Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Rambam and the Four Tibulim

Mishna Pesachim 116a:
מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות שבכל הלילות אנו מטבילין פעם אחת הלילה הזה שתי פעמים
Every other night we dip once.  On this night, we dip twice.
Gemara there:
מתקיף לה רבא אטו כל יומא לא סגיא דלא מטבלא חדא זימנא אלא אמר רבא הכי קתני שבכל הלילות אין אנו חייבין לטבל אפילו פעם אחת הלילה הזה שתי פעמים מתקיף לה רב ספרא חיובא לדרדקי אלא אמר רב ספרא הכי קתני אין אנו מטבילין אפילו פעם אחת הלילה הזה שתי פעמים
Rava asks, is it so certain that we do dip once at other meals?  Rather, this is what it should say: on all nights, we are not obligated to dip even once, and on this night, twice.  Rav Safra asks, "Obligated?  This is not really an obligation, it is just so that the children should wonder what is going on and ask questions!"  Rather, says Rav Safra, this is what it should say: we don't even dip once; this night, twice.  (According to Rav Safra, the proper wording is, as we say it, "On all nights we don't dip even once....")

חיובא לדרדקי. בתמיה הא משום הכירא דתינוקות כדי שישאלו קעבדינן: אלא אמר רב ספרא כו'. מהכא שמעינן דהכי אית לן למימר שבכל הלילות אין אנו מטבילין [אפילו] פעם אחת 

What are the two dippings?  Rashi on the Mishna says
שתי פעמים. טיבול ראשון דשאר ירקות וטיבול שני דמרור

The problem is that the Rambam prescribes not two dippings, but four.
In 8 Ch'uM 2 he says
מתחיל ומברך בורא פרי האדמה ולוקח ירק ומטבל אותו בחרוסת (1) ואוכל 
and there in 8:8 he says 
בזמן הזה שאין שם קרבן אחר שמברך המוציא לחם חוזר ומברך על אכילת מצה. ומטבל מצה בחרוסת (2) ואוכל. וחוזר ומברך על אכילת מרור ומטבל מרור בחרוסת (3) ואוכל. ולא ישהה אותו בחרוסת שמא יבטל טעמו. וזו מצוה מדברי סופרים. וחוזר וכורך מצה ומרור ומטבל בחרוסת (4) ואוכלן בלא ברכה זכר למקדש

That's a total of four.  So how is it that the Rambam brings the Mishna in its original form and says that the question is worded "two times"?
. ואומר הקורא מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות שבכל הלילות אין אנו מטבילין אפילו פעם אחת והלילה הזה שתי פעמים.

This is not my question.  It was asked by numerous Rishonim and Achronim, as brought in the Tur in OC 475.  This is why many disagree with the Rambam's idea of dipping Matza into Charoses, or anything at all.

But even if you drop the dipping of Matza on its own, there remains another issue:  The Rambam says that the Korech has to be dipped into Charoses as well.  This makes perfect sense, because the Korech contains Maror.  Hillel, when he made his Korech, had to have dipped it into Charoses, so if we're making a Korech in memory of what he did, it makes sense that we do so as well.

But, as the Tur brings from the Avi Ha'Ezri, that leaves us wondering why we do three tibulim, when the Mishna says two.

The Pri Chadash (OC 475, DH ומ"ש עוד) says he's not bothered by the additional tibbul of the Korech, because the dipping of the Korech is only as an alternative to the dipping of the Matza and the Maror individually.  We do both, to honor the two opinions, but in theory, they are mutually exclusive.  But he is still bothered by the Rambam's idea that the Matza should be dipped into Charoses, so that's three tibullim- Karpas, Maror, and Matza.

Dr. Nachum Stone, of Maale Adumim, suggested two answers, and I think they're both kedai to hear.

1.  That the tibbul of the Matza is not counted.  They would always dip the bread into something at a meal, so it wouldn't arouse any remark.  It is only the dipping of Karpas and Maror that is unusual, as Rashi said.  I later found that my rebbi and chavrusa, Rabbi Moshe Brown of Far Rockaway, says this in his most recent sefer, Ma'adanei Moshe.

