q&a page 1
1) Q: Why should one wait to say kiddush levana [on Motzei Tisha B'Av ] until after eating – is this halachic or out of concern for the fasters?
A: This is brought down in the Poskim as Halacha. (see Mishna Berura Siman 426:11)The main reason for this halacha, is that Kiddush Levana needs to be recited with Simcha.
One who is on an empty stomache for 24+ hours and still in the Tisha B’Av mode cannot be doing it with Simcha, until after he has eaten and gets into the post Tisha B’Av mode of Geulah.
Also it should not be recited without shoes on, and thus is best to change out of “Tisha B’Av shoes” before reciting.
See also Be’er Heitev Siman 551:8 quoting the Arizal that being that Mashiach was born on Motzei Tisha B’Av it is proper to say Kiddush Levana then to symbolize the “rebirth” of the moon as well as the “rebirth” of [the glory of] Klal Yisroel.
2) Q: In a light of the words of Rama (you quoted),When we are saying Modeh Ani, washing our hands in the morning, getting out from the bathroom – we are not really properly dressed to say a brocha, to mention Hashem’s name. What is the correct way to act?
A: Modeh Ani may be recited even before hands are washed, and even when not properly dressed (as long as one is not totally naked), as we do not say Hashem’s name in this prayer. One should preferably try and cover up as much as possible as he/she heads to the bathroom to use the facilities, wash his/her hands etc. Regarding saying any bracha or davening, then one must be totally dressed, and the hands must be washed.
3) Q: Some people use an alarm clock. What should we do, when alarm goes on in a morning? Modeh Ani, Negel Vasser and only after this turn alarm off?
A: 1) if someone else is sleeping in the room, for sure turn off alarm first! even before Modeh Ani
2) even if no one else is sleeping, the obligation to wash is from when you get out of bed, so if you can shut alarm before getting out of the laying position, that is probably OK.
4) Q: I would like to confirm what you wrote in todays halacha,that no hilchos nitilas yodoyim apply until you are ready to get up for the day.For example if one would like to take a drink in middle of the night he is not required to wash negel vaser? if one has to use the bathroom and will touch a part of his body he does not need to wash?
What determines end of sleep?if one sleep till noon these halochos don’t apply until then?
A: Regarding your question: Yes, it seems that many Poskim (Eishel avraham and others) allow a drink in the middle of the night, without a complete Negel Vaser, rather a quick Netilah would work, no different than drinking during the day after touching a Mokom Mechusah. Likewise, one should indeed wash their hands after using the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, that hand washing doesnt require a utensil (Aliba D’Hilchasa) and even when being stringent and using a utensil, it doesnt require three (or four, according to the Gra) times per hand like Negel Vasser. Also, there is no problem of walking 4 Amos without the Netilah, during the night.
There are poskim that are machmir,but it seems that we go with the Mekilim.
Regarding Asher Yatzar when using the bathroom during the night, there are poskim that say to make it during the night, and other poskim that say that the Asher Yatzar you make in the morning will exempt this use of the bathroom too.
As far as your last question, i am not sure exactly, as all the sefarim discuss is “waking in middle of the night, with intention of going back to bed”. I would guess, that if by going back to bed one will miss zman krias shema and/or zman tefilah, that would constitute going to sleep B’Issur and thus not be allowed and therefore not exempt from hilchos Negel Vasser. I will see if I can find a clearer answer though.
5) Q: A problem related to this issue [Negel vasser water being tamei] just came up in our house. My husband taught me that the receiving vessel should be rinsed off three times with water from another vessel. He is makpid that anything that is touched by the negelvasser water should also be rinsed off three times. Recently the water wasn’t poured out right away and the window curtain fell into it and absorbed most of the water. My husband doesn’t know if just washing it in the machine is enough, if it should be washed 3 times, or if we should just toss it. Could you please advise? Thank you very much.
A: Your husband is right to be careful with the handling of post negel Vasser water.
The water is only a problem while it is still wet, thus if water dries up, it no longer poses a problem of Ruach Ra, like most Tumah cases that need to be wet in order to be “huchshar” for Tumah etc. Thus, once the curtain dries there is no more problem, and you definitely do not need to trash it! (think about it: if it spilled on the carpet, would you have to rip up the carpet? Of course not!)
To satisfy all opinions, as well as to satisfy his hakpadahs and/or worries, if it washes easily in a washing machine, do that (once is enough). if it is hard to remove, you can wash the area that was affected with clean water and you will have eliminated the problem for sure
6) Q:Parshas HaTamid- does it mean Tamid offering?
A: Yes, the Parsha (Torah portion) of the Tamid offering. It is printed in most siddurim (usually right before the portion of Ketores) along with the special prayer to say with it.. It can also be found in the Chumash Parshas Pinchas Chapter 28 verse 1 through 8
7) Q: Do you know if a women’s chiuv to say parshas HaTamid is equal in both Shachris and Mincha?
A: After further research, it does seem that the Parshas Hatamid, which is only a minhag, was only given the stringency of Tefilah by shacharis, and thus by Mincha it is more of a minhag, and definitely not an obligation for women.
