By: Rabbi Ari Enkin
(Continued from here: here)
Another problem with making “Early Shabbat” is that one forfeits the preferred time for reciting Ma’ariv – which is after nightfall. In fact, it is so important to recite Ma’ariv at the proper time that some authorities rule that it is preferable to recite Ma’ariv alone after nightfall than to do so with a minyan before nightfall. Although it is ultimately permissible to recite Ma’ariv before nightfall on Friday nights, as the Talmud itself clearly rules, one who does must repeat the Shema after nightfall. Unfortunately, many people forget or fall asleep before doing so, thereby neglecting a Biblical mitzva.
The halachic issues with reciting Ma’ariv early on Friday night are even more complicated when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat. This is due to the Ya’aleh V’yavo insertion that is made in the Shemoneh Esrei on Rosh Chodesh. Inserting Ya’aleh V’yavo into a Ma’ariv Shemoneh Esrei that is recited before sunset is problematic, as it is simply not yet Rosh Chodesh.
Although one may recite Ma’ariv early on Shabbat it is not necessarily permitted to do so on Rosh Chodesh. The reason one is able to recite the Shabbat Ma’ariv before sunset even though it is not yet “officially” Shabbat is due to the principle of “Tosefet Shabbat” (“Extending Shabbat”). Tosefet Shabbat is a unique concept that allows one to begin Shabbat before it actually begins. Indeed, one is obligated to begin Shabbat slightly earlier than it truly begins each week and to conclude it slightly later than it truly ends. On Rosh Chodesh, however, there is no such concept; one cannot accept or begin Rosh Chodesh earlier than it officially begins. It follows therefore, that Ya’aleh V’yavo should really not be inserted into an early Shabbat Ma’ariv Shemoneh Esrei when Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh coincide. Although common custom is indeed to include Ya’aleh V’yavo when reciting Ma’ariv early on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, the quality of one’s Shemoneh Esrei is compromised by doing so.
Making “Early Shabbat” also compromises the mitzva of Sefirat Ha’omer. The Shulchan Aruch rules that “those who are meticulous [with mitzvot]” will refrain from counting the Omer before nightfall. While it is true that one can also simply count the Omer after nightfall, just like the Shema is repeated after nightfall when Ma’ariv is recited early, it is preferable to count the Omer together with a minyan. Unless ten people intend to gather together after nightfall in order to count the Omer together, this double-advantage (with a minyan and after nightfall) is lost when making “Early Shabbat”.
Another major issue that one must consider relates to the Shabbat evening meal. A number of authorities hold that the Shabbat evening meal may only be held after nightfall. According to this approach, one who eats the Shabbat evening meal before this time does not fulfill his obligation and will be required to eat three additional meals on Shabbat day. Complicating matters even more is the prohibition of beginning a meal within a half-hour before nightfall. The rabbis decreed that one may not begin a meal at this time lest one forget to recite Shema after nightfall. This will often be an issue throughout the summer if one begins the Shabbat meal immediately upon arriving home from the synagogue. Even if one makes the necessary adjustments in order to circumvent the problem of when to begin the Shabbat meal, one should also eat some bread/challa after nightfall in order to ensure that one eats the Shabbat “meal” after nightfall.
To be continued…
 Mishna Berura 235:12; Pri Megadim M.Z., 489:5; Biur Halacha 489 s.v. vayivarech..
 Pri Megadim, MZ 589:5; Biur Halacha 235; Ma’aseh Rav 65.
 Berachot 27a.
 OC 235:1.
 OC 261:2.
 Magen Avraham 419:1.
 Mishnat Ya’avetz, OC 12; Eretz Tzvi 1:25; Teshuvot V’hanhagot 1:87.
 OC 489:2.
 Shlah, Pesachim 3b; Yeshuot Moshe 2:76.
 Bach, OC 472; Mishna Berura 267:5.
 Pri Megadim MZ, OC 267
 OC 235:2; Mishna Berura 235:16, 18. See also OC 267:1; Mishna Berura 267:2.
 Mishna Berura 267:5.