ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) The earliest time to recite K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Arvis is from the time the Kohanim (who were previously Tamei) come in to eat their T'rumah - which coincides with nightfall.
(b) Rebbi Eliezer gives the final time to recite it as the end of the first night watch (of angels), which is equivalent to the end of the fourth hour (i.e. one third of the night). According to ...
1. ... the Chachamim - it is until midnight, and according to ...
2. ... Rabban Gamliel - until dawn-break.
(c) The custom to recite the Sh'ma before nightfall evolved because they would Daven Ma'ariv early (presumably because it would be difficult to get a Minyan together later), and it is a Mitzvah to recite words of Torah before Tefilah (as we shall see later on Daf 31a), and the Sh'ma is appropriate for that purpose. It is however, imperative, that one repeats the Sh'ma when night-time arrives. For that, the recital of the first chapter of 'Keri'as Sh'ma she'Al ha'Mitah' will suffice.
(d) Chazal decreed that the Mitzvos whose prescribed time is until morning, should be performed before midnight - out of concern that a person will fall asleep and miss the Mitzvah altogether.
(a) The 'Hekter Chalavim ve'Eivarim' discussed by the Mishnah is - the burning of the fat pieces and the limbs that remained from all Korbanos brought during the day, and that had to be burned during the night.
(b) The Chalavim - refers to the fat from all the Korbanos, the 'Eivarim' - to the limbs of the Kornan Olah, which were placed whole on the Mizbe'ach.
(c) Both of these, had to be burnt - overnight until dawn-break, at which time they became 'Nosar'. The decree of burning them before midnight did not apply to them.
(a) The Tana takes the Mitzvah of K'ri'as Sh'ma for granted We learn it from which Pasuk in Va'eschanan "u've'Shochb'cha u've'Kumecha".
(b) And it is from the same Pasuk - that the Tana takes his cue to explains the night Sh'ma before that of the day.
(c) The Tana could also have taken his cue from the Pasuk in Bereishis "Vay'hi Erev, Vay'hi Voker ... ', which also gives night precedence over day (though not specifically in the area of the Sh'ma.
(d) the Tana continued discussing K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Arvis only later in the Perek - because he decided to first mention when to read K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Arvis, then K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Shachris,on which he elaborated before returning to the discussion of K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Arvis.
(a) Despite the fact that the Kohanim eat their T'rumah at nightfall, the Tana not simply write that the time for reciting the Sh'ma shel Arvin is nightfall - because he wanted to teach us by the way that the Kohanim are permitted to eat T'rumah already from nightfall, and are not obligated to wait until they have brought their Korban Kaparah on the following day.
(b) According to what we just learned, "u'Va ha'Shemesh" means (the end of) sunset - nightfall, and "Vetaher", the day, meaning that 'the day is over'.
(c) The phrase may also mean 'When the sun comes up (daybreak), the Tamei person shall become Tahor (by bringing his Korban)'.
(d) Rabah bar Rav Shiloh rejected that interpretation, however - because had the Torah wanted to issue the Tamei person with a command to purify himself, then it should have written "Veyithar" rather than "Vetaher".
(e) The Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael arrived at the same conclusion by citing the Beraisa (which we will discuss shortly) - 'Siman le'Davar, Tzeis ha'Kochavim', from which they derived that "u'Va ha'Shemesh" means sunset, and "Vetaher", Taher Yoma (the day has drawn to a close).
(a) According to the Beraisa, the earliest time to recite the Sh'ma is when an Ani (a poor man) comes in from work to eat his bread dipped in salt, and the final time (for everyone) is when he gets up from his meal. The Seifa is definitely stating a new (fourth) opinion, over and above the three stated in our Mishnah. Initially, we reconcile the Reisha with our Mishnah - by equating the Shi'ur of Ani with that of Kohen.
(b) We query this from yet another Beraisa, where Rebbi Meir gives the earliest time to read the Sh'ma as 'when people come in to eat their bread on Friday night' - whilst the Rabbanan hold like the Tana of our Mishnah (i.e. when the Kohanim merit to eat their T'rumah).
(c) The Siman they give to mark their opinion is - 'Tzeis ha'Kochavim'.
