Forgotten Eruv Tavshilin

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I. The Eruv Tavshilin

Preparation for a Shabbos that comes immediately after a Yom Tov is technically permitted, although the reason for that permission is debated (Pesachim 46b). According to one opinion, it is because Shabbos needs are inherently considered a Yom Tov need. According to another, preparation for Shabbos is incidentally permissible because there is a small chance that the preparations will be used on Yom Tov if guests come. Either way, you are biblically allowed to cook or otherwise prepare on Yom Tov for the coming Shabbos.

However, because this might lead to people mistakenly preparing on Yom Tov for weekdays, the rabbis forbade preparation from Yom Tov to Shabbos unless a statement is made to raise awareness that it is an exception (Pesachim 46b; Beitzah 16b). This statement is the eruv tavshilin. You must explicitly begin preparations for Shabbos before Yom Tov with two cooked foods and the recitation of a formula.

II. Alternatives

If you forget to make an eruv tavshilin, you remain subject to the rabbinic prohibition and may not prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbos. Unless, that is, you utilize two additional options. The first is making a conditional eruv tavshilin. The concept underlying the observance of two days of Yom Tov in the Diaspora is that originally Jews outside of Israel were unsure which of the two days was Yom Tov. If the previous month had 29 days, the first day was holy and if the month had 30 days, the second. Since there was a doubt whether either day was Yom Tov, you could make an eruv tavshilin on the first day of Yom Tov with a condition (Beitzah 6a; Shulchan Arukh 527:22). If the day is holy then you are not doing anything and if the day is not sacred then you are making an eruv tavshilin. On the following day you can prepare for Shabbos because if that day is holy then you made an eruv tavshilin on the previous day. If it is not Yom Tov, then of course you can prepare on a weekday for Shabbos.

Nowadays, when we have no doubt which day is the “real” Yom Tov but observe two days out of rabbinic obligation, the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhos Yom Tov 6:14-15) rules that we cannot make a conditional eruv tavshilin. The doubt no longer exists. This is a minority opinion, however. All other authorities rule that we are not stricter today than we were in olden times. If anything, we would be more lenient because we are confident that the second day is not a biblical Yom Tov.

The other option is to rely on the rabbi’s eruv tavshilin (Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 527:7). Rabbis traditionally make a group eruv tavshilin that explicitly includes all members of the community. However, to maintain continuity of the tradition, they only include those who accidentally forget to make one. They exclude people who refuse to make an eruv tavshilin. If you forget to make an eruv tavshilin more than twice in a row, you cannot use the rabbi’s (although some are more lenient in today’s busy world).

III. Which Alternative to Use

Whenever someone realizes on the first day of Yom Tov that he forgot to make an eruv tavshilin, he faces the question of which option to utilize. Should he make a conditional eruv tavshilin or rely on the rabbi’s? On the one hand, the Rambam does not allow a conditional eruv tavshilin. On the other, if you rely on the rabbi’s eruv tavshilin then you lose the opportunity to fulfill the rabbinic enactment on your own. The Birkei Yosef (Orach Chaim 527:10 – link) and Kaf Ha-Chaim (527:135 – link) quote a debate over which is preferable. However, R. Akiva Eiger, in his glosses to Shulchan Arukh (527:22), quotes the Chakham Tzvi (Responsa no. 130 – link) as preferring a conditional eruv tavshilin. I believe that we can deduce similar positions from two other authorities.

The Arukh Ha-Shulchan (Orach Chaim 527:4 – link) quotes the two reasons for the eruv tavshilin offered in the Talmud (Beitzah 15b) — respect for Yom Tov or for Shabbos. The prevention of improper preparation on Yom Tov enhances the respect for the day. By requiring the cooking to begin in advance of the holiday, the eruv tavshilin also forces people to prepare for Shabbos separately, thereby increasing respect for Shabbos. When you rely on your rabbi’s eruv tavshilin, the Arukh Ha-Shulchan (loc. cit., par. 17) writes, you maintain the enhanced respect for Yom Tov but fail to prepare separately for Shabbos. Such a reliance is valid but still lacking an important element.

A conditional eruv tavshilin, however, contains both elements. One begins preparations for Shabbos an extra day in advance but maintains respect for Yom Tov. Therefore, I suggest, the Arukh Ha-Shulchan would agree that making a conditional eruv tavshilin is preferable to relying on your rabbi’s.

As always, ask your rabbi if this becomes an issue.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.


  1. Also (pretty neat in my opinion) –

    If you remember while in shul (but still before sunset/tzeis) that you forgot to make an eruv tavshillin — you can simply have in mind to designate foods which are sitting on your counter/in your fridge as your eruv and -presto-. (Or L’tzion 3:27. Also cited in Yalkut Yosef)

    Ari Enkin

  2. how about a post on Forgotten (to eat)Eruv Tavshilin-a seemingly much more common case based on anwcdotal evidence :-)


  3. Joel, no problem at all forgetting to eat the prepared eruv tavshilin.

    See the Shulchan Aruch which states “Yachol L’Achlo” on Shabbos – not that it must be eaten on Shabbos:

    שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות יום טוב סימן תקכ”ז , ט”ז
    לאחר שהכין צרכי שבת (מח) יכול לאכלו.

    משנה ברורה סימן תקכ”ז , מ”ח
    יכול לאוכלו – מ”מ לכתחלה נכון שיניח אותו ללחם משנה בערבית ושחרית, ובמנחה יבצע עליו. דכיון דאיתעביד בו מצוה חדא ליתעביד בו מצוה אחריתא.

  4. Greg,
    Yes – I know. BTW why is waiting until shalsoh seudot more of a mitzvah than eating it at the first seudah? also Does the uneaten challah of lechem mishnah have an elevated status (e.g. shouldn’t eat it for “chulin” purposes?)


  5. What if one prepared the Eruv Tavshilin and was physically incapacitated in a manner that prevented one from eating the ET-such as being hospitalized?

  6. Shachar Ha'amim

    “If you forget to make an eruv tavshilin more than twice in a row, you cannot use the rabbi’s (although some are more lenient in today’s busy world).”

    Is there anyone who distinguishes between E”Y where the frequency of the need for Eruv Tavshilin is generally small (i.e. almost never more than once – extremely rarely twice – a year, and with many years in between that there is no need for it, and chu”l where it happens 3 times in one month and then for other chagim during the year as well?

  7. I don’t quite get why you are presenting these as two mutually exclusive options. Presumably, when you make your conditional eruv tavshilin, you’re not going to make a bracha. So what’s the harm in making it, and having in mind that if the halacha is really like the Rambam that such a conditional eruv tavshilin doesn’t work, you’re also relying on the Rabbi’s eruv tavshilin?

  8. If you make the conditional Eruv, do you also have the advantage of being able to rely on the Rabbi after forgetting another time?

    Also, does the conditional Eruv work on Rosh Hashana? Generally 2 days of Rosh Hashana are considered as Yoma Arichta (having the status of one long day) rather than sfaika d’yoma (unsure which day is the right one).

  9. Joel said: “BTW why is waiting until shalsoh seudot more of a mitzvah than eating it at the first seudah?”

    If I remember correctly, the original minhag was to use the bread of eruv tavshilin as the 2nd loaf for lechem mishne for the 1st two seudos, and then finally eat it for the 3rd seuda. That way you maximize the number of mitzvos you do with it. Though I believe the lechem mishne part has been largely forgotten (I know I wasn’t aware of it until I saw it in print).

  10. And another question: the picture accompanying this post, as well as the pictures that came with the various handy-dandy eruv tavshilin reminders I got in the mail this year, show a matza and an egg.

    The egg part I saw in Aruch Hashulchan, since it needs sometimes to last 3 days, and meat or fish may not hack it.

    But why matza? I know that some people davka use matza (though my family always used a challa roll), but why?

  11. JS,
    Yes but where does it say maximize and exactly what is the mitzvah of being the second loaf(see my other question above):
    דכיון דאיתעביד בו מצוה חדא ליתעביד בו מצוה אחריתא

  12. MiMedinat HaYam

    some problem with not being able to use the eruv (i guess for other foods) if the matza / egg is not available / lost / destroyed / eaten.

    to joel: its not the second loaf — its the first. (humor).

    2. to gil: is there a pblm with commenting on the news and viewws page?

  13. What is the source for the penalty for forgetting twice-and what’s the logic?

  14. Steven Oppenheimer

    I would like to suggest some additional caveats to Rabbi Enkin’s observations.
    1. When YT falls out on Thursday and Friday, one should make an Eruv Tavshilin (ET) Wednesday night. This allows one to cook on Friday for Shabbat, but not on Thursday for Shabbat (and of course not on Thursday for Friday).
    2. If one makes an ET al tenai on Thursday, one is not allowed to cook food on Thursday in order to make that ET.
    3. No Beracha is made on this ET al tenai.
    4. One is not allowed to make an ET al tenai for Rosh HaShana.
    5. One is not allowed to make an ET al tenai when YT Rishon is Friday.

    See Eruv Tavshilin HaAruch chelek 2, chap. 19 and 21.

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