q&a page 8
345) Q: What is the general rule regarding brushing ones teeth on shabbos ? What preparations can be made in order to brush ones teeth ?
A: If the teeth need to be brushed, it may only be done softly, with a dry brush which is designated for shabbos use. (according to some authorities, it has to even look different than the regular weekday toothbrush. (See Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 3 Siman 50 ), in a way that will not cause bleeding.
Toothpaste may not be used according to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ( Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 112) and most contemporary Poskim.
They do have some sort of new Shabbos Toothbrush and tooth wash on the market which is ok, if necessary.mouthwash is ok to use.
The brush may not be rinsed off after use, as doing so is preparing it for the next use, which will be after Shabbos.
346) Q: If you are eating a mix of peanuts and raisins (let’s just say equal), you would make an haetz on the raisins and hadamah on the peanuts. Suppose you pick up a scoop in your hands, you pick up one raisin and make the H’aetz, can you then make a hadamah and put the whole mix in your mouth (since you already made the b’racha on the raisins), or do you also have to take the peanut separately for the bracha. I would assume separate brachas…
A: Why would you need 2 Brachos on the peanut/raisin mix? Only if they are eaten separately would they need separate Brachos. If they are eaten as a snack together, only HaEitz is recited. (and if a kzayis of raisins was eaten within Kdei Achilas pras, only Al Ha’Eitz is recited, otherwise only Borei Nefashos is recited)
347) Q: I would like to know, do i need to wear tzitzis (talis kuten) during the day if i don’t have a [garment] with 4 corners, isn’t the halacha that you need to wear it only if you have a [garment] with 4 corners?
A: M’Ikar D’din, if you do not wear a 4 cornered garment, you arent obligated in tzitzis. However, due to the importance of Tzitizis, the fact that it protects the wearer from harm, the fact that it is equal to all 613 Mitzvos and the fact that it symbolizes our faith, the custom is indeed to not walk 4 amos, especially in daytime (and according to te Arizal even at nightime, and even when sleeping not to be even for a moment), without Tzitzis.
348) Q: I was asked by someone the following question[which I am forwarding to you]: “I go to the beach with a bunch of young marriedcouples. The women go with shorts and tank tops.Some of them cover their hair, I don’t. It makes me feel uncomfortablethat they do this. How could one dress like this and thencover their hair. It’s a chilul Hashem” (and I quote..She wants me to ask a Rav).She said “I would never dress like this way in the frum communities but I feel for the beach it’s appropriate dress.” I don’t know what to say.
A: It is forbidden for men and women to go to the beach together.
It is forbidden for men to see women unless all areas of Erva are covered. (This includes knees, elbows, neck line and hair [of a married woman])
The fact that it is on the beach and everyone is in a playful mood makes it all the worse, and there is absolutely no Heter for this.
The Torah commands us to keep our camp holy (V’Haya Machanecha Kadosh!). If we ignore this commandment, only tragedies and misfortune will continue to befall our nation. The way a Jewish man or women dresses, acts, speaks, thinks etc. must be refined and holy.. There is no difference if they are at home, on vacation or on the beach!
Hashem sees everything we do, no matter where we are.
That being said, if they will be doing so anyway in disregard of Halacha, they will be transgressing a sin for each additional Erva that is not covered. Thus, at least covering their hair would make the transgression less severe for a few reasons.
1) The fact that the hair is covered is a “sign” of sorts to the men there that she is off limits.
2) The fact that her hair is covered eliminates the seeing of an extra Erva.
3) Just because one transgresses one sin doesnt mean that another sin should be transgressed.
4) Similar to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal’s Psak about NOT removing a yarmulka when going into a movie theater, a bare head and uncovered body at the beach in front of men is an extreme Chilul Hashem, and as such should be avoided at all costs.
To say that covering the head at a beach is chilul Hashem, is just a rationalization for living life on their own terms, and not on Hashem’s terms. (See Parshas Netzavim Perek 29 Pasuk 18 and 19 for a sampling of this attitude and R”L the severity of its punishment)
It is exactly the opposite! If she is worried about Chilul Hashem, she should not be there inthe first place, but if she is, at least minimize the chilul Hashem by dressing appropriately!
Chazal have taught us, and the Gedolim throughout the ages have been telling us that the arrival of Mashiach is being delayed in large part due to the laxity in observance of Hilchos Tznius. I can think of no worse laxity than “couples” mingling at the beach in various forms of undress Rachmana Litzlan.
May Hashem give us all the strength to stand up to the Yetzer Hara and refrain from all transgressions especially those involving the un-holiness of lack of Tznius/ Arayos that continue to cause Mashiach to not arrive.
349) Q: What exactly are the halchos of women not dancing in front of men? is the halacha on the woman, that she cannot dance in front of a man, or is the halacha on the man, that he cannot watch a woman dance? I ask because often at weddings, there are men that will be by the mechitza for what ever reason, or will come into the women section to get their wives etc. so is a woman obligated to stop dancing? or is the halachic problem with the man in this case? Please advise.
A: If the woman is dancing on the women’s side of the mechitza, where men do not belong for ANY reason while women are dancing, then it’s the man’s problem.
If the woman is dancing in a place where men are allowed to be, it is her responsibility to stop.
The same applies to Kol Isha and other Tznius issues.
350) Q: Is a bracha acharona required after completion of the consumption of the hard candy, or lollipop?
A: Being that it is less than a kzayis, and even if it is a Kzayis, it is consumed in more time than Kdei Achilas Pras, no Bracha Achrona is recited.
351) Q: Can a man daven shemonei esrei or any other prayers with newborn or young infant(s) in his arm(s)? What if due to circumstances, he would otherwise not be able to daven unless he held his babies?
A: It is prohibited to L’chatchilah daven Shemona Esrei while holding an infant or a child. Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita maintains that this applies to Pesukei D’Zimra and Kerias Shema as well, and not only Shemona Esrei.
According to Rav Chaim’s ruling, if due to caring for the baby he can’t daven, he is considered an Oines (not at fault) and will need to daven 2 Shemona Esrei’s at the next Tefilah to make up for the missed Tefilah.
