Dedicate Daf 38b to:



משלהם
Must be one of "them"
- The Kohanim.

The Gemara concludes:
תהא והילכתא כוותיה דאביי
The Halacha follows Abaye,

ולית הילכתא כוותיה דרב חסדא
And the Halacha does not follow Rav Chisda.

 
And even an Israelite Chazzan calls out Kohanim.
 
 
 
The Gemara quotes nine teachings of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi:
אמר ר' יהושע בן לוי מנין שהקב"ה מתאוה לברכת כהנים שנאמר ושמו את שמי על בני ישראל ואני אברכם
1.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that
the source
that Hashem desires the Priestly Blessings is
the verse
"So shall they put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them."

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל כהן שמברך מתברך ושאינו מברך אין מתברך
2.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that any Kohen which
performs the Priestly
Blessings is blessed and any
Kohen
which doesn't
perform the Priestly
Blessings isn't blessed,

שנאמר ואברכה מברכיך
As
the verse
says "And I will bless them that bless you,"

ואמר ר' יהושע בן לוי כל כהן שאינו עולה לדוכן עובר בשלשה עשה
3.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that any Kohen which doesn't
perform the Priestly Blessings
violates three positive commandments:

כה תברכו אמור להם ושמו את שמי
1.
"Thus shall you bless",
2.
"And you shall say to them", and
3.
"And you shall place My name."

רב אמר חוששין שמא בן גרושה או בן חלוצה הוא
Rav said that
a Kohen which doesn't perform the Priestly Blessings
is suspected of being the son of a divorcee or a Chalutza
(and not a real Kohen).

 
The son of a divorcee or a chalutza is not considered a Halachic Kohen, so onlookers think that one who is biologically a Kohen but isn't acting like a Kohen is a Chalal.
 
 
ולא פליגי
And
the two
aren't arguing,

הא דסליק לפרקים הא דלא סליק לפרקים
The first case is where
he performs
the Priestly Blessings
periodically
(So while he violates three Positive Commandments, people still know that he's a Kohen),
while if he never performs
the Priestly Blessings, he's suspected of not being a Kohen.

ואמר ר' יהושע בן לוי כל כהן שאינו עולה בעבודה שוב אינו עולה
4.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that any Kohen which didn't go
to the Bimah
during
Retzei
should not go
to perform the Priestly Blessings,

שנאמר וישא אהרן את ידיו אל העם ויברכם וירד מעשות החטאת והעולה והשלמים
As
the verse
says "And Aharon lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin - offering, and the burnt - offering, and the peace - offerings."

מה להלן בעבודה אף כאן בעבודה
Just as
Aharon performed the Priestly Blessings
while serving
in the Mishkan,
so too
must the Priestly Blessings
be performed during the "service."

The Gemara asks:
איני
Is it true
that one who didn't go up to the Bimah during Retzei may not perform the Priestly Blessings?

והא ר' אמי ורבי אסי סלקי
But Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi
went to perform the Priestly Blessings even though they didn't start walking during Retzei?

The Gemara Answers:
רבי אמי ורבי אסי מעיקרא הוו עקרי כרעייהו
Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi moved their feet
during Retzei,

ממטא לא הוה מטו התם
But they didn't arrive
at the podium until the blessing was finished.

The Gemara will now cite two sources that just moving one's feet during Retzei permits one to perform the Priestly Blessings:
וכדתני ר' אושעיא לא שנו אלא שלא עקר את רגליו אבל עקר את רגליו עולה
1.
As Rabbi Oshiya taught that
"the above teaching was talking about
one who didn't uproot his feet
during the Avoda,
but if he uprooted his feet
during the Avoda
he may
perform the Priestly Blessings,"

ותנן נמי אם הבטחתו שנושא את כפיו וחוזר לתפלתו רשאי
2.
A Mishna taught that if
the Chazzan
is sure that he can
recite the Priestly Blessings
and return to his prayers
without close
In the time of the Mishna, there were no written Siddurim and all prayers had to be recited by heart. So it was very easy to forget where he's holding in his prayers.
confusion ,
he is permitted
to perform the Priestly Blessings.

והוינן בה הא לא עקר
But how could he, as he didn't move his
feet during his repetition of Amidah?

אלא דנד פורתא
Rather,
the Chazzan
moved
his feet
a little,
and is thus eligible to perform the Priestly Blessings,

הכא נמי דעקר פורתא
So too
if one moves his feet he may recite the Priestly Blessings.

The Gemara goes back to quoting teachings of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi:
ואמר ריב"ל אין נותנין כוס של ברכה לברך אלא לטוב עין
5.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that one should give a "cup of blessing"
over which one close
In the time of the Gemara, if more than three people ate at a meal together, they wouldn't all say the Birkas Hamazon . Rather, one would say Birkas Hamazon out loud over a cup of wine, and everyone would fulfill their obligation by listening. While we don't do this (nowadays everyone says Birkas Hamazon on their own), we still have one person "leading" the Birkas Hamazon .
leads
the Birkas Hamazon only to a magnanimous person,

שנאמר טוב עין הוא יבורך כי נתן מלחמו לדל
As
a verse
says "And a good eye will be blessed, for he gave of his bread to the poor,"

אל תיקרי יבורך אלא יברך
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi interpreted this verse as saying that
it shouldn't be read as "shall be blessed" but "shall bless,"

 
So it should read: "A good eye will bless".
 
