Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Bava Basra 25

Bava Basra 25 is one of those dapim which make you wish that you had more time to learn. Its chock full of interesting aggadita which could really be developed if you had a few weeks. I would like to discuss a few brief points in this post.

As a tangent on the discussion of where a person could build a tannery without having its pungent aromas overwhelm the town, the gemara discussed the direction one should face when praying.

R' Yehoshua Ben Levi in applying/interpreting R' Akiva's statement about the location of a tannery said that we should be thankful to the anshei kinesses ha'gedolah who set the location to face when praying as west - since the Shechinah is there.

The gemara then brought numerous opinions that the Shechinah is everywhere, before reciting that R' Sheshes (who was blind) asked his servant to face him in any direction except east because the minim had taught that one should face east.

Tosafos (d'h Lechol) asks the obvious question - what about the gemara in berachos which recites that we should daven facing Yerushalayim? Tosafos answers that these amora'im hold like R' Yishmael that the Shechinah is everywhere, while the ones which say to face west hold like R' Akiva, and only R' Chanina holds like the gemara in Berachos that one should pray facing Yerushalayim.

I can't resist a daf which laughs at you (to use a term coined by R' Daniel H and myself when we were learning daf yomi while I was still in law school). The bottom of Bava Basra 25 contains a ma'amar of R' Yehuda in the name of Rav about a pasuk in Ha'azinu (32:2) which is used as a proof (according to Rashi d'h Ya'arof) that Moshe compared the Torah to the four winds. Just as the world cannot continue without the winds, the world could not exist without Torah. The concepts are truly deep and I will leave it to the reader to attempt to understand the meaning beneath the attributes of each wind mentioned by R' Yehuda.

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