If one started Shemona Esrei and a baby began to cry, it is permitted to go and pick up the crying baby. I have heard that some Poskim allow you to even continue davening Shemona Esrei with the baby in your arms, though from other Poskim it seems that it is prohibited.
Some Poskim differentiate between a man and a woman regarding this ruling.
A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.
352) Q: 1) What is the halacha regarding an elderly person using hearing aids on shabbos?
2) can a caregiver help the elderly person with the hearing aid on shabbos? Is it muketzah for the caregiver?
3) if the above is allowed can the elderly person go out with it on shabbos? Is it considered carrying?
A: If they are being worn and properly working, they are not Muktzah for the wearer, or for the one assisting him/her. In fact, the Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa and other Poskim even allow to lower/raise the volume if necessary, while it’s on the ear.
There is no problem of carrying, similar to glasses being worn outside on Shabbos to help one see, a hearing aid may be worn to help one hear.
Obviously. a Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh, as each situation is unique.
After posting the above answer, I received the following email from a reader
which I am posting for the benefit of anyone who this concerns. Of course, as with everything, a Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.
“The information in your email about hearing aids is not complete and therefore misleading.
My husband is hearing impaired and therefore we are both well versed in the subject.
A few comments:
Hearing aids are muktzah if they are turned off and out of the ear. If they somehow get turned off while in the ear, they may be removed from the ear. One may also walk to find a goy to turn on the hearing aid back on. Regarding hearing aid volume — the poskim that rule that you may change the volume on Shabbos are discussing analog hearing aids. The same ruling may not apply to digital hearing aids. We were told that the hearing aids are muktzah for everyone except the person using them. I would also add that a person in this situation should be careful to consult a Rav who is a “mumchah/expert” on the topic. Many rabbanim do not know the intricacies of how the hearing aids work, and their rulings are based on poskim such as R’ Shlomo Zalman who only ruled for analog hearing aids and not digital ones. Thank you for your wonderful publication!
[A Reader ] “
353) Q: What bracha should I make on raw oatmeal cookie batter? it has a lot of raw oats and flour. (i know it’s not good for me but it’s really yummy)
A:This topic is much debated in the Poskim.
The consensus of most Poskim is that raw cookie dough would be SheHakol.
However, if there are a lot of raw oats in it, it may change the halacha, and the proper Bracha would be Ha’Adama (as only cooked oats get Mezonos).
A Rav should be consulted for final Psak Halacha.
354) Q: What’s the story with leaving water uncovered overnight? I always thought that is was Assur but someone recently mentioned to me that Tosefos holds it’s not a Sakana anymore so it’s therefore permissible.
1. Is it Muttar or Assur?
2. If Assur, just water or all liquids?
3. What is considered “uncovered”? Is a pitcher with no cover in the fridge
covered or uncorvered?
A:In the times of the Gemara it was prohibited due to poisenous snakes placing their venom in the water. (See talmud Avoda Zara 30a and Chulin 9b)
Many Poskim rule that today’s days when snakes and the like are not prevelant, the prohibition is not in effect. (See Mishna Berura Siman 160:23 who rules this way)
However, the Gaon of Vilna and others maintained that the prohibition remais intact even today.
It is best to be stringent if possible. The Chazon Ish, The Steipler, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita are extremely Makpid with this and will not drink such water, nor use it for any purpose!
This applies to water, soda, tea, coffee, beer, milk, wine (unless it’s mevushal) and honey.
If it is in the refrigerator, where no snake or other animals can get to it, it is considered covered.
355) Q: What would be the proper brocho on shnitzel (breaded chicken cutlets)?
A: For breaded chicken or fish, if the coating is thick, and there for its taste, it is definitely Mezonos. If, however, it is a very thin coating which isn’t there for itself, rather to lend taste to the chicken or fish, then it isn’t considered to have its own Chashivus and is shehakol. This was the psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zichronam Livracha and this is also the Psak of rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg shlita. (quoted in Sefer V’Sein Bracha by Rabbi Yisroel P. Bodner)
356) Q: My [friend] and I always have disagreements on a certain topic. And that is about the Aveiros (sins). [My friend] states that most of the halachos that we are commanded to keep aren’t from Hashem but from the rabbis that make it up. they make up these halachos (for example muktzah). therefore he said he thinks the reason for most of the halachos that the rabbis made are gates around the Aveiros it self. therefore he thinks that its not neccesary for us to keep the rabbinacal halachot rather then the original ones. I tried explaining to him that Hashem commanded us to listen to our rabbis and their desicions are counted as sins if it was violated. But he disagrees. What should i tell him? and is it true [what I say]?
A:You are 1000% correct. The Torah explicitly commands us (Devarim 17:11) to listen to the Rabbanim/Chachamim and not to deviate an iota from what they tell you . Thus every rabbinical edict, for any reason they deemed it necessary is basically a Torah cammandment and must be kept to the tee. Only if the Rabbis themselves said that any particular edict was for a certain time only may we not do it anymore.
It is not up to us as individuals to decide what is worth keeping or not, it is up to the great sages to interpret the law.
The Midrash tells us that Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, our holy patriarchs, kept all the Mitzvos and even all the rabbinical edicts! (See Talmud Yoma 28b)
The Gemara tells us that all the edicts that would eventually be instituted by the Rabbis were shown by to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai by Hashem Himself!
The Posuk (Devarim 30:12) tells us that the Torah was given to mortals, and isn’t in heaven anymore. It was given to the Rabbis to interpret and to institute fences, edicts etc. as they saw fit.
There is a famous Gemara (Bava Metzia 59b) that describes a dispute in halacha between Rav Eliezer and the Rabbis. Rav Eliezer caused all sorts of miracles to happen to prove his point and that he was right, yet the rabbis were unimpressed, saying that Torah was given to them, and it isn’t up to heaven anymore to determine halacha!
