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“Baruch Hu U’varuch Shemo” in ZimunIt is unclear to me whether one is supposed to say “Baruch hu u’varuch shemo” at the end of zimun and if so, who is supposed to recite it. What is proper?
The first halachic code that mentions the phrase Baruch hu u’varuch shemo (meaning that we “bless” Hashem and His Name) is the Tur in two places. It is not found in the gemara or the halachic works based on it (Rambam, Rif, Rosh). In Orach Chayim 124, the Tur cites an oral statement of his father (the Rosh) to recite the phrase upon hearing all berachot, in line with the statement that Moshe taught Bnei Yisrael to praise Hashem whenever he mentioned His Name (Yoma 37a based on Devarim 32:3). The Shulchan Aruch (OC 124:5) brings this as the halacha. (It is not a full obligation, and therefore it should not be said when it would harm a beracha - Mishna Berura 124:22.)
The second place the Tur mentions Baruch hu u’varuch shemo is regarding zimun (OC 192), as part of his text at the end of the mezamen’s final recitation. The Maharshal (see Taz 192:1) considers it a misprint, and Rav Yosef Karo ignores it in both the Beit Yosef and the Shulchan Aruch. However, other of the Tur’s commentaries (Bach and Perisha) find earlier sources (Rokeach and Avudrohom (with a different text)).
We found three explanations for the rationale to recite Baruch hu u’varuch shemo in zimun. The Bach views it as an extension of the Rosh/Tur’s idea of blessing Hashem upon hearing His Name in a beracha. Therefore, he reasons, it applies only in a zimun of ten, when His Name (i.e., Elokeinu) is used. The Bach adds that this formulation is particularly appropriate here because the same pasuk (Devarim 32:3) is a source for saying Baruch hu u’varuch shemo and for the requirement of zimun in general (Berachot 45a).
The Darchei Moshe (OC 192:2) posits that the Tur intended that it create a desirable break between the zimun and Birkat Hamazon (the basic idea and different opinions about a short recitation between beracha groups is found in Shulchan Aruch and Rama, OC 215:1). The Eliya Rabba (192:2, see also Pri Megadim 192, MZ 1) connects this with a minhag which very few people practice today – that the zimun responders answer Amen to the mezamen’s “Baruch she’achalnu …” (see opinions in Magen Avraham, introduction to siman 192). Amen is their break; the mezamen’s break is Baruch hu u’varuch shemo. According to this, since we do not answer Amen, the responders might want to say Baruch hu u’varuch shemo as well.
The Perisha (OC 192:2) and the Maharal (Netivot Olam, Netiv Ha’avoda 18) connect Baruch hu u’varuch shemo to the idea of adding on to one’s counterpart’s blessing (see Taz, Yoreh Deah 242:5). Here, every time the response switches sides, something should be added – the responders add “… u’v’tuvo chayinu”; the mezamen adds “Baruch hu u’varuch shemo.” If so, of course it would be only the mezamen who recites it, as it sounds from the language of the Tur.
In addition to the Shulchan Aruch not bringing the minhag of saying Baruch hu u’varuch shemo, the Rama (despite his suggested explanation in Darchei Moshe) does not believe it is worthwhile, nor does the Taz (OC 192:1). The Magen Avraham (ibid.) and the Mishna Berura (192:4) cite both the practice of saying and of not saying, and view the former as more prevalent. It is hard for me to say which is more common today. For Sephardim, the Yalkut Yosef does not mention Baruch hu u’varuch shemo regarding zimun. The Kaf Hachayim (OC 192:8) discusses the counter indications and says that due to lack of clarity, it is better to refrain. The reason to not welcome additional nice words could be out of opposition to post-Talmudic additions. It is also possible that, between zimun and Birkat Hamazon, it is forbidden to break for unnecessary things (see dilemma of K’tzot Hashulchan 45:(35)).In conclusion, if one does not have a minhag one way or another, the stronger option is to not recite Baruch hu u’varuch shemo, at least if there is there are not ten for the zimun.
Automatic Commerce in Cryptocurrency on ShabbatI joined a “stock exchange” for crypto coins, in which I can buy and sell, and have a linked service that enables me to create “bots” to find and carry out deals 24/7, according to parameters I set. If I do not shut it off for Shabbat (which is easy), it will almost certainly find profitable trades. May I let the bots run on Shabbat?
