Berakhot 28bברכות כ״ח ב
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28bכ״ח ב

רב אויא חלש ולא אתא לפרקא דרב יוסף למחר כי אתא בעא אביי לאנוחי דעתיה דרב יוסף אמר ליה מאי טעמא לא אתא מר לפרקא אמר ליה דהוה חליש לבאי ולא מצינא אמר ליה אמאי לא טעמת מידי ואתית אמר ליה לא סבר לה מר להא דרב הונא דאמר רב הונא אסור לו לאדם שיטעום כלום קודם שיתפלל תפלת המוספין אמר ליה איבעי ליה למר לצלויי צלותא דמוספין ביחיד ולטעום מידי ולמיתי אמר ליה ולא סבר לה מר להא דאמר רבי יוחנן אסור לו לאדם שיקדים תפלתו לתפלת הצבור אמר ליה לאו אתמר עלה אמר רבי אבא בצבור שנו

After mentioning until when the additional prayer may be recited, the Gemara relates: Rav Avya was ill and did not come to Rav Yosef’s Shabbat lecture. When Rav Avya came the following day, Abaye sought to placate Rav Yosef, and through a series of questions and answers sought to make clear to him that Rav Avya’s failure to attend the lecture was not a display of contempt for Rav Yosef.
To this end, he asked him: Why did the Master not attend the Shabbat lecture?
Rav Avya said to him: Because my heart was faint and I was unable to attend.
Abaye said to him: Why did you not eat something and come?
Rav Avya said to him: Does the Master not hold in accordance with that statement of Rav Huna? As Rav Huna said: A person may not taste anything before he recites the additional prayer.
Abaye said to him: My Master should have recited the additional prayer individually, eaten something, and then come to the lecture.
Rav Avya said to him: Does my Master not hold in accordance with that statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan: A person may not recite his individual prayer prior to the communal prayer?
Abaye said to him: Was it not stated regarding this halakha, Rabbi Abba said: They taught this in a communal setting?
In other words, only one who is part of a congregation is prohibited from praying alone prior to the prayer of the congregation. Even though Rav Avya was incorrect, the reason for his failure to attend the lecture was clarified through this discussion.

ולית הלכתא לא כרב הונא ולא כרבי יהושע בן לוי כרב הונא הא דאמרן כרבי יהושע בן לוי דאמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כיון שהגיע זמן תפלת מנחה אסור לו לאדם שיטעום כלום קודם שיתפלל תפלת המנחה:

And the Gemara summarizes: The halakha is neither in accordance with the statement of Rav Huna nor in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. The Gemara explains: It is not in accordance with the statement of Rav Huna, as we said above with regard to the prohibition to eat prior to the additional prayer. It is not in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Once the time to recite the afternoon prayer has arrived, a person may not taste anything before he recites the afternoon prayer.

מתני׳ רבי נחוניא בן הקנה היה מתפלל בכניסתו לבית המדרש וביציאתו תפלה קצרה אמרו לו מה מקום לתפלה זו אמר להם בכניסתי אני מתפלל שלא יארע דבר תקלה על ידי וביציאתי אני נותן הודאה על חלקי:

MISHNA: In addition to the halakhot relating to the fixed prayers, the Gemara relates: Rabbi Neḥunya ben Hakana would recite a brief prayer upon his entrance into the study hall and upon his exit. They said to him: The study hall is not a dangerous place that would warrant a prayer when entering and exiting, so what room is there for this prayer? He said to them: Upon my entrance, I pray that no mishap will transpire caused by me in the study hall. And upon my exit, I give thanks for my portion.

גמ׳ תנו רבנן בכניסתו מהו אומר יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלהי שלא יארע דבר תקלה על ידי ולא אכשל בדבר הלכה וישמחו בי חברי ולא אומר על טמא טהור ולא על טהור טמא ולא יכשלו חברי בדבר הלכה ואשמח בהם

GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita the complete formula of Rabbi Neḥunya ben Hakana’s prayer: Upon his entrance, what does he say? May it be Your will, Lord my God, that no mishap in determining the halakha transpires caused by me, and that I not fail in any matter of halakha, and that my colleagues, who together with me engage in clarifying the halakha, will rejoice in me. He specified: And that I will neither declare pure that which is impure, nor declare impure that which is pure and that my colleagues will not fail in any matter of halakha, and that I will rejoice in them.

