Tuesday, April 20, 2021

In his fine treatment of approaches to seudah shelishit on Shabbat erev Pesach (“Seudah Shelishit on Erev Pesach That Falls on Shabbat: Practical Solutions for Sephardim and Ashkenazim,” March 18, 2021), Rabbi Jachter omits a remarkable solution advanced in the Zohar and cited by Rav Avraham Gumbiner (17th century Poland) in his commentary, Magen Avraham to the Shulhan Arukh (OH 444:1). Recognizing the conundrum posed by the challenge of only this Shabbat, the Zohar suggests that in lieu of eating a third meal, one should engage in Torah study. It is on this Shabbat of the year when seudah shelishit poses a real challenge that one should study Torah in lieu of the third meal.

I particularly appreciate this “solution’ for several reasons. The Zohar recognizes that the problem of seudah shelishit on this Shabbat has no real solution. I appreciate the ingenuity of the other approaches but also the integrity of the Zohar’s approach. Furthermore, the Zohar’s approach offers insight into life—not all problems have solutions. While we welcome solutions, we need to recognize that some problems or challenges are beyond us and defy human attempts at resolution. The Zohar’s approach calls for the humility to recognize that we cannot solve all challenges.

Menahem Meier