By Rabbi Mordechai Fishman
In reference to the first סעודה eaten on Shabbos day many people use the term “Shabbos Lunch” This article will analyze the proper halachic time for this meal, and will thus help us understand the proper title for this seuda; “Shabbos Lunch” or “Shabbos Brunch.”
The ארחות חיים, based on a תרגום ירושלמי, rules that a person is obligated to eat the three meals over Shabbos during three different time periods; one in the evening, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The רמב”ם also rules that the three meals should be eaten during these three different time periods. The מגיד משנה quotes a machlokes גאונים whether one can fulfill this מצוה properly if he ate Seuda Shlishis (a.k.a. shalashudis) before chatzos, however he rules that one should not be lenient and should rather eat all three meals in their proper time. The הגהות מיימוניות also quotes the רבינו תם who ruled that one should fulfill the mitzvah of eating three meals on shabbos during the three different time periods.
One of the primary sources given for this halacha is the Mishna which rules that if a person’s house is consumed by fire on Friday night before he ate the meal he may save enough food for three meals. If the fire broke out on Shabbos morning before the meal he may save enough food for two meals and if the fire broke out during the afternoon before he ate his third meal he may only save enough food for one meal.
The בה”ג writes that that there is no obligation to eat the three סעודות during three specific times and that one may eat סעודה שלישית before חצות. Many ראשונים, including the ריטב”א, the רשב”א, the ר”ן and others, quote this בה”ג when discussing this topic of saving food from a burning building on shabbos. However, the ריטב”א disagrees with the בה”ג and writes that it is necessary to eat the morning meal before חצות and the third meal after חצות.
The מחבר refers to the morning סעודה as סעודת שחרית and clearly states that the time for סעודה שלישית is only after חצות. The מחבר’s ruling in reference to סעודה שלישית is coming to disagree with the בה”ג and to rule like the ראשונים that each of the three meals should take place in their proper time period, therefore we can infer that the מחבר is of the opinion that the first סעודה should take place before חצות.
The ב”ח rules that if the fire broke out on shabbos afternoon (after chatzos) and one has not yet eaten his morning meal he may only save enough food for one meal, since the time for the morning meal has already passed he no longer has an obligation to eat two meals.
The פרי מגדים questions the ruling of the ב”ח and asks that since it’s already been established that if a person was unable to eat a meal Friday evening he may בדיעבד eat three meals during the day, then so too in a case where one did not eat his meal before chatzos, בדיעבד he should be allowed to rectify it by eating two meals after chatzos? The פרי מגדים remains with a question (צריך עיון) on the ב”ח. We can deduce from this that although the פרי מגדים feels that post facto where one did not eat the meal before chatzos, the person can still eat it afterwards, yet he seems to agree that the proper time to eat the meal is before chatzos.
The ערוך השלחן clearly rules that one should be concerned to eat his meal before chatzos and questions how come many people seem to be lax in this regard and wait until after chatzos to eat their meal. The משנה ברורה, in regards to the law of saving food from a burning building quotes the ב”ח and then writes that the פמ”ג questions it. This would lead us to surmise that the משנה ברורה seems to agree with the פמ”ג that the preferable time to eat the seuda is in the morning and only בדיעבד can one eat his meal after chatzos.
When discussing the הלכה of saving food from a fire shabbos morning, the פמ”ג mentions that people would eat פת שחרית and later in the day they would eat their seuda and therefore, even if one ate פת שחרית but hasn’t yet eaten their main seuda, he can save enough food for two meals. The פתח הדביר uses this פמ”ג to defend the custom of those people who make Kiddush after davening and eat פת הבאה בכיסנין i.e. cakes, cookies, etc., and then eat their actual meal after chatzos. He quotes others who disagree with this custom but nevertheless seems to give credence to this custom based on this פמ”ג. (This custom would still require one to minimally recite kiddush and have פת הבאה בכיסנין before chatzos.)
In summation- it would seem that the proper term for the second Shabbos meal would be “Shabbos Brunch”, as almost all poskim feel that the proper time for the seuda is in the morning before חצות.
Rabbi Mordechai Fishman serves as Rav of Tzeirei Agudas Yisroel of Passaic-Clifton and has over 1,000 shiurim available on www.orachchaim.com. He has also authored Sifrei Oitzer HaShulchan on Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah.
There is a question whether this is a Torah commandment or only a rabbinic ordinance, however this question is beyond the scope of this article.