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HILCHOS SHABBOS: GENERAL HALACHOS OF EREV SHABBOS (originally posted 2008. Updated 2023)


1) Chazal say that one who keeps Shabbos is as if he has fulfilled the entire Torah.


One who transgresses Shabbos is as if he has transgresed the entire Torah.


One who transgresses Shabbos in public [which means that 10 people are aware that this person is a mechalel Shabbos], is considered like an Aino-Yehudi for all purposes; we may not drink his wine, his bread is considered bread of an Aino-Yehudi etc. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 72:1 and 2)


2) There is Mitzva to “remember” Shabbos each day of the week. (When we say the daily Shir Shel Yom, Hayom Yom... it is an opportune time to think this, and fuulfill this biblical Mitzva)


If one comes across a food delicacy during the week, he should buy it L’Kovod Shabbos.


By doing this and thinking [or saying] that his intent is to buy it for Shabbos, he is fulfilling the Mitzva of “Zachor Es Yom Hashabbos L’kadsho. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 72:4)





1) It is a Mitzva to wake up early on Friday morning to purchase food for Shabbos. One may do this shopping even before Shacharis, provided he will have a later Minyan with which to daven (The Mishna Berura stipulates that only in a case where the item will be sold out if you wait until after Shacharis, may one rely on this and in that case one may even miss tefilah B’Tzibbur to purchase the item for Shabbos, given that he read the Krias Shema first.). One should say “I am purchasing this in honor of Shabbos” or simply the words “L’Kvod Shabbos” when purchasing items for Shabbos.

2) It is better to do the Shabbos shopping on Friday, rather than on Thursday [afternoon], unless the items are bought on Thursday to allow proper preparation and cooking for Shabbos. Washing clothing for Shabbos however, should be done on Thursday and not on Friday, as Friday is designated as the day to be busy with “Tzorchei Shabbos”.


1) It is a Mitzva on each Jew, even if he/she has household help, to personally do something in honor of Shabbos. The Gemara brings many stories of great sages that personally did things to honor the Shabbos. Rav Chisda would dice the vegetables, Rabba and Rav Yoseph would chop fire-wood, Rav Zeira would kindle the cooking fire, Rav Nachman would sweep his home and switch the weekday utensils for the Shabbos ones etc. It is incumbent on every Jew to emulate these great sages, and not say “it is beneath my dignity to do these chores”, on the contrary it is an honorable thing to honor the Shabbos.

2) It is a Minhag in many Jewish households to bake [Challah] bread in honor of Shabbos. The reason for this minhag is twofold 1) That the woman of the house be Mekayem the Mitzvah of Hafroshas Challah (There are Kabalistic sources that explain that by performing the Mitzvah of Challah on Erev Shabbos, womankind atones for the original sin of Chava who caused Adam, who was created on Erev Shabbos to sin. 2)Even if during the week one isn’t careful to only eat bread baked by a Jew [Pas Yisroel], on Shabbos it is worthwhile to be stringent in this matter and only eat Pas Yisroel. Therefore to ensure that the bread is in fact Pas Yisroel, it is baked by the Jewish housewife rather than by the non Jewish household help or even from a bakery.





1) One should prepare [or buy] meat, fish, delicacies and fine wine, according to each individual’s means for the Shabbos meals. It is a Mitzvah to eat fish at all three of the Shabbos meals.. However, if one doesn’t enjoy eating fish or if it upsets his stomach etc., he should refrain from eating it, as Shabbos was given for us to enjoy and not for us to be pained.

2) A tablecloth should be spread over the table for Shabbos, and should remain on the table throughout the Shabbos, not just at the time of the meals. One should rejoice with Shabbos and think in his mind “If a dignitary was coming to my home for a visit, wouldn’t I prepare my home from top to bottom? How much more so must I prepare my home for the coming of the queen- The Shabbos Queen!” It is for this reason that one should sample and taste all the Shabbos food before Shabbos (not too much though!) to ensure that the food is fit to serve to a queen!


1) Regardless of one’s financial situation, every Jew must do whatever he/she can to make Shabbos pleasurable. Even a poor person, must ration the entire week in order that money remains for the purchase of items in honor of Shabbos. One must even borrow money in order to be able to purchase Shabbos items. Hashem has promised that He will pay back [i.e. give you the means to pay back] loans that were taken out in order to honor the Shabbos.

2) Every Rosh Hashana, it is decided by Hashem exactly what every person will be provided with for the coming year. Chazal tell us that this does not include any expenses that one lays out for Shabbos [and Yom Tov]; the money one spends in honor of the Shabbos will be replenished by Hashem and isn’t deducted from his yearly allowance. Thus, one should not penny-pinch when it comes to shabbos purchases.



