Prologue: We get the picture! They did it!
Parshas Pekudai highlights, once again, the completion of the Mishkan project. In context, we are told that Moshe did all that Moshe commanded them he did (Shemos 40:16). The Possuk appears superfluous in that in the very next Possuk we are told that on Rosh Chodesh Nissan the Mishkan was established. The Torah goes on to discuss, in detail, how it was set up and established. So why add a specific Possuk to generalize that the people followed Moshe?
The Imrei Shefer explain that the possuk is coming to teach us a different important Halacha – that one needs to review the Halachos prior to undertaking a project. The Possuk teaches us that Moshe reviewed the Halachos of the Mishkan before he established it with Bnei Yisrael. Knoing what one is going to do before one does it helps guarantee that the Halachos as well as the Kavanos will be correct when we get to doing the Mitzvos.
Distinguished or Disposable?
With the world constantly looking for more convenience, the advent and proliferation of things that are disposable abound. After all, in the busy world in which we live, who has time or desire to do the dishes? The growth of the disposable industry has led to fancier and fancier disposable dinnerware. This has, on the whole been a nice expansion. However, it leads to a series of Halachic challenges. Can one make Kiddush in a disposable cup? What about using it for Netilas Yadayim? Are temporary Keilim disposable or do they carry enough permanence to them to allow their use for these sacred functions?
The questions begin with a brief description of the status of a Kos Shel Beracha. Tosafos (Berachos 50, Shabbos 76) cites the Bnei Narvona who determined that the most basic requirement for a Kos Shel Beracha is that it be a complete Kos. Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 183:3) adopts this position of Tosafos l’Halacha.
In defining the concept of “complete”, the Mogen Avraham (183:5) explains that even if the base of a Kos, not interfering with the actual receptacle that holds the wine, were to be broken, it would invalidate the status of the Kos as a Kos rendering it incomplete or Pagum. The concept parallels a similar idea in Birkas Hamazon (271:10) wherein one must use a nice Kos for Bentching. Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. (Iggros Moshe O.C. III:39) notes that a paper or plastic cup is worse than a chipped cup because, in his opinion it was NEVER important or “nice” as it was designed to be temporary. He does concede that where another cup is unavailable, one might have grounds to be lenient.
Other Poskim do not accept Rav Moshe’s comparison of temporary cups to deficient ones. Tosafos (Eruvin 29b K’Dai) explains that when a cup is chipped, it loses it status due to the break. Conceptually we would call this Shivirasan Zu He Misasan – the break is the end to the status of the Kli. Therefore, it cannot be used for a Kos Shel Beracha. However, the disposable cup retains the same status that it had from its creation – as a disposable cup. This is not a lowered status – rather a different one. Based on this logic, the Tzitz Eliezer (XII:23) rules that a disposable cup can be used for any function requiring a Kos Shel Beracha including Kiddush and Havdala.
As far as using the cup for Netilas Yadayim is concerned, there is a similar discussion among modern Poskim. The author of Shraga HaMeir (Siman 51) basing himself on Rav Moshe’s logic for Kiddush caution against using the cup for Netilas Yadayim. He notes the position of the Puppa Dayan who argues that since these cups were created for drinking, they retain their status as cups – albeit temporary ones. The Satmar Rebbe ztl. quotes the Rambam (Hil. Keilim 5:7) who explains that any Kli that is disposable cannot be considered a Kli. Rav Waldenberg ztl. disagrees by noting that the Rambam’s case is one where the Kli is being used in a different way than it was intended. Here, the Kli is being used in the EXACT way it was intended.
L’Halacha, the issue appears dependent upon the interpretation of the concept of Chashuv. If we determine that the status of Chashuv is dependent on a cup’s ability to be in existence long term, then a disposable cup should not be used as a Kos, as per the direction and Psak of Rav Moshe. However, others maintain that the disposable nature of an item does not change its status as a Kli allowing it to be used for distinguished purposes.