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q&a page  10

445) Q: There is a famous saying that “Hashem only gives you what you can handle.” My father and I were discussing this and wondered if this is a true pasuk/idea from Chazal or Gemara that has a true source (if so where is it from) or is this a secular quote that just sounds nice with “G-D” substituted as”Hashem” ?

A: That is a very real idea based on Chazal.

The source that I can think of on top of my head is the  Gamara in Avoda Zara 3a, where it says “Ain HaKadosh Baruch Hu Ba B’trunia Im Briyosav” which basically means that Hashem does not expect people to do things that they cannot do.

See also Ramban Parshas Vayeira  Perek 22:1 where he touches upon this idea as well.

This idea is found all over, including Gemara, Chovos HaLevavos, MaHaral, Michtav M’Eliyahu just to name a few, and is a basic tenet of Torah-True Judaism!

If Hashem gives you a Nisayon, it has been tailor made for you! And nobody else would be able to pass it, as it is your test.
In fact, the Seforim say that the Nisayon of Akeidas Yitzchok was tailor made for Avraham, and not for Sarah as she would not have been able to handle it. And in fact when she was ultimately  informed of it (by Og Melech HaBashan who was not supposed to inform her) it actually brought to her passing! (See Rashi Parshas Chayei sarah 23:2, This desn't mean that she died earlier than she was supposed to, rather it means it was the vehicle Hashem used to bring about her death, which was predestined to be at that time. This is an entire discussion to itself, which we will  not get into right now.)


446) Q: You mentioned that the glass plate in a microwave is not necessarily able to be kashered. But, isn’t glass by it’s nature always kasherable? Can’t it even be used for milchig and fleishig interchangeably?

A: The Bais Yosef (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 451:26) rules that glass is non absorbent and can be used for both milchig and Fleishig, as long as they are rinsed in between uses. Sephardim follow this ruling.

The Rama argues and  rules that they must be kept separate and not used interchangeably. Ashekenazim rule as such and the custom is to keep separate glasses for milchig and fleishig.

If they  were used for both, they can be Kashered according to many opinions, but a Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh as sometimes the type of glass and the coating on it may pose some problems with kashering.

447) Q: If I eat and leave the place I ate,forgetting to recite a bracha acharona, and when I remember, it’s not possible or practical for me to return to the place where I ate, should I make the bracha acharona wherever I am?

A: Birchas Hamazon and  Al Hamichya  in most cases you need to return to at least the room where you ate. Borei Nefashos and Al Ha’eitz and Al Hagefen, may be recited even out of the place that you ate. Though, for Al Ha’eitz and Al Hagefen, if possible to be stringent and recite in place where you ate is best. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 178:5 and Siman 184:3 and Mishna berura there.)

If you forgot Birchas Hamazon or Al Hamichya , If you already left and cannot go back to where you ate, if  it was unintentionaly (Shogeg) you may recite it where you remembered. If it was intentionally (Meizid) and you  have no more bread to eat in the place where you are now, then  according to some opinions you are Yotzei B’dieved, while other Poskim maintain that you are not Yotzei even B’Dieved. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman184:1 and 2 and Mishna berura S”K 4 and 5)

#brachos #brachaachrona

448) Q: Can you please explain the concept that it’s an issur for a man to walk in between 2 ladies? Is this halacha or kaballah? Is there any problem of a woman walking in between 2 men?

A: This is brought in the Talmud (Pesachim 111a and  Horiyos 13b)  and applies equally to a man walking between two women and a woman walking between 2 men.

The  Talmud says that doing so will make it difficult to learn and absorb Torah (see Rashi  Horiyos 13b Dibur Hamaschil Kashim)

This is found in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 3:8 as well. The Poskim say that it is also a Sakana.

The Chazon Ish was extremely makpid on this and once quipped to a woman  who said that it was  too hard to abide by this rule “Do you find it too hard to avoid walking into a fire?” (Quoted by Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in his sefer Ta’ama D’Kra, in the section where he lists rulings and customs of the Chazon Ish Zatzal that he heard from his mother A”H , in the sixth printing edition, page 178)

It is questionable if this applies to family members too, and according to many Poskim it is best to be stringent.

If two men (or two women)  are walking together, they may pass between the two women (or two men) (See Ben Ish Chai Parshas Pinchos Siman 17)

If one finds himself in a situation where he/she will be walking between 2 members of the opposite gender, he/she should make sure to grasp something (preferably a Mitzvah item such as  his peyos, Tefilin, Tzitzis, a Siddur. or  if those aren't  available, anything else such as the corner of their jacket, hat, wallet or anything) in their hand. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 2 footnote 103)

449) Q: Regarding slicing vegetables/fruit on Shabbos, it is my understanding that if done at the table where it is to be eaten at the immediate time of eating – no hefsek between cutting and eating – one my chop/slice in both directions as small as one wants.  Is this so?

A: True, many Poskim indeed rule that if it is for immediate use it may be cut as small as  you want, as long as no special dicing utensil is used. (Bais Yosef Siman 321, Rama Siman 321:12, Chayei Adam Klal 17:2 based on Shu”t HaRashba Vol. 4 Siman 75)

However, other Poskim do not differentiate between immediate use or not and prohibit cutting into very small pieces even immediately before eating. (Mishna Berura Siman 321:45 and Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 57)

According to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 74, Tochen Os 2) in cases of great necessity (such as for feeding a child or an elderly person) one may definitely rely on the lenient view L’chatchila.  When there is no real necessity a scrupulous person should be stringent and cut the pieces a little larger even for immediate use.

See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 321:10 that those who are lenient have on whom to rely.

450) Q: Can you please explain the problem with looking at a Kohen during Birchas Kohanim.

A: This is based on a passage in the Talmud  (Chagiga 16a) where the Gemara says that looking at the Kohanim can lead to blindness, and is brought in Shulchan Aruch Siman 128:23.


