The Time for Kiddush and Havdala

  • Rav Elyakim Krumbein

Translated and adapted by Rav Eliezer Kwass






     Until when can one recite havdala?  This question is the subject of debate both in the gemara and the Rishonim.  Rava (Pesachim 107a) states, "One who did not make havdala on Motza'ei Shabbat (Saturday night) can do it all of that day (Sunday)."  Another version ends, "...all of that week," and is later explained by the gemara (Pesachim 106a) to mean until the beginning of the fourth day of the week (Tuesday at nightfall).


     Though the practical side of this issue is fairly straightforward, a basic conceptual problem remains under the surface of this gemara: How can one conceive of making havdala after Motza'ei Shabbat?  Many Rishonim believe that the time for havdala is indeed limited to Motza'ei Shabbat, but that one who fails to make it then must "repay" his obligation later ("TASHLUMEI havdala").  A similar concept appears regarding one who missed the morning service; he is obligated to make up for it by praying the afternoon service twice ("tashlumei tefilla").  The afternoon is certainly not the time for praying shacharit, but it is legitimate to compensate for a missed obligation after the proper time for it has passed.


     Alternatively, it is possible to suggest that havdala can be said until Tuesday night because the mitzva of havdala lasts for three days.  Ideally ("lekhatchila"), havdala should be recited on the night that Shabbat finishes, but "bedi'avad," one can fulfill the mitzva until Tuesday night. 


     There is a practical ramification to this conceptual discussion.  Obviously, one need not make up a mitzva that he was not obligated to keep in the first place.  One who, for some reason, was exempt from havdala on Motza'ei Shabbat would then not be obligated to make it up later.  If the obligation lasts for several days, however, one must recite it as soon as he is able.  The Rosh (Berakhot 3:2) therefore says that one who was an "onen" (a bereaved person who, until the burial, is exempt from all positive commandments) on Motza'ei Shabbat and therefore not obligated in havdala does not resume his obligation after the burial the next morning even though all other mitzvot once again apply to him.  Because the requirement of making havdala after Motza'ei Shabbat is only "tashlumin" (compensation) for Motza'ei Shabbat's missed obligation, the onen is not subject to it, for the initial mitzva of havdala had never devolved upon him.  The Maharam of Rotenburg disagrees with this view and believes that immediately after the burial the mourner should make havdala.  Conceptually, the Maharam and the Rosh's argument about the onen is really a difference of opinion regarding the time period of havdala: either it lasts three days or just during Motza'ei Shabbat with an option for tashlumin.



     A similar discussion exists with regards to the time span within which kiddush can be made.  One who did not make kiddush on Shabbat night can do so any time during Shabbat (Pesachim 107a).  The Rambam and Rav Sherira Gaon argue about under what circumstances one can make kiddush after Shabbat night.  According to Rav Sherira Gaon (quoted in the Tur OH 271), one can only make kiddush on Shabbat day if he either forgot or was unable to make it ("shakhach o ne'enas") at night.  The Rambam rules that even if one purposely ("be-meizid") did not make kiddush on the night of Shabbat he can still make it during Shabbat day.

     Apparently, Rav Sherira Gaon believes that kiddush can only be made at night, but can be made up during the day.  Hence, one who purposely did not make kiddush at night is not granted the opportunity to make it up later (just as one cannot make up a prayer that was omitted purposely).  According to the Rambam, on the other hand, the time for kiddush lasts all Shabbat, though it should ideally ("lekhatchila") be done at night.

     There is another issue which hinges on whether the mitzva of kiddush lasts beyond the night of Shabbat.  Rishonim argue about the conceptual basis of "kiddusha rabba," the daytime kiddush that consists only of the blessing "Who creates the fruit of the vine" ("Borei peri ha-gafen," Pesachim 106a).  There are those that understood this as an abbreviated form of the nighttime kiddush, either because kiddush was already said at night or because the daytime kiddush is of rabbinic origin.  Such a position appears in Rabbeinu Yona, according to whom all of the laws of the nighttime kiddush (the requirement that it be in the same place as the meal and the like) apply to kiddush during the day.  Rabbeinu David disagrees based on a simple rationale - one cannot, by definition, make kiddush more than once.  According to Rabbeinu David, kiddush during the day simply means starting one's meal through wine.

