The Shabbos Budget-How much money should one spend in order to enhance Shabbos and what should be part of the Shabbos menu?

The Shabbos Budget-How much money should one spend in order to enhance Shabbos and what should be part of the Shabbos menu?

The foods eaten to fulfill the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos vary in accordance to each country’s definition of a luxurious food. Thus, those foods and beverages which are considered delicacies in one’s area are to be eaten on Shabbos.[1]

Meat and wine:[2] Although there is no obligation to specifically eat meat and drink wine on Shabbos, nevertheless since in general most people have greater pleasure in consuming meat and wine over other foods and beverages therefore they are to increase in eating meat and drinking wine in accordance to their affordability.

Fish:[3] Eating fish is included in the Mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. In the times of the Talmud Oneg Shabbos was fulfilled through eating large fish.[4] Fish should be eaten in every meal[5], unless it is hazardous for his health or he despises eating fish to the point that he does not receive pleasure in eating it but rather pain.[6] It should especially be eaten by the third meal.[7]

At the very least-two cooked dishes:[8] Even one who cannot afford to buy many varieties of foods for Shabbos, nonetheless it is proper to beware to have at least two cooked[9] foods [by each meal]. [This applies for the first two Shabbos meals but not for the third meal, in which case having less than two dishes suffices.[10] If one generally has two cooked dishes for his weekday meal then he is to increase on Shabbos and have three cooked dishes. If one is accustomed to have three cooked dishes during the week, he is to have four on Shabbos.[11]]

Increasing in ones Shabbos expenditure-making many dishes of foods:[12] Besides for the basic Shabbos foods listed above, whoever increases in his expenditure of Shabbos foods [and other Shabbos needs[13]] in accordance to the amount he can afford, is praised.

The Shabbos and Yom Tov expenses are not included in yearly budget:[14] The money spent on behalf of [fulfilling the Mitzvah of Oneg] Shabbos and Yom Tov are not included in the budget decreed on Rosh Hashanah for one’s annual food expenses and other needs.[15]


List of the basic foods that are to be eaten during the Shabbos meal:

· Challah

· Meat and wine

· At least two cooked dishes.

· Fish

· Increase in foods as much as one can afford.



If one has a dislike for meat and wine must he nevertheless make an effort to eat it on Shabbos?


Borrowing money and taking money from charity for the sake of the Shabbos meals:

Borrowing money to enhance Shabbos:[17] If one does not have money for Shabbos expenses he is to borrow money if he has an item which is able to be given as collateral to the lender[18].[19] Nonetheless, although collateral is needed, Chazal say that Hashem will arrange for him to be able to pay the lender back the money which he borrowed. This is consistent with the saying of the Sages that Shabbos and Yom Tov expenses do not come out of one’s Heavenly ordained budget which is annually decreed on Rosh Hashana. If one does not own any collateral then he should not borrow the money in order to enhance Shabbos on the basis relying that G-d will reimburse him, as there is no obligation to spend for Shabbos more than one can afford.

Borrowing money with interest/Ribis:[20] It is permitted to borrow money under terms of Rabbinical interest[21] [Ribis Derabanan] for the purpose of enhancing the Shabbos and Yom Tov meal, as well as any Seudas Mitzvah. This however only applies if one is unable to borrow under a no interest rate.

Using money from a charity fund to enhance Shabbos: If one can afford two basic daily meals for every day of the week it is forbidden[22] to take money from a charity fund for the purpose of having food for the third Shabbos meal, or for the purpose of buying Shabbos delicacies.[23] However if one cannot afford two daily meals for every day of the week and is thus in need of receiving money from the charity fund for these two meals then he is to also be given money for the third Shabbos meal as well as for the Shabbos delicacies such as fish and vegetables.[24] Similarly if one already received money from the community charity fund he may use some of that money for enhancing Shabbos. However, in such a case he must make sure that this will not cause him to need to ask for more money for his daily needs.[25] If one is unable to do so, then if he has some of his own money, he should push himself to use that money for honoring Shabbos to the best of his ability.

Asking for a present from a friend in order to enhance Shabbos:[26] There is no obligation for one to ask to be given money as a gift in order to enhance Shabbos as the Sages have stated “Make your Shabbos like a weekday and do not become needy unto the public”. One must budget himself properly so he is able to enhance Shabbos at least a minute amount. It is better for one to do so then to become needy onto the public [and ask for gifts to be able to enhance Shabbos].[27]

Proper budgeting-What is one to do if he does not have any extra money to enhance Shabbos and cannot borrow or take from the charity fund?[28] Even in a case where one has just enough money for daily meals and lacks money to enhance Shabbos, in which case he cannot receive from charity, nevertheless he is still obligated to budget himself during the week in a way that he will be able to enhance Shabbos a minute amount at the very least.[29] Likewise, it is proper for him to have at least two dishes, as stated above.



