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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth

Folio 30a

associate himself with the congregation. How should he say? 'May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to lead us forth in peace etc'. When should he say this prayer? — R. Jacob said in the name of R. Hisda: At the moment he starts on his journey. How long [is it still permissible to say it]?1  — R. Jacob said in the name of R. Hisda: Until [he has gone]2  a parasang. How is he to say it? R. Hisda said: Standing still; R. Shesheth said: [He may] also [say it] while proceeding. Once R. Hisda and R. Shesheth were going along together, and R. Hisda stood still and prayed. R. Shesheth asked his attendant, What is R. Hisda doing?3  — He replied: He is standing and praying. He thereupon said to him: Place me in position also that I may pray; if thou canst be good, do not be called bad.4

What is the difference between 'Grant us discernment' and the SHORT PRAYER? — 'Grant us discernment' requires to be accompanied by the first and last three blessings [of the 'Amidah], and when he returns home he need not say the Tefillah again. The 'short prayer does not require to be accompanied either by the first or the last three blessings, and when one returns home he must say the Tefillah. The law is that 'Grant us discernment' must be said standing, a 'short prayer' may be said either standing or journeying.

IF ONE WAS RIDING ON AN ASS etc. Our Rabbis taught: If one was riding on an ass and the time arrived for saying Tefillah, if he has someone to hold his ass, he dismounts and prays, if not, he sits where he is and prays. Rabbi says: In either case he may sit where he is and pray, because [otherwise] he will be worrying.5  Rab — or, as some say, R. Joshua b. Levi — said: The halachah follows Rabbi.

Our Rabbis taught: A blind man or one who cannot tell the cardinal points should direct his heart towards his Father in Heaven, as it says, And they pray unto the Lord.6  If one is standing outside Palestine, he should turn mentally towards Eretz Israel, as it says, And pray unto Thee towards their land.7  If he stands in Eretz Israel he should turn mentally towards Jerusalem, as it says, And they pray unto the Lord toward the city which Thou hast chosen.8  If he is standing in Jerusalem he should turn mentally towards the Sanctuary, as it says, If they pray toward this house.9  If he is standing in the Sanctuary, he should turn mentally towards the Holy of Holies, as it says, If they pray toward this place.10  If he was standing in the Holy of Holies he should turn mentally towards the mercy-seat.11  If he was standing behind the mercy-seat12  he should imagine himself to be in front of the mercy-seat. Consequently, if he is in the east he should turn his face to the west; if in the west he should turn his face to the east; if in the south he should turn his face to the north; if in the north he should turn his face to the south. In this way all Israel will be turning their hearts towards one place. R. Abin — or as some say R. Abina — said: What text confirms this? — Thy neck is like the tower of David builded with turrets [talpioth],13  the elevation [tel]14  towards which all mouths (piyyoth) turn.15

When Samuel's father and Levi were about to set out on a journey, they said the Tefillah before [dawn],16  and when the time came to recite the Shema', they said it. Whose authority did they follow? — That of the following Tanna, as it has been taught: If a man got up early to go on a journey, they bring him [before dawn] a shofar and he blows,17  a lulab18  and he shakes it,19  a megillah18  and he reads it,20  and when the time arrives for reciting the Shema', he recites it. If he rose early in order to take his place in a coach or in a ship,21  he says the Tefillah,22  and when the time arrives for reciting he Shema', he recites it. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: In either case he recites the Shema' and then says the Tefillah, in order that he may say the ge'ullah next to the Tefillah. What is the ground of the difference between the two authorities? — One held that it is more important to say the Tefillah standing,23  the other that it is more important to say ge'ullah next to Tefillah. Meremar and Mar Zutra used to collect ten persons on the Sabbath before a festival24  and say the Tefillah, and then they went out and delivered their lectures.25  R. Ashi used to say the Tefillah while still with the congregation sitting.26  and when he returned home he used to say it again standing. The Rabbis said to him: Why does not the Master do as Meremar and Mar Zutra did? — He replied: That27  is a troublesome business. Then let the Master do like the father of Samuel and Levi? — He replied: I have not seen any of the Rabbis who were my seniors doing thus.28


GEMARA. R. Judah says the same thing as the first Tanna? — They differ on the case of an individual living in a place where there is no congregation; the first Tanna holds that he is exempt, while R. Judah holds that he is not exempt. R. Huna b. Hinena said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Rab: The halachah follows R. Judah, citing R. Eleazar b. Azariah. Said R. Hiyya b. Abin to him: You are quite right; for Samuel said: All my life I have never said the musaf prayer alone

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Another rendering is: How long must the journey be before this prayer is required to be said.
  2. Or, (v. previous note) up to the distance of a parasang.
  3. R. Shesheth was blind.
  4. I.e., although I may pray walking, to pray standing is still better.
  5. At the delay of his journey.
  6. I Kings VIII, 44.
  7. Ibid. 48.
  8. Ibid. 44.
  9. II Chron. VI, 26.
  10. I Kings VIII, 35'
  11. V. Ex. XXV, 17.
  12. In the western part of the Forecourt of the Temple.
  13. Cant. IV, 4.
  14. Taken as an expression for the Temple.
  15. Var. lec. omit 'mouths' and read: towards which all turn (ponim).
  16. So Rashi. Tosaf., however, says, before sunrise.
  17. On New Year.
  18. V. Glos.
  19. On Tabernacles.
  20. On Purim.
  21. Where he cannot stand.
  22. Before leaving.
  23. Which is not possible when journeying, hence the Tefillah is said at home before setting out.
  24. When they preached in public, before daybreak.
  25. Apparently the public who had gathered in the schoolhouse from early dawn said the Shema' before he came, and after the lecture they would not wait to say the Tefillah together, each saying it by himself
  26. In the course of his lecture, when the turgeman (v. Glos.) was explaining his remarks to the public. He did not stand, as the congregation would have felt it their duty to rise with him.
  27. To collect ten persons.
  28. Saying Tefillah before dawn before the Shema'.
  29. I.e., in a place where at least ten Jews are living. On the term [H], a town organization, v. Meg. Sonc. ed., p. 164, n. 1.
  30. The name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah.
  31. If he says prayers alone.
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Berakoth 30b

