Halachos for Sunday March 7, 2021


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 She'amru)


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.


2) 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.


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 the needs of their citizens and have every member of the town give their fair share. (See Mishna Berura Siman 429:4)


Halachos for Monday, March 8, 2021


1) Upon seeing fruit trees that are beginning to bloom, in the [beginning of the] month of Nissan, 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 Nissan 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 Nissan. See Chayei Adam Klal 63:2 and Aruch Hashulchan 226:1 regarding climates where the blooming season is not in Nissan, 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 (which we will discuss in an upcoming email). 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 Tuesday, March 9, 2021


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!)


Halachos for Wednesday, March 10, 2021


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)


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 U'Magog 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)


2) 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.


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, the Goi Echad, and thus hopefully help bring the final geulah and Mashiach Tzidkeinu this month. (Moed L'kol Chai from Rav Chaim Pal'agi Zatzal 1:3 quoting Sefer Ma'aseh Hatzedaka Siman 64)


Halachos for Thursday, March 11, 2021


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 Aaino-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 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 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 Erev Shabbos Kodesh, March 12, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) On The Eve Of Erev Pesach (This Year, 5781, when Erev Pesach is on Shabbos, this is done a day earlier, on the eve of the 13th of Nisan, the night of March 25th 2021), 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 must 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 on 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. Maran Harav 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 Shabbos Kodesh


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 ha'olam 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 Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Eelyashiv Zatzal)


2) It is customary to place 10 pieces of 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.


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 Sunday March 14, 2021


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. (This year, 5781, this is observed on Thursday before Pesach, March 25, 2021, being that Erev Pesach is on Shabbos and we don't fast on Shabbos, and we also don't fast on Friday, so that we don't enter Shabbos fasting)


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 Monday, March 15, 2021


1) The Pesach Seder is comprised cf 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 Hmikdash. (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 hHashem, "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 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.



Halachos for Tuesday, March 16, 2021


1) 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 amongst 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 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 Wednesday, March 17, 2021



11) 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, here where the whole 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 Thursday, March 18, 2021


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 on 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 Hisorerus Teshuva vol. 2 Siman 49)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, March 19, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


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 Shabbos Kodesh



1) 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, and 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 women to remove their rings (as is 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 the women 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 Sunday March 21, 2021


1) 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.


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.


2) 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")


Halachos for Monday, March 22, 2021


1) 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 LaHashem 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)

2) 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 Ga'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).

The Yetzer Hara works very hard to ruin the spirit of awe and reverence at the Ser and instead make it an atmosphere of levity and joking. We must try very hard to not let the Yetzer Hara win and deprive us of the holiness and spiritual benefits of this most exalted opportunity.


Halachos for Tuesday, March 23, 2021


1) 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)


Motzi-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 Tzerichos 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 new bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 475:34 and Biur Halacha dibur hamaschil aval for more about this.)


2) 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 bug-free. This should not be done on Shabbos or Yom Tov) and/or horseradish, which when grated is extremely "sharp" and "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 rather eat them independently. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 9:48)


The Maror is dipped into Charoses (and then shaken off) before eating.



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 Yyochluhu". (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)

Halachos for Wednesday, March 24, 2021


1) 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. Indeed, the Chazon ish, the Steipler Zichronam L'vracha and many other Gedolim did not lean while eating the Seudah.

It is customary to eat eggs [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 each year. See Rama Siman 476:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 11)

Some people have the custom to dip this egg into salt water before eating it. (Various reasons were given for this tradition, including that it symbolizes the tears our ancestors cried during their bondage in Mitzrayim, that it represents the tears cried over the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash – as we cannot yet bring a proper Korban Chagigah – and also that it commemorates the salty water of the sea, as a remembrance of Krias Yam Suf)

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)

2) 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 all those present , other matzah 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)

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 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 Thursday March 25, 2021


1) Hallel: The fourth cup of wine is poured, and [the rest of] Hallel is recited. (The first two paragraphs of Hallel, Halelu Avdei Hashem and B'Tzeis Yisroel were already recited at the conclusion of Magid) (Shulchan Aruch Siman 480:1)

It is preferable to recite Hallel while holding the cup of wine. (See 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 us Eliyahu Hanavi to inform us of the imminent redemption from this, final, bitter exile. (Mishna Berura Siman 480 S"K 10)

Hallel at the Seder is recited while sitting down, unlike other times where Hallel is recited while standing, as at the Seder we want it to be in a manner of Cheirus, freedom. (See Mishna Berura Siman 480 S"K 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 Aruch and Rama Siman 480:1)

2) 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. Every effort should be extended to recite this portion of the Hagadah in its entirety, and with awe and reverence, despite the late hour and one's state of tiredness. (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

לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh  March 26, 2021

Quadruple Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh & Yom Tov


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) Sefiras Ha'omer, 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. 

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".


Halachos for 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 Berura siman489:21)

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 Sunday, 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 be exempted by listening to the bracha of 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 among 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 Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal and many other contemporary Poskim.)

Halachos for Monday, 2nd Day of Pesach (Chol Hamoed in Eretz Yisroel)

1)There are varying opinions among 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 (as they do not usually daven m 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 women 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 Tuesday,   March 30, 2021


1) There is a biblical commandment to rejoice on Yom Tov as it states in the Torah "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 [a revi'is of] 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)

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 Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal. See also Mikraei 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) at least once per day on each day of chol hamoed. (See Biur Halacha Siman 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 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 Wednesday,   March 31, 2021


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 Thursday,   April 1, 2021


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 Erev Shabbos Kodesh,   April 2, 2021

Triple Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh & Yom Tov


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) Driving a car is permitted on chol hamoed.