Let us first discuss the easier issues. There is no problem of s’char Shabbat (earnings on Shabbat) because buying and selling is not considered sachar (Noda B’Yehuda II, Orach Chayim 26; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:51). These transactions do not include marit ayin concerns. While your bots might be doing a deal with a Jew who is actively involved on Shabbat, there should not be a problem of lifnei iver (facilitating sin) for a combination of factors. These include (among other factors): you are focusing on the majority (non-Jews); it is unclear if a Jew will violate Shabbat and if yes, he would do so knowingly; he can do a transaction with someone else (see Bemareh Habazak, V:37). Although your machine is involved in Rabbinic electrically-based and not-in-the-spirit-of-Shabbat activities (metzo cheftzecha – see Yeshayahu 58:13), you would not be personally involved.
The complicated issue is that you plan for transactions to take place on your behalf on Shabbat. The gemara (Beitza 37a) says that donating to hekdesh is forbidden on Shabbat because it can lead to commercial activity (which thus must itself be forbidden). Rashi (ad loc.) explains that buying/selling is forbidden either because of metzo cheftzecha or out of concern one might write in the process. Neither of those concerns would seem to apply when a person set up everything before Shabbat and the deal took effect without his involvement on Shabbat (Shut K’tav Sofer, OC 46). In fact, the Magen Avraham (339:8) says that while one may not do a pidyon haben on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch, OC 339:4), the reason he may not give the money to the kohen before Shabbat and have it take effect on Shabbat is only that he would be unable to make the beracha at either time.
However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Shut I:159) infers otherwise from two versions of the preparation of an alternative wife for the kohen gadol lest his wife die on Yom Kippur, which would harm his avoda. The Yerushalmi (Yoma 1:1) says that although it is usually forbidden to marry on Shabbat, here it was permitted if his wife died. The Bavli (Yoma 13a-b) describes a complicated arrangement. R. Akiva Eiger argues that the fact that they did not use the simplest situation – to marry a woman before Yom Kippur to take effect only on condition his present wife would die – shows that an acquisition on Shabbat is forbidden even if it was prepared beforehand. So too here, even if the bots do the work, your transaction on Shabbat seems to be forbidden.
We have leaned toward leniency in some of this concept’s modern applications. First, while other prominent poskim agree with R. Akiva Eiger, several do not (see opinions in She’arim Hametzuyanim Bahalacha 80:64). Igrot Moshe (OC III:44) deflected the proofs in both directions and advised being strict out of doubt (even though this is a Rabbinic issue). Also, the stringency’s unclear logic and thus parameters led to distinctions (see Chelkat Yaakov OC 67 regarding vending machines; Bemareh Habazak V:36 regarding commercial internet sites open on Shabbat). One of the distinctions, which might or might not apply here, is if one did not purposely set the transaction for Shabbat. Another applies especially well to cryptocurrency – if the acquisition takes effect on something ethereal, as opposed to a specific object. The Avnei Nezer (OC 51) explains the mechanism of the prohibition as the action done before Shabbat relating to the result on Shabbat. So one might claim that since the transaction was done by the bot on Shabbat, you are not linked to any action of the transaction, so it would be permitted.
In short, there are enough grounds for leniency to permit you to keep the bots on over Shabbat.
Adding Salt to Hot Food on ShabbatIn our home, the health concerns of some and the taste concerns of others clash in regard to salt in our food. If I cook with less salt, may people add salt to their soup or cholent on Shabbat?
We will discuss the issues that impact the different permutations of the question.
The gemara (Shabbat 42b) cites three opinions regarding cooking salt in comparison to cooking other spices (which occurs in a kli rishon but not a kli sheini). 1. It occurs only in a kli rishon on the fire; 2. It is like other spices; 3. It occurs even in a kli sheini. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:9) rules like the lenient opinion (only forbidden on the fire), which would solve your problem. However, the Rama cites the opinion that salt cooks even in a kli sheini and praises those who are machmir. Therefore, we will seek other grounds for leniency.
First, we must survey the three modes of salt production: 1. mining underground; 2. cooking seawater so that only salt remains; 3. evaporating seawater in the sun and drying the moist salt with hot air. #3 is the standard in Israel.
If #2 is done, we can apply the rule that the prohibition of cooking does not apply to solid foods that were already cooked. This does not guarantee permissibility, as some claim that since salt becomes liquefied during its usage, it is treated like a liquid, for which recooking is likely forbidden (see Mishna Berura 318:71). Even regarding definite liquids, the prohibition might only be a chumra (Igrot Moshe, OC IV:74.5, based on Rama OC 318:15). Therefore, regarding such salt, the case for leniency is very strong.
