[Avodah] At this time of year, I wake up before Alos Hashachar (dawn). May I eat before davening?
Professor L. Levine
llevine at stevens.edu
Fri Jan 12 06:14:02 PST 2018
>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis
Q. At this time of year, I wake up before Alos Hashachar (dawn). May I eat before davening?
A. Although we noted in the previous Halacha Yomis that it is forbidden to eat before davening Shacharis, this prohibition begins only at Alos Hashachar. Before Alos Hashachar, one may eat, since it is not yet the time to daven. However, within 30 minutes of Alos Hashachar, one may not begin a meal. A meal is defined as an egg-size volume of bread or pas haba'ah b'kisnin (bread-like products such as cake or crackers). During this half hour, one may eat as much meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, or other non-bread or pas haba'ah b'kisnin as they want. Even if one began a meal more than half an hour before Alos Hashachar, once Alos Hashachar arrives all eating must stop.
According to the Zohar, one who went to sleep and awoke after midnight may not eat until davening Shacharis, even though it is long before Alos Hashachar. The Mishnah Berurah writes that this is not the halacha, but it is proper to follow the Zohar if one can. He also notes that some explain that the Zohar was only forbidding a large meal, but a light snack would be permitted. If one is feeling weak, they may certainly eat before Alos Hashachar.
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