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Lechem Mishneh and Shalosh Seudos on Yom Tov

Parsha Halacha – Parshat Emor (Behar in Israel)

Did the Manna Fall on Yom Tov?

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The Torah portion of Emor includes the parshat Hamo’adot, the section about all of the Biblical holidays (Yamim Tovim) throughout the year. This article will discuss why one must have Lechem Mishnah on Yom Tov but need not have the third meal.

Manna on Shabbat

As is known, the Manna in the desert did not fall on Shabbat. Rather a double portion of Manna fell on Friday which the Jewish people kept for Shabbat.[1] We commemorate this every Shabbat by reciting the Hamotzei blessing of our Shabbat meals over two loaves. These loaves represent the double portion of Manna that fell on Friday in honor of Shabbat.[2] This is one of the reasons the loaves are covered with a cloth both above and below (challah cover and the tablecloth) as these represent the dew which protected the Manna in the desert both above it and beneath it.[3] In fact, the term Lechem Mishneh (double loaf) is coined in a verse regarding the Manna.[4]
In addition, on Shabbat one is obligated to eat three meals corresponding to the number of times the Manna was consumed in the desert – once on Friday night, once Shabbat morning and once in the afternoon.[5] These three meals are alluded to in a verse[6] regarding the Manna which repeats the word “Hayom” (today) three times.

The Significance of the Manna

According to the Midrash,[7] the fact that the Manna didn’t fall on Shabbat is of such great significance that when it says (in the creation story),[8] “G-d sanctified and blessed Shabbat,” it refers to the fact that He blessed the Shabbat with a double portion of Manna and sanctified the Shabbat so that the Manna would not fall on it.
The Maharal of Prague explains[9] that the Manna not falling on Shabbat was not only significant for the 40 years the Jews spent in the desert but is meaningful for all times as it reveals the true nature and holiness of Shabbat. The fact that we may not work (just as the Jews in the desert did not gather the manna) indicates that it is a day set aside from physicality. And the fact that a double portion fell for Shabbat indicates that Shabbat is the source of blessing in our lives.

Lechem Mishneh on Yom Tov

The Halacha states that also on Yom Tov one must take two loaves for each of the meals.[10] The only exception, according to some opinions, is the Seder nights when it is sufficient to have one and a half matzot. (In practice most have the custom of starting the seder with three matzot so that they will be left with two and half matzot [after breaking the middle one] in order to satisfy the opinion that lechem mishneh is necessary even on the Seder night.)[11]
The reason we take the two loaves is that the Manna didn’t fall on Yom Tov just as it didn’t fall on Shabbat, and we commemorate this with the two loaves as we do on Shabbat.[12]

Shalosh Seudot on Yom Tov

Regarding Yom Tov the Shulchan Aruch writes,[13] “It is not customary to make a third meal on it.” This is based on the Tur (O.C. 529) who writes that his father (Rabbeinu Asher) would not customarily have a third meal on Yom Tov.
The Rambam, on the other hand, writes,[14] “A person is obligated to eat three meals on the Shabbat… All these three meals must be significant meals at which wine is served. At each, one must break bread on two full loaves. The same applies regarding the holidays.” Some commentaries understand this to mean that, according to the Rambam, one must eat three meals on Yom Tov,[15]but some hold that the Rambam is merely saying that one must break bread on two complete loaves on Yom Tov and drink wine at every meal but not that one must eat three meals.[16]

A Proof from the Jerusalem Talmud

The Jerusalem Talmud is cited[17] as a proof that no third meal is needed on Yom Tov as it says, “Why is the ceremony of Viduy Ma’asrot (acknowledging that one gave all his tithes) done in the afternoon of the last day of Pesach and not in the morning? As until that time (i.e., in the morning) he has a mitzvah to eat. (We therefore allow him to try to eat up his remaining tithes at that time.)” The seems like a clear proof that a third meal is not necessary on Yom Tov.
Some[18] interpret the Jerusalem Talmud as a support to the Rambam and say that, on the contrary, it means that there is a mitzvah to eat in the afternoon and that the viduy is therefore delayed to late afternoon in order to accommodate for that meal.

