Berakhot 55a:11ברכות נ״ה א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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55aנ״ה א

כל המאריך בתפלתו ומעיין בה סוף בא לידי כאב לב שנאמר תוחלת ממשכה מחלה לב ואמר רבי יצחק שלשה דברים מזכירים עונותיו של אדם ואלו הן קיר נטוי ועיון תפלה ומוסר דין על חבירו לשמים

Anyone who prolongs his prayer and expects it to be answered, will ultimately come to heartache, as it is stated: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Similarly, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Three matters evoke a person’s sins, and they are: Endangering oneself by sitting or standing next to an inclined wall that is about to collapse, expecting prayer to be accepted, as that leads to an assessment of his status and merit, and passing a case against another to Heaven, as praying for Heaven to pass judgment on another person causes one’s own deeds to be examined and compared with the deeds of that other person. This proves that prolonging prayer is a fault.

הא לא קשיא הא דמעיין בה הא דלא מעיין בה והיכי עביד דמפיש ברחמי

The Gemara resolves the apparent contradiction: This is not difficult. This, where we learned that prolonging prayer is undesirable, refers to a situation when one expects his prayer to be accepted, while this, where Rav Yehuda says that prolonging prayer prolongs one’s life, refers to a situation where one does not expect his prayer to be accepted. How does he prolong his prayer? By increasing his supplication.

והמאריך על שלחנו דלמא אתי עניא ויהיב ליה דכתיב המזבח עץ שלוש אמות גבה וכתיב וידבר אלי זה השלחן אשר לפני ה׳ פתח במזבח וסיים בשלחן רבי יוחנן ורבי אלעזר דאמרי תרוייהו כל זמן שבית המקדש קיים מזבח מכפר על ישראל ועכשיו שלחנו של אדם מכפר עליו

As for the virtue of prolonging one’s mealtime at the table, which Rav Yehuda mentioned, the Gemara explains: Perhaps a poor person will come during the meal and the host will be in a position to give him food immediately, without forcing the poor person to wait. The Sages elsewhere praised a person who acts appropriately at a meal, as it is written: “The altar, three cubits high and the length thereof, two cubits, was of wood, and so the corners thereof; the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were also of wood” (Ezekiel 41:22), and it is written in the continuation of that verse: “And he said unto me: This is the table that is before the Lord.” The language of this verse is difficult, as it begins with the altar and concludes with the table. Rather, Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar both say: As long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel’s transgressions. Now that it is destroyed, a person’s table atones for his transgressions.

והמאריך בבית הכסא מעליותא הוא והתניא עשרה דברים מביאין את האדם לידי תחתוניות האוכל עלי קנים ועלי גפנים ולולבי גפנים ומוריגי בהמה ושדרו של דג ודג מליח שאינו מבושל כל צרכו והשותה שמרי יין והמקנח בסיד ובחרסית והמקנח בצרור שקנח בו חברו ויש אומרים אף התולה עצמו בבית הכסא יותר מדאי

With regard to what Rav Yehuda said in praise of one who prolongs his time in the bathroom, the Gemara asks: Is that a virtue? Wasn’t it taught in a baraita: Ten things bring a person to suffer from hemorrhoids: One who eats the leaves of bulrushes, grape leaves, tendrils of grapevines, the palate and tongue of an animal, as well as any other part of the animal which is not smooth and which has protrusions, the spine of a fish, a salty fish that is not fully cooked, and one who drinks wine dregs, and one who wipes himself with lime and clay, the materials from which earthenware is made, and one who wipes himself with a stone with which another person wiped himself. And some say: One who suspends himself too much in the bathroom as well. This proves that prolonging one’s time in the bathroom is harmful.

לא קשיא הא דמאריך ותלי הא דמאריך ולא תלי

The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. This baraita, which teaches that doing so is harmful, refers to where one prolongs his time there and suspends himself, while this statement of Rav Yehuda refers to where one prolongs his time there and does not suspend himself.

כי הא דאמרה ליה ההיא מטרוניתא לרבי יהודה ברבי אלעאי פניך דומים למגדלי חזירים ולמלוי ברבית אמר לה הימנותא לדידי תרוייהו אסירן אלא עשרים וארבעה בית הכסא איכא מאושפיזאי לבי מדרשא דכי אזילנא בדיקנא נפשאי בכולהו

The Gemara relates the benefits of prolonging one’s time in the bathroom. Like that incident when a matron [matronita] said to Rabbi Yehuda son of Rabbi El’ai: Your face is fat and full, like the faces of pig farmers and usurers who do not work hard and who make a plentiful living. He said to her: Honestly, those two occupations are prohibited to me; rather, why is it that my face is nice? Because there are twenty-four bathrooms between my lodging and the study hall, and when I walk I stop and examine myself in all of them.

