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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 70 (page 208)
 מסעיף ד עד תחילת סימן עא

Eating Before Davening
Engaging in Time-Consuming Activities at the End of the Night
The Exemption of Being Involved in a Mitzva

Eating before davening
It is forbidden to begin a meal within half an hour before alos (dawn). The meal could drag on, and participants might neglect to recite Shema or daven. Eating is forbidden after alos [no matter when the meal began] because there is a special prohibition against eating prior to davening (see Shulcha Aruch 89:3-5). For the same reason, someone who was unable to daven Shacharis cannot eat from noon until he davens Mincha. Similarly, it is forbidden to eat before donning tefillin. Someone who davened without tefillin may not eat until he dons tefillin.
( סעיף ה, ס"ק כ, כג ו־כד, וביה"ל ד"ה היה עוסק וכו'; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 52)
Engaging in time-consuming activities at the end of the night
From dawn until after davening Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, it is forbidden to commence any activity. Chazal were concerned that the job would drag out and distract the person from davening. If work was begun, it must be paused until kriyas Shema is recited.  Afterwards, the work can be completed (provided that there remains sufficient time to daven before the end of zeman tefilla). There is an opinion which forbids most activities starting from half an hour before dawn. The poskim discuss whether work started during that period must also be halted until after Shema is recited. Work that was begun during the night may be continued even after dawn, provided that sufficient time is left to recite Shema (at its appropriate time) once the work is done.
( סעיף ה, ס"ק כג ו־כה, וביה"ל ד"ה היה עוסק וכו'; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 51-53)
The exemption of being involved in a mitzva
Someone involved in one mitzva is exempt from beginning a second one until the first mitzva is completed. This exemption applies even if the second mitzva will not be fulfilled as a result.  It also applies during periods that a person may take to rest while in the process of fulfilling the first mitzva (in order to have the energy to complete it). Someone receiving remuneration or other benefits for performing a mitzva also qualifies for this exemption, as long as his intention is to perform the mitzva in addition to getting paid. The second mitzva should be performed if it is easy to fulfill it (or at least part of it) without interfering with the first mitzva. A mitzva performed at a time when a person was exempt is considered fulfilled.
( סעיף ד, ס"ק יח-כ, שעה"צ ס"ק טו, וביה"ל ד"ה היה עוסק בצרכי; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 34; וראה שם, 41)

  • A woman is obligated to daven Shemoneh Esrei for Shacharis and MIncha, but is exempt from reciting kriyas Shema. Nevertheless, it is appropriate that she recite the first pasuk at some point during the day.
  • A minor is exempt from kriyas Shema and the berachos. The poskim discuss whether a father has an obligation to educate his child in this mitzva. It is proper to follow the stringent opinion and teach a child who is at the age of chinuch to recite Shema within the proper time.
  • A child who has reached the age of chinuch should be taught to daven the Shemoneh Esreis of Shacharis, Mincha and Ma'ariv, and he should practice reading the tefillos prior to this age.

  • The exemption of an onen

  • Why an onen may eat without a beracha

  • Davening close to zeman tefilla



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.