In Practice

Although the main halacha follows the Rosh as mentioned above, the Mishnah Berurah writes[19] that some say one should fulfill the Rambam’s opinion by having fruit as a third meal on Yom Tov or at least by having an extra dessert during the day meal in the place of a third meal. (Please note that an extra dessert is not considered a third meal on Shabbat.)
There were some who would have a full third meal in accordance to the Rambam’s opinion.[20]

The Question

The question is, if Manna didn’t fall on Yom Tov (as evidenced by the fact that we must have lechem mishneh for Yom Tov), why do we not have a third meal to commemorate this as we do on Shabbat? (See above that the third meal is associated with the Manna.)
Rabbi Meir ben Shimon Hame’ili of 13th-century Narbonne, France, (the teacher of Rabbeinu Man’oach) explains[21] that since the obligation to eat the third meal is of Rabbinic origin and the Torah verses which refer to this obligation are considered to be asmachtot (textual support for a Rabbinic command), the rabbis only enacted this obligation for Shabbat which in general  is a stricter day.
This answer is difficult to understand as the strictness of Shabbat is vis a vis the prohibition of labor whereas regarding the mitzvah of pleasure and enjoyment, we find that Shabbat and Yom Tov are the same.[22]
In order to attempt another answer to this question we must first discuss the opinions and details about the Manna not falling on Yom Tov.
Two Opinions
Tosfot quotes[23] conflicting Midrashim as to whether or not the Manna fell on Yom Tov:
The Mechilta DeRabi Yishma’el, on the verse in Exodus 16:26 (cited in Rashi on the verse), says that the extra words לֹ֥א יִֽהְיֶהֹ  (“There shall not be”) teaches us that the Mann didn’t fall on Yom Tov and that the extra word בּֽוֹ (“in it”) indicates that neither did it fall on Yom Kippur. The Talmud (Beitzah 2b) seems to follow this opinion.[24]
The Midrash Rabbah[25] (cited above), however, states that the sanctity and blessing of Shabbat is expressed in the fact that the Manna did not fall on it. Since this sanctity and blessing is unique to Shabbat,[26] it would seem that, according to this Midrash, the Manna did not fall on Yom Tov.[27]

Bringing the Opinions Together

There are two explanations (that I have found) that explain how these opinions do not argue at all (see also note 29).
·        A Blessing Initiated by Man
The Chatam Sofer writes[28] that, had the Manna fallen on Yom Tov, it would have been permissible to carry and cook it as usual. As such the Manna could have fallen on Yom Tov. But the halacha states[29] that when possible, one should even do all the labors involved in the food preparation before Yom Tov if it will not affect the taste of the food adversely (i.e., if it will taste just as fresh). As such, on Erev Yom Tov, the Jewish people gathered extra Manna so that they would not have to carry it and cook it on Yom Tov. They did this on their own, without any Divine instruction. (Presumably, the Manna tasted just as fresh the next day.) Although normally the Manna would spoil when left overnight, G-d prevented this from happening so that the Jewish people would be spared from laboring unnecessarily on Yom Tov. Thus, G-d didn’t bless or sanctify Yom Tov with Manna as He was “planning” to have Manna fall on Yom Tov. But since, at the Jewish people’s initiative it didn’t fall, we recognize this Divine kindness towards us by using two loaves.
·        One Portion of Manna
The Midrash says[30] that the reason the Shabbat Musaf consists of two lambs is that it corresponds to the double portion of Manna. This is difficult to understand since the double portion of Manna was shared between Friday and Shabbat. As such there was only one portion left for Shabbat. This Midrash can be explained according to the opinion that all of the meals of Shabbat were doubled. This means that after they ate half of Friday’s portion of manna for Friday morning’s breakfast, the three remaining portions miraculously doubled. In this way, there were two loaves of Manna for the Friday might meal, two for the Shabbat morning meal and two for the third meal on Shabbat afternoon. (This explains the opinion, which is accepted in halacha,[31] that one should have lechem mishneh for the third meal.)  The Musaf of Shabbat commemorates the miracle of the miraculous doubling of the loaves.
The Yom Tov Musaf does not include a sacrifice of two lambs. This indicates that the miracle of the Manna doubling in size did not take place on Yom Tov.[32]Thus, the two Midrashim can be reconciled. The Manna didn’t actually fall on Yom Tov, but it was not specifically blessed with extra Manna (as was Shabbat) since the portion of Manna didn’t double.

