Miracles in everyday life- Shekalim 14


We have discussed before the two different approaches to miracles associated with the Rambam and Ramban respectively. 
Whereas Rambam sees supernatural miracles as a rare event Hashem performs occasionally in order to show that he controls nature , and tends to explain seemingly supernatural events discussed outside Tanach in natural ways , Ramban believes that such miracles are a regular part of life .
The truth is that both views  seem to be well represented in Chazal. 
On our daf, a story is told of a certain pious man who used to dig well and pits for travellors to drink from.
His daughter was swept away by a flood and noone , not even the famed Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair could comfort him.
When told about the pious acts he had done , Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair declared thats it is impossible that someone who served Hashem with water would be harmed like that by water .
Soon, an announcement was made that the man’s daughter has been found  .
Two versions of the story are given:
One is that she was able to hold onto a branch and survive.
The other is that an angel appeared in the form of Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair and saved her.
We see in this story representation of both approaches- the natural miracle , and the supernatural. A similar example can be found in the Bavli ( Brachos ) where 400 barrels of Rav Huna’s wine turned into vinegar. 
Rav Ada bar Ahava and the Rabbis came to visit him and suggested that he look into his affairs to examine what he had done to deserve this.
Rav Huna was offended that they had suspected him of wrong-doing and they countered by asking him if he suspected Hashem of punishing him for no reason .
Rav Huna then asked them  if they  had heard any rumours about him .
They replied that they had heard that he never paid his sharecropper. 
Rav Huna replied that the man was a thief and had stolen more than the value of his work but nevertheless took the “mussar” and paid him in any case.
Two versions of the conclusion are then brought !
One is that a miracle happened and the vinegar turned back into wine.
The other is that the price of vinegar went up to the price of wine !
Again, we see one view that explains the miracle in a natural way and another that explains it supernaturally!

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Yerushalmi Shekalim 8-9 The importance of being above suspicion:


the Mishna on daf 8a forbids the person  who  takes money out from the contribution boxes for use in the divine service  to wear a garment with a folded hem or even to wear  shoes or tefillin while doing so !  
This is  in case people suspect that he might have taken some money  for himself and placed them in the fold, in his shoes, or even untied the tefillin boxes and hidden some money inside. 

If he becomes poor , people might think that it is due to such wicked actions, and if he becomes rich, they might think that it is from the money he stole. 
The possibility  that the person entrusted with such holy work could abuse his power in such a way or even abuse holy items such as  Tefillin to aid his crime might be shocking , but unfortunately is as applicable today than ever. 

Two sources are brought for the requirement to be completely above  suspicion:”והייתם נקיים מה’ ומישראל “( and you shall be clean (of suspicion) from Hashem and Yisrael)- just like a person has to be  clean in deeds  in front of Hashem ( who knows all thoughts and actions), he also needs to be clean of suspicion from others who do not know his thoughts and actions .
It is thus not enough to be honest in reality, but one also has to be above any suspicion of dishonesty. 
This passuk is found in the Chumash itself ( Bamidbar 32/22) in the context of the promise made by the tribes of Reuvain, Gad, and half of Menashe  to help the other tribes conquer Eretz Yisroel proper in exchange for being allowed to settle on the other side of the Jordan. 
An alternative source is brought from Nach (Mishlei 3/4) 
“ומצא חן בשכל טוב בעיני אלוקים ואדם “( and he found grace and good intellect in the eyes of G-d and man.) 
The passuk is describing the result of one’s  following the Torah properly , and a version of it in prayer form is found in the additions we say in the benstching .
The Gemara on daf 9a brings further examples , among them :
A קווץ ( person with long hair ) should not be given this task , presumably because he might be suspected of hiding money in his hair. 
They would keep talking with him all the time he is in the room so he would not be suspected of hiding money in his mouth !
It also brings a third source for the requirement to be above above suspicion from the Navi and concludes that the first source brought from the Chumash is the clearest of all !
We have already  seen this passuk being brought as a source for this requirement in the Bavli  in our post on Pesachim 12-13 where we discussed this topic in more detail and together with other sources and examples ,  referenced our Mishna here in Shekalim.
As with everything in the Torah  , and particularly in ethical matters , it cannot be highlighted enough! 

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 107-108 Eating snacks during the מגיד

The Gemara on 107b concludes that the reason for the prohibition against eating  from סמוך למנחה  on ערב פסח  is in order not to become full and land up eating the מצה  in a way that is considered אכילה גסה (gluttonous eating.)

Rashi  (see Pesachim 99b “לא יאכל”) seems to take this further than face value and explain this as a form of הדור מצוה  (performing the mitzva in a more beautiful way.)

Rather than literally avoiding אכילה גסה , which as Tosfos (קז. ד”ה “דילמא) notes is generally not considered eating at all, Rashi explained that one actually needs to build up an תאיבון  [appetite] for the matza, an idea he seconds here on our daf using the even stronger phrase תאוה[lust.]

This seems to make this law a rather unusual case of a גזירה דרבנן  (rabbinical decree) made to protect a הדור מצוה , something requiring its own analysis.

In contrast, the above-mentioned Tosfos on our daf understands that the concern is literally that one will be so full by the time he comes to eating his מצה  that it will not qualify as eating at all, the fully-fledged kind of אכילה גסה  for which one is exempt on Yom-Kippur!

This makes this a more usual גזירה דרבנן  designed to prevent one from entirely missing an עשה דאורייתא , similar to that requiring one to say שמע  before midnight to avoid missing it entirely (Brachos 2a.)

A possible נפקא מינה  (practical difference) between these two views could be what types of snacks one is permitted to eat even after this time and/or the quantity of snacks that one is permitted to eat.

We have already seen from Tosfos at the beginning of the פרק  (see post on Pesachim 99 and 100) that this prohibition is referring to  something very specific, not to all forms of eating, namely מצה עשירה.

In contrast, מצה  is forbidden all day, and מיני תרגימא  (certain snacks) are permitted all day.

We have also seen that the Rambam distinguishes between eating a lot of anything which is prohibited, and eating a small amount of snacks, which is permitted.

The source for the היתר  (permission) to eat מיני תרגימא lies on our daf and is stated expressly by ר’ אסי  and illustrated by ר’יצחק’s practise of “dipping” them.

This practise seems to be further illustrated by a ברייתא  which states that the שמש(servant) may dip (and eat) the בני מעיים  (innards) of the animals and also place them in front of the guests.

According to Rashi, the proof from the ברייתא  is somewhat difficult, given that he defines מיני תרגימא  as פירות  (fruits) but does not seem to permit meats, like Rashbam does,  let alone  Mezonos snacks (as permitted by Tosfos, at least according to his first answer in ד”ה “מיני”.

Rashi’s limitation of the leniency to fruit appears to fit in well with his requirement for הדור מצוה  which presumably requires a greater degree of caution than simply avoiding אכילה גסה  and Tosfos’s generous extension of this permission even to Mezonos snacks which are certainly more filling seems to match his lower bar of simply avoiding אכילה גסה.

Yet how would Rashi explain the proof in the Beraisa, which seems to permit eating meat snacks as well, at least the way he himself explains it (see Rashbam for alternative explanation.)

As Rashbam himself seems to note Rashi understands this in several steps:

  1. It is normal for the שמש  to eat while preparing food, and not doing so causes him צער. (distress)
  2. Seeing that he is eating while he works to prevent צער and not for pleasure, meat snacks are also less likely to fill him up, and have the status of מיני תרגימא  specifically for him
  3. From the fact that the בני מעיים  get the more lenient status of מיני תרגימא  for him and this permits them to him, it follows that fully fledged מיני תרגימא, namely fruits, are permitted for all people.

Be that as it may, we have seen that Rashi limits the היתר   of מיני תרגימא  to fruit , Rashbam expands it to meat snacks, and Tosfos permits even “Mezonos” snacks like non chametz cake, cookies, kneidlach etc, and this can be directly linked to how Rashi and Tosfos see the basis for the prohibition.

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Once we have seen that the ban on eating is not total but linked to the risk of being satiated by the type of quantity of snacks eaten, which in turn is linked to how we understand the prohibition, it is possible to investigate another possible נ”מ  of this debate.

