Setting up the Shabbos table before Shabbos

Setting up the table for Shabbos, from before Shabbos:[1]

One[2] is to set up the Shabbos table [including its chairs[3]] on Erev Shabbos in preparation for the Friday night meal.[4] [The silverware and china are to be clean and polished for the meal.[5] There is no need however to set up one’s bed on Erev Shabbos.[6]]



Who should set up the Shabbos table; the husband or the wife?[7]

Some Poskim[8] rule that the husband is to set up the Shabbos table on Erev Shabbos.[9] Other Poskim[10], however, rule that the wife is to set up the Shabbos table on Erev Shabbos.[11]

One who comes home and sees the table is not yet prepared:[12] Even in families in which the custom is for the wife to set up the table on Erev Shabbos, if upon coming home from Shul the husband sees that the table is not set, extra care must be taken not to voice anger at one’s wife, and one must rather judge her favorably to the point he feels no resentment in his heart.


[1] Admur 262:1; Michaber 262:1; Tur 261; Rebbe Yossi Ben Rebbe Yehuda in Shabbos 119b

[2] See Q&A regarding preferably who is to set the table, the husband or the wife.

[3] Aruch Hashulchan 262:1

Analysis: The ruling brought in Shulchan Aruch regarding setting up the beds on Erev Shabbos was referring to the table seats of back then, which were in essence beds which the diners lied on while eating. [Admur 262:1; M”A 261; See Aruch Hashulchan 262:1] There is thus room to learn that today there is no longer a need to set up the chairs being that they do not entail much work as do the setting up of the sitting beds of back then. The Aruch Hashulchan ibid however learns differently.

[4] The reason: This is done out of honor for Shabbos, so that when he returns from Shul he finds everything already set and organized. [Admur ibid] The Talmud states that upon returning home from Shabbos two angels escort him to his home, and when they find that the table is set up, a good angel blesses him and the bad angel answers Amen.

Having the table set throughout the entire Shabbos: The above statement of Admur follows the ruling of the Michaber ibid. The Rama comments on this ruling of the Michaber that one is to keep his table set throughout the entire Shabbos. He concludes that so is the custom and it is forbidden to swerve from it. Admur ibid learns that the Rama’s comment was not referring to leaving the table set with its dishes and the like, but rather to leave it covered with a table cloth, and on this Admur rules that it must be covered throughout the entire Shabbos and one may not swerve from this custom. [So also learns Kaf Hachaim 262:22]

[5] Aruch Hashulchan 262:1

[6] Admur ibid, based on M”A 262 specifically mentions setting the beds of the dining room, and omits adding the beds of sleeping, despite that the Bach adds as well the beds of sleeping. [See Peri Megadim A”A 262:1] The M”B 262:2 however adds that one should also set the beds of one’s room, and so seems to be the leaning opinion of the Peri Megadim ibid, and so rules Kaf Hachaim 262:18; Aruch Hashulchan 262:1.

[7] Kaf Hachaim 262:21

[8] Chesed Lealafim 262:2

[9] The reason: As it is a Mitzvah upon the husband to prepare for the meal [Chesed Lealafim ibid]

[10] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 17 based on Tikkunim Tikkun 24; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[11] The reason: This is based on Kabala. [ibid]

[12] Kaf Hachaim 583:1

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