shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Yisro

Am I obliged to make sure that my child hears havdalah?

Chinuch education is a serious matter and parents are obliged to educate their children from a young age in the ways of the Torah.

The Mishan Berura writes [1] that there is no set age for chinuch because each child must be educated according to his individual comprehension. If a child is aware of the Shabbos he must listen to kiddush and havdalah. This probably means that the child realizes that Hashem created the world and rested on the 7th day and hence Shabbos is different from other days. [2] It does not suffice that the child knows how to say gut Shabbos, because a 2 year old can also say gut Shabbos but it is meaningless to him.

Accordingly, before commencing with the Shabbos meal, the parents must make sure that children of the appropriate age are present to listen to the kiddush.

What if havdalah is late at night?

One must not forget that a child is only a child and their education for mitzvos must be suited to their capabilities and limitations. In many northern European countries, during the winter months, it becomes dark very late and as a result havdalah is recited late at night. Obviously we do not expect and demand that children remain awake late at night in order to hear havdalah, nor should we wake them for that purpose. [3] At their young age, when they are normally asleep they may be excluded from mitzvos at this stage of their development.

We would not be wrong in saying that children only need to be educated during the hours when they are awake. If a certain mitzvah only occurs when they are sleeping they are not ready to be educated for that mitzvah. [4]

Children of an older age such as 11 or 12, who are often awake when the occasion demands, must be awake for kiddush and havdalah as well, as the importance of the mitzvah is a part of chinuch.

There are however other opinions regarding this matter and one is advised to seek guidance from ones rav.

Must the child then hear havdalah on Sunday morning?

I assume you mean that since the halacha says that when one did not or could not recite havdalah after Shabbos one must recite it on Sunday morning as compensation. [5] In this case, since a child is exempt from the actual mitzvah, which is on motzei Shabbos, he is possibly exempt from the compensation on Sunday morning. [6] The opinions of this halacha vary as well.

Are children permitted to eat before Kiddush?

This halacha is discussed by the poskim in reference to the practice of reciting the kiddush in shul on Friday night. [7] Adults may not drink the wine because they do not intend eating after the kiddush and it is akin to eating before kiddush, but the accepted practice is to give the wine to children. The question is whether it should be ossur because they are not eating either. [8]

The Magen Avraham offers several answers to this question. One of the answers is that since food and drink are necessary for a childs growth and welfare, Chazal did not implement any gzeiros that could inhibit his growth. A child may therefore eat and drink before kiddush even though an adult is prohibited from doing so.

All the more reason for them eating before kiddush on Shabbos morning and not waiting for the father to return from shul.

The Magen Avraham adds another point and says that children must not be made to fast and go hungry.

Why then must I prevent him from eating non-kosher food? Is it not a matter of growth etc.?

The Magen Avraham himself answers this saying that we make a distinction between prohibited food and food at a prohibited time. In addition, non-kosher food is not part of a childs growth and is contrary to his welfare unlike kosher food which is necessary for his welfare and as such was not limited to a time factor. He proves this from the fact that young children are not taught to fast even for a short time on Yom Kippur. [9]

[1] MB simon 343:3.

[2] I say this for two reasons. A) the MB says that the child knows about the of Shabbos, not merely that today is Shabbos. B) The MB continues with the issue of Torah prohibitions and says that when a child understands that something is forbidden one must educate him and tell him that it is ossur. This implies that for positive mitzvos it is a much deeper comprehension.

[3] Heard in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl.

[4] Even though the MB in hilchos krias shma simon 70:6 writes that a child of the age of chinuch must be taught to read the shma on time, it does not necessarily mean that he should be woken in order to say the shma, it could mean that if he is awake he must say the shma.

[5] See simon 299:6.

[6][6] " " ' ".

[7] Simon 269:1.

[8] The MA 269:1 poses this question.

[9] As written in simon 616:2 Hilchos Yom Kippur.

Food For Thought

May one hire a gentile worker on Shabbos?

What if I make up with him to only come after Shabbos?

Is one permitted to instruct a gentile before Shabbos to perform a melacha on Shabbos?

What if I only hint?

Answers coming next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Yisro was awarded a section of the Torah to be named in his honor, the parsha of "v'atoh tachzeh", where he advised Moshe how to set up courts of law. In actual fact though, Yisro began speaking with the words "lo tov", you are not doing the correct thing by judging the Bnei Yisroel on your own, so why does Rashi say that Yisro was awarded with the parsha "v'atoh tachzeh", which only begins later?

The answer is that to say that one is doing the wrong thing is easy and anyone can do that. One is not awarded a parsha for saying that one is doing the wrong thing. One is awarded a parsha for offering sound advice, and that only began from the words"v'atoh tachzeh".

For a printed version, click here.


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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.