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Berachos 46


QUESTION: Rav Avahu hosted a meal in honor of the recovery of Rav Zeira. Rav Avahu asked Rav Zeira to make "ha'Motzi" on behalf of everyone, and he declined, citing the practice that the Ba'al ha'Bayis should recite "ha'Motzi." After the meal, Rav Avahu asked Rav Zeira to recite Birkas ha'Mazon for everyone, and again he declined, citing the practice that the one who said "ha'Motzi" should be the one who says Birkas ha'Mazon. The Gemara explains that Rav Avahu was of the opinion that the guest recites Birkas ha'Mazon.

What was Rav Avahu's reason was for asking Rav Zeira to make *ha'Motzi*?


(a) TOSFOS ROSH explains that Rav Avahu felt that Rav Zeira was the Ba'al ha'Bayis over this meal, since the meal was being made on his behalf. Rav Zeira explained to Rav Avahu that this does not afford one Ba'al ha'Bayis status.

(b) The MAHARSHA explains differently. Rav Avahu was of the opinion that even though the Ba'al ha'Bayis normally recites "ha'Motzi," that is only when there is no guest present who is on a *higher level* of scholarship than he. If, however, there is a guest present who is greater in scholarship than the Ba'al ha'Bayis, then that guest should recite "ha'Motzi." Rav Avahu felt that Rav Zeira was greater than he, and therefore he should recite ha'Motzi.

OPINIONS: The Gemara asks, "Until where is Birkas ha'Zimun?" Rav Nachman and Rav Sheshes argue whether it is until "Nevarech" (-Rav Nachman) or until the end of the first blessing, "ha'Zan" (-Rav Sheshes). The Gemara suggests that the argument be equated with an argument between two Beraisos. One Beraisa says that Birkas ha'Mazon is sometimes "two" and sometimes "three," while another Beraisa says that Birkas ha'Mazon is sometimes "three" and sometimes "four."
(1) What does the Gemara mean by its question, "Until where is Birkas ha'Zimun?"

(2) And what is meant by the Beraisos that say Birkas ha'Mazon is "two" and "three", or sometimes "three and four?" The Rishonim present three ways of understanding these two points in the Gemara.

(a) RASHI (DH Ad Heichan) explains that (1) the Gemara wants to know where does the Zimun end when three or more recite Birkas ha'Mazon together. Rav Nachman says that it ends after "Nevarech." Rav Sheshes says that it ends after the first blessing. Rashi (DH d'ka'Savar) points out that according to Rav Sheshes, it follows that a person reciting Birkas ha'Mazon by himself *entirely skips* the first blessing. (2) Rashi explains that when the Beraisa says that Birkas ha'Mazon is sometimes "two" and sometimes "three," it is expressing the opinion of Rav Sheshes and means that the d'Oraisa blessings are sometimes two -- when a person says Birkas ha'Mazon by himself (in which case he skips the first blessing), and sometimes three -- when a group says it together. According to Rav Nachman, who maintains that Zimun is only until "Nevarech" and an individual always says the first blessing, sometimes Birkas ha'Mazon is three blessings (leaving out the blessing of the Zimun), and sometimes four (including the Zimun).

(b) TOSFOS (DH Ad Heichan) strongly disagrees with Rashi, since it is unheard of to suggest that Rav Sheshes (who was presumably the Halachic opinion) entirely skipped a blessing of Birkas ha'Mazon when reciting it by himself. Tosfos therefore suggests that (1) the question of the Gemara, "Until where is Birkas ha'Zimun," refers to a case where one person stopped eating to answer for the other two, who wanted to say Birkas ha'Mazon now with a Zimun. The Gemara wants to know how long he has to stop eating -- until after "Nevarech" or until after the end of the first blessing. (2) The Gemara equates the argument between Rav Nachman and Rav Sheshes to the argument between the two Beraisos. The Beraisos are arguing *how many people* may contribute to the recitation of Birkas ha'Mazon to exempt everyone else. That is, if each person in the group knows only one blessing by heart, can they all recite one blessing each on behalf of the others? The first Beraisa, that says sometimes Birkas ha'Mazon is "two" and sometimes "three," means that sometimes two people may recite the three blessings (when one person knows two blessing by heart), and sometimes three people may recite the three blessings -- but you may not have three people recite the three blessings and one person recite the blessing of the Zimun. This is support for the view of Rav Sheshes, who says that Birkas ha'Zimun and Birkas ha'Zan go together and therefore one person must say both. The other Beraisa that allows *four* people to recite the three blessings of Birkas ha'Mazon is like Rav Nachman, who says that Birkas ha'Zimun and Birkas ha'Zan are separate and do not need to be recited together.

(c) TOSFOS (46b, DH l'Heichan) quotes Rabeinu Moshe from Ivra, who understands that (1) the question, "Until where is Birkas ha'Zimun" refers to when one of the three *left* the group while still eating, in order to go outdoors, and the other two called upon him to join them in Zimun before he left so as to enable them to say Birkas ha'Zimun. How long does he have to wait -- until the end of "Nevarech," or until the end of the first blessing, "ha'Zan?" (This is *very similar* to opinion (b) in Tosfos, cited above. The only difference is that according to this explanation, the person who stopped for the other two does not have to repeat the first blessing when he later says Birkas ha'Mazon, because he did not eat in the interim, whereas according to Tosfos' explanation (a:1), he has to go back to the beginning of Birkas ha'Mazon).


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