Arvei Pesachim #21 Appendix: 109b

  • Rav Yair Kahn
As we noted last week, we shall be skipping the aggadata of the next 5 pages. The second half of Arvei Pesachim, dealing with the order of the seder night, begins on 114a.
At this point I will add some notes dealing with the gemara that will be skipped, for all those that may be interested.
Arvei Pesachim #21 Appendix: 109b
De-Ati Bah Liday Sakana
            The gemara assumes that doing things in pairs is dangerous.  The source of the danger is "sheidim" - evil spirits, which the gemara discusses in detail.  Nevertheless, the gemara concludes (110b): "The general rule is; all who are diligent (not to do things in pairs) will be treated (by the sheidim) sternly (if they do something in pairs), those who are not diligent, will not be treated sternly, nevertheless, one should be wary."  The Rashbam accepts the gemara at face value, concluding that these sheidim actually exist, but do not attack people who ignore them with the same force as they exhibit towards those who are concerned with them.
            However, the Meiri (s.v. Be-kama) interprets the gemara as follows: "We explained on a number of occasions, that in those days the people were influenced by common beliefs such as incantations and omens ... any of these which were unrelated to idol worship and 'darkhei Emori' were ignored and not uprooted by the rabbis ... as stated in our sugya 'all who are diligent will be treated sternly, those who are not diligent will not be treated sternly.'"  In other words, according to the Meiri, the conclusion of the gemara indicates that the rabbis were aware that this popular belief was merely superstitious nonsense.  Nevertheless, they were not militant in opposing these common beliefs.
Leil shimurim
            This idea that on the seder night we are protected throughout the generations, just as we were protected in Egypt, has a number of halakhic applications.  The Tur (OC 487) quotes an opinion that the shaliach tzibbur does not recite the shortened repetition of the tefilla in ma'ariv, when the seder night coincides with Shabbat.  He argues that this repetition was instituted in order to artificially prolong the tefilla, so that the latecomers should not have to walk home alone.  Therefore, on the seder night, which is leil shimurim, this addition to the tefilla is unnecessary.  Furthermore, the Rema (OC 481:2) documents the custom not to recite the entire text of keriyat shema al ha-mita (bed-time shema) which was introduced as a protection during the night.  It is sufficient on leil shimurim to recite only the portion of the shema (and birkat ha-mapil).
Kol chad ve-chad mitzva be-apei nafshei
            Based on this, the Rif rules that an independent berakha must be recited for each of the 4 cups.  The Rif  supports this ruling by attempting to prove that the reciting of the haggada is considered a hefsek (interuption of one's drinking, thus requiring a new berakha for the subsequent cup of wine).  The Ba'al Ha-ma'or argues that the haggada is NOT considered a hefsek, and a berakha has to be recited only for the first and third cups.  (The third follows birkat ha-mazon which is clearly a hefsek.)
            According to the opinion that haggada is not a hefsek, there are those who argue that the berakha we recite on the karpas - borei peri ha-adama - relates to the maror as well (see Tosafot 115a s.v. Hadar).  Therefore, one should have the maror in mind when reciting the berakha over the karpas.  However, if we assume that haggada does constitute a hefsek, then we must assume that the ha-motzi which we recite on the matzot exempts the maror as well.
            The gemara (115b) seems to support the opinion of the Rif that haggada is considered a hefsek.  The gemara questions why it is necessary to wash our hands a second time (for the matzot) after having already washed our hands for the karpas and responds: "Since one is obligated to recite the haggada and the hallel, perhaps his attention was diverted and he touched something (impure)."  From here, the Mordekhai proves that the reciting of the haggada constitutes a hefsek.  However, the Rosh (siman 26) argues that this gemara does not deal with hefsek regarding berakhot.  It is limited to the issue of washing hands, due to the possibility that he touched an impure item.  However, as far as berakhot are concerned, the haggada does not necessarily constitute a hefsek.
            Nevertheless, by quoting our sugya as a source for those opinions who require an independent berakha on each of the 4 cups, it appears that the issue is not only one of hefsek.  Our gemara states that each cup constitutes an independent  mitzva, and therefore, we conclude that each cup demands a separate berakha.
            The issue of the independence of each of the 4 cups, is totally unrelated to the question of whether the haggada is a hefsek or not.  Apparently, this opinion maintains that since each cup forms an independent kos shel berakha, it requires a borei peri ha-gafen, even though there was no hefsek.  The conclusion to be drawn from this opinion, is that boreh peri ha-gafen does not function only as a birkat ha-nehenin.  Within the context of a kos shel berakha it is integrated into the praise which is recited over the cup.  Thus, although there was no hefsek, and therefore no necessity to recite another birkhat ha-nehenin, one must recite the boreh peri ha-gafen as a part of the praise recited over the kos shel berakha.  (See Shiur #7 and Shiurim Le-zekher Abba Mari vol. 2 pg. 148)