ARCHIVES: HILCHOS CHODESH NISAN / PESACH / SEFIRAH/
LAG B'OMER /SHAVUOS (Revised 2022)
Halachos for Sunday, March 20, 2022
1) The Talmud Maseches Megilah ends with the following statement:
"Moshe Rabbeinu instituted a custom for Klal Yisroel that they study the laws regarding the topic "of the day", i.e. Halachos of Pesach before Pesach, halachos of Shavuos before Shavuos and halachos of Sukkos before Sukkos."
The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 429:1 loosely based on the passage of the Talmud above and more accurately on Talmud Pesachim 6), states that one must begin studying the laws of Pesach thirty days before Pesach.
2) The requirement of thirty days, according to some poskim, is only for the halachos of Pesach due their complexity and the fact that there are so many halachos, but for other chagim, studying their halachos a few days before is sufficient. (Mishna Berura Siman 429 S"K 1)
The purpose of this requirement is so that by the time Pesach arrives every Jew will be educated in the requirements of the chag; even those who have learnt it in the past need to learn it again to refresh their memories. (See Bach Siman 429.hence, we review these Halachos in these emails each year during this time period)
Halachos for Monday, March 21, 2022
1) From thirty days before Pesach, it is proper to be careful when eating chometz to be aware of the upcoming yom tov and make sure not to take the chometz any place where it may be difficult to find and get rid of properly before Pesach.
During this thirty day period it is customary to begin cleaning all the rooms of the house where chometz may have entered during the past year, as well as start all the preparations for the upcoming chag HaPesach. (See Me'iri to Avodah Zarah 5b dibur hamaschil Mah Sheamru)
2) If there are small children in the home, the entire home is considered "a place where chometz enters" as children often take chometz into places where they aren't supposed to, and indeed many very small children often "hide" their chometz snacks in the most uncanny places, thus necessitating a real good cleaning to find everything.
Halachos for Tuesday, March 22, 2022
1) There is an age old minhag (as the Rama refers to it but it's actually a halacha; see Sha'ar Hatziyun 429:7), dating back to at least the times of the Talmud (as it is referenced in Talmud Yerushalmi Bava Basra Perek 1 Halacha 4), for all dwellers of a city to give money to the poor of their town to ensure that they are able to purchase their needs for Pesach.
This tzedakah, which is traditionally raised starting 30 days before Pesach, is referred to as "Ma'os Chitim" (literally, money for wheat) as they used to provide them with wheat for use in their Matzos.
In later times the minhag was to give them flour (and referred to as kimcha d'pischa, literally flour for pesach), and nowadays the minhag is to give money to enable them to buy matzos and any other pesach needs for themselves and their families.
2) Anyone who withholds from participating in this mitzvah is transgressing a big sin, as the poor people rely on this money. (See Mishna Berura Siman 429:6. See Sha'ar Hatziyun os 10 why this tzedakah is most important specifically before Pesach)
There is no set amount to give for ma'os chitim.
The objective is to ensure that every poor person in every city has all their yom tov needs taken care of, thus each town should take stock of their people's needs and have every member of the town give their fair share. (See Mishna Berura Siman 429:4)
Halachos for Wednesday, March 23, 2022
1) Some people refrain from eating Matzah starting 30 days before Pesach, in order to properly enjoy the Matzah on Pesach.
Others have the custom to stop eating Matzah from Rosh Chodesh Nisan.(Chok Yaakov Siman 471:7 quoting the Shiyarei Kneses Hagedolah)
2) On Erev Pesach it is forbidden to eat Matzah according to all opinions. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 471:1. See also Shu"t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 155 regarding if this prohibition is the entire day or if it starts only after chatzos)
Halachos for Thursday, March 24, 2022
1) Tachanun is not recited for the entire month of Nisan.
One reason cited is that the Nesi'im brought their Karbanos for the first 12 days of the month and thus those twelve days were considered yomim tovim, plus Erev Pesach, Pesach and Isru Chag are yomim tovim, and once most of the month was holy days, the entire month was given a status as holy. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 429:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 7)
Likewise, "Tzidkascha Tzedek" at shabbos mincha, the "Yehi Ratzons" after Krias Hatorah on Mondays and Thursdays are not recited for the duration of Nisan. (ibid.)
2) The custom among Ashkenazim is that no fast days are held during the month of Nisan, including private fasts such as on the yahrtzeit of one's parents or other fasts in the pursuit of teshuva.
The exceptions to this rule are a "Ta'anis Chalom, a fast for disturbing dreams", the fast of a Chasan and Kallah on the day of their wedding and the fast of the firstborn on Erev Pesach, which may be held even in chodesh Nisan. (Rama Siman 429:2 and Siman 573)
Sephardic Jews who follow the rulings of the Bet Yosef may hold private fasts as the Mechaber rules that only public fast days are prohibited in Nisan. (See Mshna Berura Siman 429:9)
Another reason cited for the holiness of this month: the dedication of the Bais Hamikdash Hashlishi which will be rebuilt with the arrival of Mashiach (may it be very soon) will take place for seven days immediately following Pesach, thus the aforementioned restrictions continue even after Pesach is over for the duration of the month. (See Ma'aseh Rokeach beginning of Mishnayos Pesachim quoted in Shu"t Chasam Sofer Siman 103)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, March 25, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Upon seeing fruit trees that are beginning to bloom, in the [beginning of the] month of Nisan, or at any other time when it's the season for the trees to bloom, the following bracha is recited:
"Baruch ata Hashem Elokeinu melech ha'olam shelo chisar b'olamo klum u'vara vo beriyos tovos v'ilanos tovos (or "tovim"; see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 60:1) lehanos bahem bnei adam - blessed are you Hashem, our G-d, Master of the universe, Who ensured that nothing is lacking in His world and created in it good creations and good trees in order to pleasure mankind with them". (Shulchan Aruch Siman 226:1 and Mishna Berura S"K 1. See also Aishel Avraham Butshatsh that only in Nisan may the bracha be recited with Shem U'Malchus. However, the prevalent minhag is to recite the regular bracha as long as the tree is still in the blooming stage, even if this is past Nisan. See Chayei Adam Klal 63:2 and Aruch Hashulchan 226:1 regarding climates where the blooming season is not in Nisan, e.g. Australia or South Africa. See also Shu"t Har Tzvi Orach Chaim vol. 1 Siman 118 and Shu"t L'horos Noson vol. 5 siman 7)
Preferably this bracha should be recited over two or more trees [in a field] and not with a solitary tree. However, if it was recited on a solitary tree it is acceptable. (See Kaf Hachaim Siman 226:2 and Shu"t Teshuvos V'hanhagos vol. 1 Siman 191. The prevalent minhag is indeed to recite it on a single tree)
Women are obligated in this bracha just as men are. (See Shu"t Har Tzvi Orach Chaim vol. 1 Siman 118 and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer vol. 12 Siman 20:5 for the reasoning behind this and why it isn't considered a mitzvah she'hazman grama, as it is seemingly a time-bound mitzvah)
2) Some people have the custom after reciting the bracha on seeing blossoming trees to add additional mizmorim of Tehilim and other texts praising Hashem for the trees.
Some people try to say this bracha with other people, as a group and some even have the custom to give tzedakah before reciting this bracha.
Each person should do as their custom dictates. (See Kaf Hachaim Siman 226:7 and 8. See also Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak vol. 10 Siman 16)
This bracha may only be recited once a year, and according to some poskim only during the daytime (See Mishna Berura Siman 226:3. See also Shu"t Har Tzvi orach chaim vol. 1 Siman 118 and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer vol. 12 siman 20:6)
The bracha on seeing a blossoming tree should ideally not be recited on shabbos, as we are worried that one will touch the tree and/or pluck a branch from it, as well as for kabalistic reasons (See more about this below).
However, according to many poskim, if it is seen on shabbos and it will be the last opportunity to recite the bracha, it may indeed be recited. (See Kaf Hachaim 226:4 and Shu"t B'tzel Hachachma vol. 6 Siman 37. See also Shmiras Shabbos K'hilchaso Perek 26 footnote 72 and Shu"t Yechaveh Da'as vol. 1 Siman 2)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) The bracha on seeing blossoming trees is only recited on fruit trees, and only when the flowers are seen in the early stages of blooming, and not on trees where only leaves are seen and not on trees where the fruit has already completely developed. (See Mishna Berura Siman 226:2 and 4. See also Shu"t Shevet Haleivi vol. 6 Siman 53:4)
If one saw such a tree and did not recite the bracha, it may be recited at the next opportunity. (See Mishna Berura Siman 226:5 and Sha'ar Hatziyun S"K 3. Some poskim, including the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 60:1 and Kaf Hachaim Siman 226:9 and 10 rule that if it wasn't recited upon seeing it the first time, it is no longer recited at all. See also Shu"t Shevet Haleivi ibid.)
2) According to the Sifrei Kabala, reciting this bracha, is a big tikkun (spiritual repair) for those Neshamos that are hovering between the two worlds as gilgulim (reincarnated souls) in the barks of trees, and it's important when saying this bracha to have in mind to bring heavenly mercy upon these hovering souls to allow them to be freed from their pain by enabling them to return to their place in Olam Haba (See Shu"t Teshuvos V'hanhagos vol. 1 end of Siman 191 and Kaf Hachaim 226:8. The Kaf Hachaim 226:4 goes so far as to give another reason for this bracha not being recited on shabbos, as doing so will be "borer", separating the "sparks of kedusha" of the neshamos from the trees!)
מרן שר התורה רשכבה"ג הגאון הקדוש
שמריהו יוסף חיים
בן מרן רב יעקב ישראל קניבסקי זצוק"ל זי"ע
There are no words sufficient to write to describe the loss that Klal Yisroel suffered.
We have been plunged into darkness.
Only the light of Mashiach can restore what we just lost.
Cling to the light of Hashem!
Cling to the light of the Torah!
Cling to the light of Tefilah!
Cling with your every fiber of strengh, my dear fellow Yidden, cling tightly, as the time to be clinging to Hashem is now, more than ever.
ברוך דיין האמת
את ה’ אלקיך תירא, אותו תעבוד ובו תדבוק
Halachos for Sunday, March 27, 2022
1) The Talmud (Rosh Hashana 11a) teaches us:
"Rebbi Yehoshua says, in [the month of] Nisan we were redeemed [from Egypt] and in [the month of] Nisan we will be redeemed [from our current galus with the arrival of Mashiach]".
Although the arrival of Mashiach can happen at any given moment throughout the year and indeed it is incumbent on every Jew to anticipate, and fervently pray for his imminent arrival, the month of Nisan is particularly destined and ripe to be the month of the final geulah. (For a deeper understanding of this distinction see Turei Even Rosh Hhashana 11b, Shu"t Teshuva M'ahava Siman 211 and P'leisi end of Siman 110)
2) Techiyas Hameisim, the resurrection of the dead which will take place at some point during the period of Mashiach's arrival (may it be soon) will take place in the month of Nisan. (Tur Siman 490 quoting Rav Hai Gaon, he also writes there that the war of Gog uMagog will take place in the month of Tishrei)
One of the reasons cited for the white garment, known as a kittel, being worn at the Pesach seder is to have a palpable reminder that Techiyas Hameisim will take place on Pesach, at which time the Talmud (Kesubos 111b) tells us that all tzadikim will rise fully clothed. (See Sifsei Chachamim Megilah 31a dibur hamaschil afturei b'pesach at length for more connections between Techiyas Hameisim and Nisan/Pesach)
Halachos for Monday, March 28, 2022
1) The month of Nisan is a very opportune time to increase the giving of tzedakah, charity.
The tzedakah given in the month of Nisan helps accelerate the acceptance of our tefilos by Hashem. (Shla Hakadosh beginning of Maseches Pesachim. See also Kav Hayashar Siman 88)
Giving tzedakah is especially worthwhile on each of the first twelve days of the month, when,in many congregations, the parasha of the karbanos brought by the twelve nesi'im is read, on each of the twelve days, respectively.
2) According to kabbalistic sources , it is a proper custom to set aside thirteen coins for tzedakah on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, as thirteen is the numerical value of the words "echad"(one) and "ahava" (love), signifying the great love that Hashem Echad has for his beloved children, Am Yisroel, and thus hopefully help bring the final geulah and Mashiach Tzidkeinu this month. (Moed L'kol Chai from Rav Chaim Fal'agi Zatzal 1:3 quoting Sefer Ma'aseh Hatzedaka Siman 64)
Halachos for Tuesday, March 29, 2022
1) As Pesach preparations get into full gear, it is the time of year when it is very common for new dishes, silverware, pots and pans to purchased.
