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Friday, April 3, 2015

Leaning at the Seder: Who is Free and How is that Expressed

משנה מסכת פסחים פרק י, משנה א
Mishneh, Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 10, Mishneh 1
ערבי פסחים סמוך למנחה לא יאכל אדם עד שתחשך ואפילו עני שבישראל לא יאכל עד שיסב...
Passover evening, [from] close to Mincha, a person should not eat until it gets dark; even a poor person in Israel should not eat until he leans...
The Mishneh seems to equate all economic classes in regards to acting freely on Pesach. We will see that leaning is connected to freedom; probably this was obvious in Mishnaic times. The term “leaning” is often used to refer to any formal meal, not just on Pesach, so we can assume leaning was something people did for meal at which modern people use china and napkin holders.

תוספתא מסכת פסחים (ליברמן) פרק י, הלכה ד
Tosefta, Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 10, Law 4
It is a commandment on a person to cause delight among his sons and the people of his house on the holiday. With what does he delight them? With wine, as is written, “Wine will gladden the heart of man, ” (Psalms 104:15). Rebbi Yehuda says, “Women with what is proper for them, and children for what is proper for them.”

מצוה על אדם לשמח בניו ובני ביתו ברגל במה משמחן ביין דכת' ויין ישמח לבב אנוש ר' יהודה או' נשים בראוי להם וקטנים בראוי להם
From this Tosefta, it seems clear that women and children are also included in the meal, though maybe not in all aspects. This continues a struggle between including more people in the freedom of Pesach, but a reluctance to include everyone. We will soon the see the link between wine and leaning.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף קח עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Pesachim, 108a
And even a poor person in Israel should not eat until he leans. It was stated: Matza requires leaning, maror does not require leaning.
ואפילו עני שבישראל לא יאכל עד שיסב. איתמר: מצה - צריך הסיבה, מרור - אין צריך הסיבה.
[About] wine it was stated in the name of Rav Nachman: it requires leaning, and it was stated in the name of Rav Nachman: it does not require leaning. But they are not in dispute. This one [is talking about] the first two cups; this one is talking about the last two cups.
יין, איתמר משמיה דרב נחמן: צריך הסיבה, ואיתמר משמיה דרב נחמן: אין צריך הסיבה. ולא פליגי, הא - בתרתי כסי קמאי, הא - בתרתי כסי בתראי.
Some say it this way, and some say it the other way. Those who say the first way: the two first cups require leaning, because now is the beginning of freedom; the last two cups do not require leaning because what has happened, has happened.
אמרי לה להאי גיסא, ואמרי לה להאי גיסא. אמרי לה להאי גיסא: תרי כסי קמאי - בעו הסיבה, דהשתא הוא דקא מתחלא לה חירות. תרי כסי בתראי לא בעו הסיבה - מאי דהוה הוה.
Those who say the [other] way, [say that] on the contrary, the second cups require leaning - because that is the time that freedom happened, the first two cups don’t need leaning, because he still says, “We were slaves.”
ואמרי לה להאי גיסא: אדרבה, תרי כסי בתראי בעו הסיבה - ההיא שעתא דקא הויא חירות, תרי כסי קמאי לא בעו הסיבה - דאכתי עבדים היינו קאמר.
Since we have those who say this and those who say that, this and that require leaning.
השתא דאיתמר הכי ואיתמר הכי - אידי ואידי בעו הסיבה.
Leaning on the back is not considered leaning; leaning on the right is not considered leaning. And not just that but more, rather he put the trachea ahead of the esophagus and come into danger.
פרקדן - לא שמיה הסיבה, הסיבת ימין - לא שמה הסיבה, ולא עוד אלא שמא יקדים קנה לוושט ויבא לידי סכנה.
A wife with her husband does not require leaning, but if she is an important woman,  she needs to lean. A son with his father requires leaning.
אשה אצל בעלה - לא בעיא הסיבה, ואם אשה חשובה היא - צריכה הסיבה. בן אצל אביו - בעי הסיבה.
It was asked of them, “What about a student by his Rav?” Come and learn: Abaye said, “When we were in the house of the master, we were leaning on one anothers’ knees. When we arrived at Rav Yosef’s house, he said to us, ‘This is not necessary [leaning]; the fear of your Rav is like the fear of Heaven.’”
איבעיא להו: תלמיד אצל רבו מאי? תא שמע, (אמר) +מסורת הש"ס: [דאמר]+ אביי: כי הוינן בי מר זגינן אבירכי דהדדי, כי אתינן לבי רב יוסף, אמר לן: לא צריכתו, מורא רבך כמורא שמים.
It was challenged: “One leans with everyone, and even a student with his Rav!” That teaching is about a carpenter’s apprentice.
מיתיבי: עם הכל אדם מיסב, ואפילו תלמיד אצל רבו! - כי תניא ההיא - בשוליא דנגרי.
It was asked  of them, “What about an attendant?” Come and learn, that Rabbi Yehosua ben Levi said, “The attendant that ate an olive’s volume of matzah while leaning fulfils his obligation.” Leaning - fulfils, not leaning - does not fulfil. Learn from this he needs to lean.
איבעיא להו: שמש מאי? - תא שמע, דאמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: השמש שאכל כזית מצה כשהוא מיסב - יצא. מיסב - אין, לא מיסב - לא, שמע מינה: בעי הסיבה, שמע מינה.
We see a clear connection between leaning and freedom - though what “freedom” means is not fully determined. We seem to get a hint in learning that while children lean, most women do not, nor do students with their Rav; they do with other teachers. It seems to have some relationship between whether or not fear of someone else intercedes between one’s fear of Heaven, though it is not entirely clear. Somehow, the attendant and the child do not seem to have this.

