Halacha for Tuesday 5 Kislev 5782 November 9 2021

May Women Eat Before Reciting Kiddush?

Question: Regarding the law that we discussed yesterday that after Shabbat morning prayers one may not taste anything without reciting Kiddush but before prayers, one may drink tea and coffee. Does the same law apply to women in that they may not eat after prayers before reciting Kiddush but they may drink before prayers or is their law different?

Answer: In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one may not taste any food or beverage before reciting Kiddush. We have explained that this applies only when the individual has already become obligated to recite Kiddush, i.e. if he has prayed already. Nevertheless, before morning prayers, one is not yet obligated to recite Kiddush and one may therefore drink tea or coffee as one would any other weekday, for one only becomes obligated to recite Kiddush after morning prayers.

Let us now discuss the law regarding women. This issue can really be split into two primary focuses.

Firstly, as we have established in the past, a woman is not obligated to pray three times a day; rather, she is only obligated to pray once daily. A woman may choose whichever prayer she wishes on any given day, either Shacharit, Mincha, or Arvit. Thus, it seems clear that a woman may not taste anything without first reciting Kiddush after she has already prayed, for at that point, she already becomes obligated in the Mitzvah of Kiddush and she may not taste anything beforehand. Thus, a woman who has prays Shacharit and Mussaf shares the same law as a man and she may drink tea or coffee before praying. However, once she has prayed, she may not taste anything until she recites Kiddush.

The question ensues regarding a woman who does not customarily pray Shacharit and Mussaf. There is room to claim that since this woman does not pray Shacharit, she becomes obligated to recite Kiddush immediately upon awakening from her sleep in the morning (since her obligation of Kiddush is not contingent on prayer since she does not pray) and thus, she may not taste anything at all until she recites Kiddush on a cup of wine.

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes in his Sefer Chazon Ovadia that women who do not pray Shacharit and Mussaf but feel weakness may drink tea or coffee on Shabbat morning although they have not yet recited Kiddush. The reason for this is because although according to the Rambam and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, one may not taste anything before reciting the day Kiddush, nevertheless according to the Ra’avad, one may eat before reciting the Shabbat day Kiddush, for according to his opinion, the only time one may not eat before Kiddush is on Shabbat night but not on Shabbat day since it is not as stringent as the night Kiddush.

Although, halachically speaking, we follow the opinion of the Rambam who rules that it is forbidden to eat before reciting the day Kiddush as well, nevertheless, there is room in such a situation to combine the opinion of the Meiri who maintains that women are completely exempt from the Shabbat day Kiddush. When combining both of these opinions (the Ra’avad and the Meiri) there is room to allow women who experience some weakness or light-headedness to drink something when they wake up on Shabbat morning although they have not yet recited Kiddush on a cup of wine.

Summary: Women who pray Shacharit and Mussaf on Shabbat may drink tea or coffee before praying. After praying, they become obligated to recite Kiddush and they may not taste anything until they do so, as is the law regarding men. A woman who does not pray at all on Shabbat morning, because she is busy tending to her children and the like, may drink some tea or coffee upon awakening in the morning in order to give her strength although she has not yet recited Kiddush on a cup of wine.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Walking on One’s Way

Question: If one is eating while walking outdoors, may one recite Birkat Hamazon while continuing to walk? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that our Sages have enacted that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while sitting in order for the individual to have maximum concentration. ......

Read Halacha

The Significance of Tu Bishvat

The Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees (Rosh Hashanah 2a). Most people commonly think that just as on the First of Tishrei, which is the day of Rosh Hashanah, all creations are judged for life or death, for wealth or poverty, and the like, so too, on Tu Bishvat, trees a......

Read Halacha

A Dish Comprised of Several Kinds of Food

Question: What is the correct blessing on stuffed peppers? Similarly, what is the correct blessing on a cake which has just a little flour but the primary ingredients of the cake are fruits and nuts? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that when one eats two different foods requirin......

Read Halacha

Foods Which Contain Flour

During the past few days, we have discussed that when a dish is comprised of several different foods which require different blessings, one should recite the blessing on the primary food in the dish. Thus, if one eats grape leaves stuffed with rice, one should recite the Mezonot blessing, for the ri......

Read Halacha


Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Seated

Question: Is one obligated to sit while reciting Birkat Hamazon or is it permissible to recite it while walking as well? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (51b) states that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while seated. The Poskim as well as Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 183) rule li......

Read Halacha

The Law that the Blessing on a Primary Food Exempts a Secondary Food

Next Sunday night marks Tu Bishvat, a day we customarily recite many blessings. We shall therefore discuss the laws of blessing for the next several days. The Mishnah in Masechet Berachot (44a) states: “The rule is: If there is a primary food and a secondary food along with it, one recites ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of a Primary and Secondary Food Regarding Blessings

Question: If one eats a slice of bread along with fish, is it possible that one only recites a blessing on the fish and the bread will be considered secondary to the fish and exempted by it? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained the basic laws of primary and secondary foods regarding ......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha