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I am trying to understand the Rambam Peirush HaMishnayos to Brachos 1:5, but I am having trouble fitting an understanding into the words. I need this done by Tuesday night for I am meant to be explaining this. Help!

א מזכירין יציאת מצרים בלילות כו': יציאת מצרים כנוי לפרשת ציצית שנאמר בה אשר הוצאתי אתכם מארץ מצרים והסברא נותנת שלא יקראו הפרשה הזאת בלילה כי הכתוב אומר וראיתם אותו בשעת הראיה כאשר באה הקבלה לולי יציאת מצרים שנזכר שם ויש לנו לקרותה מפני הענין ההוא. ואולם מה שאמר ר"א בן עזריה הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה ולא אמר בן שבעים שנה כי לא היה בן שבעים אלא צעיר לימים היה והיה מרבה לשנות וללמוד ולקרות יום ולילה עד אשר תשש כחו ונזרקה בו שיבה וחזר כזקן בן שבעים שנה והיה התחלת השיבה ברצונו כמו שנתבאר בגמרא (דף כח.) ואמר בענין תמיהה הרי אני אע"פ שהשתדלתי והתחברתי עם אנשי החכמה לא זכיתי לדעת הרמז שנרמז בכתוב בחיוב קריאת פרשת ציצית בלילה עד שדרשה בן זומא:‏

To clarify exactly what I don't understand:

I don't understand how the first part adds to our understanding of the Mishnah, and what is it getting at. I don't understand how it flows from the first part to the second part, although I do sort of understand the second part. Also, is the last part an alternative explanation or simply an addition?

  • Seems like an additional explanation, offhand. I'm also stumped at why Ramba"m is telling us the story in this way. Conjecture - He may be emphasizing the difficulty of deriving the idea that one should say the 3rd par. of Shema at night. But, I also don't see the connection of the 2 ideas, and, maybe there isn't any. – DanF Feb 13 '17 at 23:19
  • "Simple" question. I should have viewed the Mishnah first, sorry. Both items are in the same Mishnah. Ramba"m just seems to be explaining the enire Mishnah. Why does there need to be some connection? What am I missing in your question? BTW read the Ras"I on that page in Gemarah. He says that the same day that he became Nassi was the day he aged and it was also the same day Ben Zoma told him the reason. Does that idea help you at all? – DanF Feb 13 '17 at 23:28
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    Can I suggest you edit into your question the following things: 1) How are you translating this text? (That will give us some idea of where you're getting stuck); 2) Which section of it do you interpret as being "the first part", and which section is "the second/last part"?; 3) How are you understanding the Mishna? You say that this doesn't add to your understanding of it, so some indication as to how you are understanding would be helpful - especially if it turns out that you are misunderstanding something. If you do these three things, you might also find that you no longer have a question. – Shimon bM Feb 13 '17 at 23:39
  • In addition to @ShimonbM' ssuggestion, perhaps you want to provide a synopsis of the Mishnah, since you are citing an explanation on that, yet, the explanation alludes to the Mishnah. As I stated, I think you may be overreading the intention, here. I think Ramba"m is doing his job of explaining the Mishnah, that's all. There is no "first" or "second" part, in a sense. – DanF Feb 14 '17 at 4:09
  • BTW, there is a Chasam Sofer (don't remember where it is), that beautifully explains the last part of the Rambam. He explains, that the great Talmidei Chachamim, due to the great amount of energy used and lack of sleep, should really turn white very young. But as they are learning Torah Lishmo, Hashem grants them extra youthfulness, so they don't turn white. So was the case by Rabbi Elozor Ben Azarya. Therefore when there came a time that he wanted to be white, all Hashem did was remove that extra youthfulness, and he naturally turned white, due to his learning and lack of sleep. – lionscribe Feb 14 '17 at 6:34
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א מזכירין יציאת מצרים בלילות כו':

(1) יציאת מצרים כנוי לפרשת ציצית שנאמר בה אשר הוצאתי אתכם מארץ מצרים והסברא נותנת שלא יקראו הפרשה הזאת בלילה כי הכתוב אומר וראיתם אותו בשעת הראיה כאשר באה הקבלה לולי יציאת מצרים שנזכר שם ויש לנו לקרותה מפני הענין ההוא.

(2) ואולם מה שאמר ר"א בן עזריה הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה ולא אמר בן שבעים שנה כי לא היה בן שבעים אלא צעיר לימים היה והיה מרבה לשנות וללמוד ולקרות יום ולילה עד אשר תשש כחו ונזרקה בו שיבה וחזר כזקן בן שבעים שנה והיה התחלת השיבה ברצונו כמו שנתבאר בגמרא (דף כח.) ‏

(3) ואמר בענין תמיהה הרי אני אע"פ שהשתדלתי והתחברתי עם אנשי החכמה לא זכיתי לדעת הרמז שנרמז בכתוב בחיוב קריאת פרשת ציצית בלילה עד שדרשה בן זומא:‏

(1) When the mishnah mentions yetzias mitzrayim, it is referring to the third paragraph of shema, the one that speaks aboiut tzitzis. Since that paragraph speaks about “seeing” the tzitzis, it would be reasonable to assume that the paragraph need only be read by day when the tzitzis can be seen. Since the paragraph refers also the the Exodus, that is why we read it at night. This first part explains why it is necessary to teach that you must say the third paragraph of shema at night.

(2) Reb Elozor ben Azariyah was a lot younger than seventy years old. He had however devoted himself to learning and tired himself out so much that he looked like an old man. (His appearance as an old man fitted his wishes. [I do not know what Rambam wants to teach us from this.]) This transitional part sets up our understanding of Reb Elozor ben Azariyah's appreciation of the explanation of Ben Zoma.