Whenever purchasing new dishes, glasses, silverware pots or any other utensils that will come in contact with food, it must be determined if the manufacturer and/or the seller of these utensils are Aino-Yehudim. If the utensils were manufactured or owned by an Aino-Yehudi they require tevilah (immersion in a kosher mikvah) before being fit for use in a kosher kitchen. (A Rav should be consulted regarding which utensils require a bracha)
It is best to tovel these utensils as soon as possible after purchasing them, as putting it off until a later date when they are ready to be used can often lead to mistakes and the use of these utensils without tevilah. (Such as a sudden need for the extra dishes, or when needed on shabbos or yom tov when tevilah isn't possible)
2) If the items acquired were previously used (e.g. by relatives, friends or purchased at a garage sale, estate sale or on ebay or similar), it must be determined who used them and in which manner, as besides for tevilah they may also require koshering, a process necessary for utensils used for non-kosher, chometz and/or basar b'chalav (meat & dairy) uses.
One who purchases or otherwise comes into possession of utensils that previously belonged to an Aino-Yehudi , even if they were only used for cold uses, should kosher them in boiling water, even if they will only continue to be used for cold uses
These utensils should be koshered immediately and not even be used temporarily until they are koshered [and toveled].(See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Yoreh Deah siman 121:5 and siman 122:10)
This koshering should be done before they are toveled in a mikvah. If they were mistakenly toveled first before koshering them, they should be re-toveled without a bracha after they are koshered. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 121:2 and Shach S"K 5. For more on this see Aruch Hashulchan 121:9 and Pischei Teshuva 121:3)
Halachos for Wednesday, March 30, 2022
1) On the eve of the 14th of Nisan, Erev Pesach (This year, 5782, Thursday evening, April 14, 2022), every Jewish homeowner is required to perform "Bedikas Chometz - the search for leavened bread".
This search must be done at the beginning of the night (according to some opinions soon after sunset, and according to other opinions after tzeis hakochavim, the emergence of 3 stars).
2) From half an hour before sunset, no eating or other chores may be started.
The Bedikas Chometz should be done via the light of a single wick candle and not with a cluster of candles or a torch.
Nowadays it is permissible to use a single beam flashlight for bedikas chometz, and this may even be better than using an actual candle, as many people are afraid to go too close to the place they are searching with a candle, and thus will do a more thorough job with a flashlight.
However, the bracha before Bedikas Chometz should be recited while holding a candle and the search should begin with the candle for a bit and only then switch over to the flashlight.(Psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zichronam L'vracha and others. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal, however, maintained that in places where one isn't afraid to use a candle, l'chatchilah it is better to use a candle the entire time and not a flashlight as not to change from the minhag yisroel.)
Halachos for Thursday, March 31, 2022
1) All rooms where chometz may have been brought into must be checked.
One's office, car and clothing must also be checked if there is a chance that chometz was placed there. (Regarding the pockets of clothing see Shu"t Mahari Weil siman 193, also quoted in Gilyonei Hashas to Shabbos 12b)
Before starting bedikas chometz the bracha of "Baruch ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidshanu b'Mitzvosav v'Tzivanu Al Biur Chometz" is recited.
After reciting the bracha the searching should begin immediately, and no talking or interruptions should take place between the bracha and the starting of the search.
It is best not to talk or make [unnecessary] interruptions throughout the entire bedikas chometz process. Talking for the purpose of the search at hand is permitted.
If one uses the restroom during the bedikas chometz, he may recite the bracha of "Asher Yatzar" afterwards, and it isn't considered an interruption. (Psak of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal)
2) It is customary to place 10 pieces of [well-wrapped] bread throughout the home, which the one doing bedikas chometz should "find". Be very careful not to "hide" them too well, lest they be forgotten and left in the home throughout Pesach. (It is a good idea to number them, and to write their locations on a paper, to ensure they will all be accounted for)
The lights in the room may be left on during the bedikas chometz. (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, perek 5 dvar halacha os 19 and footnote 57)
After bedikas chometz is finished, it is important to "nullify" any chometz that may be in your property. There is a special text of nullification that should be said, which is printed in most siddurim.
It is important to understand what you are saying and not just say the Aramaic words in the siddur with no clue that you are nullifying and making your chometz hefker, as simply saying the words as a "Tefilah" and not understanding them is worthless, even b'dieved.
The text may be said in English or any other language, as long as the one saying it understands what they are saying. (See Rama siman 434:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 9)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 1, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Erev Pesach is a Ta'anis (fast day) for Bechorim (first born) in commemoration of them being spared by Hashem in Mitzrayim, while the Egyptian firstborn were killed. (Some say that the Bechorim fasted during Makas Bechoros so that they would be saved from the plague; thus this fast is an evocation of that fast)
The prevalent minhag is for first born males to participate in a "Siyum Mesechta" or other seudas mitzvah, and thus they aren't obligated to conclude their fasts. (See Mishna Berura Siman 470:10)
L'chatchilah, the firstborn must hear the siyum, and not simply partake of the food that is being served. B'dieved, even if the siyum wasn't heard, he may eat. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 8:1 and Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 9 Siman 45)
2) There is a dispute among the Poskim if a firstborn that was born via a caesarian section birth is required to fast (See Kaf Hachaom Siman 470:3). Therefore it is best if he partakes in a siyum.
A firstborn under bar mitzvah does not fast. However, it is customary for his father (or his mother, if the father is himself a bechor) to fast (or participate in a siyum) on the child's behalf.(Rama Siman 470:2)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) The Pesach Seder is comprised of the following "fifteen" steps:
Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rachtzah, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Bareich, Halel and Nirtzah.
The number "15" is significant in that it correlates to the "15" "Shir Hama'alos" psalms which were composed to correspond to the "Fifteen" steps in the Bais Hamikdash. (See Talmud Sukkah 53a. Additionally, Hashem created the world with the letters "Yud" and "Hay"; Olam hazeh with the "Hay" and Olam haba with the "Yud". Put these two letters together and you get the name of Hashem, "Kah" which numerically add up to "15".)
What does the Bais Hamikdash have to do with Pesach?
The first night of Pesach each year always falls out on the same day of the week that Tisha b'av falls out; the two days are connected.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 428:3)
2) The Jewish people are currently in galus, exile, and do not have a Bais Hamikdash and until Mashiach's arrival (very soon hopefully) we bemoan this sad reality on Tisha b'av, the day of its destruction.
Pesach, the celebration of geulah, redemption, is a day when we commemorate our physical and spiritual redemption from Egypt, and prepare ourselves for the final redemption which Chazal tell us will take place in this time period. Thus as we sit down to the Pesach Seder it is important to keep in mind that the aura of the evening should be kept solemn, sanctified and holy as we have the power in our hands to unleash the final geulah via our conduct at this table; we can facilitate the necessary zechuyos to ensure that Tisha b'av this year will be a day of dancing and jubilation and no longer be a day of sadness, disappointment and tears.
Our "15" steps of the Seder can facilitate the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash with its "15" steps and thus return the world which was created with the letters that add up to "15" to its intended purpose: the glorification of our "Kah" Hashem.
Next week, B’Ezras Hashem, we shall begin studying some details about the “15 steps” of the Seder.
Halachos for Sunday, April 3, 2022
1) The first of the 15 steps of the Seder is Kadesh: Kiddush and the first of the four cups of wine.
Every Jewish adult male and female is obligated to drink four cups of wine over which the order of the Hagadah was recited.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:8 and 14)
Minor boys and girls who have reached the age of chinuch (around five or six years of age, depending on each individual child's level of maturity and comprehension) should be given 4 cups of wine as well. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:15)
The prevalent custom is to place a glass of wine (or grape juice) in front of all the children, even those that are not yet of chinuch age.
2) There is a debate among the Poskim as to the exact amount of fluid that makes up a "revi'is".
For Mitzvos D'oraysa (biblical commandments) the Poskim are stringent and require the larger amount of approximately 4.5 ounces, while for Mitzvos D'rabanan (rabbinic ordinances) the smaller shiur of 3.3 ounces (according to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal's opinion) suffices.
The 4 cups of wine at the Pesach Seder are a mitzvah D'rabanan and thus would only require 3.3 ounces for each of the four cups.(if the first night of Pesach falls out on Friday night, as it does this year, 5782, then the first cup, which is also the cup of Kiddush, a biblical commandment, will require the larger amount.)
If one is able, of course, it is best to try and drink the 4.5 ounces even for Mitzvos D'rabanan. But if one has a hard time drinking that many cups of wine, the smaller shiur may be relied upon.
Halachos for Monday, April 4, 2022
1) It is a mitzvah to use red wine for the Arba Kosos, the four cups at the Pesach Seder. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:11)
It is ideal [for men] not to use grape juice for the Arba Kosos.
If someone cannot drink wine, it is best for some wine to be mixed into the grape juice to the point that the wine can be tasted.
Of course, if due to health or other reasons, one is unable to drink even a little bit of wine , then grape juice should be used, and the obligation of the Arba Kosos will be fulfilled L'chatchila. (See Shu"t Teshuvos V'hanhagos vol. 2 Siman 243 where he writes that the Chazon Ish, Brisker Rav, Techibiner Rav Zichronam L'vracha and other Gedolim used grape juice at the end of their lives when they were unable to drink wine.)
Women and children can use grape juice L'chatchilah. (ibid.)
2) If one has white wine that is a better quality wine than the red, it's better to use that white wine. (Rama Siman 472:11)
One of the reasons for opting for red wine is to commemorate the "Jewish blood" that was spilled by Pharaoh in Mitzrayim. (Mishna Berura Siman 472:38)
Thus, what many people who want to drink white wine do, is to add some red wine to it to turn the mixture red.
However, adding red wine or grape juice to white wine for the express purpose of coloring the white wine is problematic, as even though the prohibition of "coloring" on Shabbos and Yom Tov usually does not apply to food, where the sole purpose of the mixing is to "color" the drink, it may indeed be a prohibition of tzvia, coloring. (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 9:5 and footnote Dvar Halacha 11)
The better option when doing this is on Yom Tov is to pour in the red wine first and then add the white wine into the red. (based on Sha'ar Hatziyun Siman 318:65, where he writes that when done this way, according to all opinions, it isn't considered coloring.)
Halachos for Tuesday, April 5, 2022
1) It is ideal to drink the majority of the cup of each cup of the Arba Kosos. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:9 and Mishna Berura S"K 30 and 33)
Those who find it difficult to drink wine should use a smaller glass that holds a little more than a revi'is and finish most of the cup rather than using a much larger cup and then not be able to finish all or most of it.
Children [who are of age for chinuch] need only drink a cheek-full of wine. (See Mishna Berura siman 472:47)
2) the Arba Kosos must be drunk b'heseiba, while leaning to the left side. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:3)
Even left handed people lean to the left side.
There are two reasons for not leaning to the right side. One reason is that doing so will prevent the person from eating comfortably with his right hand. (Mishna Berura Siman 472 S"K 10)
According to this first reason alone, we may think that a left handed person would need to lean to the right side.
However, there is another [and more important] reason for leaning to the left, because a person's food pipe (esophagus) is slightly to the right and the wind pipe (trachea) is slightly to the left, and when leaning to the right there is a chance that the cover of the wind pipe will open and the food may get lodged in the wrong pipe and cause choking chas v'shalom. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
If a left handed person leaned to the right, b'dieved he has satisfied his obligation. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
If a right handed person leans to the right, according to some Poskim it is acceptable b'dieved, and according to others even b'dieved he has not satisfied his obligation. (Mishna Berura ibid. See also Kaf Hachaim Siman 472:23 and 48 and Shu"t His'orerus Teshuva vol. 2 Siman 49)
Halachos for Wednesday, April 6, 2022
1) When doing heseiba, the proper time for leaning begins after the bracha has been recited on the wine (or the matzah), but during the recital of the bracha one should not lean, as it isn't respectful to recite a bracha while leaning. (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 9:20 and footnote 44)
2) Women are not obligated to lean, though many have the custom to do so. (See Rama Siman 472:4)
Although women need not lean, they should be seated when drinking the arba kosos (as well as when eating the matzah or any other foods that require heseiba for men) as if they are standing there is a possibility that they have not satisfied their obligation.
Additionally, even women that do not lean should try to have a comfortable chair as their expression of "freedom". (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 9:19 and Moadim u'Zmanim vol. 3 Siman 257)
Halachos for Thursday, April 7, 2022
1) The 2nd of the "15 Steps" of the Seder is Urchatz: washing of the hands without reciting a bracha.
