For the week ending 5 March 2005 / 24 Adar I 5765

Berachot 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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For over a decade Ohrnet has each week offered the public the insights of Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Rosh Hayeshiva of Ohr Somayach, on the seven pages of the Talmud covered that week. These weekly columns on the past two cycles were titled "The Weekly Daf" and later "Weekly DAFootnotes". These consisted of insights focusing on the halachic and ideological subjects found in those seven pages or on the passages of Tanach mentioned in them.

This project was launched when the Web Site of Ohr Somayach decided to offer subscribers and surfers a unique addition to the Torah educational materials it offers them each week. For over three decades, Ohr Somayach has succeeded in introducing countless thousands of young adult Jews from all over the world to the beauty of Talmudic learning as a gateway to their return to their peoples rich heritage and raising them to the level of Torah scholars and teachers. It was only natural, then, to include in its Web Site menu a taste of Talmud for the broader public, which can serve as an appetizer for the newcomer and a delicious dessert for the veteran.

The format chosen for this project was based on the daf yomi concept initiated almost eighty years ago at a convention of Agudath Israel by the famed rabbi of the Polish community of Lublin, the founder of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, zt"l. In an effort to unite Jews throughout the world in a Torah undertaking, he proposed that all Jews study the same daf page of the Talmud each day and thus complete the entire Talmud in a period of seven and a half years.

Since that time, tens of thousands of Jews have participated in ten such cycles of daf yomi study. There is hardly a Jewish community of any size which does not have a daily shiur in daf yomi available, and those whose circumstances do not allow for participation in such study groups are able to hear shiurim on cassettes or on telephone recordings.

With the beginning of the twelfth cycle of Daf Yomi, Ohrnet is proud to present a new feature for those who wish to identify with the worldwide study of the same daf page of the Talmud each day.

TALMUDIGEST will continue to offer an insight on the weekly seven but will add a listing of the subjects covered in them. We hope that this will enrich the study of those who learn a daf a day, connect those who are unable to do so with a worldwide Jewish effort and serve as a tantalizing gateway to the incomparable wealth of intellect and guidance contained in the Talmud.

Berachot 2-8

*Time frame for recital of Shma in the evening *Importance of Omain Yehei Shmei Rabbah *Mystery of midnight *Piety of King David *Evening prayer *Ashrei *Recital of Shma before retiring *Suffering as expression of love and as atonement *Evil spirits *Prayer in synagogue and communal prayer *Prayer and Tefilin of G-d *Bringing joy to a chatan *Anger of G-d *Requests of Moshe *Meaning of some biblical names *Davids rebellious son *What every pious Jew should pray for *Individual reading of weekly Torah portion *Eating in preparation for Yom Kippur *Practical tips from the Sages *Rabbi Papa and the Aramite woman *Two recitals of Shma in one night or in one day

Berachot 4a

"Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown"

"Protect me," appealed King David to G-d," for I am a righteous man." (Tehilim 86:2)

David, explain our Sages, was not asking G-d for a reward for his righteousness. He was rather asking for the Divine protection he needed as a result of conducting himself in a manner so radically different from "all the kings of east and west who sit with their royal courts in splendor" while he was involved in ruling on halachic matters of family purity.

The accounts we are familiar with of the great feasts and other pleasures in which kings of old indulged are often understood in a narrow way as the exercise of royal privilege of indulgence. The commentator Iyun Yacov, however, points out that such indulgence was necessary to relieve the stress of kingly responsibility and thus protect the monarch against depression. Since David spurned such indulgence and spent his time in dispensing halachic rulings, he appealed to G-d to protect him against the dangerous consequences of stress which he did not relieve in the manner of other kings because of his righteousness.

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