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

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

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israe......

Read Halacha

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing on Fruits

In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings. Thus, if one wishes to partake of apples and dates, one must recite the blessing on the dates, for they are one of the Seven Species. Precedence Regarding Blessing-Only Preferable Maran Ha’Be......

Read Halacha


Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing. Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz”......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings

On the night of Tu Bishvat, which will fall out this coming Wednesday night, it is customary to eat a variety of fruits. We shall therefore learn the proper order of the Blessings of Enjoyment during the coming days. We should point out that these laws are fairly simple but we will need to discus......

Read Halacha