Selected Halachos Related to Shavuos
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the
week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.
EIRUV TAVSHILIN: WHY and HOW?
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.
THE BASIC REQUIREMENT - L'CHATCHILAH
1. 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.
2. Since the meaning of the text must be understood in order for the eiruv
to be valid, the text should be recited in a language that one
3. The eiruv should be held the entire time while one is reciting the
blessing and the text.(8)
4. The cooked food should be at least a k'zayis. The baked food should be at
least a k'beitzah.
5. The cooked food should be the type of food which is served as a main
dish, e.g., meat, fish or eggs. Desserts may not be used.(9)
6. The cooked food should be refrigerated so that it does not spoil. If it
rots, then it is considered as if no eiruv was made.(10)
7. Traditionally, the eiruv is prepared and the blessing and text recited on
the day of erev Yom Tov. Some poskim permit the eiruv to be made on the
night before erev Yom Tov,(11) while others allow this only under
THE BASIC REQUIREMENT - B'DIAVAD
1. B'diavad 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.
2. If the proper blessing is omitted but the text is recited, the eiruv is
3. If the proper text is omitted it is questionable whether 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 rabbi.
There are several ways one can perform the mitzvah of eiruv tavshilin in a
more enhanced way. The following are considered hiddurim:
1. The cooked food should be specifically cooked on erev Yom Tov for Shabbos
and for eiruv tavshilin.(16)
2. The cooked food should be a sizable portion.(17) Others suggest that it
should be a k'beitzah.(18)
3. The cooked food should be either meat or fish.(19)
4. The baked food should be whole, e.g., a whole challah or matzah.(20)
5. The challah or matzah should be used for lechem mishneh on Friday night
and Shabbos morning, and broken and eaten at seudah shelishis.(21)
6. The cooked food should be eaten at one of the Shabbos meals.(22)
L'chatchilah, all the food that is prepared on Yom Tov for Shabbos should
be edible on Yom Tov.(23) This includes hot water which is boiled for
Shabbos. B'diavad, or under extenuating circumstances, it is permitted to
cook on Friday for Shabbos even if the food will not be edible by the time
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)
IF NO EIRUV WAS MADE
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
Ma'ariv was recited, however, an 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 Hashanah] 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 cannot be relied upon for one who did not make an eiruv due to
5. Cook extra food for Yom Tov so that he will have food left over for
6. Give his raw ingredients to another person [who made an eiruv] to cook,
and that person will cook for him. The cooking may take place in the house
of the one who did not make an eiruv.(36)
1 Min ha-Torah 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 thorough
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
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 Maharsham 2:36.
9 Based on Beiur Halachah 527:5.
10 Aruch ha-Shulchan 527:13. See note 110 for possible options.
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 mi-Beis Levi 1, pg. 52).
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 82.
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'Zemanim 7:122.
29 These options apply also to one who made an eiruv tavshilin, but it
either got lost, was eaten, or got spoiled before one started cooking for
30 O.C. 527:1. The blessing is recited.
31 Minchas Yitzchak 7:36 based on Tiferes Yisrael, Beitzah 2:1; Harav S.Z.
Auerbach (Meor 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 poskim 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 © 2002 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
Project Genesis, Inc.
Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily
Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.
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