THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MEGILAH 21-24 (3rd-6th days of Sukos 5760) - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann
of Lawrence, N.Y., out of love for Torah and those who study it.
1) BOWING DOWN ON A STONE FLOOR
OPINIONS: Rav Chiya bar Avin said that he say Rava and Abaye turning to
their sides as they bent down and not fully bowing down. Why were they
particular not to bow down?
(a) RASHI explains that they did not fully bow down, because they were
following Rebbi Elazar's ruling (22b) that an Adam Chashuv, a person of
importance, should not bow down.
HALACHAH: The REMA (OC 131:8) rules that it is Asur mid'Rabanan to bow down
even when there is only one thing wrong -- either if one is bowing with
Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim on a floor that is not made of stone, or bowing on
a stone floor without Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim (bowing without Pishut
Yadayim v'Raglayim is when one brings his face to the floor, not just when
he prostrates himself upon his knees -- Mishnah Berurah 181:41). This is
why, when we bow down on Yom Kipur, we place something upon the floor, even
though we do not bow down with Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim.
(b) TOSFOS (22b, DH v'Iy Ba'is Eima) and the ROSH explain in the name of RAV
HAI GA'ON that they leaned to their sides because of the prohibition of
bowing down on a stone floor. Why, though, did they lean to their sides? If
they were concerned with the prohibition of bowing on a stone floor, they
could have bowed down without stretching out their hands and feet (Pishut
Yadayim v'Raglayim) -- a manner of bowing which is permitted on a stone
floor, as the Gemara earlier (22b) says? The answer is that although the
Isur d'Oraisa forbids only Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim on a stone floor,
nevertheless they maintained that it is Asur *mid'Rabanan* to bow down on a
stone floor even without Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim.
Bowing while leaning to one's side is permitted on a stone floor. If,
however, the floor is made of stone and one bows down with Pishut Yadayim
v'Raglayim, then it is prohibited even if he leans to the side.
2) WHAT IS "PORSIN AL SHEMA"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that we may not be "Porsin Al Shema" with less
than ten people.
What is this act of being "Pores Al Shema?" What does the word "Pores" mean,
and how is this practice done?
(a) RASHI says that the word "Pores" comes from the word "Pras," or "half."
"Pores Al Shema" means that only half of the blessings of Keri'as Shema are
said. According to Rashi, as the RAN explains, people who Daven by
themselves without a Minyan may not recite a Davar sh'b'Kedushah. Thus, they
do not say Kadish, Barchu, or the Kedushah in the first blessing of Keri'as
Shema (the blessing of "Yotzer Or"). If ten such people who Davened by
themselves then come together in the synagogue, they may appoint a Chazan to
say Kadish, Barchu, and the first blessing of Keri'as Shema which has
Kedushah in it (they say that blessing in the form of a Nedavah, a free-will
offering, since they already said the blessing (just without Kedushah) by
The Rishonim dispute whether, in order to be "Pores Al Shema," it is
necessary to have ten people who all need to hear these Devarim
sh'b'Kedushah because they Davened by themselves. Some Rishonim maintain
that it suffices if only some of them need to hear the Devarim sh'b'Kedushah
(while the others already heard them), as follows:
1. From the words of Rashi, who says that "a Minyan of people who come to
the synagogue..." are Pores Al Shema, it seems that he maintains that there
must be ten people who all Davened by themselves and need to hear the
Devarim sh'b'Kedushah. The ME'IRI records such an opinion as well.
(b) Other Rishonim translate the word "Porsin" in differently. The RAMBAM
(in Perush ha'Mishnayos) says that "Pores" means to spread out or to
prepare. This also seems to be the interpretation of RASHI in Sotah (30b, DH
2. TOSFOS, citing Maseches Sofrim, says that it suffices if only six or
seven out of the ten have not yet heard Kadish, Barchu, and Kedushah.
3. RABEINU TAM, cited by Tosfos, says that it is enough to be Pores Al Shema
if only five out of the ten need to hear the Devarim sh'b'Kedushah.
4. The TALMIDEI RASHI, cited by Tosfos, say that a person may be Pores Al
Shema even if he is the only person on the ten who has not yet heard Devarim
The GE'ONIM, cited by the Ran, say that "Pores" means to begin, and it means
that we do not begin to say Shema and its blessings with less than ten
people (but if we have already begun with ten, we may continue if some
leave -- see also Rambam in Mishnah Torah).
The ME'IRI says (citing from the MICHTAM) that it means to "bless" (that is,
to recite the blessings of Keri'as Shema).
According to all of these interpretations, the act of "Porsin Al Shema"
refers to saying *both* blessings of Keri'as Shema, and not just the first
one. In addition, it is not referring to people who Davened by themselves,
but rather to people who do not know the blessings by heart and do not have
Sidurim, and they want to be Yotzei by hearing one person recite them. The
Rabanan decreed that since these blessings are like a Davar sh'b'Kedushah,
it will not suffice for one person to recite them for one other person, like
one may do with other Berachos. Rather, they required that in order to be
Yotzei by hearing another person recite these blessings, there must be a
group of ten people present. (They compare this to the Halachah of a Zimun
for Birkas ha'Mazon, whereby one person can only be Motzi another if there
are at least three people present.)
According to the Ge'onim, the reason why ten people are required in order to
be Pores Al Shema is not the same as the reason why the other things
mentioned in the Mishnah require ten people. Those other things are genuine
Devarim sh'b'Kedushah, and a Davar sh'b'Kedushah needs ten people to be
recited in the first place. However, the blessings of Keri'as Shema may be
recited by an individual, if he knows them by heart. They require ten people
when it comes to having one person recite them for others because they are
*like* a Davar sh'b'Kedushah.
Support for Rashi's explanation can be found in Sotah (30b), the only other
place in the Gemara where "Pores Al Shema" is mentioned. The Gemara there
implies that everyone recites the words together with the Chazan, and not
that they listen to him as he recites it for them. However, Tosfos there
cites a Tosefta which indeed describes "Pores Al Shema" as the Chazan
reciting the words for the others who are listening and being Yotzei with
his recitation, and they do not repeat the words that the Chazan says.