When is Shabbos over-The after Shabbos stages which permit the doing of Melacha

When is Shabbos over-The after Shabbos stages which permit the doing of Melacha:

Simply speaking, the conclusion of Shabbos is when three stars can be seen in the sky, or when the time for the leave of Shabbos as written in a calendar is reached on the clock. However, in truth the matter is much more complex than it seems, not just with regards to how to establish the sighting of three stars or the calendar calculation, but also with regards to when Melacha actually becomes permitted, biblically, rabbinically, and according to custom. The following are the various stages and their corresponding allowance:

  1. Bein Hashmashos:[1] In general, it is forbidden to perform any Melacha whether biblical or rabbinical until the next stage of Tzeis Hakochavim. Nonetheless, in certain mitigating circumstances[2], Rabbinical Melacha is permitted to be performed during Bein Hashmashos of Motzei Shabbos, similar to its allowance during Bein Hashmashos of Erev Shabbos.[3]
  2. Tzeis Hakochavim:[4] The conclusion of Shabbos which permits one to do biblical and rabbinical Melacha is when it is dark enough in the sky to see three small[5] stars consecutively[6] in one line. Nonetheless, certain restrictions still remain against doing Melacha until the following other conditions, and stages, are fulfilled.
  3. The time on the calendars:[7] The times for conclusion of Shabbos written in calendars are based on the calculation of when three small consecutive stars can be seen in one’s area and are hence symmetric to it. Nonetheless, there are different ways of calculating the arrival of this time, hence explaining the discrepancies between calendars as to the time of the leave of Shabbos. In general, there are four main opinions regarding how to calculate the leave of Shabbos [i.e. Ketzos Hashulchan, Rav Tukichinsky, Chazon Ish and Igros Moshe]. The times also vary based on location and time of year of winter versus summer, and there is thus no set amount of minutes after sunset that Shabbos always ends throughout the year and throughout all locations, and hence one must look at a calendar for each location and for that time of the year. Practically, the accepted practice is to follow when the sun reaches 8.5 degrees below the horizon within one’s area, and that is the time followed by most calendars. A separate article explaining these calculations will feature God willing in a future publication.
  4. Saying Baruch Hamavdil and Havdalah prior to doing Melacha:[8] Even after the above time of night has arrived, the Sages forbade one from doing any Melacha, even Rabbinical (with some exceptions[9]), until he escorts the King. This is done through reciting Havdalah in prayer, or over wine, or through simply saying the words “Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lechol.”
  5. Maariv:[10] In addition to waiting until three small consecutive stars are visible and saying Havdalah in prayer or saying Baruch Hamavdil, every meticulous person is to delay doing any [Biblical] Melacha until the congregation has recited the Seder Kedusha [i.e. the entire paragraph of Veata Kadosh[11]] after Maariv. Any person [even if he is not a Baal Nefesh] who does Melacha prior to this time will not see a good omen from the Melacha.[12] [Thus, every man[13] is to be careful in this matter. The Zohar[14] is very stringent on this matter and writes that lighting a candle prior to this time causes the flames of Gihennom to be rekindled prematurely, and consequently leads him to be cursed by the souls in Gihennom, and be severely punished.[15]]
  6. Havdalah over wine: Some Poskim[16] rule that it is forbidden to do any [time consuming[17]] Melacha prior to Havdalah over wine. [Thus, one must avoid writing, sewing and laundry until after Havdalah. However, one may wash dishes and sweep the floors and the like.[18]] Furthermore, according to the Zohar it is forbidden to do any Melacha until after one says Havdalah over wine.[19] Practically, we do not rule like the above opinions, and from the letter of the law it is thus permitted to do any Melacha prior to Havdalah over wine.[20] Nonetheless, some Poskim[21] conclude that those who are meticulous are to delay doing Biblical Melacha until after they hear Havdalah over wine.[22] Admur in his Shulchan Aruch does not suspect for these opinions.[23]
  7. Delaying Melacha until after Melaveh Malka: Some Poskim[24] rule that it is proper to delay doing Melacha which is unconnected to food preparation until after one has finished eating Melaveh Malka.[25] Other Poskim[26] rule that one is to avoid doing any time consuming Melacha until after this meal. Based on Kabbalah[27], one is to avoid even learning Torah until he eats this meal. Practically, from the letter of the law it is permitted to do any Melacha prior to Melaveh Malka.[28] Nevertheless, some Poskim[29] suggest drinking something immediately after Havdalah, thus being considered as if he fulfilled Melaveh Malka, and he may then perform Melacha according to all.
  8. Avoiding Melacha on Motzei Shabbos-Women Sewing:[30] Some Poskim[31] write it is customary for women to avoid doing Melacha throughout the entire duration of Motzei Shabbos. However, this custom is negated by the Yerushalmi[32], was omitted by Admur[33], and is no longer the accepted custom, and therefore so is the practical ruling that it is not necessary to be careful in this matter.[34] Nonetheless, some have a custom to avoid writing Safrus on Motzei Shabbos.[35] Others avoid any laborious work done for payment the entire Motzei Shabbos.[36] Others avoid sewing on Motzei Shabbos.[37] [Practically, each family is to abide by their tradition, and those who avoid sewing are to continue to avoid doing so, while those who do not have such a tradition, may continue to sew on Motzei Shabbos.]

