Berakhot 59aברכות נ״ט א
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59aנ״ט א

כטרפא דטריף והאי דאזלא בתרה דאמרה לה הב לי בני שבשעה שהקדוש ברוך הוא בקש להביא מבול לעולם נטל שני כוכבים מכימה והביא מבול לעולם וכשבקש לסתמה נטל שני כוכבים מעיש וסתמה

as if it was appended onto it. The Gemara explains: And the fact that Ursa Major follows Pleiades, it is as if Ursa Major is saying to Pleiades: Give me back my children, my two stars. As it is related: When the Holy One, Blessed be He, sought to bring a flood into the world, He took two stars from Pleiades and brought the flood upon the world. And afterward, when He wished to fill the void, He took two stars from Ursa Major and filled the void with them. Consequently, the constellation of Ursa Major attempts to persuade Pleiades, seeking to get its stars back.

וליהדר לה אין הבור מתמלא מחוליתו אי נמי אין קטיגור נעשה סניגור

The Gemara asks: And return it, why did the Holy One, Blessed be He, not restore the original two stars to Pleiades? The Gemara answers: A pit cannot be filled by its own earth; when a pit is excavated, the earth that was excavated from it is insufficient to refill it. Alternatively, one could say that a prosecutor cannot become an advocate; since these stars caused the flood it is not appropriate that they facilitate the end of the flood.

וליברי לה תרי ככבי אחריני אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר רב נחמן עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא להחזירן לה שנאמר ועיש על בניה תנחם:

The Gemara argues: Then God should have created two other new stars for Pleiades. The Gemara responds: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Rav Naḥman said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will restore those same stars to Ursa Major, as it is stated: “Or can you guide [tanḥem] Ursa Major with her sons?” (Job 38:32), which is interpreted homiletically in the sense of consolation [tanḥumim] apparently due to the restoration of those stars.

ועל הזועות: מאי זועות אמר רב קטינא גוהא רב קטינא הוה קאזיל באורחא כי מטא אפתחא דבי אובא טמיא גנח גוהא אמר מי ידע אובא טמיא האי גוהא מהו רמא ליה קלא קטינא קטינא אמאי לא ידענא בשעה שהקדוש ברוך הוא זוכר את בניו ששרויים בצער בין אומות העולם מוריד שתי דמעות לים הגדול וקולו נשמע מסוף העולם ועד סופו והיינו גוהא

And we learned in the mishna that over zeva’ot one recites the blessing: Whose strength and power fill the world. The Gemara asks: What are zeva’ot? Rav Ketina said: An earthquake. The Gemara relates: Rav Ketina was once walking along the road when he came to the entrance of the house of a necromancer and an earthquake rumbled. He said: Does this necromancer know what is this earthquake? The necromancer raised his voice and said: Ketina, Ketina, why would I not know? Certainly this earthquake occurred because when the Holy One, Blessed be He, remembers His children who are suffering among the nations of the world, He sheds two tears into the great sea. The sound of their reverberation is heard from one end of the earth to the other. And that is an earthquake.

אמר רב קטינא אובא טמיא כדיב הוא ומיליה כדיבין אי הכי גוהא גוהא מיבעי ליה ולא היא גוהא גוהא עביד והאי דלא אודי ליה כי היכי דלא ליטעי כולי עלמא אבתריה

Rav Ketina said: The necromancer is a liar and his statements are lies. If so, it would necessitate an earthquake followed by another earthquake, one for each tear. The Gemara remarks: That is not so, as it indeed causes an earthquake followed by another earthquake; and the fact that Rav Ketina did not admit that the necromancer was correct was so that everyone would not mistakenly follow him.

ורב קטינא דידיה אמר סופק כפיו שנאמר וגם אני אכה כפי אל כפי והניחתי חמתי רבי נתן אומר אנחה מתאנח שנאמר והניחתי חמתי בם והנחמתי ורבנן אמרי בועט ברקיע שנאמר הידד כדרכים יענה אל כל ישבי הארץ רב אחא בר יעקב אמר דוחק את רגליו תחת כסא הכבוד שנאמר כה אמר ה׳ השמים כסאי והארץ הדם רגלי:

Rav Ketina also stated his own explanation for the earthquake: Because God claps His hands together in anger, as it is stated: “I will also smite My hands together and I will satisfy My fury; I, the Lord, have spoken it” (Ezekiel 21:22). Rabbi Natan says: The earthquake is caused because God sighs over the dire straits in which Israel finds itself, as it is stated: “Thus shall My anger spend itself, and I will satisfy My fury upon them, and I will be eased” (Ezekiel 5:13). And the Rabbis say: An earthquake is caused when God kicks the firmament, causing a rumbling, as it is stated: “The Lord roars from on high, from His holy dwelling He makes His voice heard. He roars mightily over His dwelling place, He cries out like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” (Jeremiah 25:30). Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: An earthquake is caused when God forces His feet beneath the throne of glory and the world quakes, as it is stated: “The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool” (Isaiah 66:1).

