Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Al Ha'Nisim in Bentching Motzei Shabbos

I heard a great statistic this morning: if you add up the predicted highs for today, tomorrow, and the next day, you will get a number whose value is less than the average high for any of those days.  That's why I grabbed my opportunity yesterday (when temperatures soared into the high teens) to bike to work.  I enjoy commuting to work by bicycle.  It's not a pleasure ride, but it's very satisfying and it's important for both my present financial situation and my long term health; in short, it's an obligation, but an obligation that I accept with enthusiasm.  That being said; yesterday was very cold, especially on the way home with wind chill.  Also the road conditions were not great.  While there is some ice, the big problem is the potholes; cavernous potholes that could easily damage a wheel and send the rider (moi, in this case) flying off the bike.

That's a small taste of what it's like learning Mishna Brura.  Very enjoyable, but not a pleasure ride of optional information; it's commuting -- gathering essential information for daily living.  You also have to pay attention to everything around you.  For example, this year Purim is on Sunday, so we will go into the m'gila reading well fed.  Many people, especially those poor unfortunates who do not daven k'vasin on Shabbos, will end up with the shalosh s'udos meal extending past sundown.  That means that the bentching for shalos s'udos (which is a Shabbos meal) will take place on Purim.  The general rule is that the bentching insertions go according to the beginning of the meal (hence the addition of r'tzei).  We also know, however, that when one finishes the meal on a holiday, the insertion for said holiday is usually added (hence the addition of r'tzei even for early summer Shabbos).  In this case, though, the insertion for the beginning of the meal (still Shabbos, so not Purim), contradicts the end of the meal (Purim, so Shabbos is over).  What to do and where to find that information?

On the one hand, the addition of "al ha'nisim" seems like it ought to be similar to "ya'aleh b'yavo" of Rosh Chodesh; in both cases you don't repeat bentching if one forgets to make that insertion.  On the other hand, Rosh Chodesh feels like it should have more stringencies because it is, after all, d'oraisa (while Purim is m'divrei sofrim, a drop higher than d'rabanan).  On the other hand, in hilchos Purim, the Mishna Brura brings an opinion that one should repeat bentching if "al ha'nisim" was omitted!  We don't pasken like that shita, but it is indication that "al ha'nisim" in bentching is pretty darn important.  Also, one certainly does add "al ha'nisim" into t'fila at ma'ariv before leining the m'gila.

At the end of the day, in hilchos Rosh Chodesh, the Mishna Brura paskens that one does not say "al ha'nisim" in the bentching for shalosh s'udos when Purim is on Sunday.  The machlokes about repeating bentching on Purim is specifically and only regarding the ikar Purim s'uda, which is the day meal.  While one does not repeat bentching on Rosh Chodesh for omitting "ya'aleh v'yavo", there is a bracha (with Sheim and Malkus) for making it up if one remembers before starting the fourth bracha.

The pieces that go into that final decision are scattered all over Mishna Brura; volume II (hilchos bentching), volume IV (hilchos Rosh Chodesh -- see?  it's not only hilchos eiruvim), and volume VI (hilchos Purim).  That's a lot to keep in mind as you're commuting through halacha... makes the bike ride through the ice and potholes seem like a walk in the park.


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: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

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…