8 ) Q: I found this[that you wrote] confusing: Women are exempt from the Brachos before and after Krias Shema, as well as from reciting the entire Krias Shema However, they should recite the first Pasuk of “Shema Yisrael…” and “Baruch Sheim…” Women are obligated in remembering our exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt) each day and therefore are obligated in saying “Emes V’yatziv…” after Krias Shema. Unless I don’t understand what you wrote, it sounds like first you are saying that women are not obligated to say anything other than the Posuk “Shema Yisrael…” and the Posuk “Boruch Shem…” But then in the following text you indicate they are obligated to say the Perokim that follow Krias Shema. Please clarify for me.
A: ok, I will try to clarify. Women who can daven the entire davening should indeed do that. Women who cannot, and must choose which parts to say should know that they are NOT obligated in saying Krias Shema. Rather their obligation is Pesukei D’Zimra until after Yishtabach, and then immediately jump to “Emes V’Yatziv…” and skip Birchas krias Shema and the 3 Parshiyos of Shema. However, if possible, they should at least say the first Posuk of Shema, as they are obligated in “Kabolas Ol Malchus Shamayim”. (See Mishna Berura Siman 70 S"K 2 and Sefer ishei Yisroel Perek 7 Siman 10-15 for more details)
9) Q: Is there any circumstance where a mechitza can be less than 5 feet?
A: According to Rav Moshe Feinstein, and most others, a Mechitza that is less than 3 Amos high (approx. 6 feet) is not a kosher Mechitza, and thus is as if there isnt a Mechitza at all. Therefore, in a place that requires a Mechitza (a designated Shul or place of prayer) there are no cases where a mechitza less than the required height will suffice.
10) Q: …so halachically if a kiddush after davening is in a simcha room in the shul basement and all that is seperating the women and men is a center table with the food, what’s the halacha, you should not partake in the kiddush and/or does it go further and you should not daven at all in the shul? (please note that the actual shul does have a proper mechitza)
2. secondly you mention simchas torah so to clarify for myself if in my shul the women come downstairs to the mens section seperated only by a table does that mean it is assur to daven in the shul altogethe or just for simchas torah?
A: 1) This Halacha is regarding a gathering in the Shul itself. If the Kiddush is in the Shul basement, or other room inthe building, besides the actual room of the Shul, then not having a Mechitza is not grounds for prohibiting being there or davening in the Shul. Of course, no matter where there is a gathering that includes men and women, care must be taken that the men and women do not mingle. But the stringent Halachos of Mechitza are only in a shul itself.
2) Although it is the minhag in many shuls for the women to come down to the main shul for Simchas Torah, still, there definitely must be separation between the men and the women. If a table suffices in this case (or, as many shuls do, put a table on top of a table to get the height of 3 Amos) is not clear, and the Rov in the Shul must be consulted.
11) Q: I have been in several modern shuls including here in my hometown that have a mechitza approximately 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall. When questioned about it the Rabbis tell us there is a lenient permission for this. In my town, unfortunately, this type of situation occurs and it is the only shul with a morning weekday minyan.Even the Chabad Rabbis daven there with there own mechitza separating themselves from the rest …Any other thoughts would be appreciated.
A: Unfortunately many modern shuls seek and find loopholes (which arent really acceptable according to most contemporary Poskim) to allow non kosher mechitzahs. (as well as loopholes to allow mixed dancing, non kosher dating etc.)The reasoning and the rationalizations are that if they had a kosher Mechitza, the people would not come to shul. fact is, it is probably better for the people NOT to come to shul and be exposed to immodest women and inappropriate mixing of the genders, and rather daven in purity intheir own homes.
The Chabad rabbis do well to put up their own Mechitzahs to avoid davening while being able to see the women.
I know it may sound weird and even fanatical, but this is the Halacha as most competent orthodox Poskim would tell it to you. Rav Moshe Feinstein would not daven in a shul with a non Kosher mechitza. period.
Regarding your own situation, I would suggest speaking to a Rov to discuss the best course of action for you. If you dont have access to such a Rabbi, I would be happy to give you contact info for a few competent rabbis who may help you address your situation.
12) Q: With regards to a kosher mechitza, does it neeed to reach 6 feet of opaque or is it allowed to be clear, like glass for part or even the whole mechitza. Thank you!!
A: Rav Mosh Feinstein (Orach Chaim Vol 1 Siman 43 as well as in Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 23) maintains that for the halacha of Mechitza to separate between the genders, it is acceptable to have a mechitza that is all or part glass. However, as far as davening with such a Mechitza it would only be acceptable if the women are dressed 100% appropriately, otherwise it would be assur to say a Tefilah in front of them.
Therefore Rav Moshe concludes that such a Mechitzah, though halachically ok, should be avoided if possible for use as the shul’s permanent Mechitzah,especially since there usually is a woman or two who isnt dressed 100% according to the laws of tznius.
Rav Moshe says that the ideal mechitza is a one way glass, where the women can see well (and feel part of the davening) while the men cannot see at all.
13) Q: I work in the city and many people still don’t wear yarmulkes. furthermore when they come to mincha they don’t put it on until they get to the minyan. Yes, that means they walk from the offices to the place of the minyan without a yarmulka on. So then whats the Heter?
A: Unfortunately, a lot of people today in the city and other places do as you described. There really isn't any acceptable Heter, or reason, nowadays for this behavior. Today, especially in America, where people are free to walk the streets dressed (or undressed) as they please.
