Shabbos Shuva Laws & Customs

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1. Shabbos Shuva [Teshuvah[1]]:

A. The meal:

A Mitzvah to eat:[2] It is forbidden to fast on Shabbos Teshuvah.[3]

Dipping the Challah in honey:[4] During the Shabbos meals, after Hamotzi, one dips the Challah in honey. Nevertheless, one should also have salt on the table. See the section on Rosh Hashanah Chapter 2 Halacha 5 for the full details of this matter! 



What is the law if on Shabbos Teshuvah one forgot to say Ritzei?[5]

If one did not recite Ritzei on Shabbos Shuvah it follows the same classical laws of every Shabbos, that if he remembered only after already saying “Baruch” of the fourth blessing, or after completing Birchas Hamazon, then he must repeat from the beginning of Birchas Hamazon and recite Ritzei.[6] However, some Poskim[7] rule that the law of Ritzei on Shabbos Shuva follows the same law as Yaaleh Veyavo on Rosh Hashanah, and hence one is to only repeat Birchas Hamazon if it was forgotten by the night meal of Shabbos and not if it was forgotten during the day meal.



B. The Davening:

Hamelech Hakadosh in Meiyn Sheva:[8] On Shabbos Teshuvah the Chazan inserts in the blessing of Meiyn Sheva, recited [after Shemoneh Esrei of Maariv] on Friday night, the words “Hamelech Hakadosh”. [Likewise, when the congregation customarily recites the paragraph of Magen Avos they say the words Hamelech Hakadosh in place of Hakeil Hakadosh.] The Chazan however concludes the blessing only with the words of Shabbos [Mikadeish Hashabbos].[9]

Haftorah: The Haftorah of Shuva Yisrael is read this Shabbos. The Chabad custom slightly varies from the custom of the world regarding where to end the Haftorah.[10]

Tzidkascha:[11] By Mincha of Shabbos Shuvah the paragraph of Tzidkascha Tzedek is recited as usual.[12] [This applies even Erev Yom Kippur falls on Sunday.[13]]

Omitting Vihi Noam:[14] When Yom Kippur falls on a weekday, including if it falls on Erev Shabbos, the entire[15] prayer of Vayehi Noam is customarily omitted on the Motzei Shabbos directly prior to the Holiday.[16] If however the Holiday [or Yom Kippur] falls on Shabbos, Vayehi Noam is recited the previous Motzei Shabbos.[17]


If in Meiyn Sheva the Chazan said Hakeil Hakadosh instead of Hamelech Hakadosh must he repeat the Meiyn Sheva?

He is not to repeat the blessing. Nevertheless, if the Chazan remembers prior to saying G-d’s name in the blessing of Mikadeish Hashabbos then he is to go back and say it. See our Sefer “The laws & Customs of Rosh Hashanah” Aseres Yimei Teshuvah Chapter 2 for the full details of this subject!


Everyone comes to Shul:[18]

It is customary of all Jews to come with their entire families, men women and children to Shul and to hear Kerias Hatorah.


The Drasha/speech of Shabbos Shuva:[19]

It is customary for the Rabbi to expound on the laws of the Holiday of Sukkos [and Yom Kippur[20]] on the Shabbos prior to Yom Kippur, which is called Shabbos Shuva.[21] The main purpose of this speech is to expound and teach the people the ways of G-d and what must be done [on the holiday][22], unlike the custom today [that the speech surrounds other topics].

Lighting a Teshuvah candle:[23]

On the eve of Shabbos Teshuvah, it is customary in the Rebbe’s household to kindle [a twenty-four-hour candle which is known as] a “Teshuvah light”. [The Rebbe once stated that it is the Chabad custom to light three Teshuvah candles on Erev Shabbos Teshuvah.[24]]

Good resolutions:[25]

On Shabbos Shuva one is to take upon himself good resolutions in all matters of Torah, Avoda, and Gemilas Chasadim. Gemilas Chasadim can be performed also on Shabbos by accepting guests with joy.

Being extra careful in the laws of Shabbos:[26]

On this Shabbos, extra care must be taken not to transgress any of the Shabbos laws. This especially applies to the laws of Amira Lenachri of which unfortunately many give a lenient hand towards it.


Sparks of Chassidus:

Elevates all the Shabbosim:[27]

The Teshuvah of Shabbos Shuva has ability to rectify and elevate all the previous Shabbosim of the year.

