q&a page 19
916) Q: My grandson, who lives in Eretz Yisroel for good, came here to America for the Yomim Tovim. He observes only one day of Yom Tov, since he made aliya to Eretz Yisroel last year. Is he permitted to eat here in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeres?
A: He should eat in the sukkah with you, in order to not disparage the Yom Tov, but he should say to himself (or if there are more than one in the group of Bnei Eretz Yisroel, they should quietly say to each other) that he is not sitting there in order to do the mitzvah of sukkah. (See Sha'arei Teshuva Siman 668 Os 3, quoting the Chida in Birchei Yosef)
917) Q: Is it permitted for an adult to create art on Chol Hamoed? May they participate in a paint night/class? Does it matter how talented one is?
A: Generally, amateur art is permitted, while more professional art is prohibited.
There are those who are more stringent. See Shu"t Avnei Yashfei Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 110:2
918) Q: If someone realized after baruch sheamar that elokai neshama was skipped - after shemoneh esrai it's a safek or assur to say,correct? What about saying elokai neshama right after yishtabach?
A: The best course of action in this case, is to have in mind by Shemona Esrei in the bracha of mechayei Hameisim, that you do NOT want this to exempt the bracha of Elokai, Neshama, and then after Shemona Esrei, say the bracha of Elokai, Neshama. See Mishna Berura Siman 52 S"K 9.
It should ideally not be said after Yishtabach, as being mafsik there is problematic.
919) Q: I understand that opening an umbrella on shabbos is not permitted. Being that it is temporary and not a permanent setup is this considered to be Boneh?
A: Yes, there are various melachos that can be transgressed when opening and using an umbrella on Shabbos, including Boneh and making an Ohel, and indeed it has been universally accepted by virtually all Poskim that an umbrellas may not be used on Shabbos for any purpose, even if it was already open from before Shabbos, and even in an Eiruv. It is also Muktzeh. (See Shu"t Noda B'Yehuda, Mahadura Tinyana, Orach Chaim Siman 30, Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 52, Biur Halacha Siman 315 Dibur Hamaschil Tefach and Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa perek 24:15. See also Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 7 Siman 105)
920) Q: Is it true that we are not supposed to put a purse on our eating tables? I remember hearing that because the table supposed to be like a mizbayach, you don’t put something so mundane as dealing with money on it or something like that.
A: The halacha that a person's table is likened to a Mizbai'ach (based on Talmud Brachos 55), mandates one to have salt on the table when eating (See Rama Siman 167:5) and also mandates the knife being removed or covered before Birchas Hamazon (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 180:5 and Mishna Berura there). I am not, however, aware of any halacha forbidding money to be on a table.
According to Kabalistic sources it is proper not to sit or stand on a table. (See also Shu"t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 6 Siman 95 and Sefer Chasidim Siman 920)
921) Q: I read your Halachos of Muktzeh that a cell phone can be moved out of the room letzorech mekomo. However, many smartphones would presumably be muktzeh machmat chesron kis.
Do you think it makes sense to differentiate between a cheap flip phone, and a more expensive smartphone in ths Halacha?
A:Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal and other contemporary Poskim rule that a cell phone is Muktzeh as a Kli Shemelachto L'Isur, not as Machmas Chisaron Kis.
He did not differentiate between cheap ones or expensive ones, though it is definitely possible that if one has a very expensive one and he is very careful with it and doesn't let his children touch it that it would be Machmas Chisaron Kis for him, but most phone today, even smart phones, are treated the same, and not "off limits" to kids etc., and thus would be Keilim Shemelachtam L'Isur, according to most Poskim
For Halacha L'Maaseh, of course, ask your Rav.
922) Q: During Shachris today, I needed to use the bathroom. I took off my tefillin right after tachnun without the intention to put them back on. After taking them off I realized that I was unsure if I had said V'sein tal umatar, and thus had to repeat Shemona esrei. In such a case, do I need to put my tefillin back on to say shemoneh esrei again? If yes, do I need to say the bracha again on tefilin, as I had no intention to put them back on.
A: You don't have to put them on, but if you do, since you intended to not put them back on, a new bracha will be required. (See Mishna Berura Siman 25 S"K 47 regarding in general, when a new bracha is required after using the restroom and when not.)
923) Q: Sometimes after being washed the ends of the tzitzis fray. Is there an issue of cutting off the frayed tips (the bottom inch or so), as long as a tefach remains? What should be done with the parts cut off? I was told they do not need to be put in shaimos, is it sufficient to put them in an envelope, and the envelope in regular garbage?
A: They may be cut.