If system #3 is used, the case is arguably weaker because hot air accomplishes baking as opposed to cooking, after which Ashkenazim generally forbid cooking (see Shulchan Aruch and Rama ibid. 5). On the other hand, this too is a matter of machloket (many Sephardim do not view cooking as a problematic addition for a baked food – see Yalkut Yosef, OC 318:61), and the minhag is to be stringent regarding a kli rishon and kli sheini, but lenient in a kli shlishi (Mishna Berura 318:47).
What are the statuses of the cholent and the soup? There is an unresolved machloket whether food that was ladled from a pot to a bowl is considered a kli sheini or kli shilishi (ibid. 87). If the cholent contains chunks of food and not much gravy, it is considered a davar gush (a food that comes in a chunk). There is yet another unresolved machloket whether a davar gush sitting in a kli sheini is treated like a kli sheini, or perhaps a kli rishon because the walls of a kli sheini do not cool a solid like a liquid (ibid. 45). The machmirim treat a davar gush like a kli rishon even in a third utensil (Orchot Shabbat 1:63). Not only is it difficult to combine all the stringencies (salt cooks off the flame, cooking after baking is forbidden, we are machmir by davar gush), if it is dry, it is baking, not cooking.
Regarding significant liquid, we posited in the past that a mixture of liquid and chunks (e.g., vegetable soup, liquidy cholent) is not treated as a davar gush. Therefore, cholent ladled into a serving bowl and soup in bowls are a safek of kli sheini or kli shlishi, which are both permitted for baked things (Mishna Berura 318:45).
If the salt has not been heated, leniency would have to rely on the (main) opinion that salt does not cook easily or the possibility it is in a kli shlishi, in which case there may never be problems of cooking (Igrot Moshe, OC, IV 74:15). Even the stringent about kli shlishi would probably permit if for salt (see Orchot Shabbat 1:41). When there is a safek between kli sheini and kli shlishi, it is slightly more problematic.Therefore, while we cannot claim unanimity in all the permutations, in the great majority of cases, the consensus is to permit putting salt in utensils with hot food other than the cooking pot (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 1:58; Igrot Moshe ibid. 5 & 17). In borderline cases, helping establish workable solutions for family health is a factor that strengthens the case for leniency.
Giving Ma’aser Years LaterOver the years, I have received cash gifts for birthdays, bar mitzva, etc. and never gave ma’aser kesafim (=mk) from them. I would like to do so now but do not remember the exact amounts I received. What should I do?
Indeed, the standard ruling is that in most cases, cash gifts are subject to giving mk (see Tzedaka U’mishpat 5:5).
The basic question, whether one maintains a responsibility to take mk on “income” from which he did not take at the appropriate time, arises in different ways. For one who never gave ma’aser, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 249:1, based on Yerushalmi Peah 1:1) prescribes: “The first year, from the principle, subsequently … from what he earned every year.” (The Shulchan Aruch discusses a fifth, the maximum rate of giving tzedaka, but the same is true for those who give the “average rate” of mk (Shach ad loc. 2).) Thus, whatever remains in liquid accounts, no matter how he received the funds, would be tithed with the principle, and what was spent is “water under the bridge.”
This is not a full proof that we do not look back to the past, especially if we consider the likely origin of mk. While some view it as a Torah-level law (see Tosafot, Ta’anit 9a), most hold that it is only a Rabbinic requirement and, more likely, non-binding advice on how to properly fulfill the mitzva of giving tzedaka (see Pitchei Teshuva, YD 331:12). When one accepts the practice, it becomes an obligation (ibid.), and it makes sense that it starts with the aforementioned clean-the-slate system.
What happens if one who was already practicing mk failed to tithe some income? The Tashbetz (II:131), focusing on money that had been spent, compares this to one who ate food slated to be given to a kohen or the poor. The gemara (Chulin 130b) says that in such a case, he is not required to pay because there is no specific recipient with rights, and it is only an act of the righteous to do so. Here too, once the money is spent, one need not donate money in its place.
The K’tzot Hachoshen (212:6) views mk differently. He argues that unlike produce to be donated, which applies to specific objects, mk is a matter of accounting how much to give, from any asset. The obligation cannot be “eaten,” and there seems no reason for it to disappear over time.
Tzedaka U’mishpat (5:14) cites both opinions without a clear preference. It is difficult to understand the Tashbetz’s logic, as indeed: why should the obligation disappear? Also, when would this occur? Perhaps, one question answers the other.
