THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE ESSENCE OF "HALLEL"
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Nevi'im, the prophets, instituted that
the Jewish people recite Hallel for each "Perek" ("time period" at which we
were saved) and for each "Tzarah" ("trouble" from which we were saved). What
is the difference between a "Perek" and a "Tzarah?" We always say Hallel to
thank Hashem for saving us. What is the difference, then, between the Hallel
of a "Perek" and the Hallel of a "Tzarah?"
(a) The RASHBAM (116b, DH Al Kol Perek) explains that "Perek" refers to the
times that are set in the Jewish calendar by the Torah; in particular, this
refers to the three Regalim -- Sukos, Pesach, and Shavuos. "Tzarah" refers
to times not established by the Torah, but that were added later in history
after a miraculous salvation occurred, such as Chanukah.
Regarding the Hallel said for a "Tzarah," the Rashbam does not distinguish
between the Hallel said at the actual moment of the miraculous salvation and
the Hallel said each subsequent year in commemoration of the salvation.
Apparently, both of those forms of Hallel are the same; it is just that when
it is a highly significant miracle, we commemorate it and thank Hashem for
it every year, and when it is a less significant miracle, we thank Hashem
for it only the year that it occurred. They are both the same type of
(b) The BRISKER RAV (Hilchos Chanukah 3) cites RABEINU YERUCHAM who explains
our Gemara differently. "Perek" refers to all set times during the year,
including *both* the three Regalim and Chanukah, when there is a special
enactment to recite Hallel. "Tzarah" means that at the time of a salvation,
the Jewish people sing Hallel to thank Hashem, even without a special
enactment. Where do we find that the Jewish people may sing Hallel
spontaneously at the occurrence of a miracle? The BEHAG writes that whenever
the Jewish people are gathered together and are all saved, they may say
Hallel to thank Hashem; this form of Hallel was part of the decree of the
The Brisker Rav points out that these two types of Hallel not only apply at
different times, but they are different in their essence in a number of
(1) The Hallel of established days on the calendar is *obligatory*, while
the Hallel that is said spontaneously by all of the Jewish people together
is optional; they are *allowed* and not *obligated* to say Hallel with a
The Brisker Rav explains that the reason for these differences is based on a
difference in the essence of each Hallel. The Hallel of the Regalim and the
set days is a Hallel recited as an obligation to *read the Hallel*, an
obligation in "Keri'ah" (through reading the Hallel, we arouse our love for
Hashem for the miracle which He did for us). The other Hallel, said by the
Jewish people at the occurrence of a miraculous salvation, is said not as an
obligation of *reading Hallel* per se, but as a form of praise to Hashem, or
"Shirah" (our love for Hashem for the miracle that He did for us arouses us
to say the Hallel).
(2) RABEINU YONAH in Berachos says that it is not necessary to recite the
entire Hallel when the Jewish people are singing it in response to a
miraculous salvation. They may say a few passages from it, and they may
interrupt in the middle, even when they said a Berachah for it. In contrast,
the Hallel of the Regalim must be recited in its entirety, and a Berachah
may be said only when the entire Hallel is recited.
We may add that this explanation of the Brisker Rav will answer the
Rashbam's question on Rashi in our Sugya. The Beraisa says that according to
one opinion, Hallel was said by Moshe and Yisrael at the sea. Another
opinion says that it was said by Yehoshua and Yisrael when they conquered
Eretz Yisrael. A number of other opinions are given. At the end, the Beraisa
quotes the opinion of the Chachamim who say that Hallel was instituted by
the Nevi'im to read at each "Perek" and each "Tzarah" from which we were
Rashi explains that all of the opinions until the Chachamim are just adding
to each other, and they are saying that Hallel was *also* (and not *only*)
said at those times. The Rashbam asks that the wording of the Beraisa
clearly implies that the Chachamim are arguing, and if the previous opinions
agree that they said Hallel whenever they were saved, then they are saying
the same thing as the Chachamim and they are not arguing!
The answer might be that Rashi holds that according to the first opinions,
there is no general institution to say Hallel after being saved. Only when
the Navi *tells* us to say Hallel, after a miracle occurs, may we then say
Hallel (with a Berachah). The Chachamim hold that there is a general
institution to recite Hallel (as the BEHAG says); the Nevi'im instituted
that whenever the Jewish people are gathered together and are saved by a
miracle they may say Hallel, without needing a *specific* dispensation from
the Nevi'im to do so.
2) HALACHAH: RECITING BIRKAS HA'MAZON OVER A CUP OF WINE
OPINIONS: The Mishnah says that we recite Birkas ha'Mazon over a cup of wine
on Pesach night. The Gemara, though, says that it cannot be proven from here
that Birkas ha'Mazon always needs a cup of wine. Since the Rabanan enacted
that we drink four cups of wine on Pesach night, they said that each cup
should be used for a Mitzvah. On any other day, though, there is no
obligation to recite Birkas ha'Mazon over a cup of wine.
What is the Halachah? Does Birkas ha'Mazon need to be recited over a cup of
wine or not?
(a) TOSFOS (105b, DH Shema Minah Berachah) cites RABEINU YECHIEL who says
that even an individual needs a cup when reciting Birkas ha'Mazon, as the
Mishnah implies when it says, "They poured *for him* a third cup" ("Mazgu
*Lo* Kos Shelishi"). This is also the opinion of the ROSH (Pesachim 10:14
and Berachos 9:2). The Rosh points out that the Gemara says "Birkas ha'Mazon
needs a cup," and not "Birkas *ha'Zimun*," which implies that using a cup of
wine is an obligation in reciting Birkas ha'Mazon, and not just an
obligation in Zimun.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 182:1) records all three opinions. The REMA adds that although they argue whether there is an obligation or not,
everyone agrees that it is a meritorious act, a Mitzvah Min ha'Muvchar, to
use a cup of wine for Birkas ha'Mazon.
(b) However, TOSFOS (loc. cit.) mentions a dissenting opinion that says that
perhaps Birkas ha'Mazon only needs a cup when three people are eating
together. Our Gemara thought that since, throughout the year, Birkas
ha'Mazon needs a cup when three people eat together, then the Rabanan would
have enacted that on Pesach night, even an individual needs to recite Birkas
ha'Mazon with a cup of wine. The Rabanan would not have enacted reciting
Birkas ha'Mazon on a cup of wine on Pesach night if, during the rest of the
year, Birkas ha'Mazon never needs a cup.
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 7:15) rules like our Gemara, which appears
to conclude that Birkas ha'Mazon does not need a cup. Even though the
Beraisa earlier (105b) said that Birkas ha'Mazon does need a cup of wine,
that Beraisa is according to Beis Shamai as the Gemara there states, and the
Halachah does not follow Beis Shamai.
The MISHNAH BERURAH says that regarding the obligation, it is best to be
stringent to use a cup of wine when reciting Birkas ha'Mazon with three
people (a Zimun), but that the common practice is not to be stringent even
then, unless one happens to have wine readily available in his home. As for
an individual, the SHA'AR HA'TZIYON writes -- based on the writings of the
ARIZAL -- that one may be lenient and he need not recite Birkas ha'Mazon
with a cup of wine when alone.