Can I eat before davening in the morning?

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Asked on April 1, 2019 7:12 pm
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The laws of a woman and man should be the same here. Ideally, one should not eat or drink anything more than water prior to reciting obligatory tefillot. If, however, one is extremely hungry or thirsty or has a health condition that makes it necessary to eat before praying, then that would be permissible.
Shulchan Aruch OC 89:3
It is prohibited for him to occupy himself with his needs or to go off on his way until he recites Shemoneh Esrei.
Rema: There are those are lenient after they say some of the berachot, before they say Baruch She’amar, and it is good to be stringent about this.

He should not eat or drink, but may drink water before prayer…So too, eating and drinking for healing is permissible.
One who is thirsty or hungry, behold they are in the category of sick people. If he has the ability to orient his mind, he should pray, and if not, if he wants he should not pray until he has eaten and drunk.

When necessary for concentration, there can be room to allow coffee or tea or a very light bite.
However, Rav Moshe Feinstein notes that there are women who do eat prior to reciting tefillot, and this requires further study.
Responsa Iggerot Moshe 4:101
Even of those who know how to pray and recite prayers every day, there are [some] who did not accept upon them the prohibition of eating prior to their accustomed prayer and eat after they have said some request. This requires study for [determining] the halacha.
A woman who needs to eat before reciting tefillot should try to recite some prayer, such as the prayers upon arising, before she eats. In this way, she succeeds in reciting some praise, request, and thanks to God before she eats, which arguably fulfills her minimum obligation to pray.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rules this way for female students who eat breakfast at home before reciting tefillot at school:
Halichot Shlomo, Tefilla, 13:4
Teenagers who eat breakfast in their homes, before Shacharit at school, should recite a short prayer prior to eating, and so too it is fitting that they recite Keri’at Shema.

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Answered on April 1, 2019 7:32 pm