The laws of Rosh Chodesh were given to the rabbis to determine. The calendar month and the days on which holidays fall is not determined by the sun or the moon, rather by edict of the rabbis, as the Torah says (Shmos 12:2) “Hachodesh hazeh lachem- this (and all) months are for you to determine!”
In fact, there are even rabbinic Mitzvos on which we recite “Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav, V’Tzivanu… saying that Hashem commanded us to do it, when seemingly it was only the rabbis! (See Gemara Shabbos 23a and the Ritva’s explanation there) salan There are countless more examples of this tenet of Judaism. Bottom line is that one who transgresses a rabbinical decree has transgressed an Aveira equal to transgressing a biblical decree.
357) Q: is the sign “KD” [on a food product acceptable as] kosher?
A: “K” on its own is not an acceptable kosher symbol. all it means is that the company is saying that it is kosher, but there is no rabbo or agency supporting that claim. “D” just means that it has dairy ingredients in it. So, “KD” just means that the company is saying that it’s kosher and dairy. You may not eat a product with “K” or “KD” on it unless you have information from a reliable kashrus agency that the product in question is kosher despite it not having a valid kosher symbol.
358) Q: [regarding doing Teshuva for a sin where one usually needs to ask the one that was sinned against for forgiveness], if the aveira is Lashon Hara, it seems difficult if not impossible to go over to the person and tell them that you have said terrible things about them – and what if is a family member and the relationship is irreparably harmed?
A:This particular issue was the topic of a dispute between The Chofetz Chaim and Rav Yisroel Salanter Zichronam L’Vracha.
Rav Yisroel Salanter maintained that if by going over to the person who you spoke against to ask for mechilah will cause them further harm, it is best not to let them know, and try to do as much Teshuva as possible, and try to spread good about that person in other ways.
Whereas, the Chofetz Chaim ruled (Hilchos Lashon Hara Klal 4:12) that Teshuva was only complete with mechila, and even if it caused further harm, you must approach them.
I am not telling you which method is the proper Halacha to follow, as you should consult a Rav for that. I will just say that you cannot go wrong from following the rulings of the Chofetz Chaim for anything, especially Hilchos Lashon Hara!
359) Q: When a girl gets a new piece of nice jewelry and needs to recite a she’he’che’yanu on it, should she first say the brocha then put the piece of jewelry on or should she put the piece of jewelry on and then recite the brocha?
A: According to the Poskim that rule that you recite she’hechiyanu on Jewelry (as is the psak of Rav Nisim Karelitz shlita and others), she should recite the Bracha immediately before putting it on. If she didn’t, it can still be said afterwards, as long as she is still wearing it for the first time.
Some Poskim maintain that no She’hechiyanu is recited on jewelry at all , as it isn’t considered clothing(Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Ben Ish Chai, Kaf Hachaim, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and others)
360) Q: What beracha do you make on granola bars? And on Hearts of Palm?
A: Granola bars which aren’t cooked or baked (as many on the markt today are) are Ha’adama as they are raw oats. The problem is what Bracha Achrona to make, as there are shitos in the Rishonim to perhaps make “Al Ha’adama” (a text which we do not find that Chazal instituted) so Al HaMichya or Borei Nefashos may not even exempt it. The Poskim advise for a Yirei Shomayim to eat it only during a meal, or eat less than a Kzayis in Kdei Achilas pras to avoid this major problem, and not need a Bracha Achrona on it. (see Tosefos Brachos 37a Dibur Hamaschil HaKoses. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 208:4 and Mishna berura there S”K 17. This is also how Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal ruled.)
If the Granola bars are cooked or baked, then the Bracha is Mezonos followed by an Al HaMichya.
Hearts of palm are Ha’Aitz .They are the heart (or fruit) of the sabal Palmetto, a tall, tough-barked graceful palm tree. (There are opinions that it is Sh’Hakol and opinions that it is H’Adama. I relied upon the Psak of the Star K. For Halacha L’Ma’aseh please consult your Rav.)
361) Q: Can you please clarify the halacha of using the restroom in the middle of a seudah – must one wash again? If so, is a beracha required, and must bread be eaten again?
A: If one used the restroom during a meal, or otherwise touched a covered area on their body, changed a baby’s diaper etc., the hands must be washed again, with no Bracha, and the meal may be resumed. No new bread is required.
362) Q: When I was in yeshivah I was told that the shaliyah tzibbur must recite at least the last two principles of the Rabbi Yishmael’s 13 principles of expounding the Torah, and not just say yihi ratzon followed by the kadish derabonnan. The reason given was that kadish derabonnan must be said only after the tzibur together learned some divrey Torah. If the shaliyah tzibbur silently says all the korbanos and 13 principles of Rabbi Yishmael, it would appear that we recite kaddish derabonnan by itself without any learning as a tzibbur. Is this correct, and what is the source for the halacha about kaddish derabonnan?
A: Kaddish D’Rabanan may be said even if only one or two people learned some Agaddah, as long as there are 10 people there to answer to the Kaddish.(See Mishna Berura siman 54:9 and Siman 55:2.)
You are right, that ideally, at least a little of the Torah should be said out loud before saying the Kaddish.However, from the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (end of Siman 54) it seems that it is sufficient to just say the Yehi Ratzon…SheYibaneh Bais HaMikdash out loud.
363) Q: Is it permissible for one individual to recite 2 of the sheva brachos under the chupa at a wedding? For example, to say both the Borei Pri Hagefen and the Yotzer Haadam bracha?
A: Yes, one individual can say 2, 3, or even all the Brachos under the Chuppah. It is only a Minhag to honor different people with Brachos. In some communities, the Rabbi or another dignitary indeed recites all of them. (See Be’er Heitev Even HaEzer Siman 61:7 where it is clear that the minhag was for one person to say all the Brachos)
364) Q: I remember once seeing in a shul posted on the inside of the Aron kodesh a halacha that the one doing P’seicha (opening the ark) should remove the Torah right away when opening the Aron (not to wait for everyone to say Brich Shmey). I dont remember the source am I remembering this properly? Also what is the reason that in some shuls that sing at the end of Brich Shmey the ydont remove the Torah till the song is finished is this the correct thing to do or is it a Bizayon to the Torah?
