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We will now begin discussing the relatively short, but important, Halachos of Seudas Melave Malka, the farewell meal eaten on Motzaei Shabbos, in honor of the departure of the Shabbos queen. Many people do not realize the significance of this meal and hopefully after studying these Halachos we will all have a better appreciation for it.


1) The Siman in which Shulchan Aruch discusses the meal which has come to be referred to as “Melave Malka, Escorting the Queen” (Orach Chaim Siman 300) contains in it a total of fifteen words. A lot of commentary has been written to elaborate on the details not described within these fifteen words, based on the Talmud, Rishonim and Acharonim, which we will now endeavor to begin learning.


The fifteen words are: “L’Olam Yesader Adam Shulchano B’Motzaei Shabbos K’dai Lelavos Es Hashabbos, Afilu Aino Tzarich Elah L’Kzayis”. Translation: “A person should always set his table on Motzaei Shabbos in order to escort the Shabbos, even if he will only be eating a Kzayis”

2) A tablecloth should be spread on the table as with other respectable meals, as well as setting the table nicely as is done by other meals. (Mishna Berura Siman300:1)


However, it isn’t necessary to cook many dishes, rather only what will be eaten should be prepared and nothing more beyond that. (ibid.)


L’Chatchila, at this meal one should eat bread, and if possible also eat some meat and other dishes.

However if one does not have meat, or if one is so full from Seudah Shlishis (common in the summer months when Seudah Shlishis is eaten much later in the evening) and thus eating bread and meat would be Achilah Gasa, (gorging, which is halachically prohibited) the Melave Malka can be fulfilled with eating pastries or fruit. (Mishna Berura ibid. The Gaon of Vilna (in Biur HaGra Siman 300:1), however, maintains that bread must be eaten at this Seudah in order to fulfill the obligation.)


1) Although the Shulchan Aruch writes to eat a minimum of a K’zayis (Food amount equivalent to the size of a half or a third of an egg) at the Melave Malka, it’s best to actually eat a little more than a K’Beitza (Approximately double the size of a K’zayis) in order to establish it as a meal, a Kvias Seuda. (See Machtzis HaShekel Siman 291:1)


Furthermore, some Poskim write that in order to establish it as a meal, the table should be set with Lechem Mishneh (two complete loaves of bread), although only one of them should be lifted and used, as there is no actual obligation of Lechem Mishneh at Melave Malka. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 300:5)


2) Many scrupulous people make sure to eat hot bread at the Melave Malka meal, as the Talmud (Shabbos 119b) says that eating or drinking something hot, especially hot bread, at Melave Malka is a Refuah (cure) for the body. Additionally, many Seforim write that it’s a Refuah for the Neshama as well. (See the MaHarsha to Shabbos 119b where he explains that by eating something that was warmed up after Shabbos we honor the Shabbos by showing that we were unable to cook on Shabbos.)


If one cannot eat hot bread, drinking something hot can suffice. (Ruling of Rav Yaakov Emden Zatzal in his siddur. See also Rashi Shabbos 119 b Dibur Hamaschil Chamin)


1) Some Poskim rule that no special dishes need to be prepared beyond what is already there and will be eaten for the Melave Malka. (Mishna Berura Siman 300:1)


Other Poskim, however, maintain that it is indeed proper to prepare a new dish in honor of Melave Malka, and not simply to eat leftovers from the Shabbos meals. (Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 300:1 quoting the MaHarsha to Shabbos 119b. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 300:8)


2) Some say that if meat cannot be eaten, at least fish should be eaten at the Seudas Melave Malka, as fish is also a respectable dish. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 300:3)


Some people, especially in Chasidic circles, are particular to eat garlic at the Melave Malka meal. (See Ba’al Shem Tov Parashas Yisro page 358)


If one does not enjoy, or is not interested in eating a fleishig meal, many Poskim rule that it is totally acceptable to eat a dairy meal, as this can be just as respectable as a meat meal. Indeed this is the prevalent Minhag of many scrupulous Jews.


1) The Seforim teach us that there is a limb (in actuality, a bone) in every person’s body referred to as either “Nisko” or “Luz”.


This bone does not decompose even after a person’s passing; rather it stays whole until Techiyas Hameisim. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 300:1 and 2. This bone, according to kabalistic sources, is located at the base of the skull, where the knot of the Tefilin Shel Rosh rests.)


At the time of Techiyas Hameisim (May it be soon) Hashem will reconstruct the body using that bone as the base.


As this bone is more spiritual in nature, it does not get sustenance from any food other than the food eaten at Melave Malka. (See Mishna Berura Siman 300:2 quoting the Taz . See also Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 300 Os 7 where he explains that this bone did not have pleasure from the Eitz Hada’as, as Adam Harishon ate from there on Erev Shabbos, and thus when death descended on the world, that bone was spared the curse and thus remained eternal. See also Kaf HaChaim ibid.)