2.  The although the Gemara does not make any determination of whether the halacha is like Hillel or the Rabanan as far as Korech is concerned, the Rambam pretty clearly is favoring Hillel, most likely because he learned that even the Rabanan agree that one would be yotzei the mitzvos of the Korban and the Matza, and certainly the Maror, with a korech.  Hillel only differs in holding that they must be eaten like that.  (This is how the Rashbam and the Ramban learn the Gemara Pesachim 115a)  This is evident in the Rambam in 8:6, where he says 
 ואחר כך כורך מצה ומרור כאחת ומטבל בחרוסת ומברך ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על אכילת מצות ומרורים ואוכלן. ואם אכל מצה בפני עצמה ומרור בפני עצמו מברך על זה בפני עצמו ועל זה בפני עצמו:
The fact that the Rambam then turns around and says that nowadays we eat them separately at first and only later combine them into a korech is hard to understand, (and may have to do with the Reb Chaim on Pesachim 120a, page 33 of Reb Chaim Al Hashas and the mitzvos mevatlos issue) but in any case, it is pretty clear he paskens that we used to do like Hillel's korech only.  I later found that Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky says this in his Emes L'Yaakov.
If so, then Bizman Habayis there were only two tibullim, the Karpas and the Korech.  The language of the question, that originated in the time of the Beis Hamikdash and reflected what they did then, remains on the books, despite the fact that we do things differently now.  But that's not a problem.  At worst, it will just be another reason to ask a question.  And at best, it's a preparation for Biyas Hamashi'ach.

Today, (Vayakhel-Pekudei 5673), the Chaver Mike Nussbaum proposed another answer.  The phrase "Matbilin shtei p'amim" might refer to the thing we're dipping in.  There are two dips, saltwater and charoses. I have to think about the word "p'amim" though.  If it said יש לנו שתי טיבולים. or מטבילין שתים, I would agree, but to read this into פעמים is difficult.  Furthermore, while the Rambam in Pirush Hamishnayos says that the first tibbul is in saltwater, in the Yad he says that there is no tibbul in saltwater: that all the tibullim are in Charoses.  So CMN's teretz will not stand.

I recently heard a very nice answer to this question.  The Leket Yosher (page 85), a talmid of the Trumas Hadeshen, says that he saw his rebbi dip two zeisim of maror at once, in the beginning of the meal.  He would then eat one, and save the second one to put into the Korech.

וראיתי שנוטל שני דתים מרור בטיבול ראשון, ויטבול בחרוסת, ונתן לכל בגי הסעודה עוד שני זיתים, ואח־כ עשה הכרכה [על אכילת מרור], ואוכלים זית אחד, והזית שני מניחים עד לכריכה, וכרכו למצה השלישית והוא אכל בהסבה, כן כתב בסדרו

He does not suggest any explanation for what he saw the Trumas Hadeshen do, he just reports what he saw.

But the Mateh Moshe (648), in discussing the problem with the number of tibullim, says that he has a solution: that you should do both zeisim of Maror at once, and use them separately, and so there would be only two tibullim; one of Karpas in saltwater, and one of the two zeisim of maror.  It's interesting that he suggests it as a solution to the tibbul issue, without knowing that by doing so he explained the behavior of the Trumas Hadeshen.

 ואח״כ יבצע מצה שלישית לכריכה וכתב אבי העזרי שאין למובלו בתרומתלשני שיבולים מצינו בזמן הזה דרניצין למיעבר כהלל ג׳ לא מצינו . ור׳ שמעיה כשם רש״י כתב לצריך לסובלו במרושת וכן כתב הרא״ש ז״ל וטובלו בתרופת שכך היה הלל עושה אוכל השמ מצה ומרור וטבל במרושת וז״ל כמ״ג רבעו ימיאצ היה טוכל הכריכה במרושת למאמר דהיה זכר להלל עבדינן כהלל לכרך פשח מצה במרומז ראם לא כן היכן אכל מרושת ליליה . וכן היה נוהג מהר׳׳ש ומהר״י מול״ן-וכן כתב אבן הירמי ומצאתי כתוב לכלי שלא להוסיף על השיכולים יטבול בדיישונה שני זמים וינימ אמת לכריכה: 

Please see the comments:
I don't have time to write any more today, but it's very kedai to see the ideas brought there, such as that the word Tibbul does not necessarily mean dip; many rishonim say it means 'beginning a meal.'  As such, the question is not why do we dip once, or twice, or three times.  The question is why do we dip the karpas before we're ready to really begin the meal:  why do we act as if we're beginning a meal when we don't actually eat anything at that point.


  1. The true answer is that Rambam's girsa is not מטבילין (dip) but מטבלין (Patach ט), which means, roughly, eat, like "השמש מטבל בבני מעיים". Thus, what the child asks is why do we split our se'uda and eat two times in one night. This makes sense as it comes right after Akiras Shulchan; if the question is abount dip counting, the child would have to stipulate it from the charoses on the ke'ara.

    The reason I'm so confident about this pshat in Rambam, is his Peirush Hamishna on מטבל בחזרת where he says "ענין מטבל מתעסק באכילת הירק".

