|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel says, “[If after the guests] have gotten up [from their temporary seats, moved to the main eating hall] and reclined [on sofas],2 [a person] dipped together with them (i.e. other guests) [any piece of food into brine],3 even though he did not eat with them [even] a Kezait of grain, they can include him [into their group] to say Zimun.”4
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר עלו והסיבו טובל עמהן אף על פי שלא אכל עמהן כזית דגן הרי אלו מזמנין עליו.
- The Tosefta states a new law about Zimun. It is not related to any Mishna.
- In other words, if they already began eating the main meal and are not merely eating the appetizers. For the procedure of the meal see above chapter 4, Tosefta 8. Obviously if they are only eating the appetizers and did not start eating the main meal this law would not apply.
- This is the way this Tosefta is explained in Talmud Bavli (Berachot 48a-48b) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachot 7:2, Daf 54a). It is referring to any piece of food and not bread in particular. Dipping into brine is just an example of someone partaking of the same meal with any kind of food. Dipping itself would not be required as long as the person ate something.
- Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel clearly says that in order to be included into Zimun the person does not have to eat bread but can merely join others in the meal by eating anything in any amount. This goes along with my explanation of Tosefta 19. See there note 3. According to Talmud Bavli the opinion of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel is the main opinion which is the accepted halacha, thus it would seem to make sense that the Tosefta previously in Tosefta 19 assumes his opinion as a given.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Tosefta 221[If] a Non-Jew2 says a blessing [for anything] using God’s name we answer after him Amen [even if we did not here the whole blessing].3 [If] a Kuti says a blessing [for anything] using God’s name we do not answer after him Amen until we hear the whole blessing.4
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
גוי המברך בשם עונין אחריו אמן. כותי המברך בשם אין עונין אחריו אמן עד שישמע את כל הברכה.
- Mishna 8 of chapter 8 states that when a Jew says a Beracha we say Amen after it even if we did not hear the whole Beracha, but if a Kuti says a Beracha using God’s name then we must hear the whole Beracha before we can answer Amen. The Tosefta expands on that law. The law of answering Amen after a Beracha of a Jew and of a Kuti was already stated previously in chapter 3, Tosefta 26. The correct place for the discussion is here since that is where the Mishna discusses it. I have already explained the meaning of Amen, Kuti and the reason for hearing the whole Beracha of a Kuti before answering Amen back in chapter 3, Tosefta 26, so I will not repeat it here again. I will only explain the part about the Non-Jew.
- The reading in all of the Tosefta manuscripts is גוי (Non-Jew) and not עובד כוכבים (idol worshipper) as in the printed version of the Tosefta. I think that Non-Jew is the correct reading here, since the Tosefta’s statement does not apply only specifically to an Idol worshipper, but rather to any person who is not Jewish.
- Since he said God’s name we are sure that he said the blessing to God and not to an idol, since Non-Jews did not at the time of the Tosefta (3rd century CE) generally make blessings to both God and some idol. Thus we do not have to hear the whole blessing, but it is enough to just hear God’s name in the blessing. Obviously it does not matter in what language the Non-Jew made the blessing (hence I am referring to it here as a blessing and not a Beracha which denotes specifically a Hebrew blessing) as long as he said it to God.
It is important to note that Christians do make blessings to both God and Jesus in the same blessing by referring to the father and the son, thus this law would not apply to a Christian. It seems that when this Tosefta was written Christians were still not very common and therefore it did not mention them separately. It is also possible that in the 3rd century CE most Christians still did not consider Jesus divine, since that was not confirmed by the Roman church until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, over 100 years after the Tosefta was most probably written. However the terminology of the trinity is used by the church fathers already in the 1st century CE (see The Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians), so it is possible that already in the 1st century CE when Christians mentioned God in their blessings they may have included both the father and the son. But again, since most probably Christians at that time were not very common the Tosefta did not mention them. Another possibility why the Tosefta did not mention Christians is because they may not have used God’s name in their blessings, but rather said the word “father” which is not God’s name. Therefore if a Christian actually did say a blessing using God’s name then he did not mention the rest of the trinity and therefore would be included into the statement of the Tosefta about Non-Jews.
