ONE WHO DID NOT BLESS BEFORE EATING
Question: If someone ate and drank without blessing [beforehand], should he bless [now, before eating more]?
Answer (Rav Chisda): If one ate garlic, causing him to give off an offensive odor, should he eat more garlic, to increase the odor?! (One who transgressed should not transgress more!)
(Ravina): Therefore (since he may bless in the middle), even if he finished his meal, he should bless:
(Beraisa): After immersion (Tosfos - of a convert; Rashi - of a Ba'al Keri), he blesses, "... Asher Kidshanu b'Mitzvosav v'Tzivanu Al ha'Tevilah."
Rejection: That is not a proof -- there, he could not bless before immersing;
Here, he could have blessed -- since he did not, perhaps he is disqualified from blessing afterwards!
(Beraisa #1): Ispargus (cabbage soaked in wine) is good for the heart and eyes, all the more so for the intestines;
If one regularly eats it, it is good for the whole body.
If one gets drunk from it, it is bad for the whole body.
Question: Since it says that it is good for the heart, this implies that it discusses Ispargus soaked in wine -- but if so, it is not good for the intestines!
(Beraisa #2): Ispargus is good for LA'aT (an acronym for Lev, Einayim, Techul, i.e. heart, eyes, spleen) and bad for RaMaT (Rosh, Me'ayim, Tachtoniyos, i.e. head, intestines, hemorrhoids)!
Answer: Beraisa #1 discusses Ispargus made with old wine:
(Mishnah): If one said, "Wine is forbidden to me [to drink] like a Korban, for it harms the intestines," and then he was told that old wine is good for the intestines, and he was silent:
New wine is forbidden to him, old wine is permitted.
(Beraisa #3): Six things were said about Ispargus:
We make it only from raw wine, the cup must be full, one receives the cup with his right hand, holds it in his left hand when drinking, we do not talk after drinking it, we do not pause while drinking it, and one returns it only to the one from whom he received it, we spit after drinking it, after drinking it we eat only its own species.
Contradiction (Beraisa #4): We eat only bread after drinking it.
Resolution: Beraisa #4 discusses Ispargus of (i.e. it was soaked in) wine, Beraisa #3 discusses Ispargus of beer.
(Beraisa #2): Ispargus is good for LA'aT and bad for RaMaT;
Contradiction (Beraisa #5): Ispargus is good for RaMaT and bad for LA'aT.
Resolution: Beraisa #2 discusses Ispargus of wine, Beraisa #5 discusses Ispargus of beer.
(Beraisa #6): If one spits after drinking it, he will get sick;
Contradiction (Beraisa #7): If one does not spit after drinking it, he will get sick.
Resolution: Beraisa #6 discusses Ispargus of wine, Beraisa #7 discusses Ispargus of beer.
(Rav Ashi): Since one who does not spit after drinking Ispargus of beer will get sick, one may spit even in front of a king.
(R. Yishmael ben Elisha): Suri'el (an important angel) told me three things:
Do not take your cloak from a servant in the morning to don it (rather, take it yourself); if someone has not yet washed his hands in the morning, he should not wash your hands; one returns a cup of Ispargus to the one from whom he received it;
There are Shedim or damaging angels that wait for a person to get trapped on account of doing one of these things.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): The angel of death told me three things:
Do not take your cloak from a servant in the morning; someone who has not washed should not wash your hands in the morning; do not stand in front of women returning from a funeral, for then I dance in front of them holding my sword, and I have permission to damage.
Question: If one encounters [women returning from a funeral], what should he do?
Answer: He should move four Amos to the side;
If there is a river to his side, he should cross it; if there is another road, he should take it; if there is a wall, he should go in back of it;
If none of these is possible, he should face away and say, "va'Yomer Hash-m El ha'Satan Yig'ar Hash-m Becha..." until the women pass.
THE KOS SHEL BERACHAH
(R. Zeira): Ten things were said about the Kos Shel Berachah (a cup of wine held during Birkas ha'Mazon and drunk afterwards -- all of them will be explained):
It must be washed and rinsed;
It must be Chai (Tosfos - whole; Rashi - initially, the wine should be undiluted) and full;
It requires Itur and Ituf;
One receives it with both hands, and puts it in his right hand;
He lifts it a Tefach off the ground, and looks at it.
Some say, he sends it for a gift to his wife (to taste from it).
(R. Yochanan): We hold that only four of these are necessary -- it must be washed, rinsed, Chai, and full.
(Beraisa): "Washing" means, from the inside; "rinsing" means, from the outside.
(R. Yochanan): Anyone who blesses on a full cup receives an unlimited inheritance -- "u'Malei Birkas Hash-m Yam v'Darom Yerashah."
(R. Yosi bar Chanina): [The extra "Yud" and "Hei" in "Yerashah" teach that] he inherits this world and the World to Come (which were created with these two letters).
To fulfill "Itur," Rav Yehudah would crown (surround) it with Talmidim;
Rav Chisda would surround it with other cups.
(Rav Sheshes): It should be Chai until Birkas ha'Aretz, then one adds water (Rif's text).
To fulfill "Ituf," Rav Papa would cloak himself with his Talis; Rav Asi would cover his head with a turban.
(Beraisa): One receives it with both hands.
(R. Chanina bar Papa): We learn from "Se'u Yedeichem Kodesh u'Varchu Es Hash-m."
