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) BEIN HA'SHEMASHOS
QUESTION: According to Rebbi Yehudah, the duration of Bein ha'Shemashos
(from Sheki'ah until three stars come out) is either 2/3 (Rav Yosef) or 3/4
(Rabah) of the time that it takes to walk one Mil. However, in Pesachim
(94a) there is a discussion concerning how long it takes for the sun to go
through the "thickness of the firmament" (that is, for its light to
disappear). The Gemara says that it takes from sunset (Sheki'ah) until the
stars come out (Tzeis ha'Kochavim) for the sun's light to disappear. Rebbi
Yehudah there says that the period from Sheki'ah to Tzeis is the amount of
time that it takes to walk *four* Mil!
2) MOSHE RABEINU'S SIN AND MIRIAM'S WELL
How could Rebbi Yehudah say that the duration of Bein ha'Shemashos is
*four* Mil, when here he says that it is only 2/3 or 3/4 of a Mil?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Trei) explains that there is a difference between our Gemara
and the Gemara in Pesachim. When the Gemara there says "*mi'Sheki'as*
ha'Chamah," (and not *mi'Shetishka* ha'Chamah, as it says in our Sugya) it
is referring to the moment that the sun disappears *from our eyes*. At that
moment, though, it is still journeying through the firmament. When the sun
reaches a certain point in the thickness of the firmament, its light
*begins* to disappear. This is referred to as "*mi'Shetishka* ha'Chamah."
Shortly afterwards, its light disappears altogether and three stars can be
seen. In summary, the order of events is: (1) the sun disappears, (2) a
period of 3 1/4 (or 3 1/3 according to Rav Yosef) Mil passes, after which
time the light of the sun *begins* to totally disappear (this is the start
of the Beis ha'Shemashos of our Sugya), and then (3) a period of 3/4 Mil or
2/3 according to Rav Yosef) passes, after which the sun has completely
disappeared and the stars come out. This is the view of RABEINU TAM.
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (SHENOS ELIYAHU, beginning of Maseches Berachos, and in
BI'UR HA'GRA OC 235 and 261) explains that both here and in Pesachim, the
times mentioned (3/4 Mil and 4 Mil) start from the time that the sun
completely disappears from our view. However, the Gemara in Pesachim is
talking about a different *Tzeis ha'Kochavim* than our Gemara (and not a
different Sheki'as ha'Chamah, as Rabeinu Tam suggests). In Pesachim, "Tzeis
ha'Kochavim" refers to the time at which every last ray of light disappears
from the sky (which is four Mil after sunset), and *all* of the stars can
be seen. In our Gemara, "Tzeis ha'Kochavim" refers to the time at which
*three medium-size stars* can be seen, which is the Halachic definition of
nightfall. (The Gemara in Pesachim, by contrast, is an Agaddic discussion
and is not referring to the Halachic Tzeis ha'Kochavim.)
AGADAH: The Gemara states that the waters of the well of Miriam (Be'er
Miriam) were valid for Tevilah. The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (in SHE'EILOS
U'TESHUVOS TZAFNAS PANEI'ACH 119:7) uses this Gemara to explain the sin of
Moshe Rabeinu, who hit the rock to obtain water for the Jewish people. Why
was Moshe Rabeinu punished for hitting the rock, when Hashem had commanded
him to hit it?
When Moshe Rabeinu took the stick and hit the rock, the verse states, "...
as He commanded him (Asher Tzivahu)" (Bamidbar 20:9). In other places,
though, when Moshe fulfills the dictates of Hashem, it says, "As *Hashem*
commanded him (Asher Tzivahu *Hashem*)." This subtle change indicates that
when Hashem commanded Moshe to take the stick, Moshe acted according to
*his* interpretation of Hashem's command, which was slightly different from
what Hashem had actually intended. Hashem told Moshe to take "*the* stick"
(Bamidbar 20:8). Moshe, in his modesty, thought that Hashem meant Aharon's
stick, the one that had been placed in the Sanctuary from the time that it
miraculously sprouted almonds. The verse states that Moshe took a stick from "before Hashem" (Bamidbar 20:9), that is, from within the Sanctuary;
Aharon's stick. That was the stick that he used to hit the rock to bring
In the Mishnah in Mikva'os (5:5), Rebbi Yosi says that a Mikvah formed by
objects (such as lining up sticks around a Mikvah to direct water into it)
that can become Tamei is invalid. Since sticks can become Tamei, a Mikvah
made with sticks is invalid and cannot be used for Tevilah. When the Jews
were traveling through the wilderness, there were no valid Mikva'os for
them to use (see Tosfos, Bechoros 56a). The only way they were able to
immerse themselves, then, was in the water that came forth from Miriam's
well, as our Gemara says.
