Tag Archives: Vasikin

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 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.