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q&a page  11

495) Q: What is the mekor and reason for not drinking water during Shalosh Seudos?

A: The  Rama (Siman 291:2) brings an opinion (based on a Midrash as well as kabalistic sources. See Rabeinu Bechaya Shmos 20) not to drink water between Mincha and Maariv on Shabbos as during that time the souls that got a reprieve from Gehinom begin returning there (via bodies of water)  and thus we shouldn't even eat the third meal then as if we eat we will come to drink as well.

However he writes that L’Chatchilah our custom is to indeed daven Mincha first and then eat the Seudah shlishis and not worry about drinking water at home and only be concerned with drinking water directly from a stream.

He further states that some have the custom that only when in the 12 month mourning period of a parent R"L do they avoid drinking water at that time.

Finally, he writes that some are of the opinion that this prohibition is on Erev Shabbos, and not at the time of seudah Shlishis. (This is the also the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch Harav)

Many people do in fact drink water during Seudah Shlishis, but stop drinking once sunset arrives (See Biur Halacha ibid.)


496) Q: I once heard that there is a mitzvah to own your own wine for kiddush and the daled kosos. My father in law wants to buy me wine, and I want to pay him back… but he will only accept if I show him the source for this. Do you know the source for this?


I remember the gemara in pesachim about a person will rather use his own money to do a mitzva and there is an iyan of “Lachem” by Lulav, but what about Daled kosos?

A: There is a chumrah by Matzah to make it Lachem (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 454:4 and Sfas Emes to Sukkah 35a) but I do not believe this Chumrah exists by wine for the 4 Kosos.


Also, even if it does require Lachem, getting it as a gift suffices, and you do not need to pay for it. (See Halichos Shlomo Pesach page 206)

497) Q: If I got a new cutting board made from bamboo, should it be toiveled before using?

A: Utensils made out of wood or grass  do not require tevilah.

498) Q: I am told that the names of the Hebrew months have significance. For instance, Nissan is for the month that is destined to have nissim (miracles) Iyar is the mnemonic for Ani Hashem Rofecha.My question is:  What are the meanings for the remaining ten months?

A: The names of most of the Hebrew months are not Lashon Kodesh. The Torah doesn't mention them by names, rather  only calls them by their numbers.  The Ramban (Shmos 12:2) discusses the origins of these names  and they are mostly  Babylonian.

499) Q: What is the bracha and bracha acharona for kasha? Is it mezonot and al hamichya like a regular grain or is it borei nifashot like rice?


A:  Kasha, buckwheat, contrary to popular  belief, is not a grain. Its Bracha is HoAdama and its after Bracha is Borei Nefashos. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 65 and Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 25)

500) Q: I recently came home to find a flier from a local missionary organization at my front door. Before discarding it, I noticed that while the articles have quotes from their “New Testament”, they also contain several quotes from actual Torah sources (in English, of course). How should I discard of this - is it considered shaimos?

A: They are not considered Sheimos and may be discarded, as even a Sefer Torah that was written by a heretic may (and must)  be burned, as it has zero Kedusha. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 334:21)

501) Q: Why do we say "Migdol" during Birchas haMazon on Shabbos and Yom Tov as opposed to saying "Magdil" the rest of the week?

A: One reason given is based on the Gemara (Shabbos 115a) that teaches us that  in those days they did not read [publicly] from Kesuvim on Shabbos.  The Posuk “Magdil Yeshu’os Malko V’Oseh Chesed L’Mshicho” is from Tehilim Perek 18:51, which is Kesuvim, so on Shabbos we change it to an almost identical Posuk “Migdol Yeshuos Malko” which is in Neviim, Shmuel II Perek 22:51. (Interestingly, both of these verses are Posuk 51 in their respective Perakim.)

In the Sefer Boruch She’Amar (written by the author of Chumash Torah Temimah)  he maintains that this minhag developed by mistake, based on a misunderstanding. The Posuk was written as “Migdol” and the letters “Shin” and “Bais” were written next to  it as a source code meaning “Shmuel Bais”, However, over time people misinterpreted the “Shin  Bais” as meaning “Shabbos” and thus began saying “Migdol” on Shabbos only and “Magdil” during the week. However, this minhag is already brought by the Rishonim (See Abuderham Hilchos Brachos, page 365, quoting a kabalah from his Rebbeim), thus it's difficult to attribute thisto a mistake.

The Ben Ish Chai ( Year 1, Parshas Chukas Siman 19) writes that this change to Migdol on Shabbos is “Al Pi Sod” , has a mystical reason.

The prevalent custom is to indeed say Magdil during the weekdays and Migdol on days that the Musaf prayers are said.


502) Q: I was learning that a renter must put up mezuzas in his apartment, but without a bracha. Why is that?


A:According to many Poskim, a renter [in Chutz L'Aretz] should not recite a Bracha on the Mezuzah until after living in the home for 30 days (as until then he isn't considered Kavua), but after 30 days everyone agrees that the renter must recite the Bracha.


Some Poskim maintain that even renters recite the bracha immediately.