According to kabalah, it is best not to cut Tzitzis with a metal blade.(See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 11:24 and Mishna Berura Siman 11 S"K 61) Best to use a plastic, ceramic or other non-metal blade to cut them, or do it with the teeth. Some people use a small flame.
Once cut, according to the letter of the lawthey may be respectfully discarded. Some people do put it in Shaimos, and some have a minhag to put these strings inside a sefer, so not to throw it out, but Halachically they have no Kedusha and are only Tashmishei Mitzvah, so they may be discarded respectfully. (See Rama Siman 21:1 and Mishna Berura S" K 6-8 for more details about this. See also Aruch Hashulchan Siman 21:4)
924) Q: We know that someone who lost a parent, lo aleinu,is only permitted to have a haircut after 30 days, if someone told him that he looked unkempt. After that first haircut, are there any restrictions? Does he have to wait again until someone tells him he looks unkempt?
A: During the first 3 months, it would require someone to tell him for each haircut.
Once 3 months have passed, many Poskim say the restriction of haircuts is no longer in effect, while others say that once someone tells him, he can then take a haircut anytime in the next 3 months, and then once again needs someone to tell him, for another 3 month reprieve. It is proper to be stringent unless due to great necessity. (See Rama and Rav Akiva Eiger Yoreh Deah Siman 390:4. See also Shu"y Chasam Sofer Yoreh deah Siman 247 and Shu"t Igros Moshe Yoreh deah Vol. 3 Siman 156)
For Halacha L'ma'aseh, each individual should consult their own Rav.
925) Q: I daven in a minyan that in mid-summer will get to Barchu before plag haminchah on Erev Shabbos. If it is difficult to get to a minyan that davens later, would it be better to daven Kabollos Shabbos and Maariv b’yechidos after plag, or daven with the minyan?
A: One may not accept Shabbos before plag. (See Mishna Berura Siman 261 S"K 25 that if one did accept Shabbos earlier it is null and void. There is an opinion among the Poskim that gives validity to his mistaken acceptance of Shabbos even before plag, and thus he possibly should act as if it is already Shabbos, even though L'Chatchila this should not be done, in deference to this opinion. See Aruch HaShulchan Siman Siman 263:19)
You may not daven maariv before plag. (See Mishna Berua Siman 267:4 that if you did, you have to daven over. Some Poskim say B'dieved you do not need to re-daven. See Aruch Hashulchan ibid.)
You may not light shabbos candles before plag and if they were lit it's a bracha L'vatalah and they must be extinguished and re-lit. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:4. Some Poskim give some leeway to light before plag and recite the bracha after plag. See Mogen Avaraham Siman 263:11. Many Poskim, including Rav Akiva Eiger, reject this opinion. All agree that this would only work B'dieved, and all agree that the bracha certainly cannot be recited before Plag, even if relying on this opinion)
For Halacha L'ma'aseh each individual should consult their Rav.
926) Q: I am a woman. When skipping from Krias Shema right to to shemoneh esrei (as women are not obligated in Birchos krias shema) should I say Tehilos... Tzur yisroel or just start from Hashem sfasai tiftach?
A: In order to say the ending of the bracha Ga'al Yisroel (and connect Geuah to Tefila) you must say everything from Emes V'Yatziv until Shemona esrei. If you can't do that, start shemona esrei immediately after saying Shema, as not saying the entire text and only ending off with a few words and saying "Baruch Ata Hashem Go'al Yisroel" would be a bracha L'vatalah.
927) Q: Is it halacha to keep Yoshon or just something that some people are machmir about?
A: In Eretz Yisroel it is a requirement. In Chutz L'Aretz, the Shulchan Aruch rules it is a requirement too, while Bach and Mogen Avraham maintain that it does not apply to Chutz l'Aretz.
The Rama maintains that in Chutz L'Aretz it is acceptable to be lenient, though it does apply as well according to the letter of the law.
Though many people in Chutz L'Aretz are lenient, and they have on whom to rely, it is definitely praiseworthy to be stringent if one is able to, and definitely those who are stringent should not be ridiculed.
See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 489:10 ( and Mishna Berura there S"K 45 at length) and Shulchan Aruch and Rama and Bach Yoreh Deah Siman 293:2 and MOgen Avrohom Orach Chaim Siman 489:17
928) Q: .Is one permitted to walk in front of someone davening shmoneh esrai if there is a table separating them?
A: If the table is not 10 Tefachim high, no.
If it is 10 tefachim high some (including the Aruch Hashulchan Siman 102:!3) are lenient, though the Mishna Berura Siman 102 S"K 2 is machmir. In case of great necessity, there is room for leniency.
A shtender that is taller than 10 tefachim and wider than 4 tefachim, according to some Poskim (including Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo Perek 8:33) is better than a table, as it is more of a separation.
