Halachic Questions – A healthy person drinking (eating) before davening
Sefer Avnei Yashfei 5:14
- What is the reason for the prohibition of not eating and drinking before davening (half hour before dawn a set meal is forbidden and at dawn all foods and most drinks are forbidden)?
- What is one allowed to drink before davening?
- Can one eat a sugar candy or chew gum before davening?
- It’s based off two pesukim, Va’yikra 19:26 which says “you should not eat by the blood”, and the Chachamim interpreted it as one shouldn’t eat before davening for his own blood. The other passuk is in Melachim 1:14:9 which says “you have cast me behind your back”. This is interpreted as a person who eats and drinks and feels haughty first and then only decides to daven to HaShem.
- There are a group of drinks that are permitted since they do not fall into the category of haughtiness. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch 89:3 write that water is permitted since haughtiness does not apply to it. The Pri Chadash 89:3 writes that this is talking about water without sugar because sugar is the pinnacle of haughtiness and is forbidden. He continues that this applies to coffee as well which is mutar, and especially in Egypt where the mind isn’t settled without coffee (sugar has to be omitted). The Mishna Brurah brings the Pri Chadash and adds that milk is prohibited as well.
However, the Sefer Hagaos HaMarsham 89:3 is lenient with sugar in tea and coffee. He writes that nowadays since the whole world drinks tea and coffee with sugar (for many they can’t drink without sugar) it is now permissible. He writes that milk in coffee is also permitted and there is no concern for haughtiness (one should not drink from a silver cup which is a problem before davening). The milk is considered batel b’rov and is negligible (Pri Megadim Ashel Avrham 608:6).
Types of drinks
Coffee and Tea – one can drink a coffee or tea with sugar and milk (shouldn’t be an overwhelming amount of milk)
Soda – The Avnei Yashfei writes that carbonated drinks depends on the person. If they feel full from it then it is assur, but if they do not feel full then they can drink it. The Rivevos Ephraim 8:22:2 brings Rav Mordichai Fridlander who permits Coca-Cola and the Rivevos Ephraim agreed with that psak. Rav Belsky is of the opinion that one should not drink soda.
Orange juice and apple juice – Rav Belsky is of the opinion that the minhag is to be lenient with orange juice. The Avnei Yashfei holds one should be stringent and refrain from drinking all fruit and vegetable juice before davening (based on a machlokes).
Beer, whisky and malt beer – Beer is forbidden according to all opinions. Some hold that one can drink a little whiskey before davening to give some strength. The Avnei Yashfei refers to a drink called black beer (sweet malt that isn’t intoxicating) which he holds is mutar to drink unless one feels satiated from it then its assur.
Milk – From the words of the Maharsham (who held a drop of milk is ok) it seems that a cup of milk is assur, and only a minimal amount of milk in coffee and tea is permitted.
Hot Cocoa – Rav Belsky(Shulchan Halevi siman 7) holds that hot coca is a chashuv drink that contains a lot of sugar, chocolate, and milk ,and one should not drink it before davening(a child who is bar mitzvad already, may be allowed to drink it if he needs strength).
Cappuccinos and iced coffee with a lot of milk – According to Rav Belsky(Piskei Halacha) one should not drink these before davening(in general he holds that a chasuv drink is assur but one that gives strength is mutar).
- The Avnei Yashfei holds that one can chew gum since all he is doing is swallowing the sweetness of the gum but isn’t eating it (like chewing on licorice- Mishna Brurah 90:45). However, when it comes to the sugar candy he is hesitant to allow it since eventually the whole candy is swallowed. Rav Belskey (Shulchan Halevi 7) holds that a sucking candy is surely prohibited.
I compiled this recently.