(Beraisa): He puts it in his right hand.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): Early Chachamim were unsure whether or not the left hand may help support it.
(Rav Ashi): Since early Chachamim were unsure, we are stringent.
(Beraisa): He lifts it a Tefach off the ground.
(Rav Acha bar Chanina): We learn from "Kos Yeshu'os Esa uv'Shem Hash-m Ekra."
He looks at it -- this is in order that he will not take his mind off it.
He sends it for a gift to his wife -- in order that she will be blessed.
Ula ate at Rav Nachman's house; he said Birkas ha'Mazon, and gave the Kos Shel Berachah to Rav Nachman.
Rav Nachman: You should send it to Yalsa (my wife)!
(Ula): [This is unnecessary, for] R. Yochanan (also, R. Nasan) taught that a woman's seed is blessed only through her husband -- "u'Verach Pri Vitnecha" (masculine), it does not say 'Pri Vitnah" (hers).
Yalsa overheard this -- furiously, she broke 400 barrels of wine.
Rav Nachman told Ula to send another cup to her; he did, telling her that all the wine in the barrel (i.e. also this cup is) Kos Shel Berachah.
Yalsa: People that go around cities talk a lot (of idle words -- also your words are vain); worn out clothing breeds lice (Iyun Yakov - the wearer tried to economize, he really loses -- likewise, you tried to save wine for my husband, and you caused more to be lost).
PROPER CONDUCT DURING BIRKAS HA'MAZON
(Rav Asi): It is forbidden (Rashi - for the Mezamen; most Poskim - for anyone) to talk from when the Kos Shel Berachah is picked up (until after it is drunk, after Birkas ha'Mazon).
(Rav Asi): We do not bless [Birkas ha'Mazon] on a cup of punishments.
Question: What is this?
Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It is a second cup (anything done in pairs summons damage upon a person).
Support (Beraisa): One should not say Birkas ha'Mazon over a cup of wine if it will cause him to drink an even number of cups [in all] -- "Hachon Likros Elokecha Yisrael" (bless Him in a nice way), not with pairs, as doing so brings problems.
(R. Avahu): If one ate while walking, he should bless while standing still; if one ate while standing still, he should bless while sitting; if one ate while reclining, he should bless while sitting.
The Halachah is, in any case one should bless while sitting.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BEIS SHAMAI AND BEIS HILLEL IN A MEAL
(Mishnah): Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue about the following things in a meal:
Beis Shamai says, [in Kidush on Shabbos night,] first we bless ("Mekadesh ha'Shabbos") on the day, then we bless on the wine;
Beis Hillel says, first we bless on the wine, then on the day.
Beis Shamai says, first we wash the hands, then we mix (add water to the wine in) the cup;
Beis Hillel says, first we mix the cup, then we wash the hands.
Beis Shamai says, one cleans his hands with a napkin, and leaves it on the table;
Beis Hillel says, we leave it on the pillow.
Beis Shamai says, first we clean the place [where we ate], then we wash the hands [Mayim Acharonim];
Beis Hillel says, first we wash, then we clean.
Beis Shamai says, [if one must bless after the meal and say Havdalah on Motza'i Shabbos,] we make the Berachos in the following order -- on the light of the flame, Birkas ha'Mazon, spices, and Havdalah;
Beis Hillel says, we bless on the light of the flame, spices, Birkas ha'Mazon, and Havdalah;
Beis Shamai says, the text of the Berachah on light is "she'Bara Me'or ha'Esh";
Beis Hillel says, it is "Borei Me'orei ha'Esh."
We may not bless on light or spices of an idolater, or of a corpse, or of idolatry;
We may not bless on light unless we can benefit from it;
Beis Shamai says, if someone ate and did not bless, he returns to his place and blesses;
Beis Hillel says, he blesses in the place he remembers.
Question: How long after eating may one bless?
Answer: He may bless until the food is digested.
If wine was brought during the meal, and there is enough only for one cup:
Beis Shamai says, [if he wants,] he blesses on the wine, and afterwards Birkas ha'Mazon;
Beis Hillel says, he blesses Birkas ha'Mazon, and afterwards on the wine.
We answer Amen after a Yisrael's Berachah;
We do not answer Amen to a Kusi's Berachah unless we heard the entire Berachah.
(Gemara - Beraisa): Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue about the following things in a meal:
Beis Shamai says, first we bless on the day, then on the wine, for the day is the reason for the wine; also, the day began before we drink the wine;
Beis Hillel says, first we bless on the wine, for it allows us to say Kidush;
Another reason is, the Berachah on wine is Tadir (more frequent) than the Berachah of Kidush -- we always bless first on what is more Tadir.
The Halachah follows Beis Hillel.
Question: Why does Beis Hillel need a second reason? (Shitah - we do not ask why Beis Shamai gives two reasons, for he does not call it "another reason.")
Answer: One might have thought, since Beis Shamai has two reasons, the Halachah follows him -- therefore, it teaches that Beis Hillel also has two reasons.
Question: Why must it say that the Halachah follows Beis Hillel? This is obvious, a Bas Kol (voice from Heaven) announced that the Halachah follows Beis Hillel!
Answer #1: This Beraisa was taught before the Bas Kol.
Answer #2: It was after the Bas Kol -- it is like R. Yehoshua, who says that we do not heed a Bas Kol.