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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
We infer from this that if one bought things, and then bought some more, all agree that he need not say a blessing.1 Some say: R. Huna said, This rule applies only where he does not buy again after already buying; but if he buys again after already buying, he need not say the blessing. R. Johanan, however, says: Even if he buys again after already buying, he must make a blessing. We infer from this that if he buys a kind of thing which he has already,2 all agree that he has to say a blessing. An objection was raised: If one builds a new house, not having one like it already, he must say a blessing. If he already has any like them, he need not say a blessing. So R. Meir. R. Judah says: In either case he must make a blessing. Now this accords well with the first version, R. Huna following R. Meir and R. Johanan following R. Judah. But if we take the second version, it is true that R. Huna follows R. Judah, but whom does R. Johanan follow? It is neither R. Meir nor R. Judah!3 — R. Johanan can reply: The truth is that according to R. Judah also If one buys again after already buying, he must make a blessing, and the reason why they join issue over the case of his buying something of a kind which he has already is to show you how far R. Meir is prepared to go, since he says that even if he buys something of a kind which he already has, he need not make a blessing, and all the more so if he buys again after already buying, he need not make a blessing. But should they rather not join issue over the case of buying again after already buying, where there is no need to say a blessing,4 to show how far he [R. Judah] is prepared to go?5 — He prefers that the stronger instance should be a case of permission.6
OVER EVIL A BLESSING IS SAID etc. How is this to be understood? — For instance, if a freshet flooded his land. Although it is [eventually] a good thing for him, because his land is covered with alluvium and becomes more fertile, nevertheless for the time being it is evil.7
AND OVER GOOD etc. How can we understand this? — If for instance he found something valuable. Although this may [eventually] be bad for him, because if the king hears of it he will take it from him, nevertheless for the time being it is good.
IF A MAN'S WIFE IS PREGNANT AND HE SAYS, MAY [GOD] GRANT THAT MY WIFE BEAR etc. THIS IS A VAIN PRAYER. Are prayers then [in such circumstances] of no avail? R. Joseph cited the following in objection: And afterwards she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.8 What is meant by 'afterwards'? Rab said: After Leah had passed judgment on herself, saying, 'Twelve tribes are destined to issue from Jacob. Six have issued from me and four from the handmaids, making ten. If this child will be a male, my sister Rachel will not be equal to one of the handmaids'. Forthwith the child was turned to a girl, as it says, And she called her name Dinah!9 — We cannot cite a miraculous event [in refutation of the Mishnah]. Alternatively I may reply that the incident of Leah occurred within forty days [after conception], according to what has been taught: Within the first three days a man should pray that the seed should not putrefy; from the third to the fortieth day he should pray that the child should be a male; from the fortieth day to three months he should pray that it should not be a sandal;10 from three months to six months he should pray that it should not be still-born; from six months to nine months he should pray for a safe delivery. But does such a prayer11 avail? Has not R. Isaac the son of R. Ammi said: If the man first emits seed, the child will be a girl; if the woman first emits seed, the child will be a boy?12 — With what case are we dealing here? If, for instance, they both emitted seed at the same time.
IF HE WAS COMING FROM A JOURNEY. Our Rabbis taught: It once happened with Hillel the elder that he was coming from a journey, and he heard a great cry in the city, and he said: I am confident that this does not come from my house. Of him Scripture says: He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.13 Raba said: Whenever you expound this verse you may make the second clause explain the first, or the first clause explain the second. 'You may make the second clause explain the first', thus: 'He will not fear evil tidings'. Why? Because 'his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord'. 'You may explain the second clause by the first', thus: 'His heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord'; therefore, 'he shall not be afraid of evil tidings'. A certain disciple was once following R. Ishmael son of R. Jose in the market place of Zion. The latter noticed that he looked afraid, and said to him: You are a sinner, because it is written: The sinners in Zion are afraid.14 He replied: But it is written: Happy is the man that feareth alway?15 — He replied: That verse refers to words of Torah.16 R. Judah b. Nathan used to follow R. Hamnuna. Once he sighed, and the other said to him: This man wants to bring suffering on himself, since it is written; For the thing which I did fear is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of hath overtaken me.17 But [he replied] it is written: 'Happy is the man who feareth alway'? — He replied: That is written in connection with words of Torah.
