Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pesachim 120 - Bracha on Ma'aseh Mitzvah before Kiyum HaMitzvah

In the sugya of mitzvos tzrichos kavana 115a, which speaks about a case where one is using marror for both karpas and marror, there is a machlokes Rav Huna and Rav Chisda whether you make the bracha of על אכילת מרור by the eating of marror, or earlier by the eating of karpas. Tosafos explains that both Rav Huna and Rav Chisda agree to Reish Lakish 114b that mitzvos require kavana and he will not be yotzei the mitzvah of marror with the eating of marror by karpas. Yet, Rav Chisda holds לאחר שמילא כריסו הימנו חוזר ומברך עליה!, it doesn't make sense to eat marror without a bracha of על אכילת מרור and only make the bracha later. Therefore, he should make the bracha earlier by the eating of karpas. Tosafos questions how one is able to make a birchas hamitzvah on the eating of karpas if he isn't going to be yotzei the mitzvah of marror until later. Tosafos writes that the bracha made earlier works since he is going to be eating a little marror at the time of the bracha, even though he isn't going to be yotzei until later. Tosafos even implies that he doesn't need to eat a kezayis at the time of the bracha, so long as he eats a kezayis later on. It seems from Tosafos that one can make a bracha on a ma'aseh mitzvah, even though the kiyum hamitzvah will not be until later.
Perhaps this approach can be supported from the mitzvah of sefiras ha'omer, according to those who hold that there are 49 components to be yotzei the one big mitzvah of sefira. We make a bracha each night on the ma'aseh hamitzvah even though the kiyum is pending until the last night. However, by sefiras ha'omer each night one is at least doing a component of the mitzvah that will ultimately make up the greater mitzvah of sefira. But in the case of Tosafos, the marror that is being eaten as karpas on which he is making the bracha ultimately contributes nothing to the fulfillment of the mitzvah.
Tosafos draws a parallel from shofar where we make a bracha on the tekios d'meyushav, even though the mitzvah d'oraysa is only fulfilled by the teki'os d'me'umad. The Chazon Ish (O.C. 124) points out that this is also a difficult comparison because by shofar there is at least  a mitzvah d'rabonon being done with the teki'os d'me'yushav so that it is not a bracha l'vatala, but by marror there is no mitzvah at all being done with the marror of karpas. What is the comparison? It seems that Tosafos is not focused on the bracha being l'vatala. They take for granted (even though it seems difficult) that since he is doing the ma'aseh mitzvah it wouldn't constitute a bracha l'vatala. The concern of Tosafos is how does the bracha done earlier work for the mitzvah performed later, which they prove from shofar that just like the brachos on tekios d'me'yushav works for the later te'kios d'meumad, so too the bracha on karpas works for the eating of marror later.
There is a machlokes Rashbam 119b and Tosafos 120a whether the primary mitzvah of matzah is fulfilled with the first eating of matzah on which we make a bracha or on the matzah of afikomen. Rashbam understands that it is the matzah of afikomen and therefore draws a parallel from Rav Chisda that a bracha could be made on the ma'aseh mitzvah that is done earlier, and work for the kiyum hamitzvah that will only be later. Tosafos agrees that according to the Rashbam it would be a good comparison, but holds that the primary mitzvah of matzah is fulfilled with the matzah eating l'tei'avon at the beginning of the meal.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Pesachim 113b - Defining the violation to hate "in your heart"

