When Should I Eat the Purim Seudah?

After Minchah

  1. The minhag is to make the Purim seudah after Minchah (רמ”א סי’ תרצ”ה ס”ב). Like the other mitzvos of the day, the Purim seudah should technically be in the morning, but people are generally busy with mishloach manos (תרומת הדשן) until the zman for Minchah, at which time one may not begin a seudah before davening (הגר”א, מ”ב סק”ח). This is also true during the half hour before minchah gedolah (שו”ע סי’ רל”ב ס”ב), i.e., from chatzos and on (מ”ב שם סק”ז).
  2. One should daven Minchah with plenty of time left in the day so he will be able to begin his seudah afterward and still have most of the seudah by day. One should not begin close to the evening, having his seudah mainly on the night of the 15th (רמ”א).
  3. Starting by day, continuing into the night. Although one should start his seudah by day, there are gedolim and tzaddikim who continue their seudos into the night of the 15th (משמרת שלום סי’ נ’ סק”ה), as rejoicing on the night of the 15th [Shushan Purim] also has value.
  4. In Yerushalayim. Some other reasons given for extending the seudah into the night: the theme of cursing Haman extends into the night since, for non-Jews, the night follows the day (דרשות חת”ס השלם, דרוש ט”ו עמ’ תקע”ז); wiping out Amalek, i.e., spilling the blood of the wicked, is like a korban. Regarding korbanos, the night follows the day (שפתי צדיק בשם החי’ הרי”ם). Based on these reasons, extending the seudah into the night also has value in Yerushalayim, where the night after Purim is the 16th, not Shushan Purim.

Morning Seudah

  • It is best to make the seudah in the morning (א”ר ופמ”ג ומ”ב בשם השל”ה). This has Kabbalistic significance (כף החיים סקכ”ג בשם הרש”ש). Thus, if one has the ability and the time, he should also wash for a seudah on Purim morning (ליקוטי מהרי”ח). However, some fulfill this minhag with milchige foods and cheese, to which the Torah, which was reaccepted in the days of Achashverosh, is likened (אור”ח ספינקא סק”ד בשם ס’ יפה ללב).
  • Therefore, one may certainly fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos by sending a milchige mishloach manos at the beginning of the day, even according to the opinion that mishloach manos is for the seudah [referred to as “Reason 1” in Chukai Chaim, Issue 79, paragraph 2], since it can be eaten at the morning seudah.

Ad D’Lo Yada

The Chiyuv

  • One must become inebriated on Purim to the point that he cannot distinguish between “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai” (שו”ע סי’ תרצ”ה ס”ב). In other words, a person must express praise and gratitude to Hashem for both Haman’s downfall and Mordechai’s ascent. Therefore, Chazal said one should drink wine while joyously expressing uninterrupted praise and gratitude until he gets to the point that he cannot distinguish between the two (ט”ז, מ”ב סק”ד).
  • Joy of a mitzvah. We are not commanded to get drunk and degrade ourselves, as the mitzvah to rejoice is not about giddiness or idiocy (מאירי הובא בביאה”ל ד”ה עד). One who knows he will disgrace a mitzvah or conduct himself frivolously would be better off not getting drunk (חיי אדם). All the more so if there is potential for issurim, such as crude language or mingling with women, r”l.
  • Sleeping. Some say one does not need to get very drunk. Rather, he should drink more than usual until he feels some of the effects of the wine and then go to sleep. When he sleeps, he cannot distinguish between “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai” (רמ”א שם). The sleep must be by day (הגר”ח קנייבסקי) and after drinking enough that it was induced by the wine (רמב”ם פ”ב מגילה הט”ו, מקראי קודש פורים סי’ מ”ד).

