Berakhot 31bברכות ל״א ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
Save "Berakhot 31b"
Toggle Reader Menu Display Settings
31bל״א ב

דבר שאינו הגון צריך להוכיחו ותען חנה ותאמר לא אדוני אמר עולא ואיתימא רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה בדבר זה ולא רוח הקודש שורה עליך שאתה חושדני בדבר זה

an unseemly matter, he must reprimand him, is derived. “And Hannah answered and she said no, my master, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and I have drunk neither wine nor liquor, but I pour out my soul before the Lord” (I Samuel 1:15). Regarding the words: “No, my master,” Ulla, and some say Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said that she said to him, in an allusion: With regard to this matter, you are not a master, and the Divine Spirit does not rest upon you, as you falsely suspect me of this.

איכא דאמרי הכי אמרה ליה לא אדון אתה לאו איכא שכינה ורוח הקודש גבך שדנתני לכף חובה ולא דנתני לכף זכות מי לא ידעת דאשה קשת רוח אנוכי

Some say another version of her response. She said to him, questioning: Aren’t you a master? Aren’t the Divine Presence and Divine Spirit with you that you judged me to be guilty, and you did not judge me to be innocent? Didn’t you know that I am a woman of distressed spirit?

ויין ושכר לא שתיתי אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לנחשד בדבר שאין בו שצריך להודיעו

With regard to Hannah’s explanation that “I have drunk neither wine nor liquor,” Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who is suspected of something of which he is not guilty cannot suffice merely with the personal knowledge of his innocence, but must inform the one who suspects him that he is innocent and clear himself of suspicion.

אל תתן את אמתך לפני בת בליעל אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לשכור שמתפלל כאילו עובד עבודה זרה כתיב הכא לפני בת בליעל וכתיב התם יצאו אנשים בני בליעל מקרבך מה להלן עבודה זרה אף כאן עבודה זרה

“Do not take your maidservant as a wicked woman [bat beliya’al] for out of the abundance of my complaint and anger have I spoken until now” (I Samuel 1:16). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha that when a drunk person prays it is as if he engaged in idol worship is derived as it is written here that Hannah, suspected of praying while drunk, defends herself and says: “Do not take your maidservant as a bat beliya’al”; and it is written there, with regard to a city that has been instigated to engage in idol worship: Benei beliya’al have gone out from your midst and have lured the inhabitants of their city, saying let us go and serve other gods which we have not known” (Deuteronomy 13:14). By means of this verbal analogy it is derived: Just as there, in the case of the idolatrous city, the term beliya’al indicates idol worship, so too here, in the case of one who prays drunk, beliya’al indicates idol worship.

ויען עלי ויאמר לכי לשלום אמר רבי אלעזר מכאן לחושד את חברו בדבר שאין בו שצריך לפייסו ולא עוד אלא שצריך לברכו שנאמר ואלהי ישראל יתן את שלתך:

The verse continues: “And Eli answered and said: May you go in peace” (I Samuel 1:17). Rabbi Elazar said: From here the halakha is derived that one who suspects another of something that he has not done, he must appease him. Moreover, the one who suspected him must bless him, as Eli continued and offered Hannah a blessing, as it is stated: “And may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of Him” (I Samuel 1:17).

ותדר נדר ותאמר ה׳ צבאות אמר רבי אלעזר מיום שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא את עולמו לא היה אדם שקראו להקדוש ברוך הוא צבאות עד שבאתה חנה וקראתו צבאות

Incidental to this discussion of Hannah’s prayer, the Gemara explores related topics. In her prayer, Hannah said: “And she swore an oath and said, Lord of Hosts [Tzeva’ot] if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant a male child, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall be no razor come upon his head” (I Samuel 1:11). Rabbi Elazar said: From the day that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created His world, there was no person who called the Holy One, Blessed be He, Lord of Hosts until Hannah came and called Him Lord of Hosts. This is the first time in the Bible that God is referred to by this name.

אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מכל צבאי צבאות שבראת בעולמך קשה בעיניך שתתן לי בן אחד

Rabbi Elazar explains that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, are You not the Lord of the Hosts, and of all of the hosts and hosts of creations that You created in Your world, is it difficult in Your eyes to grant me one son?

