Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sheva Brachot at Shalosh Seudot

When may the Bride and Groom drink wine at Sheva Brachot following Shalosh Seudot given that they have not yet made Havdalah?

Guest Blogger Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen answers this question

Shalom and Regards, RRW

Re: Sheva Berachot at Shalosh Seudot
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Concern for the proper procedure for drinking the wine of Sheva Beracot at Shalosh Seudot is not a new problem. The general custom is that the bride and groom drink the wine even though it is after Birchat HaMazon  and quite late at night on Saturday night.I believe this usage is based on the Halachic rulings of Rav Avraham Butchacha who in two different commentaries ruled that drinking wine at Sheva Berachot is qualitatively different from drinking wine at a regular Shalosh Seuda  on Shabbat. The rationale is as follows:
At Sheva Berachot , the last Berachah is chanted over wine. Should this Berachah not be recited, then only six , not seven Berachot would be recited. Yet, seven blessings are mandated for a bride and groom. Since the seventh blessing is required, the wine should be drunk to eliminate any concerns for reciting a blessing in vain.(Se Eishel Avraham, Mahdura Tenina, Orech Chayyim 22:7)The distinction is that on a regular Shabbat afternoon one does not recite the wine blessing after Birchat HaMazon should the hour be late. To the extent that the wine Berachah is always chanted at Sheva Berachot, then the wine should be drunk.
The Minchat Shabbat, my paternal grandfather , cites (in his additive notes, Shirurei  HaMinchah, Siman 94:4) that Rav Avraham Butchacha expounded in his commentary on Even HaEzer(62) a theory supporting drinking wine at Sheva Berachot on Shabbat afternoon. He notes that many  scholars contend that a person who has the actual custom of always drinking wine after Birchat HaMazon is permitted to drink the Kos Shel Berachah after Shalosh Seudot on Shabbat.The wine is then deemed as part of the seuda.( See Magen Avraham OC 299:7)Since a bride and groom conclude each meal during the first week of marriage with seven Berachot that include a blessing for wine, they, the bride and groom are classified as people who normally drink wine after Birchat HaMazon. Accordingly, they are permitted to drink wine on Shabbat afternoon after Birchat HaMazon.
It is reputed that HaGoan HaRav Moshe Feinstein ZL only permitted the bride and bridegroom to drink from the Kos Shel Berachah on Shabbat afternoon.My assumption is that based on the logic of the Eishel Avraham only the bride and groom had the custom of drinking wine after meals, not necessarily the person who led Birchat Hamazon. As such, he should not drink from the Koss Shel Berachah after Seudat Shlishi ( It should be noted that the custom of  HaRav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem,  was himself  to sip some wine and then to give the wine to the bride and groom.(Minhagei MaHaRitz 58)   

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