Daf Yomi

For the week ending 27 July 2013 / 19 Av 5773

Pesachim 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Thick matzot, thick dough and decoratively shaped matzot
  • Status of pan-baked bread or matzah
  • The status of ma’aser sheini (second tithe) in regard to mitzvot of challah, matzah and etrog
  • Can challah of ma’aser sheini qualify as matzah for the mitzvah of the kohen?
  • The problem of challah of the korban todah (thanksgiving sacrifice) qualifying for the mitzvah of matzah
  • Which bitter herbs qualify for the mitzvah of maror
  • An analysis of what sort of bitterness the Torah meant with the word maror
  • The condition of the maror which can disqualify it for the mitzvah
  • Soaking or boiling grain and which grain products cannot become chametz
  • At which stage must guarding against chametz begin
  • The grain of the sunken ship
  • Flour into vinegary sauce or mustard
  • Broiling and boiling the flesh of the korban pesach
  • Is a general prohibition or an implied one punishable by lashes
  • The proper water, conditions and precautions for baking matzah
  • Chametz mixtures and inedible chametz
  • Obligation of women in regard to eating matzah and avoiding chametz

The Maror Mystery

  • Pesachim 39a

When our ancestors in Egypt were commanded (Shmot 12:8) to eat the meat of the korban pesach together with matzah and maror (bitterness), no details were given about the nature of the bitterness. Rabbi Rachumi therefore asked the Sage Abaye how we know that the intention was bitter herbs. He even suggested the following things which are bitter, only to have Abaye explain why they did not qualify:

1) The bile of a fish – Since the Torah mentioned matzah and maror in the same passage, there is a suggested equation. Just as matzah is made from something that grows from the earth, so must maror be something that grows from the earth.

2) Hirduf - the bitter wood of a tree (which Moshe used {Shmot 15:25} in miraculous fashion to make the bitter waters of Marah drinkable for his people.)

Just as matzah is made from grain that must be repeatedly planted, so must maror be from vegetables, not trees.

3) Harzifa- a vegetable which is poisonous for animals.

Just as matzah is edible food that can be purchased in Yerushalayim with the funds that redeemed ma’aser sheini (second tithe), so must maror be something that can be purchased from these funds and harzifa is not something which people eat.

Tosefot points out that in regard to the above species which is poisonous to animals, the gemara could also have disqualified it for use as fulfillment of the mitzvah for the same reason the gemara (Mesechta Succah 32b) disqualifies it for use as one of the four species we are commanded to take on Succot – that “the ways of Torah are pleasant” and would not require us to use something of a poisonous nature.

What the Sages Say

“Although the mishna lists a number of bitter herbs which qualify for the mitzvah of eating maror on Pesach eve, the preferred species is chazeret (Romaine lettuce).”

  • Rabbi Oshia

Chazeret is what we call chassa, and it is thus called because it recalls that G-d was chass (had mercy) on us and took us out of Egyptian bondage.”

  • The Sage Rava

Pesachim 39a

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