Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When you make Hamotzi on Shabbos you use the top Challah. However, on Friday night you use the bottom. Therefore, so as not to pass over the Mitzvah you hold the bottom one closer.

My question is why on Friday night do we use the bottom and not the top like the rest of Shabbos?

share|improve this question
    
related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8692/759 –  Double AA Jan 30 '12 at 6:33
    
related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15947/759 –  Double AA May 2 '12 at 13:57

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It seems there are actually different customs. As for the reason, it seams to be Kaballah (per Rama and Taz there (O.C. 274:1)

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the typo correction –  yydl Sep 1 '10 at 1:16
    
The Levush gives a more detailed description of the reason, al pi kabbalah. –  LazerA May 9 '12 at 4:40

My recollection is that this is done to emphasize that Kavod HaYom (honoring Shabbos at the day meal) takes precedence over Kavod HaLaylah (honoring Shabbos at the night meal), as specified in O.C. 271:3. I don't remember who (if anyone) said this.

share|improve this answer
1  
If you could get a source It would be Highly appreciated. –  SimchasTorah Sep 1 '10 at 12:16
    
I couldn't find it anywhere. But I did find an interesting sefer on Otzar Hachochma called מנהגי בציעת לחם משנה, which can be seen here: otzar.org/wotzar/Book.asp?62991&BOOKS The sefer has an entire chapter on the topic of switching the challos Friday night (p. 120). Unfortunately I do not currently have access to the full version of OH, so I haven't seen what he says. –  Dave Sep 3 '10 at 4:15
    
@SethJ - It is obviously a Heavenly sign that my answer is incorrect! If not, I will happily accept the loss of points as a kaparah. :) –  Dave May 3 '12 at 18:04

Right. Unless you do some maneuvering, the top challah would be the closest, and mitzvas are first-come-first-serve, so all times other than Friday night, you make the bracha on the top one.

As for Friday night: we focus on Shabbos vis-a-vis the creation of the world. Then the world was there; but it's passive, serving as a basis for history. Hence, bottom challah.

Shabbos day we focus on Shabbos vis-a-vis the Exodus, and generally G-d's involvement in the world, that's active (riding on top of nature, so to speak). Top challah.

(From what I've heard, they correspond to the kabbalistic notions of Atika Kadisha and Chakal Tapuchin Kadishin, respectively, as referenced in their Askinu Seudasa songs.)

share|improve this answer
    
is the first part of your statement an explanation to the bottom Kabbalistic terms? –  SimchasTorah Sep 1 '10 at 22:20
    
From what I've heard, yes. Atika Kadisha is a role more passive in human history; Chakal Tapuchin more active. Or something like that, if I'm getting it right. –  Shalom Sep 2 '10 at 0:36
    
@SimchasTorah @Shalom - just came across a Teshuvos Radbaz (hebrewbooks.org/…) which mentions this (end of teshuva 1010). –  Dave May 20 '11 at 4:55

Curiouser wanted the Kabbalistic reason, so


R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi brings two reasons:

  1. In Torah Or, he explains that according to Nigla, one should place the breads one on top of the other, since the source of nigla is Hishtalshelus (the G-dly revelation within the worlds coming down in an orderly and progressive manner [Or Yashar]), and placing the bread one on top of the other symbolizes this Hishtalshelus.

    However, according to Kabbalah (whose source is from Or Chozer [the reflecting light]) the source of Shabbos is from a higher level (the level of Makkif [also known as "Soveiv kol almin"]) so one should place the two loaves side by side as that shows on their unity (He further explains that the sefirah of Malchus receives from the six emotional sefiros, which is represented by the two commands regarding Shabbos - Shamor and Zachor and the two Challas. Normally, the six emotional attributes are higher than Malchus. However, with regards to Hashems essence the two commands of "Shamor" and "Zachor" were given together as they are both equal [the high and the low are equal with regards to Hashem's essence]. As they are both equal, according to Kabbalah they should both be placed on equal footing.)

  2. In Likkutei Torah, he explains that on Shabbos, the achorayim, the "back sides" of the world get elevated to be the level of the Pnimius ("the inner") of the worlds. Therefore, by putting the two breads together, we show that there are no "backs" to this bread (like the lechem Hapanim).

And as he finished off both explanations: וד"ל - ודי למשכיל - It's enough for the knowledgeable.

share|improve this answer
    
@curiouser- helpful? –  Shmuel Brin May 2 '12 at 21:28
    
@ Shmuel Brin Yes, this is great; but I'm confused, since the answer given in Torah Or seems to indicate that taking the bottom loaf is actually not according to kabbalah, rather kabbalah would dictate side by side loaves. But the Ramo on Shulchan Aruch says the bottom loaf part is kabbalistic. So I guess I am still searching for a reason for taking the bottom loaf, al pi kabbalah. –  Curiouser May 3 '12 at 19:02

http://e.yeshiva.org.il/ask/?id=1485

The Challah we cut from represents the position of the Jewish people (who are eating the challah). At night, we are below because HaShem Who created the world is the active presence, (as emphasized in the evening davening) while in the day, when we emphasize the receiving of the Torah, the Jews are actively present, hence “on top”.

share|improve this answer
    
What's the source for this? –  Yehoshua Apr 18 '13 at 11:37

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.