We are continuing in siman 11, where the Chayei Adam discusses davening mincha gedolah on erev Shabbos. Yesterday, we discussed the potential halachic concerns that would necessitate davening mincha earlier, which were the merchatz or a haircut. Today, we will discuss an additional, practical concern brought up by the Chayei Adam.
The Chayei Adam writes that even if a person does not have the above mentioned halachic concerns, it is still proper to daven mincha gedolah. He explains that when they (the shul gabbaim) announce throughout the town that it is time for mincha right before sunset, it is theoretically appropriate to wait at home for a few minutes and not to run immediately to shul. However, he will miss Mincha. The mishnah tells us that prior to the onset of Shabbos, a husband should ask his family members if they have made eruvei chatzeiros, separated maasros from the produce, and, if they have not lit, instruct them to light Shabbos candles. If a person goes to shul before the time of lighting, they will not be home, so they will be unable to instruct their family. Therefore, the Chayei Adam suggests davening mincha earlier, so that the husband can be home closer to the onset of Shabbos and fulfill this mishnah. The Mishnah Berurah, however, does not mention the idea of davening early for this concern.
The poskim explain that the reason for these instructions was out of concern for women who are not diligent about lighting Shabbos candles on time. Additionally, people would have Jewish assistants at home who were not knowledgeable about hilchos Shabbos. However, if one knows their wife is diligent in this area, they do not need to be concerned for the Chayei Adam’s point.
The mishnah specifies that the husband asks about eruvei chatzeiros. Eruvei chatzeiros is effected by taking contributions of food from members of the area which wishes to join together. Eruvei chatzeiros is done nowadays by the rav of a shul, usually using a box of matzah, and is kept for an entire year. However, it used to be that they would make a new eruv chatzeiros every week, and people would contribute challah rolls every week to the eruv. Eruvei techumin would be created depending on the need, so one did not need to ask their family every week. Eruvei tavshilin is only relevant when Yom Tov falls out on Friday, so there was no need to ask the family.
Since the eruv chatzeiros is no longer performed by the individual, we no longer ask the question about eruvei chatzeiros. Similarly, separating maasros is not done outside of Eretz Yisroel, so the question is no longer asked either.
The poskim discuss whether the husband has a responsibility to ask his wife if she separated challah, which is technically a form of maasros. The Daas Kedoshim, in his sefer Aishel Avraham of Butchatch, answers this question. He writes that the reason the minhag has come about to call the bread eaten on Shabbos, “challah”, even though challah is technically the part which is separated and not eaten, is as a reminder to separate the challah from that dough. Therefore, he writes that there is no need to ask the family if they separated the halachic challah.
- Although it is generally preferable to daven mincha ketana, on erev Shabbos it is preferable to daven mincha gedolah.
- The concern can be halachic, such as davening before getting a haircut or going to the merchatz, or it can be practical, to be home in order to ensure the final Shabbos preparations of eruvei chatzeiros, maasros, and lighting Shabbos candles are done before Shabbos.
- Regarding the halachic concern, it is uncommon to find a bathing facility which has the halachic status of a merchatz.
- This is a chumra, as there are opinions that the requirement to daven Mincha first, starts with Mincha ketana.
- Regarding the practical concern of ensuring final Shabbos preparations are done, if one is sure their family will be diligent in these areas, they do not need to be concerned.
We are continuing in siman 10, which discusses washing oneself for erev Shabbos. Yesterday, we discussed washing oneself, going to the mikvah, and cutting nails before Shabbos.
It is important to note that if one is going to the mikvah, the proper order is to cut one’s nails before going to the mikvah. The proper order is also to wash oneself before going to the mikvah.
We need to discuss a person who would prefer to wash themselves after going to the mikvah. The Gemara in Shabbos says that as mikvaos have to be standing water (and did not have filtration systems until the modern era), the water would begin to smell, so people would wash themselves after going to the mikvah. However, it got to the point that people assumed that washing oneself after the mikvah was an integral part of going to the mikvah, and eventually even assuming that washing oneself is the primary component of the mikvah and the mikvah itself is unnecessary. Therefore, Chazal imposed a takana that a person who washes themselves after going to the mikvah is tamei miderabanan.
