• January 26, 2021
  • 13 5781, Sh'vat
  • פרשת ויחי

Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food

Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food

Why did the great sages of the Talmud institute blessings over the food we eat? What are the principles underlying the way we make blessings? Join Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel as he learns the sixth chapter of Masechet Brachot covering the major selections from the Talmud on why and how we say blessings over food.

Next Class

January 26, 2021
0
Days
4
Hours
38
Mins

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Time of Class

Tue, Thu 4:00 am
November 3, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

Welcome to new and continuing students! I am excited to begin this new semester and the topic of ברכות הנהנין, specifically the sugyot concerning the halachot of the blessings we make before eating food. The material is found in Chapter 6 of Masechet Berachot and we will study the gemara in this chapter from the beginning.

In the first part of this shiur, we will learn the first mishnayot of the chapter, and then begin the gemara on Berachot 35a .

November 5, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous (our first) shiur, we studied the mishnayot of the first half of chapter 6, to see the basic concepts that will occupy the gemara and will serve as starting points for various halachic discussions.

In this shiur, we will begin learning the first sugya in the gemara on the first mishna, on Berachot 35a. We will follow the methodology that I outlined in the previous class.

November 10, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we read, translated, and identified the component pieces and logical flow of the first half of the gemara’s sugya about the source of the obligation to make berachot before eating. Please review this material. If you have any questions, you can write them to me by email, or raise them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will now start again at the beginning of the sugya on Berachot 35a, this time to fully understand each of the successive sections and how they contribute to the development of the idea in the sugya.

November 12, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we discussed in depth the drash (we also raised the question of whether this is a true drash or an asmachta) brought by the gemara to answer the opening question of the sugya: What is the (Torah) source for the requirement to make a blessing before eating food?  We also learned the pesukim that are the context of this drash and discussed the mitzva of reva’i, the fourth year fruit of a planted tree. At the end of the shiur we learned the Rashi on the words קדש הלולים, which reminded us that what we learn from the drash so far applies only to reva’i and not to any other kinds of fruit.  Please review this material; if there are questions I will be happy to discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will now encounter the difficulty (kushya) raised by the amoraim in the gemara with this drash: that it is unavailable because the basis for the drash is used already for learning something else. We will spend time understanding the background to the kushya, including learning the Rashi. All of this is on Berachot 35a.

November 17, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we understood the primary difficulty for the amoraim in the gemara with the drash that was used in the beraita with which the gemara began.

In this shiur, the amoraim will refine the problem and show us exactly for whom (i.e. which amoraic position regarding the scope of the mitzvah of  נטע רבעי) this problem exists. We will begin with the words הניחא למאן דתני, about half  way  down the page on Berachot 35a.

November 19, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we read carefully the gemara’s fine-tuning of the difficulty with the drash brought in the beraita at the top of the page. Now that we understand the kushya, we can discuss more fully the answer given, which we read very quickly at the end of the shiur. Please review this material, and if there are any questions you can ask them at the beginning of this shiur,

In this shiur, as noted, we will first go over the answer brought by the gemara, which essentially requires an additional drash, which we will discuss. Following this, we will then move on to the 2nd half of the sugya. We will read it, translate it, and break it down into its component parts, trying to identify the flow of the logic. The goal of the gemara remains: to fully work out the source and derivation of the obligation to make a blessing before eating any kind of food. This takes us down to the two dots, towards the bottom of the page on Berachot 35a.

November 24, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished discussing the gemara’s refinements to the kushya with the derivation from the verse with which the gemara began. Then we continued in the gemara, reading and translating and breaking down the next part of the discussion into its component parts. We identified the logical flow but did not fully discuss the style of the gemara’s language and how to understand what is being done with the Torah sources. Please review what we have done and if there are questions up to this point on the language I will be happy to answer them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will discuss in depth the latter chunk of gemara, which will take us down towards the end of this sugya, to the two dots 5 lines before the bottom of Berachot 35a. We will attempt to understand the logic of the midrashic method employed by the amoraim that is called בנין אב, and the related type of drash called מה הצד.