Nobody stops them from wearing burkas, turbans, mini skirts, body piercings or pajamas in the street! There is no reason a religious Jew should not proudly wear his Yarmulka on his head and his Tzitzis proudly displayed on his side!
All the Heterim that the Poskim found in the olden days really don’t apply today. (The Taz Siman 8 maintained that it is Chukas Hagoyim to not wear a yarmulka, whereas Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ruled that although it isn't a good practice, it isn't Chukas Hagoyim anymore as today the fact that goyim go bare has nothing to do with religion. etc. See Igros Moshe Orach Cham Vol. 1 Siman 1, Yoreh Deah Vol. 4 Siman11:3 and Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 25. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 12)
14) Q: Can one say Tehilim [or learn or daven] on a subway train where there are all kinds of people [dressed inappropriately] etc…
A: As long as you avert your eyes away from any non-Tzniyus dressed women and keep them in the Tehilim or Siddur (or closed if possible) you may say Tehilim or daven or learn. Unless there is a bad and foul smell on the train, then you would not be allowed to daven as long as you were within range of the smell. (Regarding the importance of learning while on the bus or train, see Shu”T Be’er MOshe Vol. 3 Siman 179)
15) Q: (From a different reader,after seeing above answer): My understanding is saying Tehillim or davening is problamatic and should be avoided (bshas hadchak there might be room to be meikel) but learning without saying the words is the preferred choice and muter lachatchila.
A: True, Hirhur B’Divei Torah (thinking in learning) is Mutar Lifnei Ervah (when in the presence of an immodestly dressed women) (as is brought in Be’er Heitev end of Siman 75). However, it is important to make sure not to utter any words that you are learning and only “think” them.
However, L’fnei Ruach Ra (in the presence of a foull odor), is not so simple that Hirhur B’Divrei Torah is Mutar. See Biur Halacha Siman 79 :3 shitas HaRosh.
16) Q: Why is the Friday night tefilah of Shalom Aleicham considered any different than asking a person for a brachah?
A: The Shalom Aleichem tefilah is talking directly to the Malachim and wishing peace upon them and also asking them to grant us peace from Hashem, but [according to those who say not to recite it, or to be careful when reciting it] may be misconstrued as asking them to provide us peace on their own.
17) Q: Is one allowed to make brachos in a room where there are soiled diapers in a garbage bag, if the odor is no longer present?
A: If the soiled diaper is totally covered in a garbage can, and there is no odor, Brachos are permitted. If they are just in a bag, according to many poskim the entire bag can sometimes acqquire the din of a soiled diaper [Graf Shel Re'i], thus it would be better to make the bracha while 4 amos away and also while facing a different direction, as if one can see the soiled diaper or anything that has a din like it, it may be problematic.
If the smell is emanating, one may never make a bracha no matter how far away they are, as long as they smell it.
18) Q: If one eats a kzayis of mezonos and accidentally bentches instead of saying bracha acharona, must one make a bracha acharona anyhow?
A: Birchas HaMazon works B’Dieved for Mezonos (cooked or baked grain products), wine and dates, which although ideally have their own Bracha Achrona, are considerd foods that satisfy and thus can B’dieved be covered by Birchas Hamazon and no additional Bracha Achrona is necessary.
For all other foods, Birchas HaMazon does not suffice even B’dieved, and their appropriate Bracha Achrona must be said. (See Halachos of Brachos by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner chapter 19 for more details.I recommend having his book in every Jewish home in any case!)
19) Q: if the piyutim [for Rosh Hashana etc.] are written in a difficult language as to not have the goyim understand and use them, then why are we allowed to translate them in print, these machzorim are easily available to anyone that wants them?
A: While I can’t say that this is the real answer to your question, I would guess that a) Today’s goyim arent real “Ovdei Avoda Zara” as they were in previous generations, and thus the worry of them using our holy piyutim for their “Services” isnt as much of a worry. b) Today’s goyim arent as sophisticated as the goyim of previous generations, and don’t appreciate the value of our Tefilos, as the goyim of old did. c) Many of today’s Jews would be totally lost without the English Machzorim, and thus having them understand what they pray is more important than worrying about a goy getting his hands on our Machzorim.
This is just my hunch.
20) Q: You state that it is best not to read i.e. English translations during the actual davening. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good understanding of Hebrew, and use an interlinear machzor so I can read the Hebrew and quickly scan the English with my eyes for “important tefillos,” including Neilah. Is this wrong?
A: I would say that interlinear translations, which exist in Hebrew (Yesod Malchus) and English (most recently from Artscroll, and for a while already from Metsudos) is not really an explanation as much as it is a simple definition of each word, which when strung together give you an easier grasp of the flow of the Tefilos as you daven and enhances your davening and doesnt detract from it and is OK (and even recommended) to use.
What I was referring to was reading lengthy Pirushim (explanations) of the texts, which is best done before davening.
Though it would probably be best anyway to look over and understand the tefilos before the actual davening, even in such a siddur or Machzor.
21) Q: You wrote that one should be dressed, with an outer garment when davening.
1)Does a woman also need to wear a jacket when davening if she does not usually wear one (during the day, when going out etc.)?
2) Also, is wearing a nice robe (like a Shabbos robe) considered “dressed”?
3) Can one wear slippers when davening at home or does one need to don shoes?
