Halacha for Thursday 23 Tevet 5781 January 7 2021

Washing Dishes on Shabbat

Preparing for a Weekday on Shabbat
The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (118a) teaches us that one may not prepare from Shabbat for weekdays, i.e. one may not perform an action on Shabbat if it is not necessary for the day of Shabbat itself. For instance, one may not warm up a food on Shabbat to be eaten on Motza’ei Shabbat.

The Gemara (ibid.) continues that it is likewise forbidden to wash dishes on Shabbat when this is being done for Motza’ei Shabbat, meaning that there is no longer use for them on Shabbat. The reason for this prohibition is so that one does not exert one’s self on Shabbat for a matter that is not necessary for the actual honor of Shabbat (Ra’avad Chapter 23, Halacha 7 of Hilchot Shabbat and Magid Mishneh ibid. in the name of the Rambam).

Washing Dishes after the Third Shabbat Meal
Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 323) states: “One may wash dishes on Shabbat in honor of the day, for instance, if one still has a meal remaining. However, after the third Shabbat meal, dishes may not be washed. Vessels used for drinking may be washed all day, for one is able to drink the entire day.”

Washing Glasses
Based on this, vessels used for drinking, such as glasses and the like, may be washed even after the third Shabbat meal, since it is entirely possible that these vessels may be used after the meal. However, vessels used for eating, such as plates, silverware, and the like, may not be washed after the third Shabbat meal.

Washing Glasses after Sunset
Clearly, if the third Shabbat meal was eaten at a late hour such that it was concluded after sunset, glasses and other vessels used for drinking may not be washed after the meal since it is prohibited to drink after the meal (following sunset) until Havdala is performed.

Washing Dishes Which Are Necessary for Use after the Third Shabbat Meal
The opposite applies as well regarding dishes used for eating, such as plates and silverware, in that if the third Shabbat meal was eaten at an early hour and the family would like to use these dishes again, they may be washed even after the third Shabbat meal, for the only reason this is usually prohibited is because one does not generally eat anymore after the third Shabbat meal; however, if one knows that one will make use of these dishes again on Shabbat, they may be washed.

Although Maran zt”l rules stringently on this matter in his Livyat Chen (page 103) based on the opinion of the Meiri who prohibits washing dishes after the third Shabbat meal even if one intends to use the dishes again on Shabbat, nevertheless, he has since found a ruling in the Tosafot Rid (Rabbeinu Yeshaya of Tarani) that as long as one intends to use the dishes again on Shabbat, they may be washed even after the third Shabbat meal. (It seems that the Bet Yosef in Chapter 514 rules likewise.) Thus, one may be lenient in this regard.

Summary: One may wash dishes on Shabbat when these dishes are necessary for Shabbat itself. However, after eating the third Shabbat meal when one does not intend to use these dishes anymore, one may not wash them.

Glasses and other vessels used for drinking may be washed even after the third Shabbat meal (before sunset) since it is possible that they will still be used on Shabbat itself.

In the following Halacha, we shall, G-d-willing, deal with this matter further.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of the Night of Shavuot

The Source for the Order of the Night of Shavuot The widespread custom among the entire Jewish nation is to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot and immerse one’s self in Torah study until dawn. Indeed, the holy Zohar states: “The earlier righteous individuals would not sleep on this ......

Read Halacha

Blessings of Enjoyment and Keri’at Shema on the Night of Shavuot

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed the order of learning for the night of Shavuot during which it is customary to remain awake all night and study Torah. Reading the Order of the “Keri’eh Mo’ed” Let us first discuss that which we have mentioned that it is proper t......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Praying Repeatedly-A Spark of Ruach Ha’Kodesh

Question: Is it correct for one to plead and beseech Hashem for the same thing every single day or is it more proper to pray for a certain matter only several times and if one sees that one has not been answered, one should cease praying for that specific matter? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 32b)......

Read Halacha


Donating Tzedakah (Charity) in Order for One’s Son to Recover From an Illness

Question: Is it permissible to donate a sum of money to charity in the merit of which someone should become healed or for any other personal request or is it improper to do this since the Mitzvah is not being performed for the sake of Heaven, rather, for one’s personal purposes? Answer: The......

Read Halacha

Walking a Dog on Shabbat

Question: If one has a pet dog at home, either for leisure or as a seeing-eye dog for a blind individual, may one move it on Shabbat? Similarly, may one walk the dog in the street on Shabbat? Answer: We have explained in the previous Halacha that all animals are considered Muktzeh on Shabbat as M......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Chazzan’s Repetition of the Amida

-------------------------------- Along with the rest of the Jewish nation, we are heartbroken and mourn the loss of those who passed in the horrific Meron tragedy on Lag Ba’Omer. May their souls be bound in the binding of eternal life and may Hashem send consolation to their families and ma......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Bedtime Keri’at Shema Regarding Women and Following Halachic Midnight

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing before reciting the bedtime Keri’at Shema. This blessing should be recited along with Hashem’s name like all other blessings. We have also explained that although one should preferably ta......

Read Halacha