Sunday, March 28, 2004

Pesach: Matza: Maror

Tzav is a somewhat dry parsha. The midrash rabba on this week's parsha notes that (in the days the midrash was written) they would start teaching the youngsters Torah with vayikra (torat kohanim), because young children are holy and the korbanot are holy.
You have to wonder though how the material could hold a young child's attention.
The Haftarot though are much more colorful, as are the midrashim.

At any rate, Pesach is coming up, and I feel like posting Pesach oriented material. The shiur kosot is a bit technical, and I don't really have a firm enough grasp on it yet, so perhaps some other material.

In terms of a separate maror/matzah/korech:
Hillel held that that was the way to fulfill the mitzvah. From a machloket in yerushalmi, it seems that there was a machloket, with others arguing on Hillel. They felt since there were three materials, the paschal lamb, the bitter herbs, and the matzah, each one would combine with the second and nullify the third. The other side to the dispute would be that mitzvot cannot be nullified.

Rabbi Yochanan would maintain that each two would nullify the third. Yet, the gemara records, he would do korech. The answer is that he was post the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash, and so even according to this opinion there were only two entities in the sandwich, and so there was no problem.

Thus, Rabbi Yochanan did zecher limikdash kiHillel. And it was a question how he could then fulfill the mitzvah. We see that this was the *only* way he did this mitzvah, and he was from the opposing camp. So he did not first do matza and maror and then korech, but would just do korech. And not as a zecher but a way of actually fulfilling the mitzvah.
So, why do we have 3 separate actions at our seder? Perhaps we should not.

The rationale though, probably, is that matza/maror are done separately, and as a nice, unrequired thing, to make a zecher to what Hillel did, we will do a korech.

Update: The Bavli in Psachim, daf קטו, has a different take on it, and why korech would be no good. Basically, the maror is dirabanan nowadays and the matza is doorayta, and somehow the maror will nullify the matzah. Rabbi Yochanan also says something interesting, as does the Rashbam. I hope to get back to this later.

Update: That gemara, Psachim 115a:

אמר רבינא אמר לי רב משרשיא בריה דרב נתן הכי אמר הלל משמיה דגמרא לא ניכרוך איניש מצה ומרור בהדי הדדי וניכול משום דסבירא לן מצה בזמן הזה דאורייתא ומרור דרבנן ואתי מרור דרבנן ומבטיל ליה למצה דאורייתא ואפילו למאן דאמר מצות אין מבטלות זו את זו ה"מ דאורייתא בדאורייתא או דרבנן בדרבנן אבל דאורייתא ודרבנן אתי דרבנן ומבטיל ליה לדאוריית' מאן תנא דשמעת לי' מצות אין מבטלות זו את זו הלל היא דתניא אמרו עליו על הלל שהיה כורכן בבת אחת ואוכלן שנאמר (במדבר ט) על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו אמר רבי יוחנן חולקין עליו חביריו על הלל דתניא יכול יהא כורכן בבת אחת ואוכלן כדרך שהלל אוכלן תלמוד לומר על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו אפילו זה בפני עצמו וזה בפני עצמו מתקיף לה רב אשי אי הכי מאי אפילו אלא אמר רב אשי האי תנא הכי קתני יכול לא יצא בהו ידי חובתו אא"כ כורכן בבת אחת ואוכלן כדרך שהלל אוכלן תלמוד לומר על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו אפילו זה בפני עצמו וזה בפני עצמו השתא דלא איתמר הלכתא לא כהלל ולא כרבנן מברך על אכילת מצה ואכיל והדר מברך על אכילת מרור ואכיל והדר אכיל מצה וחסא בהדי הדדי בלא ברכה זכר למקדש כהלל

The key to the final halacha was the last statement, which perhaps is a stama digemara:

השתא דלא איתמר הלכתא לא כהלל ולא כרבנן מברך על אכילת מצה ואכיל והדר מברך על אכילת מרור ואכיל והדר אכיל מצה וחסא בהדי הדדי בלא ברכה זכר למקדש כהלל

Since there is no definitive statement lihalacha like Hillel and not like the Rabanan, you make the blessing "on eating matza" and eat, and then "on eating maror and eat it, and then eat matza and lettuce together with no blessing, as a zecher limikdash kiHillel.

Parsing the gemara: There are several phases in the gemara"

Ravina: everyone, even Hillel, would say you shouldn't do korech, since they hold maror is dirabanan nowadaysand matza is diorayta and the maror would nullify the matzah, so even according to the opinion that mitvot don't nullify each other out, here it would.

stama digmara: Ravina mentioned an opinion which held mitzvot do not nullify each other. Who is this? brings a brayta to answer this.