929) Q: Someone told me that when you daven for a refuah shalayma for a baby, you should say Tinok ben name of mother, then name of mother bas her mother (grandmother of tinok). Is this true?
A: You are most likely referring to a baby that does not yet have a name
Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal used to tell people that when davening for a child without a name, you say:
"Tinok (or Tinokes) that was born to [mother] bas [her father]"
(Quoted in Sefer Sheimos B'Aretz, Rav Chaim's sefer about names.)
If the baby has a name, you daven for them the way you daven for anyoneelse, their name ben/bas their mother's name.
930) Q: Recently I was at a melava malka. I washed for bread and after I said hamotzi, the person next to me said hamotzi and I answered amen before even putting my bread in my mouth.
Did I need a new bracha hamotzi? Did I need to wash again?
(At that melava malka I waited till another person said hamotzi to be motzi me, and then I ate my bread.)
A: Yes, that Amen was not suppised to be answered. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 167:6)
After the fact, some poskim require a new bracha in this case.Others do not.
(See Biur Halacha Siman 25:9 Dibur hamaschil v'im and Sha'ar Hatziyun Siman 215 Os 2)
Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach ruled that if the Amen was on a same/similar bracha, we don't repeat, as bdieved we don't deem it a hefsek.
Had the Amen been on a totally different bracha, it would Indeed require a new Hamotzi.
(See Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa Perek48:7 footnotes 38 and 39)
No new washing is needed. You should not have waitied to hear the bracha from someone else; you should have eaten as soona s possible after your bracha.
931) Q: When I was a child growing up in Hungary, I was told that walking in socks was prohibited, unless one was sitting shiva. Is this true or a myth?
A: There is no halachic issue to walk while just wearing socks only (except possibly during davening)
However, Al pi kabalah, it is said that since the sin of the serpent in Gan Eden there's a Ruach Ra on the ground and thus needs a separation when walking. However, it's not clear if this issue is only when totally barefoot, or if also an issue with socks on, and no shoes.
Also, the Seforim say it's a sign of mourning to walk around with just socks and no shoes.
In any case, if your family/community is makpid on this it's a good idea to stick to it.
932) Q: May I feed my fish over Pesach food that may contain Chometz in it?
A: One may not feed his/her fish, dog, or any other pet any food that is, or contains in it, chometz, for the duration of Pesach. Chometz pet food must be discarded or destroyed, or sold to a Aino yehudi before Pesach, just like any other Chometz meant for human consumption.
933) Q: Is one allowed to go to a cemetery on Friday after chatzos?
A: Allowed, yes. Is it recommended? No, as the Kabalists say that at times when we don't say Tachanun, the souls are not there, as they descend heavenward.
934) Q: Is there a reason to be more stringent with eating only pas yisroel on shabbos, even if one is not stringent with this at other times?
A: Yes, the Mishna Berura (Siman 242 S"K 6) says that even those who normally are not stringent to only eat Pas Yisroel, should try and be stringent on Shabbos and Yom Tov, as this is proper Kavod Shabbos.
935) Q: How much can a matzoh be chipped or cracked and still be considered whole for Lechem Mishna purposes?
A: Ideally, nothing should be missing. In situations where you don't have a complete Challah or Matzah, it is still deemed a "Shalem" B'dieved, so long as 1/48 (approximately 2%) or less of the bread is missing.
(See Shu"t Chacham Tzvi Siman 62 and Machtzis Hashekel Siman 274:1)
936) Q: What is the source that it is muter to kasher kaylim with steam? Can I also kasher my pot lids with steam?
A: Allowing Kashering with steam is far from simple, and even if it is mutar in certain situations (which is very questionable if the Torah allowed this method) , it is certainly not acceptable for Pesach Koshering.
See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 60 and Yoreh Deah Vol. 3 Siman 30
937) Q: Is there a source for not putting other seforim on top of a Chumash?
A: Yes. See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 282:19. See also Bais Lechem Yehuda Yoreh Deah Siman 283:1 quoting the Sefer Chasidim, not to put any seforim on top of Sifrei Nach
938) Q: Maybe you can address the question of what to do when you’re somewhere in middle of Kiddush Levanah, and someone says “Shalom Aleichem” to you. Where are you allowed to be mafsik and return the “Aleichem Shalom”, and where not ? I find myself not quite sure what to do .
A: Only during the first bracha can you not be mafsik. Once you finish that bracha and are just saying additional Pesukim and Tefilos etc. you can be Mafsik to answer " Aleichem Shalom"
939) Q: I see many people saying the bracha of asher yatzar while drying their hands and walking. Is that in accordance with halacha?
