Rav Reuvain Grozovsky zt”l – New Piece in English: Forgetting to Recite Havdallah


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Forgetting to Recite Havdallah on Motzaei Shabbos

By Rav Reuven Grozovsky zt”l translated and annotated by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

L’zaicher Nishmas the translator’s mother,

Sarah Bas HaRav Eliyahu Hoffman on her 13th Yahrtzeit, 22 Av

This piece from Rav Reuvain Grozovsky zt”l is not found in the Chiddushei Rav Reuvain, and is currently unavailable,  Rav Reuvain Grozovsky zt”l was the person responsible for bringing Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l to the Slabodka Yeshiva – and literally saving them.  He married the daughter of Rav Boruch Ber, was a member of the Vaad Hatzolah, Moetzes Gedolei Torah and Torah uMesorah. He was a Rosh Yeshiva in Torah V’Daas, Beis Medrash Elyon and Kamenetz.  At my wedding, her brother bought my shver zt”l a copy of the Chiddushei Rav Reuvain.  This piece was originally appeared in haMesivta.


The Rambam writes (Hilchos Shabbos 29:4): if he did not recite Havdallah at night he may recite it the next day. He may recite the havdallah until the end of the third day [Tuesday evening].  The Mishna Brurah in his Shaar HaTziyun (299:23) infers that according to the Rambam there is no distinction as to whether he purposefully did not recite it or if he was accidentally negligent.  It is as he wrote earlier regarding Kiddush that whether it shogaig or meizid, he may recite Kiddush the entire day.  [That which the Shulchan Aruch 299:6 employes the term “shachach – forgot” is lav davkah – according to this. However, the Ran in Erev psachim (p. 22a in the pagination of the Rif) writes explicitly that regarding meizid there is no possibility of tashlumim – make ups as in Tefilah].  The Shaar haTziyun (299:28) further infers that, ideally, one must recite it early on account of Zrizin Makdimin L’Mitzvos.  This is from the fact that the Rambam [split the ruling in two when he] writes: “he recites it the next day” and “he may recite the havdallah until the end of the third day.”


This requires analysis: If it is because of Zrizin Makdimin L’Mitzvos what is this idea of it being split into two different times?  Whenever he would make it earlier it would be included in Zrizin Makdimin!


Therefore, it would appear to me, [that it may be explained] based upon the Ran in Arvei Psachim (107a) that it is [only] considered Tashlumim according to the opinion cited in the Gemorah that he may recite it until Tuesday.  However, according to the that he may only recite it until the next day – this is not because of Tashlumim – but rather, since the day follows the night – the entire day [of Sunday] is considered Motzaei Shabbos.

According to this, that even though the Rambam is of the opinion that it may be recited until Tuesday on account of Tashlumim, he also holds of another halacha: That the entire Sunday is considered like Motzaei Shabbos.  It is for this reason that the Rambam writes regarding Kiddush in Halacha 4, that if he did not recite Kiddush at night – he may do so the entire day [of Shabbos], whether it was left out accidentally or on purpose – even though he also would agree to the rationale of the Ran that there is no concept of Tashlumim when one has purposefully skipped it – just like in regard to Tefillah.

It is on this [concept] that the Rambam added that also regarding Havdallah that if he did not recite it at night he may recite the Havdallah the next day – but not because of Tashlumim.  This is true whether it is shogaig or Meizid just like Kiddush.  However, that which he concludes that he may recite it until Tuesday night – is a different concept of Tashlumim.  This is only if he forgot – as the Shulchan Aruch states.


There would be a difference between the two halachos regarding a someone who was in the state of being deaf, a halachic shoteh, or a minor when he first began his obligation.  When the concept of Tashlumim is applicable  – he is exempt afterward.  But on Sunday, which is not on account of Tashlumim, but it is considered as the essential time – he would be obligated.

Later, I found that Rav Akiva Eiger (OC 299) writes a similar idea regarding someone who did not recite Havdallah on Motzaei Yom Tov.  For even though on Yom Tov there is no concept of Tashlumim, nonetheless, on the first day he may recite the Havdallah until the end of the day on account of the idea that the day follows the night.


However, l’maaseh, it would appear that according to our version of the Gemorah’s text and that of Tosfos, it is not possible to say this.  We may only say this according to the Rambam.  For on 105a, the Gemorah derives that one may recite Kiddush the entire day from the halacha that one may recite Havdallah the entire week – that is up until Tuesday night.  According to the above, the Gemorah should have proved it from the wording of “the entire day” but not “the entire week” which comes from Tashlumim.  It is also only beshogaig and is not connected to the halacha of Kiddush.  The Rabbeinu Chananel does have the text “he recites havdallah the entire day” and according to this it comes out perfect.  One must also say that this was the Rambam’s text as well.


There is also a question on this from 106a, where Ameimar fasted during the night [because there was no wine], the next day we exerted ourselves and brought him wine, and he recited Havdallah..We derive from this.. that one who did not recite Havdallah on Motzaie Shabbos may do so the entire week [meaning – the first three days of the week].  The Tosfos have written that we may only derive that he can do so the entire day, rather it is written thus because that is the [final] halacha.  Now, this only makes sense if we say that according to the opinion that it may be done the entire week – there is only this halacha.  If so, according to that which it has been established that the halacha is like him, we may certainly derive [that it may be recited for] the entire week – for according to him there is no difference. But according to that which we said above, that to him there is also a special halacha of “the entire day” then even according to him we cannot derive the halacha for the entire week from Ameimar.  Rather, it must be said that even according to the Rambam the text also reads “he may recite the Havdallah the entire day” as it says in the Chidushei Anshei Shaim from the text he had there.


