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Please include Israel's captive soldiers in your tefillot: Zecharia Shlomo ben Miriam Baumel, Tzvi ben Penina Feldman, Yekutiel Yehuda Nachman ben Sarah Katz, Ron ben Batya Arad, Guy ben Rina Chever.

 

 

Friday, 10 Shevat 5775 –  January 30, 2015             

             Yesterday, we noted the Chafetz Chayim’s discussion in his Sha’ar Ha-tziyun (299:2) regarding the issue of beginning se’uda shelishit – the third Shabbat meal – after sundown on Shabbat afternoon.  The Shulchan Arukh forbids beginning a meal after sundown, because once the sun has set, the time for havdala may have arrived, and once one has an obligation to recite havdala, he may not begin a meal.  The Sha’ar Ha-tziyun, however, writes that if one had not yet eaten se’uda shelishit, he may eat after sunset, within the period of bein ha-shemashot (between sundown and nightfall).  One of the reasons given, as we saw, is the argument of “de-ati safeik asei de-rabbanan ve-docheh safeik issur de-rabbanan.”  This means that given the uncertain status of bein ha-shemashot, which can be viewed either as daytime or as nighttime, the possible obligation of se’uda shelishit during this period overrides the possible prohibition against eating during this period. 

            Rav Asher Weiss notes that elsewhere, earlier in the Mishna Berura (271:39), the Chafetz Chayim appears to not accept this notion of “de-ati safeik asei de-rabbanan ve-docheh safeik issur de-rabbanan.”  The case under discussion is where one, for whatever reason, did not recite kiddush at all the entire Shabbat, until after sundown.  The Mishna Berura cites the Peri Megadim as ruling that as long as the period of bein ha-shemashot has not yet passed, the person in this case should recite kiddush over a cup of wine, and eat a meal in order to fulfill the requirement to recite kiddush in the context of a meal.  (However, the Peri Megadim rules that if one had recited the Shabbat prayers during Shabbat but did not recite kiddush, then he should recite kiddush during bein ha-shemashot without the phrase “Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha-olam.”)  The Peri Megadim’s ruling seems to reflect the concept of de-ati safeik asei de-rabbanan ve-docheh safeik issur de-rabbanan.”  Although it might be forbidden to begin eating during bein ha-shemashot, nevertheless, one may eat in this case due to the possibility that this would be in fulfillment of the mitzva of kiddush.  Given the possibility that Shabbat has not yet ended, one may eat a meal to facilitate the fulfillment of the kiddush obligation, which still applies if Shabbat has not yet ended. 

            The Mishna Berura, however, questions this ruling, and asks why one would be allowed to eat a meal after sundown in this case, given the prohibition against eating before havdala.  In defense of the Peri Megadim, the Mishna Berura suggests that perhaps the obligation of kiddush is treated more stringently, since the essential obligation to declare the sanctity of Shabbat is required on the level of Torah obligation.  In light of this status of kiddush, we perhaps treat the obligation to eat a meal with kiddush more stringently, as well, such that it may override the prohibition against eating before havdala.  It clearly emerges from the Mishna Berura’s discussion that generally speaking, we do not permit a “safeik issur” – a possible halakhic violation – for the sake of a “safeik mitzva” – a possible fulfillment of a mitzva.  It is only due to the unique status of kiddush that the Mishna Berura is prepared to accept the Peri Megadim’s ruling and allow one to eat a meal during bein ha-shemashot for the sake of the possible mitzva of kiddush.  The Mishna Berura’s remarks here would thus seem to contradict his remarks in Sha’ar Ha-tziyun concerning the case of one who did not eat se’uda shelishit before sundown.  (See Rav Weiss’ essay for a fuller discussion of this topic.) 

 

Rav David Silverberg     

 

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