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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Orach Chaim’

Maftir Yonah

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

There is a machlokes between the Mechaber and the Rema concerning the berachos recited on the Yom Kippur haftarah by Minchah. The Mechaber says (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 622:2) that we take the Torah out and read the parshah of arayos and then read Maftir Yonah. He says that we recite the berachos of the haftarah before and after the haftarah. If Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos, we mention Shabbos in the berachos. The Rema argues that we do not recite the berachah of “al haTorah v’al ha’avodah” by Minchah.

The Vilna Gaon explains that this machlokes is based on a fundamental difference of opinion as to the nature of why we read the Torah and haftarah at Minchah on Yom Kippur. The Mechaber holds that the reason why we read the Torah and a haftarah at Minchah on Yom Kippur is because it is part of the service of Yom Kippur. This is similar to the fact that we read from the Torah on Shabbos by Minchah. Therefore the Mechaber rules that the berachah of “al haTorah…” is recited, like it is recited on Shabbos. And if Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos, we mention Shabbos in the berachah.

The Rema’s view is that the Torah reading at Minchah on Yom Kippur is unrelated to the kedushah of Yom Kippur; rather, we read the Torah and the haftarah because Yom Kippur is a fast day, and on all fast days we read the Torah and haftarah at Minchah. Even though on a general fast day the reading of the Torah is from the parshah of “Vayechal Moshe…” the specific reading may be changed. On a regular fast day we do not recite the berachah of “al haTorah”; therefore the Rema rules that we should not recite that berachah on Yom Kippur.

A halachic ramification should result from this machlokes. Take this scenario, for example: If a man is sick on Yom Kippur and must eat, may he receive an aliyah by Minchah? If the essence of why we read the Torah by Minchah on Yom Kippur results from the kedushah of Yom Kippur, this sick man may receive an aliyah since he has not violated the kedushah of the day. But if the reason why we read the Torah is because Yom Kippur is a fast day and on fast days we read the Torah by Minchah, then he would not be able to receive an aliyah, as he is not currently fasting. As the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 566:6 rules: one who is not fasting may not receive an aliyah on a fast day.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger, in Teshuvos 24, rules that one who must eat for medical reasons may receive an aliyah at Shacharis on Yom Kippur. This is because the Torah reading at Shacharis definitely stems from the kedushas hayom. However, he says that he is unsure if he may receive one at Minchah, for perhaps that Torah reading results from the fact that it is a fast day.

Based on the Vilna Gaon’s explanation, this matter should depend on the machlokes between the Rema and the Mechaber. According to the Mechaber one should be able to receive an aliyah even if he is not fasting. According to the Rema he should not be able to receive an aliyah.

The difference between whether the Torah reading results from the kedushas hayom or if it results from the fact that it is a fast day is a fundamental difference in the essence of the Torah reading. If it results from the kedushas hayom, it is a regular Torah reading that is essentially public study of Torah. If we read the Torah because it is a fast day, then the purpose of the reading is essentially to rebuke the congregation. The main rebuke is actually found in the haftarah, except that we cannot read a haftarah only without reading from the actual Torah first. This is the understanding behind the opinion in Megillah 22b that says that only one aliyah is required on a fast day, since the main purpose is to reach the rebuke found in the haftarah.

There are two different sources for why we read the parshah of the arayos at Minchah on Yom Kippur. Rashi, in Megillah 31a, says that it is because one who has committed the sins of arayos should do teshuvah. Similarly Tosafos there says that we read that parshah because women dress nicely on Yom Tov and thus we want to remind everyone of the possible aveiros about which they should be cautious.

The Tal Law and Jewish Law – In Conflict?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In February, Israel’s Supreme Court voted the Tal Law discriminatory and unconstitutional in a vote of six to three. The law, which provides exemptions for young men studying in yeshiva full-time, has been the subject of much criticism and controversy.

Advocates of maintaining the status quo, argue that those studying Torah provide a spiritual protection to the State of Israel. They also believe that Jewish Law requires exemptions for yeshiva students.

But what does Jewish Law really require?

The Mishnah (Sotah 8:7) states: “…In a Milchemet Mitzvah, all go out [to war], even a groom from his room and a bride from her wedding canopy.” While many explain that women are exempt from combat, they are to assist by “providing food and fixing roads” (Tiferet Yisrael, ad loc.), for example. By including bride and groom, based on Yoel 2:16, the Mishnah emphasizes that all are required to participate in the war effort, without exception.