 
ואמר ר' יהושע בן לוי מנין שאפי' עופות מכירין בצרי העין שנאמר כי חנם מזורה הרשת בעיני כל בעל כנף
6.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that even birds recognize stingy people, as
a verse
says "For in vain the net is spread in the eyes of any bird."

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל הנהנה מצרי העין עובר בלאו
7.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that anyone who benefits from stingy people violates a negative prohibition,

שנאמר אל תלחם את לחם רע עין וגו' כי כמו שער בנפשו כן הוא אכול ושתה יאמר לך וגו'
As a verse
says "Eat not the bread of him that has an evil eye ... For as one that has reckoned within himself, so is he
'Eat and drink', says he to you; But his heart is not with you."

רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר עובר בשני לאוין
Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said that
a person who eats a stingy person's bread
violates two negative prohibitions,

אל תלחם ואל תתאו
"Eat not the bread" and "Nor desire
his dainties.
"

 
 
 
וא"ר יהושע בן לוי אין עגלה ערופה באה אלא בשביל צרי העין
8.
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that a Decapitated Heifer is brought because of stingy people,

 
Stingy people cause murders to proliferate.
 
 
שנאמר וענו ואמרו ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה
A verse
says "And they shall speak and say: 'Our hands have not shed this blood,'"

The Gemara Asks:
וכי על לבנו עלתה שזקני ב"ד שופכי דמים הם
Would one think that the elders of the court are murderers?

The Gemara Answers:
אלא לא בא לידינו ופטרנוהו ולא ראינוהו והנחנוהו
Rather, no person came to us and we let him leave, and there was no
person
who we saw and left:

לא בא לידינו ופטרנוהו בלא מזונות לא ראינוהו והנחנוהו בלא לוייה
Meaning -
"We didn't know about
this person
and let him go without food and we didn't see him and
let him
leave him without escort."

אמר אדא א"ר שמלאי בית הכנסת שכולה כהנים כולן עולין לדוכן
Rav Adda said in the name of Rabbi Simlai that
even if
a synagogue
has
only Kohanim
congregants, they perform the Priestly Blessings.

The Gemara Asks:
למי מברכין
Who do they bless?

The Gemara Answers:
אמר ר' זירא לאחיהם שבשדות
Rabbi Zeira said
that these Kohanim bless
the people in the fields.

 
In the time of the Gemara (which the current custom in Israel and in Sefardi countries), Priestly Blessings were said every day. So there presumably were people that were working in the field when the Kohanim would pray Shacharis.
 
 
The Gemara Asks:
איני
Is it true
that the whole synagogue can do the Priestly Blessings?

והתני אבא בריה דרב מנימין בר חייא עם שאחורי כהנים אינן בכלל ברכה
But didn't Abba the son of Rav Minyamin bar Chiya that those
standing
behind the Kohanim are not included the
Priestly
Blessings?

 
If people behind the Kohanim aren't in the blessing, why are the people working in the field included?
 
 
The Gemara Asks:
לא קשיא
This is not a contradiction:

הא דאניסי הא דלא אניסי
Those who are behind the Kohanim
against their will
are included, while those who are behind the Kohen
willingly
are not included.

 
Those who have no choice but to work during the Priestly Blessings are included, while those too lazy to move in front of the Kohanim are not included.
 
 
The Gemara Asks:
והתני רב שימי מבירתא דשיחורי בית הכנסת שכולה כהנים מקצתן עולין ומקצתן עונין אמן
But Rav Shimi from the capital Shichuri said that in a congregation made up of only Kohanim, some perform the Priestly Blessings and
the rest
answer Amen!

 
Rav Adda said that all Kohanim perform the Priestly Blessings, unlike Rav Shimi.
 
 
The Gemara Answers:
לא קשיא
There is no contradiction,

הא דאישתייר בי עשרה הא דלא אישתייר בי עשרה
If ten people are left
to answer Amen, then they stay as congregants and answer Amen, while the rest perform the Priestly Blessings.
If ten people are not left,
then everyone performs the Priestly Blessings.

 
 
 
The Gemara Asks:
גופא
Let us discuss
the matter itself:

תנא אבא בריה דרב מנימין בר חייא עם שאחורי כהנים אינן בכלל ברכה
Abba the son of Rav Minyamin bar Chiya said that those standing behind the Kohanim are not included in the
Priestly
Blessings.

פשיטא אריכי באפי גוצי לא מפסקי
It is clear that tall people don't interpose
between the Kohanim and the
short people
standing behind them.

תיבה לא מפסקא
A chest
also
doesn't interpose
between the Kohanim and those standing behind it
.

מחיצה מאי
What about a partition?

The Gemara Answers:
ת"ש
The Sages
taught:

דאמר רבי יהושע בן לוי אפילו מחיצה של ברזל אינה מפסקת בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that even an iron partition doesn't interpose between the Jews and their Father in Heaven.

The Gemara Asks:
איבעיא להו צדדין מהו
It was asked if
those standing
at the sides
of the Kohanim are included in the Priestly Blessings?

The Gemara Answers:
אמר אבא מר בר רב אשי
Abba Mar Bar Rav Ashi said:

The following Mishna discusses the law of sprinkling the Red Heifer waters:
ת"ש דתנן נתכוון להזות לפניו
It was taught in a Mishna, that if one intended to sprinkle
(the waters of the Red Heifer)
in front
(of the Kohen)






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Dedicated in loving memory of Leah Rivka Bas Reb Dovid HaKohen A"H.
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