November 26, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we continued along with the development in the gemara of the derivation of the requirement to make a bracha before eating food, for those among the earlier sages who held that the verse about reva’i is only for כרם, a grape vineyard. We got to the point where the gemara has now proposed learning a בנין אב משני כתובים,  learning from a prototype/model created from the common denominator of two separate categories in the Torah: כרם and קמה (grain, i.e. wheat etc. or bread).  Please review this; if there are questions I we can discuss them before we move on to the next stage of the gemara.

In this shiur, we will enter the final stages of the sugya in the gemara. We will read down to the end of the sugya, and break it down into its logical parts before we discuss each of them in depth. And we will encounter the surprising end of the sugya, 5 lines from the bottom of Berachot 35a.

December 1, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished our initial reading of the sugya to the end, at the two dots 5 lines up from the bottom of Berachot 35a: we read and translated it, and then identified the pieces and the flow of the logic. In so doing, we saw and discussed how the sugya comes to its final conclusion. However, there were details along the way to which we did not pay attention, so we are not completely finished with the sugya.  Please review what we have done, and if there are questions we will discuss them at the beginning of this shiur, or during the shiur as they come up.

In this shiur, we will finish discussing this first sugya of the chapter. We will go back and discuss the various details that we previously glossed over, we will read the comments of Rashi on these, and we will also study the important final comments of Tosafot on the page.  Time allowing, we will begin the new section of gemara at the bottom of Berachot 35a.

December 3, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished the first sugya of the chapter. You are welcome, and encouraged, to review it and if you have any questions you can send them to me by email or raise them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will move on to new material brought by the gemara in the lines immediately following the above sugya, at the bottom of the page of Berachot 35a and continuing for several lines at the top of Berachot 35b.  This material expands upon the reason for the rabbinic requirement to say a beracha before eating food.

December 8, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we learned most of the additional material brought to expand upon the idea of the sevara that is the basis for the obligation to make a beracha before eating food.

In this shiur, we will finish that material, and read related comments of Rashi and Tosafot.  Following this, we will move down to approximately two-thirds of the way to the bottom of the page on Berachot 35b, where the gemara relates to the exception brought by the mishna to its first halacha (חוץ מן היין…).

December 10, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we read and discussed the final segments of the sugya about the reason(s) that we say a beracha before eating.  We then began the next sugya (it begins 11 lines up from the end of the midsized lines in the Vilna printing of Berachot 35a), which is about the halacha in the mishna regarding the beracha for wine. This beracha is special and unlike the beracha for all other products that come from a tree. We read and translated the sugya, and then we marked up about half of the sugya (down to the beginning of the third line before the end of the midsized lines on the same page), using key words and phrases to help us identify and visualize the logical components and the flow of the logic. Please review all of this material and if there are any questions we can discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will continue and finish parsing the sugya (which ends in the 6th line before the bottom of the page) into its components and visualize its flow. Then we will go back to the beginning and discuss each item in depth in its sequence, and also see the related comments of Rashi and Tosafot.

December 15, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished charting the logical flow of the sugya that seeks the reason why grape wine has its own special beracha. Then we went back to the beginning and began studying each segment in depth. We completed the discussion that rejected the reason first proposed: that the juice of the grape, with which we make wine, constitutes a change that improves the product so much that it deserves a unique blessing. We got up to the alternative answer proposed by the amora Mar Zutra.  Please review this material. If you have questions you can raise them by email to me or directly at the beginning of this class.

In this shiur, we will learn in depth the alternative answer of Mar Zutra, and the subsequent replacement of it by yet a different answer. The discussion will take us afield to a mishna about a detail in the laws of nedarim (vows), which the amoraim find relevant to the query at hand.  All of this material is on the page at Berachot 35b.