The reason for this washing is due to a halacha which for some reason has been forsaken by most people throughout the year, known as "Tibul B'mashkeh". (See Taz Siman 473:6)
"Tibul B'mashkeh" is literally translated as "dipped in a liquid", and refers to the halachic requirement to wash ones hands before eating any food that is wet with one of the following seven liquids: wine, bee's honey, olive oil, milk, dew, blood, or water. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 158:3. The acronym for these seven liquids is yad (yayin, dvash) shachat(shemen, chalav, tal) dam (dam, mayim). Of course, blood is forbidden to eat, but the Mishna Berura points out that in cases of medical necessity or other Pikuach Nefesh it would be allowed, and in that case it would require washing, thus it is listed as one of the 7 liquids)
Thus, being that we are about to eat karpas, a vegetable dipped in [salt] water, we must first wash our hands.
There are various explanations given to explain why many otherwise G-d fearing Jews are not stringent with this halacha nowadays, which we will not get into at this time, but on the night of the Pesach Seder when we all endeavor to do everything properly and be on a loftier level than usual, all people are careful with this washing.
Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal explains that the reason this washing is referred to as a command, "urchatz, and you shall wash" rather than the simpler "rachtzah, washing" is due to the fact that this Halacha is overlooked the rest of the year by many people, so we need to "command" everyone to do it on this exalted night.
2) For the washing of "Urchatz" it isn't necessary for those who wear rings to remove their rings (as is generally recommended when washing for bread, see Mishna Berura Siman 161:19) as by "Tibul B'mashkeh" since many people do not practice it year round, we do not impose stringencies on this night. (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Dvar Halacha footnote 53)
If one mistakenly recited the bracha of "Al netilas yadyim" on the washing of "Urchatz", it is possible that he may not require a new washing when it comes to "rachtzah" later on in the Seder.
Thus, the best thing to do is to use the restroom or otherwise touch a covered part of the body or scratch the scalp [before rachtzah] in order to necessitate a new washing with a bracha for the matzah.(See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 9:26.This may be a wise thing to do, according to many poskim, in any case before washing for rachtzah even if no bracha was recited on urchatz)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 8, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) The 3rd of the "15 steps" of the Seder is Karpas: a vegetable (celery, potato, scallion, or other "ha'adama" vegetable, depending on each family's minhag) is dipped in saltwater and eaten.
When reciting the bracha of "borei pri haadama" on the karpas one should specifically have in mind that this bracha should exempt the maror that will be eaten later on. (See Mishna Berura Siman 473:55)
If one did not specifically have this in mind, the bracha still works to exempt the maror and no new "borei pri haadama" is recited when eating the maror.
2) The prevalent custom is to eat less than a kzayis of karpas.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 473:6 and Mishna Berura S"K 56.)
The Gaon of Vilna ruled like the Rambam that a kzayis is indeed required, and those who follow the Gra's minhagim do take a kzayis.
However, even if a kzayis is eaten no bracha achrona is recited, as the birchas hamazon later on will exempt this eating as well.(as quoted in Ma'aseh Rav. This was also the minhag of the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rav zichronam l'vracha)
The prevalent custom is to eat the karpas without heseiba, leaning.
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1)The 4th of the "15 steps" of the Seder is Yachatz: the middle of the three matzos is broken in half; the bigger half is put away and will be eaten later on for afikoman.
One reason for this broken matzah is to signify "lechem oni, poor man's bread", as matzah is referred to in the Posuk (Devarim 16:3), which is usually a broken piece rather than a whole loaf, to commemorate the Jews' slavery in Mitzrayim. (Mishna Berura Siman 473:57 based on Talmud Pesachim 115b)
Another reason cited for this "splitting" of the middle matzah is to commemorate the "splitting" of the Yam Suf (known as the red sea, which is probably an inaccurate translation, as it should properly be translated as "the reed sea" or "the sea of reeds"; See Rashi to Shmos 13:18) and the Yarden which took place on Pesach. (See Da'as Zekeinim M'ba'alei Tosefos Shmos 12:8)
Some people have the custom to take the half of the matzah that was broken off for afikoman and place it on their shoulders or on their backs [and walk around the table] to commemorate the Bnei Yisroel leaving Mitzrayim carrying [what turned into] matzah, [as well as other packages] on their backs. (Shulchan Aruch Harav Siman 473:35 says "their backs" and Mishna Berura Siman 473:59 says "their shoulders". Regarding the Matzah baking on ther backs, see Targum Yonasan to Shemos 12:39)
2) The 5th of the "15 steps" of the Seder is Magid: the recitation of the hagadah; a fulfillment of the biblical commandment of "Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim", the retelling of the story of Hashem's taking the Bnei Yisroel out of the bondage of Egypt.
Additionally, it is the retelling of how Hashem made us into a holy nation, His children, as stated in the Posuk (Devarim 14:1) Banim Atem L'Hashem Elokeichem, you [the Jewish people] are children to Hashem your G-d.
One who relates the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim with joy and delight is sure to delight with the Shechina in Olam Haba. At the time that Hashem hears His children retelling the story, He gathers all the heavenly bodies and he tells them "go and listen to My children praising Me and delighting in the story of how I redeemed them!" (Zohar Hakadosh Parshas Bo)
Women are obligated in the mitzvah of "Sipur Yetziyas Mitzrayim" as they too were part of the miracle of the redemption. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:14)
If a woman cannot recite the entire hagadah (due to being otherwise occupied with the children or other valid reasons) she should at a minimum recite the following parts: Kiddush, Avadim Hayinu, "Pesach, Matzah and Maror" until Go'al Yisroel and the recital of the ten makos, plagues. (Mishna Berura Siman 473:64. See also Siddur Ya'avetz.)
Of course, the children should participate to the best of their ability in the recital of the hagadah, and the adults should gear the "flow" of the evening to the level of the children, as the Torah specifically commanded (Shemos 13:8) "V'higadta L'vincha Bayom Hahu, and you shall relate [the story of Hashem's redeeming us from Egypt] to your child on that day [Pesach]".
It is a mitzvah to give out sweets and treats to the children in order to keep them awake and active during the Seder so they will ask about all the interesting things that are going on during the Seder.
The proper way of retelling the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim is via "question[from the children] and answer [from the parents], thus it is not proper to put the children to bed immediately after "Mah Nishtana" before their questions are answered and they get a grasp of the miracles that Hashem performed for our ancestors on this night. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 472:16 and Mishna Berura S"K 50)
The hagadah is not recited b'heseiba, while leaning, rather it is said with reverence and awe while sitting properly. (Shla Hakadosh quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 473:71)
Halachos for Sunday , April 10, 2022
1) The 6th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Rachtzah: the hands are washed and the bracha of "al netilas yadayim" is recited in preparation to eat the matzah.
Even though the hands were already washed earlier by Urchatz, we wash again in case we may have touched an unclean area between then and now. (See Shulchan Aruch Harav siman 475:2 that in any case the first washing will not work for the matzah)
Some Poskim say that it is proper to deliberately touch a covered area before this washing to ensure that the washing is necessary and a bracha is permitted to be recited. (See Biur Halacha Siman 475:1. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 9:38)
2) The 7th and 8th of the "15 steps" of the seder are Motzi and Matzah: the matzah is eaten; a fulfillment of the biblical commandment to do so on this night.
It is proper to specifically have in mind, and to tell everyone in the household as well to have in mind, before eating the matzah that what we are about to do is a fulfillment of the positive commandment to eat matzah. (the reason for this is that mitzvos tzrichos kavanah, actions alone without having in mind what we are doing do not work when it comes to biblical commandments; See Shulchan Aruch Siman 60:4)
If this "thought" was not had, according to many Poskim b'dieved it is acceptable and no additional matzah needs to be eaten, especially if the bracha was recited with kavanah and the matzah was eaten b'heseibah; other Poskim require another kzayis to be eaten without a bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 475:34 and Biur Halacha dibur hamaschil aval for more about this.)
The procedure is as follows:
The 2 whole Matzos (whcih serve as Lechem Mishneh) , as well as the broken middle Matzah are all held, and the bracha of “ Hamotzi Lechem min Ha’aretz”, which is required any time before eating bread/Matzah, is recited.
The bottom Matzah is then put down, and while still holding the top Matzah and the broken middle Matzah (which represents Lechem Oni, poor man's bread) , the special bracha of “Baruch Ata Hashem…Al Achilas Matzah” is recited, over the special Mitzvah to eat Matzah on this night. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 475: 1 and Mishna Berura S”K 2. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 475: 4 and 5)
Following the recital of both Brachos, a kzayis from the top Matzah as well as a Kzayis from the middle Matzah is eaten.
Both these Kzeisim should ideally be eaten simultaneously. If that is not feasible, the piece from the top Matzah should be eaten first. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Mishna Berua S”K 9 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 475:6 and 7)
If there is not enough of these 2 Matzos to give everyone in the family a Kzayis from them, a small piece from each Matzah should be given to all at the table, and then a Kzayis of other Matzah from the box should be eaten to satisfy the Mitzvah (Some people are machmir that everyone eat 2 Kzeisim, even though most likely the requirement to eat 2 kzeisim is only for the head of the household who recited the brachos and exempted everyone else in the family. See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 9: 40)
The Matzah should be eaten while doing heseibah, leaning.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 475: 1)
Halachos for Monday , April 11, 2022
1) The 9th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Maror: the "bitter herbs" are eaten to commemorate the bitterness that our ancestors endured at the hands of the Egyptians.
The proper vegetable to use for maror is a subject of debate among the Poskim, as nowadays we aren't knowledgeable in the many species of plants that the Talmud discusses. (See Chayei Adam klal 130:3)
The prevalent custom is to use romaine lettuce (which has been sufficiently washed and checked to ensure it is insect-free) and/or horseradish (which when grated is extremely "bitter").
Some Poskim say it's good to mix the grated horseradish with the romaine lettuce, while some Poskim say it is better to avoid mixing the two and better to eat them independently. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 9:48)
The Maror is dipped into Charoses (and then shaken off) before eating. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 475:1)
The bracha of “Al Achilas Maror” is recited before eating the Maror. (bid)
Maror is eaten without heseiba, leaning. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Mishna Berura S”K 14 that if he wants to lean, he may)
The 10th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Korech: a kzayis of matzah is eaten together with a kzayis of maror; a fulfillment of the sage Hillel's understanding of the Posuk (Shmos 12:8) "U'matzos Al Merorim Yochluhu". (See Mishna Berura Siman 475:16)
Some people dip the maror of korech into charoses while others have the custom not to; each person should follow their own custom. (Mishna Berura Siman 475:19)
Before eating this “sandwich” we say “Zecher L’Mikdash K’Hillel…this is a remembrance of what was done in the Bais Hamikdash, according to Hillel….”. The entirety of the text is printed in all Hagados. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 475:1)
From the recital of the bracha of “ Al Achilas Matzah” until after the consumption of the Korech sandwich, no interruptions should be made (except something that is necessary to say for the purposes of the meal), as the bracha on the Matzah and the Bracha on the Maror also go on the Korech sandwich. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)
2) The 11th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Shulchan Orech: the festive Yom Tov seudah is eaten.
Some people have the custom to eat the entire seudah b'heseiba, while leaning, especially when eating matzah. (as the Rama Siman 472:6 rules that l'chatchila this should be done.)
However, nowadays, the prevalent minhag is not to lean while eating the seudah. This was the minhag of the Chazon Ish, the Steipler, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zichronam L'vracha and many other Gedolim.
It is customary to eat a hard-boiled egg [especially the egg from the ke'arah, the seder plate] at the beginning of this seudah, to commemorate the korban chagigah that was brought on Pesach, and also as a subtle sign of mourning that we don't have the Bais Hamikdash in which to bring the Korban Pesach. (and thus Pesach and Tisha B'av always fall out on the same day of the week. See Rama Siman 476:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 11)
It is important not to overeat at this seudah, in order to still have an appetite for the eating of the afikomen. (Rama Siman 476:1)
Halachos for Tuesday , April 12, 2022
1) The 12th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Tzafun: after the meal is eaten, the half of the middle matzah that was put away after "yachatz" is taken out and eaten for "afikoman" (literal translation of the word afikoman, is "dessert" in ancient Greek) (Shulchan Aruch Siman 477:1)
A minimum of a kzayis of matzah must be eaten for afikoman.
L'chatchilah, many people are careful to eat an additional kzayis of matzah, one kzayis commemorating the korban Pesach and the other kzayis commemorating the matzah that was eaten along with the korban Pesach. (See Mishna Berura Siman 477:1)
Women are obligated to eat afikoman just as men are. (See Mishna Berura Siman 477:2)
If there isn't enough from the broken middle matzah to give a kzayis to everyone at the table , other matzah from the box may be used as necessary, as the mitzvah is to eat matzah, not necessarily from that particular matzah.
