Contradictions in Shulchan Aruch IV

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

Is Lighting the Shabbat Candles an Automatic Acceptance of Shabbat?

In OC 263:10, the Shulchan Aruch writes:

According to the [sefer] Halachot Gedolot, once the Shabbat candles are lit, one has accepted Shabbat and all further melacha is forbidden…and some disagree with the Halachot Gedolot and say that the acceptance of Shabbat is not related to the lighting of the candles but to the recitation of ma’ariv. Once the chazzan has said ‘barchu,’ everyone must cease melacha. According to our practice, reciting ’Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbat’ is the equivalent of ‘barchu.’”

As a general rule in the study of Shulchan Aruch, the last ruling in a list of rulings that begin with “And some disagree…” or “And some say…” is the Shulchan Aruch’s final ruling. Hence, one does not automatically accept Shabbat with the lighting of the Shabbat candles.

On the other hand, in OC 679:1, the Shulchan Aruch writes: “On Erev Shabbat one lights the Chanuka candles first and then the Shabbat candles”. In his work, Beit Yosef, the author of the Shulchan Aruch explains why this is so: “…because if one lights the Shabbat candles first, one has accepted Shabbat [and would no longer be permitted to light the Chanuka candles]”. This seems to imply that lighting the Shabbat candles is indeed an automatic acceptance of Shabbat.

How do we reconcile this contradiction?

Among the answers given is that it is simply best to conform with the opinion of the Halachot Gedolot whenever possible, though in extenuating circumstances one need not accept Shabbat with the lighting of the Shabbat candles.

Is one required to eat bread for Seudat Shlishit?

In OC 291:1, the Shulchan Aruch writes “One must be very careful to eat Seudat Shlishit. One who is stuffed can discharge the meal with merely an egg-sized portion [of bread]”. In OC 291:5, he writes “It must be discharged with bread…and this is the main [halacha]…bread must be eaten”. We see from here that the Shulchan Aruch is strongly of the opinion that bread must be eaten in order to properly fulfill the mitzvah of Seudat Shlishit.

On the other hand, in OC 188:8, the Shulchan Aruch writes that “Seudat Shlishit on Shabbat has the status of a Rosh Chodesh meal [and therefore if retzeh was omitted from the Birkat Hamazon it need not be repeated]”. This seems to imply that one is not required to eat bread at Seudat Shlishit. We derive this from the general rule that if an omission was made in the Birkat Hamazon that does not require one to repeat the Birkat Hamazon, then one was not truly required to eat bread at that meal in the first place.

Both the Magen Avraham and the Taz note this contradiction. The Magen Avraham says (OC 188:16) that the Shulchan Aruch truly maintains that bread must be eaten at Seudat Shlishit. However, he does not require one to repeat the Birkat Hamazon if retzei was omitted in deference to the view that bread is not truly required for Seudat Shlishit. As such, he maintains that, for the purpose of repeating Birkat Hamazon, the rule of safek bracha l’hakel should be applied.

 

 

 

About Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot. www.rabbienkin.com

11 comments

  1. Rav Ovadia Yosef has said that ideally one should turn off the lights, say the beracha, then light Shabbat candles, then flip back on the lights, thereby ensuring that the beracha is not said after the mitzvah or for no reason (I.e. the room is already bright enough). Obviously here, you are holding off acceptance until after the lights are back on.

  2. In his work, Beit Yosef, the author of the Shulchan Aruch explains why this is so: “…because if one lights the Shabbat candles first, one has accepted Shabbat [and would no longer be permitted to light the Chanuka candles]”. This seems to imply that lighting the Shabbat candles is indeed an automatic acceptance of Shabbat.

    R. Ari:

    With all due respect, if you read the Beit Yosef in 679 closely, while that may be his reiteration of the Behag’s opinion, that is not at all the reason he gives for the practical outcome of the halacha.

    The reason he gives in fact is because in this machloket, while one side (i.e. the Behag) has a problem with practicing the halacha according to his opponents (i.e. because lighting shabbat candles is a de facto acceptance of Shabbat), the other opinions (i.e. Rosh, Tosafot, et al) have no problem doing it the Behag’s way. As such we strive toward a practical halacha that conforms to both sides.

    (This idea of common conformity seems to be a general principle – another example that comes to mind from the Beit Yosef is the forms of petuchot and setumot, where the he writes that where possible, the sofer should strive to find forms that conform to both the Rosh and the Rambam, but where not possible, the Rambam must be followed. However, it opens up a whole separate discussion of how far we need to take this. For example, I doubt the Shulhan Aruch would take it as far as the Briskers do with incorporating chumrot of various rishonim.)

    I suppose that may have been what you were alluding to in your answer, but I would just put it differently.

    Yeyasher Koach

  3. Neat set of posts.

  4. R’ jouziel,
    “For example, I doubt the Shulhan Aruch would take it as far as the Briskers do with incorporating chumrot of various rishonim”

    Why do you doubt that – is there some rule that would say only in cases of x,y,z? Also I sit and watch as time goes by and see more chumrot that if taken into account will make this rule very quickly converge to chumrah.

    KT

  5. R’ Ouziel-

    In retrospect, the material you highlight should have been included as well. I will bl’n add it to the original manuscript.

    Ari Enkin

  6. Thank you DF!

    Ari Enkin

  7. Why do you doubt that?

    Joel:

    Only because in many many other cases, after the Beit Yosef brings two opinions, he decidedly rejects one opinion in favor of another. I’m still trying to figure out when this rule would apply. Is it only when common practice dictates so? In any case, I’m pretty sure that the Beit Yosef would not require, for expample, that one must wait till after midnight before weating on a rainy first night of sukkot, or that one who davened haneitz must repeat Kriat Shema after haneitz in order to incorporate those rishonim that hold so. Or that one cannot wear tzitzit (even with the proper shiur) in an eruv because the Behag holds that if it does not have techeilet, it is no good, etc., etc.

    I agree with you on your last observation, though.

  8. R Ari-I think that this issue was discussed tangentially in the multiple threads about a woman leading Kabalas Shabbos. One can argue that Hadlakas Neros, which Al Pi Din, is gender neutral in obligation, represents a Kiyum of Kabalas Shabbos for the Yachid, and that either the recital of Lcha Dodi and/or Mizmor Shir LYom HaShabbos is a Kiyyum of Kabalas Shabbos for the Tzibur that is patterned on the series of six Tekios to urge the Tzibur to stop work and get ready for Shabbos Kodesh.

  9. Very nice approach, Steve!

    Ari Enkin

  10. “As such, he maintains that, for the purpose of repeating Birkat Hamazon, the rule of safek bracha l’hakel should be applied.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t safek berakhot l’hakel just a different way of saying safek d’Orayta l’humra w/r/t to the issur d’Orayta of being motzi Sheim Shamayim l’vatala? If so, why would this outweigh the mitzvat aseh of Birkat Hamazon (from this week’s parasha)? Do mitzvot lo taaseh receive greater deference in applying the rules of safek?

  11. Josh:

    You are asking a good question, but possibly the answer lies in the fact that while birkat hamazon itself is de’orayta, the hazkara of shabbat in birkat hamazon is only miderabbanan, thus the safek derabbanan as it applies to our case at hand.

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