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Shabbat Parashat B'Haalotcha| 5770

Hemdat HaDaf Hayomi: The Power of Bilam (105b)

Rav Ofer Livnat

Sivan 10-16, Sanhedrin 100-106

This week in the Daf Hayomi, we continue learning Perek Chelek of Sanhedrin, which is composed mostly of Aggada, rather than Halacha. The Mishna at the beginning of the Perek mentions that Bilam does not have a place in Olam Haba (the world to come). In this context, the Gemara deals with Bilam and his attempt to curse Am Yisrael. The Gemara (105b) explains that Bilam's power to curse came from the fact that there is one moment during the day where Hashem is angry, and Bilam knew how to time his curse with that moment. However, during those days when Balak employed Bilam's services, Hashem refrained from becoming angry, and therefore Bilam was not able to curse.

The Tosafot (Berachot 7a d"h sheilmalei, Avoda Zara 4b d"h rega) ask how Bilam was able to curse in a single moment. They offer two answers to this question. The first is that Bilam's curse was composed of a single word, "Kalem" (annihilate them). The second answer is that it is enough to start the curse at that moment, and once started, he could continue even after the moment passed.

The Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 110, 5) derives a very interesting halacha from Tosafot's second answer. There is a question regarding a situation when there are only a few moments left before the end of the time for davening. May a person start davening even though he will finish davening only after the time has passed, or may one start davening only if he will be able to complete the davening before the end of the time slot? From the Magen Avraham (110, 1), it appears that one must finish the entire davening before the end of the time. However, the Aruch Hashulchan claims that, according to the second answer of the Tosafot, it is enough that a person started at the right time, and then he may continue even after the time has passed.

The Aruch Hashulchan, though he himself apparently was not aware of this, has support for his position from the Geonim. The Sefer Ha'eshkol (Albek- Likutim Mehilchot Tefilah 39b) quotes a responsum ascribed to Rav Sherira Gaon and Rav Hai Gaon in which they state that a person who started davening Mincha when it was still day, may continue and complete the davening at night. However, on Friday afternoon, he must finish before Shabbat begins, because there is a difference between the davening of Shabbat and that of a weekday.


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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of

R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld

Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


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