Brayta: Hillel differed with his colleages, in that he held (bizman bet hamikdash) that you should be korech, based on the pasuk "על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו. {J: this parallels the idea in yerushalmi that the difference between Hillel and his colleagues was nullification. But it does not bring in the idea that with only two items, one will not nullify the other.}

R Yochanan (with interp of R Ashi): Says Rabanan argue on Hillel, and say that the Rabanan darshen "על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו" to be that you can even do each by itself.

Rashbam makes a strange statement regarding the difference of opinion that led to this final "halacha limaaseh" of doing all three: that according to the brayta, there is nothing to hint that the Rabanan would hold korech is not good but according to Rabbi Yochanan, the Rabanan argue on Hillel and therefore say it was not good. So this doing all three things is based on Rabbi Yochanan's Rabanan.

I have several problems with this perhaps I will resolve. Sure, according to the brayta the Rabanan don't have a problem with Hillel. Firstly, it only states it from Hillel's perspective, so we don;t know how strong the Rabanan argue or do not with him. Secondly, the brayta was dealing specifically with korech bizman hamikdash, so we don't really know what they would say bizman hezeh. Except that the entire brayta was cited as regards to *Ravina's statement*, which implied that surely Rabanan and now even Hillel would say korech is not good bizman hazeh.
Thirdly, how would the Rabanan argue on Hillel saying it is NO good according to Rabbi Yochanan. According to his version, the Rabanan objected to the idea that if you did NOT do korech you did not fulfill the mitzvah. They had a drasha that EVEN (AFILU) if you ate each by itself you still fulfilled the requirement. Everything about Rabbi Yochanan's statement implies the Rabanan would AGREE to korech, and not the opposite. Finally, we see in Yerushalmi that Rabbi Yochanan would do korech, (it seems to me) as the ONLY way of fulfilling matza and maror. And that was supposed to be even according to the Rabanan. So it is unlikely that R Yochanan would be a source for saying Rabanan would not do korech.

If there is any source of argument prompting this final (stama?) halachic statement, it seems to me it should be the machloket according to Ravina. The problem with that is that according to Ravina, even Hillel would say do not do korech. So perhaps you could say (like the gemara says) that it is a zecher to what Hillel did in the time of the bet hamikdash.
But there is still a problem (which presumably prompted Rashbam to assign the machloket-blame to R Yochanan's view of the machloket Hillel and Rabanan) since the (stamaitic?) statement says that because we do not pasken explicitly like either *Hillel or Rabanan* (as opposed to, say, R Yochanan or Ravina), we do both. According to Ravina, we should not consider korech a possibility at all. And according to R Yochanan, there should be no problem doing korech.

So as regards to which Amora is the final statement of the gemara referring? It seems from the final statement that this is supposed to be a compromise, to be able to fulfill both shitot. So this cannot be Ravina, according to whom you do not gain anything from doing korech, so it is not according to him. And according to R Yochanan, you should do korech.

I currently entertain 3 possibilities.
1) I am entirely misunderstanding this gemara (and R Yochanan's opinion) and should go back to the drawing board.
2) It is really a compromise between Ravina and R Yochanan, on option only awkwardly supported by the text. That we say: Rabanan are firm according to Ravina that korech is no good. Hillel is firm according to R Yochanan that korech must be done. Since there is no statement lihalacha, between Hillel and Rabanan from the two different viewpoints, we compromise and do them all. (but then say Ravina and R Yochanan, and why say zecher?)
3) this last statement is a stamaitic statement from a stama who did not see R Yochanan's opinion in Yerushalmi (who held like the Rabanan he cited but nevertheless fulfilled the basic mitzvah through korech) and read R Yochanan's statement for some reason as a full machloket, between Rabanan and Hillel, and in the absence of a definitive halachic ruling, suggested a compromise to do both. Or, was noting existing custom and attempting to reconcole it with the gemara.

But, I've proved myself embarrassingly wrong in the past. I may be missing something obvious. And obviously, please don't rely on this discussion halacha limaaseh. Must ruminate upon this some more.

Update: Note that in Tos' discussion of the matter, and why we do not, for example do matzah and then immediately korech (because now matza is a reshut and would nullify the maror) seems to assume a Ravina basis.

Update: Another issue. Here R Yochanan, according to my reading (as opposed to that of Rashbam), would have Rabanan agree that korech is OK, because it is a matter of drashot of the pasuk. They would only possibly have said this with respect to korech during the bet hamikdash (because that is when the dispute took place). Yet in Yerushalmi (Shabbos) R Yochanan, at least according to the conclusion of the gemara, holds that Rabanan argue on Hillel bizman hamikdash (with a problem of nullification). R Yochanan's eating via korech is attributed to the fact that there are only two elements present rather than 3, so bittul does not take place. So there seems a machloket Bavli/Yerushalmi in which cases (bizman hamikdash and bizman hazeh) Rabanan would agree to Hillel, and furthermore in the reason R Yochanan would hold korech is OK according to the Rabanan. It is time to return to the yerushalmi I think.

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