1) It is incumbent on every Jewish male to read the portion of the week’s Torah reading each week. This is known as “Being Ma’avir Sidrah” (literally, “going over the portion of the week”). The entire Parsha must be read twice and the Targum [Onkelos] must be read once. The new week begins on Sunday morning, i.e. This past Sunday morning began the obligation of reading Parshas Chukas, and it must be finished before Krias Hatorah this coming Shabbos Parshas Chukas. (The Mishna Berurah holds that one can begin already reading the new Parsha after Krias Hatorah of Mincha on Shabbos, and there is no need to wait until Sunday)

2) Some Poskim hold that the best way to be Mekayem this Mitzvah is to read the entire Parsha twice, and the Targum once on Friday afternoon after Chatzos(midday). Others disagree and hold that it is 100% Okay to start on Sunday morning and do a little each day throughout the week.





1)There are a few methods mentioned by Halachic authorities as to the proper way to be Maavir Sedra:

a) To read the entire Sedra (e..g. Parshas Chukas) of that week, from beginning to end twice and only then to read the entire Targum [Onkelus] from the beginning of the Sedra until the end.

b) To read a full Parsha, or section ( meaning from the beginning until you get to a “Pei” or “Samech”, and according to the Vilna Gaon if you do it in this way, you stop there, even if it is middle of a Possuk) within the Sedra of the week twice and then to read the Targum on the Pesukim you just read.

c) To read from The beginning until Sheni twice then its Targum, continue from Sheni until Shlishi twice, and then its Targum and so on. (See Mishna Berura Siman 285:2 and Sefer Derech Sicha from Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, page 2)

d) To read the first Posuk twice and then its Targum, then the second Posuk twice and then its Targum, and so on until you finish the entire Sedra.

2) All of the above methods have acceptable sources in Halacha. There is a prevalent minhag (which the Vilna Gaon and others used to do) to read from the beginning until Sheni on Sunday, from Sheni to Shlishi on Monday, and so on until Friday. On Friday the Minhag is to do two portions (i.e. from Shishi until the end). This minhag is an easy way to be Maavir Sedra without it being a daunting task to do in one sitting.


1)Besides for Chumash and Targum, one who fears Hashem should learn the commentary of Rashi on the entire Parsha. If one is not capable of doing this, he should try and read the English (or any other language he is familiar with) translation of the Parsha, so that he will understand what the week’s Parsha is about.

2)Since reading the words of the Targum takes some getting used to, it is worthwhile to have children (from about the age of 7) read a few Pesukim of Chumash and Targum each week, so that when they reach Bar Mitzva they will have an easy time being Maavir Sedrah. Training them in this Mitzva, like all other Mitzvos, is part of every father’s (and mother’s) obligation of Chinuch.



1)It is a Mitzvah for every Jew to wash at least his/her face, hands and feet with hot water every Erev Shabbos. Ideally, the entire body should be bathed [or showered] in hot water in honor of the Shabbos day. (There is an opinion of the Ya’avetz that only hands, feet and face should be washed in hot water, and not the entire body. This opinion only applies to married men.)

2)It is a Mitzvah to cut your nails in honor of Shabbos. The following are some Halachos pertaining to cutting nails:

a) One should not cut the nails of his hands on the same day as cutting the nails of the toes.


b) Nails should not be cut, nor should hair be cut on Rosh Chodesh. When Rosh Chodesh falls on Erev Shabbos some Poskim allow the nails to be cut in honor of Shabbos.


c) It is best not to cut nails in order, as doing so can present a danger and cause one to forget their Torah learning.

Start with the left hand as follows: ring finger, pointer, pinky, middle finger then the thumb.

Then move on to the right hand and cut the nail of pointer, ring finger, thumb, middle finger and then the pinky. (See Rama Siman 261:1 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 72:14. Some Poskim, including the Aruch HaShulchan,  rule to start with the right hand but the prevalent Minhag is to begin with the left.)

Others are also careful not to cut nails on Thursday, as the re-growth of the nail begins on the third day after being cut, thus it will start to grow on Shabbos. (The Magen Avraham says to cut the toe nails on Thursday and the hand nails on Friday)

d) After nails are cut they should be burned. Flushing them down the toilet is sufficient for them to be considered burnt. The main thing to be careful about is that they not be strewn about the floor, as it can lead to a pregnant woman stepping on them, and may cause her to miscarry her baby. (Most of the aforementioned Halachos are based on the Talmud Niddah 17a, as well as having a  basis in kabala sources)


1) On Erev Shabbos, every Jewish man and woman should reflect with retrospection upon his/her deeds of the previous week and repent for any sins that may have been transgressed in the preceding 6 days. The reason for this is because Erev Shabbos has a power over the entire week, much as Erev Rosh Chodesh (which is known as Yom Kippur Koton) has a power to rectify the sins of the previous month.

