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Shabbat Parashat Chukat 5779

Ask the Rabbi: Fulfilling Kiddush from One Who Did Not Eat

Rabbi Daniel Mann

Question: If the person making Kiddush in shul does not eat after Kiddush, is his Kiddush valid?


Answer: We must distinguish between a valid Kiddush for the person who made Kiddush and for those who listened to Kiddush and then ate.

We accept Shmuel’s opinion (Pesachim 101a) that Kiddush is valid only in the place of a meal (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 273:3). Therefore, if Kiddush is made and no one eats, the Kiddush is in vain.

According to the great majority of poskim (see Sha’arei Teshuva 273:7; Pri Megadim, MZ 273:1; Living the Halachic Process II, C:3), if some eat the food required for a seuda and others do not, only those who ate are yotzei with Kiddush. Thus, at first glance, the person making Kiddush was not yotzei. Therefore, although the mekadesh is usually advised to drink a m’lo lugmav (app. 2 ounces) (Shulchan Aruch, OC 271:14), if he will not eat afterward, he must not drink from the wine, if he has not yet made his own Kiddush (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 4). On the other, if he is willing to drink a revi’it (a little more than 3 oz.), this counts as his meal according to most authorities (see Shulchan Aruch ibid. 5; Mishna Berura 273:22, 27).

In certain contexts, it is common for the one making Kiddush to not eat anything. For example, a rabbi at a hospital may go from ward to ward making Kiddush without eating in each place. An older practice is of one making Kiddush in shul even though he is going to eat only at home (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 279:1). The gemara (Pesachim 101a) already mentions this practice and asks how it is possible considering that the person who makes Kiddush does not eat in shul. The gemara answers that it was instituted to fulfill the mitzva of Kiddush on behalf of guests who eat and sleep in the shul. Many Rishonim (see Tur and Beit Yosef, OC 279) are bothered by the situation in which there are clearly no such guests and we continue to make an ostensibly pointless Kiddush. However, when there are indeed such people who want to be yotzei with the person making Kiddush in shul, all assume there is no problem for the Kiddush to be done by one who is not eating on behalf of one who is eating. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 54:6, citing the Pri Megadim (ibid.), says that in the case you describe, the people listening to Kiddush and then eating fulfill the mitzva of Kiddush, while the one making Kiddush but is not eating does not fulfill it.

The possibility to do the mitzva for others while not fulfilling the mitzva oneself is a straightforward application of the rule of arvut (responsibility for others) in mitzvot. The more famous application is when one has already fulfilled a mitzva and wants to do it a second time for one who has not yet fulfilled the mitzva (Rosh Hashana 29a). The Dagul Me’reveva does raise the possibility, based on a surprising line in the Rosh (Berachot 3:13), that a man cannot do so on behalf of a woman. However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Shut I,7) convincingly argues that there is no difference between men and women in regards to arvut (he reads the Rosh differently). The Mishna Berura (Sha’ar Hatziyun 271:9) posits that Rabbi Akiva Eiger is correct.

Generally, arvut applies only to mitzvot and their berachot, which are obligations for the one who is in need of fulfillment and not to berachot on food, which the person is not required to eat (Rosh Hashana ibid.). However, the gemara concludes (ibid. 29b) that when the beracha on food is itself a mitzva (e.g., the wine for Kiddush) then arvut applies to it as well. Therefore, it is not required that the mekadesh drink the wine of Kiddush, as long as someone else is drinking the required amount (Shulchan Aruch, OC 271:14 – there is a question whether the m’lo lugmav can be reached by adding up what more than one person drank). This is even possible when others are drinking from a different cup of wine (Mishna Berura 271:77), although it is normally best for the one making Kiddush to drink the proper amount from the Kiddush cup (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 48:14).     
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