For the week ending 12 March 2005 / 1 Adar II 5765

Berachot 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Recital of evening Shma after midnight
  • Eating of Pesach sacrifice and Exodus from Egypt
  • Recital of Shma in the morning
  • Respect for kings
  • Number of Psalms
  • Rabbi Meir and the ruffians
  • King Chizkiyahu and the Prophet Yeshayahu
  • Hospitality for a prophet
  • Posture for Shma recital
  • Blessings before and after Shma
  • Blessings before Torah study
  • Ten Commandments as part of prayers
  • Additions to prayer in Ten Days of Atonement
  • Recallling Exodus in the evening
  • Order of Shma chapters and concentration on recital
  • Tefillin and Shma
  • Proper recital of Shma and blessings

Matza After Midnight

Till when can one fulfill the mitzvah of eating matza on the first night of Pesach?

It all depends on the meaning of "haste" used by the Torah (Shmot 12:11) in discussing the eating of the meat of the korban Pesach. The view of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah is that it refers to the haste with which the Egyptians urged their Hebrew slaves to leave the country. Since this took place at midnight when they were struck by the plague of their first-born, it is midnight which serves as the cutoff point for eating this sacrificial meat. Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, contends that it refers to the haste with which our ancestors actually left Egypt which, by Divine command, took place the next morning. His ruling, therefore, is that the sacrificial meat may be consumed until daybreak.

The Sage Rava (Mesechta Pesachim 120b) points out that the Torah linked the time frame for eating matza with that of the sacrificial meat. It then follows that according to the first opinion one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of matza after midnight, while according to the second one the cutoff point is daybreak.

There is a difference of opinion amongst the early halachic authorities in regard to which of these two positions to follow. The conclusion of the later authorities (Mishneh Berura 477:6) is that every effort must be made to eat the required matza before midnight. Should an emergency prevent one from eating till after midnight, he should still eat matza but not make the special blessing we say for eating matza that night because he may indeed be not fulfilling the mitzvah according to Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah.

  • Berachot 9a

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