Tuesday, February 10, 2015

:ח Opening one's mouth to Satan?

א"ל קום אימא מלתא כנגד אבלים פתח ואמר אחינו המיוגעים המדוכאין באבל הזה תנו לבבכם לחקור את זאת זאת היא עומדת לעד נתיב הוא מששת ימי בראשית רבים שתו רבים ישתו כמשתה ראשונים כך משתה אחרונים אחינו בעל נחמות ינחם אתכם ברוך מנחם אבלים אמר אביי רבים שתו לימא רבים ישתו לא לימא משתה ראשונים לימא משתה אחרונים לא לימא דאר"ש בן לקיש וכן תנא משמיה דר' יוסי לעולם אל יפתח אדם פיו לשטן

As evidenced in a number of other instances (:ברכות י"ט., ס) , it was not uncommon for אביי to object to תפילות which, by his assessment, improperly foreshadowed a coming calamity. However, this example is decidedly different.
First, in our case, אביי is objecting to the mentioning of "drinking" from the cup of death both as fact of the past and an inevitability of the future. As the way of the world goes, death is indeed an undeniable reality (as opposed to, for example, a demonic force in a bathhouse.) It is difficult to understand what one might be bringing upon himself with these statements that is not already part of the reality of human existence.
What is more puzzling, however, is that אביי's objections are based upon the teaching which comes from one of two sources, one of which is ריש לקיש who was standing right there when his מתורגמן delivered these words! If he himself did not appear to object to these phrases based on his own teaching, why would אביי see the need to be more vigilant?

Monday, February 9, 2015

:ז New face(s)?

Good to be back.

ת"ר מברכין ברכת חתנים בעשרה כל שבעה אמר רב יהודה והוא שבאו פנים חדשות

There is an anonymous opinion mentioned in the שיטה מקובצת that since פנים חדשות is in plural, we require two new individuals in order to make all of the ברכות. Shockingly, this opinion is invalidated based on the explanation that the pluralization of פנים חדשות is applied to all of the days of שבע ברכות and doesn't imply a plural number of faces on one given night.

So what's so shocking about that? What's shocking is that the word פנים is always plural. There is no singular. I recall this question being posed of one of the rebbeim in נר ישראל some 15 odd years ago. Quite an intriguing answer was given. The reason (source unknown) why פנים is plural is because a face is capable of expressing many various different feelings and emotions. While most of your body parts look exactly the same no matter the situation, the face is multi-faceted. During the week of שבע ברכות, however, it is demanded of us to restrict our expressions to only one emotion - that of sheer joy and happiness with the new union. Since the face is not expected to be multi-faceted during this week, it is conceivable to suggest that the pluralization of פנים might imply more than one individual.