משנה תורה הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ז הלכה ח
Mishneh Torah, Laws of Chametz and Matzah, Chapter 7, Law 8
Moses Maimonides, 12th Century Egypt
Even a poor person in Israel should not eat until he leans, a woman does not need to learn, but if she is an important women, she needs to lean. And a son by his father and an attendant by his master need to lean, but a student by his Rav does not lean unless he was given permission. And leaning to the right, or to the back or to the front is not leaning. And when do you need to lean? During the time of eating an olive’s volume of matza and drinking the four cups; but during the rest of the meal if he leans it is praise worthy, but if not, it is not required.
אפילו עני שבישראל לא יאכל עד שיסב, אשה אינה צריכה הסיבה, ואם אשה חשובה היא צריכה הסיבה, ובן אצל אביו והשמש בפני רבו צריכין הסיבה, אבל תלמיד בפני רבו אינו מיסב אלא אם כן נתן לו רבו רשות, והסיבת ימין אינה הסיבה, וכן המיסב על ערפו או על פניו אין זו הסיבה, ואימתי צריכין הסיבה בשעת אכילת כזית מצה ובשתיית ארבעה כוסות האלו, ושאר אכילתו ושתייתו אם היסב הרי זה משובח ואם לאו אינו צריך.
The Rambam clarifies that while leaning may only need to happen at specific signs of freedom - the matzah, paradoxically, and the wine, ideally it should happen for the entire seder. Whether or not this is feasible for all people, however, is unclear.

רא"ש מסכת פסחים פרק י סימן כ
Rosh on Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 10, Siman 20
Asher ben Yechiel, 13th and 14th Century Germany and Spain
And if one ate without leaning, he has not fulfilled his obligation. As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, “The attendant that ate an olive’s volume of matzah while leaning fulfils his obligation.” It follows that leaning does [fulfil], not leaning does not. And if he ate without leaning, he should return and eat while leaning. And so too with the first and second cups, if he did not drink while leaning, he should go back and drink them while leaning. But for the third and fourth cups, if he drinks more, it will seem like he is adding to the cups. However, there is to say that since he drank in an inappropriate manner, the matter was clear that they were not among the enumeration of cups.
ואם אכל בלא הסיבה לא יצא כדאמר ריב"ל השמש שאכל כזית מצה כשהוא מיסב יצא משמע מיסב אין לא מיסב לא ואם אכל בלא הסיבה יחזור ויאכל בהסיבה וכן בכוס ראשון ושני אם לא שתה בהסיבה יחזור וישתה בהסיבה אבל בכוס שלישי או רביעי אם ישתה יותר נראה כמוסיף על הכוסות ומיהו איכא למימר כיון ששתה שלא כתיקונו הוברר הדבר שלא ממנין הכוסות היה

The Rosh explains the stakes: without leaning, you have not only missed leaning, but failed to fulfill you obligation of the seder: it seems to be at the level of praying without intention.

מרדכי מסכת פסחים תוספת מערבי פסחים
The Mordechai on Tractate Pesachim, Addition to Arvei Pesachim
Mordechai ben Hillel, 13th Century Germany
“Even a poor person in Israel should not eat until he leans.”  Since a poor person does not have pillows or cushions, but only a bench. And you might  have thought that he does not need to lean, that [leaning on a bench] is not in a manner of freedom therefore it teaches us [that he does].
אפילו עני שבישראל לא יאכל עד שיסב משום דעני אין לו כרים וכסתות אלא ספסל וס"ד דאין חייב להסב [דאין] דרך חירות בכך קמ"ל:
The Mordechai explains that leaning is not about comfort but about the form. Whether he thinks this because he is trying to keep to a formalism in a world where it is more difficult and unusual than in Mishnaic times, or he thinks the form without the comfort still conveys the optics of freedom, I cannot be sure.

