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When Yom Tov Occurs on Motzai Shabbos

Question #1: Is it permitted to do any Yom Tov preparations on Shabbos?

Question #2: How does one fulfill the obligation of Seudah Shlishis on Shabbos which is also Erev Yom Tov?

Question #3: Which special halachos apply to the combined KiddushHavdalah (YaKNeHaZ) that we recite on this Motzai Shabbos?


Imagine for a moment what Shabbos and Yom Tov would be like had there been no decrees instituted by Chazal: Assuming there was a valid eiruv, after Mussaf one could take a wallet full of cash, go to the local supermarket and take care of his grocery shopping. Afterwards, he could pick up his dry cleaning and stop off to retrieve his laptop from the computer repair shop. During the Shabbos meal, plans could be made for an upcoming trip, and after consulting the business section of the paper, he could discuss with his wife which stocks to sell or buy. After the Shabbos meal, he could spend the next hour or two moving furniture around and setting up tables and chairs for a shiur that will take place on Motzai Shabbos.

Not very Shabbosdik, is it? And he did not transgress even one Torah prohibition! In order to protect us from transgressing Torah Law, and to safeguard the sanctity of Shabbos, and to ensure that Shabbos does not resemble a regular weekday, Chazal instituted many takonos and forbade many activities. One of these prohibited activities is called “hachanah,” or “preparation.”


Before defining hachanah, let us first discuss when it is forbidden.

One may not prepare: from Shabbos or Yom Tov to a weekday (Mishnah Berurah 302:19); from Shabbos to Yom Tov, from Yom Tov to Shabbos (without an eiruv tavshilin) (M.B. 302:17; ibid. 513:16; Sh.A. 527); from one day of Yom Tov to the next (Sh.A. 503:1 and Biur Halacha, s.v., ve’afilu). Therefore, even if we provide an example of hachanah on a particular day for another, the law applies to any day on which hachanah is forbidden.

What is hachanah?

Hachanah includes any activity that is not needed for that day. This is true even if the activity requires only the minutest amount of effort (M.B. 503:1), and even if the preparation is done through a verbal expression (ibid. 290:4). However, if one does an action on Shabbos that provides a simultaneous benefit for both Shabbos and Motzai Shabbos, and no extra effort is required for Motzai Shabbos, this is not included in hachanah and is permitted (ibid. 336:33; Shulchan Aruch 503:1 and M.B. 5).

We will now provide some practical applications of these halachos.


There are many activities that are permissible on Shabbos even though they involve some trouble or bother. For example, one may wash dishes or make the beds. The reason why they are permitted is these activities enhance Shabbos.

However, one may wash dishes on Shabbos or Yom Tov only when the dishes are needed again on that day. One may wash dishes Leil Shabbos for Shabbos day or Leil Yom Tov for Yom Tov day, since both are considered the same day. However, once that day’s meals have ended and the dishes will no longer be needed, it is forbidden to wash them until nightfall, since this is preparing on Shabbos for after Shabbos.

The exception to this is drinking glasses. Since a person might take a drink at any time, drinking glasses can be washed as long as there is a reasonable chance that they might be used again that day (Sh.A. 323:6 and M.B.).

One is allowed to straighten up the house on Shabbos in order to make it more presentable in honor of the Shabbos. This includes cleaning up toys and making beds, provided that the room being organized is a place that one uses on Shabbos.  However, if the straightening up is being performed specifically for after Shabbos, it is forbidden (M.B. 302:19; 667:6).

Similarly, one may not tidy a room that no one will be entering for the rest of Shabbos.

Here is a common example of this rule. The Mechaber (666:1) writes that in Chutz La’Aretz where people eat in the succah on Shmini Atzeres (as opposed to Eretz Yisrael where they do not), on Yom Tov afternoon one may clear out the utensils and furniture from the succah. The Rema (667:1) adds that nevertheless one should not set up the tables and chairs in the house for the evening, as this constitutes hachanah. The Acharonim comment that if the house is a mess because of the items that were brought in, one is allowed to set them up immediately, because by doing so he is making the house presentable in honor of the Yom Tov immediately (Magen Avraham 3).

