(a) GEMARA - Pesachim, the third Maseches in Seder Moed, deals with the many intricate and unique laws of Pesach. Since Pesach is the first Moed of the year (Rosh Hashanah 4a), it is perfectly logical for the Mishnah to discuss its laws immediately after the laws of Shabbos and Eruvin.
1. In a sense, this Maseches is actually two distinct Masechtos. Half of Pesachim (Perakim 1-4, 10) deals with the laws of Pesach that are practiced still today, when there is no Beis ha'Mikdash (removing Chametz from the house, eating Matzah, the laws of Erev Pesach, and the Pesach Seder). The other half (Perakim 5-9), which deals with the laws of offering and eating the Korban Pesach Rishon and Sheni, really belongs with Seder Kodshim. In fact, many of the Rishonim actually considered Pesachim to be two distinct Masechtos, divided as mentioned above, dubbing the practical part "Pesach Rishon" and the Kodshim part "Pesach Sheni" (the Me'iri, in his introduction to Pesachim, tells us that the Geonim actually split Pesachim into two 'Masechtos' -- mention is made of this apportionment in the common printed version of the Maseches at the end of the fourth and ninth Perakim, Daf 57b, 99a). As would be expected, although many Rishonim wrote on the practical part of Pesachim, almost none of them wrote full commentaries on the Kodshim section, with the exceptions being the Me'iri and Tosfos Shanz (which are nearly identical to our Tosfos).

2. Even "Pesach Rishon" has its measure of Mikdash-related discussions, though, as the latter half of the first Perek diverges into a lengthy and involved discussion of the laws of Tum'ah and Taharah. (This is known as the Sugya of "Rebbi Chanina Segan ha'Kohanim" -- see Kollel Iyun Hadaf's Charts and Insights to Daf 14 for some very useful introductions and flowcharts for this Sugya.)

3. Pesachim sports two exceptionally short Amudim (half-Dafim) of Gemara (57b and 99a), due to the addition of extensive Halachic summaries of the laws of the Korban Pesach (on 57b) and of the Korban Pesach Sheni (on 99a). These Halachic summaries (which apparently date back to the first printing of the Shas) are almost exclusively based on the Rambam's rulings, with a small number of rulings culled from other Rishonim added in parentheses. (These parenthetical additions are probably from a later date.) It is not clear who authored these Halachic digests.

4. A welcome improvement on the standard Shas is the "Oz v'Hadar" edition of Pesachim (Yerushalayim 5758). Besides having typeset afresh all of the Gemara Rashi and Tosfos (in the same format as the standard edition, with clearer letters) and Rabeinu Chananel, the Gemara includes full, voweled citations of any verses the Gemara quotes, citations from Rashi elsewhere in Shas that pertain to the Daf, a list of corrections of typographical errors in Gemara Rashi and Tosfos, and much much more. (BE"H we hope to eventually compile a list of the various Shasim that are available on the market, along with the new features made available in each of them.) Other special editions of Pesachim include the "Gemara Shelemah," by Mechon Torah Shelemah (Harav Menachem Kasher zt'l) which includes a Daf by Daf collection of comments from a great number of Rishonim and extensive Girsa research. Unfortunately, only until Daf 8 was published.

(b) RASHI & TOSFOS - Perhaps because he considered Rashi's notes on the tenth Perek too terse, Rashi's grandson, Rabeinu Shmuel ben Meir (RaSHBaM), prepared a commentary on the tenth Perek (Arvei Pesachim) which is printed along with the commentary of Rashi himself, on the Daf. Generally, Rashbam incorporates Rashi's commentary into his and adds to it much insights and commentary of his own, even rejecting Rashi's approach at times. (Because of its more comprehensive nature, in many Dafyomi Shi'urim Arvei Pesachim is learned with the Rashbam.) Tosfos in Arvei Pesachim cites from both Rashi and Rashbam. Tosfos on Pesachim has been attributed to Rebbi Elazar of Tuch, but they are nearly identical to Tosfos ha'Rashba (see below III:b). A collection of Tosfos for Arvei Pesachim is printed at the end of the Mordechai (following the laws of the Seder). These are apparently Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz, and have recently been printed under that name along with the other Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz on the first four Perakim.



