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q&a page 20

967) Q: People say that Rashi's daughters put on Tefilin.  Is there a source for this?

A: ​Though I have heard this as well, I am not familiar with a credible source for this.


Though there have been women who donned Tefilin, such as Michal bas Kushi (See Talmud Eiruvin 96a and see Tosefos there. This should not be done nowadays by any women, as it's against the accepted Mesorah etc. and not what Hashem wants), it is very unlikely that Rashi's daughters did so, as Rashi was of the opinion that women may not do any Mitzvos Asei Shehazman Grama, and doing so would be Bal Tosif (See Rashi to Rosh Hashana 33a dibur hamaschil Hanashim MeAkvim)

968) Q: When learning. I often like to bookmark any interesting I want to come back to. Is bending the page or adding a bookmark permitted on shabbos?


A: There is no halachic issue with folding the page of a sefer on Shabbos to save its place, according to most Poskim. Other non-adhesive bookmarks are permitted as well. Some Poskim have an issue with adhesive bookmarks, especially if being left there beyond 24 hours.


Some question if there is an issue of Hachana, preparing for after Shabbos, if the place-holder is to come back to it after Shabbos, but most Poskim reject this issue, as it can be viewed again on that Shabbos as well.


Some Poskim frown upon this method even during the week, as they feel it is disrespectful to the Sefer, but other Poskim allow it, and feel it is in fact considered standard practice, and kavod to the sefer that we want to remember its words and come back to them. 


Of course, if the Sefer is not yours, and is borrowed from someone else or belongs to a Shul, this should not be done as the owner may not appreciate you ruining his sefer. (See Shu"t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 1 Siman 223:11. See also Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa Perek 28:16 )

969) Q: I'm in a discussion with someone who claims that it's OK to steal from an Aino-Yehudi.  I looked it up and on the surface it seems she's possibly right. However, isn't it a chilul Hashem which is forbidden. I'm interested in clearing this up because it gives this person a negative impression about Torah chas vshalom.

A: Geneivas Akum, Stealing from an Aino Yehudi is 100% prohibited, and may even be a worse sin than stealing from a Jew. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 348:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 182:1 and Ben Ish Chai Parshas Ki Seitzei.)

“If one steals from a Aini Yehudi, swears falsely and dies, his death is no atonement for his sin because of Chillul Hashem” (Tosefta Bava Kamma, 10 quoted in a fascinating, must read essay on Chilul Hashem written  by Rav Shimon Schwab Zatzal , and printed in the Jewish Observer in 1988, which can be seen via this link:,  page 8).

Ta’us Akum, where Aino Yehudi made a mistake in your favor, is where it may be permissible, if no Chilul Hashem is involved.

970) Q: Pas Shachris.Is this a Halacha or 'simply' recommended advice? Must it be fulfilled with bread or is mezonos,fruit or a drink good as well? Is it possible to mention benefits for fulfilling this important inyan?


A: ​The Shulchan Aruch Siman 155:2 writes that it’s a “good idea to get used to eating Pas Shacharis”.

“Pas Shacharis” is literally translated as “Morning bread”.


The Mishna Berura (S”K 11) explains that the Gemara Bava Metzia 107b tells us that there are 83 sicknesses that are avoided/cured via eating “Pas Shacharis”, and since it’s a Mitzvah to guard one’s health, it’s important to eat this breakfast meal. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 4 Siman 16 that while it is a good idea to eat breakfast, not doing so is not a sin)

Some Poskim say that this “Pas Shacharis” needs to be bread, while others say it can be any mezonos item, such as a cereal made from the 5 grains (See Pri Megadim; Mishbetzos Zahav Siman 155 S”K 1), or a pastry.


Others say it can be any filling food, even if it isn’t Mezonos. Some even say it can be just a hot coffee, and there is no specific item that must be consumed. (See Kaf Hachaim Siman 155:23 and Aishel Avraham Butchatch on Shulchan Aruch Siman 155)

Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal used to eat a pastry or some fruit each morning, and was not makpid to wash and eat bread.

See also Maharal in Chidushei Agados to Bava Metzia 107b for a deeper take on this matter.

971) Q: If one has a weekly Friday night minyan in his house every week, and there is no Sefer Torah there, do you say Magenn Avos, or Kaddish after vayichulu ? And if you can send source.

A: ​In a permanent minyan, that meets there every Friday night, some Poskim say that Me'eyn Sheva is recited, even without a sefer Torah there, while others require a Sefer Torah there to establish it as a shul. The prevalent custom is to say it in a permanent Friday night minyan even if there is no Sefer Torah there.

In Yerushalayim the minhag is to always say it, even in a temporary minyan. This is based on Kaballah.


See Taz Siman 268:8, Mishna Berura Siman 268 S"K 24 and 25 and Shu"t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 1 Siman 190.

972) Q: As you know, in Eretz Yisrael Sim Shalom is said at mincha on Shabbos, but not in chutz L'aretz. How do we explain this?

A: It's based on customs that developed over the years in various congregations. Both versions are acceptable.


One reason given is that Sim Shalom has the words "Toras Chaim" in  the text, and thus we say that  Nusach whenever there is  often the  reading from the Torah, which is Shacharis and Shabbos by Mincha, and also by a fast day by Mincha.


The congregations that stick to Shalom Rav by Mincha even on Shabbos and fast days maintain that most Minchas don't have Torah readings, and thus all Minchas stick with Shalom Rav even when there is  Torah reading.

973) Q: In discussing current circumstances, someone noted that Mashiach will come one of 2 ways: (1) either with a great deal of pain and hopelessness for Yidden; or (2) if all do Teshuva, Mashiach will come earlier and without pain. Could you elabortae for us. 

A:There is a concept of Chevlei Mashiach, the pain that precedes Mashiach, similar to the labor before a birth.


The Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b) asks, what should one do to be saved from Chevlei Mashiach? The Gemara answers he should get involved in Torah and Gemilus Chasadim.


That is the only antidote. 


The more we are involved in Torah and Chesed, and other spiritual pursuits, the better off we will be.

974) Q: Do single daughters need to daven mincha before their mother lights candles on Erev Shabbos?

A: No, the bracha on the candles only deems it Shabbos for the  woman  actually  lighting and reciting the brachos over the candles, and not for other members of the household who don't light themselves. Thus they can still do melacha (until close to sunset) and can surely still daven mincha.

See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 263:15

975) Q: At a shiur I attended someone mentioned that they were told that the proper way to bow in Alainu is the same way that one bows at Modim, without bending the knees. When the Rav of our shiur came in he said that is the correct thing to do. We were very surprised to hear not to bend the knees by anachnu korim. Is this the universally accepted practice?

A: The Mogen Avrohom (Siman 132) clearly says L'chro'a U'L'Hishtachavos, to bend the knees AND bow, as not doing so is a sign of kefirah c"v, as it seems like he purposely ISN'T bowing to Hashem.


The Mishna Berura Siman (132 S"K 9) cites this too. (He actually only mentions "l'chro'a", the bending of the knees, and not the bowing; I don't think he means to not bow, rather he is citing the importance of bending the knees as well)


Another reason brought in the Emek Bracha (who the Mogen Avrohom is quoting in the first place) is that it looks like lying to say "and we are bending our knees and bowing" and then not do it.


Bottom line, it is proper to bend the knees at vanachnu Karim, and bow the head/neck at u'mishtachavim.


I see many Talmidei Chachamim do this.

For some reason many people only bow the head/neck but do not bend the knees. I am not sure why they skip the bending of the knees.

976) Q: Is it frowned upon to have an illustrated Megillas Esther on parchment? What is the source?

A: While it doesn’t make it Posul, it is definitely not L’chatchilah to read from such a Megilah, according to many Poskim. (See Elya Rabbah Siman 697:7 and Shu”t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 6 Siman Vol. 6 Siman 427).


A minority of Poskim are more lenient. (See Shu”t Zera Emes Vol. 1 Siman 100)


977) Do animals have an afterlife?

A:This is not a clear cut topic, but since you asked, will answer briefly.


The Midrash (Koheles Rabbah 3:22. See also Maseches Kallah chapters 1-2) says that animals do not have an afterlife.


In Kabalistic writings, there are some who say that there may be some sort of afterlife for them, but surely not the same as humans.


Rav Moshe Cordevero, the Ramak (Sefer HaPardes, Sha'ar HaHeichalos perek 10) disagrees and says they do not. When an animal dies its "soul" stops existing.

978) Q: Can you please tell me why Tehilim has the name of Yitzchok Avinu written as Yischok but we say Yitzchok except at a bris?

A: ​In 4 places in Tanach, our forefather Yitzchok is referred to as Yischak (with the letter Sin instead of the letter Tzadik, the way it is usually written, 100+ times).


One of these is commonly recited in the text of the bris Milah ceremony, from Tehilim 105:  אֲשֶׁר כָּרַת אֶת אַבְרָהָם וּשְׁבוּעָתוֹ לְיִשְׂחָק

In Lashon Kodesh, the letters Sin and Tzadik are often interchangeable, and indeed according to many meforshim, the word Yitzchok and the word Yischok mean exactly the same thing; he will laugh. (See Haksav v’Hakabala Shemos 25:29. See also Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch’s commentary to Bereishis 21:6 and Malbim to Shoftim 16:25)

If so, why then is it written differently in 4 places? See Rabbeinu Bechayei Beresishis 17:19 and Bamidbar 32:3 for an approach.

