Introduction to Arvei Pesachim

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion






SHIUR #1: Introduction to Arvei Pesachim




Welcome to the Pesachim (beginners) shiur.


We will be learning the tenth chapter of Pesachim, perek Arvei Pesachim. The shiurim in this course are based on those given in the past (by Rav Yair Kahn), with the following changes:


a. Pace - the pace of the learning will be slowed. The amount of material in the gemara for each week, will be lessened, compared to the advanced VBM shiur.


b. Supplementary material - Each week a short supplementary shiur will be mailed to assist you in preparing the Gemara.


However, you are still required to prepare the basic gemara, Rashi (Rashbam - see below), and Tosafot by yourselves. For this, it is highly recommended that you learn with a "chavruta," a study partner. The text of the gemara and basic commentaries needs more to be deciphered rather than merely read, and the chavruta system is ideal for this.


There are two serious aids for the self-study of Talmud. In English, there is the ArtScroll edition of the Talmud. This contains not only a translation, but a running commentary as well, which will help enormously in overcoming the difficulties of the text. In Hebrew, there is the Steinzaltz edition, which also has a paraphrasing commentary of the entire text in Hebrew. If you do not feel confident in deciphering the original texts yourselves, these books are highly recommended.


The commentaries are full of abbreviations (rashei teivot). It is impossible to read even a single Tosafot if you cannot decipher the rashei teivot, although after a while you will notice that the most common ones repeat themselves and constitute 90% of the total. If you are not familiar with these abbreviations, it is crucial that you make use of a dictionary of abbreviations. These are found either alone, or as part of introductory books to Talmud.


Perek Arvei Pesachim has the usual commentary of Rashi, which is the basic commentary on the entire Talmud. However, in this case, Rashi is very concise and abridged, and has been complimented in the printed editions of the Talmud by the commentary of the Rashbam, his grandson. Rashbam is very similar to Rashi, though a lot more wordy. For this chapter, it constitutes the basic commentary.


Every week, we will list the material for preparation during the following week.


There is a special e-mail address for this shiur for asking questions and receiving aid in your study. Please make use of it - we will try to answer as quickly as possible.

[email protected]


Sources for Next Week's Shiur:


1. Mishna 99b ("Erev Pesachim"), with Rashbam

2. Tosafot s.v. lo yokhal

3. Tosafot s.v. samukh

4. Tosafot s.v. ad

5. Rashbam s.v. va-afilu, Rambam Hilkhot Chanuka 4:12 Maggid Mishna


1. What types of food, that would otherwise have been permitted, are prohibited by our mishna on the afternoon of Erev Pesach?


2. What does the category of minei targima include, according to Tosafot? Why is matza ashira excluded from this category?


3. Is it possible to recite kiddush prior to nightfall on the seder night? Is the seder night similar in this regard to other holidays



Clarification: The Halakhic Clock


Time in Rabbinic literature is based on a 12-hour clock from sunrise to sunset. Accordingly, noon is at "sha'a shvi'it," the (beginning of the) seventh hour. It is necessary to be careful, since it is not always clear whether the expression "sha'a shvi'it" means the seventh hour (i.e., the first hour after noon) or what we would call 7 o'clock (i.e., one hour exactly after noon).

For convenience sake, let us speak of noon as being at 12:00, sunrise at 6:00 AM, and sunset at 6:00 PM.


The first comment of the Rashbam explains the term "mincha" according to this clock. The afternoon sacrifice (korban mincha) was brought at "tisha va-mechtza" (9 1/2), meaning 3:30 PM. This time is called "mincha ketana." The expression "samukh l'mincha" means a little before that; i.e. 3:00 PM. The Rashbam makes this clear by writing "the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth hour."


Nightfall is technically not at sunset, but later, when it gets dark ("tzeit ha-kokhavim" - the coming out of the stars). The intermediate time between sunset and "tzeit" is called "bein ha-shemashot." When the mishna writes that one can eat only when it is dark, it means AFTER bein ha-shemashot.


Next Sunday, there will be a shiur by Rav Kahn on the material listed above for preparation. In the meantime, you are on your own.








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