ביציאתו מהו אומר מודה אני לפניך ה׳ אלהי ששמת חלקי מיושבי בית המדרש ולא שמת חלקי מיושבי קרנות שאני משכים והם משכימים אני משכים לדברי תורה והם משכימים לדברים בטלים אני עמל והם עמלים אני עמל ומקבל שכר והם עמלים ואינם מקבלים שכר אני רץ והם רצים אני רץ לחיי העולם הבא והם רצים לבאר שחת:

Upon his exit, what did he say? I give thanks before You, Lord my God, that You have placed my lot among those who sit in the study hall, and that you have not given me my portion among those who sit idly on street corners. I rise early, and they rise early. I rise early to pursue matters of Torah, and they rise early to pursue frivolous matters. I toil and they toil. I toil and receive a reward, and they toil and do not receive a reward. I run and they run. I run to the life of the World-to-Come and they run to the pit of destruction.

תנו רבנן כשחלה רבי אליעזר נכנסו תלמידיו לבקרו אמרו לו רבינו למדנו אורחות חיים ונזכה בהן לחיי העולם הבא

On a similar note, the Gemara recounts related stories with different approaches. The Sages taught: When Rabbi Eliezer fell ill, his students entered to visit him. They said to him: Teach us paths of life, guidelines by which to live, and we will thereby merit the life of the World-to-Come.

אמר להם הזהרו בכבוד חבריכם ומנעו בניכם מן ההגיון והושיבום בין ברכי תלמידי חכמים וכשאתם מתפללים דעו לפני מי אתם עומדים ובשביל כך תזכו לחיי העולם הבא

He said to them: Be vigilant in the honor of your counterparts, and prevent your children from logic when studying verses that tend toward heresy (geonim), and place your children, while they are still young, between the knees of Torah scholars, and when you pray, know before Whom you stand. For doing that, you will merit the life of the World-to-Come.

וכשחלה רבי יוחנן בן זכאי נכנסו תלמידיו לבקרו כיון שראה אותם התחיל לבכות אמרו לו תלמידיו נר ישראל עמוד הימיני פטיש החזק מפני מה אתה בוכה

A similar story is told about Rabbi Eliezer’s mentor, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai: When Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai fell ill his students entered to visit him. When he saw them, he began to cry. His students said to him: Lamp of Israel, the right pillar, the mighty hammer, the man whose life’s work is the foundation of the future of the Jewish people, for what reason are you crying? With a life as complete as yours, what is upsetting you?

אמר להם אילו לפני מלך בשר ודם היו מוליכין אותי שהיום כאן ומחר בקבר שאם כועס עלי אין כעסו כעס עולם ואם אוסרני אין איסורו איסור עולם ואם ממיתני אין מיתתו מיתת עולם ואני יכול לפייסו בדברים ולשחדו בממון אף על פי כן הייתי בוכה ועכשיו שמוליכים אותי לפני מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא שהוא חי וקיים לעולם ולעולמי עולמים שאם כועס עלי כעסו כעס עולם ואם אוסרני איסורו איסור עולם ואם ממיתני מיתתו מיתת עולם ואיני יכול לפייסו בדברים ולא לשחדו בממון ולא עוד אלא שיש לפני שני דרכים אחת של גן עדן ואחת של גיהנם ואיני יודע באיזו מוליכים אותי ולא אבכה

He said to them: I cry in fear of heavenly judgment, as the judgment of the heavenly court is unlike the judgment of man. If they were leading me before a flesh and blood king whose life is temporal, who is here today and dead in the grave tomorrow; if he is angry with me, his anger is not eternal and, consequently, his punishment is not eternal; if he incarcerates me, his incarceration is not an eternal incarceration, as I might maintain my hope that I would ultimately be freed. If he kills me, his killing is not for eternity, as there is life after any death that he might decree. Moreover, I am able to appease him with words and even bribe him with money, and even so I would cry when standing before royal judgment. Now that they are leading me before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who lives and endures forever and all time; if He is angry with me, His anger is eternal; if He incarcerates me, His incarceration is an eternal incarceration; and if He kills me, His killing is for eternity. I am unable to appease Him with words and bribe him with money. Moreover, but I have two paths before me, one of the Garden of Eden and one of Gehenna, and I do not know on which they are leading me; and will I not cry?

