Eating Before Kiddush

Eating Before Kiddush Friday Night-
1)  After sunset on Friday evening, it is forbidden to eat or drink until Kiddush is said. (S.A. 271:4) If one accepts Shabbos before sunset, the prohibition goes into effect as soon as he accepts Shabbos. (M.B. 11)
2) Therefore, women may not eat or drink after lighting the Shabbos candles until she either hears or recites kiddush, since lighting the candles generally constitutes acceptance of the Shabbos for them. (Magen Avraham 5)
3) If a woman is thirsty, she may drink water after lighting candles if it is still before sunset. In case of necessity she can even drink tea during this time. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso 43:46)
4) If at the time of candle-lighting she has  a strong craving for food or drinks, and water or tea would not suffice, she should have in mind that by lighting the candles she is not yet accepting Shabbos upon herself. She is then allowed to eat or drink until sunset. (ibid.)
5) If a person must take medication after candle lighting and prior to kiddush (it is not always permissible to take medication on Shabbos, for details a rav should be consulted),  he may drink water with it to help swallow the pill. (ibid. 52:3)
Eating Before Kiddush Shabbos Day
1) One may not eat or drink anything, even water, before hearing or reciting kiddush on Shabbos day. (S.A. 289:1) The kiddush obligation of Shabbos morning does not take effect until after one has prayed Shachris.
2) Since before davening one is not yet obligated to make kiddush, one is permitted to drink water, tea and coffee before davening. (See Aruch Hashulchan 89:23, Halichos Shlomo 2:3, Yabia Omer vol. 9 page 237 and Shulchan Halevi 7)
[May one drink orange juice before davening? The Sefer Avnei Yashfei (5:14) writes that one should be stringent and avoid drinking all fruit and vegetable juice before davening. However, in the sefer Piskei Rav Belsky zt”l (page 31) it says in the name of Rav Belsky, “Regarding orange juice, the minhag is to be lenient, thus it is permitted before davening.” Rav Belksy is further cited, “Hot cocoa is a rich drink made with a lot of milk, and therefore it is not permitted for adults prior to davening. Children may drink hot cocoa before davening, as is a common incentive in camp. Cappucinos, and iced coffee made with a lot of milk are not permitted either.”]
3)  The poskim debate whether a weak person who must eat bread, cakes or cookies before davening shachris should recite kiddush before eating or may he eat without kiddush.
A- According to some poskim, including the Divrei Yetziv (132:3) and Harav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l (Ohr Ltzion vol. 2 page 185), the ill person may eat without reciting kiddush. They feel that it is not halachically possible to recite kiddush before shachris, therefore, he or she may eat without reciting kiddush.
B- However, according to others, including the Mishnah Berurah (see Biut Halacha 289), a weak person who must eat something before davening must first recite kiddush. Since a weak person is permitted to eat even before davening, the obligation to make kiddush has already taken effect , and he must therefore make kiddush before eating. The Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso (52:12) adds that it would be preferable for the ill person to at least recite Birchas Hatorah and the first paragraph of Shema before he eats.
C- Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe 4:101:2) agrees with the aformentioned view of the Mishnah Berurah. Yet he writes that there is a difference between an ill married woman and an ill single woman. He explains that an ill single woman must make kiddush before eating, however, a married woman who is ill may eat without kiddush as long as her husband has not yet prayed shachris. Once the husband prays shachris she must recite kiddush like everyone else. Harav Moshe reasons that since a married woman is required to eat the Shabbos meal with her husband, she does not become responsible to make Kiddush until it is time for the two of them to eat the Shabbos meal together, meaning after he has davened shachris.
D- Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Chazon Ovadia Shabbos vol. 2 page 149) discusses this issue at length and he concludes that an ill person who is eating before shachris should recite kiddush before eating and then should recite kiddush a second time following davening.

4) If the person feels ill and just needs to eat fruit before shachris, and not bread or cake, he should eat without reciting kiddush. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso ibid.)
5)  As noted above, the obligation to recite kiddush begins after one davens shachris. The question is for women what is the definition of “shachris” in regards to the obligation to recite kiddush.
A- All authorities require a woman to daven daily, but there is a dispute whether she is required to recite the full shemoneh esrei, or whether she fulfills her requirement by reciting a simple prayer, such as the birchas hashachar. The common practice amongst women is to adhere to the stricter view and therefore they recite birchas hashachar and shemoneh esrei of Shachris. (See M.B. 106:4)

It is well known that one may not eat during the week before davening shachris. According to the first opinion that a woman is required to recite the full shemoneh esrei, she may not eat breakfast in the morning without first davening, whereas according to the second opinion that she fulfills her requirement once she has recited a simple prayer or morning berachos, she may eat breakfast during the week once she recited these tefilos. Many women follow this second view and during the week they recite brachos, eat breakfast and then recite the remainder of shachris later on.

