q&a page 18

865) Q:  What is the origin of the requests (harachamans) that we make in Birchas Hamazon after the bracha ending in L'olam al yichasreinu?

A: These Harachamans are not an intrinsic part of Birchas hamazon, and seemingly these requests were added by the early Gaonim.

(See Iyun Tefilah commentary to Sidur Otzar Hatefilos)


After originally posting the above Q& A, a reader responded with the following:

"See chofetz chaim al hatorah in ki savo on the pasok of ונזעק 

He says why we say the harachamans then after benching"

Below are the words of the holy Chofetz Chaim Zatzal:

ונצעק אל ד' א' אכותינו וישמע ד' את קלנו וגו'. (כ״ו ז)
וישמע את תפלתנו לא נאמר, אלא וישמע ד׳ א ת קולנו, ללמדנו בא ,
שצריכים לצעוק בקול בעת צרח, ועי״ז עונח ד׳ תיכןן, ואןש כי לפעמים עונ ת
ד׳ במשך איזה ימים, ואפילו לכמה שנים, כדאיתא במדרש, יש תפלה לכמה
שנים, אבל הצעקה בקול מועלת.
והעיקר לבקש על הכלל כולו, ולבקש אחרי קיום המצוה, כמו שאנו
אומרים תפלות ״הרחמן" אחרי שקיימנו מצות ברכת המזון.


#birchashamazon #harachaman #tefilah

866) Q: Is it permissible to use an electric nursing pump with a shabbos clock on shabbos? 

A:This is not a simple yes or no answer, as it depends on a lot of variables such as why you are using the pump, what you are doing with the expressed milk, the health of the baby, the health of the mother etc.


Generally, pumping on Shabbos is asur. However,  if being done for the pain/discomfort of the mother, or to prevent infection,  as long as the milk being expressed is not saved for use, but rather expressed directly down the drain or into a container with soapy water in it  to make it unfit for use, it will be allowed with a manual pump or with one operating via a shabbos timer. Also, when using the timer, the pump would need to be connected before the timer turns on the pump, as once the pump is operational, there are additional issues with attaching it in that state. Also, when permitted,  doing it with a shinui is recommended.


If the baby is ill/weak and needs this milk, there may be times and methods when the milk is permitted, and a Rav should be consulted before Shabbos to discuss the details of why and how the milk needs to be pumped on Shabbos

#nursing #pump #pumpingonshabbos

867) Q: Can you please explain  why some people have their parents walk them down to the chuppah while some people are makpid on the 2 fathers walking the choson and the 2 mothers walking the kallah. I thought it was a chasidish/litvish custom until I read  that Rav Avigdor Miller Zatzal (who was Litvish) was makpid on the 2 fathers/2 mothers minhog. 

A: I am not sure where the original minhag came from. Possibly, simply from the fact that the Choson and Kallah each had "shushvinin" that took care of them/watched over them, and thus, most likely, the choson had men and the Kallah had women.  Interestingly, the Rama in  Yoreh Deah Siman 391:3 writes that 2 men  walk the choson to the Chuppah, though I am not sure if he is ruling this way, or simply pointing out what the minhag was in Ashkenaz.


Over the years the minhag evolved and in many circles the choson is walked down by  his father and his kallah's father and the kallah is walked down by her mother and her choson's mother, while in some circles each set of parents walk down their own child to the chuppah.


Many people have the custom to do whatever the other side wants in this matter, as keeping the peace at all times is more important and the best way for the new couple to star off their new life together! ( I heard that this was the minhag of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal, as he was makpid to maintain Shalom at all times, rather than stubbornly insist on any minhag)

#chuppah #minhag

868) Q: Why is the 8th, and final, day of Chanukah called "Zos Chanukah"?

A: There are quite a few explanations for this, some simple and some with more depth, based on Kaballah.


The simple reason is that the Torah reading of this day includes the verse "Zos Chanukas Hamizbe'ach", thus this day became known as "Zos Chanukah".


Additionally, being that it is the final day of the Yom Tov, it is referred to as Zos Chanukah, in the manner of " This is it".


Kaballistically, this day has tremendous holiness, as a day for intense Teshuva as it is the absolute final day of Heavenly judgement, culminating the "days of awe" that began on Rosh Hashana, so it is sort of like a last chance for those who didn't do what is necessary until now, to get on the bandwagon and receive a positive judgement.

#chanukah #zoschanukah

869) Q: I know a carpet sweeper isn't allowed on Shabbos, but is it permitted to sweep the carpet with a broom?

A: While many Poskim are lenient and allow light sweeping of carpet with a regular soft broom,  especially if the items you are sweeping are  large crumbs only on the surface,  it is best  to be stringent and  avoid sweeping a carpet on Shabbos if it is very dirty, and the dirt/crumbs are  be imbedded into the fibers.  See Shu"t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 5 Siman 39 for more about this.


Note: Using  brooms made of hard material, such as straw, is forbidden, and such brooms are also Muktzeh.


For Halacha L'ma'aseh, every individual must consult their Rav.


870) Q: halachically speaking, once shkiya comes one may remove his tzitzis. Many folks are saying to still wear tzitzis for shmira purposes. I have not seen this anywhere. Is this accurate. I’m asking strictly for halacha and not looking to go above an beyond in this instance.

A: According to the letter of the law, once a shkiah arrives there is no longer an obligation to put on Tzitzis. That being said, to specifically and immediately remove them as soon as the sun sets is not a great idea, as it is a bizayon to the Mitzvah, as it shows that we can't wait to get rid of it. Also, yes, there is the shemira aspect which is brought in Chazal.


