The Most Favorable Of …Times
“Annulling Vows For The Sake Of Shabbos”
The Agudah (Shabbos 143), a prominent Rishon cited extensively in halacha, writes that in previous generations, some had the custom to honor Shabbos by dressing in Shabbos clothes before Shabbos began. Others had the custom to remain dressed in Shabbos clothes until after Shabbos ended. He thus explains the Gemara in which R’ Yossi said, “May my portion be among those who begin Shabbos in Tiveria, and conclude Shabbos in Tzipori.” (Shabbos 118b). In Tiveria they honored Shabbos by dressing in special clothes before it began. In Tzipori they honored Shabbos by dressing in special clothes until Motzoai Shabbos. R’ Yossi praised both customs, implying that it is best to wear special Shabbos clothes from before Shabbos begins 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, on our daf, states that a husband can annul his wife’s nedarim on Shabbos, even if they are not relevant to Shabbos. A proof for this is found in our Mishna (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 sh’kia. 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 case change back into her weekday clothes. (A similar explanation is perhaps implied by the Ran.) 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 perhaps it was the custom once to return to weekday clothes before Shabbos ends, but there is no proof that this was a proper custom. As we have seen above, in Tiveria they wore special clothes for the beginning of Shabbos but not the end, and in Tzipori they wore special clothes for the end of Shabbos but not at the beginning. Nevertheless, the proper custom is to wear special clothes for both. All we see from our Mishna is that if, in practice, people changed back to 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 (O.C. 262 s.k. 2) cites the Agudah as the accepted halacha – that one should wear Shabbos clothes until after Havdala. The Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’Avoda II cites the Arizal that one should wear Shabbos clothes until after eating melava malka. Even when Tisha B’Av occurs on Motzoai Shabbos, one should not change back to weekday clothes until after tzeis hakochavim has passed, and one has recited either “barchu” or “hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.” Removing Shabbos clothes before this 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 Sholosh 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 Rebono 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 Sholosh Seudos.