Is it permissible to prepare a menu for use on Shabbos and Yom Tov, without violating the prohibition on שטרי הדיוטות? This is particularly relevant during the "three-day Yom Tov"s that we will soon encounter.

  • Yeah I've heard specifically of this as an issue (shiur from Rabbi Binyomin Marwick, mentioned in passing); not sure how it's resolved. I know Ner Israel yeshiva covers over its bulletin boards on Shabbos, I presume because of shtarei hedyotos, but that doesn't seem to be common practice. – Shalom Aug 31 '10 at 19:47
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    It gets quite challenging for housewives who have average memory skills. Maybe it would be ok to have a disinterested third party read the list to the one who will be serving? – Dave Aug 31 '10 at 20:05
  • Article relevant to the topic: torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5765/shemini.html (see second question). – Dave May 24 '13 at 14:37

Per Reb Shlomo Zalman Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo Hilchos Shabbos Siman 307 footnote - A lady is allowed to write out her meal prior to Shabbos and Yom Tov and read it on Shabbos or Yom Tov.

  • Gershon Gold, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the well-sourced answer! We'd love to have you as a fully-registered member, which you can accomplish by clicking on "register," above. – Isaac Moses Sep 13 '10 at 14:09
  • What is his reasoning there? – Dave Sep 13 '10 at 16:26
  • He does not give a reason. However he discusses in depth whether the reason of reading Shtaros is even Shayuch. The footnote says "Yitachain Lomar that a lady is allowed to use a menu on Shabbos" – Gershon Gold Sep 13 '10 at 16:40
  • If you lookmit up in Shulchan Aruch Siman 307 Seyuf 12 I forgot which one of the Mifarshim - however one of them mentions that the whole Issur is only by a Seudas Merayim. In a regular house scene it is not a Seudas Merayim. Maybe that is the reasoning behind Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Zatzals Psak. – Gershon Gold Sep 13 '10 at 16:46
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    See below from Torah.org torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5765/shemini.html – Gershon Gold Sep 14 '10 at 14:51

This is an edit of my original answer. There are two reasons for not reading "menus". First, so you don't find a mistake and correct it. Secondly, so you won't come to read Shtaros. So, although neither of my answers would work independently, they would work together.

To get out of the correcting issue, that issur would only apply to where cheshbonos are involved- you have x amount of guest so your making y platters. If someone can't come or there's a mistake in the cheshbon, it needs correction.

As for the problem of reading shtaros, this is a subcategory of v'daber davar and would apply to chafatzecha and not cheftzei mitzva.

  • Why would the correcting issue apply only to numeric cheshbonos? If I originally planned to serve a certain dish on the first day of Yom Tov but then realized that it would be more appropriate for the second day, won't there be the same chashash that I might correct my menu? – Dave Sep 1 '10 at 4:35
  • I checked the sefer Orchos Shabbos, and he does not make a chilluk between guest lists and food lists. Getting out of the correcting issue is relatively easy -- one can appoint a shomer, or have some else read it to him. But the shtaros problem doesn't seem solvable. He cites Rama 333:1 who defines a seudas mitzvah as one where there are guests. This indicates that the mere fact that it is a Seudas Shabbos would not be sufficient to supersede the concern of shtaros. – Dave Sep 1 '10 at 13:02
  • Regarding the nature of the shtar: I don't have a source. The case mentioned throughout the sources is where he is counting his guests and his quantities and realizes a mistake. This seems to imply a mistake when comparing the variables. I invited to many, I made too much. – YDK Sep 1 '10 at 16:56
  • Regarding cheftzei shamayim: Are you sure he's not talking about a seudas reshus on shabbos. Like the mishna brura adds, if the seudah itself is a seudas mitva, it's certainly mutar. – YDK Sep 1 '10 at 17:02

Another way of getting out of the problem of atu shtarei chovos is to write it in Hebrew. (Aruch Hashulchan 307:10)

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    AH is explaining the Rama, who says it about secular reading material. He doesn't mention it regarding lists -- however, that could be because lists are prohibited in any event due to the problem of correcting. In any event, MB cites numerous poskim who disagree with the Lashon HaKodesh leniency. – Dave Sep 1 '10 at 18:34
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    Granted it only takes care of atu shtarei chovos. I put this as an answer because you had mentioned above that this was the tough part. Although some question the Rema's psak, the AH brings their issues and circumvents them with his mehalech. (A Basra'ah) – YDK Sep 2 '10 at 0:57

It seems that the issur is to read it out loud. Only by actual shtaros is it assur to look at (that seems to be the reading of the mechaber).

  • Where does the mechaber imply this? The word לקרותו doesn't necessarily mean out loud. – Dave Sep 1 '10 at 13:04
  • I originally implied this from the Rema who when referring to the gezairah atu shtarei chovos says d'afilu l'ayin bahem asur (implying kriah is out loud. After your prompt, I saw a footnote that this Rema is a mistake and should read v'afilu and is going on ksav orchim. So as per the footnote, my answer is wrong. – YDK Sep 1 '10 at 15:06
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    Your other answer is an edit to this one? Why not just edit it? (Yes I know this is from forever ago; let's try and fix it up.) – Double AA Oct 11 '12 at 0:17

On Shabbos or Yom Tov it is usaly forbidden for a host to read the menu of the courses to be served or to review a guest list because of the likelihood of inadvertently revising the list while studying it. {This is a very common problem when making a Bar Mitzvah or Sheva Berachos on Shabbos}.There is a basis to permit having a menu or guest list, and designating someone other than the host (i.e. one who does not feel the responsibility of the serving - this would likewise exclude a caterer or party planner) to read the list, who is not concerned with the accuracy of the list and therefore has no reason to revise it. The above concerns do not pose any problem for a hotel guest to read a menu, since as a guest one whould have no reason to revise the menu.

Summary of Daily Halacha email Halacha L'kovod Shabbos Feature

  • There seems to be a difference if it is for a private home Seuda to if it is for a large gathering. – Gershon Gold Oct 8 '10 at 15:36

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