Monday, September 17, 2007

mitzvah of eating erev yom kippur

Hope everyone had a good Rosh haShana and an easy fast yesterday. This week is like the mad sprint at the end of a race where you just have to get moving no matter how tired you are – and depending on your slichos schedule, you probably are as tired as I am : )

It’s fortuitous that daf yomi is learning Kesubos because it is an opportunity to see an important Rashi relevant to hilchos Erev Yom Kippur. The gemara suggests the reason for not scheduling a wedding Motzei Shabbos is “gezeirah shema yishcot ben of” (daf 5a), to avoid the danger of people starting to shect chickens on Shabbos to prepare the feast (aside: the celebration of simchas chassan v’kallah apparently does not demand a meal of meat, as some claim with respect to simchas yom tov where the din of simcha has some relationship to korbanos). By that same logic, asks the gemara, we should not celebrate Yom Kippur immediately following Shabbos because of the danger of beginning to prepare food early for the erev Yom Kippur meal, “l’tzorech seudas machar”, as Rashi explains. Rashi’s emphasis on the seudah of the next day suggests that there is no mitzvah to eat a seudah on the night of Erev Yom Kippur.

The gemara (R”H 9) darshens that just as there is a mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur, there is a mitzvah to eat Erev Yom Kippur. Shouldn’t this mitzvah apply starting from the previous nightfall, just like the mitzvah of fasting? Apparently the relationship is not exactly parallel, and according to Rashi the mitzvah of eating on Erev Yom Kippur is simply to properly prepare for the fast by having a seudah immediately beforehand.


  1. I dont think this is so surprising -- it parallels the other drasha from the pasuk of be-tishah ba-chodesh ba-erev, i.e., the din of tosefes, which clearly is only samuch to yom tov itself. Now in this case it is all day, and not just right before yom tov but I thought that both derashos reflect on a certain level that the kedusha of YK extends back into erev YK -- which is manifested both in tosefes and the mitzvah to eat. (This is the beginning of the approach to explain the fact that the rishonim -- rif, rosh and others -- quote both derashos la-halach -- ve-ein kan mekomo).

    Also for the other well known reason for eating on YK cited by the ARuch ha-shulchan and his son the TOrah Temimah, that eating on erev YK makes it more difficult to fast and therefore increases the inuy --- that sevara would also only apply on the day of erev YK and not the night before.

  2. >>>that eating on erev YK makes it more difficult to fast and therefore increases the inuy

    Since you mention it, I kept saying yesterday that if a little eating on erev y.k is supposed to increase your inuy, 3 days of feasting before tzom gedalya did not make the fast any easier : )

  3. anon14:10 PM

    Usually fasting doesn't bother me -- but by the end of the day yesterday, I had a headache and even after eating a bit to break the fast, I still felt hungry. Interestingly, the ARuch ha-Shulchan tries to explain that both the standard explanation of Rashi and the Rosh that the mitzvah to eat is to help the fast is not a stira to the reason that eating increases the inuy.