For Better or Worse
1 א
מתני׳ הרואה מקום שנעשו בו נסים לישראל אומר ברוך שעשה נסים לאבותינו במקום הזה מקום שנעקרה ממנו עבודה זרה אומר ברוך שעקר עבודה זרה מארצנו

This mishna, which includes all of this chapter’s mishnayot, contains a series of blessings and halakhot that are not recited at specific times, but rather in response to various experiences and events.

MISHNA: One who sees a place where miracles occurred on Israel’s behalf recites: Blessed…Who performed miracles for our ancestors in this place. One who sees a place from which idolatry was eradicated recites: Blessed…Who eradicated idolatry from our land.

2 ב
על הזיקין ועל הזועות ועל הרעמים ועל הרוחות ועל הברקים אומר ברוך שכחו וגבורתו מלא עולם על ההרים ועל הגבעות ועל הימים ועל הנהרות ועל המדברות אומר ברוך עושה בראשית רבי יהודה אומר הרואה את הים הגדול אומר ברוך שעשה את הים הגדול בזמן שרואהו לפרקים

One who sees conspicuous natural occurrences recites a blessing. For zikin and zeva’ot, which the Gemara will discuss below, for thunder, gale force winds, and lightning, manifestations of the power of the Creator, one recites: Blessed…Whose strength and power fill the world. For extraordinary (Rambam) mountains, hills, seas, rivers, and deserts, one recites: Blessed…Author of creation. Consistent with his opinion that a separate blessing should be instituted for each individual species, Rabbi Yehuda says: One who sees the great sea recites a special blessing: Blessed…Who made the great sea. As with all blessings of this type, one only recites it when one sees the sea intermittently, not on a regular basis.

3 ג
על הגשמים ועל בשורות טובות אומר ברוך הטוב והמטיב על בשורות רעות אומר ברוך דיין האמת בנה בית חדש וקנה כלים חדשים אומר ברוך שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה מברך על הרעה מעין על הטובה ועל הטובה מעין על הרעה

For rain and other good tidings, one recites the special blessing: Blessed…Who is good and Who does good. Even for bad tidings, one recites a special blessing: Blessed…the true Judge. Similarly, when one built a new house or purchased new vessels, one recites: Blessed…Who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this time. The mishna articulates a general principle: One recites a blessing for the bad that befalls them just as one does for the good. In other words, one recites the appropriate blessing for the trouble that one is experiencing at present despite the fact that it may conceal some positive element in the future. Similarly, one must recite a blessing for the good that befalls them just as for the bad.

4 ד
והצועק לשעבר הרי זו תפלת שוא היתה אשתו מעוברת ואומר יהי רצון שתלד אשתי זכר הרי זו תפלת שוא היה בא בדרך ושמע קול צוחה בעיר ואומר יהי רצון שלא תהא בתוך ביתי הרי זו תפלת שוא

The mishna states: And one who cries out over the past in an attempt to change that which has already occurred, it is a vain prayer. For example, one whose wife was pregnant and they say: May it be God’s will that my wife will give birth to a male child, it is a vain prayer. Or one who was walking on the path home and heard the sound of a scream in the city, and says: May it be God’s will that this scream will not be from my house, it is a vain prayer. In both cases, the event already occurred.

5 ה
הנכנס לכרך מתפלל שתים אחת בכניסתו ואחת ביציאתו בן עזאי אומר ארבע שתים בכניסתו ושתים ביציאתו נותן הודאה על שעבר וצועק על העתיד

The Sages also said: One who enters a large city, the Gemara explains below that this is in a case where entering the city is dangerous, recites two prayers: One upon their entrance, that they may enter in peace, and one upon their exit, that they may leave in peace. Ben Azzai says: One recites four prayers, two upon their entrance and two upon their exit. In addition to praying that they may enter and depart in peace, one gives thanks for the past and cries out in prayer for the future.