It is just that according to Tosfos, who have the text on 107a “the entire week” one must say that even the three days is not considered Tashlumim – just like on the first day.  This is because it is compared to Kiddush where I have demonstrated that it is not considered Tashlumim.  See also the Rosh at the end of Taanis where it indicates that it is Tashlumim.  See the Machatzis HaShekel, the Laws of Tisha B’Av Siman 555, where he writes that it is not in the category of Tashlumim.  In the Rosh in Perek Mi Shemaysu Halach #2,  it is clear that according to the Maharam M’Rottenberg, it’s time is until the third day, and according to the Ri (whom the Rosh rules in accordance with) the first day is also considered like Tashlumim.  And if he was an Onain at the main time of his [havdallah] obligation, he would not [subsequently] recite Havdallah – See Yoreh Deah Siman 396 and the Taz, and the Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah #31 who cite them.


Rabbi Akiva Eiger (ibid) cites a proof to this from the Rosh.  The Rosh writes that if he anticipates that he will have a cup [of wine] on the next day and he made a mistake and did not recite Havdallah in Shmoneh Esreh – he does not go back and rerecite the Shmoneh Esreh.  From the fact that he distinguishes between the next day and the rest of the week – we can derive that the next day is considered like Motzaei Shabbos.  Afterward, it is to be considered like Tashlumim.  Rabbi Akivah Eiger pushed this proof aside by saying that when he does not anticipate that he will have wine the next day, he may, in fact, eat and it is considered as if he has already tasted.  When one has tasted, the halacha is that he goes back and davens again.  But Rabbi Akiva Eiger entertains a doubt that perhaps this is only if he tasted when it was forbidden to do so (according to this, one can say that the Rif does not argue upon the BaHaG – that if he tasted when it was forbidden to do so, he does not recite Havdallah on wine when it is not on Motzaei Shabbos.  The Rif is only referring to when he tasted when it was permitted to do so.  The Beis Yoseph who wrotes that the Rif argues on this concept  indicates that he does not distinguish in this.  The reason for the Bahag requires analysis.  According to the BaHaG that which he goes back and davens is because he does not recite Havdallah on a cup of wine.)


This depends upon the reason that if he tasted that he must go back and daven.  For one could say that the reason is because the essential ceremony of Havdallah is before one eats.  This is the reason for the opinion that holds if he tastes he does not recite Havdallah. Even the opinion that holds that if he tasted – he may recite Havdallah – this is not its actual time.  This is also slightly indicated on daf 105b, where we say that if he ate prior to havdallah – this is not considered performing the Mitzvah in its proper time.   It would seem that the reason for this is not because of [the general principle of] zrisin makdimin l’Mitzvos alone  that we would say a Mitzvah is beloved in its proper time to push it off on this account.  Rather, just like the limbs and fats, where their main time [to be offered] is in the daytime [this requires further analysis, see the Rashbam who explains both “beloved is a Mitzvah in its time” and “Zrisin Makdimin L’Mitzvos.”]  Since this is not the main central time of the cup-based Havdallah, if so the havdallah that is to be recited on the cup comes about through the principle of going back to the beginning (it comes out much better if we understand that the Havdallah said on the cup is similar to the end havdallah, because in Tefillah after tasting it is a hefsek between the Tefillah and the havdallah.  It is because of this that when he does do havdallah it is like going back to the beginning.  However, this is somewhat problematic on account of both Rashi’s and Tosfos’ explanation on page 106b.  These explanations indicate that “if he tastes he does not recite havdallah” means that he recites havdallah on the next day before he eats.  This requires analysis because the morning tefilah, at first glance, is not at all connected to Havdallah.)

See Siman 294 that the source of the Halacha is Brachos 33am where we say that if he erred and did not recite Havdallah in davening, he does not go back and say Shmoneh Esreh.  If he made a mistake in both – he goes back to the beginning.  Rashi explains that this is when he tasted before the Havdallah on the cup that he goes back to daven and [also reciting it on] the cup.  In the Chidushei HaRashba, he explained the reason as since he erred even in the matter of the cup, and he must at any rate go back, then he must go back and do it in the proper order.  It seems that “after one has tasted it” is like “he must go back to the beginning of the cup” – and if so, he must do so even in a case where he ate with permission.  But if we say that he erred in both of them, the reason is because “erring in tasting before havdallah” is considered just like “he erred and did not recite havdallah” – if so, this is only when he tasted while it was prohibited to do so.  It is like the Talmid Rabbeinu Yonah who writes that we fine him because he erred in two points.  See further what we have written above in the opinion of the BaHaG. See also the Chiddushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger as to what he asks on the BaHaG.

I further found the essence of this idea in the Sdei Chemed (Volume III letter Hay Siman 15) and in Divrei Chachomim Siman 132, where he cites from the Binyan Shlomo Siman 18; See also the Birchei Yoseph Siman 491.

The translator can be reached at [email protected]