2) One should have special [nicer] clothing for Shabbos. Even if one is alone the entire shabbos, and won’t be seeing anyone, he/she should still wear special Shabbos clothing, as the purpose is to honor the shabbos, not to honor those that may see you. Men, who wear a Tallis for davening, should have a special Tallis for Shabbos.



1) Any Melacha that is prohibited for a Jew to do on Shabbos, he may not tell a Non- Jew to do for him on Shabbos, as the Posuk States “Kol Melacha Lo Ye’Aseh”- All Melachos should not be done. Chazal derive from the fact that it says “should not be done” as opposed to stating “you should not do” that it may not be done for you even via a non Jew. The above is the general rule, and there are certain exceptions as we will detail in the next few Halachos.

2) If the particular Melacha was given to a non Jew to do on Friday, prior to the onset of the Shabbos, then it would be acceptable for the Non Jew to do the Melacha, even if he does it on Shabbos, only if the following 5 conditions are met:

a) The Non Jew must take the item [he will be working on] out of the Jew’s home before Shabbos.

b) The payment for the Melacha must be decided upon before Shabbos [because then the Non Jew is doing the Melacha for his own benefit, as he wants to get paid)

c) The payment must be a set amount for this particular job, and not a “per hour” or “per day” salary.

d) One may not explicitly tell the non Jew to do the particular Melacha on Shabbos, or even insinuate a “finish time” for the Melacha that would mean he has no choice but to do it on Shabbos. Rather it must be possible for the non Jew to do it before or after Shabbos, yet the fact that he does it on Shabbos is because it is his choice to do it then.

e) The Melacha in question may not be of the variety that is “attached to the ground” e.g. A Non Jew may not build your home, or plow your field etc. even if the first 4 of the aforementioned conditions are met.

(There are many intricate exceptions, addendums and scenarios where some of the above doesn’t apply, and it is beyond the scope of these Halacha emails to delve into all the intricate details. As always, if you have a Halacha L’Maaseh question, you must ask a competent Halachic authority. You may feel free to email me your questions as well, and I will try my best to obtain a Halacha L’Maaseh answer for you from a Rav)





1)A non Jew may not be allowed to do Melacha on shabbos [which will benefit the Jew in any way] in the home of a Jew. (The Mishna Berura takes this even a step further, and prohibits the non Jew from doing Melacha which will benefit the Jew even if it isn’t in the home of the Jew, if it is being done in public, and people know that the Melacha being done is for the benefit of the Jew.)

2) Even if the non Jew is a servant [or in more modern terms, the household help or live-in maid] and is doing the Melacha for his/her own purposes one must object to this practice and make them stop doing the Melacha in the Jewish home. (The Mishna Berura maintains that if the Melacha the non Jew is doing is strictly for his/her benefit and will not benefit the Jew whatsoever (for example: The non Jew is sewing a loose button onto his/her own jacket) then it is permissible for the non Jew to do this in the home of the Jew. It is possible that in such a case, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch would agree as well, but it isn’t clear from his words.)


1)One may not rent a tool that is used to do a melacha (such as a hammer, plow, etc.) to a non Jew on Friday (The Mishna Berura maintains that it must be a tool that is used to do a biblical Melacha for this to be the case). However, it is permissible to lend the tool to a non Jew on Friday provided that the non Jew removes the tool from the Jew’s home before the onset of Shabbos. On any other day of the week there is no problem with renting tools to a non Jew, even if you know he will be using it on Shabbos, provided you adhere to the method of renting which is described in the next Halacha.

2)When a Jew rents a tool, or contracts out work, to a non Jew, it may only be done in such a way that there isn’t any payment specified for the tool’s use or for work to be done on Shabbos, rather the payment for Shabbos must be “swallowed up” into the lump sum for the week. For instance, you may tell the non Jew that you are renting him your tractor for a week, month or year at a certain price or tell him that you will pay him a certain amount of money to finish a job. You may not, however, tell a non Jew that you are renting him the tool at a cost of $10 per day for a week, and thus he owes you $70 at the end of the week. Similarly, you may not hire a contractor at $100 per day for a week’s work. Even if the money was paid in a lump sum at the end of the time period, the fact that it was clearly expressed as a certain a mount per day, it is as if he hired him for that individual Shabbos and that is “Schar Shabbos” and is prohibited.