A: 1) The Poskim seem to be more lenient with women, and don’t require them to wear a jacket when davening, as long as they are properly dressed. However, if it isn’t a big deal to put on a jacket, sweater or any other outer garment it definitely is a Kavod for the Tefilah.
2) Many Poskim consider a nice robe which is donned L’Kovod Shabbos as proper attire for Shabbos and Tefilah, as many women do in fact go out in public dressed that way. A models coat, or other bathrobe is less acceptable for davening.
[Some Poskim were of the opinion that if you would not go to a wedding dressed like that, then you shouldn't daven to Hashem and/or sit at a shabbos table like that. Most contemporary Poskim seem to be lenient in this matter though and don't require "wedding" clothes" but rather require "street clothes".]
3)Dressy slippers are perfectly acceptable for women to daven in, as it is very normal for women to go out into the street while wearing these slippers. However, if the slippers are for swimming or any other type that one wouldnt go out in public with, then they should be avoided.
The rule of thumb is: If you would wear an article of clothing while out in the street amongst respectable people, then it is OK to wear it for davening.
22) Q: ( From another reader) What about snoods?
A: What would be the issur of davening with a snood (as long as it is properly covering the hair)? Some Poskim even feel it is better suited for a woman than a Peah Nachris (shaitel) in the first place.
23) Q: Can I catch up on parts of davening once I’ve finished Shemona Esrei? For example, sometimes early in the morning I don’t have time for a proper davening so I’ll skip most of pesukai dezimra but later I want to catch up. Is that allowed and what are the guidelines?
A: Not only may one say the Pesukei D’Zimrah that he /she missed after Shemona Esrei, one in fact MUST do so according to the Shulchan Aruch. The whole Heter to skip those parts is in order to daven Shemona Esrei with the Tzibbur (or at home at the same time the Tzibbur is davening), but once Shemona Esrei is finished, you are obligated to say what was skipped.(There are opinions that argue on this, based on the Arizal, but the Poskim maintain like we said that it must be repeated). For women, who don’t always daven, there may be a leniency. But if you daven daily, then you must indeed say it. )
The best thing to do if you must skip some, is to say Baruch SheAmar, Ashrei and Yishtabach. If you can add more, see Chayei Adam Klal 19:5 for a list of what comes first.
24) Q: What’s the halacha if the Baal Tefila forgets to say Hamelech Hakodosh or Hamelech Hamishpat. Does he have to start again?
A: According to the Rama and Mishna Berura (Siman 582) If Hamelech Hamishpat was forgotten, it never has to be repeated by anyone. (though if you want, you may repeat the shemona Esrei as a Tefilas Nedava). For Sephardic Jews who follow the Shulchan Aruch, it must be repeated (582:1)
If the Baal Tefilah forgot Hamelech HaKadosh by his quiet Shemonah Esrei he can rely on his Chazaras Hashatz to be his “davening over”.
If He forgot it during Chazaras Hashatz, he must go back. The question in the Poskim though is where he has to go back to. Some maintain that he just has to go back to “Atah Kadosh” (Rav Ovadia Yoseph shlita and others) while others hold he must start from the beginning of Shemona Esrei again.(Mateh Ephraim,Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal).
The practical difference would be regarding the Tzibbur repeating Kedusha again. As if he must start from the beginning, then kedusha must be repeated too.The prevelant Minhag amongst Ashkenazim is to start from the beginning, while the Sefardim only go back to Atah Kadosh.
25) Q: Is a Katan (minor) allowed to Toivel a Keli (immerse a utensil in the Mikvah)? If he did, is it considered a valid Tevila?
A: The consensus of the Poskim seems to be that a Koton may indeed Toivel a Keili, and even make a Bracha on the Tevila (if it is a keli that requires a Bracha). The problem is, that he isn’t believed to tell us he did so!
So as long as a Godol (adult) sees the Tevilah taking place, it is OK if the Katan did it.
Therefore, if a Katan toveled a Kli that requires a Bracha, and nobody saw him do so, another Tevilah (without a Bracha) is required.
If the Koton toveled a Kli that does not require a bracha (porcelain, china etc.) some Poskim maintain that in this case he can be believed (the reasons behind this are too complex a sugya for this email). However, if possible it is best to tovel even these Kelim again (without a Bracha of course)
26) Q: You wrote: “If one started Shemona Esrei when not needing the bathroom, and during Shemona Esrei the urge arose, he/she should not interrupt the davening, rather finish then use the restroom”
If one started Shemona Esrei not needing the bathroom but suddenly urgently does need to go – should he pause, go and then resume davening where he left off?
A: If the urge arose so badly that he/she cannot concentrate and quickly finish the shemona Esrei, then indeed they can stop in middle and use the restroom. If they resume davening in less time than it would take to daven the entire shemona esrei, they can resume where they left off. If more time elapsed, Shemona esrei should be started again from the beginning.
27) Q: On Shabbos, is one allowed to construct temporary structures with legos or Magnetic toys such as magnetic balls and sticks?
A: Legos, or similar toys, whose pieces are temporarily put together, and do not involve screws or other similar fasteners that can be permanent, may be played with on shabbos according to most contemporary poskim (including Rav Chaim Pinchas scheinberg, Tzitz Eliezer and others)
28) Q: Where is it brought down in the seforim that one indeed can use kesef(money)for kaparos as opposed to a tarnagol (chicken), and if one had a choice between the two, is it better to use the tarnagol? Thanks again!