Rambam defines a Milchemet Mitzvah as, “war [against] the Seven Nations, war [against] Amalek, and assisting Israel from the hand of the enemy who comes up against them” (Hil. Melachim 5:1). This last definition informs our discussion. With a nuclear threat from Iran looming, enemy States on our borders, and the constant threat of terrorism within, anyone who is intellectually honest must admit that we find ourselves today embroiled in a Milchemet Mitzvah, a national security situation that demands the help of all.

Those who advocate exemptions for students studying Torah full-time also find support in the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. Rambam writes at the end of Hilchot Shemitta v’Yovel, that the Tribe of Levi is exempt from going to war as they are the ‘Army of Hashem,’ so to speak. They are to fulfill their role as spiritual leaders of the Jewish People. They do not inherit a portion of he Land and their material needs are provided for. Rambam then continues and writes:

And not only the Tribe of Levi, but also each and every individual whose spirit moves him and whose knowledge gives him understanding to set himself apart in order to stand before the Lord, to serve Him, to worship Him and to know Him, and releases his neck from the yoke of the many considerations that men are wont to pursue – such an individual is consecrated as the Holy of Holies, and his portion and inheritance shall be in the Lord forever and ever. The Lord will grant him in this world whatsoever is sufficient for him, as He has granted the Kohanim and Levi’im (Hil. Shemitta v’Yovel 13:13).

With this addendum, Rambam allows for anyone “whose spirit moves him” to devote himself solely to Torah study, free from the burden of army service and divorced of all material concerns.

But this passage is problematic. Later commentaries struggle to find a Talmudic source for Rambam’s ruling. Some suggest that this passage is based on Nedarim 32a, where our patriarch Avraham is criticized for drafting Torah scholars in the War of the Four Kings against the Five. Others point to Sotah 10a, which describes how King Asa was punished for mobilizing talmidei chachamim.

Rambam himself rules that even a bride and groom must assist in the war effort (Hil. Melachim 7:4). If bride and groom are not exempted, how can a yeshivah student, “whose spirit moves him,” escape the draft? And by suggesting that Torah scholars can look to their brethren for financial support, Rambam also appears to contradict what he writes in his commentary to Avot 4:5 and in Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10-11, where he decries the practice of relying upon others and emphasizes the importance of balancing Torah study with a livelihood.

What is clear is that Rambam’s ruling here is not the rule, but the exception. His allowance is made for the elite, the select few individuals that are able to devote themselves wholly to avodat Hashem. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein asks,

To how large a segment of the Torah community – or, a fortiori, of any community – does this lofty typology apply? To two percent? Five percent? Can anyone who negotiates the terms of salary, perhaps even naden or kest or both, confront a mirror and tell himself that he ought not go to the army because he is kodesh kodashim, sanctum sanctorum in the Rambam’s terms? (“The Ideology of Hesder,” Tradition, Fall 1981).

Exempting entire sectors of the Jewish Community from army service and from pursuing a parnassah, is not what the Rambam intended.

Why Women Can Recite Birchas HaTorah

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Rambam begins hilchos talmud Torah with the following halacha: Women and slaves are exempt from talmud Torah. A man is obligated to teach his son Torah, as it says, “velimadetem osam es beneichem ledaber bam.” However, a woman is not obligated to teach her son Torah because whoever is obligated to learn is obligated to teach – and since a woman is not obligated to learn, she is not obligated to teach.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 47:14) says that women should recite birchas haTorah. There is a machlokes Rishonim whether women can recite a berachah on a mitzvah from which they are exempt from performing. According to the Rishonim who opine that they can recite a berachah, we understand that they can recite the berachah on Torah as well. But the Mechaber (of the Shulchan Aruch) rules in favor of those Rishonim who do not permit women to recite a berachah on a mitzvah from which they are exempt. How then can he rule that they should recite a berachah on the mitzvah of learning Torah, since they are exempt from it?

The Magen Avraham quotes the Beis Yosef, in the name of the Agur, and explains that women are obligated to learn the halachos that pertain to them and are obligated to say korbanos, just as they are obligated to daven. Thus they may recite the berachah on Torah. The Magen Avraham also explains that it is for this reason that women can mention in the second berachah of bentching, “v’al Torasecha she’limaditanu,” since they are obligated to learn the halachos that pertain to them.

The Vilna Gaon does not agree with the Magen Avraham’s suggested answer, since the Gemara derives from the pasuk, “velimadetem osam es beneichem” – v’lo benoseichem – that women are exempt from the mitzvah entirely. This even regards learning about the mitzvos that they are obligated to perform.