(a) RABEINU CHANANEL - Rabeinu Chananel ben Chushiel, lived in the 11th century. His father Rabeinu Chushiel, was one of the famous "four captives" (a group of Roshei Yeshivah who were captured by pirates and redeemed separately by communities along the Mediterranean coast). He lived in Kirouan, N. Africa after being redeemed from bondage, and it was there that Rabeinu Chananel was born. The commentary of Rabeinu Chananel on Pesachim is printed in the margin of the Vilna Shas, and was recently reprinted from manuscript and annotated by Rav David Metzger (1990, Jerusalem; Wagschal) along with a compilation of RABEINU NISIM GAON's comments on Pesachim (d. 1050 in Kirouan, North Africa -- see our introduction to Berachos for more on Rav Nisim Gaon).

(b) RAV YITZCHAK ("MAHARITZ") GEI'AS - from Spain, a contemporary of the Rif, authored a number of Halachic works which are often quoted by the Rishonim. His "Me'ah She'arim" on the Halachos of Seder Moed, which contains many rulings on the laws of Pesach, was printed with the marvelous commentary "Yitzchak Yeranen" by Rav Yitzchak Dov Bamberger (of Wirtzburg, Germany ~1870).


(a) RABEINU DAVID - ben Reuven, Bonafed. Rabeinu David was a student of the Ramban. Rabeinu David frequently addresses Rashi's commentary, and attempts to answer questions that Tosfos and other Rishonim ask on Rashi (while at the same time, he asks his own questions on Rashi). Like his mentor the Ramban, he often deals with the words of the Rif, as well as the rulings of the Rambam. He wrote his Chidushim in the mid to late 1200's. His very interesting and enlightening Chidushim were published for the first time from manuscript (Casanatense, Rome), with notes and annotations by Rav Avraham Shoshana (Machon Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, 1980).

(b) TALMID HA'RAMBAN - A student of Rabeinu Moshe ben Nachman (d. 1270), he also authored a commentary on Beitzah, Ta'anis, and some other Masechtos. This is actually a commentary on the Rif, using the words of Rashi except for his occasional more involved Halachic comments. Although he is believed by some to be Rabeinu Yitzchak of Narvona (a teacher of the Rashba), another commentary on Pesachim was printed under the name of Rabeinu Yitzchak of Narvona.

(c) TESHUVOS V'CHIDUSHE HA'RASHBA - Rabeinu Shlomo (ben Avraham) ben Aderes, d. 1310. The Rashba's primary mentor was Rabeinu Yonah, a cousin of the Ramban's, but he also learned under the Ramban. Although the Rashba's commentary on Pesachim has not been printed, an extensive collection of Teshuvos and Perushim that pertain to Pesachim appears in "Teshuvos v'Chidushei ha'Rashba," recently published with corrections and clarifications by Rav Shmuel Eliezer Stern Bnei Brak, 1984).

(d) TALMID HA'RASHBA - Chidushim written (circa 1416) on the first four Perakim, and the tenth Perek, of Pesachim, by an anonymous close disciple of the Rashba. Chidushei Talmid ha'Rashba was published with notes and annotations by Rav Shmuel Eliezer Stern (Machon Mayan ha'Torah, B'nei B'rak, 1982).

(e) RITVA - Rabeinu Yom Tov ben Avraham al'Ashvili lived in the 1300's and was a close disciple of the Re'ah and, later, of the Rashba. The Chidushei ha'Ritva was recently reprinted along with annotations by Rav Yehudah Lebovitz in the Mosad ha'Rav Kook edition (Jerusalem, 1990).

(f) RAN - Rabeinu Nisim ben Rav Reuven Girondi lived in the 1300's (d. ~1380). His Chidushim are often patterned after those of the Rashba, whose points he further develops, and usually conform with his commentary on the Rif (which is printed in back of the Gemara, together with the Rif). The Ran's Chidushim on Pesachim appear in a recently published volume with notes and annotations by Rav Eliyahu Lichtenstein (Mosad ha'Rav Kook).

(g) MAHARAM CHALAVAH - Rabeinu Moshe Chalavah lived at the time of the Ran and Rivash (1300's). His commentary often elucidates the commentary of Rashi and introduces novel and innovative approaches to the Sugya.


(a) RABEINU YEHONASAN M'LUNIL - Lived in the early 1200's and learned under the Ra'avad. He wrote a commentary on the Rif for most of Shas, including Pesachim. His commentary appears in a separate volume with notes and annotations by Rav Shmuel Eliezer Stern (Machon Mayan ha'Torah, B'nei B'rak, 1982).

