Shabbat Parashat Re'eh| 5766
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Question: At the last day of Sheva Berachot, we ate most of the meal in the daytime but got up to Birkat Hamazone and the Sheva Berachot after sunset. Could we still make the berachot?
Answer: At first glance, this is the same as one who starts a meal on Shabbat and does not finish it until afterward, with the question being about reciting R’tzei in Birkat Hamazone. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 188) brings differing opinions on the matter. The Shulchan Aruch (188:10) rules that we follow the beginning of the meal and recite R’tzei even after Shabbat has ended.
However, in our case, the Acharonim rule differently. Many (including Shaarei Teshuva 188:7 and Birkei Yosef 188:13) cite the Ginat Veradim, who says that that which we recite things that do not seem to apply anymore because they applied in the beginning of the meal is only by hazkarot. That is, R’tzei and the similar Ya’aleh V’yavoh are not full berachot but are additions to the existing text of Birkat Hamazone. However, we do not make individual berachot, like Sheva Berachot, after the week of festivities are over, just based on the beginning or even the end of the meal. (We should note that there are other questions that arise in regard to counting the seven days. We rule that it follows the time of the chupa (Rama, Even Haezer 62:6; see Acharonim). When there are multiple reasons to allow the berachot, it may be possible to accept a combination of opinions. Thus, for example, Rav O. Yosef (Yabia Omer V, EH 7) allows making Sheva Berachot at bein hashemashot (twilight) of the eighth night when the couple had not entered the yichud room until the night of their wedding.)
The Pitchei Teshuva (Even Haezer 62:12), after citing this Ginat Veradim, seems to be bothered by the following question. When a man and woman who were both previously married get married, there is only one day of Sheva Berachot (Shulchan Aruch, EH 62:6). There is a major dispute on what one day means (see Chelkat Mechokek and Beit Shmuel, ad loc.). Some say the first day refers to all the meals the couple partakes in on the halachic day of their marriage. Others say it applies to the first, festive meal that the couple partakes in, even if it is on the night after the marriage, which is very common in summer weddings. While it is questionable whether to make a beracha at the wedding meal that was held at night, the Ba’er Heitev (62:5) says that one makes Sheva Berachot that night if the meal began in the daytime. The Pitchei Teshuva apparently expected that the same thing should be true for a meal that began on the seventh day of normal Sheva Berachot and ended on the night of the eighth.
The China V’chisda (on Ketubot 7a) makes the following distinction. Even though there is only one day of Sheva Berachot for the previously married couple, there are three days of simcha. Therefore, the second night is not a totally inappropriate time to recite the Sheva Berachot. In contrast, after the seven days of a normal Sheva Berachot period, there is no place for the berachot, and the fact that the meal was begun (or even finished) during the day is not enough to enable berachot to be made after their time.
There is a difference between your question of reciting Sheva Berachot on the eighth night and that of reciting “Shehasimcha Bim’ono” in the zimun of(introduction to) Birkat Hamazone. The Ezer Mikodesh (on Shulchan Aruch ibid.:13) says that one does recite “Shehasimcha Bim’ono” in this case. His main reason is that the gemara (Ketubot 8a) says that when one makes a meal in honor of a wedding up to twelve months later one may recite this addition. Although we do not do this in practice, in a case like ours, where there are serious reasons to consider this a continuation of the Sheva Berachot period, it is appropriate to do so. Recent Acharonim caution that this is true only when people outside the household take part in the meal (see Nisuim K’hilchatam 14: 128).
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