הגהות מיימוניות הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ז הלכה ז
Hagahot Maimoniyot, Laws of Chametz and Matzah, Chapter 7, Law 7
Rabbi Meir ben Yekutiel of Rottenburg, 13th Century Germany
Rabbi Avi’ya wrote that we do not need to lean these days because free people do not lean. And to the contrary, sitting regularly is the way of freedom. However, that is an individual opinion.
רבי אבי"ה כתב שאין אנו צריכין הסיבה בזמן הזה שהרי בני חרי אינן מסובין ואדרבה ישיבה כדרכן הויא דרך חירות אמנם יחידאה היא, ע"כ:
Rabbi Avi’ya (often called the Rav’yah) is pushing the meaning behind leaning over the formalism. He thinks we should eat the seder in whatever method modern free people eat. However, most do not accept his system.

רשב"ם מסכת פסחים דף קח עמוד א
Rashbam, Tractate Pesachim, 108a
Shmuel ben Meir, 12th Century France
A women does not need to lean. Because of the fear of her husband and she is subordinate to him. And it was explained in the Sh’iltot of Rav Achai that it is not the ways of the women to drink.
אשה אינה צריכה הסיבה. מפני אימת בעלה וכפופה לו ומפרש בשאילתות דרב אחאי לאו דרכייהו דנשי למיזגא:
The Rashbam equates a women’s lack of needing to lean to the one the Gemara gave for a student with a Rav. However, the Sh’iltot he brings disagrees and thinks that women have a different reason for not leaning: therefore, a theory connecting women and students may not be appropriate.

רא"ש מסכת פסחים פרק י סימן כ
Rosh on Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 10, Siman 20
A women does not need to lean. Rashbam explains, “Because of the fear of her husband and she is subordinate to him.” And according to this, a widow and divorcee need to lean. And in the Sh’iltot of Rav Achai he wrote that it is not the ways of the women to drink. And according to this, a widow and divorcee also [do not need to lean], but [for] an important woman, it is usual for [her] to drink.
אשה לא בעי הסיבה פירש רשב"ם מפני אימת בעלה שכפופה לו ולפי זה אלמנה וגרושה בעו הסיבה ובשאילתות דרב אחאי כתב דלאו דרכם דנשי למיזגי ולפי זה אפילו אלמנה וגרושה נמי אבל אשה חשובה אורחא למיזגי
The Rosh explains how the two opinions brought by the Rashbam differ in practice. It differs for women who do not have a man lording over them.

רבינו ירוחם - תולדות אדם וחוה נתיב ה חלק ד דף מב טור ד
Toldot Adam and Chavah, Track 5, Section 4, Page 42, Column 4
Yerucham ben Meshullam, 14th Century France and Spain
The Tosafot wrote that all of our women are considered important and thus are obligated to recline. But Rambam simply wrote that the average woman need not recline.
וכתבו התו' כל הנשים שלנו חשובות הן וצריכות הסבה. והרמ"בם כתב בסתם אשה אינה צריכה הסבה
Rabbeinu Yerucham quotes a Tosafot which makes a societal shift. The Tosafot use language from the Gemara to explain a shift in the societal standing of their women which would obligate all of them to lean. Per the Rashbam, this may be because they no longer stand so low beneath their husbands, or because it has become usual for women to drink wine. I have heard that at this time women in Europe were permitted to own land.

תרומת הדשן סימן קלח
T’rumat HaDeshen, Siman 138
Yisrael Isserlein, 16th Century Austria
Question: Must an owner of a house lean or not on Pesach eve when with the distinguished scholar of the generation, even if he learned nothing from him?
שאלה: בעל הבית הסועד בלילי פסחים אצל ת"ח מופלג בדורו בעי הסיבה הואיל ולא למד כלום לפני /לפניו/ או לאו?
Answer: It seems that he does not have to lean. And I also found in Parashat Seder Elohei HaRuchot of Rav Shmuel from Paliz,  that he wrote the reason that a student is exempt from leaning before his Rav is because the fear of your Rav is like the fear of Heaven.
תשובה: יראה דלא בעי הסיבה, וכן מצאתי בפרשת סדר אלהי הרוחות הר' שמואל מפליי"ז. וכתב הטעם דהא דתלמיד פטור בהסיבה לפני רבו משום דמורא רבך כמורא שמים

