We are beginning siman 8. The Chayei Adam discusses the hiddur that one should eat the Shabbos and Yom Tov seudos l’teiavon, with an appetite, so that they enjoy the meal. Therefore, Chazal established limitations regarding eating on erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov so that one will eat the meal l’teiavon.
The first point the Chayei Adam discusses regarding erev Shabbos is not a chiyuv but a meritorious practice. He writes that some people tend to skip a meal without any negative effect. They have strong constitutions, and don’t mind missing a meal. They may not necessarily be fasting, in that they may still drink or eat a snack, but essentially they have skipped a meal. The Chayei Adam writes that if one is able to skip a meal without being weakened by it, it is a mitzvah to skip it in order to enter Shabbos with an appetite. However, the Chayei Adam is clear that this is not a chiyuv but a meritorious practice.
On the other hand, the Chayei Adam writes that it is a mitzvah to refrain from being koveah seudah on erev Shabbos from the 9th hour, meaning, the last quarter of the day. This is calculated based on sha’os zemanios, in which the day is divided into 12 parts. Around the equinox, this will be about 3 hours before sunset. As the summer months get longer and the daylight can be more than 12 hours long, it will be a little longer. At this point, one should not wash or have a full meal, but a snack is always muttar.
Erev Shabbos differs from erev Yom Tov in this regard, in that on erev Yom Tov, Chazal enacted a halachic issur to refrain from eating a meal in the last quarter of the day.
The Chayei Adam writes that it is assur to have a larger meal on erev Shabbos. A larger meal refers to a meal which is larger than what a person generally considers a regular meal. This is true even if it is a seudas mitzvah. However, if the seudah is time-sensitive, such as a bris milah or pidyon haben, it is muttar to have the seudah, even if the bris is not bizmano. However, there is an opinion which disagrees. We will discuss these halachos further, be’ezras Hashem.
A person should eat the Shabbos seudos l’teiavon.
- Therefore, if they have the constitution, it is meritorious to skip a meal on erev Shabbos.
- If they are unable to skip a meal entirely, they should at least refrain from a full seudah in the last quarter of the day.
- It is assur to have a larger than usual meal, unless it is for a time sensitive mitzvah such as a bris or pidyon haben,