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) CHANUKAH AND "SHEMEN SEREIFAH"
QUESTION: Why does the Gemara interrupt its discussion of Chanukah to
discuss the prohibition of lighting the Shabbos candles with the Sugya of
"Shemen Sereifah" (Terumah oil that became Tamei and must be burned)?
2) SAYING "AL HA'NISIM" IN BIRKAS HA'MAZON
(a) The RASHBA (end of 23b) in the name of RABEINU YONAH and the CHIDUSHEI
HA'RAN explain that the Sugya of Shemen Sereifah is relevant to the laws of
Chanukah. Rabah and Rav Chisda (23b) argue concerning the reason why one
may not light the Shabbos candles with Shemen Sereifah -- either because of
the fear that one may tilt the lamp to speed up the burning process
(-Rabah), or because the Mishnah is talking about a case when Yom Tov falls
on Friday, and lighting with Shemen Sereifah is forbidden on Yom Tov.
Consequently, this discussion is also relevant to the laws of Chanukah.
When Shabbos and Chanukah coincide, may one use Shemen Sereifah for the
*Chanukah lights* on Friday evening? Even if we conclude that it is
permitted to use all of the other inferior oils on Chanukah (because
"Kavsah Ein Zakuk Lah" and "Asur l'Hishtamesh l'Orah"), using Shemen
Sereifah will still be prohibited according to Rabah because of a new
concern -- perhaps one will tilt the lamp on Shabbos to speed up the
burning process. Therefore, the discussion of Shemen Sereifah is
interjected here in the Gemara.
MAHARATZ CHAYOS adds that according to Rabah, it is not permitted to burn
Shemen Sereifah even on a *weeknight* of Chanukah. Since Rabah maintains
that there is a fear that one may tilt the lamp to speed up the burning of
the oil, we are concerned that one might consequently cause the amount of
oil in the Chanukah lamp to diminish to less than the amount required to
remain burning for the proper length of time.
(b) The RASHASH says that this discussion is interjected here for the
opposite reason. Since, according to Rav Chisda's reason for not lighting
the Shabbos candles with Shemen Sereifah, it is not applicable *at all* to
Chanukah, the Gemara waited until after the discussion of kindling the
wicks and lights of Chanukah to discuss it. After discussing the Chanukah
lights, the Gemara returns to the Mishnah and discusses this Halachah
(which also involves wicks and lights.). Afterwards, the Gemara goes
returns to address the laws of Chanukah which do not have anything to do
with the lights that are lit. (Since there is no other Maseches that
discusses it, this is the best place for the discussion).
QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether we recite "Al ha'Nisim" in Birkas
ha'Mazon on Chanukah. Both RASHI and TOSFOS explain that the Gemara did not
ask whether we recite "Al ha'Nisim" in Shemoneh Esreh, because it was
obvious to the Gemara that we do (as Rav Sheshes says at the end of the
Sugya). Rashi and Tosfos seem to argue, though, *why* we recite "Al
ha'Nisim" in Shemoneh Esreh.
3) HALACHAH: SAYING "AL HA'NISIM" IN BIRKAS HA'MAZON
Rashi says that we say "Al ha'Nisim" in Shemoneh Esreh because "[the days
of Chanukah] were established as days of praise and thanksgiving, as the
Gemara said earlier (21b)" (and therefore we obviously make mention of
Chanukah in our Shemoneh Esreh). Tosfos, however, says that it is because
"Shemoneh Esreh is recited in public where there is Pirsum Nes (publicizing
the miracle of Chanukah), so Al ha'Nisim is recited. But Birkas ha'Mazon is
recited individually in one's home where there is no Pirsum Nes."
Furthermore, Rashi and Tosfos argue concerning another point. In the end of
the Sugya, Rav Sheshes says, "Just like Al ha'Nisim is recited in the
Hoda'ah (thanksgiving) section of Shemoneh Esreh, so, too, it is recited in
the Hoda'ah section of Birkas ha'Mazon."
Rashi explains that the reason why "Al ha'Nisim" is mentioned in the
Hoda'ah section of Birkas ha'Mazon (and Shemoneh Esreh) is because the
entire institution of Chanukah is for the sake of giving thanks (Hoda'ah),
so, naturally, we recite "Al ha'Nisim" in the blessing of giving thanks.
Tosfos, though, writes that we recite "Al ha'Nisim" in Hoda'ah because the
style of the "Al ha'Nisim" addition is that of thanksgiving (thanking
Hashem) and not of prayer (making requests of Hashem). Had it been written
in the style of a prayer, it would have indeed been placed in "Boneh
Yerushalayim," where all other special days are mentioned. What is the
basis of the argument between Rashi and Tosfos?
ANSWER: When the Gemara answers, "If one wants to say Al ha'Nisim, he may
say it in Hoda'ah," Tosfos understands that the reason to say "Al ha'Nisim"
is the same reason for saying any other special paragraph for a special day
(like Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh, or Yom Tov); the Rabanan established that on
special days, one should make mention of that day in Birkas ha'Mazon.
Rashi argues. Rashi understands that the Gemara's reason for saying "Al
ha'Nisim" is not to because of the concept of making mention of the special
day in Birkas ha'Mazon (because we only make mention of festivals that are
mid'Oraisa, and Chanukah is mid'Rabanan). Rather, the reason for saying "Al
ha'Nisim" in Birkas ha'Mazon is because of the unique obligation to give
thanks to Hashem on Chanukah (because that is the whole purpose of
Chanukah, as the Gemara says earlier, "l'Hallel v'Hoda'ah").
