Can a man or woman eat or drink prior to making Kiddush on Shabbat morning?

The obligation to recite kidush on Shabbat morning takes effect only after the tefilah of Shacharit. Therefore, before one prays on Shabat morning, he is permitted to drink tea, coffee and water – those beverages that are allowed before the morning prayers. Since the Kidush obligation descends upon a person only after Shacharit, the prohibition against eating or drinking before Kidush does not apply before he prays; hence, he is allowed to drink whatever is permissible to be consumed before one prays in the morning generally.

The question arises as to whether or not this halachah applies to women, as well. According to the Ben Ish Chai (a”h), women become obligated to recite Kidush immediately when they awaken Shabat morning and therefore they may not eat or drink anything until they recite Kidush. Others, however, including the Kaf Ha’Chaim (a”h) and Chacham Bentzion Abba Shaul (a”h), distinguish between women who normally pray Shacharit in the morning, and those who do not.

If a woman normally prays Shacharit, then her status is no different from that of a man with regard to this halachah, and her obligation to recite kidush does not take effect until after she prays Shacharit. But if a woman does not normally recite Shacharit, and she recites only the morning blessings and the like, then her kidush obligation takes effect immediately when she arises in the morning, and she may not eat or drink anything until she first recites kidush. In such a case, when a woman must recite kidush in the morning, if she finds it difficult to recite the entire text, she may recite from “Ve’shamru,” or even from “Al Ken” or just the beracha itself.