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 Kedoshim

When reciting al hagefen for wine must one recite boreh nefashos for other beverages?

In the previous shiur we learned that the b’racha boreh p’ri hagofen recited over wine or grape juice includes all drinks that are on the table. [1] The same rule applies to the b’racha acharonah – the b’racha recited after drinking. [2] The b’racha al hagefen embraces all drinks that were included in the b’racha recited over the wine.

Accordingly, one who drank wine or grape juice and a glass of coke at kiddush will only recite an al hagefen (provided that a revi’is of wine was consumed) and not the regular boreh nefashos for the coke. [3]

Why are the challos “marked” with the knife before the b’racha?

If during the week one begins slicing the loaf of bread before reciting the birkas hamotzi, on Shabbos one merely marks the challa before the b’racha and does not cut the challa. [4]

It is a mitzvah to recite a b’racha over a whole item and therefore one should first recite the b’racha and then cut a slice of bread from the loaf. [5] However, in order to minimize the time between recital of the b’racha and consumption, one should begin cutting the bread before the b’racha, but - only to a point that the loaf is still considered a whole loaf.

On Shabbos, it is a mitzvah to recite the b’racha over a perfectly whole challa and therefore one merely marks the challa without cutting into it.

The challos (or bread) are meant to be cut at a specific point [6] and Chazal did not want one to dally unnecessarily between the birkat hamotzi and the eating. Thus one locates and marks the slicing point before the b’racha.

How should one hold the challos for lechem mishne?

It is a mitzvah to recite hamotzi on two challos at each meal eaten on Shabbos. [7] The prevailing custom is to only cut one of the challos [8] as follows: on Friday night one cuts the bottom challa and on Shabbos day the top challa. On Yom Tov night and day the top challa is cut.

The problem with cutting the bottom challa on Friday night is that one may not bypass a mitzvahein ma’avirin al hamitzvos, and by “skipping” the top challa and cutting the bottom challa one is stepping over a mitzvah. [9]

[We encounter this often. One must stand opposite the Chanukah menorah in such a way that one is nearest the candle to be lit in order not to pass up another candle. The tallis must be in front of the tefillin in order not to have to adorn the tefillin before the tallis].

The Mishna Berura [10] presents two solutions.

The Taz says to place the bottom challa closer to oneself than the top one and thus one is not bypassing the top challa.

The Magen Avraham says that after ‘vayechulu’ one places the top challa beneath the bottom challa, recites the b’racha and slices it. [11]

(Nothing is trivial in Yiddishkeit, we see that gedolei hadoros burdened themselves with issues such as these).

From which part of the challa should one eat after the b’racha?

One should first eat from the part that is sliced and not from the remainder of the loaf. Accordingly, when slicing bread for others (like on Shabbos and Yom Tov) one should slice a portion with ample amount to share with all the diners without having to resort to the remainder of the loaf. This is because it is a mitzvah to first eat from the slice cut after the b’racha. [12] It is not l’chatchila to slice a small slice of challa for oneself and slice for the others from the remainder of the challa.

This too seems to be a trivial matter, yet we see that the poskim invested effort and time into pointing out the right manner mitzvos should be performed.

Should each person recite the b’racha hamotzi?

Many poskim hold that all must hear the b’racha from the person who has the lechem mishne and one should not recite one’s own hamotzi. The b’racha relates to the lechem mishne and it should not be recited over a single slice. Others hold that one may make one’s own b’racha. Rav Sternbuch shlita rules that in absence of a specific custom one should hear the b’racha from the host and not make one’s own b’racha. [13]

Can frozen challa be used for lechem mishne?

The poskim write that one may use frozen challa or bread for lechem mishne. [14] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach adds that it is possible that one may only use a frozen challa if it will be edible at some stage during the meal but if it will remain rock-hard for the durance of the meal it may not be used.

[1] Simon 174:2.

[2] Simon 208:16.

[3] If one consumed a bit less than a revi’is of wine it is a problem, because al hagefen cannot be recited and boreh nefashos is also a problem – see the Sha’ar Hatsiun 208:70.

[4] Simon 167:1 and the Rama and M”B 4.

[5] The M”B 167:5 says that this is true for a slice of bread as well so that it will be larger during the b’racha.

[6] One should slice the side of the challa, thus cutting the top and the bottom simultaneously (simon 167:1 in the Rama). One should also slice a certain amount after the b’racha, as we will be”H see later.

[7] Simon 274:1.

[8] Some are accustomed to cutting both challos at all meals in accordance with the Rashba and the Vilna Ga’on, see the M”B simon 174:4.

[9] See M”B 274:5.

[10] Ibid.

[11] See also the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 274:2. SS”K 55:23 and footnote 85.

[12] Based on M”B 167:14 and SS”K 55:24.

[13] See also the SS”K 55:19.

[14] See the SS”K 55:12 and footnote 39.


Food For Thought

Must seudah sh’lishis be eaten after mincha?

Must one eat bread at seudah sh’lishis?

Should the challos be covered at seudah sh’lishis as well?

How long after sunset may one begin eating seudah sh’lishis, if at all?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Meshech Chochma says Yetzias Mitzrayim is associated with three mitzvos: weights and measures, tzitzis and usury. In the parsha of tzitzis and usury it says “I am Hashem Elokim who took you out of Mitzrayim…to be your Elokim” but in the parsha of weights and measures the words “to be your Elokim” are omitted.

The explanation being that certain mitzvos would not have been perceived, had Hashem not commanded them, such as usury and tzitzis and thus those mitzvos are G-dly. Adhering to those mitzvos is acceptance of Hashem’s will. Not cheating with weights and measures is perceivable to man even without Hashem’s commandment and thus it would be wrong to say that it must be only kept “to be your Elokim” – because Hashem commanded so.

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.