Is it permitted to eat after dark, after Kiddush, during the Seder itself, but before eating the matza?

On the one hand, we have not seen a specific prohibition against doing so, and the Mishna specifically seems to limit the prohibition עד שתחשך  (until it gets dark.)

On the other hand, if we are concerned about being too full for matza for the entire later half of the afternoon, surely we should be more concerned during the Seder itself, closer to the time we need to eat the matza?

The second law in the Beraisa brought as a support for permitting מיני תרגימא  states that the שמש   places the בני מעיים  in front of the visitors.

As it is normal for the visitors to arrive after dark for the seder, the simple reading of this statement seems to imply that the visitors are permitted to eat them after dark during the Hagada. (though note that what is normal for us might have been normal in the times of Chazal, and the discussion on 100a about interrupting eating or drinking when Shabbos or Yom-Tov starts  does seem to indicate that serving visitors  (probably sleep-over visitors from out of town which was the main form of הכנסת אורחים  practiced)  was done for pre -Yom-Tov snacks as well.)

Though Rashbam understands that the visitors are fed these snacks during the afternoon before dark as appetizers for later, Rashi specifically limited the היתר  to eat בני מעיים  in the late afternoon to the שמש, so it is also more consistent for him to view the placing in front of the visitors after dark when the official prohibition is over, if it indeed is.

Tosfos (צט.. ד”ה “סמוך למנחה” ) seems to have offered explicit proof that eating after dark is permitted from an earlier sugya (Pesachim 40a) which permits one to eat בציקות של נכרים  (matza baked by non-Jews but essentially non shmura-matza) during the seder so long as one eats at least a kezayis of fully fledged (shmura) matza afterwards to fulfil one’s mitzva.

Whereas the main lesson of the Gemara there is that it is permitted to eat non Shmura matza on pesach, even during the seder, but cannot use it to fulfil the mitzva of eating matza, it appears from it that eating בציקות של נכרים  is permitted before one fulfills the mitzva of matza!

As these taste like מצה, are just as filling as מצה, and far more filling than מיני תרגימא (certainly Rashi’s “fruit” מיני תרגימא ), this seems to fly completely in the face of the prohibition of eating on ערב פסח  and even defeat the purpose.

Whereas there are other ways of learning the earlier sugya and Rashi seems to understand that the מצה באחרונה  referred to there is the afikomen, which is meant to be eaten while satisfied anyway, it seems clear from their question and answer that Tosfos understands it to refer to the מוציא מצה!

In a logical curveball, the Tosfos answer that eating during the seder before the מצה  is actually less risky than eating during the late afternoon!- once one has started the meal (presumably with קדוש  and כרפס) one is aware of the risk of filling oneself up and is more careful not to do so.

As such, one would be permitted to eat even בציקות של נכרים  and certainly מיני תרגימא  during the meal even before eating מצה.

Whereas this logic might be arguable, and it is hard to believe that eating בציקות של נכרים  will not ruin one’s appetite for the מצה, Tosfos seems to be happy with it, and this might well be  consistent with his limiting  the prohibition of eating to that which risks real אכילה גסה.

It is unlikely that Rashi, who requires one to have a “lust” for the מצה, would permit eating בציקות של נכרים  before the first מצה  has been eaten, and by explaining this היתר  as referring to during the meal proper before the afikomen, he avoids the need to do so.

Yet it is quite possible that he accepts Tosfos’ basic logic that eating non-filling things like fruit, which in smaller quantities actually stimulate the appetite, is even less problematic than during the afternoon, and remains permitted during the entire seder, even before מצה  is eaten- This would be consistent with how he seems to understand the permission for the visitors to eat the בני מעיים  as being specifically after dark, during the seder, but before the מצה!

This thesis of Tosfos is put to the test, however, by a discussion at the end of daf 107b, moving onto 108a.

We are told how Rava used to drink wine throughout erev Pesach in order to stimulate his appetite for the מצה  later.

In order to prove that wine stimulates the, he draws on the Mishna which states that one is permitted to drink additional cups of wine between the first and second cups, and between the second and third cups.

If wine is filling, argues Rava, it would not be permitted to drink so much before eating the מצה!

Tosfos acknowledges that if his thesis is correct that eating during the seder is less problematic than during the afternoon, Rava’s entire proof falls away.

His first answer, once again consistent with his view of the prohibition, is that although one is careful during the seder not to eat too much, it is much harder to be careful not to drink too much wine, due to its intoxicating effect.

As such, whereas eating even בציקות של נכרים  and certainly מיני תרגימא  during this time is permitted, drinking additional wine is not.

The second answer, however, is more problematic in terms of permitting eating snacks during the מגיד.

Tosfos suggests that there is a distinction between the long period of the מגיד  between the first and second cups which is similar in practise to a different meal, and the short period between drinking the second cup and making המוציא .

According to this answer, the היתר  to eat בציקות של נכרים  is limited to the short period between the מגיד  and מוציא מצה when was is super conscious of the impending mitzva and can be very careful not to fill oneself.

There is no such permission during the long period of the מגיד  between the first and second cup, and it is from the permission to drink wine during this period despite it being like a different meal, that Rava derives his proof that wine, unlike בציקות של נכרים , are not filling.

It follows that according to this answer, eating בציקות של נכרי  during the מגיד  is certainly forbidden and it remains unclear whether מיני תרגימא  are still  permitted like they are during the later afternoon.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 103-105 the Shortened Havdala- המבדיל בין קודש לחול

These daf focus on the laws of Havdala and the precise wording to be used in the main bracha ,other than the bracha on the wine, spices, candle, Shehecheyanu etc as appropriate.

Although the longer bracha we are accustomed to say is also sourced in this daf, the Gemara also records the shorter version of Rabbi Yehuda haNasi, which includes just one mention of havdala, namely ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול.

A number of Amoraim, including Rabbi Yaakov Bar Aba [see Rashbam Pesachim 103b ד”ה “א”ל” ],   רבי מנחם בר סימאי  , and Chananya  [see 104a) seem to follow this view, and the Gemara brings a case where Rav Yehuda told his son, Rabbi Yitchak, to take a basket of fruit to meet Ullah and observe what version of the Havdala he said.

Rather than going himself, he sent Abaya, who reported back to him that Ullah had said only ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול.

Rav Yitchak then reported this to his father, who rebuked him for not going himself, saying that his arrogance deprived him of the ability to hear this directly from Ullah himself.

In contrast, Rava would say the full version we have today, citing רבי אלעזר  and רבי אושעיא for support [see Rashbam 103b ד”ה “כי מטא], רב שמואל בר אידי  ruled against his brother חנניא, and רבי יהושע בן לוי  also rules that a concluding bracha is needed as well [104a.]

There are several possible differences between the longer version we say and that of רבי יהודה הנשיא .

  1. The longer version mentions four different types of הבדלות  (distinctions) that Hashem makes, whereas the shorter one only mentions one.
  2. The longer version both begins and ends withאתה ה’  ברוך, whereas the shorter version contains this phrase only once, if at all
  3. The longer version mentions Hashem’s name and is a fully fledged bracha, where it is not immediately clear from the Gemara whether the shorter  version does so and has the status of a fully fledged ברכה.  Whereas the wording quoted by the Gemara does not include the phrase ברוך אתה ה’, it could be that it is taken for granted as כל ברכה שאין בה שם ומלכות לאו שמיה ברכה  (any blessing that does not contain Hashem’s name and the word “king” is not a bracha-Brachos 12a.)  It is also possible though, that the shorter version is only valid for one who made Havdala in his Amida already, and that a second fully-fledged bracha is not required but rather a symbolic declaration is sufficient.

On the one hand, as a later authority, it sees that Rava’s view should be accepted, yet on the other hand, Ullah’s view seems to get the last word in our Gemara.

Some support could possibly be brought from a different sugya (Shabbos 150b) for those who follow רבי יהודה הנשיא  and say the shorter version.

The Mishna (Shabbos 150a  ) rules that it is permitted to wait at the border of the shabbos techum in order to do work in the field outside the techum as soon as Shabbos is over.

