1) FALLING ASLEEP AT THE SEDER
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if everyone in the Chaburah fell asleep during the meal, they may not eat from the Korban Pesach when they wake up. If only some of them fell asleep, then when they wake up they may continue. Rebbi Yosi adds that this law applies only when they fell into a deep slumber. When they merely dozed off, they may still partake in the Korban.
The Gemara relates that Rabah once dozed off, and Abaye asked him whether or not he was asleep. Rabah responded that he had merely rested, and the Mishnah says that one who dozed may still eat from the Korban as long as he did not fall asleep completely.
What is the reason for the prohibition against eating more of the Korban Pesach when everyone falls asleep?
Also, Rabah lived after the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, when there was no Korban Pesach. How could this law have applied to him?
(a) The RASHBAM says that the Rabanan prohibited eating more of the Korban Pesach after one wakes up from sleep because it is similar to one who eats the Korban Pesach in two different places, which is prohibited mid'Oraisa.
The same law applies today to the Matzah of "Afikoman." Since it commemorates the Korban Pesach, one may not eat it in two places. Thus, one who fell asleep may not continue to eat the Matzah when he wakes up. This explains why Abaye was concerned that Rabah had fallen asleep at the Seder.
This is also the approach of the RAMBAM, who discusses the Halachah of one who fell asleep at the Seder in both Hilchos Korban Pesach (8:15) and again in Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah (8:14) (where he discusses the Halachos of the Seder that apply to Matzah).
(b) Similarly, TOSFOS (119b, DH Amar Rav) explains (based on the Yerushalmi) that the reason for the prohibition not to eat after one fell asleep is, as the Rashbam explains, that one should not eat in two places. However, Tosfos maintains that an Afikoman of Matzah may be eaten in two places. Therefore, the incident of Rabah and Abaye could not have involved Matzah at the Seder. Rather, Tosfos explains that their discussion occurred at night before a fast day. If Rabah fell deeply asleep, then he would not have been permitted to eat at night when he woke up even though the fast begins only in the morning, because he took his mind off of eating more and thereby accepted upon himself the fast already. However, if he merely dozed, then his fast would not have started yet.
The BA'AL HA'ME'OR (as explained by the LECHEM MISHNEH, end of Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah) also suggests that the prohibition not to eat in two places does not apply to Matzah. Therefore, the incident of Rabah and Abaye did not happen at the Seder, but rather it occurred on a normal day in the study hall. Abaye asked Rabah how to define his state of semi-consciousness in order to learn how to relate that state to the case of Korban Pesach. Rabah answered that he had only dozed, and the state of dozing is not considered a state of slumber.
(c) The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah, loc. cit.) says that one may not eat if he falls asleep because of Hesech ha'Da'as (he took his attention off of the food). A food of Kodshim, such as the Korban Pesach, becomes Pasul with Hesech ha'Da'as (Pesachim 34a). This reason, though, should not apply to Matzah today, because Matzah is not Kodesh.
What was Rabah concerned about if there was no Korban Pesach in his time? The Ra'avad understands that Rabah was eating a regular meal, not on Pesach, and the question was whether he removed his attention from the cleanliness of his hands or not. If he had removed his attention (a Hesech ha'Da'as) from his hands, then he must wash again before he continues to eat. Rabah replied that he had only dozed, and therefore he does not have to wash again. However, he certainly would have been permitted to continue to eat (after re-washing his hands) even if he had fallen asleep completely.
(The Ra'avad seems to be consistent with his opinion elsewhere. The Ra'avad and the Rambam understand that Rebbi Yosi's opinion is a leniency. That is, when Rebbi Yosi states that one who dozed (Misnamnem) may continue to eat, he means that even if all of the people at the meal had dozed off, they may continue to eat afterwards. Similarly, if one person completely fell asleep, and others present remained awake, he may continue to eat from the Korban when he wakes up. Since there are other people at the meal, there was no Hesech ha'Da'as from the Korban, and thus the Korban may still be eaten.)
2) THE "HEKESH" THAT COMPARES MATZAH TO THE KORBAN PESACH
QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah argue about the proper time to fulfill the Mitzvah to eat the Korban Pesach. Rebbi Akiva says that one may eat the Korban Pesach all night until dawn. Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah says that one may eat it only until midnight (Chatzos). Rava says that according to Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah, just as one who eats the Korban Pesach after Chatzos does not fulfill the Mitzvah, one who eats Matzah after Chatzos does not fulfill the Mitzvah.
The Gemara asks that Rava's statement seems obvious. The verse itself (Bamidbar 9:11) links Matzah with the Korban Pesach. Why would we have thought that the Halachah of when to eat Matzah differs from the Halachah of when to eat the Korban Pesach? The Gemara answers that since another verse removes Matzah from the Hekesh, we might have thought that when the Torah returns Matzah to the verse with Pesach, its law is not comparable to the law of the Pesach and it may be eaten after Chatzos. Rava therefore teaches that when the verse returns the Hekesh to its place, Matzah has all of the laws of the Korban Pesach, and it must be eaten before Chatzos.
