Erev Pesach that Falls out on Shabbat - Part 3: Se'uda shelishit and Additional Laws

  • Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon

 

We shall open with a brief discussion regarding se'uda shelishit (the third Shabbat meal) all year long, what should be eaten at the meal, and the time that it should be eaten.

THE COMPONENTS OF THE MEAL

The Gemara in Shabbat (117b) derives the obligation to partake of three meals on Shabbat from the verse (Shemot 16:25): "And Moshe said, Eat that today; for today is a sabbath to the Lord: today you shall not find it in the field." The three-fold mention of the word "today" teaches that one is obligated to eat three meals on Shabbat. The Rishonim disagree about what must be eaten at the third meal. Tosafot (Yoma 79b; Sukka 27a) argue that the equation between the three meals implies that bread must be eaten even at the third meal. The Rosh disagrees and says that a person fulfills his obligation with respect to the third meal with any food made from one of the five species of grain.[1] Tosafot (ibid.) cite an opinion that a person fulfills his obligation even with meat or fish, but not with fruit. Rabbenu Tam (Tosafot, Berakhot 49b) writes that even desert foods suffice. The Ran (Berakhot 49b) maintains an even more lenient position that a person fulfills his obligation regarding se'uda shelishit with fruit.

The Shulchan Arukh rules that ideally one should eat bread at the third Shabbat meal, but if he is very satiated he can make do with something else (Shulchan Arukh 291:5):

He must eat bread. Some say that he can eat any food made from one of the five species of grain. Others say that he can eat anything that is used as a relish with bread, like meat or fish, but not fruit. Yet others say that he can even eat fruit. The first opinion is the most correct, that he must eat bread, unless he is [already] very satiated.

THE TIME OF THE MEAL

Tosafot (Pesachim 117b) infer from the Gemara that se'uda shelishit may only be eaten after the time of mincha (half an hour after midday). This is also the ruling of the Rambam (Hilkhot Shabbat 30:9). According to the Halakhot Gedolot (cited by the Rashba in Pesachim), however, one may eat se'uda shelishit even before the time of mincha.

The Shulchan Arukh rules stringently, requiring that the third Shabbat meal be eaten only after six and a half hours (291:2):

Its time is from the time of mincha, that is, from six and a half hours on. If a person ate the meal earlier, he has not fulfilled the mitzva of se'uda shelishit.

If we combine these two factors (the components of the meal and the time that it should be eaten), it follows that when Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, it is impossible to fulfill the mitzva of se'uda shelishit in the best possible manner as on an ordinary Shabbat, for at the time that the meal should be eaten – after the time of mincha – neither chametz nor matza may be eaten. Several solutions have been proposed:

1) Those who are lenient about eating matza ashira, e.g., egg matza, even after the end of the fourth hour (until the tenth hour – see previous lecture), may fulfill the mitzva of se'uda shelishit with matza ashira. This is the suggestion of the Shulchan Arukh (444:1):

The time [to eat] se'uda shelishit is after mincha. At that time one may eat neither matza nor chametz, but [only] matza ashira. The meal must be eaten before the tenth hour.

2) Those who do not eat matza ashira at this time (and as we saw in the previous lecture, this is the custom of many Ashkenazim), may fulfill the mitzva of se'uda shelishit without bread of any kind. This is the suggestion of the Rema (291:5; 444:1):

In these countries, where we are not accustomed to eat matza ashira… one should fulfill se'uda shelishit with fruits or meat and fish.

It should be noted that the Rema first suggests that one should fulfill se'uda shelishit with fruit, and only then does he propose that one should fulfill it with meat and fish. This formulation implies that according to the Rema, it is preferable to eat fruit. As we saw above, Tosafot cite an opinion that a person can fulfill his obligation with meat or fish, but not with fruit. Clearly, then, it should be preferable to try and fulfill this position as well by eating meat or fish. Why, then, does the Rema mention fruit first?