A:There is much discussion in the Poskim as to when the proper time to say Brich Shemay is, either before taking out the Sefer Torah, or immediately afterwards while the Aron Hakodesh is open, or even to say it only after the Aron HaKodesh is closed.
Many Nusach Sefard minyanim say it before removing the Torah, while many Nusach Ashkenaz minyanim and most Yeshivos say it as they remove the sefer Torah from the Aron.
The source of the dispute, is based on how to interpret the words of the Zohar (Parshas VaYakhel), which is the source of this tefilah in the first place.
Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 70:9) seems to hold that although both methods are acceptable, it is best to try and say it as the Torah is removed, and definitely not to purposely tell people to leave it in the Aron as it is being said.
Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (Halichos Shlomo Hilchos Krias HaTorah Chapter 12:9) maintains that any way it is done is proper, as there is no one method which is more right than another.
See also Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 8 Siman 48 for more about this.
365) Q: I am hearing many different things about the whole inyan about stepping on nails: Only counts when you’re barefoot,has to be your own nails, etc. Can you clarify the main aspects of this halacha for me?
A:The Gemara (Niddah 17a) says that a pregnant woman who steps on nails is in danger of losing her child Chas V’Shalom. The Gemara goes so far as to call one who doesnt dispose of his/her nails properly a Rasha, an evil person.
Although the Shulchan Aruch doesnt bring this halacha directly, the Poskim do indeed quote the Gemara and seem to be very stringent with this Halacha L’Ma’aseh. The Chazon Ish was extremely makpid with this as were many Gedolim.
This only applies if the nails are in the place where they were dropped, but once they were moved, they are no longer a danger. Thus if one did cut their nails, it is important to sweep the area to make sure the nails move from where they fell.
(See Mogen Avraham beginning of Siman 260, Mishna Berura Siman 260:6, Be’er Heitev 260:2)
This applies to a person’s own nails as well. This also applies to nails of non Jews (See Rivevos Ephtraim Vol. 8 Siman 88:1)
Although the Gemara seems to say that it is a danger only for pregnant women, the Zohar Parshas VaYakhel seems to say that it is a danger for anyone to walk on nails. (See Likutei MaHarich Seder hanhagos Erev Shabbos Dibur hamaschil V’Ayin B’Rama and Yesod V’Shoresh H’Avodah Perek 8:1)
366) Q: If someone passes gas while you are learning, are you allowed to hold your nose and continue learning [as you aren't allowed to learn, daven etc. in a place where there is a foul odor]?
A:If someone else passes gas, there is no prohibition to continue learning while the smell is there, only davening Krias Shema would be a problem. (as since this smell does not have any tangible substance, it is only rabbinically prohibited, and for Bitul Torah they did not make the prohibition)
The person himself who passes the gas must cease to learn or even think in learning until the odor is gone. See Mishna Berura Siman 79:30.
For other smells with tangible substance (such as a dirty diaper etc.) it would be prohibited to learn within 4 amos of the smell, even if you are holding your nose.
367) Q: Why must one eat shaleshudis (Shalosh Seudot), if by the time that meal comes around, one is still full from the second seudah and has absolutely no desire to eat?
A:There is a Mitvah to eat 3 meals on Shabbos, one at night and 2 during the day.
One should try not to be so full so that he/she isn’t hungry for the third meal, but even if one isnt so hungry, it is a mitzvah to eat the third meal anyway.
In fact, the reason the third meal is referred to as “Shalosh Seudos”, three meals, when it should really be “Seuda Shlishis”, the third meal, is because one who makes sure to eat the third meal even when they arent hungry (as is often the case, especially in the winter months) gets reward for eating all three meals as if they werent hungry, and only for the Mitzvah aspect!
See archives of Hilchos Shabbos, Halachos for Tuesday July 29 2008 for more details about Shalosh Seudos.
368) Q: Does walking from one’s house to the backyard constitute a halachic “change of location” in regards to brachos? If I step outside to the backyard, do I need to make a new bracha?
A: Some Poskim (including Rav Shlom Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and Ybl”c Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita) consider it a change of location from a home to the backyard and require a new Bracha. Other Poskim (including Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg shlita) are of the opinion that it is the same location, and a backyard is just an extension of a home.
Therefore, if one had in mind to eat in both the home and the backyard, no new Bracha is required. If one had no intention of going to the backyard when he began eating, a new Bracha is necessary.
For halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted.
369) Q: Is one supposed to say Tefillas Haderech driving from Brooklyn, NY to Lakewood, NJ and vice versa?
A: There is no clear cut answer to this question, as it is hard to determine if at any point between Lakewood and Brooklyn you are considered having left the establishment.
Some Poskim say yes, others say no. others say to say without the Shem Hashem. others say to say while on the outerbridge crossing. others say to say it in Shma Koleinu in the Shemona Esrei before the trip.(I personally do this)
A Rav must be consulted for halacha L’ma’aseh.
370) Q: Is a goyish maid allowed to use the microwave in their Jewish Employers house
A) for their personal use (obviously not treife food)
B) to warm up something for the Jew -already cooked
C) to cook something raw like corn
A: This is a debate amongst the Poskim if “cooking” in a microwave is considered halachic cooking, as there is no fire and also the food that is usually prepared in a microwave is not fit to serve for a king. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 52) ruled that microwave cooking on Shabbos is a prohibition of Bishul. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zatzal (Minchas Shlomo Siman 12 footnote 4) maintained that only cooking with fire is the biblical prohibition of cooking and thus microwave cooking is not biblically prohibited in regard to Shabbos.
A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh to determine a) if microwave cooking is considered cooking and b) if the fact that it may be considered cooking for Shabbos automatically means it’s considered cooking for the purposes of Bishul Akum and other areas of Halacha, and thus your questions will be answered.
371) Q: Recently the Rabbi of my shul got a dog as a pet for his home. Yet, i have heard that even looking at dogs (and some other animals) is not a good thing and is unholy. Is there any comments on this about whether having pets and dogs in particular is allowed or acceptable? Are there certain animals that we should stay away from?
