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Shabbat Parashat Vayishlach| 5766

Ask the Rabbi

Question: When taking part in a kiddush after davening on Shabbat morning, what are the requirements of how much of what food(s) I have to eat?
Answer: We will start with the background and the standard instructions for eating after making or hearing kiddush. We will then see some points of possible leniency. It is noteworthy that common practice is to employ leniency regarding this kiddush,and that Poskim confirm the appropriateness of that tendency. Although the basic principles are much the same for kiddush at night and day, the practice and the lenient approach is much more prevalent in the kiddush of the day, to which our discussion is limited.
 The gemara (Pesachim 101a) brings the opinion of a few Amoraim that kiddush needs to be made at the place of a meal, and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 273:3) rules this way . The source is the pasuk in Yeshaya (58:13), “and you shall call Shabbat a delight,” from which we derive that the proclamation of the day of Shabbat (kiddush) should be connected to partaking in delights (a meal). Yet, in describing an actual case, the gemara talks about tasting something after kiddush, from which halachists of all generations understood that a full meal is not necessary to validate the kiddush. But the question remains: how much is needed and of what foods?
 The Tur (Orach Chayim 273) cites the Geonim as follows: “Even if he ate a little bit or drank a cup of wine upon which he is required to make a beracha,he fulfilled [the obligation of] kiddush ... but only if he ate bread or drank wine, but fruit, no.” The Acharonim (including the Magen Avraham 273:10) reason that the need to have enough for a beracha must refer to the beracha after eating, as before eating, one requires a beracha on any amount. The amount one needs to eat is, therefore, a c’zayit (the size of an olive, or, roughly, 1 fl.oz.) of solid foodora revi’it (roughly, 3 fl. oz.) of wine. (One can argue that revi’it is too much or too little (see Mishna Berura 273:22, 29). We anyway advise avoiding using wine or grape juice to fulfill the meal requirement, because at many(/most?) public kiddushes there is not sufficient wine for many people to drink so much. Of course, derech eretz is an important concern from any healthy, Jewish perspective.)
 The Magen Avraham (ibid.:11) uses the Geonim’s logic to extend the list of foods one can eat. This is because food made from the five major, grain species are more meal-like than wine, as we find in the context of the requirements of seuda shlishit. Most Acharonim assume that such foods need not be pat haba’ah b’kisnin (cake and the like, which are closer to bread). Rather, any food that gets the beracha acharona of “al hamichya” suffices (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 54:22).
 The preceding are the standard recommendations for meeting the halachic requirements of kiddush. However, we want to mention some less standard, yet legitimate, lenient positions. The Chayei Adam (6:22) says that if one is somewhat weak and does not have grain-based food, he can rely on the opinion that even fruit (or, apparently, any food) is sufficient. The Sha’arei Teshuva (273:7) says that every person who wants to use the kiddush to eat and/or to fulfill the mitzva must himself eat the requisite amount of the correct foods. However, B’tzel Hachuchma (IV, 2) brings a minority view that it is sufficient for one person from a group that took part (recited or listened) in a given recitation of kiddush to eat. Once someone connects the kiddush to a meal, others can rely on the kiddush without connecting it to their own meal. One should know these opinions before correcting others (which should generally be avoided when not absolutely necessary) and to use in extenuating circumstances. Several poskim indicate that circumstances need not be dire in order to apply reasonable leniency in this matter, which, while we do not treat it lightly, is not a particularly severe area of halacha. Such situations include (but are not limited to) cases where there is not enough cake for all or when a person has health concerns about eating carbohydrates at that time.
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This edition of
Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R’ Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
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