L'chatchilah, afikoman must be eaten b'heseibah, while leaning.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 477:1)
After the afikoman is eaten no other eating or drinking is allowed, besides for water [or similar watered down drinks], as the taste of matzah is required to remain in the mouth. (See Mishna Berura Siman 478:2)
2) The 13th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Barech: the third cup is poured, and birchas hamazon is recited. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 479:1)
After birchas hamazon, the bracha of borei pri hagafen is recited followed by the drinking of the cup of wine, b'heseibah, while leaning.(ibid.)
No bracha achrona is recited on this cup of wine, as the bracha achrona that will be recited after the fourth cup will cover this one as well. (See Mishna Berura Siman 479 S"K 4)
Halachos for Wednesday , April 13, 2022
1) The 14th of the "15 steps" of the seder is Hallel: the fourth cup of wine is poured, and Hallel is recited, preferably while holding the cup of wine. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 480:1 and Mishna Berura Siman 473 S"K 77)
An additional cup of wine, referred to as "Kos Shel Eliyahu, Elijah the prophet's cup" is also filled before the Hallel is recited. This is to signify our belief that just as Hashem redeemed us from Egypt so too will He soon send Eliyahu Hanavi to inform us of the imminent redemption from this, final, bitter exile. (Mishna BeruraSiman 480 S"K 10)
Hallel at the seder is recited while sitting down, unlike other times where Hallel is recited while standing. (See Mishna Berura Siman 480:1)
After Hallel, we recite the bracha of borei pri hagafen (some sephardim do not recite the bracha of hagafen here, following the ruling of the Bet Yosef) and we drink the fourth and final cup of wine, b'heseibah, while leaning. It is important to drink at least a revi'is so a bracha achrona can be recited afterward.(Shulchan Sruch and Rama Siman 480:1)
2) The 15th, and final, of the "15 steps" of the seder is Nirtzah: This is the finale of the seder where special liturgies (such as Echad Mi Yode'ah, Keil Bnei, Chad Gadya) are recited praising Hashem and extolling the virtues of Klal Yisroel, the Jewish nation, as well as expressing a yearning for the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.
Many of these have deep, powerful kabalistic meaning and powers, beyond their seemingly being simple "Folk" tunes. (See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 480:3. See also Sefer Yosef Ometz Siman 792)
Many have the custom to recite the entire Shir Hashirim, with joy and feeling, after finishing the hagaddah, and this is a very praiseworthy custom. (See Chayei Adam Klal 109 and Siddur Ya'avetz)
חֲסַל סִדּוּר פֶּסַח כְּהִלְכָתוֹ
כְּכָׇל מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וְחֻקָּתוֹ
כַּאֲשֶׁר זָכִינוּ לְסַדֵּר אוֹתוֹ
כֵּן נִזְכֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ
Halachos for Thursday , April 14, 2022
1) Sefiras Haomer, the counting of the Omer, begins on the second night of Pesach, and continues for 49 days until the Yom Tov of Shavuos.
L'chatchila, the bracha on the Sefirah, as well as the counting should be recited while standing. (See Mishna Berura Siman 489:6).
If the Sefirah was counted while sitting, b'dieved it is acceptable, and no re-counting is necessary.
This Halacha applies to men and [those] women [whose minhag it is to count Sefirah,] alike. (we will discuss in more detail, whether women are obligated in this mitzvah or not, as we progress in this topic.)
2) The counting of the Omer should preferably be done as soon as possible after nightfall (preferably the same amount waited after sunset after Shabbos to do melacha, should be waited for the counting of Sefirah as well)
If one davens maariv early, before the counting of the Omer will be possible, he should be extremely careful to have a system set up whereby he will remember to count the Sefirah when the proper time arrives.
It is a good idea to always count the sefirah again during the day [without a bracha], thus even if the counting was forgotten the night before, the day counting will suffice for the total counting of the 49 days and keep you "on track" to be able to count with a Bracha on subsequent nights.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , April 15, 2022
Triple Portion L’Kavod Shabbos and Yom Tov
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Erev Pesach
1) During the first week of Sefirah, once it's after sunset, and before you counted Sefirah, if someone asks you "What night of Sefirah is it tonight?", you should respond by saying "yesterday's count was such and such" (e.g. On the 5th night of Sefirah say "yesterday was the 4th day of the Omer").
If you mistakenly answered "tonight's count is such and such" , you may no longer recite that night's count with a bracha, as your response to that person is considered an adequate "counting". (see Mishna Berura Siman 489:22, and Sha'ar Hatziyun Os 23 and 26)
The above applies even if you just said "tonight is 6", and didn't say "tonight is the 6th night of the Omer". (Mishna BeruraSiman489:21)
However, if someone asks you the count, and you simply respond by saying "6", and don't preface it by saying "today is", it isn't considered a count and you may go ahead and count again with a bracha. (Mishna Berura 489:20)
2) once we start counting the second week of the Omer, when we count the weeks as well as the days, if you responded to the inquiry of "what night is tonight?" saying "tonight is 9", as long as you didn't add the information "...which is one week and 2 days" you haven't satisfied your obligation, and may go ahead and still count with a bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 489:22 and Sha'ar Hatziyun os 28)
Therefore, if you tell someone on the night of the 33rd day of the Omer that "tonight is lag b'omer", there is no need to worry, and you are still required to count the Omer with a bracha. (this is a very common occurrence, and many mistakenly assume that they do not recite a bracha anymore after this happens)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh, 1st day of Pesach
1) If one forgot to count Sefirah one night, he/she should count during that day (without a bracha) and then can resume counting the following night with a bracha.
However, if one didn't remember to count on that day and sunset of the next day arrived, he/she must count the remainder of the Sefirah days without a bracha, and preferably hear the bracha from someone else who is counting.
The above Halacha is only if you are certain that you forgot to count on one of the nights. However, if you are unsure (safek) if you missed a night, you may continue the rest of the Sefirah counting with a bracha. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 489:8. See also Mishna Berura S"K 38. For more details see Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 4 Siman 99:3 and Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak vol. 9 Siman 57 and Kaf Hachaim Siman 489:82)
2) There is a debate amongst the Poskim regarding one who knows that he/she will miss one (or more) days of counting the Sefirah (due to being scheduled to go under the operating knife R"L , or any other reason) if they may begin counting with a bracha in the first place (as there is an opinion in the rishonim that one who misses one day of counting renders all his/her previous brachos as brachos l'vatalah (l'mafrea), blessings in vain)
The consensus of most poskim, however, is that one may indeed begin counting with a bracha, and only after that day is missed, will they have to continue without a bracha, but all the previous brachos will not be rendered "in vain". (See Halichos Shlomo page 357, Shu"t Ohr L'tzion vol. 1 Siman 36. This is also the opinion of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal and many other contemporary Poskim.)
Halachos for Sunday, 2nd Day of Pesach (Chol Hamoed in Eretz Yisroel)
1) There are varying opinions amongst the Poskim whether women should/may count the Sefirah with a bracha, as women are not obligated in Sefiras Ha'omer, as it is a "Mitzvas Asei Shehazman Gerama, a time-bound mitzvah".
The Mogen Avraham maintains that women have accepted this mitzvah upon themselves as if it was an "obligation" and thus they must indeed count with a bracha. (Quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 489:3)
The custom of women in Europe in the time and place of the Chofetz Chaim Zatzal was not to count Sefirah. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
The Shulchan Shlomo (quoted in Mishna Berura ibid.) maintains that women should count the days, but should not recite the bracha before the counting. There are two ways to interpret his reasoning:
a) the first interpretation is due to the fact that women will most likely forget to count at least one of the nights and thus are better off not even starting to count with a bracha (as according to some Rishonim the 49 days are all one unit of mitzvah.)
b) the second interpretation is that women who forget to count one night will not know that they can no longer count with a bracha and thus end up reciting brachos l'vatalos.
[The reason many men don't forget to count Sefirah is that they go to Shul for Ma'ariv. Thus, men who do not regularly attend Shul for ma'ariv, according to the first interpretation, should probably also not count Sefirah with a bracha, as they too will surely end up "messing up". A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L'ma'aseh.]
2) Nowadays, many women do indeed have the custom to count Sefirah with a bracha, as we have Sefirah calendars and other reminders (including many email, and text message reminders) that make it more likely that they will indeed complete the entire 49 day count. (See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 489:4 where he rules that women should count with a bracha as they do other mitzvos Asei Shehazman Gerama. This may not apply to Sephardic women, as the Bet Yosef rules that women do not recite a bracha over any Mitzvos Asei Shehazman Grama. Each woman must consult her Rav for a psak)
If a woman indeed wants to count, it is important that she at least know the basic meaning of the words being said, i.e. How the days and weeks being said in Hebrew translate into the appropriate day of the counting. (Of course, this applies to men as well. See Mishna Berura 489:5, Shu"t Maharil Diskin kunteres achron Siman 5 os 55)
Halachos for Monday , April 18, 2022
1) There is a biblical commandment to rejoice on Yom Tov as it states in the Torah (Devarim 16:14) "V'samachta B'chagecha- you shall rejoice on your festival".
This mitzvah applies to chol hamoed (the intermediate days of the festivals) as well. (See Rambam Perek 6 of Hilchos Yom Tov Halacha 17)
One must drink wine at least once a day during every day of chol hamoed. Some poskim maintain that at every meal eaten on chol hamoed, wine must be consumed. (See Emes L'Yaakov from Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal Siman 530 footnote 483. This Halacha applies to men; women's obligation of simcha is not accomplished via wine. See Rambam Hilchos Ym Tov Halacha 17 and 18 and Shulchan Aruch Siman 529:2 )
It is best to drink wine, and not grape juice, which according to some Poskim does not cause "joy" as wine does.
If one cannot drink straight wine, it is best to at least mix a little wine into the grape juice, so that the taste of the alcohol is evident. (Psak of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal. See also Mikra'ei Kodesh Pesach vol. 2 Siman 35, Emes L'Yaakov ibid. Shulchan Shlomo Siman 529 footnote 6)
Of course, if one cannot drink even grape juice, due to health concerns, there is no obligation for him to do so.
2) It is also important to eat meat (preferably beef, not poultry) once a day on each day of chol hamoed. (See Biur Halacha 529:2, Be'er Heitev 551:28,Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 3 Siman 68, Emes L'Yaakov ibid. and Shu"t Shevet Haleivi vol. 3 Siman 18:2)
There is no requirement to eat lechem, bread (i.e. Matzah, on Pesach) on chol hamoed, therefore if "Ya'aleh V'yavo was mistakenly omitted in the birchas hamazon of chol hamoed it does not need to be repeated. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 188:7)
However, it is still worthwhile to eat bread (i.e. Matzah) once each night and once each day of chol hamoed, out of respect for the day. (Mishna Berura 530:1)
Halachos for Tuesday , April 19, 2022
1) It is prohibited to launder clothing on chol hamoed, by hand or via a washing machine.
However, [very] young children's clothing which often get dirty and soiled may be washed if necessary. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 534:1)
It is prohibited to add any adult clothing into the washing machine along with the wash that is being done for the children.(Psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal)
Even for children, it is only permissible to wash those particular articles of clothing that are needed. (See Mishna Berura 534:11 and Aruch Hashulchan 534:8)
The age of the children whose clothing may be washed, is at most until age 6 or 7 years old. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Shulchan Shlomo 534:3)
2) Polishing shoes, brushing a hat, spot cleaning a stain [that developed on chol hamoed] and simple ironing to remove wrinkles to make the clothing wearable for chol hamoed is permitted on chol hamoed, according to most Poskim. (See Rama Siman 541:3 and Mishna Berura S"K 9. See also Shulchan Shlomo 534:1 and Emes L'Yaakov Siman 534: footnote 489)
Halachos for Wednesday , April 20, 2022
1) Fruit picking is permitted on chol hamoed if the fruits are intended for consumption on chol hamoed
However, there is no need to estimate how much will be eaten on chol hamoed, rather the fruits may be picked in abundance.
2) If the fruits are specifically being picked for use after chol hamoed, it is best for adults not to pick them.
Children, however, who are doing it mainly as an activity, may pick them even in such a case. (Psak of Harav Yaakov Forcheimer shlita, Rav and Dayan in Lakewood NJ)
Halachos for Thursday , April 21, 2022
LECHEM MISHNEH: TRIPLE PORTION L'KAVOD YOM TOV & SHABBOS KODESH
Halachos for Thursday, Erev Shvi’i/Acharon Shel Pesach
1) Driving a car is permitted on chol hamoed.
