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I have never understood how Havdalah can be said until Tuesday shkiya (at sunset). I mean, if one cannot eat or drink (except water) until saying Havdalah, is it possible that one can go THREE days without eating?

Why does such an allowance even exist?

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The allowance to say havdala until Tuesday is primarily for those who forgot to say it on motzei shabbat.

The language of SA OC 299:6 is quite clear

שכח ולא הבדיל במוצאי שבת מבדיל עד סוף יום ג'
One who forgets and didn't say Havdala on motzei Shabbat says Havdala until the end of Tuesday

Outside of voluntary fasts1, there is no allowance to delay voluntarily for convenience.

As such, one who forgot would likely have eaten as normal.

1. Thanks to @DoubleAA for reminding us of this. I quote: "If one is fasting starting on Sunday less than 72 hours one can delay on purpose and just say the candle blessing on sat night. (If fasting more than 72 hours you'd say Havdala on Shabbat afternoon after Plag.)"

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    Thank you both very much. Please forgive me, but I need clarification. It is not clear to me. If one forgot to say it Motzei Shabbat and, obviously, ate and drank Motzei Shabbat, Sunday, etc, does he go ahead with full Havdalah when he remembers (even on Monday or Tuesdday)? Thank you again. – Sidney76 Jan 6 at 8:28
  • @Sidney76 no from Sunday at daybreak on, use only the wine, not the candle or spices, and don’t say the first paragraph (hinei El yeshu’ati…). Source: here The rationale is the spices are there to console for the departing additional soul that was there on Shabbat (and left by Sunday), and the candle is there as a reminder Adam created fire on motzei shabbat (and thus this doesn't apply from Sunday on) – mbloch Jan 6 at 8:30
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    mbloch, thank you again so very much. I greatly appreciate the knowledge--and time--you provided me. Shavua tov. – Sidney76 Jan 6 at 8:34
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    I'm still not convinced you can't delay on purpose for extreme Tosefet Kodesh, though indeed you might only be allowed to drink water. We allow people for the same reason to say Kiddush well before dark. – Double AA Jan 6 at 13:37
  • Not just voluntary fasts. We do the same thing when observance of tisha b'av is on Sunday. – Daniel Feb 5 at 14:18

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