Making Early Shabbat
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- 1 When does Shabbat start?
- 2 Tosefet Shabbat (the mitzvah of accepting Shabbat early)
- 3 Making early Shabbat (effects of accepting Shabbat early)
- 4 Sources
When does Shabbat start?
- It is absolutely forbidden to do any Melachah (activities forbidden on Shabbat) after sunset on Friday. (See footnote for background)
- It is a mitzvah to accept Shabbat early and add from the weekdays onto Shabbat.  The Torah states "Veshameru Beneh Yisrael Et Hashabbat La'asot Et Hashabbat." The Or Hachaim hints to an explanation of "La'asot Et Hashabbat" that describes the halacha of tosefet shabbat. Therefore, tosefet shabbat fulfills the obligation of "La'asot Et Hashabbat."  This mitzva appllies to both men and women. 
- Mincha should be scheduled at least 20-25 minutes before sunset so that you can finish before sunset and everybody could fulfill the mitzva.  If the minyan starts late so that it won't be able to accept shabbat before sunset, one should do it after his silent shmoneh esrei, and still answer kedusha afterwards. 
- Some hold that in order to fulfill the mitzvah of adding from the weekday to Shabbat one doesn't need to make any verbal declaration, while others hold that one should verbally accept Shabbat. 
- Some say that it's sufficient to add any amount of time before sunset, while others hold that one should add 20 or 30 minutes to Shabbat. (See footnote for background) 
- The minhag of yerushalayim is to add 45 minutes to Shabbat. However, women don't need to abide by this minhag. 
Refraining from Melacha
- It is forbidden to do any Melacha after one accepted Shabbat. 
- If one accepted Shabbat early and most of the community didn't accept Shabbat it is permitted to ask a Jew who didn't accept to do a Melacha for him. 
- If it's necessary to do a Melacha and it's still early in the day before sunset, some say that may perform a Heiter Nederim, nullification of one's vow to accept Shabbat before 3 people, while others hold that the annulment isn't effective. 
- If someone made a mistake on Friday afternoon and prayed Arvit thinking that it was nighttime one has not fulfilled one’s obligation and would have to pray again. One would be permissible to do Melacha (activity forbidden on Shabbat) until one prays again, while others forbid. However, if a community made such a mistake they would not have to repeat Shmoneh Esrei. According to many one is permissible to do Melacha until one prays again while other to some it’s forbidden to do Melacha. 
Saying Arvit/Mariv early
- One may say Arvit earlier than the rest of the week even if one normally prays Mincha after Plag Mincha and Arvit after nighttime. Many authorities hold that if one is going to pray Arvit before nighttime that one should make sure to pray Mincha before Plag Mincha even if one will pray privately, while some defend those who are lenient in a minyan to pray both Mincha and Arvit after Plag Mincha before nighttime. 
- Only after ten and three quarter hours (Plag Mincha) one may light Shabbat candles, and then accept Shabbat with saying Arvit.  Acceptance of Shabbat before that time is null and void. 
Saying Kiddush after making early Shabbat
- One is permitted to do Kiddish and the Friday night meal before nightfall, however it's preferable to have at least a Kezayit of food after nightfall. 
- If one accepted Shabbat early one may say Kiddush  and eat the Friday night meal before nighttime. However, some argue that one doesn’t fulfill one’s obligation before nighttime and so some say one shouldn’t start one’s meal until Tzet HaKochavim and some say that one should eat at least a Kezayit of bread after nightfall. 
- Some poskim permit saying Kiddush and eating the meal before Arvit as long as the meal begins a half hour before Tzet HaKochavim  while others say that it isn't proper. 
Starting one's meal after making early Shabbat
- If one prayed Arvit if there’s more than a half hour before Tzet HaKochavim one may begin one’s meal, however, if there’s less than a half hour one shouldn’t begin one’s meal, however, those who do have what to rely on. Whether or not one began one’s Shabbat meal early one should make sure to repeat Shema after Tzet HaKochavim.
Praying Mincha after accepting Shabbat
- Once one accepts Shabbat one may not pray Mincha of Friday but rather one must pray Mariv twice (for Tashlumin). 
- If one arrived in Shul which was up to Barchu of Mariv on Friday night and one still didn't pray mincha, one should say Mincha in a different shul or outside that Shul but not answer Brachu before saying Mincha. 
- If the Tzibur did not yet reach Barchu one may pray Mincha in the shul even if they will reach Barchu while one is still saying Mincha, nonetheless it's preferable to say it outside the Shul (if the Tzibbur will reach Barchu while one is still saying Mincha). 