What is the verse that removes Matzah from the Hekesh, and what is the verse that reinstates it?
The RASHBAM explains that the two verses are the ones mentioned in the Beraisa earlier (120a). The Beraisa derives from the verse, "Sheshes Yamim Tochal Matzos" -- "For six days you shall eat Matzos" (Devarim 16:8), that just as eating Matzah on the seventh day of Pesach is optional and not obligatory, so, too, it is optional on the first six days of Pesach. This verse removes Matzah from the Hekesh in the verse, "Al Matzos u'Merorim Yochluhu" -- "With Matzah and Maror they shall eat it" (Bamidbar 9:11).
If we had only the verse of "Sheshes Yamim," we would have learned that there is no obligation to eat Matzah at all. Rather, if a person wants to eat a grain dish with his Korban Pesach, then it must be Matzah and not Chametz.
What verse returns Matzah to the Hekesh to make it obligatory the first night? The Rashbam says that it is the verse, "b'Erev Tochlu Matzos" -- "In the evening you shall eat Matzos" (Shemos 12:18).
What does the Rashbam mean? The Beraisa earlier (120a), which discusses these verses and what specific laws they teach, does not suggest that Matzah be removed from the Hekesh to make it optional on the first night of Pesach. Rather, the Beraisa says the very opposite: there is an obligation to eat Matzah the first night because of the Hekesh (in the verse "Al Matzos u'Merorim Yochluhu"). Without that Hekesh, Matzah on the first night would have been optional because of the verse, "Sheshes Yamim." The Beraisa does not consider the possibility that "Sheshes Yamim" serves to block the Hekesh of "Al Matzos u'Merorim Yochluhu." Thus, the verse never removed Matzah from the Hekesh.
Furthermore, it is clear from the Beraisa that the verse "b'Erev Tochlu Matzos" is necessary only to teach that nowadays Matzah is a Chiyuv d'Oraisa. That verse teaches nothing about Matzah during the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash. How, then, can the Rashbam say that the verse is necessary to teach that in the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the Mitzvah of Matzah was obligatory? (See DEVAR SHMUEL.)
(a) There are actually two elements involved with the Mitzvah to eat Matzah on the first night of Pesach. One part of the Mitzvah is that Matzah must be eaten together with the Korban Pesach. A second part of the Mitzvah is an independent obligation to eat Matzah, separate from the obligation to eat the Korban Pesach.
1. The first element, that Matzah must be eaten together with the Korban Pesach, is certainly an obligation, as the Beraisa (120a) states, based on the verse "Al Matzos u'Merorim Yochluhu." It is not optional, just as the Korban Pesach itself is not optional.
When the Rashbam here says that we might have thought that Matzah on the first night is optional because the verse "Sheshes Yamim" removes it from the Hekesh, he means that only when a person cannot eat the meat of the Korban on the first night (for example, he is ill), he also has no obligation to eat Matzah on the first night. We might have thought that there is no independent Mitzvah to eat Matzah without the Korban Pesach (the second element of the Mitzvah, as mentioned above), because the verse removes that obligation from the Hekesh. We would have learned that the obligation to eat Matzah applies only when the person also eats the Korban Pesach with it, because the verse of "Sheshes Yamim" teaches that there is no obligation to eat Matzah in its own right. That is the verse that removes Matzah from the Hekesh.
2. Rava therefore teaches that Matzah is returned to the Hekesh by another verse. Once Matzah is returned to the Hekesh, the Hekesh teaches that there exists an obligation to eat Matzah independent of the obligation to eat the Korban Pesach. What verse returns Matzah to the Hekesh? It is the verse "b'Erev Tochlu Matzos." As the Beraisa mentions, that verse teaches that nowadays there is an obligation to eat Matzah, even though there is no Korban Pesach. Just as there is an obligation to eat Matzah today even though there is no Korban Pesach, so, too, in the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash when there was a Korban Pesach, if for some reason a person could not eat the Korban, there was still an independent obligation to eat Matzah.
(b) RABEINU CHANANEL has a different understanding of the Gemara.
1. When the Gemara says that Matzah was removed from the Hekesh, it means that the verse "b'Erev Tochlu Matzos" removed Matzah from the Hekesh in order to teach that it applies even nowadays, unlike the Korban Pesach. Once Matzah is not included in the Hekesh, we might have thought that Matzah also does not share the Halachos of the Korban Pesach and may be eaten even after Chatzos. Therefore, Rava teaches that Matzah was returned to the Hekesh, and thus it is compared to the Korban Pesach and may not be eaten after Chatzos.
2. However, what verse returns Matzah to the Hekesh? According to Rabeinu Chananel, it seems that the same verse which removed it from the Hekesh returns it to the Hekesh -- "b'Erev Tochlu Matzos." That verse teaches that not only is the Mitzvah of Matzah obligatory today, but it retains the same Halachos that it has when it is eaten with the Korban Pesach, and thus it may be eaten only before Chatzos. (This is also the approach of Rashi according to Rashi's original Girsa, as the RASHASH explains.)