Arvei Pesachim #2: 99b

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion



SHIUR Arvei Pesachim #2: Pesachim 99b

by Rav Yair Kahn


A. Tosafot s.v. Lo Yokhal

The Mishna prohibits eating during the afternoon of Erev Pesach until nightfall. Tosafot question what foods could have potentially been eaten, which are now prohibited by this injunction.

Tosafot's dilemma is based on a later gemara (107b) which limits the injunction of our mishna to serious eating. However, allowance is made for a light snack, referred to as "minei targima." Apparently, Tosafot feel that anything that does not constitute a se'uda ( a meal) is "minei targima" and consequently permitted. This includes fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and cakes. (According to more restrictive definitions of minei targima, the entire problem is avoided. This will be discussed in greater detail on 107b.)

This means that only some form of bread is prohibited. Now chametz is clearly not the food which is prohibited by our mishna, since it is banned by the Torah from noon (according to most opinions). Matza is also banned on Erev Pesach (based on the Talmud Yerushalmi. There are customs to begin this ban on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, or 30 days before Pesach.) What, therefore, is forbidden before the mincha, according to the mishna?

Tosafot respond that the mishna is referring to "matza ashira" (matza baked with eggs, wine, fruit-juice and the like), which is not suitable for the mitzva of matza. This solution is based on two assumptions:

1. Matza ashira is NOT considered "minei targima;" i.e., despite its ineligibility for the mitzva of matza, it IS considered bread. This could be based on the understanding that although matza ashira qualifies as bread (regarding birkat ha-motzi etc.), nevertheless, it is not considered "lechem oni," poor man's bread required for the mitzva of matza. (There are opinions, however, which deny matza ashira the status of bread.)

2. Matza ashira is permitted on Erev Pesach. This, of course, would depend on the reason one is not allowed to eat matza on Erev Pesach. It may be that one is prohibited from pre-empting the fulfillment of the mitzva. Accordingly, only matza which lends itself to the fulfillment of the mitzva would be banned. (See Me'iri.)

Alternatively, one could claim that the injunction of the Yerushalmi is in order to promote and ensure a feeling of novelty and excitement in anticipation of eating matza on the Seder night. According to this possibility, anything which tastes very similar to matza may be included in this ban. (See Maharsha.)

A clear nafka mina between these two possibilities is matza which was not baked with the intention to be used for the mitzva of matza (not "lishma;" i.e., not "shemura matza"). It is physically identical to ordinary matza, but eating it does not constitute a mitzva performance. [What would you say about the use of egg matzot?]

This issue becomes very real when Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat. On the one hand, we cannot eat matza. On the other hand, we are obligated to eat a full meal on Shabbat, which includes bread (or matza). One solution is to wake up early and eat bread before the fifth hour, being very careful to dispose of all the crumbs.

However, the above discussion leads to another possible solution. If we could find something which is considered bread but is not chametz nor prohibited as matza on Erev Pesach, the problem would be solved. (See OC 444:1.)


B. Tosafot s.v. Ad

Tosafot distinguish between the normal case of Shabbat and Yom Tov where it is possible to begin kiddush and the meal prior to nightfall and the unique case of the Seder night which requires actual nightfall. Normally, it is possible to extend (add on to) a holiday or Shabbat. Therefore, one can begin the Shabbat or Yom Tov meal earlier. This is known as "tosefet." Why, then, is the Seder night an exception?

"Tosefet" is created through sanctification. When one recites the kiddush, he sanctifies the day. "Tosefet" enables one to add the sanctity of Shabbat to parts of the mundane week which are adjacent to Shabbat. Thus, by reciting kiddush late on Friday afternoon, one sanctifies that section of Friday and includes it within the Shabbat. Regarding tosefet Shabbat as well as tosefet Yom Tov, we are dealing with halakhic categories of kodesh and chol. Therefore, the act of sanctification is relevant.

However, Seder night is not only a function of kedushat Pesach - the sanctity of Pesach which can be advanced via tosefet. The Seder must be performed not only on Pesach but also at night. Night and day are not halakhic categories and are not influenced by the act of man. Night and day are natural phenomena. The halakha can, at times, sanctify the mundane; however, it can never transform night into day. Therefore, the possibility of tosefet is out of context with respect to Seder night.

Based on this analysis, the Chatam Sofer allowed the kiddush of the Seder night to be recited before nightfall, while requiring one to wait for actual night regarding the haggada. He argued that kiddush on the Seder night is similar to any kiddush of Shabbat and Yom Tov, and it is therefore a function of the halakhic categories of kodesh and chol. However, reciting the haggada must be during the time period when one may eat matza, which is night and not day.

Rav Soloveitchik zt"l argued that kiddush on the Seder night serves a dual role. It is the standard kiddush of a regular Yom Tov. However, on the Seder night, it is also an integral part of the haggada. Accordingly, one must wait for nightfall in order to recite the kiddush of Seder night. (See Terumat Ha-Deshen 137 and Shiurim Le-zekher Abba Mari vol. 1 and Si'ach Ha-Grid pp. 8-10. This will be discussed in greater detail in a later shiur.)

A third possibility would be to distinguish between the reciting of the kiddush which is common to all holidays, and the obligation to drink the wine, which as one of the four kosot includes an aspect specific to the seder night. Accordingly, one could recite the kiddush immediately prior to nightfall, and subsequently drink the wine once night has arrived.


C. Rashbam s.v. Va-afilu

The mishna requires a poor man to somehow obtain four cups of wine for the Seder. The Rashbam claims that if necessary, he must go so far as selling his garments in order to purchase the wine. The Maggid Mishneh (Hilkhot Chanukah 4:12) explains that this halakha is specific to those mitzvot which are in the category of "pirsumei nissa" - publicizing a miracle. Included in this category are reading the megilla on Purim and lighting Chanuka candles. According to the Maggid Mishneh, our mishna is the source of the Rambam's ruling (ibid.) that a pauper must sell his garments, if necessary, in order to purchase Chanuka candles.

According to the Rashbam, the mishna also obligates the giving of tzedaka to enable the pauper to purchase four cups of wine. The story is told of poor man who asked the Beit Ha-Levy if it is permissible to use milk instead of the four cups of wine. The Beit HaLevi responded in the negative, and gave the man a large amount of tzedaka, by far exceeding the sum needed to purchase wine. The wife of the Beit HaLevi was surprised by the sum, and confronted her husband after the poor man left the house. The Beit HaLevi explained, that if this man is considering milk instead of wine, he obviously doesn't have enough money to purchase meat for the Yom Tov meal.


Sources for next week:

1. Gemara 99b until "le-achar tish'a" (100b) [It looks like a lot but it is relatively easy]..

2. Tosafot 100a s.v. Ein, Rosh siman 2 (until "shari"), Rambam

Hilkhot Shabbat 30:4.

3. Rashbam s.v. ve-lo ke-R. Yossi, Tosafot s.v. Ela.


1. R. Yossi and R. Yehuda (100a) argue concerning both the permissibility of beginning a meal on erev Shabbat, and

regarding the necessity to terminate the meal once Shabbat begins. What is the relationship betthese two issues?

2. Is the Rambam's ruling in Hilkhot Shabbat 30:4 consistent with the opinion of R. Yossi or R. Yehuda?

3. Is Shmuel's suggestion of "pores mapa u-mekadesh" based on the opinion of R. Yossi, R. Yehuda or neither?






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