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q&a page  12

546) Q: Why do we squeeze a lemon on top of sugar, is it always done this way  or only on Shabbos?
A: It is forbidden to squeeze a lemon directly into a tea or other liquid on Shabbos. It may, however, be squeezed onto a solid food, such as sugar, and then placed in the tea or other liquid, according to many Poskim as long as most of the liquid was absorbed into the sugar before being placed in the tea. (See Mishna Berura Siman 320:22. Some Poskim, including the Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 56:30 prohibit this, unless the purpose is to eat the sugar itself, but not if it will be placed in the tea)
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted.


547) Q: I have read in certain sources that the Rambam didn’t believe in Shaydim (For. ex, he never mentions them in Mishna Torah) and when the Gemara gives reasons of Sheydim for something, he gives a rational reason (e.g. hygiene). In fact, I believe that the Maharsha wrote a pirush on parts of the gemara that talk about sheydim and explains them in a analogous  way. I also read that the Rambam also wanted to write a pirush on these gemaras, but was never able to. Please explain some of the different approaches to Rishonim and how they reconcile gemaras which seem to explicitly state their existence. (here are a few i have seen quoted: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben levi said: a man shouldn’t greet a stranger at night. He may be a demon.” (Megillah 3a). Pesachim 54a: demons were created on Erev Shabbas.) {I have also seen the ramban quoted saying that the word “shadim” meaning creatures who are wild and dwell away from civilization.”, but if you could offer some other approaches that would be great. (Vayikra 17:7) Also,how can we claim to know what demons are when Rav Yochanan said:  “There are three hundred kinds of demons in Shihin but what a demon is I do not know” (Gittin 68a)

A: Indeed, the Rambam is of the opinion that Sheidim do not exist. (See Rambam Hilchos Avodas Kochavim Perek11:16 and in his Pirush to Mishnayos Avodah Zarah perek 4 Mishna 6 Dibur Hamaschil Sha’alu Zekeinim B’Romi). There are various approaches to understand and explain the Rambam's opinion, but they are beyond the scope of this email.


However, the majority of Rishonim do read the Talmud about Sheidim literally and indeed maintain that they exist. The Shulchan Aruch also rules this way. see Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 17:10 and Siman 141:19. See also Mogen Avraham Siman 239:7.


The fact that they exist, doesn't mean that we know what they are, what they look like or have any clues as to where to find them.


548) Q: If someone goes to be Menachem avel another and sits there and talks to the person sitting shiva but then leaves without saying [Hamakom yenachem Eschem...], is he yotzei the mitzvah?What if one is extremely shy and saying the [phrase] comes as a real challenge? Is there another way to be mekayem the mitzvah?

A: Yes, the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim has been fulfilled even if that particular phrase has not been said.  Though, it’s best to indeed say it if possible.

Another option, if it cannot be said in person or on the telephone, is to write a letter to the Avel conveying your wishes for Nechama.

Follow up question from the same reader:


I went to be Menachem avel on Friday night  but had to run out and the person sitting was in middle of talking to another person and so I left without saying [Hamakom Yenachem Eschem...]and wanted to know if I was still mekayem the mitzvah.

A: Hashem has caused you to do the right thing! As although it is halachically permitted to be Menachem an Avel on Shabbos, it is customary not to do so unless there will be no other opportunity for it.

However, even when doing so on Shabbos, it is best to not say any specific words of Nechama (i.e. HaMakom Yenachem eschem etc.)as you did! (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 287:1-3 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 287:4)

549) Q: I have a question about shluach haken. I have an American robbin nest. The eggs hatched already. Is it kosher to make the mitzvah and what do I do with the chicks.

A: The American Robin, although it has simanim (signs) of being Kosher, does not have a Mesorah (tradition) of Kashrus.
The minhag is to indeed  do Shiluach HaKen with it.
As with all nests, the Mitzvah can be done when the eggs are still eggs or even after they hatch.
Once you have performed the Mitzvah, and were Zoche (halachic aquisition making them yours) the eggs or the chicks you may return them to the nest even if the mother will return to them.
According to a majority of Poskim no bracha is ever recited on Shiluach HaKen.
Some Poskim rule to recite the Bracha with Shem U’Malchus.
However, the accepted custom is that a Bracha may be recited, albeit without Shem U’Malchus as follows: “Baruch Ata Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu B’Motzvosav L’Shalayach Haken”
On the Amdrican Robin, surely no Bracha with Shem U’Malchus is recited, due to the lack of Mesorah on its Kashrus. It may be recited without Shem U’malchus.
(See Tamim Deim from the Ra’avad Siman 179, Rokeach Siman 366 and Sefer Hamakneh Maseches Kidushin 41a ,Shu”t HaRashaba Vol. 1 Siman 18, Shu”t Binyan Tzion HaChadashos Siman 14, Bais Lechem Yehuda to Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 292 and Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah Siman 292:10)


550) Q:  If someone takes a vitamin every day of the week is it mutar to take it on shabbos too?

A:  If taken as a food supplement it is permitted. If taken to treat certain symptoms or to strengthen a weak body it may be prohibited. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 54, Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 37 and Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasa  Perek 34 footnote 85,and Shu”t  Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 14 Siman 50)
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted.