A: The Talmud in quite a few places (Shabbos 63a, Bava Kama 15a-b, 79b and 83a) makes statements to the effect that one may not keep a “bad dog” in his home.
The Rambam (Hilchos Nizkei Mamon Perk 5:9) rules that it is forbidden to keep any dog unless it is secured with chains.
Many Rishonim, however (Sefer Yeraim 210, Smag Mitzva 66, The Tur Choshen Mishpat Siman 409 ,and Hagahos Maimoni Hilchos Rotzeach Perek 11:3 ) argue with the Rambam and only prohibit “bad dogs.”
This is also the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 49:3 , Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Shmiras HaGuf V’Hanefesh 3, and Aruch HaShulchan Choshen Mishpat Siman 409:4.
The question is how to determine what is a bad dog? Need it bite? Is a bad bark enough?
Rashi’s view (Bava Kama 79b) seems to be that any dog that when it barks can scare a pregnant woman and thus cause her to miscarry is a “bad dog”
The She’eilas Ya’avetz Siman 17 rules that dogs may only be owned if they are serving a purpose such as guarding a home, or other financial reason, but he does not allow any dog ownership as pets and considers it an unJewish thing to do. The Yam Shel Shlomo in Bava Kama seems to concur with this ruling. The Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 571) seems to say that all dogs are bad and brazen creatures.
Many Poskim, however, disagree and allow the ownership of dogs, as long as they arent deemed “bad” and arent frightening creatures.
There is a lot more to say on this topic, but it is beyond the scope of this email.
Bottom line is, that as long as the dog is a domesticated, calm pet, there are many Poskim on whom to rely that it may be kept in the home, and thus pet owners should not be chastised, looked down upon or told that they are doing something against the Torah. In fact, the Torah explicitly forbids causing harm to animals and commands us to care for our animals in a humane and caring manner. A lot of good traits can be learned from animals, and all of Hashem’s creations must be respected.
All of the above applies to all animals, not just dogs. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 261:1 where it is applied to cats)
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.
372) Q: If one is eating pretzels alone, and he didn’t have in mind to eat it with anything else. At one point, he/she feels like eating it with sour cream. Can he/she simply start eating the pretzels with the sour cream with no additional Bracha?
A: If the sour cream was not in front you at the time of the Bracha, and you had no intent to eat the sour cream at the time of the Bracha, then a separate Bracha is required on the sour cream, even though it is being eaten as a Tafel.
373) Q: Is one permitted to take a pill ( not medication, like a birth control pill) on a fast day without water? Is there a difference between any fast, for example , are Tisha B’av and Yom Kippur stricter than the other fasts?
A: Yes, pills taken for health reasons (even if the person is not sick) may be taken on fast days including Tisha B’Av, and if one cannot take a pill without water, the pill may be taken with as much water as necessary to get the pill down. If the pill itself is good tasting, it should preferably be wrapped in a tissue before swallowing. (See halichos Shlomo Bain HaMetzarim Perek 16:3 and the footnotes. see also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 10 Siman 81:1) regarding Yom Kippur, it may be more stringent. A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.
374) Q: When Rosh Hashana falls out on Shabbos (as it does this year), are you allowed to ask your personal bakoshes (requests)?And what about crying during the Tefilah?
A: Yes, although a person usually should not ask for personal requests on Shabbos, when Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur fall on Shabbos it is permitted as if it isn’t done he/she will not have another opportunity to do so. ( Opinion of the Chazon Ish quoted in Orchos Rabbeinu Vol. 2 Page 181. Also Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal. See also Sefer Ishei Yisroel chapter 2:33 footnote 100.)
Crying is also permitted, and indeed recommended, as according to sources one who doesnt cry on Rosh Hashana (or at least feel like crying inside) is a sign that his/her Neshama is lacking. (See Elya Rabbah Siman 594:6. The Arizal used to cry on Rosh Hashana. See Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 2 Siman 69. The Vilna Gaon( Ma’aseh Rav # 207) on the other hand says not to purposely cry during the Rosh Hashana prayers, rather to daven with happiness and confidence. All agree that if one is naturally overcome with feelings of crying, it is ok. It is only forcing oneself to cry where the Vilna Gaon doesnt allow it.)
375) Q: Is there a problem with saying Tehillim on shabbos? does it make a difference if its ‘general tehillim’ (ex: a group of women saying tehillim from the booklets that divide the whole sefer) or tehilim for a specifc choleh?
A: Tehilim may be said on Shabbos. In fact, some Seforim say it is good to say Tehilim specifically on Shabbos as Dovid Hamelech passed away on Shabbos. (See Eishel Avraham Butshatsh Siman 306:5. See also Mishna Berura Siman 293:1)
However, Tehilim should not be said B’tzibur for a sick person rather B’Yechidus where it is not evident for what reason the Tehilim is being said. (Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach in Halichos Shlomo Perek 14 footnote 19)
If it isn’t for a specific Choleh, rather a group of women getting together each week to say Tehilim, there is no problem with that.
376) Q:If one was called to the Torah, and the person said Birkat HaTorah on the wrong Parsha (for ex. Nitzavim) would the person have to repeat Birkat HaTorah on the right Parsha (Haazeinu)? If you could include the Mareh Mekomot, it would be greatly appreciated.
A: If the correct reading was not seen in the open Torah in front of him and we need to roll the scroll to get to the right place , a new Bracha will be required according to many Poskim. Though, according to many Poskim, if one had in mind the correct Parsha, even if it wasn’t open no new Bracha will be required. If the correct reading was in the open area, but the Ba’al Koreh showed him a wrong place on the page, we can be lenient and not require a new Bracha. Ideally, if possible to incorporate the place he pointed to and add it to the correct reading, that would be best.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 140:3 and Mishna Berura there S”K 9 for more details)
377) Q: Should one make a sh’hecheyonu before or after the ha-etz on a new fruit?