The Gemara asks how this is permitted, seeing as it is forbidden to work before Havdala, and two answers are given:

  1. רבי נתן בר אמי  in front of רבא -The Mishna is referring to בין הגיתות  (the wine-pressing season) where there is plenty wine in the field on which to make havdala.
  2. רבי אבא  to  רב אשי -The Mishna is referring to someone who says the phrase ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול  after which working is permitted.

The later answer seems to have been  accepted by רב אשי   (who reports this as having been their custom in the house of רב כהנא ), which indicates that we are likely to rule accordingly, hence validating the shorter version.

However, whereas the later answer seems very similar in wording to the view of רבי יהודה הנשיא  in our sugya, there are some major differences:

  1. In our sugya, we are talking about the ideal version of the havdala, whereas the case in Shabbos might simply be referring to a second-best solution when making havdala properly is not possible before work.
  2. In our sugya, whatever the accepted version of havdala is works completely, and one has fulfilled one’s obligation with it. In contrast, it is possible that in the case in Shabbos, one would still need to say the full havdala properly later.
  3. In our sugya, it is clear that even the shorter version is said over a cup of wine, whereas the solution mentioned in shabbos seems to be for a situation where wine is not available (after all, it is brought as an alternative answer to בין הגיתות .)
  4. In our sugya, one is clearly permitted to do anything that havdala stood in the way of doing once the correct version has been said, including not only doing מלאכה  but also eating and drinking. There is no mention in the sugya in Shabbos about permission to eat and drink, just permission to work. Some analysis is required to ascertain whether there should be a practical different regarding work and eating and drinking, but it is possible that even if the symbolic declaration is sufficient to allow work, the general rule forbidding eating before a time-urgent mitzva is performed might still apply until the full version has been said correctly over a cup of wine.

Although there is much discussion in the ראשונים  here and particularly in Shabbos as to the above points and how these two סוגיות  relate to each other, there appears to be near consensus that in our sugya, we are talking an abridged but fully fledged bracha, with שם ומלכות, made over a cup of wine.

There is some debate however, whether the view of עולא  is equivalent to that of רבי יהודה הנשיא, includes only one phrase of הבדלה  rather than four, and lacks the concluding phrase “ברוך אתה ה'” typical of longer brachos (see for example Rashi , and רבינו חננאל ) or whether עולא’s version included all 4 phrases and simply left out the concluding bracha (see Tosfos 195a, also see Rashbam 104b)

When it comes to the case in Shabbos, most ראשונים   (רש”י שם, רבינו חננאל שם,רשב”א שם,רי”ד שם וכו) seem to hold that the shorter version there is just a סימנא בעלמא  (symbolic statement) which permits work, but not eating and drinking, and that needs to be followed as soon as possible by the full הבדלה .

As such, it does not include the phrase “ברוך אתה ה’ ”  even once , containing just the words “ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול “ and no cup of wine.

According to this view, although the same phrase is used in both סוגיות, they are actually two completely things- The version in our sugya is רבי יהודה הנשיא’s shortened version of a fully-fledged הבדלה  with which one fulfills one’s obligation in full, whereas the version in Shabbos is a symbolic phrase that lacks the form of a ברכה  at all and merely delays the full הבדלה, allowing one to work but not eat or drink in the meanwhile.

In contrast, The ריף, (also quoted by various Rishonim such as , רשב”א ,ר”ן  ריטב”א) seems to link the two sugyos and hold that the version mentioned in Shabbos is the same version of רבי יהודה הנשיא  . He rules that in our case, seeing as the מנהג  was not in accordance with רבי יהודה הנשיא , one has to say the full version of הבדלה  before eating or drinking. In contrast, in the case in Shabbos, the custom follows רבי יהודה הנשיא  and the shorter version of הבדלה  suffices in order to allow one to work but must include שם ומלכות  and according to some interpretations (See Rashba)  even requires a cup of wine.

A  similar  approach is evident in  רבינו חננאל  (Shabbos 150b) who also requires שם ומלכות  but like the Rif, makes no explicit mention of requiring a cup of wine  and so rules the Tur (O.C. 299), bringing the ראש  and the בה”ג  for support!

In practise, later authorities rule that  the full Havdala is required before eating or drinking, and that the shortened symbolic version with no שם ומלכות  and no wine is sufficient to permit working.

 Some Rishonim (רשב”א שבת קנ: ,טור או”ח  299 וכו) seem to only permit this if one has ALSO made הבדלה  in his amida, but most seem to consider either this symbolic statement OR the הבדלה  in the amida sufficient to allow work to be performed, while requiring the full הבדלה  to be said before eating or drinking . (עיין רש”י שם,ר”ן שם,ריטב”א שם, רמב”ם ה’ שבת כט-ו לפי הבנת הריטב”א אלא שצ”ע), and this is the way post later  poskim rule  ( ש”ע או”ח רצט-ורמ”א שם )

This seems to be an interesting example where the Shulchan Aruch rules against both the Rif and the Tur, even more so given that the Rambam’s words could be somewhat ambiguous!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 101-102 Kiddush in shul, קדוש במקום סעודה, and Mezonos.

After discussing Kiddush arrangements where a meal continues straight into Pesach, Shabbos, or another Yom-Tov (something some Hasidic Purim meals actually did this year,) our perek moves away temporarily from Pesach matters and focusses on matters relating to Kiddush, Brachos, and Havdala.

The first such sugya opens by discussing the common practise of making Kiddush in Shul on Shabbos.

The question is whether those who did so themselves or through the chazan have fulfilled their obligation of Kiddush already, or whether they have not done so.

Although both Rav and Shmuel agree that one should make Kiddush in Shul and at home, they differ as to why:

Rav holds that they have fulfilled their obligation in shul already and only make Kiddush at home for their families who were not at shul- it could follow that if one eats at home alone after saying or hearing Kiddush in shul, one does not say Kiddush again at home.

In contrast, Shmuel holds that one can only fulfill one’s obligation of Kiddush במקום סעודה (in the place of a meal) and seeing as they did not eat a meal in shul after making Kiddush, they have not fulfilled their obligation of Kiddush.

According to Shmuel, the only reason why Kiddush is said in shul is for the sake of visitors from out of town who used to eat and sleep in the shul- they would fulfill their obligation of Kiddush with the chazan or someone else from the community after-which they would carry on with their meal there!

 (according Tosfos, due to the prohibition against eating or sleeping in shul, this would be in a side-room, but this is a discussion in itself -see Ran on the Rif who also suggests this but also suggests that visitors might be permitted to eat in shul because of the public mitzva that the townspeople are keeping by hosting them)

It could follow according to the later view, if there are no visitors in shul, Kiddush should not be said, and this is indeed how Tosfos  (ד”ה “ידי קדוש”)   and the Tur (O.C. 269) rules.

Of course, it is also possible that Chazal instituted Kiddush in shul and at home for the above-mentioned reasons but that they did applied this across the board, regardless of circumstances, and that even when the reason for the תקנה does not apply, it should still be said (see Ran דפי הריף כ  who rules this way and Shulchan Aruch O.C. 269 who accepts the custom to say it regardless but prefers that it be annulled!)

Before looking at some of the details of Shmuel’s requirement that קדוש  must be said in the place where a meal will be held thereafter, it is important to note that the Gemara puts Rabbi Yochanan on record as agreeing with Rav that this is not necessary.

Using the usual rules of psak, we usually follow Rabbi Yochanan against Rav and Shmuel, and Rav against Shmuel- how much more so when both Rav and Rabbi Yochanan disagree with Shmuel.

Yet the Gemara proves that later Amoraim such as Rav Huna and Rabbah ruled like Shmuel, and on that basis, the above cited Tosfos rules in accordance with Shmuel, as do the Rif, Rosh, and Rambam(Shabbos 29/8)  !

Having established that we follow Shmuel’s requirement that Kiddush has to be במקום סעודה  , we now need to identify or define

  1. The source or reason for this requirement.
  2. The definition of a סעודה  regarding this law- does it need to be a halachik meal with bread, does פת הבאה בכיסנין (snack or “Mezonos” bread such as cake or crackers) count, is any food that requires the bracha of מזונות  sufficient, or is even  perhaps an additional portion of wine, grape-juice, or even meal, fish, fruit, or other שהכל  foods acceptable?
  3. The definition of מקום  as far as this law goes- does it mean the same building, the same house, the same floor, the same room, or even the same corner of the room?
  4. The scope of this law- does it apply even to Kiddush in the morning, or only to Kiddush at night or vice-versa.

