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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos Related to Shavuos

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.For final rulings, consult your Rav.


When Shabbos falls immediately after Yom Tov, or when the second day of Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, a Rabbinic ordinance prohibits cooking or baking on Yom Tov for Shabbos unless an eiruv tavshilin was prepared on Erev Yom Tov(1). The Talmud offers two explanations for this ordinance(2).

1. To guard the honor of Shabbos - The rabbis feared that when Yom Tov falls on Friday, one may become so preoccupied [on Erev Yom Tov] with his Yom Tov needs that he will neglect his Shabbos preparations. Thus they required that a token Shabbos food be prepared before the onset of Yom Tov(3).

2. To guard the sanctity of Yom Tov - The rabbis feared that were it permitted to cook on Yom Tov for Shabbos without making a manifest sign that the cooking is being done for Shabbos, some people might assume that it is permitted to cook on Yom Tov even for the weekday, which is strictly forbidden. The purpose of the eiruv, then, is to serve as a reminder that on Yom Tov it is permitted to cook only for Shabbos and not for weekday.


Two types of food, one cooked and one baked(4), are set aside. They are held in the right hand(5) and, while standing(6), the blessing - followed by the appropriate text - is recited.

Since the meaning of the text must be understood in order for the eiruv may to be valid, the text should be recited in a language that one understands(7).

The eiruv should be held the entire time while one is reciting the blessing and the text(8).

The cooked food should be at least a k'zayis. The baked food should be at least a k'beitza.

The cooked food should be the type of food which is served as a main dish, e.g., meat, fish or eggs. Deserts may not be used(9).

The cooked food should be refrigerated so that it does not spoil. It it rots, cooking for Shabbos is forbidden(10).

The eiruv may be prepared and the blessing and text recited on the night before Erev Yom Tov(11). Others allow this only under extenuating circumstances(12).


B'dieved if the eiruv is made using a cooked item only, or if only a cooked food is available, the eiruv is valid - even for baking(13). The reverse, however, does not hold true.

If the proper blessing is omitted but the text is recited, the eiruv is valid(14).

If the proper text is omitted it is questionable if the eiruv is valid. If one remembered before Yom Tov that he omitted the proper text, he should repeat the process reciting the text without repeating the blessing(15). If he remembered only after the onset of Yom Tov, he should consult a rav.


The cooked food should be specifically cooked on Erev Yom Tov for Shabbos and for eiruv tavshilin(16).

The cooked food should be a sizable portion(17). Others suggest that it should be a k'beitza(18).

The cooked food should be either meat or fish only(19).

The baked food should be whole, e.g. a whole challah or matzah(20).

The challah or matzah should be used for lechem mishneh on Friday night and Shabbos morning, and broken and eaten at Seudah Shelishis(21).

The cooked food should be eaten at one of the Shabbos meals(22).


L'chatchilah, all the food which is prepared on Yom Tov for Shabbos should be edible on Yom Tov(23). This includes hot water which is boiled for Shabbos. B'dieved, or under extenuating circumstances, it is permitted to cook on Friday for Shabbos even if the food will not be edible by the time Shabbos arrives(24).

When the first day of Yom Tov falls on Thursday, the cooking for Shabbos may not take place on Thursday(25). It may, however, begin on Thursday night, which is already the second day of Yom Tov(26).

Only one eiruv tavshilin per household is required. It includes all of the people who reside in the house, including married children and guests who are spending the Yom Tov as part of that household(27).

Eiruv tavshilin is required not just for cooking and baking but also for any food-related activities that are needed for Shabbos, e.g., grinding, choosing, insulating, carrying, washing dishes and lighting candles. One who failed to make an eiruv tavshilin cannot do any of these activities on Yom Tov for Shabbos.

A person [or a household] who is not planning to cook or prepare anything on Yom Tov for Shabbos is not technically required to make an eiruv tavshilin. Nevertheless, the poskim strongly recommend that each person [or household] prepare an eiruv tavshilin in the event that something will have to be prepared for Shabbos(28).


One who forgot to prepare an eiruv tavshilin on erev Yom Tov before sunset may not cook on Friday for Shabbos. There are several strategies that can rectify this oversight, but they are too complex to fully describe here and should only be implemented with rabbinic guidance. Under certain circumstances one may(29):

1.Make an eiruv tavshilin after sunset during bein ha-shemashos(30). Once Maariv was davened, eiruv tavshilin cannot be made.

