q&a page  4

144)If a person keeps Rabbeinu Tam ['s Zman (waits 72 minutes after sunset before doing Melacha) on Motzei Shabbos but didnt make a neder to keep it would it be an aveira to break shabbos before Rabbeinu Tam [and wait an earlier zman such as 60 or 50 minutes after sunset]?
A: If a person does a good thing(Hanhaga Tovah) 3 times, it is as if he/she made a neder to do this, and would need to be Matir Neder before stopping to do it.
Thus, if you keptRabbeinu Tam Zman, you must always keep it unless you are Matir the Neder.
Incidentally, after 120, if someone (G-d forbid) is judged to go to Gehinnom (hell), he/she gets a break from the punishment on Shabbos. When Shabbos is over, the torture continues.
When is Shabbos over for that person? The Seforim say that the amount of time that one waited in this world, is the amount of time he/she gets the reprieve in the next world!  Every second of Gehinom is like years of  suffering! So it is worthwhile to keep Shabbos until  the latest Zman possible.

145) Q: You mentioned in today’s halacha that if one’s children are of marriage age, you can put aside maaser for the wedding. Many asked me why making a chasunah for ones children would be considered a maaser cause? Also if it is indeed a maaser cause, can the entire wedding expense (photographer, band) be paid for by maaser?
A: We are talking in a case where one doesnt have other money from which to pay for the wedding expenses, and therefore  may pay with Ma’aser. Ones own children take precedence over other brides and grooms.
Please note that some Poskim indeed prohibit paying for wedding expenses for your children from Ma’aser, but many allow it as we have written.
See Shu”t Mishna Halachos (second edition) Vol. 2 Siman 143. Also see Shu”t Teshuvos V’hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 561.
The things that are allowed are the basic necessitis of  a wedding and an apartment for the newlyweds etc. However and “extras” which arent necessary may not be paid for with Ma’aser money. (e.g. a one man band can be paid for with ma’aser while a full orchestra cannot etc.)

146) Q: If a person said hamotzi on bread and ate it then a few minutes later he throws it up does he bentch?
A: If you are certain that less than a Kzayis remains in your stomache, you do not bentch. If you are not sure, you also do not bentch.
The best thing to do is to eat another Kzayis and then bentch, or to listen to someone else bentch and be Yotzei with them. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 184:34)

147) Q: Is one allowed to drink pure orange juice without a heksher (Kosher Certification)?
A: Although it is best not to eat or drink any processed product that does not have a Hechsher, according to many Kashrus agencies, 100% pure Orange Juice made in the USA doesnt require a Hechsher, due to the fact that if it wasn’t 100% pure orange juice, it would not be able to be called “juice” according to USDA standards. It is still best to seek out a brand with a Hechsher and not rely on this, as it is hard to know which machines it was packaged in etc.

148) Q:If  one is fleishig can he eat parve products made with milky equipment?
A: If the parve food cooked in the dairy pot is not a davar Charif (sharp food such as an onion, garlic etc.) it may be eaten even though you are fleishig.
If the food, however, is a davar Charif it becomes milchig according to all opinions if the pot was used within the past 24 hours, and according to some opinions even if the pot was not used in tha past 24 hours, therefore it is best not to eat the food while you are fleishig. (Based on Pri Megadim brought in Darchei Teshuva Siman 89:42 and Yad Yehuda 89:5)

149) Q:  I work in a school where the water fountain is right outside the bathroom. The actual toilets are in stalls. The stalls are probably 8 feet away from the fountain but the entrance to the bathroom is not. Is this a problem considering one is not supposed to say/ think divrie kedusha within 8 feet of such tumah? or am i mistaken which is very possible.
A: As long as no smell is emanating from the bathroom, you may make a Bracha immediately outside of the bathroom. If there is a smell, you need to be 8 feet away from the smell in order to make any Bracha. You would need to fill a cup of water, and walk away to make the Bracha and drink it.

150) Q:  I pace during davening. What parts of davening am I not permitted to do so and when am I permitted?
A: If pacing helps you concentrate, you may do so for all of davening except Shemona Esrei, Kedusha and the first posuk of Krias Shema when you need to stand still.

151) Q: learned that when one is a baal simchah they may give brachos to others. Im pretty sure thats because the shechinah is closer to them. If thats not the reason then what is? If that is the reason shouldnt someone who is ill be able to give brachos as well since the shechinah rests by their head?
A: Yes, one who is B’Simcha has a special Koach of Bracha. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the Shechina. It is simply something the Seforim say is a fact that when someone has good fortune smiling on him/her (as it is by a personal simcha) it is a Zman Mesugal for the Shefa of Bracha to be shared with others via Brachos.

