There is a mitzvah to recite the berachah of HaMotzi over two loaves of bread on Shabbos. This recalls the double portion of mon that fell on Friday. Does this same mitzvah of lechem mishneh apply on yom tov as well?
It could depend on the Friday-night prayers. We say in the Amidah on Friday night, “And You blessed it [Shabbos] more than all the days, and You sanctified it more than all the times.” We can readily understand the first part of the phrase, that Shabbos is blessed more than other days of the week. However, what does the second part of the phrase mean? What times is Shabbos holier than?
Tosefos on this week’s daf quotes a midrash that offers an explanation. The Gemara states that when yom tov precedes Shabbos, one cannot prepare on yom tov for the upcoming Shabbos. (There are times when it is permitted with the utilization of an eiruv tavshilin.) The Gemara cites a pasuk to adduce support for this law. The Torah states (Sh’mos 16:5), “And it shall be on the sixth day that when they prepare what they will bring . . .” Whereupon, the Gemara observes that preparations may only be made on a weekday such as the sixth day and not on a holiday.
However, Tosefos is puzzled. Perhaps the sixth day that the Torah was referring to was indeed a holiday, in which case the exact opposite lesson could be derived—one may prepare for Shabbos even on a holiday. Tosefos answers that the verse is discussing the collection of the mon. The Friday mentioned in the verse could not possibly have been a holiday. If it were a holiday, then the mon would not have fallen, since the mon did not fall on Shabbos or on holidays.
However, Tosefos notes that there is a midrash that states that the mon did fall on the holidays. According to that midrash, how are we to understand how the Gemara knew that the Friday referred to in the Torah on which Shabbos preparations took place was a non-holiday? Tosefos explains that the Torah states “HaShishi”—the sixth day. The prefix of the letter hey (“the”), teaches us that this Friday referred to is the common and unambiguous Friday. If a holiday were intended, we wouldn’t know which one the Torah was referring to. However, as understood now, it refers to the most common type of Friday—an ordinary non-holiday Friday.
The aforementioned midrash explains that the fact that the mon fell on holidays is borne out by the Friday-night prayers. We say that Shabbos is more blessed than all the other days of the week. This is clear because Shabbos is the only day of the week that had a double portion of mon fall on the day immediately preceding it, namely Friday. What is intended by the words “Shabbos is holier than all other times”? Shabbos is even holier than the holidays. This is evident because the mon fell on the holidays but did not fall on Shabbos.
However, the aforementioned explanation creates a problem. The Shulchan Aruch rules that the mitzvah of lechem mishneh applies on yom tov as well. The Mishneh Berurah explains that a double portion of mon fell on erev yom tov just as it did on erev Shabbos. Hence, lechem mishneh is equally appropriate for Shabbos and yom tov. When we use lechem mishneh on yom tov, we are declaring that the mon did not fall on yom tov. Yet, every Friday night we declare that the mon did fall on yom tov.
Perforce there must be another explanation of the phrase “Shabbos is holier than all other times.” The Sefer HaTamid explains that the punishment for the willful desecration of Shabbos is the death penalty. The punishment for the willful violation of yom tov is lashes (a lesser punishment). Further, the laws of yom tov are more relaxed than the laws of Shabbos. Cooking, and some other food preparation, is permitted on yom tov but not on Shabbos. In these two regards, Shabbos is holier than yom tov.
The depth and wisdom of the words of prayer we recite really are unfathomable. This article aimed to offer some explanations of a mere three words: “V’kidashto mikol ha’zemanim.” Imagine how much depth there is in the entire tefillah! v
Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow leads a daf yomi chaburah at Eitz Chayim of Dogwood Park in West Hempstead. He can be contacted at ASebrow@gmail.com.