Tuesday, March 20, 2007


By Joseph Mosseri

Maran Ribi Yosef Karo in his Shoulhan Aroukh siman 695 discusses the laws of Seoudat Pourim. He himself mentions nothing about Pourim on Ereb Shabbat, but Mouram Ribi Mosheh Isrelish says in Seif 2 that in such a case the Seoudah should be in the morning due to the honor of Shabbat. It seams that his only source for this is Sefer HaMinhagim of Maharil.

Shoulhan Aroukh first printed in 1564 , Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575)

Hagah first printed in 1578, Rabbi Mosheh Isrelish (1525-1572)

Sefer Maharil first printed in 1556, Rabbi Yaaqob HaLevi (1357-1427)

Now comes along a great Hakham whom I will term "our Sefaradi Hagah", his name is Ribi Yaaqob Castro, better known as Mahariqash. He lived from 1523-1610 but his book of hagahot, Erekh Lehem was not published until 1718. In it he writes, that when Pourim fall out on Ereb Shabbat, you make Seoudat Pourim while it is still day and when night falls you make Qidoush and continue to eat. Then he also mentions that there are those who make their Seoudah in the morning and everyone should follow their minhag.

The prolific writer and genius Ribi Haim Yosef David Azoulai (1724-1806) who wrote so much on every subject does not seam to have mentioned a word about this situation. I have checked all his halakhah books and have come up empty handed, maybe I've missed something, let me know.

Rabbi Hayim Palaggi (1787-1868) who was Chief Rabbi of Turkey wrote in his Moed Lekol Hai (1861) chapter 31 item 45 that on a Friday Pourim the most correct time is to have the Seoudah in the morning after Shahrit or at the very least prior to Hassot (mid-day). He also is of the opinion that the Seoudah should always be in the morning no matter what day of the week it is.

Nehar Missrayim (1908) by Hakham Refael Aharon Ben Shimon (1847-1928) who was chief rabbi of Egypt from 1891-1921 wrote that regarding the time of Seoudat Pourim. There are those who make it early and those who do it late, but most god fearing people make the seoudah after hassot closer to the evening. That is the time that the poor stop making their rounds for charity and no one makes the seoudah in the morning. He then goes on to quote HaRambam Hilkhot Megilah Pereq 2 Halakhah 17 who stresses the importance of spending the earlier and better part of the day engaged in Matanot LaEbyonim and Mishloah Manot. He then continues that when Pourim falls on Ereb Shabbat the nice and pleasant minhag is to make the Seoudah after Minhah when it is almost night (before sunset). In the middle of the meal (once it becomes shabat) you should spread a clean tablecloth say qidoush and resume eating, what is now your Seoudat Shabat. For this he quotes Mahariqash. Then once the meal is complete you say Birkat Hamazon with Al HaNisim (and Resseh VeHaHalissenou). Then you should pray Arbit of Shabbat. And this way is the most correct and straightforward path! This is how we conduct ourselves and such is the custom of many who awe god.

Now I recently found in a book I've had for a number of years a teshoubah on this exact subject. The book is entitled VaYaan Shemouel and printed in Jerusalem in 1959. The author is Rabbi Shemouel Marssiano who was originally from Dobdou, Morocco and in 1959 he was in Lod, Israel. There is a picture of him in the book in which he looks very old and "holy". The Haskamot by very prominent Rabbis of the day also refer to him as the great saintly and old from a great line of rabbis etc.... In any case on page 18 siman 29 he discusses the situation at hand and first he quotes the Baer Hateb (by Rabbi Yehoudah Ashkenazi) siman 695 seif qatan 6 "and I found written in the Mordekhi, that he would eat seoudat Pourim on Ereb Shabbat, pray arbit, spread a tablecloth, make qidoush, and say al hanisim in birkat hamazon." He then continues and says that others wrote that no he did not pray arbit at that point, for if he did, he would not be able to say al hanisim in birkat hamazon. Maharil wrote therefore it seems to me that he should say birkat hamazon first then pray arbit in order that he shouldn't run into any problems. Now Maran in siman 271 seif 4 writes that it is forbidden to even taste anything even water before qidoush, if he began prior to shabat he must stop, spread a tablecloth and say qidoush. There the Baer Heteb in seif qatan 5 writes that obviously he need not pray arbit

yet since he is spreading the cloth and saying qidoush, because he has begun with something permissible. Maran also writes in the same place that if they were drinking wine before hand they must still make qidoush but not birkat hayayin (bore feri hagefen) and then say birkat hamossi. And see Baer Heteb seif qatan 7 on that. From all he wrote in this teshoubah it would seem that he also agrees with Nehar Missrayim and Mahariqash to make Seoudat Pourim close to Seoudat Shabbat, saying Qidoush in the middle of the meal, saying birkat hamazon with both al hanisim and resseh, and praying arbit after birkat hamazon is over.

I've been looking high and low for any posqim who discuss this issue of Seoudat Pourim when Pourim falls out on Ereb Shabbat. Thank God I just found two more sources and they both seem to concur with the idea as originally laid down by Mahariqash (Hakham Yaaqob Castro).

