(by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times)
Some eat it in shul, others make sure to eat it at home with family. Regardless as to where it is eaten, however, it is always worthwhile to know more about this Mitzvah of Shalosh Shiddas (See SA 291). In general, it should be known that there are actually four types of Mitzvos that exist:
- There are Super-Torah Mitzvos. They are defined as those explicitly mentioned in the Torah.
- There are Torah Mitzvos.
- There are Super-Rabbinic Mitzvos. They are defined as those Rabbinic Mitzvos that the Rabbis attached to a Pasuk in the Torah.
- And there are Rabbinic Mitzvos.
All, of the four types of Mitzvos have different halachos associated with them. For example, there is a concept of Mutav sh’yihu shogegim v’al yihiyu mazidim – it is better for people to sin unwittingly and not to sin wittingly. On the other hand, there is a Mitzvah of Hochayach tochiach es amisecha – rebuking one’s friend or peer. The Mishna Brurah rules that if Reuvain is concerned that Shimon will ignore his pointing out a Mitzvah to him – then for Type One Mitzvos – one must still give the rebuke (See also Aruch HaShulchan OC 6-8:6). But for Type Two Mitzvos – one does not rebuke. By the same token, Type Three Mitzvos beat out Type Four Mitzvos (See PMG, Psicha Kolleles 1:20:33 and 3:30), but not Type Two and certainly not Type One.
Which type is Shalosh Shiddus?
The Gemorah (Shabbos 117b) records a debate between the Chachomim and Rabbi Chidka as to whether one must have three meals on Shabbos or four meals. Rabbi Yochanan points out that both views are based upon a pasuk in Shmos (16:25) which employs the word “Yom” three times. It is understood that the word Yom signifies a meal. The debate revolves around whether the previous evening is to be counted among the three or not. The Gemorah ultimately rejects the view of Rav Chidka that four meals are required.
THOSE THAT HOLD IT IS FROM THE TORAH
Rav Eliezer of Metz, author of the Sefer Yereim is of the opinion that eating Shalosh Shiddas is a Torah Mitzvah (Yereim 92). The TaZ (OC 678:2) is also of the opinion that the obligation to eat Shalosh Shiddas is Biblical – and that it must be fulfilled with bread (274:4). He is of the opinion that Shalosh Shiddas bread, a Torah Mitzvah, beats out Kiddush wine or Chanukah candles, a Rabbinic Mitzvah. It seems that both opinions would hold that Shalosh Shiddas is a Type Two Mitzvah.
THOSE THAT HOLD IT IS FROM THE RABBIS
Interestingly enough, Rabbeinu Tam, the Rebbe of Rabbi Eliezer of Metz, is of the opinion that Shalosh Shiddas is Derabanan (See Sefer HaYashar Teshuvos #74). The Minchas Chinuch 10:5 and Rav Shulchan Aruch (274:1) both hold that it is Rabbinic. The Mishna Brurah (291:1 and BH 262:2) writes that most Poskim hold that it is a Type Three Derabanan Mitzvah.
The Mishna Brurah cites the statements of the sages that whomsoever fulfills the three meals on Shabbos is rescued from three very serious travails: The birthpangs of the times of Moshiach, the judgement of Gehenam, and the travails of the war of Gog.
In Shulchan Aruch Yore Deah (Siman 250) we are told that the community must provide the poor with enough for three meals on Shabbos.
The minimal amount that must be eaten is slightly more than two k’zaisim of bread – less than that is considered Achilas Arai We must bear in mind that the meal was given for enjoyment and not for Tzaar.
The author can be reached at [email protected]