Berakhot 20b:12ברכות כ׳ ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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20bכ׳ ב

ומן התפילין וחייבין בתפילה ובמזוזה ובברכת המזון:

and from phylacteries, but they are obligated in the mitzvot of prayer, mezuza, and Grace after Meals. The Gemara explains the rationale for these exemptions and obligations.

גמ׳ קריאת שמע פשיטא מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא הוא וכל מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא נשים פטורות

GEMARA With regard to the mishna’s statement that women are exempt from the recitation of Shema, the Gemara asks: That is obvious, as Shema is a time-bound, positive mitzva, and the halakhic principle is: Women are exempt from any time-bound, positive mitzva, i.e., any mitzva whose performance is only in effect at a particular time. Shema falls into that category as its recitation is restricted to the morning and the evening. Why then did the mishna need to mention it specifically?

מהו דתימא הואיל ואית בה מלכות שמים קמשמע לן:

The Gemara replies: Lest you say: Since Shema includes the acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven, perhaps women are obligated in its recitation despite the fact that it is a time-bound, positive mitzva. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that, nevertheless, women are exempt.

ומן התפלין: פשיטא מהו דתימא הואיל ואתקש למזוזה קמשמע לן:

We also learned in the mishna that women are exempt from phylacteries. The Gemara asks: That is obvious as well. The donning of phylacteries is only in effect at particular times; during the day but not at night, on weekdays but not on Shabbat or Festivals. The Gemara replies: Lest you say: Since the mitzva of phylacteries is juxtaposed in the Torah to the mitzva of mezuza, as it is written: “And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hands and they shall be frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:8), followed by: “And you shall write them upon the door posts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:9), just as women are obligated in the mitzva of mezuza, so too they are obligated in the mitzva of phylacteries. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that nevertheless, women are exempt.

וחייבין בתפלה: דרחמי נינהו מהו דתימא הואיל וכתיב בה ערב ובקר וצהרים כמצות עשה שהזמן גרמא דמי קמשמע לן:

We also learned in the mishna that women, slaves, and children are obligated in prayer. The Gemara explains that, although the mitzva of prayer is only in effect at particular times, which would lead to the conclusion that women are exempt, nevertheless, since prayer is supplication for mercy and women also require divine mercy, they are obligated. However, lest you say: Since regarding prayer it is written: “Evening and morning and afternoon I pray and cry aloud and He hears my voice” (Psalms 55:18), perhaps prayer should be considered a time-bound, positive mitzva and women would be exempt, the mishna teaches us that, fundamentally, the mitzva of prayer is not time-bound and, therefore, everyone is obligated.

ובמזוזה: פשיטא מהו דתימא הואיל ואתקש לתלמוד תורה קמשמע לן:

We also learned in the mishna that women are obligated in the mitzva of mezuza. The Gemara asks: That too is obvious. Why would they be exempt from fulfilling this obligation, it is a positive mitzva that is not time-bound? The Gemara replies: Lest you say: Since the mitzva of mezuza is juxtaposed in the Torah to the mitzva of Torah study (Deuteronomy 11:19–20), just as women are exempt from Torah study, so too they are exempt from the mitzva of mezuza. Therefore, the mishna explicitly teaches us that they are obligated.

ובברכת המזון: פשיטא מהו דתימא הואיל וכתיב בתת ה׳ לכם בערב בשר לאכל ולחם בבקר לשבע כמצות עשה שהזמן גרמא דמי קמשמע לן:

We also learned in the mishna that women are obligated to recite the Grace after Meals. The Gemara asks: That too is obvious. The Gemara replies: Lest you say: Since it is written: “When the Lord shall give you meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning to the full” (Exodus 16:8), one might conclude that the Torah established fixed times for the meals and, consequently, for the mitzva of Grace after Meals and, therefore, it is considered a time-bound, positive mitzva, exempting women from its recitation. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that women are obligated.

אמר רב אדא בר אהבה נשים חייבות בקדוש היום דבר תורה אמאי מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא הוא וכל מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא נשים פטורות אמר אביי מדרבנן

Rav Adda bar Ahava said: Women are obligated to recite the sanctification of the Shabbat day [kiddush]by Torah law. The Gemara asks: Why? Kiddush is a time-bound, positive mitzva, and women are exempt from all time-bound, positive mitzvot. Abaye said: Indeed, women are obligated to recite kiddush by rabbinic, but not by Torah law.

