Selected Halachos Related to Parshas Shemos
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
BAR MITZVAH KIDDUSH: PROPER CONDUCT
Kiddush is recited over a cup of wine or grape juice which
holds a revi'is (3.3. fl. oz.). At least a cheekful (approx.
1.7. fl. oz.) must be drunk(1).
There is no requirement for anybody but the person who makes
Kiddush to taste the wine. As long as the listener intended to
fulfill the mitzvah of Kiddush and heard every word of the
blessing, he fulfills the mitzvah. It is, however, desirable (a
mitzvah min ha-muvchar) to partake of the Kiddush cup(2). For
this reason, many people make certain to drink some wine when
attending a kiddush in shul. Doing so, however, can lead to a
problematic situation regarding the correct blessing for any
other beverage which will be drunk at the kiddush. Let us
The blessing of Borei pri ha-gefen automatically includes any
beverage which is on the table or which will be brought to the
table during the kiddush. No shehakol is recited on soda or
juice, etc. that will be drunk during the kiddush(3).
Even those who did not actually recite Borei pri ha-gefen but
heard Kiddush from another person do not recite a shehakol on
other beverages. This rule applies only if one drank a melo
lugmav (a cheekful) of wine or grape juice.
If one drank some wine or grape juice - but less then a melo
lugmav - and wishes to drink another beverage, it is
questionable(4) if he needs to recite a shehakol on the other
beverages. It follows, therefore, that those who listen to
someone else's Kiddush and partake of the wine and then want to
drink another beverage, must do one of the following(5):
Drink at least a cheekful;
Recite a shehakol on a food item;
Listen to a shehakol recited by another person.
KIDDUSH ON SCHNAPPS
It is a common practice to recite Kiddush Shabbos morning over
a 1 oz. cup of schnapps [or liqueur(6)]. Although many poskim(7)
object, as Kiddush must be recited over a cup which holds at
least a revi'is and at least a cheekful must be drunk, still
there are poskim(8) who defend this minhag Yisrael(9). They
reason that schnapps is different from wine since it is normally
consumed in much smaller quantities and is therefore subject to
a different set of measurements(10).
Those who rely on this leniency and recite Kiddush over
schnapps, must also recite a Borei nefashos over the schnapps,
even though only a small amount was drunk. Although one does not
recite a Borei nefashos unless he drinks 3.3. fl oz. of a
beverage(11), schnapps - according to this view - is an
exception and requires a Borei nefashos even on a much smaller
When no wine or grape juice is available, there is a way of
reciting Kiddush over schnapps which will satisfy the opinions
of most poskim: Recite Kiddush on a revi'is of schnapps and
drink a cheekful, but instead of swallowing it in one shot, sip
it slowly, for a period of up to 3-4 minutes(13). When even this
is not possible, a next best option is to share the cheekful
with others who are listening to the Kiddush(14).
KIDDUSH B"MAKOM SEUDAH
Kiddush must always be followed by a seudah (meal). Most
poskim(15) maintain that mezonos eaten at a kiddush is
considered a "seudah" for this purpose(16). After making
Kiddush, at least a k'zayis (approx. 1.1 fl. oz.) of mezonos
must be eaten within a span of 3-4 minutes. One who failed to do
so must repeat Kiddush at home before his meal. A mezonos kugel
is considered full-fledged mezonos in regard to this
On Pesach or other times when mezonos items are not available,
the preferred method is to eat the seudah immediately after
reciting Kiddush. If that is difficult, one should drink an
additional revi'is (3.3 fl. oz.) of wine or grape juice. If one
has no other wine or grape juice, he can rely on the revi'is of
wine he consumed for Kiddush(18).
There are poskim(19) who maintain that even l'chatchilah, one
may eat fruit or shehakol items after Kiddush is recited if
there are no mezonos items available. But then, Kiddush must be
repeated at home before the meal. Other poskim(20) allow this
practice only under special circumstances, such as the case of a
person who is weak and needs to eat and has no mezonos available.
There is no need to repeat Kiddush at home if the requirements
for Kiddush were met earlier in shul or at the simchah hall,
unless there are other people at home who did not yet hear
Kiddush. One who made Kiddush on schnapps should preferably
repeat Kiddush at home over wine or grape juice(21).
The proper blessing over cholent depends on the ingredients:
A cholent which contains beans, potatoes and small pieces of
meat or chicken requires only Borei pri ha-adamah. It is
considered a "single entity mixture" since the entire mixture is
eaten together in one spoonful. Because the ha-adamah
ingredients constitute the rov (majority) of the cholent
mixture, they determine the blessing for the cholent -
ha-adamah(22). Even if the cholent has a soupy consistency, no
shehakol blessing is required. The berachah acharonah is Borei
When kishke is served along with the cholent, the kishke
requires a blessing of Borei minei mezonos. Since the kishke is
generally not eaten in the same spoonful as the cholent, its
blessing does not exempt the rest of the cholent from the
blessing of ha-adamah(23), and so two blessings are required.
The other type of cholent is the kind which contains barley in
addition to potatoes, beans and small pieces of meat or chicken.
This kind of cholent requires only a mezonos blessing. Since it
is a "single entity mixture" which contains a member of the five
species of grain (barley), the barley assumes the halachic
status of ikar (a preeminent ingredient), even if there is less
barley than beans and potatoes(24). The mezonos said over the
barley exempts all the other ingredients in the cholent. In
order for the barley to be considered the ikar, the following
two conditions must be met:
The barley must be added to the cholent to enhance its taste. If
it is added to the cholent just as a binding or thickening
agent(25), or to give it color or aroma(26), a mezonos is not
said over the barley [or the cholent];
The taste of the barley must actually be noticeable in the
In most cases when barley is added to the cholent, the above two
conditions are met. The proper blessing, then, is mezonos. No
other blessing should be made over the other ingredients(28).
