We all know the mishna in Se'udot:

It once happened that Rabban Zmanliochel's sons were on their way to a Shabbat lunch. They said to him "We have not received instructions on when to come." He said to them, "If your hosts have not yet prayed," then you shouldn't go. "If they have, then you are obligated to arrive before Chatzot."

That's all well and good if you live in a town with one shul that everyone goes to, but what if there are many shuls, and many minyanim, and you don't know which one[s] your hosts went to? How do you figure out what time to arrive for the meal?

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2 Answers 2


Though I have no sources I think that this is the correct answer:

Everyone has a Shul they "wouldn't be seen dead in". You need to find out which one your host avoids. Since he does not daven there he has no way of knowing if you do so or not.

Being a good host he will assume that you might very well daven there and so will be home in time for when that shul finishes. Hence, you should use the same shul as your target time.


Avraham's angelic guests seemed to have absolutely no clue what time he would be serving lunch, otherwise they probably wouldn't have shown up during the most intensely painful recovery state from his circumcision.

So presumably, one should follow their lead and show up at כחום היום (Bereishis 18:1). Rashi comments

הוציא הקב"ה חמה מנרתיקה שלא להטריחו באורחים

The Holy One took the Sun out of its pouch in order to not bother him with guests.

So, you should figure out the most unexpected time to show up, and show up at that time.

Figuring out this time is much easier when they have told you what time they will be praying, but since you don't know, the best solution is to pray at the earliest minyan in town and show up straight from the end of the minyan.

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