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Eiruv Tavshilin

From “Guidelines to the Yamim Noraim” by Rabbi Elozor Barclay and Rabbi Yitzchok Jaeger
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What is eiruv tavshilin?

It is a mitzvah instituted by the Sages. When Yom Tov is on Friday, or on Thursday and Friday, one is required to prepare food before Yom Tov especially for Shabbos.

Why is this necessary?

It is forbidden to make any preparations on Yom Tov for a different day, including Shabbos. However, if one began to prepare for Shabbos before Yom Tov, he may finish the preparations on Yom Tov. The eiruv tavshilin foods are considered to be the start of the preparations.

Which activities does the eiruv permit?

All activities that are permitted on Yom Tov, e.g. cooking, grinding, sorting. Activities that are forbidden on Yom Tov do not become permitted due to the eiruv, such as turning on lights.

Who has to make an eiruv tavshilin?

Usually, every individual is obligated in this mitzvah. In practice, when the head of the household makes an eiruv, all the family members are included.

Who does not require an eiruv tavshilin?

A person who does not intend making any preparations on Friday for Shabbos and does not need to kindle Shabbos lights. A person who needs only to kindle Shabbos lights, should make an eiruv without a b’racha. This may be relevant for a person who is staying in a hotel or is invited out for all the Shabbos meals.

Is a visitor included in the host’s eiruv?

No. Therefore, he must make his own eiruv if he intends to do some Shabbos preparations on Friday. Alternatively, he can become a partner in the family eiruv by acquiring a share in the food. A rav should be consulted for further details.

Should visiting married children make their own eiruv?

The custom is that they do not make their own, but rely on the family eiruv.

Which b’racha is normally recited?

ברוך אתה ה’ א-להינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על מצות עירוב.

Is anything else said?

Yes. Following the b’racha, a declaration must be made describing the purpose of the eiruv foods.

What is the text of the eiruv declaration?

בהדין עירובא יהא שרא לנא לאפויי ולבשולי ולאטמוני ולאדלוקי שרגא ולאפוקי ולמעבד כל צרכנא מיומא טבא לשבתא.

Should the declaration be said in the original Aramaic?

The declaration must be said in a language that one understands. If one does not understand the Aramaic words, he should say the following translation: By means of these eiruv foods, we will be permitted to bake, cook, keep foods warm, light candles, carry, and do all that we need on Yom Tov for Shabbos.

Why do some siddurim have a longer version?

The longer eiruv statement concludes with a clause that includes everyone in the city, even if they did not make an eiruv. However, mere recital of this extra clause is completely ineffective without adherence to additional halachic considerations, which are the responsibility of the rav.

Should the eiruv foods be held when reciting the b’racha and eiruv declaration?


What if he forgot to hold the foods?

He should pick up the foods and repeat the declaration, but not the b’racha.

What if a person did not say the eiruv declaration?

If it is not yet nightfall, he should take the foods in his hand and say it, but he should not repeat the b’racha. If he remembers only after nightfall, he should preferably give his food to another person who should prepare it for him. If this is inconvenient, he may prepare as usual.

When should one make the eiruv?

On erev Yom Tov, preferably before the Yom Tov lights are kindled. If necessary, it may even be made on the night preceding erev Yom Tov. It is advisable for notices to be posted in shuls, to remind people to perform this mitzvah.

What if one made the eiruv before erev Yom Tov?

One should preferably make the eiruv again. The declaration should be repeated, but not the b’racha.

May the eiruv be made on erev Yom Tov after sunset?

It may be made until nightfall, if one forgot to do it earlier.

What if the congregation already davened ma’ariv?

  • If the congregation already began ma’ariv with bar’chu, one should not make the eiruv, even if it is still before nightfall.
  • In extenuating circumstances, the eiruv may still be made until nightfall if the congregation has not yet reached shemoneh esrei.
  • If one personally accepted Yom Tov (but the congregation did not), he may nevertheless make his eiruv until nightfall.

Which foods should be used for the eiruv?

A cooked food and a baked food. The custom is to take meat, poultry, fish, or egg for the cooked food, and a whole bread/matza for the baked food. It is also permitted to use a roasted, pickled, fried, or smoked food for the cooked food.

Why are two types of food taken?

Taking a cooked food begins the cooking preparations for Shabbos, and taking a baked food begins the baking preparations.

What if a person did not take a cooked food?

The eiruv is invalid, and even baking for Shabbos is forbidden.

What if a person did not take a baked food?

  • If he does not intend to bake for Yom Tov, the eiruv is valid. He may bake if he subsequently decides to do so.
  • If he intends to bake, he should take a bread and repeat the appropriate part of the declaration, but the b’racha should not be repeated. If this procedure was not done, he may nevertheless bake.

What is the most ideal type of cooked food to use?

