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Posts Tagged ‘Daf Yomi’

Daf Yomi

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Where Beis Shammai And Beis Hillel Agree
‘One Must Not Sit Before A Barber Near Minchah’
(Shabbos 9b)

Our mishnah states that one is proscribed from taking a haircut half an hour before the time for minchah lest one forget to pray that tefillah. The mishnah lists other activities, as well, that one may not engage in at this time for the same reason.

Rashi (s.v. “ad she’yispallel”) wonders why the tanna cites this halacha in the midst of a discussion of the laws of Shabbos. This halacha, after all, applies to every day of the week. Rashi suggests that that this halacha appears here specifically because it is similar to another one mentioned in the next mishnah: the halacha that a tailor may not go out in the public domain with his needle near nightfall.

A Shabbos Concern

The Sefas Emes (Novella, ad loc.) offers a different reason. He explains that one might have thought that on erev Shabbos there is no concern that a person may prolong his haircut to the extent that he will miss minchah since, in any event, he knows that he must stop all his activities before the onset of Shabbos. That’s why although this halacha applies every day, it is necessary for the mishnah to state that it applies even on erev Shabbos.

The Shofar Blasts

Additionally, the Gemara (infra 35b) teaches that there was a custom on erev Shabbos to sound several shofar blasts shortly before the onset of Shabbos to remind people to cease working. One might have thought that a person need not worry about taking a haircut half an hour before the time of Minchah on Friday since the shofar blasts will remind him that Shabbos is about to arrive. That’s why the tanna has to state that doing so in nonetheless forbidden.

To Honor The Sabbath

The Rashash (ad loc) offers yet another reason. He explains that taking a haircut and bathing in honor of Shabbos is a mitzvah. Therefore, the mishnah in Meseches Shabbos needs to stress that, nonetheless, one may not perform it starting half an hour before the time of Minchah.

The Maharitz Chayos (Novella, ad Loc.) cites the Rambam in Pirush HaMishnayos (first perek of Meseches Shabbos) who states that this halacha is among the (Sabbath-related) halachos that were jointly enacted by Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in the aliyas Chananya ben Chizkiya ben Garon (infra. 13b). Therefore, it is stated here.

No Blessing

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 251:1, based upon Pesachim 50b) states that one should not do any melachah from the time of Minchah since one will not see a siman berachah from it. Some say this applies starting from Minchah Gedolah; others say it only applies starting from Minchah Ketanah.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Lulav, Shofar, Bris
“His Hand Is Not At Rest”
(Shabbos 3a)

Our Gemara discusses cases of transferring items from hand to hand. Our Gemara discusses all objects. On Rosh Hashanah and on Sukkos, we can clearly specify an object that would be given from hand to hand. When Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos, we do not blow shofar. On Shabbos of Sukkos, we do not shake our lulavim. The concern that we might carry a shofar or lulav on Shabbos was so great, that our Sages deemed it preferable to forbid the performance of these mitzvos altogether.

A Shabbos Bris?

On the other hand, we find in the sugya at Shabbos 131b that a bris milah may be performed on Shabbos, if it is the eighth day after the child’s natural birth. The accepted halacha follows Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that it is a Torah prohibition to carry a knife through the reshus harabim to the site of a bris milah. Why did our Sages not forbid bris milah on Shabbos, to prevent the mohel from accidentally carrying a knife, just as they forbade lulav and shofar?

Skilled Mohel

The Rishonim address this question in various places throughout Shas, and offer a variety of answers. Tosefos (Megillah 4b, s.v. vaya’’avirena) explains that the mitzvah of bris milah has preeminent importance, since Hashem sealed thirteen covenants with Avraham Avinu in its merit, as we learn from the pesukim beginning, ““This is My covenant with you,”” (Bereishis 17). Furthermore, Tosefos explain that every Jew, regardless of the level of his Torah knowledge, must perform the mitzvos of shofar and lulav. Therefore our Sages were concerned that an unlearned Jew might accidentally come to carry. However, bris milah is only performed by a skilled mohel, who is presumably knowledgeable enough to refrain from carrying on Shabbos.