2) Many people make sure to drink at Melava Malka, as bones (especially the Luz bone) derive pleasure and sustenance from drinks. (See Rashi Shabbos 119b Dibur Hamaschil Chamin.)

Some Seforim, however, maintain that if one drank from the wine of Havdallah that suffices and no further drinks are required at Melave Malka. (Aishel Avrohom of But’shatsh)


1) It is proper to eat the Seudas Melave Malka as soon after Shabbos as possible, as the normal way to “escort” a departing guest (i.e. the Shabbos queen) is as they depart and not a long time after they have already departed. (Mishna Berura Siman 300:2)


If one is not hungry immediately after Shabbos, and will be delaying Melave Malka, it is proper to avoid doing real work chores until after Melave Malka, as doing so will take one’s mind off the Shabbos queen. (Ibid.)


Even if it is pushed off for a long time, it is important to at least eat Melave Malka before Chatzos, Halachic midnight. (ibid. See also Sha’arei Teshuva Os 1 quoting the Arizal that the Kedusha, holiness, of Shabbos remains until Chatzos on Motzaei Shabbos.)


2) It is customary to light candles in honor of the departure of the Shabbos queen, as well as to sing special Zemiros, praises to Hashem, on Motzaei Shabbos after Havdallah and/or at the Melave Malka meal. These songs are printed in most Birchonim or Siddurim. (See Mishna Berura Siman 300:3)


(Double Portion, L’Kavod Shabbos Kodes)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) The Seudah of Melave Malka, though very important, is not the level of obligation as the three meals on Shabbos itself, as the three meals on Shabbos are obligatory based on a biblical verse (Asmachta D’Kra), whereas the Melave Malka is a Mitzvah not derived from a verse, rather something instituted by the Chachamim. (Mishna Berura Siman 300:2)


The practical application of the aforementioned distinction is for instances where on one cannot eat both Melave Malka and the three (or one of the three) Seudos of Shabbos; it is then better to skip Melave Malka rather than skip any of the Shabbos Seudos. (ibid.)


Additionally, if one has a limited quantity of food, or of a certain special food, he should rather use the food, or that special food for Seudos of Shabbos rather than for Melave Malka. (See Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 300 Os 9)


2) It is proper for women to also partake of the Melave Malka meal. (See Pri Megadim Aishel Avraham Siman 300:1. See Mogen Avraham Siman 299:15 quoting the Abudreham, that there was a minhag that women did not do any [real] chores on Motzaei Shabbos.)

The Seforim write in the name of the Rebbe Rav Elimelech of Lizensk Zatzal, that eating Melave Malka, for women, is a good Segulah for an easy labor.


1) This Shabbos, Parshas Beshalach is known as “Shabbos Shira”.

It is customary to put out pieces of bread for the birds to eat. One of the many reasons given for this custom is that in the desert the Mann fell for six days, with a double portion falling on Erev Shabbos to sustain the Jews through Shabbos.


The two evil troublemakers in the desert, Dasan and Aviram, tried to disprove Moshe Rabeinu’s proclamation that no Mann will fall on Shabbos, and they took their Mann early Shabbos morning and scattered it all over the camp so the jews will wake up and see that in fact Mann did fall on Shabbos.


Hashem sent the birds to eat up every last crumb of the “planted Mann”and when the Jews awoke, it was as Moshe had promised, and no Mann was to be found.


Thus as a reward for this, the birds are fed each year on Parshas Beshalach.


2) he Mogen Avraham (Orach Chaim Siman 324:7) decries this minhag, as the Halacha is that one may not feed animals that do not belong to him/her on Shabbos, and thus one may not put out food for the birds during Shabbos Shira (or any other Shabbos). (This is also how the Mishna Berura Siman 324:31 and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 324:8 rule.)


Other Poskim justify the minhag to feed the birds on this particular Shabbos as we are doing this as a Mitzvah of Hakoras HaTov (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 324:3 and Da’as Torah 324:11)

[Incidentally, the Mogen Avraham Siman 171:1, based on Rashi to Ta'anis 20b rules that one may never feed food that is worthy of human consumption to animals or birds, as doing sois being ungrateful to Hashem for the food He has given us]


The best thing to do, if one wants to uphold this custom yet avoid feeding the birds on Shabbos, is to place the bread for the birds right before Shabbos begins. (And if one wants to adhere to the ruling of the Mogen Avraham in Siman 171, the bread that is placed for the birds should be stale and not good fresh bread that is still worthy of human consumption)


Another option brought in the Poskim is to have a minor (boy under 13, girl under 12) put out the bread, as it isn’t a real Issur (Aino Shevus Gamur). (See Aishel Avraham (Butchatch) Siman 167: 6 Dibur Hamaschil Sham)


1) It is proper to not remove one’s Shabbos clothing until after eating Melave Malka. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 300:14 and Yesod V’Shoresh H’Avodah Sha’ar 8 end of Perek 12, quoting the Arizal)


Some have the custom not to remove their Shabbos clothing at all on Motzei Shabbos, and wear it until they are ready to go to sleep for the night. (See Leket Yosher page 85)

2) We mentioned that many people are careful not to do any major chores before eating Melave Malka.


