Toggle Reader Menu Display Settings
Megillah 17bמגילה י״ז ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
17bי״ז ב

(דברים ו, ו) והיו בהויתן יהו ורבנן מ"ט אמר קרא (דברים ו, ד) שמע בכל לשון שאתה שומע

“And these words…shall be” (Deuteronomy 6:6), teaching that these words, the words of the Shema, always “shall be” as they are, i.e., in the Hebrew language. The Gemara asks: And as for the Sages, what is the reason for their opinion? The verse states: “Hear, O Israel” (Deuteronomy 6:4), which could also be translated, “Understand, O Israel,” indicating that you may recite these words in any language that you hear, i.e., understand.

ורבי נמי הא כתיב שמע ההוא מיבעי ליה השמע לאזניך מה שאתה מוציא מפיך ורבנן סברי כמאן דאמר הקורא את שמע ולא השמיע לאזנו יצא

The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi as well, isn’t it indeed written, “hear”? What does he learn from this word, if not that the Shema may be recited in any language? The Gemara answers: This word is necessary to teach something else: Make heard to your ears what your mouth is saying, i.e., the Shema must be recited audibly, not merely thought in one’s heart. The Gemara asks: And how do the Sages know this? The Gemara explains: They hold like the one who said that if one recites the Shema but does not make it audible to his ears, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation.

ורבנן נמי הכתיב והיו ההוא מיבעי ליה שלא יקרא למפרע ורבי שלא יקרא למפרע מנא ליה מדברים הדברים ורבנן דברים הדברים לא משמע להו

The Gemara asks: And according to the Sages as well, isn’t it indeed written, “And these words shall be”? What do they learn from this, if not that the Shema must be recited in Hebrew? The Gemara answers: That word is necessary to teach that one must not recite the words of the Shema out of order, but they “shall be” as they are, in the proper order. The Gemara asks: And from where does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi learn that one must not recite the Shema out of order? The Gemara answers: He derives it from the fact that the verse does not say just: Words, but “the words,” referring to specific words, which teaches that they must be recited in their proper order without any variation. The Gemara asks: And what do the Sages learn from the phrase “the words”? The difference between words and “the words” is inconsequential according to them.

לימא קסבר רבי כל התורה כולה בכל לשון נאמרה דאי סלקא דעתך בלשון הקודש נאמרה למה לי למכתב והיו

The Gemara analyzes the dispute: Shall we say that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi maintains that the entire Torah may be recited in any language? As, if it enters your mind to say that the entire Torah may be recited only in the sacred tongue, Hebrew, and not in any other language, why do I need the Torah to write “and these words shall be” with respect to the Shema? Why would I think that the Shema is different from the rest of the Torah?

אצטריך סלקא דעתך שמע כרבנן כתב רחמנא והיו

The Gemara rejects this argument: There is no proof from here, as even if the Torah must generally be recited in Hebrew it is nevertheless necessary to specify the matter here, since without such specification it might have entered your mind to say that in this context “hear” means understand, as maintained by the Sages, and that the Shema may be recited in any language. Therefore the Merciful One writes in the Torah, “and these words shall be,” to teach us that the Shema may be recited only in the original Hebrew.

לימא קסברי רבנן כל התורה בלשון הקודש נאמרה דאי סלקא דעתך בכל לשון נאמרה למה לי למכתב שמע

The Gemara suggests: Shall we say then that the Sages maintain that the entire Torah must be recited specifically in the sacred tongue, Hebrew? As, if it enters your mind to say that the entire Torah may be recited in any language, why do I need the Torah to write “hear” with respect to the Shema? Why would one think that the Shema is different from the rest of the Torah?

איצטריך סלקא דעתך אמינא והיו כרבי כתב רחמנא שמע

The Gemara rejects this argument: Even if the Torah may generally be recited in any language, it was nevertheless necessary to specify the matter here. Without such specification it could enter your mind to say that the words “and these words shall be” teach that the Shema may be recited only in Hebrew, as asserted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Therefore the Merciful One writes the word “hear” in the Torah, to teach us that the Shema may be recited in any language.

תפלה מנא לן דתניא שמעון הפקולי הסדיר שמונה עשרה ברכות לפני רבן גמליאל על הסדר ביבנה אמר רבי יוחנן ואמרי לה במתניתא תנא מאה ועשרים זקנים ובהם כמה נביאים תיקנו שמונה עשרה ברכות על הסדר

§ The baraita cited previously taught that the halakha against reciting a text out of order applies to the Amida prayer as well. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this? As it is taught in a baraita: Shimon HaPakuli arranged the eighteen blessings of the Amida prayer before Rabban Gamliel in their fixed order in Yavne, which indicates that there is a specific order to these blessings that must not be changed. Rabbi Yoḥanan said, and some say that it was taught in a baraita: A hundred and twenty Elders, i.e., the Men of the Great Assembly, and among them several prophets, established the eighteen blessings of the Amida in their fixed order, which also shows that the order of these blessings may not be changed.