6 ו
חייב אדם לברך על הרעה כשם שמברך על הטובה שנאמר ואהבת את ה׳ אלהיך בכל לבבך וגו׳ בכל לבבך בשני יצריך ביצר טוב וביצר הרע ובכל נפשך אפילו הוא נוטל את נפשך ובכל מאדך בכל ממונך דבר אחר בכל מאדך בכל מדה ומדה שהוא מודד לך הוי מודה לו

The mishna articulates a general principle: One is obligated to recite a blessing for the bad that befalls them just as one recites a blessing for the good that befalls them, as it is stated: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). The mishna explains this verse as follows: “With all your heart” means with your two inclinations, with your good inclination and your evil inclination, both of which must be subjugated to the love of God. “With all your soul” means even if God takes your soul. “And with all your might” means with all your money, as money is referred to in the Bible as might. Alternatively, it may be explained that “with all your might” means with every measure that God metes out to you; whether it is good or troublesome, thank God.

7 ז
לא יקל אדם את ראשו כנגד שער המזרח שהוא מכוון כנגד בית קדשי הקדשים ולא יכנס להר הבית במקלו ובמנעלו ובפונדתו ובאבק שעל רגליו ולא יעשנו קפנדריא ורקיקה מקל וחומר

The mishna teaches several Temple-related halakhot. One may not act irreverently or conduct one's self flippantly opposite the eastern gate of the Temple Mount, which is aligned opposite the Holy of Holies. In deference to the Temple, one may not enter the Temple Mount with their staff, their shoes, their money belt [punda], or even the dust on their feet. One may not make the Temple a shortcut to pass through it, and through an a fortiori inference, all the more so one may not spit on the Temple Mount.

8 ח
כל חותמי ברכות שבמקדש היו אומרים עד העולם משקלקלו הצדוקים ואמרו אין עולם אלא אחד התקינו שיהו אומרים מן העולם ועד העולם
The mishna relates: At the conclusion of all blessings recited in the Temple, those reciting the blessing would say: Blessed are You Lord, God of Israel, until everlasting [haolam], the world. But when the Sadducees strayed and declared that there is but one world and there is no World-to-Come, the Sages instituted that at the conclusion of the blessing one recites: From everlasting [haolam] to everlasting [haolam].
9 ט
והתקינו שיהא אדם שואל את שלום חברו בשם שנאמר והנה בעז בא מבית לחם ויאמר לקוצרים ה׳ עמכם ויאמרו לו יברכך ה׳ ואומר ה׳ עמך גבור החיל ואומר אל תבוז כי זקנה אמך ואומר עת לעשות לה׳ הפרו תורתך רבי נתן אומר הפרו תורתך משום עת לעשות לה׳:

The Sages also instituted that one should greet another in the name of God, i.e., one should mention God’s name in their greeting, as it is stated: “And presently Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, The Lord is with you, and they said to him, May the Lord bless you” (Ruth 2:4). And it says: “And the angel of God appeared to him and said to him, God is with you, mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). And it says: “And despise not your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22), i.e., one must not neglect customs which one inherits. And lest you say that mentioning God’s name is prohibited, it says: “It is time to work for the Lord; they have made void Your Torah” (Psalms 119:126), i.e., it is occasionally necessary to negate biblical precepts in order to perform God’s will, and greeting another is certainly God’s will. Rabbi Natan says another interpretation of the verse: “Make void Your Torah” because “it is the time to work for the Lord,” i.e., occasionally it is necessary to negate biblical precepts in order to bolster the Torah.

10 י
אמר רב יהודה אמר רב ארבעה צריכין להודות יורדי הים הולכי מדברות ומי שהיה חולה ונתרפא ומי שהיה חבוש בבית האסורים ויצא
Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: Four must offer thanks to God with a thanks-offering and a special blessing. They are: Seafarers, those who walk in the desert, and one who was ill and recovered, and one who was incarcerated in prison and went out. All of these appear in the verses of a psalm (Psalms 107).
11 יא
מאי מברך אמר רב יהודה ברוך גומל חסדים טובים אביי אמר וצריך לאודויי קמי עשרה דכתיב וירוממוהו בקהל עם וגו׳ מר זוטרא אמר ותרין מינייהו רבנן שנאמר ובמושב זקנים יהללוהו

The Gemara asks: What blessing does one recite? Rav Yehuda said: Blessed is…Who bestows acts of loving-kindness. Abaye said: And they must offer thanks before ten people, as it is written in the same chapter: “Let them exalt God also in the congregation of the people and praise God in the assembly of the elders” (Psalms 107:32), and congregation indicates a group of at least ten. Mar Zutra said: Two of them must be Sages, as it is stated there: “And praise God in the assembly of elders.” These elders are the Sages, and the use of the plural indicates a minimum of two.