Tag Archives: Daf Yomi

The Ability to Pray for Another

Day 11 – Berachos 12

וְאָמַר רַבָּה בַּר חִינָּנָא סָבָא מִשְּׁמֵיהּ דְּרַב: כֹּל שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים עַל חֲבֵירוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְבַקֵּשׁ — נִקְרָא ״חוֹטֵא״. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״גַּם אָנֹכִי חָלִילָה לִּי מֵחֲטֹא לַה׳ מֵחֲדֹל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְכֶם״.

And Rabba bar Ḥinnana Sava said in the name of Rav: Anyone who can ask for mercy on behalf of another, and does not ask is called a sinner, as it is stated following Samuel’s rebuke of the people: “As for me, far be it from me that I should transgress against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you, but I will teach you the good and the right way” (I Samuel 12:23). Had Samuel refrained from prayer, he would have committed a sin.

Berachos 12b – Sefaria

The Gemara tells us that anybody who is able to pray on behalf of another should do so. One can ask – why doesn’t the Gemara simply say that one should pray on behalf of others, and if one is unable to, its ok. Why the seemingly extra words of “Anyone who can ask”?

Rav Steinman Zt’l explained so beautifully, that when it comes to interpersonal relationships, many times one has in his or her heart a grudge or feeling of jealousy against another. A prayer for someone that you bear a grudge against, is not considered a wholehearted prayer and is not necessarily answered.

Therefore, he explains, the Gemara says that only one who is able to pray wholeheartedly and drop any grudges against the other, should pray for his friend.

Quality & Quantity

Day 10 – Berachos 11

The Gemara is discussing the Berachos said before reciting the Shema. There is a dispute whether you say Ahava Raba or Ahavas Olam. Tosafos says that because there is a dispute, during Shacharis, one should say Ahava Raba and during Maariv one should say Ahavas Olam.

What is the difference between Ahava Raba and Ahavas Olam? Furthermore, why is Ahava Rabba said in the morning and Ahavas Olam at night?

I heard from my father, in the name of Rav Yosef Engel that the difference is one between the quality or the quantity of the love of Hashem for us.

Let’s explain.

In the morning, the world is bright and we see all the blessings of Hashem clearly, we say Ahava Rabba, that Hashem has a lot of love for us. However, as it becomes darker and we do not see so clearly the blessings of Hashem – in fact it appears to be very dark, we say Ahavas Olam. This reflects the eternal & deep love that Hashem has towards us.

Even if things are looking very dark – we recognize that Hashem still loves us and we say the Shema.

Re-settling the Neshama by Tefila

#DafChallenge Day 9. Berachos 10

The Gemara discusses the practice of not eating in the morning until one has davened. It is said over from the Arizal that the reason one should not eat before davening, is because one’s neshama is not yet properly resettled into the body until one davens. (Sefer Igra D’Kala – Noach)

I do not understand this connection, if you do, can you please share below? 

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.

The Ingredients of Unity

Day 7 – Berachos 8

The Gemara says that Hashem says that anyone who is involved in Torah, Chesed and Tefilla B’tzibbur, He considers that person as if they freed Him and his son from amongst the nations.

The Tiferes Shlomo explains that the last sentence עם הציבור is referring not just to tefilla, but to Chesed and learning Torah as well. He elaborates, if one has in mind that: the Torah that one learns should be a protection for the Tzibbur, and the reward for his Chesed should go towards the Tzibbur and finally that his tefillos are on behalf of the tzibbur. 

The Maharal takes this a step further and explains that these 3 things are what unites the Jewish people during the times of Galus where everyone is separated from each other and scattered amongst the nations. Therefore anyone who is involved in Torah, Chesed and Tefilla is working to bring the Jewish people back together and Hashem considers it as if you brought the Geula and redeemed Klal Yisrael from amongst the nations.

Based on Tiferes Shlomo Moadim. Maharal Netzach Yisrael 25

The Moment of Hashem's Anger

Day 6 – Berachos 7

The Gemara discusses the idea that Hashem has a moment of anger every day and the only one who was able to know the exact time and tap into it was Bilaam. The Gemara further discusses the length of this moment. At first the Gemara tells us that it is 1/58,888 of an hour which is 1/16th of a second. A bit later the Gemara repeats the question and tells us that it is the amount of time it takes to say “Rega”.

Tosafos asks what curse can one say in this amount of time? He answers that one can say כלם, which means to destroy them. 

Rav Yehonasan Eibschutz takes issue with this. Firstly, Kalem, is very non specific so there is no indication that he was saying to destroy the Jews. Secondly, the Passuk clearly says that HaShem gets angry every day, so how can you say that he did not get angry? He explains that there must be 2 levels of anger. On a regular day the anger lasts 1/58888 of an hour. However, during the days of Bilaam, HaShem got angry for a shorter amount of time – the time that it takes to say “rega”. 

On this the Chida strongly disagrees and says that the Yearos Dvash is arguing against the Gemara and he brings a Zohar as well stating that Hashem did not get angry during the period of Bilaam cursing the Jews. The Chida says that we have to learn that during this time HaShem did not get angry at all. 

Regarding the first question of the Yearos Dvash, the Chida explains that although Billam just said one word – “כלם”, he was always thinking about cursing the Jews, and as one can have many thoughts in a split second, his thoughts joined together with his words to effect a curse on the Jewish people.

One more thought –  the Gemara relates that HaShem gets upset from those who worship the sun as it rises and sets. The Yearos Devash explains that this is why we daven Vasikin in the morning and Maariv close to sunset,  in order that the anger should not be directed towards us.


Based on Yearos Devash Drush 9, Chida Patach Einayim Brachos 7.

The Chavrusa Advantage

Day 5 – Berachos 6

The Gemara tells us that when 2 people are learning, their learning is recorded in the Sefer Zichronos. If one is learning alone, the learning is not recorded in the Sefer Zichronos.

Some Meforshim explain this to mean an actual record book in the heavens, and the need for two people is in order to sharpen each other to arrive at the truth, which can then be recorded.

The Meiri and Rav Tzadok quoting the Iszbitzer explains that when one learns with a friend, you are refining the learning until it is very clear to you.  This learning then gets embedded into ones memory.

However, when one is learning alone, the learning does not necessarily get remembered as well.