152)Q: You mentioned that it is praiseworthy to give maaser for gifts. I wanted to take this upon myself since I do not have expenses of my own yet. I tried to compile a list from memory of all the gifts I have ever recieved. Then I realized everything I own is a gift! I’m a little overwhelmed. I B”H  have a lot of things i really dont need ex: extra clothes, electronics, vacations, and so forth which were not considered as gifts since there was no “occasion” surrounding the giving and some are considered “necessities”. What is considered a gift?
A: I  commend you for wanting to undertake the Ma’asering of gifts. I suggest you do this from here and on, and not take inventory of everything you own and give retroactively. It isn’t required of you, and it isn’t something that is realistic. (If you have “extra” stuff, I can tell you some good Gemachs to send them where they will help less fortunate people)
 

153) Q: Not that I consider myself worthy but the latest current events have got me thinking……when one is chosen to die Al Kidush Hashem and has time to prepare themselves what should they do, say etc?
A: More important than preparing to die Al Kiddush Hashem, is “living” Al Kiddush Hashem. We are all here on this earth to be Mekadesh Shem Shamayim each and every day through our actions. You are a Jew.  A child of Hashem. People look at you and observe your every move. make sure your every move reflects the will of Hashem. Dress appropriately. talk appropriately. Daven appropriately. Act appropriately.etc. One who lives Al Kiddush Hashem, will always be ready to die Al Kiddush Hashem no matter when/if that time comes in their life. (One who is in a situation where he indeed must give his/her life for the sake of hashem, does saya bracha  whose text  is ,”Baruch Ata Hashem…L”Kadesh Shemo[B'Rabim]“. See .Responsa from the Holocaust (translated from Shu"t Mima'makim), by Rav Ephraim Oshry Zatzal, page 37,quoting  the Shlah HaKadosh)
 

154) my question is about standing at “Baruch Hash-m L’olom” at Maariv. My father always got up for this. I see a few others in shul who do as well. I believe i once saw in sefer Tefillah b’tzibur – that there is a minhag to stand but not face mizrach. this shows that it is NOT in place of shemonah esreh. What are your commentts please?
A: The Rama in Siman 236:2 says that it is a good mihag to stand when saying “Baruch Hashem L’Olam”. The Mishna Berura However brings from many Achronim that it is best not to stand. Many people, including your father,  followed the Rama and many people follow the Mishna Berurah, that is why you say varying customs for this by different people. Even if saying it  standing, you should not keep your feet together or face the wall, so it shouldn’t seem like you are davening Shemona Esrei (Shaar Hatziyun ibid. Os 7 and Aishel Avraham(Butchatch)  Siman 236)

155) A while ago you answered questions regarding Netilas Yadayim, and one of the things mentioned was that hands must be dry before washing.While I have always learned this to be so, someone challenged this stating that it’s a chumra (stringency) and not the halacha- can you please clarify this for me?
A:Technically it may be considered a “chumrah”. Let me explain:
The Chofetz Chaim indeed Paskens that wet hands is not a problem at all (Biur Halacha Siman 162:2)
Other Poskim, including the Chazon Ish in Orach Chaim Siman 24:20, maintain that one whose hands are wet before washing is not Yotzei, possibly even not  B’Dieved.
Therefore, the custom of scrupulous people is to be “Machmir” with this and to make sure the hands are totally dry before washing. See also K’tzos HaShulchan from Rav Chaim Na’eh Zatzal Siman 33:13 where he states that it is praiseworthy to be makpid on this.

156) Q: If one is kove’a seudah on Lokshin Kugel, one does not have to recite birchas ha-mazon.  Can one use Lokshin Kugel to be yotze Kidush be-makom seudah on Shabbos, since it’s not an item that one would recite birchas ha-mazon on?
A: Yes, Lokshen Kugel is no worse than a piece of cake for this matter, and may even be better suited [than cake and wine] for the purpose of being your “Seudah” after Kiddush.

Follow up question from same reader:  But Lokshen Kugel does not have the tsurah of Pas, and that is why we don’t bentch after it even if we ate a lot of it?

A: For the purposes of Kiddush B’Makom Seudah, any Kugel whose Bracha is Mezonos is 100% acceptable to fulfill the obligation, and Tzuras HaPas doesnt play a role. ( See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchas  Chapter 54:22 See also Shu”t  Az Nidberu  Vol. 8 Siman 31:4)

157) Q: I know how important it is to say Hamapil every night. Can I say it and then read/write (no talking involved) because when I read first sometimes I fall asleep until the morning and thus hamapil wasn’t said.
A: Yes, the Poskim seem to allow reading/learning after HaMapil, if that is being done to help you fall asleep (as many people, including myself, need to read.learn in bed in order to fall asleep) Writing, however, is best not to do.