The Chok Ya'akov (no. 2) explains that the Rema prefers that a person should fulfill the mitzva with fruit, which are less satiating, in order that he should be able to eat the matza at the seder with an appetite. The Arukh ha-Shulchan issues a similar ruling (444:5):

[The Rema] mentioned fruit before meat and fish, even though meat and fish are preferable to fruit with respect to se'uda shelishit… nevertheless, on Erev Pesach, fruit are preferred, so that a person not become satiated, and that he be able to eat the matza with an appetite.

The Magen Avraham (no. 2) and the Mishna Berura (444, no. 8), however, write that even when Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, it is preferable to fulfill se'uda shelishit with meat or fish. According to them, the Rema may have mentioned fruit first because, generally speaking, people will not exert themselves to prepare meat or fish for the se'uda shelishit eaten on Erev Pesach (this explanation is found in Machazik Berakha 444, 3).

Se'uda shelishit with mezonot:

When Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, se'uda shelishit may be fulfilled with mezonot – grain products that do not fall into the category of bread.[2] The Mishna Berura (444, no. 8) writes that on Erev Pesach one may eat mezonot products prepared from matza meal or matza crumbs (e.g., matza balls), and according to the Chayyei Adam (kelal 129, 13), one may even eat matza that was crushed and fried (matza brei) (the Sha'ar ha-Tziyun [444, no. 1] brings the Magen Avraham and the Vilna Gaon who do not allow consumption of boiled/fired matza on Erev Pesach, but the Mishna Berura [291, no. 25] follows the Chayyei Adam).

If a person began se'uda shelishit after the beginning of the tenth hour, he may eat meat, fish, or fruit, but not mezonot (Mishna Berura 444, no. 8). If he started to eat before the tenth hour, the posekim disagree about whether or not he is permitted to continue eating mezonot afterwards. The Mishna Berura issues a lenient ruling (ibid.), but he adds that a person "should eat only a little, and not fill his stomach, so that he may eat matza with an appetite."

3) A third custom is cited in the name of the Maharam of Rotenburg (Tashbetz Katan, 23):

When the fourteenth of Nisan falls out on Shabbat, the Maharam would eat se'uda shelishit at his table in the morning, and towards evening he would eat fruit. For perhaps he did not fulfill his obligation when he ate se'uda shelishit in the morning before mincha gedola, according to Rabbenu Tam, who maintains that se'uda shelishit should be eaten only after mincha gedola.

In other words, on the one hand, the Maharam adopted the second solution suggested above, fulfilling the obligation of se'uda shelishit with fruit. On the other hand, he wished to discharge his obligation even according to the opinion that requires bread, and therefore he ate an additional se'uda shelishit in the morning (before the time of mincha). Thus, he would eat one meal, comprised of the ideal food (bread), but at a disputed time (before mincha), and another meal at the ideal time, but comprised of disputed foods (fruit).

On Shabbat morning, there is not a lot of time to eat bread, for one must complete shacharit and eat two meals before the end of the fourth hour. Therefore, if a person wishes to adopt this solution, he may interrupt his meal, recite birkat ha-mazon, take a certain break[3], wash hands a second time, and continue his meal (Magen Avraham 444, no. 1; Mishna Berura 444, no. 8).

When there is a shortage of time, it is clearly preferable to adopt the second solution, and eat se'uda shelishit withoutafter the time of mincha, rather than follow the third solution, which is liable to bring one to eat chametz after the time that it is already forbidden.

It is preferable to recite mincha before se'uda shelishit. If a person failed to do so, he should find someone to remind him to pray after the meal, and people should be careful to remind one another.