In the times of the Bais Hamikdash  while the Kohanim blessed the nation they used the Shem HaMeforash and the Shechina rested upon them, and thus it was forbidden to gaze at them, as doing so was akin to gazing at the Shechina. Nowadays, the prohibition is a commemoration of that and  the prohibition to look isn’t really the same and  according to the letter of the law  it is permitted to glance, but not stare, but still most people abide by the older custom and  refrain from looking altogether. See Mishna Berura 128:89

451) Q :Is it true that the Nodah B’Yehuda Zt’l questioned the authenticity of the Zohar HaKadosh? If so, could you provide a source in the Nodah B’Yehuda for such?

A: Much has been debated over the years as to the authenticity of the Zohar. Many Geonim, Rishonim, Achronim , etc. doubted the authenticity of the Zohar or at least couldn't conclusively attribute it to Rav Shimon Bar Yochai.


However, most of our leaders in the line of Mesorah and Sifrei Halacha and Kaballah do in fact treat it as authentic (including the Arizal, the Ramchal, the Gaon of Vilna, the Ba'al Hatanya, the Mishna Berura, Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal etc. just to name a few).


Only when something in the Zohar is at odds with something in Halacha, do we then rule as we have it in Shulchan Aruch. (See Shu”t Radvaz Siman 1,111 and Mishna Berura Siman 25 S"K 42 for the guidelines of when we follow Kaballah)


See also Taz to Yoreh Deah Siman 265 Os 12 where he refers to those who are learned in Zohar as “Shelaimim, wholesome people”.


The Noda B’Yehuda you are refferring to is regarding his opposition to the Tefilah of L’Sheim Yichud (and other similar Tefilos) based on the Zohar and other similar sources outside of the Talmud, Sifra, Sifri etc. can be found in Mahadura Kamma Yoreh Deah Siman 93 and Mahadura Tinyana Orach Chaim Siman 107. See also Shu”t Teshuva M’Ahava end of Siman 1.


Many reams of paper by giants amongst men have been used in debate of this particular opinion of the holy Noda B’Yehuda, both in defense and in opposition, and we may not place ourselves inside this Machlokes L’Sheim Shomayim, and each of us must continue doing what we have been taught to do in our respective paths of Mesorah.


(If you are interested in seeing some of the many Teshuvos printed about this you can look at the back of the “Mechon Yerushalayim” version of Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda, where a lot of these have been collected and printed)


452) Q: There is a minhag to say the Passuk “V’Zos HaTorah ..” during Hagbah – but some people  “point” [towards the Torah] with their pinky finger [as they say this]- where/when  did that begin?

A:  This  is referenced in  Yalkut Me’am Loez Parshas  Ki Savo, Perek 17, but he  does not bring any sources in halacha for this minhag. 

However, what should be done, according to Halacha, but isn’t done by most people, is to kneel (i.e. bend the knees)  by Hagbah in deference to Hashem and His holy Torah. The source for kneeling at Hagbah is based on a statement in Maseches Sofrim Perek 14:14, and brought in Shulchan Aruch Siman 134:2.

This is also  quoted in Siddur Otzar HaTefilos “…at the time that one sees the letter [at Hagba] he should kneel and say  V’Zos haTorah…” .
No mention of pointing. He also points out the importance of seeing the words of the Torah during Hagba, a much more important practice (both halachically and kabalistically) than simply pointing!

Rav Yaakov Emden Zatzal in his siddur as well in the Siddur of the Gaon of Vilna they  also bring the minhag to kneel, and make no mention of pointing.

Although a minority of Poskim actually say not to kneel (see Shiltei Giborim Maseches Kidushin, end of first Perek. Also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 23:25 omits the requirement to kneel ) according to most Poskim it should indeed be done

The Sefer Ishei Yisroel Perek 38 footnote 8 quotes the sefer HaChaim from Rav Chaim Falagi Siman 3 who brings a "smach", a rationalization, for  the minhag to point by Hagbah, based on  a MMidrash. 

see below for the words of Rav  Chaim Falagi. (Thank you to reader, D.W. for sending in this text.








453) Q: This is not a halachic question, but I want to know if you could please find some sources regarding the below. There seems to be a new trend for a pregnant woman to find out if she’s having a boy or a girl. I have heard that this should not be done, because there’s a brocha to something that is hidden. Can you please elaborate?

A: There is no outright prohibition about this, however there is a Midrash (Rabbah, Parshas Toldos 65:7) that lists seven things that Hashem purposely  made “hidden” from people, and one of them is the gender of a child while it is still in the womb. The meforshim explain that this is for the benefit of mankind, and as such we should indeed try and not  try to uncover this that Hashem has covered. (The other 6 things listed by the Midrash are: the day of one's death, the day of the redemption, the depth of Heavenly judgement,which business ventures will bring a person success, what other people are thinking, when the kingdom of Esav will ultimately fall) 

454) Q: What bracha if any was said on “Mann” in the midbar? Also if you could tell me the mekor that would be great.

A: The Bracha recited was “Hamotzi Lechem Min Hashamayim”. (See Gilyonei HaShas from Rav Yosef Engel Zatzal to Brachos 48b, quoting the Ramah of Panu Zatzal).

455) Q:  What’s the reason the mothers of the choson and kallah break the plate at the T'Naim before the chupah as opposed to the fathers?

A: The minhag to break a dish at the Tena’im is brought in the Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav) Orach Chaim  Siman 560:7 and Mishna Berura 560:9, as a Zecher L’Churban to show that our Simcha is not complete as long as we don’t have a Bais Hamikdash.
There are various other symbolic reasons for this quoted in the Seforim.
However, none of the Poskim specifically say that it needs to be done by the mothers, and in fact  there are references that  point to this having been done by men in years past.
For some reason, the minhag developed into having the mothers do it.


