Berachos 44a – Sorif

Question

The Gemara in Berachos 44a says the following:

Chiya bar Abba said in the name of R Yochanan: Any meal without a soup ( שריף ) is not a meal.

First question: what kind of soup is meant by שריף ? I bought a case of borscht to be mekayim this mitzva with the least bother for my wife (to serve cold right out of the bottle). But I was told that the שריף must be hot.

Second question: Is it a requirement of a seudas mitzvah to have soup? I was told that there is no such mitzvah because it’s not brought down in the halacha sforim (at least the ones this person looked at). On the other hand I heard from others that at many weddings they do serve soup because of this Gemara.

Third question: In general, isn’t the Gemara the foundation for halacha? If a Gemara says to do something, why isn’t that the halacha – if there is no dispute within the Gemara and if the commentators are silent on the matter?

6 months

Answers

  1. 1. I am not sure why you were told that it should be hot as there seems to be no indication that it needs to be hot. There is a side-note that explains that it should be able to soak up the food. Aside from that I could not see anything that suggests that it needs to be hot.

    2. No, there is no Halachic obligation for a Seudas Mitzvah (or any seudah) to have soup.

    3. Yes, the Halacha is normally rooted in the Talmud but that does not mean that all statements in the Talmud are Halachic. This is a perfect example. Rebbe Yochanan is simply stating that according to his understanding of what is a seudah there needs to be “sorif”. However, what is being quoted is his personal opinion and it is not included as mainstream Halacha.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team