ועל הרעמים: מאי רעמים אמר שמואל ענני בגלגלא שנאמר קול רעמך בגלגל האירו ברקים תבל רגזה ותרעש הארץ ורבנן אמרי ענני דשפכי מיא להדדי שנאמר לקול תתו המון מים בשמים רב אחא בר יעקב אמר ברקא תקיפא דבריק בעננא ומתבר גזיזי דברזא רב אשי אמר ענני חלחולי מחלחלי ואתי זיקא ומנשב אפומייהו ודמי כזיקא על פום דני ומסתברא כרב אחא בר יעקב דבריק ברקא ומנהמי ענני ואתי מטרא:

We also learned in the mishna that over thunder one recites: Whose strength and power fill the world. The Gemara asks: What causes thunder? Shmuel said: When the clouds located in the curvature of the firmament collide with the firmament itself, they produce this sound, as it is stated: “The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook” (Psalms 77:19). And the Rabbis say: Thunder is the sound of clouds pouring water into one another, as it is stated: “At the sound of His giving a multitude of waters in the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:13). Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Thunder is caused by a powerful lightning bolt that flashes in the cloud and shatters the hailstones. Rav Ashi said: Because the clouds are hollow, and when the wind comes and blows across their mouths, it sounds like wind blowing in the mouth of a jug. The Gemara concludes: And it stands to reason in accordance with the opinion of Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov; as lightning flashes, the clouds rumble, and the rain comes.

ועל הרוחות: מאי רוחות אמר אביי זעפא ואמר אביי גמירי דזעפא בליליא לא הוי והא קא חזינן דהוי ההוא דאתחולי ביממא ואמר אביי גמירי דזעפא תרתי שעי לא קאי לקיים מה שנאמר לא תקום פעמים צרה והא קא חזינן דקאי דמפסיק ביני ביני:

We also learned in the mishna that over wind one recites the blessing: Whose strength and power fill the world. The Gemara asks: What are these winds? Abaye said: These are gale force winds. Abaye said: We learned through tradition that there are no gale force winds at night. The Gemara asks: Don’t we see that there are gale force winds at night? The Gemara answers: This gale force wind that blows at night does not begin blowing at night; rather, it begins blowing during the day. And Abaye said: We learned through tradition that a gale force wind does not last two hours, to fulfill that which is stated: “Trouble shall not rise up a second time” (Nahum 1:9). The Gemara asks: Don’t we see that it does last longer than two hours? The Gemara answers: Actually, it does not last longer than two hours. The fact that we sense that it does last longer is due to cases where it does not blow uninterruptedly, but it briefly stops in between.

ועל הברקים אומר ברוך שכחו וגבורתו מלא עולם: מאי ברקים אמר רבא ברקא ואמר רבא ברקא יחידאה וברקא חיורא וברקא ירוקתא וענני דסלקן בקרן מערבית ואתיין מקרן דרומית ותרתי ענני דסלקן חדא לאפי חברתה כולהו קשיין

We also learned in the mishna that over lightning one recites: Blessed…Whose strength and power fill the world. The Gemara asks: What is this lightning? Rava said: A bright light. And Rava said: A single bolt of lightning, white lightning, green lightning, clouds that rise in the western corner and come from the southern corner, and two clouds that rise with one facing the other are all signs of trouble.

למאי נפקא מינה למבעי רחמי והני מילי בליליא אבל בצפרא לית בהו מששא

The Gemara asks: What practical difference is there in the knowledge that they are signs of trouble? The Gemara answers: So that we may pray for God’s mercy, that they cause us no harm. The Gemara remarks that this only applies when these phenomena appear at night. In the morning, however, they are insignificant.

