Vol 24.08 - Eikev 1 Spanish French Audio Video
(5741) Wording of the Alter Rebbe in the beginning of Seder Bircat HaNehenin and the differences from his wording in
Shulchan Aruch ( O.C 167:1) and Rambam (Hil. Brachot 1:1)
1. in the beginning of Seder Birkat HaNehenin (the order of blessings of enjoyment), the Alter Rebbe writes:
“It is a Positive Commandment from the Torah to recite a blessing after eating Mazon (sustaining food) as it states, ‘you shall eat and be satisfied and bless G-d’”.
This very wording, which the Alter Rebbe also cites in his Shulchan Aruch, is taken from Rambam (beginning of Hilchot Berachot).
However, there are differences in the wording of the Alter Rebbe (in his aforementioned Sefer) compared to Rambam’s wording. Moreover, there are also differences between the wording in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch compared to his wording in Seder Birkat HaNehenin:
“It is a Positive Commandment. . to bless after eating satisfying food etc.”
In Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe adds:
“(It is a Positive Commandment. . to bless) G-d etc.”
"(You shall bless G-d), your L-rd" (אלקיך)
Whereas the Alter Rebbe alludes to the conclusion of the verse, with the word,
“Etc. /v’Gomer” (וגומר).
Moreover, in Seder Birkat HaNehenin he just states,
"You shall bless G-d” (without the word “Etc. /v’Gomer”)
This preciseness of this (difference with regard to “Etc. /v’Gomer”) is even more blatant:
In the conclusion of the subchapter (seif/סעיף) both in Shulchan Aruch as well as in Seder Birkat HaNehenin, the Alter Rebbe states:
“One who benefits from this world without reciting a blessing is like one who benefits from consecrated articles, as it is written: ‘The land and the fullness thereof are the L-rd's’”.
In this law, there is a difference in the opposite manner:
Although, it appears that these are seemingly minor differences, nevertheless, knowing how precise the wording of Rambam and the Alter Rebbe is, and especially in our case where the Alter Rebbe changes the wording that he cites from Rambam,
and similarly how the Alter Rebbe changes from his own wording in his Shulchan Aruch,
it is certain that these changes, are with intent.
2. The first difference between the wording of Rambam and the Alter Rebbe’s wording in Shulchan Aruch can be explained:
Rambam states, “to bless” (plainly) without stating, “G-d” (את ה׳). For in the “heading” (כותרת) of Hilchot Berachot, Rambam states:
“It contains one Positive Mitzvah: To bless the Great and Holy Name after eating”. (לברך את השם הגדול והקדוש אחר אכילה)
Therefore, Rambam does not need to repeat and state, “you shall bless G-d” in the body of the Halacha.
(Especially since this is the first Halacha of Hilchot Berachot, which comes immediately after the aforementioned, “heading”).
Whereas in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, where there is not such a preface, he states in the Halacha that the Positive Commandment is “you shall bless G-d”.
One must however understand:
Why must the (Rambam (in the heading) and the) Alter Rebbe, in general, forewarn that,
“It is a “Positive Commandment . . to bless G-d” ?
This is expressly stated in the verse (which they cite here) “you shall bless G-d”?
On the other hand, if one must indeed forewarn this, it is difficult (as aforementioned Par. 1) – why does the Alter Rebbe omit this in Seder Birkat HaNehenin?
3. One can understand this according to an explanation of the difference between the purpose of the composition of (Rambam and) the Shulchan Aruch – versus that of Seder Birkat HaNehenin:
“A compilation of the entire Oral Law” –
including even the Halachot which are not observed in this time. Whereas, the Shulchan Aruch just contains the Halachot, which are observed in our time.
The common point between them, however, is that they are a collection of Halachot.
(As we see, for example, in the “Hilchot Netilat Shacharit” and “Hilchot Tzitzit”, etc. from which the Alter Rebbe selected (אויסגעקליבן) to put into the Siddur).
In other words, the Halachot of Seder Birkat HaNehenin were written (not in a manner of study of the knowledge of Halachot, but rather) in a manner of “practical directives” (הוראות למעשה בפועל).
4. One of the differences that result from this, between the wording of the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch and the wording of Seder Birkat HaNehenin (and the Halachot in the Siddur, in general) is:
However, it is not so necessary that the precise wording should forewarn what one may derive (ארויסדרינגען) from this, with regard to another conduct – with regard to another Halacha.