דרכי משה הקצר אורח חיים סימן תעב
Darkhei Moshe Abridged, OC 472
Moshe Isserles, 16th Century Poland
All the more so if the Sage is considered the greatest of his generation, for he is like his [another’s] Rav in all matters. And the Mahariv wrote this is only when the student eats with the Rav on the same table; but if he eats on a different table, even though he is before his Rav, even in this case he must lean.
וכל שכן אם החכם נחשב לגדול הדור דהרי הוא כרבו לכל דבר. וכתב מהרי"ב דוקא כשאוכל התלמיד עם הרב על השולחן אבל כשאוכל על שולחן אחר אע"פ שהוא בפני רבו אפילו הכי צריך להסב.
And he further wrote, that he is only not required to do so, but if he wants, he may lean. And he further wrote that in general it is permissible, and it is not forbidden unless his Rav prevents him. But this does not seem correct, for he is not permitted except with the permission of his Rav, as it follows from the language of the Tur. And this is the opinion of the Beit Yosef, and so it follows from the Gemara.
וכתב עוד דדוקא אינו צריך אבל אם ירצה יכול להסב. וכתב עוד דמסתמא שרי ואינו אסור אלא כשמוחה בו רבו. ואינו נראה, דלא שרי אלא ברשות רבו כדמשמע לשון הטור וכן הוא דעת ב"י וכן משמע בגמרא:
The Rema raises the issue of whether not being required to lean still means it is permissible. This might also reflect the status of a student’s fear of his teacher.

שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות פסח סימן תעב, סעיף ד
Shulchan Arukh, OC, Laws of Pesach, Siman 472, Article 4
Yosef Karo, 16th Century Spain, Portugal, and Israel
Glosses by Moshe Isserles (Rema), 16th Century Poland
A women does not require leaning unless she is important. Gloss: And all of our women are called, “Important.” But they are not accustomed to lean, for they rely on the words of the R’ Aviya who wrote that at this time one should not lean.
אשה אינה צריכה הסיבה אלא א"כ היא חשובה. הגה: וכל הנשים שלנו מיקרי חשובות (מרדכי ריש פ' ע"פ ורבינו ירוחם), אך לא נהגו להסב כי סמכו על דברי ראבי"ה דכתב דבזמן הזה אין להסב (ד"ע).
Here is what I think is going on: the Rema inherets the Tosafist tradition of women not leaning due to a higher societal status. However, he lives at a time where the status of women is closer to how it was in Gemara times. To reconcile this dichotomy, he calls on R’ Aviya’s opinion that people no longer need to actually lean in a world that does not lean at formal meals.

ערוך השולחן אורח חיים סימן תעב, סעיף ג
Arukh Hashulchan, OC 472
Yechiel M’chiel Epstein, 19th Century Lithuania
And know that the Tur wrote in the name of the R’ Aviya that in this time in our lands - in that we are not accustomed to eat while leaning - one does not need to lean. But none of our Rabbis agreed as such.
ודע שהטור כתב בשם ראבי"ה דבזמן הזה במדינתינו שאין רגילין לאכול בהסיבה א"צ להסב ע"ש אבל כל רבותינו לא ס"ל כן
On the contrary, it seems in my humble opinion, that since it is a mitzvah to make differences on this evening, as the Rambam wrote that we need to make differences on this night so the children will see and ask. If so, there is no better difference than leaning, for we are not accustomed to this, and now we do so.
ואדרבא נלע"ד דכיון שמצוה לעשות שינויים בליל זה כמ"ש הרמב"ם בפ"ז [הל' ג'] שצריך לעשות שינויים בליל זה כדי שיראו הבנים וישאלו א"כ אין לך שינוי טוב מהסיבה שאין אנו רגילים בזה ועכשיו עושין אותו
And as proof for this, the question about leaning in the Mah Nishtananh is not recounted in the Mishneh. But in our version there is, and the reason is that at the time of the Mishneh there was no difference, and the child would not ask about this. But now, he asks about the difference, and therefore the main [answer] is like the words of the majority of decisors that one is obligated in leaning.
וראיה לזה שהרי במשנה [קט"ז.] בשאלת מה נשתנה לא הוזכרה שאלת ההסיבה ובנוסחא שלנו ישנה והטעם דבזמן המשנה לא היתה שינוי ולא היה לבן מה לשאול על זה אבל עכשיו שואל על השינוי ולכן העיקר כדברי רוב הפוסקים שחיוב יש בהסיבה:

Anytime a form has lost its original meaning, I think we can do three things: keep the form as a method of continuity and have that itself be meaningful, change the form to keep the original meaning as the R’ Aviyah does, or keep the form and give it new meaning. Rav Epstein keeps the form of leaning, but he inserts new meaning: it is about doing things differently on the seder night and not about eating in a free manner.

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