REMINDER: An Eruv Tavshilin Primer

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By Rabbi Moshe Zywica, Executive Rabbinic Coordinator, OU Kosher

This year we have the opportunity to perform an Eruv Tavshilin on erev Shavuos.

  1. What is the reason for Eruv Tavshilin?
  2. When the second or eighth day of Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, or if Shabbos falls immediately after Yom Tov, it is rabbinically forbidden to cook or prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbos.  When executed properly, Eruv Tavshilinallows one to prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbos.

Interestingly, there is no Torah prohibition to cook or bake on Yom Tov for Shabbos, even though ostensibly one may only cook on Yom Tov for Yom Tov itself.  The Gemara (Pesachim 46b) offers two reasons why this does not constitute a Torah prohibition:

  1. Shabbos and Yom Tov are considered to be one unit since Yom Tov is referred to as Shabbos in the Torah.  Just as it is permitted to cook and bake on Yom Tov for Yom Tov, it is permitted to cook and bake on Yom Tov for Shabbos.
  2. When one cooks or bakes additional food on Yom Tov, it is not a Torah violation because it is possible that one will need the food for unexpected guests who might arrive on Yom Tov.

If the Torah permits the preparation of food on Yom Tov for Shabbos, why did the Rabbis institute the Eruv Tavshilin in the first place?  The Gemara (Beitzah 15b) gives two explanations:

  1. When Yom Tov precedes Shabbos, one is prone to overlook the needs of Shabbos.  The Rabbis therefore created a special tangible preparation for Shabbos that must be attended to before the start of the Yom Tov so people will remember Shabbos as well.
  2. If we were to permit cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbos without any reminder, one might come to cook on Yom Tov for the subsequent weekdays, which would violate a Torah prohibition.


  1. What is the procedure for Eruv Tavshilin?
  2. On erev Yom Tov one sets aside two types of food, one cooked and one baked (Mishnah Berurah 527:5-6).  If one cannot obtain both items, a cooked item alone would be acceptable, but a baked item alone would not suffice.  The cooked item must be at least the size of a large olive (approximately half the size of a chicken’s egg) and the baked item should be at least the size of a chicken’s egg.

The selected items are held in one’s hands while the bracha and subsequent Aramaic text, as they appear in the siddur, is recited.  It is necessary to understand the text as it is recited.  If one does not understand the Aramaic text, it should be recited in one’s native language (Rama 527:12).

  1. When is the Eruv Tavshilin effective?  Can I eat the Eruv Tavshilin food?
  2. The Eruv Tavshilinallows one to prepare for Shabbos only on ErevShabbos, but not on Thursday when it is the first day of Yom Tov (Shulchan Aruch 527:13).  In addition, every effort must be made to complete the preparations early enough on Friday afternoon so that the food will be edible well before Shabbos.  Nevertheless, if the preparations were left until late Friday afternoon, they may still be done (Beiur Halacha 527:1).

The food items used for the Eruv Tavshilin must remain intact as long as preparations are being made for Shabbos.  Perishable items used for the Eruv should be stored in the refrigerator as needed.  If the Eruv foods were consumed or discarded, the Eruv ceases to be valid (OC 527:15).

Matzah is used on Pesach as the baked item of the Eruv. It is customary to use this matzah for an additional mitzvah as one of the two ‘loaves’ of lechem mishnah at each of the three Shabbos meals, and to consume the matzah at the third meal of Shalosh Seudos.

  1. If one is planning to be fully prepared for Shabbos before Yom Tov starts is an Eruv Tavshilinstill necessary?
  2. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”lunderstands the opinion of the Magen Avrohom (O.C. 527:1) to be that it is not absolutely necessary to make an Eruv Tavshilin if one is all prepared for Shabbos.  Nevertheless, Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim, 5:20:26) notes that even when a person is not planning to cook or bake on Yom Tov for Shabbos, an Eruv Tavshilin should be performed as a precaution for an unexpected need. Rav Moshe, z”tl in Orach Chaim, 5:37:9 writes that a bracha should not be recited in such a case.
  3. What should be done if one forgot to perform an Eruv Tavshilin?
  4. In this case, it is permissible to rely on the Eruv Tavshilinperformed by the Rabbi of one’s city as it is customary for him to have his community in mind when performing the ritual. This can only be relied upon provided Eruv Tavshilin was not forgotten due to negligence (Shaar HaTziyun 527:32). In addition, one cannot rely on the Rabbi’s Eruv for two consecutive Yomim Tovim (Kaf Hachaim 527:48). The Chayei Adam (Klal 102:7) questions whether one may ever rely on the Rabbi’s Eruv for a second time.

