Sunday, 29 December 2013

Eating Before Kiddush on Shabbos Morning

Question: I find it difficult to wait until after shul to hear kiddush. Can I eat before davening?
Answer: Rambam (Shabbos 29:10) and Shulchan Aruch (OC 289:1) write that one is not allowed to eat anything before kiddush. Ra’avad disagrees, as one has already recited kiddush the previous night (See Magen Avraham OC 289:1).
Some chassidim (See Igros Kodesh 10 p326) rely on this Ra’avad, and eat a light breakfast before shacharis to better enable them to daven.
R’ Ben Zion Abba Shaul, (Ohr Letzion 2:7:8) however, writes that it would be preferable to stay home and daven rather than eat before going to shul.
While one mustn’t eat a meal before davening, the Shulchan Aruch allows one to have a drink of water as one isn’t obligated to make kiddush until after davening. The Kaf Hachaim (OC 289:16) extends this to tea and coffee, etc. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 2:26) writes, however, that one who must eat for health reasons before shacharis, must recite kiddush before eating.
While some rishonim (Rashba; Maharam Chalava, Pesachim 106a) hold that women do not need to hear kiddush during the day, the Mishna Berura (271:3) writes that women must recite (or hear) kiddush in the same way that they have to observe all other laws of Shabbos.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 52, n46) held that women should recite kiddush before eating. However, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:101:2) permitted married women to eat before they daven and their husbands return from shul, explaining that during that time, it is like a man who has not yet davened, and who is not yet obligated to make kiddush. The Minchas Yitzchak (4:28) allowed women to rely on the lenient rishonim when necessary (See Machazeh Eliyahu 33:3).
In conclusion, one can certainly have a drink before davening even without hearing kiddush. While many chassidim eat some cake before davening, most poskim say that one shouldn’t eat before hearing kiddush. While it is best for women to hear kiddush first, they may eat before davening if necessary.

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