Meat for Breakfast?!
Many people living in Eretz Yisrael, when making a bris, will make sure that the bris seudah is fleishig (meaty). Even though the very thought of this to many American expatriates, to whom a bris means bagels and lox, is as foreign as eating burritos for the Shabbos Seudah, here in Israel, it’s practically de riguer. Not only that, it’s actually cheaper to make a full fleishig bris seudah than to make a milky bagels and lox one, due to the law of supply and demand.
The question is: “Why would this be so? Simple economics should prove the opposite. Also, what’s wrong with bagels and lox? Eating fleishig at a bris is downright un-American!!”
The answer is actually very interesting, but to properly understand it we have to learn some halachos of the 9 days. The Shulchan Aruch1 states that during the week in which Tisha B’Av falls out (shavua shechal bo), the minhag is to refrain from eating any sort of meat and chicken. This is the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, and general Sefardi minhag follows. The Rema2, however, maintains that all the prohibitions start from Rosh Chodosh Av, and Ashkenazi custom follows this, hence the name “The 9 Days – from Rosh Chodesh Av until after the fast of Tisha B’av”. This means that Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from eating meat products during the whole 9 day period.
However, there are several exceptions to this prohibition: Shabbos is not included, as the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos overrides this prohibition. Also, Seudas Mitzvah, even during the week, will also take precedence over it, and meat may be served. This is where it gets interesting. The examples of a Seudas Mitzvah listed by the Rema include a celebration on concluding a Tractate of Talmud, a Pidyon HaBen, a betrothal seudah, and… a bris milah!
This means that the seudah at a bris milah is considered a seudas mitzvah, and is of such significance that those celebrating may even eat meaty, and not only during the 9 days, but even on the actual week of Tisha B’Av!! This shows that the proper minhag is to eat fleishig at a bris seuda, due to its importance and status as a seudas mitzvah! If a standard bris has such quality, why should one wait until the 9 Days to make a fleishig bris?!
Accordingly, from a halachic perspective, the Bagel n’ Lox Deluxe at a bris just doesn’t have the same appeal!
Postscript: There is another possible difference between Sefardi and Ashkenazi custom about the restrictions of the 9 Days, aside from the amount of days that these restrictions apply. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) states that the prohibition of eating meat does not apply to a “Tavshil Shel Bassar”. This is referring to an item that was cooked together with meat or chicken, but no actual residue remains, only a bit of the taste. Think of an airplane meal where the rice might taste a bit like the chicken it was cooked with, without the physical residue. Many other authorities3, on the other hand, maintain that we do not make such a distinction, and the dish should not be eaten during the nine days.
This also parallels a similar disagreement in the halachos of Milk and Meat, where the Shulchan Aruch4 maintains a similar stance: that a “Tavshil Shel Bassar” does not share the status of meat, and the prerequisite waiting period of 6 hours is non-applicable. Likewise, many other Ashkenazic decisors5 disagree with his opinion, and hold it is difficult to make that distinction.
What is interesting to note is that many later Sefardi authorities as well,6 follow the Ashkenazi poskim and maintain that one should wait even after a “Tavshil Shel Bassar”, and consider it like meat itself.
It would therefore stand to reason that, likewise, even a Sefardi should refrain from eating a “Tavshil Shel Bassar” during the week preceding Tisha B’Av. Although many of the Sefardi authorities cited above do not mention this, some contemporary authorities do, and maintain that even a Sefardi should refrain from eating this Tavshil during said week. Just another example of the entwining of all facets of halacha.
1 Orach Chaim (551, 10).
2 (ibid, 3)..
3 including the Magen Avraham, Shaarei Teshuva, Derech HaChaim, Elya Rabbah, Be’er Heitiv, Machtzis HaShekel, Chayei Adam and the Mishna Berura (in their commentaries to O.C. 551, 10).
4 Yorah Deah (89, 3)..
5 Maharam, according to his understanding of the Rashbam (Tosafos, Chullin 108b s.v. v'lo), Rema (Y”D 89, 3), Gr”a (ibid, 15). Many poskim are stringent to wait the full six hours, even from a “Tavshil shel Bassar” to a “Tavshil shel Chalav” - Rashal, brought in Minchas Yaakov (77, 11), R' Akiva Eiger (glosses to 89, 3), Yad Yehuda (89, katzur 27).
6 including the Pri Chadash, Chid”a, Zivchei Tzedek, Ben Ish Chai, and Kaf HaChaim (in their commentaries to Y.D. 89, 3).
7 Kaf HaChaim (Orach Chaim 551, 142), Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 551, Achilas Bassar 14). However, it must be noted that the Levush (O.C. 551, 10) disagrees with this parallel, and differentiates between the halachos, as by the 9 Days the reason for abstaining from meat is to show public mourning during this time, and not due to an actual issur, as it is by Bassar BeChalav. Hetherefore maintains that even Ashkenazim can be lenient and eat a “Tavshil Shel Bassar” during the 9 days.
For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: These are just a few basic guidelines and overview of the Halacha discussed in this article. This is by no means a complete comprehensive authoritative guide, but rather a brief summary to raise awareness of the issue. One should not compare similar cases in order to rules in any real case, but should refer his questions to a competent Halachic authority.