Communal vs. Individual

The Ran (Rosh Hashanah, on the Rif 8a) explains that on Yom Tov, the entire Jewish people are busy performing the mitzvos of the day, therefore they cannot be expected to keep an eye out to prevent one another from carrying. However, when a bris milah occurs, only the mohel is busy in performing the mitzvah. The other Jews assembled will be free to prevent the mohel from carrying his knife.

An Overriding Mitzvah

Other Rishonim (Ritva, Succah 43a; Meiri, Megillah 4b) explain that in contrast to the mitzvos, the bris milah itself involves a Torah prohibition. If not for the pasuk that orders us otherwise, it would be a violation of meleches choveil (wounding) to perform a bris milah. Since the Torah instructs us that bris milah takes precedence over a definite violation of meleches choveil, our Sages did not forbid it.

An Eight Day Count

The Ritva (ibid.) adds another explanation. As we know, outside of Eretz Yisrael, two days of Yom Tov are observed, since the messengers from the Beis Din in Yerushalayim were unable to reach Chutz La’’Aretz in time to inform them when the new month began, and on which day to observe Yom Tov. As a result, they observed both days just in case. Our Sages forbid shofar and lulav in favor of guarding Shabbos, since shofar and lulav might be observed on the wrong day. The certainty of Shabbos observance took precedence over the possibility of shofar and lulav. Even in places where they were familiar with the fixed lunar cycle, and knew which was the correct day for Yom Tov, our Sages made no exception. They wished to preserve one consistent set of rules for all Jewish communities throughout the world. Bris milah, on the other hand, does not depend on a lunar date. The certainty of bris milah performed on the correct day, eight days after birth, takes precedence over Shabbos.

Doubt and Negligible Doubt

The Chasam Sofer (in his commentary on Shabbos 131b), discusses bris milah as also involving an element of uncertainty. Unbeknownst to us, the child may have been born with health complications, G-d forbid, which would classify him as a neifel, whose bris does not preempt Shabbos. He states that a question of the correct date is a justified concern, since the Bnei Chutz La’Aretz observed both days, without knowing which was the Yom Tov medeoraisa. However, only a small minority of babies are neifels, therefore it is a negligible doubt, which would not justify preempting the bris.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Pomp And Circumstance
‘Endeavor to See the King’
(Berachos 58a)

Our Sages composed two berachos to say upon seeing a king. We say, “Blessed are You Hashem…who apportioned from His honor to those who fear Him” upon seeing a Jewish king and “Blessed are You Hashem… who gave from His honor to flesh and blood” upon seeing a gentile king.

The Gemara states that a person should always run to meet kings of Israel, or even kings of other nations. That way, when Moshiach arrives, he will be able to discern the difference between the honor of kings in this world and the far greater honor and greatness of Moshiach. He will then see the great reward for those who observe Hashem’s mitzvos (Magen Avraham, O.C. 224, s.k. 7).

A Queen?

There are certain circumstances under which one should not look at a king. For example, it is forbidden to look at the face of a wicked person. Therefore, one should not look at a wicked king.

Some poskim also say one should not look at a queen who has the halachic status of a king if she rules a country in place of a king. One should say the berachah, but looking at her directly is immodest, these poskim explain.

The Entourage

Under certain circumstances, a person might recite a berachah upon seeing a king’s entourage, his marching band, or a ceremony held in his honor, yet not when seeing the king himself!

How so? Poskim conclude (see Responsa Shevet HaLevi 1:35) that in situations where one is proscribed from directly gazing at a monarch, it is sufficient to contemplate the honor that is shown to him or her by the assembled crowds and their gazes of admiration in order to recite the berachah. The impression upon encountering royalty (see Shaarei Teshuvah 224:2) can be realized simply by looking at the entourage and ceremonial procession.

On the other hand, a person who sees a king without the fanfare that usually accompanies him does not gain this impression. In such circumstances, therefore, he should not say the berachah (Kaf Hachayim 224; see Shevet HaLevi ibid.; and Responsa Betzeil Hachachmah 2:13).