Drinking and Tefillah

  1. Drank a revi’is of wine. If one drank a revi’is of wine in one go (מ”ב סי’ צ”ט סק”ב) outside of a meal (מג”א), he should not daven until the effects of the wine fade (שו”ע שם ס”א). A revi’is of wine within a meal does not cause intoxication (מג”א), but it all depends on how the person feels (מ”ב שם). Even less than a revi’is of strong drink, e.g., whiskey or vodka, can cause intoxication. Again, there is no fixed rule; it depends on how the person feels (מ”ב שם סק”א).
  2. “Shasui.” If one drank more than a revi’is of wine and feels that the alcohol is affecting his clarity of mind, even if he can talk without stuttering and would be able to speak in front of a king, he may not daven Shemoneh Esrei or say Shema or its brachos until the effects of the wine fade (שו”ע צ”א ס”א). He may still be counted for a minyan. If he fears he will miss zman tefillah or tefillah with a minyan, he may daven (מ”ב סק”ג). On Yom Tov (מהרש”ל, מ”ב שם סקי”ז) or Purim (מגן גיבורים), when there is a mitzvah to drink wine, he does not need to wait for the alcohol to wear off.
  3. Drunk. If one drank wine or another alcoholic beverage and cannot walk properly or speak before a king without stuttering, he may not daven even if he will miss zman tefillah. If he davened in this state, he must daven again. Some say he may be counted for a minyan (אחרונים הובאו בפסקי תשובות הע’ 19); others say he may not (מ”ב שם סק”י).
  4. If he is drunk, but can still daven from a siddur, some allow him to daven (רמ”א ס”ג). Still, it is not proper to rely on this lechatchilah (מ”ב סקי”ז). If he did daven, he may rely on this and not daven again (דרכ”מ סק”ג), but he should not be counted for a minyan.
  5. Drunk like Lot. One who is drunk like Lot, i.e., who does not know what he is doing and whose actions are meaningless, is considered insane for all purposes and is patur from mitzvos. If he davened or made a brachah, he is not yotzei whatsoever and must daven again after he becomes sober (מ”ב סקי”א).

Birkas Hamazon

  1. One may bentch drunk, even if he is stuttering, as long as he is in a frame of mind fit to speak to a king (שו”ע סי’ קפ”ה ס”ד וס”ה, ומ”ב סק”ו). This is because people sometimes end up drunk after eating a full meal, yet the Torah obligates us to bentch regardless (מ”ב סק”ד).
  2. Zimun. It could be that someone bentching in such a state can also be counted for a zimun (מ”ב סי’ צ”ט סק”י).

Vomited

  1. Vomited everything. If, before saying a brachah acharonah, one vomited everything he ate or drank, he should not say the brachah since there is no food in his stomach to make a brachah on (נזירות שמשון סי’ קפ”ד, שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”א סי’ ר”ה הע’ לסי’ ר”ח). This is akin to the halachah that one may not make a brachah acharonah after the food he ate is already digested (שו”ע קפד ס”ה).
  2. Vomited some food. If one vomited some food, but he is sure some food stayed down and he still feels some level of satiation, he may make a brachah acharonah. If he is unsure whether any food stayed down, he should not make a brachah.
  3. Birkas Hamazon. If one ate significantly more than a kezayis of bread, but is unsure whether he vomited everything, he should bentch since bentching is a mitzvoh deoraisa. Since he is unsure, it would be best if someone else could be motzi him.
  4. Brachah near vomit. Though it is repulsive, vomit does not have the status of human waste; one may say brachos nearby (מ”ב סי’ ע”ו סק”כ). If it smells very bad and its presence is disturbing, it is like waste and one may not make a brachah within sight of it (מ”ב סי’ ע”ט סקכ”ט).

Purim on Erev Shabbos

  • This year [5782/2022], Shushan Purim – 15 Adar II – falls on Erev Shabbos; hence, Purim this year is celebrated on Erev Shabbos in Yerushalayim. There are several halachos that are useful – and necessary – to know. A wise person will have the foresight to plan his day to avoid any chillul Shabbos, ח”ו.

