Selected Halachos Related to Parshas Vayigash
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the
week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.
SELECTED HALACHOS RELATING TO PARSHAS TOLDOS
KIDDUSH IN SHUL: PROPER CONDUCT
Kiddush is recited over a cup(1) of wine or grape juice which holds a
revi'is (3.3. fl. oz.). At least a cheekful (approx. 1.7. fl. oz.) must be
There is no requirement for anybody but the person who makes Kiddush to
taste the wine. As long as the listener intended to fulfill the mitzvah of
Kiddush and heard every word of the blessing, he fulfills the mitzvah. It
is, however, desirable (a mitzvah min ha-muvchar) to partake of the Kiddush
cup.(3) For this reason, many people make certain to drink some wine when
attending a kiddush in shul. Doing so, however, can lead to a problematic
situation regarding the correct blessing for any other beverage which will
be drunk at the kiddush. Let us explain:
The blessing of Borei pri ha-gefen automatically includes any beverage
which is on the table or which will be brought to the table during the
kiddush. No shehakol is recited on soda or juice, etc. that will be drunk
during the kiddush.(4)
Even those who did not actually recite Borei pri ha-gefen but heard Kiddush
from another person do not recite a shehakol on other beverages. This rule
applies only if one drank a melo lugmav (a cheekful) of wine or grape juice.
If one drank some wine or grape juice ? but less then a melo lugmav ? and
wishes to drink another beverage, it is questionable(5) if he needs to
recite a shehakol on the other beverages. It follows, therefore, that those
who listen to someone else's Kiddush and partake of the wine and then want
to drink another beverage, must do one of the following(6):
Drink at least a cheekful;
Recite a shehakol on a food item;
Listen to a shehakol recited by another person.
KIDDUSH ON SCHNAPPS
It is a common practice to recite Kiddush Shabbos morning over a 1 oz. cup
of schnapps [or liqueur.(7)] Although many poskim(8) object, as Kiddush must
be recited over a cup which holds at least a revi'is and at least a cheekful
must be drunk, still there are poskim(9) who defend this minhag Yisrael.(10)
They reason that schnapps is different from wine since it is normally
consumed in much smaller quantities and is therefore subject to a different
set of measurements.(11)
Those who rely on this leniency and recite Kiddush over schnapps, must also
recite a Borei nefashos over the schnapps, even though only a small amount
was drunk. Although one does not recite a Borei nefashos unless he drinks
3.3. fl oz. of a beverage,(12) schnapps - according to this view - is an
exception and requires a Borei nefashos even on a much smaller amount.(13)
When no wine or grape juice is available, there is a way of reciting
Kiddush over schnapps which will satisfy the opinions of most poskim: Recite
Kiddush on a revi'is of schnapps and drink a cheekful or a revi'is, but
instead of swallowing it in one shot, sip it slowly, for a period of up to
3-4 minutes.(14) When even this is not possible, a next best option is to
share the cheekful with others who are listening to the Kiddush.(15)
KIDDUSH B'MAKOM SEUDAH
Kiddush must always be followed by a seudah (meal). Most poskim(16)
maintain that mezonos eaten at a kiddush is considered a "seudah" for this
purpose.(17) After making Kiddush, at least a k'zayis (approx. 1.1 fl. oz.)
of mezonos must be eaten within a span of 3-4 minutes. One who failed to do
so must repeat Kiddush at home before his meal. A mezonos kugel is
considered full-fledged mezonos in regard to this halachah.(18)
On Pesach or other times when mezonos items are not available, the
preferred method is to eat the seudah immediately after reciting Kiddush. If
that is difficult, one should drink an additional revi'is (3.3 fl. oz.) of
wine or grape juice. If one has no other wine or grape juice, he can rely on
the revi'is of wine he consumed for Kiddush.(19)
There are poskim(20) who maintain that even l'chatchilah, one may eat fruit
or shehakol items after Kiddush is recited if there are no mezonos items
available. But then, Kiddush must be repeated at home before the meal. Other
poskim(21) allow this practice only under special circumstances, such as the
case of a person who is weak and needs to eat and has no mezonos available.
