Shabbat Parashat Matot| 5765
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Question: I thought that one must make Kiddush on Shabbat morning by chatzot (astronomical midday). However, I cannot find a source for such a halacha. Does one exist?
Answer: Your impression has a basis but is not precise. Let us explain.
We fulfill the main mitzva of Kiddush on Shabbat at night by making a special beracha (“mekadesh hashabbat”) in tefilla and before eating. In the daytime Kiddush (called Kiddusha Rabba- Pesachim 106a) the main element is to add prominence to the meal by beginning it with wine (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 50:4) [or possibly a substitute- beyond our present scope]. If, for whatever reason, one did not make Kiddush at the morning meal, then he begins Seuda Shlishit with Kiddush (Sha’ar Hatziyun 291:9). The time element of Kiddush is not an independent issue. Rather, whenever the first Shabbat day meal is, Kiddush should precede it. So the question is whether the meal must be started by chatzot.
There are classical sources that talk about the three meals of Shabbat taking place at night, in the morning, and in the afternoon, respectively (Shabbat 117b; Rambam, Shabbat 30:9). However, it is not clear whether the stated times are halachic requirements, assumptions, or suggestions. There is significant discussion among poskim onthe questions of whether the first meal must be at night and the third must be in the afternoon. In contrast, there is little discussion about whether the second meal must begin in the morning and the practice is not to be concerned of any such requirement. See an interesting discussion of possible reasons for this phenomenon in Yisrael V’haz’manim (vol. I pp. 432-438).
The more serious problem is that of fasting on Shabbat. All agree that under normal circumstances it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat, the day the Torah (Shemot 16:25) and Navi (Yeshaya 58:13) refer to as a day of eating and indulging. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 288:1) says that one may not fast on Shabbat until the end of six hours (a standard term for chatzot), even if he does intend to fast (Magen Avraham & Mishna Berura 288:1). The Rama (288:1) rejects the minority opinion (see Beit Yosef, ad loc.) that one who is preoccupied with tefilla or Torah study need not be concerned. So, since one must eat by the end of six hours and he may not eat or drink before Kiddush (Shulchan Aruch, OC 289:1) he ostensibly has no choice but to make Kiddush by chatzot. Of course, this problem is equally solved even if one makes Kiddush before eating cake; he does not need challot at that time.
However, there are grounds and means for leniency (if you call not eating, leniency). Most commentators (including Taz 288:1) say that the significance of six hours into the day is that after that time the stomach is so empty that it is not receptive to food, a situation to avoid all week long. The Magen Avraham (157:1) and Mishna Berura (157:2) say that the six hours (z’maniyot), in this regard, are calculated from the time a person awakens. This solves the problem for those who start eating late because shul starts late.
However, it is possible that there is an independent problem of fasting until midday, even if one has not been up for six hours (note the aforementioned’s silence in siman 288 and see K’tzotz Hashulchan 90:1 & footnote 1). However, one can remedy this by drinking a cup of water or tea before the beginning of tefilla, after which it is no longer considered a fast. It is unclear whether this also remedies the problem of the empty stomach (see ibid.).
In summary, Kiddush per se need not be done by chatzot, but there is an issue not to fast. As most people eat within six hours of awakening, it is possible that there is no problem, and, if there is, it can be remedied by drinking before tefilla.
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