Having a Meal on Erev Shabbat
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
In order to prepare for Shabbat and be hungry for the Shabbat meals, Chazal instituted certain restrictions against eating certain types of meals at certain times on Friday.
Eating on Friday
- Strict halacha permits one to eat a normal meal all day on Friday, however, one should refrain from beginning a meal which is normal for a weekday meal from the beginning of the tenth hour (Shaot Zmaniot) in the day.
- In the winter months when the Shaot Zmaniot (halachic hours) are short one should refrain from having a meal too close to Shabbat so that if one has a meal one will still have an appetite going into Shabbat.
Having a festive meal
- On Friday, even in the morning, one may not make a large meal which one normally wouldn't have during the week.
- It’s totally permissible to have a snack the entire day of Friday and there’s no preference not to eat after 9 hours.
- It is permitted to have meat on Friday as long as it isn't part of a festive meal at any time on Friday or it isn't part of a normal meal after the tenth hour.
Brit Milah or Pidyon HaBen on Friday
- One may have the festive meal of a Brit Milah or Pidyon HaBen on Friday. However, it is preferable to make the meal in the morning (before Chatzot, halachic midday).
- It is permitted to a brit milah and the meal on Friday even if it was delayed past the eighth day.
- It is permitted to do a pidyon haben and its meal on Friday even if it is delayed. Some poskim, however, hold that if it was delayed the meal shouldn’t take place on Friday.
- One can go to the festive meal of a Brit Milah on Friday even if it is meat and even there is a minyan of people there anyway.
Wedding on Friday
- Similarly, a wedding which took place on Friday may be accompanied by a feast. However, it's preferable to push off the feast until Shabbat or another day.
Engagement Party on Friday
- One should not make a meal for an engagement party with a meal on Friday.
- Sephardim are lenient to allow a small meal for an engagement on Friday.
Siyum on Friday
- Ashkenazim hold that it is permitted to do a Siyum Masechet and the meal on Friday, while Sephardim hold that the siyum and meal should be postponed by saving a little bit of the gemara until after Shabbat.
Fasting on Friday
- There have even been individuals who would fast each and every Friday in order to ensure that they would have an appetite for the Shabbat meal. While such a practice is simply not possible for the masses, it is recommended, however, that one not eat an actual meal (but rather a light meal or a snack) on Friday, especially during the winter months when Shabbat arrives early.
- If a person usually fasts on a parent's Yehrzeit and it falls out on Friday, some poskim hold that one should fast until Tzeit HaKochavim, however, some hold that one should only fast until one leaves shul on Friday night even if he made early Shabbos. If one is in pain from fasting one may rely on the lenient opinion to eat after leaving shul. This is true if one previously fasted on a Yehrzeit during the week, however, if one never fasted during the week, according to Ashkenazim one should only fast until after one leaves shul.
- The Gemara Pesachim 107b establishes that the mishna which forbids meals on Erev Shabbat or Erev Yom Tov is from a half hour before Mincha Ketana, which is nine and a half hours into the day. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 249:2 writes that halachically it’s permissible to have a meal the whole day because we hold like Rabbi Yose in Pesachim 98b. However, even Rabbi Yose agrees that it is a mitzvah not to establish a meal after nine hours. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:10 agrees. Mishna Brurah 249:15 clarifies that strictly speaking once we hold like Rabbi Yosi it is permitted to have a meal the entire day however it is a mitzvah to not have a meal from the ninth hour.
- Mishna Brurah 249:16
- Gemara Gittin 38b, Rambam Shabbat 30:4, Shulchan Aruch 249:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:10, Aruch HaShulchan 249:4, Amot Shel Halacha (by Rabbi Ari Enkin). The Shulchan Aruch explains that the reason is so that a festive meal on Friday doesn't take away from one's appetite for the Shabbat meal and this is included in Kavod Shabbat. The Magen Avraham 249:4 quotes another reason from Rabbenu Chananel; if one is involved in preparing a festive meal it'll prevent one from preparing for Shabbat. Mishna Brurah 249:10 agrees. Raavad on Rambam argues that it is only prohibited from midday, while the Maggid Mishna explains that the Rambam held that it was forbidden all day. Tur in his own opinion and Bet Yosef in the Rambam agree that the prohibition is all day. Taz 249:1 differs from this interpretation of the Maggid Mishna. For him the primary issue with a special meal any time during the day is if it is established with food and liquor.
- S”A 249:2 who writes that one can have a snack the whole day and preferably one shouldn’t have a normal meal after 9 hours. Mishna Brurah 249:15 writes this explicitly that a snack is permitted the whole day.
- Mishna Brurah 249:14 writes that the permit to have snacks the whole day doesn’t include drinks. He concludes that one should at least be careful from 9 hours and on not to have too much that one won’t be hungry for the Shabbat meal.
- Gemara Pesachim 107b, Rashbam s.v. mini, Magen Avraham 471:2, Mishna Brurah 471:3. See, however, Rav Schachter (Guide to the Laws of Shavuot p. 1 fnt. 3) wrote that one shouldn't eat meat on Erev Yom Tov and cited the Magen Avraham 249:6 in support of this point. See there where he quotes that the Maharash didn't go to a meat Brit Milah on Friday since they already had a minyan. However, the Shlah and Magen Avraham disagree with the Maharash. Either way, they're discussing a festive meal on a Friday.
- Rama 249:2 writes that if the meal of a mitzvah that has a set time such as Brit Milah and Pidyon HaBen one can have the meal even on Friday. Mishna Brurah 249:12 adds that even if the Brit Milah was delayed because the child was sick or a Pidyon HaBen which was not performed on the 30th day, nonetheless the feast may be held on Friday. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 1 pg 531) agrees.
- Magen Avraham 249:6, Mishna Brurah 249:13, Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 1 pg 62)
- Magen Avraham 249:5, Mishna Brurah 249:12
- Mishna Brurah 249:12, Chazon Ovadia (Shabbat v. 1 p. 31)
- Magen Avraham 249:5, Ben Ish Chai (Lech Lecha no. 21)
- Shlah (Shney Luchot Habrit Ner Mitzvah Shabbat n. 6) quotes the Maharash Lublin (Maharshal) who on Fridays wouldn’t go to a meat Brit Milah meal if there was a minyan without him. The Shlah disagreed since it is permitted to have a special meal for the Brit Milah on a Friday since it is a timely mitzvah. Magen Avraham 249:6 agrees with the Shlah.
- Mishna Brurah 249:9
- Shulchan Aruch 249:2 writes that one should not make a feast even for an engagement which is a seudat mitzvah. However, the Magen Avraham 249:3 writes that this is only true if the engagement took place on a different day however, if the engagement actually took place on Friday the feast may be held. Mishna Brurah 249:9 agrees. Nonetheless, the Mishna Brurah concludes that the engagements that we perform nowadays are not halachically binding as they were in the times of the gemara and so it's not considered a seudat mitzvah which would permit a feast on Friday.
- Chazon Ovadia (v. 1 p. 35) cited by Mishna Brurah Tiferet 249:17
- Mishna Brurah (Biur Halacha 249:2 s.v. oh)
- Chazon Ovadia (v. 1 p. 36)
- Yerushalmi Ta'anit 2:12; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 249:3, Amot Shel Halacha (by Rabbi Ari Enkin)
- Aruch HaShulchan 249:6, Amot Shel Halacha (by Rabbi Ari Enkin)
- Mishna Brurah 249:22