The question is whether nowadays this takana still applies. On the one hand, we no longer practice the halachos of tumah and taharah, but on the other hand, if the entire point of going to the mikvah is for taharah, maybe we should practice all of the nuances of the halacha.
The Shulchan Aruch brings this halacha down regarding when a woman goes to the mikvah, and paskens that we are makpid on it for a woman’s tevillah. However, at the end of siman 201, the meforshim point out that it only applies to a woman, who is chayav to go to the mikvah. A man going to the mikvah, who has no inherent chiyuv, is allowed to wash himself afterwards.
The next siman discusses the appropriate time to daven mincha on erev Shabbos. Most people who are working do not have a choice in the matter, and daven mincha immediately before Kabbalas Shabbos. However, the Chayei Adam writes that it would be preferable to daven earlier. We will see that the Mishnah Berurah does not bring down this point.
We learned (S0020) that there are two zmanim for mincha. Based on the division of daylight by sha’os zemanios, one can daven mincha from 6.5 hours after sunrise; i.e., half an hour after halachic midday. This time is known as mincha gedolah. However, the preferred time to daven mincha is 9.5 hours after sunrise, known as mincha ketana. There is also a time known as plag hamincha, which, according to Rav Yehuda, is a time at which one may begin davening maariv, and according to the Rabbanan, it is the earliest time for accepting Shabbos. We will discuss these zemanim as they apply to mincha on erev Shabbos in the upcoming shiur, be’ezras Hashem.
- The preferable order is to wash oneself and cut nails before going to the mikvah. However, it is not assur for a man to wash himself after going to the mikvah.
- The earliest time to daven mincha is 6.5 hours after sunrise, known as mincha gedolah. However, it is preferable to daven after 9.5 hours after sunrise, known as mincha ketana.
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We are beginning siman 10. The Chayei Adam writes that it is a mitzvah to wash one’s entire body and be tovel in a mikvah in preparation for Shabbos. Neither the Shulchan Aruch nor Mishnah Berurah mention tevillah here (siman 260), but in hilchos Tisha B’av (siman 551) the Mishnah Berurah mentions those who have a minhag to be tovel on erev Shabbos and what they should do during the nine days. While the Mishnah Berurah seems to assume tevilah depends on a person’s minhag, the Chayei Adam seems to hold that anyone who has the opportunity to be tovel should do so.
The Chayei Adam wrote a sefer on hilchos Shabbos called Zichru Toras Moshe. It parallels many ideas written here, but is written in a different style. There, he discusses the concept of tevilah as well. It is interesting to note that although many assume the concept of tevilah on erev Shabbos is a chassidish concept, the Aruch Hashulchan mentions it as well.
A story is told about Rav Elchonon Wasserman hyd. He was tovel in a mikvah every erev Shabbos, and people once asked him why he did so. He said that if tevilah in a mikvah has the power to take someone who is not Jewish and make them Jewish, and that is the final step of the geirus process, it must certainly help our neshama in some way.
That being said, many do not have this minhag, but it is clearly something which is not limited to the chassidish community.
Either way, the halachic requirement is rechitza, washing oneself. The primary chiyuv is to wash one’s entire body in warm water. If the situation is such that a person does not have water, or only minimal water, they should minimally wash their face, hands and feet. The Chayei Adam mentions feet because he is discussing a place in which people tended to walk barefoot. Some poskim suggest that nowadays, where we wear shoes, this point does not apply. When one is washing their entire body, the discussion about feet is irrelevant, but if one does not have water, it would apply.
