Brachos Daf 20

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The Gemora cites the statement of Rav Ada bar Ahava that from the simultaneous expression of zachor and shamor we learn that women are obligated in kiddush (from zachor) just as they are obligated in the negative commandments of Shabbos (shamor).

Rav Adda bar Ahavah says that women are obligated in kiddush d’var Torah – from the Torah, indicating that kiddush itself is a Torah obligation.

Tosfos (in Shavuos 20b) questions this from the Gemora in Nazir (4a), which says that drinking the wine of kiddush is not a Torah obligation. Tosfos offers the following answers:

1. The obligation to recite kiddush is from the Torah, but the obligation to do so on a cup of wine is Rabbinic.

2. Kiddush over wine is a Torah obligation, but the obligation to drink the wine is Rabbinic.

The Magen Avraham (O”C 271:1) therefore assumes that once one says maariv on Friday night, he has fulfilled his Torah obligation of kiddush and is left only with the Rabbinic obligation of kiddush on wine.

The later Acharonim discuss the implications of this statement at length. See Dagul Merevava, Biur Halachah, Livyas Chen on O”C 271 and Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Responsa 7) for discussions on how a man who has said maariv can release his wife from her Torah obligation. See Yabia Omer (1:15:6-15) on sources for and challenges to the Magen Avraham’s statement.


Living in the World to Come

Rav Avira expounded; sometimes he said it in the name of Rabbi Ami, and sometimes he said it in the name of Rabbi Assi: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, it is written in Your Torah: Asher lo yisa panim v’lo yikach shochadWho does not show favor and Who does not take a bribe, but You do, in fact, show favor to the people of Israel, as it is written: Yisa Hashem panav ei’lechaMay Hashem show you favor!? Hashem replied to them: And shall I not show favor to the people of Israel, seeing that I wrote for them in the Torah: V’achalta v’savata u’veirachta es Hashem ElokechaAnd you shall eat and be satisfied and bless Hashem, your God, and they are stringent upon themselves that even if the quantity is but an olive or an egg (they recite Birkas Hamazon).

HaRav Shimon Schwab asks: How did this answer the question? The verse explicitly states that Hashem will not show favor to the Jewish people!?

Furthermore, how did the Sages institute that Birkas Hamazon should be recited even after eating an amount of an olive or an egg? The Torah clearly mandates that the obligation is dependent upon satiation, and food in the quantity of an olive or an egg will not satisfy a person!? This why there is no blessing after a pleasant aroma, for it is not satiating.

He answers by citing the Toras Kohanim, which states that in the future, in the World to Come, one will eat a little and be satisfied (similar to the minchah offerings in the Temple). The Sages based their ordinance on this concept – consuming food in the amount of an olive or an egg is regarded as satisfaction – not in this world, but in the next one.

This explains why Hashem can favor the Jewish people. They have shown that they are living in this world, but it is with a constant anxiousness to be living in the World to Come, one where one can be satisfied with a mere morsel of food. When Hashem said that he will not favor the Jewish people – that was specifically a practice for this world, but not for the next one. By the Jewish people’s display of “living in the World to Come” even in this world, Hashem shows favor to them, as if they were actually living in the World to Come.

Hashem will Show you Favor

and Grant you Peace

Arvei Nachal

Chazal taught in the Gemora that the ministering angels asked Hashem that the Torah writes that Hashem “will not show favor nor will He take any bribe” (Devarim 10,17), yet He shows favor to Yisrael, as it says “Hashem will show you favor”. Hashem replied: How can I not show them favor when it says in My Torah “and you shall eat and be satisfied and bless”, but they are particular to bless even if the quantity is but the size of an olive or an egg!

Now, it is clear that one does not show favor to a person unless there is a good reason for doing so, for example, because of his righteousness or wisdom. So when it says that Hashem “will not show favor” it must be referring to Tzaddikim, since it is obvious that He will not treat the wicked favorably. If so, how does Hashem’s reply to the ministering angels that Yisrael are particular to bless even on small quantities – meaning that they are very righteous – answer their question?

But we can understand it with the explanation of the Rambam on the Mishna in the fourth perek of Pirkei Avos which says that Hashem does not show favor nor take a bribe, like the passuk that was quoted above. He explains that this means that when a person sins Hashem does not deduct from his mitzvos, but rather He punishes the person for his sin and the reward for his mitzvos remains untouched.

It seems to me that reason for this is because Chazal taught that reward is not given for the mitzvos in this world, since the reward for even one mitzvah is infinite and so cannot be contained by this finite world. But this world does suffice for finite punishment to be given here. If so, it is not possible to deduct from a person’s mitzvos because of a sin, because this would be like taking a drop from the ocean, which would leave the ocean virtually untouched. So too if the reward of a person’s mitzvos would be reduced corresponding to the amount of the sin, his reward would remain as it was without any reduction at all. However, the Marhasha wrote that when a person adds of his own volition a safeguard to a mitzvah he does receive reward for it in this world. We see from this that the power and the reward of the safeguard is not like that of the mitzvah itself, and therefore could be used as a bribe.

This is the explanation of the Gemora. Showing favor to someone means that although he does something improper, because he is righteous people are silent about it and treat him favorably. But the passuk says that Hashem “does not show favor”, and punishes the Tzaddik in this world even for a small sin. Similarly, the end of the previous passuk in this parsha “and He will be gracious to you” is the same as the expression used in the passuk in Shemos (33,19) “and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious”, which the Gemora in Brachos 7a explains means that Hashem will be gracious to a person even though he is not deserving, and that is why there are wicked people who enjoy a good life. But there are Tzaddikim who suffer a hard life because He punishes them for their sins in this world. On this the ministering angels asked from the passuk “He shall show favor to you”, which implies that since they a righteous He will keep silent and not punish them even in this world. Hashem answered that since they are particular to make safeguards to the mitzvos He can show them favor and allow them to enjoy a good life even in this world.


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