December 17, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we saw how the gemara considered, then rejected, the first distinction suggested between wine and olive oil to explain why olive oil does not have a special beracha as wine does. We also learned the Rashi on these lines of the gemara. At the end of the shiur, we saw the new suggestion of the gemara. (Ending 12 lines up from the bottom of Berachot 35b.) Please review this material and if there are questions we will discuss them in this shiur.

In this shiur, we will learn how the gemara finally resolves the question regarding borei pri ha-gefen and why this unique type of beracha exists davka for wine. We will also learn the related comments of Rashi and Tosafot. Time allowing, we will move onto the next segment of the gemara, which is an addendum to our sugya that examines what the earlier amoraim were thinking when they spoke about consumption of olive oil.

 

December 22, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished the sugya about Borei Peri haGafen (6 lines up from the bottom of the page at Berachot 35b) and discussed its conclusion. Please review and if there are questions we can discuss them at the beginning of this shiur. You can also send them to me by email.

In this shiur, we will read the last comments of Rashi and Tosafot on that sugya before we move on to reading the next sugya, which searches for the case alluded to previously, in which one would make a beracha of Borei Pri haEitz on olive oil.

December 24, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we read and translated the new sugya (starting with ” גופא”,  which is 5 lines up from the bottom of the page on Berachot 35b), and then we went back and used key words and phrases to identify the successive pieces of material in the gemara and the role of each in the flow of the sugya. Please review this.

In this shiur, we will go back to the beginning of this sugya, about the beracha for consuming olive oil, and discuss each segment in depth.

December 29, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

We are in the middle of the sugya (at the bottom of Berachot 35b) that is looking for the case in which we would make a bracha of בורא פרי העץ before consuming olive oil.

In the previous shiur, we discussed in depth the first two suggested answers offered by the amoraim in the gemara, and why each is rejected. Please review this material and if there are questions we can discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will learn in depth the gemara’s third and final answer, see why it is also problematic but how the problem is resolved by a further refinement of the understanding of the case. We will study the comments of Rashi on this segment, and time allowing we will also see the comments of Tosafot.

December 31, 2020 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we studied the third (and final..) answer of the gemara to the question of which case of olive oil consumption requires the beracha of borei peri ha-‘eitz.  We also studied and discussed the difficulty the gemara raised with this case as well, and the answer given, which is a refinement and narrowing of the case ע”י אניגרון to a specific situation and use. We also studied the comments of Rashi on this material. At the end of the shiur we read the difficulty in Rashi’s explanation raised by Tosafot (the first comment of Tosafot at the top of Berachot 36a), in which the beraita quoted does not make sense.  Please review this material and we will discuss any questions at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will start with the abovementioned Tosafot and read his two alternative answers to his question. Then we will go back to the sugya and learn the final difficulty raised, and its resolution.

January 5, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we studied the Tosafot (with beginning words לא יערענו), reviewed his difficulty with Rashi’s explanation, and discussed his two alternative answers for how to understand the beraita about using olive oil as a remedy for a sore throat on Shabbat. We then completed the sugya about olive oil, discussing the gemara’s answer as to why the amoraic halacha about the beracha to be made is indeed something we would not have known without this source.

In this shiur, we move on to a new sugya, about the beracha to be made on flour from wheat and related questions. This short sugya continues down the middle part of Berachot 36a.

January 7, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we read and translated the new sugya on Berachot 36a –about the beracha that should be made upon consumption of wheat flour–and then we identified the logical component segments and how they are interrelated, thereby mapping the flow of the sugya. All this we did without attempting to understand any of the actual content of the discussion. If there are any questions about the key words we identified for mapping the sugya, please raise them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will study the specific arguments and inferences made in each segment of the sugya, and discuss their halachic implications. We will also study the comments of Rashi and Tosafot.

January 12, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we discussed in depth the question asked by the amoraim about the beracha to be made before eating wheat flour (or some form of ground wheat), and the two opposing rulings given, by Rav Yehuda and by Rav Nahman.  We then studied the argument of Rava against Rav Nahman’s ruling. On all of the above we also studied Rashi’s comments. At the very end of the shiur we discussed Rav Nahman’s counter-argument against Rava, but we still need to read the Rashi comment on this.  Please review this material and if there are questions we will deal with them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will begin with studying Rashi’s explanation of Rav Nahman’s counter-argument against Rava. Then we will move on in the gemara to Rava’s attempt to disprove Rav Nahman’s counter-argument, and Rav Nahman’s dismissal of that attempted proof, which concludes this sugya about halfway down the page at Berachot 36a. And we will learn the comments of Rashi on this exchange.

January 14, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we continued in the sugya on Berachot 36a  concerning the beracha to be made on wheat meal/flour. We discussed in depth how Rav Nahman defended his position both by dismissing Rava’s attempted proof from a diyuk on the earlier amoraic halacha stated by Shmuel, and also by showing why Shmuel’s halacha needed to be stated the way it was.  Please review the material and if there are questions I will be happy to discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.

In this shiur, we will study the final segment of the sugya, in which Rava and Rav Nahman argue one last point, which emerges from Rav Nahman’s previous answer. Time allowing, we will move on to begin a new sugya, on the subject of the beracha בורא מיני מזונות  and which discusses the categories of foods for which we say that beracha.

January 19, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished the sugya about wheat meal/flour, which ends in the middle of the page on Berachot 36a.
We then skipped to the bottom of the following page, to Berachot 36b, to begin a new sugya, about the blessings to be  made over the five species of grain, and rice and millet. We read and translated the first part of the sugya, which took us down to the end of the 8th line down from the top of the page on Berachot 37a. Please review this material, and as I suggested, you are welcome to attempt to map for yourselves the logical flow of the material in this part of the sugya.

In this shiur, we will begin by identifying the pieces of the part of the sugya that we have already read and translated, decide what is the role of each, and trace the logical flow that connects them. Then we will go back over it and discuss it in depth, and learn as well the related comments of Rashi. Following this, we will continue on to the next part of the sugya.

January 21, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we finished discussing the first part of the sugya about rice/millet and their berachot. Please review the logic of this segment of the gemara: the way the gemara explains the need for both of the similar halachic statements attributed to Rav and Shmuel together. After that we read and translated the second segment of the sugya, ending after the 2nd word on the 20th line down from the top of the page at Berachot 37a in the printed format of the Vilna shas.  You are invited to attempt to identify the different pieces of material and their function and try to map the logical flow.

In this shiur, we will first go over the previously read material, identify its parts, and their logical flow. Then we will go back over and discuss it in depth. Following that we will move on to the next section of the gemara.

January 26, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
Class description

In the previous shiur, we explained in depth and discussed the 2nd part of the sugya on Berachot 37a. Please review and if there are questions we can discuss them before we move on in the sugya.

In this shiur, we will read, translate and break the remainder of the sugya into its logical parts and identify its flow. Then we will discuss each point in depth. In this part of the sugya, the amoraim refuse to accept the ruling derived/implied from the two statements of Rav and Shmuel brought at the beginning of the sugya. We will see how the sugya concludes the discussion, somewhat surprisingly.

January 28, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 2, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 4, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 9, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 11, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 16, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 18, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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February 23, 2021 4:00 am - 5:00 am
Rabbinic Perspectives: Blessings over food: Lesson
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Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel has been enjoying guiding students in how to learn and understand Talmud at WebYeshiva.org since its founding. He began his teaching career as a teacher and educational director at Michlelet Bruria in the 1980s. For over 20 years, he has been working as a software engineer in Jerusalem, and during that time has been an editor and contributor to the company NDS's Torah journal, Chiddushei Torah@NDS, that was published annually from 1996-2014 . He and his wife reside in Ma'ale Adumim and are parents to five children and have many grandchildren.