Eating before davening

Is it okay to eat a small breakfast before davening shacharis if you are very hungry?


Doesn’t shulchan aruch פט say it is ok?

SA is referring to someone who is so hungry to the point where the person cannot concentrate when davening. “Very hungry” is not a Heter to eat before davening.

My original question was based on the times that many shuls daven on shabbos. Chabad houses typically start at 10am and can go until after noon. This is a very long time to go without eating anything.

I agree with you.
First off you can have any drink you wish. That should stave the hunger for a bit.

But perhaps your question would more appropriately be, if I am hungry should I make an attempt at davening at an earlier minyan so that I can make Kiddush earlier in the day?

And I think we both know the answer to that one.


To add to what Reb Dovid said above, I’ve been in such situations and usually did one of two things. Either I found out what time sunrise was in that area and prayed alone at sunrise (according to the Rav, davening alone with hanetz, is just as good as davening later with a minyan and may even be preferable) or even if I didn’t wake up early enough for sunrise, if the local minyan was praying at a time that was past zman tefilah, which was common, then I would anyway Daven at home and then go to hear the Torah reading. Just remember, on shabbos, if you daven first, you must make kiddush before eating.

Heres a curveball to his question, what if you learning in the morning (shabbat), pre shacharit, and you need the food to assist your learning concentration. Is there a heter there?


This advice here doesn’t sound like the Shulchan Aruch to me. I’ve never had a problem not eating, but some people do and it appears that the SA permits eating in such circumstances (I’m am not a Rabbi and not offering P’sak):

הצמא והרעב הרי הם בכלל החולים אם יש בו יכולת לכוין דעתו יתפלל ואם לאו אם רצה אל יתפלל עד שיאכל וישתה:

One who is thirsty and one who is hungry are considered to be ill. If one has the ability to focus one’s mind, one should pray. If not, if one desires, one should not pray until eating or drinking.

How is that different from what I wrote above? The “im yesh” of the SA is explaining what hungry and thirsty mean.

My post:
“SA is referring to someone who is so hungry to the point where the person cannot concentrate when davening. “Very hungry” is not a Heter to eat before davening.”

Well it sounds the same to me. If you very hungry and it will interfere with davening then eat. I think that most people who would self-describe themselves as “very hungry” will have a better devening not thinking about when they can finish so that they can eat. Also his language implies that in such a case it is OK to eat first; you are not required to daven early. Again, I’ve never had this problem, but some people do.

Perhaps I can offer you an explanation that will clarify.

While in reality it is true that we pray for our own benefit. Hashem does not need our praises. Nevertheless it is outright disrespectful and inconsiderate to administer to your selfish needs before thanking and praising the One Above for allowing you live, and for His ultimate kindness. The absolute least we can do is to first thank him before we take care of ourselves.

Nevertheless Hashem in his Ultimate Kindness does not expect an ill person to have the same guidelines as a well person and so, if someone is so hungry that he wont be able to concentrate on his prayers he is ill. And an ill person can eat before praying.

Every person in the world can concentrate better after a meal, that doesn’t mean they are considered ill if they don’t eat.

The SA clearly states that this person is a choleh, and as such that is the only rationale for the leniency.

It is further permitted for all to drink before praying, as that is not considered haughty and selfishly administering to your own needs, rather that is considered as a slight “pick me up” that enhances your prayers.

Perhaps with these thoughts in mind you will have no further questions as to what is appropriate before praying and what is not.

Does the Rov have a teshuva about the topic of whether one should pray at hanetz by oneself or with a minyan later? Thank you!

I don’t believe the Rav has a teshuva about this but he often directed people to look at the ביאור הלכה on הלכות קריאת שמע, סימן נח, סעיף א which clearly states it’s better to daven with the netz without a minyan then later with a minyan.

Just following up on my question please. Could one daven musaf beyechidus right aftre shacharis while still keeping to netz if within about 4 minutes as per shitos who still consider that netz?

Only if normally makpid?

Also how would this work in terms of davening musaf beyechidus? Wouldnt one be obligated to go to a minyan off musaf? How about on rosh chodesh? Thank you.

If there is a minyan available, its always better to daven with a minyan.

Hi can you clarify why you think the ביאור הלכה here means it is better? He says “מותר להתפלל,” how do you understand that it’s better to daven hanetz beyechidus than with a minyan after?

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