2A) This prohibition of “Schar Shabbos” is not just between a Jew and a non Jew. It is also applicable between 2 Jews. For instance: One Jew may not rent a room in his home to another Jew at a daily rate of $50 a day for a week. Rather he must specify a lump sum for the entire week, and the payment for Shabbos will be “swallowed” into the lump sum of the week.



1)Every Person must stop doing Melacha on Friday and light the Shabbos candles before Shkias Hachama (sunset). (The Mishna Berura maintains thatL’Chatchila it should be done at least 20 minutes, and praises those that rush do it 30 minutes, before Shkias Hachama). The prevalent Minhag is to light the Shabbos candles 18-20 minutes before Shkias Hachama.

2)If the community that one is part of [or the particular Shul within the community that one always davens in] made “early Shabbos” as is very common in the summer months, everyone who considers themselves part of that community and/or congregation must desist from doing any Melachos once the congregation was Mekabel Shabbos (i.e. accepted the Shabbos by saying the verses of “Mizmor Shir L’Yom Hashabbos”), even if it is 2 hours before Shkia, and he/she didn’t start davening yet. A woman whose husband made “early Shabbos” may not do any Melacha after the time that her husband was Mekabel Shabbos. (Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 38 disagrees, and permits a woman to do melacha, and light candles later than her husband was Mekabel Shabbos. Please consult your Rov for Halacha L’Maaseh on this issue, as with all issues)





1) Every Jewish person must have at least Shabbos Candles kindled within his/her home on Friday evening. The two candles represent the two words the Torah uses to describe Shabbos observance (one in the first Luchos (10 commandments) in Parshas Yisro and the other in the second Luchos in Parshas V’eschanan):
a) “Zachor” Es Yom Hashabbos
b) “Shamor” Es Yom Hashabbos.

It is a Mitzvah to have a lot of candles. Some people light 10 candles. Others light 7 candles. The prevalent Minhag is to start off lighting 2 candles, and to add an additional candle for each subsequent child that is born to the family (e.g. a family with 4 children lights 6 candles)

2) It is a Mitzvah to purchase nice candles, and to make sure they are long enough to remain lit until after the Shabbos meal. The Gemara quotes Rav Huna as saying “ One who is careful to make his Shabbos candles as nice as can be, will merit having children that are Talmidei Chachamim (well versed in Torah), since the Pasuk says “Ki Ner Mitzvah V’Torah Ohr”. Rav Huna learns this Pasuk to mean as follows: “[through the diligence of having nice] Ner Mitzvah [Mitzvah candles, you will merit the] Torah Ohr,[the light of the Torah]. It is for this reason too, that women should pray fervently while kindling the Shabbos candles for sons that will illuminate the world with their Torah.

It is a good Minhag for women to put a few coins (or dollar bills) into the Tzedakah box before lighting the Shabbos candles. Many women have set aside a special “Erev Shabbos pushka” for this purpose.


1)Women that experience hard labor when giving birth, and especially women that have not yet merited having children, should recite the Haftarah of the first day of Rosh Hashana [which details the story of Chana’s childlessness and her ultimate giving birth to her son Shmuel] each Friday evening after lighting the Shabbos candles. This Segulah works best when the woman understands what she is saying, and not simply reading words without meaning.

2)There is a concept, when making Blessings on Mitzvos, which is referred to as “Oiver L’Asiyasan”- reciting the blessing [immediately] prior to performing the Mitzvah. When a woman recites the Beracha for Shabbos candles, she is in fact accepting upon herself the sanctity of Shabbos, and thus may not kindle lights (or do any other Melachos anymore), therefore the proper procedure is for her to light the candles, and only then to recite the Beracha afterwards. However, in order to satisfy the obligation of “Oiver L’Asiyasan”, women cover there faces with their hands while making the blessings, and then remove their hands to gaze upon the kindled lights, and it is halachically as if the blessing was recited first before the kindling of the lights.

