WHY WE USE A NER TO CHECK
(Beraisa): We do not check by light of the sun or moon or a torch, only by light of a Ner, for it is good for checking; there is a hint, not a proof - It says "Lo Yimatzei," and "Va'Ychapes...va'Yimatze," and "Va'Achapes...ba'Neros," and "Ner Hash-m... Chofes..."
Question: In what case does the Beraisa forbid checking by sunlight?
Answer #1: It forbids checking a Chatzer (courtyard).
Rejection: Rava taught that a Chatzer need not be checked, for ravens frequent it (we may assume that if there is Chametz, they will eat it)!
Answer #2: It forbids checking an Achsadra (a room open on one side).
Rejection: Rava taught that an Achsadra may be checked by its light (i.e. sunlight)!
Answer #3: It forbids checking a room by sunlight that enters through a skylight.
Question: Which part does it forbid?
Surely, the part under the skylight is permitted - this is just like an Achsadra!
Answer: It forbids checking the sides.
Question: A torch should be permitted (it illuminates more than a Ner)!
(Rava) Question: What does it mean "V'Nogah ka'Or Tihyeh Karnayim mi'Yado Lo v'Sham Chevyon Uzo"?
Answer: [Even though in the future, the radiance of Tzadikim will be like the light of creation,] their radiance compared to the Shechinah will be like a Ner compared to a torch.
Also, Rava taught that ideally, one should bless on fire of a torch [in Havdalah on Motza'ei Shabbos]!
Answer #1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): A Ner is better [for Bedikah] for one can enter it into holes and cracks, unlike a torch.
Answer #2 (Rav Zevid): A Ner illuminates in front, but a torch illuminates in back (one cannot look in its direction).
Answer #3 (Rav Papa): One who checks with a torch is afraid [lest the house catch fire, this distracts him from checking properly]; one who checks with a Ner is not afraid.
Answer #4 (Ravina): A Ner burns steadily, but a torch flame jumps around.
WHICH PLACES MUST BE CHECKED?
(Mishnah): Any place where Chametz is not brought need not be checked.
Question: What does 'any place' come to include?
Answer (Beraisa #1): The following need not be checked - holes in a [wall of a] house that are high and low [and hence inconvenient to use], the [slanted] roof of a shed (one does not leave things on it), the top of a cupboard, a cattle pen, a chicken coop, a storehouse for straw, wine, or oil. (Rashi - even if one is unsure whether Chametz was brought in a cattle pen, it is exempt - we assume that the animals ate it.)
R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, if a bed divides a house (one cannot walk around it) and it is [on legs,] above the ground, [underneath] it must be checked.
Contradiction (Beraisa #2): If a hole is [in a wall] between two people, each checks as far as his hand reaches; they Mevatel what neither of them can reach.
R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, if a bed divides a house and wood and rocks are arranged underneath it, and it is raised above them, [underneath] it need not be checked.
The Beraisos contradict each other regarding beds and holes!
Resolution: Beraisa #1 exempts checking holes that are so high or low that they are uncomfortable to use; Beraisa #2 discusses holes in the middle;
Beraisa #1 exempts a bed that is not high off the ground, so it is inconvenient to use the space underneath; Beraisa #2 discusses a bed high off the ground. (Obviously, 'convenient' is relative to the residents - children are prone to put Chametz in places that adults would never use.)!
Question: Storehouses of wine must be checked!
(Beraisa #3): Storehouses of wine must be checked; storehouses of oil need not be checked.
Answer: Beraisa #3 discusses a storehouse used to supply [when one runs out of wine during the meal, the servant brings more - he could be holding bread at the time].
Question: If so, storehouses of oil must be checked for the same reason!
Answer: People know in advance how much oil they will eat (they prepare all the oil needed before the meal), but they do not know how much wine they will drink.
(R. Chiya - Beraisa): Chachamim made storehouses of beer in Bavel like storehouses of wine in Eretz Yisrael, when people are supplied from them [during a meal].
(Rav Chisda): A storehouse of fish need not be checked.
Question (Beraisa): It must be checked.
Answer: A storehouse of big fish need not be checked (people know how many they will eat), a storehouse of small fish must be checked.
(Rabah bar Rav Huna): The places where salt and wax [for Neros] are kept must be checked.
(Rav Papa): The places where wood and dates are kept must be checked.
CHECKING HOLES AND CRACKS
(Beraisa): One need not stick his hand into holes and cracks, because it is dangerous.
Question: What is the danger?
Suggestion: It is dangerous on account of scorpions.
Rejection: If so, one would not use it (we would not be concerned for Chametz there)!
Answer: The case is, [Chametz was used in a building, and] it fell (scorpions are often found amidst the rubble - therefore, it suffices to look for Chametz in open view).
Question: If so, it need not be checked [at all]!
(Mishnah): If a house collapsed on top of Chametz, it is as if Bi'ur was done.
Answer: That is when a dog could not find the Chametz (it is buried by more than three Tefachim of rubble) - in a case where it can find the Chametz, Bedikah is required. (Tosfos - the Mishnah discusses when there was definitely Chametz there, therefore when it can be found he must toil to check in a safe way, e.g. to dig with shovels.)
Question: [Why does danger exempt?] R. Elazar taught that harm will not befall a Shali'ach (someone on the way to do a) Mitzvah!
Answer #1 (Rav Ashi): We are concerned lest he lost a needle, and will [also] look for it at the time of Bedikah [so he is not considered a Shali'ach Mitzvah].
Rejection (Beraisa): If one says, 'I give this coin to Tzedakah in order that my son should live', or 'in order that I will merit the world to come', he is a perfect Tzadik [in this respect, i.e. one may intend to do a Mitzvah and also benefit - the same applies to Bedikah and looking for a needle]!
