THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) STANDING TO RECITE A BLESSING
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a woman who is undressed is permitted to
separate Chalah and recite the blessing while she is sitting, since her
private parts are covered. The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 8:2) asks, how can she
recite the blessing sitting down? The Halachah requires that blessings
preceding the performance of Mitzos must be recited while standing, at
2) THE THIGH OF A WOMAN IS CONSIDERED AN "ERVAH"
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM answers that one does not have to stand to recite the
blessing over separating Chalah. Separating Chalah is only a necessary step
to permit people to eat the bread; one is not required to bake bread in
order to separate Chalah. Therefore, the blessing over separating Chalah is
not like Birchas ha'Mitzvos, but like a blessing recited over food, for
which one does not have to stand.
(b) The YESHU'OS YAKOV (YD 328) explains that indeed, l'Chatchilah one
should stand for the blessing. However, if one is unable to stand (such as
in the case of an undressed woman), we do not say that one cannot recite
the blessing and therefore may not separate Chalah. Rather, we permit the
blessing to be recited while seated.
(c) The MALBIM (in ARTZOS HA'CHAYIM #8) explains that when one performs a
Mitzvah d'Oraisa, just like one must stand for the performance of the
Mitzvah one must also stand for the blessing. When performing a Mitzvah
mid'Rabanan, one does not need to stand for the performance of the Mitzvah,
and therefore one is not required to stand for its blessing either. Since
the Mitzvah of Chalah is mid'Rabanan nowadays, one does not need to stand
for the Mitzvah of separating Chalah nor for its blessing.
(Gleaned from EINAYIM LA'MISHPAT)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the thigh of a woman is considered nakedness
("Shok b'Ishah Ervah"). RASHI (DH Shok) says that this refers to an "Eshes
Ish," a woman married to someone else (as opposed to one's own wife).
The Gemara just said that one is not allowed to gaze at even the small
finger of a woman married to another person, for even that is considered an
Ervah! If so, why does Rashi explain that the statement "the thigh of a
woman is considered an Ervah" prohibits looking at the thigh of a woman
*other* than one's wife? Even the smallest finger of another woman is
prohibited to look at!
(a) The BACH (OC 75) explains that a woman's thigh tends to be sweaty and
therefore more repulsive than any other part of her body. We might have
thought that it is not prohibited to look at, as is a woman's clean,
attractive finger. Therefore, the Gemara teaches that eveb a woman's thigh
is considered to be Ervah.
(b) The TZELACH says exactly the opposite: Rashi means to teach us that
there is a greater prohibition to gaze at a woman's thigh, than to gaze at
her finger. Another woman's thigh is forbidden to look at even if one *does
not* have intention to get pleasure from gazing at it. The other parts of a
woman that are more often exposed, such as her fingers, are only forbidden
to gaze at when one has intention to get pleasure.
According to all of the above answers, what was Rashi's *source* to assert
that the "thigh" mentioned in the Gemara is referring to that of another
woman, and not simply to that of one's own wife when one is reciting
Keri'as Shema (as the Gemara concluded with regard to a Tefach of a woman)?
(c) The VILNA GAON asserts that there is a typist's error in the words of
Rashi. Rashi's words "b'Eshes Ish" belong further down on the page, and
they are referring to the Gemara's statement that "the *hair* of a woman is
an Ervah." (Since hair is not part of the flesh of the body, the
prohibition against gazing at a woman would not have applied to it had it
not been independently classified as an Ervah.)
3) FEELING ONE'S GARMENT DURING SHEMONEH ESREI
OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that Rebbi would "feel his garment" while
saying Shemoneh Esrei, but he would not "wrap himself" with his garment.
What does it mean that he would feel his garment?
4) HALACHAH: FLATULENCE DURING SHEMONEH ESREI
(a) RASHI (DH u'Mimashmesh) says that he would *remove bugs* that were
(b) TOSFOS (DH u'Mimashmesh) cites RABEINU CHANANEL who explains that it is
connected to the end of Rebbi's statement; Rebbi would *reposition his
Talis* if it was about to fall off, but he would not put it back on if it
Why does Rabeinu Chananel reject Rashi's explanation? It seems that Rabeinu
Chananel maintains that it should not be permitted to do an act during
Shemoneh Esrei that is not needed for Tefilah. Fixing one's Talis is
necessary for Tefilah because one is supposed to wear a Talis while
Davening, while removing bugs is not.
Support for Rabeinu Chananel's position may be drawn from the Mishnah later
(30b) that says even if a snake is wrapped around one's ankle, he may not
interrupt his Tefilah to remove the snake. If one may not remove a snake,
certainly one may not interrupt his Tefilah to remove a little bug. Rashi
would respond that removing the snake involves a much larger interruption
of one's Tefilah. He cannot merely brush it off, but he must take it away
or kill it. An insect that is biting needs merely to be brushed off. (In
addition, a snake does not usually bite unprovoked (Gemara 33a). Here,
though, the bug is actually stinging him, and therefore there is more
reason to permit him to interrupt his Tefilah to remove it.)
(c) The RITVA and ME'IRI explain that one is permitted to rub his clothing
over the place on his body which the bug is irritating, even if that place
is one of Ervah which may not be touched while praying.
The Gemara teaches that if one feels the urge to pass gas during his
Shemoneh Esrei, he should walk back four Amos, pass gas, wait until the
odor dissipates, return to his place and recite a special prayer, and then
he may commence from where he left off.
5) PAUSING LONG ENOUGH TO FINISH THE ENTIRE PRAYER
The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 103:2) records this as the Halachah. However, the
REMA cites the TERUMAS HA'DESHEN (#16) who rules that this Halachah applies
only when one is Davening by himself in his home. When he is Davening with
others in a synagogue, it would cause him great embarrassment to have to
walk back four Amos during his Shemoneh Esrei. Therefore, when Davening
with others, one may remain standing in his place while he passes gas until
the odor dissipates, and he should not recite the special prayer.
The MISHNAH BERURAH (103:9) adds that when one is Davening in a synagogue
with others, even though he should not walk back or recite the prayer he
should think the prayer in his heart.
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan told Rebbi Avahu that if he paused long enough to
finish the entire Shema, he must begin again from the beginning of Shema.
Rebbi Yochanan himself (Rosh Hashanah 34b) states that on Rosh Hashanah, if
a person waited between each individual blast of the Shofar long enough to
finish all of the required blasts, he may continue where he left off. He
does not have to go back to the beginning. Why, then, regarding Shema does
Rebbi Yochanan say that one must go back to the beginning?
(a) Rebbi Yehudah ha'Chasid explains that Rebbi Yochanan was responding to
Rebbi Avahu according to Rebbi Avahu's own opinion. Rebbi Avahu maintains
that one must go back to the beginning if he paused long enough to finish
the entire Shema, and the same would apply for Shofar blasts. Rebbi
Yochanan himself, though, maintains that one would not have to go back to
the beginning of Shema. (Tosfos 22b, DH Elah, also cites the answer of
Rebbi Yehudah ha'Chasid.)
(b) RAV SHIMSHON M'KUTZI, quoted in Tosfos (22b, DH Elahi) and in the ROSH
(3:23), says that Rebbi Yochanan normally maintains that one does not have
to repeat the entire set of Shofar-blasts or the entire Shema, even if he
pauses in middle for a very lengthy span of time. In the case in our
Gemara, however, Rebbi Avahu was not *fit* to say Shema (because he was in
an unclean place). When a person is not fit to perform a particular act, it
is considered worse than willfully pausing and is a stronger interruption
in one's prayer or action. Therefore, if he waited long enough to finish
the entire Tefilah, he must start again from the beginning.