Poskim discuss making mk calculations at given intervals, which is important according to our ruling that expenses and losses are deducted from profits (Chavot Yair 224). So one needs a cutoff point to know which losses can be deducted from which profits (ibid.). The Noda B’yehuda (II, YD 198) demonstrates that the relevant pasuk and the halacha we cited from the Shulchan Aruch (YD 249:1) hint at a year as a likely mk-calculation period, and the Chavot Yair (ibid.) posits that erev Rosh Hashana is a logical time to do so. Once there is an idea of a periodic accounting, the Tashbetz can view whatever was passed over at that time as relegated to history.
Still, there are several reasons for you to give mk on the past: The K’tzot Hachoshen is likely correct. The Tashbetz says it is praiseworthy to give and you seem interested to do so. If you have not yet spent the money, the Tashbetz might not apply.
As far as estimating amounts, halachic logic would have it that it suffices to give only that which you know you “owe” (Shevet Halevi V:133 disagrees). After all, mk is likely Rabbinic or less and when you accepted upon yourself, you may/should have considered (which is impactful - see Shut Chatam Sofer, YD 231) that you would sometimes forget income and do not want to be liable for what you do not remember. (Many are also more stringent in the system of calculating than may be necessary.) On the other hand, those who can afford to give tzedaka generously are promised reward (see Ta’anit 9a).
“Hineni Muchan U’mezuman” before Sefirat Ha’omerI am not consistent about saying “Hineni muchan u’mezuman” (=hmum) before sefirat ha’omer. Should I decide one way or the other, and which way is better?
The practice of saying “Hmum” before mitzvot, like many “extra” ritual recitations, can be traced to the Arizal (16th century) and a small elite group of his disciples until it spread broadly especially among Sephardim and Hasidim. Some gedolim opposed this introduction to mitzvot (sometimes as part of the opposition to mystically-oriented Hasidic practices, although some detractors predated Hasidism– see Chok Yaakov 489:11 and the Maharshal he cites.)
The most prominent critic is the Noda B’yehuda (Yoreh Deah I, 93). His main concern was the recitation’s first line (“L’shem yichud…”), which relates to a difficult kabbalistic idea that we want the performance of the mitzva to “unite Hashem and His Presence.” The Noda B’yehuda argued that this concept is too deep and secret to share with the masses, which could be philosophically dangerous. He also reasons that it is unnecessary to verbalize such ideas, as the “unifying” power of mitzvot occurs by itself when one does the mitzva with the intention to serve Hashem.
Beyond l’shem yichud, hmum is a statement that we are doing the mitzva because Hashem commanded us to do so. The Noda B’yehuda does not see that as bad, but unnecessary. If one indeed is doing the mitzva because Hashem commanded it, he does not need to verbalize it. However, his own practice was to distinguish – he would state his intention to do a mitzva before mitzvot that do not have a beracha. When there are berachot, we can trust Chazal to compose them with all the worthwhile elements. Instituting a text that Chazal did not disturbed him.
The practice of hmum is much less polarizing now than it was 200 years ago. While the Mishna Berura does not mention it, the (non-Hasidic) Aruch Hashulchan (OC 489:6) does, noting the opposition to it and his viewpoint that at his time it was widespread and done positively. It has mainly become a matter of communal minhag and/or personal preference, which are fine in such a matter, as is reciting it sporadically. Hopefully, you had in mind not to do it as a practice that could bind you through neder.
It is interesting that many people recite hmum regularly before some mitzvot and not other mitzvot, and sefirat ha’omer is one of the more popular times. There is actually more opposition by some (see Yalkut Yosef, Sefirat Ha’omer 1; Teshuvot V’hanhagot II:247) to reciting the standard version for sefirat ha’omer – because of the mention of “mitzvat aseh” and “k’mo shekatuv baTorah” (a positive commandment, as it says in the Torah). Rishonim dispute whether sefirat ha’omer is a mitzva from the Torah in a time when there are no korban ha’omer and korban shtei halechem to count between (see Vayikra 23:15). While the Rambam (Temidin 7:22) says that it is still from the Torah, Tosafot (Menachot 66a) follows the opinion (ibid.) that it is Rabbinic, and the Beit Yosef (OC 489) views that as the primary opinion. When we ask after counting that Hashem should return us to service in the Beit Hamikdah, we infer that only then will sefira once again be from the Torah). The Rambam (Mamrim 2:9) says that presenting a Rabbinic law as one from the Torah violates bal tosif (adding on to the Torah). Our common text either relies on the possible reading that it is a Rabbinic positive mitzva and is thereby an extension of the p’sukim or on the fact that the Rambam’s contention that it is from the Torah might be correct (Halichot Shlomo, Moadim 11:2).