Teshuvah or Shuva?[28]

Shuva is a command to return. Teshuvah is a statement. Thus, the two names of this Shabbos relate the following message: Even one who has already done Teshuvah, as is expected by the time we have reached this Shabbos, nevertheless he too is commanded “Shuva” to return, to perform a higher level of Teshuvah. Teshuvah is in the heart, and the feelings of the heart have many facets, depth upon depth.

Teshuvah Ilaah:[29]

The repentance of Shabbat Teshuvah is different from that of the weekdays of the Ten Days of Repentance. On a weekday, one refines physical matter by doing everyday tasks for the sake of Heaven. This approach corresponds to lower repentance, renewing attachment to G-dliness interrupted by sin. The task of Shabbat, on the other hand, is different. The prohibition against work means that we turn from the spiritual elevation of physical matter and concentrate on elevation within the realm of holiness itself. This service corresponds to higher repentance, a stronger cleaving to G-dliness. Accordingly, the repentance of Shabbat Teshuvah is superior to that of the adjacent weekdays. All Ten Days of Repentance, including the weekdays, are ones of higher repentance, but since they are weekdays, it is not higher repentance on its highest level. However, on Shabbat Teshuvah a Jew can attain true higher repentance.

D. Announcing the fast the Shabbos before:[30]

It is not customary to announce the fast of Yom Kippur the Shabbos before the fast. This applies even according to Sefaradim.


2. Kiddush Levana:[31]

The custom is to delay saying Kiddush Levana until Motzei Yom Kippur.[32] See our Sefer “The Laws and customs of Motzei Shabbos” “Kiddush Levana” Halacha 6!


[1] In the following sources it is recorded as Shabbos Teshuvah: 582:4; 597:1; Igur 822; Mahril Hilchos Aseres Yimei Teshuvah; Kneses Hagedola 602; Derushim of Chabad Rabbeim. This name is based on that this Shabbos is within the days of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah.

In the following sources it is recorded as Shabbos Shuva: 284:8; 429:2; Haminhagim [Y.I. Tirna]; Mateh Moshe 833; M”E 620:40This is based on the first word of the Haftorah. See Likkutei Sichos 14:144; Sparks of Chassidus!

[2] 597:1; Michaber 597:1

Background and other opinions:

There are opinions which rule it is a Mitzvah to fast on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Teshuvah just like on any other day of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah. However the final ruling is not like this opinion and it is thus forbidden to fast on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Teshuvah just like on any other Shabbos and Yom Tov. [Admur ibid] See the section on Rosh Hashanah Chapter 2 Halacha 1! 

[3] Taanis Chalom: If one experienced a bad dream, but is in doubt if it is one of the dreams that one fasts for on Shabbos, then he may not fast. [Admur ibid; M”A 597:4] If however one is allowed to fast for the dream on Shabbos then certainly he may fast on Rosh Hashanah. [Kaf Hachaim 597:5 and so is evident from Admur 597:5-7]

[4] Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 372 “meals of Shabbos and Yom Tov” and so brings Piskeiy Teshuvos 583:3. Omitted from Sefer Haminhagim p. 145; Hayom Yom Vol. 2. Furthermore, there it states not to dip on Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos.

[5] See Admur 188:9; Michaber 188:6; Rosh Brachos 23; Rambam Brachos 2:12; Rashi Brachos ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 47; See the section on Rosh Hashanah chapter 2 Halacha 9!

[6] Setimas Kol Haposkim ibid who do not differentiate in this Halacha between Shabbos Shuva and other Shabbosim

