Sunday, 16 February 2014

Animals First!

The Gemara (Berachos 40a, Gittin 62a) writes that one mustn't eat before feeding one’s animals. Thus, if one said a Beracha Hamotzi and realised that they hadn't fed their animal, it wouldn't be considered a hefsek to ask another to do so before eating.
Interestingly, Rambam (Avadim 9:8) writes that this issue is midas chasidus (See Chayei Adam 5:11 n11) and other poskim (Aruch Hashulchan 167:13, Biur Halacha 167:6) hold that it is derabanan. The Magen Avraham (OC 271:12), however, holds that it is mideoraisa.
While the Taz (OC 167:7) allows one to have a snack or taste food before feeding one’s animals, most poskim (Rosh Berachos 6:22, Magen Avraham 167:18, Mishna Berura 167:40) don’t even allow that, though the Mishna Berura concedes that one may drink first.
R’ Yaakov Emden (She’elas Yaavetz 1:17) writes that birds and fish are included (See Piskei Teshuvos OC 167:15). One away from home must arrange for another to feed one’s pets before eating.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 2:52) writes that the issur only applies to eating before one’s own animals and not to a stray and as important as this Halacha is, it does not take precedence over feeding one’s young children.

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