456) Q: What is the origin for saying "Kel Moleh"?  I am under the impression that some do not recite the Kel Moleh on the yarzeit for their parents.  Does this minhag of saying Kel Moleh apply equally to Shabbos and during the week?

A: As far as I know, Keil Malei should be said on a Yahrtzeit of a parent.
It is not said on any day that Tachnun isn’t said. On any other days, even on Shabbos (if it would have Tachnun otherwise) it is indeed said.
See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 74 for the reasons for this.


As an interesting side point, see Sefer Margoliyos HaYam Sanhedrin 96b Os 15 where he quotes the Shla HaKadosh that the text of “Tachas Kanfei HaShechinah” that is said in Keil Malei Rachamim is only for converts to Judaism, whereas Jews by birth should say  “Al Kanfei HaShechina”


457) Q: I wanted to know what is the right thing to do in this situation:


I pray on the bus and train starting from brachot until shema, I stop afte brachot of shema, then I interrupt my tefila because I want to have extra kavana for shema and shemone esrei and since I have very little time I can only say those two prayers at work and no more.


Is it a problem if I talk (say hello to coworkers) between brachot of shema when I pause until i resume shema- and if not what is the best thing to do in this case?


is it better not to say from Baruch sheamar until shema and only recite shema and shemone esrei at work or can I contiue to do what I do?


My trip is long so I have the time- I’m just not sure it's ok- and I can’t finish everything on the train- because it’s so crowded and I don’t feel the prayer of shemonei esrei can be said and often get shoved around. Please let me know what are some options in this case.

A: Once you start the Brachos of Shma and Krias Shma, it is extremely problematic to talk out or otherwise make an interruption before finishing Shemona Esrei.


Women who cannot daven the entire tefilah, or who cannot do it at one time and in order, should keep in mind the following order of importance:


A short Tefilah consisting of a praise of, a request from and a thanks to Hashem. if you can do more, add...

Shemona Esrei...if you can do more, add...

Birchos HaShachar...if you can do more, add...

Birchos HaTorah...if you can do more, add...

Main Pesukei Dezimrah (which means Baruch Sh’Amar, Ashrei and Yishtabach)...if you can do more, add...

The first pasuk of Krias Shma and “Baruch Shem Kvod Malchuso L’Olam Va’ed” ...if you can do more, add...

The rest of Pesukei Dezimrah...if you can do more, add...

The 3 parshiyos of Krias Sh’ma and their Brachos


Thus, in your case, I would recommend saying Shemona Esrei at home first, and then saying everything else on the train in order.


Another option, in cases of necessity, is to say the Shemona Esrei while sitting down on the train, with your feet together.


The above does not apply to men.

458) Q: I learnt (from the Artscroll Tzedaka and Maaser sefer by R. Taub, p.68), that it is preferable to give Tzedaka during the day.  It is also preferable to give Tzedaka before Tefila.  Is there an issue about putting change in the pushka before maariv or is it better to do so just before shacharis and mincha?

A: Yes, it is important to give Tzedakah before davening, as the Pasuk says “V’ani B’Tzedek Echezeh Panechah- I will perform Tzedakah before seeing Hashem’s face [i.e. praying] “(Tehilim 17:15)
The Ya’avetz writes that this should not be done before Maariv as that is not an opportune time for Tzedakah. The Arizal also used to not give Tzedakah before Maariv as he maintained it was a time of din (judgement).
The Chasam Sofer, however, used to give a coin to Tzedaka before each and every tefilah, including before Maariv. (Minhagei Chasam Sofer Perek 1:7)
Each person should follow their own custom, and both customs have on whom to rely.


459) Q: What is the halacha regarding bringing in a newspaper on shabbos? I don’t do it, but I want confirm why. Is it because it is basically amirah l’acum since you are requesting delivery specifically for shabbos morning?

A: The problem with bringing in a paper, if there is one, is that it may have come from outside the Techum of Shabbos and thus may be Muktzah.


Follow up question #1  from the same reader: That’s what I originally thought, but then I learnt that mail is muktzah because there may be bills, etc., but if you see a loose magazine you can read it on Shabbos. Is this not correct? If it is correct, why isn’t there a problem of Techum?

A: Same problem applies to mail.

Follow up question  #2 from reader: So how come mail is considered muktah unless it is something that you would use as a bookmark. If there is a problem of techum it should simply be muktzah all the time…?

A: Though some  Poskim are lenient, based on the Mishna Berura Siman 307:56 and maintain that even when it came from outside the Techum it isn't Muktzah, many other Poskim are stringent, based on Rav Moshe Feinstein’s rulings in  Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 21:5 and  22:1 and 5 where he writes that the leniencies of the Mishna Berura do not apply anymore nowadays (as it isn’t normal to use mail for bookmarks, pot coverings etc. without specifically designating it for this purpose before Shabbos) and being that they came from out of the Techum it is Muktzah.

It is best to be stringent unless in cases of geat necessity.


Of course mail that contains real Muktzah  may not be handled. And of course, it has to be determined, besides for the Muktzah issue, if the magazine/newspaper in question may be read on Shabbos in the first place.


460) Q: What is the shoresh/reason for the minhag of bringing into a new apartment a box of matzohs and salt?

A: In the Sefer Mat’amim HaChadash page 5 he writes that the reason for the minhag to bring bread, salt, candles and honey into a new home before residing there for the first time is because Hashem, before creating Adam and bringing into his new home [Gan Eden]. prepared for him all sorts of  trees with fruits for him to eat, and also the light that was in Gan Eden allowed Adam to see from one end of the world until the other end. Also  before Noach entered the Teivah he stocked it with food and  precious stones that  lit up the Teiva.
In the Sefer Minhagei Belz it is written that Rav Ahron of Belz Zatzal used to tell people to bring in salt and bread into the home before occupying it, and to then distribute it to poor people. This is a Segulah for parnasah and Bracha in the new home.