- Shulchan Aruch 261:2 writes that one should accept shabbat early during the time between Shekiyah (sunset) and Bein HaShemashot (twilight) to fulfill the mitzvah of Tofeset Shabbat. Shulchan Aruch explains that this time period is the length of time it takes to walk 3.25 mil. Then Bein HaShemashot (twilight) lasts for a period of 3/4 of a mil which is followed by Tzet HaKochavim (emergence of the stars). For this discussion, we're assuming that a mil is considered 18 minutes like the ruling of Shulchan Aruch 459:2 and Mishna Brurah 459:15. If so, Shulchan Aruch holds that one must accept Shabbat 13.5 minutes before Tzet HaKochavim which is 58.5 minutes after Shekiyah.
- However, Mishna Brurah 261:23 quotes many Rishonim and the Gra who hold that between Sheiyah and Tzet HaKochavim there is a short Bein HaShemashot of 3/4 of a mil (13.5 minutes) and afterwards it's considered nighttime Deoraitta. According this opinion the Mishna Brurah writes that one may absolutely stop doing Melacha (activities forbidden on Shabbat) before Shekiyah.
- Baal Hatanya, Siddur:Seder Kabalat Shabbat, writes that Shkiyah starts approximately 6 minutes after sea-level shkiyah (generally considered shkiyah)and then the 3/4 of a mil start. However, he holds that a mil is twenty four minutes so 3/4 of a mil is 18 minutes. Obviously, this applies to Jerusalem during the spring and fall equinox and would fluctuate accordingly throughout the world and various seasons. See there that in Russia it is approximately 34 minutes after shkiyah.
- The 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1, pg 145) writes that the accepted practice is in accordance with the Gra and so it's strictly forbidden from doing Melacha from the time of Shekiyah. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 1, pg 128) agrees.
- Gemara Rosh Hashana 9a learns from Vayikra 23:32 that there is an obligation to add from the weekday onto Yom Kippur called Tosefet Shabbat. The gemara then continues to include all other holidays and Shabbat in this halacha. (This also appears in Yoma 81b). Shulchan Aruch 263:2 brings this as halacha. Beiur Halacha 261:2 "yeish omrim" quotes several poskim that believe that tosefet shabbat is a mitzva from the torah. Included in this is the Or Zarua Hilchot Erev Shabbat 20 Rambam as well as the Tur however do not mention the idea of Tosefet Shabbat anywhere. Maggid Mishneh in Hilchot Shvitat Esor 1:6, is quoted by the Beiur Halacha 261:2 "yeish omrim," as explaining it to be rabbinic according to the Rambam. The Kessef Mishne Hilchot Shabbat 4:3 says that the Rambam rejects the idea of adding on to shabbat entirely even midirabanan.
- Shemot (31:16) and the Or Hachaim on Shemot (31:16)
- Kaf Hachayim 261:16. Az Nidberu quotes the Ktav Sofer 56 who agrees.
- Shemirat Shabbat Kihilchita 46:5.
- Rabbi Doniel Neustadt (http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5762/lechlecha.html) writes that one should accept shabbat early after the silent shemona esreh. He adds that one may still answer kedusha based on Tzitz Eliezer 10:15(1) and Yabia Omer 6:21(3) who hold that even after one said maariv on Friday night one is allowed to answer kedusha of a minyan saying kedusha of mincha.
- Mishna Brurah 261:21 based on Rama 608:3 holds that a verbal declaration is needed and a acceptance in one's heart isn't sufficient. Shemirat Shabbat Kihilchita 46:2, Az Nidberu 1:1, Tehilah l'David 263:10. According to Rabbi Akiva Eiger 271:1 saying good shabbos may be enough of a declaration.
- 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1, pg 150) writes that no verbal declaration is needed rather once one resolves to accept Shabbat early Shabbat takes effect. This dispute may be reflected in a dispute in Mishna Brurah 553:2, who quotes Bach and Gra that it is sufficient.
- Rav Doniel Neustadt in http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5762/lechlecha.html quotes Aruch ha-Shulchan 261:2, Eretz Tzvi 60, Yabia Omer 7:34, Chidushei Ra'ah Berachos 26b, Beiur ha-Gr"a O.C. 393:2 and Chayei Adam 5:2, Shevet ha-Levi 10:50, Imrei Shalom 4:18 as possibly holding that even just refraining from doing any melacha is enough for tosefet shabbat and you don't even have to have it in mind.