(d) And they even cite a Pasuk in Nechemyah describing how some of the people used to work, whilst the others used to held their swords at the ready ...
(e) ... from dawn-break (Amud ha'Shachar) until the stars came out,
(a) The Tana then cites another Pasuk there which writes that the night was for work, and the day for guarding. From the first Pasuk we would not have known that Amud ha'Shachar is the beginning of day and Tzeis ha'Kochavim, nightfall. That we only know from the second Pasuk.
(b) We now think that 'Ani' and 'people' are one and the same. If, as we learned earlier 'Ani' and 'Kohen' are also one and the same - then Rebbi Meir and the Rabbanan will not be arguing.
(c) We counter the suggestion that Ani and Kohen cannot therefore be the same Shi'ur - by concluding that it is 'Ani' and 'people that are in fact different Shi'urim (whereas Ani and Kohen are the same Shi'ur).
(d) We conclude however, that the reverse is true from yet another Beraisa, which we will now discuss. Rebbi Eliezer gives the time to recite K'ri'as Sh'ma as from when Shabbos comes in - which is Beis ha'Shemashos of Friday evening.
(a) When Rebbi Yehoshua says from the time that the Kohanim become Tahor to eat T'rumah, he means - fromthe time that they conclude their Tevilah.
(b) Rebbi Meir on the other hand, gives the Shi'ur as - when they go down to Tovel (which is prior to Bein-ha'Shemashos).
(c) Rebbi Yehudah disagrees with Rebbi Meir - inasmuch as that is still considered day-time (so how can recite K'ri'as Sh'ma shel Arvis at that time).
(d) The basis for Rebbi Yehudah's objection is his statement in Bameh Madlikin - that from the beginning of Bein ha'Shemashos till Tzeis ha'Kochavim lasts over half a Mil.
(a) Rebbi Chanina gives the Shi'ur of Ani (that we discussed earlier). Rav Acha (or Rav Acha'i) gives the final Shi'ur as - when most people arrive home to eat.
(b) We now prove once and for all that the Shi'ur of 'Ani' and that of 'Kohen' cannot be one and the same (in which case, that of 'Ani' and 'people' in the Beraisa above, can and are one and the same)- because then Rebbi Chanina and Rebbi Yehoshua will be saying the same thing.
(c) The author of our Mishnah, which gives the Shi'ur as 'Kohanim' is Rebbi Yehoshua.
(d) Rebbi Chanina gives the Shi'ur of Ani. Based on the fact that Rebbi Eliezer gives the Shi'ur as when Shabbos comes in, the Shi'ur of Ani must therefore be later than that of Kohen - because the advent of Shabbos is too close to the coming in of the Kohanim for that of 'Ani' to come in between.
(e) Consequently, the correct sequence of these three Shi'urim is - 1. Shabbos; 2. Kohen; 3. Ani.
(a) We already cited Rebbi Yehudah's Kashya on Rebbi Meir ('when the Kohanim Tovel') that the Kohanim Tovel before Bein-ha'Shemashos, and this does not conform with the Pasuk "be'Shochb'cha". Rebbi Meir counters - that he does not accept Rebbi Yehudah's interpretation of Bein ha'Shemashos, but rather that of Rebbi Yossi, who holds that it begins asplit second before nightfall.
(b) We reconcile Rebbi Meir in one Beraisa (from the time that people come in to eat on Erev Shabbos) with what he says in the other Beraisa (Kohanim), which is earlier- be presented it as a Machlokes Tana'im as to what he actually said
(c) The problem with Rebbi Eliezer in the Beraisa, who gives the earliest time for reciting the Sh'ma as when Shabbos comes in, is - that it contradicts what he says in our Mishnah 'from the time the Kohanim enter to eat their T'rumah'.
(d) One answer is that Rebbi Eliezer's opinion, like that of Rebbi Meir, is a Machlokes Tana'im. Alternatively - the Tana Kama of our Mishnah (regarding the earliest time to recite the Sh'ma) is not Rebbi Eliezer. And it is ion connection with the final time only that Rebbi Eliezer's name is mentioned there.