461) Q:What do contemporary poskim pasken on wearing a watch on shabbos in an area not enclosed by an eiruv? Unlike gloves, there is no issue that I may remove my watch to show it to someone.

A: A wrist watch made of gold, which would be considered a piece of Jewelry, and would still be worn even if the time mechanism stopped working, may be worn on Shabbos even out of the Eiruv.
A regular wrist watch, which if it stopped working would be removed, according to most poskim  should best not be worn outside of an eiruv.
Rav Moshe feinstein Zatzal in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 111 writes that M’Ikar Hadin it is permitted, but Bnei Torah and  G-d fearing jews should best not  go out of an Eiruv while wearing a wrist watch, and he writes “This is how I tell all my disciples to act”
If someone does in fact wear a watch out of the eiruv, there is no need to tell him not to, as there are Poskim on whom to rely that it is permitted.
The above is only in regard to men,a s women are permitted to wear watches out of the eiruv always.
See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 18:27 and footnotes 108-111 for more source information.

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462) Q: What the rule about news and Lashon Hara?

I’ve been told that public information is not considered lashon hara, but sometimes even when I’m skimming through frum Jewish news and see some of the headlines I’m hesitant to read some of these articles due to their exaggerated, harsh language and wording.

A: It is prohibited for newspapers or any other news outlets to  report Lashon Hara. Although sometimes there is information that is already well known and indeed it may sometimes  be permissible to report that, still any additional details, embellishment of the facts, hearsay etc. that is reported, is Lashon Hara. Frum news sources must ascertain from rabbanim that everything they report is accurate and permissible according to the Torah. Not every news source that calls itself “frum”  is actually following halacha,  and each individual on his/her own must make sure to not read, and surely not repeat things that may be Lashon Hara, simply because it was already “printed”. (See  Michtevei Chofetz Chaim 42)


Also, not everything that is reported may be believed as 100% factual truth and if necessary to know that piece of info, it must be independently verified.

463) Q: Where is the source for someone to open  the Aron kodesh if his wife is pregnant?

A:The Chida (Avodas HaKodesh;Moreh B’etzba 3:90) writes that as a Segulah for a woman to have easy labor, her husband should do Pesicha(open the ark) in the 9th month of her pregnancy.

Some people try and get as many Pesichas as possible during the 9th month, however I heard from a respected Rav in the name of the Chida that this should be done only once during the 9th month and not more times, as if one gets  many Pesichas people will realize that his wife is expecting and that is not a Hanhaga of Tzniyus to “announce” that to the entire congregation, and can actually counteract any benefits of this Segulah.

464) Q: I understand that a kohen that has murdered someone can no longer Duchan; on the other hand, if a kohen mohel performs a bris on a child who subsequently dies from his injuries, that mohel can duchan.  What is the status of kohen who kills under self defense, or under the laws of Din Rodef?

A: There is a dispute here between the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama regarding this.

According to the Shulchan Aruch (Siman 128:35), a Kohen that killed someone unintentionally (B’Shogeg), even if he repented for this act, is disqualified from participating in Birchas Kohanim. The reason for this is that although his Teshuva is accepted (as nothing stands in the way of sincere Teshuva) it is still not proper for the same hands that caused death to be used in blessing the Jewish nation (Based on the concept of Ain Kateigor Na’aseh Saneigor. See Mishna Berura S”K 129).  Sephardic Jews  follow this ruling.

According to the Rama, if he did Teshuva on the killing, he can once again participate in Birchas Kohanim (Some authorities accept this Teshuva even for a deliberate killing, but many do not. See Mishna Berura S”K 131 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Afilu B’Shogeg). Thus, Ashkenazic Jews follow this ruling and allow one who killed unintentionally  and repented to once again participate in Birchas Kohanim.

The above is only regarding unintentional death (shogeg). Regarding accidental death (Oi-ness) all agree that he is not disqualified and may continue to participate in Birchas Kohanim (See Mishna Berura  S”K 128)

Thus, for example,  if a Kohen is involved in a auto collision that results in someone’s death, if he was driving safely and following all the laws, he may continue to participate in Birchas Kohanim, as it is considered Oi-ness. If he was speeding and/or not following all the laws, a Rav should be consulted for halacha L’Ma’aseh to determine if it is considered shogeg or even Meizid (negligent/intentional).

The reason that a Kohen who performed a bris where the child died may continue to duchen, is not due to Shogeg/Oi-ness, rather because we have no way of directly attributing the death to the Milah as it could have been caused by other reasons (See Mishna Berura 128:1323)

Killing in self defense is similar to  Oi-ness (as the Torah does not consider this  a prohibited  action of killing) and should  not disqualify a Kohen from duchening.

For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted.

465) Q: Are spices, like garlic or onion powder considered a sharp food?

A: Usually not, unless it is extraordinarily strong like vinegar. And even then,  according to many Poskim, Davar Charif (sharp foods)is only a problem when it is cut with a knife, which you cant do by spices. (See Taz Siman 96:3)

466) Q: 1) It says in Shulchan Aruch (101:4) (Hilchot Tefila) in the end of the sif, that according to the yesh omrim, even if one davens alone, they may ask for anything that they need except for in Aramaic. The Mishna Berura explains that Aramaic is seen as “disgusting in their (the angels) eyes”. Number one, why is that the case?
2) Why would we say yekum purkan  min shemaya (which is in Aramiac) because this seems to be lower than all other languages, which is why one does not say this prayer, except when one is with the congregation. The same question for berich shemey.

A: The Mishna Berura does not say because its disgusting. Rather, it's because the malachim do not understand the Aramaic language (which in reality is a variation of Lashon Hakodesh) and thus will be unable to take our Tefilos  to Hashem. When we are in a Tzibbur, we don’t need them to, as the Shechina is there, and thus Hashem Himself takes our tefilos directly.