The Magen Avraham (444, no. 2) brings in the name of the Zohar (Parashat Emor, 95a) that when Erev Pesach would fall out on Shabbat, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai would fulfill the obligation of se'uda shelishit with words of Torah. This is quite astonishing, for why didn't Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai eat some food and fulfill thereby the obligation of se'uda shelishit? The Vilna Gaon (ad loc.) inferred from this that according to the Zohar when Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat there is no obligation of se'uda shelishit, just as there is no such obligation when Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbat. He also proves from here that se'uda shelishit requires bread (so that when bread cannot be eaten, there is no obligation of se'uda shelishit). The Arukh ha-Shulchan (444:6) also writes that according to the Zohar, there is no obligation of se'uda shelishit on Erev Pesach that falls out on Shabbat, and therefore Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai fulfilled his obligation with Torah study.

As opposed to the Vilna Gaon and the Arukh ha-Shulchan, many Acharonim understand that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai wished to fulfill the obligation of se'uda shelishit with Torah study, despite the fact that there is an obligation of se'uda shelishit on Erev Pesach that falls out on Shabbat. The Kaf ha-Chayyim (444, 18) writes that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai knew that his Torah study repairs the world in the same way as a Shabbat meal, and therefore he was able to substitute study for eating. We, however, whose study is not at the same level as that of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, must eat se'uda shelishit. The Kaf ha-Chayyim adds: "Nevertheless, if one does both, all the better." Since in any case it is preferable that a person limit his eating at this meal, so that he will eat the matza that night with appetite, it is recommended that he "fill in" the meal with words of Torah.

EATING KITNIYOT AT THE SHABBAT MEALS

Kitniyot – legumes, such as beans, peas, rice, and other grains from which people grind flour, which are forbidden on Pesach itself because of a Gaonic decree – may be eaten during the first two Shabbat meals.[4] If kitniyot will be eaten, it is preferable to use disposable utensils (see Responsa Maharam Shik, Orach Chayyim 241, end). If, however, the kitniyot were cooked in a Pesach utensil, the utensil may be still be used on Pesach, though lekhatchila one should wait twenty-four hours and thus allow the taste absorbed in the utensil to become foul (Kaf ha-Chayyim 453, no. 7). Even if a person didn't wait, but rather he cooked in the utensil immediately after it had been used for kitniyot, the food is still kosher for Pesach. (Kitniyot themselves are nullified in a majority of non-kitniyot [Shulchan Arukh ha-Rav, 453:5; Mishna Berura 453, no. 9]; certainly, then, the taste of kitniyot that had been absorbed in the utensil is nullified by the majority of non-kitniyot food cooked afterwards in the pot).

The Acharonim disagree about eating kitniyot at se'uda shelishit. The Peri Megadim (444, Eishel Avraham, no. 2) implies that they are permitted, whereas Responsa Chok Ya'akov (471, 2) implies that they are forbidden. Responsa Shevet ha-Levi (III, no. 31) agrees that they are forbidden and refutes the proof adduced by the Peri Megadim.

MATZA MEAL ROLLS

Today, rolls made from matza meal are available, and so the question arises whether they may be used to fulfill one's obligation in the Shabbat meals. We shall relate to the issue in brief.

The first question that arises relates to the blessing that must be recited over such rolls. The Mishna Berura (168, no. 59) writes that it depends how the rolls are prepared: If they are kneaded solely with water (and it stands to reason that the same law applies if a small amount of flavorings is added), and then baked, the ha-motzi blessing is recited. If they are kneaded primarily with oil, honey, or the like (even if a small amount of water is added), the mezonot blessing is said.[5]

The second question that comes up is whether or not such rolls may be eaten on this Shabbat. The answer to this question would seem to depend upon whether or not one can fulfill the obligation of eating matza with such rolls: If they can be used for the obligatory matza, then one should be forbidden to eat them this Shabbat. And if they cannot be used for the mitzva of matza, then one should be permitted to eat them on this Shabbat.

This issue is apparently the subject of a dispute between the Rishonim – whether or not a person fulfills his obligation to eat matza with something that could never have become chametz. According to the Rambam (Hilkhot Chametz u-Matza 6:5, according to the Maggid Mishne, ad loc.), one does fulfill one's obligation with such matza,[6] whereas the Ramban (Pesachim 35a, in the Milkhamot) maintains that one does not fulfill his obligation with such matza (the Shulchan Arukh, 453:1, rules in accordance with the Ramban).

