Audio Roundup Special: Rav Soloveitchik Along the Daf

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by Joel Rich

This is a series of relatively brief insights from R’YBS on subjects related to the daf yomi.  A nice mixture of Brisker Torah and The Rav’s hashkafa. I’ll try to post monthly summaries.

Krias Shma: How many Parshiyos are D’Oraysa?

There’s a difference of opinion as to how much of kriat shma you need to say to be yotzeih.  Since it’s also kabbalat ol, there may be a partial kiyum even if you don’t say the whole thing.

Krias Shma morning and evening: One Mitzva or Two Mitzvos

Are kriat shma in the AM and PM separate mitzvoth or one big kiyum (√)?  The message is belief in good times and bad.

Krias Shma Al HaMita

Is kriat shma al hamita a subset of mitzvat kriat shma or an independent requirement?

Krias Shma: One must read on their own

There’s no shomea k’oneh by kriat shma because of the need for a kiyum sheb’leiv

Berachos 4: Smichas Geulah L’Tefilah at Ma’ariv

You can have smichat geulah l’tfila even if you are davening musaf and the kahal is davening shacharit.

Berachos 6: Tefilin Shel Rosh

The retzuot, daled, shin and yud of tfillin – what’s the need for ktivah and what’s their status as tashmish kedusha.

Berachos 9: Chatzos by Korban Pesach

Karban Pesach has some differences from other kodshim.

Berachos 8: Talmid Chacham that forgot his learning

Both the Torah and Tamidei Chochamin have kedushat haguf

Berachos 10 Kiyum Shinun (Talmud Torah) while reciting Shema

Kriat shma has a kiyum of learning as well.

Berachos 10: Shinun (Talmud Torah) with Krias Shma

Mitzvot which are carried out in the context of a bracha don’t get a separate bracha.

Berachos 11: Birchos HaMitzvos of Shma

Kriat shma has two kiyumim – kabalat ol malchut shamayim and talmud torah

Berachos 12: Mentioning Yetzias Mitzraim while reciting Shma

The mitzvah of yetziat mitzraim is part of the mitzvah of kriat shma.

Berachos 12:Reciting the Aseres Hadibros

We stand for asseret hadibrot when read with tam elyon as a reenactment of receiving the asseret hadibrot.

Berachos 16:

Berachos 14: Prohibition of Removing Tefilin until after U’Va L’Tzion

Kaddish titkabeil is really the end of shmoneh esrai.  Tslotshom ubauthom represent short and long-term prayers.

Berachos 14: Reading Shma without Tefilin

Berachos 15: Netilas Yodayim

Is washing for eating a positive kiyum or simply removing an impediment?

14 Shma

Is saying kriat shma with your tfillin on a din in tfillin or kriat shma?

Berachos 16:Reciting Shma on top of a Tree

Tree workers don’t have to come down from the tree by kriat shma but do need to by tfila, perhaps because of the requirement of makom namuch for tfila?

Berachos 17: Onan: Exemption from all Mitzvos

Is the ptur of onein a gzeirat hakatuv or based on tircha?  Is an onein a bar chiyuva?

Berachos 17: Onan: Exemption from Krias Shma, Tefila and Tefilin

An onein could be patur from tfillin, kriat shma and tfilah even after burial due to the intense concentration requirements of these mitzvot.

Berachos 18: Death of Rabeinu Tam’s wife

Is a husband’s chiyuv kvurah for a wife based on being a karov or she is a meit mitzvah to him?  What is the nature of the ptur of onein?

Berachos 19:Lo Sasur

If all drabanan’s (rabbinic mitzvot) are based on lo tasur, why aren’t violations thereof considered torah violations?  R’YBS posited that only rejection of rabbinic authority violates lo tasur.

Rabbinic mitzvot are also a cheftza shel torah!

Berachos 20: Women Required to Daven

The Rambam holds that tfila duraita (torah required prayer) is not time based.  R’YBS held women must daven three times per day.

Morning kriat shma represents our belief during good times, evening kriat shma represents belief during rough ones.

Chanah’s prayer was answered when she realized in the end it’s just us and HKBH (even with our loved ones)

Berachos 21 Birchos HaTorah (Shitas HaRambam)

You need to learn a little right after birchat hatorah but the bracha carries over for all day due to our latent attachment to torah.  Birchat hatorah represents both a matir and kiyum.

Rav Solovietchik on Vehagita bo Yomam vaLaylah

Vhigita means we must sacrifice for torah and our attachment must be on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one.  Torah must be totally central to our lives.


When Chazal talk of the severity of forgetting Torah they’re not talking about intellectual (mind) forgetting but rather about emotional (heart) forgetting.  We must always have an emotional urge to return to Torah learning even when going about our daily lives.

Berachos 26: Tefilas Shachar until Chatzos

Is tfila shelo bshaita considered a tashlumim or a parallel prayer track

Berachos 27: Kiddush M’Beod Yom

What’s the nature of tosefet Shabbat vis-à-vis saying Kiddush?

Berachos 28: Malchus Yehuda

Rambam vs. Ramban on whether the Chashmonaim (as Cohanim) did the right thing in taking on the role ofmalchut (maybe it was shmirat hamikdash)

Berachos 29: Oker Raglav Chozer L’Avoda

The fourth bracha of birchat hamazon is not integral to birchat hamazon.


About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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