Perhaps there is no greater expression of taking care of one’s own needs than going shopping. In this light, the halachah is that one may not go to the store to purchase something before praying (Mishnah Berurah 89,36). However, there are a number of situations where one is actually honoring Hashem through his shopping.
Note the following scenario. A mother is preparing food for her children who will only eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, and the jelly is finished. Under these or similar circumstances, it is permitted to go to the store to buy food for the children (Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, as cited in Tefillah K’Hilchasa 6,18). After purchasing the jelly, she can finish off the job and make the sandwiches as well (Rav Shlomo Zalman Aeurbach as cited in Tefillah K’Hilchasa 6).
Erev Shabbos is hectic, and possibly the only time to purchase one’s Shabbos food is early in the morning, before tefillah. Alternatively, the local store might carry limited stock, making it necessary to get there early to buy quality food. Shopping for Shabbos is considered to be cheftzei Shamayim, and is permitted before praying (Mishnah Berurah 250,1).
Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org