(b) SEFER HA'MICHTAM - Rabeinu David ben Levi lived at the turn of the fourteenth century and learned under his father, Rabeinu Levi ben Benveneshti.

(c) ME'IRI - Rabeinu Menachem ben Shlomo (d. 1315) wrote his comprehensive Halachic work, "BEIS HA'BECHIRAH," on 37 Masechtos of Shas. The Meiri's running Halachic commentary on the Maseches -- even the parts that deal with Kodshim -- serves as an invaluable tool for clarifying the fine points of difficult Sugyas. The Me'iri was a student of the Rashba, and sometimes even cites from commentaries as late as those of the Ritva. Almost never mentioning another Rishon by name, the Me'iri created "nicknames" for the commentators from whom he often cites, such as "Gedolei ha'Rabanim" for Rashi, "Gedolei ha'Mechabrim" for the Rambam, etc. (A convenient list of these, along with the true identities of the Rishonim to whom they refer, can be found at the beginning of the Beis ha'Bechirah on Beitzah.)


(a) OR ZARUA - Rabeinu Yitzchak ben Moshe (d. 1260) authored the Or Zarua. He studied under many of the great sages of his times, including Rabeinu Yehudah he'Chasid, the Ra'avyah, the Sar mi'Kutzi, and the Ba'al ha'Roke'ach. His son, Rav Chaim Or Zarua, wrote a collection of Teshuvos. Rabeinu Yitzchak named his work "Or Zarua" out of his excitement when he noted that the end letters of the verse "Or Zarua la'Tzadik..." spell out "R' Akivah." The Or Zarua usually prefaces each Halachah with a citation of the pertinent Gemara and Rashi, making him an excellent source for verifying variant Girsa'os in Rashi.

(b) TOSFOS RID and PISKEI RID - Rabeinu Yeshaya (ben Mali, or ha'Rishon) d'Trani was one of the leading sages of Italy/Germany during the early 1200's. His commentary on most of the Masechtos of Shas is known as "Tosfos Rid." Also compiled a Halachic summary of the Maseches called Piskei Rid, printed in 1992 by Mechon ha'Talmud ha'Yisraeli.

(c) PISKEI RI'AZ - a Halachic compilation on the Maseches by the grandson of the above, Rabeinu Yeshaya Acharon Z'l. Printed together with Piskei Rid, as listed above. Often cited in the SHILTEI GIBORIM on the Rif.

(d) TOSFOS HA'ROSH - Rabeinu Asher ben Yechiel (d. 1328), originally from Germany, fled to Spain after his mentor, Rav Meir of Rotenberg, passed away in jail after having been imprisoned by the authorities and held on ransom. One of the great sages of Germany, he wrote commentaries and rulings on most of Shas which had a profound influence on the Code of Jewish Law. TOSFOS HA'ROSH on Maseches Pesachim was not available, and was not printed with the traditional set of Tosfos ha'Rosh, until the Ginzburg manuscript of the Tosfos ha'Rosh on Pesachim was discovered in the Russian State Library (Moscow). It was recently printed with extensive notes and annotations by Rav Avraham Shoshana (Ofeq Institute, Cleveland Ohio, 1997).


(a) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ - one of the later Ba'alei ha'Tosfos, his commentary was compiled and published by his students (who include the Mordechai), which explains why he is often quoted by name in "his" Tosfos. Rabeinu Peretz was a student of Rabeinu Yechiel of Paris and Rav Meir of Rotenberg. [In many Masechtos, the commentary abounds with diametrical errors in syntax (e.g. "Mutar" instead of "Asur"; "Shabbos" instead of "Yom Tov"), as Rav Moshe Herschler points out in his informative introduction to Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz on Bava Metzia. Most of these are corrected in the recent editions of his commentary.] When the RITVA cites from Tosfos, he often is referring to this commentary. The commentary on Pesachim was printed originally by Rav Shraga Wilman (New York, 1970), based on the Oxford Library manuscript. The Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz for the last Perek of Pesachim, Arvei Pesachim, is included in the Mordechai at the end of Pesachim.

