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Steinsaltz

and this Tosefta is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, who said, with regard to the Divine Voice that emerged and proclaimed that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer in the case of the oven of akhnai (Bava Metzia 59b), that one disregards a Heavenly Voice. Just as he disregarded the Divine Voice in his dispute with Rabbi Eliezer, so too, one disregards the Divine Voice that proclaimed that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel.

As to the substance of these statements, the Gemara asks: Do Beit Shammai hold that the blessing over the day takes precedence? Wasn’t it taught in a baraita: One who enters his house at the conclusion of Shabbat recites a blessing over the wine, then over the candle, then over the spices, and recites havdala thereafter? And if he has only one cup of wine, he leaves it for after the last Shabbat meal and arranges all of the blessings: Grace after Meals, the blessings of havdala and the blessing over wine together thereafter. Evidently, the blessing over wine precedes the primary havdala blessing.

The Gemara asks: And this baraita, from where is it ascertained that it is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai? Perhaps it is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel. Beit Shammai’s opinion cannot be challenged with an unattributed baraita.

The Gemara responds: It cannot enter your mind that this baraita is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel, as it was taught at the beginning of the baraita: Light and spices thereafter. And who, did you hear, adopts that reasoning? Beit Shammai. As it was taught in a Tosefta that Rabbi Yehuda said: Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel did not dispute that Grace after Meals is recited first and that havdala is recited last. With regard to what did they disagree? With regard to the blessings recited in the middle of havdala, the blessings over the light and over the spices. Beit Shammai say: Light and spices thereafter; and Beit Hillel say: Spices and light thereafter. Therefore, the baraita, where it is taught that the blessing over the candle precedes the blessing over the spices, must be according to Beit Shammai and it says that wine precedes havdala.

The Gemara presents another challenge: And from where do you ascertain that this baraita is the opinion of Beit Shammai in accordance with the interpretation of Rabbi Yehuda? Perhaps it is the opinion of Beit Hillel in accordance with the interpretation of Rabbi Meir.

The Gemara responds: It cannot enter your mind that this baraita is the opinion of Beit Hillel in accordance with the interpretation of Rabbi Meir. As it was taught here in the mishna, which like all unattributed mishnayot is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir: Beit Shammai say: One recites the blessing over the candle, then the Grace after Meals blessing, then the blessing over the spices, and finally the blessing of havdala. And Beit Hillel say: The order is candle, spices, Grace after Meals, and havdala. And there, in the baraita, it was taught: And if he has only one cup of wine, he leaves it for after the last Shabbat meal and arranges all of the blessings: Grace after Meals, the blessings of havdala, and the blessing over wine together thereafter. According to the baraita, all of the blessings follow Grace after Meals. Since the baraita and the mishna do not correspond, conclude from here that the baraita is the opinion of Beit Shammai, in accordance with the interpretation of Rabbi Yehuda.

And, nevertheless, after the Gemara has proven that the baraita corresponds to the opinion of Beit Shammai as interpreted by Rabbi Yehuda, the contradiction between Beit Shammai’s statement in the baraita and their statement in the Tosefta is difficult. The Gemara responds: Beit Shammai hold that the arrival of the day of Shabbat or a Festival is different from the departure of the day. As with regard to the arrival of the day, the more that we can advance it, the better; with regard to the departure of the day, the more we postpone it, the better, so that Shabbat should not be like a burden to us. Consequently, although Beit Shammai situate kiddush before the blessing over the wine, they agree that one should recite havdala after the blessing over the wine.

The above discussion referred to Beit Shammai’s opinion with regard to Grace after Meals recited over a cup of wine. The Gemara poses the question: And do Beit Shammai hold that Grace after Meals requires a cup of wine? Didn’t we learn in the mishna: Wine came before the diners after the meal; if only that cup of wine is there, Beit Shammai say: One recites a blessing over the wine and recites a blessing over the food, Grace after Meals, thereafter. What? Is it not that he recites a blessing over the wine and drinks it, leaving Grace after Meals without wine? The Gemara rejects this: No. The mishna means that he recites a blessing over the cup of wine and leaves it to drink from it after Grace after Meals.