- See above chapter 3, Tosefta 26.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Tosefta 231[If a person] was sacrificing Menachot (Meal offerings)2 in Yerushalayim,3 he4 says [the following Beracha before bringing the Mincha sacrifices],4 Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, who has helped us reach this time.)5 When he [actually] sacrifices them (i.e. Menachot) he says [the following Beracha immediately before bringing the sacrifice], Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehakriv Menachot. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to sacrifice Menachot.)6 When he eats them (i.e. the Menachot) he says [the following Beracha immediately before eating them], [Baruch Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Hamotzi Lechem Min Haaretz. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who brings bread forth from the earth.)7 [If a person] was sacrificing Zevachim (Animal offerings)8 in Yerushalayim,9 he10 says [the following Beracha before bringing the Zevach sacrifices], Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, who has helped us reach this time.)11 When he [actually] sacrifices them (i.e. Zevachim) he says [the following Beracha immediately before bringing the sacrifice], Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehakriv Zevachim. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to sacrifice Zevachim.)12 When he eats them (i.e. the Zevachim) he says [the following Beracha immediately before eating them], Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Leechol Zevachim. (Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to eat Zevachim.)13
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
היה מקריב מנחות בירושלים אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא מקריבן אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להקריב מנחות. כשהוא אוכלן אומר המוציא לחם מן הארץ. היה מקריב זבחים בירושלים אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא מקריבן אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להקריב זבחים. וכשהוא אוכלן אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לאכל זבחים.
- The Tosefta states a new law regarding Berachot. It is not related to any Mishna.
- Menachot (singular: Mincha) are meal offerings made from either wheat or barley flour. There were 9 different types of Menachot that were brought in the Bet Hamikdash:
1) Minchat Nesachim – a flour offering that was brought together with an Olah (Fire offering), a Shlamim (Peace offering) sacrifice as a part of that sacrifice, either private or public, and also with a Chatat (Sin offering) and Asham (Guilt offering) sacrifices that were brought by a Metzora (a leper). See Bemidbar 15:4-10.
2) Minchat Haomer – a public barley flour offering which was brought on the 2nd day of Pesach. See Vayikra 2:14.
3) Shtei Halechem – a public flour offering which was brought on the holiday of Shavuot. See Vayikra 23:15-17.
4) Lechem Hapanim – a public flour offering that was brought every Friday. See Vayikra 24:5-9.
5) Minchat Choteh – a private flour offering that is brought by a pour person who has sinned by violating certain oaths or entered the Bet Hamikdash while being Tameh (ritually impure). See Vayikra 5:11-12.
6) Minchat Sotah – a private flour offering that is brought by a Sotah (a woman accused of adultery). See Bemidbar 5:12-15.
7) Minchat Kohen Mashiach – a private flour offering brought by the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) every day. See Vayikra 6:13-15.
8) Minchat Chinuch – a private flour offering brought every day by a Kohen who is being trained to the service in the Bet Hamikdash prior to him being approved to do regular service. See Vayikra 6:16.
9) Minchat Nedava – a private flour offering that any person can bring if he so desires for no particular reason as a personal vow. See Vayikra 2:1-7. There are 5 different versions of this type of Mincha:
- i. Minchat Solet – uncooked, unbaked flour
- ii. Chalot – baked loaves of unleavened bread
- iii. Rekikim – baked wafers of unleavened bread
- iv. Minchat Machvat – fried cakes in a shallow pan
- v. Minchat Marcheshet – fried cakes in a deep pan
- This word is kind of redundant, since obviously the sacrifices could only be brought in the Bet Hamikdash which was located in Yerushalayim.
- From the language of the Tosefta it is not clear which person says the Beracha, the owner of the sacrifice or the Kohen (priest) who is actually sacrificing it. Tosafot (Berachot 37b, Hayah and Menachot 75b, Hayah) quotes Rashi (Rashi, Berachot 37b, Hayah; Rashi Ktav Yad, Menachot 75b, Lishna Achrina; Rashi, Menachot 75b, Hayah) who proposes three possible explanations, either that the Tosefta is referring to the owner of the sacrifice and not the Kohen or it is referring to a Kohen who is bringing the first sacrifice in his life, or it is referring to a Kohen who is bringing the public sacrifice that year such as the Omer. Tosafot rejects both of these explanations based on his understanding of the language of the Tosefta and proposes a different explanation that it is actually the Kohen that make this Beracha, and not just any Kohen but the first Kohen of each particular watch which was bringing the sacrifice. There were 24 different watches of Kohanim each of which has served twice a year for one week at a time. The watches would switch every Shabbat. See Mishna (Taanit 4:2) and Talmud Bavli (Taanit 27a). According to Rashi’s second explanation and Tosafot’s explanation this Beracha would be said for any type of the 9 nine types of Mincha since it is the Kohen who makes it and not the owner. According to Rashi’s first explanation it would only apply to private Mincha offerings since the public offerings do not have an owner. Also, see note 7 below.