אמר רבי שמואל בר יצחק הני ענני דצפרא לית בהו מששא דכתיב וחסדכם כענן בקר וגו׳ אמר ליה רב פפא לאביי הא אמרי אינשי כד מפתח בבי מיטרא בר חמרא מוך שקיך וגני לא קשיא הא דקטר בעיבא הא דקטר בענני

Rabbi Shmuel bar Yitzḥak said: Morning clouds dissipate immediately so they have no substance, as it is written: “For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that early passes away” (Hosea 6:4). With regard to this, Rav Pappa said to Abaye: But don’t people say the maxim: If there is rain when people open their doors in the morning, donkey-driver, fold your sack and go to sleep, as rain will continue to fall all day. Apparently morning clouds indicate that there will be rain all day. The Gemara responds: This is not difficult, as this, that suggests that there will be considerable rain, refers to a case where the sky is covered with thick clouds, while this opinion, where Rabbi Shmuel bar Yitzḥak said that morning clouds have no substance and will not produce much rain, refers to a case where the sky is covered with flimsy clouds which will certainly pass.

אמר רבי אלכסנדרי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי לא נבראו רעמים אלא לפשוט עקמומית שבלב שנאמר והאלהים עשה שיראו מלפניו ואמר רבי אלכסנדרי אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי הרואה את הקשת בענן צריך שיפול על פניו שנאמר כמראה הקשת אשר יהיה בענן וגו׳ ואראה ואפל על פני לייטי עלה במערבא משום דמחזי כמאן דסגיד לקשתא אבל ברוכי ודאי מברך מאי מברך ברוך זוכר הברית במתניתא תנא רבי ישמעאל בנו של רבי יוחנן בן ברוקא אומר נאמן בבריתו וקיים במאמרו אמר רב פפא הלכך נימרינהו לתרוייהו ברוך זוכר הברית ונאמן בבריתו וקיים במאמרו:

Rabbi Alexandri said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Thunder was created only to impose fear and straighten the crookedness of the heart, as it is stated: “And God has so made it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). And Rabbi Alexandri said that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees a rainbow in a cloud must fall upon his face, as it is stated: “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face” (Ezekiel 1:28). The colors of the rainbow symbolize the glory of God and one may not stare at them. Yet, in the West, Eretz Yisrael, they would curse one who fell upon his face when seeing a rainbow because it appears as one who is bowing to the rainbow. As far as blessing is concerned, however, all agree that one certainly recites a blessing. What blessing does one recite? Blessed…Who remembers the covenant with Noah. It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Beroka, says that the blessing is: Blessed…Who is faithful to His covenant and fulfills His word. Rav Pappa said: Therefore we will say them both combined: Blessed…Who remembers the covenant and is faithful to His covenant and fulfills His word.

על ההרים ועל הגבעות: אטו כל הני דאמרן עד השתא לאו מעשה בראשית נינהו והכתיב ברקים למטר עשה אמר אביי כרוך ותני רבא אמר התם מברך תרתי ברוך שכחו מלא עולם ועושה מעשה בראשית הכא עושה מעשה בראשית איכא שכחו מלא עולם ליכא

We learned in the mishna that over mountains and hills one recites: Blessed…Author of creation. The Gemara asks: Is that to say that all those that we mentioned until now, such as lightning, are not acts of creation? Among God’s praise for creation of the world and forming the mountains, is it not also written: “He makes lightning for the rain” (Psalms 135:7)? Abaye said: Combine the two statements and teach that in all the cases in our mishna, one recites these two blessings. Rava said: There, over lightning and thunder, one recites two blessings: Blessed…Whose power fills the world, and: Author of creation. Here, however, over mountains and hills, one recites the blessing: Author of creation, but need not recite: Whose power fills the world.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי הרואה רקיע בטהרתה אומר ברוך עושה בראשית אימתי אמר אביי כי אתא מטרא כולי ליליא ובצפרא אתא אסתנא ומגליא להו לשמיא

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees the firmament in its purity recites: Blessed…Author of creation. The Gemara asks: When does the firmament appear in its purity? Abaye said: When rain falls all night and in the morning a northern wind blows, exposing the heavens.

ופליגי דרפרם בר פפא אמר רב חסדא דאמר רפרם בר פפא אמר רב חסדא מיום שחרב בית המקדש לא נראית רקיע בטהרתה שנאמר אלביש שמים קדרות ושק אשים כסותם:

The Gemara notes: And in this they disagree with Rafram bar Pappa who said that Rav Ḥisda said, as Rafram bar Pappa said that Rav Ḥisda said: Since the day the Temple was destroyed the firmament has not been seen in its purity, as it is said: “I clothe the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their covering” (Isaiah 50:3).