The reason: Although the opinions who rule one is to fast on Rosh Hashanah also hold that one is to fast on Shabbos Teshuvah [see Admur 188:10; 597:1] and we hold that if one forgot Yaaleh Veyavo one must initially suspect for their opinion and not repeat Birchas Hamazon [Admur 188:10], nevertheless, we do not find anywhere in Poskim that there is a difference between Shabbos Teshuvah and other Shabbosim in terms of a case that one forgot Ritzei. Thus, it seems that according to all one is required to repeat Birchas Hamazon if he forgot Ritzei on Shabbos Shuva as is the rule throughout the year. What remains to be understood is the reason for the difference in ruling between Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Teshuvah, as by all these days there are opinions who hold one is to fast and hence, we should apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel? Perhaps the explanation is as follows: On Rosh Hashanah itself there are opinions who hold one is to fast, which means that they hold the Sages never included R”H as part of the Holidays that require Lechem Mishneh and a meal. Hence, according to them, one who eats and recites Birchas Hamazon cannot repeat it if he forgot Yaaleh Veyavo, as Rosh Hashanah is not obligated in a meal. However, on Shabbos Teshuvah even they agree that one is ideally obligated to eat a meal due to Shabbos, and it is only due to the Aseres Yimei Teshuvah that one may fast. Thus, one who did not fast and fulfilled the Mitzvah of eating a meal on Shabbos must repeat Birchas Hamazon if he forgot Ritzei, as Shabbos requires him to eat a meal. This is similar to one who made a vow not to eat on Shabbos and nevertheless ate in which case certainly we would hold that Bentching must be repeated if he forgot Ritzei even though what he did was forbidden, as the prohibition was due to an external factor and not due to Shabbos. [See Ketzos Hashulchan 47 footnote 8] Vetzaruch Iyun.

[7] Opinion of Grac”h Naah in Yagdil Torah 4 p. 1685

[8] 582:4; Michaber 582:3

[9] Seemingly this latter statement is only relevant when Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, and hence the novelty is that one does not add Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur in the concluding blessing. However on Shabbos Teshuvah there is no reason to think otherwise, that anything else should be added in the concluding blessing other than Shabbos, Upashut.

[10] See Sefer Haminhagim p. 64 [English]; M”E 602:40; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 169

[11] Rama 602:1; Levush; Mateh Moshe 833; Kneses Hagedola ; Gr”a 602; Kaf Hachaim 597:2

Other Opinions: Some Poskim write that one is to omit Tzidkascha on Shabbos Teshuvah. [Drashos Mahril Hilchos Aseres Yimei Teshuvah; brought in Kaf Hachaim 598:2]

[12] The reason: As the reasons given for not reciting Tzidkascha on R”H and Yom Kippur are not relevant to Shabbos Teshuvah.

[13] M”E 602:22; Kaf Hachaim 602:21

[14] 295:3

[15] This includes also the prayer of Ata Kadosh. The reason it is accustomed to omit also Ata Kadosh is because the prayer of Ata Kadosh is said as a result of saying the prayer of Vayehi Noam. As once the Shechina resides below, as is stated in the prayer of Vayehi Noam which discusses the Mishkan, it is then fit to sanctify it with the prayer of Ata Kadosh. Thus since Vayehi Noam is omitted, [for the reason to be explained in the next footnote] so too we omit Ata Kadosh. [ibid]

Other Opinions: The above follows the Ashkenazi custom, as brought by the Tur. However the Sefardic custom is to only omit Vayehi Noam and Yosheiv Beseiser and they begin from Orech Yamim, and then say Ata Kadosh. [Tur] Some however say the Sefaradic custom is to recite it entirely, as rule the Sefaradi sources brought in the next footnote. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 294:2]

[16] The reason for omitting Vayehi Noam is because within the prayer we say twice “And the work of our hands”, hence all the days of the coming week have to be fit for work. If they are not all fit for work, such as due to a Holiday, then we simply omit the prayer. [Admur ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 294:2 for a thorough analyses on this subject]

Other Opinions: Some, based on Kabala of Arizal, always recite the prayer of Vayehi Noam on Motzei Shabbos, even when a Holiday falls that week, and even on Motzei Shabbos Chol Hamoed. Nevertheless, in such circumstances they recite it quietly. Their reasoning is because Vayehi Noam affects the influence of Shabbos on the weekday, which is needed every week, without exception. [Birkeiy Yosef brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 295:2; Kaf Hachaim 295:9-10]

[17] So rules Admur ibid; M”E 602:45; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 170 for difference in practice of the Rebbe over the years

Other Opinions: Some rule that even in such a case that Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, Vayehi Noam is omitted the Motzei Shabbos prior to it. [See Kaf Hachaim 295:6]

[18] Sefer Hasichos 1989 Vol. 1 p. 5; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 169 that it is unclear if the Rebbe is saying this as a general statement regarding every Shabbos of the year or specifically regarding Shabbos Shuva. 