158) Q:  was with a friend on rosh chodesh. She washed for bread  before shkia and ate her meal. By the time she was done and ready to bentch it was after shkia/not rosh chodesh anymore. She bentched saying yaale v’yavo Is that the correct halacha? Is it the same as shalosh seudos on shabbos, still saying retzei even if Shabbos is already over/bentching after tzeis.
A: Yes, your friend  is correct. Just like by Seudah Shlishis on Shabbos, if you ate your meal before shkiah, you bentch with Retzei or Yaaleh V’Yavo even well  after Shkiah.

159) Q: While delivering Tzedakah packages for Aniyim, I received a ticket for parking at a Fire Hydrant. If I would not be able to park at the hydrants, there would be no way that I can deliver these pacages and look for 9 different parking spots. My question is, can I use Maaser Money to pay for this ticket.
A: Most probably you would be able to consider the fine an “expense” incurred while delivering the packages, and would indeed be able to pay it from Ma’aser money. Please double check with a Rav though for a final psak Halacha

160) Q: What about paying Shul membership, Melaveh Malkeh or Dinners from maaser money?
A: According to the Poskim one may give  around 90% of the shul membership dues from Ma’aser, and  around 10% from regular money. (Provided that he/she stipulated that his/her Ma’aser money needn’t go only to poor people). The Poskim also allow using Ma’aser money for most of dinner reservations (besides parts that cover the actual meal)

161) Q:  I heard that one is  not allowed to eat while your outside in the market place. Is this also reffering to being on a train and eating (like a sandwich)?
A: The Gemara (Kiddushin 40b) says that one who “eats in the street” is compared to a dog. Another opinion in the Gemara says that one who “eats in the street” is disqualified from giving testimony in a Jewish court of law. The Halacha (brought in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 34:18) is like the second opinion. The reason for this is that one who eats in the street is lacking basic human dignity. The commentaries debate exactly what constitutes “eating ” and what exactly constitutes “in the street”
Obviously, a place designated for eating such as a picnic area in a public park or a “food court” in a mall, although public, isn’t subject to this Halacha. Also, food which is common to eat in the street, such as chewing gum or sucking a candy, is permissible. (Loudly making bubbles with buble gums however, can be a problem in public) Also, walking down the street wolfing down a piece of pizza, or sitting on a train eating a burger, fries and a large coke would also be undignified. Each person must determine his/her own limitations based on their particular circumstance to decide if what they are doing is dignified and befitting for the child of Hashem, which we, as jews, are and we must always act accordingly. When in doubt, a Rav should be consulted.

162) Q: Can you please elaborate on the halacha of not cutting down a fruit tree that’s in your property, and what the reasons are for it, as well as the what consequences chas V’Shalom  would take place if one did indeed do it?
A: Well, it is a biblical prohibition  of “Lo Tashchis” (Parshas Shoftim Perek 20 Pasuk 19) to cut down any fruit tree.regardless if you own it, a non jew owns it or even if noone owns it. It is permitted to prune the branches of a fruit tree to enhance its growth. It is also permissible to trim a few branches  if they are on top of a Sukkah or for any other Mitzvah purpose. As far as the consequences, the Gemara does indeed bring various stories  where ill befell people who were not careful with the cutting down of fruit  trees. ( See Bava kama 91b, Bava Basra 26a, Succah 29a for a few examples) There are certain exceptions when it would be permissible to cut them down or to transplant them elsewhere, but even then it would be best to have a non Jew do it. It is adviseble to seek the guidance of a Rav before relying on any  leniencies in this matter. (See also Shu”t Chasam Sofer Yoreh Deah Siman 101 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Shmiras HaGuf V’Hanefesh  15 and 16 for more about this)

After reading the above, a reader emailed me the following:

"I was curious about the sugya in the summer and delved into for a week.  Additional mekoros; 

Netziv Shut meshiv davar (v)2:56),

Shut Chavos Yair #195,

She’eilas Yaavetz 1:76

Shut Beis Yaakov#140

Shut Har Tzvi, Orach Chayim II #102 (as relates to sukkah)"

 

163) Q: Why does the Shliach Tzibur not complete the entire last brocho, Hama’vir Sheno…out loud in the morning tefilos?
A: “Hama’avir Shena” and the “V’Yehi Ratzon..”that follows is onle long Bracha. In order to make sure nobody mistakenly answers Amen after “Hama’avir Sheina…U’Senuama M’Afapai” we  don’t say it loud.