2.Make an eiruv tavshilin while in shul even though he does not have immediate access to cooked food(31).

3.Make an eiruv on the first day of Yom Tov [except Rosh ha-Shanah] which falls on a Thursday(32).

4.Rely on the Rabbi's eiruv which is intended to include all those who inadvertently forgot or were unable at the last minute to make an eiruv(33). This can be not relied upon for one who did not make an eiruv due to negligence(34).

5.Cook extra food for Yom Tov so that he will have food left over for Shabbos(35).

6.Give his raw ingredients to another person [who made en eiruv] to cook, and that person will cook for him. The cooking may take place in his house(36).


1 M'deoraissa, there is no restriction on cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbos for either one of the following two reasons: 1) Shabbos and Yom Tov are considered as one day [as Yom Tov is also called Shabbos in the Torah]; just as it is permitted to cook for Yom Tov it is permitted to cook for Shabbos. 2) Even though one is really cooking for Shabbos, were unexpected company to show up, the food could be used for the guests. In essence, therefore, one is really cooking "for a Yom Tov need"; see Pesachim 46b for a through treatment of this complex issue.

2 Beitzah 16b. In practical halachah, however, the second reason is the dominant one; Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 527:67.

3 Our explanation follows the Meiri. See Rashi and Ran who give different explanations.

4 The cooked item is to permit cooking on Yom Tov and the baked item is to permit baking. One who is not planning to bake for Shabbos does not need to prepare a baked food for eiruv tavshilin (Mishnah Berurah 527:6). It is customary, however, to use a baked food for eiruv tavshilin regardless.

5 Mishnah Berurah 206:18.

6 Mishnah Berurah 8:2.

7 Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 527:55.

8 Based on Teshuvos M'harsham 2:36.

9 Based on Beiur Halachah 527:5.

10 Aruch ha-Shulchan 527:13.

11 Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (oral ruling, Koveitz Mevakshei Torah, pg. 216).

12 Harav S. Wosner (quoted in Eiruv Tavshilin ha-Aruch 2 16:3).

13 Mishnah Berurah 527:7.

14 Mishnah Berurah 527:64.

15 Ibid. 63.

16 Beiur Halachah 527:6 and 14 (s.v. l'chatchilah). The baked item, however, does not need to be especially baked for Shabbos.

17 Mishnah Berurah 527:8.

18 Eishel Avraham 527:7.

19 Harav S. Wosner (Koveitz Mibeis Levi 1, pg. 52).

20 Ibid.

21 Mishnah Berurah 527:11;48.

22 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Tikunim u'Miluim 2, note 35.)

23 In order to satisfy the second reason quoted above in note 1.

24 Mishnah Berurah 527:3 and Beiur Halachah. Other poskim are more lenient and allow this even l'chatchilah; see Aruch ha-Shulchan 527:3.

25 O.C. 527:13.

26 Harav Y. Kamenetsky (Emes L'Yaakov O.C. 527).

27 Eishel Avraham 527; Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (Koveitz Mevakshei Torah 49, pg. 218). Two or more individual families who are sharing one house, or a person who is sleeping in a hotel and eating elsewhere, should make their own eiruv tavshilin without reciting the blessing.

28 Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20-26; Moadim u'Zmanim 7:122.

29 These options apply also to one who made eiruv tavshilin, but it was either lost, eaten or got spoiled before cooking for Shabbos.

30 O.C. 527:1. The blessing is recited.

31 Minchas Yitzchak 7:36 based on Tiferes Yisrael, Beitza 2:1; Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Me'or ha-Shabbos vol. 1, pg. 493 and vol. 2, pg. 633). No blessing is recited. Other poskim do not agree with this option.

32 O.C. 527:22. A special text is recited.

33 O.C. 527: 7. Some poksim hold that one may rely on the Rabbi's eiruv only one time (Mishnah Berurah 527:22) while others hold that it can be relied upon even more than once (Aruch ha-Shulchan 527:18).

34 Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 527:32.

35 O.C. 527:21. Thus it is permitted to cook many different foods, so long as one will partake of each of them on Yom Tov; Mishnah Berurah 71.

36 O.C. 527:20.

Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 2000 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross andProject Genesis, Inc.

Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of YavneTeachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a dailyMishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.

The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir benHinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr.Jeffrey Gross

The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of CongregationShomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRavYisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra



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