When Yom Tov follows Shabbos, as will occur in the upcoming Shavuos festival, the halachic issue of preparing from Shabbos for weekdays becomes especially pertinent. The Yom Tov meal follows on quickly after Shabbos, and questions of preparing from Shabbos for Yom Tov purposes are often raised.

The Shabbos-Yom Tov sequence thus presents us with a good opportunity to delve into the halachos of preparation from Shabbos for weekdays—including preparation for Yom Tov.

Is it permitted to rinse dishes after Shabbos meals, even when they will not be used again until after Shabbos? Is it permitted to place food back in the fridge, for weekday use? Can food be taken out of the freezer for use after Shabbos? Can the Tallis be folded after one finished using it?

These questions, among others, are discussed below.

Hachana: Preparing from Shabbos for Weekdays

The primary source for the prohibition against preparation from Shabbos to weekdays is the Mishna in Shabbos (113a), which teaches us that although beds may be made on Friday night for the needs of Shabbos day, they may not be made on Shabbos for the needs of Motza’ei Shabbos. The Rif (14b), Rambam (23:7) and Rosh (15:2) note this ruling, as does the Magen Avraham (302:6). The context of the Magen Avraham is especially important.

The same Mishnah states that it is permitted to fold clothing on Shabbos. Rashi limits this to where folding is being done with the purpose of wearing them again on Shabbos, and Tosfos (s.v. Mekaplin) likewise infers from the Mishnah that it is forbidden to fold clothing that is needed only after Shabbos. This concept is noted by the Rif (Shabbos 41b), and ruled by the Rambam (Shabbos 22:22), the Rosh (15:2), the Tur (Orach Chaim 302), and the Shulchan Aruch (302:3), who state that it is permitted to fold clothes only when they will be needed on Shabbos.

Dwelling on the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, the Magen Avraham (302:6) explains that it is forbidden to fold clothing for purposes of wearing after Shabbos, since this is considered preparation from Shabbos for weekdays. He basis this ruling, which is cited by the Mishnah Berurah (302:12), on the aforesaid ruling of the Mishnah concerning making beds on Shabbos.

As the Rambam writes (Shabbos 24:12-13) concerning the prohibition of muktzeh, we are charged to ensure that Shabbos is distinct from weekdays, and laboring on Shabbos on behalf of weekdays will infringe upon this principle (see Mishnah Berurah 323:28).

The prohibition applies to Yom Tov too: it is forbidden to prepare from Yom Tov to a weekday, and even from Yom Tov to Shabbos (unless an eruv tavshilin is made) or from the first to the second day of Yom Tov (Shulchan Aruch 503:1 and Mishnah Berurah 503:1). The Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berurah (503:1) add that the prohibition applies even when the act of preparation does not involve a full act of labor, such as bringing wine from the cellar or washing dishes. This is similar to making beds, which likewise does not involve any melacha.

Washing Dishes

The example of washing dishes is a useful case for considering the laws of hachana.

The source of the halacha is in a baraisa mentioned in the Gemara (Shabbos 118a), which rules that it is permitted to wash dishes on Shabbos for the next meal but forbidden to wash them after the afternoon meal. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 323:6) thus rules that “one may wash dishes that are needed for Shabbos, for example, if needed for another meal. However, after seudah shelishis they may not be washed. Drinking vessels may be washed all day, because one may drink during the entire day.”

The Magen Avraham (9) and Mishnah Berurah (28-29) clarify that if a person knows with certainty that he will not be using the relevant utensils on Shabbos, it is forbidden to wash them. However, if it is possible that one might use the utensils, such as the case of drinking glasses that are in use the whole time (even between meals), it is permitted to wash them, since they might be required on Shabbos. An action is categorized as hachana only if probably it is unnecessary for Shabbos purposes.

Moreover, the Magen Avraham (8) writes (based on Tosefta 13:19) that if one cup or glass is needed, it is permitted to wash ten cups. Since a glass is needed, and any one of them can be used, it is permitted to wash them all. The principle is that only an action that is explicitly performed for after Shabbos is forbidden; in these cases, the action is not explicitly for after Shabbos, since a cup is needed on Shabbos itself (see Machatzis Hashekel 323:8).

Note that the Aruch Hashulchan (323:7) writes that if one has sufficient cups and dishes for the rest of Shabbos without washing any dishes it is improper to wash anything on Shabbos. This is echoed by many later authorities (see for instance Shut Shevet Halevi 5:39 and 6:42).

A related point is that even if a person will not be sleeping on the bed for the duration of Shabbos, it is permitted to make one’s bed if the room is in use and leaving it messy will be disturbing (and disrespectful of Shabbos). This is ruled by the Magen Avraham (302:6, also noted by Mishnah Berurah 19). Since the bedroom is in use, and a messy state is disturbing, making the beds is considered a Shabbos necessity and not preparing for after Shabbos.

Based on this logic, some authorities have ruled that it is permitted to wash dishes on Shabbos, if this is required for reasons of tidiness and hygiene. The Tzitz Eliezer (14:37) was asked if a hospital required by health authorities to wash dishes on Shabbos may comply. He writes that since the reason for the prohibition is that one is preparing from Shabbos for weekdays, and washing the dishes is needed for reasons of cleanliness and hygiene, it is permitted to do so. The Tzitz Eliezer notes that this ruling was already made explicit in Shut Maharshag (Orach Chaim 1:61).