in Nehardea except on that day when the king's forces came to the town and they disturbed the Rabbis and they did not say the Tefillah, and I prayed by myself, being an individual where there was no congregation. R. Hanina the Bible teacher1  sat before R. Jannai and said: The halachah is as stated by R. Judah in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah. He said to him: Go and give your bible-reading outside; the halachah is not as stated by R. Judah citing R. Eleazar b. Azariah. R. Johanan said: I have seen R. Jannai pray [privately]. and then pray again.2  R. Jeremiah said to R. Zera: Perhaps the first time he was not attending to what he said, and the second time he did attend? — He said to him: See what a great man it is who testifies concerning him.3

Although there were thirteen synagogues in Tiberias, R. Ammi and R. Assi prayed only between the pillars, the place where they studied.4

It has been stated: R. Isaac b. Abdimi said in the name of our Master:5  The halachah is as stated by R. Judah in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah. R. Hiyya b. Abba prayed once and then prayed again. Said R. Zera to him: Why does the Master act thus? Shall I say it is because the Master was not attending? Has not R. Eleazar said: A man should always take stock of himself: if he can concentrate his attention he should say the Tefillah, but if not he should not say it? Or is it that the Master did not remember that it is New Moon?6  But has it not been taught: If a man forgot and did not mention the New Moon in the evening Tefillah, he is not made to repeat, because he can say it in the morning prayer; if he forgot in the morning prayer, he is not made to repeat, because he can say it in the musaf if he forgot in musaf, he is not made to repeat, because he can say it in minhah? — He said to him: Has not a gloss been added to this: R. Johanan says: This applies only to prayer said in a congregation?7

What interval should be left between one Tefillah and another?8  — R. Huna and R. Hisda gave different answers: one said, long enough for him to fall into a suppliant frame of mind; the other said, long enough to fall into an interceding frame of mind.9  The one who says a suppliant frame of mind quotes the text, And I supplicated [wa-ethhanan] the Lord;10  the one who says an interceding frame of mind quotes the text, And Moses interceded [wa-yehal].11

R. 'Anan said in the name of Rab: If one forgot and made no mention of New Moon in the evening prayer, he is not made to repeat, because the Beth din sanctify the New Moon only by day. Amemar said: This rule of Rab seems right in a full month,12  but in a defective month he is made to repeat. Said R. Ashi to Amemar: Let us see: Rab gave a reason, so what does it matter whether it is full or defective? In fact there is no difference.



GEMARA. What is the [Scriptural] source of this rule? — R. Eleazar said: Scripture says, And she was in bitterness of soul.15  But how can you learn from this? Perhaps Hannah was different because she was exceptionally bitter at heart! Rather, said R. Jose son of R. Hanina: We learn it from here: But as for me, in the abundance of Thy lovingkindness will I come into Thy house, I will bow down toward Thy holy temple in the fear of Thee.16  But how can we learn from this? perhaps David was different, because he was exceptionally self-tormenting in prayer! Rather, said R. Joshua b. Levi, it is from here: Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.17  Read not hadrath [beauty] but herdath [trembling]. But how can you learn from here? perhaps I can after all say that the word 'hadrath' is to be taken literally, after the manner of Rab Judah, who used to dress himself up before he prayed! Rather, said R. Nahman b. Isaac: We learn it from here: Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.18  What is meant by 'rejoice with trembling'? — R. Adda b. Mattena said in the name of Rab: In the place where there is rejoicing there should also be trembling. Abaye was sitting before Rabbah, who observed that he seemed very merry. He said: It is written, And rejoice with trembling? — He replied: I am putting on tefillin.19  R. Jeremiah was sitting before R. Zera who saw that he seemed very merry. He said to him: It is written, In all sorrow there is profit?20  — He replied: I am wearing tefillin. Mar the son of Rabina made a marriage feast for his son. He saw that the Rabbis were growing very merry,

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Heb. kara, a professional reciter of the Hebrew Scriptures.
  2. I.e., apparently, first the morning prayer and then the musaf.
  3. Viz., R. Johanan, who was not likely to have made a mistake.
  4. I.e., they said even the musaf there, privately.
  5. Rab (Rashi); Hyman (Toledoth, p. 785): Rabbi.
  6. And omitted the appropriate reference to it in the first prayer.
  7. Because then he hears the Reader repeat it, and as R. Hiyya b. Abba was praying privately he rightly repeated the Tefillah.
  8. On any occasion when two are to be said.
  9. The difference between them is little more than verbal.
  10. Deut. III, 23.
  11. Ex. XXXII, 11.
  12. When the preceding month is thirty days, two new moon days are observed, viz., the concluding day of the old month and the next day which is the first of the next; in this case if he omitted the reference on one evening, he can rectify the error on the next.
  13. Lit., 'with heaviness of head'. Cf. Latin gravitas.
  14. Perhaps identical with the wathikin. V. supra p. 49 n. 4.
  15. I Sam. I, 10.
  16. Ps. V, 8.
  17. Ibid. XXIX, 2.
  18. Ibid. II, 11.
  19. And this is a guarantee that I am not going too far.
  20. Prov. XIV, 23. E.V. 'In all labour'.
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