A: Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld Zatzal (See Shu"t Shalmas Chaim Siman 14, 15 and 157) allows reciting the bracha of Asher Yatzar while drying the hands.
The Chazon Ish and the Steipler Zichronam L'vracha used to do this as well, as they held it's part of the mitzvah, to have clean, dry hands. See Orchos Rabbeinu Vol. 3 page187. Also due to kavod habriyos.
Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal, on the other hand was makpid to recite the bracha only after his hands were totally dry. See Halichos Shlomo;Tefilah perek 22;Orchos Halacha 20. The Ben Ish Chai (Year 1 Parashas Shemini Os 7) also unequivocally prohibits this.
Bottom line: Both ways have valid support in Halacha and definitely "Ain Limchos" to anyone who does dry while reciting the bracha.
Regarding walking, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (Halichos Shlomo;Tefilah Perek 22: 5) says that while there's no isur, L'chatchila it's best to be standing in one place while reciting brachos, as there is more yishuv hadaas when standing still.
940) Q: What Bracha does one say on chocolate covered raisins? chocolate covered peanuts?
A: There are various different Halachic opinions regarding this.
The Be’er Heittev (Siman 204 Os 19) rules that the bracha is recited on what is inside, and not on the covering, thus a chocolate covered peanut would be Ho’adama and a chocolate covered raisin would be Ha’eitz. This is also how the Mishna Berura rules. (Siman 204 S”K 51)
Other Poskim rule that the chocolate is always the Ikar and only a Shehakol would be recited. (See Ben ish Chai parashas Pichas Siman 15, See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 7)
Other Poskim maintain that the bracha would be recited on the item which is desired more, thus if you enjoy the chocolate more than the peanut, you would recite a Shehakol on it. (Psak of Chacham Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal and other Poskim)
Other Poskim say it goes after which of the two ingredients is the majority, thus a large peanut covered by a thin layer of chocolate would be Ho’adama.
Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 31) maintained that it requires 2 brachos, a Ho’adama on the peanut and a SheHakol on the chocolate, as both items are equally important.See also ben Ish Chai ibid. quoting his father’s minhag)
The most ideal thing to do is to recite the 2 brachos on 2 other items and thus exempt the chocolate covered item, according to all opinions. (e.g. Recite a Ho’adama on a piece of watermelon and a Shehakol on a piece of candy, and thus the chocolate covered peanut will be exempt by those two brachos)
See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 7 Siman 27:5
For Halacha L’ma’aseh each individual should consult their own Rav.
941) Q: Is there an inyan to avoid travelling during the three weeks or only during the 9 days?
A: While people generally avoid unnecessary traveling in the 9 days only, it's a good idea to be extra careful in the 3 weeks as well. ( See Levush Orach Chaim Siman 551:18 regarding being extra careful of dangerous activities in the three weeks. See also Halichos Shlomo; Bein Hametzorim Perek 14, Dvar Halacha 7)
Traveling to Eretz Yisroel is allowed during the 9 days as well, as this is a Mitzvah.(Ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, as heard from a prominent Rav who heard it directly from Rav Moshe Zatzal)
942) Q: When washing hands before mincha and maariv, is it preferable or obligatory to use a cup?
A: Ideally it should be done with a utensil (See Piskei Teshuvo Siman 92:7)
943) Q: Regarding the challos on Friday night, do the challos need to be in front of you before kiddish or is it sufficient to bring them to the table after kiddush. Do both Chalos have to be there or just one challa?
A: According to the Aruch Hashulchan (Siman 271:22), it is proper to have the challos on the table during Kiddush (covered of course), as since Kiddush needs to be B'Makom Seudah, in the place of the meal, it follows that the main part of the meal, i.e. the Chalos to be there. Thus, he writes that it is not proper to only bring the chalos to the table after Kiddush.
The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 271:9) states that the Challah should be covered on bottom (with table cloth) and on top (with Chalah cover) as a commemoration of the Manna in the Midbar. (See Mishna Berura S"K 41)
This Halacha is part of Hilchos Kiddush, and also according to those who do not cover the Challah during the Bracha of Hamotzi (See Mishna berura ibid.) , the only way to really do this commemoration of the Mann is to have it on the table and covered during kiddush. (See also Shu"t Az Nidberu Vol. 2 Siman 8)
The Gaon of Vilna, however, ruled that the chalos should only be brought to the table after Kidush. (See Ma'aseh Rav Siman 118)
Each person should follow his family minhag, or consult a Rav for Halacha L'Ma'aseh.
When bringing the Chalos to the table , both Chalos should ideally be there; this too is zecher to the Manna
944) Q: Can you perhaps help as people seem to have different opinions on this...