Some differentiate between a long term rental and a short term rental (such as a summer bungalow) (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 179)


In Eretz Yisroel, even renters must put up a mezuzah, with a Bracha, immediately, due to the additional Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, settling the land of Eretz Yisroel. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh deah Siman 286:22)

503) Q: While recently saying Kiddush Levana I found it interesting that everyone was davening facing towards the moon (opposite of Mizrach in our Shul ). Is there any Mekor for this ( facing towards the moon ) or should we be Davening towards Mizrach like all other Tefilos?

A: Although it isn’t brought in Shulchan Aruch to face Mizrach when saying Kiddush Levana, I did hear from a Talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal that he was indeed makpid to stand facing east while reciting Kiddush Levanah.  It is best not to specifically face the moon, especially while reciting the Bracha, lest it appear as if we are praying to the moon Chas V’Shalom.

See also Shu"t Avnei Yashphe, Vol. 3, Orach Chaim Siman 50, where he says to face the direction of the moon. However, even if facing the "direction" of the moon, still best not to face directly to moon, so it shouldn't seem like you are praying to the moon.


504) Q: Is it required to eat meat at a seudas mitzvah (e.g. seduah after a bris)? The seudah was during shalosh seduos and I didnt eat meat because i wanted dairy for melavah malkah. I was told what I did was wrong and that we are chayav to eat meat during this instance because it shows simcha. Is this true and what is the source?

A: It is a Mitzvah to serve meat at a Seudas Mitvah, as  there is no Simcha without meat . A Bris is a Seudas Mitzvah, and indeed should ideally be a meat meal.

That being said, many people nowadays  have the custom to serve dairy at a Bris, either becasue of financial reasons as meat meals are more expensive or due to practical reasons as most people nowadays would rather not have fleishig for breakfast. Many Poskim rely on these reasons and indeed do allow a dairy Bris.

(See  Mogen Avrohom Siman 249:6. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 485 and Vol. 3 Siman  294)

505) Q: When Lag B’Omer falls out on Sunday, can one take a haircut on Friday already?

A: Yes, one may take a haircut and shave on Friday (and B’dieved even on Thursday night if one won’t have the opportunity to do it on Friday; See Shu”t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 1 Siman 338), L’Kavod Shabbos. Some Poskim say to wait until after Chatzos on Friday, if possible (See Halichos Shlomo  Vol. 2  page 364  footnote 79)


However, if it wasn’t done on Friday, it may not be done on Motzaei Shabbos and must wait until Sunday. (Rama Siman 493:2 and Mishna Berura S”K 11)

(Note: This Halacha applies only to Ashkenazim)

506) Q: I went to bed early last night before counting the omer.  I wasn’t sure if I would get up later in the night, so I thought to myself that it was day 30, 4 weeks and 2 days of the omer.  I didn’t wake up again until the morning, but then I forgot to count properly.  Now it is the next night, am I able to resume counting with a bracha or not?

A:Once the entire day passed without you counting, and it is already the next night, you can no longer count with a bracha.  “thinking” the sefirah does not suffice.

507) Q: One of the halachos you posted in the halachos of Midvar Sheker Tirchak was the issur to offer a present as an act of goodwill to someone who will surely refuse it – a friend mentioned that the same would hold true to sending an invitation to a simcha to someone you know will surely not come. Is this so, and is this practice (which I believe is done all the time) assur?

A: Yes, it would apply to sending an invitation to simcha, or to inviting someone for a shabbos meal, when you dont really want them and know they won't come in any case.

508) Q: On yom tov can one light a match from a lit source to light candles with?  (it is easier to stick a match into a yahrzeit glass than a candle which drips and puts out both lights.)

A: Yes, lighting a match on Yom Tov from a Yahrtzeit candle is 100% OK on Yom Tov, but the match may not be extinguished. It must be left to go out on its own.

509) Q: What are  the things that a lefty does different from a righty?

A: Some of the things are: tefilin on the right hand, lulav in the left hand- esrog in the right hand, right foot first when saying Oseh Shalom and food is held in the left hand when reciting a bracha. For a larger treatment of this topic see archives of Hilchos Iter Yad .


510) Q: I have a question about Shavuos. Why do we celebrate the Torah at Shavuos, when we received the luchots at Yom Kippur? Is it that the revelation at Har Sinai was in Sivan ( even though first luchos were broken in Tammuz)?

A: Yes, Hashem appeared to the Jewish people on Har Sinai on Shavuos.


The ten commandments were proclaimed on Shavuos, and that is considered “Matan Torah” even though the actual tablets were not brought down until 40 days later and subsequently broken, and then the second set of tablets brought down on Yom Kippur.


(See Pirush Binyan Yehoshua beginning of Maseches Avos D’Rav Nosson for a more detailed treatement of the timeline of Matan Torah and the Luchos)

511) Q: When opening the Paroches of the Aron Kodesh when doing pesicha, must it be opened from left to right or can it also be done from right to left?

A: There is a concept in halacha (Based on Talmud Yoma 15b) of “B’chol Pinos SheAta Poneh, Tifneh L’Yemin”, meaning anything that can be done two ways, should rather be done to the “right”. Thus, although not halachically mandated, it is indeed best to open the Paroches, as well as do any other Mitzvos,  to the right, if possible. (See Drisha on the Tur beginning of Siman 651. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 38)

512) Q: Can someone light their Shabbos candle from another shabbos candle that is already burning?