The Chabad custom: According to Admur in his Shulchan Aruch there is no need for women to avoid doing any Melacha, even sewing, on Motzei Shabbos.[38] Nonetheless, some testify that the established Chabad tradition dating back to Russia is for women to avoid sewing on Motzei Shabbos.[39] Others however claim to be unaware of such a custom in Chabad.[40]


[1] See Admur 342:1

[2] For a list of circumstance in which Rabbinical Melacha is allowed during Bein Hashmashos-see chapter 261.

[3] Admur 342:1 in parentheses; Birkeiy Yosef; Beis Meir, brought in M”B 342:2; Opinion of M”A 623:4 which allows blowing Shofar by Bein Hashmashos of Yom Kippur, as explains the Peri Megadim there.

Other Opinions in Admur and other Poskim: There is an opinion which doubts whether the allowances of Bein Hashmashos of Erev Shabbos apply equally to Bein Hashmashos of Motzei Shabbos, as perhaps due to the doubt of Bein Hashmashos the holiness of the essence of the day of Shabbos does not leave. [M”A 342, brought in Admur ibid] Practically, one may be lenient. [Admur ibid] However, some Poskim conclude that one is to be stringent. [Chayeh Adam, brought in M”B 342:2; In Biur Halacha 342 “Bein Hashmashos” he concludes to be stringent by Bein Hashmashos of Motzei Shabbos as in addition to the doubts of the M”A ibid, there are also many doubts involved with when is Bein Hashmashos]

[4] Admur 293:1

Zeman Rabbeinmu Tam: According to Rabbeinu Tam that Tzeis Hakochavim begins only 72/96 minutes after nightfall, the calculation of stars is only given when one cannot calculate the time, such as he does not know when sunset occurred and he thus cannot calculate the 72 minutes. Ideally however if one could calculate the 72 minutes, he is to delay 72 minutes according to Rabbeinu Tam. [M”B 293:6; However in the Biur Halacha “Ad” he brings from the Minchas Cohen that even according to Rabbeinu Tam once three small stars can be seen there is no need to wait any longer; See however Piskeiy Teshuvos 293 footnote 21 for those which argue on this conclusion]

[5] The reason for small stars: Although night time is generally defined as when three medium stars are able to be seen, nevertheless since people are not expert in the difference of size between a large and medium star, therefore one is required to wait until three small stars are seen. [Admur ibid; Beis Yosef in name of Rabbeinu Yonah]

[6] The reason for consecutive stars: Ideally Shabbos is over once three small stars can be seen, even if they are scattered. However, it is a positive command to add onto Shabbos, and this measurement of time is a minimum of waiting until three small stars can be seen in one row. [Admur ibid]

Other Opinions: The Digul Merivav rules it suffices to wait a slight amount of time after one sees three small stars, even if they are scattered. Others hold one is to wait until the entire sky is filled with stars. [See Kaf Hachaim 293:4]

[7] See M”B 293:6; Ketzos Hashulchan 93 footnote 2; Shiureiy Tziyon of Grach Naah p. 76; Kitzur Halachos Shabbos Miluim p. 92-100; Sefer Bein Hashmashos of Rav Yechial Michel Tuchensky; Igros Moshe 4:62; Piskeiy Teshuvos 293:4; Igros Kodesh 17:124

[8] Admur 299:15-16 and 19

[9] The exceptions: Those Rabbinical prohibitions relevant to speech  are permitted even before saying Havdalah or Baruch Hamavdil, once Shabbos is over. This however is with exception to asking bodily requests from G-d which is only allowed after one says Hamavdil. [Admur 299:19 in parentheses; 299:15; 294:1; Kaf Hachaim 299:51] Likewise some  permit performing, after Shabbos is over but prior to saying Havdalah, all Rabbinical prohibitions which are forbidden simply due to them being a mundane act. Practically, the custom is to be lenient on Motzei Yom Kippur. [Admur 299:15; 623:11; See Elya Raba 299:22; Shaareiy Teshuvah 299:2; M”B 299:40]

[10] Admur 299:19; M”A 299:17 in name of Darkei Moshe; Darkei Moshe 294 in name of Or Zarua Hilchos Motzei Shabbos 90 and Zohar; Zohar Bereishis 14b and Bamidbar; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 2:24; M”B 299:40; Kaf Hachaim O.C. 293:7; Y.D. 116:106; Piskeiy Teshuvos 299:15

[11] See M”A 299:15 and Tur ibid in name of Yerushalmi and Ben Ish Chaiy ibid that one is to finish the entire Tefila

