Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Kiddush Must Be With the Meal

As you surely know (since I ensure everyone knows), I have a background in physics, specializing in General Relativity.  One of the cool concepts that relativity introduced into our vocabulary is "space-time".  All that really means is that space (extent) and time (duration) are really just two aspects of the same underlying physical quantity.  Measuring time in seconds and distance in miles, while convenient for everyday practical use, actually makes no more sense than measuring North/South in miles and East/West in millimeters.  Being a nerd and enjoying a good "I told you so" as much as anyone; I was, of course, gratified to see this concept expressed in halacha.  To wit: קידוש במקום סעודה -- the work מקום/place means physical location and time.  The kiddush and the meal must, as much as is practically possible, be in the same place and at the same time.

Let's begin with the words of the Shulchan Aruch, O. Ch., 273:3.  First R' Yosef Karo notes that if one makes kiddush and then does not eat, he has not fulfilled his obligation.  The Rema then adds: and one must eat immediately (לאלתר) or have in mind to eat immediately (here he uses the word, מיד; neither my Hebrew nor Aramaic is good enough to know the difference) -- lacking that (the Rema continues), even if he eats at the place where he made kiddush, he has not fulfilled his obligation.  There are actually three levels of כוונה/intention being addressed here.

The most appropriate way to fulfill one's obligation is to have actual intent to eat immediately after the kiddush.  There is a general rule that מצוות צריכות כוונה/in order to fulfill a commandment, one must have that intention.  There is a big debate among the poskim about when that applies and whether it is a Torah or rabbinic requirement (the answer is, of course, it depends).  However, the situation is more strict here, because the entire mitzvah is really saying words.  One would expect to need specific intention to fulfill such a mitzvah and to distinguish it from mere chattering.  The חידוש/novel thought here is that intention to eat immediately -- even though circumstances prevent said eating -- is enough to fulfill one's obligation (assuming, of course, that one does, in fact, eat in the place where he made kiddush as soon as practicable).  [Aside: practicable is a real word, not a misspelling, and precisely the correct word for this situation.]

The Rema goes further, though, and notes that even without specific intention -- aka, סתם דעת -- he has still fulfilled his obligation as long as he does, in fact, eat immediately.  Finally, there is כוונה להפך/contrary intention -- the person has in mind specifically to not eat immediately after making kiddush.  In that case, even if he does in fact end up (begrudgingly, I suppose) eating immediately and in the same spat, then he has not fulfilled his obligation.

The only question is how immediate is immediate. I am sure this will not come as a shock to anyone... in my house it is as immediate as possible.  In fact, I wash last to keep the line moving.  I know, I'm a darn fundamentalist who takes the words literally.  I told you so >:P  (That's the emoticon for sticking one's tongue out, according to Wikipedia; I don't make this stuff up.)

Comments

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…