A: The Mateh Efraim alludes to it in Siman 245. See also Chayei Adam Klal 144:4 who was against the practice of using chickens (especially on Erev Yom Kippur) as, they were slaughtered in haste and thus were eaten un-kosher. He says that it is better to use money or a fish, where there is no issue of eating neveilos etc. He elaborates on this, and it would be worthwhile to take a look.
Also, the Seforim say that even when using a chicken,it is better to give the money that the chicken is worth to a poor person rather than the chicken, which he may not need, and which may not be kosher (as above), which may also be where the minhag to use money originated.
29) Q: what are you allowed to do with regards to writing on chol hamoed. what is the source. is painting/ drawing for a homework considered writing also?
A: The best thing is not to write anything that isn’t absolutely necessary (e.g. will lose money if it isn’t written, needed for Yom Tov,or writing Torah thoughts etc.), and even then, if possible to do so with a shinui-in a different manner than usual (left hand, holding the pen differently etc.)
Regarding writing professionally, such as calligraphy, Safrus, or painting it is much more stringent, and is best to be avoided.
Based on Shulchan Aruch,Rama and Mishna Berura beginning of Siman 545.
30) Q: If someone did not have kavana during the first bracha of Shemona Esrei he should only scan [the words, as you wrote in your Halachos a few days ago] or is he allowed to say over the first bracha starting by Elokei Avrohom ?
A: If you realized that you didn’t have Kavannah before you said Hashem’s name in the Chasimah of the Bracha, you can repeat the Bracha again from “Elokei Avraham”.
Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach maintains that if you didn’t have kavannah for only part of the Bracha, you should repeat only the parts that you didnt have Kavannah for, and not from the beginning of the Bracha. He also says that one may repeat any part of Shemona Esrei that was said without Kavannah, even though Brachos with Hashem’s name will be repeated.
If the Bracha of Avos was finished, it is best to scan it, and not repeat it, unless you are someone that usually has Kavannah, and in that case you should start again from the beginning.
Another thing that can be done, is to wait until Chazaras haShatz, and have in mind to be Yotzei with the Chazzan’s Birchas Avos, and then continue “Ata Gibor” on your own. However, the Poskim are hesitant to allow this particular method (for a host of reasons).
31) Q: We already davened Tefillas Geshem [and are saying Mashiv HaRuach U'Mored Hageshem]. Why are we not saying V’sain Tal U’Matar Livrocha until December?
A: The short answer: Mashiv HaRuach is a Hachrazah- mentioning that Hashem is the one that makes the rain fall, and not a Tefilah for rain, and this is said in the beginning of the season of rain (thus Tefilas Geshem). V’Sain Tal Umatar L’Vracha is a Tefilah and Bakasha
for rain, and this isn’t said until 60 days into the season, as only then is the need for rain really strong in Eretz Yisroel. (This is why V’Saim Tal Umatar isn’t said on Shabbos, because its a Bakasha, whereas Mashiv HaRuach is said on Shabbos.)
The long answer will come in a later edition of the Halachos, when we discuss V’Sain Tal Umatar iy”H.
32) Q: Somehow I’ve never understood how rubbing one’s hands in dirt makes them undirty , could you explain that to me? Also, is one allowed to forego washing with water in order to catch a minyan when there will be later opportunities to daven with other minyanim, and does it matter if those later minyanim are less convenient than the present one?
A: That is a good point, and I never really thought about it. I will look around in the Sefarim and see what I can find. If I had to guess though, I would say that besides for cleaning the hands, we are also looking to “purify” them for Tefilah, thus rubbing them in the earth may be satisfactory to release the “impurities”.
Another reader, in response to the above Question/Answer emailed me the following good point, which supports my theory: ”
“Pure earth as purification can be seen from the (milchig/fleishig) procedure of placing cutlery in the ground..”
The Poskim seem to say that if the Minyan you are about to daven in is your minyan Kovua (the minyan you always daven with), or a better minyan (where you will daven better, less rushed etc.) then you may forgo the water to catch the minyan, even if there are other minyanim later on. But if the later minyan is just as good, it seems that they say to wait for it and wash the hands properly.
33) Q: What’s the deal with daveing in the car? for example today, I was on the way back from work (highway), cutting it close to shkia (sunset), and was stuck in traffic, and it was pouring outside. can one pull over to side of street and stay seated and daven in car? if so, does this heter only apply if it were raining outside, but if it wasnt raining, would one have to get out of the car to stand up properly for the amida? what if it wasnt safe to do so (i.e. bad neighborhood, highway)?
A: Davening while driving a car is absolutely prohibited according to the Poskim, as it is impossible to concentrate on the road and on davening at the same time.
If you pull over to the side of the road it is ok to daven. Preferably you should go outside and stand for Shemona Esrei. If that isn’t possible, as you indicated it was pouring rain or if it is a dangerous neighborhood, then you may indeed daven sitting down in your car. All of the above is provided that you are running against the clock and will not be able to daven normally when you get to your destination safely.
34) Q: I recently davened at a minyan where the shliach tzibur checked the tzitzit on his tallis, thereby delaying the start of mincha a few monemts past the scheduled time. Was this proper?