Indeed, the Rema (471:2) writes that matza meal that was kneaded with wine or oil may not be eaten on Erev Pesach. The Mishna Berura (no. 19) emphasizes that even if the matza meal was baked as opposed to cooking/deep frying which was discussed above) a second time, it may not be eaten on Erev Pesach, for the end product is still considered to be matza. This position fits in well with that of the Rambam. The Mishna Berura was also concerned about the alternative opinion, and so he adds (no. 20), that in any case, it is not advised to use such matza to fulfill one's obligation at the seder. Thus, we are stringent in two directions: matza meal rolls may not be eaten on Erev Pesach, but they may also not be used to fulfill one's obligation to eat matza at the seder.

In light of what has been said above, rolls made from matza meal and water (and a small amount of flavoring) should not be eaten on this Shabbat, for such rolls may be included in the prohibition to eat matza on Erev Pesach. (There is room to discuss the law applying in public places where it is not advisable to allow real chametz, and using matza ashira is not an option.)

Rolls made with a lot of oil and flavorings (and a little water) are not considered matza and the blessing recited over them is mezonot; hence, they should be permitted on Erev Pesach. According to the simple understanding of the Rema (471:2), however, he is stringent. The Sha'ar ha-Tziyun (471, no. 16) writes that one should only be stringent if the baked product has the appearance of bread. According to this, matza meal cakes are not forbidden (matza meal rolls may indeed have the appearance of bread, but matza crumbs certainly do not). Responsa Shevet ha-Levi (VIII, no. 117), however, forbids matza meal cakes, as does Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in the notes to Erev Pesach she-Chal be-Shabbat, Rav Tzvi Cohen, p. 207). They argue that since it is possible to appoint a meal over such cake and recite the ha-motzi blessing, they are not similar to matza balls which are considered a cooked product and therefore permitted.

In public places, it may be possible to used such rolls, made with a lot of oil and flavorings (it may be preferable to first throw the matza meal into boiling water in a keli rishon, so that it be considered as cooked). In such places, there is room to say that the ha-motzi blessing should be recited on such rolls when they are eaten at a Shabbat meal, even though their usual blessing is mezonot. For we saw in the previous lecture that according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, if one uses mezonot for a Shabbat meal, the Shabbat meal gives them importance, so that the ha-motzi blessing may be recited.

In summary: When Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, it is preferable not to eat matza meal rolls,[7] for they may be included in the prohibition of eating matza on Erev Pesach. As for matza meal cakes, there are reliable authorities pthem, but it is preferable to avoid them as well. (It stands to reason that if they contain only a small amount of matza meal, they are permitted even according to those who are stringent.) On the other hand, matza balls are permitted (Mishna Berura, 444, no. 8), as are fried schnitzels coated with matza meal (for after the frying, the coating no longer has the taste of matza).

WHEN SHOULD ONE GET UP WHEN EREV PESACH FALLS OUT ON SHABBAT

Is one obligated to get up early on this shabbat?

When Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, it is customary to get up early (Sefer Chasidim 314; Roke'ach 267; Mishna Berura 444, no. 4).

Those who eat matza ashira even after the time that chametz may no longer be eaten can of course get up later. As was stated above, however, most Ashkenazim are stringent about the matter. According to this, they must get up early, especially those who use chametz for lechem mishne. The common custom is to finish the meal before the time that chametz may no longer be eaten.

There would seem to be a simpler alternative. It should be possible to start the meal before the time that chametz may no longer be eaten, eat bread in the size of an egg[8], roll up the tablecloth, shake out clothing, etc., nullify the chametz, and then continue the meal at a leisurely pace!

This option allows for a leisurely Shabbat meal, and does not require that one get up so early. Nevertheless, this option is generally not mentioned. Why not?