Melech HaMoshiach

Based on this, we can understand why Rebbi Yehuda HaChassid rules (Sefer Chassidim 950) that a person only needs to interrupt his Torah studies to see a king once. After he has already seen a king’s honor once, he can compare it to the honor of Moshiach and the Jewish people in the future. He need not trouble himself to see a king again unless the king makes an appearance with even greater ceremony and honor (see Machatzis HaShekel 224 on Magen Avraham ibid.). He then will see that even the greater honor shown to the king is nothing compared to the honor of Moshiach, may he come speedily and in our days.

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The Lady Of The House
‘One Blesses First On The Wine…’
(Berachos 51)

The evening Shabbos kiddush consists of two berachos: “Hagafen,” the blessing on wine, and birkas hayom, the blessing on the sanctification of the day. Our mishnah cites a dispute between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel. Beis Shammai assert that the sanctification blessing precedes the wine blessing. Beis Hillel, on the other hand, opine that the wine blessing goes first. The halacha follows Beis Hillel.

The Primacy Of The Wine

Beis Hillel offer two reasons for their view. First, it is the wine that causes the recital of kiddush (if not for the wine, we wouldn’t say kiddush). Second, the rule is “tadir v’she’eino tadir, tadir kodem” – whenever we have two mitzvos, the one that is performed more frequently takes precedence.

Biblical Vs. Rabbinical

The Pnei Yehoshua (ad loc.) points out a difficulty with Beis Hillel’s ruling. The obligation to recite the sanctification blessing is biblical whereas the mitzvah to recite the wine blessing is only rabbinic. Therefore, the sanctification blessing ought to go first. And yet, Beis Hille states the very opposite.

Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (the Tzlach ad loc.) asks another question: Why do Beis Hillel say that if someone lacks wine, he is not required to recite kiddush? Since the sanctification blessing is a biblical mitzvah, he should be required to say kiddush with or without wine.

Kiddush In Ma’ariv

The Pnei Yehoshua answers these questions by explaining that a person has already fulfilled the biblical mitzvah of sanctifying the day of Shabbos in the Ma’ariv Amidah. If there is no wine at home, therefore, there is no reason for him to recite kiddush.

Kiddush At Home

The Tzlach further notes that, according this reasoning, a woman who did not daven Ma’ariv and recites kiddush for herself should reverse the order of the berachos, with the sanctification blessing preceding the wine blessing.

The She’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha (ad loc.) notes that this might be precisely why often the lady of the house, upon receiving kiddush wine from her husband, does not rely on her husband’s berachah of “borei pri hagafen” but recites her own. Since she did not daven Ma’ariv, her kiddush obligation at the Shabbos table is biblical. Thus, she must first hear the sanctification blessing and only then make the wine blessing.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information, contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Behind The Name On The Cover: Jerome Schottenstein And His Sponsorship Of The ArtScroll Talmud

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

With memories of the Siyum HaShas still fresh in people’s minds, many Jews around the world have been purchasing a Tractate Berachot in order to take part in the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi, the daily study of one daf of Talmud Bavli.

Over the past few decades many tools have been developed to ease and encourage Talmud study. One of the most popular is the Schottenstein Talmud Bavli, a translated and elucidated edition of the Talmud published by ArtScroll.

The dream of making the entire Talmud accessible to English readers began in the mid-1980s. ArtScroll had already translated many classic Jewish works, including commentaries on the Bible, the Mishnah, and in-depth volumes on the Jewish holidays.

Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, co-founder of ArtScroll, described a monumental leap forward for the Jewish publishing house that occurred in 1982: “Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, met with Rabbi Nosson Scherman and me and smilingly asked when we would begin elucidating the Talmud. We were taken aback. The Talmud? Such a mammoth undertaking? Could we even consider such an awesome project? Was the rosh yeshiva serious? He was serious. He said, ‘You should do it and you will do it, and if Hashem grants me years, when the time comes I will give you a letter stating my approval.’ ” Soon afterward, a team of more than sixty scholars was assembled to launch what would be a fifteen-year project. Apart from the core translation work, the authors were challenged to write a detailed commentary, replete with sources, questions and answers, and references for further research. Budget estimates for the project were daunting – upward of $21 million to produce the 73-volume set.

