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Chiyuv of Havdalah 3 – Women 2 – Shitas Mishnah Berurah (Klal 8 Siman 12) Hilchos Shabbos – S0228

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Chiyuv of Havdalah 3 - Women 2 - Shitas Mishnah Berurah (Klal 8 Siman 12) Hilchos Shabbos - S0228
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  We are continuing in siman 12. Yesterday, we learned the Chayei Adam’s shita regarding the level of chiyuv a woman has regarding havdalah. Today, we will discuss the Mishnah Berurah’s shita.   The Mishnah Berurah’s approach, similar to the approach of many poskim, is the ikar shitah is that women are chayav in havdalah. Therefore, a woman can say havdalah without any concern, and without relying on the argument that a woman can make a bracha on a mitzvas asei shehazman grama. This last point is important regarding the general question about women making a bracha on a mitzvas asei shehazman grama. It is only according to the Rema that a woman can make a bracha on a mitzvah which she is not chayav to perform; according to the Shulchan Aruch, she cannot make the bracha. Thus, for example, Sephardi women do not make a bracha on lulav or sefira. However, when it comes to havdalah, Rav Ovadia Yosef paskens in accordance with these poskim that women are inherently chayav in havdalah, so they can make the brachos themselves without question.    According to this opinion, since a woman is chayav in havdalah, a man can be motzi her even if he already was yotzei, as we learned yesterday. If one has a choice between a woman making havdalah herself or a man who was already yotzei being motzi her, the Mishnah Berurah holds that it is preferable for the woman to be motzi herself.    There is a minhag brought in the Mishnah Berurah, in siman 296, that women do not drink the wine of havdalah. There are a few reasons for this minhag, some which are kabbalistic and some which are not. Over here, if she is going to be motzi herself, she will have to drink the wine herself. Nevertheless, it is still preferable for her to be motzi herself, and the minhag is not applied. Similarly, if a man makes havdalah but is unable to drink a melo lugmav of the wine, a woman can drink the wine and the minhag is not applied. In these situations, if a woman is uncomfortable drinking the wine out of concern for the minhag, multiple poskim write that they may make havdalah on chamer medina. Thus, they could use other liquids, including tea or coffee. Lechatchilla, they should be using wine, and one should try to explain to the woman that she does not need to be concerned for the minhag.    Once we have established that women have a chiyuv havdalah, they cannot perform melacha until they have done a form of havdalah ( baruch hamavdil bain kodesh l’chol), nor can they eat until making havdalah on a kos.   Summary
  • The Chayei Adam’s opinion is that it is a safeik whether women are chayav in havdalah. Therefore, a man can be motzi a woman if he is being yotzei himself, but should not be motzi her if he was already yotzei. She can be motzi herself in the same way she can be motzi herself in any mitzvas asei that she is not chayav in.
  • The Mishnah Berurah, in accordance with most poskim, holds that women are chayav in havdalah. Therefore, even according to the Shulchan Aruch she can make the brachos herself, a man can be motzi her even if he was already yotzei, and she cannot perform melacha nor eat until making havdalah. 
  • When it is a choice between her saying for herself or a man who was already yotzei being motzi her, even according to the Mishnah Berurah, it is preferred that she say it herself. 
  • There is a minhag that women refrain from drinking the wine of havdalah. Nevertheless, if a woman is making havdalah herself, or a man is unable to drink the wine, she should drink it.

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