The Vasikin of Yerushalayim

#DafChallenge Day 8. Berachos 9

הֵעִיד רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן אֶלְיָקִים מִשּׁוּם קְהָלָא קַדִּישָׁא דְבִירוּשָׁלַיִם: כָּל הַסּוֹמֵךְ גְּאוּלָּה לִתְפִלָּה אֵינוֹ נִזּוֹק כָּל הַיּוֹם כּוּלּוֹ.

Rabbi Yosei ben Elyakim testified in the name of the holy community in Jerusalem, a title accorded a particular group of Sages who lived there, that one who juxtaposes redemption and prayer at sunrise will incur no harm for the entire day. 

Berachos 9b – Sefaria

In general, when referring to that which was said in Eretz Yisrael, The Talmud usually says Amri B’Maarava, but here the gemara says a unique terminology of Kehila Kadisha in Yerushalayim. Why?

I would like to suggest that perhaps it is referring to a select group of holy men in Yerushalayim who were called the Vasikin, those who rose early to daven. Rashi explains that these were humble people who loved doing mitzvos. In fact, the Tefilla is called Vasikin to this day after them. 

The concept of Tefilas Vasikin is to finish Shema before sunrise and say Shemone Esrei immediately after, thus, one who does so is guaranteed to not be hurt the rest of the day. 

Rav Yehonasan Eibschutz in his Sefer Alon Bachos writes that during the period of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash the time for vaskin was not known. However, he explains, if there would have been a vasikin minyan on the day of the Churban Beis Hamikdash, it would not have been destroyed.

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