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Many people, including Chabad, eat cookies before shacharis which raises a question about kiddush asked here. I understand that they do this because cookies don't count as a seudah.1 The flip side of that question is, for those of us who eat mezonot before shacharis, how can we eat the same mezonot for kiddush bemakom seudah?

1 Orach Chaim 89 (1?) forbids eating before shacharis. Mishnah berurah there permits various things and forbids others on the grounds that they are "like a meal".

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Doesn't it depend on how many of the cookies you eat? –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 7 '13 at 22:50
    
@Yitzchak, I took a quick read through the Mishna Brurra, and didn't see him discussing anything being like a meal. Can you find a more precise source? –  Yishai Nov 8 '13 at 16:43

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The heter for eating cookies before davening is not based on the idea that it is not a seuda, rather that it is needed to concentrate during davening, despite the fact that it would otherwise be forbidden. As the Alter Rebbe writes:

ואפילו כל מיני אוכלים וכל מיני משקין ששייך בהם גאוה מותר לאכלם ולשתותם לצורך רפואה שאין ברפואה משום גאוה אבל לרעבו ולצמאו אסור אלא א"כ אינו יכול לכוין דעתו בתפלתו עד שיאכל או שישתה ואפילו עכשיו שאין מכוונים כל כך בתפלה מכל מקום אם רוצה לאכול ולשתות כדי לכוין הרשות בידו

Even all types of food and all types of drinks which can create haughtiness, it is permissible to eat them and to drink them for health, as health does not have [concerns] of haughtiness. However for his hunger and his thirst it is forbidden unless he is unable to concentrate his mind in prayer until he eats or drinks. And even nowadays, when we do not concentrate so much in prayer, nevertheless if he wants to eat and drink in order to concentrate, he has permission to do so.

See there for sources.

For those wondering if this is the reason for the leniency, regarding Chabad practice specifically see here: (emphasis added)

הנה לא ירעיב את עצמו עד כמה וכמה שעות על היום, אלא ישתה דבר המחזק את הגוף וגם יאכל מיני מזונות בבקר ואפילו קודם התפלה. וכבר ידוע פתגם רבוה״ק והוראתם, אז מען־ דארף עסין צוליב דאוונען ניט דאוונען צוליב עסן. וכוונתם היתה ג״כ בפשטות, שאם הוא רעב בשעת התפלה, הרי אי אפשר, לאנשים כערכנו — שלא תהי׳ לזה נגיעה בהתבוננות בתפלה והאריכות בה, משא״כ כשיאכל לפני התפלה יסולק בלבול זה, וביכולתו - אם רק ברצונו - לעבוד עבודתו ביותר טוב ובאופן נעלה.

ובתור תיקון על אשר נהג עד כמה באומן אחר, הרי ישפיע גם בסביבתו, אשר כל אלו שאינם בריאים ועפמ״ש באגרת התשובה הנ״ל, לא ירעיבו את עצמם, ויתפללו בבקר וגם ילמדו אז נשמה בגוף שאינו מבלבל, והשי״ת יצליחו

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This doesn't say that m'zonos food is permitted per se, just that a food is not prohibited before davening on the grounds of גאוה if the person needs it to concentrate (such as fruit or flavored drinks). יש בו משום גאוה ≠ חשיבי לסעודת שבת. –  Fred Nov 8 '13 at 1:25
    
Would it make a difference if the pre-Shacharit "cookie" was breakfast-like food such as a muffin or doughnut? Maybe oatmeal-riasin and the seuda "cookie" were regulach or brownies or chocolate chip? At least in my part of the world, any type of cookies can be eaten anytime of the day but some are more breakfast like than others just as some foods are, say eggs on a toasted muffin. –  JJLL Nov 8 '13 at 1:33
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@JJLL, I'm not aware of that distinction. Perhaps ask it as a separate question? The Chabad practice (mentioned in the question here) doesn't distinguish, but there may be other opinions. Go with what your Rabbi is telling you over what you read on the internet. –  Yishai Nov 8 '13 at 3:28
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@Yishai You claim that anything a choleh can eat, a distracted person can also eat. This would include bread. So you are basically saying that a se'uda is permissible before davening if someone is distracted. This is not indicated by the source, which is only comparing a distracted person to a sick person with respect to the prohibition משום גאוה (see B'rachos 10b). The general prohibition against being kove'a s'uda before performing mitzvos would presumably still apply, and the logic behind a comparison to a sick person is inapplicable in that regard. –  Fred Nov 8 '13 at 17:47
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It wasn't a question. It was a criticism of your argument that a s'uda (as such) is permissible for a distracted person before shacharis. | The comparison you mention is irrelevant to my point, and I think you are reading things into @DoubleAA 's comment that aren't there. –  Fred Nov 8 '13 at 18:10

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