[On Yom Tov, when it is permitted to kindle the lights after accepting the sanctity of the day, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch maintains that the aforementioned procedure (of lighting first and covering the eyes during the blessing, is still followed). Many Poskim argue on this and maintain that on Yom Tov the Beracha is made first and then the candles are lit. For Halacha L’maaseh, each person should do as is their Minhag, or ask a competent Halachic authority for a Psak]


1)The obligation to light Shabbos candles in every Jewish home is an obligation for both men and women, yet traditionally it has become a Mitzvah of the women. One of the kabalistic reasons given for this Mitzvah “belonging” to women is as follows:
[The first] woman, [Chava (Eve)], extinguished the candle of the world, i.e. she caused Adam to sin, and thus darkened his soul (which is likened to a candle as the pasuk states Ner Hashem, Nishmas Adam- the candle of Hashem is the soul of man), and caused death to descend on this world. Therefore, in order to rectify the first sin, woman-kind has been given the task of once again illuminating the world, through the lights of the Shabbos candles. This is an extremely lofty task, and should not be taken lightly by women. The time of Hadlakos Neiros is an extremely opportune time for women to pray, as Hashem is extremely near, and listening to their pleas.

Since the man is obligated in this Mitzvah as well, he should at least prepare the candles for the woman by inserting the candles/oil into the candelabra. Many men also have the Minhag of preparing the candles by lighting them and then extinguishing them, thus making them kindle easier when the woman lights them for Shabbos.

2)The first Shabbos immediately after a woman gives birth to a child, her husband lights the Shabbos candles and makes the blessing on them. Starting the following Shabbos, and each subsequent Shabbos for the rest of her life, an extra candle is added to her candelabra. This is the prevalent Minhag.





1)Once a woman lights the Shabbos candles, she may not do any Melachos as by lighting the candles she automatically accepts upon herself the sanctity of Shabbos. Therefore, any woman that regularly davens Mincha must do so before lighting the candles. If she did not daven before lighting, she may not daven afterwards, as it is already Shabbos for her and she can no longer say the Mincha of Friday.

2)If a man is going to be lighting the Shabbos candles, and he wants to still do Melacha afterwards, it is best for him to stipulate (in his mind or verbally) that he does not intend to accept Shabbos yet by lighting the candles. If he did not make the stipulation, and he wants to do Melacha, he may do so B’Dieved (ex post facto). A man, however, may daven Mincha for Friday after he lights the Shabbos candles, even L’Chatchila. It is not clear from the Poskim if this stipulation works for a woman though, so it is best for women not to rely on it without consulting a Rav


1) Although only one person must light the Shabbos candles in each Jewish home, the prevalent Minhag is that when a few women are together in one home, each one still lights their individual Shabbos candles, and each woman makes the blessings on her candles. The reasoning is that since the light of the Shabbos candles are cause for Simcha (happiness) and harmony (Shalom Bayis) to increase in the home, the more candles there are, the more Simcha and Shalom Bayis will be present in the home.

Ideally, two women should not light their candles in the same Leichters, or candelabra, rather each one should have their own individual candelabra or candle sticks. If there is only one candelabra available, they can be lenient and both light their candles in one candelabra.

2)When a woman goes away from her home for Shabbos, she is still obligated to light Shabbos candles. The prevalent Minhag is that when not lighting at home, only 2 candles are lit, and not the usual amount that she would otherwise light in her own home.

There are also various Minhagim regarding how many candles to light on Yom Tov. Some women light the same amount and in the same manner as Shabbos. Some women light only 2 candles on Yom Tov. Some have the Minhag to light on Yom Tov at the same time as they would light on Shabbos (18-20 minutes before sunset). Others do not light Yom Tov candles until right before the Yom Tov Seudah. Some women light the first night Yom Tov before sunset, and the second night before the Seudah. All the aforementioned Minhagim are acceptable.

[I heard that Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky Zatzal would tell women (and men) who asked him, that in all aspects of the Minhagim pertaining to women’s issues (e.g. Shabbos candles, separating Challah, Mikvah etc) a woman should do as was the Minhag of her mother, and not adopt the Minhag of her husband’s mother.]

As with everything, if in doubt, a competent Rav should be consulted.



1)It is customary in many communities to begin davening on Shabbos morning a little bit later than during the week. The reason for this is that allowing for a little extra sleep on Shabbos morning is “Oneg Shabbos”. The Poskim (Ram”a 281:2 based on Rav Hai Gaon brought in the Hagohas Mordechai and others) derive this from the language of the pesukim regarding Korbonos (which our Tefilah replaces these days, as we have no Bais Hamikdash yet unfortunately) as follows:

By the Korban Tamid of weekdays it says “BaBoker” which means early morning, and by the Korban [Mussaf] of Shabbos it says (Parshas  Pinchas) “U’Byom Hashabbos” which means by day, but not necessarily so early. However, even though we daven later, it is still important to be careful not to miss Zman Krias Shema due to the late start of davening. (It is best to read Krias Shema before going to shul, on those shabbosim that Zman Krias Shema is early).