(b) TOSFOS HA'RASHBA - Rabeinu Shimshon of Shanz (1150-1230) or 'Ish Yerushalayim' (since he traveled to Yerushalayim in his older years) was a Talmid of the RI HA'ZAKEN, one of the primary Ba'alei ha'Tosfos. His commentary on Pesachim was published from manuscript with annotations by Rav Mordechai Yehudah Fromm and lengthier notes by the 'Aderes,' Hagaon Rav Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Te'umim, father in law of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, (Mosad ha'Gaon Aderes, Jerusalem, 1956) and reprinted in 1996 by Wagschal Publishing (Jerusalem). These Tosfos are often identical to the Tosfos printed in our Gemara.


1) PNEI YEHOSHUA - by Rav Yehoshua Yusha Falk of Krakow. One of the most basic commentaries on the Gemara, Rashi and Tosfos, it was once the accepted practice for Yeshiva students to learn the Pnei Yehoshua from cover to cover while learning a Maseches.

2) TZELACH - (an acronym for TZIYUN L'NEFESH CHAYAH, after the name of his mother) - by the renowned Rav Yechezkel Landau of Prague, author of the two volume collection of responsa Noda b'Yehudah (which he named after his father). An in-depth commentary on the entire Maseches, this work includes many Pipulim on the rulings of the Rambam.

3) REBBI AKIVA EIGER - a Daf by Daf anthology culled from all of the writings of this Torah giant was published in Zichron Yakov, 1983.

4) CHASAM SOFER - Harav Moshe Sofer of Frankfurt, son-in-law of Rebbi Akiva Eiger and student of Rav Nasan Adler and Rav Pinchas Horowitz (the Hafla'ah). A prolific writer, his legacy includes at least 7 volumes of responsa, Chidushim on much of Shas, Drashos, Chidushim on the Torah (2 different sets) and on Shulchan Aruch -- all of which are considered to be basic and necessary works in their field. His Chidushim on Shas were published by Machon Chasam Sofer (1993).

5) SEFAS EMES - short and beautiful insights by the second Gerer Rebbe, grandson of the Chidushei ha'Rim, the first Gerer Rebbe.

6) MENACHEM MESHIV NEFESH - short comments pertaining to the literal meaning of the Gemara and Rashi, including many important Girsa corrections in Rashi, meant for those learning the Maseches quickly -- on Berachos and Seder Mo'ed. His comments on Maseches Pesachim are particularly helpful.

7) OR CHADASH - Rav Eliezer Kalir, grandson of the "Panim Me'iros." Pilpulim and Chidushim on Maseches Pesachim.

8) KOVETZ SHI'URIM - by Rav Elchonon Wasserman, zt'l. Rav Elchonon's Shi'urim on a number of Masechtos, including Pesachim, were compiled by his son, Rav Simcha Wasserman, zt'l. Rav Elchonon was the Rosh Yeshivah in Baranovitch. He and his students were murdered in the Holocaust, Hashem Yikom Damam.

9) CHAZON ISH - His deeply thought out comments had an important impact on the present day Halachic practice.

10) CHIDUSHEI REBBI SHMUEL - by Rav Shmuel Rozovsky, zt'l, student of Rav Shimon Shkop, and Rosh Yeshivah of Ponovezh. His shi'urim on Pesachim and numerous other Masechtos were compiled by his students.


1) YAD DAVID - references and comments on many Masechtos by Rav David Zintzheim, the "Rosh Sanhedrin" of Napoleonic times. Aside from the volume on Pesachim published by Mechon Yerushalayim from manuscript as part of their set, two volumes of his were previously printed on this Maseches. (These are, unfortunately, currently unavailable.)

2) GILYONEI HA'SHAS - by Rav Yosef Engel, author of "Asvan d'Oraisa." Mostly a collection of references to, and quotes from, the writings of the Rishonim in their responsa and other early works, with additional insights and enlightening references by the author.

3) HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM - by Rav Shalom Mordechai Shwadron, Rav of Brezhan, Galitzia (grandfather of the late "Yerushalayimer Magid," Rav Shalom Shwadron, who published most of his grandfather's works). References to Acharonim that deal with the Maseches, and short insightful notes of his own, on much of Seder Moed but mostly on Pesachim. Includes many comments by Rav Moshe Yisrael Feldman. his Talmid, who originally published the work in 1932.

4) MESILOS HA'BARZEL - by Rav Nisan Shabsai Hailper, listing sources in the Rishonim and Achronim that deal with the various Sugyos in the Gemara.