- How long is Tosefet Shabbat? Rosh Brachot 4:6 and Tosafot Brachot 27a s.v. DeRav agree that one doesn’t have to accept Shabbat from Plag Mincha (from ten and three quarter hours). Nonetheless, the Rosh 4:6 writes that certainly there is a minimum time limit but leaves it unclear as to what the limit is. Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 18b s.v. Rav) quotes Rabbi Yacov who says that there’s no minimum time and any amount suffices.
- Shulchan Aruch 261:2 and 608:1 rules that there's no minimum requirement of time one needs to add to Shabbat to fulfill Tosefet Shabbat. 39 Melachos (vol 1, pg 150) rules like Shulchan Aruch that there's no specific minimum time for Tosefet Shabbat. 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, Hakdama LeMelachat Shabbat, note 667) quotes Rav Henkin who said that in order not to violate Shabbat and in order to fulfill Tosefet Shabbat one must add a few minutes before Shekiyah refraining from Melacha and agrees with this opinion. Eretz Tzvi 70 and Iggerot Moshe 1:96 suggest that one add at least two minutes, Avnei Nezer 4:98 suggests at least four minutes, while Minchat Elazar 1:23 and Teshuvot Maharshag 38 say at least 5.
- However, the Mishna Brurah 261:22 quotes the Rosh who argues that a certain amount of time is needed. Beiur Halacha s.v. Ayzo Zman posits that this period of time should be no longer than 3/4 of a mil (which is 13.5 minutes). The Mishna Brurah 261:23 concludes that in order to fulfill the mitzvah of Tosefet Shabbat (adding onto Shabbat) one should refrain from work from the time that the sun is seen at the top of the trees, or to be strict 30 or 20 minutes before Shekiyah. [Mishna Brurah (Shaar HaTziyun 261:21) explains that by refraining from melacha 20 minutes before sunset one will have satisfied the opinion of the Yerayim to consider the mil to be 24 minutes and 3/4 of a mil is 18 minutes.] 39 Melachos (Rabbi Ribiat, vol 1, pg 145) writes that it's not practical to rely upon the method of determining the beginning of Shabbat by looking at when the sun hits the tree tops but rather one should rely upon times printed on calendars made by halachic experts.
- Rav Hershel Schachter (Nefesh Harav pg. 154) quotes Rabbenu Peretz (Beitza 30a d"h Di'ha) that the minimum is 30 minutes, and adds from Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik that this was the practice in Europe to light candles 30 minutes before sunset.
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata chap 46 note 20.
- Shulchan Aruch 263:10, Mishna Brurah 261:28
- Shulchan Aruch 263:17, Mishna Brurah 263:64
- Taz 263:3 and Levush hold that one may do Hatarat Nedarim to annul one's early acceptance of Shabbat, while the Magen Avraham 263:31, Aruch HaShulchan 263:25, Mishna Brurah 263:5 hold that this annulment will not be effective to permit one to do Melacha. See Igrot Moshe 2:38
- Gemara Brachot 27b writes that on Friday afternoon someone who made a mistake and said Arvit early thinking it was nighttime according to Abaye he would have to pray again and it would be permissible to do Melacha. However, if it’s a community who made such a mistake Rebbe said that they do not have to repeat Shmoneh Esrei because of Tirech DeTzibbur. The Rosh 4:6, Tur, and S”A 263:14 rule that it’s permissible to do Melacha until they pray again, while the Magen Avraham 263:26 quotes many Rishonim (Or Zaruha, Rokeach, Raavan) who are strict and forbid Melacha since they don’t have to pray again.
- The Mishna (Brachot 26a) writes that according to Rabbi Yehuda one must pray Mincha prior to ten and three quarter hours while according to Rabbanan Mincha may be said until nighttime. According to Rabbi Yehuda the earliest time to say Mariv is ten and three quarter hours while according to Rabbanan the earliest time is nighttime.
- Many Rishonim (Tosfot (Brachot 2a s.v. MeMaymatai), Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 18b s.v. DeAved), Rosh (Brachot 4:3), Kesef Mishna (Tefillah 3:4), S”A 233:1) write that one must be consistent to either always follow Rabbi Yehuda or Rabbanan.
- In fact, the Tur 293 quotes the Ritz Gayit who argues that since the minhag is to pray Mincha during the week after Plag Mincha, on Friday night as well one may not pray early. [Similarly, Gemara Brachot 27a-b records the practice of Rav to pray Arvit early on Friday afternoon. Tosfot (Brachot 27a s.v. DeRav) understands that Rav held like Rabbi Yehuda that the latest time for Mincha is Plag Mincha (ten and three quarter hours) and the earliest time for Arvit is also Plag Mincha.]
