Arvei Pesachim #7: 102b

  • Rav Avi Baumol

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion





SHIUR #7: 102 b


by Rav Avi Baumol


Ve-Nimrinhu le-Travaihu a-Chada Kasa


If one is partaking of a meal on erev Shabbat, and in the interim the sun sets, according to R. Yossi he may continue the meal. However, upon completion, he should recite birkat ha-mazon over one cup of wine, and use a second cup to recite kiddush. The gemara queries why it is not possible to use only ONE cup instead of TWO. The answer is that "we do not recite two kedushot over one cup of wine." R. Nachman bar Yitzchak explains the rationale behind this halakha: "because one should not bundle mitzvot together" (ein osin mitzvot CHAVILOT CHAVILOT).


What is the nature of this prohibition? Why can one not combine mitzvot, or recite two kedushot over one cup of wine? The Rishonim offer two possibilities for this halakha:


1. The Rashbam (s.v. "chavilot") explains that by doing two or more mitzvot at the same time one gives the APPEARANCE that their performance is a burden to him. It seems that he wishes to dispense of his obligations and go through the formalities as quickly as possible. Although, in reality, he may do both mitzvot properly, outwardly it appears that he is not doing so.


2. Tosafot (Mo'ed Katan 8b s.v. "Lefi") compare this prohibition to the maxim that "one should not combine one simcha with another." Just as one can only concentrate on one simcha at a time, so too, one must leave his heart open for only one mitzva and not introduce additional elements which may divert his attention from its performance. It is not feasible to concentrate fully on two mitzvot at once; and therefore they should be performed separately. It seems that according to Tosafot, the issur is more inherent and relates to the quality of the performance of the mitzva itself - not only to external appearances.


According to the Rashbam, since the problem is the appearance that performing mitzvot is a burden, we might apply this even in a situation where the mitzvot are not simultaneous. Using one cup for both birkat ha-mazon and kiddush appears to be a method for disposing of burdensome mitzvot with as little expense and effort as possible.


The explanation of Tosafot, however, is understandable only regarding the standard cases of "chavilot chavilot" where one performs two SEPARATE mitzvot SIMULTANEOUSLY (e.g. concurrently piercing the ears of two slaves who have decided to remain with their master after their mandatory six years of bondage have expired). Under these circumstances, it is not feasible to give one's full attention to both mitzvot. It is difficult, though, to apply this interpretation to our gemara, since kiddush and birkat ha-mazon are each recited CONSECUTIVELY, albeit over the same cup of wine. Consequently, the quality of the performance of each is not actually compromised at all, as one can pay full attention to each mitzva at the time of its performance without being distracted by other thoughts.


We can solve our difficulty, if we assume that the case of our gemara is similar but not identical to the "chavilot chavilot" of Tosafot. It is interesting to note that the Rambam (Hilkhot Shabbat 29:13) does not mention the phrase "chavilot chavilot" when referring to our gemara. He formulates our case as follows: "He should not bless (birkat ha-mazon) and make kiddush on one cup since you cannot do two mitzvot on one cup, as the mitzva of kiddush and the mitzva of birkat ha-mazon are both mitzvot from the Torah."


Rav Soloveitchik zt"l explains that the Rambam is referring to an independent problem with regard to kiddush and birkat ha-mazon. The problem is not that one is performing two actions AT THE SAME TIME. Rather, the prohibition results from the fact that one is performing two mitzvot on one specific object ("cheftza") of mitzva. Kiddush and birkat ha-mazon, both separate mitzvot, cannot 'share' one object upon which the mitzva is recited. For this reason the Rambam specifically refrains from using the language of chavilot chavilot and mentions instead the problem of "two mitzvot on one object." [We will expand on this point later.]


According to this approach, the gemara COMPARES our case with the prohibition of "chavilot chavilot". Nevertheless, it does not IDENTIFY the two. This explanation can also be suggested as a solution of the difficulty we raised in Tosafot.


Havdala Ve-Kiddush Chada Milta


The gemara states outright that kiddush and havdala constitute one category (and may be recited over the same cup of wine) while kiddush and birkat ha-mazon do not. What about havdala and birkat ha-mazon? Is it possible to recite both of them on one cup of wine?


At first glance we would assume that since kiddush and havdala are similar, the status of havdala would be parallel to that of kiddush and one would not be permitted to recite both havdala and birkat ha-mazon on one cup.


