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Please Help Me:# 26

In Masseches Kalla [quoted in Tosafos Kesubos 7b] we learn that we make a brachos at a wedding [Birchos Ayrusin] from .... Lavan.

The Haggada says that Lavan was worse than Pharoh!! How can we learn halachos [this is not the only one] from [Rav???] Lavan?

Please Help Me.

I asked Rav Reuven Lauffer your question and he said that we learn this halacha from Eliezer and not Lavan. As to the other halachos learned from lavan could you give more examples? This is what Rav Lauffer said:

"Maseches Kallah is not very forthcoming - in fact it is mentioned in passing. Tosfos in Kesubos talks about it because of the Halachic dimensions of an Erusin that is enacted through a messenger as opposed to the Kiddushin that was performed by Boaz in front of a Minyan. According to the what Tosfos writes the emphasis is on Eliezer and not on Lavan."

Dear Beloved Friend

The pasuk [24\60] explicitly says öur sister" clearly then, the reference is to Lavan. So I don't understand what the great scholar Rav Lauffer means.

See also pasuk 57 in Rashi.

A Talmid of A Talmid of Rav Ally

Shalom Rebbe-
I did a little Bar Ilan searching and came up with the following interesting results:

The following quote this הלכה כפשטות, that ברכת חתנים is דאורייתא from that פסוק:

מסכת כלה א:א quotes this פסוק with no qualifications as the seeming דאורייתא source for ברכת חתנים.

ילקוט שמעוני חיי שרה קט quotes it.

תשובת הגאונים קורונל קטז and מחזור ויטרי תקכח, after citing מסכת כלה א:א, add the words (for good measure) מלמד שהברכה מן התורה.

פרקי דר' אליעזר פרק טז says אכלו ושתו משתה רבקה וכחזן שהוא עומד ומברך לכלה בתוך חופתה כן עמדו וברכו את רבקה אחותם ליצחק שנאמר ויברכו את רבקה. Encyclopedia Talmudis IV understands this to be talking about ברכת נישואין and, in light of sources to be cited, assumes this is simply אסמכתא.

Those who don't seem to take the הלכה as פשטות:

מסכת כלה רבתי א:ב says ומנין לברכת כלה מן התורה שנאמר ויברכו את רבקה. מידי בכוס ברכוה אלא אסמכתא היא. This seems pretty explicit to me to be contrary to כלה א:א. The continuation of ור"י וכו' may still be trying to revive it being מדאורייתא but our issue is the source being the story of רבקה.
(It's interesting to note that ספר העיטור שער השני ברכת חתנים סה quotes this but leaves out the אסמכתא part.)

תוס כתובות ז is bothered by the גמרא's use of a different פסוק to establish ברכת חתנים being בעשרה תוס' asks that acc. to כלה, which uses ויברכו וכו as the source, the גמרא should bring that as a proof. תוס is then מחלק and says כלה is referring to ברכת אירוסין, not ברכת נישואין. then תוס ends by saying that כלה is only an אסמכתא because the פשטות דקרא isn't referring to ברכת אירוסין and it's not clear from the context that the requisite 10 are present. Thus, תוס believes it is not כפשוטו but is simply an אסמכתא. Additionally, ריטב"א understands תוס this way, if it was not clear enough in תוס itself.
(It's not clear to me why תוס didn't simply answer that while כלהis indeed discussing ברכת חתנים that פסוק shouldn't be brought by this גמרא, because, as תוס himself concludes, דעשרה לא משתמע מהתם, which is the דין whose דאורייתא source the גמרא is trying to reveal.)
In terms of תוס being focused on אליעזר I do not see that at all. תוס is simply making a side point that it works to be מוקים the מימרא of מסכת כלה to be about ברכת אירוסין and NOT ברכת חתנים because the דין of קידושי שליח can then be derived from אליעזר as he is the שליח of יצחק's קידושין.

פוסקים seem להלכה to accept תוס:
רמ"א אה"ע לד adds to the ש"ע's statement that a man or his שליח can be מקדש that whoever does the קידושין also says the ברכת אירוסין (he's quoting טור).
בית שמואל על אתר says about that הלכה that דכתיב ויברכו את רבקה ואליעזר היה שליח, תוס.
גר"א לד:ב also quotes this פסוק and explains that whomever does the קידושין says the ברכה.
גר"א לד:ג, however, in explaining the וי"א cited immediately afterwards by רמ"א who say even דאחר מברך (i.e., not the מקדש), quotes the פוסק AGAIN and simply says וכמ"ש ויברכו את רבקה. This שיטה seems have better roots in the פסוק as it is clear from the פסוק that it is not אליעזר being מברך but, as is מוכרח from the ויאמרו, that it's לבן et al. (This is, in fact, one of the reasons שו"ת בעלי התוס סימן קלג says it's an אסמכתא, it simply doesn't flow with the continuation of ויאמרו וכו.)

שו"ת מנחת יצחק ג:קיד has a different take on the פסוק. He believes that it's referring to ברכת נישואין and that it's less problematic for ברכת נישואין to be said by others (which is clearly to whom ויברכו refers).

At the end of the day there are different groups of שיטות (at least acc. to the way I understand them). Those who think it is פשטות seem to be seriously learning הלכות of ברכת חתנים from לבן. This is difficult to understand for a number of reasons: that doesn't seem to be what is occurring in the פסוק, there is no record of a מנין or כוס (though those might have been present, there's no proof against it). Even acc. to those who think it's ברכת אירוסין there are difficulties. It seems strange that the non-מקדש and non-שליח is making the ברכה and also that it says ויברכו, in plural. Presumably only one person needed to say the ברכות, though this will be less difficult for those who think it's about ברכת חתנים (nowadays many people still say them). Switching it to refer to אליעזר may help that it's being derived from לבן but is still problematic because he is a single person - again, why the plural? Additionally, contextually it's difficult to say ויברכו refers to אליעזר and that the words immediately following, i.e., ויאמרו וכו, switch back, because at that point it's clearly NOT אליעזר. It is precisely because of these difficulties that most seem to think that it's all אסמכתא, and, in light of difficulties raised by כתובות ז not quoting this פסוק, that most turn it into an אסמכתא even for ברכת אירוסין. This would strongly alleviate Rav Ally's question because, however one understands אסמכתא, we are essentially saying that חז"ל excised the words ויברכו את רבקה for their own purposes. It is not to be understood in its context (for this issue), it's not about לבן or even about רבקה, it's simply to create a mnemonic device for remembering this הלכה or for connecting it to the תורה through some loose connection for whatever other purposes אסמכתא might serve. In that case, that it's by לבן is irrelevant, that it's in the תורה anywhere and in any context and sounds like it could theoretically be connected to a ברכה is what is important.

At least that's the way I see it.

That other הלכות are derived from לבן, such as requiring the כלה's consent, are less problematic in my mind. If in that society and with such wicked people they STILL asked the כלה's consent, then ק"ו בן בנו של ק"ו.

I hope this sheds a little light on the issue. At least it gave me a chance to explore some sources.

Tosfos says that this is only an Asmachta and not an actual valid source so we don't really learn the halacha from lavan.

Tosfos says that this is only an Asmachta and not an actual valid source so we don't really learn the halacha from lavan.

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  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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