Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Zimun Topics (And How to Read the Mishna Brura)

Here's a game I like to play.  I learn up a sugya in Mishna Brura and get a really good understanding, then I call R' Fuerst and he corrects me.  It never fails.  I am amazed by his patience.  I think he is probably amazed by my tenacity.

First question was on zimum when 10 men have eaten together.  To make a zimun for three, you need at least two who have eaten bread, then you can combine another person who has eaten pretty much anything except water and salt (I believe soda, coffee, and tea also don't work).  At 10, though, you get to add "elokeinu".  The Shulchan Aruch, OC 197:2 says you need a "recognizable majority", ie seven (not just six), to add sheim haShem.  The wording, though, is interesting: "one who ate bread should be the leader, and even seven who ate grain and three ate vegetables can combine".  Interesting!  The m'chaber uses both the words "pas" (bread) and "dagan" (grain product) in one sentence.  It sure sounds like you could have two who ate bread, five who had cookies, and three who had radishes.  I called R' Fuerst and he asked me to stay on the line while he looked it up.  "Next to dagan it says in parentheses: 'heinu pas' (that is, bread)."  I looked again at my Mishna Brura and then a light bulb went on (dim, but perceptible).  I asked, "That is to say, the rav has that hand written in his sefer?"  So he quoted to me his source from the Shulchan Aruch haRav and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.  I am pretty sure he was smiling.

Next topic (I called during the day and got lucky) was about a group of women only making a zimun.  The Shulchan Aruch, OC 199:7 says that it is optional.  The Biur Halacha brings that the Gr"a holds it is an obligation for women eating together to make a zimun.  I was surprised, since I've not seen that.  When I asked a friend about that, he asked me, "And when was the last time you ate with a group of only women?"  Ok; good point.  Anyway, I also thought it was a bit funny to have a short Biur Halacha that says the G"ra holds that women are obligated, even though the world doesn't conduct itself that way.  Why not just put that sentence in the Mishna Brura?  The answer to that is that the Mishna Brura is not bringing that G"ra l'halacha.  Rather, he is relegating it to the Biur Halacha to say, "I know the G'ra holds that it is an obligation, but the world does conduct itself that way [and that's the halacha]".

As I have heard many, many times from R' Fuerst (usually right after I express how I had thought differently), "Live and learn."


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…