     In summary: Rishonim debate whether the essential time for havdala is only on Motza'ei Shabbat or if it lasts into the week.  Similarly, they differ regarding whether the time for kiddush includes Shabbat day and about whether kiddusha rabba, the daytime kiddush, is a second, rabbinic, "kiddush" or just a way of making the daytime meal special.


     How one views these issues might be dependent on one's fundamental understanding of kiddush and havdala.


     We can pose a basic question about kiddush: Does one, through kiddush, effect any change in the day, "sanctify" it, or is kiddush just a declaration of the day's sanctity?

     The Rambam (Hilkhot Shabbat 29:1) sees both kiddush and havdala as part of one mitzva:

"It is a positive commandment to sanctify Shabbat with words, as it says, 'Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it,' in other words, 'Remember it by mentioning words of praise and sanctification.'  One must remember it when it enters and when it leaves; when it enters - through kiddush, and when it leaves - through havdala."

     The simplest way of understanding the Rambam's position is that kiddush does not CREATE the sanctity of Shabbat, and certainly havdala which is said after Shabbat does not cause any fundamental changes.  Furthermore, Shabbat needs no creative sanctification by man, for Shabbat exists independently ("Shabbat kevia ve-kaima"), as opposed to Yom Tov which is dependent on beit din's declaration of the beginning of the month.  It seems that kiddush and havdala both are ways of MARKING the transition from kodesh (sanctity) to chol (business as usual), and vice versa.  According to this, it makes sense that these declarations should be made as close as possible to the time of the transition - kiddush at night and havdala on Motza'ei Shabbat.  Any ability to do these mitzvot later is only considered "tashlumin," making up a missed obligation.  We are also forced, based on this understanding, to accept Rabbeinu David's opinion, that kiddush during the day is of a different nature than that of the night, for the transition has already been noted at night; why would the Sages decree to do the same thing a second time?

     However, one is not forced to understand the Rambam this way.  Even according to the Rambam who sees both kiddush and havdala as two aspects of one mitzva, one need not see the two as identical (see the Maggid Mishneh on that Rambam, who quotes opinions that havdala is rabbinic though kiddush is biblical in origin).  Even though Shabbat begins and ends independently of man's actions, it is possible that we have been commanded to introduce an added element of our own into the pre-existing Shabbat.

     Harav Lichtenstein shlit"a sees this as analogous to the first-born of a kosher animal: there is a mitzva to sanctify it ("Sanctify every first born to Hashem your God") even though it is already holy from birth.  One might have suggested that the sanctification required of a person is here, too, simply a declaration that man RECOGNIZES the sanctity of the animal.  However, the gemara places man's sanctification of the first born under the rubric of the laws of "nedarim" (vows), i.e. statements which change the status of an object (Nedarim 12b, 13a according to Rabbi Ya'akov).  This means that the owner's statement adds a holiness to the animal over and above its innate holiness.

     Kiddush on Shabbat can be understood in a similar way.  Perhaps according to the Rambam, it is possible ("be-di'avad") to add the human element of Shabbat's sanctity through kiddush during all of Shabbat if he did not do so at night.  Why, though, would Rabbeinu Yona say that kiddush during the day is modeled after the night kiddush even for one who already made kiddush at night, if the human element of Shabbat has already been added?


     Kiddush might still be viewed as a creative act even if it does not add to the holiness of the day.  It is actually somewhat difficult to understand "REMEMBER the Shabbat day to make it holy" as applying to the mitzva of kiddush.  Rashi and the Ramban quote midrashim to explain the simple meaning of the verse as referring to remembering Shabbat during the rest of the week.  What is the meaning of remembering Shabbat when it is already Shabbat?

     We suggest that "remembering" Shabbat means inserting a commemoration of Shabbat into a framework that is not unique to Shabbat.  Two other examples of this are:

1. mentioning Shabbat in conjunction with the days of the week ("Rishon Be-shabbat," "Sheini Be-shabbat," etc.); and

2. mentioning the holiness of Shabbat in conjunction with meals.

     Eating might be seen as the epitome of mundane everyday activity.  One indication of this is the Rambam's explanation (Hilkhot Ta'anit 1:2) of fasting in times of distress.  We do it, he says, in order to show that we do not view God's actions as accidental.  In response to events that we view as extraordinary we fast, breaking the pattern of our ordinary lives.  Fasting is not just a self-imposed suffering, but rather a radical departure from our normal lives.