Reb Shach, in his sefer on the Rambam, explains that there are two obligations to learn Torah. One is the general mitzvah to learn the entire Torah. This mitzvah is derived from the pasukim of “veshinantam” or “velimadetam.” It is from this obligation that women are exempt. However, there is another obligation to learn Torah that is a component of every mitzvah individually, demanding that one learn how to perform that particular mitzvah. Included in the commandment to perform each mitzvah is an obligation to learn how to properly perform that mitzvah. The obligation to learn how to perform the mitzvos is also a mitzvah of learning Torah.

Women are only exempt from the general mitzvah of learning the entire Torah. But they are obligated to learn how to perform the mitzvos for which they are obligated to perform, and that too is a mitzvah of talmud Torah. Hence they can recite the berachah on the mitzvah of talmud Torah, even according to the opinion that women may not recite a berachah on a mitzvah for which they are exempt.

Reb Shach brings a proof from a Tosafos in Avodah Zarah 3a that this obligation (to learn how to perform the mitzvos that you are obligated in) is a mitzvah of talmud Torah. The Gemara there says that a non-Jew who learns Torah is comparable to a kohen gadol, and he is rewarded just as one who is not obligated to perform the mitzvah (which is a lesser reward than one who performs a mitzvah that he was obligated to carry out). Tosafos explains that the Gemara is referring to a non-Jew who learns Torah that pertains to the seven obligatory mitzvos that non-Jews are required to perform. (A non-Jew is not allowed to learn any of the other parts of the Torah.) If learning the halachos of how to properly perform a mitzvah is not considered a mitzvah of talmud Torah, why does the Gemara make reference to a non-Jew who learns Torah? The Gemara should have said this: a non-Jew who is involved in preparing for a mitzvah that he is obligated to do (i.e. he kills an animal so that it is not eiver min ha’chai.) One can infer from this that there is an obligation to learn the halachos of each mitzvah, and that that is a mitzvah of talmud Torah.

Inside Purim: Insights On Purim And The Megillah

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Click for more Inside Purim.

Ever wonder?

Why is there a custom to dress up on Purim? Chazal explain that the threat on Purim was not really a threat at all. It was only the appearance of a threat, for in the end, Bnei Yisrael were not exterminated. Many years before the story of Purim took place, Nevuchadnetzar, the Babylonian ruler who destroyed the first Beis HaMikdash, forced Bnei Yisrael to bow to his idol (Daniel 3:3). The Jews did so, but only because they were coerced, and only for appearance’s sake. In their hearts, they were with Hashem. As punishment for this sin, middah k’neged middah, as a justified punishment, Hashem made only an appearance of a threat at Purim (Megillah 12a). Just as the hearts of Bnei Yisrael as they bowed to Nevuchadnetzar’s idol were with Hashem, so too the heart of Hashem was with Bnei Yisrael on Purim, and no calamity resulted. We dress up on Purim, often in the garb of goyim, to show that even though we sometimes sin and act like them, it is only an outward appearance. In truth, our hearts are always with Hashem.

(The Bnei Yissaschar)

Why is Purim named after the Persian word for lottery, “pur,” instead of its Hebrew counterpart “goral”? As a reminder of the great redemption from Egypt, the Torah begins the counting of the months from the month in which yetzias Mitzrayim occurred (see Shemos ch.12). Thus each month is called after its number place in the calendar counting from then (i.e. “The First Month,” “The Second Month,” etc…). However, when Bnei Yisrael returned from the Babylonian exile to build the second Beis HaMikdash, they brought with them the Babylonian names for the months (i.e. “Nissan,” “Iyar,” Sivan,” etc.), and we use these names to this day. The Ramban (Shemos 12:2) explains that just as the numerical names for the months were used to remind us of yetzias Mitzrayim, so too were the Babylonian names retained to serve as a permanent reminder of Hashem’s great redemption of Bnei Yisrael from the Babylonian exile. Following through on this idea, the Persian name “Purim” is used as a permanent reminder of the great miracle of Purim that Hashem wrought for us when we were in the exile of Persia-Media, and serves to publicize it as well.