A: Although it is important for the Public Talis to be checked as often as possible, it should not be done at the expense of the waiting Tzibbur. Rather, the Shatz should try and do it a moment or two before the scheduled time.
35) Q: I have a physical disability. I normally daven either at home or at my office, do I fulfill the Mitzvah?
A: First of all, may Hashem grant you the strength to persevere and the fortitude to overcome your challenges. Mashiach is on the way, and with his arrival, all disabilities will be cured iy”H!
Yes, of course you fulfill the Mitzvah of Tefilah, as in your particular situation it is too difficult or impossible to alwas make it to Shul. The best thing for you to do is to try and daven Shemona Esrei at the same time as your shul does, so you will also have “Tefilah B’Tzibbur” in that manner. Another alternative is to daven K’Vasikin (when possible) as in many instances it’s more ideal to daven then at home than later on with a Tzibbur
36) Q: B’ezrat Hashem, this coming week, “V’Tein Tal U’matar” will begin in Eretz Ha’Muvtachat/Israel.(Editor’s note:In Chutz L’Aretz we begin saying it at Maariv of December 4th or 5th )What about a person VISITING Israel? Should he say it… and what should he do when he returns to the Galut?
A: A Ben Chutz l’Aretz, while visiting Eretz Yisrael is a Machlokes HaPoskim. Some say, as long as he plans to return to his home in Chutz L’Aretz within the year (or before the end of 60 days of the season of rain, according to some Poskim) he says what he would say at home. (Pri Chadash, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and others).
Others say that he says as the people in Eretz Yisroel are saying (Mishna Berura seems to pasken like this, Bais Baruch and others). A Rav should be consulted as to which opinion to follow.
When he returns home to Chutz L’Aretz he resumes saying what everyone else in Chutz L’Aretz is saying, according to all opinions.
37) Q: Is it preferable to cover ones eyes with his talis [rather than his hands] when saying the first pasuk of shema?
A: I have not seen any sources to indicate that covering with the Tallis is any better than the hand. In fact the language used in the Seforim is “Yado- his hand”. The reason to cover is to make sure not to look around and see other things, so as long as it’s covered it suffices. I don’t see why the Talis would be better.
After seeing this Q& A, one of our readers emailed me the following:
I have heard in the name of R’ Chaim Kanievsky that even lefties should use their right hand when covering their eyes. He reasons that since using the right hand is “Al Pi Sod”, then Sod says to use the right hand (and not necessarily your more choshiver hand). In other cases, eg. Kiddush, lefties would use their left hand because it is their choshiver hand. Based on this, (then even though the reason of making sure not to look around is one reason,) Sod says to use your hand, not your tallis.
Another reader sent the following:
In od Yosef chai Va'era Halacha 3 the Ben Ish chai writes that you should cover your eyes with the Tallis and I'm Sephardi and i'd say most Sephardim do in fact cover their eyes with the Tallis.
38) Q: 1) If a Yahrtzeit is on Shabbos, should the person daven from the amud on shabbos?
2) Another question I had is does a Kohen have to wear bigdei kehunah while doing shechita?
A: 1) The accepted custom is to daven Musaf on the Shabbos preceding the Yahrtzeit that comes out in the following week. If the Yahrtzeit is actually on Shabbos, the Minhag is to daven Musaf that Shabbos, but not Shacharis. It is also important to get an Aliyah to the Torah. Since these customs do vary from Shul to Shul and from community to community it is best to discuss with the Rav and/or Gabbai of your particular Shul.
2) Regarding your other question, yes, a Kohen not wearing the Bigdei Kehuna (Mechusar Begadim) may not do the Avodah and if he does so is chayev Misah B’Dei Shamayim (see Mishna Zevachim Perek 2 Mishna 1 and Rambam Hilchos Kli HaMikdash Perek 10:4) . However, since the Shechitah is not technically part of the Avodah (Avodah starts from Kabalas HaDam and on), as a non Cohen can do it as well, I believe that a Kohen Mechusar Begadim is not Chayev Misah for doing it. However I think it is still ideal for him to wear the Begadim when he does Shechitah too. ( See also Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 99)
39) Q: 2 Questions:
1) What is the halacha regarding blistex, chapstick[and other lip balms] do you need a hechsher to put things like these on your lips?
2) If one goes to the bathroom during davening at any time after Baruch sheamar and before shemona esrei when should they recite birchas asher yaztar?
A: 1) According to the Star K , Lip Balms and Chapstick, both flavored and unflavored, do not require kosher certification. (of course, they may not be used on Shabbos and Yom Tov)
2) One may in fact interrupt Pesukei D’Zimrah to say “Asher Yatzar”, if possible it should be said “Bein HaPerokim” and if one knows he won’t need the bathroom again before finishing Shemona Esrei, it can be said immediately after Shemona Esrei. It may be said anytime up until a new urge to use the bathroom arises again. ( See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura and Biur Halacha to Siman 51. see also Chayei Odom Klal 20:3, Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 siman 4:14, Kaf Hachaim Siman 51:28 and Siman 53:7 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 14:1 )
Q: [from another reader, after seeing response above] :I learned that chapsticks and clear lipgloss can be worn on shabbos if you DO NOT SMEAR THEM ON. In other words it is ok to PAT on clear vasoline onto dry lips on shabbat BUT forbidden to SMEAR. Of course colored LIPSTICK is strictly FORBIDDEN as it is color and would be writing. Please clarify as per your comment [above] that you cannot wear clear lipgloss or chapstick on shabbat.
