Arvei Pesachim #10: 103b - 104a

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion



SHIUR #10: 103b - 104a


by Rav Yair Kahn



Tosafot s.v. Rav Ashi


We learned previously that if one is eating a meal on Friday afternoon at the point that Shabbat begins, he should cover the table with a cloth and recite kiddush (see daf 100a). If as part of the meal one was drinking wine, is it necessary to repeat "borei pri ha-gafen" as part of the kiddush, or can he rely on the berakha recited before Shabbat during the meal. The Talmud Yerushalmi (quoted by Tosafot) addresses this question and concludes that a new berakha is unnecessary. (The Yerushalmi is quoted in greater detail in Tosafot s.v. Chutz 104b.)


At first glance, this halakha seems superfluous. After all, "borei pri ha-gafen," which is classified as a birkat ha-nehenin, should follow the standard rules relating to this category. Accordingly, if there is no "hefsek," repeating the berakha unnecessarily is tantamount to an "unnecessary berakha," a "berakha le-vatala," which is prohibited. Nevertheless, Tosafot feel that it is necessary to cite the Yerushalmi to prove unequivocally that the berakha is not recited if there is no "hefsek." What possible position was Tosafot trying to negate?

Apparently, Tosafot entertained the possibility that, although "borei pri ha-gafen" is not required as a "birkat ha-nehenin," it should nevertheless be recited within the context of kiddush as a "kos shel berakha." This possibility is based on the dual nature of "borei pri ha-gafen." Aside from being a standard "birkat ha-nehenin," permitting one to drink wine, it functions, when recited over a "kos shel berakha," as a "birkat ha-shir". In other words, there are certain occasions when one is required to praise Hashem (shir) in the form of a berakha (e.g. Kiddush on Friday night); and, in order to give importance to the berakha, it is made over a cup of wine. Sometimes, however, the berakha over the wine itself is part of the the "shir." A case in point, is "kiddusha rabba" (kiddush on the day of Shabbat or Yom Tov), where the shir in its entirety is comprised only of this berakha. (This will be discussed later on 106a.)

The gemara in Eiruvin (40b) tries to prove that the berakha "she-hecheyanu" does not require a "kos shel berakha" from the fact that "she-hecheyanu" is recited on Yom Kippur, when a "kos shel berakha" is impossible. The gemara asks: Why is a "kos shel berakha" impossible on Yom Kippur, since even on a fast day one can recite the berakha over the wine and then set the wine aside. The simple explanation of this suggestion, is that one would recite only the "she-hecheyanu" over the wine, and then put the wine aside." Rashi (op.cit. s.v. Leitvei) however, explains the gemara as suggesting that one recite both "she-hecheyanu" and "borei pri ha-gafen," and nevertheless not drink the wine. It is clear, that in this case the "borei pri ha-gafen" is not functioning as a "birkat ha-nehenin" (since one does not drink),but is nonetheless not considered a "berakha levatala." This is only possible if we adopt the position that within the context of a "kos shel berakha," "borei pri ha-gafen" is employed as a "birkat ha-shir." (See Shiurim Le-zekher Abba Mari vol. 2 pp. 148.)

Moreover, there are Rishonim who rule that each of the 4 cups of the seder require a "borei pri ha-gafen," even though the haggada is not considered a "hefsek." Within the laws of "birkot ha-nehenin" there is no justification for this repetition. However, since each cup is an independent "kos shel berakha," there is a separate obligation to recite "shira" with respect to each one of the cups. Therefore, "borei pri ha-gafen" can be repeated as a "birkat ha-shir" regarding each cup independently. (This will discussed in greater detail on 110a.)

Consequently, Tosafot found it necessary to demonstrate that even within the context of a "kos shel berakha," "borei pri ha-gafen" is not recited if it does not functions as a "birkat ha-nehenin." Tosafot defend their position based on the Yerushalmi mentioned above (if there is no hefsek, borei pri ha-gafen is omitted from kiddush). Likewise, Tosafot claim that this is the opinion of Rav Ashi, who refused to recite "borei pri ha-gafen" on the "kos shel berakha" of "birkat ha-mazon" since he maintained that "birkat ha-mazon" does not constitute a "hefsek" regarding wine. With respect to the 4 cups of the seder night, Tosafot are forced to conclude that the haggada IS considered a "hefsek," thereby generating the need for a separate berakha on each cup.