We will now conjecture why many recite hmum specifically for sefirat ha’omer: 1. There are other additional recitations that one may already be doing (see Magen Avraham 489:5); 2. The mystical elements of sefirat ha’omer might be stronger than for most mitzvot; 3. It has a catchy tune (which happens not to include “L’shem yichud…”) that people like to sing. In any case, there is little halachic importance whether one does or does not recites it.
Accidentally Paying Back EarlyRecently, the Citigroup “bank” mistakenly paid some $900 mil. to Revlon’s creditors before the loans were due. A few big creditors refused to return the money. A court ruled that since the creditors took the money (they were owed) in good faith, they need not return it. Citigroup cannot demand the money from Revlon and will be paid by Revlon when the loans are due. Would the halachic ruling be the same?
We saw a bit of further information in financial newspapers but cannot promise to have captured all the details and legal nuances. Our presentation of the view of Halacha is thus quite general.
This decision relates to two questions – 1. Should the mistake be reversed (Citigroup vs. creditors)? 2. Must the bank take responsibility for its mistake and how (Citigroup vs. Revlon)?
The creditors received the money, apparently without wrongdoing on their part. On the other hand, if one innocently accepts a present intended for another person delivered by a courier, he must return it if it is demonstrated that the transaction was a mistake. This is a broad rule regarding misinformed transactions/commitments (see Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 25:5). It is not that simple to apply that rule here because it is not objectively a full mistake, as the creditors received money due to them, even if it was envisioned to have been given under different circumstances, so perhaps the creditors can act on them once they are in their hands.
The following cases are good precedents. Reuven owes Shimon for two loans and pays him partially. The Shulchan Aruch (CM 58:4) rules that Shimon can determine which loan the money goes for (which is significant if one of the loans has strong guarantees). Furthermore, even if Reuven said he was giving the money for one loan and Shimon was silent, Shimon can say later that he received it for the other loan (ibid.). Even if Reuven gave money to Shimon to deliver it to Levi for Levi’s loan, Shimon can keep the money for his own loan (ibid. 5). So we might conclude that Revlon’s creditors are “in the driver’s seat” once they have control of money owed, and Revlon/Citigroup’s intention is inconsequential.
However, this is not so because the creditors do not yet have the right to demand the money. The K’tzot Hachoshen (83:1) and Netivot Hamishpat (Chiddushim 83:1) say that in the case of two loans, where only one is due, the lender must take the payment for the one that is due. Likewise, the deliverer of payment cannot claim the money for his own not-yet-due loan (Pitchei Choshen, Halva’ah 6:(16)). Likewise, the Tumim (67:16) rules that seizure of assets for a loan, which often gives the lender extra rights, applies only when the loan is due. Thus, before a loan is due, payment has no place in the lender’s hands unless the borrower intends to pay him. (A possible exception is if there is specific reason for concern that the borrower will lack funds to pay when the due date comes – see Shulchan Aruch, CM 105:4 and Sha’ar Mishpat ad loc. 4.) Therefore, it is likely that Halacha disagrees with the court ruling, and that the mistake should be remedied by return of the money. (If the confusion damages the creditors, compensation may be appropriate.)
Regarding affairs between Citigroup and Revlon, when an agent makes a clear mistake to the detriment of the one he represents, he must compensate him for the loss (Shulchan Aruch, CM 185:1). Sometimes, the lack of the agent’s authority causes a situation whereby a transaction with a third party does not stand, and sometimes it stands and the agent must compensate (ibid. 182:2). One could argue that it would be more appropriate for payment to be taken from Revlon and that Citigroup should pay the damage this causes. However, (halachic/financial analysis is beyond our present scope), Citigroup gave their own money, and while normally they could charge Revlon, there is no reason for Revlon to agree. Therefore, according to the court’s ruling regarding the creditors, we agree that Citigroup needs to wait until it is time for Revlon to pay.
Dealing with Late Payments and RibbitI, a lawyer, often need to write a contract with a clause for extra payment if the buyer pays late. How can I do this without making the client violate ribbit (usury)?
