Talmud Tips

For the week ending 12 October 2013 / 8 Heshvan 5774

Pesachim 114 - 121

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“Mizmor l’David” (a song to David) – this teaches that he (David) first said a ‘shira’ (song) and then the Divine Presence rested upon him; this teaches you that the Divine presence does not rest upon a person when he is sad, frivolous or wasting time, but only when he is in a state of happiness of a mitzvah.”

This beraita is taught on our daf to inform us of the essential connection between achieving a joyous condition from performing a mitzvah and thus becoming a vessel fit to receive the Divine Presence. Rashi explains that the Tana derives this concept from the order of the first two words of the first verse of the Psalm – Mizmor and David. First comes the mizmor, the song of mitzvah that brings about happiness, and then the Divine Presence dwells in that person who is in the appropriate spiritual state.

  • Pesachim 117a

“What is meant by the verse (that we say in Hallel), ‘Let all the nations praise G-d, for His loving-kindness to us is so great’ (Tehillim 117:1-2) – is the fact that G-d does merciful acts for Klal Yisrael a reason for the other nations of the world to praise Him?”

Rebbe asked the ailing Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yossi to share the teachings that he had learned from his father Rabbi Yossi. One of these teachings is the above question and the answer that his father supplied. “The nations of the world praise G-d for the acts of might and wonder He does throughout the world, and therefore all the more so should we – His Jewish People – praise G-d for the even greater kindness and mercy He has shown us.” (Gemara according to the Rashbam)

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