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eBook Tractate Berakhos & Tamid v. I: Commentary and Study Guide
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Publisher:  Varda Books
Original Publisher:  Torah Lishmah Institute
Published:  2009
Language:  English
Pages:   728

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ISBN: 1590459067

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About the Book -- Tractate Berakhos & Tamid v. I: Commentary and Study Guide

From the text

Parallels Between Tractates Berakhos and Tamid

It is instructional to note the many parallels which exist between Tractate Berakhos and Tractate Tamid. While the two tractates are in different Sedarim (orders of the Mishna), and deal with topics which at first blush appear to be so different, one could surmise that there are some parallels between the Tractates given the tannaitic view, תפלות כנגדתמידים תקנום,׳ " (The Amidos correspond to the t'midim offerings). As Berakhos is the tractate which deals with the Laws of Prayer, and Prayer corresponds to the service of the daily tamid offering, it would not be surprising if there were some parallels between the structure and concerns of the two tractates. Moreover, given the results of our analysis of the sequence of Tractate Berakhos, in which we showed that the underlying theme of this structure was to guide the Jewish people along the path which would assure the rebuilding of the Temple, it would make sense that Berakhos should mirror Tamid in a manner wherein the former would serve as a guide to recall what was [as recorded in Tamid and as an instructor to teach what should be done by Israel in order that the Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days.

What follows is but a sketch of the parallelism. The reader is challenged to make a more substantial in-depth study. Following are some of the parallels:

1. The first Mishna in both tractates makes mention of Mishmaros. The G'mara in each tractate discusses the concept of Mishmaros in great detail. Tamid discusses how the Mishmaros were carried forth in the Temple; Berakhos discusses how, after the destruction, God recalls the Mishmaros each and every night, mourns for the Temple and waits for Israel to "make His Name great" through praise and prayer, so that He can send the Messiah and rebuild the Temple.

2. Tamid [47] states that someone who studies Torah at night בראש אשמורות (God "dwells before him"). This is comparable to Berakhos l-[4] which speaks of King David's arising and studying Torah from midnight on—and setting this down as an example for us all to follow.

3. The second Mishna in Tamid speaks of a Kohen who became defiled through being a ba'al keri, who, although he had immersed, must leave the Temple because he is classified as a t'vul yom. The first Mishna in Berakhos speaks about the purification of said t'vul yom, when it asserts that the time when a t'vul yom becomes eligible to eat t'rumah coincides with the time when a person may recite the Evening Sh'ma.

4. Tamid (4:1), [37], point out that the tamid was placed in the north-south direction before it was slaughtered because of kauod haSh'khina. Berakhos I-[15b] records Abba Binyamin's statement that it is best to sleep in the north-south direction for this same reason. This reminds us that even with the destruction of the Temple, God's presence remains in the area of the Temple and, hence, the Temple Mount must be considered to be kodesh.

5. Tamid [18c] states that when the Kohanim met each other after encircling the Azarah, they greeted each other. Berakhos l-[27] states that when one encounters an individual he should greet him. This serves to underscore that since the Temple was destroyed because of unprecipitated animosity (sin'as chinam), the process can be reversed if Jews develop a true friendship one for the other.

6. Regarding sanctity, both tractates discuss where a person may place his t'fillin when he sleeps.

7. In both tractates a statement is found in the names of the members of K'hala Kadisha d'b'Y'rushalayim. [The only other statement made by this group is to be found in Betza 27a.] Tamid [12] speaks of the punctiliousness of this group with regard to סור מרע —in that they were very careful about sha'atnez observance. Berakhos l-[48] relates their concern to be סומך גאולה לתפלה at sunrise. The former served to prevent going into galus. The latter will serve as a means to the redemption.

8. Berakhos 14a cites Tamid 5:1 with regard to prayer in the Temple.

9. The end of Tractate Tamid contains sections which are recited at the end of the T'fillah each day. The last Mishna, [60], records השיר שהיו הלוים אומרים בבית המקדש . The last of the psalms recorded alludes to the Messianic Era. The last G'mara in Tamid (end of Chapter Four), lists the ma'amar תלמידי חכמים מרבים שלום . (In carrying through our theme, it is to be noted that this is the exact same ma 'amar which is at the end of Tractate Berakhos.) This alludes to the ability of the Rabbis to reverse the שנאת חנם which caused the destruction of the Second Temple and will allow for the construction of the Third Temple. יהי רצון מלפני אבינו שבשמים שיבנה בית . המקדש במהרה בימינו

(It is instructive that at the end of our prayers each day we recite the last Mishna and last G'mara in Tamid. Our T'fillos truly are structured so that (.ונשלמה פרים שפתינו

About the Book


The order of the subjects dealt with in the first chapter of Tractate Berakhos parallels those found in B'reishis and Sh'mos. The first chapter starts at the zenith—man's proclaiming the kingship of God (K'riyas Sh'ma). This is followed by a discussion of the setting Sun ובא השמש, which symbolizes the oncoming exile. Then, man's fear and trembling during the nighttime hours (which symbolizes galus) due to the nightly predators, מזיקין , is investigated, followed by a discussion of the nature and purpose of יסורין (pain and suffering). This corresponds to the Egyptian experience.

