Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making up a tefillah

The Gemara on 26a–b discusses the laws of tashlumin, making up a prayer you had missed by saying shemoneh esrei twice at the next prayer.

The Gemara raises the issue as a challenge to the fixed times of prayer:

וכולי עלמא עד חצות ותו לא? והאמר רב מרי בריה דרב הונא בריה דרבי ירמיה בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן: טעה ולא התפלל ערבית - מתפלל בשחרית שתים, שחרית - מתפלל במנחה שתים! - כולי יומא מצלי ואזיל, עד חצות - יהבי ליה שכר תפלה בזמנה, מכאן ואילך - שכר תפלה יהבי ליה, שכר תפלה בזמנה - לא יהבי ליה.


And may other people delay till midday, but no longer? Has not R. Mari the son of R. Huna the son of R. Jeremiah b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: If a man erred and did not say the evening Tefillah, he says it twice in the morning. [If he erred] in the morning, he says it twice in the afternoon? — He may go on praying the whole day. But up to midday he is given the reward of saying the Tefillah in its proper time; thereafter he is given the reward of saying Tefillah, but not of saying Tefillah in its proper time.

By the way, right before that passage, Soncino translates ותיקין as “wathikin.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The essense of the Shema

I'm pretty busy right now, with my aliyah flight coming in four days. But most of what I do on this blog is regurgitating anyway, so it's no problem to regurgitate something from D.A.F. and Beit Midrash Beit Av (via Daf-Yomi.com).

The second chapter of Berakhot gets into the details of saying the Shema: its content, its structure, who says it, etc. In the course of discussion we find two understandings for what Shema is all about: accepting the yoke of Heaven and Torah study.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fixing a place for prayer

The Gemara from Berakhot 6a to 8a has a number of statements about the importance of a synagogue. Some samples from 6a–b, with Soncino translations:

תניא אבא בנימין אומר אין תפלה של אדם נשמעת אלא בבית הכנסת שנאמר (מלכים א ח) לשמוע אל הרנה ואל התפלה במקום רנה שם תהא תפלה 

It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says: A man's prayer is heard [by God] only in the Synagogue. For it is said: To hearken unto the song and to the prayer. The prayer is to be recited where there is song.

אמר רבין בר רב אדא א"ר יצחק מנין שהקב"ה מצוי בבית הכנסת שנאמר (תהילים פב) אלהים נצב בעדת אל

Rabin b. R. Adda says in the name of R. Isaac: How do you know that the Holy One, blessed be He, is to be found in the Synagogue? For it is said: God standeth in the congregation of God.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ge’ullah and tefillah

The first half of Masekhet Berakhot covers two main topics, the Shema with its blessings and the Amidah. One subject arises multiple times as a glue that joins the two topics together (five times, to be exact, according to the Bar Ilan Responsa Project: on 4b, 9b, 10b, 26a, and 30a). This is the requirement to be somekh ge’ullah li-tfillah—that we connect the redemption at the end of the Shema’s blessings, “ge’ullah,” to the start of the Amidah, “tefillah.” The Halakhah gives this requirement high priority.

What is the reason for semikhat ge’ullah li-tfillah? And why is it so important?