The Resolution

Based on these explanations it can be said that although the manna didn’t fall on Yom tov (which we commemorate by using lechem mishneh) we don’t have a third meal on Yom Tov as G-d didn’t provide extra Manna on Yom Tov as He did on Shabbat. As such, even if they ate a third meal in the desert on Yom Tov, that meal wasn’t considered significant since that Manna was not different than the Manna of other days.[33]
May we be showered with G-d’s heavenly blessings!
[1] See Exodus 16:22-26
[2] See O.C. 274
[3] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 271:17
[4] Exodus 16:22
[5] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 291:7
[6] Exodus 16:25
[7] Bereishit Rabbah 11:2 quoted in Rashi on the verse
[8] Gen. 2:3
[9] In Gur Aryeh on Rashi ibid
[10] O.C. 529:1. This is based on the Rambam (Laws of Shabbat 30:9), Seder Rav Amram Ga’on pg. 68, Rashba Brachot 39b, D.H. Meini’ach in the name of Rav Hai Ga’on, and Sefer HaPardes (on the laws of Brachot by Asher ben Chaim of Spain, a student of Rabbi Yehudah, son of the Rashbah) in the chapter on Birkat HaMotzie, paragraph beginning “ha’ochel beShabbat.”
[11] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 475:3 and Mishnah Berurah 475:9
[12] Mishnah Berurah 10 citing the Bait Yosef in the name of the Rif (Chapter Arvei Pesachim, 25b).
I am not sure why the Manna couldn’t fall on Yom Tov since carrying and cooking are permissible on Yom Tov. See below that the Chatam Sofer addresses this question.
[13] O.C. ibid. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid
[14] Laws of Shabbat, ibid
[15] Tur
[16] See Bait Yosef on the Tur as explained by the Shemen HaMa’or on O.C. 529:1
[17] Tosfot Yom Tov, Ma’aser Sheini 5:10 citing Jerusalem Talmud Ma’aser Sheini 5:4
[18] Mahara Fulda, quoted in the Artscroll Mesorah Jerusalem Talmud. See also the Mekor Cha’im on O.C. ibid
[19] Ibid, 13, citing the Magen Avraham who is citing the Seder HaYom. See Kaf HaChaim, 24
[20] See the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah that the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rov would do this.
It has been noted, though that this was not the custom of the Ga’on of Vilna as it is only mentioned that he had a third meal on the last day of Pesach to be able to eat Matzah one last time (Piskei Teshuvot 529:5).
[21] In his Sefer Ham’orot on Shabbat 117b
[22] See Rambam, ibid
[23] Beitzah 2b (D.H. Vehaya)
[24] The Talmud derives from the words וְהָיָה֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁ֔י וְהֵכִ֖ינוּ that the Manna only fell on ordinary Fridays but not when Yom Tov coincided with Friday as Yom Tov is not supposed to prepare for Shabbat (see Rashi D.H. Ve’heichinu and Tosfot D.H. Vehayah).
[25] Bereishit Rabbah 11:2
[26] See the text of the Amidah for Shabbat day, “You have blessed it from all days and sanctified it from all times.”
[27] But see the Maharal (Gur Aryeh on Exodus 16:25) that Shabbat was uniquely blessed by the Manna not falling. The holiness of Shabbat was “shared” with Yom Kippur which is called “Shabbat Shabbaton” (Levit. 23:32) as well as with Yom Tov which is also (sometimes) referred to as “Shabbat” (ibid, verse 39).
[28] Chatam Sofer al haTorah, Exodus ibid
[29] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 295:5. But, please note, that, according to that source, this is “only” a Rabbinic law.
[30] Cited in the Da’at Zekeinim MeBa’alei HaTosfot on Numbers 28:10
[31] Shulchan Aruch HaRav 291:7
[32] Ben Melech by Rabbi Natan Yehudah Leib Mintzburg, Jerusalem 2008, page 96
[33] Either because it was the Jewish people who initiated the manna not falling on Yom Tov according to the Chatam Sofer or, because the Manna of Yom Tov was not doubled, according to Rabbi Mintzburg. Whereas, when we have the first two meals, which we must do in order to rejoice on Yom Tov, we remember the fact that the Manna did not actually fall on Yom Tov.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom UMevorah!

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