Aramaic is not a low language at all. It is the language of the Talmud! It is the language spoken by our great Tana'im and Amora'im! In fact, it is the highest of our Tefilos which we specifically say in that language so they go directly  to Hashem without  the aid of any messengers.  The Talmud Megilah 3a tells us that the  Targum Onkelos, which is written in Aramaic, was given to Moshe Rabbeini on Har Sinai alongside the Torah! (The Malachim may consider Aramaic as an inferior language (which is a deep discussion in itself, which is beyond the scope of this email) but in reality it isn’t.(See Tosefos Shabbos 12b dibur hamaschil She'ain, The Rosh  to Berachos 2:2 and Gilyon Hashas to Shabbos 12b quoting the Ra'avad in Tomim Dayim, Biur HaGra  Orach Chaim101:11 for more on this.)

467) Q: Where can I find the halachos that are nogeia (pertinent) to Dayanim {Jewish Judges). What kind of gifts are they  allowed to accept and what kind are they not allowed to?
For example: Let’s say a Dayan did a Chalitza or a Get.  He doesn’t want to get paid. One side insists on giving money. So can the Dayan allow that money to go towards a sefer that he is
publishing for the public’s benefit?  Would this not interefere with the Dayin being able to sit on a case in the future for this donor?
What about someone who is always contributing seforim to the Dayan.  Is this permissible?
Where can I read up on the halachos of what is permissible and not in connection with a dayan?


A:This is a Lav (Torah prohibition) in Parshas Mishpatim, and even the most pious dayan can-and will- be swayed by gifts, and will be unfit to judge the donors case. See  Gemara Kesubos 105a and b, Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 83, Rambam Hilchos Sanhedrin perek 23, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 9.
From what you described it would seem problematic to take money for his sefer, but a Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’ma’aseh.

468) Q: How is davening (praying) the way to repentance?
A:Teshuva is often interpreted as “repentance”. Although, that’s true in a sense, the actual definition of Teshuva is “Return”, returning to Hashem.
When we sin we get distanced from Hashem, and that is the saddest thing that can happen to a human being, as closeness to Hashem, our Father, is the best thing for our souls.
When we do Teshuva, besides for regretting our sins and resolving to not repeat them, we must also heal the rift that we caused to happen between us and our Father in heaven.
When we daven, we are in essence talking to Hashem, and thus when done with sincerity we are becoming close to our Father again.
The closer we get, the better off we are.


469) Q: What is the importance of the proper time of Tefilah?

A:Each of the three Tefilos that we have was instituted respectively by our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov ( and Tefilas Musaf was instituted by Yosef Hatzadik, according to Kabalistic sources. Other sources say that Rochel Imeinu instituted tefilas Musaf of Rosh Chodesh.)

Each of the tefilos were instituted at a different time of day, and when the time for any one  is in effect the others are not. There are many kabalistic reasons for this as well, but this is not the place for them.

The zman for Shachris is until the end of 4 hours of the day, and B’dieved it may be said until Chatzos. It is prohibited to be  recited after Chatzos (or after half hour past Chatzos according to a minority opinion)  and doing so is an Issur. If one had a circumstance beyond his control where he didnt daven shachris before the deadline, he must then daven two shemona esrei’s at Mincha. (See Mishna Berachos 26a, Shulchan Aruch, Rama and Mishna Berura Siman 89:1, and Shulchan Aruch Siman 108)

470) Q: I have heard conflicting views if in the snow on Shabbos, one may put a bag over his shoe so that it should slide in smoothly into his rubber boots. What can you say regarding this matter if it’s a machlokes or not and what your sources are.

A: Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlita in his Sefer The Shabbos Home Vol. 1,page 121 writes that he heard from Maran Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal that these arent considered garments and may not be worn outside of an Eiruv.

Rav Dovid Zucker shlita from the Chicago Kolel is quoted  as ruling that it is permitted, and that it’s no different than a bag on a shtreimel or hat, where  if part of the body is  also covered, it’s OK (and  Rav Moshe  Zatzal himself allows it in such a case).

I suppose that Rav Moshe Zatzal’s reasoning to  differentiate between these two bags is that the bag on the shoulder can protect from rain or snow as well, whereas the bag in the boot  does not serve a purpose of protection of the body, and is only there to aid in getting the boot onto the foot, but once its on it serves no purpose. If the boot would have a hole in it, or if the bag would otherwise serve a purpose to the body such as warmth ot protection from getting wet, Rav Moshe Zatzal would probably agree that it was permitted.
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh your rav should be consulted.

471) Q: You wrote that women may wear watches on shabbos out of the Eruv.  I thought women weren’t allowed to wear jewelry on Shabbos outside the Eruv , so why would a watch be any different?

A:Although inthe times of the Mishna and the Talmud indeed women were prohibited from wearing most Jewelry, as we worried that they would remove it to show their friends and thus end up carrying in a prohibited place, this is not the halacha today.

There are many reasons discussed  in the Rishonim and Poskim as to why the prohibition was lifted (it is already hundreds of years that this prohibition has been lifted).

Some of the reasons given are that the prohibition was only in a proper Reshus HaRabim (public domain) and not in a Karmelis (smaller public domain), where carrying is a rabbinic prohibition, and most of our streets nowadays are not real Reshus Harabim. Another reason given is that nowadays women do not remove jewelry to show their friends in middle of the street, so the Gezeira doesn't apply. Another reason cited is that women will be unable to abide by this prohibition.

Bottom line is, all Poskim agree that nowadays women may wear most common jewelry on Shabbos even in areas that have no Eruv.
See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 303:21 and 22 for more on this topic.

472) Q: I  wanted to know if it’s permitted to carry the Megila to shul on shabbos in the afternoon in a year when  Purim beginson  Motzei Shabbos?

