(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Megilah, 23

MEGILAH 21-24 (3rd-6th days of Sukos 5760) - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of love for Torah and those who study it.


OPINIONS: Rav Chiya bar Avin said that he say Rava and Abaye turning to their sides as they bent down and not fully bowing down. Why were they particular not to bow down?
(a) RASHI explains that they did not fully bow down, because they were following Rebbi Elazar's ruling (22b) that an Adam Chashuv, a person of importance, should not bow down.

(b) TOSFOS (22b, DH v'Iy Ba'is Eima) and the ROSH explain in the name of RAV HAI GA'ON that they leaned to their sides because of the prohibition of bowing down on a stone floor. Why, though, did they lean to their sides? If they were concerned with the prohibition of bowing on a stone floor, they could have bowed down without stretching out their hands and feet (Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim) -- a manner of bowing which is permitted on a stone floor, as the Gemara earlier (22b) says? The answer is that although the Isur d'Oraisa forbids only Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim on a stone floor, nevertheless they maintained that it is Asur *mid'Rabanan* to bow down on a stone floor even without Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim.

HALACHAH: The REMA (OC 131:8) rules that it is Asur mid'Rabanan to bow down even when there is only one thing wrong -- either if one is bowing with Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim on a floor that is not made of stone, or bowing on a stone floor without Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim (bowing without Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim is when one brings his face to the floor, not just when he prostrates himself upon his knees -- Mishnah Berurah 181:41). This is why, when we bow down on Yom Kipur, we place something upon the floor, even though we do not bow down with Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim.

Bowing while leaning to one's side is permitted on a stone floor. If, however, the floor is made of stone and one bows down with Pishut Yadayim v'Raglayim, then it is prohibited even if he leans to the side.


OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that we may not be "Porsin Al Shema" with less than ten people.

What is this act of being "Pores Al Shema?" What does the word "Pores" mean, and how is this practice done?

(a) RASHI says that the word "Pores" comes from the word "Pras," or "half." "Pores Al Shema" means that only half of the blessings of Keri'as Shema are said. According to Rashi, as the RAN explains, people who Daven by themselves without a Minyan may not recite a Davar sh'b'Kedushah. Thus, they do not say Kadish, Barchu, or the Kedushah in the first blessing of Keri'as Shema (the blessing of "Yotzer Or"). If ten such people who Davened by themselves then come together in the synagogue, they may appoint a Chazan to say Kadish, Barchu, and the first blessing of Keri'as Shema which has Kedushah in it (they say that blessing in the form of a Nedavah, a free-will offering, since they already said the blessing (just without Kedushah) by themselves).

The Rishonim dispute whether, in order to be "Pores Al Shema," it is necessary to have ten people who all need to hear these Devarim sh'b'Kedushah because they Davened by themselves. Some Rishonim maintain that it suffices if only some of them need to hear the Devarim sh'b'Kedushah (while the others already heard them), as follows:

1. From the words of Rashi, who says that "a Minyan of people who come to the synagogue..." are Pores Al Shema, it seems that he maintains that there must be ten people who all Davened by themselves and need to hear the Devarim sh'b'Kedushah. The ME'IRI records such an opinion as well.
2. TOSFOS, citing Maseches Sofrim, says that it suffices if only six or seven out of the ten have not yet heard Kadish, Barchu, and Kedushah.
3. RABEINU TAM, cited by Tosfos, says that it is enough to be Pores Al Shema if only five out of the ten need to hear the Devarim sh'b'Kedushah.
4. The TALMIDEI RASHI, cited by Tosfos, say that a person may be Pores Al Shema even if he is the only person on the ten who has not yet heard Devarim sh'b'Kedushah.

(b) Other Rishonim translate the word "Porsin" in differently. The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) says that "Pores" means to spread out or to prepare. This also seems to be the interpretation of RASHI in Sotah (30b, DH k'Sofer).

The GE'ONIM, cited by the Ran, say that "Pores" means to begin, and it means that we do not begin to say Shema and its blessings with less than ten people (but if we have already begun with ten, we may continue if some leave -- see also Rambam in Mishnah Torah).

The ME'IRI says (citing from the MICHTAM) that it means to "bless" (that is, to recite the blessings of Keri'as Shema).

According to all of these interpretations, the act of "Porsin Al Shema" refers to saying *both* blessings of Keri'as Shema, and not just the first one. In addition, it is not referring to people who Davened by themselves, but rather to people who do not know the blessings by heart and do not have Sidurim, and they want to be Yotzei by hearing one person recite them. The Rabanan decreed that since these blessings are like a Davar sh'b'Kedushah, it will not suffice for one person to recite them for one other person, like one may do with other Berachos. Rather, they required that in order to be Yotzei by hearing another person recite these blessings, there must be a group of ten people present. (They compare this to the Halachah of a Zimun for Birkas ha'Mazon, whereby one person can only be Motzi another if there are at least three people present.)

According to the Ge'onim, the reason why ten people are required in order to be Pores Al Shema is not the same as the reason why the other things mentioned in the Mishnah require ten people. Those other things are genuine Devarim sh'b'Kedushah, and a Davar sh'b'Kedushah needs ten people to be recited in the first place. However, the blessings of Keri'as Shema may be recited by an individual, if he knows them by heart. They require ten people when it comes to having one person recite them for others because they are *like* a Davar sh'b'Kedushah.

Support for Rashi's explanation can be found in Sotah (30b), the only other place in the Gemara where "Pores Al Shema" is mentioned. The Gemara there implies that everyone recites the words together with the Chazan, and not that they listen to him as he recites it for them. However, Tosfos there cites a Tosefta which indeed describes "Pores Al Shema" as the Chazan reciting the words for the others who are listening and being Yotzei with his recitation, and they do not repeat the words that the Chazan says.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,