First of all, even without the problem of eating chametz, there is the additional pressure this Shabbat due to se'uda shelishit, and so it is preferable to finish the morning meal early. Because of this problem, however, it should not be necessary to finish the meal so early!

Second, there may be a problem with respect to berakhot. The Shulchan Arukh (177:2) writes that if a person eats bread, and then removes himself from the bread, he must now recite a berakha over all the foods that he will still eat in the meal. The reason is as follows: Generally, we do not recite a berakha over the rest of the foods eaten in a meal (meat, rice, and the like), because they are seen as subordinate to the bread. If, however, a person removes himself from the bread, the rest of the foods are no longer subordinate to it, and therefore, they require a berakha. The Shulchan Arukh implies that removing the bread from the table by itself does not suffice to require a berakha over the other foods, but only removal of the bread and the entire table. Hence, the Shulchan Arukh states that this is not applicable today, for we are not accustomed to remove the table at the end of the meal. The Bei'ur Halakha (ad loc.) writes that according to many Rishonim, if the bread was removed from the table, a berakha must be recited over the other foods, even if the table itself was not removed.

According to those authorities who require removal of the table, the question arises whether the removal of the table is a cause or merely a sign. In other words, is the physical removal of the table actually necessary, because only such an act severs the other foods from the bread - i.e., removal of the table is the cause? Or perhaps removal of the table is merely a sign that a person has totally removed himself from eating more bread. If removal of the table is merely a sign, then it stands to reason that on this Shabbat, we reach a state of total removal from the bread even without physical removal of the table. In fact, on this Shabbat we reach an even higher level of removal from the bread, for there is now no possibility whatsoever of eating more bread!

It seems, therefore, that if a person eats bread at the beginning of a meal, and he continues his meal even after chametz may no longer be eaten, there is a question whether or not he must now recite a berakha over the other foods eaten at the meal. There is, however, a solution. He can eat a small amount of each class of food – i.e., each different berakha - that will be served at the meal, before starting the meal and thus exempt all of the food that will be eaten at the meal.

Even if he does not conduct himself in this manner (but rather he eats bread, removes it from the table, and continues to eat as usual, without reciting berakhot over the other foods), he has authorities on whom to rely. For according to the Rashba (cited in the Bei'ur Halakha), since meat and fish are essential elements of the meal, even if a person removed himself from the bread, he is not required to recite a berakha over them (see Chazon Ish, Orach Chayyim, 27, no.2, and Responsa Cheshev ha-Efod, III, no. 10).

To summarize: We are generally accustomed to get up early and finish the morning meal before the time that chametz may no longer be eaten. In this way, se'uda shelishit can be enjoyed in a more relaxed atmosphere, and we do not enter the situation of safek berakhot with respect to the other foods eaten during the meal. (It is also possible to eat part of the meal in a leisurely manner, recite birkat ha-mazon, perform bi'ur and bittul chametz, and then resume eating in a leisurely manner, without chametz.) Nevertheless, if a person wishes to begin his meal later, he is permitted to do so (though he should start about half an hour before the time that chametz may no longer be eaten). If he wishes to be stringent, and solve the problem of safek berakhot according to all opinions, he should do as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. He should first eat a small amount of each class of food – i.e., each different berakha – that will be served at the meal.
  2. He should wash hands, recite ha-motzi, and eat bread in the size of an olive (preferably in the size of an egg; see Shulchan Arukh 291:1). He should, of course, finish eating the bread prior to the time that chametz may no longer be eaten.
  3. He should remove the tablecloth, shake out his clothing, crumble the chametz and throw it into the toilet (as explained in the previous lecture), recite the bittul formula (if he is eating egg matza, he can nullify his chametz already on Friday).
  4. He may continue his meal as usual (without reciting a berakha on the various foods) and finish eating even after the time that chametz is forbidden.
  5. For birkat ha-mazon, he should bring a small amount of matza to the table (if he does not have a small piece, he can also bring a whole matza; see previous lecture).

