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Vol 37.03 - Yomim Acharonim d'Chag HaPesach             

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Rambam Hil Shabbat Chap 29

 

Summary:

"We do not recite the blessing Shehecheyanu on the Seventh day of Pesach (Shvi’i Shel Pesach), because it is not a holiday in its own right, and we have already recited the (Shehecheyanu) blessing (for the holiday (zman)) at the beginning of the Pesach (festival)" (Rambam Hil. Shabbat 29:23).

Debate in the nature of the  Shehecheyanu blessing on festivals and the difference to the aspect of Shvi’i Shel Pesach.

Precise wording of the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch (490:2) and the difference to his words (ibid 6) to the aspect of reciting Hallel on the last days of Pesach.

The supposition of reciting Hallel on the last days of Pesach because of the miracle of the Splitting of the Red Sea.

Translation:

Rambam writes:

“On the night of every festival and on the night of Yom Kippur, we recite the blessing Shehecheyanu. We do not recite the blessing Shehecheyanu on the seventh day of Pesach, because it is not a festival in its own right, and we have already recited the blessing on the occasion (Shehecheyanu/zman) at the beginning of the Pesach festival.”

We need to understand:

Why does Rambam elaborate on the reason on the reason that we do not make Shehecheyanu on the seventh day of Pesach. For seemingly the reason “it is not a festival in its own right” is sufficient. Therefore, why does he also add the reason:

“and we have already recited the Shehecheyanu blessing at the beginning of the Pesach festival.”?

One could say - that he is teaching us that if a person did not make the blessing during the entire festival of Pesach, he can make a blessing on the last day of Pesach.

 However, one could say that Rambam is stating a greater innovation:

We can understand this by prefacing that we find a similar question in the wording of the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch (Hil. Pesach 490:12) where he writes:

“We do not say Shehecheyanu in the Kiddush on (last) two nights since we have already recited it (the blessing) on the first two night of Pesach”

In other words, he does not cite at all (the beginning words of Rambam) that the Seventh day of Pesach is “not a festival in its own right”. Rather, he just writes that (like the conclusion of Rambam): “We have already recited the blessing on the first two nights of Pesach”

[And it is even more puzzling. For the Magen Avrohom writes there (albeit concisely) that “it is not a festival in its own right” (Note: and the Alter Rebbe generally follows the opinion of the Magen Avrohom). Yet the Alter Rebbe omits this aspect and instead writes that “we already recited it”!]

 One could additionally say:

In a prior paragraph in this same chapter of Shulchan Aruch (ibid 6), the Alter Rebbe explains the reason for reciting Hallel only on the: “First two days (Yomim Tovim) of Pesach not on Chol HaMo’ed or the last says of Pesach”

He writes that the reason is because:

“On Pesach all the offerings (korbanot) of the festival (days) are equal to the offerings of the first Yom Tov, therefore they are all secondary to the first Yom Tov. And none of them are considered a festival in its own right. And we did not enact the reciting of Hallel except periodically, in other words on festivals which come from time to time. And they enacted reciting it at the start of the festival.”

According to this it is puzzling:

Why does the Alter Rebbe write, concerning the Shehecheyanu blessing, that the reason for not reciting it is because: “We have already recited it”?

For, the reason (that he previously cited) that we do not say Hallel on Chol HaMo’ed and the last days, since they are not:

 “considered a festival in its own right. And we did not enact the reciting of Hallel except periodically . . and at the start of the festival.”

is just as strong (a reason) regarding the reciting of the Shehecheyanu (which is (also) only on the festivals that “come from time to time”, and where we recite the blessing only at the “start of the festival”?

 

2. One could say that there is a real innovation in this addition (of the Alter Rebbe that “we have already recited the blessing”) and it can be explained by prefacing the nature of the Shehecheyanu blessing on the occasion (zman) of the festivals, for it can be explained in two ways:

  1. The obligation to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing (on the festival) is like the Shehecheyanu blessing on Mitzvot which are periodical or like on a fruit that grows (renews) periodically etc., where the reason that we recite the blessing is because of newness of the thing. We can say the same in our case, namely that the blessing on a festival is due to the “newness” of the occurrence of this special time.

 

  1. The Shehecheyanu blessing on the festival applies to the entire period of the festival. For, in addition to the Mitzvot that we are obligated to perform on each festival, there is an obligation to bless the actual occurrence of the festival, (in other words, not just because of the “newness” but because of the actual period of the festival, itself)

The difference between these two ways, concerns the "making up” (tashlumin) of the blessing (if one omitted reciting it),

Which is according to the halachic ruling (in Magen Avrohom and also and in the Alter Rebbe‘s Shulchan Aruch)

that if “one did not recite the Shehecheyanu blessing on the first night, he can recite the blessing on all seven days”.