When to Eat the Seudah

  • When Purim falls on Friday, the seudah should be held in the morning out of respect for Shabbos (רמ”א סי’ תרצ”ה ס”ב), lechatchilah before chatzos [11:47 this year, 5782]. That is to say, the seudah should at least start before chatzos (ערוה”ש ס”ז).
  • However, strictly speaking, since it is a seudas mitzvah whose zman is on Erev Shabbos, one has until bein hashemashos to begin (רמ”א סי’ רמ”ט ס”ב ומ”ב שם סקי”ג).
  • Some say one may even begin the seudah lechatchilah (ב”ח ומג”א סי’ רמ”ט סק”ו) until right before the beginning of the 10th hour [2:48 this year] (מהרי”ל הוזכר במ”ב סק”י).
  • Some people daven Minchah at the beginning of the afternoon lechatchilah and start the seudah right afterward, like on a regular Purim. One who does this should make sure to eat meat and drink wine while it is still day. Then, before Shabbos arrives, he should accept the kedushah of Shabbos, put out a cloth, make Kiddush, continue the seudah as his Shabbos seudah (הוזכר במג”א סי’ תרצ”ה סק”ט), and daven Maariv afterward (ט”ז סי’ רע”א סק”ד, מג”א סק”ה, מ”ב סקי”א). See below for relevant halochos.

Minchah on Erev Shabbos

  • One may not start a meal close to minchah ketanah (שו”ע סי’ רל”ב ס”ב). This is especially true for a Purim seudah, which, due to the prevalence of drunkenness, may be considered a “large seudah” (ע”פ מ”ב שם סקכ”ט). Thus, one who starts the seudah after minchah ketanah [3:19 this year] must make sure to daven Minchah first. Certainly one who fulfills his Purim seudah and Shabbos seudah together through “poreis mapah” must daven Minchah first.

Spreading a Cloth [פורס מפה] and Making Kiddush

  • If one began his Purim seudah during the day and wants to continue it into the night as his Shabbos seudah, he must stop eating and make Kiddush close to bein hashemashos before continuing since the chiyuv of Kiddush takes effect then (שו”ע סי’ רע”א ס”ד).

Caution for the Issurim of Shabbos

  • Checking pockets. One must check his pockets and remove anything muktzeh, e.g., money, a phone, [cigarettes..] and the like, before accepting Shabbos. Before the start of the seudah, it is advisable to appoint a responsible person who will not drink too much as a“muktzeh gabbai,” who will remind everyone to put away their muktzeh items. They should also appoint a “Shabbos gabbai” to announce how many minutes there are until licht bentching, how much time until shekiyah, etc.

Kabbalas Shabbos

  • Kabbalas Shabbos. At some point, Shabbos must be accepted. This should not be before plag haminchah [4:34], nor later than a bit before shekiyah [5:53]. At that point, melachah, eating, and drinking become assur until Kiddush is made.
  • Lechah Dodi, Mizmor Shir. The men should say or sing the paragraphs of Kabbalas Shabbos, Lechah Dodi, and Mizmor Shir L’yom HaShabbos. In doing so, they accept Shabbos as long as it is between plag and shekiyah.
  • Hadlakas neiros. The wife should light candles either at the zman for hadlakas neiros [5:13 according to minhag Yerushalayim]; from plag and onward; or when her husband says Mizmor Shir. From that point, she may not do melachah, eat, or drink until Kiddush.
  • A woman who is eating out and is not home at this time does not need to go home to light candles; she may light at her host’s house since that is where she is eating. Before leaving her house, she should make sure that there will be light [even electric light], so that it will not be dark when she comes home after the seudah.

Kiddush

  • 33.  Let’s make Kiddush.” If, before shekiyah (מ”ב סקי”ט) and Kiddush, people at a meal said “Let’s make Kiddush” or anything similar, they may not continue eating or drinking until Kiddush is made since their chiyuv of Kiddush has taken effect (שו”ע סי’ רע”א ס”ה). If they want to drink – even though they are not allowed to before Kiddush – they must say Hagafen again since saying “Let’s make Kiddush” is a hesech hadaas, like the halachah about saying “Let’s bentch” (מ”ב סקכ”א).
  • Spreading a cloth. Before making Kiddush on wine, lechem mishneh that was not previously on the table must be brought out (ערוה”ש סי’ רע”א סי”ג, שו”ת מגדנות אליהו ח”א סי’ קמ”ו). A cloth should be laid over the challos, as well as over any whole challos on the table (א”א בוטשאטש ס”ס קפ”ב), so that they are covered for Kiddush (מ”ב סקט”ו).
  • Kiddush. A cup of wine is brought out and Kiddush is said. If the one making Kiddush already made a Hagafen on wine during the seudah [which is likely the case during a Purim seudah], he should not make Hagafen again during Kiddush. Instead, he should say the whole Kiddush without Hagafen and drink the cup of wine.
  • If, before Kiddush, he said “Let’s make Kiddush,” the poskim (מג”א וט”ז) debate whether he may say Hagafen in Kiddush. Therefore, a meticulous person should make sure not to say “Let’s make Kiddush” or any similar phrase (מ”ב סקכ”א).

