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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
and turned the rent in his garment1 from front to back and made another rent, saying, Rab is dead, and we have not learnt the rules about grace after meals! At length an old man came and pointed out the contradiction between the Mishnah and the Baraitha, and solved it by saying, Once they have said, Let us go and eat bread in such and such a place, it is as if they were reclining.
IF THEY HAVE RECLINED, ONE SAYS GRACE: Rab said: The rule is that only bread requires reclining, but wine does not require reclining.2 R. Johanan, however, says that wine also requires reclining. Some report thus: Rab said, This applies only to bread, for which reclining is of effect,3 but for wine reclining is not of effect. R. Johanan, however, says that for wine also reclining is of effect.
The following was cited in objection [to Rab]: 'What is the procedure for reclining? The guests4 enter and sit on stools and chairs till they are all assembled. When water is brought, each one washes one hand.5 When wine is brought, each one says a blessing for himself. When they go up [on to the couches] and recline, and water is brought to them, although each one of them has already washed one hand, he now again washes both hands. When wine is brought to them, although each one has said a blessing for himself, one now says a blessing on behalf of all.6 Now according to the version which makes Rab say that 'this applies only to bread which requires reclining, but wine does not require reclining'. there is a contradiction between his view and the first part of this statement?7 — Guests are different, since they intend to shift their place.8 According to the version which makes Rab say that this applies only to bread for which reclining is of effect, but for wine reclining is of no effect, there is a contradiction with the second part?9 — The case is different there because, since reclining is of effect for bread, it is also of effect for wine.10
Ben Zoma was asked: Why was it laid down that if wine is brought in the course of the meal, each one says a blessing for himself, but if after the meal, one may say a blessing for all? He replied: Because [during meals] the gullet is not empty.11
THE SAME ONE SAYS [THE BENEDICTION] OVER THE PERFUME. Since it says, THE SAME ONE SAYS [THE BENEDICTION] OVER THE PERFUME, we may infer that there is present someone superior to him. Why then does he say it? — Because he washed his hands first [after the meal]. This supports Rab; for R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: The one who first washes his hands [after the meal] can claim the right12 to say grace. Rab and R. Hiyya were once sitting before Rabbi at dinner. Rabbi said to Rab: Get up and wash your hands. He [R. Hiyya] saw him trembling.13 Said R. Hiyya to him: Son of Princes!14 He is telling you to think over the grace after meals.15
R. Zera said in the name of Raba b. Jeremiah: When do they say the blessing over the perfume? As soon as the smoke column ascends. Said R. Zera to Raba b. Jeremiah: But he has not yet smelt it! He replied: According to your reasoning, when one says 'Who brings forth bread from the earth', he has not yet eaten! But [he says it because] it is his intention to eat. So here, it is his intention to smell.
R. Hiyya the son of Abba b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Hisda reporting Rab — according to others, R. Hisda said in the name of Ze'iri: Over all incense-perfumes the blessing is 'who createst fragrant woods', except over musk, which comes from a living creature and the blessing is, 'who createst various kinds of spices'. An objection was raised: The benediction 'who createst fragrant woods' is said only over the balsam-trees of the household of Rabbi and the balsam-trees of Caesar's household and over myrtle everywhere!16 — This is a refutation.
R. Hisda said to R. Isaac: What blessing is said over this balsam-oil? — He replied: Thus said Rab Judah: 'Who createst the oil of our land',17 He then said to him: Leaving out Rab Judah, who dotes on the Land of Israel, what do ordinary people say? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: 'Who createst pleasant oil'. R. Adda b. Ahabah said: Over costum the blessing is, 'Who createst fragrant woods', but not over oil in which it is steeped. R. Kahana, however, says: Even over oil in which it is steeped, but not over oil in which it has been ground. The Nehardeans say: Even over oil in which it has been ground.
.R. Giddal said in the name of Rab: Over jasmine1 the blessing is 'who createst fragrant woods'. R. Hananel said in the name of Rab: Over sea-rush2 the blessing is 'who createst fragrant woods'. Said Mar Zutra: What Scriptural verse confirms this? She had brought them up to the roof and hid then, with the stalks of fax.3 R. Mesharsheya said: Over garden narcissus the blessing is 'who createst fragrant woods'; over wild narcissus, 'who createst fragrant herbs'. R. Shesheth said: Over violets the blessing is, 'who createst fragrant herbs'. Mar Zutra said: He who smells a citron or a quince should say. 'Blessed be He who has given a sweet odour to fruits'. Rab Judah says: If one goes abroad in the days of Nisan [spring time] and sees the trees sprouting, he should say, 'Blessed be He who hath not left His world lacking in anything and has created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees for the enjoyment of mankind'. R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in the name of Rab: Whence do we learn that a blessing should be said over sweet odours? Because it says, Let every soul4 praise the Lord.5 What is that which gives enjoyment to the soul and not to the body? — You must say that this is fragrant smell.
