire Hasmonean dynasty had the same positive attitude toward the Sadducees, and there was no distinction between Yoḥanan Hyrcanus and Alexander Yannai. Yoḥanan the High Priest had Sadducee leanings from the outset. Rava said: Yannai is distinct and Yoḥanan is distinct. They did not share the same position in this regard. Yannai was wicked from the outset and Yoḥanan was righteous from the outset. If so, it works out well according to Abaye’s opinion; however, according to Rava’s opinion, it is difficult. How could Yoḥanan, a righteous individual, have changed and turned wicked?

The Gemara responds: Rava could have said to you: There is also room for concern that one who is righteous from the outset will perhaps reconsider and turn wicked, as was the case with Yoḥanan the High Priest. If so, the original question is difficult: Why did they not remove Shmuel HaKatan from serving as the prayer leader?

The Gemara answers: The case of Shmuel HaKatan is different, as he began reciting the blessing of the heretics and while reciting it he became confused and forgot the end of the blessing. Consequently, he was not suspected of heretical leanings. Indeed, Rav Yehuda said that Rav, and some say that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, said: They only taught that one who errs while reciting the blessing of the heretics is removed in a case where he did not begin reciting it. But if he began reciting it, then we allow him to collect his thoughts and finish reciting it.

To this point, the Gemara discussed allusions to the nineteen blessings that constitute the weekday Amida prayer. The Gemara asks: Corresponding to what were these seven blessings of the Shabbat Amida prayer instituted? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Ḥalafta ben Shaul said: Corresponding to the seven “voices” which David mentioned on the waters; in other words, the seven times that “the voice of God” is mentioned in Psalms 29, which served as the source for the weekday prayer.

The Gemara asks further: Corresponding to what were these nine blessings of the Rosh HaShana additional prayer instituted? Rabbi Yitzḥak of Kartignin said: They correspond to the nine mentions of God’s name that Hannah said in her prayer (I Samuel 2:10). The connection between Hannah’s prayer and Rosh HaShana is based on what the Master said: On Rosh HaShana, Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were remembered and the divine decree that they would conceive their sons was issued.

The Gemara continues: Corresponding to what were these twenty-four blessings of the Amida prayer of the fast days instituted? Rabbi Ḥelbo said: They correspond to the twenty-four “songs” that Solomon said when he brought the ark into the Holy of Holies during the dedication of the Temple, as there are twenty-four expressions of song, prayer, and supplication there (I Kings 8). The Gemara asks: If so, then let us say these twenty-four blessing every day. The Gemara answers: When did Solomon say them? On a day of supplication for mercy. We, too, say them on a day of supplication for mercy.

We learned in the mishna that Rabbi Yehoshua says that each day one recites an abridged version of the prayer of eighteen blessings. The Gemara asks: What is the abridged version of the prayer of eighteen blessings? There are different opinions. Rav said: One recites an abridged version of each and every blessing. Shmuel said: An abridged version of the prayer of eighteen blessings refers to a blessing composed specifically to be recited in place of the thirteen middle blessings. It contains references to each of the thirteen middle blessings. The formula for that blessing is: Grant us understanding, Lord our God, to know Your ways, and sensitize our hearts so that we may revere You, and forgive us so that we may be redeemed, and keep us far from our suffering, and satisfy us with the pastures of Your land, and gather our scattered people from the four corners of the earth, and those who go astray shall be judged according to Your will, and raise Your hand against the wicked, and may the righteous rejoice in the rebuilding of Your city, and the restoration of Your Sanctuary, and in the flourishing of Your servant David, and in establishing a light for Your Messiah, son of Yishai. Before we call, may You answer. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.”

Although Shmuel mentioned this abridged prayer, Abaye would curse anyone who recited the prayer: Grant us understanding, as he held that one may recite it only in exigent circumstances (Rabbi Ḥananel, Me’iri).

The Gemara further restricts the occasions when one may recite the abridged prayer. Rav Naḥman said that Shmuel said: One may recite: Grant us understanding throughout the entire year, except for in the evening prayer at the conclusion of Shabbat and at the conclusion of Festivals, because he must recite the prayer of distinction [havdala] in the blessing: Who graciously grants knowledge.

Rabba bar Shmuel strongly objects to this: After reciting the three initial blessings, let us say havdala as an independent fourth blessing, and afterwards recite the prayer of Grant us understanding. This is feasible. Didn’t we learn in a mishna that Rabbi Akiva says: He says havdala as an independent fourth blessing? Rabbi Eliezer says: He says havdala in the blessing of thanksgiving.

The Gemara responds: Do we practice in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva throughout the entire year regarding this issue, that we will also practice this way now? Throughout the entire year, what is the reason that we do not practice in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva? Because they instituted eighteen blessings, they did not institute nineteen. Here too, they instituted seven blessings, they did not institute eight. Therefore, the possibility to recite havdala as an independent fourth blessing is rejected.