Follow Up question from the same reader: I don’t understand why it is considered one long bracha if the Vihi Rotzon and the last brocha discuss two entirely diffrent subject matters.  After all, there are brochos that do not start with Boruch Atah.  Why is the Vihi Rotozon not considered such a brocho (brocho ketzoro) and then one would be able to answer amen after Hamavir SHeno.  Why is this brocho not accorded the same status as all the other preceding brochos?
A: Your question, is the Bais Yosef’s question (Siman 46 Dibur HaMaschil V”Al Kein Ain L’Anos Amen) ,as it seemingly is two separate Brachos, one about removing our sleepiness and one about  the Chesed of Hashem. He answers in the name of Tosefos in Brachos that this that Hashem gives us  fresh strength every morning is the greatest form of Gemilas Chasadim from Hashem, and thus it’s one Bracha (he is quoting the Kal Bo, Rishon) The Gaon of Vilna indeed was of the opinion that it is 2 separate Brachos, but the Mishna Berura and most Poskim  maintain that it is one long Bracha

164)Q: Regarding the question of copying music or other material…Can you copy if you for sure wouldnt buy it. Like you like one song on a CD and not more or even you like the whole thing but you just would never purchase it..?
A: If there is absolutely no chance that you would buy it, and thus you for sure won’t be causing the producer a monetary loss,there is much more room for being lenient. A Rav should be consulted for a final ruling.

165) Q:Which is worse, Baal Tashchis (wasting food) or Achila Gasa (Eating after one is full)? Let’s say Im eating an apple and I am full after I finish half. I should throw it out right?
A: Somoeone I know used to always say, “It’s better to throw it out, than throw it in”
Obviuosly, the best thing to do is to try and save the rest for later (or only take half an apple in the first place). If that isn’t possible, it is better to dispose of it than to force it down, after you are full.

166) Q:Wet Perforated papers, i.e. Baby wipes, is it mutar on shabbos to gently separate/tear it?
A: To tear paper, wet or dry, is Asur on Shabbos. Tearing on the perforations is much worse than tearing in another spot. If one is in a situation on Shabbos where he must rip toilet paper, he/she must do so NOT on the perforations and with a Shinui, i.e. with his teeth or elbow. The better solution would be to hint to a non-Jew that he needs the paper ripped, or to use the paper without ripping and flush the used portion down and let the water separate that part from the roll. (Regarding the use of wet baby wipes on Shabbos it depends on how wet they are. please consult a Rav before using them)

167) Q: Several related questions on maaser. It seems that you often need to know that you are using the money for maaser when you first give it. My brother lost his job and I gave him a “loan” several weeks ago.  Can I tell him he doesn’t have to return it and consider it maaser?  Similarly, I wrote a check last week for my daughter’s upcoming year in seminary in Israel.  Then I read your halacha that seminary tuition may be considered maaser.  Can I now consider it as maaser?  If I give a large sum of money to maaser, and I don’t yet owe that much money on maaser, can I keep a record, and as I earn income deduct what I owe in maaser from the maaser I already gave?
A: It is best to have in mind before giving the money that you want it to come from, and be counted toward, your Ma’aser.
However, regarding your brother, if you gave him the money as a loan, and now want to allow him to not repay it, you can think in your mind that  when you tell him that he doesnt need to repay it, that should be an act of Ma’aser. if you already  told him that he needn’t repay it, it is more difficult halachically to allow you now to deduct it from Ma’aser.
Likewise, if you already paid the seminary, it is hard to be lenient retroactively and make it Ma’aser.
Regarding your last question, yes, you may give a large sum to Ma’aser and deduct from Ma’aser as the income  comes in throughout the year.

168) Q: Would I be allowed to say shiur hashirim at night for it to be counted as the next day, or can a person only say it during the day? also, am i allowed to say shiur hashirim for 40 days on my own, even though I’m not saying it with a group?
A: Is your question regarding the saying of Shir hashirim at night in general? (which is definitely allowed. See Maseches Sofrim Perek 14 Halacha 18) or is your question if saying at night is considered like saying  the next day? (which it is, as the day begins at night in Jewish law)
You may say Shir Hashirim as many times and for as many days as you like, on your own. No group is necessary. The whole saying of Shir HaShirim (or Tehilim or anything else) for 40 days is a “segulah” and not a Halacha.

169) Q: Is one allowed to eat in a home of a family member who thinks he/she is frum {religious}and I know for a fact they do not necessarily tovel all of their utensils (and even if they said they did, they had left a sticker on the utensil)? It’s [a close relative] , so we kind of don’t have a choice sometimes.
A: Well, if you are not 100% sure that the food you will be eating is 100% Kosher according to your standards, you may not eat the food. Regarding the utensils, if they havent been toveled, you may not eat off of them. You must either use paper dishes, or lift the food (if it’s kosher of course) off the plate and eat it from your hands. When it comes to doing what Halacha mandates, we can not say “we have no choice” and must follow the guidelines of the Torah, even at the expense of feeling embarrassed  or uncomfortable etc. It woud be best to tactfully try and explain to them the basic halachic requirements of Tevilas Keilim etc. in the hopes that they will be willing to learn and change.

