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Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Nisan 29, 5781
Rabbi, Our shul starts services late on Shabbat morning -10 am. By the time I get back home its almost hatzot. Is it better to do kiddush and a mezonot before going to shul - I usually daven up to shemonei esrei at home- or wait. Its not a matter of being hungry but I understand we should eat before hatzot on Shabbat. Thank you very much
Shalom U'vracha The prohibition to fast on shabbat Yes, it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat until after chatzot (midday point) . The Mishna Berura did quote some poskim who permitted one to fast on Shabbat if one was busy learning Torah, davening and other mitzvot. However, if one tastes a minimal amount of food, then there is no longer a problem with the prohibition of fasting. (Mishna Berura, 288:1-2). The end of the time for 'Shemoneh Esreh'. Regarding the time the shul commences davening, one should always check the calendars to see when it is the end of the time for kriat shema ( at the end of the first three hours of the day), and shemoneh esreh (four hours of the day). Kriat shema should be said privately without a minyan before your shul starts because the lateness of the hour (10:00am) will likely mean missing the proper time. The shul probably makes it in time for shmone esreh, so obviously it would be best to pray the amidah with the tzibur in a minyan (you can see that the calendars often mention the end of the time according to the 'Gra' (the Vilna Gaon) and according to the Magen Avraham. You should daven the amidah with the tzibur in a minyan even if they pass the end of the time according to the Magen Avraham, but are before the end of the time according to the Gra. To clarify: an 'hour' is calculated by dividing the day from the morning until the night into twelve hours. Each unit of twelve is considered an hour. Eating before davening In general, it is forbidden to eat before davening. One may drink water or a cup of tea/coffee if it helps him daven. In your case, with the shul starting so late, the people davening may be very hungry and might need to eat something before the davening. In that case it is allowed (see Shulchan Aruch 89:4) Kiddush for one who eats before davening The question is if one should make kiddush before the tefillah. Some say that if someone needs to eat before the davening then he should make kiddush before starting (Biur Halacha 289). Others say that there is no kiddush before the davening (see Chelkat Yaakov 4:32). Therefore, an individual can decide if he wants to make kiddush before the davening. Of course, one should only make kiddush if he has cake; but if he isn't that hungry and can get by with some fruit, then he should not make kiddush. All the best
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