(The Chasam Sofer)

What exactly does Taanis Esther commemorate, and why is it named after Esther? The fast commemorates the fasting Bnei Yisrael undertook before going to battle with their enemies on the 13th of Adar (see Mishna Berurah 686:2(2)). When Am Yisrael heads into battle, they do not rely on their physical might, nor the strength of their weaponry. Instead, they know that their lives and success are in the hands of Hashem, and as such, always fast and appeal to Hashem to grant them mercy and success. However, halachah teaches (Orach Chaim 571:3) that when one actually goes out to battle his enemies, he is forbidden to fast for fear his strength will weaken. Therefore, Bnei Yisrael were forbidden to fast when they were actually engaged in fighting on the 13th of Adar. However, Esther did fast on that day because she was protected in the confines of the palace, and did not have to go out to battle. Since she was the only person able to fast for the Jews while they did battle, the day is named after her.

(Likutei Sichos)

How does Hashem’s Name actually appear in the Megillah numerous times? The story of Megillas Esther is one in which Hashem’s hand is revealed to be manipulating all of the events – from behind the scenes – to bring about the salvation. This fact is alluded to by the Megillah in that Hashem’s Name does not explicitly appear in the text even once, yet it does appear, many times, hidden within the text – in the form of roshei teivos, first letters of words, sofei teivos, last letters of words, and gematrias. One example can be found when Esther invites Achashveirosh and Haman to the first party. There, Hashem’s Name appears in roshei teivos as follows: יָבוֹא הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהָמָן הַיּוֹם – Let the King and Haman come [to the party] today (Esther5:4), indicating that Hashem influenced these events.

(The Rokeach)

Why did the miracle occur through Esther, an orphan? The story of Purim occurred during the period of time following the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash. Exiled from Eretz Yisrael and suffering at the hands of other nations, Bnei Yisrael felt as if Hashem had, chas v’shalom abandoned them, saying “יְתוֹמִים הָיִינוּ וְאֵין אָב-we became orphans without a father” (Eicha 5:3). Hashem responded by bringing the salvation through an orphan to show that He is in fact the father of orphans, and had not, and will not ever, abandon Bnei Yisrael. The message to all generations is that we should never feel like orphans, because we always have our Father in Heaven.

(Esther Rabbah 6:7)  

Parashah Terumah: The Placement Of The Mishkan’s Planks

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses many of the various aspects of the mishkan. The Torah dictates in detail the manner in which the walls of the mishkan were to be erected. At the instructions’ conclusion, the pasuk says, “Vahakeimosa es hamishkan, k’mishpato asher har’eisa bahar – and you shall erect the mishkan according to its laws, as you will have been shown on the mountain” (Shemos 26:30). The Yerushalmi in Shabbos (12:3) asks what the Torah was referring to when it said the “laws” of the planks of wood. The Yerushalmi explains that the pasuk is teaching us that the planks that were positioned on the north side must remain on that side every time the mishkan was to be erected. And the same applied for the planks of wood on each side of the mishkan.

The sefer Tov Yerushalayim, in the commentary on Yerushalmi, asks why the Torah deemed it necessary to write an additional pasuk to teach that the planks of wood erected on each side be re-erected in their original places. Why would we not have known this from the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin – regarding kedushah we only move higher and not lower? Based on this rule one would not be allowed to move the planks that were on the north side, which were in a position of a higher- level kedushah, to a place of a lower level of kedushah i.e. the south side. So what is the need for the pasuk in this parshah?

Some Achronim suggest that the Yerushalmi is indeed referring to the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin. The Yerushalmi is stating that this pasuk, teaching us not to switch the places of the wood’s planks, is the Torah’s source for the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin.

Rashi, in his commentary to Megillah, quotes a Tosefta that says that the source for the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin is from a different aspect of the mishkan. The Tosefta says that we learn it from the fact that Bezalel made the mishkan and Moshe Rabbeinu, who was greater than him, erected it. Additionally, we learn that one may not move to a lower level of kedushah due to the fact that the frying pans that were used by Korach and his congregation needed to be kept holy. (They were sanctified, and thus unable to be discarded.)

One can infer from this that Rashi and the Tosefta (that he quoted) believe that the source for the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin is from a different source. Thus the question returns: Why did the Torah need to write another pasuk to teach us that one was not allowed to move a plank to a place of lower kedushah?

Other Achronim suggest that the Yerushalmi is not teaching us the halacha of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin; rather the Yerushalmi derives from this pasuk that each plank acquired its place and therefore had to be returned to its place during the erections of the mishkan that followed. This was not because moving places would violate the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin, but because the planks acquired their places. Perhaps there was not even any more kedushah in the place on the north side over the place on the south side.