551) Q: When davening for a choleh, by adding their name into the list of cholim in Refainu in shmoneh esrei, is it ok if the person is not actually sick “hospital type sick”, rather mentally/emotionally? Can that person be added in there?
A: Yes, a person with an emotional or mental illness may be davened for.


552) Q: For those who keep the minhag of not wearing anything new during the 3 weeks, until when is a piece of clothing still considered new? Meaning – if one has a new shirt can he wear it for 30 minutes and then take it off and wear it during the 3 weeks? For example: one who has 5 new shirts, can he wear each one for a half an hour before the 3 weeks and then not be concerned anymore that it’s new?

A: There is a difference between new clothing and fresh clothing.


The custom is not to wear brand new clothing during the three weeks. 


The prohibition of wearing freshly laundered clothing is not during the entire 3 weeks, only during the 9 days from Rosh Chodesh Av until Tisha B’Av.


The Poskim give various amounts of time for this. The accepted ruling (Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal and others rule this way) is that if it’s worn for half an hour before the 9 days it suffices to not be fresh anymore. Yes, they can all be tried on on the same day and then be OK to wear during the nine days.

#thethreeweeks #beinhametzorim #theninedays

553) Q: If two people ate bread and one drank soda (not water) must and can he be mitztarif with the two for a zimun?
A: L’Chatchilah the third person should eat bread or Mezonos, but if all he had was a drink or other non Mezonos food  he can still be part of the Mezuman. See Mishna Berura Siman 197 S"K 22

Follow up question from a reader who saw the Q& A above:


Q:Water, even with soda water you can't be mitztaref , not Chashuv  enough.  Look at Dirshu, number 15

A: I meant Mishna Berura Siman 197 S"K 22, where he plainly rules that the minhag nowadays is to indeed be metztaref the third person even if just ate or drank  something


The Mishna Berura does not list what drinks are acceptable or not, and presumably allows tea, coffee, and anything that is not plain water. 


 I do see now (and did not have the Dirshu when I originally wrote this answer)  that the Dirshu lists some Poskim who deem seltzer , tea, coffe etc. as water, and lists other poskim who allow tea, coffee etc.., however, the Mishna Berura didn't find it necessary to rule stringently about tea, coffee etc., and simply states "eat or drink something" and even brings the Mogen Avrohom (earlier in S"K  12)  that water is sufficient as well, so I would  say that there is definitely room for leniency with any beverage that isn't  water, or seltzer (what the aforementioned poskin in the dirshu refer to as 'Mei Soda') even if it's a carbonated cola or other similar beverage (which I believe the original questionar meant when he asked about "soda" as he was in the USA, where soda refers to carbonated drinks other than seltzer)


Of course, every individual should consult their own Rav for halacha l'maaseh.


554) Q:  Is it permitted to make alterations on a garment during the three weeks?

A: During the three weeks yes, during the nine days only if it is mending an existing piece of clothing that ripped, not if it is making it ready to wear for the first time

555) Q: Is waiting  half an  hour between eating milchig and fleishig(dairy and meat)  a must?

A: No. If you wash your mouth out well and/or  eat some bread or other hard parve item in between it suffices. The hands should also be washed between the two. That being said, some do have the minhag to wait, al pi kabala.

556) Q: What is the geder (the criteria) of what names one can insert in Refaeinu? Does the condition have to be one of sakana (danger), or can one even daven for a choleh with a flu, etc.?

Additionally, can one daven for someone who is off the derech (is not yet religious) in Refaeinu, as the Yehi Ratzon states “Refuas Hanefesh u’refuas Haguf,” which would seem to indicate that one may/should daven for people who need a “spiritual” Refuah?

A: Anyone who is sick enough to require Tefilos (which in some cases can include a severe flu) can be davened for in Refaenu. People who need spiritual healing can also be mentioned there, or in the Bracha of Teshuva (Hashiveinu).

557) Q: I’ve noticed that when people say the words ‘V’kara zeh el zeh V’amar’ during kedusha, they bow to the left and to the right like by  ‘Oseh shalom’ in Shemona Esrei. My brother told me is has o source. Is this the case?

A: Although I also see people do this, there is no mention of this in the Shulchan Aruch or other Poskim that I am aware of. It may have a source according to  Kabalah , but I am not aware of it.

After Posting this answer, I received 2 emails from readers with some more information about this, as follows:

From reader # 1)

Re: Vekara zeh el zeh v’amar, see: Az Nidberu 13:32:3, Minhag Yisrael Torah O.C. 125:2, Kaf Hachaim (Rav Palagi) 15:1 , Rivevot V’yovlot 3:66
Rabbi _____
Ramat Beit Shemesh

From reader #2)

  I also was wondering about this for a long time until I found a source. See In R’ Wolbe’s sefer Alei Shur Vol. 2 page 430 . Also see minhag yisrael torah by the halachos of kedusha 125

558) Q :When I looked through the archive at the halachos of the 3 weeks/ 9 days, it mentioned that some things prohibited on Tisha b’Av are not allowed to resume until chatzot the day after Tisha b’Av. What is the reason for delaying and not allowing activites to resume after tisha b’Av ends?