One may only borrow money in order to enhance Shabbos if he owns collateral which can be used to repay the loan. One may even borrow money under terms of Rabbinical interest if he is unable to borrow money on an interest free rate. If one has two meals worth of food for Shabbos, he may not take money from charity to buy extra delicacies for Shabbos or even in order to have food for the third meal. If, however, he does not have two meals of food for Shabbos he may take money from charity for all the Shabbos meals and delicacies. It is better that one budget his money during the week in a way that he will be able to afford the Shabbos foods rather than ask others for money as a gift for Shabbos expenses. 



[1] Admur 242:2

[2] Admur 242:2; See Rama Y.D. 341:1 and Shach Y.D. 341:7

[3] Admur 242:7

[4] Admur 242:2; Rav Yehuda in Shabbos 118a

[5] Admur ibid; M”A 242:1 in name of Tikkunei Shabbos; M”B 242:2

[6] Admur ibid; M”A ibid

The reason: In such a case he should not eat fish, as Shabbos was given for pleasure. [ibid]

[7] Siddur. Sefer Chareidim [chapter 33] states it is a mitzvah to eat fish by all the meals, especially by third meal in order to elevate the souls that have been reincarnated into the fish. In the writings of the Arizal it is taught that the souls of the Tzadikim are reincarnated into fish. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 242 footnote 63] In Kuntrus Achron 242:4 Admur mentions an opinion which rules that eating fish on Shabbos is a Biblical command. However, Admur rejects this ruling saying there is no legal basis to say that the Sages instituted specifically fish to be eaten.

[8] Admur 242:7; M”A 242:1; Zohar 1:48; M”B 242:2

[9] Lit. Tavshilin. This refers to two cooked foods. [see Peri Megadim 242:1; 527:12] As for the definition of cooked foods in this regard the Peri Megadim [242 A”A 1] refers the reader to chapter 627:3-4 [Admur 11-12] in which the definition of Tavshilin, cooked foods, is discussed regarding the Mitzvah of Eiruv Tavshilin. There cooked foods are defined as follows: Any food which is cooked, fried, baked, pickled and is eaten together with bread is defined as a cooked food. Thus, one may use meat, fish or eggs. A raw food is invalid.   

[10] Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 242

[11] Kaf Hachaim 242:9

[12] Admur 242:3

[13] So is implied from Admur’s wording of Shabbos expenditures and making lots of foods.

[14] Admur 242:3; 529:4; Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:7 [includes tuition]; Beitza 16a

[15] This is consistent with the saying of the Sages that “All of man’s food and expenses is allocated on Rosh Hashanah. It is then decided as to how much income he will make on behalf of providing him food and all his other needs for all the days of that year. This however is with exception to the expenses of Shabbos and Yom Tov of which no budget is allocated for it on Rosh Hashanah and thus if one increases in expenditure of Shabbos and Yom Tov [Hashem] adds [to his budget]. [242:3] If he decreases in his expenditure then Hashem decreases in his budget. [529:4]

[16] As there is no obligation to eat specifically meat or drink wine on Shabbos, and since to this person eating or drinking the above is not enjoyable, he does not have to make an effort to eat or drink it.

[17] Admur 242:3

[18] From which the lender can collect the money from just in case the borrower cannot find the money to pay him back.

[19] Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is to only borrow money if he has a business, or other means, in which he can expect an income that he can then use to repay the loan. [Aruch Hashulchan 242:44] According to Admur however this is unnecessary as we have absolute trust that Hashem will pay him back.

Chasidic Explanation: The Rebbe explains that money used for Shabbos is considered similar to Mon which is heavenly bread that derives from G-dliness that is above nature. One thus does not need to have available a proper vessel within nature that can bring him back the money, and rather Hashem compensates him on His own. This is further seen from the fact that the money spent for Shabbos is not included in one’s yearly budget allotted to him on Rosh Hashana. Nonetheless this is only to be done if one owns collateral, as the blessing of G-d must be invested in some form of action. [Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 1:128]

[20] Admur 242:9

[21] It is forbidden to lend or borrow money from a Jew with interest. However certain forms of interest are Biblical while others are only Rabbinical. It is permitted to pay interest which is only Rabbinical to the lender for the sake of enhancing Shabbos.

[22] Regarding asking for extra delicacies, Admur writes it is forbidden, while regarding asking for a 3rd meal he writes “not to do so”.

[23] Admur 242:4; As in such a case we apply the saying of Chazal: “Make your Shabbos like a weekday and do not become needy unto the public.” [Admur ibid]

[24] The reason: As once a person is in need and thus may receive from charity, he has to be given all that he lacks, including what he lacks for Shabbos. [Admur ibid] Meaning that to originally be eligible for charity one must lack his necessities, however, once is eligible then he is given all that he lacks, even things that are not necessities.

[25] Admur 242:5; As in such a case he has ended up placing the burden of his honoring Shabbos expenses onto the community, which negates the saying of the Sages that one is to have a weekday Shabbos rather than be needy onto the public. [Admur ibid]

[26] 242:6; Michaber Y.D. 255:1; Pesachim 113a

[27] Its implied that nevertheless if one chooses, he may ask others for help, although he is not obligated to do so, and perhaps is even shunned.

[28] 242:6; Michaber 242:1

[29] As he too must fulfill the Mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. [ibid]

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