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

Parenthesis:—Prayers in Vain.

4. (3 cont.). One utters over evil the abstract for good, and over good the abstract 5 for evil 6 He that calleth out for what is already past—lo, this is a prayer in vain.

5. (3 cont.). How so? If his wife is with child and he says: "May it be Thy pleasure that my wife bears a male child"—lo, this is a prayer in vain. 7 Or if he is on a journey, and hears shrieks in the city, and says: "May it be Thy pleasure that these be not in my house"—lo, this is a prayer in vain. 8

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T. VII. 7. R. Meir used to say: Behold, it says, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart," 1 etc.—with thy two natures, with thy good nature and with thy evil nature. "With all thy soul,"—even when He takes away thy soul. Another explanation is: "With all thy soul," with 2 the soul which He created in thee, for it is said: "Let my soul live, and it shall praise Thee." 3 And it says: "All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto Thee?4 Ben Azzai says: "With all thy soul,"—Give thy soul to His commandments. There are words which are foolish prayers. 5 How so? A man gathers a hundred kors6 and says, May it be Thy good pleasure that they be two hundred. A man collects a hundred flasks 7 and says: May it be Thy good pleasure that they be two hundred. Behold this is a prayer in vain. But he ought to pray that a blessing be gathered with them, and not a curse.

8. R. Dosethai bar Jannai, 8 says in the name of R. Meir: Behold, He saith in [the passage about] Isaac: 9 "And I will bless thee, and will multiply thy seed." 10 Isaac expounded the words and said: Seeing that no blessing rests on one save by the work of one's hands—he arose and sowed. 11 For

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it is said: "And Isaac sowed in that land, and found in that year a hundred measures," etc., and a hundred quantities. 1 A hundred measures, for they measured them a hundred times, for each one there was a hundred in what they measured. 2

9. He who performs any commandment must say a Benediction. He who makes himself a sukkah 3 says: "Blessed be He who enabled us to reach this season." 4 When he enters in to dwell in it he says: "Blessed be He who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us to dwell in a sukkah." And when he has said the Benediction over it on the first day, he need not say the Benediction again.

10. He that makes himself a Lulab 5 says: "Blessed be He who brought us to this time," and when he takes it up he says: "Blessed be He who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us concerning the taking up of the Lulab," and he must say the Benediction over it, all the seven days (of the Festival).

He that makes for himself Tsitsith 6 says: "Blessed be He who brought us to this time," when he wraps himself in (the shawl on which they are) he says: "to wrap oneself in Tsitsith."

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He that makes for himself Tephillin 1 says: "Blessed be he who brought us to this time," and when he lays them 2 he says: "Who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us to lay Tephillin." When does he begin to lay them? At dawn. If he has not laid them at dawn, he lays them at any time in the day.

11. He who kills an animal for food 3 needs a Benediction for himself. He says: "Who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us concerning slaughter."

He who covers blood needs a Benediction for himself concerning the covering of blood.

12. He who performs the ceremony of circumcision 4 needs a Benediction for himself. He says: "Who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us concerning circumcision."

The father of the boy needs a Benediction for himself: "Blessed be He who sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us to make him enter into the covenant of Abraham our father."

And they that stand by say: "As Thou hast made him enter the covenant, so mayest Thou make him enter the law and the marriage canopy."

13. He who says the Benediction 5 says: "He who sanctified the beloved 6 from the womb set a statute in his flesh; his offspring did He seal 7 with the sign of the holy covenant. Therefore in reward for this did the living God, our Portion and our

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Rock, give commandment to deliver 1 the beloved of our race for the sake of His covenant which He set in our flesh. Blessed be He who maketh the covenant!" 2

14. He who makes a journey to separate Contributions 3 and Tithes says: "Blessed be He who sanctified us to separate Contribution and Tithes." When does he begin to say the Benediction over them? At the moment that he separates them.

15. In the case of ten persons who are performing ten religious duties, each single person says a Benediction for himself. If all of them are performing one religious duty, one says the Benediction for them all. A single person who performs ten religious duties says a Benediction over each one. If he is performing one religious duty, the whole day, he says the Benediction only once. If he leaves off and then goes on performing it, he says one over each single time [that he begins afresh].


78:5 the abstract. See M. IV. 3 note (p. 30).

78:6 for good . . . for evil, SA, p. 292.

78:7 a prayer in vain. Yet the Rule is that such a prayer may be made until the 40th day after conception (T.B. 60a).

78:8 Because in each case the fact is already fixed.

79:1 Deut. 65.

79:2 with. Laible takes this as "for," which may be right.

79:3 Ps. 119175.

79:4 Ps. 3510.

79:5 foolish prayers. Cf. M.

79:6 kors. The kor was a dry measure equivalent to a homer, about 80 gallons.

79:7 flasks (chabiyoth). Earthen vessels used, in this case, for holding wine; of no fixed size.

79:8 R. Dosethai bar Jannai. In the fourth generation of mishna-teachers, c. 160-200 A.D.

79:9 in [the passage about] Isaac. Cf. Mark 1226 "in [the place concerning] the Bush;" and perhaps Rom. 112 "in Elijah." Vide supra, p. 36.

79:10 Verbally in Gen. 2624, but essentially in vv. 3, sq., which makes it easier for ver. 12 to be quoted immediately. But in any case "there is no before nor after in the Law" (T. B. Pesachim, 6b).

79:11 he arose and sowed. For the anacoluthon Laible compares Matt. 96.

80:1 a hundred quantities. Zuckermandel's text has "kinds" (minim), but read minyanim, with the Breshith Rabba, § 64, on Gen. 2612.

80:2 in what they measured. Rashi on Gen, 2612 says, "For they valued it (the land), how much it was likely to produce, and it produced a hundred for each one they valued it."

80:3 a sukkah. Every Jew must observe the Feast of Tabernacles by making, and, as far as possible, living in, a booth, i.e. a structure of which the essential part is the roof. This is made of branches which must not be so closely interwoven as to prevent three stars being seen through it.

80:4 who enabled us to reach this season. These are the closing words of the meditation given in SA, p. 232, which also includes the next prayer.

80:5 a Lulab. Vide supra, p. 33.

80:6 Tsitsith. Vide supra, p. 16.

81:1 Tephillin, or Phylacteries. Vide supra, p. 17.

81:2 lays them. i.e. binds them on head or arm.

81:3 He who kills an animal for food. The Hebrew word is ha-shôchēt.

81:4 circumcision. The service may be found in SA, pp. 304 sq., where the prayers here mentioned are incorporated.

81:5 He who says the Benediction. In SA, p. 304, the Mohel himself, i.e. he who circumcises the child. The following prayer is on p. 305.

81:6 the beloved. Isaac, Gen. 222, "thine only son," R.V.

81:7 seal. Cf. Rom. 411.

82:1 to deliver. The Vienna MS., the common text, and T. J. IX. 4 (3), p. 14a bottom, add "from the pit." And so T. B. Sabb. 137b, where Rashi explains, "from Gehenna," for no circumcised person stays in Gehenna always.

82:2 The common text adds Benedictions to be used at the circumcision of proselytes and slaves, taken from T. B. Sabb. 137b.

82:3 Contributions. See p. 59.

82:4 The prayers are given in T.

Next: M. IX. 6; T. VII. 16-18. On Praying when Entering and when Leaving a Town