In order to understand the nature of this requirement, and also because of its possible relevance to the other questions, let us beginning by focusing on the first question.

Before attempting to identify the source or reason of the law of קדוש במקום סעודה , it would be appropriate to identify the source of reason for the requirement to say Kiddush altogether.

Whereas the biblical source for the mitzva to say Kiddush on Shabbos is derived from the מצות עשה  of “זכור את יום השבת לקדשו”  (remember the shabbos day to sanctify it), Chazal understood  (Pesachim 106a) that this “sanctification” needs to be done over a cup of wine – זכרהו על היין .

The requirement to make a special declaration about shabbos is also mentioned later in Tanach (Yeshayahu 58) where we are told וקראת לשבת עונג  (and you shall call the shabbos a pleasure.)

The Rashbam and Tosfos both understand that the later source is the basis of Shmuel’s rule, based on a דרשה- in the place where you call the shabbos (make Kiddush), you shall have pleasure (a meal)- This דרשה  is also brought in the Rif and the Rosh, possibly as part of their גירסא  in the Gemara itself, in which case it is possible that the Rashbam also had it in his text but was not convinced it was a דרשה  as such.

Rashbam suggests an alternative basis for Shmuel’s law, this time a סברא (reason based on logic)- HE argues that seeing as Kiddush was instituted on wine already, it is logical that it was instituted on the more important wine drunk before a meal, and not just on a casually drunk cup of wine.

It follows that Rav and Rabbi Yochanan would not accept either of these sources,  not making such a דרשה  from the passuk, and not accepting the above סברא- the reasons for this of course require further analysis, but we will move on for now.

According to the first reason requiring the Kiddush to be made in a place of עונג, it seems likely that any food that is defined as an עונג  (likely in addition to the actual cup of wine used for the Kiddush) should suffice, but that food that does not involve עונג  would not.

In contrast, according to the second reason, it seems that a meal with halachik importance, namely a bread meal, or at least פת הבאה בכיסנין  might be required.

I do not see a major נפקא מינה  of these two different explanations  regarding the third question about the definition of מקום  (though those who study the daf will see that it is the subject of much discussion in the Gemara and the Rishonim) , and the answer to the fourth question would probably relate to whether the above sources and סברא  also apply to the day-time Kiddush or only to the night-time Kiddush, a topic I hope to be able to go into another time (see discussion later in the perek on 106a regarding the night and day-time  Kiddush themselves.)

Returning to the question of how we define a סעודה  as far as קדוש במקום סעודה  is concerned , the stories brought to illustrate how Rav Huna and Rabbah ruled like Shmuel  could also be pivotal.

In both cases the food eaten is referred to as “מידי” – “something.”

Although a simple reading of this word seems to indicate that eating pretty much anything is sufficient  for the purposes of קדוש במקום סעודה, both Tosfos and the Rosh understand that this refers to פת  or לחם  respectively ( both words for bread), bringing proofs for this assertion from other sugyos, which I wish we had time to analyze here.

This seems to follow the סברא  of the Rashbam but seeing as they both seem to see the דרשה  as the source for the requirement and not the סברא, it seems like they understand that the word עונג  itself implies a proper bread meal וצ”ע.

Either way, it seems that in their food that even Mezonos is not sufficient and a halachik meal with bread has to accompany the Kiddush- it is also possible though that פת הבאה בכיסנין  is considered bread for these purposes too, and even if eaten in smaller quantities than that which would make it a halachik meal subject to המוציא , it suffices for our purposes- a thorough analysis of the sugyas brought as proof for the requirement for bread as well as the סוגיא  of פת הבאה בכיסנין  would be needed to assess this possibility, but this does seem to be common practise. (see Shulchan Aruch O.C. 273/5 and its commentaries for practical rulings on this matter.)

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 93 The Status of Pesach Sheini- A Chag in its own right?

The Mishna on 92b tells us that not only one who was impure or far away on Pesach, as per the biblical imperative (Bamidbar 9/9-13  ) but also one who was  שוגג ( unknowing) or אונס  (prevented from bringing it by reasons beyond his control) may and must bring his קרבן  a month later on פסח שני.

There is a significant debate between רבי  and רבי נתן  as to the nature of this day.

According to רבי, it is considered a  רגל בפני עצמו  (festival in its own right) whereas according to רבי נתן, it is merely תשלומין   (a “make-up” opportunity) for the mitzva missed on Pesach .

It seems that according to רבי, פסח שני  brings with it a default obligation to bring a קרבן פסח  but includes an exemption for those who have already brought one on Pesach itself.

In contrast, according to רבי נתן, there is no default obligation to bring a קרבן פסח  that comes with פסח שני, but just an inherited one from Pesach if it has not already been carried out. (to phrase it in “Lomdishe” terminology, According to רבי, the מחיב  is actually  פסח שני  with פסח  being a פטור  for those who brought their קרבן  already on it. In contrast, according to רבי נתן, the מחייב  is actually Pesach itself, with פסח שני  merely being תשלומין  if it was missed.)

A major נפקא מינה (practical ramification) of this debate regards someone who converted between Pesach and Pesach Sheini, or a child who became Bar/bat-Mitzva during this period.

Should we say that פסח שני  is a festival in its own right, then it follows that they should bring a קרבן  on פסח שני.  On the other hand, should we say that it is merely a תשלומין  for the missed mitzva on Pesach, then seeing as they were never obligated by פסח ראשון, there is no missed mitzva for them to make up!

Another נפקא מינה  relates to when the punishment of כרת  is applicable.

Rebbe holds that one can get כרת  for intentionally missing the קרבן פסח on either date, and the Gemara understands that this is consistent with his view that פסח שני  is its own independent festival.

Though, as Rashi points out, one person cannot get כרת  twice, this does mean that a person who knowingly missed either date and unknowingly missed the other, will be liable to כרת, and that in the above-mentioned case of the convert, knowingly missing פסח שני  will result in כרת. (interestingly enough Rashi mentions the case of the convert and not the case of the child regarding כרת – perhaps this is because he holds like the views in Chazal that אין בית דין של מעלה עונשין עד גיל עשרים , a topic requiring analysis of its own– see Shabbos 89b and my Hebrew analysis on this subject. Yet see Pesachim 91b and תוס’ ד”ה “איש ולא קטן”)

In contrast, רבי נתן  holds that one can only get כרת  for knowingly missing פסח ראשון , the primary מחיב , in which case פסח שני does not exempt him from the כרת  . If one unknowingly missed פסח ראשון  or missed it for legitimate reasons, he never incurred the כרת  in the first place and whereas פסח שני  gives him a chance to make up for the lost mitzva, it does not have  the independent status to create its own כרת  if missed.

A third view in this regard is that of רבי חנניא בן עקביא who agrees with רבי נתן  that פסח שני  is not an independent festival but holds that it is not only a תשלומין  (chance to make up the lost mitzva) but also a תקנתא  (remedy) for the כרת  incurred by knowingly missing פסח ראשון . As such, one would only be liable toכרת  if he knowingly missed both opportunities!

Another possible נ”מ , though not mentioned in the Gemara, could be whether Pesach Sheini is to be treated as a low-level festival in other ways too, perhaps even for those who have brought the קרבן פסח  and for all of us today who cannot do so? This could involve avoiding fasts, eulogies, saying Tachanun etc.

A more complex question that might be dependent on this debate but would also be affected by other considerations  would be whether we will be liable to keep Pesach Sheini if the conditions that obligate us to bring the קרבן פסח  were to return during the period between Pesach and 14 Iyar!   

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There is a general rule of פסק  (halachik rulings) that הלכה כרבי מחברו  (the halacha follows Rebbe in a dispute with any of his colleagues-see Eruvin 46b) -AT first glance, one might think that this would indicate that we should rule like רבי  that פסח שני  is a רגל בפני עצמו.

Yet, in various places (for example Pesachim 27b, Kesubos 21a   ) it is made clear that this rule usually only applies מחבירו  (against one of his colleagues )  and not מחביריו  (against more than one colleague)- In the latter case, the general rule of הלכה כרבים  (follow the majority) still applies.