Furthermore, keep in mind the following:


The wearing of a Talis Katan is an extremely important Mitzvah, as the Shulchan Aruch states  (Siman 8:11) that the purpose of this Mitzvah is that one should always see his Tzitzis and thus be reminded of all the Mitzvos of the Torah.  In fact, according to Chazal (Sifri Zuta 15 and other places) the mitzvah of Tzitzis is equal to all the mitzvos in the Torah and one who is is careful to always wear Tzitzis is as if he fulfilled all the commandments of the Torah!


The Mishna Berura (S"K 26) writes very strongly about the importance of always seeing the Tzitzis, and is not happy with those who wear their Tzitzis in a hidden way that they cannot be seen proudly. ( I would posit that rushing to remove the Tzitzis is akin, or worse, than wearing them covered).  He goes on to write that Chazal say that those who are very careful in the observance of the mitzvah of Tzitzis will merit seeing the Shechinah, (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 24: 5 and 6) and  that the Jews that will merit being alive at the time of the final redemption will be those who were outstanding in their observance of this exalted mitzvah!


871) Q: Is there a reason for the world-wide minhag of women giving tzedakah before challah, mikvah, and hadlakas neiros?

A: Giving Tzedakah is always a good thing to do.


There is an added benefit of giving Tzedakah before one davens, based on the Pasuk (Tehilim 17:15) "Ani B'Tzedek Echezeh Panecha" (with Tzedakah I will approach You[Hashem]). It turns the Tefilah that follows it into one of Eis Ratzon, as it brings the one who gave Tzedakah into  the presence of the holy Shechina. (See Talmud Bava Basra 10a)


Though this applies to both men and women, there are 3 special mitzvos that are women's mitzvos, and all of them are traditionally accompanied by special Tefilos, thus before they say their special tefilos, it is an extremely opportune time to precede it with Tzedakah, to turn it into an Eis ratzon.


872) Q: Is an esrog kosher of it’s made with a mold/form to shape it? Any mareh mikomos on it?

A: Yes, so long as the mold doesn't reshape it to look like something other than an Esrog, it is acceptable. See Sukkah 36b and Shulchan Aruch Siman 648:19


873) Q: The fellow davening next to me davens Shemona esrei loud enough that I can hear. Is he permitted to daven that way? Also, Do I answer amen to his brachos in his silent shemona esrei that I hear?

A: No, he should not be davening shemona esrei loud enough that you are able to hear and be disturbed by it, and no, you should not answer Amen to his brachos that are not supposed to be heard. (See Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 3 Siman 15:1)


Only on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur when Halacha allows a person to daven a little louder (See Mishna Berura Siman 101 S"K 11 that here too it should not be heard by others)  it would it be OK, according to some poskim,  to answer Amen to a bracha you hear him say in his silent shemona Esrei, but not all year round. ( See Mateh Efraim Elef Hamagen Siman 582:43)


874) Q:  We have always been very makpid to Bli Neder give ma'aser from all our earnings. Recently I came across a Gaon who says that one should give a fifth and that's when, and only when, does one see bracha. Being that I'm a Rebbi and we just make it by every month B"H should I try giving a fifth?

A: Yes, the Gra held that the ikar ma'aser is Chomesh, and indeed he guaranteed Ashirus, wealth, for those who are scrupulous to give a chomesh. See Keser Rosh from Rav Chaim of Volozin beginning of Hilchos Tzedakah U'ma'ser and see Ahavas Chesed Vol. 2 Perek 19 and 20 at length, including the footnotes, for more details about this.


I cannot tell you how to be noheg, as only a Rav familiar with your personal situation can guide you in this matter properly, as many Poskim did not rule as the Gr"a, for the average Yid.


I will say that a Yid can never lose from giving Tzedakah, Maaser or Chomesh. Also, the Chofetz Chaim says that if one cannot give a chomesh but can give more than maaser, that is also a ma'aleh, as it it is not all or nothing regarding the chomesh.

For more details, please review archives of Hilchos Ma'ser Kesafim HERE.

#maaser #chomesh

875)  Q:Is there a Halacha or mekor for dragging out the words " V'Hu Rachum" at the onset of Maariv on Motzaei Shabbos?

A:  It's a minhag, based on the Kabalistic idea that the Neshamos who got a reprieve from Gehinnom over Shabbos return to Gehinom when we say the words V'Hu Rachum at maariv (Similarly, this Pasuk was recited as part of the procedure when Bais Din meted out the malkos, 39 Lashes, for transgressing sins; See Talmud Makos 22b) and thus, we want to delay (either in actuality or symbolically) their return there, so we say it in a dragged out tone.


876) Q: Can you add some insight about the Minhag that people have to daven for the amud on the Motzaei Shabbos before a yahrtzeit?

A: The Sefer Gesher Hachaim (Perek 32: 2) quotes in the name of the Arizal to daven for the Amud on the Motzai Shabbos prior to a Yahrtzeit.

In the footnotes there he brings that he heard a reason for this as follows: Each Shabbos we get a Neshama Yeseira and each Motzai Shabbos it leaves us temporarily, to return the following Shabbos.


On the final Shabbos of a person's life, the Neshama Yeseira leaves him permanently, as it won't return the following Shabbos.


Thus, Motzai Shabbos before a person's Yahrtzeit is the "Yahrtzeit" of his Neshama Yeseira, so to speak, and thus it is commemorated by davening for the Amud at that time.

#Yahrtzeit #Neshamayeseira