Mar Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: The young men of Israel6 are destined to emit a sweet fragrance like Lebanon,7 as it says His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his fragrance as Lebanon.8
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: What is the meaning of the verse. He hath made everything beautiful in its time?9 It teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, made every man's trade seem fine in his own eyes. R. Papa said: This agrees with the popular saying:10 Hang the heart of a palm tree on a pig, and it will do the usual thing with it.11
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab: A torch is as good as two [persons]12 and moonlight as good as three. The question was asked: Is the torch as good as two counting the carrier, or as good as two besides the carrier? — Come and hear: 'Moonlight is as good as three'. If now you say, 'including the carrier there is no difficulty. But if you say, 'besides the carrier', why do I want four, seeing that a Master has said: To one [person] an evil spirit may show itself and harm him; to two it may show itself, but without harming them; to three it will not even show itself? We must therefore say that a torch is equivalent to two including the carrier; and this may be taken as proved.
R. Zutra b. Tobiah further said in the name of Rab — according to others. R. Hanah b. Bizna said it in the name of R. Simeon the Pious, and according to others again. R. Johanan said it in the name of R. Simeon b Yohai: It is better for a man that he should cast himself into a fiery furnace rather than that he should put his fellow to shame in public.13 Whence do we know this? From Tamar, of whom it says, When she was brought forth etc.14
Our Rabbis taught: If oil and myrtle are brought before one,15 Beth Shammai say that he first says a benediction over the oil and then over the myrtle, while Beth Hillel say that he first says a benediction over the myrtle and then over the oil. Said Rabban Gamaliel: I will turn the scale.16 Of oil we have the benefit both for smelling and for anointing; of myrtle we have the benefit for smelling but not for anointing. R. Johanan said: The halachah follows the one who turned the scale. R. Papa was once visiting R. Huna the son of R. Ika. Oil and myrtle were brought before him and he took up the myrtle and said the blessing over it first, and then he said the blessing over the oil. Said the other to him: Does not your honour hold that the halachah follows the one who turned the scale? He replied: Thus said Raba: The halachah follows Beth Hillel. This was not correct,17 however; he said so only to excuse himself.
Our Rabbis taught: If oil and wine are brought before one,18 Beth Shammai say that he first takes the oil in his right hand and the wine in his left hand and says a blessing over the oil19 and then a blessing over the wine. Beth Hillel, however, say that he takes the wine in his right hand and the oil in his left, and says the blessing over the wine and then over the oil. [Before going out] he smears it on the head of the attendant; and if the attendant is a man of learning, he smears it on the wall, since it is unbecoming for a scholar to go abroad scented.
Our Rabbis taught: Six things are unbecoming for a scholar. He should not go abroad scented; he should not go out by night alone; he should not go abroad in patched sandals; he should not converse with a woman in the street; he should not take a set meal20 in the company of ignorant persons; and he should not be the last to enter the Beth ha-Midrash. Some add that he should not take long strides nor carry himself stiffly.21
'He should not go abroad scented'. R. Abba the son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: This applies only to a place where people are suspected of pederasty. R. Shesheth said: This applies only to [the scenting of] one's clothes; but [perfuming] the body removes the perspiration. R. Papa said: The hair is on the same footing as clothes; others, however, say: as the body.
'He should not go out at night alone', so as not to arouse suspicion.22 This is the case only if he has no appointment [with his teacher]; but if he has an appointment, people know that he is going to his appointment.
'He should not go abroad in patched sandals'. This supports R. Hiyya b. Abba; for R. Hiyya b. Abba said: It is unseemly for a scholar to go abroad in patched sandals. Is that so? Did not R. Hiyya b. Abba go out in such? — Mar Zutra the son of R. Nahman said: He was speaking of one patch on top of another. And this applies only to the upper, but if it is on the sole, there is no objection. On the upper too this applies only to the public way; but in the house there is no objection. Further, this is the case only in summer; but in the rainy season there is no objection.23
'He should not converse with a woman in the street'. R. Hisda said: Even with his wife. It has been taught similarly: Even with his wife, even with his daughter, even with his sister, because not everyone knows who are his female relatives.
'He should not take a set meal with ignorant persons'. What is the reason? — Perhaps he will be drawn into their ways.
'He should not be last to enter the Beth ha-Midrash', because he will be called a transgressor.24
'Some add that he should not take long strides'; because a Master has said: Long strides diminish a man's eyesight by a five-hundredth part. What is the remedy? He can restore it with [drinking] the sanctification wine of Sabbath eve.25
'Nor should he carry himself stiffly'; since a Master has said: If one walks with a stiff bearing even for four cubits, it is as if he pushed against the heels of the Divine Presence,26 since it is written, The whole earth is full of His glory.27
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