170) Q: What if someone wanted to give Tzedakah to a certain organization but before they were able to the organization shut down? or they saw an ad online [and wanted to give to it] and can’t find it anymore and forgot the name [of the organization]?
A: According to the Shulchan Aruch one cannot make a Neder in his mind. The Rama argues and maintains thata neder can be made in your mind. (Yoreh Deah 259:13)
The above is only if it was a real promise to give.One who merely thinks about giving Tzedaka, but doesnt make up his/her mind to actually give isn’t considered a real pledge according to everyone.(Aruch HaShulchan Siman 258)
The Chazon Ish ruled that one who made up his mind to give Tzedaka to a certain poor person who was collecting, and  then the poor person disappeared (similar to your case of the organization closing down) you can give the money to a different poor person (or in your case a similar institution)
The best thing to do always when pledging Tzedaka is to say it’s “Bli Neder”, thus if you run into issues you will not have a promise to deal with. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal)

171) Q: I say tachanun [after Shemona Esrei ] on  Friday mornings, although I daven with a minyan that does not say tachanun on Friday mornings,[is this proper]?
A: I am not sure that is the proper thing to do. You must do what the tzibbur is doing. For example, if there is a bris in the shul and the tzibbur doesnt say Tachanun, you may not say tachnun in that minyan.

Follow Up Question #1  from the same reader: I agree in the case of the bris for that is a WIDELY ACCEPTED halacha by all that one does not say tachanun when there is a bris in shul.. To say tachanun in such a sitatuation would perhaps be a “tifrosh min hatzibbur” However, where is there a makor in halacha to not say tachanun on Friday mornings?   It is not halacha but a minhag of some sort, the origin of which is very nebulous and vague. [most Jews say Tachnun] on Friday.
A: Halacha mandates that you follow the Tzibbur even if what they are doing is only a Minhag.(as long as it isn’t blatantly against Halacha, which this isn’t. Even though it may be only a chasidish minhag, it is still a Minhag Yisroel)

Follow up Question #2 from the same reader: I am curious as to why a chasidish minhag is referred to as Minhag Yisroel!  Who determines or what determines when a minhag becomes minhag yisroel?  When did this “minhag” start and who started this minhag? Is this based on the fact that there are more chassidim in Klal Yisroel than BNei Ashkenaz, litvish, yeshivish. I have heard three different reasons over the years why they do not say tachanun. The only reason I saw brought down in a sefer (I believe, Minhag Yisroel Torah) is because it shortens the davening in order that people can have more time to prepare for shabbos.  I am not sure I understand what that means.  Certainly, in today’s times with the hundreds and hundreds of cholim and tzoros in klal yisroel, saying another perek tehilim, in the form of tachanun, is not such a bad idea.  In any event, I eagerly look forward to your response as I have enjoyed very much your research and discussions in the past.
A: A Minhag Yisroel is any Minhag that is adhered to by any [frum] segment of Klal Yisroel, no matter if they are the majority or not. Most Minhagim have their roots in holy places. Many may be Al Pi Kabala (as many Chasidic minhagim are) and many may be due to a story that happened in a certain town. ( The Rama was very makpid to adhere to minhagim of his city of Cracow, even those that seemingly went against halacha. The full story about this can be found in the hakdama to Darchei Moshe) many of the reasons for the initial minhagim may not be relevant anymore ( as in needing time erev Shabbos to prepare) yet, many congregations will steadfastly hold on to minhagm even if the reasons dont apply anymore, and that is an accepted hanhaga in Halacha. Tachnun is an extremely holy prayer and many Sefarim actually say that if one cannot properly say it (slow, with Kavana etc.) it is better left unsaid! Again, every Kehila should do what  their custom is, and one who davens in a minyan that follows any custom should join them in their custom for that tefilah. (This includes davening their nusach for certain parts of the tefilah that are said aloud, even sometimes. See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 23) For a final ruling, ask a Rav. But I would say that you should indeed not say Tachnun if the minyan isn’t saying it, as doing so would be very evident and thus inappropriate.