ONE WHO GOES THROUGH A CAPITAL CITY. Our Rabbis taught: What does he say on entering? 'May it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to bring me into this city in peace'. When he is inside he says: 'I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast brought me into this city in peace'. When he is about to leave he says: 'May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, and God of my fathers, to bring me out of this city in peace'. When he is outside he says: 'I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast brought me out of this city in peace, and as Thou hast brought me out in peace, so mayest Thou guide me in peace and support me in peace and make me proceed in peace and deliver me from the hands of all enemies and liers-in-wait by the way'. R. Mattena said: This applies only to a city where criminals are not tried and sentenced:18 but in a city where criminals are tried and sentenced, this is unnecessary. Some report: R. Mattena said: Even in a city where criminals are tried and sentenced, for sometimes he may happen not to find a man who can plead in his defence.
Our Rabbis taught: On entering a bath-house one should say: 'May it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to deliver me from this and from the like of this, and let no humiliation or iniquity befall me; and if I do fall into any perversity or iniquity, may my death be an atonement for all my iniquities'. Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, so as not to open his mouth for the Satan.19 For Resh Lakish said-and so it was taught in the name of R. Jose: A man should never open his mouth for the Satan. R. Joseph said: What text proves this? Because it is written, We should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.20 What did the prophet answer them? Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, etc.21 On leaving the bath-house what does he say? R. Aha said: 'I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, my God, that Thou hast delivered me from the fire'. R. Abbahu once went into the bathhouse and the floor of the bath-house gave way beneath him, and a miracle was wrought for him, and he stood on a pillar and rescued a hundred and one men with one arm. He said: This is what R. Aha meant.22
On23 going in to be cupped one should say: 'May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, that this operation may be a cure for me, and mayest Thou heal me, for Thou art a faithful healing God, and Thy healing is sure, since men have no power to heal, but this is a habit with them'.24 Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, since it was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: [It is written], He shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.25 From this we learn that permission has been given to the physician to heal. When he gets up [after cupping] what does he say? — R. Aha said: Blessed be He who heals without payment.
On entering a privy one should say: 'Be honoured, ye honoured and holy ones1 that minister to the Most High. Give honour to the God of Israel. Wait for me till I enter and do my needs, and return to you'. Abaye said: A man should not speak thus, lest they should leave him and go. What he should say is: 'Preserve me, preserve me, help me, help me, support me, support me, till I have entered and come forth, for this is the way of human beings'. When he comes out he says: 'Blessed is He who has formed man in wisdom and created in him many orifices and many cavities. It is fully known before the throne of Thy glory that if one of them should be [improperly] opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee'. How does the blessing conclude? Rab said: '[Blessed art Thou] that healest the sick'. Said Samuel: Abba2 has turned the whole world into invalids! No; what he says is, 'That healest all flesh'. R. Shesheth said: 'Who doest wonderfully'. R. Papa said: Therefore let us say both, 'Who healest all flesh and doest wonderfully'.3
On going to bed one says from 'Hear, oh Israel' to 'And it shall come to pass if ye hearken diligently'. Then he says: 'Blessed is He who causes the bands of sleep to fall upon my eyes and slumber on my eyelids, and gives light to the apple of the eye. May it be Thy will, O Lord, my God, to make me lie down in peace, and set my portion in Thy law and accustom me to the performance of religious duties, but do not accustom me to transgression; and bring me not into sin, or into iniquity, or into temptation, or into contempt. And may the good inclination have sway over me and let not the evil inclination have sway over me. And deliver me from evil hap and sore diseases, and let not evil dreams and evil thoughts disturb me, and may my couch be flawless before Thee, and enlighten mine eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death. Blessed art Thou, oh Lord, who givest light to the whole world in Thy glory.'4