There is no need to repeat Kiddush at home if the requirements for Kiddush
were met earlier in shul or at the simchah hall, unless there are other
people at home who did not yet hear Kiddush. One who made Kiddush on
schnapps should preferably repeat Kiddush at home over wine or grape
The proper blessing over cholent depends on the ingredients:
A cholent which contains beans, potatoes and small pieces of meat or
chicken requires only Borei pri ha-adamah. It is considered a "single entity
mixture" since the entire mixture is eaten together in one spoonful. Because
the ha-adamah ingredients constitute the rov (majority) of the cholent
mixture, they determine the blessing for the cholent ha-adamah.(23) Even if
the cholent has a soupy consistency, no shehakol blessing is required. The
berachah acharonah is Borei nefashos.
When kishke is served along with the cholent, the kishke requires a
blessing of Borei minei mezonos. Since the kishke is generally not eaten in
the same spoonful as the cholent, its blessing does not exempt the rest of
the cholent from the blessing of ha-adamah,(24) and so two blessings are
The other type of cholent is the kind which contains barley in addition to
potatoes, beans and small pieces of meat or chicken. This kind of cholent
requires only a mezonos blessing. Since it is a "single entity mixture"
which contains a member of the five species of grain (barley), the barley
assumes the halachic status of ikar (a preeminent ingredient), even if there
is less barley than beans and potatoes.(25) The mezonos said over the barley
exempts all the other ingredients in the cholent. In order for the barley to
be considered the ikar, the following two conditions must be met:
The barley must be added to the cholent to enhance its taste. If it is added
to the cholent just as a binding or thickening agent,(26) or to give it
color or aroma,(27) a mezonos is not said over the barley [or the cholent];
The taste of the barley must actually be noticeable in the mixture.(28)
In most cases when barley is added to the cholent, the above two conditions
are met. The proper blessing, then, is mezonos. No other blessing should be
made over the other ingredients.(29) If, after reciting a mezonos on the
barley, one recites another blessing, such as ha-adamah on the potatoes or
shehakol on the meat, he may be reciting a blessing in vain (berachah
l'vatalah).(30) If one recites ha-adamah or shehakol before the mezonos, he
may be reciting an unnecessary blessing(31) (berachah she-einah tzerichah).
An exception to the above rules is when the cholent contains large pieces
of meat and chicken which are not eaten together with the rest of the
cholent.(32) In that case, a shehakol is said over the meat or chicken after
the mezonos has been recited over the cholent.
The berachah acharonah on barley cholent depends on the amount of barley
consumed. If one eats a k'zayis of barley (approx. 1.1 fl. oz.) in 3-4
minutes or less, Al ha-michyah is said. No Borei nefashos is required.(33)
If less than that amount of barley is eaten, a Borei nefashos is said over
the rest of the cholent.
The preferred method when eating a barley cholent at a kiddush is to recite
a mezonos over the cake at the beginning of the kiddush while having in mind
the cholent as well(34); this obviates the need for a blessing over the
cholent. The Al ha-michyah recited over the cake will include the cholent
also, thus making it unnecessary to estimate the amount of barley eaten and
the time span within which it was consumed.
Note, however, that when barley cholent is served there is no need at all
to eat cake, as one may fulfill his obligation of Kiddush b'makom seudah by
eating a k'zayis of barley from the cholent.(35)
Rabbi Neustadt can be reached at 216-321-4635 or by fax 216-321-5687
1 Some poskim advise against using a disposable cup for Kiddush (Igros Moshe
O.C. 3:39; Minchas Yitzchak 10:23) while others are not particular about
that (Harav Y.S. Elyashiv, quoted in Shevus Yitzchak, Muktzeh, pg. 48; Tzitz
2Based on the shiur of Harav M. Feinstein. A cheekful is a little more than
half a revi'is.
