Arvei Pesachim #6: 101b - 102a

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion



by Rav Yair Kahn

Our gemara is discussing the kind of hefsek caused by leaving the location of the meal. If leaving indicates that the original meal has ended, one must recite birkat ha-mazon, and then a new birkat ha-nehenin before a subsequent eating. The exceptions discussed in the gemara will be understood if we see in them a reason to say that the meal has not ended even though the person has left the location. (R. Yochanan maintains that location does not define the meal, so he disagrees with the initial assumption above).


There are two such exceptions.


1. Rav Chisda - Devarim hate'unim berakha liachareihem bimkoman: Since this kind of meal requires an immediate berakha at its in conclusion, in the same place, the absence of such a berakha indicates that the meal is not concluded. Hence, you do not need to recite a berakha.


2. Hinichu zaken o choleh: If people are eating together, then the meal is defined as one meal for all of them (there is a social aspect to eating). Hence if some have left but some have not, the social meal has not ended and even those who have left need not recite a berakha.


Tosafot raise a different kind of hefsek problem - not leaving the scene of the meal, but engaging in another kind of activity in the middle of the meal. This is the subject of our shiur today.


Tosafot s.v. Ve-akru (102a)


Tosafot point out that our gemara indicates that prayer (without physically leaving to go to a synagogue) is not considered a hefsek. Therefore, if one prays during the meal, he can subsequently continue his meal without reciting any additional berakhot.


However, there is a gemara in Chullin (86b) which, at first glance, leads us to a different conclusion. The gemara says that if one slaughters one animal and then performs the mitzva of covering the blood with dirt and then slaughters another animal and subsequently covers its blood as well - it is sufficient to recite only one initial berakha on the mitzva of covering the blood of both animals. In other words, the slaughtering of the second animal does not constitute an interruption. The gemara questions this ruling based on a ruling regarding birkat ha-nehenin. If one was in the midst of a meal and decided to recite birkat ha-mazon, he cannot continue to drink wine, since he already interrupted the meal. The gemara assumes that, similarly, the slaughtering of the second animal should interrupt the ability of the initial berakha on the mitzva of covering blood to relate to the second covering of the blood. The gemara concludes that there is a distinction between the two cases; birkat ha-mazon is considered an interruption since it is impossible to drink and recite the birkat ha-mazon simultaneously. However, since it is possible to slaughter an animal with one hand while covering the blood with the other, slaughtering an animal does not constitute an interruption.


If we apply the gemara in Chullin to our case, we would ostensibly rule that praying is considered a hefsek, since one cannot pray and eat simultaneously. This is in fact the conclusion of R. Yomtov quoted in the Tosafot.


Similarly, the Rif claims that a new berakha is required on the Seder night before drinking the second cup of wine. Since it is impossible to recite the haggada and drink wine simultaneously, the haggada constitutes an interruption.


Furthermore, we already noted (shiur #3) that in the case of pores mapa u-mekadesh (100a), the Rif considers the kiddush an interruption, and consequently requires a repetition of the birkat ha-motzi after the kiddush. Apparently, this is also based on the gemara in Chullin, since one cannot eat while reciting kiddush.


Tosafot and the Ba'al Ha-ma'or disagree with R. Yomtov and the Rif respectively. According to them, birkat ha-mazon is not considered an interruption only because it is TECHNICALLY impossible to eat while speaking. Birkat ha-mazon inherently indicates the termination of a meal and is therefore CONCEPTUALLY the opposite of eating. Therefore, coupled with the physical inability to drink while speaking, we define the birkat ha-mazon as a hefsek regarding the drinking. However, prayer, reciting the haggada, or kiddush, which do not indicate the termination of a meal, do not constitute a hefsek. In this way, they solve the apparent contradiction between our gemara and the sugya in Chullin.


The Ramban defends the Rif's position about the hefsek of the haggada recitation by distinguishing between the haggada, which is a basic obligation of the Seder night which separates the two cups of wine, and is therefore a hefsek, and tefila, which is unrelated to the meal and therefore does not separate the meal into two. Consequently, the ruling of the Rif, based on the sugya in Chullin, does not contradict our gemara.


Next week:


1. 102a "Tanu rabanan benei chabura... mili ninhu (102b)."

2. Rashbam s.v. "chavilot chavilot," Tosafot Moed Katan 8b s.v. "lefi."

3. Rambam Hilkhot Shabbat 29:12-13.




1. What explanations are suggested for the halakha of "ein osin mitzvot chavilot chavilot"?

2. Can both havdala and birkat ha-mazon be recited on one cup of wine?






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