shabbos candles

Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


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



Questions for the Week of Parshas Tazria/Metzora

Rav Sternbuch shlita was not able to review this week's sheet.

We have dealt with many of the Halochos of Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed and have now decided to revert back to Hilchos Shabbos.
We intend be"H to discuss some of the halachic concepts regarding Meleches Machsheves , such as p'sik reisha, davar she'eni miskavein  but will start with the mitzvah of zachor es yom hashabbos lekadsho.

Please explain the mitzvah of zachor es yom hashabbos lekadsho.

The Rambam writes (Shabbos 29:1) that the Torah commanded us to verbally sanctify (lekadesh) the Shabbos - meaning that one should praise and sanctify the Shabbos .

The Rambam uses the word shevach but several versions read , which probably means that one must verbally pronounce the words Shabbos and kiddush.

When is one supposed to pronounce these words?

The Rambam writes that one is to proclaim the sanctity of Shabbos at its onset and havdalah when Shabbos goes out. Chazal instituted these holy words as part of the Shabbos prayers, where the central brocho of Shmoneh Esrei on Friday night concludes with the words    , Hashem sanctifies the Shabbos. These very words are proclaimed once again during kiddush, over a full cup of wine.

Is one supposed to have in mind something specific when saying these words?

Optimally one should have intention when pronouncing these words that one is fulfilling a positive mitzvah a mitzvas aseh.

There is a major machlokes as to whether (must one be aware that one is performing a mitzvah for it to count as a mitzvah or whether the actual performance of the mitzvah is sufficient without the specific intention to fulfill the mitzvah). According to the opinion that one must have intention to fulfill the mitzvah, it would seem that when one pronounces the words , one must intend to fulfill the mitzvah.

Why do you say it would seem, is it not simply so?

One could say that when praying the Shabbos prayers one intends on fulfilling everything Chazal wanted us to do and they knew that we are required to fulfill the mitzvah of zachor and instituted it into the tefilla, thereby relieving us of the need to have specific intent to fulfill this mitzvah. [1] Lchatchila though, one should have intention when reciting the words to fulfill this holy mitzvah of zachor.

Why do we repeat these words during kiddush?

The gemora in Pesochim is cited by the Rambam (Shabbos 29:6) saying that even though one recited kiddush in davening it must be recited again over a cup of wine.

Wine is used many times in conjunction with simchas such as kiddush, havdalah, at a wedding, bris milah and a pidyon haben (redeeming the first born).

The idea is to exalt the brocho by saying it over a cup of wine, due to the importance and significance of wine. The poskim discuss the issue of drinking the wine after the brocho and several hold that drinking is of secondary importance, being that the main point is the recital over the wine.

Are women obligated with the mitzvah of zachor?

Yes, women are obligated as much as men. Even though women are not obligated to fulfill mitzvos that are zman grama, i.e. mitzvos dependent on time such as lulav, which occurs only on Sukkos; eating in a sukkah, for the same reason; hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashana, because it only falls on Rosh Hashana and many others, nevertheless, women are obligated to recite kiddush and fulfill the mitzvah of zachor.

Why the discrepancy between Shabbos and other mitzvos?

The reason is because zachor is linked to shamor es yom hashabbos written in Parshas VoEschanan - shamor means to abstain from violating any of the melachos of Shabbos, which women must adhere to as it is not a positive commandment that they are exempt from (when time related) rather it is a negative mitzvah. Since women are obligated to fulfill the mitzvah of shamor, so too they must adhere to the mitzvah of zachor. [2]

This includes other mitzvos drabanan that are Shabbos related, such as lechem mishneh (two loaves of challa at each meal), Shabbos meals and lighting Shabbos candles.

Where in the torah is it written which melachos are prohibited?

The Torah does not specifically mention particular melachos, save for havarah burning fire, rather they are learned from the Mishkan. Chazal tell us that 39 melachos were used in the construction of the Mishkan [3] and the words melacha and melachos are written 39 times, indicating that there are 39 prohibited melachos.

But surely there more than 39 prohibited activities on Shabbos?

Indeed there are. There are 39 Avos melachos, which are activities used in the actual construction of the Mishkan, such as sewing, trapping, skinning etc. There are many tolados, which are offspring of the avos.

Tolados were not used to construct the Mishkan [4] but are similar in concept. For example:- planting seeds is an av melacha but watering them is a toladah of planting. The toladah here differs in action from the av, because the av deals with the seeds whereas the toladah deals with water, but it shares similar characteristics in that both activities cause the seeds to grow.

A toladah can also be the same action but having a different purpose to the Av. For example:- grinding wheat is an av but grinding metal is a toladah - the difference being that the wheat is eaten and the metal dust is not. [5]

[1] See the Tikunim Umiluim (SSK 3rd vol.) chapter 47 footnote 16.

[2] In the first dibros it says zachor es yom hashhabos and in the second dibros it says shamor es yom hashhabos, and Chazal teach us that it is to teach us that whoever is chayav in shamor is chayav in zachor.

[3] The Iglei Tal (psicha footnote ') learns that it is a machlokes Rishonim as to whether Chazal only learned from the construction of the Mishkan or from the korbanos as well.

[4] Some say that some tolados were used to construct the Mishkan but are not significant enough to be an av.

[5] Rambam and calceles Shabbos.


Food for Thought

Answers coming BE"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Torah says that women after childbirth are required to bring two korbanos, an olah and a chatas. Rashi comments that although the Torah states the olah before the chatas but in reality the chatas is offered before the olah.

Rav Sternbuch shlita explains that one usually sacrifices a chatas before an olah, being that the olah is an appeasement offering, which cannot be offered before one has atoned for one's sin with the chatas, but women who gave birth did not really sin and therefore the torah states that ideally she should be permitted to offer the olah before the chatas and it is only not to differentiate between the different types of korbanos that she first offers the chatas and then the olah.


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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.