The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that it is a mitzvah to shampoo one’s hair, and to cut one’s fingernails for Shabbos. There is a preference in halacha to cut one’s nails on erev Shabbos, rather than earlier in the week, because they will begin growing back if one cuts them earlier in the week. The Mishnah Berurah points out that it is inappropriate to cut one’s nails on Thursday, because that is clearly an affront to Shabbos.
One rationale for this is based on the Gemara that, according to one opinion, the material used to cover Adam and Chavah before they sinned was the same material as our nails. Since Chavah was the instigator of the cheit, the nails act as a reminder of the cheit. When a woman becomes pregnant, since pregnancy is one of the punishments for the cheit, the presence of nails acts as an accuser against the woman, and it can cause her to lose her pregnancy, chas veshalom. Therefore, one should remove the nails once they have been cut. The Gemara says that one who keeps cut nails around is called a rasha. One who destroys them by burning or burying them is a tzaddik. The assumption of the poskim is that flushing them down the toilet is equivalent to burying them. The Gra writes that the concern for the danger associated with the nails only applies in the place where the nails fall. If they are subsequently swept away, they do not cause danger and there is no concern. Although this concept is esoteric, the source for this concern is the Gemara, rather than the Zohar.
The Chayei Adam writes that one should not cut both the nails of the fingers and toes on the same day. This is based on the Gemara as well, the reason being that it is akin to the preparation of a deceased individual (taharah), whose fingernails and toenails are cut at the same time in preparation for kevurah. Therefore, it is appropriate for a living person to separate them, and cut the toenails on Thursday and fingernails on Friday.
- One is required to wash their entire body for Shabbos, but minimally their face and hands if they do not have water.
- It is appropriate to tovel in a mikvah if possible
- One should cut their fingernails and toenails for Shabbos. However, one should not cut both on the same day, so they should cut their toenails on thursday and fingernails on erev Shabbos.
- One should be careful to destroy the nails after cutting them.
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We are continuing in siman 9, discussing fasting on erev Shabbos. We learned that one should not fast on erev Shabbos, so that they enjoy Shabbos from the moment it begins. We left off regarding the minhag to fast on a yahrzeit, and what to do when the yahrzeit falls out on erev Shabbos.
The Chayei Adam writes that if the first year of the anniversary of the yahrzeit falls out on erev Shabbos, one may fast but should not complete the fast. Rather, they may make kiddush as soon as they return home from shul, even if they accept Shabbos at plag. Since they took on this practice from the first year of the yahrzeit, in any future year that the yahrzeit falls out on Shabbos, they follow their practice of the first year.
However, if the first year of the anniversary of the yahrzeit falls out during the week, they should fast until nightfall, so they undertook the fast as one in which they will generally complete the fast. Therefore, they must complete the fast on erev Shabbos into Shabbos as well, and would have to wait until tzais hakochavim to make kiddush (see previous shiur). However, the Chayei Adam writes that if a person feels weak from the fast, they may break it.
Alternatively, they can perform hataras nedarim. Although they may never have explicitly stated that they would take on to fast on their parents yahrzeit as a neder, once a person performs a davar tov (a proper act), even if they had no intention of continuing it, if they perform it three times, it becomes a neder miderabanan. Alternatively, if they practice this davar tov once with the intent to continue it, it also becomes a neder miderabanan. Thus, once a person has fasted once on a yahrzeit and has the intent to continue this practice every year, the practice has the equivalent status of a neder derabanan, and requires hataras nedarim. Therefore, the Chayei Adam suggests performing hataras nedarim to avoid the need to fast until nightfall.
Regarding the concept of not entering Shabbos in a state of discomfort, it is important to know that the Arizal was known for sleeping on erev Shabbos. Entering Shabbos in a state of exhaustion is also discomfort, similar to being hungry. Similarly, if a person has something on their mind, if they are able to spend a few minutes thinking about it in order to alleviate or mitigate it before Shabbos, that would be appropriate as well. Chazal understood the importance of entering Shabbos in a physical and emotional state of mind in which one can fully enjoy Shabbos.