172) Q: If a person who davens nusach Sefard – is davening in an Ashkenaz minyan – some will maintain  Nusach Sefard tachnun – e.g. Mon & Thurs – Ashamnu – to themselves etc others i see “follow” the minyan flow. your research/thoughts please?
A: In this case, the person may  say the “Ashamnu” quietly to himself, so nobody should realize he is doing so. He also should not bang his chest as is the usual minhag, so nobody should realize he is saying something different than the rest of the Tzibbur. However, the “Yud Gimel Midos” may not be said, as that requires a minyan saying it. See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 34

173) Q: Regarding the Q&A corner for sunday (Feb 15) if I’m not mistaken the mishne brurah writes that if you need the bathroom urgently you should go [before Negel Vasser] then wash so as not to push it off you might be over a lav.
A: The Poskim do indeed say that in cases of extreme urgency you may indeed use the bathroom first. However, you must be extremely careful not to touch any parts of the body that have holes in them, while using the bathroom, lest the Ruach Ra (which hasn’t yet been removed via washing the hands) take hold over the entire body

174) Q: The Aruch Hashulchan writes that saying pitum haktores by mincha is a minhag yafeh.  Ever since I saw that, I have been saying the parsha of pitum haktores before mincha, although I daven nusach ashkenaz. Is there any problem with saying it and why if the aruch hashulchan says it is a minhag yafeh do we not find nusach ashkenaz people saying pitum haktores before mincha. I was always told that we dont say it by shacharis before aleinu becasue we may rush through it and it states, im Chisar achas mekol…chayav misa. Would this same theory apply to mincha? I dont know if people are as rushed by mincha as they are by shacharis in morning rushing off to work.
A: There is nothing wrong with saying Pitum Haketores before Mincha, even if you normally daven Nusach Ashkenaz (as the Aruch Hashulchan did!). Many people I know that daven Ashknaz do in fact say it, and certain Ashkenaz siddurim do in fact have it. It is possible that the reason for many not saying it is indeed the same reason as by shacharis, as many people will rush by Mincha as well.

175) Q: If a baby will scream if put down -can you lechatchila daven shmone esrei with him in a ‘snuggly’ (your not holding him but he is in something you are wearing) -and you wouldn’t wear the ‘snuggly’ outside b/c you feel it may attract attention (b/c it’s different)?
A: The reason that one may not daven while holding something is that he/she will not have kavana as they are concentrating on not dropping the thing they are holding. Thus, if you are holding a child, you may not daven, and may even need to repeat your davening if done while holding the child (according to some Poskim). Seemingly, if the child is in a “snuggly”, you arent concentrating on him not falling, and if  no other alternative is avaialble, you may daven like that. Of course, ideally, you should have someone elese hold the child or put him down in a crib for those few minutes that you are praying.  As far as going outside with it, many people do in fact go out like that, so that in it of itself would not be a reason to invalidate your davening.

176) Q: When giving Ma’aser by check in Eretz Yisrael -where the check is  usually changed at a money changer who takes about 1.5% -do you need to add that amount to the check so that the recipient will get the full ma’aser? (Your earning go to an American account and you live in Eretz Yisroel)
A: If the check can be deposited in a bank and thus be redeemed for the full amount, you have satisfied your obligation. The fact that the recipient may use an alternate method to cash the check, and thus lose a percentage is the recipient’s choice, and not your concern.

177) Q:  If you have a relative who lives a higher standard of living because  they  have family who helps them out and they also buy nicer food,clothing etc. but they themselves don’t earn so much and they could sometimes use help with paying tution or things like that. Should you help them before helping talmidei chachamim who live in your city who need basic food and clothing?
A: Relatives only take precedence if the level of need is the same. However, if the Talmid Chacham is more in need of the funds, then they take precedence over a less lacking relative. (See Shu”t Chasam Sofer 233 and 234) . Also, according to some Poskim Talmidei Chachamim always come first.)

178) Q: [ In a previous Q& A(#144) you wrote: " Incidentally, after 120, if someone (G-d forbid) is judged to go to Gehinnom (hell), he/she gets a break from the punishment on Shabbos. When Shabbos is over, the torture continues. When is Shabbos over for that person? The Seforim say that the amount of time that one waited in this world, is the amount of time he/she gets the reprieve in the next world!  Every second of Gehinom is like years of  suffering! So it is worthwhile to keep Shabbos until  the latest Zman possible." Were does it say the part about gehonim? I’ve heard of it but never seen it brought down anywhere.
A: This is something that I have heard many times from various different Talmidei Chachamim.I believe it's based on  Shu"t HaRadVaz Siman 76

179) Q: If a man read the megillah in shul already, and then he comes to "lain" it for a group of women, does he repeat the brachos?Does he say all three (by day)?
A: Indeed, he may repeat all three  Brachos when being Motzei them (See Shulchan Aruch 692:3 and Mishna Berura ibid.). According to many Poskim, if the women can, they should make the Brachos themselves (possibly with the nusach of "L'shmoa Megilah" as we discussed in the Halachos a while back). The Mishna Berura.however, seems to say that the custom is to be lenient and have the man make the Brachos for them. If the women are making the Brachos, they should each make ot themselves (and not have one woman be motzei all of them, according to the Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 3 Siman 53 and 54. However Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zatzal paskened that one woman can and should be Motzei all the women. See Halichos Shlomo page 329)

