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Shabbos 23


OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that according to Rava, a doubt in a Mitzvah d'Rabanan (that is, if someone is in doubt whether or not he fulfilled his obligation to do a Mitzvah instituted by the Rabanan) requires another blessing to be recited. The only reason why a blessing is not recited when separating Terumah from Demai is because most people (including Am ha'Aretz) do indeed separate Terumah. As RASHI (DH Rava Amar) explains, separating Terumah from Demai is not really due to a doubt, but it is a "Chumra b'Alma," a stringency.
(a) The RAN points out that according to Rava, if there would be a real doubt, such as in a case when one is unsure whether he performed a Mitzvah d'Oraisa or not and therefore he has to do the Mitzvah again, one would be required to recite a new blessing. Only when there is no real doubt does Rava say that one does not recite a blessing. This also seems to be the intention of Rashi (DH Rava Amar). The RA'AVAD rules like this (Hilchos Milah 3:6), and so does RABEINU YONAH (Berachos 21a). However, this ruling applies only when one is in doubt whether he did the Mitzvah or not. If one knows that he did the Mitzvah but is in doubt if he recited the blessing, then he does *not* recite the blessing again.

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Milah 3:6, Hilchos Tzitzis 3:9), however, writes that one does *not* recite a new blessing when one performs a Mitzvah that he was in doubt whether he had performed. The Poskim rule in accordance with the opinion of the Rambam.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that the buying Chanukah lights takes precedence over buying wine for Kidush, because the Chanukah lights involve publicizing the miracle of Chanukah (Pirsum Nes). The RAMBAM takes this one step further and rules that one should even sell his clothing in order to buy the materials needed for kindling the Chanukah lights. The Rambam writes, "The Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights is a most beloved Mitzvah, and one must be very prudent in its fulfillment in order to publicize the miracle and to increase the praise of G-d and gratitude to Him for the miracles that He wrought for us. [Therefore,] even if one [is so poor that he] has nothing to eat except for what he takes from charity, he should borrow money or sell his clothing in order to buy oil and candles to light" (Hilchos Chanukah 4:12).

What is the Rambam's source for this ruling?


(a) The MAGID MISHNAH explains that the Rambam's source is our Gemara, which says that the publicizing of the Mitzvah of Chanukah makes the Chanukah lights more important than Kidush. We find with regard to the Four Cups of wine of the Seder night that if someone cannot afford to buy wine, he should take charity in order to buy wine and fulfill the Mitzvah. The Four Cups, says the Gemara (Pesachim 112a), also serve to publicize a miracle. If one must take from charity to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Four Cups, all the more so must one take from charity or sell ones clothing to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights.

(The LECHEM MISHNAH asks why the Magid Mishnah says "all the more so" regarding the Chanukah lights. Why should the Mitzvah of the Chanukah lights be more stringent than the Four Cups, if they are both Mitzvos of Pirsum Nes? He concludes that the Rambam's ruling can be learned from a "Hu ha'Din" from the Four Cups, but not from a "Kol she'Ken.")

(b) The VILNA GA'ON (BI'UR HA'GRA OC 671) says that the source for this Halachah is as follows. The Gemara in Pesachim (112a) says that even a poor person who is already supported by the communal charity collection should take more charity to provide a minimal amount of food in honor of Shabbos. The RASHBAM, commenting on the Mishnah in Pesachim (99b), says that taking from charity means even hiring oneself out or selling one's clothing. The Gemara (Pesachim 105b) says that one must rely on charity if he does not have enough money to buy wine for Kidush. Since our Gemara says that the Chanukah lights take precedence over Kidush, then certainly one must sell his clothing to buy Chanukah lights.

(c) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (TZAFNAS PANEI'ACH) says that it is not necessary to prove from the Gemara in Pesachim that one is required to sell his clothing to buy wine for Kidush, since it is an explicit Gemara. The Gemara in Megilah (27b) relates that some of the Amora'im sold their clothing to buy wine for Kidush. Since our Gemara says that the Chanukah lights take precedence over Kidush, then certainly one must sell his clothing to buy Chanukah lights.

QUESTION: The Gemara relates that the wife of Rav Yosef used to light the Shabbos candles late. Rav Yosef pointed out that it is "proper etiquette" (Rashi) to light while it is still day.

How could the wife of Rav Yosef light the Shabbos candles late? Did she not know about the explicit Torah prohibition against lighting a fire on Shabbos? Furthermore, if she was desecrating the Shabbos, why did Rav Yosef reprimand her with a metaphor instructing proper etiquette, and not with the explicit verse in the Torah that commands us to observe the Shabbos?

ANSWER: The RAN explains that Rav Yosef's wife certainly lit before sundown and was not desecrating Shabbos. However, she thought that although there is a Mitzvah to add to the Shabbos from the weekday ("Tosefes Shabbos"), that Mitzvah does not apply to lighting the Shabbos candles, and the Shabbos candles could be lit *after* Tosefes Shabbos, before sundown. Her reasoning was that Tosefes Shabbos applies only to the prohibition of Melachah (that is, one should cease from performing Melachah some time before sundown), but not to a Melachah which is a holy act of a Mitzvah (lighting the Shabbos candles). Rav Yosef therefore informed her that it is proper to add Tosefes Shabbos to the lighting of the Shabbos candles as well.

The Gemara continues and relates that after Rav Yosef told her that she should light the candles earlier, she wanted to light them *very* early. A certain elder told her that she should not light the candles too early, but rather after she ceases for the other Melachos she should light, in order for lighting the Shabbos candles to be the last Melachah that she does before Shabbos.

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