There is an obvious halachic contradiction in the example just cited. On the one hand, one is not allowed to set up the furniture that was brought in from the succah because of hachanah. However, the Shulchan Aruch permits bringing these items in from the succah! Is this not also hachanah? Apparently bringing the furniture and utensils in on Yom Tov, although technically considered hachanah, is an exception to the rule and was specifically permitted due to the difficulty of doing so at night (Aruch HaShulchan 667:2).

Another common situation where this halacha is applicable is when cleaning up after Seudah Shlishis. If one has eaten early, he is allowed to clean up the table so the house will look presentable for the rest of Shabbos. However, if one finishes close to night, clearing the table is hachanah for after Shabbos.


There are many actions that a person does automatically without thinking about the benefit derived. Such activities, if they do not involve any bother, are permitted on Shabbos even if they constitute hachanah (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah 28:81 in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l).

Therefore, one who brings his talis to shul (where there is an eiruv) may bring it home afterwards. Also, after concluding a learning session, one is allowed to put the sefarim away. (In this case one must be careful to avoid the prohibition of borair, e.g., if the sefarim are in a pile.) Other examples include: On Yom Tov Succos it is permitted to return the lulav, hadasim and aravos to water so that they remain fresh. Upon the conclusion of a meal, one may return the perishables into the refrigerator.

In all of these examples, even if the item being handled is no longer needed on Shabbos and therefore putting it where it belongs has an element of hachanah, nevertheless, it is permitted.

Another common scenario is when one goes out for a walk and will not return until nighttime. He is allowed to take a key (where there is an eiruv) even though it is a preparation for afterwards (ibid.).


In order to avoid the trouble of cooking whole meals from scratch on Yom Tov, many women cook much of their Yom Tov meals in advance. To ensure that the food remains fresh, the food is placed in the freezer, which presents us with a shaylah. May one remove these foods from the freezer on Shabbos to allow them to thaw before Yom Tov, or is this prohibited because of hachanah?

Some poskim maintain that this is permissible since the alternative is to wait until Motzai Shabbos to remove the food, thereby causing a long wait before being able to eat. This is considered to be a “sha’as hadchak,” an extenuating situation and is permitted on condition that the food be defrosted early enough that it could theoretically be eaten on Shabbos. Once this condition has been fulfilled, it is no longer evident that the hachanah is being done for after Shabbos (Shu”t Machazeh Eliyahu #64).

Others prohibit removing the food until Shabbos is over since his intent is to eat the food after Shabbos (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah 10:10; Kuntres Shtei Kedushos pg. 49).

It is important to point out a potential issur deOreisa that could happen when removing food from the freezer on Shabbos. Even assuming that there is no issue of hachanah in removing the items from the freezer, such as one is removing a challah on Friday night for the Shabbos morning meal, one must be careful not to transgress the Torah prohibition of borair. If various types of foods are mixed together in the freezer, as is common, one may not extract the challah from the pile since this is an act of selecting that is not for immediate use. One must organize the freezer before Shabbos so that the foods to be removed are readily accessible.


When Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos, we are presented with an interesting practical conflict. On the one hand there is an obligation to eat three meals on Shabbos, the last of which must be eaten in the afternoon. On the other hand, there is a mitzvah to refrain from eating a meal during the afternoon of Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov in order to be able to eat the evening meal with an appetite (Sh.A. 249:2; 529:1).

What is the solution?

There is only a limitation on starting a bread meal during the afternoon of Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov from the tenth proportional hour of the day, or three proportional hours before sunset. Proportional hours (sha’os zemaniyos) are calculated by dividing the hours of the day from sunrise to sunset by twelve. For example, if sunrise is 6:00 a.m. and sunset is 7:00 p.m., the day is thirteen hours long. Dividing thirteen by twelve gives us a proportional hour of sixty-five minutes. Therefore, in this example three proportional hours (three times sixty-five) before sunset (7:00 p.m.) is 3:45 p.m.