Some commentaries maintain that they are not identical, and written with a Tzadik it has the connotation of mockery as well as a positive laughter, and written with a Sin it only has the meaning of laughter of Simcha, and thus Yitzchok is the name given before Mashiach comes, and the proper name Yischak will be after Mashiach comes, and the 4 times that it is written properly allude to the 4 galuyos, exiles,. that Klal Yisroel has to endure before Yischak (i.e. Klal Yisroel) can properly have total Simcha and no mockery. (The Gra in Safra d’Tznieusa end of chapter 3, also has a similar idea about the Avos each having 2 names; connoting two aspects of their/our existence.)

There’s a lot more about this in Kabalistic and linguistic writings which are beyond the scope of this forum.

979) Q: What are the mareh mekomos to not eat olives because they are kasha lishicha and what are the heterim with the mareh mekomos?

A: Talmud Horiyos 13b states one who "regularly" eats olives  will forget his learning


The Poskim have written a lot about this, and given many reasons and exclusions to this issue, such as that it only applies to Amei ha'aretz,  eating it with olive oil is OK, eating them pickled is OK, eating them less than "regularly" is OK  etc. , and practically most Poskim are not concerned about this nowadays. Interestingly, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal was makpid and did not eat olives so as not to risk forgetting any of his Torah knowledge.


Some sources that discuss this include Rabbeinu Bechayei Bereishis 34:1,  Mogen Avrohom Siman 170:19,  Mor Uketzia Siman 170, Ben Ish Chai (year 2 Parashas Pinchos  siman17,  Kaf Hachaim Siman157:27,Shu"t Salmas Chaim Siman 41, Halichos Shlomo Perek 2 page 23 in footnote.

980) Q: I have been taught (60 years ago) in Bais Yaakov that at the end of shmona esrei after going forward the three steps, we "click" our feet three times. (like kadosh kadosh kadosh) Everyone I know does it.

My granddaughter, here, in Eretz Yisrael was taught that it's a "mistake". I know it's not written in Halacha but there must be some makor to the minhag if everyone does it?

A: There is no source for this "Minhag" as far as I know.


Most likely it developed, erroneously, from the proper minhag to lift the heels during Kedusha when saying "Kadosh", "Baruch" and "Yimloch"  (See Rama Siman 125: 2 and Be'er Heitev  there Os 5).


Since we are not supposed to go back to our place after Oseh Shalom,(when davening in Shul) until kedusha begins, thus the lifting of the feet by kedusha happens soon after returning from Oseh Shalom. Most likely that turned into a "minhag" to bounce after Oseh Shalom.

981) Q: Please clarify the halacha, segula, of pouring extra wine at havdalah, if it's baal tashchis to waste such wine altogether, and how much extra to use for the segula.

A: It is an accepted minhag, brought in the Poskim (Rama, Taz, Mogen Avraham Siman 296), to spill over some wine as you fill the cup for Havdalah, as this is a Siman Bracha for the week ahead, as "Any house where wine does not flow like water, will lack bracha". The Mishna Berura (S"K 5) does say to not spill too much, but just enough to show that you are doing it for a Siman Bracha, but not to overdo it and waste too much wine.

982) Q: I see you referred to the letter  "צ" as "Tzadik". I believe the proper way to say that letter is "Tzadi".

A: While technically you are correct and the name of the letter is "Tzadi", there is a long and accepted Mesorah going back to the times of the Talmud and the Rishonim to refer to this letter as "Tzadik". Indeed, those who specifically refer to it as such have a strong basis for doing so. This is how it is specifically taught to children in many kehilos.


See   Talmud, Shabbos 104a where the Gemara connects the Tzadi to the Tzadik. Rashi to Menachos 29b dibur Hamaschil Shaatnez Getz refers to it as a Tzadik. This is found as well in the writings of the ibn Ezra, the Radvaz and other Rishonim as well.

983) Q: If one ate bread and other things during a meal and somehow inadvertently forgot that they had bread and said Al Hamichiya, what is to be done? Can or must one still recite Birkas HaMazon?

A: He needs to recite Birkas Hamazon, as according to most Poskim  the Al Hamichya  will not suffice.(certainly it doesn't satisfy his D'Rabanan obligation, and possibly not even his D'oraysa obligation). If someone else is reciting Birchas Hamazon, he should listen and have them exempt him, as according to many Poskim that will be the ideal course of action here instead of reciting it himself.


See Sha'ar HaTziyun Siman 168 Os 71. See also Elya Rabba Siman 268 S"K 18. See also Kaf Hachaim Siman  187:1 for a more lenient approach, and for some other suggestions of how to proceed.

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