A: There are Poskim who say to recite the Ha’eitz first then Sh’hechiyanu then eat the fruit. (See Be’er Heitev siman 225:6).
Some Poskim say to recite the She’Hechiyanu first then the Ha’eitz and then eat the fruit.
Some say to say Ha’eitz on the fruit, eat a small piece and then recite Sh’Hechiyanu, as they say ideally no hefsek should be made between the bracha on the fruit and the tasting of it.. However, even according to them, if the Sh’hechiyanu was recited before eating the fruit, it is acceptable and no new Bracha is required. (See Mishna Berura Siman 225:11 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman 59:14)
Each person should follow their own minhag.
378) Q: Can you tell me the reason and/or source for the minhag of honoring a different person as Sandek for each of your sons’ Bris Milah?
A: The Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 265:11 brings this Minhag of not serving as a sandek twice [in one family, for 2 brothers]. He says the reason that a sandek at a Bris Milah is likened to the Kohen being Maktir Ketores (incense offering in the Bais HaMikdash), which was not done by the same Kohen twice as to give everyone a chance at wealth, which the Gemara says was the reward for doing Ketores. (and hence the source that serving as a sandek is a segulah for becoming wealthy) (See Mishna and GemaraYoma 26a and Rambam Hilchos Temidim U’Musafim Perek 4:7)
379) Q: I was once asked Info about a shidduch where I knew both sides and I was quite involved in the process. The mother mentioned something about giving me a small gift when they got engaged, but she never did. ( I don’t really care, as long as they are happy but I do remember her mentioning that). This couple has been married for almost 2 years and they still do not have children. I have heard that not paying a shadchan properly can be a prevention for mazel [and prevent the couple from having children]. Is it my place to go back to the family and ask them to give me something or should I just forget about the whole thing?
A: The reason that not giving shadchanus can prevent children is due to the one not receiving the gift bearing a grudge (having a Hakpada). If you truly, deep down are ok with not having received the gift then there is no point in letting them know. However, if deep down it bothers you (as is normal, and very human) then perhaps you should somehow make them aware in a tactful way of course.
[ed. note: After posting this answer, I received the following email from a reader: Rav Pam ZT"L once told me personally that when people come to him with Sholom Bayis issues he always asks them if they paid Shadchanus. If you know of anyone who has tapes of the weekly Chumash Shiurim Rav Pam would give in Torah Vodaas it is worthwhile to hear the Shmooze of Parshas Chaya Sora given in either 1987, 88 or maybe 89 (I don't remember the exact year) as it was known every year of Chaya Sora Rav Pam would speak on Inyanei Shidduchim. During that particular Shmooze the Rosh Yeshiva said that if Shadchanus was not so important the Shulchan Aruch would not have spent so much time on the topic. He also said that Shadchanus is a requirement because of Hakoras Hatov - that is why we are obligated to give it. ]
380) Q: Regarding Chinese Auctions/Raffle tickets/Lottery…According logic/teva, the more tickets one buys the greater his chance of winning. I heard from someone that firstly, I must believe that Hashem is Adon Kol. Next, my Hishtadlus would be buying more tickets ( which is my choice) and increasing my % chance of winning. Since in galus Hashem rules through teva. Where is the line between doing my Hishtadlus and Bitachon that If Hashem wills it, it’ll happen regardless of the odds.
A: Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ruled that to buy a lottery ticket is Hishtadlus; to buy more than one is a lack of Bitachon, as if you were meant to win, your odds won’t improve by purchasing more.
Only if the tickets being purchased are for a Tzedaka cause did Rav Moshe allow the purchase of more than one ticket, as the purpose of buying is to support the Tzedaka and only a side benefit is that you may win a prize. However, even then, your “odds” don’t improve by buying more as Hashem can make your one ticket win just as easily as He can make your 10 tickets contain a winner.
Of course, there is always a chance that in the merit of giving more funds to Tzedaka Hashem will deem you worthy of winning, but the bottom line is that you must have Bitachon that whatever is supposed to be yours will be yours and if it isn’t meant to be, all the tickets in the world couldn’t help you.
381) Q: Is there a source for [the Segulah of] a woman wearing a ruby during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage?
A: It is an ancient Segulah. Rabbeinu Bachya ben Asher (The great 13th century Rishon, Kabbalist, talmid of the Rashba , not to be confused with Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Paquda , author of Chovos Halevavos who lived a few hundred years earlier, and who Rabbeinu Bachya Ben Asher quotes in the Hakdama to Parshas Mikeitz) in Parshas Tetzaveh (Shmos 28:15) in his lengthy discussion about the Choshen (breastplate) that the Kohen Gadol wore, discusses the various aspects of the different stones of the Choshen, which represented the 12 tribes of klal Yisroel and writes as follows:
“…Reuven’s stone was the ruby, a red stone, red like blood, and its Segulah is that any woman that carries [or wears] it will never miscarry a child. It is also said that it is beneficial for a woman who has a hard time giving birth [to have this stone].
If this stone is ground up and added to food or drink [of a woman] it is extremely beneficial to help her become pregnant…”
382) Q: From what I understand, speech is forbidden after saying Hamapil [in Krias Shma Al Hamitah]. However Hamapil is before the rest of shma[ in many Siddurim]? Why is this so? And should I say Hamapil before or after I recite the rest of shma?
A: There is a debate in the Poskim as to when Hamapil should be said. Some maintain that once Hamapil is said nothing may be uttered, and thus HaMapil should be said last.
Others maintain that although talking is forbidden, saying the tefilos of Krias Shma and the Pesukim of shmira are not a hefsek. Either way you do it you have on whom to rely.
The poskim point out that if you are a person who usually falls asleep during krias shma al hamitah,it is best to say Hamapil first, lest you end up not saying it altogether.
And if you know yourself and know that you won’t fall asleep in middle. say everything else first and save HaMapil for last.
383) Q: You wrote [in the halachos of Birchas Harayach, on October 20 2009] “In cases of uncertainty as to the intended purpose of the orchard, it is best to actually take a flower/fruit in the hand for the purpose of enjoying its fragrance, and recite a Bracha, and not rely simply on the fact that the smell is reaching you from where you are standing” What should one do if he finds himself in this situaiton on shabbos?