The gemara says that when someone sees another do an aveira, even if there aren't two witnesses so you can't testify on him in a court, you are allowed to hate him. The gemara proves this point from the pasuk that describes חמור שונאך רובץ תחת משאו - the donkey of your enemy crouched under its load. What type of enemy is the Torah speaking about? The gemara says that it can't be someon that you hate for no good reason because that would be a violation of לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך, therefore it must be speaking about an enemy that you hate because you saw him doing an aveira.
The gemara implies that the ONLY way that one can have a Jewish enemy, yet not be in violation of לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך would be when you see him do an aveira and are therefore allowed to hate him. There is a big machlokes in the Rishonim regarding the parameters of לא תשנא and why the Torah specifies בלבבך - in your heart. Rabbeinu Yona (sha'arei teshuva 3:39) and the Ramban both say that all hatred is included. The only reason that the Torah writes בלבבך is because that is more common, but the issur would be violated even if he expressed his hatred. However, the Rambam (Hil. Deios 6:10) writes that the only violation is when one hides the hatred in his heart, but when one expresses the hatred they would not be in violation. The Rambam seems to be contradicted by the gemara because the gemara indicates that all hatred would be included. According to the Rambam the gemara should have said that there can be an enemy who you hate for no good reason, but as long as you tell him that you hate him you would avoid the violation of לא תשנא. How will the Rambam learn this gemara?
I think that the Rambam would say that the context of the gemara is defining the term שונאך of the Torah. The Torah is speaking in a context where you would be going to help him unload his donkey. This would be a clear display of love. The very act of helping him would hide the animosity and hatred that you feel for him. Therefore, it could not be speaking about someone you hate for no reason because that would violate לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך, since the actions of helping him give him the impression that you don't hate him.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Pesachim 105b - Drinking from Kos Shel Bracha

One of the eight points that the gemara draws from the braisa is that המברך צריך שיטעום, when one uses a kos shel bracha, they need to actually drink from the kos shel bracha. I gave a shiur recently on the minhag in many shuls to say birchas hamazon on a kos after shalosh seudos, daven ma'ariv and then return to use the same cup for birchas hamazon. According to the simple reading of the gemara 102b and the Shulchan Aruch 299:4, this should be a violation of אין עושין מצות חבילות חבילות. See HERE for a halachic justification regarding that issue.
Another issue with the predominant custom is how one fulfills the requirement of המברך צריך שיטעום on the kos of birchas hamazon. This would be an issue even if one were to use separate cups for Birchas Hamazon and Havdala, since the drinking is typically not done until after ma'ariv. The Biur Halacha (299:4 d.h. mevareich) explains that as long as one generally makes birchas hamazon on a kos, they are able to drink from the kos of birchas hamazon even before havdala. The M.B. cites the Chayei Adam who holds that even if one typically doesn't use a kos for birchas hamazon, they can still drink immediately following bentching, before making havdala, so long as it isn't definitely night - ספק חשכה. However, in most situations people are not makpid to use a kos for birchas hamazon, and shalosh seudos ends at צאת הכוכבים, so drinking from the kos of birchas hamazon at that point would be a problem. The Biur Halacha writes that in a case where one cannot drink (either because he only has one kos, or because he can't drink before havdala), the Bach holds that one should make havdala on a kos of wine immediately, prior to davening ma'ariv, then drink from both the cup of havdala and the cup of birchas hamazon. Pausing to daven ma'ariv would be too long of a break between the birchas hamazon and the drinking from the cup. This is also clearly the opinion of the shulchan aruch ha'rav. But, the Biur Halacha quotes the Derech HaChayim who says that it is fine to daven ma'ariv in between, which is the minhag ha'olam.
It seems to me that the reservation of the Biur Halacha is correct, and davening ma'ariv between the birchas hamazon and havdala is a problem because the drinking after havdala would not be effective for the kos of birchas hamazon, and would undermine the entire advantage of being bentching on a kos. The Rashbam explains that from the fact that we don't tell the person who needs to eat on Motzei Shabbos and make Havdala, to first make havdala, then eat, then bentch and drink the kos, implies המברך צריך שיטעום. But why is this a violation of המברך צריך שיטעום, he will drink from this very kos after bentching and that would qualify as the the drinking for both the havdala and the birchas hamazon? Clearly, the Rashbam holds that eating a meal between havdala and birchas hamazon would be too much of a hefsek and not allow the drinking to go back on the havdala. Just as the meal would constitute a hefsek, and therefore not allow the drinking afterward to qualify as המברך צריך שיטעום, so too the davening would constitute a hefsek as the shulchan aruch ha'graz holds, not like the minhag ha'olam and not like the derech hachaim.