A PERSON WHO WOKE UP LATE

If a person wakes up late, so that if he recites shacharit as usual, he will miss the Shabbat meal, what should he do?

If there is sufficient time to recite birkot ha-Torah, barukh she-amar, ashrei, yishtabach, keri'at shema together with its blessings, and the amida, and there will still be time to recite kiddush and eat bread in the amount of an egg, he should do so (and recite the musaf service later).

If there is no time for this, is it preferable to eat before praying, or pray and give up on eating bread at the morning meal?

It seems that the answer to this question depends upon whether the obligation of oneg Shabbat, "enjoyment of Shabbat," is by Torah law or only by rabbinic decree. For the duty of prayer, after making a minimal request, is by rabbinic decree, and so, according to those who maintain that oneg Shabbat is by Torah law, it should be preferable to first partake of the Shabbat meal.[9]

In practice, however, it stands to reason that a person should first recite shacharit, for prior to prayer, he is not yet obligated in a meal (289:1). Since the duty of prayer is now upon him, he should fulfill it (this ruling is also found in Responsa Mishne Halakhot, VIII, no. 190).

In such a case, it stands to reason that one may rely on those who rule leniently and permit the eating of matza ashira until the beginning of the tenth hour (see above), and thus he can fulfill the mitzva of oneg shabbat with matza ashira.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See Magen Avraham (291, no. 10), who writes that the Rosh is referring to species of grain over which the "bore minei mezonot" blessing is recited.

[2] This appears to be the preferable option from the perspective of se'uda shelishit, as is indeed stated by the Mishna Berura. See, however, Arukh ha-Shulchan (cited above) that it is preferable to easuch foods so as not to become satiated by them.

[3] There must be a short break between the two meals in order that the berakha recited at the second meal not be considered a berakha recited in vain. The minimum length of that break is unclear, though it would appear that waiting a few minutes suffices. (One may learn during the interval [Taz, 291, no. 2], go out for a walk, or simply wait).

[4] Peri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 444, no. 2; Arukh ha-Shulchan 444:8. The Chazon Ish (Kovetz Iggerot, I, 108) writes, however, that it is customary not to prepare kitniyot for this Shabbat. But it stands to reason that the custom does not apply today when disposable dishes are so readily available. This problem arises only for Ashkenazim, who do not eat kitniyot on Pesach.

[5] If they were prepared with only a small amount of oil and honey, the Mishna Berura is in doubt. If the flour had been thrown into boiling water in a keli rishon (even if the pot had been removed from the fire), and then baked, the mezonot blessing is recited.

[6] The Rambam may have talking about a case where the liquid used for the kneading does not allow for the dough to become chametz (e.g., fruit juice). But if the dough cannot become chametz because of the flour, as is the case when baking with matza meal, perhaps the Rambam would agree that one cannot fulfill one's obligation at the seder with such matza.

[7] As stated above, there may be room for leniency in public places, and it may even be preferable in such cases to prepare matza meal rolls with a lot of oil and spices (and recite ha-motzi at the Shabbat meals). Alternatively, one may adopt the solution of using matza ashira or cooked matza.

[8] In the size of a egg, because of the Shabbat meal (Shulchan Arukh 291:1), but bedi'eved the size of an olive suffices (Shulchan Arukh ha-Rav 291:1; Mishna Berura 639, no. 23).

[9] The Yerei'im (mitzva 99) and the Rashba (Responsa, I, 127) write that oneg shabbat is by Torah law. On the other hand, the Rambam (Hilkhot Shabbat) writes that oneg shabbat is by "the words of the soferim," and it is generally accepted that he means that it is only by rabbinic decree (though the Chatam Sofer [Responsa, Orach Chayyim, 168] understood that even according to the Rambam, oneg shabbat is by Torah law).

(to be continued)

Translated by David Strauss