Me-ein Chatima

A "berakha aruka" (long berakha) has three parts: it begins with "barukh" (PETICHA); is followed by the BODY of the berakha, and then ends with "barukh" (CHATIMA - the conclusion of the berakha, see 104b). Usually, the "peticha" and the "chatima" are similar in theme. However, the gemara deals with a case in which there is a thematic discrepancy between the two. In such a case, there is an argument whether the body of the berakha concludes on a note reminiscent of the "peticha," or one which parallels the "chatima."

The rationale for demanding an end which resembles the "chatima," is that the conclusion should inherently relate to the body of the berakha itself, and not be an artificial addition. The opinion that the body ends with a reference to the "peticha," is apparently less concerned with the relationship of the conclusion to the body of the berakha. Instead, the concern focuses on the inner unity of the body of the berakha itself. Since a "berakha aruka" is complex and contains a thematic digression, it is necessary to return and summarize the theme expressed at the onset.

This argument may reflect two variant opinions regarding the major focus of a "berakha aruka." Is the "chatima" the primary element of the berakha, with the "peticha" required merely as a point of demarcation to signal the beginning of the berakha, or is the "peticha" the dominant component, and the "chatima" employed as a closing note. (This question will be discussed in next week's shiur.)

If the body of the berakha must end on a note similar to the "chatima," then it is reasonable to view the "chatima" as an integral part of the berakha. However, if one must refer back to the opening, then it is specifically the "peticha" which sets the tone, while the "chatima" is an auxiliary addition.

The halakhic ruling is that the body of the berakha should end on the note of the "chatima." However, it should be mentioned that the Ran understands that everyone agrees that the end should be similar to the "peticha." The argument is whether there is a necessity to refer to the "chatima" AS WELL. According to the Ran, the halakhic ruling demands a reference to both the "peticha" as well as the "chatima." In other words, there is concern both for the thematic unity of the berakha, as well an integral connection with the "chatima." According to this, perhaps both the "peticha" and "chatima" are basic components of a berakha aruka.



Tosafot s.v. Ba-i


The gemara explains that the phrase "bein yom ha-shvi'i le-sheshet yemai ha-ma'aseh" (which refers to the distinction between Shabbat and the six work days) is not intrinsic to havdala, but was added for a technical reason; the body of a berakha should end on the same note as the "chatima." This prompted R. Ephraim to question the accuracy of mentioning this phrase when Yom Tov coincides with Motzaei Shabbat. In this case, the "chatima" is "ha-mavdil bein kodesh le-kodesh," and the parallel phrase for the end of the body of the berakha is "bein kedushat shabbat le-kedushat yom tov hivdalta." Why do we add the phrase referring to the distinction between Shabbat and the six work days? Some rishonim in fact deleted this phrase in this specific case (see Ritva and Ran).


R. Tam responds that in this unique case, Chazal were interested in creating a special havdala by reaching the maximum number of "havdalot" seven. Therefore, the phrase was intentionally inserted. The Ran (based on his opinion quoted above) suggests that the phrase was added in order to conclude the body of the berakha on the same note as both the "peticha" as well as the "chatima." While the distinction between Shabbat and Yom Tov parallels the "chatima," the distinction between Shabbat and the six days of work is similar to the "peticha" of havdala.


Both of these attempts to answer the question of R. Ephraim, only solve the specific havdala of Motzaei Shabbat which coincides with Yom Tov. However, there is an additional case in which we encounter the same difficulty. The havdala that we recite in tefilla also includes this phrase, although it is not at all similar to the "chatima" in this case ("chonen ha-da'at"). Again, the Ran suggests that basically the phrase should be deleted.


We can suggest a solution which would solve our minhag which inserts this phrase in the havdala of "bein kodesh le-kodesh" as well as the havdala in tefilla. True, the phrase was initially introduced to parallel the "chatima." However, once introduced, it became integrated into the text of the havdala. Therefore, even in cases where the "chatima" is not at all similar, the phrase referring to the distinction between Shabbat and the six work days is nonetheless not omitted.



Sources for next week:

1. 104b "Ulah ... hoda'a hee (105a)."

2. 104b Tosafot s.v. Chutz, Ha-tov 105a Tosafot s.v. Kashya.



1. What is the precise text of Ulah's havdala according to Rashi? Why would the gemara think that such a berakha should have a chatima?

2. What takes the place of the peticha in a berakha ha-semukha le-chaverta according to Rashi? According to Tosafot?

3. Why is there no chatima in the berakha "ha-tov ve-hameitiv" in birkat ha-mazon?






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