- The version of this Beracha quoted in Talmud Bavli (Berachot 37b) as well as the one that is used nowadays on various occasions is ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה – Blessed You Hashem, Our God, Ruler of the World, Who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and who has helped us reach this time.
- Again it is not clear who makes this Beracha the owner of the sacrifice or the Kohen who is sacrificing it. On one hand it seems to me that for the private sacrifices it is the owner who should make this Beracha and not the Kohen, because it is the owner who is commanded by the Torah to bring the sacrifice. The Kohen is just there to serve the procedure but he is not the one who is commanded to bring it. However in the case of a public sacrifice it is the Kohen who is bringing it who should say the Beracha, because since the obligation for a public sacrifice applies to all of the Jewish people the Koehn serves as their representative and thus can make the Beracha. On the other hand one can argue in the opposite fashion regarding the private sacrifice that it is the Kohen who should make the Beracha since he is the messenger of the owner and he is the one who is physically sacrificing it. We find a similar thing by Brit Mila (circumcision) where it is the Mohel (the person who actually circumcises the child) that makes the Beracha over the Mila even though it is the father who is commanded to do the Mila to his child. See Tosefta Kiddushin 1:8. Since the Mohel is the messenger of the father and he is the one physically performing the commandment, so also he is the one that makes the Beracha. The opinions of the Rishonim (Medieval Rabbis) are not clear on this issue since they primarily do not discuss it. Personally, I am leaning towards the last explanation. Also, see note 7 below. For some discussion on the subject see the book, Berachot Shenishtaku (ברכות שנשתקעו) by Baruch Tzvi Gruner (Mosad Harav Kook, 2003, p.39-41).
- This is the regular Beracha for eating bread. Hence the Tosefta is only referring to those Mincha sacrifices that were baked into bread, and not left as plain flour. See note 2 above. The Mincha sacrifice was always eaten by a Kohen and not by the owner, as long as it was not the Kohen who was the owner. If the Kohen was the owner then it was not eaten at all, but rather completely burned on the altar. We may infer from the fact that since this Beracha is made by the Kohen since he is the one who eats it, then all previous Berachot mentioned in this Tosefta are also made by the Kohen. Hence the Tosefta always uses the same expression to refer to the person making the Berachot as “he” without differentiating between them.
It is somewhat puzzling why the Tosefta needs to emphasize that the Beracha for eating the Mincha offering is Hamotzi. It should be obvious in the case when it is bread, because that is the Beracha made before eating bread regardless of what type the bread is. It is possible that the Tosefta emphasizes this to teach us that even if the Mincha is fried in oil and not baked, such as Minchat Machvat or Minchat Marcheshet, the Beracha for it is still Hamotzi since it is a type of bread. In fact this answer is suggested by Tosafot (Berachot 37b, Lechem). Pnei Yehoshua (Berachot 37b, BePirush Rashi) suggests another answer to this problem. He says that the Tosefta is emphasizing that when he eats the Mincha sacrifice the only Beracha that he says is Hamotzi and he does not say the Beracha of Shehecheyanu, because it was already said at the time of the sacrifice. As opposed to, for example, a new fruit that a person has not eaten this season, on which he would say Shehecheyanu right before he eats it. I do not like this answer in particular, because there is absolutely no reason why Shehecheyanu should be said when the Mincha is eaten since it cannot be compared to a fruit which is only eaten and not sacrificed. Shehecheyanu is obviously made as early as possible once the main commandment is in progress. And since the main commandment here is to sacrifice it that is when Shehecheyanu is said.
Also, it is strange that the Tosefta does not say that there is a special Beracha for eating the Mincha offering similar to the one for eating the Zevach offering as the Tosefta states below. This Beracha should be Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Leechol Menachot – Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to eat Menachot. For the fact that this Beracha is not mentioned not in the Tosefta and not anywhere else it would seem that it did not exist. I was not able to find any reason for that.
