Eruv Tavshilin

The Eruv Tavshilin One Should Make this Year (Rosh Hashanah-5775) and the Laws of Showering on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the laws of candle-lighting on both days of Rosh Hashanah. We have mentioned that when Yom Tov coincides with Erev Shabbat (Friday), one should place an Eruv Tavshilin, as we shall now explain.

What is an Eruv Tavshilin?
This year (5775), the second day of Rosh Hashanah will fall out on Friday, Erev Shabbat. Our Sages prohibited cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbat without placing an “Eruv Tavshilin,” which is placing (designating) bread and a cooked food on Erev Yom Tov (Wednesday) for Shabbat (i.e. to be eaten on Shabbat) in order for it to be recognizable that one is not beginning to cook or bake on Yom Tov for Shabbat; rather, one is merely concluding this work.

Explanation of the Above
In honor of Yom Tov, our Sages prohibited cooking on Yom Tov for Shabbat (in order for Yom Tov not to appear like a regular weekday with regards to Shabbat). However, if one begins cooking for Shabbat on Erev Yom Tov (i.e. before the onset of the holiday) and merely concludes on Yom Tov, this does not constitute a lack of respect for Yom Tov. We therefore leave bread and a cooked food on Erev Yom Tov to be eaten on Shabbat in order to show that one has already begun preparing foods for Shabbat before the onset of Yom Tov and that on Yom Tov itself, one is merely finishing off what one has already started. If one did not place an Eruv Tavshilin, one may not cook on Yom Tov for Shabbat.

The Proper Way to Prepare the Eruv
There are several laws regarding the bread and cooked food one must leave for the Eruv Tavshilin. It is customary to leave bread (amounting to a weight of approximately fifty-four grams) and a hard-boiled egg. When one takes the bread and hard-boiled egg on Erev Yom Tov (Wednesday), one recites: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Asher Kideshanu Be’mitzvotav Ve’tzivanu Al Mitzvat Eruv.” One must include Hashem’s name while reciting this blessing. After reciting the blessing, one should say: “With this Eruv, we shall be permitted to bake, cook, light candles, and do anything necessary on Yom Tov for Shabbat.” One then saves the bread and cooked food and (preferably) eats them on Shabbat night or any other time on Shabbat.

A Public Eruv
In most places, the rabbis of the city customarily make an Eruv Tavshilin in a special way that will benefit those who have forgotten to make one. Thus, if one forgets to make an Eruv Tavshilin but the local rabbi has made an Eruv in this way, one may rely on the Eruv of the rabbi and one may cook on Yom Tov for Shabbat. Nevertheless, it is preferable for each individual to make an Eruv Tavshilin in his own home.

Concluding Shabbat Preparations as Early as Possible
Although one has made an Eruv Tavshilin, it is preferable to finish all works one is performing on Yom Tov for Shabbat as early on in the day as possible and not to carry on until close to the onset of Shabbat. Nevertheless, if one was delayed for whatever reason, one may continue to prepare until a several minutes before sunset.

Candle-Lighting for Shabbat this Year
On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, candles should be lit approximately twenty minutes before sunset, for after this time, the day already takes on the sanctity of Shabbat and lighting candles is forbidden. One may prepare the Shabbat candles during Yom Tov itself.

Showering on Yom Tov
By Popular Demand: As a response to the many questions we have received regarding the issue of showering during the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah (especially since it will be a three-day holiday since Rosh Hashanah falls out on Thursday and Friday leading directly into Shabbat), we have already discussed some details pertaining to this law in a special Halacha. Regarding the question which arises every year in the United States regarding boiler systems which consist of large tanks always filled with boiling water under which there is always a small flame ignited by means of a pilot when sometimes, (when an abundance of cold water enters the tank via the cold water valve and causes the thermostat to turn on and sense the difference in water temperature) the pilot ignites a larger flame and reboils the water, indeed, several great halachic authorities of our generation have discussed this issue. Last year, however, our Rabbi Meir Gavriel Elbaz Shlit”a (author of the English version of the Halacha Yomit) wrote a halachic thesis on this topic and presented it to the great Rishon Le’Tzion and Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a, whereby the latter responded in a letter dated 21 Elul, 5773, that he too agrees that there is room to rule leniently on this matter and it is thus permissible to take a shower using water coming out of this kind of boiler when the tank was already filled with boiling water before the onset of Yom Tov. This ruling is comprised of several sources for leniency with regards to this matter based on the words of great Poskim and halachic works. This lenient ruling applies to the upcoming holidays of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret as well which likewise fall out on Thursday and Friday and lead directly into Shabbat. In addition, this ruling applies to any other holidays, even if they are not three-day holidays. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no room for leniency to do so on Shabbat and obviously, the above applies only to Yom Tov. Likewise, this leniency applies specifically to the issue of showering on Yom Tov and does not address the prohibitions of squeezing or plucking out hair which are absolutely forbidden on Yom Tov. On must therefore be certain to use only liquid soap, preferably no shampoo, and to dry one’s self very gently after the shower.