Some people are even careful not to write anything before eating Melave Malka, as the Neshama Yeseira that is present on Shabbos does not totally depart until after Melave Malka. (See Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 300:1. See also Leket Yosher page 58 and Maharam Shik, Mitzvos, Sefer 1: 38)


1) Another name for the Seudas Melave Malka is “Seudas Dovid HaMelech” or “Seudas Dovid Meshicha”, the Seudah of King David.


Thus, many people have the custom at the onset of the Melave Malka to say ‘Du Hi Seudasa D’Dovid Malka [Meshicha], this is the Seudah of Dovid HaMelech [the Mashiach]” (See Siddur of Rav Yaakov Emdin Zatzal and Ta’amei Haminhagim Siman 425)


2) There are many reasons cited for this name. We will list two of them now, and perhaps a few more as we progress:


a) The Talmud (Shabbos 30a) relates that Hashem revealed to Dovid HaMelech that he would pass away on Shabbos. Thus every Motzaei Shabbos he would make a Seudah to celebrate another week of life ahead. (Ta’amei Haminhagim ibid.)

b) The fulfillment of the four Seudos of Shabbos serve to invoke heavenly compassion via the four legs of the Merkava, the heavenly chariot (Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov and Dovid HaMelech): In the merit of the first Shabbos meal, Avraham Avinu saves us (Klal Yisroel) from the severity of Gehinom; in the merit of the second meal, Yitzchok Avinu will save us from the pangs of Mashiach (Chevlei Mashiach); in the merit of Seudah Shlishis, Yaakov Avinu will save us from the perils of the war of Gog and Magog; in the merit of the fourth Seudah, Melave Malka, Dovid HaMelech will save us from the inflictions of the grave (Chibut Hakever). Thus, the connection between Melave Malka and Dovid HaMelech is clear. (Yesod V’Shoresh H’Avodah Sha’ar 8: end of Perek 13 quoting Sifrei kabbalah)


1) There is a custom amongst those in Chasidic circles to relate stories about the Ba’al Shem Tov (founder of the Chasidic movement) and about other Tzadikim at the Melave Malka meal. Doing so is a Segulah of sorts for these righteous souls to be heavenly advocates on their behalf. (See Minchas Shabbos; Shiyurei Mincha 96:6)


2) Eating Melave Malka, besides for being a Mitzvah, is also a Segulah for various good things. The Sefer Chayei Moshe (page 158) lists the following Segulos:


a) For Refuah, healing. (See Talmud Shabbos 119b)

b) For Parnassah, livelihood. (MaHaritz Gai’os)

c) For Arichas Yamim, long life (Sefer Ohr HaShabbos in the name of Rav Dovid of Lelov Zatzal)

d) For Bonim, children. (Toldos Kol Aryeh, letter 137)

e) For Tikun HaBris, rectification of breaches in holiness. (Rimzei Shabbos 732)

f) For women to have easy labor. (The Rebbe Rav Elimelech of Lizensk Zatzal)

g) For general Yeshuos, salvation for problems. (Chamra Tava 127:1 quoting Rav Eliezer of Lizensk Zatzal)


Additionally, eating Melave Malka protects and rescues from Chibut HaKever, Klipos, thoughts of Kefirah, depression and from various sicknesses. (See Chayei Moshe ibid. and Kaf Hachaim Siman 300:4)


A few timely halachos for Tu B’shvat:

1) It is customary [for Ashkenazic Jews] to eat different varieties of fruits on Tu B’Shvat, as this day is the ‘Rosh Hashanah” for fruit trees (meaning that the “year” regarding Ma’aser and Arlah is counted from this day) (Mogen Avraham Orach Chaim Siman 131:16)

Some people have the custom to eat an Esrog (or Esrog Jelly) on Tu B’Shvat (Likutei MaHarich)

It is also customary to daven on Tu B’Shvat for a beautiful, kosher Esrog on the following Sukkos (Bnei Yissochor Shvat 2:2)


The Ben Ish Chai even wrote special Tefilah for this (CLICK HERE for the text of the Tefilah)


2) It is a Mitzvah for a person to seek out and eat new fruits in order to be able to offer praise and thanks to Hashem and to show that we appreciate all the wonderful things that Hashem creates for us to enjoy in this world. See Mishna Berura Siman 225:19 where he references a Talmud Yerushalmi very end of Maseches Kidushin where it says:


“[When a person will stand in judgment before Hashem after he/she leaves this world] they will have to give a Din V’Cheshbon (reckoning) for anything (i.e. food that Hashem created) that they had the opportunity to taste, yet didn’t taste!”