A: The Poskim do allow  using a lit shabbos candle to ignite another candle.  However, it’s best not to pick up the lit candle and light the unlit candle, rather take the unlit candle and bring it to the flame of the lit candle.

A lit shabbos candle, however,  may not be used to ignite a match or another non shabbos candle etc.  (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:4 and Biur Halacha).

513) Q:  Is it mutar to store seforim in a bedroom where relations may take place?

A:The seforim may not be left out in the bedroom while relations are taking place. They must be taken out or placed in a drawer or in a closet, preferably in a second covering.  At other times they may be in the bedroom. If there is a book case filled with seforim, it should be completely covered with a towel or sheet or other item. The same applies for tefilin, and for a Mezuzah that is visible to the interior of the room. (See Mishna berura Siman 40 S" K 7 and  Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 150:6)

514) Q: After I light Shabbos candles, do I need to cover my eyes to say my personal prayers?  Am I allowed to see the light?  I see some women read Aneni, etc. right by the candles and I see others leave the room completely.

A: No need to cover your eyes beyond the Bracha on the Shabbos candles. You may see the light and you may stay in the room.  There is no prohibition to derive pleasure from Shabbos candles, on the contrary one of the reasons for the candles is for Shalom Bayis, that there should be light in the home to see.

515) Q: I heard that there is something about Hashem answering all our prayers when we cover our eyes… is this why some women don’t look at the light when they read Aneni after lighting the Shabbos candles?

A: Hashem hears and answers ALL prayers that are said sincerely. True, sometimes its easier to concentrate when  the eyes are closed or covered, and if that is the case then they should indeed be closed or covered.

The Seforim do quote the Ben Ish Chai as saying that while a woman recites the bracha on the Shabbos candles her face should be covered AND her eyes closed, as kabalistically it is important for her eyes to be closed at that time. However, I  believe that refers to the time she  is reciting the bracha on the candles, and not afterwards as she says additional Tefilos.


516) Q: Which shoe does a lefty tie first?

A: All people should put their right shoe on first. Righties should tie their left shoe first. Lefties should tie their right shoe first. (See Mishna Berura Siman 2:6)

517) Q: Is a person allowed to bathe a baby on Shabbos?

A: Generally, bathing on Shabbos is prohibited.
If a small child gets dirty on Shabbos one is allowed to wash the child’s body with warm water that was preheated before Shabbos.
If the child has a condition (such as a rash, chicken pox etc.) that makes him uncomfortable the child may be bathed. If no hot water is available from before Shabbos, a non Jew can be asked to warm up the water.

Even when permitted, a bar of soap may not be used, only watered down liquid soap can be used.

A washcloth or sponge  may not be used due to the prohibition of Sechitah, squeezing. Likewise, after the bath  a towel should  not be rubbed over the child’s hair as doing so may  be a transgression of Sechitah.

(For a fuller treatment of these halachos see “Children in Halacha” by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita chapter 16)


518) Q: My wife has been purchasing the small but squat Shabbos candles that go into a glass container that fits into her Shabbos Candle sticks. Too often it starts burning, the bracha is made and then the flame goes out, am I correct in once the bracha is made it cannot be relit by any means?

Secondly, lately we have been purchasing Yortzeit candles that seem to last maybe 23 hours, the worst part is on the Chagim when they are used to transfer a flame to a lit candle, any suggestions (we have even tried different manufacturers).

A: Although once she makes the bracha SHE can no longer relight them, someone else could - and should- relight them, as long as it is before sunset. If this happens often, may I suggest trying a different kind of candle or oil to which  this doesnt happen ?

The best thing to do regarding Yahrtzeit candles which dont last as long as they claim to last, is to either fill the  tin or glass with a little bit of oil, which will give you additional burning time, or purchase the 7 day candle and extinguish it after Yom Tov. Or place it in the freezer before use, as that gives it some extra life.

519) Q: What is the reason for kissing the mezuzah when walking by it?

A: The Mezuzah, besides for being a commandment in the Torah to place on the doorpost, is also a Shmira, protection for the home from harmful elements. (See Talmud Menachos 33b and Rashi there dibur Hamaschil D’Tintarei. See also Rashi ibid. 32b Dibur Hamaschil Sakanah and Rashi to Pesachim 4a Dibur Hamaschil Chovas. See also Talmud Yerushalmi Peah Perek 1:1 )

According to the Rambam (Hilchos Mezuzah Perek 6:13, based on Talmud Menachos 43b) it is also a protection to prevent from sinning.


The Talmud (Avoda Zarah 11a) relates the story of how the Roman Caesar sent his soldiers to capture Onkeles (Who was the nephew of the Roman Ceasar who became a convert to Judaism and subsequently one of the greatest Jews who ever lived. His Targum (translation) of the Torah is printed in virtually every Chumash and each week all male Jews are required to read the Torah of the week twice with his translation once) and each time as they tried to take him out of his home he placed his hand on the Mezuzah upon leaving and upon explaining his actions to the guards, that he trusts in Hashem who protects His people, they converted as well. See the Talmud passage for the entire exchange and the story.