[Note: Not all Poskim agree with this Halacha though. Rashi (Megilah 23a) states clearly based on the Gemara there, that on Shabbos it is more important than the rest of the week to daven at sunrise, or at least earlier than usual! (The Teshuvos HaRambam, RadBaz, Chida, Ben Ish Chai and others pasken like Rashi) The prevalent Minhag in most Ashkenazi communities (that follow the Ram”a) is to start later on Shabbos morning. The prevalent Minhag in many Sephardic communities (who follow the Rambam, Chida, Ben ish Chai etc.) is to begin davening either earlier than, or just as early as the rest of the week.]

2) On Shabbos morning, the Tefilah of Musaf should ideally be recited immediately following The Tefilah of Shacharis (Kerias Hatorah is part of Tefilas Shacharis). Although the time for the Korban Mussaf was all day and thus the time for the Tefillah is also all day, one should not push off davening Mussaf past the seventh hour of the day.

Halachos for Erev Shabbos, July 18 2008

1)The middle section of the Shemona Esrei Tefillah of Shabbos [and Yom Tov] is different than the weekday Shemona Esrei, as we don’t ask for our personal needs on Shabbos [and Yom Tov], and instead say a Nusach that sanctifies the day and mentions its Korbanos that were brought when the Bais Hamikdash was standing.
If one forgot that it is Shabbos [or Yom Tov], and began saying the weekday Shemona Esrei (Ata Chonen L’Adam Da’as etc), he must finish that Bracha and then resume the Shabbos [or Yom Tov] Shemona Esrei (e.g. Ata KiDashta etc. on Friday night or Ata B’Chartanu etc. on Yom Tov). This would only apply if one said at least the words” Ata Chonen…”, However if only the word “Ata” was said, and then before the word “Chonen” was uttered, he/she remembered that it was Shabbos, there is no need to finish “Ata Chonen” rather one may continue with the regular Nusach for Shabbos [or Yom Tov].

If one is already holding past “Retzei Hashem Elokeinu” when he/she realized that they are Davening the wrong Shemona Esrei, they must stop, even in middle of the Bracha and start again from the Brachos of Shabbos. If the mistake was not realized until after “Yih’yu L’ratzon” was said, the entire Shemona Esrei must be repeated.

2) It is a Siman Ra (worrysome omen) to inadvertently start the weekday Shemona Esrei on Shabbos, and everyone should concentrate on the Tefilah at hand to make sure it doesn’t happen. If however it does indeed happen to a person, he/she should make a mental inventory of their deeds and do Teshuva for the entire next week to eradicate any unpleasant things from happening to him/her due to the Siman Ra.



1) It is a Mitzvas Asei (Biblical positive commandment) to sanctify the Shabbos day with [special] words. This must be done both when Shabbos arrives (Kiddush Friday night) and when the Shabbos leaves (Havdalah on Motzei Shabbos).
The sages decreed that the aforementioned sanctification with words must be done over a cup of wine; hence we recite Kiddush and Havdalah upon a filled goblet of wine.

2) It is an extra Mitzvah to choose aged and good wine, and if possible the wine of Kiddush and Havdalah should be red. Grape Juice is 100% acceptable for Kiddush and Havdalah [especially for those who cannot drink wine, or those that do not enjoy the taste of wine.]

Halachos for Monday, July 21 2008

1)The Minhag is that one person (usually the head of the household) recites Kiddush at the Shabbos table , and everyone listens to his recital and responds with “Amen” and satisfies their obligation through him.
Women are obligated in the Mitzvah of Kiddush, and should therefore listen closely when the Kiddush is recited and answer Amen. A minor (anyone under the age of 13, or even a 13 year old that hasn’t reached Halachic puberty status) may not recite Kiddush on behalf of a woman, rather the woman may- and should- recite the Kiddush herself. If the woman cannot read Hebrew, and there aren’t any men around to say it for her, she should [hold a goblet of wine in front of her according to the Mishna Berurah, and] recite word for word together with a minor.

Some Poskim are of the opinion, that even when a man is saying Kiddush for a woman, she should say word for word along with him [quietly].  It is a good custom to glance at the shabbos candles during the recital of Kiddush.

2)Wine that was cooked, or wine that had sugar or honey added to its contents may be used for Kiddush according to most Poskim, provided that this wine is more enjoyable to you than regular wine.


1)The Cup that is used for Kiddush [and other Mitzvos that require a cup of wine], traditionally referred to as a ‘Becher’ must satisfy certain conditions in order to be acceptable for Kiddush:

a) It must be complete, and not chipped or cracked in any way.
b) It must be rinsed inside and out so it is totally clean for Kiddush.
c) The wine must be poured into the Becher immediately before Kiddush, for the purpose of Kiddush. Wine that was sitting in the Becher from beforehand for other purposes may not be used now for Kiddush.
d) The cup must be filled until the very top.