A: Although the Bais haMikdash was set ablaze on the 9th of Av, it continued to burn, and indeed most of it was consumed, on the 10th of Av. In fact, the Talmud Taanis 29a tells us that Rav Yochanan stated that had he been alive during the time of the Churban he would have instituted the fast day on the 1oth of Av instead of the 9th. Many tragedies have befallen the Jewish people over the years on the 10th of Av as well, therefore this day is marked as a day of mourning as well until Chatzos.

559) Q: If someone davened Maariv early  (after Plag) on Rosh Chodesh and then washed for supper , before Shkia , would he say Yaaleh V’yavoh in Bentching?

A: It would indeed be best to not wash at such a time, as doing so will  bring you into a “Tarti D’Sasri” situation  (as it is halachically  night as maariv was davened and yet it is still day). If one did already wash, it is best not to say Ya’aleh V’Yavo. (Based on Mishna Berura Siman 668:7 and Shaa’r HaTziyun Os 12. For Halacha l’ma'aseh, as always, a Rav should be consulted)

560) Q: I wanted to know if a woman who gave birth 3 weeks before 9 of Av, and nursing has to fast on Tisha B’Av?

A: A nursing mother [as well as a pregnant woman] must fast on Tisha B’Av. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 554:5)
If doing so will harm the child, a Rav must be consulted.
For the first seven days after giving birth, a woman may not fast.
From day 7 until day 30 after the child is born (as is your case), a Rav must be consulted as depending on her strength she may or may not be told to fast, and may be told to fast for part of the fast etc.

561) Q: At what age should a child wait 1 hour between meat & milk? At what age should they wait 6 hours?

A: Between ages 3 and 6, one hour suffices. After turning 6, the regular amount of time waited by adults, should be waited. A child below age 3 can eat  dairy immediately after meat, but it’s best if his mouth is rinsed out of any meat residue.


562) Q: Does the prohibition of eating meat during the nine days apply in the same way to a child who is 5 years old? If not, is it nontheless better for children not to eat meat at this time?

A: A child who reached the age of chinuch of understanding what the churban Bais hamikdash is (around 7 years old) may not eat meat or drink wine during the 9 days. A child under 3 years of age may eat meat.
A child older than 3 but not yet of chinuch age, according to many Poskim may eat meat, while according to other Poskim (including the Mishna Berura Siman 551: 70) may not eat meat if he is healthy.


563) Q: Is there a source for knocking before entering one’s house?

A:  Yes, this is stated in  Maseches Derech Eretz Rabbah Perek 5 and brought in Talmud Pesachim 112a and in Nidah 16b that Hashem despises those who [habitually, according to the commentary of the Ya'avetz] enter any home (even their own) suddenly, without knocking.

564) Q: My wife has cleaning help once a week. The day that is her turn falls out on Tisha B’Av. If she doesn’t work this day, it will be extremely hard on my wife not to have this help until the following week. Is it permitted for the cleaning help to work on Tisha B’Av?

A: Yes, a non Jew may work in a Jewish home on Tisha B’Av, as long as it is inside the home (cleaning, painting, electrical work etc.) and not work being done outdoors (painting the exterior of the home, gardening, mowing the lawn etc.) which is prohibited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 554:45 and 46)

565) Q: May one purchase and give a gift to his wife during the Nine Days?

A: If it isn’t an expensive gift it may be given during the 9 days, except for on Tisha B’Av itself.  ( See Mishna Berura Siman 554:41 and Shu”t Mikdash Yisroel Siman 83)

566) Q: If a mezuza comes down,is a new bracha always said (inner doorway, doorframe in middle of big room)?

Any tips for a mezzuza to stay on the doorpost?

A: Yes, if it's a doorway that is obligated in a mezuza, a new bracha is recited when putting it back up after it falls. (Similar to a new bracha beingequired after a Tallis completely falls off, as it is considered a hefsek in the Mitzvah. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 8:15. See  Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 289:1 where he also writes that if it was removed intentionally to check, or for another reason, it is questionable if a new bracha is recited; a Rav should be consulted.)


Mezuzos should ideally be affixed with nails or screws or strong double sided tape. These rarely fall off. Affixing a mezuza with something that is likely  to fall off should be avoided and it may even be considered a Bracha L’vatalah to affix a mezuzah in this manner.

567)Q: We are having an air conditioner problem in our shul. The solution is to brick up a very old door, which has not been used as a door for 20+ years and put an a/c unit there. Is it permissible to brick up this door?

A: According to Rav Yehuda HaChasid in His famous Tzava’ah (will) Siman 20, one should not totally close up a door or a window. If it is left open a little bit or a small hole made in it, it isn’t an issue.
See also Sefer Chasidim Siman 1146 and 461 that doing this will block the passageway of the Sheidim  and cause them to find a different route which may result in harm befalling the inhabitants of the home.
There is  an opinion in the Poskim ithat this does not apply to a Bais Medrash or Bais HaKneses, so if you cannot leave a small opening it is possible that you are Ok anyhow.
A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.


568) Q: Regarding tying the left shoe first should I assume that fastening a velcro strip on a shoe is treated like tying its laces?  Also, a zipper would work the same way?

A: There is actually a debate amongst the poskim if velcro is like tying or not. Rav Menashe Klein Zatzal in Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 13 Siman 3 rules that it is best to be stringent and fasten the shoe that should be tied first even if the fastening is not being “tied” with laces.

569) Q:  Is it forbidden to learn during chazaras hashatz (The Chazzan’s repetition of Shemona Esrei)?