A: True, if you dab them on, rather than smear them it isn’t forbiddden. However, unless extremely necessary, it is best to avoid using at all on Shabbos as it is a very fine line between acceptable dabbing and forbidden smearing, and doing one will often lead to the other.
What I meant in my answer above was that it is forbidden to use in the normal method of use.
40) Q: Regarding the halachos of shema: Is it correct that Baruch Shem is not said when one will only be reciting the first paragraph of shema (such as in krias shema Al hamita)? Thank you so much for this wonderful service, I am truly gaining from it!?
A: Baruch Shem is always said following the first Pasuk of of Shema, regardless if the Parsha of V’Ahavta is being said as well or not.
(Incidentally, V’Ahavta should be said when saying Krias Shema Al HaMitah, even if V’Haya Im Shamoa etc. will not be said. We will iy”h get to Halachos of Krias Shema Al Hamitah in due time)
41) Q: [You wrote that] The Vilna Gaon, Chazon Ish, The steipler, Rav Moshe [Feinstein]…. all did not kiss the tziztis during shema, is this the halachically better way to only kiss them after Emes once shema has been completed?
A: True, many Gedolim who followed the Gr”a did not kiss their Tzitzis during Shema. Yet, many Gedolim did- and still do- kiss their Tzitzis during Shema. Both opinions have strong basis in Halacha.
It is not for me, nor for anyone alive today to determine which way is the “better” way to do it. The best thing to do is for each individual to follow what was taught them by their Rebbeim/parents. If no such minhag exists, a competent Rav should be consulted.
That being said, if someone follows all the Minhagei HaGra (not just the easy ones, like having extra time for Sof Z’man Krias Shema) should probably follow the Gr”a in this as well.
42) Q: Thank you so much for your work in providing the “Rabim” with these “Halachos Bechol Yom”. I have signed up numerous people and I now read these Halachos on the [name of city removed] Bus every day after Davening [ bus of frum Jews that davens shacharis on the bus daily on the way to work] (They are read on the [ name of company] Bus by my chaver as well). We were wondering on today’s “Halacha” why the 2 sentences are not a “Stira”[ contradiction]. If you said [ the word "Tizkiru" in krias Shema] and it sounds like “Tiskaru” did you not omit a letter which should invalidate Krias Shema? The 2 sentences you wrote are as follows:
1) If even one word or letter was omitted [ fromKrias Shema] the obligation of Krias Shema has not been fulfilled.
2) If a word was pronounced wrongly, or in a way that changes the meaning, though it isn’t proper and one should be more scrupulous in the future, the obligation for the current recital has been satisfied. (Aruch HaShulchan)
A: Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for spreading the word of Hashem even further on the bus. May Hashem repay you for your good deeds.
Regarding your question: Yes, it is seemingly a setira, and this was alluded to by no less a personage than the Chofetz Chaim himself in Mishna Berura! (Interestingly, the precise example he chooses is the one you inquired about)
However, he differentiates as follows: When one skips a word or letter it invalidates the Krias Shema, and it must be repeated because a word or letter is missing. However, when one does in fact say the word or letter, but inadvertently pronounces it wrong, though it should be avoided, it cannot be considered as if that word was actually skipped. It was said. Just not properly. You said the right word, but by mispronouncing it, it “seems” as if you said the wrong word. See Mishna Berura inside Siman 62 S’if Koton 1.
43) Q: I was just wondering, a day or two ago you mentioned holding the tzitzit between the 4th and fifth finger – what is the significance of that (as opposed to holding them any other way)?
A: The Sefer Taamei Haminhagim quotes a Eishel Avraham in the name of the Yam Shel Shlomo in Yevamos to hold the Tzitzis between these fingers. He doesnt explain the reason, he just says that there is a very deep “Sod” to doing this. They also quote a Chida in Birchei Yosef who says this is based on Kaballah.
44) Q: Regarding your answer [above] to the question of davening in a car [while driving] , is it permissable to daven while traveling as a passenger in a car?
A: Yes, if you will be unable to daven Shemona Esrei standing at home, in your office, or any other place, you may indeed daven while you are a passenger in a car.
If you have a choice to daven only part of davening at home and the rest in a car, it is better to daven Shemona Esrei at home first, and only afterwards daven Brachos, Pesukei D’Zimrah etc. in the car.
A reader (who has Semicha in Halacha) rightfully pointed out the following after seeing answer above: If you daven shemona Esrei before psukei dzimra then you say it [Pesukei D'Zimrah] without the brochos therefore if you can say at least boruch sheomar , ashrei, yishtabach before shemona esrei its better Also you get into a problem if you didnt say Elokai Neshomo before Shemona Esrei
45) Q: In the Halachos for Erev Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha. November 7 2008 you wrote: ” Between the parshiyos (Bein Haperakim) gesturing is permitted for the sake of a Mitzvah, according to all opinions”. What about answering “Amen” Bein HaPerakim?