180) Q: [ You wrote, regarding women reading the Megilah] “She may, however, read the Megilah for another woman. (Mishna Berura ibid: 7). However, according to some Poskim, a woman may not read the Megilah for an entire group of women. (Sha’ar Hatzion ibid.) All of the above is B’dieved, as ideally (L’Chatchilah) a woman should not read the Megila herself, rather she should hear it from a man, if at all possible. (Mogen Avraham quoted in Mishna Berura ibid. 8) In our community there is a “Kri’at Nashim” where three or four women share the megilla reading for a group of women. This is in addition to the general minyan. Is this halacha saying we are wrong?   Our local (orthodox) Rabbi allows this.  That is why I was surprised to read your halacha. There are a number of women here who initiated it.
A: After doing further research, I discovered that Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (Halichos Shlomo page 330 in the footnotes #4) indeed maintained that  a woman may read the megilah for a group of women. So, your rabbi is well within his right to pasken according to that opinion. A Rav should be consulted before relying on this for Halacha L’Ma’aseh, as there may be other halachic issues, depending on each individual situation.

181) Q: Is one yotzei the mitzva of matanos l’evyonim when giving a check, as opposed to cash? And l’chatchila is one better over the other? Plus, does the concept of hidur mitzvah apply to mishloach manos, meaning by getting nicer and fancier ones and coming up with a theme, or is that all just nonsense and shtick?
A: Matanos L’Evyonim has to be given with money that the poor person can use on Purim [to buy a Seudah]. If he has a way to cash the check on Purim, it is Ok to give a check, otherwise cash is better.
One of the main points of the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manos  is to spread friendship among people (in fact it is more important to give Mishloach manos to people you are less friendly with than to close friends!). Therefore, it is  definitely condusive to this objective to make it nice. However, there is no inyan at all to have a themed Mishloach Manos, which often can cause friction amongst  friends, peers, etc.

182) Q: a)The Torah does not specifically say that one must read parshas zachor. Why then do we refer to it as a mitzva d’oirasa? Torah only says to remember and to erase amalek, not to read every year the parsha of amalek b)The ninth perek of Megillas Esther sets forth the mitzvos of the day of Purim, yet nowhere does it state that we must read from a megillah. What is the source for saying that there is a mitzvah to listen to the reading of the megillah?
A: a) According to many Rishonim (Ramban end of Parshas Ki Teitzei, Terumas Hadeshen Siman 108 and others. It is also counted by the Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzva 189, Smag Mitzva 116 and Smak Mitzva 147) The biblical obligation is indeed to once a year read Parshas zachor from a Kosher sefer Torah with a minyan of 10 people. Therefore, the Chazal instituted the reading at a certain time to make sure it is done properly. Merely “remembering” Amalek isn’t sufficient.
b) Megilas Esther Chapter 9 Posuk 28 clearly states that these days are “Nizkarim V’naasim” . “Nizkarim” is referring to Krias
Hamegilah and “Naasim” is referring to the other Mitzvos of Purim. see Rashi.

183) Q: Does a cooked/fried davar charif have the same status as a raw davar charif?  For instance, if a baked kugel contains fried onions that were cut with a fleishig knife, does it still have the status of a davar charif, and you can’t eat it with milchigs?
A: Yes, once a Davar Charif is cut with a Fleishig knife, it retains its status of Fleishig, even after being  added to a Kugel and cooked.

184) Q: Can you give ma’aser from money that you don’t have yet?  Meaning, I want to make a large check out to tzedakah from my year’s salary, but, being that the year is not over yet, I did not receive all of my salary-checks yet. Can I give ma’aser-money on money that I didn’t earn yet, and it will be counted as ma’aser from that money?
A: Yes, you may give Ma’aser retroactively on money that will be earned at a later date.

185) Q: Are women mechuyav in ma’atanos le’evyonim?  And how much?
A: Yes, a woman is obligated in Matanos L’Evyonim, the same amount as a man (See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura siman 694)

186) Q: Are people supposed togive Tzedakah everyday? why?
A: Yes, it is a big Mitzva to give Tzedaka, and Mashiach will come in the merit of Tzedaka, as it says “Tzion B’Mishpat Tipadeh V’ShaveHa B’Tzdaka”
In fact, it says in the Posuk “V’Ani B’Tzedek Echeze Panecha- with Tzedaka I wil see your face” Chazal learn from here that one should give Tzedaka each day BEFORE davening (i.e. before seeing Hashem’s face)

187) Q: During Lecha Dodi on Shabbos, some mispallelim in my shul stand during “Yomin U’smol” and some people continue to sit? What is the basis for standing?
A: Well, the Minhag is to stand for “Bo’ee B’Shalom” when we turn around to  greet the Shabbos queen. (See Mishna Berura Siman 262:10). I guess some people stand up by “Yomin U’Smol” already in preparatin for “Bo’ee B’Shalom”. I have not found any specific sources for standing at “Yomin U’Smol”

188) Q: Can one be yotse Mishloach Manos by sending one item of bottled water plus another food item?  Does bottled water count as one of the manos?

