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According to the Halacha, is it permitted for Jews to eat or drink during kriat Sh’ma, or no is that prohibited as a hefsek? Or no, is it not necessarily a hefsek to fulfilling the mitzvah?

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  • One can't talk. Why do you think eating would be less of a problem? Apr 10 at 22:43
  • 1
    @Gershon it literally doesn't interrupt the text
    – Double AA
    Apr 10 at 23:12
  • FWIW, I once heard a halacha shiur which said it was prohibited. But I cannot remember the sources or proofs brought.
    – JMS
    Apr 11 at 5:06

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We first need to figure out if doing other actions (i.e eating or drinking) are considered a hefsek:

In Chazon Ovadia Sukkot Page 244 he says, that a מעשה is a hefsek. He brings Rashi in Eruvin 50aa with regards to a case regarding Ma'aser Behema. In a case where one has called his two of his animals the 10th animal and only one of them requires תנופה, so out of a safek he does תנופה on both. Rashi writes, "And in my heart, I say that one does not bless on the תנופה and on the placing [of hands] so as not to make a blessing in vain," implying that the act of waving of the animal that does not require waving can be an interruption between the bracha and the mitzvah. In Shu"t Sadeh Haretz OC 3:38, Shu"t Yagel Yaakov OC 10, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank in Mikreh Kodesh Sukkot 2:9 all also understood that its a hefsek.

Furthermore, to be more specific regarding eating and drinking, the Mishneh Berurah in OC 239 Seif Katan 4 says, ואם תאב לשתות או לדבר איזה ענין נחוץ נראה שמותר אך יחזור ויקרא פרשת שמע אכן אם כבר אמר ברכת המפיל יזהר בזה כי יפסיק בין הברכה להשינה, that one should be careful to not eat and drink after saying hamapil so there won't be a hefsek.

In Orach Chaim Siman 54 Seif Katan 6 the Mishneh Berurah says, "לפסוק צדקה וה"ה לכל דבר מצוה ודוקא בין ישתבח ליוצר שהוא ענין אחר אבל בין קדיש וברכו או בין הפרקים של ק"ש וברכותיה או של פסוקי דזמרה אסור להפסיק אפילו בצרכי רבים ולדבר מצוה וכדלעיל בסימן נ"א ס"ד [א"ר והגר"א לעיל בסימן נ"א שם עי"ש]." That בין הפרקים של ק"ש one can not do a hefsek (which as explained before inlcudes eatign and driking).

There are a lot more sources I did not quote (so it's not too lengthy) that discuss eating and drinking as being a hefsek and more Rishonim and Achronim who discuss eating and drinking during daveining as a whole.

Hope this helps

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