Thus, lechatchilah one should start seudah shlishis before this time when Yom Tov is on Motzai Shabbos. If one was unable to or did not do so, and it is already within three proportional hours before shekiah, he still has an obligation to eat. However, in this situation should eat less than he normally would (M.B. 529:8 and Sha’ar HaTziyun 10).

Also note the following halacha. One may not eat or drink on Leil Shabbos or Leil Yom Tov until after Kiddush. Since this obligation starts at shekiah, one must be careful not to partake of food or drink after this time. The same applies to seudah shlishis on Shabbos-Erev Yom Tov, and therefore, one should make sure to finish his meal before shekiah (Introduction of Mishnah Berurah to 669, Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah 56:11).


Before performing any type of melachah on any Motzai Shabbos one must recite or hear havdalah, or at least say, “Boruch HaMavdil bein kodesh lechol.” When Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos there is also an obligation to declare Shabbos out before doing forms of melachah that are permitted on Yom Tov. In this case, one says, “Boruch HaMavdil bein kodesh lekodesh.” It is very common for people to forget this, especially when there is a rush after Shabbos to start heating up the food for the Yom Tov meal (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah 58:7).


Probably the most outstanding element of Yom Tov occurring on Motzai Shabbos is the combined KiddushHavdalah ceremony referred to as YaKNaHaZ. This is an acronym that stands for: Yayin, Kiddush, Ner (Borei Meorei Ha’Aish), Havdalah, Zeman (Shehechiyanu); the five brachos recited before the Yom Tov evening meal after Shabbos.

How is the havdalah of YaKNaHaZ different than havdalah on any other Motzai Shabbos?

1) Many have a custom when filling the cup for regular havdalah to pour so much wine that it overflows. The reason for this is based on a Gemara in Eiruvin (65a) that if wine is not spilled in the home like water, it is not included in bracha. Therefore, in order to bring bracha into the home, we pour the wine until it overflows. When Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos this is not done. The reason for the difference is since the spilling of wine alludes to bracha in one’s parnassah, to do so on Yom Tov would degrade the holiday (Sefer Erev Pesach on Shabbos 22:24 in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l).

2) Another difference is that when Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos the general custom is not to use spices. The reason why we smell spices on a regular Motzai Shabbos is to revive the neshamah after the departure of Shabbos. However, when Motzai Shabbos is also Yom Tov, the Yom Tov foods accomplish this (M.B. 491:3).

3) Some women have a custom not drink from the wine of havdalah (M.B. 296:6), unless she has no one to hear havdalah from and she recites havdalah herself (ibid. 35). However, when Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos it seems that the custom is that women drink from the Kiddush wine even though it is also wine of havdalah (See Shemiras HaGuf V’HaNefesh II 131:2).


As everyone knows, there is a requirement to recite the bracha of Borei Meorei Ha’Aish on a flame every Motzai Shabbos. What type of flame should this be?

The Gemara (Pesachim 103b) writes that the best way to perform this mitzvah is with a torch – a minimum of two connected flames. (This, incidentally, is why the custom is to use a braided candle; it has the minimum two flames.) The reason for this is because it generates a lot of light. After quoting this halachah, the Mechaber (298:2) writes that there is an opinion that if one does not have a torch, he should light a candle specifically for havdalah, as opposed to using the candle that is illuminating the room. The Mishnah Berurah (6) explains that the extra candle is lit in order to show that it is specifically for the mitzvah of havdalah.

When Yom Tov occurs on Motzai Shabbos, the generally accepted minhag of Klal Yisrael is either to light a candle specifically for havdalah or to join the flames of the Yom Tov candles thereby creating a torch. There is much discussion about this in the poskim, and we shall discuss the issues involved.

One of the permitted Yom Tov melachos is lighting a fire from a pre-existing flame. However, not every fire may be lit. Halachah speaks about a “ner shel batalah,” an unneeded flame. One is only allowed to light a candle or a fire that is required on Yom Tov either for his own need or to enhance the Yom Tov. Examples of “his own need” are: lighting a fire to cook or a candle to see in a dark room. “Enhancing the Yom Tov” includes lighting candles in a room that is already illuminated, since the extra light adds simchas Yom Tov. This last example is only true at nighttime. However, during the day, the Mishnah Berurah maintains that it is forbidden, as it is a ner shel batalah (Sh.A. 514:5 and M.B.).


