Eating before Davening
Shacharit[edit | edit source]
- If one slept and woke up after Chatzot it’s preferable not to eat before Davening unless there’s a need, however drinking is permissible until Olot HaShachar.  Regarding whether one may eat before a fast prior to Olot HaShachar see Fast Days.
- It’s forbidden to eat a KeBaytzah of bread or Pas HaBah Bekisnin or to drink an intoxicating drink after a half hour prior to Olot HaShachar.  If one began before this, one may continue until Olot HaShachar. 
- It’s forbidden to eat or drink after Olot HaShachar until one prays except for water or tea without sugar or milk, but the minhag is to be lenient to have coffee and tea even with sugar and milk added. 
Mincha[edit | edit source]
- According to Ashkenazim, there is what to rely on to be lenient to eat a meal before Mincha except for having a big meal (like the meal of a wedding or Brit Milah) from the beginning of the tenth hour of the day (a half hour before Mincha Ketana) before praying Mincha for which there is no leniency to rely on. Nonetheless, it’s preferable to be strict not to have a big meal from the beginning of the seventh hour (midday) before praying Mincha. 
- According to Sephardim, it is preferable not to have a big (like the meal of a wedding or Brit Milah) or small meal (greater than a KeBaytzah of bread) from the beginning of the seventh hour (midday), however, the minhag is to be lenient and hold like the same halacha as Ashkenazim (see above) and there is what to rely on. 
- This prohibition to eat before Mincha only applies to having a small meal which is more than a KeBaytzah of bread, however, a snack such as a KeBaytzah of bread or less or a lot of fruit is permissible. 
- However, some say if one always goes to minyan and there’s a set time, it’s permissible to eat, even after 9½ hours except having a feast such as a wedding or Brit Milah after 9 hours. 
Arvit[edit | edit source]
- From a half hour before Tzet HaChachavim (of the Geonim, not רבינו תם) it’s forbidden to eat a meal (2 kezaytim of bread or Pas HaBah Bekisnin) until one has said Arvit (Shema and Shemoneh Esrei). 
- Some say that if one always goes to minyan and there’s a set time, it’s permissible, even after Tzet HaChachavim except by a feast such as a wedding or Brit Milah one shouldn’t start after Tzet. 
Mussaf[edit | edit source]
- Once the time for Mussaf (from Olot HaShachar) it’s forbidden to eat a meal (more than a KeBaytzah of bread) before praying Mussaf, however, it’s permissible to have a KeBaytzah of bread or a lot of fruit. 
- The custom is to be lenient to permit eating even more than a Kabaytzah of baked Mezonot (cakes and cookies) before Mussaf after having made Kiddish. 
- If one does eat before Mussaf one must first do Kiddish and have a Revi'it of wine or eat a Kezayit of baked mezonot (cakes and cookies) in order to fulfill Kiddish. 
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Mishna Brurah 89:27
- Mishna Brurah 89:27, Piskei Teshuvot 89:21, Ishei Yisrael 13:26
- S”A 89:5, Mishna Brurah 89:27
- Ishei Yisrael 13:25, Piskei Teshuvot 89:17, Shearim Metsuyim BeHalacha 8:1. [Rabbi Hershel Schachter (OU Kosher Webcast, min 28-30) says that it's not permitted to eat before davening even if one will not have a chance to eat later and advises taking food with you to work or the Beit Midrash to eat later after davening.
- See next footnote
- The Mishna (Shabbat 9b) writes that one may not start a meal close to the time of Mincha and if one started one may continue. The Gemara 9b initially posits that this prohibition must only apply from Mincha Katana because why would it start from Mincha Gedolah isn’t there a lot of time from Mincha Gedolah (and one will certainly have time to pray). Then the Gemara says that the fact that the Mishna states that if one started one doesn’t have to stop the meal contradicts Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi who says one may not taste food before Mincha. Rather, says the Gemara, the Mishna was talking about having a big meal (before Mincha Gedolah) and this doesn’t contradict Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi who forbad eating after Mincha Ketana. Then the Gemara quotes a second opinion, Rav Acha Bar Yacov who says that the Mishna means that one can’t have even a small meal before Mincha Gedolah.
