shabbos candles

Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Vayishlach


In the previous shiur we wrote that parents of a child of chinuch age should educate their child to hear Kiddush and havdalah.

What if havdalah is late at night?

One must not forget that a child is only a child and their education for mitzvos must be suited to their capabilities and limitations. In many northern European countries, during the winter months, it becomes dark very late and as a result havdalah is recited late at night. Obviously we do not expect and demand that children remain awake late at night in order to hear havdalah, nor should we wake them for that purpose. [1] At their young age, when they are normally asleep they may be excluded from mitzvos at this stage of their development.

We would not be wrong in saying that children only need to be educated during the hours when they are awake. If a certain mitzvah only occurs when they are sleeping they are not ready to be educated for that mitzvah. [2]

Children of an older age such as 11 or 12, who are often awake when the occasion demands, must be awake for kiddush and havdalah as well, as the importance of the mitzvah is a part of chinuch.

There are however other opinions regarding this matter and one is advised to seek guidance from ones rav. Please see footnote. [3]

Must the child then hear havdalah on Sunday morning?

I assume you mean that since the halacha says that when one did not or could not recite havdalah after Shabbos one must recite it on Sunday morning as compensation. [4] In this case, since a child is exempt from the actual mitzvah, which is on motzei Shabbos, he is possibly exempt from the compensation on Sunday morning. [5] The opinions of this halacha vary as well.

           Are children permitted to eat before Kiddush?

         This halacha is discussed by the poskim in reference to the practice of reciting the kiddush in shul on Friday night. [6] Adults may not drink the wine because they do not intend eating after the kiddush and it is akin to eating before kiddush, but the accepted practice is to give the wine to children. The question is whether it should be prohibited because they are not eating either. [7]

The Magen Avraham offers several answers to this question. One of the answers is that since food and drink are necessary for a childs growth and welfare, Chazal did not implement any gzeiros that could inhibit growth. A child may therefore eat and drink before kiddush even though an adult is prohibited from doing so.

All the more reason for them eating before kiddush on Shabbos morning and not waiting for the father to return from shul.

The Magen Avraham adds another point and says that children must not be made to fast and go hungry.  

Why then must I prevent him from eating non-kosher food? Is it not a matter of growth etc.?

The Magen Avraham himself answers this saying that we make a distinction between prohibited food and food at a prohibited time. In addition, non-kosher food is not part of a childs growth and is contrary to his welfare unlike kosher food which is necessary for his welfare and as such was not limited to a time factor. He proves this from the fact that young children are not taught to fast even for a short time on Yom Kippur. [8]

Using and instructing gentiles on Shabbos

May one hire a gentile worker on Shabbos?

The Torah prohibits us from doing 39 melachos on Shabbos, which include many issurim that are called toldos or offspring. The tolados are also prohibited from the Torah. Chazal added many prohibitions that are intended to prevent one from violating an issur doraisso. They are called a shvut or issurei drabanan.

Another category of prohibitions is called Words of the Prophets. From the possuk in Yeshaya " " we learn that one may not speak on Shabbos in a weekday manner, nor may one conduct business transactions on Shabbos. This halacha includes many subsections and we will beH deal with them in the future.

Hiring a worker on Shabbos falls under the section of conducting business transactions on Shabbos [9] and accordingly one may not hire even gentile workers on Shabbos. [10] One may not even instruct a gentile to hire workers for after Shabbos because once again one is conducting business.

What if I make an arrangement with the person to come only after Shabbos?

The actual hiring is prohibited and it is irrelevant when you want the person to work for you. So much so that the Shulchan Aruch teaches us [11] that one may not say to ones friend (Jew or gentile) be prepared tonight if it is understood that you would like to see that person after Shabbos in order to hire him The fact that you are instructing the person to come and see you after Shabbos is equivalent to speaking about business matters.

Therefore one may not say to a taxi driver on Shabbos please be prepared after Shabbos because one is hiring him for after Shabbos. However, one may say to him do you think that you can come after Shabbos or I would be happy to see you after Shabbos, because in both cases one is not hiring the taxi driver, rather one is hinting that one would like to hire him after Shabbos. [12] Talking about such affairs on Shabbos is prohibited.

[1] Heard in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl.

[2] Even though the MB in hilchos krias shma siman 70:6 writes that a child of the age of chinuch must be taught to read the shma on time, it does not necessarily mean that he should be woken in order to say the shma, it could mean that if he is awake he must say the shma.

[3] I received the following, thank you: when my daughter was about 7-8, she would sometimes fall asleep before Shabbos and sleep through the night.  I wanted to have her say the Friday night kiddush in the morning but my chaverim disagreed.  I had an opportunity to ask R Dovid Feinstein and he agreed with them.  He said that he himself, at that age in Russia (where shkia is even later than in ny), routinely slept through kiddush and havdala and "gornisht geshat mir" (nothing happened to me). If she wanted to make the long kiddush, I need not stop her, but I should not encourage her.

[4] See simon 299:6.

[5] " " ' ".

[6] Simon 269:1.

[7] The MA 269:1 poses this question.

[8] As written in simon 616:2 Hilchos Yom Kippur.

[9] MB simon 307:7.

[10] Mechaber simon 307:2

[11] Simon 307:7.

[12] See the SSK 29:52.


Orchos Chaim LaRosh 

do not skip confessing night and morning.

One of the merits of constant confession is that one keeps track of ones actions and is not overburdened. If misdeeds pile up and cause one despair saying I have too many, I cant manage to do the right thing, one has given in and lost hope. Constantly inspecting ones thoughts and actions keeps them in check and can be corrected and make one realize that one can climb and be an oved Hashem.

For a printed version, click here.



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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.