Halacha for Monday 22 Cheshvan 5781 November 9 2020

A Meal Which Extends into Motza’ei Shabbat or Motza’ei Rosh Chodesh

We have already mentioned that one must insert “Retzeh Ve’Hachalitzenu” into Birkat Hamazon following all Shabbat meals. Similarly, “Al Ha’Nissim” is added into Birkat Hamazon for meals held on Chanukah and Purim and “Ya’aleh Ve’Yavo” is added into Birkat Hamazon for meals held on Rosh Chodesh and holidays.

We must now discuss the law regarding a situation where one began eating a meal on Shabbat afternoon and continued eating until Shabbat has concluded which is common in many households and synagogues where the third Shabbat meal is continued until Shabbat has concluded and then, Birkat Hamazon is recited followed by Arvit prayers. Should one recite “Retzeh Ve’Hachalitzenu” in Birkat Hamazon or perhaps one should not since Shabbat has already ended?

The same question would apply to Birkat Hamazon being held at the conclusion of Rosh Chodesh, holidays, Chanukah, and Purim as well. Should one add “Ya’aleh Ve’Yavo” or “Al Ha’Nissim” into Birkat Hamazon or not? This is especially prevalent on Purim when many times, the festive Purim feast continues several hours into the night, long after Purim has concluded.

Indeed, this issue is subject to a disagreement among the Rishonim. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 188, Section 10) rules as follows: “If one was in the middle of eating and Shabbat has concluded, one should mention ‘Retzeh Ve’Hachalitzenu’ in Birkat Hamazon, for the determining factor is when the meal began. The same applies to Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, and Purim.”

We see that Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules that the determining factor is the beginning of the meal and since the meal has begun on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, the holiday, Chanukah, or Purim, the appropriate text for the specific day must be inserted even after this day has concluded.

On the other hand, although Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l rules in accordance with Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch in his Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Chukat), he nevertheless limits this ruling to Shabbat and holidays. Regarding Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah, however, the Ben Ish Hai rules that the appropriate texts should not be inserted.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l discusses this ruling of Rabbeinu Yosef Haim (in his Halichot Olam, Volume 2, page 83), for the Ben Ish Hai does not explain what difference exists between Shabbat and Yom Tov versus Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah. Maran zt”l writes that it appears that the Ben Ish Hai followed the opinion of the Shelah (quoted by the Sefer Yosef Ometz-Yuzpa, Chapter 679) that only on Shabbat and holidays when there is a special obligation to add some time from the weekday onto the Shabbat or holiday (meaning that if one ends Shabbat or Yom Tov late, the sanctity of the day will remain until one performs Havdala as opposed to regular weekdays where one cannot extend the day based on one’s actions), one will certainly recite “Retzeh Ve’Hachalitzenu” since the sanctity of Shabbat continues. The same applies to Yom Tov. Regarding Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah, however, which do not retain this special law of adding from the weekday onto the sanctity of the day, mentioning “Ya’aleh Ve’Yavo” or “Al Ha’Nissim” is irrelevant since the day has passed and the night has begun.

Nevertheless, Maran zt”l disagrees with the opinion of the Ben Ish Hai and provides proofs against him. He concludes that we must follow the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch who writes explicitly that there is no distinction between the various days. Thus, with regards to either Shabbat, Yom Tov, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, or Purim, one must recite the appropriate addition for that specific day in Birkat Hamazon even if that day has concluded as long as the meal has begun during that day.

(Additionally, the actual source for the Ben Ish Hai’s ruling is unclear, for the Shelah himself in Sha’ar Ha’Otiyot, Ot Kof, explicitly quotes the opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch as Halacha.)

Summary: As long as one’s meal has begun during the day, even if it extends into the night, the additional text appropriate to the day when the meal began should be inserted into Birkat Hamazon. There is no distinction regarding this law between “Retzeh Ve’Hachalitzenu” on Shabbat, “Ya’aleh Ve’Yavo” on holidays and Rosh Chodesh, or “Al Ha’Nissim” on Chanukah or Purim.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding a Woman Who Forgets to Recite the Blessings of the Torah

We have explained in the previous Halacha that if one forgets to recites the Blessings of the Torah and only realizes this after one has concluded Shacharit prayers, one may no longer recite these blessings, for one has already fulfilled his obligation with the “Ahavat Olam” blessing rec......

Read Halacha


The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

Washing Dishes on Shabbat Night and Pouring Water on Dirty Dishes

Question: Upon the conclusion of the Shabbat night meal, may one immediately wash the dishes for the Shabbat day meal or should this only be done during the day closer to the start of the meal? Also, is it permissible to pour water onto soiled dishes (which one no longer needs for Shabbat) so that i......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding One Who Forgets to Recite the Morning Blessings

The Morning Blessings (“Birkot Ha’Shachar”) are the blessings recited every morning beginning from the “Elohai Neshama” blessing until the end of the Blessings of the Torah. Both men and women must recite these blessings, as we have discussed in the laws of the Morning ......

Read Halacha

Question: May one recite the Amida prayer in front of a curtain (covering the Aron Kodesh) which is adorned with various designs?

Answer: The Rambam writes in one of his responses (Freiman edition, Chapter 20): “It is incorrect to pray in front of garments with designs on them, even if the designs are not protruding. We usually close our eyes when it happens that we must pray in front of a wall or garment adorned with de......

Read Halacha