A: Yes, according to virtually all Poskim it is forbidden to learn Torah (this includes intense studying as well as just glancing at a Sefer or a Torah pamphlet which is on the table in Shul) during Chazaras HaShatz.


Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal was known to tell people that doing so is a “Mitzvah Haba B’Aveira”.


I once heard from a Rav that the reason that so many people suddenly want to learn during Chazaras HaShatz is because at that time we are “Aino Metzuveh V’Oseh”, we are not commanded to learn then thus the Yetzer Hara pushes us to learn then.


See Mishna Berura Siman 124:17 that one who learns during Chazaras HaShatz, even if he manages to hear and answer all the Amens properly himself, still may not do so as it causes others to copy him and they will not listen properly and thus he will be a Choti U’Machti.


The Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 124:6 writes that people who learn or say other Tachanunim (such as tehilim) during Chazaras HaShatz should be chastised for doing so as what they are doing is not proper.


See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 19 that this is all the more so when actually in a small minyan where there may not be 9 people answering Amen.


There's a time for learning and a time for davening; don't mix the two. (See Talmud Shabbos 10b)


See also  Chayei Adam Klal 29:1 and Aruch Hashulchan Siman 124: 9


570) Q: If someone wears glasses with “Transitions” lenses (i.e. lenses that tint into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight), is it a transgression of Shabbos to wear those glasses, if bringing them into the sunlight will cause the lenses to change colour to become darker.

A: According to virtually all contemporary Poskim, it is permitted to wear these “Photo Gray” glasses on Shabbos even if the lenses will change colors, as this isn’t considered “coloring” on Shabbos as no color is being added, rather the color that is already there is appearing and disappearing. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 45, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 14 Siman 31, Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso Perek 18 footnote 70 , Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 6 Siman 46 and Piskei Teshuvos Siman 320 footnote 38)


571) Q: We are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mashiach.Can you possibly explain what we are waiting for? I know that I am not the only one of your readers who doesn’t really understand what will happen when Mashiach comes. Though I know that my Neshama is yearning for him to come, I don’t really know exactly what I should be yearning for

A: To answer your question, I have translated for you (as best I can) a line of Gemara and a few paragraphs of the Rambam that deal with this issue, which I hope will sufficiently give you at least a little glimpse into what kind of world we can expect when he arrives, may it be soon and may we merit going along with him:

  • The only difference between the world as we know it and the world after Mashiach arrives is that the subjugation of the nations over the Jews will cease.  (Talmud Brachos 34b)

  • For what reason did the Jewish nation and its wise men and prophets crave the arrival of Mashiach? So that they can get a break from the evil governments which didn’t allow them to peacefully and properly study Torah and perform Mitzvos.

  • Ridding them of these oppressive regimes in the Galus will allow them to amass more wisdom and thus help them merit eternal life in Olam Haba, as in the days of Mashiach there will be an increase of Da’as, knowledge, Chochma, wisdom and Emes, truth…

  • …The king, a descendant of Dovid that will be in place at that time will be wiser than Shlomo Hamelech he will be almost as big a prophet as Moshe Rabbeinu, and therefore he will teach the nation the way of Hashem, and even the nations of the world will come to listen to him…

  • The [physical] world will continue to function as before with the exception that the reigning kingdom will be the Jewish nation. (Rambam Hilchos Teshuva Perek 9 Halacha 2. He writes  similar language in Hilchos Melachim Perek 12 Halacha 4)

  • [Regarding the appearance of Eliyahu Hanavi to announce Mashiach’s arrival, as well as other details of war and peace that will precede Mashiach] nobody will know what will transpire until it happens, as these occurrences were hidden from all the prophets, and even the Chachamim only deduce certain events based on their interpretation of various Pesukim, and thus even amongst themselves there is a lot of differences of opinion.

  • Bottom line, knowing exactly how these things will unfold is not an important tenet of Judaism, and is best if the Midrashim and Aggados regarding them are not delved into too deeply, as getting too involved in these matters does not bring to love and/or fear of heaven. Also, it is best to stay away from trying to calculate the timing of the arrival of Mashiach, as the Chachamim said that those who delve into these calculations will lose their minds.

  • Rather, we must wait and believe in the imminent arrival of Mashiach, as it can be any moment. (Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek 12 Halacha 2)

  • When Mashiach arrives there will be no more hunger, war, jealousy or strife. The abundant goodness of Hashem will be so plentiful and all the pleasures of the world will be readily available like earth. The only thing the inhabitants of the world will busy themselves with is the knowledge of Hashem… (Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek 12 Halacha 5)

572) Q: Is it permitted to wear sunglasses on Shabbos, if the sun is too bright and it is painful to go without sunglasses?

A : Ordinary sunglasses used to shade the eyes from the sunlight may not be worn outside on Shabbos (unless there is an Eiruv) according to many Poskim , as we worry that when a shady area is reached, they will be removed and ultimately carried on Shabbos.

If they are  worn outdoors for health reasons, there is much more room for leniency and a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.
Many Poskim do allow clip-on sunglasses to be attached to regular eyeglasses and worn on Shabbos.

If they are prescription glasses which are also tinted to serve as sunglasses, they  may be worn according to everyone.