In a similar vein, the Magen Avraham (667:3) writes that when taking out tables from the Sukkah on the last day of Sukkos, it is forbidden to set up the table for Shemini Atzeres, since this involves preparing from one Yom Tov to another. However, he rules that it is permitted to stand up the table for the honor of Yom Tov, though it will only be used for eating on Shemini Atzeres (see Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 667:3).

Rolling the Sefer Torah and Studying for Tests

A common question of hachana is rolling the Sefer Torah on Shabbos to the place when it must be read during the week: It is permitted for the gabai to roll the Sefer Torah on Shabbos?

The Mishnah Berurah (667:5) rules that it is forbidden to roll the Sefer Torah on Shabbos for the benefit of a weekday reading, since this is considered hachana for weekdays. The fact that the preparation is being done for the sake of a mitzvah does not change the halachic status.

Yet, it is permitted for a ba’al koreh (the person who reads from the Torah) to learn and rehearse a future reading on Shabbos – such as practicing the Yom Tov reading on Shabbos before Yom Tov. The reason for this is that practicing the leining is an act of Torah study, which has immediate benefit and therefore permitted.

The Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 667:2) suggests that this can be an effective way of permitting rolling the Sefer Torah on Shabbos for a future reading. If the gabbai who rolls the Sefer Torah reads several Pesukim in the Sefer Torah, it is permitted to roll it to the required place, because he is actually learning Torah and not merely preparing for another day. However, if it is plainly obvious that the reading in only being done as a cover for rolling the Sefer, this will not be sufficient to permit the practice. This is perhaps the reason why the Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berurah do not mention the leniency.

The immediate benefit of learning might also be applicable to somebody who needs to study for a test on Sunday. If the test is in a Torah matter, it is certainly permitted to study for it, since as noted, learning involves an immediate benefit.

Automated Actions

Some actions are done almost without thinking, such as bringing a tallis home from shul or putting a sefer away on the shelf after using it. If one were to think about it, one would probably say that doing these actions is a preparation for the next use of the tallis or sefer. However, they are generally performed without any special thought. Are such actions permitted?

Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (28:89) quotes from Rav Shlomo Zalman such actions—actions that do not involve a labor (melacha), have minimal toil, and are usually done without thinking, are permitted to perform on Shabbos even if their effect is for weekdays. He therefore permits bringing a tallis home from shul (where carrying is permitted), and writes (Chap. 3, note 239) that a person should make sure he returns his own Siddur and Chumash to the shelf rather than making the gabbai do so (which might involve a prohibition of borer).

A similar logic can be applied to replacing food in the fridge after the meal, or for placing dirty dishes in the dishwasher after clearing them from the table, though both these actions serve as preparation for after Shabbos. However, sometimes there are additional reasons for permitting the latter actions.

Concerning placing dishes in the dishwasher, some  rule that this is permitted, even though it facilitates starting the dishwasher after Shabbos, since a person does so to keep the house tidy—an immediate use for Shabbos.

Concerning replacing food in the fridge, Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Shut Machazeh Eliyahu no. 64) writes that this is not categorized as an act of preparation, but rather as an act of preserving the food, which will go bad if left outside the fridge. Although the food will only be used after Shabbos, the act of placing it in the fridge is therefore not construed as an act of hachana. Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa is also lenient in this matter.

In a similar sense, the Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (28:83) rules that if one left clothing outside, it is permitted to bring it inside to protect it from the rain (which might cause them to rot; see also Machazeh Eliyah 64:25 who is lenient in taking in clothes), though the clothes will only be worn after Shabbos.

Conspicuous Preparations

While it is permitted to study on Shabbos (Torah study) even if the reason is for a Sunday test, one should not explicitly state that the study is underdone for Sunday. An act of preparation, even when permitted, should not be conspicuous.

This is noted by the Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (28:72) concerning sleeping on Shabbos. Although it is permitted to sleep on Shabbos to be awake after Shabbos—since sleeping is a Shabbos pleasure—one should refrain from stating that the sleep is for a weekday purpose.

Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Machazeh Eliyahu 64:35) gives a similar ruling concerning taking food out of a freezer on Shabbos for the purpose of a mitzvah meal (such as Yom Tov) after Shabbos. If the food won’t be ready after Shabbos unless taken out earlier, he rules that in this “case of loss” it is permitted to take the food out of the freezer, since it is a very minor action. However, adds that it is only permitted if the food will be edible on Shabbos, and if the preparation is done in an inconspicuous fashion.

Note that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shulchan Shlomo 290:13) prohibits taking food out of the freezer for this purpose.

Although it is forbidden to prepare from Shabbos to weekdays, this applies only to actions. It is permitted to speak and plan something for weekdays, provided the speech is not directly related to forbidden labors (Machazeh Eliyahu 64:7). However, it is proper to refrain from even from thinking about one’s weekday affairs on Shabbos (Shulchan Aruch 306:8), and the more so one’s speech.


Wishing all readers a joyous festival and a true receiving of the Torah

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