[Avodah] The Mitzva of “To’ameha”– Tasting Food on Erev Shabbos

Professor L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Mon Jan 7 11:48:59 PST 2019

I must admit that I had never heard of this until my wife returned from a visit to a number of kevarim in Europe with a group of Chassidic women.   If you ask people about this, I think that you will find that in non-Chassidic circles this Mitzva is commonly unknown.   YL

The Mitzva of “To’ameha”– Tasting Food on Erev Shabbos

The Magen Avraham44 writes, “There is a mitzva on erev Shabbos to taste from all the food that has been prepared for Shabbos.” Elya Rabba45 cites the source for this from the Shabbos davening, “To’ameha chaim zachu,” those who taste will merit life. There are a number of reasons given for the mitzva of to’ameha. The Mishna Berura46 explains that it is done in order to ensure that the food tastes good for Shabbos. Others47 explain that just as someone who is hosting an distinguished guest makes sure to taste the food before serving it, so too, tasting the food before Shabbos shows that we value the Shechina which enters our home as our guest on Shabbos. Still, one should ensure that he only tastes the different foods so that he can still eat the Shabbos meal with a good appetite.

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