Every Mezuzah has 'Shin Daled Yud', written on the outside, which besides being a name of Hashem is an acronym for “Shomer Diras Yisroel, protector of Jewish dwellings” (See Darchei Moshe Yoreh Deah Soman 288:3 quoting the Kol Bo. Similarly, in the Siddur of the Arizal it is written that it stands for “Shomer Dalsos Yisroel, protector of Jewish doors”. See also Zohar Parshas V’Eschanan page 266b in the old prints)


The Rama (Yoreh Deh Siman 285:2) writes, based on the Gemara above as well as on a Midrash Bereishis Rabbah end of Perek 35, that when one leaves their home or enters their home they should place their hand on the Mezuzah and say a certaim Posuk for shmirah.


Some people have the Minhag, before going to bed, to go to the door of their room, place their hand on the Mezuzah and say certain Pesukim for Shemirah. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 71:4)


Most Poskim do not write anything about “kissing” the mezuzah and simply write that it is a good thing to place one’s hand on it, as in the story of Onkelos it makes no mention of any kissing.


However, the Chida in Birchei Yosef to Yoreh Deah 285 quotes the Arizal that “one should place a finger on the ‘Shin Daled Yud’ that is on the mezuzah and kiss the finger and daven to Hashem for protection and to be saved from the Yetzer Hara” , and seemingly many people have adopted this minhag (at least the kissing the finger part)


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Siman 11:24) also writes that the Mezuzah should be kissed when entering and leaving the home. However in Siman 71 that we referenced earlier regarding touching hte Mezuzah before bed, he does not write anything abot kissing it and only writes to place the hand on it so seemingly he holds that kissing is only necessary when entering or leaving the room.


520) Q: What is the halacha regarding a woman saying a kaddish quietly to herself in shul?

​Many Poskim allow for women to recite the kaddish quietly in the women’s section at the same time that it is being recited by men in the men’s section. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 12:2 where he clearly writes that this was the minhag of old that women mourners came to shul to recite kaddish. Chacham HaRav Ovadiah Yosef Zatzal also ruled that women may recite kaddish when there are no men mourners, as long as a minyan of men are present and he writes that this ruling was based on such a psak by Poskim of the former generations such as the Shvus Yaakov, Chavas Yair and the Shu”t Teshuva M’Ahava, as long as it isn't done in the actual Shul but in her home or in the Ezras Nashim.)


Of course, each individual must ask their own Rav for a psak halacha L'maaseh.

521) Q:  I have a question that has always nagged me regarding the Teaching/learning of torah to babies before they are born and arrive in this world.  Midrash says that they spend their time learning Torah and just prior to delivery the malach presses the area under the nose and the baby forgets all the learning.
What is the purpose in teaching Torah to a baby if it is not meant to stay with the baby?

A: Yes, the Talmud (Nidah 30b)  does teach us that a child in its mothers womb is taught the entire Torah and upon being born is struck on the lip and forgets it.

The Meforshim explain that  the Torah that each child is taught is the Torah that he has the potential to grasp in his alotted lifetime, and  as a person learns throught his life he isn’t learning new subjects but is rather “remembering” the subject matter that he forgot, as otherwise a person would not be capable of  grasping any Torah on his own.


522) Q: Can a woman put up a mezuza and make a bracha on it?

A: Yes, women are obligated in Mezuzah as it is not a time bound Mitzvah and they may put it up and make a Bracha when doing so. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 291:3)

523) Q: From what pasuk do the rabbis derive that one is obligated to leave a mezuzah on the door if he sells to a fellow Jew?

A: There is no Posuk that teaches us this. This Halacha is based on the Talmud Bava Metzia 102a and brought in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 291:2. The reason for this is that when a Mezuzah is removed it causes Mazikim (harmful spiritual elements) to occupy the home and thus if the home is being sold or rented to another it is prohibited to cause harm to another Jew. (See Tosefos Bava Metzia 101b Dibur Hamaschil Lo Yitlenah and Meiras Einayim to Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 314:2)

If the Mezuzos are particularly expensive or have other sentimental value you may remove them and replace them with other cheaper (but kosher) ones before selling/renting the home or apartment.

Alternatively, the new tenant can be asked to pay the cost of the Mezuzos.

If the home will be painted and thus the Mezuzos removed anyhow, they need not be replaced and the new tenant needs to purchase new ones. Even if the painting won’t take place for a few days, they can be removed as soon as the original owner moves out. (See Shu”t Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 4 Siman 44)


524) Q: What about shoe tying for ladies; [do they also tie the left shoe first]?

A: Even though women do not wear Tefilin, they should still tie their left shoe first.(Laws of Daily Living by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita page 52 quoting the Shu”t Shevet HaKehasi and Shu”t Dvar Yehoshua)

525) Q: What brocha is recited when eating ‘cookies and cream’ ice cream?

A: Similar to a sandwich ice cream, take a piece of cookie (or another mezonos item) and revite a Mezonos then take some ice cream and recite shehakol. This is the best option.

regarding  the Bracha achrona, if a Kzayis of the mezonos is eaten in under 3-5 minutes  an Al Hamichya is required. If less than a kzayis of the cookies wer eaten in the alloted time, and a combined Kzayis of the ice cream and the cookies were eaten in the proper timeframe, a Borei nefashos is recited.