A car that needs [minor] fixing and is needed for chol hamoed, may be brought to a mechanic to fix on chol hamoed, with the following conditions:
· if the mechanic is a Jew, he may not take payment for his services.
· if the mechanic is an Aino-Yehudi, he may be paid for his services.
· the "fixing" that is necessary may not be anything major, rather only "small jobs" such as batteries, jump starting, flat tires, etc. may be done on chol hamoed.
For larger jobs, that may be considered "ma'aseh uman - the work of a skilled worker" a Rav should be consulted before fixing.
2) If one is away from home on chol hamoed, and thus not fixing the car would entail a large expense, the rental of a different car etc., it is then considered a "davar ha'avud" and even a larger job may be given to a mechanic to fix. However, the services of an Aino-Yehudi mechanic should be utilized.
A Rav should always be consulted in these situations as the halachos of "davar ha'avud" are very delicate and are easily and too often abused beyond the halachic allowances.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Shvi’i Shel Pesach (Acharon Shel Pesach in Eretz Yisroel)
1) During the days of Sefirah, it is customary to exhibit some signs of mourning, as in this time period the 24,000 disciples of the holy Tana Rebbi Akiva perished. (See Talmud Yevamos 62b and Tur and Shulchan Aruch Siman 493)
2) It is customary not to get married during Sefirah. Getting engaged, though, is permissible.
It is customary not to take haircuts or shave facial hair during Sefirah.
It is customary not to listen to music or dance during Sefirah.(We will elaborate on these Halachos in more detail B'ezras Hashem as we progress in this topic)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh, Acharon Shel Pesach (Isru Chag in Eretz Yisroel)
1) Though the time of the counting of sefirah is from Pesach until Shavuos, it is customary to only exhibit the aforementioned signs of mourning for 33 of the 49 days.
Some people start from Pesach and cease the mourning on Lag B'omer, while others only begin exhibiting the signs of mourning from the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar until three days before shavuos (sh'loshes yemei hagbalah) (See Shu"t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 142 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 1 Siman 159 regarding if nowadays there exists any problems of "lo tisgodedu" with people who observe different times of Sefirah)
2) Some Poskim (including Harav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal in Igros Moshe ibid.) maintain that in certain instances and with the guidance of a Rav, one may switch his/her "33 days" from year to year if necessary (hataras nedarim may be necessary in order to do this), while others are stringent and maintain that one must continually follow the same minhag each year. (See Michtavim U'ma'amarim from Harav Elazar Menachem Mann Shach Zatzal vol. 6 page 71 for the reasoning why changing would not be permitted.)
Every individual should consult their Rav for halacha L’Ma’aseh
Halachos for Sunday, April 24, 2022
1) If one is invited to a wedding at a time when they are observing Sefirah, while the one making the wedding observes the "other half" of Sefirah and is thus permitted to make a wedding, he/she may attend the wedding, listen to the music and even participate in the dancing. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 2 Siman 95)
However, taking a haircut or shaving/trimming a beard in honor of the wedding is prohibited unless not doing so will be embarrassing and cause you not to go to the wedding and thus prevent you from performing the mitzvah of bringing joy to a bride and groom. (ibid.)
2) If during the days that you do not yet observe Sefirah, someone who is observing Sefirah enters your home, car or other area where you are listening to music, it isn't necessary to close the music. However, that person may not deliberately do this in order to listen to the music.
Likewise, it isn't necessary to worry about your neighbors, who may be observing Sefirah now, hearing the music from your home, as long as it's playing at a usual, acceptable level. (This was the Psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein regarding one who is in the year of aveilus for a parent R"L that his/her family members may play music in the home, and surely that is the halacha regarding Sefirah. Quoted in Sefer Shiurei Halacha from Rav Shmuel Felder Shlita, posek in Lakewood, NJ)
Halachos for Monday, April 25, 2022
1) Haircuts and shaving of any hair on the body is prohibited [for men] during sefirah. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim siman 493:2)
If one works at a job where not shaving will cause him a monetary loss, it is permitted.
However, if one is simply embarrassed to go unshaven, and is worried that his co-workers will poke fun at him, but he will not incur a monetary loss, the prohibition stands. (Psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 4 siman 102 and Choshen Mishpat vol. 1 siman 93. See She'arim Metzuyanim B'halacha's commentary on the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman 122:3 for a lengthy discussion with other sources about this)
2) Many poskim are lenient in regard to women, and maintain that women may indeed shave any of their hair during sefirah.
However, the prevalent custom is for women to be stringent and not cut the hair [on their head] during sefirah unless doing so in preparation for immersion in the mikvah or in cases when the hair is too long and thus not able to be covered properly according to halacha. (See Shu"t L'horos Nosson vol. 2 siman 32. This is also the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach and Rav Shmuel Wosner zichronam l'vracha.)
The aforementioned halacha refers to hair of the head only. However, women may shave their legs, pluck their eyebrows, and have electrolysis done l'chatchilah during sefirah. (See Hilchos Bein Hametzorim from Rav Shimon Eider Zatzal page 4 quoting his Rebbi, Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal, and Sefer Bein Pesach L'shavuos page 241 where he quotes Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zatzal regarding the eyebrows and electrolysis, that they aren't considered "shaving".)
The prevalent minhag is to not give haircuts even to children under bar/bas mitzvah during sefirah, unless absolutely necessary.
Halachos for Tuesday, April 26, 2022
1) It is forbidden to dance during sefirah, as it will lead to excess simcha in this period of mourning [over the deaths of the 24,000 disciples of Rebbi Akiva]. (See Mogen Avraham Siman 493:1 and Mishna Berura Siman 493:3)
It is also forbidden to play or listen to musical instruments during sefirah, as this can lead to dancing. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 493:2 and Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak vol. 1 Siman 111)
2) Though some people are lenient with regard to listening to music that isn't live (such as on a CD or the Jewish radio channel), the majority of Poskim forbid that as well as the end result (i.e. the fact that it will lead to excess simcha) is the same.
Even those who rely on the lenient ruling should refrain from listening to recorded music that contains very lively dance music.
Of course, each individual should consult their Rav before relying on any lenencies, as flippantly ignoring the somberness of this time period is extremely inappropriate
Halachos for Wednesday, April 27, 2022
1) It is permissible to sing during sefirah.
However, one should refrain from singing excessively lively songs that may lead to dancing. (Ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal)
2) If one is passively listening to music with no intention to bring him/herself to simcha (e.g. While in a doctor's waiting room, in a store or in another public place where music is playing) it is permitted to remain there, as it isn't his/her intention to listen to the music.
If one is exercising and needs music for the rhythm, it is permissible, as it isn't being done for simcha. (Psak of Rav Shmuel Felder Shlita and other Poskim)
Listening to cantorial recordings (chazanus) where the musical accompaniment is only as background, and isn't an integral part of the music, is permitted.
Likewise, children's story tapes that have musical background are permitted, even when there are adults present who will hear it. (See Sefer Vayevarech Dovid Orach Chaim Siman 65)
If music is necessary to calm and/or control small children (e.g. a musical mobile for an infant, or even a music CD in the car on long trips) it is permitted.
However, it should not be played very loud that people outside, who do not know the reason you are playing it, will hear it. (Psak of Rav Shmuel Felder Shlita)
Halachos for Thursday, April 28, 2022
1) There is a discussion among the Poskim if the bracha of "Shehechiyanu V'kiyimanu V'Higiyanu Lazman Hazeh", which is recited to mark a happy day, occasion, purchase or event , may be recited during Sefirah, or, like during the three weeks (when we mourn the churban), it is not recited.
The Mishna Berura (Siman 493:2) maintains that if one finds him/herself in a situation that calls for the recital of Shehechiyanu, they may indeed recite the bracha. (Some Poskim deduce from the Mishna Berura's language that he held that one should try not to find him/herself in such a situation, if possible. Other Poskim argue and maintain that it can be recited L'chatchila, as the mourning of Sefirah is not as stringent as the mourning over the Bais Hamikdash that we observe in the 3 weeks before Tisha B'av.)
2) Although there is no real halachic source in the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch or in the early Poskim to prohibit the recital of Shehechiyanu, some people do in fact have the custom not to recite it based on Kabalistic reasons.
One who indeed has this minhag should continue abiding by it. (See Sefer Likutei Mahariach for further sources about this.)
As with all halachic questions, a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L'ma'aseh.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 29, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Some people have the custom not to wear new clothing during Sefirah.
This custom has no real source in Halacha, and most likely developed from a misapplied comparison to the prohibition of wearing new clothing during the 3 weeks/9 days. (See Shu"t Yabia Omer vol. 3 Siman 26). If one does indeed have this custom in his/her family for many generations, they should abide by it.
2) However, if this isn't the custom in your family, new clothing may be worn. (See Sefer Bain Pesach L'shavuos chapter 16 footnote 1 near the end what he quotes from the Yosef Ometz Siman 845 and 848 to explain why certain communities had this custom, and why it doesn't apply to everyone)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) Even those whose custom it is not to wear new clothing during Sefirah may purchase new clothing during Sefirah to be worn afterward.
Additionally those who avoid wearing new clothing only avoid significant articles of clothing (such as a suit or dress and the like) but not other articles (such as socks, undergarments, shirts etc.).
2) Also, dressing children in new clothing is treated more leniently even by those adults who themselves avoid new clothing. (See Shu"t Vayevarech Dovid Siman 59. See also Leket Yosher page 98 regarding shoes)
Halachos for Sunday, May 1, 2022
1) It is permissible to move into a newly rented apartment during Sefirah.
Although not halachically prohibited, there are those who refrain from moving into a newly built/bought home that they own, as this leads to excessive Simcha.
However, those who are not stringent with this have on whom to rely.
2) If some significant items (such as furniture) are moved into the home prior to Sefirah, then according to everyone there is no issue of moving into the home during Sefirah, as the initial Simcha of the new home has faded. (See Shu"t Yechaveh Da'as vol. 3 Siman 30 and Sefer Hilchos Chag B'chag; Pesach, page 58 quoting Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zichronam L'Vracha)
One who moves into a new home may celebrate a "Chanukas Habayis" during sefirah.
It is best to speak words of Torah at this celebration to render it a seudas mitzvah.
Singing is also allowed at this Seudah, but not music or dancing.(Psak of Chacham Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal)
Halachos for Monday, May 2, 2022
1) The Talmud (Yevamos 62b) tells us that the holy Tanna Rebbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of disciples, and all 24,000 of them passed away within a short time period [during the time between Pesach and Shavuos], as a punishment for not treating one another with adequate respect.
Obviously, these disciples were very exalted individuals, and were held to a very high standard, as Tzadikim are, and thus, on their lofty level it was deemed a sin enough to warrant their deaths.
While we cannot fathom the greatness of these great men, we can, and must, learn the lesson of their harsh punishment, and do our best to improve our interpersonal relationships with our friends, family and others we come in contact with in our lives, and work to improve how we respect all people we interact with.
It is especially important to utilize the time period of the Sefiras Ha’Omer for introspection and personal growth, especially to work on improving areas of Bein Adam L'Chaveiro, such as Kavod, Lashon Hara, Rechilus, Dan L’Kaf Zechus, Ona’as Devarim etc.
Thus, over the next few days we will review some important Halachos in Hilchos Lashon Hara (Though we covered this topic at length not too long ago - a quick review of some commonly relevant Halachos is always a good idea!)
2) It is forbidden to relate about another Jew that he/she is not intelligent.
This is the case even if what the intention to relate is that they aren’t “worldly”, which is still a negative thing to say.
Surely, it is forbidden to relate about someone who is recognized as a “Talmid Chacham” that “he isn’t as wise as people think he is” or similar negative comments, such as saying about a Rav of a Shul that “He is only knowledgeable in Halachos relevant to day-to-day operation of the community, but is not so knowledgeable in other areas of Torah”.
Similarly, it is forbidden to say about a respected Talmid Chacham in a city that “I know him from when he used to live in a different city… over there they didn’t respect him as much…” .
Likewise, it is forbidden to say about a public speaker, “He isn’t worth listening to” or “ He is not as interesting as people say he is” or “ He doesn’t know what he is talking about” or any similar negative comment.
Halachos for Tuesday, May 3, 2022
1) As a general rule, when it comes to “Midos”, there is no one way that is right or wrong for everyone, and no one way that is proper for each situation.