- Zevachim (singular: Zevach) are animal offerings brought from cows, sheep, goats or birds. The reason they are called Zevachim is because all of these animals require to be slaughtered. Hebrew word זבח means something that is slaughtered. There are 7 different types of Zevachim that were brought in the Bet Hamikdash:
1) Olah – Fiery offering
2) Chatat – Sin offering
3) Asham – Guilt offering
4) Shlamim – Peace offering, which includes into it the Todah sacrifice – Thanks offering
5) Bechor – Firstborn offering
6) Maaser Behemah – Animal tithe offering
7) Karban Pesach – Pesach sacrifice
The first 3 offerings Olah, Chatat and Asham are in the category of Kadshei Kadashim – Holy of Holies, which means they get completely burnt on the altar and they do not get eaten. The rest of the sacrifices Shlamim (with the exception of the Shlamim of Shavuot which are Kadshei Kadashim), Bechor, Maaser Behemah and Karban Pesach are in the category of Kadshei Kalim – Minor Holies, which means that parts of them get eaten by the Kohanim who sacrificed it and parts of it get eaten by the owner who brought it.
- See note 3 above.
- See note 4 above. The same argument about Menachot applies to Zevachim as well.
- See note 5 above.
- See note 6 above. The same argument about Menachot applies to Zevachim as well.
- The Beracha for eating the Zevachim is made by each person who eats the meat of the sacrifice, regardless if he is a Kohen or the owner. Some sacrifices are eaten only by the Kohanim and some are eaten by both, the Kohanim and the owner. All of them would be required to make this Beracha.
It is important to note that in various manuscripts of the Tosefta and in the quotes of it by the Rishonim (Medieval Rabbis) there are variations of the text of the Beracha. Fro example, see Rambam (Hilchot Chametz Umatza 8:7). I have quoted the Beracha according to the way it is written in the Vienna manuscript, because it seems to be the most consistent form of it which matches the other Berachot. However in the Erfurt manuscript the ending of this Beracha is as follows: לאכל הזבח הזה – to eat this Zevach. Honestly, I do not think that this is the correct version, because the Berachot are usually written in a more generic form and do not emphasize the particular item over which the Beracha is said such as, “this Zevach” as opposed to “Zevachim” in general.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Ten [people] that are going on the road,2 even though all of them are eating from the same loaf [of bread], each one of them makes the Beracha [over the bread] by himself.3 [If a group of people] sat down to eat [together] even though each one of them is eating from his own loaf [of bread], one of them makes the Beracha [over the bread] for all of them.3
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
עשרה שהיו מהלכין בדרך אף על פי שכולן אוכלין מככר אחד, כל אחד ואחד מברך לעצמו. ישבו לאכול אף על פי שכל אחד ואחד אוכל מככרו, אחד מברך לכולן.
- This Tosefta seems to be out of place. It is related to Mishna 6 of chapter 6 where the Mishna discussed when groups of people who are eating together make individual Berachot over their food or one person makes a Beracha for everyone. This subject was mainly discussed earlier in the Tosefta, in chapter 4, Tosefta 8.
- Tosefta states this as a common example when a group of people all would be eating from the same loaf bread. It was obviously common for people traveling to take large loaves of bread and share them with everybody. The number of people mentioned here – 10, is not specific and merely signifies a group.
- Since they are walking on the road they are not considered to be eating a meal together, therefore each one of them makes a Beracha over his bread by himself. The fact that they are eating from the same loaf does not signify that they are eating a meal together since they have not formally sat down to eat together.
