ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafPesachim 12
Rava allows a margin of error ...
1. ... according to Rebbi Meir - a fraction short of *two* hours. The
murder took place either at the beginning of the second hour or at the end
of the third, and one of the witnesses erred by that fraction short of two
2. ... according to Rebbi Yehudah - a fraction short of *three* hours. The
murder really took place either at the beginning of the third hour or at
the end of the fifth, and one of the witnesses erred by that fraction
short of three hours.
(a) The seven Chakiros are: 1. which cycle of Shemitah; 2. which year of
that cycle; 3. which month; 4. which date; 5. which day of the week;
6. which hour in the day; 7. which location.
(b) The Bedikos are questions such as 'Do you recognize the murderer'?
'Did you warn him'? 'With what did he kill him'? and 'What was he
wearing'? (Note: Other Rishonim call all of these but the last one
'Derishos', which have the same Din as Chakiros.)
(c) If either of the witnesses claims that he does not know the answer to
any of the seven Chakiros, then the entire testimony is disqualified -
since it now becomes an 'Eidus she'I Ata Yachol Lehazimah', which is
unacceptable; whereas if the same thing happened by the Bedikos, their
testimony would be accepted. It would only be disqualified if there was
actually a discrepancy in their testimonies.
(d) Granted, the witnesses are permitted such a large margin of error -
nevertheless beyond that span (i.e. from the beginning of the first hour
until the end of the *fifth* - according to Rebbi Meir, and to the end of
the *sixth* - according to Rebbi Yehudah), Hazamah is effective.
(a) We do not allow the hour before dawn-break to the witness who said
that the murder took place in the second hour, according to Rebbi Meir -
because people do not tend to err between day and night (so *that* cannot
be considered a margin of error).
(b) Nor do we allow the seventh hour to the witness who said that the
murder took place in the fifth hour, according to Rebbi Yehudah - because
there too, the seventh hour cannot be included in the margin of error,
since in the *fifth* hour, the sun is still in the east, whereas in the
*seventh*, it is already in the west.
The small margin of error that Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yehudah allow for,
according to Abaye - is confined to witnesses, who gear themselves to give
accurate testimony, but this does not apply to other areas of Halachah. By
Chametz therefore, Rebbi Meir expects people to err by *one* hour, and
Rebbi Yehudah, by *two*.
(a) Rebbi Meir is not afraid that, if eating in the *fifth* hour is
permitted, perhaps one will make a mistake of two hours, and eat Chametz
in the *seventh* hour - because in the *fifth* hour the sun is still in
the east, whereas in the *seventh*, it is already in the west, so that a
person is unlikely to confuse them.
(b) In the *sixth* hour however, when the sun is in the middle of the sky,
and there is really not much difference between its position then, and its
position in the *seventh* hour, one is prone to confuse the two times;
Rebbi Meir therefore agrees that eating Chametz in the sixth hour is
(a) According to Rava, Rebbi Yehudah does not forbid eating Chametz
already from the fourth hour - because if, as we just said, a person will
not confuse the *fifth* hour with the seventh, then he will certainly not
confuse the *fourth*.
(b) Abaye explains (according to how we currently understand Rava) that
one may not then eat Chametz even in the *fifth* hour - because (as he
stated earlier, even according to Rebbi Meir - see question 4) the small
margin of error that Rebbi Yehudah permits is restricted to testimony, but
by Chametz, where people are not necessarily geared to that degree of
accuracy, he allows for a margin of two hours.
(c) Rebbi Yehudah in the Beraisa, differentiates between 'she'Lo be'Sha'as
Bi'uro' (*during* the sixth hour, when the Torah still permits Chametz to
be eaten), when he requires the Chametz to be burnt, and 'be'Sha'as
Bi'uro' (*after* the sixth hour, when the Chametz must be destroyed min
ha'Torah). There, he concedes that one should destroy it by any available
means (see Tosfos DH 'Eimasai'). Now, if Rebbi Yehudah's reason is just to
allow people to gather fire-wood, why should Chazal have bothered everyone
to go to the trouble of collecting fire-wood to burn the Chametz *before*
mid-day, when they could just as well wait until *after* mid-day, and
destroy it by any means at their disposasl?
(a) Rava finally explains that Rebbi Yehudah forbids the fifth hour
because - even though we have already said that, due to the positioning of
the sun, a person will not confuse the fifth hour with the seventh, we
must nevertheless take into account the contingency of a cloudy day, when
the possibility of confusing the hours exists.
(b) Such an error however, however, will not occur in the *fourth* hour,
which is the time that most people eat (so it is easy to discern the
fourth hour by the rumbling_in their stomach.
(c) According to Rav Papa - the Beraisa must have been misquoted; the
correct version is: the fourth hour is when most people eat, the fifth
hour, the workers, and the *sixth* hour, the Talmidei-Chachamim.
(d) Eating after that time, says the Beraisa - is as valueless as throwing
a stone into a flask. However, that is only if he did not eat something in
(a) Had Rav Ashi not told us that in the same way as Rebbi Meir and Rebbi
Yehudah argue by Eidus, so too do they argue by Chametz (that Rebbi Meir
allows a margin of error of *two* hours and Rebbi Yehudah, of *three*) -
we would have thought that our Tana disagrees with the Tana in Sanhedrin,
allowing only a margin of error of *one* hour according to Rebbi Meir, and
of *two*, according to Rebbi Yehudah.
(b) Rav Ashi is simply corroborating all the explanations that we gave
throughout the Sugya. (Note: This statement appears to hold like Abaye in
(a) If one witness says that the murder took place *before* sunrise, and
the other witness says, *after* sunrise - their testimony is disqualified.
(b) We would have thought that if one of the witnesses says that the
murder took place *before* sunrise, and the other one said, *during*
sunrise, that their testimony is acceptable - because really, it took
place *after* sunrise, only the witness who said *during* sunrise, did not
get a good view of the sun.