A: Carrying the Megilah to shul is prohibited, according to many Poskim, even if an eruv is present, as doing so is preparing on Shabbos for Weekday. Rather the Megilah should be brought ot Shul on Erev Shabbos. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  Siman 141:17 and Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 693:1. Some Poskim are more lenient, if it is done discreetly, and also used to learn from on Shabbos itself. See Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasa Perek 28:83)

473) Q:  Is there a source, and if so what is it, for giving gifts between Chosson and Kallah.


More specifically, if I am asked to assist a choson/kallah with wedding expenses and they say that part of the expenses is $10k in jewelry, to me that seemed absurd that they would spend so much if they don’t have the money.


The response was that in their circles this is the “minhag.” Is there a source for this minhag or is it just keeping up with the Jones' became the norm and then translated into the minahg.


I would not expect any source to say specifically $10k, but does it say give generously, multiple pieces, at each occasion (Tu beshevat, Purim) until the chasunah? If this was a “legitimate” expense I would be more open to supporting.

A:Yes, there is definitely a well established minhag for gifts between Choson and Kallah at the time of the engagement as well as throughout the entire period of the engagement. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 45:1 and Magen Avraham Orach Chaim Siman 444:9)


Of course, the gifts need not be extravagent or beyond the means of what can be afforded, but they should be on par to what others in their circle give/get as to not to cause any hurt feelings between the bride and groom.


As an aside, when giving these gifts it’s important when a groom sends a gift to his bride that he have in mind that it NOT be for the purposes of “Kidushin” and also the Choson should send them via messenger and not hand them over himself as that is not considered abiding with Hilchos Tzniyus (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 45:1 and 2. See also Shu”t Rav Eliyahu Mizrachi Siman 19)


Of course, every individual should seek and follow the guidance of their Rav in this area, and in all areas of halacha, hashkafa and Yiddishkeit.


474) Q:Is it true that according to Kabbalah, the beds in one’s room should face a particular direction and if so, which direction would that be?

A:  Yes, a person’s bed should ideally be positioned in the north-south position.
According to  many  rishonim this applies only to married men and only at times when together with their wives.
If this is not possible or practical, you have on whom to rely and  the bed may be positioned any direction, even when husband and wife are together.
(See Talmud Brachos 5b and Rashi and Tosefos there and Rambam Hilchos Bais HaBechira Perek 7:9. See also  Shulchan Aruch HaRav  Siman 3:10)


475) Q: Is a kohen allowed to fly in a plane or helicopter over a jewish cemetary?

A: No. If a Kohen knows for sure that he will be flying over a Jewish cemetery he may not take that flight, as the impurity of a grave goes straight up until the heavens. However, he does not have to assume that every flight path will do so, and thus doesn't need to avoid flying altogether when it isn't for sure that a Jewish cemetery will be flown over

476) Q: Is 1 dollar  and 50 cents enogh for Matonos L’evoyim?

A:Although the Mishna Berura writes that he doesnt know the precise amount, and he quotes rishonim that a “shaveh Prutah” is  enough,the Poskim say it should be something significant for a meal.

Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal  said that it should be the equivalent of a roll and a coffee. $5.00 should surely cover it according to everyone.
Of course, the more  you  give the better.

477) Q: Is it OK to read in the restroom? and if yes would the magazine like country yossi or mothers helper be OK?

A: Yes, it’s OK to read in the restroom, as long as Torah content isn’t read. If those magazines contain Torah, it is best to avoid bringing them into the restroom in the first place, even if those parts aren’t read.

478) Q: I want to  mail someone a check for Purim.  Is this counted as Matanos L'Evyonim on Purim?

A:If it gets there by Purim and they are able to cash it on Purim (harder in a year when Purim is on a Sunday) then it's surely OK.


If he cannot cash it on Purim, some Poskim (including Rav Nisim Karelitz zatal) say it won't be a fulfillment of Matanos L'Evyonim, while other Poskim (including Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zichronam L'vracha) maintain it is still a fulfillment of the Mitzvah, despite the fact that it can't be cashed until after Purim, and even if it is a post-dated check. (See Halichos Shlomo; Purim Perek 19:23)

if it only gets there after Purim, it won't be considered Matanos L'Evyonim, rather plain tzedakah.

479) Q: Is is permitted to listen to music on Ta’anis Esther- being that it is a fast day?

A:Yes, although it’s a fast day, it isn’t a fast day based on our mourning of the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, and thus listening to music, showering. taking a haircut  and other  things that bring pleasure are halachically allowed. (Of course, the type of music should not be the variety that takes away from the spirit of the day)

480) Q: What is the din regarding the use of a peeler on yomtov regarding  borer etc.
A:Borer on Yom Tov is a very complicated sugya.
Bottom line: A peeler is permitted to be used on Yom Tov. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 4:10 and footnote 16)

481) What bracha (and bracha achrona) are onion rings? ( the ones you buy in a pizza shop, not the snack food kind)

A: They require a Mezonos as they are usually made with a significant batter containing Mezonos ingredients on the outside, and are thus the Ikar.
The Bracha Achrona is more tricky. If a Kzayis of the batter part is eaten within  Kdei Achilas Pras (approximately 3 minutes) it will require Al HaMichya, otherwise Borei Nefashos is recited ,provided that a Kzayis of the inside and outside combined was consumed within 3 minutes.


482) Q: Is there any mekor (source) for standing up when a Chosen & Kallah walk down the chupah? I understand standing up for a zaken or a talmud chochom (if the father or mother fit that description), but what about a typical situation, where the chosen/kallah and their parents are not a zaken and not a Talmid Chochom/Rav, am I obligated to stand up for them?

A: There is no real Mekor for this. It is a minhag that developed based on the fact that Choson is likened to a King, and of course for a king we stand up. (See Tashbatz Katan Siman 465)

483) Q:If someone is on a diet and it helps him to do the following, is it OK, or is it bal tashchis? To bite into a piece of cake, chew it, taste it, and then spit it out in the trash can? he enjoys the way it tastes, but knows  its not good for him to swallow it.

