RASHI on BERAISHIS 18:9 (end of ויאמרו אליו) quotes Gemara in Baba Metzia 87a

  • רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמר כדי לשגר לה כוס של ברכה - Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: They [the Angels] inquired about her [Sarah] in order to send her the cup of [wine of the] blessing.

The Sifsei Chachamim there (20-כ) says:

ואברהם לא היה רוצה לשלוח לה לפי שפרסה נדה ולא תטמא המשקין עם הכוס, והוא לא רצה לגלות שפירסה נדה לכן לא רצה לשפוך לכוס אחרולשלוח לה. - Avraham Did not want to send her [the the cup of wine of the blessing, by himself], because she had begun to menstruate, and so that she should not cause the wine and the cup to become tamei impure. And he did not want to publicize that she had begun to menstruate, therefore he did not want to pour it [the wine] into another cup (saving his own cup from becoming tamei), and send it to her:

Question: Even if the suggestion of the Sifsei Chachamim of pouring the wine into another cup would have solved the issue concerning the wine and cup becoming tamei, Avraham should also have been concerned about the Rabbinical prohibition of a husband sending his wife wine while she is a nidah? And this could have been the reason why he did not use the idea suggested by the Sifsei Chachamim to pour it [the wine] into another cup and send it to Sarah, because pouring into another cup especially for her is prohibited when she is a nidah.

See My question here asking whether Avraham kept harchakos of niddah.

  • 2
    This might be a sort of meta-question about how the Avos kept the Torah, but how do you know that the Rabbinic Harchakos of Niddah was something that the Avos kept? My gut feeling is that the answer to your question is something along the lines of the Avos simply didn't keep those Harchakos (as in, there was nothing to keep since the Harchakos weren't established yet). Jun 12, 2018 at 19:42
  • @Salmononius2 I opened a post on the subject and linked this question to that one & vice verca. Jun 13, 2018 at 5:34
  • I don't understand the question. Tumah has deoraisa ramifications so of course it's the bigger concern. That's like saying "Why don't you drive on Shabbos?" "Because it's mav'ir" "You mean you use electricity when it's not mav'ir??!! [assuming it's not for the purpose of this example]" Of course electricity is also a problem, but you pick the bigger one.
    – Heshy
    Jun 13, 2018 at 13:03
  • @Heshy, I was asking concerning the suggestion of the SC which would have solved only the D'oraisa but not the D'rabanan. When the Maavir issue gets solved we need to be concerned with the Electricity issue, even if it is less chomur. Jun 13, 2018 at 17:51
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Avot keeping Mitzvot
    – DonielF
    Jun 13, 2018 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


A few explanations are possible (presuming that Avraham/the Avot kept even rabbinic laws):

  1. It is permissible to send the cup when other participants of the meal are tasting from the cup and it is not designated only for the menstruant.
  2. Being that the meal was in honor of the guests (angels), and the halacha is that the most distinguished of the party leads the grace (Ber. 46a), the cup was being sent by an angel and not by Avraham, in which case it would also be permitted as it wasn't being sent by Sarah's husband.
  3. The angels did not intend for the cup to be sent at this meal, rather hinting that when Sarah would become clean the cup should be sent to her so that she merit being fertile by drinking from the kos shel berachah.

(Source: R. Ovadiah Yosef, Taharat HaBayit vol. 2 191ff.)

  • In points 2&3 you missed the point of the question. The SC is explaining why the angels had to send Sarah the wine and not Avraham himself. He gives a reason because of Tumah. He then suggest that Avraham could have poured it into another cup first. I asked that that wouls still have been forbifdden due to harchakah laws. As far as the angels were the ones who sent it this does not apply, and thus your answers 2&3 are redundant. Jun 13, 2018 at 5:26
  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore I think I understand, though I'd suggest considering you edit the question; it reads somewhat disjointed as it is. (In any case, I think 2&3 should still be kept since they're all only l'pilpula b'alma.)
    – Oliver
    Jun 13, 2018 at 13:15
  • We may keep things that are only 'pilpula if they answer the question. not if theyre about something that was not asked. Jun 13, 2018 at 17:05
  • I edited the question a bit. I hope its clearer now. Jun 13, 2018 at 17:56

Even if we assume that Avraham kept the harchakos of niddah, it could have been permissible to send her the cup.

Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 195:13

כשם שאסורה למזוג לו כך הוא אסור למזוג לה ולא עוד אלא אפילו לשלוח לה כוס של יין אסור לא שנא כוס של ברכה לא שנא כוס אחר אם הוא מיוחד לה אבל אם שותים הם מאותו הכוס ושתית איהי אבתרייהו לית לן בה

Just as it is forbidden for her to pour him, so it is forbidden for him to pour her. Not only that, even to send her a cup of wine is forbidden, whether it is a cup of blessing or another cup, if it is specifically for her. But if they drink from that cup and she drinks after them, there is no problem.

As R. Yehoshua Falk explains, this is even if the only person to drink from the cup is the husband:

Perisha Y.D. 195:11

לא שנא כוס אחר אם הוא מיוחד לה. פירוש לאפוקי היכא דקא שתה איהו ההוא כסא ושתיא איהי בתריה לית לן בה רשב"א ומשמע שם דהוא הדין דמותרת לשתות ג"כ מיד אחר בעלה ואפילו אין לו בני בית שישתו ג"כ מאותו כוס ולא אסור אלא אם כן מייחד לה כוס דאז נותן דעתו עליה

Thus, had Avraham wanted to send Sarah the cup it would have beeen simple to do it in a permissible way. Therefore, the Sifsei Chachamim comes up with another reason why he did not want to send her the cup, namely, that it would advertise that she had become a niddah.

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