Mar Zutra strongly objects to this: Let us include havdala in the framework of the abridged blessing: Grant us understanding, Lord our God, Who distinguishes between sacred and profane. No response was offered to this objection, and it remains difficult.

Rav Beivai bar Abaye said: There is an additional restriction that applies to the abridged prayer. One may recite Grant us understanding throughout the entire year, except during the rainy season, because he must recite the request for rain in the blessing of the years. Mar Zutra strongly objects to this: Let us include the request for rain in the framework of the abridged blessing: And satisfy us with the pastures of Your land, and grant dew and rain.

The Gemara responds: That is unfeasible, as he will become confused by introducing a new element to the standard formula of the blessing. The Gemara asks: If so, by introducing havdala in the framework of the abridged blessing in the section alluding to the blessing, Who graciously grants knowledge, he will also become confused. Why did the Gemara fail to respond to Mar Zutra’s strong objection with regard to havdala in that manner?

The Gemara answers: They say that these cases are different: There, regarding havdala, since the introduction of the new element comes at the beginning of the prayer, he will not become confused. Here, since the request for rain comes in the middle of the prayer, he will become confused.

Rav Ashi strongly objects to this: If so, let us say the request for rain in the framework of the abridged blessing in the section alluding to the blessing Who listens to prayer. As Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rav Asi said: One who erred and did not mention the might of the rains in the blessing on the revival of the dead, we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it. However, one who erred and failed to recite the request for rain in the ninth blessing of the Amida, the blessing of the years, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it because he can recite it in the blessing Who listens to prayer. And one who erred and failed to recite havdala in the blessing Who graciously grants knowledge, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, as he can recite havdala over the cup of wine. One can ask for rain in the blessing Who listens to prayer, and, consequently, can introduce it at the end of the abridged blessing without becoming confused. The Gemara responds: One who erred is different, and only then does he have the option to ask for rain in the blessing Who listens to prayer. Ab initio, the request for rain may not be inserted there.

The statement that Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rav Asi said was incidental to the previous discussion. The Gemara attempts to understand the matter itself. Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rav Asi said: One who erred and did not mention the might of the rains in the blessing on the revival of the dead, we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it. However, one who erred and failed to recite the request for rain in the blessing of the years, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it because he can recite it in the blessing Who listens to prayer. And one who erred and failed to recite havdala in the blessing Who graciously grants knowledge, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, as he can recite havdala over the cup of wine.

The Gemara raised an objection based on what was taught in the Tosefta: One who erred and did not mention the might of the rains in the blessing on the revival of the dead, we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it. One who erred and failed to recite the request for rain in the blessing of the years, we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it. However, one who erred and failed to recite havdala in the blessing Who graciously grants knowledge, we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, as he can recite havdala over the cup of wine. The Tosefta contradicts the statement of Rabbi Tanḥum with regard to one who erred and failed to recite the request for rain in the blessing of the years.

The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. This case, where we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, refers to a situation where he is praying as an individual. While that case, where we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, refers to a situation where he is praying as part of a congregation.

The Gemara raises a difficulty: When praying as part of a congregation, what is the reason that he need not need return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it? Because he can fulfill his obligation when he hears it from the communal prayer leader in the repetition of the Amida prayer. If so, Rabbi Tanḥum’s formulation is imprecise. That which he said that he need not return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it because he can recite it in the blessing: Who listens to prayer, should have been: Because he hears it from the communal prayer leader. This proves that the attempt to rebuff the challenge from the Tosefta to Rabbi Tanḥum was incorrect.

Rather, both this statement of Rabbi Tanḥum and that statement in the Tosefta refer to one praying as an individual, and it is, nevertheless, not difficult. This case, where we do not require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, refers to a case where he recalls his error before he reaches the blessing: Who listens to prayer, in which case he can ask for rain in that blessing. 29b

This case, where we require him to return to the beginning of the prayer and repeat it, refers to a situation where he recalls his error after he reaches the blessing: Who listens to prayer, in which case the option of asking for rain in that blessing no longer exists and he must return to the beginning of the prayer.

On a similar note, the Gemara cites an additional statement of Rabbi Tanḥum. Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rav Asi said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who erred and did not mention the New Moon, the addition: May there rise and come [ya’aleh veyavo] in the blessing of Temple service, the seventeenth blessing in the Amida prayer, he returns to the blessing of Temple service. So too, if he remembers during the blessing of thanksgiving, he returns to the blessing of Temple service. If he remembers in the blessing: Grant peace, he returns to the blessing of Temple service. If he remembers after he completed the Amida prayer, he returns to the beginning of the prayer.

Rav Pappa son of Rav Aḥa bar Adda said: That which we said that if he already finished the Amida prayer he returns to the beginning, we only said that in a case where he already moved his feet from where he stood in prayer. However, if he did not yet move his feet, he need only return to the blessing of Temple service, and include the addition for the New Moon therein.

