POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) WHO SHOULD BLESS?
(a) R. Zeira fell sick. R. Avahu came to visit him, and accepted upon himself to make a feast for the Rabanan if R. Zeira will recover. He did. At the meal, R. Avahu asked R. Zeira to be Botze'a (bless ha'Motzi and cut the bread).
(b) R. Zeira: R. Yochanan taught that the host is Botze'a!
(c) R. Avahu was Botze'a. At the end of the meal, he asked R. Zeira to say Birkas ha'Mazon for everyone.
(d) R. Zeira: Rav Huna taught that the one who was Botze'a blesses Birkas ha'Mazon!
(e) Question: Like whom did R. Avahu hold?
(f) Answer: He held like R. Yochanan:
1. (R. Yochanan): The host is Botze'a, and the guest blesses Birkas ha'Mazon;
i. The host is Botze'a, for he will cut generous pieces for everyone. (Rashba - even so, R. Avahu considered R. Zeira to be the host, for the meal was due to him.)
ii. The guest blesses Birkas ha'Mazon, in order to bless the host.
(g) Question: What Berachah does the guest give to the host?
(h) Answer: He says "may it be Your will that the host not experience shame in this world nor in the World to Come."
(i) Rebbi used to add "his possessions should prosper... there should never arise for him or us sinful thoughts."
2) BIRKAS HA'ZIMUN
(a) Question: How far does Birkas ha'Zimun extend? (Tosfos - when one ceases eating in order to listen to a Zimun, until when must he listen? Rashi - until where is an individual exempt?)
(b) Answer #1 (Rav Nachman): It is until "Nevarech."
(c) Answer #2 (Rav Sheshes): It is until (and including) Birkas ha'Zan (the first Berachah of Birkas ha'Mazon).
(d) Suggestion: They argue like the following Tana'im:
1. Version #1 (Rashi) (Beraisa #1): Birkas ha'Mazon is two or three Berachos.
2. (Beraisa #2): It is three or four Berachos.
3. We are thinking that all agree that ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Rabanan (so it is not counted).
4. Tana #1 holds that Birkas ha'Zimun is until [the end of] Birkas ha'Zan (it is said only in a Zimun. The other two Berachos of Birkas ha'Mazon, Birkas ha'Aretz and Boneh Yerushalayim are said with or without a Zimun);
5. Tana #2 holds that Birkas ha'Zimun is until Nevarech (it is considered its own Berachah. The three Berachos of Birkas ha'Mazon are said with or without a Zimun.)
6. Version #2 (Tosfos) (Beraisa #1): Up to three people may say Birkas ha'Mazon. (Different people may say different Berachos on behalf of everyone, but we may not split up one blessing.)
7. (Beraisa #2): Up to four people may say it.
8. We are thinking that all agree that ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Rabanan (so it is not counted).
9. Tana #1 [allows up to three people, because he] holds that Birkas ha'Zimun is until Birkas ha'Zan. (The Mezamen must say all of it. Two others may say Birkas ha'Aretz and Boneh Yerushalayim);
10. Tana #2 [allows up to four people, because he] holds that Birkas ha'Zimun is until Nevarech. (The Mezamen need not say more than this, three others may say the three Berachos of Birkas ha'Mazon). (End of Version #2)
(e) Rejection: No. Each Amora explains that both Tana'im agree with him:
1. Rav Nachman says that all agree that Birkas ha'Zimun is until Nevarech;
2. We understand Beraisa #2 (as explained above);
3. Beraisa #1 discusses [a shortened Birkas ha'Mazon for] workers;
i. A worker says Birkas ha'Zan, and combines Birkas ha'Aretz and Boneh Yerushalayim into one Berachah.
4. Rav Sheshes says that all agree that Birkas ha'Zimun is until Birkas ha'Zan;
5. We understand Beraisa #1 (as explained above);
6. Tana #2 holds that ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Oraisa, therefore he counts one more Berachah (Tosfos - person).
(f) (Rav Yosef): Surely, ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Rabanan, for workers omit it!
(g) (R. Yitzchak bar Shmuel): Surely, ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Rabanan, for it begins with "Baruch" but doesn't end with "Baruch";
1. (Beraisa): All Berachos begin and end with "Baruch," except for Berachos [Rishonos] on food, on Mitzvos, a Berachah that follows another Berachah, and the last Berachah of Keri'as Shema;
2. Some of these begin with "Baruch" but do not end with "Baruch" (e.g. for food). Some end with "Baruch" but do not begin with "Baruch" (e.g. a Berachah that follows another Berachah).
3. Ha'Tov veha'Metiv begins with "Baruch" but does not end with "Baruch". This shows that it is independent! (It was enacted later. It is only mid'Rabanan.)