- Since they sat down together in the same room to eat a formal meal, one person makes a Beracha over the bread for everyone. The fact that each one of them has a separate loaf of bread in front of him does not separate them from the group in anyway.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Workers that were doing [work] by the owner of the house [when they have to say Birkat Hamazon] they say [only] two Berachot [instead of the four usual Berachot].2 [The way they say Birkat Hamazon is as follows.] He (i.e. the worker) says the first Beracha [in the regular fashion]. [Then] he combines [the Beracha] of Yerushalayim (i.e. the 3rd Beracha) with [the Beracha] of the land (i.e. the 2nd Beracha) [into one Beracha], and he seals it off with [the ending of the Beracha] of the land.3 If [the workers] were doing [the work] for him [and receiving] their meal [as pay, instead of money],4 or the owner of the house was saying the Birkat Hamazon for them [because he ate together with them,5 even if they were getting paid money for their work, then] they (i.e. the workers) say [all] four Berachot.6[These are] the things during meals regarding which Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel argue.7 Bet Shammai say, “[When a person makes Kiddush on Friday night,]8 he says the Beracha for the day [first] and [only] after that he says the Beracha on the wine, because the day causes the wine to be brought, and since the day already began, however the wine has not been brought out yet [until later that evening].”9 And Bet Hillel say, “[When a person makes Kiddush on Friday night,] he says the Beracha for the wine [first] and [only] after that he says the Beracha on the day, because it is the wine that causes the holiness of the day to be discussed.10 [Besides this there is] another explanation. The Beracha for the wine is common and the Beracha for the [Shabbat] day is not common.”11 And the law follows the words of Bet Hillel.12
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
פועלין שהיו עושין אצל בעל הבית הרי אלו מברכין שתים. אומר ברכה ראשונה, כולל של ירושלים בשל ארץ, וחותם בשל ארץ. אם היו עושין עמו בסעודתן או שהיה בעל הבית מברך להן הרי אלו מברכין ארבע.
דברים שבין בית שמאי ובית הלל בסעודה. בית שמאי אומרים מברך על היום ואחר כך מברך על היין שהיום גורם ליין שיבא וכבר קדש היום ועדיין לא בא. ובית הלל אומרים מברך על היין ואחר כך מברך על היום שהיין גורם לקדושת היום שתאמר. דבר אחר. ברכת היין תדירה וברכת היום אינו תדירה והלכה כדברי בית הלל.
- This Tosefta consists of two parts that are not related to each other. In the Zukermandel’s edition of the Tosefta it is actually split into two separate Toseftot. However, I have kept them together in order to be consistent with the numbering system of the Tosefta printed in the back of the Vilna edition of the Talmud Bavli. The first part of the Tosefta states a new law regarding Birkat Hamazon and it is not related to any Mishna. However the second part of the Tosefta is a restatement of the argument between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel mentioned in Mishna 1 of chapter 8, however the Tosefta adds reasons for their opinions.
- The owner of the house refers to the person who hired the workers. The first case of the Tosefta is referring to workers who are being paid hourly wages for their work. The reason that workers who are being paid hourly wages say a shorter version of Birkat Hamazon is because the Rabbis wanted to save money for the person who hired them. Even if the workers are not being paid for the time that they use to eat, still it is a waste of the owner’s time since they are sitting idle and not working. The Tosefta already discussed similar leniencies made by the Rabbis for workers earlier in chapter 2, Tosefta 8 regarding Shema and Shmoneh Esreh.
- As was explained earlier in chapter 4, Tosefta 6, note 6, Birkat Hamazon consists of 4 Berachot. The first 3 Berachot, were instituted by the prophets and therefore are considered to be more obligatory. However the 4th Beracha was instituted much later in Yavneh and is considered to be less important. See earlier chapter 4, Tosefta 6, note 6. Therefore in the case of the workers the Rabbis decreed that the 4th Beracha can be omitted completely. However the 3rd Beracha cannot be completely omitted since it was enacted by the prophets, therefore it is shortened instead. It is fitting to merge the text of the 2nd Beracha which talks about the Land of Israel into the 3rd Beracha which talks about the rebuilding of Yerushalayim, since Yerushalayim is a part of the Land of Israel.
It should be noted that the difference in the amount of time that it takes to say the regular Birkat Hamazon and the shortened Birkat Hamazon is probably around 1 minute, and despite this the Rabbis felt that it was important to save even one minute of time for the owner of the house since he is the one that is paying for the workers.
- I have explained this statement of the Tosefta according to the way it is quoted in the Talmud Bavli (Berachot 16a) even though the wording of the Tosefta quoted in Talmud Bavli is slightly different that the text in the Tosefta manuscripts.
If instead of paying the workers money the owner of the house has agreed to pay them by feeding them the meal, then the workers are entitled to enjoy the meal to its fullest, which includes saying the complete Birkat Hamazon.