526) Q: I am sitting Shivah this week. Is it permitted for me to read The Halacha for Today during this time?

A: No, a mourner may only learn certain topics related to mourning, the Churban and other sad topics  etc. See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah  Siman 384:4. (If one learns a certain thing,such as Chok L’Yisroel, or delivers a certain shiur consistently each and every day without skipping a day ever, a Rav should be consulted regarding the permissibilty of  learning  when in mourning R”L or on Tisha B’Av after Chatzos, as there are certain leniencies)

527) Q: If I need to check my mezuzos in my home, and it will take a few days, is it okay to leave the house without mezuzos for a few days?

A: No, you should not sleep in a home that does not have mezuzos. Either put up temporary ones while yours are being checked (many Sofrim offer loaner mezuzos while they check)  or have  them checked and replaced same day (many Sofrim offer these same day house calls)

528) Q: Are you supposed to answer ‘Amen” to a [small child's] bracha?

A: Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zatzal (in Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:20) writes that  although a regular Amen is not said when hearing a Bracha from a child that does not understand to whom he is saying the bracha (Hashem), one should pretend to answer Amen by saying an incomplete  “Ame…” so the child should think that you answered amen and  learn to answer Amen to brachos that he hears.


529) Q: There are those that are makpid to say birchas Krias Shema by the zman Krias Shema.  What is the source(s) for this? In other words, we all know that if we are davening in a minyan on Shabbos that starts at 9am, they will not say Krias shema bizman in different parts of the year, much less the brochos of krias shema bizmano.  Of course, no one wants to cast aspersions on many minyonim in Klal Yisroel, so it must be that saying krias shema before such a minyan is enough al pi halacha.   And we certainly know that shemoneh esreh/amida must be davened by zman tefila.  But I have known those over the years who were careful to daven with a minyan where they would say the birchas krias shema by the zman as well.  I have not been able to find a source for this practice.  I would greatly appreciate your help.

A: There  are definitely Poskim to rely on that as long as one said the Krias Shma itself before the proper time, even if not said with the Brachos  they can be said afterwards during davening followed by Shma and Shemona Esrei and it is considered having said Krias Shma in the right time. However, the Vilna Gaon and others are of the opinion that in order to be Yotzei Krias Shma in its right time it needs to be said with the Birchos krias Shma. The Mishna Berura rules like the Gr”a for L’Chatchila but B’dieved as long as it was said even without the Brachos before the proper time it is acceptable. It is definitely best to try and say krias shma with its Brachos in the proper time, if possible. See Biur HaGra Siman 46:19 and Siman 60:4 as well as Ma’aseh Rav ,  Mishna Berura Siman 46:31 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Ki


530) Q: Should a bracha be recited on chocolate flavored chewable vitamin supplements or on flavored TUMS and the like? Can they be taken before a person davens brochos?

A:  Yes, good tasting vitamins  and flavored medicines require a Shehakol  according to many Poskim. Some Poskim  maintain that no bracha is required.  The best thing to do is to recite a shehakol on a different food or drink (besides water) and have that bracha exempt the vitamins or good flavored medicine, as  this will satisfy all opinions.  They are best not consumed before davening.

531) Q: In your comment about honoring grandparents (in Hilchos Kibud Av V’Eim, halachos for June 1 2010), how does the “din” apply to great grandparents?

A: According to some Poskim the halacha of honoring grandparents extends to great grandparents as well as great great grandparents etc., while others maintain that the obligation does not apply to the fourth generation and above.  It is best to be stringent. (See Shvus Yaakov Vol. 2 Siman 94 and Vol. 1 Siman 173 , Mateh Efraim Hilchos Kadish Yasom and Shu”t Minchas Elozor Vol. 3 Siman 33)


532) Q: I  heard that when one moves into a new home one has 30 days  to put up mezuzos. Is this correct ?

A: This is only correct for one who rents the home or apartment [in Chutz L'Aretz], in which case he doesn't need to, and possibly shouldn't, put up the Mezuzah until living there 30 days at which time it is put up with a bracha.  One who owns the apartment (or even a renter in Eretz Yisroel)  must put up the Mezuzah immediately and recite the bracha. An owner should not even sleep in the home for one night without a Mezuzah. (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 179 where he recommends putting it up right away, without a bracha, and after 30 days taking it down (or partially moving it out of place) , and re-affixing it with a bracha.)

533) Q: When a child loses a tooth or a doctor pulls out a tooth, must it be disposed of in any special way?

A: Any part of the body that  doesnt become tamei (impure) does not require Kevurah.

See  Mishnah in Ohalos Perek 3:3 that teeth that fall out when a person is alive [as well as nails and hair] are not Tamei after his death.

See also Talmud Brachos 5b that Rav Yochanan used to carry around the “bone” of one of his ten sons that passed away young [in order to console people who suffered tragedies, to show them that he suffered the loss of ten sons and survived, and thus they can survive and pull through anything].

