SE'UDAH SHELISHIT (Heb. סְעוּדָה שְׁלִישִׁית; "third meal"), name for the third meal eaten on the Sabbath. The eating of three meals on the Sabbath is considered by the rabbis as a positive commandment based on the repetition of the word "today" in Exodus 16:25: "Eat that (the manna) today, for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord; today ye shall not find it in the field" (Shab. 117b–118a). This commandment is also binding upon women (Sh. Ar., OḤ 291:6). The se'udah shelishit is the only Sabbath meal at which kiddush is not recited (Tur. OḤ 291), although two loaves are still placed on the table (Sh. Ar, ibid.). This meal, eaten in the afternoon of the Sabbath day, must not commence prior to the time for the beginning of the Minḥah prayer (Sh. Ar., OḤ 291:2). Ḥasidim especially developed the custom of spending hours at the table listening to their rebbe, singing special hymns and wordless melodies. It became customary to chant zemirot and Psalm 23 at this meal.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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