First, I'd like to thank you for such a great opportunity the Kollel is giving us in allowing us to ask questions. If there's a limit on how many questions we can ask, please let me know! :)
On Brachos 21a, the Gemara brings 2 kal vechomers, to learn a brachach achronah and rishonah for both Torah and Mazon respectively, from each other.
1) How can we learn a kal vechomer to each other?! Surely in a kal vechomer one has to be totally kal and one has to be totally chamur? At best, Mazon and Torah are on the same level of chumra in that they both have one brachah, either lefanehah or acharehah. They are both kal and both chamur in a different area. This is unlike any kal vechomer I have seen anywhere else (and the pirchah is too).
2) (I believe the Pnei Yoshua asks like this): After we made the first kal vechomer, so now the first one makes Torah need a brachah achronah. So how can the next kal vechomer come along and say, "well, now we'll learn that Mazon needs a rishonah from a kal vechomer, because we see that Torah doesn't have an achronah and Mazon does"? We just saw that Torah DOES have an achronah! The 2nd kal vechomer contradicts the 1st!
I heard an answer based on a question on Rashi, who says on "teunah brachah" that "there's no mefurash passuk for this". So who cares about pasuk? We're dealing with whether there is a d'Oraisa CHIYUV for brachot achronah or rishonah - not whether there is a pasuk! So the answer given was that Rashi is saying, when the Gemara says the first time 'teunah' in each kal vechomer, it means 'has a mefurash pasuk', so Torah has a clear pasuk for brachah rishonah, and Mazon has a clear pasuk for brachah achronah.
So now the second time the Gemara says 'teunah' in each kal vechomer, this 'teunah' means 'chiyuv'. So we can say the second kal vechomer according to this explanation of Rashi because lefi that the Gemara isn't saying that Torah has a d'Oraisa PASUK for brachah achronah, only that it has a d'Oraisa CHIYUV of brachah rishonah, mikal vechomer. So we can say lefi this in the next kal vechomer for mazon that Torah isn't 'teunah brachah achronah', even though we just said it is 'teunah brachah' at the end of the first kal vechomer, because the first 'teunah brachah' means has a d'Oraisa pasuk, and the second means has a d'Oraisa chiyuv.
My question on this is, if this is a valid answer, as it seems to be otherwise why is Rashi bringing this whole thing about mefurash pesukim, why would the Gemara use the same lashon ('teunah') for both pasuk and chiyuv?
I'm sorry if I did not explain myself clearly.
Thank you very much.
B Harris, London, UK
1) Each one has one Berachah that is Min ha'Torah. This seems to be sufficient grounds for at least a possible Kal v'Chomer each way. [You might want to explain your objections to the Kal v'Chomer and Pirchos more specifically.]
2) I don't really think this is the simple explanation of Rashi, especially because Rashi did not make this distinction himself. Rashi could very well be noting that one should not think that when Rebbi Yehudah says food does not require a Berachah beforehand, he did not hold that one does not have to make Berachos mid'Rabbanan before eating food. Rather, he means that there is no explicit Pasuk telling me there is such an obligation. Therefore, one can make a Kal v'Chomer to Birkas Ha'Torah where there is a Derashah telling us about such an obligation to make a Berachah beforehand that there should be a Berachah afterwards. [The Pnei Yehoshua gives better answers to this question.]
All the best,