As such, seeing as bothרבי נתן  and רבי חנניא בן עקביא  hold that Pesach Sheini is NOT a festival in its own right, the view of the two of them should override that of רבי, and we should rule that it is NOT a festival in its own right.

Yet, the Rambam (Korban Pesach 5/7) rules that a convert who converted between the two Pesach’s, as well as a child who reached the age of majority during that period, MUST bring a קרבן פסח  on פסח שני . his ruling regarding כרת  (K.P. 5/2) is also consistent with the view of Rebbe, a point not lost on the Raavad!

Even more in need of analysis is the ruling of the Meiri (Pesachim 93a), who holds that the convert referred to above does NOT bring a קרבן פסח  DESPITE the fact that we hold that פסח שני  is a רגל בפני עצמו  regarding כרת, a ruling that seems to contradict the link made between the two rulings by the Gemara!

The key to understanding the Rambam might lie in a different sugya (B.B 124b) where some views are brought that we follow רבי  even against more than one of his colleagues, or that one is permitted to do so if one agrees with the logic in his arguments?

Perhaps the Rambam follows this view and uses this discretion to rule like Rebbe even against more than one of his colleagues- (this would admittedly go against the consensus of the Rishonim in Bava Basra who rule either like Rava or Rav Papa but so long as it is consistent in the Rambam’s psak in general, something we would need to test, it would not be illegal.)

And perhaps the Meiri goes a step further and uses this discretion to rule like Rebbe regarding treating פסח שני  as an independent חג  on the one hand but not like Rebbe regarding the convert or the child. Understanding that although the Gemara connects the two rulings, the logic is not precisely the same and it is possible to agree with Rebbe’s logic in one place and not in another?

Alternatively , it could be that the main debate is regarding the convert and the child, and there are only two views there, that of רבי and that of רבי נתן  – it is just regarding the connected dispute regarding כרת  where there are two views against Rebbe, and perhaps in a case where the main debate contains only one opposing view, the rule that we follow Rebbe still applies- This explanation might explain the Kesef Mishna (K.P. 5/7) who ironically explains that the Rambam rules like Rebbe specifically because of the rule of הלכה כרבי מחבירו  against רבי נתן, seemingly ignoring the parallel dispute regarding כרת.

In truth, the Raavad raises this difficulty earlier on in the perek (K.P. 5/2) and the Kesef Mishna bring Rabbeinu Avraham son of the Rambam who explains that seeing as we are dealing with a 3-way dispute (whether פסח שני  is its own festival, תשלומין דראשון , or תקנתא דראשון) , Rebbe is weighted against each of his colleagues separately, not together, and the rule of הלכה כרבי מחבירו  still applies.

This explanation initially bothered me because at the end of the day, the Gemara did seem to indicate that the נקודת המחלוקת  (point of contention) as about whether Pesach Sheini is an independent festival or not, and on that, Rebbe is clearly in the majority.

It seems that the way Rabbeinu Avraham understands his father, this is not quite precise, and seeing as  רבי נתן   and רבי חנניה בן עקביא  derive their views from different readings of the verses, each one’s understanding of   אינה רגל בפני עצמו  is so different that they are seen as completely different views- This if course requires further analysis but might shed further light on the rather different  ruling of the Meiri as well.

Much more to investigate, and we would need to test whatever explanation we choose against the Rambam’s other relevant rulings and the other relevant sugyos to see if it holds any water.

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Be that as it may, given that the Rambam has ruled conclusively that פסח שני  is its own independent festival, does this have any significance for us in our day where no-one is able to perform Pesach Rishon?

Simply speaking, it seems not. Even according to Rebbe who holds that Pesach Sheini is an independent festival, this is most likely only for those whose obligation was pushed over to Pesach Sheini, not for those who obligation was fulfilled on Pesach Rishon or who despite not having fulfilled their obligation on Pesach Rishon do not have their obligation pushed over to Pesach Sheini.

Given that we have learnt explicitly )Pesachim 66b)  that only individuals and NOT the entire community, (or even the majority thereof) have their obligation pushed over to Pesach Sheini, this independent festival simply does not apply in a case where the whole Jewish people were unable to bring the Korban Pesach, despite the rule of טומאה הותרה בצבור, for other reasons beyond their control.

Yet there does appear to be a “taste” of this festival for everyone in that many have the custom not to say Tachanun on Pesach Sheini ( interestingly based on the Megilas Taanis which lists it as a day when fasting and saying eulogies are not allowed-whether this should apply after Megilas Taanis ceased to be authoritative  [see Rosh haShana 19b] is a question in its own right) ) and some even eat Matza!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 99-100 Eating on Erev Pesach and שלוש סעודות when Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos- a primer for this year!

Arguably one of the most studied Mishnayos of one of the most studied Talmudic chapters plunges us straight into the grand finale of our Masechta- Perek “Arvei Pesachim” which focusses, among much else, on the Seder night itself.

We are told, in somewhat cryptic language  whose precise wording varies from גירסא  to גירסא  that ערבי פסחים סמוך למנחה לא יאכל אדם עד שתחשך”  ”  (on the eves of Pesachim close to Mincha, a man may not eat until it gets dark.)

The related daf are filled with Amoraim and Rishonim discussing the intricacies of each word in this line, among them:

  1. The use of the plural form ערבי  and פסחים  as opposed to simply ערב פסח
  2. What type of eating is forbidden?
  3. What is it forbidden to eat?
  4. Which Mincha is being referred to?
  5. The meaning of the phrase סמוך למנחה
  6. The meaning of עד שתחשך
  7. The reason for this prohibition
  8. How this compares to ערב פסח  and ערב יום-טוב  in general

What is מוכרח  in the Mishna is that there is a certain time close to Mincha time on Erev Pesach where a new prohibition against eating that has not existed until that time takes force.

Understanding the reason for this prohibition would be helpful in identifying what this prohibition refers to, but we are already subject to some rather tight constraints.

The Gemara itself  (Pesachim 107a)  entertains two possibilities as to the  time and reason for the prohibition:

  1. close to מנחה גדולה  in order not to miss the קרבן פסח.
  2. close to מנחה קטנה  in order not to eat the מצה  in a way defined as אכילה גסה (coarse or gluttonous eating)

It concludes that the prohibition only starts “close to “ מנחה קטנה  and is for the sake of the mitzva of eating matza.

Whereas Tosfos proves from the laws of Yom-Kippur (Yoma 80b where one who eats אכילה גסה on Yom-Kippur is exempt from punishment) that אכילה גסה  is not considered eating at all, Rashi focusses on the positive need to build up a תאוה  (lust) or תיאבון (appetite) for the matza for the sake of הדור מצוה  (beautifying the mitzva.)- The difference in language between Rashi on our daf and on 107b and between the understanding of Rashi and Tosfos is of course worthy of its own analysis.

Having established the time and reason for the prohibition, we now turn to what exactly is forbidden.

This cannot be referring to eating chametz, as we know from the first perek (Pesachim 4b) that this is already forbidden rabbinically from the fifth hour of the day.

As Tosfos points out,It also cannot be referring to מצה  as eating מצה  is forbidden the whole day before Pesach – This point is made extremely sharply in the Yerushalmi (  as quoted by Tosfos) that האוכל מצה בערב פסח כאלו בועל ארוסתו בבית חמיו  – one who eats matza on pesach eve is like one who sleeps with his betrothed one while she is still in his father in law’s house (a comparison which of course needs its own clarification.)

On the other hand, snacks not involving bread are permitted all afternoon, as the Gemara(Pesachim 107b) states clearly- אבל מטבל הוא בנימי תרגימא (he may dip different types of snacks.)

If both chametz and non-chametz forms of bread are already forbidden prior to this time and non-bread snacks are permitted even after this time, then what is permitted until this time and prohibited from this time till dark?

Tosfos concludes that this prohibition has relatively limited scope and refers exclusively to מצה עשירה (rich matza.)

Though also subject to discussion, for the purposes of our discussion we shall assume that this is talking about egg-matza or matza made from fruit juice.