Had Moshe struck the rock with his own stick -- which was made out of
sapphire (stone; Shemos Rabah 6), a material that cannot become Tamei --
the water that came from the rock would have been valid for Tevilah. Since
he hit the rock with Aharon's stick which was made of wood and could become
Tamei, the waters of the rock were invalid for Tevilah, because they were
brought about by an object that could become Tamei. As a result, for the
last year of their sojourn in the wilderness, the Jewish women were unable
to immerse themselves. This caused considerable stress in the relationship
between husband and wife, which is why those waters were called "Mei
Merivah" -- "the Waters of Strife!"
3) HALACHAH: DOING "MELACHAH" AFTER LIGHTING THE SHABBOS CANDLES
OPINIONS: Is it permitted to do Melachah after lighting the Shabbos
candles? The Gemara in Yoma 81b states that once a person says the blessing
"Shehecheyanu" before Yom Kippur, it becomes prohibited for him to do
Melachah, and all of the prohibitions of Yom Kippur take effect. Does the
same Halachah apply to lighting the Shabbos candles before Shabbos? Does
Melachah become forbidden once one lights the candles?
(a) The RAMBAN (Shabbos 23b) writes that the two are not comparable:
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 263:10) cites both opinions and writes
that the second opinion (the more stringent one) is the one that we follow.
The REMA, however, notes that one may stipulate before lighting the candles
that one does not intend to accept Shabbos at that moment. According to the
opinions that the Rema is citing, the ruling that lighting the Shabbos
candles serves as an acceptance of Shabbos is only a custom, based on the
fact that the woman's unexpressed intention is usually to accept Shabbos at
that time. She may, however, stipulate not to accept Shabbos. (In contrast,
according to the Ran, who says that the Rabanan *decreed* that when one
lights the candles, one accepts Shabbos, stipulating not to accept Shabbos
does not help.)
(1) With regard to Yom Kippur, by saying "Shehecheyanu" one clearly
demonstrates that his intention is to accept upon himself the sanctity of
the day. Here, with regard to Shabbos, one's lighting of the candles does
not necessary show that he wants to accept upon himself the sanctity of
Shabbos; rather, since lighting during Shabbos is forbidden, he is merely
trying to finish lighting the candles so that he can move on to the other
preparations for Shabbos.
Consequently, the Ramban concludes that on Shabbos Chanukah, a person
should light the Shabbos candles before lighting the Chanukah candles,
because the Shabbos candles are more important (as the Gemara on 23b
states), and one is permitted to do Melachah after lighting them.
(2) Second, lighting the candles is itself a Melachah, and by lighting them
one shows that it is *not* Shabbos. Therefore it cannot serve to usher in
the Shabbos the way that the blessing of "Shehecheyanu" serves to usher in
(3) The Ramban's finds support for his opinion in the Gemara here, which
says that the third blast of the Shofar marked the time to light the
Shabbos candles. Time was given before the blowing of the fourth blast to
allow the person who just lit Shabbos candles to go "roast a small fish or
affix dough to the inside of the oven." Clearly, then, Melachah is
permissible after lighting the Shabbos candles. (Rashi 35b, DH Madbik, also
says that this time was given for them to actually place the dough in the
(b) The RAN and BEHAG disagree with the Ramban:
(1) Lighting the Shabbos candles marks the beginning of Shabbos. Although
it is a Melachah, since it is a Mitzvah which is done for the sake of
Shabbos, it is considered the beginning of the cessation from Melachah.
(2) When the Gemara says that there was a pause between the third and
fourth Shofar blasts so that people could roast fish or affix their dough
to the ovens after lighting the Shabbos candles, it means that that *amount
of time* was given, but not that it was actually permitted for them to do
Melachah after lighting the Shabbos candles.
(3) We see, also, that the Beraisa says that "they would light the Shabbos
candles" after listing all the other tasks that people would do first. This
implies that lighting the candles is the last Melachah done before Shabbos.
This is especially evident because the Mishnah earlier (34a) states that it
is permitted to do Hatmanah during Bein ha'Shemashos. The Beraisa here,
then, should have listed Hatmanah *after* lighting the Shabbos candles
(because lighting the candles is forbidden during Bein ha'Shemashos, since
it is a Melachah d'Oraisa, and Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra). It must be that
the Rabanan decreed that the lighting of the candles be the last Melachah
done before Shabbos. Similarly, the Beraisa says that according to Rebbi
Yehudah, the third Shofar blast signaled everyone to remove their Tefilin,
and the fourth blast signaled the time to light the candles. Since wearing
Tefilin is a Mitzvah, removing the Tefilin should have been done *after*
lighting the candles. It must be that once the Shabbos candles have been
lit, it is Shabbos and Melachah is forbidden.
The MISHNAH BERURAH (263:42) points out that when a *man* lights the
Shabbos candles, the lighting does not serve as his acceptance of Shabbos.
(This seems to be in accordance with the ruling of the Rema, who maintains
that it is only a custom, and not a decree, that a woman's acceptance of
Shabbos is dependent upon lighting the candles. The custom was accepted by
women, but not by men.)