In some ways, such late payments are classic ribbit in that a person who needs to pay must pay extra because of the time that passed (what the gemara calls, agar natar – the reward for waiting). But it is/can be different from classical ribbit in two main ways: 1. The payment is not the return of a loan but payment for a sale, which makes it, at worst, a Rabbinic prohibition (Shach, Yoreh Deah 173:4); 2. The increase in payment is not desired by the lender to make money, but is created to pressure the buyer to pay on time (Shut Harashba I:651).
Neither of these grounds for leniency create a permitted situation alone. It is forbidden to sell something and say that there is a lower price if the buyer pays on time and a higher one if he pays late (mishna, Bava Metzia 65a; Shulchan Aruch, YD 173:1). The Shulchan Aruch (YD 177:14) rules that it is forbidden Rabbinically to make a penalty for one who returns a loan after the due date. (The Rama ad loc. does provide a way to do so.) But when the two lenient factors combine, it is permitted, i.e., one may make a legally binding condition that if a buyer pays later than he is supposed to, he will pay even a significant penalty (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 18).
While this system seems to be the solution to your problem, not all sellers would agree to it because of the following limitation: One may use only a one-time penalty. Multiple penalties over time make it considered like one who is charging for the time, as opposed to for lack of adherence (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 16 and Shach ad loc. 33).
There are possible ideas to make such an approach work. On a practical level, it can be quite effective to make one penalty late enough that it will not be activated by accident and large enough to strongly discourage delaying payment indefinitely. (If there is basic trust between the parties and they understand what and why they are doing it, the seller can relinquish his right to some of the penalty for an honest delay, if it is not built into the binding agreement). I have another idea, based on the idea that it is permitted for a borrower to pay certain loan-generated expenses, including legal ones, which is not considered a penalty (see The Laws of Ribbis (Reisman), p. 78). I would thus propose a system like this. After the one penalty, the buyer obligates himself by contract to pay a high but realistic fee for a lawyer to work on the case if another X weeks go by without full payment; this can be followed by paying for further actions, and eventually for the expenses of adjudication.
Realistically, only clients who are bnei Torah are likely to agree to such convoluted arrangements. Therefore, the best straightforward approach is to write a standard late payment schedule and include a clause that any payment that can be construed as an interest payment is to be governed by the provisions of a standard heter iska. We, at Eretz Hemdah, include such a clause in the relevant documents available for the public.
It is best to rely on such a standard clause only when a more specific ribbit remedy is unavailable. A heter iska is susceptible to the claim of ha’arama (lack of serious intent), especially if the sides lack even general understanding of its mechanism (see opinions in Brit Yehuda 35:4 and Torat Ribbit 16:1). The mechanism (sharing assumed profits and dangers) can justify only moderate price increases. However, despite reservations, heter iska is a legitimate halachic tool when not abused, and it is a necessity as a halachic alternative within Jewish financial institutions and interactions.
If you made your client aware of your recommendation for a heter iska (you can mention that all the major Israeli banks have one) and he or the other side refuse to include it, you can still work on the case (development of that topic is beyond our scope – see The Laws of Ribbis, p. 58).
White Wine for the SederIs it permissible to use white wine for the arba kosot (four cups at the Seder)?
We dealt previously (Living the Halachic Process, II:C-7) with the question of white wine for Kiddush, which is pertinent because poskim generally equate between the requirements of the two (compare Orach Chayim 272 and 472). The gemara (Bava Batra 97a-b) posits that wine that is unfit for libations even b’di’eved may not be used for Kiddush, but that which is nominally fit can be used for Kiddush. The gemara cites a pasuk (Mishlei 23:31) that wine is expected to be red. According to most Rishonim, this was not meant to disqualify white wine for Kiddush, but the Ramban (ad loc.) understands that white wine without any red-leaning tint is unfit even for Kiddush. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 272:4) cites both opinions but sides with the lenient one. The Mishna Berura (272:12) adds that regarding very white wine (many assume this is now rare) one should defer to the Ramban’s concern unless there are extenuating circumstances, including that the available red wine is of poor quality.
Regarding the arba kosot, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 472:11) paraphrases the Yerushalmi (Pesachim 10:1) that one should prefer red wine. The Rama (ad loc.) excludes cases in which the white wine is of higher quality. The Ramban’s opinion is not mentioned, even though arba kosot should not be less demanding than Kiddush (and the first cup is for Kiddush), likely because the Ramban was already mentioned and basically rejected. There seems to be, then, an additional preference.