At this point, Revina and R. Ashi remind Israel that, as in Egypt, prayer is the medium which will lead to redemption. One must pray during the darkest hours ( ג׳ משמרות : which corresponds to ויזעקו בני ישראל אל ה׳ ) and continue his prayers through the dawn of redemption ( םמיכת גאולה לתפילה Which corresponds to אז ישיר משה ). [It is interesting to note that in the Torah's description of the night of the crossing of the Reed Sea, the salvation came " באשמורת הבקר " and throughout the night, " ״,לא קרא זה אל זה כל הלילה no angel sang God's praises.]) It is for this reason that Revina and R. Ashi include a whole section on the laws of prayer in this chapter and do not wait as does the Jerusalem Talmud to insert them in Chapter Five, which deals with Prayer. Also, many of the laws cited in this chapter, center about the importance of a synagogue and a minyan. This is to remind the reader that God will return the מקדש (Temple) to us, when we have demonstrated the proper respect and reverence for the מקדשי מעט (synagogues).

The chapter moves on to discuss Israel's redemption, at which time, God will dwell in their midst. This is symbolized by the reading of the Morning Sh'ma. It concludes with statements concerning the final redemption and a promise that Abraham's name change, which indicates that his teachings would eventually become accepted by all nations, is irreversible and that it will become a reality.

Chapters Two through Five correspond to the books of VaYikra through ויהי בנסע הארון in Bamidbar. These books discuss the Temple Service, עבודה . Through this service, Israel will become a holy nation and merit the land of Israel. Chapter Two through Five concern the perfection of our עבודה , which consists of reciting Sh'ma and praying in the proper manner.


An Excerpt from the Book -- Tractate Berakhos & Tamid v. I: Commentary and Study Guide

Sequence Analysis

With Tractate Berakhos, we, for the first time in the Master a Mesikhta Series, include an outline of the Jerusalem Talmud in addition to the Babylonian Talmud. The reader will find that the Babylonian Talmud, in this Tractate as in others, often deals with completely different subject matter than the Jerusalem Talmud, and that those subjects which are addressed by both compilations are often discussed differently by each.

Two examples: The Babylonian Talmud discusses [HEBREWTEXT] (twilight) in Tractate Shabbos when discussing the laws of erev Shabbos; the Jerusalem Talmud inserts a discussion of [HEBREWTEXT] in the beginning of Tractate Berakhos when dealing with the laws of Sh'ma. Two subjects, [HEBREWTEXT] and [HEBREWTEXT] preoccupy the Babylonian Talmud in the first pages of Tractate Berakhos, but no mention is made of either subject in the Jerusalem Talmud.

The Talmud of Light and the Talmud of Darkness

There is general agreement that the difference between the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud is even more fundamental. A statement in Tractate Sanhedrin spells out the basic nature of the Babylonian Talmud: [HEBREWTEXT] ("God has placed me in the dark": This refers to the Babylonian Talmud). Indeed, the Jerusalem Talmud is known as the Talmud of Light and the Babylonian Talmud as the Talmud of Darkness.

As generally understood, [HEBREWTEXT] indicates that the Babylonian Rabbis did not have as direct and clear understanding of halakha as did their Palestinian counterparts. We find, for example, that the Palestinian Talmud promptly and efficiently cites verses to explain the source of the law, followed by citations of related issues and halakhos. By contrast, the Babylonian Rabbis tend to discuss and analyze subjects at considerable length, often citing verses only at a later stage in their investigations.

However, the Babylonian method of analysis should not be taken as a sign that the Rabbis were unable to master the subject matter. Rather, their painstaking process enabled them to attain a better understanding of many concepts than was attained by the Palestinian Rabbis. Rabbi Tzaddok haKohen offers the following relevant insight in his introduction to Pri Tzuddik: When a scholar feels that he understands a concept, he does not seek to delve into it any further. On the other hand, someone who feels at the outset that he lacks a fundamental understanding of a concept will use every means at his disposal to gain that understanding. He will explore it systematically, researching all of the relevant laws, studying halakhic as well as Midrashic material in order to achieve deeper and deeper insight.

Furthermore, as will be shown throughout the sequential analysis that follows, the Babylonian Talmud is preoccupied by the fact that it is a Talmud written in galus. Whereas the Jerusalem Talmud is characteristically straightforward in addressing subjects dealt with in the Mishna, the Babylonian Talmud frequently introduces elements which arise from a concern for the redemption of the Jews in galus.

With the foregoing as our backdrop, we return to a discussion of the sequential analysis of both Talmudim.

An Excerpt from the Book

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