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Mar 31, 2009

Interesting Psak from Rav Elyashiv: Zimun at the Pesach Seder

Revach.net quoted an interesting psak by Rav Elyashiv:
In order to say Birchas HaMazon with a Mezuman the people in the Mezuman must eat together. Rav Elyashiv points out two cases on Pesach night where people eating together do not qualify for a Mezuman and must say Birchas HaMazon as individuals without a Mezuman.

The first is two people that eat the seder together but one uses only machine matza while the other only eats hand matza. Despite that this is only a Chumra and technically l’halacha each one is permitted to eat the other one’s matza, nevertheless they are not considered eating together for the sake of mezuman.

The second case is people who eat the seder together but each one eats their own food and have a minhag not to eat from anyone else’s food other than their own. Here also says Rav Elyashiv, they cannot make a mezuman together. (Kovetz Tel Talpiyos - Piskei Shmu’os Pesach)
I don't understand how this is applied, because pretty much anytime I am eating with other people, nobody is going to be eating from each others food. If I am at work, sitting at a lunch table eating my lunch that I brought from home (or even lunch that I bought), nobody else is going to eat from my food, and I am not going to eat from anybody else's food. If I am sitting with other people and we are talking to each other and eating together, should we not be making a zimun when we bentsch? According to the above psak it would seem that we should not.

Even at home I will only eat from my kids' plates, but if we have guests I would not eat from their plates. So perhaps even at home with guests we should not be making a zimun.. Maybe if the food is put out in serving dishes and everyone takes from the serving dish to their own plate, then maybe that would qualify for a zimun..

What is especially interesting is that these people, in the shailoh Rav Elyashiv is discussing, are sitting at a Pesach seder together. Not 2 random people sitting in a cafeteria just by chance at the same table. These are friends, relatives, host-guests - they are clearly eating together. yet one has a chumra/minhag the other does not. And still, despite the "kirva" and the definity of them eating together, they are still considered to be eating separately.

And one more point - it is clear from the discussion that just because one person has a chumra the other does not keep is not a reason to avoid eating together. The one guy in the story above could have said I cannot come to your seder because I only eat machine matza and hand matza is chametz to me, or vice versa. You have your chumra, and I have my chumra, but we should try to work it out and eat together...

(HatTip: Matzav.com, via the Wolf)


  1. you aren't avoiding your guests' or others food because you won't eat it as a matter of (halachic) principle, so it is different from R. Elyashiv's case.

  2. "If I am at work, sitting at a lunch table eating my lunch ... nobody else is going to eat from my food"
    --> I think the difference is that if you offered them part of your lunch, they would take it. But in the matza case, neither would eat the other's, even if offered.

    "but if we have guests I would not eat from their plates"
    --> the point is where the food originiates, and here it's the kitchen, so basically everyone's eating from the same source,מה שאין כן by the matzos

    Why did the first matza eater accept the invitation from his "chometz" matza friend? That I can't answer you.

  3. This din only applies if neither will eat from the other. However, if A will eat from B even if B won't eat from A (e.g. A will eat hand even though he prefers machine) they are מצטרף based on an explicit gemara in Erchin (4a). The Gemara says that Kohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim are מצטרף to zimun together. The Gemara asks what is the chiddush. The Gemara answers that the chiddush is that the Kohanim are eating teruma or kodshim so even though the Yisrael can't eat the kohen's food they are מצטרף to zimun because teh Kohen can eat the Yisrael's food.

  4. so if the food is food I did not like - such as the example Wolf used - he is eating tomatoes and I don't eat tomatoes. So there is no way I would take from him if he offered. Then we would still not make a mezuman?

    With this - hand or machine matza - I could at leats change my mind and keep the other minhag (albeit possibly requiring hataras medarim) if I felt like it, but if I did not like tomatoes and would not touch them, I will not change my mind at all...

  5. also posted on another blog...


  6. I heard that you can't have a zimun if some of the guests send to Rappaport/Magen Avos and some to Avi ezri and if support Lema'an Achai while others Kupa.

    Whatever happened to "Kol Dichfin yasai vyaichol"?

  7. kol dichfin is me inviting you to eat my food. not to sit at my table and eat your food.
    this situation is where two people are each sitting together at a table and each is only eating his own food.


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