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Thought for the Day: Priorities For Shabbos -- Kiddush (Day and Night), Delicacies (Day and Night)

The Shulchan Aruch, OC 271:3 discusses how to spend your money for Shabbos.  There are four basic expenses for Shabbos: wine for Friday night kiddush, delicacies for Friday night meal, wine for Shabbos day, delicacies for Shabbos day meal.  I say "delicacies" because, as the Mishna Brura notes, this whole halacha assumes that you already have bread for both meals.  Since I like drumettes and find typing "delicacy" annoying, I'll use drummette to mean delicacy henceforth.  You are welcome to mentally substitute "kugel" for "drumette" and understand "delicacy" in what follows.

The M'chaber starts by stating that Friday night kiddush takes precedence over everything else; ie, drumettes for either meal and wine for Shabbos day.  At first glance that seems obvious, since kiddush Friday night is d'oraisa, kiddush Shabbos day is only d'rabanan, and drumettes are just food; right?  Not so simple.  There certainly is an obligation from the Torah to day kiddush Friday night, but that can actually be accomplished with just words; the wine is a rabbinically mandated hidur/beatification.  Moreover, drumettes aren't just food; there is a rabbinic obligation of "oneg shabbos"/making shabbos pleasant that we know from tradition means to have drumettes on Shabbos.  Moreover, I can actually make kiddush on Friday night with bread if I don't have wine, whereas I really, really shouldn't do that on Shabbos day.  One might say, therefore, that it is better to make kiddush Friday night on bread and save the wine for the day meal; thereby getting both kiddush's accomplished.

The Mishna Brura explains the logic: even though the wine is a rabbinically mandated hidur, it is a beautification of a d'oraisa.  Hence, the m'chaber is paskening that that a d'rabanan hidur of a d'oraisa beats out a plain d'rabanan.

Now, suppose you have two cups of wine and one drummette... does the drummette go for Friday night or Shabbos day.  Chazal tell us that "kavod yom kodem l'kavod lai'la"; so that drumette should be saved for the day meal.  In fact, the Yam Shel Shlomo is quite annoyed with people who don't make the day meal fancier than the night meal; and even -- can you imagine?? -- put more into the night meal than the day meal.  If you have one cup of wine and then need to decide whether to buy a second cup for the day kiddush or a drumette for the day meal, then see the Bi'ur Halacha.  Nothing's simple.

Could we please take a step back?  We are talking about people who can't barely afford basic necessities.  The Shulchan Aruch is not a document of theoretical "thought questions"; it's a practical manual for daily living.  Torah Jews living in crushing poverty do not turn to drinking, drugs, and violence.  They turn to how to most efficiently utilize their meager resources to bring more k'dusha into the world.

No wonder HaShem chose us.

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