For the week ending 22 September 2012 / 5 Tishri 5773

Berachot 44 - 50

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Perfect Timing

When Shaul, who unbeknownst to him had been designated by G-d to be the first king of the Jewish people, sought the aid of the Prophet Shmuel in finding the lost animals of his father, he asked some maidens on their way to draw water where the Prophet could be found. Two passages (Shmuel I, 9:12-13) are dedicated to recording their exceptionally detailed response to such a simple question.

Several explanations are offered by our Sages as to why these maidens elaborated so much. While one approach is that this was simply an example of feminine loquaciousness, another ascribes their lengthy speech to a desire to gaze upon Shauls outstanding attractiveness.

This latter approach, Maharsha points out, is rejected by Rabbi Yossi in the Midrash on the grounds that this paints Jewish maidens as being promiscuous. He therefore goes along with what Rabbi Yochanan states in our gemara. The A-mighty King of Kings has a sense of perfect timing and makes certain that a new ruler does not come to even a hairs-width of power before the term of his predecessor has come to an end. Shauls encounter with Shmuel would result in his being anointed as the king of Israel to replace Shmuel as the leader of the people. Even if that moment had to be delayed by the time it took to speak two sentences, Heaven programmed it that those maidens should be on hand to provide that delay.

  • Berachot 48b

What the Sages Say

A man should strive to come early to the synagogue for services so that he should be among the first ten (that make up a quorum) for if even a hundred others arrive, he will get as much credit as all of them together.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi

  • Berachot 47b

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