When he wakes he says: 'My God, the soul which Thou hast placed in me is pure. Thou hast fashioned it in me, Thou didst breathe it into me, and Thou preservest it within me and Thou wilt one day take it from me and restore it to me in the time to come. So long as the soul is within me I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, my God, and the God of my fathers, Sovereign of all worlds, Lord of all souls. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who restorest souls to dead corpses'.5 When he hears the cock crowing he should say: 'Blessed is He who has given to the cock understanding to distinguish between day and night'. When he opens his eyes he should say: 'Blessed is He who opens the eyes of the blind'. When he stretches himself and sits up he should say: 'Blessed is He who looseneth the bound'. When he dresses he should say: 'Blessed is He who clothes the naked'. When he draws himself up he should say: 'Blessed is He who raises the bowed'. When he steps on to the ground he should say: 'Blessed is He who spread the earth on the waters'. When he commences to walk he should say: Blessed is He who makes firm the steps of man'. When he ties his shoes he should say: 'Blessed is He who has supplied all my wants'. When he fastens his girdle, he should say: 'Blessed is He who girds Israel with might'. When he spreads a kerchief over his head he should say: 'Blessed is He who crowns Israel with glory'. When he wraps himself with the fringed garment he should say: 'Blessed is He who hast sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enwrap ourselves in the fringed garment'. When he puts the tefillin on his arm he should say: 'Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on tefillin'. [When he puts it] on his head he should say: 'Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the commandment of tefillin'. When he washes his hands he should say: 'Blessed is He who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the washing of hands'.6 When he washes his face he should say: 'Blessed is He who has removed the bands of sleep from mine eyes and slumber from mine eyes. And may it be Thy will O Lord, my God, to habituate me to Thy law and make me cleave to Thy commandments, and do not bring me into sin, or into iniquity, or into temptation, or into contempt, and bend my inclination to be subservient unto Thee, and remove me far from a bad man and a bad companion, and make me cleave to the good inclination and to a good companion in Thy world, and let me obtain this day and every day grace, favour, and mercy in Thine eyes, and in the eyes of all that see me, and show lovingkindness unto me. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who bestowest lovingkindness upon Thy people Israel'.7
IT IS INCUMBENT ON A MAN TO BLESS etc. What is meant by being bound to bless for the evil in the same way as for the good? Shall I say that, just as for good one says the benediction 'Who is good and bestows good', so for evil one should say the benediction 'Who is good and bestows good'? But we have learnt: FOR GOOD TIDINGS ONE SAYS, WHO IS GOOD AND BESTOWS GOOD: FOR EVIL TIDINGS ONE SAYS, BLESSED BE THE TRUE JUDGE? — Raba said: What it really means is that one must receive the evil with gladness. R. Aha said in the name of R. Levi: Where do we find this in the Scripture? I will sing of mercy and justice, unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing praises,'8 whether it is 'mercy' I will sing, or whether it is 'justice' I will sing. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: We learn it from here: In the Lord I will praise His word, in God I will praise His word.9 'In the Lord10 I will praise His word': this refers to good dispensation; 'In God11 I will praise His word': this refers to the dispensation of suffering. R. Tanhum said: We learn it from here: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord;12 I found trouble and sorrow, but I called upon the name of the Lord.13 The Rabbis derive it from here: The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away,' blessed be the name of the Lord.14
R. Huna said in the name of Rab citing R. Meir, and so it was taught in the name of R. Akiba: A man should always accustom himself to say, 'Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good', [as exemplified in] the following incident. R. Akiba was once going along the road and he came to a certain town and looked for lodgings but was everywhere refused. He said 'Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good', and he went and spent the night in the open field. He had with him a cock, an ass and a lamp. A gust of wind came and blew out the lamp, a weasel came and ate the cock, a lion came and ate the ass. He said: 'Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good'. The same night some brigands came and carried off the inhabitants of the town. He said to them:15 Did I not say to you, 'Whatever the All-Merciful does
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