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Shabbat Parashat Noach | 5769

Sheva Berachot at seuda shlishit

Ask the Rabbi

Question: We made Sheva Berachot at se’uda shlishit. The question arose: should one drink the cup(s) before Havdala in this case?

Answer: The Magen Avraham (299:7) says that one who bentches over a cup of wine at se’uda shlishit should drink it. Since the cup is part of the bentching process, drinking it is considered the end of the meal. Just as one can finish up se’uda shlishit at night before Havdala, so can he drink the wine that is connected to the meal. However, he says, if one does not regularly recite Birkat Hamazon over wine, he should not drink it before Havdala. This is because, for such a person, the connection between the wine and the meal is insufficient to justify drinking before Havdala (see Machatzit Hashekel, ad loc.). The Tosefet Shabbat is not convinced that the fact that one does not always use a cup for Birkat Hamazon makes a difference in this regard, but poskim are reluctant to reject the Magen Avraham’s ruling without further indications (see Sha’ar Hatziyun 299:24).

What would the Magen Avraham say about Sheva Berachot at se’uda shlishit? On one hand, most of us do not always bentch over a cup of wine. On the other, we always use a cup for Sheva Berachot. R. Shlomo Kluger (Chochmat Shlomo, ad loc.) says that although logic dictates that it is permitted to drink the cup of Sheva Berachot but not of bentching (remember, our minhag is to use two cups), that would diminish the status of the cup for bentching. Therefore, he prefers that one not drink from either before Havdala. The Eshel Avraham (Butchatch, cited in Minchat Yitzchak III, 113) says that the Magen Avraham would agree that regarding Sheva Berachot, one should drink because the Borei Pri Hagefen that precedes drinking must be recited for there to be seven berachot. Others say that it is sufficient that one always uses a cup for bentching at Sheva Berachot or at gatherings with a minyan (see Tzitz Eliezer X, 45 and Yabia Omer VIII, OC 33). Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer, ibid.) also points out that, since our minhag is to mix the wine of the two cups together, one can drink from the Sheva Berachot cup without disgracing the Birkat Hamazon cup.

Assuming that the beracha of Borei Pri Hagefen is said and the wine is drunk, other issues and various opinions arise. R. Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OC, IV 69) identifies two elements of the cups of wine at Sheva Berachot. The fact that the chatan and kallah drink is connected to the very nature of Sheva Berachot, which require a cup; therefore, they should drink. That which the person who bentches at Sheva Berachot drinks is related to the general matter of bentching on a cup. Since his drinking is not crucial, Rav Moshe posits that it is preferable that only the chatan and kallah drink the necessary cheeksful of wine. Some say the opposite, that the one who makes the beracha should drink (as well as the kallah, since not everybody believes that women are obligated in Havdala) but the chatan should not. The latter distinction is tenuous (Tzitz Eliezer, ibid.).

Some say that it is better that people only take a sip (see Tzitz Eliezer, ibid.), which might be permitted before Havdala and sufficient for drinking from the cup of Sheva Berachot. If the one who bentched, the chatan, and the kallah each drank about an ounce, more opinions would be satisfied (see Mishna Berura 271:73). However, except for those who do well with taking careful steps to satisfy as many opinions as possible, it is perfectly acceptable for at least the three people mentioned to drink as usual from the cup(s) (Yabia Omer, ibid.).

[Two related reminders are in place. It is not a simple matter whether panim chadashot are needed at se’uda shlishit (see Even Ha’ezer 62:8). If Shabbat is the last day of Sheva Berachot, the berachot should probably not be made at night (see Ask the Rabbi, R’ei 5765).]

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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of George Weinstein

Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer, a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.

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R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga  Brachfeld


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