Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Lady Of The House
‘One Blesses First On The Wine…’
(Berachos 51)

The evening Shabbos kiddush consists of two berachos: “Hagafen,” the blessing on wine, and birkas hayom, the blessing on the sanctification of the day. Our mishnah cites a dispute between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel. Beis Shammai assert that the sanctification blessing precedes the wine blessing. Beis Hillel, on the other hand, opine that the wine blessing goes first. The halacha follows Beis Hillel.

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The Primacy Of The Wine

Beis Hillel offer two reasons for their view. First, it is the wine that causes the recital of kiddush (if not for the wine, we wouldn’t say kiddush). Second, the rule is “tadir v’she’eino tadir, tadir kodem” – whenever we have two mitzvos, the one that is performed more frequently takes precedence.

Biblical Vs. Rabbinical

The Pnei Yehoshua (ad loc.) points out a difficulty with Beis Hillel’s ruling. The obligation to recite the sanctification blessing is biblical whereas the mitzvah to recite the wine blessing is only rabbinic. Therefore, the sanctification blessing ought to go first. And yet, Beis Hille states the very opposite.

Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (the Tzlach ad loc.) asks another question: Why do Beis Hillel say that if someone lacks wine, he is not required to recite kiddush? Since the sanctification blessing is a biblical mitzvah, he should be required to say kiddush with or without wine.

Kiddush In Ma’ariv

The Pnei Yehoshua answers these questions by explaining that a person has already fulfilled the biblical mitzvah of sanctifying the day of Shabbos in the Ma’ariv Amidah. If there is no wine at home, therefore, there is no reason for him to recite kiddush.

Kiddush At Home

The Tzlach further notes that, according this reasoning, a woman who did not daven Ma’ariv and recites kiddush for herself should reverse the order of the berachos, with the sanctification blessing preceding the wine blessing.

The She’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha (ad loc.) notes that this might be precisely why often the lady of the house, upon receiving kiddush wine from her husband, does not rely on her husband’s berachah of “borei pri hagafen” but recites her own. Since she did not daven Ma’ariv, her kiddush obligation at the Shabbos table is biblical. Thus, she must first hear the sanctification blessing and only then make the wine blessing.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information, contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

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