Sunday, February 23, 2014

My first 100% gluten-&-yeast free Shabbat at home

Here's the background to this post, Hillel-style (standing on one foot).

This was the first time in our over 36 years of marriage, other than when one of us was sick, that my husband and I haven't shared a Kiddush cup--I left the becher for my husband, and poured the required revi'it (roughly three ounces) of grape juice (some say wine is preferable, but it's bad for my acid reflux) into a plain wine goblet for myself.  I feel strange using a plain goblet for Kiddush in my own home, and can't wait until my new Kiddush cup* is delivered.

Weirder yet was watching my husband go into the kitchen alone to do netilat yadayim, the ritual hand-washing, then watching him hold up the two challah rolls and say the "ha-motzi" blessing (thanking HaShem for bread) by, and for, himself.  Since I can no longer eat bread, I can't "make a motzi" (which functions as a one-b'rachah-fits-all blessing), and  must now recite a separate b'rachah for each category of food even on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (major holidays).  Reciting separate b'rachot for different categories of food used to be my weekday-meals-only procedure.  This isn't the case for most people, as most do have bread and say ha-matzi on weekdays, but I had other health issues with wheat for many years before I became gluten-intolerant, and, therefore, tried to avoid eating wheat products on weekdays, which meant that bread was usually a Shabbat or Yom Tov treat for me.  So, for me personally, not being able to recite ha-motzi on Shabbat means that there's one less way for me l'havdil bein kodesh l'chol/to differentiate between the holy and the ordinary.  :(

I'll get used to this, eventually.

Addendum to the linked post:  I completely forgot that we'd asked our rabbi of several decades ago whether we could recite Birkat HaMazon/Grace After Meals if we hadn't eaten bread, and he'd said that we could, provided that we'd eaten a meal, not just a snack.  So I "bentched"/recited Birkat HaMazon with the rest of the gang after Seudah Shlishit, and I'll continue to do so.

That said, I posed a sh'elah (question on a point of halachah/Jewish religious law) to Rabbi Ethan Tucker (while we were at the Limmud Conference) regarding Seudah Shlishit specifically, as one cannot substitute Kiddush for Motzi at a meal for which there's no Kiddush, and he said that there's an opinion that one can fulfill one's obligation to eat a halachic meal at Seudah Shlishit by eating fruit.  It's a good thing I have a can of raisins in my personal gluten-free stash at our local synagogue.

But there's another sh'elah for which I'm currently seeking a t'shuvah/answer:  Can a person who didn't eat bread recite Birkat HaMazon on behalf of someone who did eat bread?  Stay tuned, as I've already e-mailed my "G-d Squad" of rabbis, and/or post your thoughts in the Comments section.

*I chose a glass Kiddush cup because (a) glass can be used for both chalavi/dairy and b'sari/meat (including poultry), and (b) I've noticed that our silver(?) Kiddush cups (meat and dairy) impart a metallic taste to grape juice.  I choose this particular style because I really want a Kiddush cup that's clearly a Kiddush cup, rather than just a goblet, however fancy.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Text of my e-mailed sh'elah:

"A member of my family is now gluten-free, and wants to know whether a person who didn't eat bread due to a health problem is permitted to lead Birkat HaMazon for others who did eat bread. There is an opinion that one fulfills one's chiyuv for eating a halachic meal on Shabbat or Yom Tom by drinking a rev'it of wine or grape juice at Kiddush at the place where one is eating a full meal."

It's true that I conveniently "forgot" to mention that I was asking the question for my own benefit, but, in my defense, it is permissible, according to an Orthodox interpretation of halachah--some Orthodox opinions say it's even required--for a woman to lead other women in Birkat HaMazon when there is at least a mezuman (3 persons) of women and no men. According to some Orthodox halachic opinions, a woman is permitted to lead Birkat HaMazon whenever there is mezuman but less than 3 of them are men. I have had the privilege of participating in a woman-led Birkat HaMazon in an Orthodox home at a meal at which there were two men and several women.

First reply:

I just posted a long essay on this. Generally, if he eats oat bread, yes. Bread substitute, no.

Gil Student

Mon Feb 24, 01:35:00 PM 2014  

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