The Gemara raises a difficulty: Didn’t the Master say that one who recites a blessing is required to taste? The Gemara answers: Indeed, this refers to a case where he tasted it. The Gemara raises a difficulty: Didn’t the Master say that one who tasted the cup of wine disqualified it and it is no longer suitable to be used for a cup of blessing? The Gemara answers: This does not refer to a case where he drank the wine; but rather, where he tasted it with his hand or poured a bit into another cup and drank from it.

The Gemara raises a difficulty: Didn’t the Master say: A cup of blessing requires a minimum measure of wine? By drinking the wine, doesn’t he diminish the cup from containing its minimum measure? The Gemara answers: This refers to a case where the cup contained more than the required measure of wine.

The Gemara asks: Wasn’t it taught explicitly: If he has only one cup of wine? If there is more than the required measure of wine, he does not have only one cup. The Gemara responds: Indeed, there are not two cups, but there is more than one.

The Gemara raises another difficulty: Didn’t Rabbi Ḥiyya teach in a baraita that Beit Shammai say: He recites a blessing over the wine and drinks it, and recites Grace after Meals thereafter? Evidently, according to Beit Shammai, wine is not required for Grace after Meals. Rather, it must be that two tanna’im hold in accordance with Beit Shammai and differ with regard to their opinion.

We learned in our mishna that Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree over whether the washing of the hands or mixing water with the wine takes precedence. Beit Shammai say: One washes his hands and mixes water with the wine in the cup thereafter, and Beit Hillel say: One mixes water with the wine in the cup and only washes his hands thereafter.

The Sages taught a Tosefta where this issue is discussed in greater detail: Beit Shammai say: One washes his hands and mixes water with the wine in the cup thereafter, as if you say that one mixes water with the wine in the cup first, his hands will remain ritually impure, as the Sages decreed that unwashed hands have second degree ritual impurity status as if they touched something rendered ritually impure by a creeping animal. Consequently, there is room for concern that the liquid that inevitably drips on the outside of the cup might become ritually impure due to his hands, and those liquids will in turn render the cup ritually impure. Consequently, Beit Shammai said that the hands must be washed first in order to prevent that result.

The Gemara asks: If the concern is with regard to ritual impurity to the cup, why mention the liquids on the outside of the cup? Let his hands render the cup ritually impure directly.

The Gemara answers: Hands have second degree ritual impurity status, and there is a general halakhic principle that an object of second degree ritual impurity status cannot confer third degree ritual impurity status upon non-sacred items, as opposed to teruma or consecrated food, except by means of liquids. By rabbinic decree, liquids that come into contact with second degree ritual impurity assume first degree ritual impurity status and, consequently, can render non-sacred items impure.

And Beit Hillel say: One mixes water with the wine in the cup and only washes his hands thereafter, as if you say that one washes his hands first, there is a decree lest the liquid from the outside of the cup that dampened one’s hands will be rendered ritually impure due to the cup which is liable to be impure, and the liquid will in turn render his hands ritually impure.

The Gemara asks: Let the cup render his hands ritually impure directly, without any liquid? The Gemara responds that, according to a general principle in the halakhot of ritual impurity, a vessel does not render a person ritually impure. The cup alone does not render his hands ritually impure.

The Gemara asks: If the back of the cup is ritually impure, let it render the liquids that are within the cup ritually impure? The Gemara answers: Here we are dealing with a vessel that only the outside of which has been rendered ritually impure by liquids by rabbinic law and not by Torah law. In that case, the inside of the cup is pure and the outside is impure. As we learned in a mishna: A vessel whose outer side is rendered ritually impure by liquid, only the outer side of the vessel is impure,

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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