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Giving Precedence to the Shabbat Day Meal Over the Friday Night Meal

The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim establishes that "Kebod Ha’yom Adif" – the honor we should give to the meal on Shabbat day takes precedence over that of the Friday night meal. Although the Friday night Kiddush is more important than the Shabbat morning Kiddush (as the Shulhan Aruch states in 271:3), nevertheless, with regard to the food, the meal eaten on Shabbat day is more important and should thus be given precedence. Therefore, the Sha’areh Teshuba (Rav Chaim Mordechai Margoliyot, d. 1818) writes (271:1) that if a person has a particular kind of food that he especially enjoys, he should save it for Shabbat lunch, rather than eat it at Friday night dinner.

Of course, there are some foods that can only be eaten on Friday night, or that will naturally taste better on Friday night than on Shabbat morning. For example, one cannot have hot soup on Shabbat day, and the Halla will taste better on Friday night, when it is still fresh, than it will on Shabbat day. The Aruch Ha’shulhan (Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein of Nevarduk, 1829-1908) writes that one certainly does not have to abstain from such foods on Friday night so that he does not enjoy Friday night dinner more than Shabbat lunch. One may partake of foods on Friday night even though they cannot be enjoyed on the day of Shabbat. The Halacha mentioned in the Gemara, the Aruch Ha’shulhan explains, refers only to foods that can be enjoyed equally on Friday night and on Shabbat day. Indeed, Rashi, commenting on the Gemara, gives the examples of wine and "Megadim" (fruit). The quality of wine and fruit is the same on Friday night and on Shabbat day, and the Gemara thus establishes that if a person has one particular wine or fruit which he enjoys, he should save it for the Shabbat morning meal, rather than eat it on Friday night, because the Shabbat morning meal takes precedence.

The Yam Shel Shelomo (Rav Shlomo Luria, 1510-1573) lamented the fact that the people of his time gave precedence to the Friday night meal over the Shabbat morning meal, and did not give the Shabbat morning meal the respect and attention it deserves. He noted that his practice was to eat fish – which was his favorite delicacy – specifically on Shabbat morning, and not on Friday night, because of this Halacha. The Yam Shel Shelomo’s lament is relevant in our time, as well, as many people, unfortunately, conduct a lavish, festive meal on Friday night, but eat something light and casual on Shabbat day. There are also others who view the Shabbat day meal as something optional, for those who are in the mood for a meal. Bagels and cream cheese are not acceptable for Shabbat lunch. It is important to emphasize that the Shabbat day meal is not only obligatory, but also the more important of the first two Shabbat meals, to the point that one who has a special food which he enjoys should save it specifically for the Shabbat day meal. Indeed, it is customary in many communities to prepare Hamin (cholent) for the Shabbat morning meal, in order to give this meal the proper honor and respect that Halacha requires.

Summary: The Shabbat morning meal takes precedence over the Friday night meal, and thus if one has a food or beverage that he especially enjoys, and it will be the same quality on Friday night and on Shabbat day, he should have it on Shabbat day. It is not appropriate to eat a light, casual meal on Shabbat morning instead of a proper, festive meal.


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