If they are not prescription, but are worn even indoors for health reasons, they may be worn outdoors as well.

(See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 18:18 and footnote 71 and  See Mishna Berura Siman 301 S"K 44 and Mishna Berura Dirshu edition footnote   31 at length)

573) Q: Are you allowed to put eye drops on Shabbos?

A: If the eyes are simply itchy or irritated no eyedrops may be inserted on Shabbos. if they are  inflamed or if the eye drops are otherwise medically necessary  they may be inserted.


574) Q: Is a son allowed to see his father naked?  Is a father allowed to take a bath with his child and if yes, at what age should this not be done.  Also, how does a father and son go to mikveh together if it is likely the son may see the father at some point?

A: The Talmud (Pesachim 51a) teaches us that a son may not see his father naked, and thus should not go to a Mikvah at the same time. If, however, they are in a bathhouse or swimming pool where bathing  trunks are worn, there is no prohibition. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 242:16 and Even HaEzer Siman 23:6)

I would say that this prohibition begins  probably from the age of Chinuch when a child can grasp things of this nature, as Rashi explains the reason for the prohibition that a son seeing his father like this will  come to have bad thoughts. A Rav should be consulted for halacha L’Ma’aseh as to what age this begins.

The same applies to a daughter and mother.

Follow up Question from a reader, after seeing the above:

Q: If a son  is not supposed to see his father naked how does a father ever  begin to bring his son to the mikveh [a minhag which is prevalent in many circles]?

A: Like I wrote above, according to the Rama  Yoreh Deah Siman 242:16 and Even HaEzer Siman 23:6,based on the Gemara in Pesachim 51a,  a father and a son may not be in a Mikvah at the same time.

The Poskim try and  find a “Limud Zechus” for the practice of many Jews to indeed go to the Mikvah together with their sons.

The Aruch HaShulchan  (Even HaEzer Siman 23:8)wonders about the custom which is against halacha and tries to say that perhaps the Isur is only being in the actual bath/Mikvah at the same time, but not being in the same room. However, he himself says that based on the Rishonim, this cannot be  a good heter. (also Rashi to Pesachim 51a explains the reason as the son may see his father and it will bring him to unclean thoughts , and that applies to them being in the same room naked, regardless if they actually enter the same bath).

The Sefer Minhag Yisroel Torah (Orach Chaim Siman 260:3) also wonders as to what people rely on and how they disregard the halacha. He does quote the Shu”t  Kinyan Torah Vol. 2 Siman 34 who rules that it is acceptable in a public Mikvah, as the son won't focus on his father when amongst a crowd.

He also writes there that it doesnt apply to a young child who doesnt yet have unclean thoughts.

At what age this begins can vary from child to child and also even if relying on this heter, it has to be a crowded Mikvah, and not just  a Mikvah where there are one or two other people there besides the father and son.

For halacha L’ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.

575) Q: You wrote: “It is a Mitzvah for Jewish males to hold their Tzitzis in their left hands, near the heart, during the recitation of Krias Shma [of Shacharis]. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 24:2)” Do you have any information as to what a male does if his heart is on the right side rather than the left side? Situs inversus totalis is a medical condition in which there is complete right to left reversal (transposition) of the thoracic and abdominal organs  including the heart .

A: The Poskim do indeed discuss this , and do not conclusively  rule either way if he does things according to his heart or according to the side where most people’s hearts are. In the rare instance where this will  come up, a Rav needs to be consulted for Halacha l’Ma’aseh. (See Shu”t Mishneh Halachos , Mahadura Tinyana, Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 33 and Shu”t Avnei Nezer Yoreh Deah Siman 32:9. see also Shu”t Kanfei Yonah (printed in Prague 1812) Siman 46 where he discusses this phenomenon)

576) Q: It is well-known that regular coffee is pretty much kosher everywhere. However, is iced coffee kosher everywhere? What about flavored iced coffee (specifically the hazelnut iced coffee flavor from Dunkin Donuts)?

A: Iced coffee and flavored coffee should not be purchased without a Hechsher on the coffee and/or the establishment where it is being sold.

Even regular hot coffee can only be bought from a machine that is used only for plain coffee, not from  a machine that vends other kinds of flavored coffees and other hot drinks which may be problematic.

I do not know about Dunkin Donut’s coffee. It is best to contact a reliable Kashrus agency to inquire about the status of any particular brand.

In general, it is a good idea to never assume ( or rely on "well-known" rumors  that something is kosher...always do your research before putting any food/drink that doesn't have a hechsher on it into your mouth.

577) Q: If one wears a removeable toupee can he make a brocha on the Tefilin shel rosh? If not and it would be embarrising to take it off in shul should he just make a bracha on the shel yad & when he gets home make a bracha on the shel rosh? Does he have to put on the shel yad again when he gets home? Can you please describe the best way of doing things if one cannot make a bracha when it is on.

A: No, Tefilin may not be donned on a toupe as it is a Chatzitza, a separation, and certainly no Bracha recited as doing so will be a Bracha L’Vatalah as the tefilin was not placed on the head. If the actual tefilin is on the head and only the straps would be on the toupee, there may be  room for leniency in certain instances, and a Rav should be consulted.  If he is embarrassed, the Tefilin should be donned and their Brachos recited, in private.(See Mishna Berura Siman 27:16 and Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 6 Siman 8) 

578) Q: I just davened mincha and for most of the brachos, the chazzan didn’t leave even a tiny pause between finishing one bracha and starting then next one. I heard that one needs to say Amen before the chazzan starts the next bracha and if he says it afterward, it is an Amen Yesoma. First I want to clarify if this is indeed correct. if it is, would this also affect the chazzan’s brachas being L’vatala?