For the boundary of "making up” the blessing is dependent on these two aforementioned ways:

  • According to first way, that the blessing on festival is because of the “newness” of the occurrence of this special time, the onset of the obligation for this blessing is on the first night of the festival, at the time when the festival arrives.

 (and this is the intent of blessing on the time of the arrival (haga’at) of the festival)

And if one did not make blessing then, he can make up for it all seven says of festival.

  • However, according to the second way, the blessing is applicable at every moment of the duration of the festival. In other words, each and every second has the obligation of this blessing. It is just that the blessing of first night exempts the (other days of the) entire festival. Accordingly, even if one were to recite the blessing on other days of the festival, the definition is not that he is “making it up”, but rather that the whole festival is the “time” (to recite the blessing)

 [And the difference in halacha is–

like the Tzafnat Paneach writes concerning Mitzvot that have a duration (zman nimshach)

that one must determine:

  • “whether we say that his obligation is immediate (at the onset). Yet he is allowed to “make it up” in the duration,

 

  • or whether from the start, the halacha (din) is that one can make this blessing at any time of the duration [and it is not considered “making it up”]

The difference in these two viewpoints is in a situation where one became unable or prevented (onais) from reciting the blessing, after the festival started, but then recites it later.

  • Do we consider it a “make up (tashlumin) or has he transgressed, since the time for the blessing has passed” (Since at the onset of the obligation he was able to recite the blessing) (Note: He could have made the blessing at the beginning of the festival, but did not, and afterwards became an onais)

 

  • Or do we say that the entire duration is considered the time to perform the Mitzvah, and he has not transgressed, since he was unable (onais) at the time of the obligation.

3. According to the above, one can explain the reason for the additional wording of Rambam for not reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh day of Pesach (“because it is not a festival in its own right”) and “we have already recited the blessing at the beginning of Pesach.”

The reason that we do not make the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh day of Pesach, due to its not being a festival in its own right, can be explained in two ways. And this is in conjunction with the aforementioned two ways (mentioned in Par. 2):

  1. Since it is not festival in its own right but rather, a continuation of the first days, at the very onset, there is no obligation to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing, since there is nothing “new” (chidush). For we have not encountered (higianu) a new festival.
  2. In reality, there is an obligation to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh day of Pesach, because every minute of the festival contains an obligation to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing, However, since the Seventh day of Pesach is not a festival in its own right, therefore the blessing that he recited at the beginning of the festival exempts his obligation.

One could say that this is the intent of Rambam (and similarly the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch) with the words:

regarding not reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh day of Pesach, that:

 “We have already recited the blessing on the occasion at the beginning of the Pesach festival.”

In other words, in reality, there is an obligation to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing, even on the Seventh day of Pesach (like the aforementioned second manner). However, this obligation is exempted with the blessing that was recited “at the beginning of the Pesach festival” (since it is not festival in its own right).

Accordingly, one can also explain why the Alter Rebbe omitted (the beginning words of Rambam) that: “it is not festival in its own right” and only writes “we have already recited the blessing on the first two night of Pesach”:

If the Alter Rebbe would have written that the Seventh day of Pesach is not festival in its own right, it would have given room to mistake that the Alter Rebbe’s intent is similar to the reasoning that he writes, before this,

concerning the non-recital of Hallel on Chol HaMo’ed and the last Yom Tov days of Pesach. Namely, that they are:

 “all secondary to the first Yom Tov and not one of them is considered as a holiday in its own right. Therefore, we did not enact the reciting of Hallel except periodically, in other words on festivals which come from time to time. And they enacted reciting it at the start of the festival.”

That the same applies to the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh day of Pesach. Namely, that they enacted reciting the blessing only it at the “start of the festival.” (when the festival arrives). And after that, there is no obligation, at all:

Therefore, the Alter Rebbe omitted the words: “is not festival in its own right” to better emphasize the difference between the non-recital of Hallel

 (on Chol HaMo’ed and the last Yom Tov days of Pesach)

and the non-recital of the Shehecheyanu blessing on the Seventh and last day of Pesach, because they are two different concepts (gedarim). And the reason we do not then recite the Shehecheyanu blessing is because it has been exempted with the blessing that he recited on the first nights of the festival.

4. And there is place to examine this:

For this explanation in the nature of the Shehecheyanu blessing

 (that its obligation is the entire duration of the festival but it has been exempted with the blessing that he recited at the start of the festival)

 does not only apply to the Seventh (and last day) of Pesach, but also to Chol HaMo’ed.

And if so, one needs to examine Rambam’s (and the Alter Rebbe‘s) innovation in specifying just the Seventh (and last day) of Pesach.

