A friend was on a diet and was told that if he does not want to eat bread on Shabbos, he does not have to. Is this correct? Do we have an obligation to wash for bread and have three meals on Shabbos?

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    YM Klier, welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for bringing your question here. Please note that this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic) advice. Treat information from this site like it came from a crowd of your friends.
    – msh210
    May 6, 2013 at 14:45
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    @msh210, I was about to remove the second and third questions, but I see that you chose not to and don't want to step on your judgement without discussing. Shouldn't everything from "Similarly" on be in separate questions?
    – Isaac Moses
    May 6, 2013 at 14:46
  • @IsaacMoses, go right ahead. The three seem to me similar enough that one question can include them all, but I agree it's a stretch. YM Klier, some background: we generally include only one actual question per question on the site, unless questions depend on one another. Your three questions don't seem to, so it looks like two of them are going to be edited out. Please feel free to ask them separately!
    – msh210
    May 6, 2013 at 14:48
  • @msh210 While I can't remove anything, I do think that they are three separate questions. Each one could receive a detailed answer with sources in halakha books, and touch on areas of minhag as well. May 6, 2013 at 14:50
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    @RabbiMichaelTzadok See the faq judaism.stackexchange.com/faq#editing If you feel you can improve the post, go ahead! Others are always reading to double check you, and if we have to roll back, there's no real harm done.
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2013 at 14:59

4 Answers 4


There is a requirement to eat bread for first two meals of Shabbos, as per the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 274:4.

However, the Mishna Berura Siman 291:1 Sif Katan 3 notes that Shabbos meals were given for oneg meaning pleasure, not for tzar meaning pain or unpleasantness.

The sefer Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa therefore rules in chapter 54 paragraph 35 that someone who is concerned that Shabbos food even may damage him is exempt for eating that food. This of course includes bread, as the entire chapter there is dealing with the requirement to eat bread on Shabbos.

For further reading, see the footnotes there in Shabbos K'Hilchasa where he brings the Mishna Berura Siman 288:1 Sif Katan 3 that eating food which you know will damage you may even be forbidden.


Per Orach Chaim 274:4 both the evening meal and day meal require bread. The only meal where it is not a requirement according to some (Orach Chaim 291:5) is at Shalosh Seudos - the third meal.

This site is not in exchange for Rabbinic guidance. This answers the second question as to whether there is an obligation to wash for bread on Shabbos, which according to the Shulchan Aruch there clearly is. There may be instances where a Rabbi would give a dispensation for a particular circumstance, which may be the case here. Yet in a regular case one would be required to wash.

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    But one can fast on Shabbat. How can eating bread be a requirement?
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2013 at 15:23
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    +1, but (besides @DoubleAA's comment) readers should note that someone who may need to abstain from bread for medical reasons should consult his rabbi and doctor.
    – msh210
    May 6, 2013 at 15:24
  • @msh210 It's not just 'besides' my comment. Those people should remember my comment as it may prove quite useful for them in arriving at a healthy outcome.
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2013 at 15:26
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    @DoubleAA "But one can fast on Shabbat." Under unusual circumstances (esp. ta'anis chalom), this might be true. Generally speaking, it's forbidden, and according to some rishonim is an issur d'oraisa. Are you referring to those poskim who permit a ta'anis chalom based on oneg, and extending that concept to a diet? Or are you referring to an absolute medical need?
    – Fred
    May 6, 2013 at 16:54
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    @Fred Mostly along the lines of the former. I'm not saying my extension is valid, but it should be addressed, especially because the OP gives us no indication of the import or style of this diet. See OC 288:2 and in particular 288:3 that changing one's regular eating pattern may be basis to fast (and kol shekein to avoid bread).
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2013 at 16:57

If for health reasons you cannot eat bread, it's OK. If eating bread will harm your health or make you sick, OK. But if you are just "dieting," there is no exemption for that - and, by the way, all you have to eat is one or two slices of bread, which will not hurt your diet.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Michael. Thanks for the answer. It would be greatly improved with some sources.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 24, 2016 at 21:09

The inyan of shabbos is oneg. If eating bread for some reason causes one to lose their degree of enjoyment, then they shouldn't. The Cohanim had reasons to eat offered portions of grain, bread, meat, wine, oil, etc. The people of Israel have no particular requirement of what is to be eaten on Shabbos other than what brings them joy. The shoresh of joy, simcha, is the same as Moshiach, shin-mem-chet. Moshiach is the one who restores the joy of the people.

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    Shabbos has no mitsva of joy= simcha only yom tov. Shabbos has only oneg and eating bread may have other reasons apart from it. Eating bread is not counted as joy simcha only meat. So why must one eat bread on yom tov. See R Akiva Eiger about women repeating benching if mistake made.
    – user2709
    May 8, 2013 at 8:23
  • Hi Moda and welcome to Mi Yodeya. I'm having trouble understanding your argument. You could just as easily say that davening, or refraining from work, or something else causes you to lose a degree of enjoyment (for some people that might be true, I mean), but that wouldn't justify saying you're exempt. Are you arguing that there's no bread requirement, therefore it's optional, therefore if it's not joyful don't do it? Can you source that? Thanks. May 8, 2013 at 14:53
  • Supplying a source of some sort would add some credibility to this novel idea. May 14, 2014 at 8:06

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