We have finished the simanim of the Chayei Adam regarding kiddush, and we will now clarify
additional points not mentioned in the Chayei Adam. We learned yesterday about being yotzei through shomeah k’oneh, and left off discussing a situation in which a person is not able to be yotzei with the mekadeish, such as where the mekadeish is not speaking clearly.
One suggestion is to say the words of kiddush along with the mekadeish. It is preferable one do so with their own kos, but even without one’s own kos they can be yotzei in this manner. However, when doing so, they should have the kos of the mekadeish in mind, and drink a melo lugmav of wine.
If the mekadeish is saying most of the words clearly, but there are some words which are not clear, the question becomes whether a person can say the missing words themselves in order to fill them in, and thus be yotzei partially through shomeah k’oneh and partially through their own recitation. The Biur Halacha writes that it is preferable not to rely on this option, but if they do not have a choice, the Mishnah Berurah implies that one is yotzei.
The Shulchan Aruch (siman 193) discusses whether shomeah k’oneh works even if a person does not understand what they are hearing. If a person is reciting the words in lashon hakodesh, they are yotzei even if they do not know what they are saying. However, he says that if they are listening to the words in lashon hakodesh, they are not yotzei unless they understand what is being said.
In other languages, even if a person is reciting the words themselves, if they do not understand what the words mean, they are not yotzei.
When it comes to lashon hakodesh, the kedusha of the words and their intrinsic meaning allow for a person to be yotzei even if they do not understand the words. Nevertheless, when it comes to shomeah k’oneh, they are not yotzei unless they understand the words, because the idea behind shomeah k’oneh is that one is taking in the words to their heart (shmiah means absorbing the message), so if they do not know what the words mean, they cannot be taking them in.
The Taz and Magen Avraham disagree with the Shulchan Aruch, and hold that shomeah k’oneh works for lashon hakodesh even if one does not understand what they are hearing, due to their intrinsic meaning mentioned above. The minhag of litvish poskim is to follow the Taz and Magen Avraham. Rav Ovadia, however, follows the Shulchan Aruch, and would require one to understand the words. Alternatively, they could recite the kiddush along with the medakeish, as we learned above. In that manner, they are yotzei through their own speech, and do not need to understand the meaning of the words.
An interesting question came up recently over Sukkos. We have learned that a person cannot eat or drink before performing a mitzvah, because Chazal were concerned that a person would get distracted and forget to perform the mitzvah. We learned that this halacha does not preclude a person from having a small amount of food or drink. If so, we need to understand why we cannot apply the same concept to eating and drinking before kiddush itself, and allow a person to eat and drink a little bit before kiddush. We will discuss this question further tomorrow, be’ezras Hashem.
- If one is unable to be yotzei with the mekadeish, and they are unable to make their own kiddush, they can say the words along with the mekadeish, or even just the words they missed, and be yotzei in that manner. They should drink a melo lugmav.
- The Shulchan Aruch holds that shomeah k’oneh only works if one understands the words, and this is the psak of Rav Ovadia. The minhag of litvish poskim is that one is yotzei even if they do not understand the words.
- Everyone agrees that one is yotzei in lashon hakodesh when they recite the words themselves, even if they do not understand their meaning. On the other hand, everyone agrees that one is not yotzei in another language if they do not understand the meaning of the words.