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There is a Gemara in :ביצה ט"ו which says that expenses for Shabbos are unlike all other expenses in that they are not included in the debits from one's net profit which were predetermined on Rosh Hashana, meaning that when one makes purchases "לכבוד שבת קודש", they are not actually spending money; it is "covered" by G-d.

The לשון of the Gemara is:

תני רב תחליפא אחוה דרבנאי חוזאה כל מזונותיו של אדם קצובים לו מראש השנה ועד יום הכפורים, חוץ מהוצאת שבתות והוצאת יום טוב והוצאת בניו לתלמוד תורה, שאם פחת — פוחתין לו, ואם הוסיף — מוסיפין לו.

I have a number of questions.

  • Is this הלכה למעשה and intended to be employed regularly by the general public, or is it more of a Kabbalistic idea which should not be taken as practical advice?
  • Is this referring to normal types of spending which are comfortably within one's means, or does it include items one cannot naturally afford without relying on this idea?
  • Does this concept only apply to food items?
  • Does one need to have this in mind at the time they make the purchase?
  • Is a verbal declaration required, and if so, must it be at the exact time at which the קנין occurs?

Any information would be appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

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This is definitely practical halacha. It is codified by Rif (Shabbos 44b and Beitzah 8b), Rosh (Shabbos 16:5, Beitzah 2:4), Tur (OC 242, 419) - right down to Mishneh Berurah (242:4).

Rashi (Beitzah 16a) limits this guarantee to standard expenses - 'לפי מה שרגיל ממציאים לו'. This implies that exaggerated expenses that are beyond his regular standard of living are not included.

The position of many poskim* extend this to include all Shabbos expenses - not just food, but also special Shabbos clothing, generators for those who don't use electricity in Israel powered by Jews, Eruvin, tableware. Some (see Rivevos Efrayim V6 56:6) even include trips taken over Shabbos.

There is a minor discussion whether Melave Demalka expenses are included; R' Moshe Shternbuch believed that they are, whereas R' Ahron Leib Shteinman (Ayeles Hashachar Shabbos 119) and R' Chaim Kanievsky were unsure.

R' Chaim Kanievsky cautioned to be honest when purchasing - is the purchase actually to honour Shabbos, or just self indulgence?


*Partial list: R' Shlomo Zalman Aurebach (Shulchan Shlomo 529 n4), Rivevos Efrayim (V1 181), R' Elyashiv (cited in Ashrei Haish), R' Nissim Karelitz (Chut Hashani 1:2), R' Chaim Kanievsky (cited by numerous publication; eg אליבא דהילכתא גליון מ"א). The only dissenting view I found was Mishnas Yosef, who limits this to food only.

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  • Is the same true for tuition?
    – shmosel
    Commented Jun 18 at 2:40
  • @Shmosel - Yes, but only the amount actually necessary to pay. If one is eligible for a discount or could negotiate a deal (as is the norm for low income families in many frum schools), then anything paid more than that would not be included. [Steipler, קריינא דאיגרתא ח"ג מכתב ג]
    – chortkov2
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:10
  • And according to R' Shach (מכתבים ומאמרים עמ' קל"ד), tuition for girls is also included
    – chortkov2
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:11
  • That doesn't seem consistent with אם הוסיף מוסיפין לו.
    – shmosel
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:33
  • אם הוסיף doesn't mean spending more than necessary on the same item, without receiving more in return. If I choose to spend $100 on a $20 item, that doesn't constitute אם הוסיף.
    – chortkov2
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:42
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This a partial answer

  • it is halacha Lemaaseh, see Mishna Berura 242:3 and 4 and the Shaar Hatziyun there. The M"B quotes the Gemara. He even goes as far as bringing the Gr"a that even borrowing for the purpose of being mechabed Shabbat is allowed, even if the borrower doesn't know how he will repay it.
  • Should he spend on items he cannot affors. Based on the Gr"a mentioned previoulsy yes. The Dirshu Mishna Berura brings Rabbi Nissim Karelitz Zatza"l that this should only be done by someone who has that level of Bitachon to rely on the words of the gemara, otherwise he should spend within his means.
  • Is it only for food - The gemara makes no mention of food items. To the contrary it is brought together with expenses for teaching ones sons Torah, which are unrelated to food. This implies that the Braysa means any type of expense that can be attributed as being made for Kavod Shabbat.

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