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For Posterity

Today I received a letter from my 8th grade Rebbe in Manhattan Day School, Rabbi Chaim Gold Shlita. He sent me a chiddush which I would like to record here for posterity.

In Pesachim [114a] there is a dispute between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai. Beis Hillel maintain that when making kiddush one must first make the bracha on the wine and only then make the bracha on the sanctity of the day. Beis Shammai argues and says that the bracha on the wine is made second.

In support of their position Beis Hillel marshals a very strong proof. There is a Biblical [see Zevachim 89a] pricinciple known as "Tadir V'sheaino Tadir, Tadir Kodem". [Whatever is more frequent is done first.] The bracha on wine could be made daily whereas Shabbos only comes around weekly. So it must be that the bracha on the wine is made first! How would Beis Shammai defend their position? The Gemara doesn't tell us.

Rabbi Gold suggests as follows: Rav Y.B. Soloveitchik said in the name of his grandfather Rav Chaim [in a different context] that according to Beis Hillel the bracha on the wine and the bracha on the sanctity of the day are TWO SEPERATE ENTITIES ["shtei cheftzaos shonos" in Brisker terminology], the former is a "birchas hanehenin" and the latter is a "birchas hamitzva". That being the case, the rule of "Tadir ..." would apply.

However, according to Beis Shammai, in the context of Kiddush the bracha on the wine is no longer merely a birchas hanhenin but adopts the status of a full fledged bircas hamitzva, as both brachos are considered "Shirah Al Hayayin" [see Pesachim 106]. If so the two brachos are considered ONE ENTITY ["cheftza achas"]. Beis Shammai would claim that when dealing with one entity composed of two elements the rule of "Tadir" is not operative.

Rabbi Gold mentioned a possible nafka minah between these two understandings of the two brachos of kiddush. Can you think of any? I will reveal what he said in a future post.

Maybe according to Bais Shammai, since the bracha on the wine at kiddush is contingent on the kedusha of the day, the defining element being kedushat hayom, that should come first.

Whereas if the wine is a birkat hanehenin then as you said, tadir applies.

My problem is that it is considered a birkat hamitzvha halachically and that is why the concept of arvus aaplly in terms of being motzie somone else, even if one has already made/heard kiddus and YET the bracha on the wine comes before the kedushat hayom. How does that work within the context of your question?

See the sugya in Rosh Hashana 29. From there we see that even though the hagaffen is a bircas hanehenin, since it is a chiyuv, the concept of arvus applies.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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