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Since tea and coffee are permitted before shacharit, is it safe to assume that all liquids are permitted? Otherwise why is it okay to add milk and sweeteners to the tea? Or is tea and coffee only permitted to help you pray better?

Are things such as honey and yogurt considered liquids and therefore permitted before shacharit? I know solids are not allowed.

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    How do you know that tea/coffee are OK, and solid food isn't? Including that would make it a stronger question, IMO. – Scimonster Jan 13 '15 at 12:55
  • @Scimonster Here is the source - bit.ly/1BiWmod – havarka Jan 13 '15 at 15:03
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The poskim don't differentiate between liquids and solids. As user6591 pointed out, only foods considered as luxuries or to be haughty are forbidden. Dose of Halacha brings sources and explains:

The Gemara (Berachos 10a) writes that one mustn’t eat before davening as it is considered haughty to take care of one’s personal needs first. While most Poskim (Bais Yosef OC 89:3) hold that this prohibition is derabanan, the Minchas Chinuch (248:5) writes that it is mideoraisa and the Chayei Adam (16:1) writes that as the Gemara brings a Pasuk, it is akin to being mideorraisa. One isn’t even allowed to taste food (Shulchan Aruch OC 89:3).

The Shulchan Aruch allows one to drink water and the Mishna Berura (89:22) includes coffee and tea (if it will help his davening) though writes that one shouldn’t add sugar or milk. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo p8) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 4:11) however, allow milk and sugar, as these are no longer considered such luxuries (See Aruch Hashulchan 89:23).

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 89:4) writes that anyone who is too weak to daven before eating may eat first. The Mishna Berura (89:24) allows one to take any medication or vitamins before davening even if it can wait till later, though in Biur Halacha (89:3), he writes that one should ideally recite the Shema first (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 89:24). Some (including minhag Lubavitch) are more lenient, and allow all to eat if it will aid their davening.

He then goes on to discuss whether this applies to women and children.

  • I was just about to ask if these restrictions apply to women too (I've always assumed they do but I don't know if that's correct). Is that easily summarized here or should I ask separately? – Monica Cellio Jan 13 '15 at 17:16
  • see the blog - he summarizes it well! – Zvi Jan 13 '15 at 17:34
  • Zvi, do you know if honey is the same is sugar when placed into coffee or tea? – Ani Yodea Jan 14 '15 at 19:12
  • they would certainly be allowed according to R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and R’ Ovadia Yosef quoted above. – Zvi Jan 14 '15 at 19:45
  • @MonicaCellio judaism.stackexchange.com/q/67090 – msh210 Jan 10 '16 at 3:29
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Coffee and tea is allowed for people in places where it is commonly consumed and especially if they can't concentrate without them. Mishna Berurah siman 89 #22. Milk and sweeteners is dealt with there as well. The Mishna Berurah in the name of Achronim says they should not be used but mentions the minhag is to use them and constructs an interesting premise of putting the sugar in one's mouth as opposed to in the drink, a common behavior in his Russian community from what I've heard from my Lithuanian relatives. The bottom line there is whatever is done in a haughty way before prayers is not allowed, whatever is a necessary process for drinking is allowed. Use your common sense and CYLOR.

As far as yogurt, you will find a few questions on this site trying to get to the bottom of whether to consider it a liquid or a solid. I will relate my experience with Rabbi Dovid Feinstein concerning this. I had your same exact question and presented it to him as such. Is yogurt a drink which would qualify it to be drunk before shacharis? He asked me 'what?' multiple times as I repeated the question. Finally he said why do you want to? I said I get bad heartburn from the Chulent and if I can have yogurt in the morning before davening, it would help alleviate the problem. He paused for a moment, looked at me very seriously and shook his head yes. I am quite certain his allowance was based on some type of choleh she'ein bah sakana (or yeish bah, depends on how you view heartburn) but he definitely avoided answering the yogurt liquid issue.

  • I saw somewhere that Rav Elyashiv permits any drink except alcoholic beverages, based on the same logic you mentioned. Unfortunately can not recall the source. – havarka Jan 13 '15 at 14:45
  • havarka well the mishna berurah points out no beer. But what you say makes sense. The whole hetter is for clarity and ability to pray better, not for lightheadedness and inability to pray. But i have wondered about that. Some people have a better ability to pray after a shot. now what? They get the gilu and lose the raada:) – user6591 Jan 13 '15 at 14:49
  • haloche is haloche :) Maybe redbull, or some energy drink is allowed?! – havarka Jan 13 '15 at 15:23
  • @Havarka ive seen some guys shuckling so violently that i wondered if they were juiced up:) – user6591 Jan 13 '15 at 15:42
  • @user6591 Extreme shuckling in shul is likely inappropriate anyway (see Igros Moshe OC 5:38:6, ואין לעשות דבר תמוה בשעת תפילה בביהכ"נ). – Fred Feb 2 '15 at 21:42
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Halachic Questions – A healthy person drinking (eating) before davening Sefer Avnei Yashfei 5:14

Questions

  1. 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)?
  2. What is one allowed to drink before davening?
  3. Can one eat a sugar candy or chew gum before davening?

Answers

  1. 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.
  2. 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).

  1. 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.

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