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Thought for the Day: Bentching After Shalosh S'udos When Rosh Chodesh Occurs On Sunday

Apparently getting as little as 51% of the electorate is called "received a clear mandate from the people" vis a vis presidential elections.  While I usually consider such statements as so much inconsequential nonsense, if it provides support for something I want to do anyway; why not?  Based on the fact that a whopping 66.667% of responses to yesterday's post regarding al ha'nisim when Purim falls on Sunday (and the pothole situation this winter) asked about Rosh Chodesh falling on Sunday, I have a mandate from the people!  Moreover, the response rate itself was up by nearly 207%!  I humbly accept the confidence and trust that both of you have put in me.

If you finish your s'uda sh'lisis on Shabbos before sundown, then you have no issues with bentching; just add only "r'tzei", obviously.  Let's look at another almost as obvious case.  You washed after shkiya and davened ma'ariv during the s'uda after tzeis ha'kochavim, but before bentching (which you are allowed to do, even l'chatchila, in many situations).  In that case, obviously (more or less), you add only "ya'aleh v'yavo"; according to the clock on the wall it's not Shabbos anymore, it is Rosh Chodesh, and you declared both of those facts in your evening prayers.  Move on, nothing to see here, move on.

There are three factors that conspire to make the situation murky after the clarity we have till this point.  The first is that the m'chaber paskens (695:3, and elsewhere, but that's in hilchos Purim and that's where I am holding now and so that's the one I can readily find) that the insertions to bentching go according to the beginning of the s'uda.  Second, we know (from early Shabbos, for example) that even when the meal begins before Shabbos, but we continue the meal into Shabbos, then we insert "r'tzei" because at the time we are bentching it is, in fact, Shabbos.  (I know that's a run on sentence; deal.)  Third, in this case it's either Rosh Chodesh or Shabbos, but not both.

So now there are three ways to go:

  1. "bentching follows the beginning of the meal" means what it says; so say "r'tzei".
  2. "bentching follows the beginning of the meal" means if there is nothing in the situation at the end that contradicts the beginning, but otherwise bentching goes by the current situation; so say "ya'aleh v'yavo".
  3. Heck!  You ate a k'zayis of bread on Shabbos and you vaiter ate a k'zayis of bread on Rosh Chodesh, and the insertions are merely acknowledging that fact; so add both.
As it turns out, any way you go has its supporters.  It seems to me that the Mishna Brura leans toward saying both (and being scrupulous to eat a k'zayis of pas both before and after sh'kiya), and that's what I do.  Not a recommendation; just a deposition.

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