The prohibition of chametz does not apply to it as it is not chametz, and the prohibition of matza does not apply to it as it does not taste like regular מצה which needs to be made from only flour and water (or alternatively because one cannot fulfil the mitzva of matza with it.)

Yet the permission to “dip various type of snacks” even after סמוך למנחה  also does not apply to מצה עשירה  , as it is halachically considered bread and not a snack (another matter requiring further discussion and possibly relevant to the question of  “Mezonos bread.”)

מצה עשירה  is thus permitted before this time but forbidden thereafter.

Another possible less-limited interpretation of this prohibition could be that it applies to all foods that have not been forbidden until now, except for chametz and matza which are already forbidden.

We would then need to distinguish between “eating” which is forbidden and “טובל הוא בנימי תרגימא” which is permitted, focusing not on what is being eating but, on the manner and/or quantity involved.

“dipping” could refer to informal eating as in having a snack from time to time, which is permitted, and “eating” could refer to having a formal meal.

The distinction could also lie in the quantity, with “dipping” referring to small quantities and “eating” referring to larger quantities.

This appears to be the way the Rambam learns this prohibition, as he states  (חמץ ומצה פרק ו הלכה ב)

וכן אסור לאכול ערב הפסח מקודם המנחה  כמעט, כדי שיכנס לאכילת מצה בתאוה, אבל אוכל הוא מעט פירות או ירקות  ולא ימלא כריסו מהן,

“ and similarly, it is forbidden to eat on Pesach eve a little bit before Mincha, in order to come into eating matza with an appetite, but one may eat a little fruit or vegetables but may not fill his stomach with them.”

The Rambam seems to distinguish between eating a lot, which is forbidden, and eating a little, which is permitted, but while he does not state precisely what may not be eaten, specifically gives fruit and vegetables as examples of what one may eat a little of- the omission of meat and fish certainly seems to require explanation, a point we might return to when we get to daf 107, Hashem willing.

The Gemara on our Mishna opens up by trying to explain how the prohibition on Erev Pesach is any different to any ערב שבת   and ערב יום-טוב  when it is also forbidden to eat from Mincha time according to Rabbi Yehuda (ostensibly also for reasons of appetite-building for the festive meal.)

After rejecting a second possible explanation, it concludes like the first suggestion of Rav Huna according to which Rabbi Yehuda indeed holds that the prohibition applies every ערב יום-טוב  and ערב שבת, but the Mishna comes to teach us that even Rabbi Yosi who permits doing so, forbids it on ערב פסח  because of the extra concern for matza.

This could be very significant as the halacha usually follows Rabbi Yossi against Rabbi Yehuda so the fact that he agrees with Rabbi Yehuda on ערב פסח  could have great practical ramifications.

After further discussion, the Gemara concludes that even on Erev Pesach, Rabbi Yosi holds that if a meal was already started, one need not stop it- whether this is referring to when the meal was started before סמוך למחה  or even if it was started illegally after סמוך למנחה , and whether the permission  not to interrupt applies even after dark or just until dark, is the subject of further discussion.

Whereas the above debate can be very practical every year, this year is an example where it is virtually impossible to avoid.

Firstly, Purim fell on erev Shabbos, and the requirement to make a festive meal on Purim day clashes with the possible prohibition of eating a lot on ערב שבת, at least according to Rabbi Yehuda.

Even if we assume based on the conclusion of the Gemara and the general rule of psak that we do not follow Rabbi Yehuda on ערב שבת  , and that this means that there is no limitation whatsoever of eating on ערב שבת  (something which a further study of the issue will show is not so straightforward), there is no escaping this issue on erev Pesach, which this year falls on Shabbos!

The usual obligation to eat 3 meals containing halachik bread clashes with the prohibition of eating matza the whole day, chametz from the fifth hour, and even מצה עשירה  from סמוך למנחה!

Assuming that one can fulfil the obligation to eat bread on Shabbos with מצה עשירה , the simplest solution would be to start one’s second shabbos meal  very early (possibly straight after davening ותיקין  ) and use bread, making sure to finish by the beginning of the 5’th hour.

One could then have the third meal before סמוך למנחה  using מצה עשירה.

In practise, the practise of some Ashkenazim not to eat מצה עשירה  on Pesach at all or even on erev pesach gets in the way of this solution and they are forced to  fulfill the third meal with fruits and vegetables, as permitted in general by certain authorities, or to have both the second and third meal with real bread before the beginning of the fifth hour, a rather tricky but not impossible proposition which also compromises on the custom to have סעודה שלישית after מנחה גדולה .

For practical halacha, see O.C. 444 and the discussions in the poskim around it.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 90-92 The אונן, Korban Pesach, and mourning laws on Purim

The Mishna at the bottom of daf 90b lists a number of people who despite currently being unfit to eat the קרבן פסח may still be included in a group that the קרבן  is slaughtered for, seeing as they will be fit to eat it in the evening.

This list includes, amongst others, one who is an אונן and a prisoner who has been promised that he will be freed by evening.

Although they may be included in a group, the קרבן  may not be slaughtered for them alone, in case they do not become fit to eat it and the entire קרבן  becomes invalid.

Although the term אונן  is generally used to refer to someone who has lost a relative and still has not buried him, the usage of this term does seem to vary from place to place, and the reference to one over these 3 daf presents an opportunity to begin clarifying the scope, status, and laws of an אונן  as opposed to an אבל  and a regular person.

The term אונן/אנינות  is found in the Chumash itself in  the ודוי מעשרות, the declaration made in the third and sixth year before Pesach verifying that one has separated all his tithes and treated them according to halacha.

One of the phrases in this declaration is “לא אכלתי באוני ממנה” (I never ate from it while I was in my אנינות  –  Devarim 26/14.)

The implication is that it is forbidden to eat one’s Maaser Sheini while one is an אונן (the other tithes are not eaten by the original owner but by the Levi ,the poor, or the Kohain)

What precisely “באוני”  means is not evident from the פסוק,but the Ibn Ezra sees it as synonymous with “אבלי” (my mourning) and connects it to the naming of Binyamin as “בן אוני” (Bereishis 35/18.) and “לחם אונים “ (Hoshea 9/4).

Although the actual word is not used, reference to the day one lost a relative can also be found regarding sacrifices, where Aharon explains  that the reason he did not eat from the inaugural sacrifices we because he had lost his 2 sons that day (Vayikra 10/19)

The Targum Yonatan explains that Aharon made a “kal vachomer” argument to Moshe- If an אונן  is not permitted to eat מעשר שני, how much more so a קרבן חטאת  which has a much greater sanctity.

By making this link, the Targum seems to have made it clear that Aharon had the same status of the אונן  mentioned regarding מעשר שני and that this phrase refers to the day of death, leading us to conclude that אנינות דאורייתא  refers to the day of death, at least prior to the burial, and possibly also afterwards.

In truth, the Gemara (Zevachim 100b) brings a Beraisa which records a debate between Rebbe and Chachamim as to how long אנינות  continues, at least on a rabbinical level/

Rebbe is of the view that it is only until the burial whereas the Chachamim hold that it is the entire day.

The Gemara discusses which day they are talking about, whether it is the day of death or the day of burial, in a case where the two do not coincide.

It argues that it is impossible that Rebbe holds that אנינות  on the day of death ends after the burial even before the day is over, seeing as everyone agrees that the entire day of death is subject to the laws of אנינות  based on the passuk “ואחריתה כיום מר”  (after it is like a bitter day-  Amos 8/10   ) and everyone also holds that the night after the day of death is rabbinically subject to the laws of אנינות.

רב ששית  It then suggests that the dispute is referring to the day of burial and a long discussion ensues.

The Gemara concludes that according to Rebbe, the whole of the day of death is subject to אנינות דאורייתא and the night after, as well as the day and night after burial are subject to אנינות דרבנן.

Returning to our sugya, Rashi explains that the אונן  mentioned in our Mishna who may be included in the group for a קרבן פסח seeing as he will be fit to eat it as night, is referring to one who has not yet buried his death, bringing support from the Gemara in Zevachim.

The Gemara (Pesachim 92b) explains that seeing as אנינות at night (even on the day of death) is only דרבנן, Chazal did not apply their own restrictions in a way that would cause the אונן to miss out on a מצות עשה  whose neglect incurs the penalty of כרת.