And even though this is not a real question (kushia gemurah),

for it is not the manner of Rambam (nor the Alter Rebbe) to write new laws (denim) that do not have a source in the Talmud and codifiers who preceded him. And also in our case, Rambam does not write this law explicitly, but only hints to it in his precise (tzachot) words regarding the reason on reciting Shehecheyanu on the Seventh day of Pesach -

nevertheless, according to the well-known great precision of Rambam (and the Alter Rebbe in his golden Shulchan Aruch), one could say that there is a precise reason (diyuk) that this innovation is alluded to specifically regarding the Seventh (and last day) of Pesach.

And the gist is:

Concerning the Seventh (and last day) of Pesach there is a supposition that it is not exempted by the Shehecheyanu blessing that is recited at the start of the festival (even though it is not a festival in its own right). Therefore, Rambam (and the Alter Rebbe) needed to stress, that even then (on those days), we say that the blessing, that was recited at the start of the festival, exempts the obligation that occurs on the last days of festival.

5. The explanation is:

The festival of the Seventh day of Pesach is connected to the miracle of the Splitting of the Red Sea,

[and that is why we read on the Seventh day of Pesach, the Song of the Sea (Shirat HaYam – Oz Yashir)

For in this miracle there are two aspects:

  1. It is the culmination and completion of exodus of Egypt.

 (because then “Yisroel saw the Egyptians perish at the edge of the sea”)

 And as it states in the Tosefta, “One must recall (in the prayer “Emes v’Yatziv”) the exodus of Egypt etc. and the Splitting of the Red Sea because the “culmination of the redemption was at the Splitting of the Red Sea”

[And one could say that this is the reason that the Seventh day of Pesach not a “festival in its own right” since its whole aspect is the culmination and completion of the exodus from Egypt]

  1. In this miracle, there is a portent to the future redemption.

 

 (for then “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth” – which is similar to the death of the Egyptians which was in a manner of “there remained not one (person alive)”

This is one of the reasons that the Song of the Sea has contained within it prophesies regarding the Third Beit HaMikdash that will be built through G-d Himself,

as it states the: “Sanctuary of G-d , the work of Your hands” which is the time when: “G-d will rule forever”,

since at that time Yisroel merited the true and complete redemption. And more so, at the very beginning of the song – “Oz Yashir Moshe” (“will sing” - in the future tense) - it alludes to the aspect of the Resurrection of the Dead (Techiyas haMeisim).

[And this aspect of the future redemption is more emphasized on the “second festival day in the Diaspora” (Yom tov Sheni Shel Galuyot) (of the Seventh day of Pesach) which is – Acharon Shel Pesach (the last day of Pesach). For the main elaboration of that day is on the subject of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. As it states: “And there shall come forth a shoot from the stem of Yishai etc”]

Concerning the connection of the future redemption to the exodus of Egypt we find two aspects:

  1. The future redemption will be incomparably greater than the redemption of Mitzrayim. So much so that it will be considered an innovation compared to the redemption of Mitzrayim

 

  1. On the other hand, it is known, that all the redemptions, even the future redemption, is rooted in redemption of Mitzrayim. For that was the “opening of the conduit” in the aspect of redemption. And one could say that this is one of the reasons in Halacha that we will (continue to) mention the exodus of Egypt also in the era of Moshiach. Because even that Geulah comes about from the power of the exodus of Egypt.

According to this, one could say there is a place to posit that there should be a special obligation of the Shehecheyanu blessing, in its own right, on the last days of Pesach, because of the innovation (chidush) in the future redemption, which is completely above the redemption of Mitzrayim, which cannot be incorporated in the blessing that is recited at the start of the festival

Yet one cannot recite a blessing on the future redemption because the Shehecheyanu blessing is only when one is very happy (Simchat leivav) from something that actually exists and is in its time (b’mezuman). And we are still before the future redemption.

And on the contrary, the mention of the future redemption causes great pain, for all the appointed times have passed and it still has not come. Therefore, it is certainly impossible to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing on it

And this is the innovation in the words of Rambam and the Alter Rebbe, that the Shehecheyanu blessing of the first Yom Tov of the festival includes and exempts the Shehecheyanu blessing of the last Yom Tov days. For even though there is a great advantage to the last days of the festival, since they are connected to the future redemption. Nevertheless as long as it has not arrived in actuality, what one feels now is only the aspect of redemption that has come about through the exodus of Egypt

 (For the power for the future redemption has already been drawn down in actuality from the redemption from Egypt).

And because of this aspect, the Shehecheyanu blessing at the start of the festival really can also include the Shehecheyanu blessing of the last Yom Tov days.

mSichas Acharin Shel Pesach 5723, 5734

Shvi’i Shel Pesach 5749

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