According to Rashi it was a bone and  less than the size of a barley and thus was not Tamei and did not require burial. Other Rishonim (including the Ritva Brachos 5b and Rashbam and RaMah Bava Basra 116a) learn that it was the tooth of the child that he carried around which fell out before the child passed away , and thus did not require burial.

Many contemporary Poskim rule that teeth that fall out or are extracted  may simply be discarded and do not require burial or any other special treatment. There is no difference between adults and children or between baby teeth or permanent teeth.
See Shu”t Mishneh Halachos  Vol. 16 Siman 113 where he brings some opinions of special handling necessary for extracted baby teeth. He also writes a story  about the Noda B’Yehuda requiring burial for teeth.

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


534) Q: Do we say a bracha on chewing gum?

A: Yes, according to most Posim, a SheHakol is required before chewing gum as the taste buds get pleasure from it. Even though usually a bracha is only required when something is swallowed, and not just when it is chewed (See Mishna berura Siman 167 S"K 35), since the normal way to enjoy chewing gum is just by chewing it, and not by swallowing it, it will require a bracha for chewing. Also, the flavored saliva is swallowed and enjoyed.


No Bracha Achrona, however, is recited afterwards as not enough has been eaten to require one.


See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 202:15.See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 57, Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion Vol. 2 Perek 14:8, and Shu"t Yabia Omer Vol. 7 Siman 33 This is also the way Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner shlita rules in “Halachos of Brachos” page 456 and how the sefer "Vzos Habracha rules. Though there are a minority Poskim who maintain that no Bracha is required (Shu”t Yitzchok Yeranen Siman 37 and Shu”t Yaskil Avdi Siman 54), this isn’t the psak of most contemporary Poskim.


For Halacha L’Ma’aseh, as always, a Rav should be consulted.)

535) Q: Are you allowed to open soda cans on shabbos?

A: The opening of soda cans on Shabbos is a subject of much debate among the Poskim, and it is best to refrain from doing so, as according to many Poskim it is a violation of quite a few Melachos (Koreah, Asiyas Pesach, Makeh B’Patish, Asiyas Kli etc.) to do so.


Even if one does open cans, it may be better to immediately pour out the contents into a cup rather than drink directly from the can.


Furthermore, if a hole is made on the botom of the can rendering it unusable after opening, it may be better as well.


(See Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 51:13 and Shu”t Ohr L’Tzionb Siman 26. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 122 and Vol. 4 Siman 78. According to Rav Moshe if the opening will be a nice, neat and convenient spout to drink from there is seemingly no Heter.)


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


536) Q: Do disposable aluminum pans require Tovelling  if they will only be used once?

A: According to many Poskim, including Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal,  these pans do not require tevilah even if they will be re-used as they are meant to be disposed of after one use. If, however, a utensil requires tevilah (including if your Rav requires you to tovel these pans) it may not  be used even once without tevilah. This is a common misconception that a utensil may be used once without tevilah. it isn't halachically correct.

537) Q: Regarding the reading of  Shnayim Mikra V’Echad Targum, Can one be yotzei with an English translation instead of the Targum? When this halacha was instituted, the majority of yidden understood and spoke Targum.  After all, Gemara is written in Targum, or Aramaic.  In today’s times, Targum is not a language spoken and is not well understood except for a few unique individuals.

You cannot argue that the Torah was given in Targum Onkelos and therefore we say the targum, for then I would say that the midrash states that the Torah was given over in “shivim leshonos”.  Clearly, English must have been one of those seventy! Secondly, what is so holy about the Targum language?

A:  For halachos of  Shnayim Mikra V’Echad Targum, see archives, Hilchos Shabbos, halachos for July 1 2008 here.

The Gemara Megila 3a, learns out from the Posuk in Nechemia 8:8 that Targum is an intrinsic part of the Torah and not simply an interpretation as the other languages are. Targum was given to the Jews at the same time the Torah was and thus is indeed holy. the Gemara tells us that it was subsequently  forgotten and reinstituted by Onkelos the  convert.

True, the Torah was interpreted into all 70 languages, but there is no holiness to those languages.

The spoken language of the Jewish people at the time the Torah was given was Lashon haKodesh and not Aramaic which was only used much later in Babylon, yet they were still given the Torah  with Targum.

According to one opinion in the Shulchan Aruch (Siman 285:2)  if one does the pesukim with Rashi in lieu of Targum it is adequate. However,  he adds that a G-d fearing Jew should do both, as the Rashi is not in lieu of Targum which was always an intrinsic part of the Torah.

The Mishna Berura  (ibid. S”K 4-6) also explains that  if done in other languages in lieu of Targum you have not satisfied your obligation, besides for the fact that Targum was given with the Torah on Sinai,  other languages  do not explain the entire Torah as the Targum does as there are things in the Targum that are “explanations” of the words and not just “interpretation” of each word.

538) Q: Is there a mikor that says shaving on motzi shabbos, or sunday is a disgrace to shabbos?The reason why I underline disgrace is because when the Rama talks about when Lag baomer falls out on Sunday the Rama says one should shave erev shabbos (Friday) for kavod shabbas.It seems the Rama mentions this halacha exclusivly for lag baomer.The question then is if one shaves on any other motzi shabbos, or sunday is it considerd a disgrace to shabbos?