He said to him: From where do you derive this halakha? He said to him: My father my teacher told it to me and my father my teacher heard it from Rav.

On a similar note, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: That which we said that if he already moved his feet he returns to the beginning, we only said that in a case where he is unaccustomed to reciting additional supplications after his prayer. However, if he is accustomed to reciting supplications after his prayer, and while reciting them he remembers that he omitted mention of the New Moon from his prayer, he need only return to the blessing of Temple service, and he includes the addition for the New Moon therein.

Some say, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: That which we said that if he did not yet move his feet, he need only return to the blessing of Temple service, we only said that in a case where he is accustomed to reciting additional supplications after his prayer. However, if he is unaccustomed to reciting supplications after his prayer, he must return to the beginning of the prayer, as it is considered as if he already completed it.

We learned in the mishna that Rabbi Eliezer says: One whose prayer is fixed, his prayer is not supplication. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of fixed in this context? Rabbi Ya’akov bar Idi said that Rabbi Oshaya said: It means anyone for whom his prayer is like a burden upon him, from which he seeks to be quickly unburdened. The Rabbis say: This refers to anyone who does not recite prayer in the language of supplication, but as a standardized recitation without emotion. Rabba and Rav Yosef both said: It refers to anyone unable to introduce a novel element, i.e., something personal reflecting his personal needs, to his prayer, and only recites the standard formula.

Rabbi Zeira said: I could introduce a novel element in every prayer, but I am afraid that perhaps I will become confused. Consequently, there is no room to require the masses to introduce a novel element into their prayers.

The brothers, Abaye bar Avin and Rabbi Ḥanina bar Avin, both said: One whose prayer is fixed refers to anyone who does not make the effort to pray with the reddening of the sun, just after sunrise and just before sunset, which are auspicious times for prayer. As Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is a mitzva to pray with the reddening of the sun. And Rabbi Zeira said: What is the verse that alludes to this? “Let them fear You with the sun and before the moon, generation after generation” (Psalms 72:5). Prayer, the manifestation of the fear of God, should be undertaken adjacent to sunrise and sunset. Nevertheless, in the West, Eretz Yisrael, they cursed one who prays with the reddening of the sun, adjacent to sunset. What is the reason? Perhaps, due to preoccupation, he will become confused about the hour and the time for prayer will pass.

We learned in the mishna that Rabbi Yehoshua says: One who is walking in a place of danger, recites a brief prayer…at parashat ha’ibur. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of parashat ha’ibur? Rav Ḥisda said that Mar Ukva said: This can be interpreted in a manner underscoring two connotations of the term ibur: Even at a time when You are as filled with anger [evra], towards them, as a pregnant woman [ubara], may all of their needs be before You. Some say a different version of what Rav Ḥisda said that Mar Ukva said: Even when they violate [ovrim] the commandments of the Torah, may all of their needs be before You.

One formula for the prayer recited in places of danger is cited in the mishna. Additional formulas are cited in the Tosefta. The Sages taught: One who walks in a place where there are groups of wild beasts and robbers recites an abbreviated prayer. Which is an abbreviated prayer? Rabbi Eliezer says, “Carry out Your will in the heavens above, and give peace of mind to those who fear You below, and perform that which is good in Your eyes. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.”

Rabbi Yehoshua says that he recites: Hear the cry of Your nation, Israel, and quickly fulfill their request. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.

Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Tzadok says that he recites: Hear the shout of Your nation, Israel, and quickly fulfill their request. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.

Aḥerim say that he recites: The needs of Your nation, Israel, are many and their intelligence is limited, and, consequently, they are unable to effectively articulate their thoughts in prayer (Maharsha). So may it be Your will, Lord our God, to provide each and every one with his necessary sustenance, and to each and every body all that it lacks. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.

Rav Huna said: The halakha with regard to the version of the prayer recited in a place of danger is in accordance with the opinion of Aḥerim.

On the topic of prayers recited while traveling and in times of danger, the Gemara discusses the traveler’s prayer. When he appeared to him, Elijah the Prophet said to Rav Yehuda brother of Rav Sala Ḥasida: Do not get angry and you will not sin. Do not get drunk and you will not sin. And when you set out on a journey, consult with your Creator, and then set out. Rabbi Ya’akov said that Rav Ḥisda said: That is the traveler’s prayer. And Rabbi Ya’akov said that Rav Ḥisda said: It is not only good advice, but established halakha that anyone who sets out on a journey must recite the traveler’s prayer prior to embarking on his journey.

The Gemara asks: What is the formula for the traveler’s prayer? The Gemara answers: May it be Your will, Lord my God, to lead me to peace, direct my steps to peace, and guide me to peace, and rescue me from the hands of any enemy or ambush along the way, and send blessing to the work of my hands, and let me find grace, kindness, and compassion in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see me. Blessed are You, Lord, Who hears prayer.