Thursday, June 06, 2013

hafrashas challah -- an opportune time for tefilah

There may not be any makor (at least that I know of) for gathering precisely 43 women to bake challah together as a special zechus and having everyone recite amein in unison to the bracha of hafrasha, but there is a good makor for using the opportunity of hafrashas challah as a time to daven.  The last Teshuvos Maimoni in the back of the Rambam Zera’im (link) ends off with an aggadic discussion of challah.  He writes that the name Chanah is an acrostic formed from the three mitzvos given especially to women, Challah, Nidah, and Hadlakas ner Shabbos.  Because Chanah was especially scrupulous in these mitzvos, her tefilos for a son was answered.  Every women, he writes, should take Chanah as a model and use the opportunity presented by these mitzvos as a time for tefilah, especially tefilah for sons who are tzadikim.  Based on this I guess women should say the same special tefilah they recite after hadlakas neiros Shabbos when they are mafrish challah. 

(Parenthetically, I recently saw that R’ Elyashiv was asked why saying this tefilah is not a problem of saying a tefilas bakasha on Shabbos, which we try to avoid.  The GR”A even went so far as to omit the Harachaman… parts of bentching.  The answer is that a bakasha of ruchniyus is not a problem, but I am not sure I understood the point correctly, so don’t trust me on that.)
R’ Ya’akov Shapira, R”Y of Merkaz haRav, said (link) that his father used to give tzedaka and daven for cholim just before the time of hadlakas neiros based on this Hagahos Maimoni.  Even though the hadlakah is usually done by women, the chiyuv of hadlakah applies to men as well (if there is no women at home, a man needs to light for himself).  Since men share in the kiyum mitzvah, it is a zman of tefilah for them as well. 


  1. Anonymous11:39 AM

    My wife and I were actually discussing the Challah segulas, tefillos, lehaniach bracha al beisecha etc. and we had the following question:

    Is it clear that all this applies when the hafrasha is only miderabbanan? I guess the Tshuvos Maimoni sounds like it, but I'm not so clear on why that should be. Definitely according to the Ramban it's difficult, but even according to the Rambam I think it's questionable.

    Any thoughts or mareh mekomos on this?

  2. I'm not sure I understand the question -- why should it make a difference if it is a d'orasya or a derabbanan?

  3. Anonymous12:16 PM

    Let's start simple - when the pasuk in Yechezkel 44:30 says reishis arisoseichem titnu lakohen lehaniach bracha al beisecha, presumably that's referring to Challah mideoraysa. Meheicha teisi that challah miderabbanan warrants the same bracha as the navi promises?

    (I don't know for sure, but I'm gussing that this pasuk and the gemara in Shabbos 32b that invokes it are the source for all the challah related segulas)

    I'm just not clear whether doing something in which the chalos (not challos, chalos) is entirely derabanan has segula/olamos haelyonim ramifications.

  4. If the m'kor was from this pasuk, it would only apply to challah and it would be the act itself which is the segulah.
    The T.M. is saying something different. These three mitzvos are like an eis ratzon for tefilah, and the tefilah can produce results.

    You have the reverse of your question raised in Achronim. The gemara says ma'achalos asuros is metamteim es ha'lev. Question is whether ma'achalos asuros m'derabbanan have the same effect.

  5. Anonymous1:41 PM

    Which acharonim discuss timtum halev by derabanans? Even if derabanans are issurei cheftza, I think it's still a much bigger chidush to say there's timtum halev.

  6. someone else has done a better job on this topic than I ever could --

  7. Thank you. If I didn't have a more realistic view of the relative value of what you and I write, I would appreciate it more. I've said over your Torah more times than I can remember, to friends and when I speak at Kiddush. I think it boils down to the fact that you write things that are a chidush to me, and vice versa. Good for both sides.

