Thursday, March 03, 2005

Daf Yomi Day 1 - continued

I mentioned in the previous post that while I thought R Hai Gaon's solution the most elegant, my gut tells me Rashi's take on the matter is the correct one. Again, Rashi's position seems to be that you say Shema in shul with brachot but that this does not fulfil your obligation; then in krayat Shema al haMitta, say 1 parsha with no brachot to fulfil the obligation to say Shema at night.

To partially explain why my feeling is that this is correct, consider the yerushalmi brachot under discussion: brachot 1b:

תני הקורא קודם לכן לא יצא ידי חובתו
אם כן למה קורין אותה בבית הכנסת?
אמר רבי יוסי אין קורין אותה בבית הכנסת בשביל לצאת ידי חובתו
אלא כדי לעמוד בתפילה מתוך דבר של תורה
We learnt: One who reads (Shema) before this time does not fulfil his obligation (to read Shema at night).
If so, why do we read it in the shul?
Rabbi Yossi said: We do not read it in shul in order to fulfil his obligation
But rather in order to stand in prayer (=Shemoneh Esrei) from a matter of Torah.
The simplest reading would be that the Shema in shul, during Maariv, does not fulfil the obligation, and since Tosafot's understands that you do in fact fulfil your obligation in shul, it works less with this gemara than does Rashi.

On the other hand, the question appears to suppose that, if not for the statement that you do not fulfil your obligation before this time, and if not for R Yossi's explanation, I would have thought that what is going in in shul is the fulfillment of the obligation to say Shema at night. To make that assumption, Shema during Maariv would have to appear like a fulfillment of the mitzvah. The way it would look this way is if the brachot were said as well during Maariv. Also, another gemara that touted attaching the geula (one of the brachot of Shema) to the tefillla of Maariv also implies that the brachot were said during Maariv, even though (if) Maariv was earlier than tzeit hakochavim.

What would you do after this? Well, if people consistently said Shema afterwards, not on their bed, with brachot, or on the bed, with brachot, that would be a giveaway. Plus, you already said the brachot during Maariv. Need you really repeat? Rather, probably what you say
al haMitta fulfils the obligation, even though it is only the 1st perek and even though you do not say the brachot. This would be Rashi's position. That it happens to raise difficulties (such as Tosafot raises) is OK - there are other ways of resolving them or understanding what is going on than harmonizing the text away from the pashut peshat.

(I can understand other explanations of this gemara - such as, the question is: if we are repeating it again later with brachot, why say it at all during Maariv - Rashi's just strikes me intuitively as the most likely.)

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