ואמר רב יהודה שלשה דברים מקצרים ימיו ושנותיו של אדם מי שנותנין לו ספר תורה לקרות ואינו קורא כוס של ברכה לברך ואינו מברך והמנהיג עצמו ברבנות

And Rav Yehuda said: Three things curtail a person’s days and years: One who is invited and given the Torah scroll to read and he does not read, one who is given a cup of blessing over which to recite a blessing and he does not recite a blessing, and one who conducts himself with an air of superiority.

ספר תורה לקרות ואינו קורא דכתיב כי הוא חייך וארך ימיך כוס של ברכה לברך ואינו מברך דכתיב ואברכה מברכיך והמנהיג עצמו ברבנות דאמר רבי חמא בר חנינא מפני מה מת יוסף קודם לאחיו מפני שהנהיג עצמו ברבנות:

The Gemara details the biblical sources for these cases: One who is given the Torah scroll to read and he does not read, as it is written of the Torah: “It is your life and the length of your days” (Deuteronomy 30:20). A cup of blessing over which to recite a blessing and he does not recite a blessing, as it is written: “I will bless them that bless you” (Genesis 12:3); one who blesses is blessed and one who does not bless does not merit a blessing. And with regard to one who conducts himself with an air of superiority, as Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Why did Joseph die before his brothers, as evidenced by the order in the verse: “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation” (Exodus 1:6)? Because he conducted himself with an air of superiority, and those who did not serve in a leadership role lived on after he died.

ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב שלשה צריכים רחמים מלך טוב שנה טובה וחלום טוב מלך טוב דכתיב פלגי מים לב מלך ביד ה׳ שנה טובה דכתיב תמיד עיני ה׳ אלהיך בה מראשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה חלום טוב דכתיב ותחלימני ותחייני:

Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: Three matters require a plea for mercy to bring them about: A good king, a good year, and a good dream. These three, kings, years, and dreams, are all bestowed by God and one must pray that they should be positive and constructive. The Gemara enumerates the sources for these cases: A good king, as it is written: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord as the watercourses: He turns it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). A good year, as it is written: “The eyes of the Lord, thy God, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:12). And a good dream, as it is written: “O Lord, by these things men live, and altogether therein is the life of my spirit; wherefore You will recover me [vataḥlimeni], and make me to live” (Isaiah 38:16). Due to their apparent etymological similarity, the word taḥlimeni is interpreted as deriving from the word ḥalom, dream.

אמר רבי יוחנן שלשה דברים מכריז עליהם הקדוש ברוך הוא בעצמו ואלו הן רעב ושובע ופרנס טוב רעב דכתיב כי קרא ה׳ לרעב וגו׳ שובע דכתיב וקראתי אל הדגן והרביתי אתו פרנס טוב דכתיב ויאמר ה׳ אל משה לאמר ראה קראתי בשם בצלאל וגו׳

Similarly, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Three matters are proclaimed by the Holy One, Blessed be He, Himself: Famine, plenty, and a good leader. The Gemara enumerates the sources for these cases: Famine, as it is written: “For the Lord has called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years” (II Kings 8:1). Plenty, as it is written: “And I will call for the grain, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you” (Ezekiel 36:29). And a good leader, as it is written: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: See, I have called by name Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah” (Exodus 31:1–2).

אמר רבי יצחק אין מעמידין פרנס על הצבור אלא אם כן נמלכים בצבור שנאמר ראו קרא ה׳ בשם בצלאל אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה משה הגון עליך בצלאל אמר לו רבונו של עולם אם לפניך הגון לפני לא כל שכן אמר לו אף על פי כן לך אמור להם הלך ואמר להם לישראל הגון עליכם בצלאל אמרו לו אם לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ולפניך הוא הגון לפנינו לא כל שכן

With regard to Bezalel’s appointment, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: One may only appoint a leader over a community if he consults with the community and they agree to the appointment, as it is stated: “And Moses said unto the children of Israel: See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah” (Exodus 35:30). The Lord said to Moses: Moses, is Bezalel a suitable appointment in your eyes? Moses said to Him: Master of the universe, if he is a suitable appointment in Your eyes, then all the more so in my eyes. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Nevertheless, go and tell Israel and ask their opinion. Moses went and said to Israel: Is Bezalel suitable in your eyes? They said to him: If he is suitable in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and in your eyes, all the more so he is suitable in our eyes.

אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן בצלאל על שם חכמתו נקרא בשעה שאמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה לך אמור לו לבצלאל עשה לי משכן ארון וכלים הלך משה והפך ואמר לו עשה ארון וכלים ומשכן אמר לו משה רבינו מנהגו של עולם אדם בונה בית ואחר כך מכניס לתוכו כלים ואתה אומר עשה לי ארון וכלים ומשכן כלים שאני עושה להיכן אכניסם שמא כך אמר לך הקדוש ברוך הוא עשה משכן ארון וכלים אמר לו שמא בצל אל היית וידעת

Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Bezalel was called by that name on account of his wisdom. When the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Go say to Bezalel, “Make a tabernacle, an ark, and vessels” (see Exodus 31:7–11), Moses went and reversed the order and told Bezalel: “Make an ark, and vessels, and a tabernacle” (see Exodus 25–26). He said to Moses: Moses, our teacher, the standard practice throughout the world is that a person builds a house and only afterward places the vessels in the house, and you say to me: Make an ark, and vessels, and a tabernacle. If I do so in the order you have commanded, the vessels that I make, where shall I put them? Perhaps God told you the following: “Make a tabernacle, ark, and vessels” (see Exodus 36). Moses said to Bezalel: Perhaps you were in God’s shadow [betzel El], and you knew precisely what He said. You intuited God’s commands just as He stated them, as if you were there.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב יודע היה בצלאל לצרף אותיות שנבראו בהן שמים וארץ כתיב הכא וימלא אתו רוח אלהים בחכמה ובתבונה ובדעת וכתיב התם ה׳ בחכמה יסד ארץ כונן שמים בתבונה וכתיב בדעתו תהומות נבקעו

Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: Bezalel knew how to join the letters with which heaven and earth were created. From where do we derive this? It is written here in praise of Bezalel: “And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:3); and it is written there with regard to creation of heaven and earth: “The Lord, by wisdom, founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19), and it is written: “By His knowledge the depths were broken up and the skies drop down the dew” (Proverbs 3:20). We see that wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, the qualities with which the heavens and earth were created, are all found in Bezalel.

אמר רבי יוחנן אין הקדוש ברוך הוא נותן חכמה אלא למי שיש בו חכמה שנאמר יהב חכמתא לחכימין ומנדעא לידעי בינה שמע רב תחליפא בר מערבא ואמרה קמיה דרבי אבהו אמר ליה אתון מהתם מתניתו לה אנן מהכא מתנינן לה דכתיב ובלב כל חכם לב נתתי חכמה:

On a similar note, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, only grants wisdom to one who already possesses wisdom, as it is stated: “He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to they who know understanding” (Daniel 2:21). Rav Taḥalifa, from the West, Eretz Yisrael, heard this and repeated it before Rabbi Abbahu. Rabbi Abbahu said to him: You learned proof for this idea from there; we learn it from here: As it is written in praise of the builders of the Tabernacle: “And in the hearts of all who are wise-hearted I have placed wisdom” (Exodus 31:6).

אמר רב חסדא כל חלום ולא טוות ואמר רב חסדא חלמא דלא מפשר כאגרתא דלא מקריא ואמר רב חסדא לא חלמא טבא מקיים כוליה ולא חלמא בישא מקיים כוליה ואמר רב חסדא חלמא בישא עדיף מחלמא טבא ואמר רב חסדא חלמא בישא עציבותיה מסתייה חלמא טבא חדוייה מסתייה אמר רב יוסף חלמא טבא אפילו לדידי בדיחותיה מפכחא ליה ואמר רב חסדא חלמא בישא קשה מנגדא שנאמר והאלהים עשה שיראו מלפניו ואמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יוחנן זה חלום רע

Related to what was stated above, that one should pray for a good dream, the Gemara cites additional maxims concerning dreams and their interpretation. Rav Ḥisda said: One should see any dream, and not a fast. In other words, any dream is preferable to a dream during a fast. And Rav Ḥisda said: A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read. As long as it is not interpreted it cannot be fulfilled; the interpretation of a dream creates its meaning. And Rav Ḥisda said: A good dream is not entirely fulfilled and a bad dream is not entirely fulfilled. And Rav Ḥisda said: A bad dream is preferable to a good dream, as a bad dream causes one to feel remorse and to repent. And Rav Ḥisda said: A bad dream, his sadness is enough for him; a good dream, his joy is enough for him. This means that the sadness or joy engendered by the dream renders the actual fulfillment of the dream superfluous. Similarly, Rav Yosef said: Even for me, the joy of a good dream negates it. Even Rav Yosef, who was blind and ill, derived such pleasure from a good dream that it was never actually realized. And Rav Ḥisda said: A bad dream is worse than lashes, as it is stated: “God has so made it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14), and Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: That is a bad dream that causes man to fear.

הנביא אשר אתו חלום יספר חלום ואשר דברי אתו ידבר דברי אמת מה לתבן את הבר נאם ה׳ וכי מה ענין בר ותבן אצל חלום אלא אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי כשם שאי אפשר לבר בלא תבן כך אי אפשר לחלום בלא דברים בטלים

With regard to the verse: “The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What has the straw to do with the grain? says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:28), the Gemara asks: What do straw and grain have to do with a dream? Rather, Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai: Just as it is impossible for the grain to grow without straw, so too it is impossible to dream without idle matters. Even a dream that will be fulfilled in the future contains some element of nonsense.

אמר רבי ברכיה חלום אף על פי שמקצתו מתקיים כולו אינו מתקיים מנא לן מיוסף דכתיב והנה השמש והירח וגו׳

On a similar note, Rabbi Berekhya said: Even though part of a dream is fulfilled, all of it is not fulfilled. From where do we derive this? From the story of Joseph’s dream, as it is written: “And he said: Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon