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I seem to recall seeing somewhere that the fast of bechoros should indeed be a day of Taanug and not fasting. Since the true girsa in Masheches Sofrim should read מתענגין instead of מתענין. Does anyone know where to find this idea?

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    "Since the true girsa in Masheches Sofrim should read מתענגין instead of מתענין". Considering Soferim 21:3 says "לפיכך אין אומרין תחנונים כל ימי ניסן ואין מתענין עד שיעבור ניסן אלא הבכורות שמתענין בערב הפסח והצנועין בשביל המצה כדי שיכנסו בה בתאוה והתלמידים מתענין בו שני וחמישי מפני חילול השם ומפני כבוד ההיכל שנשרף" (emphases mine), I find that hard to believe. – Tamir Evan Apr 16 at 2:01
  • Your observation seems to be correct ,nevertheless I did see it with a different girsa and explanation, can't rem who said it though – sam Apr 16 at 2:06
  • See the following Shiur around the 6 minute mark, he mentions this idea: yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/922845/rabbi-daniel-z-feldman/… He said 'the Minchas Yitzchak among others' mention it, although he says that it seems to not be a strongly held position. – Salmononius2 Apr 17 at 0:55
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In short:

  1. R. Tzvi Hirsh of Zidichov is cited as saying that the true Girsa in Masekhet Soferim should read מתענגים instead of מתענים.
  2. This doesn't fit with our version of Masekhet Soferim.
  3. There is support in the Talmud Yerushalmi for the idea of the firstborn not fasting on 'Erev Pesach.
  4. Sefer ha-Tadir has a version of Masekhet Soferim that says fasting is not done on 'Erev Pesach.

Pe'er Yitzchaq (a biography of R. Yitzchak Isaac of Zidichov) says (25:4):

בערב פסח לא התענה רבינו וגם בנו הגה"צ סנדר ליפא זצ"ל אע"פ שהיו בכורים, גם רבו מהרצ"ה היה בכור ולא הקפיד על כך מפני שאמר שבמסכתא סופרים שממנו נבע המנהג של תענית בכורים בערב פסח, נזדקר טעות ובמקום הבכורים "מתענים" צריך להיות הבכורים "מתענגים".‏

In my translation:

On 'Erev Pesach our Rav (Yitzchak Isaac of Zidichov) didn't fast, nor did his son Alexander (Sender) Yom Tov Lipa OBM, even though they were firstborn. His Rav, Tzvi Hirsh of Zidichov, who was also a firstborn, wasn't strict about it, for he said that in Masekhet Soferim, from which the custom of the firstborn fasting on 'Erev Pesach stems, a mistake got in, and instead of the firstborn being מתענים it should say they are מתענגים.

This statement is problematic, as our version of Masekhet Soferim says (21:3):

לפיכך אין אומרין תחנונים כל ימי ניסן ואין מתענין עד שיעבור ניסן אלא הבכורות שמתענין בערב הפסח והצנועין בשביל המצה כדי שיכנסו בה בתאוה והתלמידים מתענין בו שני וחמישי מפני חילול השם ומפני כבוד ההיכל שנשרף:‏

In my translation:

Therefore, supplications aren't said throughout the month of Nisan, and fasts aren't held until the end of Nisan, except for the firstborn who fast on 'Erev Pesach, the Tzenu'im (modest) who fast for eating the Matzah with an apatite, and the [Torah] students who fast in it on Monday and Thursday, for of the desecration of [God's] Name, and for the Temple that was burned.

It is hard to see how the firstborn being מתענגים on 'Erev Pesach fits into the context of this Mishnah.

The author of Pe'er Yitzchaq noticed this, and in the footnote there brings support for firstborns not fasting on 'Erev Pesach from the Jerusalem Talmud:

הגם כי קשה לשבש הגרסא במסכת סופרים שלפנינו בדעת רבינו מהרצ"ה אבל על כל אופן יש לדבריו שורש בירושלמי פסחים פ"י ה"א שהעיד שם ר' מנא ר' יונה אבא הוה בכור ואכל בע"פ ועל רבי שלא אכל בע"פ לא חמץ ולא מצה אמר ר' תנחומא שלא מפני שהיה בכור אלא מפני שהיה אסתניס דכד אכיל ביממא לא הוה אכיל ברמשא

In my translation:

Although it is difficult to have corrupted the version of Masekhet Soferim that we have, in the way our Rav (Tzvi Hirsh of Zidichov) suggests, nonetheless there is a root to what he says in the Jrusalem Talmud Pesachim 10:1 (68b):

Rav Manna said, "Rav Yonah, my father, was a firstborn and he would eat on Erev Pesach".

And regarding Rebbi not eating on 'Erev Pesach:

Rav Tanchuma said, 'It is not from this [that he did not eat], it is from this: Rebbi was delicate - when he would eat during the day, he would not eat at night."


Another support for the firstborn not fasting on 'Erev Pesach comes from Sefer ha-Tadir (towards the end of chapter 23), who mentions the custom, but questions it's validity based on Masekhet Soferim (!):

נהגו הבכורות להתענות בע"פ. ותימה כי תמצא במסכת סופרים, אין אומרים תחנונים כל ימי ניסן. ואין מתענים בערב פסח.‏

In my translation:

The firstborn had a custom of fasting on 'Erev Pesach. This is surprising, as it says in Masekhet Soferim: "supplications aren't said throughout the month of Nisan, and fasting isn't done on 'Erev Pesach".

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