There is a litvishe/yeshivishe minhag to eat liver on the Shabbat morning seudah as first plate, instead of fish. Mishna Berura 242:2 says in the name of Magen Avraham / Tikunei Shabat that it is good to eat fish all three times.

What is the source of this minhag? How can it be halachically strong enough against the Mishna Berurah, which is usually followed by them (in the lack of contradicting sources)?


Eating fish on Shabbos

Significance of the various Shabbos dishes

  • One of the Shabbat Zemirot says בשר ודגים וכל מטעמים . Meat is mentioned before fish. Maybe, that's the reason for the priority?
    – DanF
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:20
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    "How can it be halachically strong enough" Since this has nothing to do with Halakha, anything could be strong enough. Maybe they like liver a lot. Or they dislike fish.
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:29
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    "Liberlach" is Yiddish for livers, and it sounds like "leb ehrlich" which means "live honestly." This is the reason some have the custom to eat chicken livers on Rosh HaShanah; I wonder if there is a connection on Shabbos too.
    – ezra
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:32
  • It may be connected to times when fish was unobtainium and foods like falsha fish (chopped chicken patties) were used instead of fish.
    – user6591
    Aug 30, 2017 at 18:16
  • @DoubleAA: I disagree. If the Chofetz Chaim in the Mishnah Berurah says "tov leechol" it definitely has to do a lot with halacha. It has other phrases like "nohagim" that is used in conjunction with more optional topics. Certainly cannot be disregarded by such selfistic motivations.
    – Binyomin
    Aug 30, 2017 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


It is possible that this minhag is based upon the practice of Rabbi Abba as found in Shabbat 119a which says:

Rabbi Abba bought thirteen plain staters [astirei peshitei] worth half a zuz of meat from thirteen butchers in deference to Shabbat, so that he would have various types of fine meat. And he would place the meats at the door hinge at the entrance to his house to hurry to bring another type of meat. And he said to the cooks, in order to rush them: Hurry and prepare it, hurry and prepare it.

This is mentioned in Otzar Dinim v'Minhagim in connection with foods that are good to eat on Shabbat. The meat described as בשר מן המובחר may be referring to liver.

It is sort of a play on words of:

אמרו עליו על שמאי הזקן כל ימיו היה אוכל לכוד שבת

That liver is also כבד.

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