Another option is to have someone who made an Eruv Tavshilin cook for the one who forgot. In this case, ownership of the ingredients must be transferred to the one who is allowed to cook. This person may then proceed to cook even in the home of the person who did not make an Eruv Tavshilin (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 527:20).

  1. This year, an Eruv Tavshilinwill be made on Thursday, April 25th, the sixth day of Pesach, to enable cooking on Yom Tov (Friday) for Shabbos.  An interesting question arises for those who have a minhag to only eat ShmurahMatzah on Pesach because it is more carefully guarded from becoming chometz. Generally, those who maintain this stringency, do so only on the first seven days of Pesach, but they eat regular Matzah on the eighth day of Pesach because it is a Rabbinic Yom Tov, and the prohibition of eating chametz is less severe. If one maintains this minhag, is it permissible to cook on Friday (the seventh day of Yom Tov) foods that contain regular non-Shmurah Matzah, to be eaten on Shabbos?
  2. At first glance, it should not be permitted.  The Rama (Orach Chaim 527:20) writes that one who is fasting (which is permitted under certain conditions) on Yom Tov, Friday erev-Shabbos, may not cook for Shabbos even though he made an Eruv Tavshilin, since he cannot eat the food on Friday.  The reason for this restriction is beyond the scope of this article.  What emerges from the Rama is that an Eruv Tavshilindoes not allow food to be prepared on Friday, if the food cannot be consumed by the person who is doing the cooking.  It should follow that one who only eats ShmurahMatzah for most of Pesach should not be permitted to cook on Friday with non-Shmurah Matzah, since he cannot eat the food that same day.

Nonetheless, the Maharsham (Ha’aros OC 527) rules that this is permitted.  He bases his position on a ruling of the Magen Avrohom (OC 559:13). The Magen Avrohom discusses a person who made matzos on the Yom Tov of Pesach, and there are remnants of dough in the crevices of the utensil which will become chometz unless the dough will be baked before 18 minutes elapse.  The Magen Avrohom allows the utensil to be placed in an oven so that the remaining dough will bake, even though it is customary to not eat that dough because it may not bake properly. Why is this permissible? If the dough cannot be eaten, it is not being made for Yom Tov, in which case baking should be forbidden.  The Magen Avrohom explains that according to the letter of the law, it is permissible to eat these pieces of dough, as the common practice to not eat dough lodged in crevices is only a chumrah (stringency). Therefore, the dough may be baked on Yom Tov.  The Maharsham writes that the same rationale applies to our situation.  According to the letter of the law, non-Shmurah Matzah may be eaten on Pesach, and those who refrain from eating non-Shmurah Matzah, do so only as a chumrah.  Therefore, the food is treated as edible, and it may be baked on Yom Tov to be served on Shabbos.

Does the same logic apply to cooking gebrochts (Matzah that came in contact with liquid) on Friday erev-Shabbos for those who have the minhag to not eat gebrochts for the first seven days of Pesach?  This is a matter of dispute.  Sefer Dovev Meisharim (Volume 1, Chapter 49) is lenient and equates gebrochts to non-Shmurah Matzah, as both restrictions are at most a chumrah.  However, Nishmas Chaim (Ch.52) writes that this is not permitted because not eating gebrochts is more than a chumrah and is rooted in authentic halachic considerations. Minchas Yitzchok (Volume 7, Chapter 33) writes that there is a basis to be lenient but suggests that it is better to have one who does not have this minhag of not eating gebrochts prepare the food for the others.

(There are a few other alternatives if the Eruv Tavshilin is overlooked; however, due to their complexity, they fall beyond the scope of this article. To learn about these options, it is recommended to speak with a local orthodox rabbi.)

Wishing everyone a Chag Kasher V’Sameach.




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