When Hashem appears to Moshe, He says His name is I shall be as I shall be. I've deliberately kept it in English as I want to know whether it would be pronounced as is e.g. if one is speaking about it when teaching, writing it on a board. Or would one replace letters (like we do with YKVK)?
A: In the sefer Keses Hasofer Perek 11:5 (written by the author of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch) he lists 10 names of Hashem that may not be erased once written in a Sefer Torah, and one of them is Eh-yeh
It would then follow that it should not be pronounced as it is, and rather pronounced as Eh-Keh
The reason why some people are not careful with this, possibly can be because the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 276:9 includes this name as a "Yesh Omrim", meaning some hold it is not a holy name as the others are.
However the Kaf Hachaim Siman 5:9 quotes the Arizal and the Radvaz that it is included, as does the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch mentioned above, so it is definitely recommended to be careful with this and not say it properly.
945) Q: I have a question about laundering during the 9 days. I have seen on some halacha sites that in cases of need, one can wash undergarments that are worn to absorb sweat. What is the halacha as regards a tallit katan that one wears under one's shirt? Although it's not an undergarment, for practical purposes it does absorb sweat. I have three that I alternate. Because I perspire profusely, in hot weather I sometimes have to change from one tallit katan to another in one day. During the 9 days, three are not enough to get me through without feeling very uncomfortable.Is there any leniency to wash them?
A: There is no real heter to wash undergarments during the nine days. It may be better to purchase new ones than to launder them, as they are inexpensive items.
In certain situations, if you are laundering items for a small child, and you have no undergarments left, you may be allowed to throw what you need into that load, but in every situation you need to consult a Rav first.
The Tzitzis can be aired out and left to dry for a day and they should be fine. They should not be washed. (See Ashrei Ha-ish from Rav Elyashiv Zatzal, Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 69:54 for more about this.)
946) Q: Someone showed me a frightening Da'as Zekainim from the Ba'alei HaTosefos, on the pasuk "Vehaya Aikev Tishmeun" (Devarim 7:12) regarding dragging Tzitzis on the floor, that doing so subjects the person to destruction based on the Posuk "V'TaitayseHa B'Mtatei Hashmeid - I will sweep you with the broom of destruction (Yeshaya 14:23)
Does that apply to today's clean floors, some even carpeted? Perhaps that only applies to the old dirt floors?
A: This is brought in the Bais Yosef as well Siman 21:4, and is also quoted in the Be’er Heitev Siman 21 Os 5 and the AruchHashulchan Siman 21:7, and by other Poskim.
The Aruch Hashulchan seems to say this is only while putting it on and reciting the bracha, and not at other times.
He also says that it refers to Derech Bizayon, in a disgraceful way, such as if it is stepped on, and not if it happens to touch the floor. (From the language of the Shulchan Aruch it also suggests that the issue is for dragging,and not just for touching the floor.)
He concludes that while some people tuck the Tzitzis into the belt to ensure they don’t touch the floor, he has not seen any Gedolim being careful with this and it is no issue if it happens to touch the floor, especially while engrossed in Torah or Tefilah.
Some Poskim do suggest that our tiled or carpeted floors are better than the dirt floors of long ago, as those were more of a bizayon.
See also Kaf Hachaim siman 21:!8 that it is only a Zehirus and not a real Isur, and that's why the Shulchan Aruch doesn't bring the Posuk, and only says to be careful with this. This is based on the Mogen Avrohom's question on this din, from the Gemara that seems to say that only in a Bais Hakevaros is it an isur, but elsewhere it isn't.
Bottom line: Try to be as careful as you can be to treat your Tzitzis with Kavod, but if it happens to touch the floor, in a non-disgraceful way, it’s not subject to the harsh words of the Da’as Zekeinim.
947) Q: May one change the linen on a bed during the nine days?
A: No, generally, linen may not be changed during the nine days. ( See Mishna Berura Sian 551 S”K 33). If they are soiled and unusable, they may be changed if no other bed is available.
Also, if a guest is arriving during the nine days, clean linen may be prepared for them on the bed. (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 13 Siman 61)
948) Q: I'm afraid to learn hilchos loshon hora because I feel like if I speak it then I will be a meizid and better to be a shogeg than to be a meizid because I don't feel ready to not talk any loshon hora and don't feel like that's realistic. What would you say?
A: "Mutav Sheyihu shogegim" (A Halachic concept applied in certain instances, where we say that it is better to remain ignorant and sin inadvertently, rather than be educated and sin intentionally) doesn't work for Mitzvos that are explicitly in the Torah and doesn't work when you know that it is asur, as you clearly do. (See Rama Siman 608:2 and Mishna Berura there ) .