- One should not fast on erev Shabbos. If they accept a personal fast on Friday, they should stipulate that they will break it when they are ready to accept Shabbos (even if they accept Shabbos at plag). Even if they did not make this stipulation, their fast is still over when they accept Shabbos.
- However, as we have learned, for one who is able, it is appropriate to skip a meal–without fasting the entire day–in order to enter Shabbos with an appetite.
- Regarding a yahrzeit, if a person has the minhag to fast on the yahrzeit of a parent, they may fast when the yahrzeit falls out on erev Shabbos. Regarding completing the fast:
- If the first year they fasted was erev Shabbos, and they did not complete the fast, they never have to complete the fast when it falls on erev Shabbos.
- If the first year they fasted was a weekday, they must complete the fast even on erev Shabbos.
- However, if they are not feeling well, or perform hataras nedarim, they do not have to complete the fast.
- If possible, one should rest on erev Shabbos in order to not enter Shabbos in a state of exhaustion.
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We are beginning siman 9. The Chayei Adam writes that it is inappropriate to enter Shabbos feeling afflicted. Therefore, one should not fast on erev Shabbos. One should feel the enjoyment of Shabbos already from the beginning of Shabbos. The Chayei Adam clarifies that the only exception is a person with a delicate constitution who, if they eat on erev Shabbos, will not be able to eat the Shabbos seudos.
We learned that it is appropriate to enter into Shabbos with an appetite, and to even skip a meal if one has that constitution (S0024). However, even if one is strong enough to skip one meal, it is inappropriate to fast the entire day, because the vast majority of people will find it uncomfortable and enter into Shabbos in a state of affliction (with the exception of the person with a delicate constitution discussed above).
When the Chayei Adam discusses fasting on erev Shabbos, he is referring both to personal fasts undertaken by an individual and public fasts. The only one of the public fasts which falls out on erev Shabbos is Asara B’teves.
In general, we know that a taanis is not over with sunset but with tzeis hakochavim, nightfall. If one is fasting on erev Shabbos, if they are to wait until nightfall to break their fast, it comes out that they will be fasting on Shabbos, because they accept Shabbos with sunset (or even earlier) but do not break their fast until nightfall. Therefore, the Chayei Adam writes that if one undertakes a personal fast on erev Shabbos, they should verbalize a stipulation at the time that they undertake the fast that they will not complete the fast until nightfall. Bedieved, even if the person did not make such a stipulation, they do not need to wait until nightfall. As soon as they are ready to make kiddush, they are allowed to eat. This applies even if one accepted Shabbos at plag.
Regarding the calculation of nightfall, since fasting is derabanan, we use an earlier calculation to determine tzeis hakochavim. As it becomes dark, the larger stars become visible first, then medium sized stars, and finally, as more light leaves the sky, the small stars. The stars required to indicate the end of a fast are medium stars. The stars required to indicate the end of Shabbos are small stars.
The Gemara mentions that it is appropriate to fast on the yahrzeits of a father or mother. The Shulchan Aruch brings this idea as an appropriate minhag, although many no longer follow this minhag due to their weaker constitution. We will discuss the appropriate practice when the yahrzeit falls out on Friday in the upcoming shiur, be’ezras Hashem.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, in siman 32, discusses various health suggestions. He writes that it is appropriate to skip one meal during the week, in order to give a person’s stomach a chance to rest. He suggests that the best time to implement this practice is erev Shabbos. His suggestion is a compromise in that they are not fasting entirely, so they are not feeling uncomfortable, but are skipping a meal so that they enter Shabbos with an appropriate appetite.
One should not fast on erev Shabbos. If they accept a personal fast on Friday, they should stipulate that they will break it when they are ready to accept Shabbos (even if they accept Shabbos at plag). Even if they did not make this stipulation, their fast is still over when they accept Shabbos.
However, as we have learned, it is appropriate to skip a meal–without fasting the entire day–in order to enter Shabbos with an appetite.
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