A: It is a Kavod Shabbos to shave or get a haircut every single erev Shabbos, not just  for Lag B’Omer. (See Sefer Otzar Hayedios on Inyanei Shabbos from Rabbi Gershon M. Eisenberg Shlita, page 48 for a whole slew of Mekoros regarding the importance of getting the hair cut specifically on Erev Shabbos)

One who does not shave or cut his hair  in honor of Shabbos and only does so immediately after Shabbos, is in a sense disgracing  Shabbos and should be avoided,  though halachically it is permitted to  take a haircut or shave then.

539) Q: Someone has a birthday on shabbos kodesh. Can he receive a present, if the present is not muktzeh? If not please explain why not.

A: Gifts may not be given on Shabbos as it is considered like a business transaction. This includes birthday gifts, Bar Mitzvah gifts etc.


The exception to this rule is when the gift is for a Mitzvah (e.g. gifting someone a Lulav on Sukkos with which to fulfill the Mitzvah) or if it something necessary for use on Shabbos (e.g. a utensil or a food or drink broght for the hostess that is needed for the meal).

A way to give a gift, if necessary, is to have someone else  pick it  up and  be Koneh it (assume ownership) for the recipient [before Shabbos], and then when it is handed to the recipient on Shabbos he is simply  taking something that is already his and no  transfer of ownership is taking place on Shabbos.

Alternately, the recipient can take the gift but have in mind not to assume ownership of it at this time and only after Shabbos he can pick it  up again and be Koneh it. (See Mishna Berura Siman 306:33 and 34 and Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Siman 29:29)

540) Q: I forgot to say Rosh Chodesh bentching on shabbos and my aunt just told me that i have until Rosh Chodesh to bentch.  Is this true or can bentching only be done on shabbos?

A: Your aunt is correct. Birchas Hachodesh can be done any time before Rosh Chodesh, not just on Shabbos, as is the custom. (Ruling of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal)

541) Q: In what hand does a lefty hold  his Tzitzis for Boruch Sh’amar? Also, what about Shema? I know it is brought down for righties to hold it in the left hand BEIN ZERES L’KMITZAH. Don’t know the reason for that, but in practically it makes sense, since the KESHER OF T’FILLIN goes around the 3 middle fingers, so you either gotta put in between finger 1 and 2, or between 4 and 5, hence you put it between the pinky and next finger. So if the point is to keep it near the kesher of  T’fillin, then a lefty wound need to do it in the right hand. Is this correct?

A: By Shma, we hold the Tzitzis in the left hand so that they be near the heart, thus there is no difference between righties and lefties as both their hearts are on the left side. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 24:2)

Regarding holding the Tzitzis by Baruch She’amar there doesn't seem to be a preference which hand, and a lefty can hold in the left hand. (See Mishna Berura Siman 51:1)

542) Q: What are the modern-day shitos (halachic opinions) regarding smoking?  Although in the past I believe that some gedolim have paskened that it is mutar (“Shomer Pesaim Hashem, Hashem protects the foolish”), I have definitely heard that now that people are aware of the risks associated with smoking, “Shomer Pesaim Hashem” no longer protects them and it is Assur.  Rav Asher Weiss Shlita paskens that it is assur medioraisa.  I have heard some people make the chiluk between beginning to smoke, and continuing to smoke once addicted, although I do not really understand that chiluk.

A:[The following answer has been taken from the wonderful bi-yearly Torah and halacha publication "Kol HaTorah" Volume 69, Nisan 5770. Page 306, written by Rav Avrhama Kaufland from Manchester, England. To subscribe to this publication write to Kol HaTorah 2169 85th Street, Brooklyn NY 11214 or Agudas Israel of Europe C/O Rabbi Yosef Ahrom oppenheimer 54 Keswick St, Gateshead NE8 1TQ, England.]


Although many Gedolim of the past generations (including Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal in igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat Vol. 2 Siman 76, in a Teshuva written 30+ years ago) have permitted smoking, due to the new awareness of the dangers of smoking and its addictiveness and the fact that it has been proven to shorten a person’s lifespan (as well as those around him that inhale his second hand smoke) that has been proven over the past few decades, a majority of Poskim and Gedolei Yisroel indeed now rule that smoking is prohibited and is a violation of the Torah’s mandate to watch over our health.


Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal, who originally ruled that there was no prohibition, later on in Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 58:6 maintained that nowadays there is no room for leniency.


Chacham HaRav Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal, who also ruled many years ago that there was no prohibition, later changed his ruling and now prohibits it.

Rav Moshe Zatzal, in the above referenced teshuva writes that ”only a small percentage of people die directly due to smoking and thus we can rely on “Shomer Pesaim Hashem”. However, Rav Moshe himself writes that were it to be a more pronounced danger (which today everyone agrees that it is) we cannot rely on that and it would be prohibited. This is indeed how Rav Moshe’s Talmid Rav Ephraim Greenblatt ruled in Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 8 Siman 586, saying that one who smokes is committing suicide and there is no Heter for it at all.


