Tag Archives: Hashem

8 + 4 = 1

Day 12 – Berachos 13

תַּנְיָא סוֹמְכוֹס אוֹמֵר: כָּל הַמַּאֲרִיךְ בְּ״אֶחָד״, מַאֲרִיכִין לוֹ יָמָיו וּשְׁנוֹתָיו. אָמַר רַב אַחָא בַּר יַעֲקֹב: וּבַדָּלֵית. אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יַחֲטוֹף בַּחֵית.

It was taught in a baraita, Sumakhos says: One who extends his intonation of the word One [eḥad] while reciting Shema, is rewarded that his days and years are extended. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: This is only true if he extends the letter dalet, so the word eḥad is sounded in its entirety. Rav Ashi said: This is only so long as one does not pronounce the letter ḥet hurriedly.

Berachos 13 – Sefaria

 The Gemara teaches us that when saying Shema one should say the word Echad with more Kavana, especially the letter Daled and one should be careful not to swallow up the letter Ches.

We know that the Shema is our acceptance of the unity of Middas HaDin (Elokeinu)  & Middas Rachamim (Hashem). We also know that the reason to enunciate clearly the letter Daled, is to have in mind that Hashem is our God in every direction. Daled being the numerical value of 4, represents the 4 directions. 

This begs the question, why is the gemara making an extra point to make sure not to swallow the letter Ches in Echad? 

The Pnei Menachem (Vayashev) gives a fascinating explanation.

We know, Yaacov Avinu had 12 sons, 8 from Rachel & Leah and 4 from Bilha & Zilpa

The Alef represents Yaacov, The Ches represents the 8 Sehvatim from Rachel & Leah and the Daled represents the 4 Shevatim from Bilha and Zilpa.

He explains, that the 8 Shevatim did not treat the 4 children of Bilah & Zilpa properly, rather they treated them as if they were slaves, as Bilha & Zilpa were originally maidservants.  This mistreatment caused a lack of unity amongst the Shevatim and was detrimental to the concept of Echad.

Before Yaacov died he said Shema Yisrael and this was a sign that the Shevatim came back to a place of Echad. The Pnei Menachem explains that the reason we properly enunciate the Daled is to have in mind that the 4 sons of Bilha and Zilpa are just a part of Klal Yisroel as their brothers. For this same reason , we need to be careful not to swallow the Ches, as each and every one of the Shevatim was unique and we need them together in order to achieve Echad and then have true Malchus in our world. 

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.

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.