Reishit Bikkurim: A Guide to Shavuot Observance

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Reishit Bikkurim: A Guide to Shavuot Observance

Prepared for the RIETS Shavuot Yarchei Kallah
Expanded and Updated Edition for Shavuot 5772

According to the rulings of Rav Hershel Schachter, Shlit”a Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary

Download here: link (PDF)

Erev Shabbat

Eating a Meal on Erev Shabbat: 1. One should refrain from eating a large meal on Erev Shabbat in order to eat the Shabbat meal with an appetite.[1] 2. Magen Avraham cites the opinion of the Shelah that one should not have a meat meal on Erev Shabbat.[2]


Candle Lighting:
1. The Mitzvah to light Shabbat and Yom Tov candles should ideally take place in one’s home. In a hotel, this refers to one’s private guest room. However, hotels prohibit lighting candles in guest rooms because this poses a fire hazard.[3] Therefore, the obligation is best fulfilled by turning on an electric light in one’s room, provided that it is incandescent (not neon or fluorescent, etc.), as many Poskim maintain that a Bracha can be recited on a light bulb that contains a filament.[4] 2. If this option is not feasible, one should light candles in a place where people will derive benefit from them, such as the dining room, especially if it will enhance the Yom Tov meal. It does not appear proper to light candles in a place where no one will benefit from the candles’ light, and a Bracha may not be made in this scenario.[5]

Continued in the file below and here: link (PDF)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. Does R. Schachter really hold that misheyakir is 35-40 minutes before sunrise? Did the person who wrote this ask him, or did they just look it up in Igeros Moshe (or a chart)?

  2. Is the commonly accepted custom really to make the Bracha BEFORE lighting candles on Erev Shabbos?!

  3. Shmuel- the entire pamphlet, every single word, was read and approved by Rav Schachter.

    Anon- depends how you define “commonly accepted”

  4. berachabeforelighting

    I agree. The line:

    “The generally accepted practice is to recite the Bracha
    before lighting the candles, as is the practice on Erev Shabbat”

    must be a mistake. Ashkenazim do not say the beracha before lighting on Erev Shabbat.

    Also, we are pretty close to a time where there will be no more incandescent light bulbs- then what will we do?

  5. MiMedinat HaYam

    no more incandescent bulbs — lobby congress to bring back incandescent. call aguda, raise $, milk it for other purposes, call an asifa about the terrible tragedy befalling jewish ppl, jewish observance, etc etc etc (and buy stock in incandescent plants)

  6. Clarification – was this supposed to serve as Psak Halacha from Rav Schachter, or was his approval simply to ensure the accuracy of what was stated, and not necessarily to provide specific Hadracha?

  7. It is my understanding that it is supposed to serve as psak halacha from Rav Schachter.
    What have you heard from him regarding misheyakir?

  8. I very (very) rarely hear R. Schachter give his own view in public; he is almost always quoting the views of others (many of whom he might disagree with privately). So the idea that this “should serve as psak halacha from Rav Schachter” seems pretty surprising to say the least; much more reasonable (unless someone knows for sure) is that he simply checked it for accuracy.

  9. Skeptic- try asking “but what does rebbe hold”

  10. clarification –

    Of course if you ask him personally. But my point is that he (usually) doesn’t offer his view without asking. Hence the presumption regarding this booklet should be that he checked it for correctness, not that it is his personal psak halacha.

  11. I didn’t see anything about not using timers, I also thought he says not to light candles 2nd night (but am not sure) so I’m guessing this is not personal psak (but also think he would say i’s not for his talmidim so why should it be his personal psak)

  12. ” was this supposed to serve as Psak Halacha from Rav Schachter, or was his approval simply to ensure the accuracy of what was stated, and not necessarily to provide specific Hadracha?”

    The cover explicitly says “According to the Piskei Halakha of Rav Hershel Schachter, Shlit”a.”

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