The Most Favorable Of …Times
‘Annulling Vows For The Sake Of Shabbos’
The Agudah (Shabbos 143), a prominent rishon, writes that in previous generations some had the custom to honor Shabbos by dressing in Shabbos clothes before Shabbos began and others had the custom to remain dressed in Shabbos clothes until after Shabbos ended.
The Gemara quotes R’ Yossi as saying, “May my portion be among those who begin Shabbos in Tiveria and conclude Shabbos in Tzipori” (Shabbos 118b). What did he mean? The residents of Tiveria honored Shabbos by dressing in special clothes before Shabbos began and the residents of Tzipori honored Shabbos by dressing in special clothes until Motza’ei Shabbos. R’ Yossi praised both customs, implying that it is best to wear special clothes from before Shabbos until after it ends.
Vowing to Wear Shabbos Clothing
The Gur Aryeh Yehuda (Te’omim I, O.C. 13) notes an interesting proof to the contrary from our sugya. The Gemara (our daf) states that a husband can annul his wife’s nedarim on Shabbos even if they are not relevant to Shabbos. A proof to this is a mishnah (supra 76b), where we learn that if a woman makes a neder just a few minutes before the conclusion of Shabbos, her husband can still annul it before shekia. The commentary (in place of Rashi) explains that there is clearly no need for the sake of Shabbos to annul such a neder. If her neder was not to eat, there is no need for the sake of Shabbos to annul it since she has probably already eaten her Shabbos meals. If her neder was not to wear special Shabbos clothes, there is also no need for the sake of Shabbos to annul it since at the end of Shabbos she will in any event change into her weekday clothes. From here we learn that there is no need to wear Shabbos clothes for the conclusion of Shabbos.
The Maharsham (Da’as Torah 299:10) argues that although it may have been customary to change into weekday clothes before Shabbos ended, we have no proof that this was a proper custom. As we have seen, in Tiveria they wore special clothes for the beginning of Shabbos but not for its conclusion and in Tzipori they wore special clothes for its conclusion but not for its beginning.
All we see from this mishnah is that if, in practice, people change into weekday clothes before Shabbos ends, there is no need for the sake of Shabbos to annul a neder forbidding Shabbos clothes at such a time.
Until after Shabbos
The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 262:2) cites the Agudah as the accepted halacha – that one should wear Shabbos clothes until after havdalah. The Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’Avoda cites the Arizal who maintains that one should wear Shabbos clothes until after eating melava malkah. Even when Tisha B’Av occurs on Motza’ei Shabbos, one should not change into weekday clothes until after tzeis hakochavim and one has recited either “barchu” or “hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.” Removing one’s Shabbos clothes before this time constitutes a public display of mourning on Shabbos, which is customarily forbidden.
Nicer clothes for Sholosh Seudos
The Tzitz Eliezer (14:34) writes that he heard from a certain chassid that some have the custom to wear even nicer clothes for shalosh seudos, which is considered according to Kabbalah to be the holiest part of Shabbos. The Zohar (II, p. 88b) states, “On Shabbos day, when the time for Mincha prayer arrives, it is the Ra’ava D’ra’avin – the most favorable of favorable times. The Ribbono shel Olam reveals His good will, and all harsh judgments can be subjugated. Favor and joy are found everywhere.”
Nonetheless, the Tzitz Eliezer writes that this is not the accepted custom, and he cites several proofs from halacha that there is no need to wear special clothes for shalosh seudos.