Once again, the Rambam deviates from the standard assumption and distinguishes between kiddush and havdala. In Hilkhot Shabbat (29:12) he describes the process of finishing a meal as Shabbat ebbs away: "He should say birkat ha-mazon on a cup and afterwards he should make havdala ON IT." In the very next halakha, he proscribes the making of kiddush and reciting of birkat ha-mazon over the same cup of wine: "... and he should not bless (birkat ha-mazon) and make kiddush on one cup since you cannot perform two mitzvot on one cup, as the mitzva of kiddush and the mitzva of birkat ha-mazon are both mitzvot from the Torah." The Ramach and the Ra'avad both disagree with the Rambam, arguing that there should be no difference between kiddush and havdala.


Prior to any further discussion of this issue, it is crucial to define precisely why one may combine kiddush and havdala but not kiddush and birkat ha-mazon.


The Rashbam (s.v. Kiddusha) explains that since both kiddush and havdala are a function of "kedushat Yamim Tovim," they are encompassed under one rubric. Birkat ha-mazon, on the other hand, is unconnected to kedushat Yamim Tovim, therefore it cannot be combined with the cup of kiddush. According to the Rashbam's reasoning, kiddush and havdala are comparable, and neither should merge with birkat ha-mazon.


The Me'iri distinguishes between different levels of obligation - while kiddush and birkat ha-mazon are Torah laws (de'oraita) in nature, havdala is rabbinic (derabanan). Thus, havdala can be combined with birkat ha-mazon, while kiddush cannot. He infers this distinction from the words of the Rambam: "Kiddush and birkat ha-mazon are both mitzvot from the Torah" (as opposed to havdala). However, in the beginning of the 29th chapter, the Rambam seems to couple kiddush with havdala indicating that BOTH are from the Torah (see ch. 29:1, and Maggid Mishneh).


Perhaps we can suggest that havdala and birkat ha-mazon can be integrated, although kiddush and birkat ha-mazon cannot. This is because havdala is not only praise recited at the culmination of Shabbat, but actually signals the termination of oneg Shabbat. (We will expand on this idea in later shiurim.) Similarly, birkat ha-mazon of se'uda shlishit is a berakha which signals the close of se'udat Shabbat. (For instance, "retzei" is recited, according to many Rishonim, although Shabbat has already ended, since the birkat ha-mazon reflects the quality of the se'uda as a se'udar Shabbat.) Both berakhot share the same theme - the end of oneg shabbat.


Therefore, both the havdala and birkat ha-mazon merge and are recited over one cup, without violating the dictum of chavilot chavilot. In this regard, the relationship between havdala and birkat ha-mazon is similar to that of kiddush and havdala. However, kiddush which signals the beginning of oneg shabbat is totally incommensurate with the birkat ha-mazon of a se'udat chol (the meal from Friday which he is finishing). This might be what the Maggid Mishneh had in mind when he claimed that havdala and birkat ha-mazoare related in that they both refer to the past - Shabbat. Therefore they are considered to be one unit. Kiddush and birkat ha-mazon, however, aim in two opposite directions; birkat ha-mazon, the past, kiddush, the future.


One last approach is suggested by the Rav zt'l. Based on the Rav's understanding that the issur in our gemara is a problem with making two mitzvot on one object of mitzva, the underlying assumption is that both berakhot involve the actual USE of a cup of wine, and do not merely constitute a text recited within the context of wine. With regard to kiddush and birkat ha-mazon, the Rav says, there are two components to fulfilling the mitzva:


1. Reciting a blessing on a cup of wine, based on the halakha that shira -song - should be recited over wine. This focuses mainly on the text.

2. Establishing a meal over a "kos shel berakha", thereby transforming the cup itself into part of the meal. This aspect focuses on the wine itself. It is the latter which defines the cup as a "cheftza shel mitzva."


Therefore, kiddush and birkat ha-mazon require independent cups of wine, since each transforms their respective cup into a "cheftza shel mitzva." However, with regard to havdala, where there is no meal, the focus is only on the berakha-text, and the "kos" is not considered a "cheftza shel mitzva." Consequently, says the Rav, the Rambam rules that you can say havdala on the same cup as the one upon which you recited kiddush or birkat ha-mazon (for further analysis, see Shiurim Le-zekher Aba Mari, Vol 2 pps. 118-119).



Next week:

A. 1. 102b "Gufa... ve-hilkhita ke-Rava."

2. 102b Rashbam s.v. "u-Shemuel," Tosafot s.v. "Rav."




1. Why doesn't our gemara include besamin in the acronym used to determine the order of berakhot when kiddush and havdala converge?

2. What are the relevant conceptual issues regarding the order of the combination kiddush-havdala?










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