THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) A BLESSING FOR A "SAFEK"
OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that according to Rava, a doubt in a Mitzvah
d'Rabanan (that is, if someone is in doubt whether or not he fulfilled his
obligation to do a Mitzvah instituted by the Rabanan) requires another
blessing to be recited. The only reason why a blessing is not recited when
separating Terumah from Demai is because most people (including Am
ha'Aretz) do indeed separate Terumah. As RASHI (DH Rava Amar) explains,
separating Terumah from Demai is not really due to a doubt, but it is a
"Chumra b'Alma," a stringency.
(a) The RAN points out that according to Rava, if there would be a real
doubt, such as in a case when one is unsure whether he performed a Mitzvah
d'Oraisa or not and therefore he has to do the Mitzvah again, one would be
required to recite a new blessing. Only when there is no real doubt does
Rava say that one does not recite a blessing. This also seems to be the
intention of Rashi (DH Rava Amar). The RA'AVAD rules like this (Hilchos
Milah 3:6), and so does RABEINU YONAH (Berachos 21a). However, this ruling
applies only when one is in doubt whether he did the Mitzvah or not. If one
knows that he did the Mitzvah but is in doubt if he recited the blessing,
then he does *not* recite the blessing again.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Milah 3:6, Hilchos Tzitzis 3:9), however, writes
that one does *not* recite a new blessing when one performs a Mitzvah that
he was in doubt whether he had performed. The Poskim rule in accordance
with the opinion of the Rambam.
3) HALACHAH: THE CHANUKAH LIGHTS TAKE PRECEDENCE
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the buying Chanukah lights takes precedence
over buying wine for Kidush, because the Chanukah lights involve
publicizing the miracle of Chanukah (Pirsum Nes). The RAMBAM takes this one
step further and rules that one should even sell his clothing in order to
buy the materials needed for kindling the Chanukah lights. The Rambam
writes, "The Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights is a most beloved Mitzvah, and
one must be very prudent in its fulfillment in order to publicize the
miracle and to increase the praise of G-d and gratitude to Him for the
miracles that He wrought for us. [Therefore,] even if one [is so poor that
he] has nothing to eat except for what he takes from charity, he should
borrow money or sell his clothing in order to buy oil and candles to light"
(Hilchos Chanukah 4:12).
4) WHEN TO LIGHT THE SHABBOS CANDLES
What is the Rambam's source for this ruling?
(a) The MAGID MISHNAH explains that the Rambam's source is our Gemara,
which says that the publicizing of the Mitzvah of Chanukah makes the
Chanukah lights more important than Kidush. We find with regard to the Four
Cups of wine of the Seder night that if someone cannot afford to buy wine,
he should take charity in order to buy wine and fulfill the Mitzvah. The
Four Cups, says the Gemara (Pesachim 112a), also serve to publicize a
miracle. If one must take from charity to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Four
Cups, all the more so must one take from charity or sell ones clothing to
fulfill the Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights.
(The LECHEM MISHNAH asks why the Magid Mishnah says "all the more so"
regarding the Chanukah lights. Why should the Mitzvah of the Chanukah
lights be more stringent than the Four Cups, if they are both Mitzvos of
Pirsum Nes? He concludes that the Rambam's ruling can be learned from a "Hu
ha'Din" from the Four Cups, but not from a "Kol she'Ken.")
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (BI'UR HA'GRA OC 671) says that the source for this
Halachah is as follows. The Gemara in Pesachim (112a) says that even a poor
person who is already supported by the communal charity collection should
take more charity to provide a minimal amount of food in honor of Shabbos.
The RASHBAM, commenting on the Mishnah in Pesachim (99b), says that taking
from charity means even hiring oneself out or selling one's clothing. The
Gemara (Pesachim 105b) says that one must rely on charity if he does not
have enough money to buy wine for Kidush. Since our Gemara says that the
Chanukah lights take precedence over Kidush, then certainly one must sell
his clothing to buy Chanukah lights.
(c) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (TZAFNAS PANEI'ACH) says that it is not necessary
to prove from the Gemara in Pesachim that one is required to sell his
clothing to buy wine for Kidush, since it is an explicit Gemara. The Gemara
in Megilah (27b) relates that some of the Amora'im sold their clothing to
buy wine for Kidush. Since our Gemara says that the Chanukah lights take
precedence over Kidush, then certainly one must sell his clothing to buy
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that the wife of Rav Yosef used to light the
Shabbos candles late. Rav Yosef pointed out that it is "proper etiquette"
(Rashi) to light while it is still day.
How could the wife of Rav Yosef light the Shabbos candles late? Did she not
know about the explicit Torah prohibition against lighting a fire on
Shabbos? Furthermore, if she was desecrating the Shabbos, why did Rav Yosef
reprimand her with a metaphor instructing proper etiquette, and not with
the explicit verse in the Torah that commands us to observe the Shabbos?
ANSWER: The RAN explains that Rav Yosef's wife certainly lit before sundown
and was not desecrating Shabbos. However, she thought that although there
is a Mitzvah to add to the Shabbos from the weekday ("Tosefes Shabbos"),
that Mitzvah does not apply to lighting the Shabbos candles, and the
Shabbos candles could be lit *after* Tosefes Shabbos, before sundown. Her
reasoning was that Tosefes Shabbos applies only to the prohibition of
Melachah (that is, one should cease from performing Melachah some time
before sundown), but not to a Melachah which is a holy act of a Mitzvah
(lighting the Shabbos candles). Rav Yosef therefore informed her that it is
proper to add Tosefes Shabbos to the lighting of the Shabbos candles as
The Gemara continues and relates that after Rav Yosef told her that she
should light the candles earlier, she wanted to light them *very* early. A
certain elder told her that she should not light the candles too early, but
rather after she ceases for the other Melachos she should light, in order
for lighting the Shabbos candles to be the last Melachah that she does