אמר ליה רבא והא דבר תורה קאמר ועוד כל מצות עשה נחייבינהו מדרבנן

Rava said to Abaye: There are two refutations to your explanation. First, Rav Adda bar Ahava said that women are obligated to recite kiddush by Torah law, and, furthermore, the very explanation is difficult to understand. If the Sages do indeed institute ordinances in these circumstances, let us obligate them to fulfill all time-bound, positive mitzvot by rabbinic law, even though they are exempt by Torah law.

אלא אמר רבא אמר קרא זכור ושמור כל שישנו בשמירה ישנו בזכירה והני נשי הואיל ואיתנהו בשמירה איתנהו בזכירה

Rather, Rava said: This has a unique explanation. In the Ten Commandments in the book of Exodus, the verse said: “Remember Shabbat and sanctify it” (Exodus 20:8), while in the book of Deuteronomy it is said: “Observe Shabbat and sanctify it” (Deuteronomy 5:12). From these two variants we can deduce that anyone included in the obligation to observe Shabbat by avoiding its desecration, is also included in the mitzva to remember Shabbat by reciting kiddush. Since these women are included in the mitzva to observe Shabbat, as there is no distinction between men and women in the obligation to observe prohibitions in general and to refrain from the desecration of Shabbat in particular, so too are they included in the mitzva of remembering Shabbat.

אמר ליה רבינא לרבא נשים בברכת המזון דאורייתא או דרבנן למאי נפקא מינה לאפוקי רבים ידי חובתן אי אמרת (בשלמא) דאורייתא אתי דאורייתא ומפיק דאורייתא אלא אי אמרת דרבנן הוי שאינו מחוייב בדבר וכל שאינו מחוייב בדבר אינו מוציא את הרבים ידי חובתן מאי

Ravina said to Rava: We learned in the mishna that women are obligated in the mitzva of Grace after Meals. However, are they obligated by Torah law or merely by rabbinic law? What difference does it make whether it is by Torah or rabbinic law? The difference is regarding her ability to fulfill the obligation of others when reciting the blessing on their behalf. Granted, if you say that their obligation is by Torah law, one whose obligation is by Torah law can come and fulfill the obligation of others who are obligated by Torah law. However, if you say that their obligation is by rabbinic law, then from the perspective of Torah law, women are considered to be one who is not obligated, and the general principle is that one who is not obligated to fulfill a particular mitzva cannot fulfill the obligations of the many in that mitzva. Therefore, it is important to know what is the resolution of this dilemma.

תא שמע באמת אמרו בן מברך לאביו ועבד מברך לרבו ואשה מברכת לבעלה אבל אמרו חכמים תבא מארה לאדם שאשתו ובניו מברכין לו

Come and hear from what was taught in a baraita: Actually they said that a son may recite a blessing on behalf of his father, and a slave may recite a blessing on behalf of his master, and a woman may recite a blessing on behalf of her husband, but the Sages said: May a curse come to a man who, due to his ignorance, requires his wife and children to recite a blessing on his behalf.

אי אמרת בשלמא דאורייתא אתי דאורייתא ומפיק דאורייתא אלא אי אמרת דרבנן אתי דרבנן ומפיק דאורייתא

From here we may infer: Granted, if you say that their obligation is by Torah law, one whose obligation is by Torah law can come and fulfill the obligation of others who are obligated by Torah law. However, if you say that their obligation is by rabbinic law, can one who is obligated by rabbinic law, come and fulfill the obligation of one whose obligation is by Torah law?

ולטעמיך קטן בר חיובא הוא אלא הכא במאי עסקינן כגון שאכל שיעורא דרבנן דאתי דרבנן ומפיק דרבנן:

The Gemara challenges this proof: And according to your reasoning, is a minor obligated by Torah law to perform mitzvot? Everyone agrees that a minor is exempt by Torah law, yet here the baraita said that he may recite a blessing on behalf of his father. There must be another way to explain the baraita. With what we are dealing here? With a case where his father ate a quantity of food that did not satisfy his hunger, a measure for which one is only obligated by rabbinic law to recite Grace after Meals. In that case, one whose obligation is by rabbinic law can come and fulfill the obligation of another whose obligation is by rabbinic law.

