It says in the Gemara in Shabbos (Daf 117b - 118) and paskened in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 291 that one is required to eat 3 meals on Shabbos?

What is the reason for this? Seemingly a long time ago people only ate 2 meals a day:

בְּתֵת יְדֹוָד לָכֶם בָּעֶרֶב בָּשָׂר לֶאֱכֹל וְלֶחֶם בַּבֹּקֶר לִשְׂבֹּעַ

(שמות טז, ח)

Why On Shabbos then are we required to eat 3 meals? The Gemara learns this out from a pasuk in the Torah however what is the reason behind all of it? Is it simply because the Torah says? Can a reason be given?

(obviously the third meal is a bit different that the shulchan aruch says one may be yotzee even without eating bread. As well the person might not have to eat at all if it is difficult for them (but to of course be careful to not eat too much by the 2nd seudah in order to eat the third.)

  • People were off from work on Shabbat so they had time for lunch. (The two regular meals are breakfast and dinner, and in between you worked in the field all day.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 19:02
  • 1
    Not a direct answer, but, perhaps a reason might be gleaned by reading Rash"i and, I think Orach Chaim on this verse and the few surrounding it. The concept was that people were concerned about the leftover spoiling (as was the norm on other days of the week) and how they could eat all that food so quickly without it spoiling. Thus, Moshe was telling them that Shabbat was different and they could keep leftover to the next day and it would be good all day long. So, in a sense, the 3 meals emulate the concept of the man lasting all day until the end of Shabbat. My understanding of the discussion
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 19:47
  • Maybe because people just can't enough chulent and kishke in 1 or 2 meals, alone ;-o
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


Maseches Shabbos 117 amud beis: We learn it from the verse ויאמר משה : אכלוהו היום כי שבת היום לה', היום לא תמצאוהו בשדה. This verse, said regarding the man (manna), speaking about Shabbos, says the word Hayom 3 times (the man was their meals in those days), so the גמרא says that we learn it from there. This is the verse you were referring to in your question.

On Wikipedia, it says that the reason is, even though it was customary to have 2 meals, but they had 3 on Shabbos for כבוד ועונג שבת. Then it quotes the gemara (not word for word, it says that it's a hint, remez from the verse, the gemara says we're doresh it, we learn it from the verse).

Edit: "Call the Shabbat a delight" — Isaiah 58:13...We delight in the Shabbat by partaking of three meals

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