ת"ר מנין שאומרים אבות שנאמר (תהלים כט, א) הבו לה' בני אלים ומנין שאומרים גבורות שנאמר (תהלים כט, א) הבו לה' כבוד ועוז ומנין שאומרים קדושות שנאמר (תהלים כט, ב) הבו לה' כבוד שמו השתחוו לה' בהדרת קדש

The Gemara proceeds to explain this order: The Sages taught in a baraita: From where is it derived that one says the blessing of the Patriarchs, the first blessing of the Amida? As it is stated: “Ascribe to the Lord, mighty ones” (Psalms 29:1), which means that one should mention before the Lord the mighty ones of the world, i.e., the Patriarchs. And from where is it derived that one then says the blessing of mighty deeds? As it is stated in the continuation of that verse: “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength” (Psalms 29:1). And from where is it derived that one then says the blessing of holiness? As it is stated in the next verse: “Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalms 29:2).

ומה ראו לומר בינה אחר קדושה שנאמר (ישעיהו כט, כג) והקדישו את קדוש יעקב ואת אלהי ישראל יעריצו וסמיך ליה וידעו תועי רוח בינה ומה ראו לומר תשובה אחר בינה דכתיב (ישעיהו ו, י) ולבבו יבין ושב ורפא לו

The Gemara continues: And why did they see fit to institute to say the blessing of understanding after the blessing of holiness? As it is stated: “They shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall revere the God of Israel” (Isaiah 29:23), and adjacent to that verse it is written: “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding” (Isaiah 29:24). This shows that it is proper for the theme of understanding to follow the theme of God’s holiness. And why did they see fit to institute to say the blessing of repentance after the blessing of understanding? As it is written: “And they will understand with their heart, repent, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:10), showing that the theme of repentance properly follows the theme of understanding.

אי הכי לימא רפואה בתרה דתשובה לא ס"ד דכתיב (ישעיהו נה, ז) וישוב אל ה' וירחמהו ואל אלהינו כי ירבה לסלוח

The Gemara asks: If so, that the sequence of blessings is based on this verse, let us say that the blessing of healing should be said after the blessing of repentance. Why, then, is the next blessing in the Amida the blessing of forgiveness and not the blessing of healing? The Gemara explains: This cannot enter your mind, as it is written: “And let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7), which shows that the theme of repentance should be followed by that of forgiveness.

ומאי חזית דסמכת אהא סמוך אהא כתב קרא אחרינא (תהלים קג, ג) הסולח לכל עוניכי הרופא לכל תחלואיכי הגואל משחת חייכי למימרא דגאולה ורפואה בתר סליחה היא והכתיב ושב ורפא לו ההוא לאו רפואה דתחלואים היא אלא רפואה דסליחה היא

The Gemara poses a question: But what did you see to rely on this verse? Rely on the other verse, which juxtaposes repentance to healing. The Gemara answers: Another verse, in which it is written: “Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit” (Psalms 103:3–4), proves that the theme of healing should follow that of forgiveness. The Gemara asks: Is that verse coming to say that the blessings of redemption and healing should be placed following the blessing of forgiveness? But isn’t it written: “Repent, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:10), which suggests that repentance should be followed by healing? The Gemara answers: That verse is referring not to the literal healing from illness, but rather to the figurative healing of forgiveness, and therefore this verse too supports the sequence of forgiveness following repentance.

ומה ראו לומר גאולה בשביעית אמר רבא מתוך שעתידין ליגאל בשביעית לפיכך קבעוה בשביעית והאמר מר בששית קולות בשביעית מלחמות במוצאי שביעית בן דוד בא מלחמה נמי אתחלתא דגאולה היא

The Gemara continues: And why did they see fit to institute to say the blessing of redemption as the seventh blessing? Rava said: Since there is a tradition that the Jewish people are destined to be redeemed in the seventh year of the Sabbatical cycle, consequently, they fixed redemption as the seventh blessing. But didn’t the Master say in a baraita: In the sixth year of the Sabbatical cycle in the days of the arrival of the Messiah, heavenly sounds will be heard; in the seventh year there will be wars; and upon the conclusion of the seventh year, in the eighth year, the son of David, the Messiah, will come? The redemption will take place not during the seventh year but after it. The Gemara answers: Nevertheless, the war that takes place during the seventh year is also the beginning of the redemption process, and it is therefore correct to say that Israel will be redeemed in the seventh year.