- The Rishonim (early authorities) discuss what is the halacha based on the Gemara Brachot 28b which states that the halacha doesn’t follow Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi.
- The Baal HaMoer (Shabbat 3b s.v. Matni Lo Yeshev) says that we hold like the first thought of the Gemara that the Mishna forbids having a big meal before Mincha Ketana, however, it’s permissible to have a big or small meal before Mincha Gedolah. Additionally, if one started having a meal before Mincha Ketana one may continue the meal. This is quoted (as an individual opinion) by the Ran Shabbat 4a s.v. Aval and Bet Yosef 232:2. The Rashba (Shabbat 9b s.v. VeYeInyan Pesak Halacha) initially agrees with the Baal HaMoar but then concludes that it should also be prohibited to have a big meal before Mincha Gedolah.
- The Ri (quoted by Tur 232:2) says that we hold like the first answer of the Gemara that there’s only a prohibition for having a big meal before Gedolah and there’s no prohibition to have a small meal neither before Mincha Gedolah or Mincha Ketana. This is also the opinion of Rabbenu Tam according to the Rosh (Brachot 4:11).
- The Rabbenu Tam (quoted by the Tur 232:2) says that we hold like the first answer of the Gemara and the primary prohibition is having a big meal before Mincha Gedolah. However, there’s a second prohibition of having a small meal before Mincha Ketana. Additionally, if one began before Mincha Gedolah one may continue however if one before before Mincha Ketana one should stop. This is also the opinion of Tosfot (Shabbat 9b s.v. BeTisporet).
- The Rif (Shabbat 4a) rules like Rav Acha Bar Yacov that one may not have a small or big meal from before Mincha Gedolah. Rambam (Tefillah 6:5) holds like the Rif. The Rosh (Brachot 4:11, Shabbat 1:18) quotes the opinions of Tosfot and Rif and the Tur in C”M 5 writes that the Rosh agrees to the Rif, while the Bet Yosef C”M 5 questions this. The Rosh (Shabbat 1:18) writes that the Rabbenu Yonah agrees with the Rif. The Rashba (Shabbat 9b s.v. VeYeInyan Pesak Halacha) writes that his Rebbe (the Ramban) agreed with the Rif. S”A 232:2 rules like the Rif.
- The Rama 232:2 writes that one may be more lenient than S”A to have a small meal before Mincha Gedolah and before Mincha Ketana but one should still be strict like the Ri not to have a big meal even before Mincha Gedolah and the Minhag is even more lenient to permit any meal except for a big meal before Mincha Katana (which is a combination of the leniency of the Baal HaMoar and the leniency of the Ri). [The Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 635) writes that this is also the opinion of the Mordechai. However, the Mordechai in Shabbat (Siman 225) seems to hold like Rabbenu Tam.]
- The achronim discuss whether the leniency to permit having a small meal even before Mincha Ketana allows one to have a small meal at any time or only until the actual time of Mincha Ketana (nine and a half hour and not the beginning of the ninth hour). The Magan Avraham 232:15 is strict, however, the Mahariv is lenient. Mishna Brurah 232:26 is lenient.
- The Rama 232:2 defines a big meal as a meal of wedding or Brit Milah. This is based on the Tosfot (Shabbat 9b s.v. BeTisporet) who says that a big meal like those of an engagement, wedding, or Brit Milah. The Bet Yosef 232:2 quotes the Hagahot Maimonot (Tefillah 6:7) who writes that a Shabbat or Yom Tov meal isn’t considered a big meal but only a meal where many people gather together such as a wedding or Brit Milah. The Kol Bo (Siman 11 pg 8a) agrees to the Hagahot Maimonot. The Mishna Brurah 232:24 rules that a Shabbat and Yom Tov meal isn’t considered a big meal, however, a wedding, Brit Milah or Pidyon HaBen meal (where many people gather together) is considered a big meal.
