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Sukah 38

SUKA 36-56 (End of Maseches) have been dedicated by the wife and daughters of the late Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y. Well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah, he will long be remembered.


QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that if an Eved, Ishah, or Katan reads Hallel for a man, he must say each word after them (since they cannot exempt him from his obligation because they themselves are not Mechuyav). If a man says Hallel with the help of an Eved, Ishah, or Katan, "Tavo Lo M'eirah" -- he is accursed. If, on the other hand, another mature man reads Hallel for him, he merely listens and fulfills his obligation through hearing the Hallel (because of "Shome'a k'Oneh").

Why is the man accursed if he says Hallel word for word with an Eved, Ishah, or Katan? RASHI (DH v'Tavo) explains that he is accursed because he did not learn how to say Hallel by himself, and even if he did learn, he is accursed because he has appointed such unworthy emissaries to say Hallel for him.

The Gemara cites a similar Beraisa regarding Birkas ha'Mazon. The Beraisa says that even though a child, Eved, or Ishah (see ARUCH LA'NER regarding the change in the order of those three individuals from the order that appears in the Mishnah) are able to exempt a man from his obligation to recite Birkas ha'Mazon (in the event that he ate only enough to obligate him mid'Rabanan), nevertheless a person who fulfills his obligation to say Birkas ha'Mazon like that is accursed. RASHI here (DH sh'Ishto) says that such a person deserves to be cursed because the fact that his wife recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him "is certainly because he did not learn" how to say Birkas ha'Mazon by himself.

Rashi's explanation in this Sugya is very problematic.

1. Why does Rashi say that the case in the Mishnah of a man who has an Eved, Ishah, or Katan read Hallel for him could be talking about someone who knows how to say Hallel by himself and nonetheless has an Eved, Ishah, or Katan do it for him? Why would anyone appoint an Eved to read for him if he could read it for himself? He is not gaining anything, since he is required to read along with the Eved in any case!
2. Regarding Birkas ha'Mazon, Rashi says that if one's wife or child recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him, it is "certainly because he did not learn" how to say it himself. Why is it so obvious to Rashi that the person does not know how to recite it himself? Perhaps he knows how, but he wants them to recite it for him -- just like Rashi explains in the Mishnah regarding Hallel!
3. Regarding Hallel, Rashi says that if the man knows how to say Hallel on his own, he will still be cursed because he is disgracing Hashem by appointing such emissaries to say Hallel for him. What does Rashi mean? They are not saying Hallel *for* him! He is saying it as well, repeating after them word for word!
4. According to Rashi in the Mishnah, the man is accursed because he did not learn to say Hallel himself. If so, he should also be accursed even if he has another grown man say Hallel for him, since he did not learn how to say it for himself! Why is it only "Tavo Lo M'eirah" if an Eved, Ishah, or Katan says it for him?
Similarly, in the Beraisa, why is he accursed only if his wife or child says Birkas ha'Mazon for him? Even if another man says it for him, he should be accursed because it shows that he never learned how to say it himself! (TOSFOS DH u'Se'hi)


(a) TOSFOS suggests an entirely different approach to the Sugya. When the Mishnah says "Tavo Lo M'eirah," it is certainly referring to a man who does not know Hallel himself. However, the fact that he never learned how to say Hallel is *not* what he did wrong, and is not the reason why he is cursed. The reason he is cursed is because he is asking a person who has no obligation to recite Hallel to say it for him so that he can repeat it word for word, instead of having someone who is obligated exempt him. Accordingly, it is only a disgrace when he has an Eved, Ishah, or Katan recite it for him, but not when he has another man recite it for him.

In the Beraisa, even though his wife or child are obligated (mid'Rabanan) to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, he is still accursed because Birkas ha'Mazon is something that he should definitely know by heart (since it is said so frequently). (MAHARSHAL and KAPOS TEMARIM; see MAHARSHA for a different explanation)

(b) As far as understanding Rashi's approach, the Acharonim suggest various answers which are difficult to reconcile with the words of Rashi (see KAPOS TEMARIM, NETZIV, and ARUCH LA'NER). Perhaps we may suggest the following understanding of Rashi.

As for our first question, when Rashi suggests that the man reading Hallel (in the Mishnah) knows how to say it by himself but still appoints an Eved to say it for him, he means that the man is ignorant for he thinks that the Eved can exempt him. We tell the man that he must say it along with the Eved, and "Tavo Lo M'eirah" for attempting to appoint such an unworthy emissary, and in addition that he is accursed for disgracing the Hallel by *trying* to make such a person his emissary. (This answers our third question as well.)

In our second question, we asked how does Rashi know that the man (in the Beraisa) certainly did not learn how to say Birkas ha'Mazon? The answer is that Rashi noticed a difference between the wording of the Mishnah and the Beraisa. The Mishnah says, "Mi sh'Hayah Eved..." ("one *who had an Eved... read for him*"), while the Beraisa says, "Eved Mevarech l'Rabo" ("an Eved *recites the blessing for* his master"), and "Tavo Lo Me'eirah l'Asam sh'Ishto u'Vanav Mevorchin Lo" ("accursed by the man whose wife and children *recite Hallel for him*").

The Mishnah seems to be discussing a specific, isolated incident, when a person happened to appoint an Eved to say Hallel for him. The Beraisa is discussing a person whose Eved, wife or child *always* recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him.

Why does the Beraisa say that only if they *always* recite it for him he is cursed? When it comes to Birkas ha'Mazon, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with appointing one's wife to recite Birkas ha'Mazon on one's behalf, because she is also obligated to recite it for herself (as Tosfos points out) and therefore it is not a disgrace for her to exempt a man (when his obligation is only mid'Rabanan). The problem is when the man does not know Birkas ha'Mazon by heart, and thus he *always* has to rely on his wife to say it for him. When a person always has his wife recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him, it is obvious that he does not know how to recite it himself. That is why Rashi says he "certainly" did not learn; since we see that he always relies on the members of his household to recite it for him, it must be that he does not know it himself and therefore he is cursed.

We asked in our fourth question that if the man never learned how to say Hallel himself and he has another man read Hallel for him, why is he not cursed since he never learned it himself? The truth is that he would be cursed in such a case. However, from an isolated incident (which the Mishnah is discussing), *we* cannot determine that he does not know it by heart, so the Mishnah cannot rule that "he is accursed." The reason he is cursed in the case where a woman, slave or minor is reads for him is because in either case he did something wrong: Either he does not know it himself, or if he does know it, he has appointed unworthy emissaries to say it for him. In the Beraisa's case of Birkas ha'Mazon, on the other hand, it is clear that he does not know Birkas ha'Mazon by heart, since -- as we mentioned -- he *always* has his household members recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him. (M. Kornfeld)


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