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Pesachim 39


QUESTION: The Mishnah lists a number of different types of vegetables which one may use for the Mitzvah of Maror. The Mishnah concludes that small amounts of these vegetables may be joined to make a k'Zayis of Maror. The Mishnah continues and says, as it does with regard to Matzah (35a), that vegetables of Demai, Ma'aser Rishon from which Terumah has been separated, and Ma'aser Sheni and Hekdesh which were redeemed, may be used for Maror.

Why did the Mishnah that dealt with Matzah (35a), which also mentioned five types of grains that may be used, not mention that they may be joined to complete a Shi'ur?


(a) The BARTENURA says that this line in our Mishnah, saying that the different types join to make a Shi'ur, refers back to Matzah as well.

This answer is difficult, because then this Halachah should have been mentioned in the Mishnah discussing Matzah, just like the Mishnah there also mentions the Halachah of using Matzah which is Ma'aser Sheni, which is mentioned in both Mishnayos.

Perhaps the Bartenura means that it is *obvious* that all of the different types of grains can join to complete a Shi'ur. The reason the Mishnah mentions joining different types with regard to Maror is *only* to point out that a person must eat a total of a k'Zayis of Maror. Since the Torah never mentions the word "Achilah" with regard to Maror, we might have thought that it is not necessary to eat a k'Zayis of Maror. The ROSH (10:25) tells us that even so, a k'Zayis of Maror is still needed because we recite on Maror the blessing, "Al *Achilas* Maror." When it comes to Matzah, though, it is obvious that one must eat a k'Zayis, because the Torah uses the word "Achilah" with regard to Matzah, and "Achilah" is defined as a k'Zayis of food. (M. Kornfeld)

(b) The RAN says, similarly, that it was not necessary to teach that different types of grains join to make a Shi'ur of Matzah. It was necessary, however, to teach it with regard to Maror, because we might have though that that different types of bitter vegetables do not combine. Since the point of Maror is their bitter taste, perhaps different types may not be combined since each has its unique taste. The Mishnah therefore found it necessary to teach that they may still be combined.

(c) The RASHASH suggests that if the Mishnah about Matzah would have said that the five grains combine to make a k'Zayis, we might have thought that *only* those types combine. The Yerushalmi, though, states that even Orez (rice) and Dochen (millet) combine with the five types of grain to make a k'Zayis, if most of the k'Zayis is one of the five grains mentioned in the Mishnah. For this reason, the Mishnah leaves out specific mention that the five types of grain combine to make a Shi'ur.

(d) The SEFAS EMES offers a novel explanation. He suggests that perhaps this line of the Mishnah refers not to combining the different types of vegetables to make a Shi'ur of Maror, but rather, it refers to the Halachah mentioned immediately prior to it. The Mishnah says that certain items may *not* be used for Maror, such as vegetables that were pickled (preserved in vinegar) or those that were cooked. The Mishnah now adds that those vegetables -- even though they may not be used by themselves for Maror -- *may* be combined with acceptable types of Maror to make a Shi'ur!

The logic behind this is that the reason one may not use cooked vegetables is only because they lose their taste and are no longer bitter. Therefore, suggests the Sefas Emes, although one must eat a k'Zayis of Maror to fulfill the Mitzvah, as we derive from the Mitzvah of Maror, perhaps the bitter taste does not have to be emanating from the entire k'Zayis of the Maror.

The Sefas Emes concludes, though, that this is a very novel interpretation of the Mishnah, and it is not necessarily correct Halachically. It would seem more correct to explain that the reason a cooked vegetable is not valid for Maror is because it is simply not considered to be Maror at all, and not because it loses its bitter taste. (Cooked Matzah is also not valid, even though there is no taste requirement with regard to Matzah.)

OPINIONS: The Mishnah states, "These are the vegetables with which a person fulfills his obligation [to eat Maror] on Pesach: Chazeres, Tamcha, Charchavina, Ulshin, and Maror." The Gemara cites the opinion of "Acherim" who state that "every bitter vegetable, [with which one may fulfill the Mitzvah of Maror,] emits a milk-like sap when cut, and the vegetable's color is whitish." Rav Huna says that the Halachah follows their opinion.

It seems from the Gemara that any bitter vegetable (all of which meet the criteria of having a milk-like sap when cut, and a pale color) is acceptable for use for the Mitzvah of Maror. RASHI on the Chumash (Shemos 12:8) indeed states that the word "Maror" in the Torah refers to "any bitter vegetable."

However, the MAGEN AVRAHAM (473:15) and REBBI AKIVA EIGER (Sukah 13a) ask that it can be proven otherwise from the Gemara in Sukah (13a). The Gemara there states that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah with Maror that has a "Shem Levai" -- a modifying name, such as "such-and-such Maror." Only generic "Maror" may be used for the Mitzvah, for that is what is mentioned in the Torah. If one may use *any* bitter vegetable, it should not make a difference what the Maror is called!