The Sefer Tosefes Shabbos (286:4) argues that this leniency during the week actually may become a stringency on Shabbos. Some authorities rule that a woman becomes obligated to hear Kiddush as soon as she recites berachos, since she has now fulfilled her requirement to daven. According to this opinion, once she recited berachos on Shabbos morning, she may not eat or drink without first making Kiddush. This approach contends that before she recites morning berachos, she may drink water, tea or coffee, but after she recites morning berachos, she may not even drink these beverages without first reciting Kiddush.

Similarly, the Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso (52:13) rules that a woman who during the week will eat breakfast after reciting brachos (and either doesn’t pray the shemoneh esrei of shachris or does so after breakfast), must then recite kiddush on Shabbos after reciting brachos. After she recites brachos she may not drink even water without first reciting kiddush. Harav Ahron of Belz zy”a (cited in Halichos Bas Yisroel page 223) is also cited as ruling that once a woman recites birchas hatorah she cannot eat without reciting kiddush.

6) The Kaf Hachaim (286:30) contends that the above is only true if a woman intends to fulfill her obligation with brachos alone. However, a woman who plans on davening the full shachris can follow the same approach that men follow, and may drink water, tea or coffee even after she recited berachos before she has davened. He explains that if a woman does not intend to fulfill her obligation of praying with brachos alone and she intends to pray shemoneh esrei, they may still drink water and tea.

English Sefer On Weddings

Hi I am happy to announce that I recently printed an english Halacha Sefer entitled “The Gates Of Joy.” The sefer (hardcover, 400 pages) discusses all of the laws and customs of the Jewish wedding from the engagement through the Shana Rishona. It includes the customs of Ashkenazim, Chassidim, and Sephardim. The Sefer is written in English with Hebrew footnotes containing the sources. In addition, Harav Noach Isaac Oelbaum shlit”a allowed me to print over 20 pages of his handwritten halachic rulings.  Here is a sample of the sefer (sample-gates-of-joy) and an image of the cover can be found below. To order a copy of the sefer please contact me at The price of the sefer is $20 plus shipping and handling. Thank you



Hallel On The Seder Night

1) In some communities the custom is to recite the complete Hallel with a bracha on the first night of Pesach in Israel and the first two nights outside of Israel. This is the custom of those that pray Nusach Eidut Mizrach, Nusach Sefard, and Nusach Hagra. (S.A. 487:4 and M.B. 9)
2) Harav Shmuel Kamanetzky shlit”a explains that even those that recite Hallel in shul on the Seder nights only do so with a minyan. Therefore, if one who davens Nusach Sefard (which recite Hallel) and he did not go to Shul on the Seder night, he should not recite Hallel when he is davening alone at home. (Koveitz Halachos Pesach page 196) However, Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yechava Daas 5:34) proves that many achronim (including the Chida) maintain that one can recite the Hallel without a minyan.
3) There would be a similar question regarding whether women should recite Hallel at home before beginning the Seder. According to Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yechava Daas 5:34) they must recite the full Hallel since they are included in the miracle of leaving Egypt. However, according to Harav Shmuel Kamanetzky shlit”a (Koveitz Halachos Pesach page 196) they would not say it since one only recites it in Shul and women generally do not go to shul on the night of the Seder.
4)  If one is in a shul where they do not recite Hallel and his personal custom is to recite Hallel, he may recite Hallel quietly in the shul. (Chida Birkei Yosef 487:8) However, according to Harav Shmuel Kamanetzky shlit”a (Koveitz Halachos Pesach page 196) it would seem that they should not recite Hallel since they are not reciting it together with the minyan and Harav Shmuel holds that one only recites Hallel in shul on Pesach night with the minyan.