A: This is a huge problem indeed.


The halacha is that the Shatz may not proceed  with the next bracha until at least the majority of the Tzibur (and in certain cases, where the bracha is an obligation such as shofar, Kidush etc. the entire Tzibur) has answered Amen. Many Poskim rule that Chazaras Hashatz nowadays has a status like a Bracha that needs to be heard, and thus the entire Tzibur must be done answering Amen.

Answering Amen after the Shatz is already a few words into the next Bracha is an Amen Yesoma and should not be answered, as its better to not answer Amen than to Chas V’Shalom answer an Amen Yesoma  that has punishments attached to it.

The Rav/gabai of each shul should indeed make sure that people davening for the Amud are aware that they must slow down and not start the next Bracha until all (or at least most) of the Tzibur responded Amen to the last Bracha.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 124:8 and 9 and Mishna Berura S”K 31-38. See also Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil  Miyad Shekala.)

This applies to Kaddish as well.

Regarding Bracha L’Vatalah, if the first Bracha of Chazaras Hashatz  didn’t have 9 people answer Amen to it properly, indeed it is a Bracha L’Vatalah. The rest of the Brachos, may also be Brachos L’Vatalos, or at least close to it. (See Shulchan Aruch  Siman 124:4 and  Shu”t Minchas Shlomo  end of Siman 10)

579) Q: On Friday nights, I often walk down a street where it is almost impossible not to turn on a “motion-sensor” light (houses on both sides of the street have them).  Is this a violation of Shabbos?  Is one obligated to take a different route to try to avoid this problem?

A: Some Poskim allow one to walk by these motion sensors L’Chatchilah, as long as it isn’t your intention to turn the lights on, but are simply walking to your destination.

It is best to try and not walk by these sensors.  If possible to cross the street or take a different but equally short route, that is best.  but if it is impossible or  extremely inconvenient, you don’t need to walk out of your way and may rely on the Poskim that allow it.

See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 9 Siman 69. See also Chayei Adam Hilchos Shabbos Klal 18:3 and the explanation of the Nishmas Adam there that even though it’s a Psik Reisha (it will surely happen) it is permitted as something that is a pesik Reisha is only prohibited if an extra action needs to be done to cause the Melacha. However in cases that one simply does what he would do anyhow (such as in your case where you are walking and not doing any extra action to cause the light to go on) even in instances of pesik Reisha its allowed.


580) Q: I will be doing an activity with girls in day camp in which girls get blindfolded and taste foods. Before I put the food in their mouth, I will tell them to make the appropriate bracha. Do they have to make a bracha on the following foods, and if yes, which bracha: salt, oil, cocoa, flour.
Which brachos should I tell them to make on: strawberry jam, honey, bamba (snack), klik (choc. balls with some crispy cookie or wafer-like substance inside), lasso (licorice).

A: The best thing to do would be for them to make the appropriate brachos on different foods first and have in mind to exempt whatever else you “serve” them.
However, since you asked, I will answer:
Salt: If enjoyed a bit, SheHakol, otherwise since it isnt a food that is eaten, even when one is extremely hungry no Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:5)
Oil: If it’s olive oil, and it isn’t dangerous to drink it would be Borei Pri HaEitz. Other oil is SheHakol. If no enjoyment is had from it, possibly no bracha at all would be recited.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 202: 4 and 8)
Cocoa: SheHakol
Flour: It is no better than raw dough which according to most Poskim is SheHakol ( Some may rule Mezonos, while some say no Bracha is recited at all as no enjoyment is had from flour. A Rav should be consulted for halacha L’Ma’aseh)
Strawberry jam: SheHakol 
Honey: SheHakol
Bamba:SheHakol (according to some opinions, HaAdama)
Klik (choc. balls with some crispy cookie or wafer-like substance inside):probably  Mezonos, as the wafer is there for taste and not just for texture. A Rav should be consulted for halacha L’ma’aseh.
Lasso (licorice): Although it contains flour, it is only there as a binder to hold it together, and is not there to add to the taste or nutrition value, thus it isn’t significant, according to most contemporary Poskim, and a Shehakol is recited. (There are some Poskim that rule to say Mezonos on certain licorices, so for halacha L’ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted)

581) Q: I have a few questions on the topic of Mechila. First off, Is there any amount of time after which one can assume that the party that he has wronged has forgiven him?

Second, What should one do in the situation of Lashon Hara if he smiled, nodded, or just didn’t protest when hearing someone speak Lashon Hara about another Jew? How should one go about asking Mechila from someone who probably will never know that he nodded or otherwise agreeed with a speaker of Lashon Hara?

What happens in the situation when a person speaks Lashon Hara about another, but the wronged party will never find out, unless the speaker asks for Mechila? What if this situation occurs, but the person simply listens or nods his head- must he ask Mechila from the wronged party whom would otherwise never know?

