1) ACCURSED BE THE ONE WHOSE SLAVE RECITES HALLEL FOR HIM
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that if a slave, woman, or minor reads Hallel for a man, he must say each word after them (since they cannot exempt him from his obligation, because they have no obligation to recite Hallel themselves). Moreover, if a man recites Hallel in such a manner (repeating each word after a slave, woman, or minor), "Tavo Lo Me'eirah" -- "a curse should befall him." In contrast, if another adult male reads Hallel for him, he merely listens and fulfills his obligation through hearing Hallel (because of "Shome'a k'Oneh").
Why is a man accursed if he says Hallel by repeating, word-for-word, Hallel recited by a slave, woman, or minor? RASHI (DH v'Tavo) explains that he is accursed because he never bothered to learn how to say Hallel by himself, and even if he did learn how to say Hallel, he is accursed because he appointed unsuitable emissaries to say Hallel for him.
The Gemara cites a similar Beraisa with regard to Birkas ha'Mazon. The Beraisa says that although a minor, slave, or woman (see the ARUCH LA'NER who discusses the change in the order of these three from the order that appears in the Mishnah) may exempt a man from his obligation to recite Birkas ha'Mazon (in the event that he ate only enough to obligate himself mid'Rabanan), nevertheless a man who fulfills his obligation to say Birkas ha'Mazon in this way is accursed. RASHI here (DH she'Ishto) says that such a man deserves to be cursed because the fact that his wife recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him "is certainly because he did not learn" how to say Birkas ha'Mazon by himself.
Rashi's explanation here is problematic.
1. Rashi says that when the Mishnah discusses a man whose slave, wife, or child reads Hallel for him, it refers not only to one who does not know how to recite Hallel himself, but also to one who knows how to recite Hallel himself. Why does Rashi explain that the case also refers to a man who knows how to recite Hallel himself? Why would a man appoint a slave to read Hallel for him if he can read it himself? He gains nothing by having the slave read it, because in any case he is required to read along with the slave.
2. Rashi explains that in the Beraisa's case, the man has his wife or child recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him "certainly because he did not learn" how to say it himself. Why is it obvious to Rashi that the man does not know how to recite Birkas ha'Mazon himself? Perhaps he knows how to recite it, but he nevertheless wants them to recite it for him, just as Rashi explains with regard to Hallel.
3. With regard to Hallel, Rashi says that if the man knows how to say Hallel, he still is accursed if he appoints unsuitable emissaries to recite it for him, because he disgraces Hash-m by appointing such emissaries. Rashi's words are unclear. His appointed emissaries do not say Hallel "for" him. He says Hallel himself; they say each word, and he repeats it after them.
4. According to Rashi in the Mishnah, the man is accursed because he never learned to say Hallel himself. If this is the reason why he is accursed, then he should be accursed even when he appoints another adult male to say Hallel for him! Similarly, in the case of the Beraisa, why is the man accursed only when his wife, child, or slave recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him? Even if another man recites it for him, he should be accursed because he never learned how to say it himself. (TOSFOS DH u'Sehi)
(a) TOSFOS suggests an entirely different approach to the Sugya. When the Mishnah says "Tavo Lo Me'eirah," it refers only to a man who does not know how to recite Hallel himself. However, the fact that he never learned how to say Hallel is not his wrongdoing. The reason he is cursed is because he asked a person who has no obligation to recite Hallel to say it for him so that he can repeat it word for word, and he did not ask someone who is obligated to recite Hallel to exempt him. Accordingly, it is a disgrace only when he appoints a slave, woman, or minor to recite it for him, but not when he has another adult male recite it for him.
In the Beraisa, even though his wife and child are obligated (mid'Rabanan) to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, he still is accursed because Birkas ha'Mazon is something that every person should know (since it is said so frequently). (MAHARSHAL and KAPOS TEMARIM; see MAHARSHA for a different explanation.)
(b) The Acharonim suggest various approaches to resolve the words of Rashi (see KAPOS TEMARIM, NETZIV, and ARUCH LA'NER). However, their explanations are difficult to reconcile with the words of Rashi.
Perhaps Rashi's intention is as follows:
When Rashi suggests that, in the case of the Mishnah, the man who appoints a slave to recite Hallel for him knows how to recite it himself, Rashi means that the man is ignorant in that he thinks that a slave can exempt him. The man assumes that he can listen to the slave's Hallel without reciting it himself. He is worthy of a curse because he attempted to appoint such an unworthy emissary. In addition, he is accursed for having disgraced Hallel by attempting to make such a person his emissary. This answers the first and third questions above.
Why does Rashi explain that the man in the case of the Beraisa never learned how to say Birkas ha'Mazon? The answer is that Rashi noted a difference between the wording of the Mishnah and the Beraisa. The Mishnah says, "Mi she'Hayah Eved..." ("one who had an Eved... read for him"), while the Beraisa says, "Eved Mevarech l'Rabo" ("an Eved may recite the blessing for his master"), and "Tavo Lo Me'eirah l'Adam she'Ishto u'Vanav Mevorchin Lo" ("a curse should befall the man whose wife or children recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him").
The Mishnah seems to refer to a specific, isolated incident, in which a man happens to appoint a slave to say Hallel for him. The Beraisa discusses a man whose slave, wife, or child always recites Birkas ha'Mazon for him, and that is why he is accursed.
Why does the Beraisa say that he is accursed only when they always recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him? The answer is that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with appointing one's wife to recite Birkas ha'Mazon on his behalf, because she is also obligated to recite it for herself (as Tosfos points out). Since she is also obligated, it is not a disgrace for her to exempt a man (when his obligation is only mid'Rabanan). The problem exists when the man does not know Birkas ha'Mazon by heart, and thus he always relies on his wife to say it for him. When a person always relies on his wife to recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him, it obviously is because he does not know how to recite it himself. That is why Rashi says he "certainly" did not learn; since we see that he always relies on the members of his household to recite it for him, it must be that he does not know it himself, and therefore he is cursed.
In the fourth question, we asked that if the man never learned how to say Hallel himself, why is he not accursed when he has another man read Hallel for him? The truth is that he should be cursed in such a case. However, from the isolated incident which the Mishnah discusses, we are unable to determine that he does not know it by heart, and thus the Mishnah cannot say that "he is accursed." He is accursed only when a woman, slave, or minor reads for him, either because he does not know it himself, or because he has appointed unsuitable emissaries to say it for him. In the Beraisa's case of Birkas ha'Mazon, on the other hand, it is clear that he does not know the blessings by heart, since (as mentioned above) he always has his household members recite Birkas ha'Mazon for him. (M. Kornfeld)