A: On shabbos it would be muktzah to touch and thus you cannot take it in your hand to recite a bracha. moreover, on shabbos it would be considered like smelling something of issur, and no bracha may be made on it if it is intended for anything other than smelling, lest one come to cutting ot off the tree.
If it is specifically there for smelling, according to many Poskim it is muttar to smell it and recite a bracha on shabbos, as we arent worried you will cut it off for another purpose. According to some Poskim even these you may only smell from far away and not get too close lest you cut off a piece on shabbos.
(See Mishna Berura 336:48 and 49 and Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 26 footnote 72)
384) Q: A husband has to keep what is written in the kesubah. Where does it say the wife’s obligations to her husband?
A: According to the Torah, when a woman gets married she belongs to her husband. Not in a negative, derogatory sense that many people make it. rather, she becomes one with him; their neshamos bond and are fused into one. Thus, the Torah expects a wife to be “Ezer” to her husband in any way possible.
Here are some selections directly from the Rambam.
“A woman must be modest at home. She should not be overly lax or unreserved in his presence. She must not verbally demand marital relations. She should not be overly talkative on the topic of marital relations. She should not withold marital relations from her husband in order to pain him or in order to make him love her more. Rather she shoud give herself to him whenever he wants.” (Rambam Hilchos Ishus Perek 15:18)
“A man must respect his wife more than his own body and he must love her like his own body. If he has money he should buy her things according to his means. He should not make her unneccesarily afraid of him. he should talk soft and calm with her. He should not be depressed nor angry.” (Rambam Hilchos Ishus Perek 15:19)
“A woman must respect her husband more than necessary and should be in awe of him and provide whatever he requests. A woman should think of her husband as a king; to do whatever he desires and to keep things that he hates away from him. This is the way of the Bnos Yisroel and the Bnei Yisroel who are holy in their married lives. If they follow these ways they will have a happy marriage.”(Rambam Hilchos Ishus Perek 15:20)
“A woman is obligated to provide the tasks that all women provide for their husbands which are to sew,wash, serve drinks, prepare hisbed and cater to his other needs. Other tasks that are done are cooking, baking, laundry.
A woman that refuses to do any of the tasks that she must do, is forced to do them.”(Rambam Hilchos Ishus Perek 21)
Keep in mind that a man who expects his wife to “Treat him like a king” and provide for all his needs must also remember to “treat her like a queen and respect her more than he respects his own self”. It’s a two way street.
385) Q: If one has a dog, what about feeding the dog? Since dog food is treif (non Kosher) are you allowed to buy it and feed it to the dog or must only kosher food be purchased, I guess the same question would apply to fish, snakes, rodents, cats, etc.
A: Animals do not need to eat kosher food.
However, there are certain non kosher foods which one may not derive any benefit from and thus would be forbidden to feed to his/her pets.
They are Chometz on Pesach and (kosher) milk and (kosher)meat that was cooked together.
Therefore, on Pesach one may not feed his/her pet any chometz.
And a whole year round one may not feed their pets any food that may contain cooked (kosher) meat together with(kosher) milk or milk products.
Other non kosher pet food is 100% acceptable to feed all pets. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 87:1-3)
Regarding what is considered kosher meat…
…The prohibition to derive pleasure from meat and milk, according to many Poskim is in effect when dairy is mixed together with the meat of a Kosher species of animal (e.g. cow, sheep etc.), even if the actual meat is not kosher to eat, i.e. it wasn’t slaughtered properly (Neveilah) etc.
Some Poskim, however, based on the Rambam in his commentary to Mishnayos Krisus Perek 3, quoted in the Dagul Mervava (Nodeh B’Yehuda) to Yoreh Deah Siman 87:3 maintain that there is no prohibition to derive pleasure from milk mixed with the meat of a Neveilah, as being that it is already prohibited to eat due to its being a Neveilah, thus Ain Isur Chal Al Isur, a new prohibition cannot replace the original prohibition and thus it does not fall into the prohibition of Basar B’Chalav for eating and by extension for deriving pleasure from it as well. It is best to be stringent and not derive pleasure from any mixture of milk and meat of a kosher species. See Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 87:6, Shu”t Chasam Sofer Yoreh Deah Siman 92 , Chazon Ish Yoreh Deah Siman 22 and Sefer Badei Hashulchan Siman 87:25. For halacha L’Maa’seh a Rav should be consulted.
386) Q: What [is the halacha regarding the] rainbow that is visible many times over Niagara Falls? Do we recite a Brocha? Is it an Aveira to look at it?
A:From the Poskim it seems that only a rainbow in the sky is a “sign” and would require a bracha, and not a rainbow that is formed from the sun’s shining on the water and causing a prism effect etc., which isnt in the sky. It is not an Aveira to look at that either as that isnt a “rainbow” rather something that looks “rainbowlike”
387) Q: What would the Bracha on licorice be ? The ingredients has flour as a main ingredient yet its a candy that people make shehakol on ?
A: Although it contains flour, it is only there as a binder to hold it together, and is not there to add to the taste or nutrition value, thus it isn’t significant, according to most contemporary Poskim, and a Shehakol is recited. (There are some Poskim that rule to say Mezonos on certain licorices, so for halacha L’ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted)
388) Q: [ ed note: Not a halacha question, but interesting nonetheless] Is there any source that indicates the names of the wives of Noach’s sons?
A:As per Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in his sefer L’Mchaseh Atik, here are the various opinions from the Midrash and the Rishonim
“The wives of Noach’s children were the daughters of Elyakim son of Mesushelach. (Sifri Hayashan)
Some say the wife of Cham was the mother of Sichon [king of the Amorites] (Rabeinu Bachya Parshas Chukas, quoting the Medrash)
Some say the wife of Shem was named Machlatyavan, the wife of Cham was named Samantabo and the wife of Yefes was named Katantanbo (Medrash Ksav Yad)
Some say the wife of Shem was named Machlah bas Beno”
389) Q: What is the source and the reason for people dipping their fingers into the wine after Havdalah and rubbing it on their eyes?