For example, there are times where acting with anger, jealousy, zealousness and the like is highly inappropriate, and times when it is indeed warranted according to the Torah. (The entire Sefer Orchos Tzadikim is based on this premise, where he discusses various Midos, and their appropriate and inappropriate applications)
2) Thus, due to the many variables, based on the individual in question, the circumstances, the venue, the time etc., it is never possible to know exactly what transpired and why an individual acted a certain way which seemingly was without good Midos, and certainly we may not deem someone a Rasha based on observing him / her behaving with “bad” Midos.
Halachos for Wednesday, May 4, 2022
1)The prohibition to speak Lashon Hara does not only apply to speaking negatively about an individual; it also applies to speaking negatively about a group.
Thus, it is prohibited to say something negative about people from a specific city or community, the crowd in a certain Shul, the lifestyle of a particular faction of Yidden, and the like.
2) Lashon Hara is prohibited regardless if the one being spoken about is a male or female, child or adult, a random person or a friend, a spouse or a distant relative, a Talmid Chacham or an unlearned person.
Halachos for Thursday, May 5, 2022
1) It is prohibited to denigrate and talk disparagingly about a person even after he/she passes away.
2) There is a “Cherem Kadmonin” , an ancient rabbinic condemnation leveled against one who speaks negatively about the deceased, and it is recommended to be careful with this at all costs. (See commentary of the Mordechai beginning of 8th Perek of Bava Kama. See also Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 606:3)
This applies regarding any deceased people, even if they were not Torah scholars, and all the more so about a Torah scholar. Furthermore, it also applies to disparaging the Divrei Torah of a Talmid Chacham who has passed from this world.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 6, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Just as it is prohibited to “speak” Lashon Hara about a fellow Jew, so too it is equally forbidden to “write” Lashon Hara about them.
Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, it has become so much easier and more prevalent to relate, read, accept and spread Lashon Hara about people, via email, text message, WhatsApp groups and the like, and this has had terrible and frightening consequences for individuals, families, businesses, communities and for Klal Yisroel at large.
Each and every Yid must be vigilant to avoid having any part in this spread of Lashon Hara at all costs.
It may take just a second or two to click and share a seemingly harmless story, text, meme or message, but that can set off a chain reaction and literally within minutes it can reach thousands of people and seriously harm or destroy a person’s life, reputation, business, Shalom Bayis etc.
2) This is not something to be flippant about; it is crucial to think twice (or 100 times) before reading and believing something received via digital transmission, and surely, we must think deep, hard and honestly, before sharing something that we receive, to make sure it is 100% OK to share. Once it is shared, it is all but impossible to "un-share", and it takes on a life of its own and gets around the world.
This is a serious concern, and should not be treated lightly or dismissed as “Oh, it’s only a harmless meme…” or by thinking “ Everyone is doing it” or assuming that since it’s already out there, there is no harm in broadcasting it further; nothing can be further from the truth.
May Hashem give us all the strength to overcome this strong 21st century Yetzer Hara, and help us all use technology responsibly and without sin R”L.
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) The prohibition to relate Lashon Hara is in full effect even if the one it is being related to is a very close relative, including one’s spouse.
2) Many people mistakenly believe that it is OK to share negative details about what transpired in Shul, at work or other things that happened to them during the day, with their spouse.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Not only is this 100% Lashon Hara and forbidden, it is also unwise as sharing such negative details with a spouse often leads to machlokes, the spouse harboring feelings of animosity toward them, and other sins. (Of course, there are certain exceptions to this rule, where relating something to a spouse can be deemed L’Toeles, for a permitted and necessary purpose. The criteria for "To'eles must be studied thoroughly before being utilized). The aforementioned Halachos also apply to business partners; there is no blanket allowance for them to share negative information with one another, unless deemed necessary according to Halacha.
Halachos for Sunday, May 8, 2022
1) It is prohibited to listen/accept Lashon Hara, even if the information has been printed in a public letter, newspaper or other publication. (See also Michtevei Chofetz Chaim 42)
2) One should not establish his seat in a Shul or a Bais Medrash near those who are gossipers.
Not only will this lead to the harsh sin of Lashon Hara, it will also lead to many other sins, such as Bitul Torah, Bitul Tefilah, missing Amens, talking during davening and the like. (Furthermore, according to Kabalistic writings, sitting in such a place can lead to all sorts of harm R"L. See Kav Hayashar Perek 11 Dibur Hamaschil V'Od Davar Echad)
Also, keep in mind that besides all the other negative results of Lashon Hara, one who is involved in forbidden speech risks having his Tefilos rejected by Hashem R”L.
Halachos for Monday, May 9, 2022
1) The 14th day of the month of Iyar is referred to as "Pesach Sheini, the second Pesach" or alternatively as "Pesach Katan, the minor Pesach". (See Mishna Maseches Chalah Perek 4:11)
In the times of the Bais Hamikdash, those individuals who were unable to sacrifice the Korban Pesach in its intended time, on the 14th of Nisan, due to being impure or being away from Yerushalayim, were given a second chance to bring the Korban on this day. (See Bamidbar 9:6-13)
2) Nowadays, when no Korban Pesach is brought, there is a debate among the Poskim if this day is considered a Yom Tov and thus no Tachanun is recited, or if it does not get a status as a Yom Tov and thus Tachanun is recited.
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim Siman 131) when he lists the days when Tachanun is omitted does not list Pesach Sheni, and the Mishna Berura does not seem to argue, and rules like the Pri Megadim (in Mishbetzos Zahav 131:15) that Tachanun is recited. The Chazon Ish Zatzal recited Tachanun on Pesach Sheini.
However, the Shulchan Aruch Harav (in his siddur), the Shiyarei Knesses Hagedolah and other Poskim maintained that Tachanun is not recited on Pesach Sheini. (See also Sha'arei Teshuva Siman 131:7).
Every congregation should follow their own accepted custom
Halachos for Tuesday, May 10, 2022
1) We find in Chazal that Pesach Sheini is referred to as a Chag, a holiday.
The Midrash (quoted in Yalkut Shimoni Parashas Pinchas Perek 29) states as follows:
"Rabbi Levi says: in every one of the summer months Hashem wanted to establish a Chag for the Jews. In Nisan he gave them Pesach, in Iyar he gave then Pesach Katan..." (See the entire Midrash for more details).
Clearly this Midrash refers to Pesach Katan, i.e. Pesach Sheini, as a Chag.
2) Some people have the custom to eat Matzah on Pesach Sheini to commemorate the Korban Pesach that was brought on this day [by those who missed bringing it on 14 Nisan] which was eaten with Matzah.
Some people avoid eating roasted meat on the eve of the 15th of Iyar, just as it's prohibited to eat roasted meat on the eve of the 15th of Nisan, while others only avoid roasted lamb which is prepared as the Korban Pesach was. (See commentary of the Rashash to Mishna Pesachim 53a and Kaf HaChaim Siman 476:1)
Halachos for Wednesday, May 11, 2022
1) The thirty third day of the Omer, the 18th of Iyar, is referred to as "Lag B'Omer" and the early sources already treat this day as a special day, as a kind of Yom Tov. (See Sefer Hamanhig page 91a and Me'iri to Yevamos 62b)
2) The Tur (Siman 493:3) states that the Talmidim of Rav Akiva stopped dying on Lag B'Omer.
However, the Talmud (Yevamos 62b) clearly states that they died from Pesach all the way until Shavuos. If that is so, what then is the significance of the 33rd day of the Omer and why does the Tur write that they stopped dying on that day?
The Maharil writes, to explain this apparent discrepancy between the Talmud and the words of the Tur, that they died on all of the days between Pesach and Shavuos except on the days that [intrinsically] do not recite Tachnun [i.e. not counting the "rest of Chodesh Nisan, which only don't get Tachanun due to them being the minority part of the rest of the month]. These days are: 7 days of Pesach, 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the 7 Shabbasos in Sefira, [and Pesach Sheini]; 17 days in all.
Therefore they only died on 32 of the 49 days. As a commemoration of this, we designate the "33rd" day as the day that the dying stopped and we celebrate that day, but not that it totally stopped on Lag B'Omer.
[ Reader's Question:
I am a little confused as to why we celebrate Lag B’Omer based on the reason that the Talmidim of Rabbi Akiva stopped dying. They stopped dying because there was nobody else left to die. And even if they didn’t specifically die on Lag B’Omer, Since the dying picked up the following day, how is that a reason to celebrate?
We are not celebrating the death of the Talmidim, nor are we celebrating the pause in their death, per se.
We are celebrating the rebirth of Torah learning and the continuation of our Mesorah which came about during this time period, namely via Rebbi Akiva and his disciples, including Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai.
When Rebbi Akiva lost EVERYTHING he worked so hard to build, he could have and should have been dejected and thrown in the towel (as most human beings would have done). However, he did not. He did the opposite. He went and found 5 new Talmidim and started again. From those 5 we have everything we have until today in Torah Sheba'al Peh, and specifically, via Rebbi Shimon, we have Toras Hanistar as well, i.e. the holy Zohar.
Thus, what we are celebrating, in essence, is the REBIRTH of Torah which happened in this time period, despite the odds against it, and since Rebbi Shimon's Yahrtzeit is in this time period, on Lag B'Omer, that was the day chosen to celebrate the REBIRTH and CONTINUITY, of Torah for Am Yisroel.
These words are etched in Meron at the grave of Rebbi Shimon "Ki Lo Sishakach MiPi Zaro....." Torah will never be forgotten....due in large part to the REBIRTH of Torah by Rebbi Akiva and his Talmidim, chiefly, Rebbi Shimon.
In a deeper sense, "They stopped dying" is a reference to the Torah. It stopped dying, and continued being transmitted!
There is a lot more to say about this topic, which is a deep and mystical topic with many aspects to it, but a full coverage of this is beyond the scope of this email.]
Halachos for Thursday, May 12, 2022
1) The prohibition to hold weddings, take haircuts, dance and sing during Sefirah is lifted on Lag B'Omer.
Ideally, the prohibition is lifted only on Lag B'Omer day and not on the eve of Lag B'Omer. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 493:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 11. See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 120:6)
2) However, the prevalent custom is to allow weddings to take place already on the eve of Lag B'Omer. (See Kaf Hachaim Siman 493:28, Aruch Hashulchan Siman 493:4 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 1 Siman 159)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 13, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) It is customary in many communities to light bonfires on Lag B'Omer eve and to sing and dance around it, in memory of the holy Tana Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the holy Zohar, whose Yahrtzeit is on this day.
The prevalent custom, here too, is to already allow this singing and dancing on the eve of Lag B'Omer.
2) Other singing and dancing, according to some Poskim should wait until Lag B'Omer by day, while other Poskim are lenient and allow it all on Lag B'Omer eve. (See Halichos Shlomo; Moadim vol. 2 page 362 footnote 23 and Shiurei Halacha from Rav Shmuel Felder Shlita, page 16)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) As Lag B'Omer is considered a joyous day and a Yom Tov, no Tachanun is recited on this day, nor at Mincha of the preceding day. (Rama Siman 131:6 and 493:2 and Be'er Heitev 493:5 )
2) Many have the custom to give children [toy] bows and arrows (Keshes) on Lag B'Omer.
One of the reasons cited for this minhag is to commemorate the fact that no Keshes, rainbow (which is a sign that Hashem wants to destroy the world) was ever present in the sky for the duration of the life of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, whose Yahrtzeit is on this day, as his merit protected the entire world. (See Talmud Yeruslami Brachos Perek 9 Mishna 2. For a novel approach to this, see Shla Hakadosh Parashas Noach, quoting the Rama in Sefer Toras Ha'Olah. The Rama's Yahrtzeit is also on Lag B'Omer)
In many Chasidic circles, the Rebbes shoot bows and arrows as well at the Lag B'Omer Tish (gathering).
Halachos for Sunday, May 15, 2022
1) Many people have the custom to travel to the city of Meron in the north of Eretz Yisroel for Lag B'Omer to celebrate this day at the Tzion (gravesite) of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai (AKA Rashb"i).
2) This is an age-old custom that dates back many centuries, already in the times of the Tana'im. (See Kaf Hachaim Siman 493:26 and Ta'amei Haminhagim page 296 and on for an in depth list of those who used to go to the Kever of Rashb"i)
Some are of the opinion that already from three days before Lag B'Omer and for three days after Lag B'Omer, is also an ideal time to visit the Kever. (See Ta'amei Haminhagim page 268 footnote 43)
Halachos for Monday, May 16, 2022
1) One who is unable to physically travel to the Kever of Rashb"i can still take part in this Minhag by learning passages in the Zohar or other Torah teachings of Rashb"i. (Ta'amei Haminhagim page 274)
2) There is a unique minhag to give out drinks to visitors in Meron at the Kever of Rashb"i referred to as "Chai Rotel Mashkeh". "Chai Rotel" refers to an ancient measurement equivalent to approximately 55 liters.