This difference in understanding the essential nature of "Al ha'Nisim"
explains why Rashi and Tosfos give different reasons for reciting it in
Shemoneh Esreh, and different reasons for reciting it in the section of
Hoda'ah. (RAV Y.D. HOMNICK in SEFER NACHALAS YAKOV)
QUESTION: The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 2:6) rules that one says "Al
ha'Nisim" in Birkas ha'Mazon. This is also how the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC
Why is saying "Al ha'Nisim" obligatory? Our Gemara seems to say that it is
optional ("Rav Huna said that one does not mention Al ha'Nisim, but *if one
wants to mention it*, he says it Hoda'ah")!
(a) The ROSH YOSEF gives three answers. First, the simple understanding of
Rav Sheshes, in the end of the Gemara, is that he is saying that one *must*
say "Al ha'Nisim" and he is arguing with Rav Huna. This is indeed how
RABEINU CHANANEL seems to explain the Gemara (although his text had the
name "Rava" instead of "Rav Sheshes").
(b) Since the Jews accepted upon themselves to say "Al ha'Nisim" in Birkas
ha'Mazon, it has become obligatory (like the Ma'ariv Shemoneh Esreh).
(c) The Yerushalmi says that "Al ha'Nisim" is obligatory, and if one
forgets to say it, he must *repeat Birkas ha'Mazon*. Since the Bavli and
Yerushalmi are arguing, the Rambam rules that we must be stringent in
accordance with the Yerushalmi and require that "Al ha'Nisim" be said in
Birkas ha'Mazon. However, one does not repeat Birkas ha'Mazon if he forgets
to say "Al ha'Nisim," because doing so would be a Berachah le'Vatalah
according to the Bavli. (ROSH YOSEF, citing the LECHEM MISHNAH)
4) MENTIONING ROSH CHODESH IN THE BLESSING OF THE HAFTARAH ON SHABBOS-ROSH
The Gemara concludes that the Halachah is not like "all of these teaching,"
but rather like the teaching of Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi that we make
mention of Shabbos in Ne'ilah on Yom Kippur (when Shabbos and Yom Kippur
coincide). RASHI says that the Gemara is repudiating *all* of the previous
statements, including that of Rav Gidal who said that we do not mention
Rosh Chodesh in the blessing after the Haftarah on Shabbos (when Shabbos
and Rosh Chodesh coincide).
Why does Rashi say that Rav Gidal's ruling is also refuted? The ruling of
Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi does *not* conflict with Rav Gidal's ruling! The
reason why we mention Shabbos in Ne'ilah (Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi's ruling)
is because of the concept of "Yom she'Chayav Bo Arba Tefilos," that is,
there are already several other Shemoneh Esreh's that one recites on
Shabbos-Yom Kippur which must include mention of Shabbos (since they would
be recited even if it was not Yom Kippur). Therefore, in Ne'ilah, which one
recites only because of Yom Kippur, one should still make mention of
Shabbos. The Haftarah, however, is *never* read on Rosh Chodesh, so there
is no reason to warrant mentioning Rosh Chodesh in the blessing of the
Haftarah! (TOSFOS, DH v'Leis)
(a) The ROSH explains (2:16) that once we are informed of the second
statement of Rav (related to us in his name by Rav Achadvoy), in which it
is clear that Rav does not agree with the concept of "Yom she'Chayav Bo
Arba Tefilos," it is evident that Rav Gidal and Rav Achadvoy are not
arguing, but are expressing the same opinion of Rav through two different
cases. Consequently, it makes sense to say that once Rav Achadvoy's opinion
is rejected, so, too, is Rav Gidal's.
HALACHAH: According to Rashi's explanation of the Gemara, we *do* mention
Rosh Chodesh in the blessing after the Haftarah on Shabbos (*not* like Rav
Gidal). According to Tosfos' explanation, we do *not* mention Rosh Chodesh
(like Rav Gidal).
(b) RASHI apparently understands that the Shemoneh Esreh of Ne'ilah is not
like any other Shemoneh Esreh. Ne'ilah is not in the category of ordinary
Tefilos (which were instituted to correspond to the various Korbanos), but
it is a completely new institution, which was established as a way of
concluding the fast. (Ne'ilah is not an "Avodah," but is a "G'mar Tzom.")
Therefore, since Shabbos has no connection with Ne'ilah because it is not a
normal Shemoneh Esreh, this case is identical to the case of mentioning
Rosh Chodesh in the Haftarah blessing (and since Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi
rules in contrast to Rav Gidal, Rav Gidal is refuted). (M. Kornfeld)
Many Rishonim learn like Rashi (the Rif, Rabeinu Yonah, Rosh), but, as the
Rosh writes, they limit the Halachah to mentioning Rosh Chodesh in the
middle of the blessing but not in the concluding blessing itself (the same
way we mention "Ya'aleh v'Yavo" in the Shemoneh Esreh on Shabbos, but we do
not make mention of it in the concluding blessing, "Baruch Atah Hashem
The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 284:2) cites first the opinion of Tosfos and then
the opinion of the Rosh, and concludes that "the common practice is like
the first opinion," that is, *not* to mention Rosh Chodesh at all in the
blessing after the Haftarah.