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Berachos 43


OPINIONS: The Mishnah says that in the middle of a meal, each person should recite his own blessing over wine and not be exempted by one person reciting the blessing for everyone. Ben Zoma in the Gemara explains that the reason is because during the meal, "a person's esophagus is not free." What does this mean?
(a) RASHI explains that when people are eating, they are not paying attention and they will not hear the blessing that is recited on behalf of everyone.

(b) The ROSH (6:29) explains that when they are eating, people are not permitted to speak (see Shulchan Aruch OC 170:1), and thus they may not say "Amen" to the blessing if another person recites a blessing for them. Even though they could be exempted from the Berachah by merely hearing the blessing and not saying "Amen," nevertheless another person may not recite a blessing for them during the meal because they *might* say "Amen" and endanger themselves.

HALACHAH: The Rishonim discuss the possibility of having one person get everyone's attention in order to recite a blessing for them. By getting their attention, they will stop eating and will not have food in their esophagus (see Tosfos DH Ho'il).
(a) The TUR (OC 174) says that this Halachah depends on these two opinions of Rashi and the Rosh. The Tur's logic seems to be as follows: According to Rashi, one may, l'Chatchilah, get everyone's attention in order for them to stop eating while one recites a blessing for them. According to the Rosh, though, we are worried that even though the one reciting the Berachah has everyone's attention during the Berachah, the people will continue to eat as soon as it is finished (before they answer Amen) and by doing so they may endanger themselves.

(b) RABEINU ELCHANAN (Tosfos DH Ho'il), however, says that even according to Rashi, it will not help to get their attention because the Rabanan made an unconditional decree that one not recite a blessing for others during a meal ("Lo P'lug Rabanan").

The REMA (OC 174:8) rules leniently, that if one gets the attention of those dining at the meal, he may recite a blessing on their behalf.


Rav Yehudah says that if one sees blossoming fruit trees during the month of Nisan, he recites a special blessing. What conditions are necessary in order to recite this blessing?
(a) The HILCHOS KETANOS (2:28), cited by the BE'ER HEITEV (OC 226:1), rules that one recites this blessing only for a tree that bears edible fruit.

(b) Although the Gemara says that one recites the blessing when he sees the tree during the month of Nisan, the Acharonim point out that this blessing applies *whenever* one sees a blossoming fruit tree for the first time that year (MACHTZIS HA'SHEKEL; the BIRKEI YOSEF writes that, based on reasons of Kabalistic nature, one should recite this blessing specifically during the month of Nisan). Some rule that one may recite the blessing even after the fruit has grown (VILNA GA'ON 226:2). Why, then, does the Gemara mention the month of Nisan? Because this is when an abundance of trees are blossoming. (Possibly, the Gemara means that one should not recite the blessing for the early bloomers.) Accordingly, one who lives in South Africa could certainly say the blessing in Tishrei, which is when the first fruit trees blossom in that climate.

(c) The later Acharonim say that one should recite the blessing upon seeing at least *two* blossoming fruit trees together. This is because the Gemara says, "When one sees *trees* blossoming," in the plural.

QUESTION: Rav Papa said that he heard from his rebbi, Rava, that the Halachah is like Beis Hilel. According to Rashi (DH v'Lo Hi), Rav Papa lied in order to save himself from embarrassment.

(1) How could Rav Papa lie?

(2) And how could he make claims in the name of his rebbi which his rebbi never really said? This question is particularly difficult in light of the Gemara earlier (27b) that said that one who says things in the name of his rebbi that he did not really hear causes the Shechinah to depart from the world!

The same may be asked on the Gemara in Pesachim 112a which says (according to Rashi's explanantion there) that if a person wants his view to be accepted, "he should say it in the name of a great person." How can one lie just to have his opinion accepted?


(1) The P'NEI YEHOSHUA explains that Rav Papa was not entirely lying. Rava *did* say that the Halachah is like Beis Hilel, although it was not in the context of our Sugya (rather, he said it regarding a completely different Halachah in Bava Metzia 43b).

(2) The Acharonim offer various explanations for Rav Papa's actions, some disagreeing with Rashi's interpretation of the Gemara:

(a) The TESHUVOS HA'RALBACH explains that if one acted upon his mistake and, consequently, will be very embarrassed if people know that he erred, he may save himself from that embarrassment by lying. If one did not actually conduct himself in practice in accordance with his mistake, then his embarrassment is not so great and he may *not* lie to save himself from that embarrassment.

(b) The P'NEI YEHOSHUA explains that Rav Papa held that the Halachah was like Beis Hilel and he assumed that his rebbi, Rava, would agree with that ruling, since he normally ruled like Beis Hilel elsewhere. (This approach is not like Rashi's approach, who explains that Rav Papa indeed prevaricated.)

(c) The RAMA M'PANO explains that Rav Papa was so sure that his ruling was true that, in his humility, he did not want to take credit for it, and so he attributed his ruling to Rava.

To answer the question from the Gemara in Pesachim (how could one claim that his rebbi said a certain Halachah in order to give weight to his opinion?), the KORBAN EIDAH cited by RAV AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas) explains that this applies only to teachings of Musar and Aggadah, but not to Halachos.
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