Monday, April 13, 2020

Notes from the Underground - eiruv tavshilin, spilling wine for the makos

Took some time to get out of the bunker yesterday to get some fresh air, but today was back to the grind. 

1) Question from Daughter #1: since Pesach is one of the pilgrimage holidays, is that why my wife cooked a turkey?

2) The gemara (Pesach 46b) discusses why it is that one is allowed to cook on Y"T for Shabbos.  An eiruv tavshiln is a heker that the rabbanan added, but why is there no issur d'oraysa?  The gemara gives 2 answers: either "ho'il," since guests might come on Y"T and eat the food being cooked, therefore the cooking is really l'tzorech Y"T, or "tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'Y"T," there is no issur of cooking on Y"T for Shabbos.  The latter answer is ambiguous; Rashi explains that since both shabbos and Y"T are called days of "shabbos" they have a shared kedusha and are treated like one big 48 hour day, i.e. you are not cooking from one day for another, but rather you are cooking food to be eaten within the same long single kedusha 48 hour day. 

Nafka mina between the two reasons: can one cook food for Shabbos late in the day on Y"T?  If the justification for the cooking is "ho'il," then one can cook only if there is time for the meal to be consumed by potential guests.  If the justification is "tzorchei shabbos na'asin b'Y"T," then one can cook all day up until shekiya.

So how do we pasken?  The MG"A writes that on Y"T which is erev Shabbos one should be mekabeil shabbos early so that one avoids cooking late in the day -- i.e. one can only cook when there is a heter of ho'il.

My son asked: this year, when due to corona there is no chance that any guests will be stopping in your house for a meal, the heter of ho'il should not work.  So how does our eiruv tavshilim work?

My cop out answer: see Aruch haShulchan 627:3 that m'ikar ha'din we pasken tzorchei shabbos na'asin b'Y"T.  But that's not going to help if you take the MG"A seriously.  Anyone have a better answer?

3) I have trouble with the the idea that we spill a drop of wine when we recite the plagues in the haggadah as a "symbolic tear for those who suffered." (R' Jonathan Sacks in The Koren Haggada)  What sounds like the usual liberal, humanistic, kumbaya stuff is actually pretty frightening.  Aside from technical problems with the idea (see post from 2011 "bi'npol oyvecha al tismach" does not apply to aku"m), ask yourself the following question: on Holocaust Remembrance Day, do you also shed a tear for the SS officers killed in the liberation of the camps?  The only difference between them and the Mitzrim is that the memory of the Holocaust is thank G-d still somewhat alive for us, but the Biblical story is a 3000+ year old tale that does not resonate or cause us the same pain -- in other words, a total failure to feel "k'ilu hu yatzah, which is the raison d'etre of the whole seder. 

See GR"A to O.C. 473 -- we are spilling drops from the kos of punishment set aside for the Egyptians.  Others add that we are showing that these drops are but the tip of the iceberg -- the cup has a lot more in it to dish out.  Not a politically correct message there.

My wife suggested that we are spilling drops in sympathy for the pain caused to nature by Hashem having to disrupt its laws in order to bring punishment upon our enemies. 


  1. -- "1)" according to those who hold that Bisyah bas-Paro became, after many gilgulim, Pocahontas...

    -- "2) ...there is no chance that any guests will be stopping in your house for a meal"

    no chance? if 3 guests* visited Avraham in the heat of the day, maybe 3 (or 1, or 2) will visit a distant son of his someday?

    *who cannot contract (nor thus spread) disease, and may manifest evasively (avoiding police scrutiny) {but can they actually eat what's offered?}

    -- "My cop out answer..."

    does the Afikai Yam "have a better answer", DC, April 27, 2006?

    {Shemos 16:23 seems to say that cooking for Shabbos even on a normal weekday is assur (what is neither baked nor cooked, set by for day 7)-- how much more would cooking for Shabbos be prohibited, d'oraysa, on Y"T! (or, alternatively, cooking be allowed on Shabbos!??) [perhaps, rather than worm-infested and stinky, mon left over for Shabbos acquired an enhanced taste/texture, although initially raw?]}

    -- "3)...'for those who suffered'"

    a. early on, "the Mitzrim" welcomed us (for settlement in Goshen)

    b. late in the day, they were [as(?)] agreeable individuals-- rei'ei'hu / r'oos'a (11:2)

    c. since early on they welcomed us (Rashi, Dev. 23:8b), they may enter the klal (23:9)-- ie. they're "potential guests" (sitting down to eat tzad MG"A...)

  2. I like how your daughter thinks.
    As for the "sympathy" for monsters - I think of it as mourning for wasted opportunity. A tzelem elokim has the potential to become an Avraham Avinu, a Rus, the Gaon's ger tzedek. Look at Nevuchadnezar in San 92b! What potential, what a tragic waste. With death, that potential is forever lost. True, that loss occurred earlier. But with death it becomes final.

  3. we spill a drop of wine when we recite the plagues in the haggadah - perhaps its because the Kos cannot be full because HKBH failed to persuade P to release the Y, for every plague the Kos is not quite as full - and this is the Kos of Hallel, it cannot be a full throated Hallel - which is why we should not refill the Kos