You are obligated to learn them and to keep them. Not knowing the details of these halachos won't be an acceptable excuse; it will be an additional liability, as you should have studied them and known the details.
Every Yid - male and female, yong and old - should learn 2 Halachos of Hilchos Lashon Hara each day. Nowadays, these are readily available in print, online, via shiurim etc. and there is no acceptable excuse for a Yid to not know and heed these important Halachos.
Ignoring these Halachos and having a mouth that is a free-for-all, is the cause of our Galus and prevents the person's tefilos from going up and is the cause of many many other ills.
The Yetzer Hara knows how important this is so he convinces us that we can't overcome it and it's not realistic to even try.
HE IS WRONG.
Take him on, and fight him. You may not win every battle, but you will ultimately win the war if you keep at it. Yes, it can be done. Yes, it is realistic. Many have done it; so can you.
See archives of Hilchos Lashon Hara Here
949) Q: Is an Onion who lost a family member does he have to make a brucha on food and for using the restroom
A: According to most Poskim, including the Mishna Berura Siman 71 S" K 4 an Onan is exempt from all brachos.
Each individual should consult their Rav for Halacha L'Ma'aseh to determine their status and what they are obligated to do and not do.
950) Q: Are you allowed to give Tzedaka on Tisha B'Av?
A: Yes. Allowed and encouraged
ציון במשפט תפדה
אגרא דתעניתא צדקתא
951) Q: Many shuls have the Bimah on a platform in the middle of the shul, while other shuls just have the Bimah in the middle of the shul, not on a raised platform. Which is correct?
Bimah doesn’t mean the thing we put the Sefer Torah on (even though that is the word people use to refer to it) , Bimah – or Bamah – is actually referring to the stage or platform that the table we read from is on.
Rambam (Hilchos Tefilah Perek 11 halacha 3) writes :
“ We place the paltform in the middle of the Bais Hakneses, so the one reading the Torah should “go up” on it…so that everyone can hear him.
The Rama (Orach Chaim Siman 150: 5) writes:
“A paltform is made in the center of the Shul on which the one reading the Torah “stands” so that all can hear him.
Clearly we see that having a stage or a platform from where the Torah is read is ideal.
In fact, the term used to refer to someone who is called “ up” to the Torah is “Getting an Aliyah” , which literally translates as “ Getting a rise”
952) Q: Regarding davening shemona esray silently, what if the person who is davening cannot hear his own davening? Is he yoitzay that way if he's only mouthing the words and can't hear the words himself?
A: L'chatchila you have to hear the words. If you don't hear them, as long as you actually said them, even if you don't hear them, you are Yotzi b'dieved.
If you just mouth them but no word actually comes out, you are not Yotzei at all. (See Mishna berura Siman 101 S"K 5)
953) Q: What’s the story with saying the lishame yichud before putting on tfilin and saying the 2 paragraphs after. Is there sources in Halacha and how important is it? And if one comes late to shul can he skip it? Should he say it after davaning?
A: The Leshem Yichud, as well as the 3 Pesukim we say as we wrap the Tefillin straps around the fingers are based on Kabalistic teachings of the Zohar, the Arizal and the Shela Hakadosh.
Many people do not say the Leshem Yichud (at any time; that's a whole different discussion we dealt with a while back.) while the 3 pesukim (V'Arastich Li L'Olam...) are more universally accepted to say.
These are said specifically during the wrapping of the Tefillin straps, and thus if they were skipped, they are not made up after davening. It is best not to skip these Pesukim though as they have kabalistic significance.
(It's important to try hard not to come late to shul. We should wait for the Shechina to come to Shul; the Shechina should not have to wait for us to roll in)
954) Q: Is there is a specific text one needs to say when asking mechillah at a kever with a minyan?
A: Chatasi L'Elokei Yisroel v'Leploni Zeh Shechatasi Lo... (I have sinned against Hashem, G-d of Israel, and to so-and so by doing. such and such ....) and specify the sin you are requesting forgiveness for.
And those there with you respond, three times, Machul Lach, Machul Lach, Machul Lach (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 606: 2 and Mishna berura S"K 15)
955) Q: In a shas hadchak, it is better to say selichos b’yechidus and daven shacharis with a minyan, or to daven slichos with a minyan and shacharis b’yechidus?
In a shas hadchak, is it OK to say slichos after shacharis, or if it was not said before shacharis then it is too late and it should not be said?
A: Tefilah B'tzibur is more important. Selichos can be said b'yechidus (See Shu"t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 8 Siman 234:6)
It may be said after shachris; preferably before Mincha. This is only if it wasn't able to be said before shacharis, as that is its ideal time.