A: Here is the long answer starting with halachos for B’Emtza Haperek (which you didnt ask me about), and then addressing your question (Bein Haperokim)
If one is in the midst of one of the Birchos Krias Shema, and even during Krias shema itself (besides for during the first Posuk and Baruch Shem), the following “Amen’s” may be answered: 1) after the Bracha of Hakel HaKadosh 2) after the Bracha of Shomea Tefilah 3) Amen Yehei Shemi Rabbah (without adding the words Yisbarach etc.) 4) the Amen after ” D’Amiran B’Alma V’Imru Amen” in Kadish 5) the verses “Kadosh Kadosh” and “Baruch Kevod” in Kedusha may be answered as well. 6) Borchu 7) when the congregation is saying Modim, only the first three words “Modim Anachnu Lach” may be said. 8 ) Amen to the Pesukim of Birchas Kohanim (but not to the Bracha that that the Kohanim make before starting Birchas Kohanim) 9) The verse “Shma Yisroel” in Kedusha of Musaf on Shabbos (according to the Aruch Hashulchan. The Mishna Berura and others argue and prohibit). The rest of the Amen’s in Kaddish (which are only a Minhag and not M’Dina D’Gmara) and Chazaras Hashatz, or any other Bracha one hears, and the rest of Kedusha may not be answered.
However, if one is holding “Bein Haprokim” (between the parshiyos of Krias Shema, or between two Brachos of before or after Krias Shema) he may indeed answer Amen to any Brachos that he hears.(even if they were recited by a Katan (a minor). However “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” should not be answered. The exception to this is Kaddish and Modim D’Rabbanan, where he may only interrupt for the Amein’s that are permitted “B’Emtza HaPerek” (during Krias Shema or its Berachos) as we described above.
46) Q: One very common situation you didn’t mention [as being prohibited during the recital of Shema] is giving tzedaka while saying Kriyas Shema. My understanding is that it is forbidden during the first parasha but allowed afterwards. Is this correct?
A: True, it is prohibited to give Tzedakah during the first Parsha of Krias Shema. During the 2nd Parsha of Krias Shema the Poskim (based on the Mishna Berura Siman 63:18) say Tzedaka may be given. However, it is still best for gabaim to avoid collecting then. And, as we pointed out a few weeks ago (See archives, Halacha for Oct 16 2008), Rav Chaim Kanievsky maintains that though it isnt Asur, you are exempt from giving at that time.
47) Q: [You wrote that it is ideal to say Birchos haTorah before reciting Krias Shema].What about if [one didn'y yet say Shema and] it’s right before Sof Zman Krias Shema and if you say Birchas Hatorah you will miss Zman Krias Shema ?
A: Although it’s ideal to recite Birchos HaTorah before reciting Krias Shema, in the situation you described, one may recite Krias Shema before Birchas HaTorah in order not to miss the Zman. The Shu”t B’Tzel Hachachma Vol. 1 Siman 1, maintains that only the first 2 Parshiyos are said in such a case before Birchos HaTorah, and the third Parsha must wait until after the Brachos are recited.
48) Q: Please remember that “davening [Mincha] before shkia” as your reader mentioned[ above in the question about davening in a car] is not the end with all or where with all. In fact, most poskim and most of the world permit davening mincha well after shkia(which i assume your reader meant to be the “sunset” mentioned in the New York Times as opposed to the halachich shkia which may or may not be the same)
A: True, although it is best to try and daven Mincha before the actual Shkiah, if in fact it is davened a little bit afterwards (depending on which Posek you ask, anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes afterwards, and according to some Chasidic Poskim, even later than that.) you are still ok.
One of our readers (who has semicha) emailed me the following after seeing answer above: ” I think it’s the biur halacha who gives the eitza (good idea) when someone is davening after shkia that they should make a tnai (stipulation) that if it’s actually maariv time this is maariv and the maariv shemona esrei should be a [Tefilas] Nedava.
also you should write that one should try to say it within 9 min, or at least 13 min and if not then at least by 18 or 24 b/c some people think once they missed shkia there’s no rush to do it quicker.”
[Point is one should try and daven as soon as possible before it is too late]
49) Q: I have heard people who make it a point to articulate (out loud) the zayin sound in the words of the last paragraph of the 3 paragraphs of shma. (i.e. “Lma’an TiZk’ru…..Asher Atem ZZZZonim achareihem…”).
If I’m alone I do it, but in shul, it’s very quiet in the women’s section during tfilah — and I’m a little embarrassed when I annunciate my “ZZZ” in those words — is it true that I am really supposed to, or is just a nice idea?
A: Yes, you are really supposed to stress the “Zayin” of “Tizkiru” so it should not sound like a “Samach”, and thus change the word, and furthermore change the meaning of the word. This is an open Halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Hilchos Krias Shema, Siman 61:17) and not just a minhag or Chumra. (Incidentally, the Halacha only mentions “Tizkiru” and doesn’t mention the “Atem Zonim”, as by Atem Zonim, it is easier to be said properly even quietly)
That being said, if you are in a a quiet Ezras Nashim, you can try to do it quietly, without any fanfare and still be able to accomplish your goal of saying it correctly.
May hashem bless you for doing the right thing, even at times when it is difficult or seemingly embarrassing. As a matter of fact, when you do what Hashem wants in difficult situations, your Schar is multiplied!