According to this, one can understand why in Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe precisely writes and adds,
“(To bless) G-d”,
whereas in Seder Birkat HaNehenin he omits this.
There is a principle (כלל) that the word “Et/ את“, in the Written Torah
(However, this is not so, at all, in the Oral Torah).
alludes to an “inclusion” (ריבוי).
This is like the teaching from the verse, “You shall fear the L-rd, your G-d” (את ה' אלקיך תירא) which comes “to include fearing Talmidei Chachamim (Torah Sages)”.
Similarly, in our verse,
“And you will eat . . and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d” (ואכלת גו׳ וברכת את ה״א),
the word “Et/ את“refers to an inclusion, as it states in the Rishonim:
“And you shall bless – this includes blessing the master of the house (בעה״ב).
Therefore, the Halacha is that,
“A guest should recite grace (מברך ברכת המזון), so that he will bless the host.”
Therefore, the Alter Rebbe, in his Shulchan Aruch, must precisely write,
“It is a Positive Commandment from the Torah to bless G-d’”,
to negate an error. Namely, one should not think that “the Positive Commandment from the Torah” also includes the blessing to the host (which is derived from the word “Et/ את“, as aforementioned).
Whereas in Seder Birkat HaNehenin, where it is important (וויכטיק) (solely) to clearly convey the proper conduct at the time, it is not fitting to add the words, “to bless G-d”, for it expressly states in the Siddur, “you shall bless G-d, your L-rd”.
In addition, it is self-understood that Birkat HaMazon is recited to G-d (and for this, he cites, immediately afterward, in Seder Birkat HaNehenin the verse “you shall bless G-d”).
Moreover, to add:
In Seder Birkat HaNehenin the law that the,
“Guest should recite grace so that he will bless the host.”
is not cited.
Therefore, one does not need to forewarn in Seder Birkat HaNehenin, the aforementioned error (that the Positive Commandment from the Torah, does not include the blessing to the host)
Which is not so in (Rambam and in) the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, where it is indeed cited.
5. Another difference between the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch and Seder Birkat HaNehenin which arises from the aforementioned difference (Par. 3) – is in the aspect of the reasons for the Halachot (טעמי הלכות):
The innovation of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch (as opposed to the Shulchan Aruch of the Beit Yosef) is that the Alter Rebbe states the “matter with its reason” (מילתא בטעמא), “Halachot with their reasoning”. Whereas, the Halachot in the Siddur are just rulings of conduct with regard to actual practice (פסקי הנהגות בנוגע למעשה בפועל).
Moreover, although even in the Siddur, it cites, many times, the reasons for the Halachot (albeit concisely) - there is difference between the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch and his Siddur:
The Alter Rebbe inserted the reasons for the Halachot in the Shulchan Aruch in order that it not be like those who “erode the world” (מבלי עולם),
(Note: with mistaken rulings, since they do not know the reasons of the Mishnah)
due to one’s knowledge of Torah, which is to know “Halachot with their reason (concisely)”.
Whereas in the Siddur (and similarly in Seder Birkat HaNehenin) whose aspect is rulings of practical conduct, the reasons which are cited there (are not for the purpose of knowing the reasons, but) to clearly know how to practically conduct oneself. To make the conduct, “tastier” (געשמאקער) – with more Kavana/intent, and vitality etc. (געשמאקער מיט מער כוונה, חיות וכו׳). This is as we see, in many places, where the reason for the Halacha, is cited (concisely).
6. According to this, one can also understand the second difference (above, in Par. 1) between the wording of the Shulchan Aruch and the wording of Seder Birkat HaNehenin:
In Shulchan Aruch, where the Alter Rebbe cites the reason for the Halachot for the purpose of knowledge (as aforementioned), he also brings (in many places) the verses from which the Halachot are derived.
Similarly, in our case, the Alter Rebbe cites the verse for the Positive Commandment from the Torah to bless after eating Mazon –
“And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd”.
Therefore, the Alter Rebbe adds the word “Etc. /v’Gomer”. For in the knowledge of the study of Birkat HaMazon, “from the Torah”,
(not only are the words “you shall bless G-d”, but)
even the continuation of the verse, is important. (“And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d, for the good land He has given you”)
This is as the Alter Rebbe cites in his Shulchan Aruch, that from the words “for the good land”, in the verse, one derives, that from the Torah, Birkat HaMazon must include a blessing “for the Land and for the Mikdash” (Yerushalayim).
