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 Bamidbar

What if one did not hear the boreh p’ri hagefen of kiddush? [1]

In the previous shiur we mentioned that if one missed hearing the boreh p’ri hagefen of havdala it is not necessary to repeat havdala. The same applies to kiddush. If one missed ‘vayechulu’ or boreh p’ri hagefen (on Friday night) but heard the remainder of the kiddush, one has been yotze kiddush and only if one wishes to partake of the wine is it necessary to first recite boreh p’ri hagefen. [2]

Since it is a mitzvah to recite ‘vayechulu three times on Friday night, [3] if one did not recite or hear ‘vayechulu’ before kiddush, one should recite it holding a cup of wine, even during the meal, if one has not recited it prior thereto. [4]

When should one overspill the wine at havdala?

We mentioned that the reason we spill some wine during havdala is to live up to the dictum “spilled wine is a sign of a b’racha”. This is only done during havdala and not when reciting kiddush or bentching. Havdala is the entrance to the week when we toil to earn a living and therefore we want a ‘good sign’ at the week’s commencement.

It is incorrect to spill wine after the b’racha, before drinking, as it may give the impression that one recited a b’racha over something unpleasant. Some have the custom to spill the wine during the b’racha and others after drinking. The Mishna Berura states [5] that the most favorable action is to spill the wine when pouring. One should only spill a small amount so as not to waste wine.

Why do people look at their fingers and palms after ‘boreh me’orei ha’eish?

One may only recite boreh me’orei ha’eish if in a position to enjoy the fire or light. The gemora Berachos 53b says that one should be close enough to the flame in order to differentiate between coins of different countries. [6]

In order to test if we are close enough to the fire or flame, we inspect our fingernails and palm to see whether we can tell the difference between fingernails and flesh (the palm), which will indicate that we are close enough to differentiate between types of coins. [7]

Another reason is because we seek signs of prosperity and growth during havdala (as mentioned previously) and since fingernails constantly grow, they represent growth and prosperity. We also gaze into our palms, which are grooved with signs of prosperity and good fortune. [8]

How should one look at fingers and palm during havdala?

The correct manner is to fold four fingers into the palm over the thumb and look at the fingernails and palm simultaneously. One then outstretches the fingers and looks at the fingernails from behind. We avoid looking at the inside of the fingers during the procedure. [9]

What is the reason for folding the tallis straight after Shabbos?

The Maharil would fold his tallis immediately after Shabbos in order to begin weekday activities with a mitzvah. [10] I understand that the ‘mitzvah’ is to care for one’s mitzvah articles and folding the shul’s talitot would accomplish a similar outcome.

What is the reason for melaveh malka?

Melaveh malka is a meal eaten after Shabbos the purpose of which is to escort Shabbos on her way out. Even if one is satiated from the Shabbos meals, one should nevertheless wash for even a kazayis (a small amount of bread). There are many stories of notable rabbonim who would do their utmost not to skip melaveh malka.

Many kabalistic notions are associated with melaveh malka. It is stated that a particular bone in one’s body is nourished only from this meal and from which Hashem will ‘reconstruct’ a person at t’chiyas hameisim. [11]

When should one eat melaveh malka?

Since melaveh malka is as its name implies – it escorts the queen, the sooner one eats melaveh malka the better. However, if one is not capable of eating so soon after Shabbos one may delay the meal until later, but preferably not later than midnight (provisional hours). Others hold that it should l’chatchila be eaten within four provisional hours after sunset. [12]

[1] This week's questions are based on clarifications requested by readers of the ‘Shabbos Sheet’.

[2] SS”K 47:40.

[3] M”B simon 271:45 in the name of the Roke’ach who cites the Midrash.

[4] M”B ibid. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is cited in the SS”K 47 footnote 148 saying that one may recite over the challos as well.

[5] M”B simon 196:5.

[6] Simon 298:4.

[7] M”B simon 298:9.

[8] M”B simon 298:9.

[9] Rama simon 298:3 and M”B 10–11.

[10] M”B simon 298:40. See the SS”K 63 footnote 30 that one should not have others fold his tallis.

[11] See kaf haChaim simon 300:1-2.

[12] See kaf haChaim simon 300:14.


Food For Thought

What should be eaten for melaveh malka?

Must the table be set for melaveh malka similar for a Shabbos meal?

Are there particular rules as to when Shabbos clothes may be removed?

May one run on Shabbos?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

Each person was placed at his work and load (4:19) meaning he fulfilled a particular function in the Mishkan. The commentators point out that the Torah instructed each person to be allotted a particular position, which if not done, would result in arguments and stress. This is because each person would do his utmost to grab a part of the mitzvah.

R’ Yisroel Salanter stressed that mourners should not fight over kaddish etc. because there is more reward avoiding machlokes (arguments and disputes) than performing the actual mitzvos.

The Chasam Sofer is known to have said that mourners will not lose merits or reward for not reciting kaddish or davening (before the amud) when another person is arguing for it, because the reward for the mitzvah in heaven will be allotted to the correct party.

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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.