- The version of the Tosefta quoted in the Talmud Bavli (Berachot 16a) says that the owner reclined together with them and not like our text that says that he said Birkat Hamazon for them. Since the only way the owner of the house would be allowed to say Birkat Hamazon for them if he ate together with them, (since in order to fulfill the obligation of others the person must be obligated in that Beracha himself) I have chosen to explain our Tosefta based on the text quoted in Talmud Bavli.
- If the owner of the house has joined the workers in eating the meal then he is making it known that he does not mind if they take their time to eat the meal, therefore they can say the complete Birkat Hamazon.
- These arguments will be discussed in the next few Toseftot.
- There is a rabbinical commandment to say a benediction sanctifying Shabbat on Friday nights before the meal over a cup of wine. That is called Kiddush. See Talmud Bavli Berachot 33a. The regular Kiddush on Friday night consists of two Berachot, one for the wine, and one for the Shabbat.
- Bet Shammai hold that the order of the Berachot in the Kiddush should be on the Shabbat first and only then on the wine. The reason is because the order in which they happen is this way. Shabbat begins at sunset on Friday night. However Kiddush is not normally made until the person comes home from the synagogue which is already after dark. So since Shabbat begins first and only afterwards the Kiddush over wine is made, the Berachot during Kiddush are made in that order as well. The reason that Bet Shammai hold that the order of Kiddush should follow the order in which these things happen is explained by the first part of Bet Shammai statement, that the reason that the wine is brought out is due to the fact that the day is Shabbat, meaning that if the day was some other day of the week then there would be no Kiddush; hence it is the day of Shabbat that causes Kiddush to be said. It seems to me that Bet Shammai state one long reason for their opinion, although it is possible to view it as two separate reasons as well, one that the Kiddush follows the order in which they happen, and the other is that Shabbat is more important since it is the cause of Kiddush in the first place.
- Bet Hillel hold that the order is reversed and the Beracha on the wine is said first. The reason is because the whole reason that the Rabbis decreed to say the Beracha for the Shabbat is due to the fact that Kiddush is being made over wine. If the person does not have any wine or bread (which can be used as a substitute for wine in order to make Kiddush) then the person would not say Kiddush at all. Thus the whole reason that the Beracha is said for the Shabbat is because of the wine, in which case the wine is more important and the Beracha over it is said first.
Talmud Bavli (Pesachim 106a) quotes a Beraita that learns out the mitzvah of Kiddush from a verse in the Torah. It says in the 10 commandments זכור את יום השבת לקדשו – Remember the day of Shabbat to make it holy. (Shemot 20:7) So the Beraita says that you should make it holy by making Kiddush over wine, in which you proclaim that Shabbat is holy. Based on this Beraita, as well some other sources in Talmud Bavli, some Rishonim (Medieval Authorities) (Tosafot (Pesachim 106a, Zochreyhu) and the Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 29:1)) say that the mitzvah of saying Kiddush with words without the wine is a Torah obligation and the Rabbis have enacted that it should be said over wine. I would like to point out that from our Tosefta it seems that even the mitzvah of saying Kiddush with words without the wine is also a Rabbinical obligation and not a Torah obligation. Because if it would have been a Torah obligation how could Bet Hillel say that it is the wine that causes the holiness of the day to be said? It should be the other way around, that the Torah has commanded to say the holiness of the day, and that caused the Rabbis to enact this proclamation over wine. Instead we see that Bet Hillel’s reason precisely points out that both the proclamation of Kiddush with words is a Rabbinical obligation and the only reason that the Rabbis have enacted it is due to the fact that they wanted some kind of benediction to be said over wine in the beginning of the Shabbat meal.
- Bet Hillel add a second reason to why the Beracha on the wine is said first. Since the Beracha over wine is said on any day that a person drinks wine on, where as the Beracha for the Shabbat is only said once a week, on Shabbat, it make the Beracha over the wine more common. There is a principal that is accepted throughout the Talmudic literature that says, that when there are two things that a person needs to do he should do the thing that is more common first. (תדיר ושאינו תדיר, תדיר קודם.) See Mishna Zevachim 10:1. So Bet Hillel follow this principal.