In contrast, other קרבנות  may not be eaten at night during אנינות דרבנן as Chazal upheld their restrictions even in cases where the אונן  would miss out on a regular מצות עשה , so long as its neglect  does not incur the penalty of כרת .

This requires further explanation- After all, the Gemara (Moed Katan 14b)  rules that אבלות  does not apply on Chol haMoed seeing as the עשה דרבים  (public positive mitzva) of שמחת יום טוב  pushes aside the עשה דיחיד  of אבלות.

The usage of the term עשה indicates that this is referring to אבלות דאורייתא, in other words, אנינות on the first day.

If a public positive mitzva of rejoicing on chol hamoed pushes aside אבילות דאורייתא , why shouldn’t the mitzva of eating any קרבן, particularly public ones, push aside אנינות דרבנן?

Furthermore, surely the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  should allow the mitzva of eating a korban to push aside even a biblical prohibition of אנינות ?

The solution to the later question seems rather straight-forward:

When one action consists of 2 independent results, one a mitzva and one an aveira, the above rule might tell us that the action is defined as a mitzva and not an aveira.

However in the case of the prohibition of eating מעשר שני  or קדשים  during אנינות, the very essence of the prohibition forbids performing the עשה.

From the fact that the Torah forbids eating קדשים    during אנינות , it is clear that the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  cannot apply here anymore than it would apply to any of the other prohibitions regarding eating them, such as doing so when impure.

It could  follow that when Chazal extend such prohibitions, they do so under the same parameters as the original biblical prohibition and unless they specifically say otherwise, the fact that their decree is stopping the fulfillment of an עשה דאורייתא  is irrelevant- that is the essence of the גזירה  , just like it is with גזירה דרבה  which stops us from fulfilling the מצוות עשה  of shofar and lulav and the מצוה מדברי סופרים  of קריאת המגילה  on shabbos, by way of Chazal’s authority to require one to be שב ואל תעשה  (passive) rather than perform a מצוה עשה under circumstances that concern them.

In contrast, when it comes to the laws of אבילות other than those relating to מעשר שני  and קדשים, there is no specific עשה  or גזירה דרבנן  to mourn on Yom-Tov.

The requirement is to mourn during the specified mourning period, and it conflicts with another requirement to rejoice on the festivals – as such, the public requirement to rejoice on the festivals overrides the private requirement to mourn.

Similarly, there is no specific prohibition to eat the קרבן פסח  while one is an אונן- the prohibition only follows from the general prohibition of eating קדשים, and whereas on the day of death when this prohibition is דאורייתא , the fact that eating it is an עשה שיש בו כרת  might not be sufficient to override the prohibition, it is enough for Chazal to choose not to extend this prohibition if it will stop one performing such a serious mitzva.

We should also note that the 2 sources in the Torah for the laws of אנינות  are limited not only to the day of death, but also to a prohibition against eating מעשר שני  and קדשים.

A different area of the laws of אנינות  relates to exemption from performing מצות, but other than not wearing Tefillin which might be a law of mourning itself, this seems to be dependant on whether one is in fact busy with the burial arrangements, and the main sugya on this can be found at the beginning of the third chapter of Brachos (18a.)

A third area relates to the various laws practiced as an expression of mourning, at least on the day of death. These  might be an extension of the prohibition of eating מעשר שני  or קדשים  , either on a  biblical or rabbinical level, but might also be completely non-related, on either level.

This could have major ramifications for whether the law of אבלות  , particularly on the day of death, apply on Purim or not.

If we follow the ruling of the Rambam )Aveil 1/1) who holds that the requirement to keep certain signs of mourning on the day of death is indeed part of the law of אנינות דאורייתא, then it is unlikely that מצוה מדברי סופרים such as rejoicing on Purim, will override this .

On the other hand, if we follow other Rishonim who hold that the laws of aveilus are only rabbinical in status, it is more likely that the higher status of Simchas Purim as a מצוה מדי סופרים  AND a מצוה דרבים  will override them.

The resolution of this question is way beyond the scope of this post, but it is indeed a matter of debate between the Mechaber and the Rema in Orach Chaim whether public mourning applies on Purim or not! (O.C. 696/4 but compare Y.D. 401/7 where the Mechaber seems to agree with the Rema that it does not.)- Perhaps the law of הלכה כדברי המיקל בערוב  should apply?!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 87-88 Hashem’s love for Am yisroel, and sexual imagery in Tanach and Chazal

A Special post in loving memory of my father zt’l, containing some of his teachings based on Navi and Chazal.

One of the parts of Tanach my father zt’l loved teaching was the early chapters of  Sefer Hoshea, and the teachings of Chazal on it, which are found on these daf.

While reading these, one is struck by the unusual nature of Hoshea’s first prophetic mission.

In short, Hashem tells Hoshea to marry a prostitute and have “children of prostitution” with her.

They have 2 sons and a daughter together, and Hashem tells Hoshea to call them names which denote his anger with the people of Israel.

Suddenly, the second chapter opens with a short positive message of how numerous the people of Israel will be and how Hashem will accept them back, before going back to predictions of destruction.

Whereas this is not the first example of a valid prophecy telling a Navi to do something that is usually forbidden (the עקידה  being the most famous example,) this is certainly bizarre enough to beg some explanation.

Chazal pick up on this and fill in the background- Hashem told Hoshea how the people had sinned.

Rather than begging for mercy for them, Hoshea suggests that Hashem replace them with a different nation.

Hashem then tells Hoshea to marry and prostitute and have children with her.

He then tells him to leave her and her children.  Hoshea protests that he cannot just leave his wife and children, and Hashem reveals the Mussar in the allegory.

Hoshea wouldn’t abandon his wife and kids despite their  sinful  and doubtful status, yet he expected Hashem to abandon his chosen people who had a long and proven unique relationship with him?!

Although Hoshea’s initial response might seem harsh and out of place for a leading Navi, it is not the only  case we find of such an attitude.

Chazal (Shabbos 89b ) tells us how in the future, Hashem will approach Avraham Avinu and tell him that his children have sinned, and he will reply that Hashem should destroy them. He then approaches Yaakov who has the same reaction. Only Yitzchak asks Hashem to spare them.

One cannot but notice the irony by which Avraham, known as the man of kindness who begs for mercy for the worst of sinners, seemingly gives up on his descendants, whereas Yitzchak, known as the man of absolute justice who is hardly recorded in the text as begging for mercy for anyone, is the one who comes to the rescue.

Be that as it may, it seems that there is a certain threshold beyond which even the most dedicated of our leaders lose their patience with us and stop even attempting to save us from ourselves.

As my father zt’l would often point out, this happened eventually to Eliyahu haNavi as well, who in his encounter with Hashem on Chorev spoke extremely negatively and dismissively of the Jewish people  (Melachim 19), and Hashem’s reaction was to inform him that his time as leader was over and he needed to anoint his student Elisha in his place-  A leader who gives up on his people and can no longer see the good in him gives up his right to lead his flock.

Yeshayahu  also calls the people a “nation of impure lips” and is punished by being burnt on his lips. (Yeshayahu 6)

At a certain point, after  a lifetime of fighting for his people, even Moshe Rabbeinu lost his temper and hit the rock, after which he lost the chance to lead the people into Eretz-Yisrael (Bamidbar 20/10.)

However, unlike Avraham, Eliyahu, and Moshe who reached this stage at the end of a long career of serving the people, Hoshea  and Yeshayahu display this attitude at the beginning of their prophetic careers, and rather than depriving them of their planned prophetic future, Hashem chooses to correct their attitude and give them another chance, by way of a very traumatic experience which puts their thinking right.

מעשה אבות סימן לבנים  (the actions/events of the fathers are a sign for the children-[see Tanchuma Lech Lecha 9]) and this error and subsequent correction was not limited to the founding fathers and the prophets, but can be found in Chazal themselves as well, and up to this very day.

The Gemara (Pesachim 88a) tells how when the Amora עולא came to the Babylonian center of פומבדיתא  , he was given a basket of the dates that Bavel was famous for.

When told how cheap they were, he expressed his amazement at how despite the easy availability of such incredible sustenance, the Jews of Babylon did not study Torah at night.

