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Berachos 53


QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa in which Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue whether each person in the Beis MIdrash should recite his own blessing over the flame (Beis Shamai), or one person should recite it on behalf of everyone (Beis Hillel). The Gemara explains that Beis Shamai's reason that each person should recite it individually is in order to prevent Bitul Torah. Since the blessing is the same whether one says it for everyone or each person says it by himself, what extra Bitul Torah will there be if one says it for everyone?


(a) The simple answer is that it takes a long time for a large group of people to quiet down completely in order to listen to one person recite the blessing. This may be what RASHI (DH mi'Pnei) intends when he says, "When one person recites the blessing for everyone, they have to quiet down from their learning in order for everyone to concentrate and listen to his blessing." (Y. Shaw)

(b) When one person recites the blessing for everyone else, they have to answer, "Amen." The time that it takes to say this single word is Bitul Torah, since they could each say the blessing on their own and not have to say this extra word. For one who might think that one word's worth of Bitul Torah is not significant, the Gemara cites the practice of the academy of Raban Gamliel, in which no one used to respond, "Merapei" ("Gezundheit!") when someone sneezed, because of Bitul Torah, even though this, too, is only one word. (ANAF YOSEF)


OPINIONS: The Gemara says that if one does not have a flame on Motza'ei Shabbos on which to recite the blessing during Havdalah, there is no requirement to go searching for one. What is the reason for this?
(a) The RASHBA and other Rishonim point out that the only reason for reciting a blessing on a flame on Motza'ei Shabbos is to commemorate Hashem's creation of fire on the first Motza'ei Shabbos after Creation. Since the blessing is only commemorative in its purpose and not intrinsic to Havdalah itself, it is not necessary to go searching for a fire on which to recite the blessing.

(b) SEFER HA'MANHIG says that the reason is because Rava rules that one only recites a blessing on a flame from which one benefits. If one goes searching for a fire in order to recite the blessing, by definition he is only using the fire in order to recite a blessing and not to derive pleasure from it, and therefore he may *not* recite the blessing on it.

Two practical differences may be suggested to stem from the difference between the reasons of the Rashba and the Sefer ha'Manhig:
(1) The Gemara says that one does not need to go searching for a flame on Motza'ei Shabbos. Does one need to search for *Besamim*? The Rashba cites the RA'AVAD who says (consistent with the first reason above) that if one does not need to search for a flame, then certainly there is no need to search for Besamim, because Besamim is certainly only for his own personal pleasure.

According to the second reason, however, one *should* be required to search for Besamim, because once he smells it, he derives pleasure from it. It is not like light which, if one has no need for it, he does not derive any pleasure from having it.

(2) The Rashba writes that on Motza'ei Yom Kippur one *does* have to look for a fire on which to recite the blessing, because on Motza'ei Yom Kippur we are not reciting a blessing on fire as a *commemoration* of the creation of fire (because fire was not created on Motza'ei Yom Kippur). Rather, on Motza'ei Yom Kippur, reciting a blessing on a flame is an expression of Havdalah -- that Hashem created this day different from other days, because on this day we are not allowed to use light. It may be suggested that according to the Rashba's reason, one *does* have to search for a flame on Motza'ei Yom Kippur. According to the second reason, however, Motza'ei Yom Kippur is the same as Motza'ei Shabbos in that if one has to search for a flame in order to recite a blessing on it, then per force he is not deriving pleasure from the flame, and therefore one should *not* have to search for a flame on Motza'ei Yom Kippur.

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 197:1 and 198:1) rules like the Rashba, that one does have to look for a flame or for Besamim on Motza'ei Shabbos. On Yom Kippur, though, one must go out of his way to find a flame.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a certain student acted stringently in accordance with the opinion of Beis Shamai and was rewarded with a golden wallet. However, the Gemara on 11a says that when Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue it is prohibited to practice like Beis Shamai (who holds that at night, one is obligated to lie down when saying Shema), even though Beis Hillel agrees that one *may* lie down and say Shema. Why should one not be allowed to be stringent like Beis Shamai there, like one is allowed to be in our case?


(a) Rav Akiva Eiger in his commentary on the Mishnayos (1:3) cites the TESHUVOS REMA (#91) who says that Beis Hillel's opinion is that it is *worse* to lie down to say Shema at night (even though one still fulfills his obligation to say Shema) than to say it while sitting up. Here, however, Beis Hillel does not hold that it is worse to go back to the place at which one ate in order to say Birkas ha'Mazon. Therefore, here it is permissible to act in accordance with Beis Shamai and go back to where one ate.

(b) Rav Akiva Eiger himself uses the ruling of the ROSH (8:5) to answer this question. In the case on 11a, Beis Hillel holds that it is not any *better* to say Shema lying down that sitting up. All he said was that one still fulfills his obligation even if he is lying down. Here, however, although Beis Hillel does not require one to go back in order to say Birkas ha'Mazon, the Rosh explains that they certainly agree it is *preferable* to go back. That is why, here, it is permissible to be stringent like Beis Shamai. (See Insight 11:2). (The VILNA GA'ON in Shenos Eliyahu (1:3) gives the same answer as Rav Akiva EIger.)

The Gemara cites a Beraisa that discusses rubbing oil on the hands before Birkas ha'Mazon, which mentions three Tana'im with strange names: Rebbi Zilai, Rebbi Zivai, and Rebbi Zuhamai.

The MAHARATZ CHIYUS (Bava Metzia 25a) writes that it was not a coincidence that Rebbi Zuhamai was discussing Zuhamah (the bad smell on the hands which oil removes). Rather, since the only time this Tana is mention in all of Shas is with regard to Zuhamah, he is referred to by a name that reflects the statement which he made.

RAV REUVEN MARGOLIOS (in l'Cheker Shemos v'Kinuyim b'Talmud 1:25) explains that there are many names in the Talmud that come about by similar circumstances. He points out that in our Gemara, the names of Rebbi Zilai and Rebbi Zivai are also nicknames based on what each Tana taught. Rav *Zilai* taught that one must pour oil on his hands before he recites Birkas ha'Mazon. "Zilai" stems from the word "l'Hazil" which means "to pour" (see, for example, Bamidbar 24:7). Rebbi *Zivai* was named such because his statement concerned the obligation to smear oil on one's hands, a practice which gives the skin a *shine* -- "Ziv."

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