Rules and Regulations for Early Shabbos:

What is permissible for one to do after he was mekabel Shabbos?

As the “Early Shabbos Minyanim” are back in full swing, we continue the series of shiurim, which were given by Rabbi Nachum Scheiner, Rosh Kollel of Beis Midrash Ohr Chaim, on the topic of “Rules and Regulations for Early Shabbos.”

The Shulchan Aruch (O”C 261:4) states that although during bein hashmashos one can still do certain melachos, which are only of rabbinical nature, once one accepted Shabbos, with saying Borchu, it is considered Shabbos, and one can no longer do any melachah. The Shulchan Aruch also adds that saying Mizmor Shir is equivalent to Borchu. The Mishna Berura adds that, according to our custom, when we recite the conclusion of the Lecha Dodi, with the words Bo’ee Challah, “the bride (i.e., the Shabbos) shall enter,” that is also considered an ushering in of the Shabbos.

During the winter weeks, when this is usually recited at, or after sunset, when one must stop any melachah regardless, this does not usually have practical implications. However, in the summer months when people make early Shabbos, this can have great implications and if one accepted Shabbos early, one can no longer do any melacha.

The Acharonim raise an important question in regards to this halachah. As mentioned, the Shulchan Aruch (O”C 261:1) states that during bein hashmashos one can still do certain melachos. The reason for this is since this time period is a halachic doubt if Shabbos has commenced, the Chachamim did not forbid one to perform certain rabbinical prohibitions. However, this seems to be strange. Inasmuch as bein hashmashos is possibly Shabbos, which is a safeik sekilah, a possibility that one who does melacha deserves capital punishment, we would assume that this should be stricter than the time period of Tosfos Shabbos, the “extra time” that one added to Shabbos, which is not punishable in beis din. Yet we see here that the opposite is true: during bein hashmashos there is leeway for certain rabbinical prohibitions and when someone accepts on himself Shabbos, there is no such leeway.

The Biur Halacha quotes many Acharonim (Eliyahu Raba,Pri Megadim, Machazik Bracha, and others) who maintain that there is a difference between one who accepted Shabbos privately, and if the entire kehilah accepted Shabbos. The only time that accepting Shabbos is stricter, is in the case when the entire kehilah accepted Shabbos. In that case, it is considered like Shabbos itself and one can no longer do any melacha. But if a private person decided to make Shabbos, it will not be stricter than the time period of bein hashmashos, and there is, indeed, leeway for certain rabbinical prohibitions, just as during bein hashmashos.

The Dagul M’revavah and the Shulchan Aruch Harav (Siman 393, Kuntres Acharon) offer another explanation and suggest that there are two levels of kabalas Shabbos. There is a full-fledged acceptance of Shabbos, which brings along with it all of the rules and regulations of Shabbos itself. However, if one just says that he wants to add on to the Shabbos, that will not be considered stricter than the bein hashmashos time period. Thus, if someone davens Maariv or says Bo’ee Challah, “the Shabbos shall enter,” that is ushering in Shabbos itself and one can no longer do any melacha.

We have thus far established that if one davened early and accepted Shabbos, one can no longer do any melacha, themselves. However, what about asking a neighbor, Jewish or non-Jewish to do melacha for them? Is that allowed? The Mishna Berura (261:17) affirms that, although one can no longer do any melachah himself, there is an allowance to ask a non-Jew. It is not Shabbos per se and there is no problem with asking a non-Jew to do melacha.

What about asking a fellow Jew, e.g., a next door neighbor who is making “late Shabbos”? The Shulchan Aruch (263:17) states that some allow asking a fellow Jew, who was not yet mekabel Shabbos, to do melacha.  There are two basic reasons given for this allowance, which will be discussed, be’ezras Hashem in a future article.

In conclusion, if a private person accepted Shabbos, or if one did not make a full-fledged kabalas Shabbos, and just says that he wants to add on to the Shabbos, according to some, it is not stricter than the time period of bein hashmashos, and there is leeway for certain rabbinical prohibitions, just as during bein hashmashos. Furthermore, even after a  full-fledged kabalas Shabbos, one can even ask  someone else – a non-Jew, or a fellow Jew who was not yet mekabel Shabbos – to do melacha for him.

These shiurim on the topic of “Rules and Regulations for Early Shabbos” are available on the shul’s website 18Forshay.com, Torahanytime.com, and on MP3 in the shul. Comments and questions are welcome and can be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 By Rabbi Nachum Scheiner