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Tractate Berakoth, by , by A. Lukyn Williams, [1921], at

p. 76

At Various Natural Phenomena, and at Good or Bad Tidings.

M. IX. 2. At 1 shooting stars, 2 and at earthquakes, and at lightnings, and at thunder, and at wind(s), one says: "Blessed be He whose power filleth the world." At mountains and hills, at seas and rivers and at deserts, he says: "Blessed be the Maker of the works of creation." R. Judah says: He who sees the Great Sea 3 says: "Blessed be He who made the Great Sea." [This he says] when he sees it at intervals. 4 At rains, and at good tidings, he says: "Blessed be the Good and the Doer of good," and at ill reports he says "Blessed be He who judgeth in truth."

T. VII. 1. The Benediction in the invitation 5 is derived from the Law, for it is said: "And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou shalt bless6—this is the Benediction in the invitation; "the LORD thy God"—this is the first Benediction; "for the. . . land"—this is the Benediction for the land; "good" this is [the Benediction for] Jerusalem; and so it says: "this goodly mountain, and Lebanon." 7 "Which he hath given thee," 8—this is [the Benediction] "who art Good and doest good." Whence do we learn that just as thou blessest Him after it (i.e. the meal), so thou blessest Him before it? It is expressly said: "which he gave thee," i.e. from the

p. 77


time that He is giving it thee and whence [do we learn that we bless Him] even for the mountains and for the hills? 1 It is expressly said: "for the land." Whence even for the Law and even for the commandments? It is expressly said: "Who gave thee," and in another place he says: "And I will give thee the tables of stone." 2 R. Meir says: Whence [do we learn that] just as thou sayest a Benediction over what is good, so thou sayest a Benediction over what is evil. It is expressly said: "Which the LORD thy God gave thee," 3—"thy God" means "thy Judge," in every judgment which He adjudges thee, whether for good or for punishment.

3. He who sees a negro, or a man with red spots, or one with white spots, or a humpback, or a dwarf, says: "Blessed be He who makes creatures different." [He who sees] one who has lost a limb, or a lame man, or a blind man, or one afflicted with boils, says: "Blessed be He that judgeth in truth."

4. If one sees beautiful persons and beautiful trees he says: "Blessed be He who has beautiful creatures thus in His world." 4

5. He who sees the bow in the cloud says: "Blessed be He who is faithful in His. covenant, remembering the covenant." 5

6. If one walks in a burial-ground one says: "Blessed be He who knows the number of you all; He will judge you; He will raise you up; Blessed be He who is faithful in His word, restoring the dead to life."

He who sees the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the planets, says: "Blessed be He who maketh the things of Creation." R. Judah says:

p. 78


He who says a Benediction over the sun—lo, this is another way. 1 And so R. Judah used to say: "He who seeth the sea continually, and any change takes place in it, must say a Benediction." 2


76:1 SA, pp. 291 sq., has similar, but not quite identical, forms. Cf. Abrahams’ notes.

76:2 shooting stars, or, "comets."

76:3 the Great Sea. The Mediterranean.

76:4 at intervals. Cf. T. VII. 6 (p. 78). At intervals of thirty days (Bartenora), thus excluding persons who live on the coast.

76:5 The Benediction in the invitation. See p. 59.

76:6 Deut. 810.

76:7 Deut. 325.

76:8 Deut. 810.

77:1 for the mountains and for the hills. i.e. on seeing them.

77:2 Exod. 2412.

77:3 the LORD thy God gave thee. This is the sense of Deut. 810, but verbally the quotation is found in 2611, where it refers to "good," and also in 2853, where it refers to punishment.

77:4 The common text has, "who created beautiful creatures."

77:5 remembering the covenant. His faithfulness is seen in His remembering it. The reference is to Gen. 915.

78:1 another way. For this common use of "way" in the sense of manner of life ordered by religion, and so religion itself, cf. Acts 92, 199-23, 224, 2422, and the all—comprehensive John 146. Even the word Halaka is properly, we may suppose, "method of walk."

78:2 Cf. p. 76.

Next: M. IX. 3. On Other Occasions