Later, after eating them, he got a stomach-ache.

After that, he expressed his astonishment at how despite the availability of such unhealthy food (סמא דמותא,)  the Babylonians still studied Torah at night!

We discussed in the beginning of the Masechta (see my post on Pesachim  3 ) how the Torah goes out of its way to use לשון נקיה  (clean language.)

In fact, the Rambam  (Moreh 3/8)  takes this even further and in a controversial statement highly disputed by the Ramban (Shmos 30/13), he explains that the reason why the Hebrew language is called לשון הקודש  is because among other degrading words, it has no explicit nouns for the sexual organs, nor verbs for the sexual act, using only euphemisms.

Yet any Yeshiva kid should be able to tell you that both the Tanach and Chazal are full of sensual imagery, and on our daf, multiples examples of this can be found from Shir haShirim, Hoshea, and in Chazal’s comments on them.

It is interesting to note that whereas Chazal seem to interpret the explicit imagery in Shir haShirim completely allegorically, they  significantly enhance the sexual meaning of the episode in Hoshea, painting a rather graphic picture of the career of the prostitute Hoshea marries.

It seems rather clear from this, consistent with the thesis we developed in our earlier quoted post, that despite the mandate to attempt to use euphemistic language where it is possible to do so without blurring the message, when the clearest way of teaching a message is by use of explicit imagery, the Torah and Chazal do not hold back.

The above attempts to follow the approach of Rambam- of course, it is possible, more along the lines of Ramban,  that the Torah and Chazal simply see nothing “unholy” about the use of sexual imagery in the first place, and use it rather freely, in some cases allegorically, and in some rather literally.  (see though Mishna Sanhedrin 8/1 where the term “clean language” seems to be used in this context as well as the words of the above-quoted Ramban himself who seems to admit this. It is also possible that the entire incident with Hoshea is also to be understood allegorically despite how graphically Chazal describe the details. )

Much to talk about this subject, but it will take a tour of shas to test either thesis, so l have attempted to at least start laying the foundations from our daf and continue building as we go.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 83-84 בסיס לדבר האסור בנותר and עשה דוחה לא תעשה

I would like to have a brief look at some general principles in halacha which are referenced over these two dapim.

One of them is  a principle we generally see in the laws of מוקצה  on shabbos, but which has a surprising application in the laws of the קרבן פסח, possibly opening the door to a broader application of this rule.

The Mishna on daf 83a tells us that the bones, sinews, and נוצר  (leftover meat) of the קרבן פסח  need to be burnt on the 16 of Nissan, the first day of Chol Hamoed, unless the 16’th falls on Shabbos in which case they are burnt on the 17, seeing as we do not burn קדשים  on Yom-Tov or Shabbos.

The Gemara on this Mishna opens by quoting a ruling of רב מרי בר אבוה  in the name of רבי יצחק .

It is forbidden to leave over the meat of the קרבן פסח (or other sacrifices)  until morning, a prohibition known as נותר.

If one transgresses and does so, one needs to burn it on the 16 Nissan, as per the above Mishna.

However this only applies to the meat, not the leftover bones, which usually do not usually require burning.

The חדוש  of רבי יצחק is that if the bones supported leftover meat, they are also forbidden as נותר  and need to be burnt.

The example Rashi gives, based on the continuation of the Gemara, is bones containing marrow.

Seeing as the bones contain or support the marrow which is considered edible meat and subject to the laws of נותר, the bones are considered a בסיס לדבר האסור  (“base for something forbidden”) and also forbidden as נותר  and subject to burning!

It is interesting to analyze whether this law is an extension of the same principle in the laws of shabbos, where a normally non-Muktza item that forms the base or support for a muktza item takes on the forbidden muktza status of the muktza item it is supporting.  (See Shabbos  47a)

Alternatively, it could be that this a different rule sharing only the name, with different mechanics and parameters.

After all, while this rule is generally accepted in hilchos shabbos, the Gemara makes various attempts to prove or disprove it in our context regarding the קרבן פסח but makes no attempt to bring the fact that it applies by הלכות שבת as a support for רבי יצחק.

Furthermore, when it comes to הלכות שבת, the laws of בסיס לדבר האסור  apply also to an item on top of which muktza is placed.

If this was simply an extension of that law, why would Rashi (and the Gemara) bring an example from bones containing marrow- surely bones without marrow but which still have meat connected to them should also have this status? (see Rabbeinu Chananel who indeed explains the Gemara as discussing bones with meat on them!)

If this is indeed an extension of this principle’s application in the laws of shabbos, we also need to investigate whether this is a general rule which extends to other areas of halacha as well.

For example, usually the bones of a non-kosher animal or נבילה being considered inedible are not treated with the same stringency as the meat itself when it comes to the laws of כשרות and might even combine with the kosher meat in  mixture to nullify the non-kosher meat בשישים  (in sixty times the amount-see Y.D. 99/1)

Should this principle be extended to all areas of halacha by default, perhaps when bones contain marrow, (or according to Rabbeinu Chananel if meat is still attached to them) they should be treated with the same stringency as the forbidden meat itself?

In order to answer these questions sufficiently, it is necessary to understand the source, whether פסוקים , מסורת, or סברא   (logic/lomdus) for this rule both regarding shabbos and קדשים and assess whether the source is the same in both cases and whether it also applies to other cases or not.

As muktza is a דין דרבנן  and נותר  is a דין דאורייתא (though the rule of עצמות ששמשו נותר  which designates it as a בסיס  is likely דרבנן ), the first two might be problematic but a common סברא, so long as not contradicted by any counter-examples in the primary sources, might do the trick.

One possible conceptualization of this rule could be that when an item of neutral status supports an item of forbidden status, it loses its independent identity and takes on the nature of the forbidden item it supports, at least on a rabbinical level.

An analogy could be one who supports people’s sinful actions, מסייעין ידי עובדי עבירה, who to a certain extent, and on a rabbinical level only, are also considered sinners. Yet they do not take on the same status as the sinner himself, but only the status of one who transgresses the rabbinical prohibition of assisting sinners.

Yet in both our cases, the item supporting the forbidden item does not just become forbidden but takes on the status of the forbidden item.

This is not necessarily a contradiction as it is possible that a person, being a complex being with his own free choice and דעת  while partly liable for other people’s sins that he enables, does not completely lose his independent status either.

In contrast, an inanimate object which lacks such דעת, has a far weaker level of independence, which is easily completely overridden  by a forbidden object it supports.

 If this is indeed the lomdus, it would not surprise us if this principle applies in other areas of halacha.

However, it is also possible that this principle is only applied by Chazal is certain specific cases and that in other cases, even if the logical principle they based this rule on applies conceptually, they chose for other reasons not to apply it there.

Much more to go into it, but as usual, just raising issues!

Another well known principle referred to at the bottom of 83b and beginning of 84a is the rule of  עשה דוחה לא תעשה  – a positive mitzva pushes aside a negative mitzva. (see my recent post on Pesachim  58-59  )

In our case, we learnt in the Mishna that one may not burn נותר  on Yom Tov and waits till chol hamoed to do so.

The Gemara asks why the mitzva of burning the נותר  does not push aside the prohibition of doing melacha on Yom-Tov based on this principle.

Various answers are given, but the final word goes to Rav Ashi, who explains that in addition to the prohibition of performing melacha on Yom-Tov, there is also a positive mitzva to rest on Yom-Tov, based on it being described as a שבתון (day of rest.)

Similar to shabbos, when one does melacha on Yom-Tov, one not only transgresses a negative commandment but also the positive command of resting.

Although a positive command pushes aside a negative command, it does not push aside a negative command and a positive command.

As such, the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  can never apply to melacha on Yom-Tov, just as it cannot apply on shabbos.

A broader study of the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  , particularly the long sugya in Yevamos, will reveal that one of the potential sources for this rule is the fact that a ברית מילה can be performed on shabbos- despite the fact that performing melacha on Shabbos involves both a positive and negative mitzva.

If this is the case, how does Rav Ashi say with such confidence that an עשה  cannot push aside both a לא תעשה  AND  an עשה ?

Food for thought for next time we encounter this rule!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.