5) "SHITAH MEKUBETZES" - by Hagaon Rav Yehudah "Grodner" Gershuni, Shlita. A comprehensive work on the Maseches, Rav Gershuni's "Shitah" is a collection of full citations from a broad spectrum of commentators, both those who wrote on the Daf and those whose comments appear in their works on the Rambam, in responsa, or elsewhere. An invaluable research tool which truly opens up the Maseches.

6) DEVAR SHMUEL - by Rav Shmuel Baruch Eliezrav of Yerushalayim, who was a Rosh Yeshiva in the Presburger Yeshiva, printed in Yerushalayim, 1978 (and later with a Mahadura Basra in back). This outstanding work, which culls from every other work on the Maseches up to contemporary times and includes the author's own enlightening insights as well, touches upon nearly every point in the Maseches that requires clarification. Since its publication, this volume has been the companion of many a student while learning Maseches Pesachim.

7) OR HA'YASHAR - important and interesting references on every Daf of the Shas (and on Tanach and Mishnayos as well) by Rav Shmuel Hilman.

8) CHADASHIM GAM YESHANIM - by Rav Yonasan Steif, the Av Bet Din in Budapest and, later, the Viener Rav of Williamsburg, N.Y.

10) YISA BERACHAH - a unique work on Pesachim by Rav Avraham Yehoshua Blum of Brooklyn NY, this recently published three volume collection is an extremely useful quick reference on the Maseches. Through his short notes on Gemara and Rashi and Tosfos, the author invariably provides concise, informative and enlightening insights and references on every Sugya of the Maseches, including elicudations of phrases from the Gemara Rashi or Tosfos where necessary.

11) KOLLEL IYUN HADAF - invaluable "Insights to the Daf" touching on many of the questions one is likely to ask on Gemara and Rashi, as well as Halachic clarifications and in-depth discussions on issues of the Maseches, helpful "Charts" for learning the Daf, "Background to the Daf" with its translations, Girsa notes, and introductions to concepts discussed on the Daf, "Review Questions and Answers," and now also "Outlines of the Daf" (beginning from the seventh Perek, Daf 74a) and "Hebrew Review Notes on the Daf.". All of the Kollel's material is available through e-mail request (DAF@DAFYOMI.CO.IL) or from out archive site (


1) ROSH YOSEF - by Rav Yosef Tumim, author of the "Pri Megadim"

2) MEKOR CHAYIM - by the author of the Nesivos ha'Mishpat, on the laws of Chametz and Matzah (mostly relevant to the first Perek). The Mekor Chayim is often printed together with the works of two other prolific Mechabrim on the laws of Chametz: MAGEN HA'ELEF (Hagaon Rav Aryeh Leib Tzintz, of Palatzk) and SAR HA'ELEF (Hagaon Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz).

3) MIKRA'EI KODESH - enlightening in-depth analyses of various aspects of Pesach, based on discussions which Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (former chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim) held with the other Gedolei Torah of Yerushalayim of his day. Two volumes (one on Chametz & Matzah; one on the Seder), published in Yerushalayim by Mechon Harav Frank with notes by Rav Frank's grandson, Harav Yosef Cohen.

4) HALACHAH BERURAH/BIRUR HALACHAH - this 2 volume set includes a full text of the Gemara with citations from the pertinent Halachos of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch in the margins ("Halachah Berurah," organized for print by Hagaon Rav Avraham Yitzchak ha'Kohen Kook zt'l), followed by in-depth discussions of the Halachic ramifications of each Sugya ("Birur Halachah"), prepared by Rav Kook'sstudents.

5) PESACH K'HILCHASO - a collection of the laws of Pesach by Rav Meir Meizlish

6) HALACHOS OF PESACH (English) - Rabbi Shimon D. Eider (Lakewood, NJ, 1985), with Hebrew footnotes.

7) HA'SEDER HA'ARUCH - by Rav Moshe Yakov Weingarten of Kiryat Moshe, Yerushalayim (1990), Shlita. Although many volumes have been written about the laws and customs of the Pesach Seder (Perek Arvei Pesachim), these three encyclopedic volumes provide a broad overview of what has been written on these subjects. The first volume, a comprehensive Halachic compilation, discusses the various opinions of the Poskim with regard to every aspect of the Pesach Seder. The second volume collects sources for the many unique Seder practices, while the third is a running commentary on the Hagadah.

b'Hatzlachah, and l'Hitra'ot in Maseches Pesachim!

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