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Shabbat Parashat Korach | 5768

Making Kiddush for Others Before Accepting Shabbat

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Question: A friend of mine goes to a hospital that has Jewish patients to make Kiddush on behalf of those who are unable to do so. When Shabbat begins late and people eat before Shabbat, he makes Kiddush before accepting Shabbat and returns home. Can his Kiddush still work for others?

Answer: At first glance, your friend is making Kiddush at a time when he is not obligated to do so on behalf of those who have (presumably) accepted (or are accepting) Shabbat and are thus obligated in Kiddush. In general, one who has already discharged his obligation of a certain mitzva can perform the mitzva with its beracha to fulfill the obligation of one who has not yet done so (based on the concept of arvut) (Rosh Hashana 29a). However, the mishna limits this. The one who performs the mitzva must be as obligated in it as the one for whom he is doing it. We must consider: is your friend considered obligated in Kiddush because generally it applies to him, like one who already fulfilled his obligation? Or should we say that one for whom the time is such that the mitzva does not apply is not considered obligated at all?

Regarding cases similar to this, Acharonim cite a Yerushalmi (see Tosafot, Yevamot 14a) that says that inhabitants of un-walled cities cannot read the megilla on behalf of those from walled cities (whose obligation is a day later). We see that one who is obligated in theory but not at this time is not considered obligated. R. Akiva Eiger (to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 277) in regard to our case, raises the following distinction. Here, the one who has not accepted Shabbat can accept it and become obligated immediately. Therefore, the obligation is considered relevant even before he did so. However, R. Akiva Eiger left the matter as an unsolved doubt.

Several recent poskim have tried to resolve the doubt. Tosafot (Berachot 48b) says that one who did not eat is considered obligated in regard to reciting Birkat Hamazon on behalf of one who ate, because he could eat. Rav S.Z. Orbach (Minchat Shlomo I, 3), makes the following distinction between that case and ours. At the time of Birkat Hamazon, the mitzva applies to the one who has not eaten if only the circumstances were that he had eaten. In contrast, before Shabbat is simply not a time that Kiddush is relevant for one who has not accepted Shabbat even if he could do so.

On the other hand, we should consider whether it is clear that Kiddush is inappropriate before Shabbat. The Rambam apparently does not accept the concept of tosefet Shabbat (the ability/obligation) to usher in Shabbat early. Yet he (Shabbat 29:11) says that it is possible to recite Kiddush toward the end of Friday afternoon. This lends credence to the concept that Kiddush (as well as its parallel, Havdala) applies and can be done close to the time of the transition between Shabbat and weekday. Thus the obligation of Kiddush may already apply on a certain level soon before Shabbat even for one who has not accepted Shabbat. While it is difficult to rely on this thesis, it can be thrown in to the mix when contemplating grounds for leniency in various related cases (see Minchat Shlomo, ibid.).

Important poskim have differed as to whether it is proper to rely on R. Akiva Eiger’s more lenient position and allow one who has not accepted Shabbat to make Kiddush for others. In a case such as ours where one is doing a mitzva by doing so and it is not easy to replace him with someone else who can make Kiddush in a better way, we feel that it is proper to be lenient on the matter (see Tzitz Eliezer XII, 25; Yabia Omer VIII, OC 46). While it is best if someone who is hearing the Kiddush should be eating upon it at that time, it is possible that even this is not an absolute necessity (Tzitz Eliezer XII, 24). (The details of that issue are beyond our present scope.)



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