One can infer from the Yerushalmi that it is indeed not referring to the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin at all. This is because the Yerushalmi includes the halacha that the planks from the south wall cannot be moved to the north wall. If there was more kedushah in the place of the north wall, why would one not be allowed to move the south wall to the opposite wall, since it is of a higher kedushah? This implies that the Yerushalmi is not referring to the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin, and that the north side does not contain more kedushah than the south side.

The Elyah Raba (Orach Chaim 630) quotes a Maharal that says that his rebbe would mark each of the walls of his sukkah in order to be able to arrange them in the same order the following year. He cites the Yerushalmi regarding the planks as the source for this custom. Additionally, the Chasam Sofer (Teshuvos Orach Chaim 28) rules that once the bimah of a shul has been placed in one area it may not be moved to another area.

It is evident from these parallels (a sukkah and the bimah in a shul) that these Achronim draw the following perception of the Yerushalmi: it is teaching us that once something is placed, it acquires its place and cannot be switched to another place (unless the circumstances dictate otherwise). However, they do not believe that the reason that the planks could not switch places was because there was more kedushah in one place over another – thereby contradicting the rule of malin bakodesh v’ein moredin.

May One Use White Wine For Kiddush?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The fourth dibrah of the Asseres Hadibros that is read in this week’s parshah says, “Zachor es yom haShabbos lekadsho – remember to sanctify the Shabbos.” The Gemara in Pesachim 106a derives from this pasuk that one must recite Kiddush on Shabbos over a cup of wine. The Gemara in Baba Basra 97b asks whether one may use white wine, and answers that one may not – since only red wine is considered wine. It is unclear, however, if the Gemara is referring to Kiddush or only to nesachim for the korbanos. This is a machlokes between the Rishonim. The Rashbam explains that the Gemara is only inquiring regarding the nesachim for korbanos, and concerning Kiddush one may use white wine. The Ramban disagrees, saying that the Gemara is referring to Kiddush as well; and therefore one may not use white wine for Kiddush. The Nimukei Yosef in Baba Basra quotes this machlokes and says that one should only use white wine in a situation where one does not have red wine.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 272:4) quotes both opinions and says that the minhag of the world is to use white wine for Kiddush. The Shulchan Aruch adds that even according to the opinion of the Ramban that one may not use white wine for Kiddush, one may use it for Havdalah. The Vilna Gaon explains that this is because white wine is considered chamar medinah (a valuable drink); thus it may be used for Havdalah.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger, in his commentary to Shulchan Aruch, writes that according to this view one should be permitted to use white wine for Kiddush on Shabbos day – even according to the Ramban. This is so since one may use chamar medinah for Kiddush on Shabbos day, as it says in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 272:9). Rabbi Akiva Eiger adds that, similarly, all of the other wines that the Shulchan Aruch ruled may not be used for Kiddush on Friday night, such as wine with a bad smell or wine that was left open, may be used for Kiddush on Shabbos day – for the same reason, namely that they are still considered chamar medinah.

The Be’er Halacha, authored by the Mishnah Berurah, takes issue with Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s ruling. He says that even in accordance with the Ramban’s view that wine must be red, white wine cannot be compared to the other wines that may not be used for Kiddush on Friday night (such as wine that does not smell good). While it is true that all of these wines indeed fall into the category of chamar medinah, wine that does not smell good or that was left open is not fit for another reason: there is a rule that an item that is to be used for a korban must be presentable, for as the pasuk states, “Hakriveihu na l’pechasecha? – Would you present this to a nobleman?” Therefore, wine that does not smell good or that was left out cannot be used for Kiddush on Shabbos day or for Havdalah, since it is not considered a presentable item even though it may be valuable. On the other hand, white wine, even according to the Ramban’s opinion that it is not considered wine, is deemed presentable and thus may be used for Kiddush on Shabbos day and for Havdalah. The Birkei Yosef and the Beis Yehuda also say that one may not use the other wines that are unfit for Kiddush on Friday night, for Kiddush on Shabbos day or for Havdalah.

Perhaps we can explain that the machlokes between Rabbi Akiva Eiger and the other Achronim is dependent on a different question. Regarding the above mentioned halacha that an item that is to be brought for a korban must be presentable (see source above), does this only apply to korbanos or even to other mitzvos? The Rashbam in Baba Basra, on the previously mentioned Gemara, indicates that this halacha only applies to korbanos. The Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Mizbeach 7:11) says that one’s korban should be of the best and highest quality, and that the same rule applies for anything one is using to serve Hashem. The Baal Ha-Maor says that a dry lulav is unfit for use because of the halacha of hakriveihu na l’pechasecha. We see from this that he holds that this halacha applies to other mitzvos as well.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger seemingly does not believe that hakriveihu na l’pechasecha applies to all mitzvos, and therefore he allows one to use wines that are not presentable. Only regarding Kiddush on Friday night does the Gemara say that the wine has to be fit for a korban.