Hamotzi

  • Hamotzi. Since they are in the middle of a seudah and already made Hamotzi, technically they do not need to make Hamotzi again on the lechem mishneh after Kiddush. Still, the poskim debate whether the Kiddush that was said qualifies as a hefsek from the original Hamotzi (ב’ דיעות בשו”ע סי’ רע”א ס”ד). Therefore, based on the rule of safeik brachos lehakeil, they should neither make Hamotzi nor wash their hands again.
  • Cutting the challah. Even though they are not making Hamotzi on the lechem mishneh, it is still preferable for each person to eat from the lechem mishneh to fulfill the mitzvah of lechem mishneh (שו”ת מגדנות אליהו ח”א סי’ קמ”ז). There is no need to mark the challah with a knife, as is usually customary (שו”ע סי’ קס”ז ס”א), since no brachah is being made.
  • Lechatchilah, each person should eat slightly more than a kebeitzah (שו”ע סי’ רצ”א ס”א ומ”ב שם סק”ב), or at least a kezayis, so that the Kiddush is in the same place as the seudah (מ”ב סי’ רע”א סקל”ה). It is proper to be machmir to eat a kezayis of bread after tzeis (מג”א סי’ רס”ז).
  • Avoiding uncertainty. To avoid uncertainty, someone who fulfilled his seudah earlier on Purim may make Kiddush for everyone, or everyone can make their own Kiddush and he can be motzi them with Hagafen. He can also be motzi them with Hamotzi (הגר”ש לאבל, קונטרס פריסת שלומים סי’ ד’).
  • Woman being motzi others. A woman may also be motzi the men with Kiddush since they are equally chayav when the men have not yet davened Maariv (שו”ע סי’ רע”א ס”ב). If she has not yet made Hagafen, she may also be motzi the men with Hagafen. However, it is improper for women to be motzi men outside of their family (מ”ב סי’ רע”א סק”ד).

Birkas Hamazon – Retzei and Al Hanisim

  • Did not eat bread at night. If one did poreis mapah but did not eat after tzeis, some say he should say Retzei in bentching, but he should not repeat it if he forgets (שו”ע סי’ רע”א ס”ו ומ”ב סקכ”ט ול’); others say he should not say Retzei (רמ”א שם).
  • Ate at night. If one began his seudah by day, continued into Shabbos night, and ate at night, all poskim agree he should say Retzei (מ”ב שם).
  • Al Hanisim. If one says Retzei in bentching, he should not say Al Hanisim since that would be contradictory. Since Al Hanisim is not as crucial, he should only say Retzei (מ”ב סי’ תרצ”ה סקט”ו).

Shabbos Maariv

  • One must remember to daven the Shabbos Maariv after bentching. If one is still feeling the effects of the alcohol (see above, 10 and on) and would like to sleep a bit before davening, he must appoint a shomer to wake him up to daven.
  • When davening in a makeshift minyan in a house, Birkas Mei’ein Sheva is not said (שו”ע סי’ רס”ח ס”י). Nevertheless, the minhag in Yerushalayim is to say it even in a place without a fixed minyan (ספר א”י להגרימ”ט סי’ ה אות ג’).

Zerachya Shicker is the translator for the English version of חוקי חיים. The Chukai Chaim is a halacha sheet in a league of its own. Started in August 2016 (Av 5776), the Chukai Chaim currently has a readership in the tens of thousands across the globe.

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