THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) WHEN IS AN AFTER-BLESSING "D'ORAISA"
QUESTION: Raban Gamliel explains the verse, "You will eat, be satisfied,
and bless Hashem your G-d" (Devarim 8:10) to be referring to all seven
species of the land of Israel that were mentioned in a previous verse
(Devarim 8:8). Therefore, according to Raban Gamliel, one must recite
Birkas ha'Mazon after eating any of the seven species. The Rabanan, on the
other hand, say that since verse 9 interrupts between the list of the seven
species (verse 8) and the verse that says, "And you shall bless" (verse
10), it must be that the blessing in verse 10 refers only to bread and not
to the seven species.
2) THE "AL HA'MICHYAH" BLESSING
How is this Gemara to be reconciled with the opinion of the Rishonim (see
Insights 35:2) that the after-blessing of Berachah m'Ein Shalosh for the
seven species is mid'Oraisa? If verse 9 interrupts between the source for
reciting an after-blessing and the seven species, there remains no source
for the after-blessing of the seven species as being d'Oraisa! (TALMIDEI
ANSWER: The RITVA and the RASHBA answer that since the seven species *are*
mentioned in the same Parshah as the source for reciting an after-blessing,
it must be that the interruption is only a partial limitation. That is, the
interruption limits Birkas ha'Mazon to bread, but it does not limit another
type of after-blessing from all of the seven species. Therefore, reciting
an after-blessing (Beracha m'Ein Shalosh) on the seven species is indeed
QUESTION: We would expect that, being an abbreviated version of Birkas
ha'Mazon, Al ha'Michyah would contain only ideas that are contained in
Birkas ha'Mazon itself without any new additions. However, upon examination
we see that there are indeed some added phrases found in the Al ha'Michyah
blessing that are not found in the "parent" blessings of Birkas ha'Mazon.
3) OUR TEXT OF "AL HA'MICHYAH": "V'NOCHAL M'PIRYAH"
(a) First, in Birkas ha'Mazon we pray for the restoration of "Jerusalem and
Zion." In Al ha'Michyah we pray for the restoration of these and *also* for
the restoration of "Your altar and Your Temple ('Mizb'checha')" (this is
the Girsa of the Gemara and most Rishonim, although the Rambam, in Hilchos
Berachos 3:14, does not mention it).
ANSWER: The following answer has been cited in the name of the BRISKER RAV.
First of all, it should be noted that there actually is one other addition
in the Al ha'Michyah blessing which is not found in Birkas ha'Mazon. In Al
ha'Michyah we specify that Hashem gave us Eretz Yisrael "so that we may eat
of its fruits, and be satiated by its bounty" -- and we ask Him to return
Eretz Yisrael to our hands for the same purpose. Why do we stress our
appreciation for Israel's fruits in this particular blessing?
(b) Another addition in Al ha'Michyah that is not found in Birkas ha'Mazon
is the prayer that Hashem once again "bring us up [to Jerusalem] and cause
us to rejoice in its rebuilding...." What is the nature of these two
additions, and why were they included in the shorter Al ha'Michyah, yet
omitted from the longer, more inclusive, Birkas ha'Mazon?
The answer to this is obvious. Birkas ha'Mazon is recited after a meal
consisting of *any* kind of food (provided it was eaten with bread). Al
ha'Michyah, on the other hand, was instituted to be recited only after
partaking of one of the Seven Species of Israel. It is appropriate that we
offer praise to Hashem that relates specifically to what we have just
enjoyed (Berachos 40a). Therefore, after eating the fruits of Israel, we
thank Hashem for giving us Israel with *its unique fruits and satiating
With this in mind, we can answer our questions regarding the additions in
the Al ha'Michyah blessing. Why do we add a special prayer for the
restoration of the *altar*? Perhaps it is because -- aside from the
enjoyment we derive from the seven fruits of the land -- we also use these
fruits to perform the Mitzvah of bringing Bikurim, which must be chosen
from the Seven Species (Bikurim 3:6). As mentioned above, the Mitzvah of
Bikurim entails placing the fruit-basket at the corner of the *altar*.
Therefore, after partaking of these species we ask Hashem to (1) return us
to His land so that we may *eat again* of its special fruits, and (2)
rebuild *His altar*, so that we may again bring those fruits as Bikurim!
A similar approach can explain the other addition found in Al ha'Michyah.
After eating any of the Seven Species, we ask Hashem to "bring us to
Jerusalem," i.e. in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikurim. Bikurim must
be brought to Jerusalem and eaten there, as we mentioned above (section I).
(Heard from Ha'Rav Nasan Lesinger of Jerusalem, as told by the Brisker Rav.
A similar thought can be found in the Brisker Haggadah, p. 272.)
QUESTION: Our text of the Berachah m'Ein Shalosh differs in a number of
significant ways from the text that Rav Dimi told to Abaye in our Gemara.
The text in the Gemara does not include the words, "v'Nochal m'Piryah
v'Nisbah m'Tuvah" -- "and may we eat [Israel's] fruits and be satisfied
from her goodness." The TUR (OC 208) quotes the Gemara and says that in the
BEHAG's text these words appear. The Tur, however, prefers not to include
them in the Berachah, pointing out that we should not ask to be in Israel
in order to its fruits.