Early after the project launch, the ArtScroll founders were introduced to Columbus, Ohio, businessman and philanthropist Jerome Schottenstein.

“The Schottenstein family has historically been characterized by a remarkable love for Torah,” said Rabbi Nosson Scherman, ArtScroll’s general editor. “They’ve viewed the perpetuation of Orthodox life as a first priority.”

Born in 1926 to Ephraim and Anna Schottenstein, Jerome Schottenstein entered his father’s business, Schottenstein Stores Corp. (SSC), going on to found the Value City chain of furniture stores. (Years later, under the leadership of Jerome’s son Jay, SCC would become a holding company for its stakes in such familiar names as DSW, American Signature Furniture, and American Eagle Outfitters.)

For decades, Schottenstein and his wife, Geraldine, were known for helping found the Columbus Ohio Jewish day-school system and numerous other Jewish organizations. Jerome became a member of Yeshiva University’s board of trustees in 1980.

Upon learning of ArtScroll’s Talmud project, Schottenstein agreed to dedicate the first volume of Tractate Eruvin. ArtScroll had already achieved wide recognition for opening up Torah learning to a new generation of Jews who had, up to then, been locked out by the language barrier. Schottenstein resolved to underwrite the entire 73-volume project as a heritage gift to present and future generations of Jews.

Jerome Schottenstein passed away in 1992 and was able to witness the completion of only the first several volumes of the project. After his death, the project was continued by Schottenstein’s children, Ann, Susie, Lori, and Jay.

Jay Schottenstein joined the family’s Schottenstein Stores Corporation to work alongside his father, taking charge of the business after his father’s passing. Continuing the family tradition of enriching Jewish life around the world, he and his wife, Jeanie, have dedicated numerous ArtScroll projects, such as the Hebrew edition of the ArtScroll Talmud, Perek Shirah, the Schottenstein Interlinear series, and the long-anticipated iPad digital edition of the Schottenstein Talmud Bavli.

Jay and Jeanie also assumed the major sponsorship of the ArtScroll Talmud Yerushalmi.

“Other than being the source of some obscure quotes sprinkled throughout Jewish sources,” Rabbi Scherman noted, “the Talmud Yerushalmi was a forgotten study for over 1,600 years.”

Rabbi Zlotowitz explained that the terse and enigmatic vernacular of the Yerushalmi made it accessible only to the accomplished scholar. “In a generation where there is an accelerating uptick in serious Torah learning, the masses can now plumb this amazing classic,” he said.

“The Schottensteins are preserving and propagating yet another incalculable gift to the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Scherman, recalling conversations with leading roshei yeshivot of the 1980s, said, “The Talmud is the neshamah [soul] of Klal Yisrael, the key to its survival. It couldn’t be woodenly translated. It had to be elucidated – clarified, illuminated, explained, and expounded. Each tractate cover declares that it’s an annotated, interpretive elucidation. Jerome Schottenstein understood the operational implications of doing it this way – and he stood behind each difficult step of the development.”

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Shehakol Bread?
‘One Recites A Blessing On The Primary Food’
(Berachos 44a)

The mishnah on our daf states that whenever a person eats a primary food (an ikar) and a subordinate food (a tafel), he should only recite a berachah on the ikar. For example, if someone eats salted food and subsequently eats bread solely for the purpose of absorbing the salt, he should only recite a berachah on the salted food, not on the bread. He should recite neither hamotzi nor birkas hamazon.

Set Before Him

Tosafos (sv. “b’ochlei…”) assert that the berachah on the ikar does not exempt the tafel unless the tafel was in the person’s presence when he recited the berachah on the ikar and intended to eat the tafel afterwards. However, if someone recites a berachah on salty fish without intending to eat bread at that time, and then afterwards decides to eat some bread to absorb the salt, he must recite a berachah on the bread.