956) Q: Before all the selichos there are Pesukim printed, which most kehilos that I have been at skip. A friend of mine told me that it is important to not skip those. Is that correct?
A: Yes, your friend is correct.
Those Pesukim are actually what the piyutim are based on, and the Pesukim preceded the Piyutim, which were added later on.
In fact, the Sefer Chasidim (Siman 256) is very critical of those that say the Pesukim quickly, or not at all, and focus only on the Piyutim. See also Mogen Avrohom and Machtzis Hashekel Siman 68, where they echo this sentiment as well.
Bottom line: These Pesukim should be recited and not skipped.
957) Q: In the bracha “asher yatzar” recited in the Sfard nusach, the words “afilu sha’ah echas” are added. I find myself struggling to understand what is meant by them, considering that it appears from reality that blockage or rupture do not necessarily result in incapacitation. Could you please give me an explanation to help me say this phrase with kavanah?
A: The Shlchan Aruch siman 6, and the Poskim, discuss these words at length. The Shulchan Aruch writes that it is referring to the fact that a newborn baby had its mouth cosed in the womb, and when it comes out it opens and it breathes. Had that not opened it would be unable to survive, even for a short time, hence " Afilu Sha'ah Achas". The Mishna Berura S:K 3 writes that his Minhag is not to say those words, as in reality a person can close his mouth for more than a moment, and thus the words " Afilu Sha'ah Achas" is not accurate. This was also the minhag of the Gra, Mogen Avraham.
The Arizal and Rambam had the Nusach as well, like the Shulchan Aruch. The Taz was OK with it as well.
Practically, Nusach Ashkenaz doesn't say those words while Nusach Sefard does. Both nuschaos have on whom to rely.
958) Q: Nowadays it's difficult for people to fast (beyond the accepted public fast days) as a means of doing Teshuva. What can be done as an alternative to fasting to boost our teshuva?
A: You are correct that nowadays we don't encourage extra fasting. However, there are things to do that are akin to fasting.
One such example is to control oneself from enjoying a sweet food when he has a desire to indulge in it; this "self-control" serves as a boost to his Teshuva. (See Peleh Yoetz; "Ta'anis)
Alternatively, if one is already in the midst of indulging in a food that is extremely enjoyable to him and stops in the middle as a way of self-affliction, it is also considered like a fast, as it's an extremely difficult thing to do. (Ra'avad Sha'ar HaKedusha quoted in Be'er Heitev Siman 571:1 and Mishna Berura 571:2)
Another thing to do is, upon finishing learning or working, instead of running to eat, he should push himself to stay a few extra minutes, as controlling oneself from running to eat when hungry is also a form of self-affliction and is considered like fasting. (Peleh Yoetz ibid.)
Another form of self-affliction is a Ta'anis Dibur, a period of time where one controls himself from talking at all; it is praiseworthy to train oneself to do this from time to time and indeed it may even be more worthwhile than a regular fast. (Mishna Berura ibid. quoting the Gaon of Vilna and other Poskim)
Additionally, one who has no desire to learn Torah, and pushes himself to do it anyway is also considered as if he fasted. (See Sha'arei Teshuva Sha'ar 4:11. See also Shu"t Nodah B'Yehuda Orach Chaim Siman 35 and Kraina D'Igrasa letter 11.)
The Midrash Rabbah (Parshas Mikeitz Parasha 92) teaches that "No human being is free of suffering [in this world], praiseworthy is the one who receives his portion of suffering via Learning Torah [with difficulty]".
In general, improving our attitude toward food would be a good idea. Sure, we need food to live, but we don't need to live for food. We don't need to make food a topic of conversation; we don't need to salivate over the opening of yet another restaurant; we don't have to indulge in every new type of food that is advertised; we don't need to ogle pictures of food or have "bucket lists" of eateries that we must try etc. Re-evaluating our relationship with food would be a good idea, and be very helpful a sa boost to our Teshuva process.
959) Q: What is the source to wish people "a gut kvittel" after Yom Kippur? Is it a chasidish thing?
A: Not Chasidish per se, but Al Pi Kabalah.
A Gut Kvittel is the Yiddish translation of Piska Tava, which literally means a good note (Petek is a piece of paper). This is based on the Zohar Hakadosh, Parashas Tzav, who writes that the final Gzar Din is delivered by Hashem on Hoshana Rabbah
ביומא שביעאה דחג, הוא סיומא דדינא דעלמא, ופתקין נפקין מבי מלכא
960) Q: The Succah decorations, e.g. wall pictures, hanging fruit etc, are considered Muktza for the whole of Yom Tov. However can you make a tanai before Yom Tov such that if it rains on the chag they can be removed so they won’t get damaged?
