[Avodah] When early shabbos is Rosh Chodesh

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Tue May 17 04:56:03 PDT 2022

I wrote:
> PS: Just for the record, I'm still wondering: ...
> 2) Why Shabbos wins on Erev Shabbos Chazon,
>    but Shabbos loses on Asara B'Teves.

R' Michael Poppers and I were discussing this over Shabbos. One of the
ideas that came up was "b'etzem hayom hazeh" - Given that we fast when
Asara B'Teves falls on Shabbos itself, it should not surprise us that when
Asara B'Teves falls on Friday, we have no permission to eat until the day
is completely over.

But then I realized that this was misleading and distracting. Asara B'Teves
does not need any particular pasuk or limud, because it's not an
*exception* to the rule. Rather it is an *example* of the rule, the rule
being that "Kabalas Shabbos doesn't matter - we use the calendar." There
are only a very few exceptions to this rule, and I will list those
exceptions later in this post. But first, I'd like to list some of the many
examples of this rule:

(1) To me, the classic case is the baby boy who was born on Friday evening
after the whole city has said Shabbos Maariv, Shabbos Kiddush, and Retzeh
in Birkas Hamazon. If the baby was born before Bein Hashmashos, then his
bris will be the following Friday.

(2) Shofar - If a shofar was finally found on the second day of RH, but
after the city accepted Shabbos, it can (and must) still be blown.

(3) Sukkah - If one began Shmini Atzeres early, eating outside the sukkah
is still forbidden - because it is still Sukkos - even for those who do not
eat in the sukkah on Shmini Atzeres (i.e., Israelis, Chassidim).

(4) Chometz - If Shabbos is Motzei Pesach (as it was in Israel this year),
an early acceptance of Shabbos doesn't allow one to eat chometz (or
kitniyos) until Pesach is actually over.

(5) Sefiras Haomer - If one forgot to count sefira on Thursday night, and
still forgot all day Friday, he can still count on Friday afternoon even
after accepting Shabbos.

(6) Eruv Tavshilin - When Yom Tov is Friday, the MB recommends beginning
Shabbos early and eating the seudah in daylight, because this means that
your cooking was NOT a case of "cooking on Yom Tov for after Yom Tov", but
was actually a case of "cooking on Yom Tov for that Yom Tov itself."

(7) Asara B'Teves - Like all the cases above, where the halachic day
remains Friday all the way until Vadai Laila, so too here, and one may not
break the fast until dark.

(8) Hefsek Tahara is another good example, since it can be done after
Kabalas Shabbos if it was forgotten earlier. (But due to various
technicalities, IIRC this permission might extend only to sunset, and not
into Bein Hashmashos.)

The most glaring exception to all this, of course, is Tosfos Shabbos
itself, along with Tosfos Yom Kippur and Tosfos Yom Tov. These are the
special case, in which we invoke Kedushas Hayom such that the halachic
ramifications of the day take effect. It's a sort of neder, I suppose, in
that I was allowed to do melacha before, but now I am forbidden, because of
my personal acceptance of the day's kedusha.

At this point I must ask: Why does Tefilah (and its subset, Birkas Hamazon)
follow the Kedushas Hayom rules, instead of the much more common Calendar
Rules rules? My first guess was that Chazal set up Tefila like that from
the very beginning, because it would be silly and/or contradictory to make
Kiddush on Friday afternoon and follow it with a Weekday Shmoneh Esreh.

But I think that's a mistake, and my proof is that the Kedushas Hayom rules
apply even when there is no Tosfos Kedusha. I am not aware of any mitzva to
begin Rosh Chodesh early, and yet, if a shul chooses to have early
Mincha-Maariv at Plag in the middle of the week, on an evening preceding
RC, they DO include Yaaleh V'Yavo in Maariv even though there is no
Kedushas Hayom to speak of.

I don't have any explicit source for the preceding paragraph, but it is
easily inferred from MB 424:2 which speaks of a similar minyan on Motzaei
Rosh Chodesh: They include Yaaleh V'Yavo at Mincha, but they omit it at
Maariv, and if someone eats a Hamotzi meal while the sun is still above the
horizon, he will omit Yaaleh V'Yavo from Birkas Hamazon specifically
because he omitted it from Maariv. Note that this is despite the fact that
(from a Calendar Rules perspective) Kedushas Rosh Chodesh is in full force,
and there's no conflict or contradiction with any nighttime halachos.

So why don't we follow the Calendar Rules rules in these cases? We can't be
following the Kedushas Hayom rules, because we're deliberately *ignoring*
the Kedushas Hayom when benching after Maariv on Rosh Chodesh afternoon.

I would like to suggest that what I wrote about "Kedushas Hayom rules" was
an error, and we should actually working with "Plag Hamincha rules".

According to Gemara Brachos 26-27, the Rabanan hold that Mincha may be said
all afternoon until the "night" (which we will not define here) after which
Maariv may be said, while R' Yehuda says that Mincha may be said only until
Plag Hamincha, at which point Maariv may begin. And the Gemara concludes
that you can choose whichever you prefer.

I used to think that this was simply a dispute about the rules for Mincha
and Maariv. Perhaps it is deeper than that. Perhaps Chazal took this to
refer to all of Hilchos Tefila, including Birkas Hamazon and all other
brachos as well. If so, then a person who davens an early (post-Plag)
Maariv on a Tuesday - regardless of whether this is Erev RC or Motzei RC -
then his brachos at supper must be in accordance with R' Yehuda. We now
have two sets of consistent rules: "Calendar Rules" for just about
everything, and "Plag Hamincha Rules" for all aspects of davening, not just

I will leave it like that for now, but I must say that it would make more
sense if R' Yehuda felt that the calendar actually changes dates at Plag
Hamincha. Could such a thing be possible? Is there a gemara somewhere in
which R' Yehuda says that Shabbos begins at Plag on Friday, even without an
early Kabalas Shabbos?

We are still left with the problem of Erev Shabbos Chazon, in which we have
a halacha (eating meat/wine) which should logically follow the Calendar
Rules rules, but which we actually relax for one who has accepted Shabbos
early. I will now suggest that there is a third category (besides Calendar
Rules and the Plag Hamincha Option), namely Aveilus.

R' Marty Bluke wrote:

> An avel sitting shiva does not observe aveilus in public once he
> is mekabel shabbos. The explanation may be that this is unique
> to aveilus which is a kiyum shebalev. This kiyum shebalev is in
> direct contradiction to the essence of shabbos and therefore can't
> be imposed once shabbos has started.

This is complicated, and perhaps deserves its own thread. Looking through
ArtScroll's "Mourning in Halacha" by Rabbi Chaim Binyamin Goldberg, I see
several opinions about when the mourner may begin sitting on a chair or
wearing leather shoes on Friday. He lists three different views (not until
dark, from Mincha Ketana, from Plag Hamincha) in the main text of 28:3, and
even more in the footnotes - and none of them are "once he is mekabel
Shabbos" (with the possible exception of one view in the footnotes which
said "until candle lighting"). And in fact, regardless of how one's defines
"washing" in this context, if an avel is allowed to wash himself L'Kavod
Shabbos, this must obviously be prior to his Kabbalas Shabbos.

For an avel in Shiva to wear leather shoes, or to shower, prior to Kabalas
Shabbos, cannot be explained by any of the ideas suggested above. So it
must be that when these halachos were first set up, they included this
exceptional case from the beginning. Perhaps they did so for Erev Shabbos
Chazon as well.

Akiva Miller
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