    Many Rishonim also explain the question this way, or very similar, see Meiri, R. David, Maharil, etc. For example, Avudraham says: ופי' אין אנו מטבלין אין אנו אוכלים קודם עיקר סעודתינו ירקות אפילו פעם אחת, הלילה הזה שתי פעמים אחת בכרפס ואחת במרור, כי הטבול אצל רז"ל היא האכילה כי כל מאכלם היה ע"י טיבול so he doesn't accept Rambam's etymology, but still goes more or less in the same direction.

    So again, kindergarten teachers turn our kids into "אינו יודע לשאול"

  2. re Eli:

    אינו יודע לשאול is precisely the condition which rebbeim in cheder and yeshiva want their talmidim to be in. Thus, the kindergarten teachers are doing the job they are supposed to do.

  3. I think it is clear that the Rambam only refers to the yerakos that are being dipped. And remember, according to the Rambam, the question of two tibbulim is not really a question but rather an answer that the father tells the child. So the child asks, what is going on, what is different, and the father (who is the koreh) answers him that we are going to have another tibul with the Maror. The reason he focuses on the tibulim with the yerakos is because of the sugya on kuf yud daled and lets the kore guide the discussion and delve into the concept of mitzvos tsrichos kavanah etc.

  4. Avraham- Your point about the tibul of bread being discounted, as Dr. Stone also pointed out, is fine, but why do you say it's clear in the Rambam? Where?

    The point about who it is that actually recites the Mah Nishtana is very interesting. I was wondering about that myself, and reading the Rambam I think there's no way to read it differently.

  5. Eli- I know you're right. It's just difficult for me to enjoy knowing that the Rambam's pshat in Matbilim is totally different than Rashi and the way we normally understand it. Maybe the Luchos were written in Libuna'a, and maybe the Aleph Beis begins with Beis. But I don't have to like it. If I were at the Rambam's Seder, and he said "Me'tavlin Shtei Pe'amim," I would tell him to say it like everyone else.

  6. If you were at the Rambam's Seder, and he would serve you Kezayis Rishon with Charoses you would ask for another one, plain. So you would get your Shtey Pe'amim either way.

  7. I think it is clear in the Rambam that the question about the two tibbulim (or answer as the case may be according to the way the Rambam is learning - see also Tos on mishna who also learns that the Kore is answering and it is not a question of the child)only refers to the yerakps because otherwise you would have a simple stira in the Rambam :)

  8. In the Rambam, the word Stira does not exist. What appears to be inconsistent is just the Rambam's way of demonstrating that we don't have a clue. As for the alleged stira, you have Eli's answer, which is hard to dispute, you have the "only vegetable" answer, and you have Dr. Stone's other answer, that the Rambam paskens like Hillel. Today someone suggested another approach during my shiur, which I'm going to put into the post.

  9. I must admit I have no clue what Eli's answer is. It makes no sense to me. The question is a contrast, on all other nights we don't even "eat" once whereas tonight we split it up and eat twice. I understand the this night we eat twice, but if you keep the meaning of metabel consistent what does it mean that on other nights we don't eat once. Metabel means dip, however you write it. Like Rashbam brings in the mishna, hashamash metabel...that is a lashon of eating by dipping. Their standard mode was through dips, and I would say nowadays it is quite popular as well.

  10. Re MN's answer - according to the Rambam the Karpas is also eaten with Charoses, leaving us with only one thing we're dipping in.

    Note that the girsa in Gemara (Pesachim 116a, unlike our Haggadah) is שבכל הלילות אנו מטב(י)לין פעם אחת הלילה הזה שתי פעמים

  11. Eli,

    Problem is girsa in my Rambam (8,2) is shebechol haleylos eyn anu matbilim afilu paam achas

  12. I see that I've gotten lazy. To have posted the answer about saltwater/charoses without reading what I quoted from the Rambam is just wrong. Also, I need to check the Tur's quote from the Avi Ha'Ezri on the three tibulim, why he only asks on the kricha and not on the Rambam's basic shitta. So I'm going to incorporate the comments into the post and either re-do it or just erase it and start over.

  13. Avraham, sorry for my brevity earlier. Obviously the Rambam does not follows the mishna's girsa, because of Rava's (116a) "לא סגיא דלא מטבל" question. What I wanted to show from the mishna is that the apriori assumption was that they did מטבל every night. Rava does not challenge that, but objects to the wording from which it seems we must be מטבל every night.

    So, what we do see from there is that "אין מטב(י)לין" does not mean "we never do it" but rather "we do not *always* do it" (whatever מטב(י)לין means).

    All of the above is independent on the interpretation of מטב(י)ל. All Rishonim going in the "dip" route explain that "סתם מאכלם היה בטיבול". So again, you should ask, how come אין אנו מטבילין אפילו פעם אחת? Didn't they eat at all on regular nights?