A: No, there is no time period after which you can assume one has been Mochel a wrong against him/her. In fact, even after someone passes away, mechila needs to be sought from them by going to their grave with a Minyan of 10 people or such similar processes.

Regarding asking mechila for Lashon Hara related sins where one may possibly do futher harm by asking for it, see Q&A #358 here.

582) Q:  I know that it is forbidden to call your parents by their first name, or even to refer to them by first name in conversation. I, unfortunately, must daven for my sister, who was diasgnosed with an illness and my brother, who has just lost his parnasa, and I was wondering if I’m allowed to daven for them with my mother’s name, or if there is something else I ought to say.

A: When davening for a parent, the name of the parent should be said, just as Shlomo Hamelech prayed for his father saying “Dovid Avi, Dovid my father” (See Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger to Shulchan Aruch 119:1)
Thus, when davening for a sibling, the mother’s name may be said as well.

583) Q: My friend recently stated that Sefardim are not allowed to mix Fish and Dairy products together and Ashkenazim are. Is that a true statement?

A: Yes, your friend is correct in that many sephardic Poskim rule like the Bais Yosef (Orach Chaim Siman 173) that eating dairy and fish together is a health risk and thus prohibited.


Other Sephardic Poskim, including the Chida, maintain that the Bais Yosef never ruled this way for dairy and fish , rather it was only a ruling for meat and fish. The Kaf HaChaim (Yoreh Deah Siman 87:24) differentiates between milk and butter and also writes that the danger that existed in certain times and places from mixing milk and fish possibly no longer exists nowadays.


Rav Ovadia Yosef Zatzal ( Shu"t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 6 Siman 48) is stringent and rules to avoid fish and dairy.


Ashkenazim follow the lenient view and rule that there is no problem and thus lox and creeme cheese (and any other fish and dairy) can be enjoyed without a problem by Ashkenazim. See Shach Yoreh Deah Siman 87:5)

584)Q: You mentioned that when one makes hamotzi, all their fingers need to be touching the bread. Is that just for on Shabbos with Lechem Mishna, or is it during the week as well, when eating any bread?

A: This applies any time bread is eaten, weekday and Shabbos alike.


The reason for this is that there are 10 Mitzvos that are associated with the process of making bread, as follows:

During the plowing of the field:

1) an ox and a donkey may not be used together, during the planting phase:

2)one may not plant 2 different species together.


During the reaping phase:

3) Leket,



6) the ox that is used may not be muzzled while working

After the baking phase:

7)Teruma to the Kohen

8)Ma’aser Rishon to the Levi,

9) Ma’aser Sheini and

10) Challah to the Kohen


It is for this reason that there are 10 words in the Bracha of Hamotzi and 10 words in each of the Pesukim that refer to the bread of mankind (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 167:4 and Mishna Berura 167:23 ad 24. The verses are: 1) V’Yiten lecha H’Elokim… (Bereishis 27:28) 2) Eretz Chita U’Seora… (Devarim 8:8) 3) Matzmiach chatzir L’Behaima… (Tehillim 104) 4) Einei Kol Ailecha yesabeiru…(Tehillim 145, better known as the psalm of Ashrei)


Some people have a Minhag on Shabbos not to place their fingers directly on the Chalos, rather to place their hands on the Challah cover. However, the prevalent minhag according to most Poskim is to place all 10 fingers on the Chalos, even on Shabbos. (See Mishna Berura 271:41, Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 6 Siman 134 and Sefer Minhag Yisroel Torah Siman 271).


585) Q: Why do we not make a brocha when giving Tzedaka (charity)?

A: The Rashba (in Teshuvos Vol. 1 Siman 18) says that any Mitzvah that isn’t 100%  in the hands of the one doing it does not receive a Bracha as there is a chance that it won’t be fulfilled and thus be a Bracha L’Vatalah.  Thus he writes that by  Tzedakah, there is a chance that the one you are giving to will not accept, or disappear,and you will be left holding the money and left with a Bracha L’vatalah would you have recited a Bracha.


586) Q: In regard to the halachos about pregnant women not stepping on nails, I’m curious if a pregnant woman would be allowed to get a manicure/pedicure in a nail salon where there are probably nails on the floor. Is the halacha that one should be careful to dispose of one’s nails properly? Or is the halacha that a pregnant woman should be careful not to step on nails?

A: The halacha is for both the person cutting the nails to be careful, but also for the woman to avoid walking there and endangering her unborn child.

I received the following email from a reader:

“A point about nails: R’ Shmuel Felder[Shlita, Dayan of Bais Medrash Govoha] told me that a pregnant women should not go into a nail salon (where they give manicures, etc.).”

587)Q: Often, I learn in a "minyan factory" [where there are constantly minyanim in progress]. Do I have to stop learning to answer each Kedusha, Modim, Aleinu , Kadish or amen?

A: The Poskim discuss this and it seems that the consensus is that you do not need to interrupt your learning to respond to every Amen, Barchu, Kaddish etc. if doing so will lead to Bitul Torah. 


Kedusha, however, where it will be blatantly noticeable that you are not joining the Tzibbur, you should stand up and respond. See Shu”T Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 75 for more details.

588) Q: Some people in shul answer Amen prematurely. They say Amen sometimes two or even three words before the chazzan has actually finished the bracha. Is this OK? The same is done during Kaddish.

A: No, it’s not OK.

