Halacha for Thursday 28 Av 5779 August 29 2019

Fasting on Shabbat

Question: Is there anything halachically wrong with starting the Shabbat day meal in the afternoon?

Answer: We have already explained above regarding the laws of “the Mitzvah of enjoyment of Shabbat” that one is fully obligated to enjoy Shabbat through eating and drinking, as the verse in Yeshaya (Chapter 58) states, “And you shall call Shabbat [a day of] pleasure.” Thus, one may not fast on Shabbat, for by doing so, one is preventing himself from enjoying Shabbat.

The Sages tell us in the Gemara Masechet Pesachim (12b) that whoever does not taste anything until the sixth hour of the day (which is halachic midday) is considered to be “throwing a pebble into the flask” by eating from this point on. This means that it is not healthy at all to begin eating breakfast past midday. The Poskim therefore write that even on a regular weekday, one should not delay eating breakfast past six hours from the beginning of the morning. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules likewise in Chapter 157. We see clearly that one should not push off eating breakfast so much, even on a regular weekday; rather, one should be careful to eat before midday, meaning before six seasonal hours into the day. 

The Talmud Yerushalmi quotes Rabbi Acha and Rabbi Avhu who said in the name of Rabbi Yose bar Chanina that one may not fast until the sixth hour of the day on Shabbat. The Rif and the Rosh (Chapter 1 of Masechet Shabbat) as well as the Tur and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 288) all rule likewise. Obviously, regarding all of these laws there is no distinction between men and women, for all are obligated in the Mitzvah of enjoying Shabbat.

Based on this, the Turei Zahav writes that communities that would customarily fast on Shabbat until midday in order to nullify certain harsh decrees that were decreed upon them are acting incorrectly, for by doing so, they are also nullifying the enjoyment of Shabbat.

However, if one knows beforehand that for whatever reason, one will not be able to eat before midday on Shabbat, one should make sure to taste a little food or drink in the morning, such as water, coffee, or tea, so that it will not be considered like one is fasting. The Peri Megadim writes this as well. This is the proper procedure for Rosh Hashanah and Simchat Torah as well if one knows that one will not have the opportunity to eat before midday. However, on Shabbat one must finish eating the Shabbat day meal early enough for one to be able to eat the third Shabbat meal as well.

At this time of year in Jerusalem, halachic midday is approximately 12:40 PM. In New York, it is at approximately 12:55 PM. One can find this time updated weekly or even daily in some of the more detailed Jewish calendars.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor- Coronavirus

“Remember What Amalek Has Done to You” On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Vayikra this year, 577......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim- Coronavirus

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha

The Days of Purim and the Laws of Mishloach Manot- 5781

The Days of Purim Purim will be celebrated in approximately two weeks from today. This year, we must discuss several unique laws, first of all, because Purim day (the 14th of Adar) falls out on a Friday. Second of all, in Jerusalem, a “three-day Purim” will be celebrated since the 15th ......

Read Halacha


The Mitzvah of the Purim Feast This Year (5781)

Holding the Purim Feast at Night The holiday of Purim is different than all other holidays we celebrate in that whereas regarding other holidays the Mitzvah of partaking of a joyous holiday meal applies during the day and night, regarding the holiday of Purim, there is only a Mitzvah to hold a feas......

Read Halacha

 A Joint Mishloach Manot by Husband and Wife

Question: On Purim I stay home and I do not give out my own Mishloach Manot. May I fulfill my obligation by sending a joint Mishloach Manot along with my husband? Answer: First, let us discuss the obligation of women with regards to Mishloach Manot. A Woman’s Obligation in Mishloach Mano......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Joy and Torah Learning on Purim Day

There is a Mitzvah eat heartily during the Purim Feast. One should preferably eat bread during this meal. The Rambam (Chapter 2 of Hilchot Megillah, Halacha 15) writes: “What is the extent of one’s obligation during this feast? One should eat meat and prepare a delicious meal to the b......

Read Halacha

Sucking On a Fruit

Question: If one sucks on an orange or a grapefruit but does not chew it with one’s teeth, must one recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” like on other fruits or should one recite the “Shehakol” blessing like one would when drinking other fruit juices? Answer: Indeed,......

Read Halacha