(h) (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Surely, ha'Tov veha'Metiv is mid'Rabanan, for [some say that] it is omitted in a house of mourners!
1. (Beraisa): In a house of an Avel, we say ha'Tov veha'Metiv (it is the fourth Berachah of Birkas ha'Mazon);
2. R. Akiva says, we say "Dayan ha'Emes."
3. Question: Does the first Tana say that we say ha'Tov veha'Metiv, but not Dayan ha'Emes?!
4. Answer: No, he means that we say even ha'Tov veha'Metiv.
(i) Mar Zutra visited Rav Ashi. A relative of Rav Ashi died. Mar Zutra said "ha'Tov veha'Metiv Kel Emes Dayan Emes..." (He acknowledges the truth of His judgment, and prays that He fix all breaches in Yisrael.)
(j) Version #1 (Rashi) Question: If Reuven stopped eating to listen to a Zimun, after he finishes eating, from what point does he resume Birkas ha'Mazon?
(k) Answer #1 (Rav Zevid): He returns to the beginning (Birkas ha'Zan, for he was already obligated to bless with a Zimun).
(l) Answer #2 (Rabanan): He returns to where he stopped [listening, and resumes Birkas ha'Mazon with Birkas ha'Aretz, like an individual who is exempt from Zimun].
(m) Version #2 (ha'Ram mi'Ivra, in Tosfos) Question: [If Reuven had gone away and they called him to answer to a Zimun, later, when he says Birkas ha'Mazon], from what point does he continue Birkas ha'Mazon?
(n) Answer #1 (Rav Zevid): He returns to the beginning (i.e. Birkas ha'Zan).
(o) Answer #2 (Rabanan): He returns to where he stopped (Birkas ha'Aretz, or after Nevarech according to Rav Nachman).
(p) Version #3 (Tosfos) Question: When the Mezamen says "Nevarech," and the others answer "Baruch she'Achalnu mi'Shelo," where does he resume?
(q) Answer #1 (Rav Zevid): He returns to the beginning (he says "Nevarech she'Achalnu mi'Shelo").
(r) Answer #2 (Rabanan): He returns to where he stopped (he says "Baruch she'Achalnu mi'Shelo"). (End of Version #3)
(s) The Halachah is, he returns to where he stopped.
3) ETIQUETTE AT A MEAL
(a) Reish Galusa (to Rav Sheshes): Even though you Rabanan are old, the Persians know more about etiquette at a meal than you!
1. When there are two couches (on which people recline while eating), first the Gadol (more important person) reclines, and then the other reclines above him. (His couch is next to the Gadol's head);
2. When there are three, first the Gadol reclines in the middle bed, then the second (next most important) above him, and then the third below him.
(b) Rav Sheshes: This is not good. If the Gadol wants to speak with the second, he must straighten up (for his head is turned away from the second)!
(c) Reish Galusa: The Persians gesture (they do not need to speak).
(d) Rav Sheshes: In which order do they wash before eating?
(e) Reish Galusa: The Gadol washes first.
(f) Rav Sheshes: Is it proper that he must wait until everyone else washes?!
(g) Reish Galusa: He is served immediately. He need not wait.
(h) Rav Sheshes: In which order do they wash after eating?
(i) Reish Galusa: The Katan washes first (then the next smallest, and so on; the Gadol washes last).
(j) Rav Sheshes: Is it proper that the Gadol's hands remain dirty until everyone else washes?!
(k) Reish Galusa: They leave the food in front of him. He may eat while others wash.
1. (Rav Sheshes - Beraisa): When there are two couches, first the Gadol reclines, and then the other below him;
2. When there are three, first the Gadol reclines in the middle, then the second above him, and then the third below him. (Even though the Gadol will have to straighten up if he wants to speak with the second, this is better than disgracing the second through putting him below and the Katan on top, or having the Gadol at the top. (The middle is the most distinguished place.))
3. The Gadol washes first before eating (and he is served immediately).
4. Regarding washing after eating:
i. If there are at most five people, the Gadol washes first;
ii. If there are more than five, the others wash first, until only five remain. Then the Gadol washes. (Then, they remove the food from before him.)
iii. The one who washed fifth from the end (the Gadol, or one to whom he gave this honor) blesses on behalf of everyone.
(l) This supports Rav;
1. (Rav): The first of the last five to wash is the Mezamen.
(m) Rav and R. Chiya were eating with Rebbi. Rebbi told Rav to wash his hands. Rav was nervous. (He thought that he had done something wrong.)
1. R. Chiya (to Rav): Rebbi is just telling you to prepare to be Mezamen.