Arvei Pesachim #11: 104b - 105a

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion


SHIUR #11: 104b - 105a


Pote'ach be-Barukh ve-Chotem be-Barukh


Aside from birkot ha-nehenin and birkot ha-mitzvot, berakhot should be in the form which has both a "peticha" (an introduction that begins with "barukh") and a "chatima" (a conclusion that begins with "barukh"). This is known as a "berakha aruka" (a long berakha). The gemara argues that havdala should fall into this category, and therefore questions Ula's version, which begins with barukh, but lacks a "chatima."


Rashi and the Rashbam, understand that Ula omits most of the accepted havdala text and includes only the core of the havdala - "barukh ... ha-mavdil bein kodesh le-chol." Nevertheless, the gemara initially maintains that there should be both a peticha and a chatima, despite the brevity of the berakha. Tosafot (105a s.v. Kashya) argue that there is no reason to assume that a chatima is necessary for such a short berakha, and therefore argues against Rashi's understanding of the text of Ula's havdala


Apparently, Tosafot maintain that the necessity of a peticha as well as a chatima is not a fundamental requirement of berakhot. The basic berakha is the short form, similar to the standard birkot ha-nehenin and birkot ha-mitzvot. The long form is necessary only to solve certain stylistic problems. For instance, if the berakha is long, a chatima may be required in order that "barukh" should relate to the entire berakha. (In this case, one might argue that the peticha, which includes shem and malkhut, is primary, while the chatima plays an auxiliary role.)


However, as mentioned above, both Rashi and the Rashbam maintain that Ula's havdala is a short berakha, and nevertheless, the gemara initially assumes that a chatima should be required. Perhaps, according to them, the LONG form is the basic structure of berakhot, with birkot ha-nehenin and birkot ha-mitzva being exceptions. Therefore, until establishing that Ula's havdala is an exceptional case as well, the gemara argues that a chatima is required. (According to this approach, it seems that the chatima plays a more central role, and may be considered an organic part of the berakha that is dispensed with only under exceptional circumstances.)


[It is interesting to note that Rashi in Ketuvot (8a, s.v. Samei'ach) is troubled that certain of the "sheva berakhot" are in the short form. Although they are each considered a "berakha ha-semukha le-chaverta" (see next section) and do NOT require a separate peticha, nonetheless, they should have a chatima. Tosafot in our sugya (s.v. Chutz) argue that short berakhot do not require an independent chatima. This argument between Rashi and Tosafot, may parallel their respective interpretations of Ula.]



Berakha ha-Semukha le-Chaverta


Birkat ha-mazon provides a classic example of berakha ha-semukha le-chaverta (consecutive berakhot). According to Rashi (s.v. Ve-yesh) the middle berakhot ("al ha-aretz" and "bonei Yerushalayim") do not require a peticha because the BEGINNING of the first berakha ("ha-zan") functions as a general peticha for ALL the berakhot which follow. Tosafot (s.v. Chutz) argue that the requirement of peticha is covered by the END (the chatima) of the preceding berakha. For example, "ha-zan et ha-kol" (the chatima of the first berakha) is the peticha of birkat ha-aretz (the second berakha), while "al ha-aretz ve-al ha-mazon" (the chatima of the second) is the peticha for birkat Yerushalayim (the third).


Perhaps Rashi, who maintains that the berakha aruka model is the fundamental form of berakhot, is concerned that a berakha ha-semukha be considered a bona fide berakha aruka. Therefore, he searches for a berakha that could serve as an actual peticha. The peticha of birkat ha-mazon (or any organic set of berakhot) functions as a general peticha for the entire set of berakhot which follow. Hence, each of the middle berakhot consist of both a chatima as well as a peticha.


Tosafot, on the other hand, argue that berakha aruka is not the fundamental form of berakhot. Therefore, they maintain that a peticha is needed only to fulfill a technical formal requirement. Consequently, they are able to replace the peticha with the chatima of the preceding berakha, although this berakha is not intrinsically related to the one that follows, and cannot function as an organic peticha of the second berakha. Nevertheless, since technically the berakha opened with "barukh," the requirement of peticha is achieved.


Furthermore, Tosafot apparently explain this technical requirement of peticha based on the need to have a clear indication of the starting point of the berakha. Accordingly, in the case of a berakha ha-smukha le chaverta, the need for a peticha is alleviated, since it is clear that the berakha does not begin until the completion (chatima) of the previous berakha.


Based on this approach, we can appreciate Tosafot's position (as opposed to Rashi) that a berakha ketzara (which begins with barukh and has no chatima) can never be employed to replace the peticha for a berakha ha-semukha. Tosafot argue that the starting point of the second berakha would remain blurred, since the combination of the two berakhot could be misconstrued as one long berakha aruka, with the first berakha serving as the peticha. This supports our thesis that, according to Tosafot, the chatima is not functioning as an organic peticha, but rather it creates a situation whereby a peticha is unnecessary. Moreover, Tosafot claim that a peticha is not necessary following biblical verses. Therefore, the berakha recited at the end of "hallel" begins without a peticha. The reason offered by Tosafot is that, in this case, it is obvious where the "hallel" ends and the berakha begins. Again, we find that Tosafot do not consider the peticha as a basic component of berakhot.





Ha Nami Hoda'a Hi


If we maintain the position that the form of berakha aruka is not basic to berakhot, then we have no trouble appreciating Ula's response. Just as there is no need for a chatima when the berakha is short, the same holds true regarding a longer berakha which has no thematic digression. After all, the chatima is needed only to relate to all the various elements within a complex berakha. However, when the berakha is thematically simple, the peticha alone sufficiently relates to the berakha in its entirety.


Similarly, "ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv" recited at the end of birkat ha-mazon, has a peticha (since it is not an organic part of birkat ha-mazon - see Berakhot 46a) but lacks a chatima. Although it is a relatively verbose berakha, it is thematically uniform.


However, Ula's opinion is rejected and a chatima is required for havdala. Apparently, only a berakha which is verbally brief can forgo a chatima. However, a wordy berakha, although thematically unified, requires a chatima. Why then doesn't "ha-tov ve-ha-meitiv" require a chatima?


We can solve this problem by distinguishing between thematic unity and repetition. Although there are no thematic digressions in havdala, its length is not due to repetition, but rather to an expansion of the havdala concept. In this case, as opposed to Ula, the halakha demands a chatima. In contrast, the verbosity of "ha-tov ve-hameitiv" is due to repetition. The berakha begins with numerous references to Hashem, which is followed by the praise repeated in triplicate. Repetition, (as opposed to expansion) according to the halakha, is considered a short berakha, which does not demand a chatima. (See Tosafot s.v. Ha-tov.)


The alternate approach, which views berakha aruka as the fundamental form of berakhot, must explain why this model is not used regarding berakhot which are short. Perhaps we can argue that, since the entire berakha consists of only one statement, the peticha serves as the chatima as well (see R. Tam in Tosafot 104b s.v. Ha-tov).


However, it is more reasonable, that even according to this approa, there is no formal requirement for both a peticha AND chatima. Rather, the entire text of the berakha should be in the form of berakha. Whenever the berakha includes sentences that are not formed as berakhot, we necessitate a peticha and chatima in order to create a framework which envelopes the entire berakha, and forms an organic unit of berakha which includes the middle sentences. However, when the entire berakha is comprised of only one statement which is in the form of berakha, then the gemara concludes (as opposed to its initial assumption) that no further chatima is needed.



Sources for next week:

1. 105a "Rav Chananya ... lo kapdi a-maya."

2. Rif (21a in the pages of the Rif) "Rav Chanaya ... le-se'udataichu," Rashbam s.v. Ve-nafsik, de-shabbat he kav'a nafsha," Rashbam 100a s.v. Ve-lo ke-R. Yossi."

3. 100a "Amar Shemuel ... le-mapa," Tosafot s.v. Kakh, Rosh siman 12.

4. Rashi 105a s.v. Hani mili, Tosafot s.v. Aval.



1. What is the relationship between the sugya of "Shabbat kav'a le-nafsha" and "poreis mapa u-mekadesh" (100a)?

2. What is the relationship between the sugya on 100a-b and our gemara?

3. Why is one allowed to continue eating before havdala, but must nevertheless interrupt drinking?






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