- The Bet Yosef 232:2 quotes the Ran (Shabbat 4a s.v. Hay) who says that this prohibition which begins close to the time of Mincha starts a half hour before the time of Mincha. The Bet Yosef writes that this is also the opinion of the Rashbam (Pesachim 99b). [The Mordechai in Shabbat (Siman 225) also says a half hour.]
- The Yalkut Yosef (vol 3, pg 634-6) writes that it’s preferable to hold like Shulchan Aruch not to eat a small or big meal after the sixth hour. However, the minhag for centuries was to be lenient and there is what to rely on. Nonetheless, even according to the lenient opinions there is no room to be lenient to have a big meal after the tenth hour.
- Tur and S”A 232:3 define the meal that is forbidden as having bread more than a KeBaytzah. [See also Kesef Mishna (Tefillah 5:6) who gives another amount for this prohibition.]
- Piskei Teshuvot 232:3
- The Gemara Brachot 5b quotes Abba Binyamin who said that he would make every effort to pray immediately upon waking up. Rashi (s.v. Samuch) explains that Abba Binyamin wouldn't even learn prior to praying Shema. The Rosh (Brachot 1:7) asks what possible drove Rashi to explain that he didn't even learn before praying and explains that perhaps for a person who doesn't usually pray with a minyan it's likely that if he learns he'll continue and miss saying Shema and Shemoneh Esrei by the latest time. Based on the Rosh, S"A 89:6 rules that once the time for Shachrit comes one may not learn before praying Shacharit unless one always goes to pray with a minyan.
- However, this leniency of always praying with a minyan is only found in Shulchan Aruch regarding learning before Shacharit (S"A 89:6), but not in regards to eating before praying Shacharit (S"A 89:3), Mincha (S"A 232:2), or Arvit (S"A 235:2). Nonetheless, the Aruch HaShulchan 232:16 writes that the lenient minhag relies upon this idea that if one always prays in a minyan one may eat before Mincha. Additionally, Sh"t Igrot Moshe 4:99 extends it to defend the practice to pray Arvit late and eat beforehand. Piskei Teshuvot 232:3 uses the Aruch HaShulchan but limits it to someone who goes to a minyan at a fixed time and also says that it isn't a sufficient leniency to eat a large meal such as a wedding feast.
- S"A 235:2, Mishna Brurah 235:16
- Piskei Teshuvot 235:6
- The Gemara Brachot 28b writes that the halacha doesn’t follow Rav Huna who says that it’s forbidden to taste any food before praying Mussaf. The Tur 286:3 writes that even though we don’t hold like Rav Huna we only permit have a snack but a meal is forbidden. The Bet Yosef quotes the Raavad, Rashba, and perhaps the Rabbenu Yerucham who agree. S”A 286:3 writes that it’s forbidden to eat a meal before praying Mussaf but it’s permissible to have a snack. The Magan Avraham 286:2 writes that the snack is the same as before Mincha where S”A 232:3 writes that one may have a KeBaytzah of bread and a lot of fruit but not more.
- Shaar HaTziyun 286:7 writes that the measure for a meal before Mussaf in regards to baked mezonot is the same as by Sukkah. Mishna Brurah 639:15-6 (regarding Sukkah) quotes some who say that if one establishes a meal out of the Pas HaBah Bekisnin certainly it requires a Sukkah. However, if one didn’t have it as a meal if one had more than a KeBaytzah then there’s a dispute whether one needs a Sukkah and if one eats less than a KeBaytzah then certainly it doesn’t require a Sukkah. Nonetheless, Halichot Shlomo (Tefillah 14:9, pg 179-80) writes that the minhag is to lenient to have even more than a Kabaytzah of baked mezonot.
- Magan Avraham 286:1, Beiur Halacha 286:3 s.v. Achilat, Mishna Brurah 286:7, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 52:17