Answer #2: We are concerned lest he look for a lost needle after the Bedikah.
Answer #3 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): The danger is on account of Nochrim - it is like Flimo:
(Beraisa): If a hole is between Reuven and a Nochri, Reuven checks as far as his hand reaches; he is Mevatel what he cannot reach;
Flimo says, he does not check a hole at all, on account of danger.
Question: What is the danger?
Answer: It is dangerous because [the Nochri will accuse him] of witchcraft.
Question: If so, Reuven would not use it!
Answer: Reuven uses it during the day, by sunlight without a Ner - the Nochri cannot accuse him of witchcraft;
Bedikah is at night, by light of a Ner - the Nochri would accuse him of witchcraft.
Question: But R. Elazar taught that harm will not befall a Shali'ach Mitzvah!
Answer: This does not apply when danger is common - "Va'Yomer Shmuel Eich Elech v'Shoma Sha'ul va'Horagani;" (he was concerned for danger, even though Hash-m told him to anoint David, a Mitzvah; Hash-m suggested a ruse to avoid the danger -) "Va'Yomer Hash-m Eglas Bakar Tikach b'Yadecha [v'Omarta Lizbo'ach la'Shem Bosi]!"
A SHALI'ACH MITZVAH IS NOT HARMED
Question: If Talmidim live in [villages in] a valley, may they go early [before dawn to the Beis Medrash] and return late [after dark - or are we concerned for damaging spirits]?
Answer (Rav): They may go - [I am so sure that the Mitzvah will protect them, that] I accept any harm [fitting to befall them] on myself!
Question: May they return [to their lodging after dark]?
Rav was unsure.
(R. Elazar): Harm will not befall a Shali'ach Mitzvah on the way there or on the way back.
Question: Like which Tana is this?
Answer: It is like Isi ben Yehudah:
(Beraisa - Isi ben Yehudah): "V'Lo Yachmod Ish Es Artzecha" - this teaches that one [who goes to Yerushalayim for the festival] may leave his cow grazing in the dirt and his chicken pecking in the wasteheap, and they will not be attacked by Chayos and weasels;
It is normal for animals to be damaged, yet the Torah promises that they will not be [on account of the Mitzvah] - all the more so people, who are not normally damaged [because they have Mazel, i.e. supernatural protection], will not be harmed!
Question: This teaches that they will not be harmed on the way - what is the source regarding the way back?
Answer: "U'Fonisa va'Boker v'Holachta l'Ohalecha" - you will return and find your tent b'Shalom (intact).
Question: Since it teaches that they will return b'Shalom, why must it teach that they will not be harmed on the way?
Answer: The verse ("V'Lo Yachmod Ish Es Artzecha") teaches R. Ami's law, that Aliyah l'Regel (coming to Yerushalayim on the festivals) is obligatory only for someone who owns land [in Eretz Yisrael].
(R. Avin bar Rav Ada): There are not Ginosar fruits (they are unbelievably tasty - see Berachos 44A) in Yerushalayim lest people say 'it was enough to come to Yerushalayim to eat the fruits', and then the Aliyah l'Regel would be Lo Lishmah (not for the sake of the Mitzvah).
Similarly, R. Dostai taught that there are not Chamei Tiverya in Yerushalayim lest people say 'it was enough to come to Yerushalayim for the hot springs', and then the Aliyah l'Regel would be Lo Lishmah.
CHECKING TWO ROWS IN A WINE CELLAR
(Mishnah) Question: In what case was it taught that two rows [in a wine cellar must be checked]?
Question: We were not discussing a wine cellar!
Answer: It teaches that any place where Chametz is not brought need not be checked - this includes storehouses of wine or oil;
Question: If so, why was it taught that two rows in a wine cellar must be checked?
Answer: That is in a place where Chametz is brought, i.e. people are supplied from them [during a meal].
(Mishnah - Beis Shamai): Two rows [along the entire face of the wine cellar].
(Rav Yehudah): (Barrels are arranged in rows and columns, and are piled up on top of each other; the first Shurah (array of rows) consists of the barrels facing the opening of the cellar, in every column [from left to right] and at every height.) Beis Shamai require the first two Shuros, from the floor to the ceiling;
(R. Yochanan): They require [two Shuros that are like] one bent Shurah (the first Shurah and the 'Shurah' (array) of all the barrels on top.
Support (for Rav Yehudah - Beraisa #1 - Beis Shamai): Two Shuros along the entire face of the wine cellar must be checked - these are from the floor to the ceiling.
Support (for R. Yochanan - Beraisa #2 - Beis Shamai): Two Shuros along the entire face of the wine cellar must be checked - the outer Shurah facing the opening and the top Shurah facing the ceiling;
The [next] Shurah further in and the Shurah below the top one need not be checked.
(Mishnah - Beis Hillel): The two outermost rows that are the top ones [must be checked].
(Rav): This means the top [single] row [facing the opening] and the row below it.
(Shmuel): This means the top row [facing the opening] and the row in back of it.
Question: What is Rav's reason?
Answer: It says 'outermost' [implying that both face the opening].
Question: But they are called 'top' [implying that both face the ceiling]!
Answer: They are called top to exclude those under the row below the top.
Question: What is Shmuel's reason?
Answer: It says 'top' [implying that both face the ceiling].
Question: But they are called 'outermost' [implying that both face the opening]!
Answer: They are called 'outermost' to exclude those further in than the second Shurah.
R. Chiya taught a Beraisa supporting Rav; all who recite Beraisos taught like Shmuel.
The Halachah follows [Shmuel - apparently, the texts of the Poskim say 'Rav'].