אמרו לו רבינו ברכנו אמר להם יהי רצון שתהא מורא שמים עליכם כמורא בשר ודם אמרו לו תלמידיו עד כאן אמר להם ולואי תדעו כשאדם עובר עבירה אומר שלא יראני אדם

His students said to him: Our teacher, bless us. He said to them: May it be His will that the fear of Heaven shall be upon you like the fear of flesh and blood. His students were puzzled and said: To that point and not beyond? Shouldn’t one fear God more? He said to them: Would that a person achieve that level of fear. Know that when one commits a transgression, he says to himself: I hope that no man will see me. If one was as concerned about avoiding shame before God as he is before man, he would never sin.

בשעת פטירתו אמר להם פנו כלים מפני הטומאה והכינו כסא לחזקיהו מלך יהודה שבא:

The Gemara relates that at the time of his death, immediately beforehand, he said to them: Remove the vessels from the house and take them outside due to the ritual impurity that will be imparted by my corpse, which they would otherwise contract. And prepare a chair for Hezekiah, the King of Judea, who is coming from the upper world to accompany me.

מתני׳ רבן גמליאל אומר בכל יום ויום מתפלל אדם שמנה עשרה רבי יהושע אומר מעין שמונה עשרה רבי עקיבא אומר אם שגורה תפלתו בפיו מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואם לאו מעין שמונה עשרה

MISHNA: The mishna cites a dispute with regard to the obligation to recite the Amida prayer, also known as Shemoneh Esreh, the prayer of eighteen blessings, or simply as tefilla, prayer. Rabban Gamliel says: Each and every day a person recites the prayer of eighteen blessings. Rabbi Yehoshua says: A short prayer is sufficient, and one only recites an abridged version of the prayer of eighteen blessings. Rabbi Akiva says an intermediate opinion: If he is fluent in his prayer, he recites the prayer of eighteen blessings, and if not, he need only recite an abridged version of the prayer of eighteen blessings.

רבי אליעזר אומר העושה תפלתו קבע אין תפלתו תחנונים

Rabbi Eliezer says: One whose prayer is fixed, his prayer is not supplication and is flawed. The Gemara will clarify the halakhic implications of this flaw.

רבי יהושע אומר ההולך במקום סכנה מתפלל תפלה קצרה ואומר הושע ה׳ את עמך את שארית ישראל בכל פרשת העבור יהיו צרכיהם לפניך ברוך אתה ה׳ שומע תפלה

Rabbi Yehoshua says: One who cannot recite a complete prayer because he is walking in a place of danger, recites a brief prayer and says: Redeem, Lord, Your people, the remnant of Israel, at every transition [parashat ha’ibur], the meaning of which will be discussed in the Gemara. May their needs be before You. Blessed are You, Lord, Who listens to prayer.

היה רוכב על החמור ירד ויתפלל ואם אינו יכול לירד יחזיר את פניו ואם אינו יכול להחזיר את פניו יכוין את לבו כנגד בית קדשי הקדשים היה מהלך בספינה או באסדא יכוין את לבו כנגד בית קדשי הקדשים:

While praying, one must face toward the direction of the Holy Temple. One who was riding on a donkey should dismount and pray calmly. If he is unable to dismount, he should turn his face toward the direction of the Temple. If he is unable to turn his face, it is sufficient that he focus his heart opposite the Holy of Holies. Similarly, one who was traveling in a ship or on a raft [asda] and is unable to turn and face in the direction of Jerusalem, should focus his heart opposite the Holy of Holies.

גמ׳ הני שמונה עשרה כנגד מי

GEMARA: Since the mishna deals with the fundamental obligation to recite the Amida prayer, the Gemara seeks to resolve fundamental problems pertaining to this prayer. Corresponding to what were these eighteen blessings instituted? When the Shemoneh Esreh was instituted by the Sages, on what did they base the number of blessings?