If, after reciting a mezonos on the barley, one recites another
blessing, such as ha-adamah on the potatoes or shehakol on the
meat, he may be reciting a blessing in vain (berachah
l'vatalah)(29). If one recites ha-adamah or shehakol before the
mezonos, he may be reciting an unnecessary blessing(30)
(berachah she-einah tzerichah).
An exception to the above rules is when the cholent contains
large pieces of meat and chicken which are not eaten together
with the rest of the cholent(31). In that case, a shehakol is
said over the meat or chicken after the mezonos has been recited
over the cholent.
The berachah acharonah on barley cholent depends on the amount
of barley consumed. If one eats a k'zayis of barley (approx. 1.1
fl. oz.) in 3-4 minutes or less, Al ha-michyah is said. No Borei
nefashos is required(32). If less than that amount of barley is
eaten, a Borei nefashos is said over the rest of the cholent.
The preferred method when eating a barley cholent at a kiddush
is to recite a mezonos over the cake at the beginning of the
kiddush while having in mind the cholent as well(33); this
obviates the need for a blessing over the cholent. The Al
ha-michyah recited over the cake will include the cholent also,
thus making it unnecessary to estimate the amount of barley
eaten and the time span within which it was consumed.
Note, however, that when barley cholent is served there is no
need at all to eat cake, as one may fulfill his obligation of
Kiddush b'makom seudah by eating a k'zayis of barley from the
1 Based on the shiur of Harav M. Feinstein. A cheekful is a
little more than half a revi'is.
2 O.C. 274:14. There is a minority view (Brisker Rav quoted in
Mo'adim u'Zemanim 3:243) that holds that on Shabbos morning one
must partake of the kiddush cup in order to fulfill the mitzvah.
The poskim, however do not agree with this stringency - see
Yechaveh Da'as 5:20.
3 O.C. 174:2. Note, though, that Harav S.Y. Elyashiv is quoted
(Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 267) as ruling that only a Borei pri
ha-gefen over wine exempts all other beverages; when it is
recited over grape juice it does not exempt other beverages.
4 Derech ha-Chayim rules that it is sufficient, but Beiur
Halachah 174:2 questions that. See Yechaveh Da'as 5:20 and
Minchas Yitzchak 8:19.
5 Beiur Halachah 174:2. [It is not sufficient to have specific
intention that the blessing over the wine should not cover other
beverages; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv, quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg.
6 Minchas Yitzchak 10:22.
7 Mishnah Berurah 272:30; Aruch ha-Shulchan 272:13; Minchas
Shabbos 79:29; Ketzos ha-Shulchan 89:5.
8 Ktzei ha-Mateh (Mateh Efraim 625:99); Eishel Avraham 272:6;
M'harsham 1:175; Chelkas Yaakov 1:94.
9 Because the practice was defended (in part) due to the
scarcity and expense of wine, some poskim suggest that nowadays,
Kiddush should be made over wine or grape juice only, see
Nimukei Orchos Chayim 273.
10 This is based on the view of the Taz O.C. 210:1, which is
rejected by the latter poskim; see Mishnah Berurah 190:14.
11 O.C. 190:3.
12Har Tzvi O.C. 159. It follows therefore, that those who
follow the majority view and do not recite kiddush on schnapps,
do not recite a Borei nefashos when drinking an amount of
schnapps less than a revi'is.
13 Mishnah Berurah 271:68. No talking should take place until
the minimum amount is drunk.
14 Mishnah Berurah 272:30.
15 Mishnah Berurah 273:25.
16 A notable exception is the view of the G"ra, who maintains
that kiddush can be made only when a seudah of bread follows.
His view is quoted by the Beiur Halachah 273:5 without comment.
Aruch ha-Shulchan 273:8 considers this to be the preferred
method. The general custom, however, follows the view of most
17 Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 54:22; Az Nidberu 8:31. See
Me'or ha-Shabbos, vol. 2, pg. 576.
18 Mishnah Berurah 273:25, 27.
19 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:63. See also Ein Yitzchak O.C. 12; B'tzeil
ha-Chochmah 4:2; 5:115.
20 Mishnah Berurah 273:26.
21 To satisfy the view of the majority of the poskim.
22 O.C. 208:7. Mishnah Berurah 204:57; 207:7; 212:1.
23 Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:2.
24 Mishnah Berurah and Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:1. This is true
even if the taste of the barley is not the preferred one.
25 O.C. 208:2.
26 O.C. 204:12.
27 Mishnah Berurah 208:49; Beiur Halachah 208:9; Sha'ar
ha-Tziyun 212:6; oral ruling from Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in
Guide to Practical Halachah, vol. 2, pg. 204).
28 Note that a dissenting opinion (Chayei Adam 51:13; 54:9 and
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 54:5) maintains that when each item is
recognizable, a separate berachah is made over each. Mishnah
Berurah and Aruch ha-Shulchan, however, do not agree, and Harav
S.Z. Auerbach (Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 94) and Harav S.Y.
Elyashiv (V'sein Berachah, pg. 63) rule that one need not
concern himself with the dissenting view.
29 Mishnah Berurah 168:43.
30 This depends on a disagreement among the Poskim - see
Sha'arei Teshuvah 212:1; Shulchan Aruch Harav 249:4; Sha'ar
31 Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:2; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos
ha-Berachah, pg. 109).
32 O.C. 212:1; Mishnah Berurah 208:48; Igros Moshe O.C. 1:68.
33 The blessing is valid even though the cholent has not yet
34 See O.C. 639:2, Mishnah Berurah 15 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 35.
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