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Berachos 51


QUESTION: Rav Chisda was asked, if someone already ate and did not recite a blessing, should he still recite a blessing? Rav Chisda answered, "Should one who ate garlic and whose breath has a foul smell eat more garlic in order for his breath to have a fouler smell?" Ravina said, "Therefore, even if one has finished his meal, he may go back and recite the blessing."

Rashi explains Rav Chisda's answer as saying that if he did something wrong by not saying a blessing before he eat, how can he do something else wrong and recite a Berachah le'Vatalah. According to Rashi's explanation of Rav Chisda, what is Ravina's "therefore?" Ravina is saying the opposite of what Rav Chisda answered!


(a) The MAHARSHA alters the text of Rashi and explains that Rashi means to say that one should not commit a second wrongdoing by not saying a blessing before he *continues* eating. That is, Rav Chisda agrees that it is required to say a blessing even after one has eaten without a blessing. Accordingly, the P'NEI YEHOSHUA says that the words in Rashi, "v'Ya'aseh Berachah le'Vatalah" belong later (in the end of DH Mahu she'Yachzor).

(b) The VILNA GA'ON (in Imrei Noam) suggests that according to our text of Rashi, Rashi must not have had the word "Hilkach" ("therefore") in the Gemara. Ravina is actually arguing with Rav Chisda and saying that one may recite a blessing even though he has finished eating. (The TZELACH suggests a similar explanation.)

OPINIONS: The Gemara mentions ten things which a Kos Shel Berachah requires. One of those ten things is "Ituf" (lit. "wrapping"). In explaining what "Ituf" is, the Gemara says that Rav Papa would wrap himself (in a Talis, Rashi), and Rav Asi would wrap a turban around his head. According to the Rishonim (see TOSFOS DH Ein Lanu and ROSH 7:35) that say that one should be careful to practice all of the things that are discussed in the Gemara, how do we fulfill the concept of "Ituf?"
(a) RABEINU YERUCHAM, cited in the Beis Yosef (OC 183) says that one must "place a head covering on his head because it is forbidden to recite a blessing with an uncovered head."

(b) The BEIS YOSEF asks that this cannot be what "Ituf" means, because if so, it applies to *all* blessings, and not just Kos Shel Berachah. Why did the Gemara mention it specifically with regard to Kos Shel Berachah? The Beis Yosef therefore explains that "Ituf" refers to a respectable covering that is placed on top of the regular head covering, which people who stand other blessings, one needs only the regular head covering (such as the Kipah that we wear today), while for Birkas ha'Mazon on a cup of wine, one should wear the more respectable head covering (such as a hat) over the regular one. The PERISHAH (OC 183:15) refers to the Beis Yosef earlier in Orach Chaim (OC 8) who writes that the reason for this head covering is that it serves as an expression of "modesty [while one stands before Hashem], and it inspires him to humble himself, and it brings him to the fear of Hashem," because by putting on a respectable head covering, one performs a concrete action that shows that he is standing before the Holy One.

HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 183:11) cites the MAGEN AVRAHAM who says, citing the BACH that a G-d-fearing person should wear a hat when he recites Birkas ha'Mazon, and that some also have the practice to put on their jacket (like Rav Papa's "Ituf").


QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person should not make Birkas ha'Zimun on a second cup of wine, because if a person drinks two cups of wine the Mazikin could harm him, and one should not recite a blessing on an emissary of harm.

The Gemara in Pesachim (109b) says that when a person says Birkas ha'Mazon on the night of the Pesach Seder, he recites it over the third cup of wine. The Gemara there says that the cup of wine over which he recites Birkas ha'Mazon serves to make it as if he drank three cups, and thus he is not reciting Birkas ha'Mazon on an even number (which would arouse the Mazikin). If so, in our Gemara, if he drank two cups and no he wants to make Birkas ha'Zimun on a third cup, why should he not be able to?


(a) RABEINU YONAH answers that on Pesach night, one is *obligated* to drink the third cup (because of the Mitzvah of Arbah Kosos, the Four Cups; even if one has no wine, he is obligated to take from charity). Here, though, the obligation to drink the third cup is not of the same severity (because if one does not have wine upon which to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, then he has no obligation to beg for wine). Since he does not have an unavoidable obligation to drink the third cup upon which he recites Birkas ha'Mazon, it does not join the other two to make it as if he drank three.

(b) RABEINU YONAH cites another answer. When one drinks the third cup, then he will not have consumed an even number. Right now, though, before he recites Birkas ha'Mazon over a third cup, he *has* consumed an even number of cups. He will therefore be worried about the Mazikin harming him and he will not be able to have the proper concentration necessary to recite Birkas ha'Mazon on behalf of others. Thus, the Gemara is not saying that he may not recite Birkas ha'Mazon at all if he drank two cups. Rather, it is saying that he may not recite it *on behalf of others* (to be Motzi them), because he will not concentrate properly since he drank two cups and is worried about the Mazikin harming him (until he drinks the third).

(c) The RITVA answers that if he drank only one cup, he should not say Birkas ha'Mazon and drink a second cup, because then he will have consumed an even number.

According to the Mishnah, Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue concerning the order of blessings in Havdalah on Motza'ei Shabbos, when one is also saying Birkas ha'Mazon ("Mazon") on the same cup of wine on which he is saying Havdalah. Both agree that the blessing on the flame ("Ner") comes first, and the blessing of Havdalah comes last. They argue about the order of the two middle blessings, Birkas ha'Mazon and the blessing on the spices ("Besamim").

According to the Beraisa on 52a, the argument is whether the blessing for Besamim comes before Ner (Beis Hillel) or Ner comes before Besamim (Beis Shamai).

The Gemara does not offer any explanation for these arguments. What is the reasoning behind each opinion?


(a) Regarding the argument in the Mishnah, the TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH explain that everyone agrees that Ner is first because it is the first thing that one benefits from on Motza'ei Shabbos, when it becomes dark and one needs the light. Beis Shamai maintains that the blessing for Mazon comes next because since one is now finishing the meal, he has an immediate obligation to recite Birkas ha'Mazon. Since the Besamim are included only for the sake of one's parting Neshamah Yeseirah (and is not an essential, intrinsic part of Havdalah), it can wait until after Mazon. Beis Hillel, on the other hand, maintains that the blessing for Besamim should be recited immediately after Ner because -- being one of the blessings said as part of the Motza'ei Shabbos Havdalah service -- it naturally deserves to be associated with Ner, and we delay Birkas ha'Mazon until afterward. They both agree that the blessing of Havdalah comes last because of the reason given in the Gemara (52a) that it is best to delay the departure of Shabbos.

(b) We may explain the argument as recorded by the Beraisa as follows. Beis Shamai maintains that the Ner comes first because it is dark and one is already gaining benefit from the flame, as stated above. Beis Hillel maintains that Besamim comes first because of the rule, "Tadir u'sh'Eino Tadir, Tadir Kodem." Since one may smell Besamim and enjoy their aroma and recite a blessing throughout the week, while one may not recite a blessing on a flame except on Motza'ei Shabbos during Havdalah, Besamim are considered "Tadir," or more frequent. (M. Kornfeld)

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