3 O.C. 274:14. There is a minority view (Brisker Rav quoted in Mo'adim
u'Zemanim 3:243) that holds that on Shabbos morning one must partake of the
kiddush cup in order to fulfill the mitzvah. The poskim, however do not
agree with this stringency; see Yechaveh Da'as 5:20.
4 O.C. 174:2. Note, though, that Harav Y.S. Elyashiv is quoted (Vezos
ha-Berachah, pg. 267) as ruling that only a Borei pri ha-gefen over wine
exempts all other beverages; when it is recited over grape juice it does not
exempt other beverages.
5 Derech ha-Chayim rules that it is sufficient, but Beiur Halachah 174:2
questions that. See Yechaveh Da'as 5:20 and Minchas Yitzchak 8:19.
6 Beiur Halachah 174:2. [It is not sufficient to have specific intention
that the blessing over the wine should not cover other beverages; Harav Y.S.
Elyashiv, quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 100.]
7 Minchas Yitzchak 10:22.
8 Mishnah Berurah 272:30; Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:13; Minchas Shabbos 79:29;
Ketzos ha-Shulchan 89:5.
9 Ktzei ha-Mateh (Mateh Efraim 625:99); Eishel Avraham 272:6; Maharsham
Chelkas Yaakov 1:94.
10 Because the practice was defended (in part) due to the scarcity and
expense of wine, some poskim suggest that nowadays, Kiddush should be made
over wine or grape juice only, see Nimukei Orchos Chayim 273.
11 This is based on the view of the Taz O.C. 210:1, which is rejected by the
latter poskim; see Mishnah Berurah 190:14.
12 O.C. 190:3.
13 Har Tzvi O.C. 159. It follows therefore, that those who follow the
majority view and do not recite kiddush on schnapps, do not recite a Borei
nefashos when drinking an amount of schnapps less than a revi'is.
14 Mishnah Berurah 271:68. No talking should take place until the minimum
amount is drunk.
15 Mishnah Berurah 272:30.
16 Mishnah Berurah 273:25.
17 A notable exception is the view of the G"ra, who maintains that kiddush
can be made only when a seudah of bread follows. His view is quoted by the
Beiur Halachah 273:5 without comment. Aruch ha-Shulchan 273:8 considers this
to be the preferred method. The general custom, however, follows the view of
18 Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 54:22; Az Nidberu 8:31. See Me'or
ha-Shabbos, vol. 2, pg. 576.
19 Mishnah Berurah 273:25, 27.
20 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:63. See also Ein Yitzchak O.C. 12; B'tzeil ha-Chochmah
21 Mishnah Berurah 273:26.
22 To satisfy the view of the majority of the poskim.
23 O.C. 208:7. Mishnah Berurah 204:57; 207:7; 212:1.
24 Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:2.
25 Mishnah Berurah and Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:1. This is true even if the
taste of the barley is not the preferred one.
26 O.C. 208:2.
27 O.C. 204:12.
28 Mishnah Berurah 208:49; Beiur Halachah 208:9; Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 212:6;
oral ruling from Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in Guide to Practical Halachah,
vol. 2, pg. 204).
29 Note that a dissenting opinion (Chayei Adam 51:13; 54:9 and Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch 54:5) maintains that when each item is recognizable, a
separate berachah is made over each. Mishnah Berurah and Aruch ha-Shulchan,
however, do not agree, and Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 94)
and Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (V'sein Berachah, pg. 63) rule that one need not
concern himself with the dissenting view.
30 Mishnah Berurah 168:43.
31 This depends on a disagreement among the Poskim ??see Sha'arei Teshuvah
212:1; Shulchan Aruch Harav 249:4; Sha'ar ha-Tziyon 212:15.
32 Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:2; Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos
ha-Berachah, pg. 109).
33 O.C. 212:1; Mishnah Berurah 208:48; Igros Moshe O.C. 1:68.
34 The blessing is valid even though the cholent has not yet been served.
35 See O.C. 639:2, Mishnah Berurah 15 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 35.
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