A: The Mishna Berura (695:20) maintains that beverages  are acceptable for Mishloach Manos. The Gaon of Vilna maintained [based on the Psak of some Rishonim, and the Girsa of the Rabeinu Chananel in the Gemara Megilah 7b] that beverages are not sufficient.

The best thing is to try and give at least one person, two food items, as to satisfy all opinions. But one can definitely rely on the Mishna Berura, Mogen Avraham, Shl”a and others who allow a beverage, if necessary.

Although the Mishna Berura does not differentiate between water and other beverages, a reader informed me that "Rabbi Shmuel Felder said that he asked Rav Elyashiv zatzal, ans he answered that water and seltzer is not a choshuve mashke and should not be used L'cchatchila for Mishloach manos"

 

189) Q: Is it considered a hesech hada’as to daven mincha?  For example, can I eat a k’zayis of apple the shul’s catering hall, daven mincha, and then continue eating the apple?
A: You may indeed daven Mincha and then resume eating your apple, provided that only a few minutes elapsed.I am assuming that you are davening in the same building where you were eating, otherwise according to many Poskim you must make a new Bracha regardless of how short a time you left.  (Usually, the performance of a Mitzvah is not considered Hesech Hada’as) if there is a chance that you will forget to make a Bracha Achrona, it is probably best to make it before davening Mincha.

190) Q: I sometimes have free time at work and would like to learn, but learning out of a sefer would get me in trouble if noticed by my goyish boss. Is there a heter to learn from a podcast recording in a private bathroom that would be left to me alone (so there would be no chashash of extrement or urine at the time), that would be flushed, and that would not smell whatsoever?
A: No, there is no heter to do that. Since the bathroom was designated for a Bais haKisei, even when it is 100% clean, it has all the dinim of Bais hakisei regarding  being prohibited to learn or think in Divrei Torah. would it be possible to read Torah websites at your desk during your free time? That would be an acceptable alternative.

191) Q: Regarding the Halacha that a man should not give mishloach manos to a woman and vice versa. what is if all employees of a firm (men and women alike) give something together to the boss?
A:  That is fine. It is the one man to one woman and vice verca that  is a problem.

192) Q: Does each food item for shaloch manos have to be at least a kezayis?  Can the food items be for example one orange and one apple or do they have to have 2 different brochas?
A:  The Poskim say that for Shalach manos, the shiur isnt a Kzayis or Revi’is, rather it has to be adequate as a portion in a meal. Each person bases this on his/her individual situation.

There is no need to have 2 Brachos, as any 2 items are fine. However, some Poskim say that 2 fruits are not different enough to be considered 2 items, thus it is better to give a fruit and a drink,or a pastry or meat etc.

193) Q: What does the actual Netila (washing of Netilas Yadayim for bread) do? does it purify the hands to eat the bread or touch it?
A: Yes. The netilah serves 2 purposes. 1) to purify and sanctify our hands and bodies for eating Hashem’s bread, much as the Kohanim needed to sanctify themselves before doing the Avodah. We Jews are commanded to be holy, and this is one application of that requirement. 2) To cleanse ourselves, as it isnt dignified for a Jew to make a Bracha and eat when his hands are unclean.

194) Q: You wrote: “If the bread is being eaten as a secondary food (tafel) to a more important food (Ikar), and thus doesn’t need a Bracha of Hamotzi (e.g. croutons in soup, or bread crumbs on chicken) it also doesn’t require washing of the hands. (Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 212:6). However, if the amount of bread being eaten as a tafel is more than a Kzayis, some Poskim require washing the hands without a Bracha (See Sha’ar HaTzion 158:11 and Mishna Berura ibid. 10)” I’ve learned that if the croutons are made out of bread originally made to be eaten as bread and not croutons, then you must wash with a bracha. How does that fit in here?
A: Yes, according to many Poskim if the croutons were initially made for bread, and then used in soup they still require hamotzei. Obviously, I was referring to the normal croutons which are manufactured for soup/salad and are thus mezonos.

© 2008 - 2020 by Halacha for Today. 

Please Note:
The Halachos on this website are based on my personal understanding of the Halachic texts quoted, and are for learning purposes only, NOT for Psak Halacha.

DO NOT rely on them for Psak Halacha L’Maaseh. If you have questions or require further source information, please email the question at Ben@HalachaForToday.comand I will try to respond as soon as I can. For a Halacha L’Ma’aseh Psak, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi.

Thank you.