The Taz (ad loc. 9) and Magen Avraham (ad loc. 13) are among those who say we desire that the color red serve as a remembrance of the blood of the Pesach story. The Taz says that it reminds us of the Jewish blood spilled by Paroh. Chazon Ovadia (Haggada, Kadesh (10)) finds that strange, considering that drinking the wine (during which we lean) is a festive action, and so he prefers those who say that it relates to the blood of the Korban Pesach, of mila, and/or of the first plague.
Both the language and the logic point to the remembrance constituting only a preference. On the other hand, those who are lenient regarding “white” wine that is not fully white for Kiddush likely should still prefer something that is actually in the red family as a proper remembrance. That is because while the potential Kiddush problem is likely because such an abnormal wine color is treated as deficient (see Tashbetz I:85), even the finest wine may not remind us of blood. Ultimately, the Rama says that the opportunity to use a finer white wine justifies preferring it to a simpler red wine. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Chazon Ovadia ibid. 12) says that Sephardi practice (not all Sephardi poskim agree – see Mikraei Kodesh (Harari), Leil Haseder 4:15) is to defer to the Ramban’s opinion unless the white wine is both better and not too white.
Several Acharonim suggest to “upgrade” white wine by mixing in a little red wine, so that the mixture has some redness. This makes good sense if the issue is the remembrance (see opinions cited by Piskei Teshuvot 472:10), as one can see some redness (while blood is redder, red wine does not really look like blood either). Surprisingly, the Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (47:(89)) suggests mixing a little red for Kiddush during the year. Ostensibly, if the Ramban is right, then the white wine is invalid wine, and why would a little red (i.e., kosher) wine help?! Apparently the Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata views the color not just as a sign of proper wine but that the color provided by the wine combination is a necessary characteristic of the wine use, as can be read into the gemara in Pesachim (108b).
Since we hold that there is no prohibition of coloring with foods, putting red wine into white wine is permitted (Mishna Berura 320:56). Yet, due to the opinion that it is forbidden if one intends for the color (Nishmat Adam II:24:3), the stringent can put in the red wine first and “dilute” the color with the majority white wine (Shevet Halevi X:56).
Erev Pesach that Falls on ShabbatWhat do you suggest we do on Erev Pesach this year, which is on Shabbat, regarding when and what to eat?
Among the valid solutions to the challenges of Erev Pesach on Shabbat, people must determine the most practical solutions, according to the halachic possibilities their rabbis present. One practical assumption is that people will use only Pesachdik and/or disposable utensils, keeping any remaining chametz separate. “Bread” is needed for the first two meals and is preferred for seuda shlishit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 291:5), which should be held in the afternoon (ibid. 2). Since the prohibition to eat chametz begins four halachic hours into the morning (consult a local calendar), our standard Shabbat practice needs to be changed. Let’s take a meal-by-meal look.
Friday night meal - Those who do not want to keep chametz around can eat matza according to most poskim. If one has the minhag not to eat matza from the beginning of Nisan, matza ashira (known as “egg matza”) is an alternative.
Shabbat morning meal - If one finishes eating chametz (not necessarily the whole meal) by the end of the 4th hour, accomplished by davening very early, matters are halachically simple. (Getting rid of crumbs or leftovers by the end of the 5th hour is solvable and beyond our present scope.) Matza is desirable for situations when it is hard or nerve-racking to deal with chametz. However, Chazal forbade eating matza on Erev Pesach, according to most, from the beginning of the morning, so that when we eat it at the seder, it will be clear that it is for the mitzva (see Rambam, Chametz U’matza 6:12). However, one may eat matza that cannot be used for the mitzva (Shulchan Aruch 471:2), primarily, matza ashira, which is kneaded with liquids other than water (see Pesachim 35a). If it contains no water, most Rishonim rule that it cannot become chametz, and one would seemingly not need to rush.
Yet there are two issues. Firstly, as Ashkenazim are stringent to treat matza ashira as possible chametz, which is permitted to eat on Pesach only in cases of great need (Rama 462:4), the time issue reawakens. (Some poskim rely on the Noda B’yehuda (I, OC 21) that it is sufficient to be wary of matza ashira only after midday of Erev Pesach.) Secondly, matza ashira may have a status of pat haba’ah b’kisnin, similar to cake, making it a questionable substitute for challa. (Igrot Moshe OC I:155 explains that this is not a problem on Shabbat, but still seems to prefer challa when convenient. To see Rav O. Yosef’s preferred solution, see Yechaveh Da’at I, 91).