    In any case, I hope that you're right, that the idea of Bracha is not based on that passuk in Yechezkel וראשית ערסותיכם תתנו לכהן, להניח ברכה אל ביתך, because there are two mitzvos by Challah: the Hafrasha and the Nesina l'Kohen. I find it very hard to believe that the bracha stems from the Hafrasha, especially since there are numerous Gemaros that threaten people who are mafrish but don't give properly with all sorts of calamities. It's clear that the bracha comes from the giving, and there's no giving bizman hazeh. Unless you have the guts to give it to a kohen katan before seven years old.

  8. Have been reviewing mitzva ha-ba'ah ba-aveira recently, and one of the familiar gemaras on that topic is "ein zeh mevarech ela mena'etz", in bava kama 94a. The braysa basically says if one steals wheat, grinds it into flour and bakes bread, *and then separates chala*, how can he make a beracha -- ein zeh mevarech ela mena'etz.

    As is well known, one school of rishonim (Ritva and others?) claims that mitzva ha-ba'ah ba-aveira only applies in a context where we are seeking "ritzui", and not to every mitzvah.

    If so, then the claim that hafrashas chala is an eis ratzon for davening (= ritzui context) helps explain why the braysa specifies hafrashas chala in particular. Possibly even those rishonim (or some) would apply MHBB"A in the context of other brachos more broadly; but even so, if hafrashas chala is an especially propitious context of ritzui, then it makes good sense for the braysa to emphasize chala in its example.

  9. K'vod 46669d7a: since the TM seems to be speaking about zman hazeh, and challah bizman hazeh, until the final geulah, is derabbanan, apparently this is what the TM was talking about. Is that what you meant by "sounds like it"?

    Note that viewing bracha as a mechanical corollary of a mitzvah/segulah is either hyper-chassidic or hyper-Brisk [but I repeat myself]. My own, correct, view is that bracha is always available, but one needs to make oneself aware of one's dependence on Hashem, as well as hakaras hatov to Him [Her?]. See, e.g., the Rashba in Chiddushei Agodos Berachos 5a, on the gemoro which quotes the famous song by Fried "Tanya..." as well as in the teshuvos.

    By setting aside a portion of the dough as a siman that our produce and food is not truly the product of our own effort, but that we have to acknowledge our total dependency on and gratitude to Hashem, we make ourselves worthy of the shefa bracha which is always there for those worthy. All birchot hanehenin include this concept, but here, there is a physical act, which if done properly, underlines and focuses the attention and affect.

  10. Makes sense when it comes to challah -- now what about by hadlakas haner and niddah?

  11. Three aspects of an Adam [as in atem kru'im Adam]: kedusha, tahara, and hakaras hatov. All three were nifgam by the original chait, and the Isha is osekes in the tikun of all three ad hayom. These tikkunim reopen the tzinoros hashefa that are, since the chait, in a default state of sasum.

    A man can combine tikun kedusha and tahara through limud hatorah, but the aspect of hakaras hatov of torah was nifgam at Har Sinai [the sugya of kfuyai tovah bneir kfuyai tovah]. Thus a man needs a distinct avoda of shviras hamiddos [the GR"A from Mishlei you quote often.]

  12. OK, you win. I enjoy these type explanations too - very maharalian. (I meant to look at whether the maharal says anything but didn't get a chance). However, just as a side point, don't you ever get a sense that no matter what mitzvos I gave you, you could come up with some explanation like this after the fact to justify why those three? It's a post hoc rationalization, but if you didn't know the chazal and I asked you what three mitzvos are a tikun for cheit of adam, would have have guessed these three? I bet not. Where else do you ever see kedusha, tahara, and hakaras hatov paired together? Anyway, that's a side point. You could always say that that's why they are Chazal, since they can figure these things out.

    Steven, I was thinking about your point, which is pretty creative, but the thing that rubs me as slighty off is that it is talking about bracha rishona, which can be generalized to any and all mitzvos. But I get the point -- so why challah in particular.

    1. a) I've spent the past few years learning Rav Hutner, so, Maharalian it is

      b) Given that [other than niddah] these mitzvot are considered in women's domain for no logical reason - and in fact can be fulfilled with just as much hiddur by men, there appears to be an indicative subtext.