There are a few possibilities why Bet Hillel felt that it was necessary to add a second reason to their opinion. It is possible that Bet Shammai actually held that Kiddush with words without the wine is a Torah obligation as Tosafot and the Rambam say and therefore the first reason of Bet Hillel would not apply as a rebuttal, therefore Bet Hillel felt that it was necessary to provide them with another reason why the Beracha on the wine should be said first. Secondly, Bet Shammai also kind of stated two possible reasons for their opinion, as was explained above in note 9, so Bet Hillel had to reply with reasons as well. Thirdly, it is possible that they added a second reason simply to strengthen their words, because two reasons are always better than one.
- It is unclear why the Tosefta has to explicitly say that the law follows Bet Hillel, since in arguments with Bet Shammai the law always follows Bet Hillel with 9 exceptions, 6 of which are mentioned in Tosafot (Sukkah 3a, Deamar) and 3 of which are mentioned in Talmud Yerushalmi (Kilayim 8:4, Daf 39a-b). Talmud Bavli (Berachot 51b) attempts to answer this question, by providing two possible explanations. One is that the whole reason that the Halacha (law) is like Bet Hillel is because a Bat Kol (heavenly voice) proclaimed it to be so, (see Talmud Bavli, Eruvin 13b) and this Tosefta was written before the Bat Kol made its proclamation. Or a second answer is that this Tosefta holds like the opinion of Rebbi Yehoshua (see Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 59b) who says that we do not do things just because a Bat Kol said them and therefore the Tosefta had to clarify it for us.
It should be noted that the real reason why the Halacha follows Bet Hillel is not because of the Bat Kol, but rather because Bet Hillel always were the majority in the Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court) and the Halacha always follows the majority. This is indeed stated by Tosafot (Berachot 52a, Verebbi). The Talmud even mentions specific cases when one day many students of Bet Hillel did not show up to the Sanhedrin and suddenly Bet Shammai were the majority that day and they overruled some of Bet Hillel’s opinions. For example see Talmud Bavli (Eruvin 13a). So the Gemara’s answers do not really apply since the Tosefta does not have to explain to us that the Halacha is like Bet Hillel if they are the majority. However, it is possible that since from the names of Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel it is not clear which one of them was the majority since both names imply that they were schools and simply included a lot of people, the Tosefta clarifies for us that Bet Hillel in fact were the majority and therefore the Halacha follows them.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Bet Shammai say, “We wash hands [before the meal]2 first and [only] after that we pour the cup [of wine for Kiddush,3 because] may be the liquid outside of the cup will become Tameh (ritually impure), because of the [Tameh] hands, and in turn it will make the cup Tameh.”4 And Bet Hillel say, “The outside of the cup is always Tameh, [so therefore it does not matter if the liquid on the outside of the cup will make it Tameh.]5 [Besides this there is] another explanation. Hands should be washed as close to the meal as possible.”6
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
בית שמאי אומרים נוטלין לידים ואחר כך מוזגין את הכוס שמא נטמאו משקין שבאחורי הכוס מחמת הידים ויחזרו ויטמאו את הכוס. ובית הלל אומרים אחורי הכוס לעולם טמאין. דבר אחר. אין נטילת ידים אלא סמוך לסעודה.
- Mishna 2 of chapter 8 mentions the argument between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel about what should be done first, washing of the hands before the meal or making Kiddush. Our Tosefta adds reasons for that argument.
- The law of washing hands before the meal was already explained in chapter 4 Tosefta 8 and in chapter 5 Tosefta 14.
- Meaning make Kiddush. This is the explanation according to the Rif (Berachot 52b, Daf 38b in the Rif). However Rashi (Berachot 52b, Venitmi Kos Leyadayim) explains that the Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel are talking about the wine that was drunk before the meal, as was explained earlier in the Tosefta chapter 4, Tosefta 8 on any day, and not about Kiddush on Shabbat. I think that the Rif’s opinion makes more sense, because it makes this Tosefta flow better with the previous Tosefta, which also talked about Kiddush.
