Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tzedek vs. Maadim in Aruch Hashulchan O"C siman 271

This is an interesting and perhaps important Aruch haShulchan, in terms of the principle it sets up. From Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim siman 271, seif 11:

Our teacher the Beit Yosef {=Rav Yosef Karo{ wrote in seif 1 that "when he comes to his home {on Friday night} he should hurry to eat immediately." End quote. And this is to make kiddush, in order to mention {yizkor} Shabbos as it enters [Magen Avraham, seif karan 1], and as a natural consequence, he would eat immediately because of having kiddush in the place of the meal, and even before it gets dark [Taz seif katan 1]. And he is able to eat via this kiddush [see there]. And we {=Aruch haShulchan} have already explained this in siman 267, see there.

And it is obvious that of he is not yet able to eat, that he is able to wait several hours into the night [מ"ע in a teshuva].

And I have seen one who wrote that one should make kiddush specifically before nightfall, for at the beginning of Saturday night is the constellation of Maadim {Mars} while at the end of the 6th day {Friday} is the constellation of Tzedek {Jupiter}. Therefore, one should make kiddush with Tzedek. [Magen Avraham, there].

And in my opinion, this is astounding. For forfend, chas veshalom, to say that we are under the influence of the constellations. And just the opposite, I have seen from the kadmonim that the nations in generations of old would sit on Saturday in darkness and cry, because the constellations of Shabbat informed for bad {for it is Mars}. And Hakadosh Baruch Hu commanded us to do the opposite, to light much light and to have joy, to demonstrate that we are above the constellations, and that Hashem took us to bring us out from under the array of Heaven. And how can we say like this {like the Magen Avraham that we should look to make kiddush under the influence of Tzedek and to avoid the constellation of Mars}? And it requires a great deal of iyyun {to justify}. {Tehillim 32:10} "But he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy compasseth him about."

{The following is a challenge to the idea that one is permitted to make kiddush and the meal before nightfall:}
[The Magen Avraham there brings a Yerushalmi from the beginning of Berachot that it is the way to eat an hour or two at night, see there. However, see there in the commentary of Chareidim that "two" means two fractions of an hour, and the reason is that synagogues were in the fields, distant from the city, and until one came {home} the time extended automatically. And just the opposite, from the fact that they answer that this is specifically by these small towns, see there, it is implied that it is a precept {mitzvah} to eat earlier.]

Thus, to sum up, Aruch haShulchan thinks that one is allowed {at the least} to make kiddush and begin the meal before nightfall on erev Shabbos. But, he takes extreme exception to the idea of doing it early specifically because of influence of the mazalot. We are not under the influence of the mazalot, but under Hashem's guidance and protection. He brought a counterexample which holds true exactly in this case, about negative astrological influences of Mars on Shabbos. But it is clear that this is true in general, for the idea is that Hashem in general has taken out out from under the influence of the host of heaven. Perhaps nowadays, now that astrology has been moved from the realm of science to superstition, we should furthermore say "nishtaneh hateva" and that there are other reasons not to pay heed astrological influences. Back then, even if it was regarded as a science (with tremendous potential to grow into avodah zarah), it did not apply to Israel, and we should ignore it. Now, people believing in it are not holding by a real science but rather subscribing to something in the realm of superstition, and this may have its own halachic problems. (This even if it worked its way into our halachic and mystical literature.)


Joe in Australia said...

And it is obvious that of he is not yet able to eat, that he is able to mate several hours into the night ...

If this is a typographical error it ought to be corrected.

joshwaxman said...

Oops! Yes, thank you.
I think I was originally going to write "make it" meaning make kiddush, and then saw that it should be translated "wait," and they got conflated as I typed it. Embarrassing brain slip. Thanks!


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