(a) The ME'IRI (Sukah 13a) explains that from our Gemara it is clear that there is an order of preference for which Maror to use on Peach. Chazeres is the first choice, either because it is most bitter or because its name alludes to the mercy which Hashem showered upon us when He took us out of Mitzrayim. The Gemara in Sukah does not mean to say that one does not fulfill his obligation at all with Maror that has a "Shem Levai." Rather, it means that *Chazeres* with a "Shem Levai" is not considered to be the choice Maror. (RASHI in Sukah indeed explains that the Gemara there refers to a particular type of *Chazeres*, and Tosfos there questions Rashi's source for explaining that the Gemara is referring to a type of Chazeres. Perhaps Rashi's means to explain like the Me'iri.)

(b) In our Gemara it appears that there is a dispute among the Tana'im regarding the types of Maror that one may use. The Tana of our Mishnah seems to maintain that only the five species listed may be used. If so, the Gemara in Sukah could be following the opinion of our Tana, that Maror must be a specific type of herb, the name of which is "Maror." If it has a "Shem Levai," it no longer "Maror." Our Gemara, on the other hand, is going according to the opinion of "Acherim" who say that *any* bitter vegetable may be used for the Mitzvah.

HALACHAH: What type of Maror may we use? The RIF and RAMBAM do not mention the opinion of "Acherim" in our Gemara. They quote only the five species mentioned in the Mishnah. It seems that they hold that the Halachah is like the Mishnah and not like "Acherim." The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 479:5) rules like this as well, mentioning only the five types of Maror and nothing else.

However, our Gemara states that the Halachah follows the opinion of "Acherim." Why, then, do the Rif, Rambam, and Shulchan Aruch not mention that other types of bitter vegetables may be used?

(a) The BI'UR HALACHAH writes that today we are not expert in what is considered to fall into the category of "bitter vegetables" and therefore we do not use anything other than what is specifically mentioned in the Mishnah.

(b) Perhaps the RIF and RAMBAM understood the Gemara differently. "Acherim" are not arguing on the Mishnah. Rather, perhaps they are arguing on the opinions mentioned immediately preceding theirs, which state that anything that emits sap, or which has a whitish color, qualifies as Maror. "Acherim" respond that those are not signs of Maror, because "all vegetables" have both of those signs. Therefore, only the five types mentioned in the Mishnah may be used. (M. Kornfeld)

(c) Some Rishonim *do* mention the ruling of "Acherim," such as the MAHARAM CHALAVAH. Perhaps the RIF and RAMBAM (and Shulchan Aruch, who quotes them), too, agree that the Halachah follows the opinion of "Acherim." They understood that the Mishnah itself alluded to that opinion when it mentioned in the list of acceptable vegetables that "Maror" may be used. The word "Maror" refers not to a specific type of vegetable (as Rashi explains), but to *anything bitter* -- as the RE'AH cited by the RITVA and ME'IRI explain. If so, by quoting the five types mentioned in the Mishnah, they are also including *any* bitter vegetable, because that is the definition of "Maror."

The mentions specifically that a person who does not have these five types may use any other type of Maror. The Poskim agree that b'Di'eved, if one does not have the five types mentioned in our Mishnah, he may use any bitter vegetable.


QUESTION: The Gemara questions whether one can fulfill the Mitzvah by eating Maror of Ma'aser Sheni. Even though one may not eat Matzah of Ma'aser Sheni in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Matzah (because it is not eaten in all places) that is because it is mid'Oraisa. Maror, though, is mid'Rabanan (RASHI explains that Ma'aser Sheni of vegetables is mid'Rabanan), and thus perhaps Maror of Ma'aser Sheni could be used.

RASHI earlier (36b, DH Af Ma'aser Sheni) stated with regard to Matzah of Ma'aser Sheni that mid'Oraisa the Ma'aser Sheni can be redeemed and eaten in all places, because "Kelitas Mechitzos" is only mid'Rabanan. If so, according to Rashi, the reason that Matzah of Ma'aser Sheni cannot be eaten in all places is also only mid'Rabanan! Why, then, should Maror be different because the obligation to separate Ma'aser Sheni from vegetables is mid'Rabanan? In both the cases of Matzah and Maror, it is a rabbinical law that prevents each from being eaten in all places! (OHR CHADASH)

ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi understood the Sugya as follows. The question of the Gemara is that since separating Ma'aser from vegetables is mid'Rabanan and "Kelitas Mechitzos" is only mid'Rabanan, perhaps the Rabanan did not institute "Kelitas Mechitzos" at all for Ma'aser of vegetables. Therefore, it *may* be eaten in all places, even mid'Rabanan. That was what the Gemara means when it asks if "k'Ein d'Oraisa Tiken" -- did the Rabanan institute that "Mechitzos Kolet" even for Ma'aser of vegetables which is mid'Rabanan? If they did, they cannot be eaten in all places and thus perhaps one may not fulfill his obligation to ear Maror by eating Ma'aser Sheni. (M. Kornfeld)

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