אמר רבי הלל בריה דרבי שמואל בר נחמני כנגד שמונה עשרה אזכרות שאמר דוד בהבו לה׳ בני אלים רב יוסף אמר כנגד שמונה עשרה אזכרות שבקריאת שמע אמר רבי תנחום אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כנגד שמונה עשרה חוליות שבשדרה

Rabbi Hillel, son of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani, said: Corresponding to the eighteen mentions of God’s name that King David said in the psalm: “Give unto the Lord, O you sons of might” (Psalms 29). Rav Yosef said: Corresponding to the eighteen mentions of God’s name in Shema. Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Corresponding to the eighteen vertebrae in the spine beneath the ribs.

ואמר רבי תנחום אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי המתפלל צריך שיכרע עד שיתפקקו כל חוליות שבשדרה

Since Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s opinion based the Amida prayer on the spinal vertebrae, the Gemara cites another statement of his that connects the two: Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: In those blessings where one is required to bow, one who prays must bow until all the vertebrae in the spine protrude.

עולא אמר עד כדי שיראה איסר כנגד לבו רבי חנינא אמר כיון שנענע ראשו שוב אינו צריך אמר רבא והוא דמצער נפשיה ומחזי כמאן דכרע

Establishing a different indicator to determine when he has bowed sufficiently, Ulla said: Until he can see a small coin [issar], on the ground before him opposite his heart (Rav Hai Gaon). Rabbi Ḥanina said: There is room for leniency; once he moves his head forward, he need not bow any further. Rava said: But that applies only if he is exerting himself when doing so, and he appears like one who is bowing. However, if he is able, he should bow further.

הני תמני סרי תשסרי הווין

Until now, the prayer of eighteen blessings has been discussed as if it was axiomatic. The Gemara wonders: Are these eighteen blessings? They are nineteen.

אמר רבי לוי ברכת המינים ביבנה תקנוה כנגד מי תקנוה

Rabbi Levi said: The blessing of the heretics, which curses informers, was instituted in Yavne and is not included in the original tally of blessings. Nevertheless, since the number of blessings corresponds to various allusions, the Gemara attempts to clarify: Corresponding to what was this nineteenth blessing instituted?

אמר רבי לוי לרבי הלל בריה דרבי שמואל בר נחמני כנגד אל הכבוד הרעים לרב יוסף כנגד אחד שבקריאת שמע לרבי תנחום אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כנגד חוליא קטנה שבשדרה:

Rabbi Levi said: According to Rabbi Hillel, son of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani, who said that the eighteen blessings correspond to the eighteen mentions of God’s name that King David said in the psalm, the nineteenth blessing corresponds to a reference to God in that psalm, where a name other than the tetragrammaton was used: “The God of glory thunders” (Psalms 29:3). According to Rav Yosef, who said that the eighteen blessings correspond to the eighteen mentions of God’s name in Shema, the additional blessing corresponds to the word one that is in Shema. Although it is not the tetragrammaton, it expresses the essence of faith in God. According to what Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, that the eighteen blessings correspond to the eighteen vertebrae in the spine, the additional blessing corresponds to the small vertebra that is at the bottom of the spine.

תנו רבנן שמעון הפקולי הסדיר שמונה עשרה ברכות לפני רבן גמליאל על הסדר ביבנה אמר להם רבן גמליאל לחכמים כלום יש אדם שיודע לתקן ברכת המינים עמד שמואל הקטן ותקנה

In light of the previous mention of the blessing of the heretics, the Gemara explains how this blessing was instituted: The Sages taught: Shimon HaPakuli arranged the eighteen blessings, already extant during the period of the Great Assembly, before Rabban Gamliel, the Nasi of the Sanhedrin, in order in Yavne. Due to prevailing circumstances, there was a need to institute a new blessing directed against the heretics. Rabban Gamliel said to the Sages: Is there any person who knows to institute the blessing of the heretics, a blessing directed against the Sadducees? Shmuel HaKatan, who was one of the most pious men of that generation, stood and instituted it.

לשנה אחרת שכחה

The Gemara relates: The next year, when Shmuel HaKatan served as the prayer leader, he forgot that blessing,