(3) Here Reb Elozor ben Azariyah explains that despite his efforts in Torah (as described in (2)), he was unworthy to achieve the understanding of why we say the third paragraph of Shema at night until he heard it from Ben Zoma who caught the hint in the possuk. This last part explains Reb Elozor ben Azariyah's relationship to the understanding of Ben Zoma.

  • I was also writing an answer but stoped in the middle for other occupations. If you wjould see further an other answer, this is not because I don't love your, only because I want to complete my answer. – kouty Feb 14 '17 at 10:10
  • @kouty והרשות בידך – Avrohom Yitzchok Feb 14 '17 at 18:42
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The comment of Rambam is divided in two parts.

  1. FIRST PART: The mention of the Exodus is made by recitation of Parashat Tsitsit, the sources of Rambam.

    The third parasha of our Kriat Shema is Vayomer. It contains among others two topics:

    1. mitsvat Tsitsit, which is linked to day clothes
    2. mention of the Exodus. Generally this parasha is called by chachamim parshat tsitsit, despite that the Mishna in the second chapter calls it Vayomer according to the first word of this parasha.

    Rambam, as Rashi, taught us that the mention of the Exodus which is a mitsva min Hatora for every opinion at day and for R.E.B.A. and Ben Zoma is made by reciting parshat tsitsit.

    But there is a Gemara in Berachot (21a) which seems to contradict the pshat of the Rambam in Mishna. The Gemara addresses an opinion following which the recitation of the specific texts of Shema Israel is not needed by the Torah, the duty comprise divre Tora without distinction; Chachamim have established a derabanan duty to read shema even if we already did read some else divre Tora. But there is a specific mitsva from Tora to mention the Exodus (at least in morning).It follows that if someone has already read a Tora portion and has a doubt if he did read Shema he is exempt from repeating it (following the rule of safek deorayta lakula). But if he has a doubt if he did mention the Exodus, he is in duty to repeat it (following the rule of safek deorayta lachumra) here are the words of the Gemara:

    אמר רב יהודה ספק קרא קריאת שמע ספק לא קרא אינו חוזר וקורא ספק אמר אמת ויציב ספק לא אמר חוזר ואומר אמת ויציב מאי טעמא קריאת שמע דרבנן אמת ויציב דאורייתא

    You see that the Gemara calls the mention of the Exodus (for day hours) "Emet veyatsiv".

    Rashi says that the duty of mentioning the Exodus is, as our Mishna taught, the verse lemaan tizkor et tsetecha meerets mitsrayim kol yeme chayecha:

    ק''ש דרבנן. לקמן פריך לה: אמת ויציב דאורייתא היא. שמזכיר בה יציאת מצרים דחיובא דאורייתא היא דכתיב למען תזכר את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים (דברים טז):‏

    It is quite amazing, why Rashi himself said on our Mishna that the mention of the Exodus is parshat tsitsit. He should have said instead Emet veyatsiv and Emet veemuna.

    Even more amazing is this Gemara itself. We have a mishna preceding this Gemara stated that the Baal Keri needs to read mentally (without mouth pronunciation) Kriat Shema but not Berachot. According to this Gemara he should have to read Emet veyatsiv rather than Keriat Shema.

    The rav Rabenu Shim'on cited in Tosfot answers that Emet veyatsiv is an name for the mention of the Exodus, because Emet veyatsiv is a special passage which comes for mentioning yetsiat mitsrayim only. So, from the Mishna of baal keri we did learn that the mention of the Exodus is mainly made by parashat tsitsit.

    Here is a passage of Tosfot:

    הר''ר שמעון דמיירי שפיר שאינו מסופק אלא מאמת ויציב אבל ברור הוא שקרא ק''ש ואפילו הכי הוי אמת ויציב דאורייתא שר''ל ספק לא אמר אמת ויציב עם פרשת ציצית שמסופק אי לא אמר לא פרשת ציצית ולא אמת ויציב ואם כן לא הזכיר כלל יציאת מצרים וכולה מילתא דיציאת מצרים קרי ליה אמת ויציב לפי דטעם אמת ויציב הוי משום יציאת מצרים והלכך הוי פרשת ציצית בכלל אמת ויציב:‏

    The Gemara says in 14b (according to the lecture of Rashi), that if he did not say parshat tsitsit, he needs no say emet (veyatsiv). The Gemara maksha that he needs to mention the Exodus, and answers that there is a special Beracha to replace emet veyatsiv and which mention the Exodus. We see the beracha emet veyatsiv doesn't exist without parashat tsitsit.

    Here is the text:

    חייא בר רב אמר אמר אני ה' אלהיכם צריך לומר אמת לא אמר אני ה' אלהיכם אינו צ''ל אמת והא בעי לאדכורי יציאת מצרים דאמר הכי מודים אנחנו לך ה' אלהינו שהוצאתנו מארץ מצרים ופדיתנו מבית עבדים ועשית לנו נסים וגבורות על הים ושרנו לך

    And this explains, says the Rambam, our custom to say parshat tsitsit at night which is not linked to the verse regarding tsitsit which talks about seeing them (at daylight).

  2. SECOND PART: The signification of the apparent old age of R.E.B.A.

    part of the Rambam's comments is agadic. He explains the expression "I am as a 70 old man. He explains that this precocious apparent old age was a consequence of an overactivity in Tora learning. This Tora intensive learning had a second result, a great knowledge and experience regarding Tora. So R.E.B.A. was amazing about the fact that he was not able to find a proof for this halacha this in verses, when Ben Zoma who was less experimented did reach a proof from a verse.

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