A: I don’t think it’s a problem to do this. He isn’t wasting the food, as he is using it  in a way that satisfies him. Also, he puts it in his mouth, and now when he takes it out it isn’t  “Ra’ui L’Achila, fit for consumption ” anymore, so discarding it isnt Bal Tashchis. Lastly, there is a concept of “Bal Tashchis D’Guf Adif” meaning it is better to waste some food than to waste your body, which if it isnt healthy for your body is considered hurting it. (See Talmud Shabbos 140b).

Of course, a brach Rishona will be required, as the food is tasted and enjoyed.

484) Q: Have gedolim in recent times rendered a p’sak or ethical perspective as to whether a person should ideally pursue a parnasah that is blue collar so as to enable him the ability to think in learning at least to some degree while working being that the Nefesh Hachaim clearly states that even those that work should/must think in learning… during that time – though such a job may pay him less or that for some reason today’s society is different and is not subject to this?


Also what can be said as to one who would like to do nothing more than sit and learn all day or something in chinuch and is able and willing to adjust to a large degree… but feels (felt) the responsibility to be set up with a parnasah for his family but really is not ‘fitting’ in with the work he does i.e. is just not happy and/or not enjoying himself at all there, he feels this is simply ‘silly/petty stuff’ oilam hasheker, though is getting the work done; what should be said to such a person? Is there an alternative? Should he rise up and just throw himself to Hashem (so to speak)…?

A: A Person should definitely try and find employment in a field/environment that is conducive to his being a frum Yid.

This includes more than just a clean area to be able to think in learning. This also includes not being around vulgar and impure people whose mouths spew filth etc. Yes, Hashem expects Hishtadlus, but  being in a place that a frum yid doesn't belong  is not required and isn't considered hishtadlus.

It is a very high level to simply throw yourself to Hashem, and until one is ready to do that one must do his utmost hishtadlus to find a decent job to support his family. (Even though it is Hashem that provides 100% of our Parnassah, and not the Hishtadlus that one does, still Hashem has mandated that we do Hihtadlus, either as a K'nas, as per the Mesilas Yesharim Perek 21, or  for other explanations that are too lengthy for this email.)


Regarding if any particular person should opt for kolel over a job, it is impossible for me to give you an opinion via an email to someone I don't know personally. A Rav should be consulted.

485) Q: What is the difference between a segulah and a superstition?

A: Segulos are based on the Torah while superstitions are made up and are often against the Torah’s way.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if something is a segulah that works according to Chazal or not, so it’s always best to rely only on Segulos that have reliable sources in the Seforim or at least ones that were handed down from generation to generation.

Jumping to follow every new “segulah” that appears on the scene without verifying its authenticity is foolish.

“Ain Segulah K’Torah, there is no better Segulah than [learning and following the] Torah”

See Sefer Peleh Yoetz, Os Chof, Kibud Av V’Em where he writes
“…There are people who spend large sums of money for the opportunity to do the Mitzvah of opening the Aron Kodesh or to be a Sandek at a Bris and similar things which are not biblical or Rabbinic Mitzvos rather just a good deed (i.e. a Segulah)…yet every time one obeys their father and mother they fulfill a huge biblical Mitzvah…[yet] fools give up this opportunity [often for the lesser opportunities]and are punished”


486) Q: What is the reason that a Kalah (Bride) and both mothers circle the Choson (Groom) seven times under the Chupah? Also, what is the source for this custom?

A: There are many reasons cited for this custom. One reason cited is that the seven circlings correspond to the 7 times it says “Kol” in the chapter of Mizmor L’Dovid Havu Lashem Bnei Ailim…(Tehilim 29) (Based on Tikunei Zohar Tikun 6). Another reason cited is that the 7 circlings show that the marriage is being done in honor of Hashem who reigns in all 7 skies. (Sefer Sh’Eiris Yaakov Siman 18)
There are many other kabalistic reasons as well for this age-old minhag.

Some  readers emailed  with the following additional reasons:

1) “I once learned that the kallah encircling the chosson 7 times is parallel to the 7 times that bnei yisrael encircled yericho- showing that the kallah is creating a spiritual choma/wall around her husband”  

2) “Perhaps another reason for the 7 times (I think I saw this somewhere) is that there are 7 names for the yetzer hara and the new kalla is destroying him by having her new husband only focus on her so he won’t come to sin with others.


Another reader sent in the following information from an article by Mrs. Shira Smiles:

In Ashkenazic tradition, the kallah, along with her chaperones, walk around the chassan either three or seven times. Chazal teach us that a man who lives without a wife lives without a wall. When encircling the chassan, the woman is symbolically creating a “wall” of protection around her husband, protecting him from external temptations.

Seven is a sign of strength, hence the kallah’s seven circuits, which parallels the walls of Yericho that Bnei Yisrael surrounded for seven days. Rav Kaplan notes another parallel to the Seven Nevios (Sara, Miriam, Devorah, Chana, Avigail, Chuldah, and Esther) and the Seven Shepherds (Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon), a sign we’re asking them to protect the couple in their new marriage.

Netai Gavriel notes that some would count the seven circuits around the chassan using the same expression the Kohein Gadol used when counting the blood sprinkling during his seder ha’avodah: “achas v’achas, achas v’shteyim” to once again remind us of the intensity of the ceremony under the chuppah.

The source for encircling the chassan three times is the words “I will betroth you,” found three times in Sefer Hosheia (2:21–22), which represents the commitment between husband and wife.

A deeper understanding of the chassan’s encirclement can be inferred from a beautiful insight of Shvilei Pinchas on the interrelationship between the roles of the chassan and kallah. The Midrash teaches that the Torah was created as black fire on white fire. The black fire is the letters of the Torah, which men are instructed to learn. The white fire is the parchment, representing the role of the woman, which is to create an atmosphere that enables the man’s learning to thrive.