(Whereas in Rambam, where the aforementioned study (as Halacha) is not cited, it just states “and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d” – without the addition of “Etc. /v’Gomer”. For in this Halacha,
(the “Positive Commandment . . to bless after eating satiating food“),
only the words, “and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d” are necessary).
However, in (the Siddur, including) Seder Birkat HaNehenin, where the reasons come solely to clarify the (Halacha) conduct, it is not necessary to cite the verses.
Nevertheless, the Alter Rebbe cites the verse, in this case. For the verse conveys the scope (which arises from the reason) of the Halacha. An additional understanding, intent and vitality (תוספת הבנה, כוונה און געשמאק) in the conduct.
The scope (and reason) of Birkat HaMazon is,
“And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d”:
Since one becomes satiated, one must bless (thank) G-d for this.
(This is a preface to the continuation of the subchapter (regarding all Birkat HaNehenin – blessings of enjoyment)
“All who benefit from this world . . is like one who benefits from consecrated articles”
Since one derives pleasure from a thing that belongs “to G-d”, one must bless Him for this.
(Similar to Birkat HaMazon, where the satiation obligates a blessing).
Therefore, he omits the word “Etc. /v’Gomer”. For in the scope of Birkat HaMazon, the continuation of the verse, is not applicable (נוגע), even not the word “your G-d” (אלקיך)
On the contrary:
Not only is “your G-d” (אלקיך) not necessary to know the scope of the blessing, but it comes to teach us concerning a type of blessing which is the opposite of Birkat HaMazon (and Birkat HaNehenin - blessings of enjoyment).
It states in the Tosefta that the word “your G-d” (אלקיך) – is a reference to the attribute of Divine Justice, from the word “your Judge” (דיינך).
This comes to teach us that,
“Just as one recites a blessing over the good that befalls him, one recites a blessing over the bad”, “in whatever judgment that He judges you, whether it is a positive measure of goodness or a measure of calamity”.
This is the opposite of Birkat HaMazon and Birkat HaNehenin which are recited on satiation (and pleasure) of the body.
(And the comparison to reciting a “blessing over the good” is just in that which “we accept bad tidings with the same joy with which we accept good tidings” (לקובלינהו בשמחה)).
7. According to the aforementioned general difference between the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch and Seder Birkat HaNehenin, one can also explain the difference between them, in the continuation of the subchapter that cites the verse,
“The land and the fullness thereof are the L-rd's” (as aforementioned Par. 1):
Although the forewarning of the possible error, that can arise, in another place, is possible in Shulchan Aruch and not (so much) possible in Seder Birkat HaNehenin (as aforementioned Par. 4). Nevertheless, regarding the forewarning of the Halacha and the conduct, when it is immediately applicable (על אתר) - the aspect is opposite:
In Seder Birkat HaNehenin which are practical rulings, there also comes an addition in the wording which forewarns, even something that is understood. This is to ensure (אבי) that the actual conduct should be carried out properly. (Whereas in Shulchan Aruch, the wording is concise, and it does not state something that is self-understood).
Therefore, the Alter Rebbe, in Seder Birkat HaNehenin, adds,
(after “The land and the fullness thereof are the L-rd's”)
the word, “Etc. /v’Gomer”.
This adds an explanation in the Halacha that,
“All who benefit from this world . . is like one who benefits from consecrated articles” (כל הנהנה מן העוה״ז כו׳)
(For everything belongs to G-d).
This means – (pleasure from) every thing in this world.
This aspect (that the entire world belongs to G-d) is delineated (מפורט), or said, in the continuation of the verse,
“The world and those who dwell therein” (תבל ויושבי בה)
“The land and the fullness thereof are the L-rd's” refers to Eretz Yisroel. In the continuation of the verse, it comes out that even “The world” – the entire world – “belongs to G-d”. Moreover – even “those who dwell therein” are “the L-rd's”.
Therefore, it is, “All who benefit from this world”. For even when the food belongs to another person, and even when it belongs to a non-Jew, it is nevertheless it is “like one who benefits from consecrated articles”. Therefore, each enjoyment must have a blessing that precedes it.
MSichas Chof-Dalet Tevet, and Motzai Shabbat Kodesh Va’eira 5739
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