     One can then view kiddush not as sanctifying the DAY itself, but as sanctifying our ACTIVITIES on that day.  Everything in our everyday schedule, even the most mundane, eating, is colored by Shabbat's holiness.

     This explanation fits very well with the rule requiring that kiddush be made in the same place that the meal is eaten, "ein kiddush ela bi-mekom se'uda."  Kiddush must by its nature be tied to the Shabbat meal.  Even according to the opinion of Rav in the gemara, who denies the principle, kiddush still affects the nature of the meal, even though it is not made in the same place (see the Rashbam on Pesachim 105a s.v. De-shabbat hi kav'a nafsha).

     This might be what is behind Rabbeinu Yona's opinion that kiddush during the day must also follow the rules of kiddush at night.  Because man's activities during the day are perceived as distinct from those of the night, a special kiddush is required to sanctify the paradigm of the day's mundane activities, the meal.


     It is difficult to conceive that havdala serves a creative function with regards to Shabbat, since it is said as Shabbat leaves.  Even so, we can still raise a question regarding its precise meaning.  Before, we suggested that it marks the transition from the holiness of Shabbat to the lack of it on the weekdays.  However, the gemara's comments about the text of havdala point to a different conclusion.  On Pesachim 104a the gemara raises the possibility that seven "havdalot," statements of distinctions, need to be incorporated into the blessing of havdala (see Tosafot there, who say that they are incorporated into the "yaknehaz" havdala, said when Motza'ei Shabbat falls out on Yom Tov).  The phrases "between pure and impure," "between the upper and the lower waters," and others are added.  Some close the blessing with the words, "Who creates the beginning" or "Who orders the beginning."  This seems to include havdala as a blessing of praise over the Shabbat, seeing it as the height of contrasts in God's creation.  Only after experiencing the Shabbat can we really come to an understanding of God's many-faceted world.

     Based on this understanding of the blessing of havdala, it does not have to be made right at the closing of Shabbat, but can be made as long as Shabbat is still within view, that is, on the first three days of the week.  This might be why the Maharam (in contrast to the Rosh) understands havdala as an obligation that lasts three days.


     In closing we mention one more ramification of this discussion of the nature of kiddush and havdala.  An opinion appears in the gemara (Pesachim 106b) that if one deliberately disregarded the halakha and ate before kiddush, he forfeits the ability to make kiddush.  A similar opinion exists with regards to havdala.  This is very puzzling, for this prohibition of eating is ostensibly meant to "protect" these mitzvot, insuring that a person does not get involved in other activities and forget.  It seems counter-productive to say that one who did not follow a decree designed to protect a mitzva can no longer fulfill the mitzva itself.  [Even though the Ba'al Ha-maor explains that the gemara only meant to require the person to hear kiddush from another, not to forbid him from doing the mitzva, this is not the mainstream approach taken by the Rishonim.]

     It seems that this opinion in the gemara is in line with the approach that views kiddush and havdala as marking the transition between kodesh and chol.  The time for both is, therefore, right at the time of the transition - kiddush at night and havdala on Motza'ei Shabbat.  Kiddush and havdala should not only be made within the range of when Shabbat comes in and leaves, but PRECISELY when the transition takes place.  Though we are not practically obligated to make kiddush at the moment Shabbat comes in, it must be linked to that moment.  The prohibition of eating which takes effect the moment Shabbat enters enables us to perceive that moment as extending until we make kiddush (see the Arukh Ha-shulchan OC 299:16, who explains it this way).  This is the only way one's kiddush can mark the point of transition.  If a person eats, his kiddush can no longer fulfill this function.  Alternatively, we may suggest that the prohibition of eating is a sort of preparation for kiddush; the person is therefore involved with kiddush in some way from the moment Shabbat sets in.


* After preparing this article, I saw that the issues were dealt with at length by Maran Ha-gaon R. Y. D. Soloveitchik zt"l.  See "Shiurim Le-zekher Avi Mori z"l", vol. 2, pp. 105-151.


(Adapted from Daf Kesher #188, Sivan 5749, vol. 2, pp. 290-292.)