A: the source for putting on the eyes is from Pirkei D’Rav Eliezer (Perek 20) and brought in Shulchan Aruch Siman 296:1 “to wash ones face with the leftover wine to show how much we love Mitzvos”. The purpose is for a segulah for health and Hatzlacha and Parnasah. It is also brought in Seforim to put some inthe pockets and also to wipe some across the forehead. See also Talmud beginning of Sukkah 38a where the concept of using “leftovers” of a Mitzvah is brought as a segulah to prevent calamities. See also the commentary of the Mordechai (a Rishon) beginning of tractate Yoma.
390) Q: Why is it prohibited for a Choson and Kallah to see each other a week before their wedding?
A:There is no clear source in Halacha for this minhag, yet it has become an accepted practice by a large segment of Klal Yisroel. The Sephardic Jews do not have this minhag.
One of the reasons given in the Seforim is based on the Halacha (Yoreh Deah Siman 192) that we are worried that if the Kallah sees her chassan she will desire him and it will lead to her discharging “Dam Chimud” and thus she won’t be clean by the wedding. Some Poskim, however, based on the Talmud Niddah 20b say that justthe opposite is true! That “Dam Chimud” will happen from not seeing him and yearning to see him.
Another reason cited is simply to limit the time spent between the bride and groom as to ensure they will excitedly look forward to being together on their wedding night. Moreover, too much contact too close to the wedding can sometimes lead to unnecessary hardships (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Even HaEzer Vol. 3 Siman 390) and unfortunately even to improper relations between the bride and groom (especially since the bride is Tahor within that week)
In certain communities it isn’t customary to have this separation a week before, and they definitely have on whom to rely. (See Sdei Chemed Chasan V’Kallah 22. I have heard in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal that he was not makpid on this either, but I cannot verify that 100% at this time)
Bottom line is, it is definitely not an Issur to see each other, but a minhag which should be followed if it is the minhag of your family.
After posting the above, I received an email from a grandchild of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, as follows:
"I am actually a great grandchild of Rav Moshe, zatzal, and can verify that this was indeed Rav Moshe's opinion. I was told by my mother that my grandmother (Rav Moshe's daughter) herself attended her choson's ufruf the day before her wedding (and helped serve the food in her to-be mother-in-law's kitchen). My mother too, following suit, spent time with my father the week of their wedding."
391) Q: I recently heard from someone that it is prohibited for a man to sit behind a woman! Is that true? Were does it say? For instance in a car where a couple goes in front and men are in the back.
A: Chazal say that a man should not walk behind a woman, and should quicker walk behind a lion! This halacha is brought in Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer Siman 21)
The reason for this was that a man walking behind a woman will come to gaze at her and lead him to improper thoughs and Chas V’Shalom to improper actions. There is a debate amongst contemporary Poskim if this applies today when it is much more prevalant for women to be in public, and only in the times of Chazal when it was rare to see a woman in public would it perhaps lead to sin. The Leket Yosher, disciple of the Terumas HaDeshen (Siman 376) rules that this prohibition is not in force today. Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 1 Siman 91:23) rules that today’s days when women are found everywhere, it is virtually impossible not to be walking behind one woman or another and it doesn’t lead to any bad things and thus it doesnt apply today as stringently as it did in the times of Chazal. Other Poskim (Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol.5 Siman 226 and 227 and Vol.12 Siman 305, the Sha’ar HaTzion quoting the Radvaz as well as other Poskim) maintain that the halacha is in full force today. Obviously, all agree that if one knows themselves and their being behind a woman will lead to bad things, the halacha applies to him 100% even today. Also, all seem to agree that if one is on a bus, for example, and has the choice to either sit directly behind a woman or ina different seat, that he must choose the different seat. As even if we rule to be lenient today, that is only in cases of necessity and when it is impossible or impractical to be stringent. Thus, in a car, it is best to try and arrange the seating in such a way that no man is sitting directly behind a woman, but if this is impossible, we have on whom to rely, as long as nobody knows themselves that they will Chas V’Shalom come to sinful thoughts or actions by not following this Halacha.
392) Q: Both my parents and in-laws have a minhag to light 2 candles on motze shabbas in addition to the havdalah candle. They then let the candles burn just as if it were the candles for Shabbas on Friday night. Is there any “mekor” to this minhag?
A: Yes, this is a minhag that is brought in Mishna Berura Siman 300:3. The point of these candles, as well as singing Zemiros on Motzei Shabbos, setting the table nicely for Melava Malka etc. , is to honor the Shabbos upon its departure just as we honor it upon its arrival.
393) Q: How clearly must the moon be visible in order to say kiddush levana? And if you see the moon, but then it goes behind a cloud, can you start saying kiddush levana? If you started, can you continue?
A: It must be clear enough that its light is discernable [on the ground]. If the Bracha was started and the clouds covered the moon, it may be finished. However, if one thinks the clouds will cover it before the Bracha is finished, it is best not to begin the Bracha. (see Mishna berura Siman 426:3) . If the Bracha was finished and the moon is then covered by clouds, the rest of the Pesukim may be finished.
394) Q:I have a running conflict with a friend about the requirement to wash your hands after going to the bathroom. She says you have to wash your hands with the same process as your morning “Negel Vasser”. I say you only have to wash once or twice on each hand. Please settle this friendly conflict. Thanks.
A: Indeed, you are correct. The Negel Vasser process is exclusive to Negel Vasser. Washing after the bathroom, doesnt even require a utensil, M’Ikar D’Din, and even though it’s good to use one, it neednt be washed more than once each hand, and definitely doesnt require the “right, left, right, left” sequence that is required by Negel Vasser. (See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura Siman 165:1. See also Mishnah Berurah Siman 4:39 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 4:21. See also Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak Vol 5 Siman 96)
For a follow up to this Q&A and for more details and sources, see Q&A #409 here.