- For the rules of Tumah (ritual impurity), why unwashed hands are Tameh and why liquids make objects Tameh see above chapter 5, Tosefta 14, note 2. Bet Shammai hold that since his hands are Tameh by default if some wine from his cup will spill on the outside of the cup it will become Tameh from his hands, and since liquids become Tameh on the First Level (Rishon Letumah) they will then make the cup itself Tameh on the Second Level (Sheni Letumah). Of course, the cup itself cannot make the wine inside Tameh, because Chulin food does not become Tameh on the 3rd Level (Shlishi Letumah), but nevertheless Bet Shammai hold that a person is not allowed to drink from a cup the outside of which is Tameh. The reason is explained in Talmud Bavli (Berachot 52b) and is that even if the person’s hands have been washed and are Tahorim still if we let him use a cup the outside of which is Tameh, even though the cup itself cannot make the hands Tameh, because vessels do not make a person Tameh, what can happen is that some liquid can spill from the cup onto its outside, the cup which is Sheni Letumah will make the liquid Rishon Letumah, and then the liquid in turn will make his hands Tameh. Therefore Bet Shammai do not allow using a Tameh cup no matter what, even if his hands were Tameh from the beginning. This is kind of strange reasoning since what Bet Shammai do not really want is the person drinking something while his hands are Tameh even if he is drinking from a cup and the liquid inside the cup cannot become Tameh no matter what. The only reason they care about the cup becoming Tameh is due to his hands. So what they should have said is that they do not allow a person drinking with Tameh hands no matter what, regardless if the cup can become Tameh or not. It seems to me that what Bet Shammai are really concerned with is not whether his hands will become Tameh or not, but if we allow people to drink from a cup the outside of which is Tameh then what might happen is that some liquid that spills onto the outside of the cup may some how spill back inside the cup and make everything inside the cup Tameh. This is plausible although unlikely and this way Bet Shammai would be concerned with the cup becoming Tameh and not the hands, since theoretically the liquid can spill on to the outside of the cup and then spill back inside the cup without touching the hands.
- Bet Hillel hold that a person is allowed to use a cup the outside of which is Tameh. And they are not concerned with drops of the liquid inside the cup spilling onto the outside and then somehow spilling back inside.
- The reason Bet Hillel provide a second reason is because this refutes Bet Shammai’s opinion even if Bet Hillel would agree to the fact that we are concerned with some liquid spilling onto the outside of the cup and then spilling back into the cup. Obviously the reason that Bet Hillel hold that it is better to wash hands as close to the meal itself as possible is because during the meal the person touches his food with his hands and if he goes and touches something else in between him washing his hands and the meal his hands may become Tameh again, and then he will end up touching his food with Tameh hands.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
We pour the cup [of wine, for Kiddush, first] and [only] after that wash hands [before the meal].2
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
מוזגין את הכוס ואחר כך נוטלין לידים.
- This Tosefta does not add anything new to the opinion of Bet Hillel mentioned in the previous Tosefta that was not already said. It is merely a restatement of their opinion.
- There is a lot of controversy about the text of this Tosefta. Most commentators agree that it belongs in the previous Tosefta and it is really a continuation of the words of Bet Hillel. Cheshek Shlomo goes as far as to completely remove it from this spot and add it to the beginning of the words of Bet Hillel in the previous Tosefta, since that it is the way it is quoted in Talmud Bavli (Berachot 52a). In the Tosefta manuscripts the rest of the text that is present in the printed editions of the Tosefta is not present at all; therefore I did not include it into the main text of the Tosefta either. However I will include it in the note since the Cheshek Shlomo believes that it is the correct reading of the Tosefta and it was preserved only in the Talmud Bavli. It says as follows:
|Because if you say that we wash first, then may be the water that is on the hands will become Tameh, because of the cup [which is Tameh] and it will go back and make the hands Tameh. But rather [we must say that] we pour the cup [of wine for Kiddush] and [only] then wash hands [before the meal].||
שאם אתה אומר נוטלין תחלה שמא יטמאו משקין של ידים מחמת הכוס ויחזרו ויטמאו את הידים אלא מוזגין את הכוס ואחר כך נוטלין לידים.
If this text remains present in this Tosefta it does not make any sense with the previous Tosefta, because the Tosefta already mentioned two reasons for the opinion of Bet Hillel and this line seems to add a more elaborate explanation for the first reason for Bet Hillel’s opinion, which does not flow with the fact the second opinion was already mentioned. Of course, according to the Cheshek Shlomo it belongs in the previous Tosefta and should be written right after the first reason in which case it would make sense. However I did not dare make such an elaborate emendation of the text in the main text of the Tosefta itself without any references from manuscripts. I will let the reader decide which reading is more correct.