2) 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.

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 Shabbos Kodesh; Shevi'i Shel Pesach

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)

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 in the coming days)

2) 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)

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.)

Halachos for Sunday; Acharon Shel Pesach (Isru Chag in Eretz Yisroel)

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 5, 2021


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 to children under bar/bas mitzvah during sefirah, unless absolutely necessary.



Halachos for Tuesday, April 6, 2021


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 rabbi 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 contain very lively dance music.



Halachos for Wednesday, April 7, 2021


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 8, 2021


1) There is a discussion among the Poskim if the bracha of "Shehechiyanu V'kiyimanu 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 9, 2021

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. (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 April 11, 2021


1) It is permitted 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 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 in the name of Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal and yblc"t Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita)


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 Rav Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal)


Halachos for Monday, April 12, 2021


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, April 13, 2021


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 Hacahim Siman 476:1)


Halachos for Wednesday, April 14, 2021


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 Meiri 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 we do not recite Tachnun. 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.


Halachos for Thursday, April 15, 2021


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, April 16, 2021

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)


In many Chasidic circles, the Rebbes shoot bows and arrows as well at the Lag B'Omer Tish (gathering).



Halachos for Sunday April 18, 2021


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 Tanaim. (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 going starting three days before and until 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, April 19, 2021


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 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)


Halachos for Tuesday, April 20, 2021


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 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)



Halachos for Wednesday, April 21, 2021


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) 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. (See Ta'amei Haminhagim page 252 for additional reasons and sources)


2) The custom is to sing [lively as well as 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 their cave. (See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 493:7)


Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus Zatzal would often discuss the Zohar, Rashb"i and other kabalistic secrets of the Torah, and say that although most of us cannot understand and grasp the true meaning of the hidden Torah, it is important for every Jew to know that it exists and was given at Sinai together with the revealed Torah, and that the revealed parts of the Torah that we study is but a tip of the iceberg of the depth of the 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, is endless, infinite and eternal.


Halachos for Thursday, April 22, 2021


1) There is an age-old custom to give a three year old boy his first haircut at the age of three, and also have the boy start donning a head covering, a Yarmulka, as well as Tzitzis, at all times.


2) 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)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 23, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Many people have the custom to perform the Upsherin, the first haircut for children around age three, on Lag B'Omer, and many travel to Meron to perform it in the vicinity of the Kever or Rashb"i, on this day.


2) 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.)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) 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.)


2) 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) as they all stem from holy sources.


Halachos for Sunday April 25, 2021


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, 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)


2) 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.)



Halachos for Monday, April 26, 2021


1) 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 Zatza in Halichos Shlomo; Sefiras Ha'Omer Perek 11:22. Other people should not fast on this day. See Meiri to Yevamos 62b)


2) 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 Tuesday, April 27, 2021


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 Wednesday, April 28, 2021


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 Thursday, April 29, 2021


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 etc. should not be touched before washing) . (ibid.)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 30, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) After being awake all Shavuos night (or any other night), the hands should be washed after Alos Hashachar.


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 Shabbos Kodesh


1) If one slept [a Shina Keva, more than half an hour in a bed] on Erev Shavuos, he can recite Birchos Hatorah as usual in the 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 Sunday May 2, 2021


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 Monday, May 3, 2021


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 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.


Some people also have the custom to eat milk and honey, as the Torah is likened to milk and honey. (Mishna Berura Siman 494 S"K 13)



Halachos for Tuesday, May 4, 2021


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 seemingly remains intact according to everyone and is indeed the prevalent custom by virtually all of Klal Yisroel.



Halachos for Wednesday, May 5, 2021


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 Thursday, May 6, 2021


1) On Shavuos we celebrate “Matan Torah” the giving of the Torah by Hashem to the Jewish nation.


But weren’t the 1st Luchos (the Ten commandments) received [and broken] on the 17th of Tamuz, and then again, the 2nd Luchos on Yom Kippur? What exactly is it referring to when we discuss “Matan Torah”?


2)  The answer is as follows: Hashem appeared to the Jewish people on Har Sinai on Shavuos. The Ten commandments were heard on Shavuos, and that is considered “Matan Torah” even though the actual tablets were not brought down until 40 days later (17 Tamuz) and subsequently broken.


Moshe davened for 40 days, for Klal Yisroel to be forgiven for the sin of the Eigel (the golden calf) and then on Rosh Chodesh Elul went back up to Shomayim to receive the 2nd Luchos.


40 days later, on Yom Kippur, Klal Yisroel was forgiven for their sin (Vayomer Hashem Salachti Kidvarecha; See Rashi Shemos 33:11 and Da'as Zekeinim M'Ba'alei Hatosefos Bamidbar 14:20), and the second set of Luchos were brought down by Moshe Rabbeinu .


Thus, although none of the actual Luchos were brought on Shavuos, the revelation at Sinai, where Hashem revealed Himself to Klal Yisroel, was on Shavuos, and that exalted day is commemorated each year on its anniversary, Chag HaShavuos.(See Pirush Binyan Yehoshua beginning of Maseches Avos D’Rav Nosson for a more detailed treatment of the timeline of Matan Torah and the Luchos)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 7, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


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 Shabbos Kodesh


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.