Answering Amen before the one reciting the Bracha has completed the entire Bracha is referred to in halacha as an “Amen Chatufah” and is prohibited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 124:30. See also Talmud Brachos 47a where it describes the not so pleasant consequence of one who regularly answers such Amens)

589) Q: Where does the expression A”mush (Ad Meah V’esrim Shanah, may you live until 120) originate from? Is it not a bit of a (chas v’shalom) klallah (curse) when one says this, since it is limiting the person’s lifespan to 120 years?

We find that Hashem reduced the average person's lifespan to 120 years, whereas before that they would live for hundreds of years (See Breishis 6:3).


The reason for this was that when mankind lived longer it lead them to sin, thus limiting their lifespan made man realize that he/she does not live forever and thus must do the correct things in their short lifespan in order to earn eternal life in the real world, world to come.


This does not mean that people cannot live longer, as we do find instances in history of people living longer than 120. (Such as Rav Preida; see Talmud Eiruvin 54b. Though, the Sforno Parshas Vayeilech 31:2 does seem to indicate that al pi Teva one cannot live beyond 120)


Moshe Rabbeinu lived until 120 and thus we point to his life as a "full and fulfilling life" and thus bless others to live such a life. Rebbi Akiva also lived to 120 as did Hillel Hazaken, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai and other great leaders of Am Yisroel. (See Talmud Rosh Hashana 31b and Midrash Rabbah Bereishis 100:10)

That being said, some gedolim were not in favor of blessing people to live to 120, rather they would bless to have a very long life, as they didn't want to limit it to 120 years.

590)Q: Are there any Halachic opinions to rely on that a pet dog is not muktza, and that one can pet or play with a pet dog on Shabbos?

A: Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol 4 Siman 16) rules that pets, like other animals, are Muktzah.


Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Chacham Rav Ovadiah Yosef Zichronam L'Vracha also rule stringently. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 27 footnote 96).


There are Poskim that rule leniently in certain cases where touching the pet has a necessary purpose. A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.


591) Is one allowed to make a snowman on Shabbos?

A: Snowmen should not be made on Shabbos. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol 6: Siman 30)


592) Q: May one make a Jigsaw puzzle on Shabbos?
A: Some Poskim (including Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal and  Rav Yosef Shalom Elyasiv Zatzal) rule that all puzzles are prohibited to make on Shabbos.

Other Poskim allow all puzzles to be made on Shabbos. (See Shu”t Ohr L’Tziyon Vol. 2 Siman 272 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 6 Siman 26; This is also the opinion of Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg Zatzal as quoted in “Children in Halacha” Page 140).

Other Poskim differentiate between puzzles that are in a frame and are stuck together very tightly, which they prohibit, and puzzles that have no frame and are looser, which they permit.(Opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasa Perek 16:23)

I have also seen an opinion in the Poskim that prohibit puzzles that form words and permits puzzles that form pictures.

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

#puzzleonshabbos #hilchosshabbos

593) Q: I was raised to believe that Al Pi Halacha, tattoos are forbidden.
In fact I learned that if someone had a tattoo in order to be buried in a Jewish cemetery it had to be removed ( I understand a very painful process) before they died.
My son maintains that this is not Halacha. He cited the numbers that Nazis YM”S tattooed on the Jews in the concentration camps.
Please tell me - 
what are the facts?

A: Although tattoos are forbidden according to the Torah (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 180), there is no halacha that I am aware of that forbids one with a tattoo from being buried al pi halacha in a Jewish cemetery, especially if the tattoo in question was  acquired against his will (like in the case of the Nazis Yemach Shemam) or at a time in a person’s life before he/she was Chozer B’Teshuvah.



594) Q: I toveled a coffee pot.Before I dipped it I checked and made sure there were no stickers or anything on it. When I came home and took it out of the bag I had it in, I realized there was a little strip of sticker on the bottom of the pot. My question Is if it’s okay to use, since most likely but not 100% that the sticker was from the bag it was in, and if it was not from the bag, and I just didn’t notice it, is it okay since it was only on the bottom of the pot, which is not where the coffee would be touching anyways?

A: If there is a Chatzitzah between the utensil and the water, the Tevilah is not valid and must be redone (and a new Bracha recited if there was a Hefsek)

That being said, if the Chatzitzah is insignificant and  in a place that most people wouldn’t care if it remains there, the utensil is OK to use B’dieved.
Thus in your case , if it’s not a big deal to remove and re-tovel, do so (without a new bracha). If it is a big bother, you can use it as is, especially given the fact that there is a possibility that it was indeed not there at the time of the Tevilah.


595) Q: If someone forgot to make an Eruv Tavshilin, would that person be permitted to light shabbos candles while it is still Yom Tov on Friday?

A: The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 527:19) brings two opinions; one that allows the candle lighting, and one that forbids it. It is best L’Chatchila to be stringent like the the second opinion.(See Mishna Berura S”K 55)

According to the opinion that forbids it, it may be permissible to light one candle only, but better to gift your candles to someone else who did make an Eiruv Tavshilin and have them light on your behalf. (Mishna Berura ibid.)

If one is only making an Eiruv Tavshilin in order to light candles, but will not be cooking anything for Shabbos, the Bracha should not be recited on the Eiruv, rather only the text setting the Eiruv aside should be said.


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