2) The procedure for lifting the Kiddush cup is as follows: The cup should initially be lifted with both hands (this signifies our affection for the mitzvah that we want to lift it with all our strength). The left hand is then removed from the cup, and the one reciting the Kiddush is left holding the Becher only with his right hand ( the reason it isn’t held with both hands throughout Kiddush is so that it shouldn’t seem that [the Mitzvah] it is too heavy for us to do with one hand).

A left-handed person should reverse the above procedure, and be left with the Becher in his left hand throughout Kiddush.

Throughout the entire Kiddush, the one reciting the Berachos should hold the Becher at least a Tefach (around 3-4 inches) above the height of the table, and gaze into the Kiddush cup (besides for when he is glancing at the Shabbos candles, as we mentioned yesterday)


1) The Challahs should be covered while Kiddush is recited [at all the meals]. Even if one is making Kiddush on the Challahs [as is the custom in certain German and other communities; or the way Kiddush is recited in the event that no wine is available,] they still must be covered. The reason for this is that the 2 Challahs that we use at the Shabbos Seudah are a remembrance to the Mann (Manna bread) that sustained our forefathers, the Jewish people, in the wilderness on the way out of Mitzrayim. Just as the Mann was miraculously covered by dew on top and on bottom to preserve its freshness, so too our Challahs must be covered on bottom (by the tablecloth) and on top (by the Challah cover).

2) All other bread and even cakes and cookies that are on the table at the time that Kiddush is recited must be covered. The reason for this is that it is an “embarrassment” to the wheat (from which bread and cake is made) which is really the first of the Shivas Haminim (the 7 special species that the Torah enumerates) that we pass it over and make the blessing on the grape (wine, which is the third of the Shivas Haminim) first. The Eishel Avraham and other halachic authorities disagree and maintain that cake need not be covered, just the Challahs.

Halachos for Thursday, July 24  2008

1) After the Kiddush is recited, the one who recited the Kiddush must drink immediately from the wine in the Becher, without any interruptions between the Kiddush and the drinking. It is a Mitzvah as well for all those who are at the Seudah to drink a bit from the wine of Kiddush [after the one who made Kiddush drinks] .

2) There is a debate in the Poskim about the minimum amount of the wine in the Becher the one who made Kiddush is required to drink. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch maintains that the minimum amount is “K’Molei Lugmav” which is loosely translated as a “cheekful”, even if it is less than most of a Revi’is (between 3.3 and 5 fluid oz.). The Mishna Berurah seems to hold that one must drink most of a Revi’is, regardless if a particular person’s “cheekful” is less than that.

There are many G-d fearing Jews that make Kiddush [on Shabbos morning] on a small shot-glass of whiskey. This practice is prevalent in Chasidic circles This is seemingly not in accordance with Halacha which requires:

a) wine (or another beverage with the Halachic status of Chamar Medina, which whiskey isn’t, according to most Poskim) and

b) a cup that can hold more than a Revi’is.

However, there are authorities that go to great lengths to find reasons why this custom should be acceptable.

[For those that are interested in delving deeper into this topic, see: Shu”t Maharsham Chelek 1 Siman 175 and Taz Orach Chaim 210]

Unless your Minhag is in fact to make Kiddush Shabbos morning on whiskey, it is best to recite the Kiddush over a cup of wine or Grape Juice.





1) If someone cannot drink wine, whether due to a vow or because it isn’t healthy for him or for any other reason, he/she may not make Kiddush on a cup of wine on the assumption that someone else that is at the table will then drink the wine after he makes the Kiddush. Rather he should hear Kiddush from someone else, or make Kiddush on Challah.

2) Since the wine of Kiddush is considered as part of the food and drink being served at the meal, the Birchas Hamazon after the meal will serve as its Bracha Achrona, and no “Al HaGefen” is necessary. Some Poskim argue on this, and hold that the wine of Kiddush is not part of the Seudah, and thus does indeed require its own “Al HaGefen”.
In order to satisfy both of the aforementioned opinions, it is good to try and drink another glass of wine after Birchas Hamazon, and have in mind by its “Al HaGefen” that it should also exempt the original wine of Kiddush. [The Mishna Berura does not bring this method, and it seems that he may consider this a Bracha SheAina Tzericha, an unnecessary Bracha.]