משל למה הדבר דומה למלך בשר ודם שעשה סעודה לעבדיו בא עני אחד ועמד על הפתח אמר להם תנו לי פרוסה אחת ולא השגיחו עליו דחק ונכנס אצל המלך אמר לו אדוני המלך מכל סעודה שעשית קשה בעיניך ליתן לי פרוסה אחת:

The Gemara suggests a parable: To what is this similar? It is similar to a flesh and blood king who made a feast for his servants. A poor person came and stood at the door. He said to them: Give me one slice of bread! And they paid him no attention. He pushed and entered before the king. He said to him: My lord, the King, from this entire feast that you have prepared, is it so difficult in your eyes to give me a single slice of bread?

אם ראה תראה אמר רבי אלעזר אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם אם ראה מוטב ואם לאו תראה

As for the double language in the verse, “if you will look upon [im ra’o tireh],” Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, if You will look upon [ra’o] me now, fine, and if not, in any case You will see [tireh].

אלך ואסתתר בפני אלקנה בעלי וכיון דמסתתרנא משקו לי מי סוטה ואי אתה עושה תורתך פלסתר שנאמר ונקתה ונזרעה זרע

What was Hannah threatening? She said: I will go and seclude myself with another man before Elkana, my husband. Since I secluded myself, they will force me to drink the sota water to determine whether or not I have committed adultery. I will be found innocent, and since You will not make Your Torah false [pelaster], I will bear children. With regards to a woman who is falsely suspected of adultery and drank the sota water, the Torah says: “And if the woman was not defiled, but was pure, then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” (Numbers 5:28).

הניחא למאן דאמר אם היתה עקרה נפקדת שפיר אלא למאן דאמר אם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח נקבות יולדת זכרים שחורים יולדת לבנים קצרים יולדת ארוכים מאי איכא למימר

However, Rabbi Elazar’s opinion works out well according to the one who said that the verse means: If she were barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children. But according to the one who said that the verse means that childbearing will be easier and more successful, i.e., if she had previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, or if she had previously given birth to daughters, she now gives birth to sons, or if she had previously given birth to black children, considered to be unattractive, she now gives birth to fair children, or if she had previously given birth to short, weak children, she gives birth to tall, strong children, what can be said?

דתניא ונקתה ונזרעה זרע מלמד שאם היתה עקרה נפקדת דברי רבי ישמעאל אמר ליה רבי עקיבא אם כן ילכו כל העקרות כולן ויסתתרו וזו שלא קלקלה נפקדת אלא מלמד שאם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח קצרים יולדת ארוכים שחורים יולדת לבנים אחד יולדת שנים

As it was taught in a baraita that the tanna’im disputed the interpretation of the verse in Numbers: “Then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” teaches that if she was barren, she will be remembered by God and granted children; this is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Akiva said to him: If so, all barren women will go and seclude themselves with men who are not their husbands, and any woman who did not commit the sin of adultery will be remembered by God and granted children. Rather, the verse teaches that this is merely a promise for greater ease in childbirth; if she has previously given birth with pain, she now gives birth with ease, if she has previously given birth to short children, she gives birth to tall children, if she has previously given birth to black children, she now gives birth to fair children, if she has previously given birth to one child, she now gives birth to two children.

מאי אם ראה תראה דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם:

According to Rabbi Akiva’s explanation, what is derived from the double language uttered by Hannah: Im ra’o tireh? The Torah spoke in the language of men, meaning that this double language is not extraordinary and nothing may be derived from it. It is common biblical vernacular.

בעני אמתך אל תשכח את אמתך ונתתה לאמתך

In the oath/prayer uttered by Hannah, she refers to herself as “Your servant” [amatekha] three times: “The affliction of Your maidservant…and not forget Your maidservant and will give Your maidservant” (I Samuel 1:11).

אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שלש אמתות הללו למה אמרה חנה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שלשה בדקי מיתה בראת באשה ואמרי לה שלשה דבקי מיתה ואלו הן נדה וחלה והדלקת הנר כלום עברתי על אחת מהן:

Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Why are these three maidservants [amatot] cited in the verse? They are cited to teach that Hannah said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, You have created three crucibles potentially leading to death in a woman, where she is particularly vulnerable. Alternatively, some say: Master of the Universe, You have created three accelerants of death in a woman. They are mitzvot that, as a rule, pertain to women: Observing the halakhot of a menstruating woman, separating ḥalla from dough, and lighting Shabbat candles. Have I ever violated one of them? Hannah attests to her status as God’s maidservant [ama]. The reference to these three mitzvot is drawn from the etymological similarity between amatekha, your maidservant, and mita, death.

ונתת לאמתך זרע אנשים

Later in her prayer, Hannah says: “And You will grant Your servant an offspring of men.”

מאי זרע אנשים אמר רב גברא בגוברין ושמואל אמר זרע שמושח שני אנשים ומאן אינון שאול ודוד ורבי יוחנן אמר זרע ששקול כשני אנשים ומאן אינון משה ואהרן שנאמר משה ואהרן בכהניו ושמואל בקוראי שמו ורבנן אמרי זרע אנשים זרע שמובלע בין אנשים

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of “an offspring of men”? Rav said: Hannah prayed for a man among men, a son who would be outstanding and exceptional. And Shmuel said: This expression means an offspring who will anoint two men to royalty. And who were they? Saul and David. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Hannah prayed that she would bear an offspring who would be the equivalent of two of the world’s greatest men. And who were they? Moses and Aaron. As it is stated: “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call His name” (Psalms 99:6). In this verse, Hannah’s son, Samuel, is equated to Moses and Aaron. And the Rabbis say: “An offspring of men”: Hannah prayed for an offspring who would be inconspicuous among men, that he would not stand out in any way.

כי אתא רב דימי אמר לא ארוך ולא גוץ ולא קטן ולא אלם ולא צחור ולא גיחור ולא חכם ולא טפש:

The Gemara relates: When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said in explanation: Hannah prayed that her son would not be conspicuous among men; neither too tall nor too short; neither too small nor too fat; neither too white nor too red; neither too smart nor too stupid.

אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מכאן שאסור לישב בתוך ארבע אמות של תפלה:

When Hannah came to the Temple with her son Samuel, she told Eli: “My lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord” (I Samuel 1:26). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: From here the halakha that it is forbidden to sit within four cubits of one who is praying is derived. As the verse says: “Who stood here with you,” indicating that Eli stood alongside Hannah because she was praying.

אל הנער הזה התפללתי אמר רבי אלעזר שמואל מורה הלכה לפני רבו היה שנאמר וישחטו את הפר ויביאו את הנער אל עלי משום דוישחטו את הפר הביאו הנער אל עלי

Additionally, Hannah’s emphasis in speaking to Eli, “for this youth I prayed” (I Samuel 1:27), indicates that she came to protect him from danger. As Rabbi Elazar said: Samuel was one who taught halakha in the presence of his teacher. Hannah wanted to pray that he not be punished by death at the hand of Heaven for his transgression, as it is stated: “And they slaughtered the cow and they brought the youth to Eli” (I Samuel 1:25). This verse is puzzling. Because they slaughtered the cow, therefore, they brought the youth to Eli? What does one have to do with the next?

אלא אמר להן עלי קראו כהן ליתי ולשחוט חזנהו שמואל דהוו מהדרי בתר כהן למישחט אמר להו למה לכו לאהדורי בתר כהן למישחט שחיטה בזר כשרה אייתוהו לקמיה דעלי אמר ליה מנא לך הא אמר ליה מי כתיב ושחט הכהן והקריבו הכהנים כתיב מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה מכאן לשחיטה שכשרה בזר

Rather, this is what happened: Eli said to those who brought the offering: Call a priest; he will come and slaughter the offering. Samuel saw them looking for a priest to slaughter the animal. He said to them: Why do you need to look for a priest to slaughter it? Slaughter of an offering performed by a non-priest is valid. They brought him before Eli to clarify his statement. Eli said to him: How do you know this? Samuel said to him: Is it written in the Torah: And the priest shall slaughter indicating that the offering may only be slaughtered by a priest? It is written: “And the priests shall offer,” only from the stage of receiving the blood in the bowls and onward is it a mitzva incumbent upon priests alone. From here the halakha that slaughter by a non-priest is acceptable is derived.