This, by the way, is the reason why many frown upon the lighting of Yizkor candles on Yom Tov. These candles are not lit in order to produce light, rather in honor of the neshamah of the deceased. Lechatchilah, one should not light the Yizkor or Yahrtzeit candle on Yom Tov. If one could not light it before Yom Tov, he may light it on Yom Tov in a room where he is eating, as the extra light creates more simchas Yom Tov. Or he may light it in a dark room where he would not be able to see around without this light. Alternatively, he should light it in shul, as candles there give honor to the Beis Knesses. If none of these options are possible, he may light it on Yom Tov since to a certain degree it is considered a ner shel mitzvah as it honors one’s deceased parents (Biur Halacha ibid.).


The poskim differ regarding lighting a candle specifically for havdalah on Yom Tov. Some maintain that since this candle is not lit to give light, rather just for the purpose of the mitzvas havdalah, it is similar to a Yizkor candle and is considered a ner shel batalah. This is especially true since there is no reason why the Yom Tov candles cannot be used (Yom Tov Sheni K’Hilchaso (5758 edition) 1:20, footnote 68, quoting Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita; Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak, vol. of Likutim, #24).

Others hold that an extra candle for havdalah is not similar to a Yizkor candle, because the Yizkor candle is lit specifically not for the purpose of giving light, while the havdalah candle is. Therefore, it is not considered a ner shel batalah (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah vol. III, additions to chap. 62, footnote 31; Kuntres Shetei Kedushos, pg. 57).


Another question discussed in the poskim regarding the havdalah candle of YaKNeHaZ is whether one may connect the flames of two candles in order to create a torch.

The basis for this discussion is the concept that one who removes fuel from a fire on Shabbos or Yom Tov has transgressed the prohibition of extinguishing, as he is causing the flame to be extinguished earlier. Therefore, one who causes the wax of a lit candle to drip is guilty of this. The question regarding joining two candles is whether we are concerned that wax will drip when the flames are joined. Some poskim are of the opinion that due to this possibility, one should not join the flames, rather one should bring the candles together as close as possible. Others maintain that there is no concern and the flames may be joined (See Yom Tov Sheini K’Hilchaso 1:20, footnote 67; Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso 62:18; Kuntres Shetei Kedushos ibid.).


It is fascinating to note the differences between the texts of havdalah recited every Motzai Shabbos and on Motzai Shabbos-Yom Tov. The standard havdalah lists three types of distinctions: 1) between the sanctified and profane, 2) between light and darkness, and 3) between Yisrael and the nations. (Although “between the seventh day and the six days of work” seems to be a fourth distinction, since it is required in order to close with a similar idea as the concluding bracha, it is not counted.) On the other hand, the havdalah recited on Motzai Shabbos going into Yom Tov has many more elements. The question is, why?

The Gemara (Pesachim 103b), when discussing havdalah, delineates how many contrasts may be mentioned in the havdalah text. The minimum is three and the maximum is seven.

Tosafos (ibid. 104a, s.v., ba’i lemaimar) explains that in honor of the special day of Yom Tov, we lengthen the text so that there should be one occasion when we recite the maximum seven distinctions. We will quote from the havdalah text and point out the contrasts.

“…Who distinguishes 1) between the holy and the profane; 2) between light and darkness; 3) between Yisrael and the nations; 4) between the seventh day and the six days of labor; 5) between the sanctity of Shabbos and the sanctity of Yom Tov You have distinguished (cooking on Yom Tov is permitted), and the seventh day from among the six days of labor You have sanctified.” This is repeated here to signify the difference between chol hamoaid, when work to prevent a loss is permitted, and Shabbos, when it is not. The distinctions of Shabbos-Yom Tov and chol hamoaid-Shabbos are counted as one. 6-7) “You have distinguished and You have sanctified Your people Yisrael with Your holiness.” This signifies the distinctions between the cohanim and the leviim and between the leviim and the Yisraelim.

This article originally appeared in the US edition of the Yated Neeman.

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