- However, the Bet Yosef 267:2 argues based on the Rambam (Tefillah 3:7) and Rosh (Brachot 4:6) who simply codify the halacha of praying Arvit early on Friday that one is permitted to pray Arvit early even if one doesn’t do so during the week. [The same implication could be made from the Tur 267:1.] S”A codifies this as halacha that one is permitted to pray Arvit earlier than one does during the week.
- [Magen Avraham 267:1 at first questions this ruling of S”A because the Gemara Brachot 27a seems to assign Rav to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda meaning that one may only pray early on Friday night if one always follows Rabbi Yehuda. He adds that this is also implied from Kesef Mishna (Tefillah 3:7) who says that Friday night has the same status as the rest of the week. However, the Magen Avraham answers that the Gemara only meant to assign Rav to Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion in the initial discussion but in conclusion the Gemara reinterpreted the story of Rav to mean that one may pray Arvit earlier than one does during the week. Additionally he explains that Arvit was instituted corresponding to the limbs and fats burned at night, however, on Friday night the limbs and fats were not burnt after nightfall. Mishna Brurah 267:3 adds that the ruling of S”A is based on those who say that accepting Shabbat makes it considered as if it was night regarding prayer.]
- Nonetheless, the Mishna Brurah 267:3 writes that if one follows Rabbi Yehuda on Friday night (and prays Arvit early) one should make sure to say Mincha before Plag Mincha (ten and three quarter hours) so that one doesn’t contradict oneself within one night. The Beiur Halacha (267:2 s.v. VeBePlag) writes that even though there is a lenient opinion which permits a minyan to pray both Mincha and Arvit between Plag Mincha and nighttime, since the minhag isn’t to rely on this opinion during the week because this opinion isn’t supported by the Gemara on Friday night as well one shouldn’t rely on this opinion. The Mishna Brurah 267:3 writes that the only time to rely on this lenient opinion is in a need of great need and if one prays Arvit during the time of Bein HaShemashot. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 1, pg 204-5) writes that one shouldn't contradict oneself to pray Mincha after plag Mincha and Arvit before nighttime. Nonetheless, Menuchat Ahava (vol 1, chap 6, note 6) writes that it is completely permitted but the minhag is to pray Arvit after nightfall.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz quotes Rav Soleveitchik who held like the Mishna Brurah and concluded that one should pray Mincha privately without a minyan before Plag Mincha so as not to contradict oneself. He also writes that in order to avoid issues of Yuhara (appearing religiously arrogant) one should go to Mincha when the minyan is praying and pretend to pray along with them. see Nefesh Harav pg. 157-158 where Rav Hershel Schachter writes that Rav Soloveitchik would not daven Maariv after Plag Hamincha even if it was on Friday Afternoon for Tosefet Shabbat.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (The Aura of Shabbos p. 268) quotes Rav Elyashiv as saying that if someone has small children and will have to have the Shabbat meal early, it is preferable to eat the Shabbat meal after mincha before maariv and daven maariv after sunset rather than daven maariv before sunset. His reasoning was that it is problematic to daven maariv early in Israel since the minhag is to daven after sunset. Also, davening early involves saying Kriyat Shema before sunset.
- S”A 267:2
- Gemara Shabbat 118b quotes Rabbi Yose who prayed to have his portion among the people of Teveriyah who accepted Shabbat early. Rashi (D”H MeMachnisei) explains that since Teveriyah was in a valley and the sun appeared to set earlier the people would accept Shabbat early. Additionally, in Gemara Pesachim 105b Rav Nachman Bar Yitchak says that going into Shabbat the earlier one accepts Shabbat the better. Rashbam (D”H Ayulei) explains that it’s preferable because one is showing a love for the mitzvah to do it early and Zarizin Makdimin LeMitzvot (the enthusiastic are eager to do מצות early).
- How early can one accept Shabbat and light candles? Gemara Brachot 27a-b records the practice of Rav to pray Arvit early on Friday afternoon. Tosfot (Brachot 27a s.v. DeRav) understands that this practice of accepting Shabbat early and lighting Shabbat candles early is only permitted starting from Plag Mincha (ten and three quarter hours). Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 18b s.v. Rav Tzali), Mordechai (Brachot Siman 90), and Rosh (Brachot 4:6) agree. [This is how the Bet Yosef 263:4 and 267:2 understands the above Rishonim.]