5) What is the halacha if someone’s personal minhag is not to recite the Hallel, but he happens to be in a place where the Hallel is recited?  What should he do then? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe OC Vol. II #94) writes that if someone finds himself in a shul that recites Hallel it is preferable to recite the Hallel and not act differently so as to avoid Machlokes. He adds that although, ideally he should do so without a blessing, if it will be readily apparent that he is not reciting a blessing, then he should even recite a blessing rather than appear to act differently. Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky shlit”a (Koveitz Halachos Pesach page 197), however, is of the opinion that it is preferable to leave the shul earlier rather than recite the Hallel earlier. Rav Kamenetsky advises that it is preferable to sneak out of shul undetected.  If this is not possible, he advises to recite Tehillim instead – also in a manner that is not detected.



Which Areas of Torah Qualifies For A Siyum?

  1. It is customary for all firstborn males to fast on Erev Pesach in order to recall the tenth and final plague which God inflicted upon Egypt – the death of the firstborn. Nevertheless, the Fast of the Firstborn is actually a fast which rarely takes place. This is because it has become universal custom to exempt oneself from the fast by attending a seudat mitzva, a meal celebrating the performance of a mitzva. Most commonly, a meal accompanying a siyum meseches.
  2. There is a great discussion amongst the poskim as to which areas of Torah study qualify for a siyum upon their completion. The most widespread practice is to reserve the siyum celebration for the completion of a tractate of Gemara.
  3. The Pnei Yehoshua (Brachos 17a) deduces that Rav Yochanan would make a seudas siyum when he would finish Sefer Iyuv. Similarly, Harav Meir Arik zt”l (Minchas Pitim Y.D. 246:26) writes that the meal accompanying a siyum on one of the 24 seforim of Tanach is considered a seudas mitzvah.Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe 157) likewise rules that one may make a siyum on a sefer on Tanach, however, only if one learns it in depth with a commentary of the Rishonim (such as Radak etc.) and not with modern day commentaries. Harav Shlomo Kluger zt”l is of the opinion that a siyum on a sefer of Tanach is only considered a halachic siyum if one learned it and happened to finish by Erev Pesach. However, to learn in order to finish and make a siyum on Erev Pesach would only suffice if one is doing so with a mesechta of Gemara and not with a Sefer of Tanach.
  4. As stated earlier, all agree that one may make a siyum on a tractate of Gemara. There is an interesting teaching of Rav Yosef Mashash zt”l in the Sefer Mayim Chaim (179) who writes that one can actually make a siyum on a chapter of Gemara. However, there is room to question this opinion. As the Pirush Anaf Yosef (Medrash Shir Hashirim 1:9) writes that one can only make a siyum upon completing an entire section of Torah and that as long as the section is incomplete it is not considered a seudas mitzvah to permit bechorim to eat.. According to the Anaf Yosef it is hard to beleive that upon completing merely a chapter of a mesechta one can make a siyum and permit bechorim to eat. Indeed, the majority of poskim, including Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yabia Omer 1:27:10), Harav Gedalya Felder zt”l (Yesodei Yeshurun vol. 6 page 44), Harav Yitzchak Weiss zt”l (Minchas Yitzchak 2:93) and Harav Betzalal Stern zt”l (Btzeil Hachachma 2:28), maintain that a siyum on one perek would not suffice to allow bechorim to eat on Erev Pesach.
  5. The Maharsham (Daas Torah 551:10) cites a view that one may make a siyum on one mesechta of Mishnayos. A similar view is attributed to Rav Yizrael of Rozin zt”l. (See Orchos Chaim 551:35) Harav Yitzchak Eisik Liebes zt”l (Beis Avi 2:52) writes that in theory one should be able to make a siyum on one mesechta of Mishnayos, however, he has never seen such a thing done practically. Indeed Harav Betzalel Stern zt”l (Btzeil Hachachma 4:99:2) writes that while learning a mesechta of Mishnayos is a big mitzvah, one cannot make a siyum on it and permit bechorim to eat on Erev Pesach. Harav Azriel Hildsheimer zt”l (Shu”t Rav Azriel Y.D. 246) and Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (Halichos Shlomo Pesach page 181) also feel that one cannot make a siyum on one Mesechta Mishnayos.
  6. The Shu”t Pnei Meivin (103) writes that while one mesechta of Mishnayos would not suffice for a siyum, one seder of Mishnayos (such as Zeraim or Moed etc.) is considered a siyum. This is also the view of Harav Betzalel Stern zt”l. Harav Yaakov Kamanetzsky zt”l (Emes LYaakov page 225) also rules that one can make a siyum on a seder of Mishnayos.