Two Explanations

The Chazon Ish (Orach Chayim 27) suggests two possible reasons why a tafel does not require a separate berachah. First, the tafel is ancillary to the principal food and as such is considered too insignificant to require its own berachah. Second, the tafel, being ancillary to the ikar, is subject to the same berachah as the ikar. Thus, the berachah recited on the ikar covers the tafel as well. In other words, the tafel as not insignificant and does require a berachah according to this second explanation. However, the berachah recited on the ikar satisfies this requirement.

A Matter Of Intent

The Chazon Ish adduces proof from Tosafos that his second explanation is the correct one. According to the first explanation, even if someone did not originally intend to eat a tafel, it should still be exempt from a berachah since, in the end, it is being eaten as an ancillary to the ikar. And yet, Tosafos rule that the tafel is not exempt.

According to the second approach, however, Tosafos is more understandable. According to this explanation, the tafel is always subject to a berachah, only that the berachah on the ikar covers it. When one recites a berachah on the ikar, however, without intending to eat a tafel afterwards, the tafel cannot be subsumed under the berachah of the ikar and needs its own separate berachah.

Interestingly, the Magen Avraham rules (Orach Chayim 212 sk2) that in such an instance – where one only decides, for example, to eat bread as a tafel after making a berachah on an ikar like fish – the berachah for the bread would be shehakol, like the berachah one recited on the fish.

Berachah Acharonah?

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (op cit. sk10) notes that if someone only decides to eat a tafel after making a berachah on an ikar, he must make both a berachah rishonah and a berachah acharonah on the tafel. It is not covered by the berachah acharonah of the ikar.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; Overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at their office 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

A Vicious Cycle
‘Many Different Kinds Were Set Before Him’
(Berachos 41a)

Our Gemara discusses the order of priority in reciting berachos over foods. If a person plans to eat fruit with different berachos, most poskim maintain that he should first make a berachah over the fruit he prefers to eat. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a pineapple, and he prefers the pineapple, he should first recite borei pri ha’adamah over the pineapple, and afterward borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes.

Shivas Haminim

This is so despite the fact that grapes are one of the shivas haminim and that the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz is more distinguished than borei pri ha’adamah (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 211:1; Mishna Berurah s.k. 9). However, if someone is eating two fruits with the same berachah, he should make a berachah over the shivas haminim item first. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a peach, even though he prefers the peach, he should still recite the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes first (Shulchan Aruch, ibid.).

Everything’s Just Peachy

Based on the above rulings, the following question arises. What is the halacha if a person wishes to eat a peach, a pineapple, and grapes, and his most favorite food is peach, second favorite is pineapple, and least favorite is grapes? If he wants to make a berachah over the peach first, we should object that the grapes must precede it since they too are borei pri ha’eitz fruits and are one of the shivas haminim. If he wants to make a berachah over the grapes first, we should object that the pineapple must precede it since it has a different berachah than that of grapes and he prefers it to the grapes. If he wants to make a berachah over the pineapple first, we should object that the peach must precede it since he prefers it to the pineapple. Which lead us back to square one.

Advantage Plus

The Steipler Gaon, zt”l, offered the following solution to this problem. He said the person should recite the berachah over the grapes first. The answer to the objection that the pineapple should precede the grapes since the person prefers it is that the berachah over the grapes, borei pri ha’eitz, is also the berachah for his first preference, the peach. The grapes have the advantage of being both one of shivas haminim and possessing the same berachah as the preferred fruit (the peach).

Indeed, the heart of the halacha that one should eat one’s preferred fruit first is that one should say the berachah of the preferred fruit first. Normally, one says the berachah over the preferred fruit directly. In this case, however, where there are considerations at play, one says the berachah of the preferred fruit over a different fruit.

The Steipler stressed that the above solution is a point for consideration and should not necessarily be relied upon in practice (sefer Zichron Chai 2:9; see also VeZos HaBerachah, Birur Halachah 47).

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English, are available for simcha dedications as well as for memorials such as yahrzeit, shloshim, etc., and are distributed by email dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

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