- How early can one say Shema? The Rabbenu Yonah (18b s.v. Rav Tzali) and Rosh (Brachot 4:6) add that one who prays Arvit early should only say Shmoneh Esrei early and say Brachot Shema and Shema after Tzet HaKochavim. Even though one is losing out on juxtaposing Shema to Shmoneh Esrei it’s preferable to accept Shabbat early because of the mitzvah to add from the week onto Shabbat. The Rambam (Tefillah 3:7) agrees that it’s an issue to separate Shema from Shmoneh Esrei against the Raavad.
- The S”A 235:1 concludes that even though the halacha accepts the opinions that one doesn’t fulfill Shema before Tzet HaKochavim if one is praying in a minyan which is praying Arvit before Tzet HaKochavim one should still pray Shema with the Brachot together with the minyan and repeat Shema after Tzet HaKochavim. (See further discussion there).
- Mishna Brurah 267:4
- Bach 473 writes that one can't have the Shabbat meal before nightfall. However, Taz argues and permits having a meal before nightfall. Chaye Adam (Shabbat 6:2) and Mishna Brurah 267:5 rule that one can have one's meal early but one should preferably have a Kezayit of food after nightfall to satisfy the opinion of the Bach.
- In Gemara Brachot 27b Shmuel says that if one accepted Shabbat early one may make Kiddish early (before nighttime). This is brought as halacha by the Rif (Brachot 18b, on the bottom), Rosh (Brachot 4:6, at the end), and Rambam (Shabbat 29:11). The S”A 267:2 writes that one may even before nighttime implying that one may make Kiddish early. The Mishna Brurah 267:5 writes explicitly that one may make Kiddish before nighttime.
- [The Mishna Brurah 267:5 writes the reason one may make Kiddish before nightfall is because the acceptance of Shabbat early makes it considered as if it was already Shabbat. See Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 1 pg 201-4) who discusses how the Rambam could hold of this considering that he omits the entire idea of Tosefet Shabbat (accepting Shabbat early).]
- The Bet Yosef 267:2 quotes the Mahari Avuhav who infers from the Rosh who says that one should wait to have Matza on Pesach after nightfall that on a regular Shabbat one could fulfill one’s obligation of the Shabbat meal before nighttime. The Magen Avraham 267:1 (at the end) agrees that from many Rishonim it’s implied that one who makes early Shabbat may have one’s meal early, however, the Shelah and Bach say that one must have at least a Kezayit of bread after Tzet HaKochavim. Mishna Brurah 267:5 rules that preferably one should be concerned for the strict opinions to have at least a Kezayit of bread after nightfall. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 1 pg 201-4) agrees that preferably one should be concerned for the strict opinions one’s entire meal after nightfall.
- Mishna Brurah 271:11 quoting the Magen Avraham,
- Kaf Hachayim 271:22 and 272:3 says that it is not proper to do these mitzvot out of sequence. The Gra in Maasei Rav 117 also says that it is forbidden for more than just kabbalistic reasons.
- The Bet Yosef 267:2 asks that even if one is permitted to have one’s Shabbat meal before nighttime how could it permitted to eat before saying Shema. The Bet Yosef answers that even though we hold that one doesn’t fulfill Shema until Tzet HaKochavim since many opinions hold that one may fulfill saying Shema earlier it’s not considered like eating before having said Shema.
- The Magen Avraham 267:2 argues on the Bet Yosef and says that since one didn’t fulfill Shema one may begin one’s meal within a half hour of Tzet HaKochavim.
- Mishna Brurah 267:6 rules that if there’s less than a half hour before Tzet HaKochavim one shouldn’t begin one’s meal because according to many opinions one hasn’t fulfilled one’s obligation of Shema, however, those who do begin the meal at that time have what to rely on. Nonetheless, concludes Mishna Brurah, whether or not one eats one’s meal early one must make sure to repeat Shema after Tzet HaKochavim. Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat vol 1 pg 201-4) agrees that one should make sure to start one’s meal before a half hour before Tzet HaKochavim.
- Shulchan Aruch 263:15. Avnei Yashfei 1:56 quotes Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv as saying that if one didn't actively accept shabbat you can still daven Mincha afterwards because you haven't officially taken on shabbat.
- Shulchan Aruch 263:15, Mishna Brurah 263:58
- Shulchan Aruch 263:16, Mishna Brurah 263:63