דרש רב עוירא זמנין אמר לה משמיה דרבי אמי וזמנין אמר לה משמיה דרבי אסי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם כתוב בתורתך אשר לא ישא פנים ולא יקח שחד והלא אתה נושא פנים לישראל דכתיב ישא ה׳ פניו אליך אמר להם וכי לא אשא פנים לישראל שכתבתי להם בתורה ואכלת ושבעת וברכת את ה׳ אלהיך והם מדקדקים [על] עצמם עד כזית ועד כביצה:

After citing the halakha that one who eats a quantity of food that does not satisfy his hunger is obligated by rabbinic law to recite Grace after Meals, the Gemara cites a related homiletic interpretation. Rav Avira taught, sometimes he said it in the name of Rabbi Ami, and sometimes he said it in the name of Rabbi Asi: The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, in Your Torah it is written: “The great, mighty and awesome God who favors no one and takes no bribe” (Deuteronomy 10:17), yet You, nevertheless, show favor to Israel, as it is written: “The Lord shall show favor to you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:26). He replied to them: And how can I not show favor to Israel, as I wrote for them in the Torah: “And you shall eat and be satisfied, and bless the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:10), meaning that there is no obligation to bless the Lord until one is satiated; yet they are exacting with themselves to recite Grace after Meals even if they have eaten as much as an olive-bulk or an egg-bulk. Since they go beyond the requirements of the law, they are worthy of favor.

מתני׳ בעל קרי מהרהר בלבו ואינו מברך לא לפניה ולא לאחריה ועל המזון מברך לאחריו ואינו מברך לפניו רבי יהודה אומר מברך לפניהם ולאחריהם:

MISHNA: Ezra the Scribe decreed that one who is ritually impure because of a seminal emission may not engage in matters of Torah until he has immersed in a ritual bath and purified himself. This halakha was accepted over the course of many generations; however, many disputes arose with regard to the Torah matters to which it applies. Regarding this, the mishna says: If the time for the recitation of Shema arrived and one is impure due to a seminal emission, he may contemplate Shema in his heart, but neither recites the blessings preceding Shema, nor the blessings following it. Over food which, after partaking, one is obligated by Torah law to recite a blessing, one recites a blessing afterward, but one does not recite a blessing beforehand, because the blessing recited prior to eating is a requirement by rabbinic law. And in all of these instances Rabbi Yehuda says: He recites a blessing beforehand and thereafter in both the case of Shema and in the case of food.

גמ׳ אמר רבינא זאת אומרת הרהור כדבור דמי דאי סלקא דעתך לאו כדבור דמי למה מהרהר

GEMARA: Ravina said: That is to say, from the mishna that contemplation is tantamount to speech. As if it would enter your mind that it is not tantamount to speech, then why does one who is impure because of a seminal emission contemplate? It must be that it is tantamount to speech.

אלא מאי הרהור כדבור דמי יוציא בשפתיו

The Gemara rejects this: But what are you saying, that contemplation is tantamount to speech? Then, if one who is impure because of a seminal emission is permitted to contemplate, why does he not utter the words with his lips?

כדאשכחן בסיני

The Gemara answers: As we found at Mount Sinai. There one who had sexual relations with a woman was required to immerse himself before receiving the Torah, which was spoken and not merely contemplated. Here, too, it was decreed that one who was impure due to a seminal emission may not recite matters of Torah out loud until he immerses himself.

ורב חסדא אמר הרהור לאו כדבור דמי דאי סלקא דעתך הרהור כדבור דמי יוציא בשפתיו

And Rav Ḥisda said that the opposite conclusion should be drawn from the mishna: Contemplation is not tantamount to speech, as if it would enter your mind that contemplation is tantamount to speech, then one who is impure because of a seminal emission should ab initio, utter Shema with his lips.

אלא מאי הרהור לאו כדבור דמי למה מהרהר אמר רבי אלעזר כדי שלא יהו כל העולם עוסקין בו והוא יושב ובטל

The Gemara challenges this argument: But what are you saying, that contemplation is not tantamount to speech? If so, why does he contemplate? Rabbi Elazar said: So that a situation will not arise where everyone is engaged in reciting Shema and he sits idly by.

ונגרוס בפרקא אחרינא אמר רב אדא בר אהבה בדבר שהצבור עוסקין בו

The Gemara asks: If that is the only purpose, let him study another chapter and not specifically Shema or one of the blessings. Rav Adda bar Ahava said: It is fitting that one engage in a matter in which the community is engaged.