Arvei Pesachim #8: 102b - 103a

  • Rav Avi Baumol

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion





102b-103a: YKNH

by Rav Avi Baumol


Tosafot s.v. Rav


In the term YKNH:

the Y stands for yayin - "boreh peri ha-gafen" recited before drinking wine;

the K for kiddush - the blessing sanctifying YomTov;

the N for ner - "boreh me'orei ha-esh" recited over the candle;

and the H for havdala - the blessing separating weekday from Shabbat.


With regard to this famous acronym, which lists the order of havdala on Motzei Shabbat that falls out on Yomtov, the Rishonim note a conspicuous absence - besamim (spices). The perplexity of this phenomenon is heightened when reading the Gemara on 103a, which quotes the debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel as to whether, in havdala, besamim precedes ner or vice versa.


This fact may be the reason the Ra'avia and the Or Zaru'a downplay the significance of the first gemara's omission, claiming that besamim is not noted in this discussion for technical reasons. In fact, the Shibolei Haleket lists the order as YKBNH - yayin, kiddush, besamim, ner, havdala.


The Rashbam, Tosafot, and other Rishonim take the omission seriously, and attempt to respond to it in different ways. On a purely halakhic plane, the Machzor Vitry claims that on Motzaei Shabbat which is still Yom Tov, the prohibition of melakha still applies, and there is a fear that when smelling the besamim one might break off the soft sweet-smelling part of the vine. However, the Ran and other Rishonim reject this theory based on a gemara in Sukka which explicitly permits smelling the hadas (myrtle) on Yomtov.


The Rashbam (s.v. "Shmuel") claims that the reason for besamim is to revive oneself from the loss of the "neshama yeteira" (extra soul) at the end of Shabbat. Therefore, since this neshama yeteira exists on Yomtov as well, there is no need for besamim. Tosafot reject this notion, pointing out that there is no requirement of besamim at the end of Yomtov. Tosafot conclude from this that there is no "neshama yeteira" on Yom Tov.


According to Tosafot (s.v. "Rav"), the reason for no besamim when Motzaei Shabbat coincides with Yom Tov, is that there is a replacement for the besamim, namely, the mitzva of simcha - happiness on Yomtov. Since one has a requirement to eat, drink and rejoice, the worry over the parting of the "neshama yeteira" is mitigated.


[The source for the concept of "neshama yeteira" on Shabbat is in the Beitzah 16a. Commenting on the verse, "shavat va-yinafash," Rav Shimon Ben Lakish maintains that the word va-yinafash can be read as three words - "Vai avda nefesh" - (I sigh at the loss of a soul), meaning that once Shabbat is over, one loses one's extra soul. Rashi explains the concept rationally, saying that the extra soul is the ability to open one's heart for serenity and happiness, enabling a person to appreciate the worldly acts of eating and drinking.]


The Order of YaKNeH


The famous eight way disagreement about the order of the havdala on Motzei Shabbat, is often regarded as a technical discussion dealing with priorities. However, a short analysis of some of the key issues might lead us to a more fundamental understanding.


The first point, where to place the blessing on the wine, involves the concept of "tadir ve-she'eino tadir, tadir kodem" - "when one has in front of him two halakhic actions, the more common one takes precedence." The gemara in Berakhot 51b records the debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel concerning this very issue. Beit Hillel applies the rule of "tadir" to kiddush, and therefore yayin, which is a daily berakha, precedes kiddush, which is only on Shabbat. Beit Shammai disagrees. The gemara in Zevachim derives the concept of "tadir" from a verse dealing with sacrifices, which indicates that the daily sacrifice precedes the musaf sacrifices which are brought only on special occasions.


A second relevant topic is the question of the relationship between kiddush and havdala, which we discussed last week. Are they, as the Rambam believed, two sides of the same coin, one expression of remembering Shabbat in the beginning of the Shabbat, the other expression at the end of the Shabbat? Or, is kiddush an act of sanctification, while havdala is a second, unrelated, declaration of saying farewell to Shabbat? (Some of these ideas are based on an article by Rav Moshe Lichtenstien in Alon Shvut, 87.)


One ramification of this question might be the proximity in which the two appear. Levi's position of KNYH may be understood to reflect the position that kiddush and havdala are two distinct acts, unrelated, and therefore placed at opposite ends of the recitation Shmuel, on the other hand, who posits YNHK as the correct order, is arguing that the two are intrinsically linked, and therefore come together (and havdala comes first only because of his belief that one should first usher out the king before welcoming the viceroy, see Rashbam, s.v. "U-shmuel").


A third issue is the question of the candle (ner) used during havdala. Is it an intrinsic part of the havdala ceremony? Or is there an independent requirement to make a blessing on a flame on Saturday night, as a remembrance to creation? [This will be discussed in detail in next week's shiur.]


Mar the son of Ravana is unequivocal in his approach to ner, as it appears first in his list while the berakha on havdala is recorded last - NKYH. The positions of Raba, Rabanan, Rav and Shmuel reflect a connection between ner and havdala, pairing them together in the list.


Thus, by combining these three points, one can identify the reasons behind each one's position. Rav, who holds YKNH accepts the concept of tadir, and maintains that kiddush is more important then havdala (see Rashbam s.v. "Rav"). Furthermore, it is clear that, according to him, ner is a function of havdala, and kiddush and havdala should be seen as separate. Therefore, the order must be YKNH. Shmuel argues with the precedence of kiddush over havdala, and also considers the two of them to be one unit. His combination is, therefore, YNHK.


If we bear in mind the factors of whether we deem wine as "tadir," or kiddush and havdala as unified, or ner as a part or separate from havdala, the confusing, seemingly arbitrary argument can be appreciated on conceptual levels. Try to apply these ideas yourself to explain each of the opinions.


Next week:


1. Pesachim 103a "Rav Huna bar Yehuda ... de-R. Yehuda."

2. Pesachim 54a "mevarkhim al ha-or ... chozer u-mesadran," Tosafot 53b s.v. "ein," Ritva 54a s.v. "ein."


3. Pesachim 103a "R. Yaakov ... da'ataichu (103b)", Rashi s.v. "keyvan," Rosh siman 10 until "ikar."

4. Berakhot 42a "R. Papa ikla ... berakha," Tosafot s.v. "teikef."

5. Rambam Hilkhot Berakhot 4:7-8.






1. What type of a berakha is "boreh me-orei ha-esh"?

2. What is the difference between the ner eligible for the berakha on Motzaei Shabbat and that eligible on Motzaei Yom Kippur? What is the reason for this distinction?


3. What is the argument between Rashi and the Rosh regarding one who said "hav lan u-nevarekh?

4. What is the relationship betweeen the sugya in Berakhot 42a and the sugya in Pesachim?









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