4) HALACHAH: OUR TEXT OF "AL HA'MICHYAH": "V'AL HA'KALKALAH"
The Tur's words are based on the Gemara in Sotah (14b), which asks why
Moshe Rabeinu wanted so much to go into the land of Israel. The Gemara says
that it certainly was not simply because he wanted to partake of its tasty
fruits. This implies that we should not desire to be in Israel merely to
eat its fruits.
If so, why today do we include this phrase in our text of the Berachah
ANSWER: The BACH (OC 208) explains that there is a special property of the
fruits of the land of Israel. Since the Shechinah is most concentrated in
Israel, its holiness is even absorbed into the fruits that grow there. By
eating the fruit of the land of Israel, we are Metaher and Mekadesh our
Why, then, does the Gemara in Sotah say that Moshe certainly did not want
to go into Israel just to eat its fruits?
We could answer that since the fruits of Israel are suffused with the
holiness of the Shechinah, by eating those fruits a person strengthens his
faith in Hashem and his awe of Him. (This may be alluded to by the Gemara
in Shabbos (31a) that says that Seder Zera'im corresponds to Emunah in
Hashem.) The Gemara in Berachos (33b) says that Moshe Rabeinu considered
the fear of Hashem to be a simple and easy character trait to acquire,
because that is the way it indeed was for him. Therefore, the Gemara in
Sotah asks why *Moshe* wanted to go into Israel, since *Moshe* certainly
did not need to eat of the fruits in order to acquire a greater degree of
fear of Hashem. For us, though, it is certainly appropriate to pray that we
go into Israel in order to eat its fruits for the spiritual qualities that
they will endow to us.
(a) In the text of the Berachah m'Ein Shalosh in the Gemara, the end of the
blessing does not mention the words, "Al ha'Kalkalah." The TUR (OC 208),
however, adds "v'Al ha'Kalkalah" to the end of the blessing.
HALACHAH. The Magen Avraham cites the opinion of the Tur, that one should
end with "v'Al ha'Kalkalah." However, the later Poskim (see Mishnah Berurah
208:50, and the Sha'ar ha'Tzion 208:52) say that since the only one who
mentions "Al ha'Kalkalah" is the Tur, it is a minority opinion. Therefore
we should not say "Al ha'Kalkalah." However, in prayerbooks with Nusach
Sefard (used by Chasidim) the words "Al ha'Kalkalah" are included. The
Sefardic (Edot ha'Mizrach) prayerbooks include the words "Al ha'Kalkalah"
right before the end of the blessing, but not actually at the end itself.
Each person should follow the practice of his family. If unsure, he may
follow the most widely accepted practice (which is not to include it).
(b) However, almost all of the Rishonim do not include those words in their
text of the blessing. The BEIS YOSEF argues with the Tur, citing the
Rishonim who leave out this phrase.
(In Europe it was common practice to avoid the question by adding at the
end of the blessing, "vAl ha'Kalkalah -- it is a doubt [whether we should
say it]" in order to mention it in case it should be mentioned, but not to
mention it in case it should not be mentioned.)
5) RECITING A BLESSING AFTER PERFORMING MITZVOS
OPINIONS: In Ma'arava (the land of Israel), the Jews would recite a
blessing after the performance of Mitzvos, such as when they removed their
Tefillin at the end of the day. After which Mitzvos did the people in
Ma'arava recite a blessing?
(a) RABEINU TAM (quoted by TOSFOS, Nidah 51a, and here, DH vli'Vnei)
explains that in Ma'arava they only made a blessing when they *removed
their Tefillin* before nightfall, since the verse, "v'Shamartah Es
*ha'Chukah*" forbids wearing them at night. They did not recite a blessing
after they completed any other Mitzvah or after removing their Tefillin in
the morning, since the Torah does not call such acts "Chukah."
HALACHAH: The TUR (Orach Chayim 29) quotes RAV HAI GA'ON who rules that a
person may recite a blessing when he removes his Tefillin at the end of the
day. The TUR disagrees. He rules that since there is no obligation to
recite such a blessing, it will be a Berachah l'Vatalah if recited.
If they did not recite a blessing after any other Mitzvah, why did the
Gemara conclude that the ruling of the Mishnah (that a Berachah Rishonah is
sometimes recited without a Berachah Acharonah) was made with regard to
scents? The Gemara could have simply answered that it is referring to all
other Mitzvos besides Tefillin! RABEINU TAM answers that the Gemara could
have in fact explained that the Mishnah was referring to other Mitzvos.
(b) The RASHBA and RITVA in Nidah reject RABEINU TAM's ruling. They explain
that in Ma'arava they recited blessings after *all Mitzvos* whose
obligations come to an end (either because the Mitzvah has been completed,
such as with Lulav or Shofar, or because the obligation ceases to apply,
such as Tefillin or Tzitzis at night).
The ROKEACH explains that they recited the blessing of *Lishmor Chukav*
after they completed any Mitzvah based on the verse, "u'Shamartem Es
Chukosai" (Vayikra 18:5).
(c) The Ritva in Nidah also explains that in Ma'arava a blessing was
recited after *every Mitzvah*, but only after they removed their Tefillin
did they recite Lishmor *Chukav*, based on the verse "v'Shamartem Es
ha'*Chukah*." After they completed other Mitzvos they recited Lishmor