[12] Admur ibid; Pesachim 50b regarding Motzei Shabbos and Tur 299 end that it refers to before Seder Kedusha, prior to concluding the Seder Tefila

[13] See Q&A regarding women

[14] See Zohar ibid, quoted in M”A ibid, Darkei Moshe ibid and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[15] See M”A 299:17; Kaf Hachaim 293:7 that according to the Zohar doing Melacha before Kedusha Desidra is repelling to Hashem.; Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 116:106

[16] Opinion brought in Admur 299:18 in parentheses; Rambam 29:6; Rosh Pesachim 10:11; Seder Rav Amram 2:43; Bahag Hilchos Havdalah; Shaar HaTziyon 299:51 in name of Derech Chaim who rules one may not do time consuming Melacha until after Havdalah. So also rules Siddur Yaavetz in order so one not come to forget to say Havdalah. Admur clearly does not suspect for this opinion, as explained in the previous footnote.

[17] Admur 299:18 and M”A 299:17 in explanation of Rabbeinu Yerucham p. 102 [brought in Rama 299:10] that even according to the Rambam/Rosh the prohibition applies only to time consuming Melacha while those Melachas which can be done without effort, such as lighting a candle, may be done before Havdalah.

[18] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 299 footnote 148

[19] Zohar Parshas Beresihis, brought in Darkei Moshe 294, M”A 299:17; Toras Shabbos 299:15; See Aruch Hashulchan 299:23

[20] Setimas Haposkim of Admur 299:15-16; Michaber 299:10; Aruch Hashulchan 299:19 “It is permitted for him to do all Melacha also after Havdalah”

[21] Toras Shabbos 299:15; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeitzei 22; Chesed Leavraham brought in Kaf Hachaim 299:59

[22] The reason: The reason for this is in order to suspect for the previous two opinions as 1) according to the Zohar one is not to do Melacha until after Havdalah. And 2) According to the Rambam and Rosh one may never do Melacha until after Havdalah over wine. Hence, although this is not the ruling opinion, one who is meticulous is to suspect for it. [See however Admur 299:18 who brings that Rabbeinu Yerucham rules that even according to the Rambam/Rosh the prohibition applies only to time consuming Melacha while those Melachas which can be done without effort, such as lighting a candle, may be done before Havdalah. Admur concludes that we do not rule like the Rambam/Rosh altogether.]

Who lights the Havdalah candles according to this meticulous opinion? The Toras Shabbos ibid rules a woman or child is to light the candles and not an adult. The Aruch Hashulchan 299:23 however rules one may light the candle even according to the Zohar.

[23] See Admur 299:15-16 who plainly rules that Melacha may be done after saying Baruch Hamavdil, and only brings the stringent opinion in 299:18 to negate a mistaken leniency understood from Rabbeinu Yerucham ibid

[24] Shaareiy Teshuvah 300:1 in name of students of Arizal; brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 100 footnote 8

Other Opinions: Torah Leshma 79 [of Ben Ish Chaiy] writes there is no Mitzvah or act of piety involved in avoiding work prior to Melaveh Malka.

[25] The reason: As since the extra soul does not leave until after Melaveh Malka, it is therefore proper to delay doing Melacha which is unconnected to food preparation until after one finishes eating Melaveh Malka. [Poskim ibid]

[26] Yaavetz, brought in Ketzos Hashulchan ibid

[27] Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hashabbos 24; Mishnas Chassidim brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 100 footnote 8

[28] Setimas Haposkim of Admur 299:15-16; Michaber 299:10; Aruch Hashulchan 299:19 “It is permitted for him to do all Melacha after Havdalah”

[29] Siddur Yaavetz

[30] See Aruch Hashulchan 299:22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 300:6

[31] M”A 299:15 in name of Abudarham end of Seder Motzei Shabbos; Elya Raba 299:23 in name of Tashbeitz that so is the custom of the world to not do Melacha throughout the entire Motzei Shabbos

[32] Yerushalmi Pesachim 4, Perek Hamakom Shenahagu Halacha 1, brought in Tur 299 and M”A 299:15, “Women who are accustomed to not do Melacha on Motzei Shabbos are not fulfilling a custom”

[33] It is omitted likewise in the Mishneh Berurah

[34] Aruch Hashulchan 299:22; Nesiv Hachaim; Torah Lishma 79

[35] Based on testimony of Leket Yosher p. 58 in name of Terumos Hadeshen

[36] Tosefes Shabbos 299:18; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 300:6

[37] Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 300; Piskeiy Teshuvos 300:6 that so is custom in many communities; Received from HaRav Eliyahu Landa Shlita that so is the explicit Chabad tradition for women to avoid sewing on Motzei Shabbos; Rivivos Efraim 2:107 that so is custom of many; Shulchan Halevi that the custom only applies until midnight

[38] As Admur 299:20 rules that the statement of the Gemara against doing work on Motzei Shabbos applies only until Maariv is finished in Shul.

[39] Received from HaRav Eliyahu Landa Shlita

[40] Received from HaRav Leibal Groner Shlita

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