When a sofer begins to write on a parchment, he needs to verbalize that this will be used for something holy. Similarly, when the chassan states “harei at mekudeshes li,” he’s symbolically designating “his parchment” for this kadosh role. The torches that escort the chassan and kallah are also a reminder of this black and white fire.Based on this, in encircling the chassan, the kallah, wearing white, is creating a “poel dimyoni,” an image of wrapping the parchment around a “letter of the Sefer Torah” — i.e., her chassan, who embodies a letter of the Torah. She’s escorted by the two mothers, who are metaphorically transmitting Toras imecha to her.


487) Q: Before Pesach I get many letters, emails and "tzedaah links" from variuos Tzedaka organizations requesting money for their cause.

Say I get about 100 solicitations this month. Is it better to give to one organization $100 or $1 to 100 organizations?


A:In general, it is better to spread the wealth rather than give all your Tzedaka dollars to one place.


This doesn't mean you can't give more to causes you feel for and not at all to a cause that doesn't touch your heart,it just means that it is praiseworthy to spread it out. (See Rambam to Pirkei Avos Perek 3 Mishna 15 )


Do keep in mind though, that there are also halachic guidelines about who takes precedence over others, such as family, Talmidei Chachamim, Aniyim in your city etc., as we have discussed at length in the past.


Also, remember that nobody ever loses out from giving tzedakah, so thank Hashem that you are on the giving end, and thank Him for every giving opportunity that He sends your way!

488)Q: Does one have the achrayus to “nullify bad dreams”? (Like if someone hears of someone’s death in his or her dream).  Also, is it a bad siman to dream of one’s own teeth falling out?

A:There is no obligation to nullify bad dreams, but if they are persistent and really bothering you, a Rav should be consulted as to the best course of action.

The Talmud (Brachos 55a) says that untold dreams are like unopened letters and thus  have no meaning. The best thing is to try to ignore them and hope they go away. Davening and Teshuva are also a good idea when it comes to clearing bad dreams from your head.

The Talmud (Brachos 56a) does discuss dreams regarding teeth falling out , but its best to discuss with a Rav rather than trying self interpretation and making yousrself  nervous and anxious  for no reason.

The Talmud (Brachos 55b)also says that good people have bad dreams and vice versa. The topic of dreams is a  long and complicated one and not possible to cover it all in an email.

489) Q: Does a person who gives a class/speech and barters the payment for a stay at a hotel, have to (according to halacha) pay taxes on the value of that stay?

A: If according to the law of the land it is required, then according to halacha it would be required. For Halacha L'Ma'aseh, a Rav  kowledgebale in Choshen Mishpat should be consulted.

490) Q: As  I clean my house for Pesach, my husband makes me throw out any real Chometz that we will not be able to finish before Pesach, as he doesnt sell such Chometz. Is this an issue of Bal Tashchis as this food is perfectly fine.

A: There is no issue of Bal Tashchis as the Torah commands us to get rid of this Chometz.


Even though we rule that it can halachically be sold and bought back after Pesach, it isn’t the best thing to do for real Chometz as this “selling” is a bit deceptive, and those who do not rely on selling of the chometz have many Poskim to rely on to avoid this practice. (Psak of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal, Sefer Emes L’Yaakov Siman 448 footnote 437)


Of course, for Halacha L’Ma’aseh about what you may or may not sell, a Rav should be consulted.

491) Q: I heard that dipping into the wine of havdalah and then putting your hand into your pocket is originally based on a non-Yehudi source. What is the earliest source for this minhag?

A: There is no real source for putting wine in the pockets (unlike wine on the eyes, which is a real minhag with source in Chazal;  See Pirkei D’Rav Eliezer (Perek 20. See also Shulchan Aruch Siman 296:1 where it says “to wash one's face with the leftover wine to show how much we love Mitzvos”).


However, many big people were known to do it, so I don’t think it would be from a non- Yehudi source.

492) Q: If one has the E-Z filter attached to one’s faucet, can it be used on Shabbos, or is there a problem of the Melachah of Borer on Shabbos which is prohibited?

A: As long as the water can be used without the filter, and the filter is only there for added protection then it may be used on shabbos. if , however, the water is unsafe to drink without the filter (as is the case in certain areas) , or if halachically the water may not be consumed without a filter, then the filter may not be used on Shabbos. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L'Maaseh.

493) Q: I will be leaving my house a few days before Pesach and doing Bedikas Chometz early, do I still put down the customary 10 pieces to “find”?

A: The accepted Minhag is not to put out the 10 pieces when doing Bedikas Chometz early. The reason given is that since you do not recite a Bracha when doing Bedikas Chometz early, thus there won’t be a problem of a potential “Bracha L’Vatalah” if no Chometz is found. (This is the main reason for the 10 pieces in the first place) (See Piskei Teshuvos Siman 432:5 where he brings some opinions that the 10 pieces should be placed anyhow. However, that isn’t the accepted Minhag)

494) Q: Are peanuts considered Kitniyos and thus prohibited to eat on pesach (for Ashkenazim) or not?

A: There is a debate in the Poskim if peanuts are considered Kitniyos. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 63) ruled that they are not Kitniyos. However, he does write that those who have the custom to treat them as Kitniyos should hold on to that custom and continue not eating peanuts and peanut products on Pesach.Other Poskim maintained that peanuts are indeed Kitniyos and should not be eaten. Some Poskim prohibit actual peanuts but allow peanut oil to be used.(See Shu”t  Melamed L’Hoel Siman 88, Sefer Mikraei Kodesh Vol. 2 Siman 60 and Halichos Shlomo, Pesach, Perek 4 Dvar Halacha Os 28)

Of course for Halacha L’ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.

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