Although there is no halachic basis to allow someone to begin smoking, some Poskim allow some leeway for those that are already addicted and are trying to quit. (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 354 and Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 16 Siman 295)


However, Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman Zatzal and other gedolim took a more hardened approach and ruled that being that there are many medical methods available today to help people quit smoking, anyone who doesn't avail themselves of these methods is considered to “not want to quit” and thus in violation of the Torah.


Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal when asked if smoking is permitted on Yom Tov, responded “It is biblically prohibited on Yom Tov as well as on any other day of the year for a Jew to smoke”


Chacham Rav Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal , based on the Talmud Brachos 32b where one who relied on a miracle is referred to as a “Reika, empty one”, writes that one who smokes and remains unharmed is using up many merits which will not be available for him and his family at a later date when they may be needed to be saved from other hardships.


For Halacha L’Ma’aseh each individual must seek the guidance and follow the ruling of their own Rav.


543) Q: I hope you don’t mind me asking you silly questions, but since we don’t know each other I feel comforable.I know of a minhag that ladies don’t sew on Motzei Shabbos. There may be other things as well. Also, I don’t know if this question applies to men as well, like not cutting hair or nails on Motzei Shabbos. My question is, till when is it still considered Motzei Shabbos? Does it end at midnight/chatzos? Does it end at the Alos? Do you need to go to sleep, and wake up, to be mutar?

A: First of all, no question is silly, and  no question should be refrained from being asked regardless if we know each other or not. It’s Torah and if it needs to be known, it needs to be asked, as the Mishna in Pirkei Avos teaches us “Ain Habaisan Lomed, one who is embarrassed to ask cannot learn [Torah]“.

The Mogen Avrohom Siman 299:15 quotes the Avudraham who brings a Talmud Yerushalmi that  work that is done before Havdalah on Motzei Shabbos will never bear positive fruit (Aino Roeh Siman Bracha L’Olam) and he writes that although the Yerushalmi seems to say that any work that is refrained from being done after Havdalah is not the proper way, still it is a  minhag for women to refrain from doing work the entire Motzaei Shabbos.

If this is indeed your minhag, I would surmise that just as melava malka is ideally eaten before Chatzos (See Mishna Berura Siman 300:2) so too this minhag of not working is in effect until Chatzos. However, a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

544) Q: I saw in your archives, where] you wrote about a Choleh and his Mazel being weakened.Since when has Jewish fate been influenced by mazal? Doesn’t the gemara say: “אין מזל לישראל”?

A: Although , you are correct that there is a concept of “Ain Mazel L’Yisroel”, it is not as simple as it seems and needs to be understood properly.


Although there is no Mazel to Klal Yisroel as a whole, each individual Jew does of course have a Mazel, and the jewish people as citizens of the world do fall under the Mazel of the rest of the world, at times. Only as a nation as a whole are we not guided by mazel.


The Gemara in Shabbos 156a recounts that Hashem told Avraham Avinu who didn’t see a future (i.e. a son) for him in the stars [mazalos, constellations), ” Go out of the stars as there isn't any Mazel to Klal Yisroel”


The Gaon of Vilna in his commentary to Megilas Esther Perek 3:7 explains that what Hashem meant was that “in the stars” Klal Yisroel doesn't exist, and that Hashem had to lift Avraham out of the natural order of the world and produce a son for him. But of course, each individual has his/her own mazel.


Tosefos to Shabbos ibid Dibur Hamaschil Ain Mazel quotes a Gemara in Moed Katan 28a that children, life and livelihood are not based on merits rather on Mazel and explains that although even Jews are guided by Mazel we have an extra divine providence that through our merits can change our mazel.


The Rashba (in Teshuvos HaRashba Volume 7 Siman 285) writes that Jews are elevated and “above mazel” as long as they do not sin. But once a Jew sins he/she gets lowered in their standing and is once again guided by Mazel.


The word “Mazel” also connotates “flow” (from the word Nozel in Hebrew) and thus Mazel to a Jew does not mean “luck” rather it alludes to the amount of flow (shefa) of Bracha that is showered upon us from heaven. Thus, when we wish someone “Mazel Tov” we aren't saying Good luck (as there is no such thing as luck in Judaism) rather we are conveying our blessing to them that they merit a healthy dose and strong flow of heavenly Bracha. (See Sefer Pardes Rimonim from Rav Moshe Cordevero/ Ramak -  Sha'ar 3 page 87  and Sefer Sifsei Chaim, from Rav Chaim Friedlander zatzal, Vol. 2 page 268 for more about this concept)


There is a lot more to this topic in the Rishonim and the Achronim, but this is not the forum for a lengthy treatment of this fascinating topic.

545) Q: Where does it say that one can't kill bugs on Shabbos? How come during the week it is permitted?
A: No living things may be killed on Shabbos. This includes all bugs and insects, with the exception of tiny lice-like insects which aren’t considered living things. See Mishna Berura Siman 316:38.

Of course, if someone’s life is in danger from a dangerous insect such as a bee, hornet wasp or even a mosquito at times (especially with small children or for people who are allergic to the stings) the insect may be trapped (preferably not using a special trapping device) and if need be, killed. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 316:10)

During the week, insects that are annoying may be trapped and/or killed, as Tza’ar Baalei Chayim doesn't apply if human Tza’ar is at stake.

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