In former times, the common practice was to use a hard-boiled egg, since this would certainly last for several days without spoiling. Today, when refrigerators are available, one should beautify the mitzvah by using a more superior type of food, e.g. a portion of chicken or fish.

May one use a food that is frozen?

If one does not have any fresh food, one may use frozen food that is fully cooked.

What is the minimum size of the pieces of food?

The cooked food must be a kezayis and the baked food should preferably be a kebeitza. These quantities are sufficient even if the eiruv is being made on behalf of many people.

Are any cooked foods invalid for the mitzvah?

One may not use a cooked food that is not usually served at a main course of a bread meal, e.g. oatmeal, cooked fruit.

When should the eiruv foods be prepared?

Although they may be prepared any time before Yom Tov, it is a greater mitzvah to prepare them on erev Yom Tov.

Must one cook the food personally?

No, one may use bought food. However, it is a greater mitzvah to personally prepare the food specifically for the eiruv (see also previous question).

May one eat the eiruv foods on Yom Tov?

No. The foods must be kept in a safe place until Shabbos. Since the cooked food is usually kept in the fridge, it should be wrapped and labeled clearly, to prevent people from accidentally eating it.

What if some of the eiruv food was eaten?

One may prepare for Shabbos provided that a kezayis of the cooked food remains.

What if the cooked food was entirely eaten or lost before Yom Tov began?

One should make the eiruv again, with a b’racha.

What if the cooked food was entirely eaten or lost on Yom Tov?

  • New preparations may not be made, but one may finish preparations that were begun when the eiruv food existed. Therefore, one may bake a dough/batter that was already prepared, and finish cooking a dish even if one only began peeling the vegetables.
  • Food that was prepared during the time that the eiruv existed may be put aside for Shabbos, even if one originally intended to eat it on Yom Tov. Fresh food can then be made for Yom Tov.

What if the food spoiled before Shabbos?

It is as if the food was lost.

When may the food be eaten?

On Shabbos. The custom is to use the bread/matza for lechem mishneh at each of the Shabbos meals and to eat it at seuda shlishis. The cooked food should preferably be eaten on Friday night.

What if a person did not make an eiruv?

Usually, the local rav includes in his eiruv all the people in the town who did not make their own. However, a person who frequently or negligently forgets to make his own eiruv may not be able to rely on the eiruv that the rav makes. In any event, the rav must be consulted.

What if one remembers at mincha on erev Yom Tov that he did not make an eiruv tavshilin?

One should stay in shul and daven mincha with the congregation. In order to avoid the great inconvenience of not having an eiruv, it is permitted to recite an alternative eiruv declaration in shul. Upon returning home, he should put food aside for the eiruv.

What is the text of the eiruv statement in this case?

פת ותבשיל שאקחנו כשאבא לביתי יהיה מעכשיו לעירוב תבשילין, which means: The bread and cooked food that I will take when I come home will be my eiruv tavshilin from now.

May a person rely on the eiruv of the rav if he did not know that he had to make an eiruv?

Yes. Similarly, if he knew about the concept of eiruv tavshilin but assumed that the rav makes one for everyone, he is included in the eiruv of the rav.

What if a person lives in a place where there is no rav, or the rav did not include him?

It is forbidden for him to prepare for Shabbos in the usual way, since he does not have an eiruv tavshilin. The following options are available:

  • If he has not yet cooked for Yom Tov, he may put extra food into the pot to be eaten on Shabbos. Many different dishes may be prepared as long as he eats from each of them on Yom Tov. However, he may not cook a pot especially for Shabbos. On Yom Tov, he may remove food from the pot while it is on the stove, and the pot will then remain hot for Shabbos.
  • He may give his food to another person who has made an eiruv. This person can make all the preparations that he requires for Shabbos. The details of this should be discussed with a knowledgeable person.
  • If neither of these two options is feasible and he has nothing else to eat, he may bake one bread and cook one dish for Shabbos.

Are there any other options?

If Yom Tov is on Thursday and Friday and he remembers on Thursday that he did not make an eiruv tavshilin, it is still possible to make one. (This is not the case on Rosh Hashanah.) The details of this should be discussed with a rav.

May one light Shabbos candles if one did not make an eiruv?

No, since there is anyway electrical illumination. He may give his candles as a gift to another person, who may light them on his behalf. The precise details of this arrangement should be discussed with a rav.

When an eiruv is made, may the preparations be done close to Shabbos?

Every effort must be made to complete the preparations early enough on Friday afternoon that the food will be edible well before Shabbos. Similarly, water should be put on the stove so that it boils well before Shabbos. Nevetheless, if the preparations were left until late on Friday afternoon, they may still be done.

May one make Shabbos preparations on Thursday which is Yom Tov?

No, the eiruv only permits one to prepare on Friday. Even if a person knows that he will be unable to prepare on Friday and makes the eiruv with this in mind, he may not cook on Thursday for Shabbos. Preparations may begin on Thursday night.

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