Shailah of the Week

Does The Prohibition Of Not Eating Before Davening Also Apply To Women?

Rabbi Eli Gersten February 2, 2021

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Written by Rabbis Eli Gersten, Yaakov Luban and Moshe Zywica of the Orthodox Union


Shulchan Aruch (OC 106:2) writes that women are obligated in tefillah (i.e. Shemoneh Esrei). However, the Magen Avraham (106:2) points out that most women do not regularly daven Shemoneh Esrei, but instead fulfill their obligation with any prayer, such as a short prayer that they recite when they awake in the morning. The Mishnah Berurah writes that this is a minority opinion, and therefore women should make sure to daven Shacharit and Mincha daily.


Iggerot Moshe (OC 4:101) writes that based on the Magen Avraham, there is a basis for a woman to be lenient and eat before davening Shacharit, so long as she has already recited some prayer. Teshuvot V’Hanhagot (3:37) writes that women who are very busy in the mornings (e.g., taking care of children) are exempt from tefillah at that time, and therefore may eat. However, he too writes that women should nevertheless recite Birchot Hashachar and the first pasuk of Shema before eating. He concludes that although it is proper for women to daven Shacharit (like the Mishnah Berurah), regarding eating before davening, they may rely on the Magen Avraham.