The Korban H’Eida in his commentary to this Gemara explains that it is referring to not reciting SheHechiyanu on every possible fruit.


Many Poskim maintain that the custom of eating various varieties of fruits on Tu B’Shvat, and seeking out fruits on which to recite the bracha of SheHechiyanu, developed as a way to fulfill this requirement of the Talmud Yerushalmi, and what better day to do this than on the Rosh Hashana for trees!


1) It is very important to be extra careful not to have any Machlokes, discord, in the home on Motzaei Shabbos as the Satan works diligently to cause people to ruin the Shalom Bayis, harmony, which Shabbos brought to the home. (Sefer Darchei Chaim V’Shalom Siman 470)


Similarly, the Talmud (Gitin 52a) tells us that the Satan tries to cause Machlokes in the home on Erev Shabbos, in order to not allow peace to reign in the home already at the onset of Shabbos. (See Ben Ish Chai, year 2, Parashas Vayeira Siman 1 Dibur Hamaschil V’Da. See also Kaf HaChaim from HaRav Chaim Palagi Zatzal, Siman 27:35 where he writes that one who has Machlokes on Erev Shabbos risks bad things happening to them during the coming week.)


2) Before Birchas Hamazon on Motzei Shabbos we say Al Naharos Bavel like on any other weekday and not Shir Hama’alos as we say on Shabbos. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in Sefer Sh’eilas Rav page 338. Some communities have the custom to indeed say Shir Hama’alos, as on Shabbos, as long as the Birchas Hamazon is still before Chatzos)

During the Birchas Hamazon after the Seudah of Melave Malka, “Migdol Yeshuos Malko” is recited as it is on Shabbos, instead of “Magdil Yeshuos Malko”.(Kaf Hachaim Siman 189:11)


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) Even those who are lenient throughout the year and do not eat bread for Melave Malka every Motzaei Shabbos, should be stringent on Motzaei Shabbos Shuva (Shabbos between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) and be sure to wash and eat bread for Melave Malka that week. (See Mateh Ephraim Siman 602:47)


2) During the nine days between Rosh Chodesh Av and Tisha B’Av, when we do not eat meat, some Poskim allow eating leftover meat from that Shabbos (Shabbos Chazon) at the Melave Malka. (See Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 551:11 quoting the Birchei Yosef. See alsoSee Kaf HaChaim Siman 551:144 regarding leftovers from Shabbos.)


Some Poskim allow only those who are careful to eat meat every Motzaei Shabbos at Melave Malka to have meat on Motzaei Shabbos Chazon.


Other Poskim, however, forbid eating any meat on Motzaei Shabbos Chazon under any circumstances. (See Chelkas Yaakov Vol. 3 Siman 21 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 21:4)


1) The Gaon of Vilna was extremely stringent with the eating of Melave Malka for men and women alike. Once, the wife of the Gaon accepted upon herself a fast immediately after eating Seudah Shlishis, and went to sleep right after Havdalah, without eating Melave Malka. When this became known to the Gaon, he sent someone to wake her up and tell her that her entire fasting would not be able to rectify what she will lose by missing one Seudas Melave Malka. She immediately awoke and ate. (See Tosefes Ma’aseh Rav 39)


2) There is a debate amongst the Poskim if Melave Malka is eaten on Motzaei Yom Tov as on Motzaei Shabbos.


Many Poskim rule that there is no obligation to eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov, and indeed many people follow this ruling. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 63:4. See also Shu”t Radvaz Siman 620 where he writes that there is no Neshama Yeseira on Yom Tov as on Shabbos)

However, other Poskim maintain that one should indeed eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov as well. (This was the Minhag of the Chazon Ish Zatzal quoted in the back of Ta’ama D’Kra by Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita where he lists minhagim of the Chazon Ish he heard from his mother A”H, the sister of the Chazon Ish Zatzal. See also Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 3 Siman 292)

Tam V’Nishlam, Shevach L’Borei Olam.


This brings us to the end of our discussion of Hilchos Melave Malka. It is my Tefilah that we all learned enough to fulfill this great Mitzvah at least a little better than we were doing it until now.

In the Zechus of eating Seudas Dovid Malka Meshicha each week, may we all merit personally participating with Dovid Malka Meshicha very soon at the Seudas Livyasan.


Questions? Feel free to email me at

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