The other Achronim believe that the halacha of hakriveihu na l’pechasecha applies to all mitzvos, and therefore even for Kiddush on Shabbos day and for Havdalah one may not use wine that is not presentable.

Lechem Mishneh

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

At the onset of the Bnei Yisrael’s journey through the midbar, we read in this week’s parshah that the Bnei Yisrael’s complaint was for food to eat. Hashem responded that He would send “lechem min hashamayim” (also known as mun), and that the Bnei Yisrael would collect each day’s portion according to the number of members of his household. One was not allowed to leave over any mun for the next day, and if he would it would spoil. On the sixth day a double portion would fall and the second portion was to be saved for Shabbos, as the mun would not fall on Shabbos. This double portion would not spoil, even though it was left over to the next day.

The Gemara in Shabbos 117b derives from the pasuk that mentions the double portion of mun that fell for Shabbos that one is obligated to “break” bread on two loaves of bread on Shabbos. Rashi explains that the obligation is only to recite the berachah of “hamotzi lechem” on two loaves; one need not break both loaves. The Gemara relates a story in which Rav Kehana held two loaves while reciting the berachah and only broke one of the loaves. The Gemara then relates another incident in which Rav Zera broke enough bread for the entire meal. The interpretation of the second incident is the subject of a dispute between Rashi and the Rashba. Rashi explains that it is an unrelated episode that teaches us that Rav Zera would break a bigger piece of bread than usual in honor of Shabbos. The Rashba explains that the Gemara is offering a disputing opinion to the previous one of Rav Kehana. Rav Kehana would only recite the berachah on the two loaves, and Rav Zera would even break both of them.

In other words, according to Rashi, one must only recite the berachah of hamotzi on two loaves and one need not break both of them; in his view this is not a matter of dispute. According to the Rashba, this is the opinion of Rav Kehana. Rav Zera disagrees and says that one must break both loaves as well. The Rashba adds that Rav Hai Gaon ruled that since the Gemara did not rule in this matter between Rav Kehana and Rav Zera, one is free to do as he wishes.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 274:2) rules in accordance with Rashi’s view that one must only recite the berachah on the two loaves, and that one need not break both of them. Also, that it is a mitzvah on Shabbos to break a big piece that would suffice for the entire meal. The Vilna Gaon, in the abovementioned siman, agrees with the Rashba that one should break both loaves of bread. Similarly, the Magen Avraham cites the fact that the Maharshal was accustomed to breaking both loaves of bread as well.

I would like to discuss the basis for this machlokes, and explain on a deeper level where they disagree. According to Rashi everyone agrees that one must only recite the berachah on the two loaves. On this opinion, the halacha that one must have lechem mishneh is similar to that of the daytime Kiddush. There is an obligation that the seudah begins with a berachah on lechem mishneh. Therefore, the following chiddush halacha should result: Just the same as Kiddush Rabbah (by day), only one person is required to recite the berachah, and everyone can fulfill their obligation without even drinking from the wine. So too only one person must recite the berachah on the lechem mishneh, and everyone will have fulfilled the obligation of lechem mishneh. This applies even if they do not eat from the lechem mishneh; rather they can eat from their own bread and make their own birchas hamotzi on it.

The Eishel Avraham (Reb Avraham from Butchatch found this in the back of the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 274) adds that one can even be yotzi his obligation of lechem mishneh if he hears the berachah before he washed his hands, and that the washing and reciting of its berachah will not be an interruption. Even though he will recite his own berachah of hamotzi, it is sufficient that he heard the berachah that was recited on the two loaves.

The Rashba explained that Rav Zera disagrees with Rav Kehana, saying that one must break both loaves. In fact he makes no mention of the berachah at all. In his view one must break both loaves and need not recite the berachah over both of them. According to this opinion the obligation to break both loaves of bread is a part of the seudah, and the seudah should be eaten with both loaves broken. One need not eat from both loaves, but we see that it is a part of the seudah. According to this opinion one would have to eat from one of the two broken loaves. It would not suffice to merely listen to the recitation of the berachah over them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/lechem-mishneh/2012/02/02/

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