A: Yes, you can make a tnai, by saying " Aini Bodel m'hem kol Bein Hashmashos shel ches yamim" (I am not separating myself from them on any of the twilights of the 8 days of sukkos)
If you are moving them because you don't want them to get ruined, no tnai is necessary. (See Piskei Teshuvos Siman 638:7)
In any case where they are permissible to remove and move, this would be OK to do only on Chol Hamoed, not on Yom Tov itself.
961) Q: Someone told me that if someone Davens biyechidus mussaf such as a lady davening mussaf at home they aren’t allowed to daven within the first 3 hours of the day. Is this correct?
A: No, so long as they daven after shacharis it is OK. (Even though there is a shita of the Levushei Srad not to daven too early.See Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Berura and Biur Halacha Siman 286)
962) Q: If someone benched Licht on Yom Tov that fell out on Shabbos and only said lihadlik ner shel Shabbos do they make another brocha and say Yom Tov or not?
A: No, once the bracha is recited, you can't go back and make another bracha. See Mogen Avrohom Siman 263: 11
963) Q: I was taught that one should cook an uneven amount of eggs, to avoid bloodspot issue. If one cooks more than three, does that apply?
A: There is a minhag in existence, to only cook 3 eggs or more in a pot, so that if blood is found in one of the eggs, it will be Batel B'Rov, and not invalidate the other eggs or the pot. Nowadays it's not an issue as eggs on the market are not fertilized, and even if a blood spot is found only the spot needs to be discarded and the eggs are fine. That being said, many people still hold on to the old minhag, and only cook 3 or more eggs in a pot.
if you have a need to be lenient and cook only 1 or 2 eggs, you have on whom to rely.
Some people only cook an odd number of eggs, based on the concept of zugos (see pesachim 110a), but there is no real source for this in halacha.
964) Q: I have glass/pyrex trays to bake in that i use infrequently, maybe 1x in a month or in two months. Can i use them interchangeably for dairy/meat?
No, it is not acceptable [surely for Ashkenazim] to use them interchangeably (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 9 Siman 26:2)
For Sephardim, the halacha may be more lenient, if it was scrubbed totally clean between uses. (See Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 1 Siman 6)
Every individual should consult with their Rav for halacha L’Ma’aseh
965) Q: Can you discuss the halacha or custom of bowing during Kaddish, and in which part of Kaddish is it done?
A: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim Siman 56:4) rules that the one reciting the Kaddish bows during the Kaddish when he says the following words:
1) The first word of the Kaddish; “Yisgadel”
2) “Yehei Shmei Rabbah,”
4) “Brich Hu,”
5) “Amen” (at the end of the Chatzi Kaddish).
(See Kaf HaChaim Siman 56:35 that the 5 places are wherever the congregation answers Amen)
The Vilna Gaon ( biur HaGra Siman 56) maintained that no bowing is done at all during any part of Kaddish, as Chazal instituted bowing in Shemona esrei, and we should not any additional bows.
The Aruch Hashulchan (Siman 56:7) defends the practice of bowing, and writes that since these bowings are slight in nature ( just a slight bow of the head and neck), unlike during Shemona Esrei where a full bow (bending the entire spine) is required, it isn’t deemed adding on to what Chazal instituted.
At the end of Kaddish Shalem, where Oseh Shalom B’mromav is recited, the one reciting the Kaddish bows his back (so that the entire spine is bent), and while in that bowed position, takes three steps back, the way it is done after Shemona Esrei, and then bows to the left and says “Oseh Shalom B’Meromav”, bows to the right and says “ Hu Ya’aseh Shalom Aleinu”, then bows straight ahead and concludes “ V’Al Kol Yisroel V’Imru Amen”. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 123:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 3)
966) Q: Would you have any information regarding how many candles to light Motzei Shabbos. And about the minhag some people have to light the Melava Malka candles from the havdalah candle.
A: The Mishna Berura (Siman 300 S"K 3) says that it is proper to increase the candles on Motzaei Shabbos, more than during the week. If one has a chandelier or other lights that he only uses on Shabbos, they should be used at melave malka as well.
The custom is to light 2 candles on Motzaei Shabbos - preferably as part of the melave malka seudah (See Machtzis Hashekel Siman 300:1 quoting the Taz).
I am not familiar with a minhag to light these candles from the havdalah candle, and I am not sure that is proper, as the Havdalah candle may be deemed a bigger mitzvah than these Motzei shabbos candles, as a bracha was recited over it, and thus not appropriate to light a lesser candle from a more significant Mitzvah candle.