The Bobov Rav, Rav Benzion Halberstam Zatzal writes that giving out this drink is a merit for childless couples to be blessed with children. (Ta'amei Haminhagim page 263-264 in the footnotes)
The main thing to keep in mind is that learning Torah and doing Chesed is always praiseworthy!
Halachos for Tuesday, May 17, 2022
1) Large bonfires are lit in Meron [and in communities across the world] to commemorate the bright light of the hidden Torah (which includes the holy "Zohar"; the word Zohar means "Shine") that Rashb"i revealed and brought down to illuminate this world.
Another reason cited for this is to commemorate the ring of fire that encircled Rashb"i and his son, the holy Tana Rebbi Elazar, as they learned Torah in the cave for 13 years. (See Ta'amei Haminhagim page 252 for additional reasons and sources)
2) The custom is to sing lively, as well as other special songs composed in honor of Rashb"i, and dance around the fire.
Additionally, it is customary to light candles near the Tzion [as well as anywhere else there is a fire] in memory of Rashb"i's Yahrtzeit.
Lag B'Omer was also the day Rashb"i and his son emerged from the cave where they were hiding. (See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 493:7. See Talmud Shabbos 33b for the story about them hiding in the cave for 13 years)
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus Zatzal, when discussiong the Zohar, Rashb"i and other kabalistic secrets of the Torah, would say that although most of us cannot understand and grasp the true meaning of Kabalistic teachings, the hidden Torah, it is important for every Jew to know that they exist and it was given at Sinai together with the revealed Torah. The revealed parts of the Torah that most of us study is but a tip of the iceberg of the depth and vastness of our holy Torah.
No matter how much Torah one learns and no matter how deep one delves into any part of the Torah, there is always more to know and deeper understandings to reach.
The Torah, like Hashem Himself, is endless, infinite and eternal.
Halachos for Wednesday, May 18, 2022
1) There is an age-old custom to give a three year old boy his first haircut at, or around, the age of three, and also have the boy start donning a head covering, (Commonly referred to as a Yarmulka or a Kippah) , as well as Tzitzis, at all times.
This ceremony, referred to by many as the "Upsherin" (Yiddish for haircut) is a joyous occasion as the parents can begin training the child (chinuch) in the Mitzvah of Peiyos (the sideburns or side locks that must be left, and are prohibited by the Torah to totally remove) as well as other Mitzvos.
This is even deemed a Simcha to the point of allowing this haircut to be performed during, or even postponed until, Chol Hamoed, when haircuts are otherwise prohibited. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 531:6 and Sha'arei Teshuva Os 6)
2) Many people have the custom to perform the Upsherin on Lag B'Omer, and many travel to Meron to perform it in the vicinity of the Kever of Rashb"i, on this day.
The Ariza"l had this custom for his own children as well. (See Sha'rei Teshuva Siman 531 Os 6, and Sha'ar Hakavanos from Rav Chaim Vital Zatzal, Pesach Derush 12. See also Shu"t Arugas Habosem Orach Chaim Siman 210 where he finds an Asmachta, a biblical reference, to support this minhag.)
Some people have the custom to weigh the hair that was cut off the three year old child and give that amount of gold or silver to Tzedakah.
It is said that doing this is a segulah for the child to grow in Torah and Yiras Shomayim and live a long life. (See Sefer Segulas Yisroel, Gimel, Os 25. See also Shu"t Radvaz Vol. 2 Siman 608 where he discusses a similar minhag.)
Even those who do not have the minhag of an Upsherin, should not belittle or ridicule any aspects of these minhagim (or any accepted Minhagei Yisroel, for that matter) as they all stem from holy sources.
Halachos for Thursday, May 19, 2022
1) Kohanim who visit Meron should not enter the building which houses the Kever of Rashb"i.
Although there are those that posit that this building was built in a way that would make it acceptable for Kohanim to enter, according to many Poskim this is just a legend and there is no basis for this leniency in halacha when it comes to the holiness of Kehuna. (Ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal. See Halichos Shlomo;Sefiras Ha'Omer, Perek 11:23 and Dvar halacha Os 34. I heard that a new "Kohanim bridge" was just built there which is supposed to be a halachically acceptable place for Kohanim to stand, but each individual Kohen must discuss with their own Rav exactly where he may and where he may not go.)
Kohanim who are careful, when visiting Kivrei Tzadikim, to stand and daven from afar, as to ensure not to go where it is prohibited for them to go due to their special holiness, will merit having those Tzadikim who are buried there be even bigger heavenly advocates for them to have their requests answered. (See Halichos Shlomo ibid.)
2) A bride and groom who are getting married on Lag B'Omer, should fast on the day of their wedding. (Ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo; Sefiras Ha'Omer Perek 11:22. Other people should not fast on this day. See Me'iri to Yevamos 62b)
At a wedding on Lag B'Omer, it is best, if possible, that the seudah as well as the dancing begin before Shkiah (sunset) , while it is still the day of Lag B'Omer. (See Halichos Shlomo; Sefiras Ha'Omer, Orchos Halacha 81)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 20, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) There is an age-old custom, based on the teachings of the holy Zohar, to remain awake the entire night of Shavuos and spend the night immersed in Torah learning. (See Mishna Berura Siman 494 S"K 1 for the reason for this minhag)
2) Moreover, the Arizal writes that one who spends the entire night awake, immersed in Torah learning, is guaranteed to remain alive for the remainder of the year and no harm will befall him. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
Although this is a tremendously difficult thing to do, and on a practical level not achievable for most people, it is important to try and spend as much time as possible immersed in Torah learning on this exalted night, and certainly not squander it away with idle chatter, and certainly not with forbidden conversation.
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) One who will stay awake all of Shavuos night to learn Torah, and plans to drink sporadically throughout the night , if he had in mind when reciting the bracha of Shehakol on the first drink, that it should cover everything he drinks that night, that initial bracha will suffice to exempt all the subsequent drinks throughout the night. (provided he did not leave the building where he recite the initial bracha)
2) However, it is ideal not to have this in mind, and rather recite Borei Nefashs after each drink and a new bracha of Shehakol on each subsequent drink. (See Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos Dvar Halacha Os 4 that it isn't considered a Bracha She'aino Tzericha)
Halachos for Sunday, May 22, 2022
1) If one is awake all Shavuos night (or any night during the year) and is learning Torah or reciting Tefilos when daybreak (Alos Hashachar) arrives, he does not need to stop to wash his hands immediately. He can wash after he finishes learning. (See Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos, Perek 12: 4)
2) Furthermore, he may walk more than 4 Amos before washing the morning washing of Negel Vasser (unlike when one slept, where he should wash immediately and avoid walking more than 4 Amos upon rising, before washing. (ibid.)
It is also permissible, when being up all night, to touch the eyes, the clothing etc. before washing (unlike when one slept, where the eyes, mouth, ears, and other bodily orifices should not be touched before washing) . (ibid.)
Halachos for Monday, May 23, 2022
1) After being awake all Shavuos night (or any other night), the hands should be washed after Alos Hashachar (dawn).
The bracha of Al Netilas Yadayim should not be recited on this washing unless the restroom was used before the washing, in which case "Al Netilas Yadayim" and "Asher Yatzar" should indeed be recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 4 S"K 30)
2) Simply touching a covered area on the body before washing will not be enough to necessitate the recital of the bracha of "Al Netilas Yadayim". (See Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos, Perek 12:5)
Halachos for Tuesday, May 24, 2022
1) If one slept [a Shinas Keva, more than half an hour in a bed] on Erev Shavuos, he can recite Birchos Hatorah as usual on Shavuos morning, even if he stayed awake during the entire night. (Psak of Rav Akiva Eiger Zatzal quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 47 S"K 28)
The above is true even if the nap he took during the previous day was while still clothed. (See Halichos Shlomo; Tefilah, Perek 6:1 and 2)
2) If one did not sleep during the previous day and was awake all night (i.e. he did not sleep at all from when he recited Birchos Hatorah on the morning of Erev Shavuos until Shavuos morning) he does not recite Birchos Hatorah himself, rather he should hear it from someone else who did sleep, and be exempted by him. (See Mishna Berura ibid.)
However, he does not have to cease learning Torah as soon as day breaks (Alos Hashachar); he may continue learning until the time that he hears the Brachos from someone else. (See Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos, Perek 12, Dvar Halacha 7)
Halachos for Wednesday, May 25, 2022
1) It is customary in many congregations for the entire Tzibur to stand when the Torah portion of the Aseres Hadibros is read in public (this occurs 3 times each year: Parashas Yisro, Parashas V'Eschana and on Shavuos), as a commemoration of when they were originally given on Har Sinai, where it says (Shemos 20:15) that Am Yisroel trembled and "stood" from afar.
2) Although some Rishonim, including the Rambam (in Sh"ut HaRambam, Freiman edition, Siman 263, based on Talmud Brachos 12a) forbade it, as it seemingly gives more importance to one part of the Torah over another, which of course is not the case, many Poskim nowadays allow it, as it is clear to all that we are doing it in commemoration of Matan Torah and not to give importance to the particular portion that is being read. (See Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos, Perek 12:8 where he allows it. Chacham Rav Ovadiah Yosef Zatzal in Shu"t Yechaveh Da'as Siman 29 rules that it is still forbidden. See also Shu"t Teshuvos V'hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 144 for a compromise ruling)
If one finds himself in a congregation that stands, he must follow their minhag even if his personal minhag is to specifically not stand, as maintaining the minhag of the place you are in is most important. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol 4 Siman 22)
Halachos for Thursday, May 26, 2022
1) It is customary to eat dairy foods on [the first day of] Shavuos. (See Rama Siman 494:3)
One reason (cited in Rama ibid.) is to commemorate the Shtei Halechem, the special bread offering that was brought in the Bais Hamikdash on Shavuos, and thus eating dairy followed by meat will necessitate two separate breads for each eating. (See Mishna Berura S"K 14 - 17 for more details about this and and other things to keep in mind when eating dairy followed by meat at one meal)
2) Another reason (cited in the Mishna Berura Siman 494 S"K 12) is that at Matan Torah the Jews received the entire Torah (as the entirety of Torah was included in the Aseres Hadibros, according to Rav Sa'adiah Gaon and others), and thus when they returned to their homes they were only able to eat dairy items, as the new laws they were just given required lengthy preparations (of preparing for, and actually slaughtering the animals properly) before they were able to eat meat. Thus, we eat dairy as well to commemorate that day.
According to the first reason, it would seem that the meal itself should be at least partially dairy. According to the second reason, the Yom Tov meal itself needn't be dairy, rather dairy should be eaten at some point on Shavuos day, before the meal or any time.
Indeed, there are various customs regarding this, and each individual should follow their custom.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 27, 2022
Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) Some people also have the custom to eat milk and honey on Shavuos, as the Torah is likened to milk and honey. (Mishna Berura Siman 494 S"K 13)
2) The holy Chofetz Chaim writes (in his Hakdama Rishgona to Likutei Halachos on Maseches Zevachim) to explain why the Pasuk (Tehilim 19:11) says "U'Mesukim M'dvash V'Nofes Tzufim", that the sweetness of Torah is sweeter than the sweetness of honey and the honeycomb, as follows:
“...It is known that the nature of honey is so sweet to the point that if something, such as bread or meat or any other item, falls into honey and stays submerged in it for an extended period of time, the item that fell in will be transformed into pure honey.
In fact, according to most Poskim, if the item that fell in was a forbidden food, it will become permissible after it is transformed into honey!
This is what the Posuk is teaching us, that the powerful sweetness of Torah is even more powerful, and transformative, than honey, to the point that if someone cleaves to the Torah and toils in learning it properly, even if his nature was very bad, the Torah can purify him and elevate him and transform him into a totally different, and better person! This is what Chazal in Pirkei Avos (Perek 6:1 ) mean when they says that the Torah can purify a person into a Tzadik, Chasid , Yashar V’Ne’eman!”
What better time can there be to eat honey than at the time of “Matan Torah”!
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh
1) As many people eat dairy meals on Shavuos, we will review some relevant Halachos to keep in mind.
It has become customary in kosher kitchens to designate separate tablecloths for use with meat and dairy foods.
The tablecloths should be significantly different in color, size or other easily identifiable features, and easily identifiable by all members of the household as the ones used for meat or milk. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 89:4 and Darchei Teshuva 89:48)
2) The tablecloths should not be used interchangeably for meat and milk without being washed, even if they have been wiped down well between uses.