ומה ראו לומר רפואה בשמינית אמר רבי אחא מתוך שנתנה מילה בשמינית שצריכה רפואה לפיכך קבעוה בשמינית

The Gemara continues: And why did they see fit to institute that one says the blessing of healing as the eighth blessing? Rabbi Aḥa said: Since circumcision was assigned to the eighth day of life, and circumcision requires healing, consequently, they established healing as the eighth blessing.

ומה ראו לומר ברכת השנים בתשיעית אמר רבי אלכסנדרי כנגד מפקיעי שערים דכתיב (תהלים י, טו) שבור זרוע רשע ודוד כי אמרה בתשיעית אמרה

And why did they see fit to institute that one says the blessing of bountiful years as the ninth blessing? Rabbi Alexandri said: This blessing was instituted in reference to those who raise the prices of food. We pray for rain so that the price of produce will not rise as a result of shortages, as it is written: “Break the arm of the wicked” (Psalms 10:15), referring to the wicked, who practice deception and extort the poor. And when David expressed this request, he expressed it in the ninth psalm. Although today it is considered the tenth psalm, the first and second psalms are actually counted as one, and therefore this is the ninth psalm. Therefore, the blessing of the years was fixed as the ninth blessing.

ומה ראו לומר קיבוץ גליות לאחר ברכת השנים דכתיב (יחזקאל לו, ח) ואתם הרי ישראל ענפכם תתנו ופריכם תשאו לעמי ישראל כי קרבו לבוא וכיון שנתקבצו גליות נעשה דין ברשעים שנאמר (ישעיהו א, כה) ואשיבה ידי עליך ואצרוף כבור סיגיך וכתיב (ישעיהו א, כו) ואשיבה שופטיך כבראשונה

The Gemara asks: And why did they see fit to institute that one says the blessing of the ingathering of the exiles after the blessing of the years? As it is written: “And you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people Israel; for they will soon be coming” (Ezekiel 36:8), which indicates that the ingathering of the exiles will follow after Eretz Yisrael is blessed with bountiful produce. And once the exiles have been gathered, judgment will be meted out to the wicked, as it is stated: “And I will turn my hand against you and purge away your dross as with lye” (Isaiah 1:25), and immediately after it is written: “And I will restore your judges as at first” (Isaiah 1:26). For this reason the blessing of the restoration of judges comes after the blessing of the ingathering of the exiles.

וכיון שנעשה דין מן הרשעים כלו הפושעים וכולל זדים עמהם שנאמר (ישעיהו א, כח) ושבר פושעים וחטאים יחדיו (יכלו)

And once judgment is meted out to the wicked, the transgressors, i.e., the heretics and sectarians, will cease to be. Consequently, the next blessing is that of the heretics, and one includes evildoers with them, as it is stated: “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall cease to be” (Isaiah 1:28). The “transgressors and sinners” are the evildoers, and “they that forsake the Lord” are the heretics.

וכיון שכלו הפושעים מתרוממת קרן צדיקים דכתיב (תהלים עה, יא) וכל קרני רשעים אגדע תרוממנה קרנות צדיק וכולל גירי הצדק עם הצדיקים שנאמר (ויקרא יט, לב) מפני שיבה תקום והדרת פני זקן וסמיך ליה וכי יגור אתכם גר

And once the heretics cease to be, the horn, i.e., the glory, of the righteous will be exalted, as it is written: “All the horns of the wicked will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted” (Psalms 75:11). Therefore, after the blessing of the heretics, one says the blessing about the righteous. And he includes the righteous converts along with the righteous, as it is stated: “You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the elder” (Leviticus 19:32), and adjacent to this it is stated: “And if a stranger sojourns with you” (Leviticus 19:33). An “elder” is one with Torah wisdom and a “stranger” is one who has converted to Judaism.

והיכן מתרוממת קרנם בירושלים שנאמר (תהלים קכב, ו) שאלו שלום ירושלם ישליו אוהביך

And where will the horns of the righteous be exalted? In Jerusalem, as it is stated: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they who love you shall prosper” (Psalms 122:6). “They who love you” are the righteous. Therefore, the blessing of the rebuilding of Jerusalem is placed after the blessing of the righteous.

וכיון שנבנית ירושלים בא דוד שנאמר

And once Jerusalem is rebuilt, the Messiah, scion of the house of David, will come, as it is stated: