Arvei Pesachim #37: 120b

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion





by Rav Yair Kahn





Alma Me-chatzot Hava Lei Notar


According to R. Elazar ben Azaria, the Torah demands that the korban pesach be eaten before CHATZOT (midnight). Therefore, the prohibited status of notar (literally means "leftover"), which is assigned to the part of a korban not eaten within the permitted time limit, begins immediately after chatzot. The status of notar, in turn, results in the rabbinic sanction of tum'at yadayim ("contamination" of the hands by coming into contact with notar) mentioned in our mishna. R. Akiva, however, argues that the Torah allows the korban pesach to be eaten throughout the night. The limitation of midnight, according to him, is only a rabbinic precaution. Therefore, the status of notar, and the resultant tum'at yadayim, does not take place until DAWN.


The Rashbam (s.v. R. Elazar ben Azaria) notes that the Torah explicitly defines dawn, not chatzot, as the point of notar (see Shemot 12:10). This presents a problem for the position of R. Elazar ben Azria. In order to resolve this problem, the Rashbam distinguishes between two aspects of notar: (1) Its forbidden status, preventing it from being eaten - issur akhila; (2) The obligation to burn it - chiyuv sereifa. Although, according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, the issur akhila of notar takes effect at chatzot, there is no chiyuv sereifa until dawn. The verse in Shemot, according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, refers only to the chiyuv sereifa.


R. Moshe Soloveitchik zt"l (father of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l) solved this problem in a different manner. He claimed that the korban pesach has a dual status. On the one hand, it falls into the sacrificial category of kodashim kalim. However, it also has the special status of korban pesach. Therefore, eating the korban pesach involves two independent mitzvot: (1) The mitzva to eat kodashim kalim; and (2) the unique mitzva of eating the korban pesach on the seder night. Regarding certain halakhot, both these aspects coincide. However, it is also possible that there are circumstances where only one of these two halakhot will apply.


R. Elazar ben Azaria's limitation of chatzot, for instance, is not a law general to korbanot, nor is it rooted in the status of the korban pesach as kodashim. Rather, it is a limitation specific to various aspects of the seder night. Were it not for this limitation, one would have been allowed to eat the korban pesach throughout the night, as is the case regarding other kodashim. The status of notar is also a general halakha from the world of kodashim. Therefore, R. Moshe concluded that even according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, the status of notar is not applicable until dawn, when technically the prohibition against eating KODASHIM begins. This is despite the fact that in practice it has been forbidden to eat the korban pesach (because of its PESACH status) since chatzot. According to this approach, the pasuk which defines dawn as the point of notar, can be accepted by R. Elazar ben Azaria as well as by R. Akiva.


However, this approach appears to be contradicted by our sugya, which explicitly defines chatzot as the point of notar according to R. Elazar ben Azaria. R. Moshe countered that our gemara is actually discussing the rabbinic sanction of yadayim, not notar. Tum'at yadayim is certainly applicable from chatzot according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, since the Torah forbids eating the korban pesach after chatzot. Our gemara is loosely using the term notar as a reference to the biblical time limit of the korban pesach which results in tum'at yadayim. Nevertheless, the actual halakhic status of notar, which is a general kodashim halakha, does not take effect until dawn, even according to R. Elazar ben Azaria.



Matza Bi-zeman Ha-zeh Achar Chatzot


Rava applies R. Elazar ben Azaria’s limitation of chatzot for korban pesach to matza. From the term "lo yatza yedei chovato" it appears that this is not only a rabbinic extension, based on the commemorative role played by the matza. Rather, chatzot according to R. Elazar ben Azaria constitutes the end of the seder. This supports the contention (mentioned above) that chatzot is not a korban-related halakha, signifying the deadline of the korban pesach, since it would be absurd to apply a korban halakha to matza, which is not kodashim. Evidently, the limitation of chatzot according to R. Elazar ben Azaria is connected to the seder night in general. Therefore, we can extend this deadline to other mitzvot of the seder night as well.


Our gemara explicitly mentions matza regarding the halakha of R. Elazar ben Azaria. It is obvious that the same would apply to maror as well [See previous shiurim regarding the relationship between pesach, matza and maror]. However, there is room for debate regarding other mitzvot of the seder night. Must one, according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, complete sippur yetziat Mitzrayim before chatzot? The Ran (27b in the pages of the Rif) assumes that according to R. Elazar ben Azaria the Hallel must be completed before chatzot. (See Tosafot Megilla 21a s.v. Le-atuyei who allow Hallel after chatzot because it is only a rabbinic obligation.) This seems to be a clear indication that the deadline of chatzot also relates to sippur yetziat Mitzrayim.


However, the hagadda relates a story, in which R. Elazar ben Azaria together with other sages of his time, was involved with the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitrayim until the break of dawn. Of course, it is possible that the other sages agreed with the view of R. Akiva, that the seder continues throughout the night. R. Elazar ben Azaria therefore remained with them out of courtesy, or deep involvement in the engaging discussion. On the other hand, it may be possible that R. Elazar ben Azaria distinguished between the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim and that of pesach, matza and maror.


The derasha found in the hagadda, from which we derive the timeframe of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim ("yakhol mi-be’od yom talmud lomar ba-avur zeh BI-ZEMAN SHE-MATZA U-MAROR MUNACHIN LEFANEKHA") appears to connect the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim with the mitzvot of (pesach) matza and maror. It is possible that this indicates an identification of these mitzvot and their time-frames. Therefore, upon reaching the deadline for matza and maror, the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim terminates as well. According to this understanding, sippur yetziat Mitzrayim would end at chatzot according to R. Elazar ben Azaria.


On the other hand, this drasha may be interpreted as merely indicating that the sippur yetziat Mitzrayim begins at night and not during the day. Therefore, we have no concrete evidence of an identification of the timeframe of matza with that of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim. Accordingly, the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim would probably continue the entire night, similar to any other night mitzva (see Megilla 20b). Based on this distinction, the Mishna Berura (477:6) rules that one who began the seder shortly before chatzot, should recite kiddush and then immediately eat the matza and maror before chatzot. Later, after chatzot, he may still recite the hagadda.


If we adopt this approach, the deadline of midnight, according to R. Elazar ben Azaria, is limited to the mitzvot akhila (all mitzvot pertaining to eating) of the seder night. One must complete akhila pertaining to the seder night before chatzot, which is when all the Egyptian first-borns were destroyed. However, the seder night continues till the morning which is the historic point of redemption. Therefore, one should continue the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim even after chatzot. "Vekhol hamarbe lesaper harei zeh meshubach".


However, the Mechilta (parshat Bo) quotes R. Elazar’s limitation of chatzot with respect to sippur yetziat Mitzrayim. According to the Mechilta, the laws of pesach, matza and maror should bstudied only till midnight. At first glance, this undermines our suggestion that R. Elazar ben Azaria distinguishes between the mitzvot of akhila and sippur yetziat Mitzrayim.

Rav Soloveitchik zt"l noted that the Mechilta was discussing only one aspect of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim, the requirement to study the HALAKHOT relating to the mitzvot of the seder night (i.e. pesach, matza and maror). Rav Soloveitchik distinguished between two different aspects of the verbal mitzva of the seder night – a narrative aspect, where we tell the story, and a learning aspect, where we study the laws relating to the seder. It is reasonable that this second aspect be totally dependent upon the deadline of those mitzvot themselves, which is chatzot according to R. Elazar ben Azaria. However, the aspect of sippur which involves retelling the tale of the redemption is not necessarily limited by the deadline of chatzot. Therefore, even R. Elazar ben Azaria may concede that the mitzva of sippur yetziat Mitzrayim continues the entire night. (See Si-ach HaGrid pgs. 30-33.)



Tosafot s.v. Amar


Tosafot quote dissenting opinions regarding the halakhic conclusion of our gemara. Based on our mishna, which assumes the opinion of R. Elazar ben Azaria, some Rishonim rule that the afikoman should be consumed before chatzot. Others, pointing to the mishna in Megilla (20b) which assumes the position of R. Akiva, rule that the afikoman can be eaten until dawn. Because of this halakhic ambiguity, the Shulchan Arukh (O.C 477:1) rules that one should be careful to eat the afikoman before chatzot.




Mishna: Birekh Birkhat Hapesach


During the time of the mikdash, the korban pesach was eaten together with a korban chagiga (a korban shelamim, see shiur # 22). Our mishna discusses whether the berakha recited prior to eating the korban pesach can cover the chagiga as well. R. Yishmael claims that the berakha of the pesach does cover the chagiga, while R. Akiva argues.

The gemara analyzes this debate based on a difference between the sacrificiual procedure of a korban pesach and that of a regular korban shelamim. The blood of the korban pesach is POURED onto the bottom of the altar (shefikha), whereas the blood of a korban shelamim is SPRINKLED (zerika). The gemara connects the debate of R. Yishmael and R. Akiva concerning the berakha with whether or not zerika (sprinkling) is included in shefikha (pouring).


This analysis, however, is difficult, since it focuses upon the offering of the sacrifice. R. Akiva and R. Yishmael, on the other hand, are not discussing the berakha before the sacrificial act, but rather the berakha recited before EATING the meat of the korbanot.


Rav Hutner zt"l explained that the debate between R. Akiva and R. Yishmael is dependent upon whether or not eating the korban chagiga is rooted in the same mitzva as eating the korban pesach. It is clear that the mitzva of eating the korban chagiga is based on the general mitzva to eat kodashim kalim. Furthermore, there is certainly an independent mitzva to eat the korban pesach on the seder night. Therefore, the opinion of R. Akiva, that two independent berakhot are required, seems logical. R. Yishmael, however, countered that there are two mitzvot involved in eating the korban pesach. Aside from the unique mitzva specific to Pesach, the korban pesach is also kodashim kalim. Therefore, the korban pesach along with the chagiga, is also included in the general mitzva to eat kodashim kalim. Hence, R. Yishmael ruled that the berakha which precedes eating the korban pesach also relates to the general mitzva of eating kodashim kalim, and consequently covers the korban chagiga.


Rav Hutner continued that the position of R. Yishmael (that eating the korban pesach includes the general mitzva of eating kodashim kalim) is possible only because he maintains the opinion that shefikha is included in zerika. Therefore, although its blood is not sprinkled, the korban pesach is nonetheless considered standard kodashim kalim as well. However, R. Akiva argues that "lo zu bikhlal zu" (the one is not included by the other). Therefore, the korban pesach, whose blood is not sprinkled, cannot be considered as standard kodashim kalim. Consequently, it is not included in the general mitzva of eating kodashim kalim. Therefore, there is no relationship between the mitzva of eating the korban pesach and that of the chagiga, and two independent berakhot are required.



This shiur concludes our Arvei Pesachim series. Hadran alakha Arvei Pesachim ve-hadrakh alan!






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