אמר ליה מימר שפיר קא אמרת מיהו מורה הלכה בפני רבך את וכל המורה הלכה בפני רבו חייב מיתה אתיא חנה וקא צווחה קמיה אני האשה הנצבת עמכה בזה וגו׳ אמר לה שבקי לי דאענשיה ובעינא רחמי ויהיב לך רבא מיניה אמרה ליה אל הנער הזה התפללתי:

Eli said to Samuel: You have spoken well and your statement is correct, but nevertheless, you are one who issued a halakhic ruling in the presence of your teacher, and anyone who issues a halakhic ruling in the presence of his teacher, even if the particular halakha is correct, is liable for death at the hand of Heaven for showing contempt for his teacher. Hannah came and shouted before him: “I am the woman who stood here with you to pray to the Lord;” do not punish the child who was born of my prayers. He said to her: Let me punish him, and I will pray for mercy, that the Holy One, Blessed be He, will grant you a son who will be greater than this one. She said to him: “For this youth I prayed” and I want no other.

וחנה היא מדברת על לבה אמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא על עסקי לבה אמרה לפניו רבונו של עולם כל מה שבראת באשה לא בראת דבר אחד לבטלה עינים לראות ואזנים לשמוע חוטם להריח פה לדבר ידים לעשות בהם מלאכה רגלים להלך בהן דדים להניק בהן דדים הללו שנתת על לבי למה לא להניק בהן תן לי בן ואניק בהן:

The Gemara continues to deal with Hannah’s prayer. It is said: “And Hannah spoke on her heart.” Several interpretations are offered to explain her use of the phrase “on her heart” instead of the common phrase to her heart (Maharsha). Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Hannah spoke to God concerning matters of her heart. She said before Him: Master of the Universe, of all the organs You created in a woman, You have not created one in vain. Every organ fulfills its purpose; eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to smell, a mouth to speak, hands with which to perform labor, feet with which to walk, breasts with which to nurse. If so, these breasts that You placed upon my heart, to what purpose did You place them? Was it not in order to nurse with them? Grant me a son and I will nurse with them.

ואמר רבי אלעזר משום רבי יוסי בן זמרא כל היושב בתענית בשבת קורעים לו גזר דינו של שבעים שנה ואף על פי כן חוזרין ונפרעין ממנו דין עונג שבת

Tangentially, the Gemara also cites an additional statement that Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: Anyone who sits in observance of a fast on Shabbat, his merit is great and they tear up and repeal his sentence of seventy years; because everyone is enjoying himself and a feast is prepared, it is more difficult to fast on Shabbat than on any other day. Nevertheless, they then hold him accountable for failing to fulfill the halakha of delight of Shabbat.

מאי תקנתיה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ליתיב תעניתא לתעניתא:

The Gemara asks: What is his remedy to atone and avoid punishment? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: He must sit in observance of another fast on a weekday to atone for the fast on Shabbat.

ואמר רבי אלעזר חנה הטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ותתפלל על ה׳ מלמד שהטיחה דברים כלפי מעלה

After explaining the uncommon expression, on her heart, the Gemara cites an additional statement in the matter of Hannah. And Rabbi Elazar said: Hannah spoke impertinently toward God on High. As it is stated: “And she prayed onto the Lord,” as opposed to the common phrase: To the Lord. This teaches that she spoke impertinently toward on High.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אליהו הטיח דברים כלפי מעלה שנאמר ואתה הסבת את לבם אחרנית אמר רבי שמואל בר רבי יצחק מנין שחזר הקדוש ברוך הוא והודה לו לאליהו

And on a similar note, Rabbi Elazar said that Elijah spoke impertinently toward God on High as well in his prayer at Mount Carmel, as it is stated: “Answer me, Lord, answer me, that this people will know that You are the Lord, God, and You have turned their hearts backward” (I Kings 18:37), claiming that God caused Israel to sin. On this topic, Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where do we know that the Holy One, Blessed be He, ultimately conceded to Elijah that he was correct?