They are :

1) Hakham David Cohen Saqli (1862-1949) he was Ab Bet Din and Chief of all Rabbis in Oran, Algeria for over 40 years. His She-elot ouTshoubot entitled Qiryat Hannah David was published in 2 volumes in Jerusalem in 1935 & 1936.

It carries the haskamot of the Rishon Lession Hakham Yaaqob Meir as well as the leading rabbis of North Africa and that of the Chief Rabbi of Paris Dov Halevi Englander.

In Volume 2 siman 90 he writes about our case and says "sarikh" you have to start the Seoudah prior to Shabbat and when Shabbat arrives pores mapah and make qidoush, etc... continue eating, say birkat hamazon with al hanisim and resseh then pray arbit. He also mentions that since both hagefen and hamossi were recited prior to Shabbat while it was only pourim, since it's all one big meal, to not say birkat hagefen in qidoush nor to say hamossi afterwards. Just make qidoush and continue eating, etc.

2) Hakham Baroukh Abraham Toledano who was born in Meqnes, Morocco and was Rosh Ab Bet Din there for well over 30 years, he passed away sometime after 1974 but I'm not as yet sure exactly when. His son Rabbi Pinhas Toledano who is a Dayan in London has begun publishing his fathers works and in his responsa Sha-alou LeBaroukh (Jerusalem 1993) he writes in siman 76 concerning the minhag when Pourim falls on Friday when is the proper time to eat the Seoudah. He says that the custom of "the rishonim" was to start the meal prior to Shabbat and once Shabbat arrives to spread a cloth, say qidoush and continue with the meal. In Birkat Hamazon say Al HaNisim and Resseh then pray Arbit. And this is what I saw my fathers do and it seems to me to be the correct way to practice.

So far if we just say majority rules it would seem that the above mentioned system is in the lead as stated by Erekh Lehem, Nahar Missrayim, VaYaan Shemouel, Qiryat Hannah David, and Sha-alou LeBaroukh.

Before I continue, please allow me to share a scenario with you. This is very common if not the norm for most people that I know.

Here we are Friday morning of Pourim. You get up to join a minyan for Shaharit, sefer torah, megilah, etc.. you finally finish the prayers and it's later than usual. You have to go running off to work. It's a Friday of course so for many people (especially retailers whom are closed on Shabbat) it's a very busy day. As it is it's Ereb Shabbat and that doesn't leave you much time to dilly dally, either to get to work late or have a long lunch, or to leave earlier than you would normally have to on a short Friday. Some may suggest getting together with friends at a restaurant for a longer than usual festive lunch, the only problem is that most better restaurants in Brooklyn or Manhattan are closed on Friday. If you plan on having the Seoudah in the morning while drinking wine you may be better off not getting on the road. Or for that matter for driving all around town with mishloah manot. If you have time to get together with your family for a late morning meal or an early afternoon lunch then you're probably off from work and all of this doesn't make much difference to you. As a side note, when Pourim does not fall out on Friday, I do not work on pourim day and I do my best to convince others not to as well, it's not a day for working. When it's Friday it's a whole different issue.I have no choice but to work and so do many others who have deadlines to complete projects before the weekend.

The only feasible plan would seem to be: Get a minyan together at someone's home, pray Minhah about 1 hour before sunset then begin seoudat pourim (recall that on a "normal" year most of us begin our Pourim Seoudah about 1 hour before sunset), before sunset light candles, at sunset "pores mapah" and make qidoush, then continue the meal. At the meals end say Birkat hamazon with al hanisim and resseh vehahalissenou then pray arbit shel Shabbat.

One small question here is: When should Qabalat Shabbat (which includes bameh madliqin) be recited...

a)before candle lighting?
b)before qidoush?
c)after birkat hamazon before arbit?

Now, it should be remembered that the whole custom of qabbalat Shabbat was begun by the AR"I HaQadosh, and only gradually spread out from Safed to other communities. Thus, it is very possible that MaHaRiQaSh did not have this problem.

Incidentally, the custom of having a leisurely late-Friday-afternoon meal, then "prisat mappa" followed by kiddush etc. and only finally Shabbat prayers -- was the normal custom every week in 15th century Alexandria, as related by Rabenou Obadiah MeBertenura in his accounts of his travel to Eress Yisrael!

Finally I have just had the opportunity to do more research on this subject and lo and behold look what turns up. Rabbi Obadiah Yosef in his Yehaveh Daat (1st edition, Jerusalem 1980) volume 3, siman 55, page 171 in the footnotes. He cites Rabbenou HaMe'Iri, on Ketubbot 8a, who writes:

"It is our custom, and that of our fathers, that when Pourim falls on Friday, we begin the Seoudat Pourim in the late afternoon, and when the day becomes sanctified [= i.e., Shabbat begins] we spread a mappa, and make kiddush, and complete our seoudah, and say birkat ha-mazon and mention therein "'al ha-nissim".

So, this custom known to MaHaRiQaSH is actually a custom of the Rishonim.

From the context, it seems that Rabbi Obadiah Yosef may agree with this, although he is quoting it in the context of another issue under discussion.

Your insight and comments are greatly desired

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