[19] 429:2


The early Sages which existed at the time that the Temple was established instituted that the preachers should begin to teach publicly the laws of the upcoming festival thirty days prior to the festival. After the Temples destruction students were taught the laws of the Holiday thirty days prior to the festival, however for the community the laws of the upcoming festival would be expounded on the Shabbos prior to the festival, as on this Shabbos all the Jews from the villages would gather to hear the laws of the festival from the Rabbi. For this reason in the later generations the custom became [even though today this concept of ingathering no longer applies] that the Rabbi expounds on the laws of Pesach on the Shabbos before it, and the laws of the Chag (Sukkos) on Shabbos Shuvah. [ibid]

[20] Likkutei Sichos vol. 3 Shabbos Hagadol

[21] Admur does not write “the Shabbos before Sukkos“, as Sukkos sometimes falls the week after the week of Shabbos Shuva as the Shabbos before Yom Kippur is called Shabbos Shuva. With regards to why Admur rules for it to be said on Shabbos Shuvah rather than the Shabbos before Sukkos, possibly this is in order to also include the laws of Yom Kippur. The Magen Avraham 429:1 implies that the laws of Yom Kippur are expounded on Shabbos Shuvah, as well as the laws of Sukkos. Admur however only mentions Sukkos. See next footnote.

[22] Regarding the meaning of the phrase “to expound and teach the people the ways of G-d and teach them what must be done [on the holiday]” In the source of Admur in the Magen Avraham ibid there is no “and” between “ways of G-d” and “teach..”, thus one can interpret that teaching the laws is the meaning behind teaching them the ways of G-d. However, in Admur since he adds an “and” between these two phrases, it must be that they are two different matters. The meaning behind “ways of G-d” refers to discussing general teachings in service of G-d. It is for this reason that Admur does not mention that the laws of Yom Kippur have to be also discussed on Shabbos Shuvah, as the main laws of Yom Kippur [which is Teshuvah] is already included in the teachings of the path of serving G-d, that is mentioned in the first phrase, and thus there was no need to mention it, just like we do not teach the laws before Shavuos being that they are already included in the laws of all holidays. [Likkutei Sichos ibid]

[23] Sefer Haminhagim p. 122 [English]; Sefer Hasichos 1944 p. 7-8; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 166

[24] Sicha of Vav Tishrei 1982 [unedited]

The reason: This corresponds to the three forms of Teshuvah described by Admur in Likkutei Torah Parshas Balak in the Mamar “Mah Tovu”. [ibid]

[25] Hisvadyos 1991 p. 24

[26] Birkeiy Yosef 602:2; Kaf Hachaim 602:8

[27] Hisvadus 1986 1 p. 61; Shaareiy Hamoadim Yom Kippur 17; Melukat 1:345

[28] Likkutei Sichos 14:144; Shaareiy Hamoadim Yom Kippur 16

[29] Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 145; Hisvadus 1982 1 p. 26; Shaareiy Hamoadim Yom Kippur 18-19

[30] Michaber 550:4


The Michaber ibid rules that the Shabbos prior to a fast the Chazan should announce the coming fast, with exception to the fasts of Yom Kippur, Tishe Beav and the fast of Esther. The Rama writes that the Ashkenazi custom is not to announce any fast.

[31] Rama 426:2; 602:1; Levush 602:2 that so is the custom; M”E 602:46; Sefer Haminhagim p. 126 [English]; Mishmeres Shalom 41:1; Seder Hayom; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 249; omitted from Admur 602 Vetzaruch Iyun!

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is specifically to say Kiddush Levana prior to Yom Kippur, as perhaps this merit of saying Kiddush Levana will turn the judgment to the side of good. [Gadol brought in Levush 602:2; Elya Raba 602:7; Beis Meir 426; Biur HaGr”a 602; Chida in Moreh Baetzba 9:283 and other Poskim brought in Kaf Hachaim 426:27; 602:19; M”B 602:10; Biur Halacha 426 “Velo Kodem Yom Hakippurim”; Makor Chaim 602; Nemukei Orach Chaim 602; Alef Lamateh 602:25; See Otzer ibid]

[32] The reason: It is not to be said before Yom Kippur because one is in a state of pain due to it being a time of forgiveness of sin. [M”A 426:5] Others write as follows: It is not to be said as one is in a state of seriousness due to the days of Judgment and he is thus not in a state of joy which is required for the recital of Kiddush Levana. [Levush ibid in name of Gadol; M”B 426:9]

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