When using a Becher of wine for Birchas Hamazon, all agree that an “Al HaGefen” is necessary afterwards. Besides for other reasons given, this in itself may be a good reason to say Birchas Hamazon on a Kos.


1) The Kiddush of Shabbos (Friday night and Shabbos morning) must be recited in the same place where the Seuda of Shabbos will take place (B’Mokom Seudah). If one recited Kiddush in one house, and only ate in another house (even if he had in mind to do this) he has not satisfied his obligation of Kiddush and must recite Kiddush again in the house in which he will eat.

2) One must eat immediately after Kiddush. If one doesnt want to begin his Seudah on Shabbos morning right after Kiddush, he must at least eat some cake or other acceptable Mezonos after Kiddush to satisfy the obligation of Kiddush B’Mokom Seudah. if cake is unavailable (and according to some Poskim this is L’chatchila, even if cake is available,) one may drink an additional Revi’is of wine (besides the original revi’is of Kiddush) and consider that his Seudah.





1) Although one should not eat on Shabbos morning [after Shacharis], before Musaf, it is permissible to “taste” something (This should only be done if necessary for health or other reasons). Eating a “K’Beitza” of bread or less is considered “tasting”, while eating more than that is already considered “eating”. If one eats fruit, even in large quantities it is still considered only “tasting”.

2) When the aforementioned “tasting” is necessary, according to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (as well as the Mateh Ephraim, Chasam Sofer and others), it is only permissible if one makes Kiddush first, as one may not eat anything before Kiddush (and to satisfy Kiddush B’Makom Seudah, he should first drink an additional Revi’is of wine, or have a Kzayis of cake too, as we discussed yesterday).

However, other Poskim (Rav Moshe Feinstein, Bais Yitzchok and others) are of the opinion that one’s obligation to make Kiddush (and thus the prohibition of eating before its recital) does not occur until the time of the Seudah. Thus, if one needs to eat before that time (be it before Musaf or even before Shachris) he/she may do so without Kiddush. Rav Moshe Feinstein takes this a step further, and is of the opinion that until a woman’s husband arrives home from Shul on Shabbos morning, his wife may eat anything she wants without Kiddush, as the time for her Seudah doesn’t commence until her husband comes home.






1) Every Jewish Person, both men and women, must eat three meals every Shabbos. One meal must be eaten on Friday night and two meals must be eaten Shabbos day. Many authorities (Ran, Rashba, Rashi , Rambam, Levush, Taz and Magen Avraham)are of the opinion that this obligation to eat 3 meals [with Lechem Mishna] is M’DiOraysah( a biblical obligation), while other authorities (Tosfos, Rabbeinu Tam, Mordechai) maintain that it is a Rabbinic obligation.


2) At each of the Shabbos Seudos (including the third meal, Seudah Shelishis) it is obligatory to eat bread. (The obligation to eat bread is so important, that the Pri Megadim and other Poskim allow one who doesn’t have Pas Yisroel, to eat Pas Akum to satisfy this obligation).

According to some authorities, if one isn’t hungry at Seudah Shelishis and really cannot eat bread, he may satisfy his obligation to eat a Seudah by eating cake or other Mezonos. If that too is difficult, he should at least eat meat or fish. If that too is hard, he should at least eat fruit to satisfy his obligation. However, it is imperative for every person to limit his food consumption at the morning meal, so as not to put them in the above situation where he/she isn’t hungry for bread (which is the ideal way to fulfill the Mitzvah of Seudah Shelishis)


1) At each of the Shabbos meals, Lechem Mishna is required. Lechem Mishna means 2 complete loaves of bread. The custom is to use special Challos, but any complete loaf is Halachicaly acceptable (e.g. bagel, roll, Matzo, Baguette etc..).

There is a dispute amongst the authorities if this requirement of Lechem Mishna applies to women as well. (The Pri Megadim and Rav Akiva Eiger are of the opinion that women are obligated in Lechem Mishna, while Rav Shlomo Kluger maintains that they are exempt, like any other Mitzvahs Asei SheHazman Gerama)
Ideally, women should listen to a man make the blessing on the Lechem Mishna and answer Amen, and thus satisfy her obligation according to everyone.

If one eats additional meals on Shabbos (besides for the requisite 3 meals), he must have Lechem Mishna at each of the additional Seudos as well.

2) After the morning meal, if one goes to sleep, even if he is doing so in order to have strength for a trip or other activity on Motzaei Shabbos, it is important that he/she not verbalize that intent by saying “I am going to rest so I won’t be tired tonight when I travel etc.” as that would be considered Hachana (preparing on Shabbos for the weekday), which is prohibited.

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