Seuda shlishit (=ss) - We mentioned the two preferred opinions about how normally to perform ss, which conflict this Shabbat. One is to eat bread at ss. The other is to have ss after midday, at which time chametz and matza are forbidden, and matza ashira is problematic for Ashkenazim. The Rama (444:1) says that we eat other foods, such as fruit or meat, at this ss. The Mishna Berura (444:8) cites a different solution, of breaking up the morning meal into two, so that one can fulfill ss on challa or matza ashira at that time. He points out that there should be some break between the two meals, to avoid a problem of an unnecessary beracha. However, he does not say how long that should be. Opinions range from a few minutes to half an hour, with some suggesting taking a short walk in between (see Piskei Teshuvot 444:6). One who is not usually careful to have challa at ss throughout the year need not consider this idea. He can eat a normal ss for him (no bread) in the afternoon, preferably earlier than usual to leave a good appetite for the seder. Even those who are stringent about ss may follow the Rama over the Mishna Berura’s suggestion, which is somewhat counter-intuitive and not without halachic problems. Sephardim, who can use matza ashira, must do so before three hours before sunset (Shulchan Aruch, OC 471:2).
Adding a Shabbat Candle after ForgettingI am a man living alone. Last week, I forgot to light Shabbat candles. Must I light an extra one from now on?
The Rama (Orach Chayim 263:1) accepts the minhag presented by the Maharil (Hilchot Shabbat 1) that if a woman forgets to light Shabbat candles one week, she must add one from that point on. Most see it as a penalty to reduce the likelihood of repeating such mistakes (Mishna Berura 263:7). Therefore, poskim assume that if she missed for reasons beyond her control, she does not need to add (Magen Avraham 263:3). The minhag has possible negative consequences for those who light exactly two lights, corresponding to zachor and shamor, as arguably this correspondence is lost when the number is changed (Darchei Moshe, OC 263:1). Nevertheless, it was widely accepted. The Eliya Rabba (263:7) understands the Maharil differently – there is no need for an extra candle, but it suffices to improve the lighting by adding more oil or having longer candles.
In your case, there are two grounds for leniency. One is that some prominent poskim (including Yalkut Yosef, OC 263:26) reason that in our days, when without the ritual candles there is plenty of light for a pleasant Shabbat, there is no need to penalize people for not lighting the candles. There are a few reasons not to agree with this contention. For one, despite the fact that we always have electric lights, we still view the Shabbat candles as a relevant mitzva, which we take seriously and make a beracha on. As such, if one did not do it, why shouldn’t the regular penalty apply? The matter is clearer according to the Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 263:3) who says that even if a woman lit one less light than she normally does, she still is penalized. The Melamed L’hoil (I:46) says that there is a need for some penalty, but one can be partially lenient by following the above Eliya Rabba.
The Be’ur Halacha (to 263:1), after citing the Pri Megadim (ibid.) that omitting any of the lights is grounds for the penalty, not only disagrees but also makes a general comment about the penalty: “All of this is only a minhag, and let us not add on to it.” We see this as a logical direction to take regarding this unusual minhag. (Consider that there seem to be many bigger shortcomings in our religious lives for which there are no penalties. Have you ever heard, for example, that whoever forgot to daven Mincha should add a mizmor of Tehillim to it from then on?!). Therefore, some have a rule that when there is doubt whether something is included in this minhag, we do not implement it, as Piskei Teshuvot 263:(37) cites in the name of Rav Vosner. On the other hand, not every idea for leniency counts as a doubt, as the same Rav Vosner (Shevet Halevi V:33), Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (43:5), and others did not think having electric lights is strong enough to preclude the penalty. Chut Shani (IV:83) presents an interesting compromise – if one lit the electric lights with intention for it to supplement the Shabbat candles, it precludes the penalty (it is not easy to know where to draw the line on what counts for that intention).
Your case includes another serious reason for leniency. Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (43:(35)) raises and leaves as an unsolved question, whether the penalty applies to men, considering the special connection between women and the mitzva. Dirshu (263:(13)) also cites important contemporary poskim who say that men are not penalized despite the identical obligation on a fundamental level. This makes sense according to Chazal’s shocking statement that women could meet tragedy if they are not careful about Shabbat candle lighting (Shabbat 31b). I would not venture to comment on why this mitzva, as dear as it is, mysteriously has such a surprisingly great weight for women, but it can explain the minhag of the penalty as well as the logic of not extending it to men.
In the final analysis, we do not think that is necessary for you to add a candle in the future. If you want to do something to enhance the mitzva, who are we to object?
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