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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

Introduction to Berachos

Berachos 2



(a) The earliest time to recite the night Shema is from the time the Kohanim (who were previously Tamei) come in to eat their Terumah - which coincides with nightfall.

(b) According to Rebbi Eliezer, the final time to say the night Shema is at the end of the first night watch (of angels) i.e. the end of the fourth hour (i.e. one third of the night).
The Chachamim hold until midnight, and Rabban Gamliel until dawn-break.

(c) Te custom to recite the Shema evolved because they would Daven Ma'ariv early (presumably because it would be difficult to get a MInyan together later), and it is a Mitzvah to recite words of Torah before Tefilah (as we shall see later - 31a), and the Shema is appropriate for that purpose. It is however, imperative, that one repeats the Shema when night-time arrives. For that, the recital of the first chapter of 'Keri'as Shema she'Al ha'Mitah' will suffice.

(d) It is out of concern that a person will fall asleep and miss the Mitzvah altogether that Chazal decreed that all Mitzvos whose duration lasts throughout the night, shouls be performed before midnight.

2) The 'Chalavim' were the fat pieces that remained from all Korbanos (since all fat called Cheilev had to be burnt on the Mizbei'ach) and the 'Eivarim' were the limbs of the Olah, all of which had to be burnt. Both of these, had to be burnt overnight until dawn-break, at which time they became 'Nosar'.
The decree of burning them before midnight did not apply to them.


(a) The source for the Mitzvah of reciting the Shema is "u've'Shochbecha u've'Kumecha".

(b) The Gemara also remarks that the Pasuk places the night Shema before the day one, which explains why the Tana did likewise.

(c) The Tana could also have based itself on the Pasuk "va'Yehi Erev, va'Yehi Voker" etc., which puts night first, though not specifically in the area of the Shema.

(a) The Tana wanted to teach a side Chidush just by the way: namely, that the Kohanim are permitted to eat Terumah already from nightfall, and are not obligated to wait until they have brought their Korban Kaparah (by a Zav, for example) - as one has to do before one is permitted to eat Kodshim or enter the Beis Hamikdash.

(b) "u'Va ha'Shemesh" means (the end of) sunset - nightfall, and "ve'Taher", the day, meaning that 'the day is over'.

(c) Chazal may well have interpreted the Pasuk like this: "u'Va ha'Shemesh" - and the sun comes up (daybreak), "ve'Taher" - and the Tamei person shall become Tahor (by bringing his Korban).
Chazal rejected this interpretation, however, because had the Torah wanted to issue the Tamei person with a command to purify himself, then it should have written "ve'Yithar" rather than "ve'Taher".

(d) In Eretz Yisrael, they quoted a Beraisa, which could hardly be more explicit: 'Siman le'Davar, Tzeis ha'Kochavim', from which they derived that "u'Va ha'Shemesh" means sunset, and "ve'Taher", Taher Yoma.




(a) Yes! Initially at least, we think that the Shiur of 'Oni' and that of 'Kohen' are one and the same.

(b) The Gemara at first retains its original contention that 'Oni' and 'Kohen' are the same Shiur, and it is 'Oni' and 'people; which comprise different Shiurim.

(c) The first Pasuk in Nechemya merely describes what they did. They may well have worked from dawn-break until the stars emerged, but does that mean that Halachically, day begins with dawn-break and ends with nightfall? Perhaps in the realms of Halachah, day begins with sunrise and ends with sunset; only *they* began work before day, and continued to work after the day had terminated)?

Therefore, the Gemara quotes the second Pasuk, which refers to 'Tzeis' as nightfall; from which we can derive that from the point of view of Halachah, day begins with dawm-break and ends with 'Tzeis'.
Bear in mind that the Beraisa insists that the Pesukim are no more than a hint (as far as Keri'as Shema [whose times are derived from the Pasuk of "u've'Shochbecha u've'Kumecha"] is concerned - see Tosfos d.h. Af al Pi).

(a) Rebbi Yehoshua gives the earliest time for reciting the Shema as 'Kohanim', and Rebbi Chanina, in the same Beraisa, as 'Oni', so how can they be the same Shiur?

(b) The author of our Mishnah, which gives the Shiur as 'Kohanim', must be Rebbi Yehoshua. (see also the answer to 8a)

(c) The advent of Shabbos (Rebbi Eliezer) is too close to the coming in of the Kohanim for that of 'Oni' to come in between. The Shiur of 'Oni' must therfore be later than that of 'Kohen'.
Consequently, the order will be 1. Shabbos; 2. Kohen; 3. Oni.

(a) But the Kohanim, who have to Tovel before dusk (Bein Hashemashos), will be Toveling when it is still day. Is that what you call lying-down time (according to those who require lying-down time - from "u've'Shochbecha" - see Tosfos d.h. Amar Lei)?

(b) Rebbi Meir points out that he does not learn like Rebbi Yehudah, in whose opinion Bein Hashemashos extends from half a MIl walking time before 'Tzeis' until 'Tzeis'. He follows the opinion of Rebbi Yossi, who holds that Bein Hashemashos begins only a moment before 'Tzeis'. So, the Kohanim can safely Tovel a minute, shall we say, before 'Tzeis' - and *that* is already consedered lying-down time.

8) Either there are two opinions in Rebbi Eliezer (just like we are forced to say in Rebbi Meir, where we saw earlier how he gives two different opinions in two different Beraisos). The Tana of our Mishnah in the name of Rebbi Eliezer gives the Shiur of 'Kohanim' - and this opinion concurs with that of Rebbi Yehoshua; whereas the Tana of the Beraisa quotes him as saying from the advent of Shabbos.
Alternatively, the Tana Kama of our Mishnah does not hold like Rebbi Eliezer (only like Rebbi Yehoshua of the Beraisa) - (and Rebbi Eliezer in the Mishnah is confined to the *final* time for reciting the Shema; he is not referring to the earliest time).

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