If, however, they were machine washed, they may be switched from meat to dairy and vice versa. (See Darchei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 121:60 and Rama Orach Chaim Siman 442:11 and 451:18 and Mishna Berura there)
Some Poskim allow using the same tablecloth for meat and milk if it is flipped over and separate sides are used for each food class, since most of our foods nowadays are served on dishes and don’t come in direct contact with the tablecloth.
However, it is best to be stringent, where possible. (See Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 89:18 quoting the RadVaz)
Halachos for Sunday, May 29, 2022
1) Leftover bread which was on the table at a meat or dairy meal, no longer has a status of parve, and should be placed in a bag and kept track of, so as to make sure they aren’t used in the future at a meal of the opposite class.
2) A cutting board that is designated for cutting bread should be kept away from meat and dairy foods.
Also, this cutting board should not be placed on the table and used to hold the bread during the meal, and definitely no butter or gravy should be smeared on the bread while it is on this parve cutting board.
Halachos for Monday, May 30, 2022
1) A Kosher kitchen should ideally have separate salt shakers for meat and dairy use. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 88:2 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 88:29. While the Rama is discussing salt dishes where we dip into them ,and indeed by those it is 100% necessary to have separate dishes, and not salt shakers with covers, which technically can be used interchangeably, many contemporary Poskim (such as Rav Yisroel Belsky Zatzal, Sefer Hakashrus, andothers) apply this halacha to our salt shakers too, especially in homes with children (who tend to touch the hot food to the shaker, the ketchup bottle etc.) and especially where the shaker is used at a table with hot soup and other hot dishes (as is common at a Shabbos table) as the steam from the food goes into the salt shaker.
See also Sefer Badei Hashulchan Siman 88:31 and Shu"t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 5 Siman 514)
The salt shakers should be different in size, color or other easily identifiable features, so that all members of the household should clearly know which one is for dairy and which is for meat.
2) If for whatever reason only one salt shaker is available, the salt should not be poured directly onto the food.
Rather, the salt should be poured into the hand or onto the table and then transferred to the food.
This is especially important when the food in question is emitting steam. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 92:8)
On Shavuos when it is common to eat a dairy meal at the Shabbos/Yom Tov table, it is easy to forget and use the salt shakers that are usually used at Shabbos/Yom Tov meals, which are Fleishig. This should be avoided.
Halachos for Tuesday, May 31, 2022
1) When lighting Neiros before the onset of Yom Tov that falls out on a weekday, the Bracha recited is “Baruch Ata Hashem… L’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov” (followed by the Bracha of "Shehechiyanu", when appropriate)
2) When Yom Tov falls out on a weekday and the candles are being lit on Erev Yom Tov, as is done on Erev Shabbos, many Poskim rule to recite the Bracha first and then light the candles, while some rule that the procedure followed on Erev Shabbos should be followed here as well, and the candles should be lit, the eyes covered and the Bracha recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:27)
However, if the candles are being lit on Yom Tov itself, as is the custom of some people to not light Yom Tov candles on Erev Yom Tov, rather to light them only after the men return from Shul and are ready to eat the Seudah (and also the way it is done when the first night of Yom Tov falls out on Motzaei Shabbos, as Shavuos does this year, 5782) , then most Poskim maintain that the Bracha should be recited first and then the candles lit. (See Mateh Efraim Siman 625:33 and Elef L’Mateh footnote 50)
Each woman should follow her established custom.
Halachos for Wednesday, June 1, 2022
1) A woman who negligently or even inadvertently didn’t light the Shabbos candles on a particular week must from that week on always add an additional candle to the usual amount that she lights. (Rama Siman 263:1)
If she forgot multiple times, she is required to always add an additional candle for each time she missed lighting Shabbos candles. (Mishna Berura Siman 263:7)
This requirement was imposed on her as a K’nas, a penalty, to ensure that she is more careful in the future with honoring the holy Shabbos.
However, if the woman missed due to being unable to light (Oi’nes) she is not required to add any additional candles. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
2) This penalty is in place only if she didn’t light the candles at all, but if on a particular week she, for whatever reason, lit a lesser amount of candles than her usual number, there is no requirement to subsequently add any candles in future weeks, as M’Ikar Hadin only one candle is required to be lit each week, and this that we always light two, and add additional ones for each member of the family, is just a minhag. (See Biur Halacha Siman 263:1 Dibur Hamaschil SheShakcha)
Seemingly, this would apply to Yom Tov as well, however, according to some Poskim, since on Yom Tov she can still remember to light for the duration of the evening meal and thus there is less of a chance of her totally forgetting, they did not institute this Knas on a scenario that is not likely (known in Halachic terms as ‘Milsa D’Lo Sh’chicha Lo Gazru’. See Shu”t Kinyan Torah Vol. 1 Siman 87. This is also the ruling of HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Shvus Yitzchok page 6)
Other Poskim, however, do require the extra candle to be added in the event that she missed a Yom Tov lighting. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 101 and Vol. 8 Siman 63. See also Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 3 and Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 7 Siman 35.)
Some Poskim rule that a woman who forgot to light on Yom Tov would only be required to add an additional candle each Yom Tov but not every Erev Shabbos.
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.
Halachos for Thursday, June 2, 2022
1) It is prohibited to ignite a new fire on Yom Tov; an existing fire that was kindled before Yom Tov must be used to do any permissible kindling on Yom Tov. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 502:1 and Mishna Berura S"K 1)
It is permissible to light a match on Yom Tov from an existing flame, such as from a Yahrtzeit candle that is already burning (it is often easier to stick an unlit match into a yahrzeit glass than to stick a candle in, which drips wax and often puts out both flames. See Mishna Berura Siman 502 S"K 4)
However, the match may not be extinguished. It must be left somewhere safe (such as in a sink, or on the candelabra tray) to go out on its own.
2) It is customary in many Jewish homes to have a Yahrtzeit candle burning from before Yom Tov for the duration of Yom Tov, as to have an existing flame available for any permissible kindling needs (i.e. cooking or lighting Yom Tov candles.)
Many Yahrtzeit candles on the market do not burn for as long as it says on the outside of it, and they go out before the flame will be needed on Yom Tov.
Some suggestions to avoid this issue include filling the tin or glass with a little bit of oil, which will give you additional burning time, beyond the amount of hours printed on the candle, or purchase the 3 or 7 day candle, as opposed to the 24 or 48 hour ones, and extinguish it after Yom Tov, and save for the next Yom Tov.
Another idea that has been suggested by some readers, is to place the candle in the freezer before lighting it; seemingly a frozen candle burns slower and will last a few additional hours.
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 3, 2022
QUADRUPLE Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh & Chag Hashavuos
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) It is customary to place grasses and flora in Shuls and homes on Shavuos as a way to commemorate the joy of Matan Torah, being that Har Sinai was surrounded by grass and flora (See Rama Siman 494:3 and Mishna Berura S"K 10)
2) Some have the minhag to also place trees in Shuls and homes as well, to celebrate the fact that heavenly judgement is passed on the fruits of the trees on Shavuos. (Mishna Rosh Hashana Perek 1:2. See Mishna Berura ibid.)
The Gaon of Vilna, however, rejected this added minhag due to the fact that the Aino Yehudim now use trees to celebrate their holidays. (Mishna Berura ibid. See also Da'as Torah Siman 494 where he quotes some Poskim who are not concerned with what the Aino Yehudim do and allow the trees to be placed.)
The minhag of grasses and flora remains intact according to most Poskim and is indeed the prevalent custom by a large segment of Klal Yisroel. (Though some do say that the Gaon of Vilna objected to flowers as well as trees, and many Yeshivos refrain from putting out evenany grass or flora)
Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh; Erev Shavuos
1) Many congregations have the custom to dance on Shavuos in honor of the Torah.
2) This is a prevalent custom in many Yeshivos, and it is a proper custom that should continue, as even though on Shabbos and Yom Tov it is generally forbidden to dance (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 339:3), in certain instances when it is for the honor of the Torah, it is permitted. (Ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo; Shavuos, Perek 12:14, based on Mishna Berura Siman 339 S"K 8 regarding Simchas Torah. See footnote 64 in Orchos halacha on the Halichos Shlomo ibid. that the Roshei yeshiva and Talmidim of the Radin Yeshiva would dance joyously with all their might on Shavuos, in the presence of the holy Chofetz Chaim Zatzal. See also Shu”t Minchas Elazar Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 29 where he defends the Minahag of many holy Tzadikim who danced and clapped on Shabbos.)
Halachos for Sunday, 1st Day of Shavuos
1) On Shavuos the entire Hallel is recited. In Chutz L’Aretz, this applies to both days of Yom Tov.
2) A resident of Chutz L'Aretz who is in Eretz Yisroel on Motzaei [the first day of] Shavuos and davens Ma'ariv (of Yom Tov) with a minyan of Bnei Eretz Yisroel who proceed to recite Kiddush Levana after their Ma'ariv (of weekday), should not recite Kiddush Levana with them, but rather recite it the following night when it will be Motzaei Yom Tov for him.
This is the case even if this will, for some reason, cause him to have to recite it B'Yechidus, alone. (Although generally there are still plenty of days left after Shavuos for Kiddush Levana to be recited properly)
He should be as inconspicuous as possible and ensure that nobody realizes that he is not joining them for the recital; if this is impossible and everyone will know, many Poskim allow him to recite it with them even though it is Yom Tov for him. (See Shu"t B'Tzeil Hachachma Vol. 2 Siman 37 and Sefer Yom Tov Sheini K'Hilchaso Perek 11:5)
[Although Kiddush Levana is generally not recited on Shabbos or Yom Tov (for various Kabalistic and Halachic reasons), if by not reciting it on Shabbos or Yom Tov it will result in missing the deadline for that month altogether, it may be recited even on Shabbos or Yom Tov. (See Mishna Berura Siman 426 S"K 12 and Sha'ar Hatziyun Os 12)]
Halachos for Monday, 2nd Day of Shavuos (Isru Chag in Eretz Yisroel)
1) The Gaon of Vilna was extremely stringent with the eating of Melave Malka for men and women alike.
Once, the wife of the Gaon accepted upon herself a fast immediately after eating Seudah Shlishis, and went to sleep right after Havdalah, without eating Melave Malka. When this became known to the Gaon, he sent someone to wake her up and tell her that her entire fasting would not be able to rectify what she will lose by missing one Seudas Melave Malka. She immediately awoke and ate. (See Tosefes Ma’aseh Rav 39)
2) There is a debate among the Poskim if Melave Malka is required on Motzaei Yom Tov as on Motzaei Shabbos.
Many Poskim rule that there is no obligation to eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov, and indeed many people follow this ruling. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 63:4. See also Shu”t Radvaz Siman 620 where he writes that there is no Neshama Yeseira on Yom Tov as on Shabbos. However, there are sources that there is indeed a Neshama Yeseira on Yom Tov too; see the Hakdama of the Tikunei Zohar, page 11a )
However, other Poskim maintain that one should indeed eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov as well. (This was the Minhag of the Chazon Ish Zatzal quoted in the back of Ta’ama D’Kra by HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal where he lists minhagim of the Chazon Ish he heard from his mother A”H, the sister of the Chazon Ish Zatzal. This was also the minhag of the Steipler Zatzal and the Brisker Rav Zatzal, based on the Tur’s understanding of the Rambam that requires it. See also Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 3 Siman 292.)
Halachos for Tuesday, June 7, 2022 (Isru Chag)
1) Tachanun is not recited, nor should one fast, from Rosh Chodesh Sivan until the 8th of Sivan, after Isru Chag (Rama Siman 494:3 and Mishna Berura S"K 8)
Many have the custom to refrain from saying Tachanun until, and including, the 12th of Sivan, as the Korbanos of Shavuos could have been brought (as Tashlumin, make-up Korbanos) until then. (See Mishna Berura Siman 131 S"K 36. See also Moadim U'zmanim Vol. 4 Siman 317 that this is the minhag in virtually all congregations in Eretz Yisroel)
2) Some have the minhag to omit Tachanun on the 13th of Sivan as well. (See Sha'arei Teshuva Siman 131:7. He writes there that on the 13th of Sivan, in Chutz L'Aretz, whatever the Shliach tzibur does should be followed by all who are in that minyan.)
Every congregation should follow their accepted custom. If there is no known custom, a Rav should be consulted for guidance.
With endless gratitude to Hashem, this concludes our review of the Halachos of Chodesh Nisan, Pesach, Sefiras Ha'Omer and Chag Hashavuos.