q&a page  13

596) Q: I know its not a good thing to do, but is one allowed to scratch and peel at a scab on shabbos if you know it will not cause you to bleed?
A: Yes, as long as no new blood is squeezed out. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 328:28, Mishna berura S”K 90 and Sha’ar HaTziyun Os 67

597) Q: Can you please review the halachos and the measurements of Shiurim on Yom Kippur as there are Cholim and Pregnant Women who every year are confused.
A: Just as Hashem commanded us to fast on Yom Kippur and if we eat we sin, so too Hashem has commanded those who may not fast on Yom Kippur due to medical reasons to eat, and if they do fast it’s a sin.
There is no need to feel guilty or down if medically you have to eat, as the fact that you are following the directive of the holy Torah should make you feel close to Hashem. In fact, the Mitzvah of “V’Chai BaHem- to preserve one’s life”,  is greater than most of the other Mitzvos!
Pregnant or nursing women are generally required to fast on Yom Kippur. In certain cases they may be considered ill enough to be required to eat (i.e. the woman and/or her fetus would be endangered due to fasting). A Rav must be consulted to determine her status.
Of course, a doctor and a Rav should be consulted to determine if any specific situation mandates eating on Yom Kippur.
The ideal way to eat, if necessary, is to eat a minimum amount of food and a minimum amount of drink (less than 30 cc or around an once of food or a less than cheek full of liquid) in intervals of more than 9 minutes apart.(K’dei Achilas Pras, see Mishna Berura Siman 618:21. The Aruch HaShulchan Siman 618:14 rules 6-7 minutes. Other Poskim rule that it’s around 2 minutes. See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 39:18 footnote 71)
Obviously, if this small amount will not suffice to remove the danger, a larger amount should be eaten, as per the doctor’s orders.
If one has a choice: either eat and go to Shul, or fast and stay home in bed, the Halacha mandates that he/she stay home in bed and fast even at the expense of not attending Shul at all the entire Yom Kippur, as fasting is a biblical obligation, attending shul is not.
If one is in doubt and no Rav is available, it is better to err on the side of safety rather than endanger ones own life or the life of a patient. The minimum necessary food/drink should be consumed right away and not wait until a doctor/Rav can be located and Chas V’Shalom place a life in jeopardy.
There is a debate amongst the Poskim as to whether one who needs to eat on Yom Kippur needs to recite Kiddush before eating/ The prevalent custom is not to require Kiddush, even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos.
If eating bread, the hands must be washed first. According to some Poskim the entire hands are washed and according to some Poskim only until the knuckles. (See Nit’ei Gavriel Yom Kippur page 251)
Most Poskim rule that if bread was eaten, Ya’aleh V’Yavo must be recited in the Birchas HaMazon.
After the food is eaten and the ill person feels better, the fasting must resume, and we don’t say “Once the fast was broken there is no point in resuming”
The above are just some basic guidelines. Each individual person MUST consult with their Rav for Halacha L’Ma’aseh

598) Q: Is the night before Yom Kippur also considered Erev Yom Kippur? And if it is, is it therefore considered a mitzvah to eat more?
A: It is Erev Yom Kippur.
However, according to most Poskim the Mitzvah to eat begins at daybreak. (See Biur HaGRa to Siman 604, Magen Avrohom Siman 604 and He’emek sh’eilah from the Netziv Parshas V’Zos HaBracha Siman 169:1)
Some Poskim say that the Mitzvah already begins at Shkiah of the eve of Erev Yom Kippur, but even they agree that the main Mitzvah is by day. (See Bach Siman 604)

599) Q: Can “Avinu Malkeinu” be recited without a minyan?
A:According to many Poskim it can be recited without a Minyan.Rav Moshe Feinstein is said to have ruled this way as well.
Some Poskim rule not to say without a minyan.
(See Sha’arei Teshuvah Orach Chaim Siman 584:1 quoting the Shla and the Shvus Yaakov. See also  Da’as Torah Siman 584:1)

600) Q: Is there any halacha about starting the flame [bt Havdalah] after Yom Kippur from an existing fire?
A: Yes, the candle used at Havdalah on Motzei Yom Kippur must be kindled from a flame that was burning throughout Yom Kippur (Ner SheShavas).
The reason for this is to demonstrate that Yom Kippur is different from all other Yomim Tovim in that this fire which was lit the entire Yom Tov was prohibited from being used and no pleasure was able to be  be derived from it.
The Minhag is to light a Yahrtzeit candle on Erev Yom Kippur and to light the Havdalah candle from there. If no Yahrtzeit candle was lit it can be taken from the pilot fire of the oven.
If no fire is available that was lit the entire Yom Kipur, no bracha is recited on a fire that is  lit anew on Motzei Yom Kippur.
When Motzei Yom Kippur falls out on Motzaei Shabbos (where we always recite the Bracha on fire, but for a different reason, to commemorate that fire was created on Motzei Shabbos), according to most Poskim it is still best to not recite the Bracha on a newly kindled fire this particular Motzaei Shabbos..
See Shulchan Aruch Siman 624:4 and Mishna Berura S”K 6-9 and Sha’ar HaTziyun Os 9 for more details about this halacha.

601) Q: Why do we observe Asara B’Teves on Friday, as it falls out this year, while other fast days are not observed on Fridays?
A: The only fast (besides Yom Kippur) that we actually fast on Friday (and would also fast on Shabbos, but will never fall out on Shabbos until the end of time) is Asara B’Teves. Other fasts, if they fall on Friday, are pushed off until Sunday.
The reason for this is that the Posuk (Yechezkael Perek 24:2) in regards to Asara B’Teves “B’Etzem HaYom Hazeh, On this very day”, the very same words used in the Torah.(Vayikra Perek 23:28) in regard to Yom Kippur, thus the rabbis deduced that Asara B’Teves, like Yom Kipur,should never be pushed off from its actual date.

602) Q:When is the proper time to be Ma’avir Sedra Parshas V’Zos Habracha?
A: Being that we are about to begin a new cycle of the Torah very soon, I will take this opportunity to review some of the relevant  Halachos of  being Ma’avir Sidra, and then get  to your specific question.
It is incumbent on every Jewish male to read the portion of the week’s Torah reading each week. This is known as “Being Ma’avir Sidrah” (literally, “going over the portion of the week”).
The entire Parsha must be read twice and the Targum [Onkelos] must be read once.
The new week begins on Sunday morning, and it must be finished before Krias Hatorah on Shabbos of that week. (The Mishna Berura holds that one can begin already reading the new Parsha after Krias Hatorah of Mincha on the last Shabbos, and there is no need to wait until Sunday)
Some Poskim hold that the best time to be Mekayem this Mitzvah is on Friday afternoon after Chatzos (midday). Others disagree and hold that it is 100% Okay to start on Sunday morning and do a little each day throughout the week.
There are a few methods mentioned by Halachic authorities as to the proper way to be Ma’avir Sidra:
a) To read the entire Sidra of that week, from beginning to end twice and only then to read the entire Targum [Onkelos] from the beginning of the Sidra until the end.
b) To read a full Parsha, or section (meaning from the beginning until you get to a “Pei” or “Samech”, and according to the Vilna Gaon if you do it in this way, you stop there, even if it is middle of a Possuk) within the Sidra of the week twice and then to read the Targum on the Pesukim you just read.
c) To read from The beginning until Sheni twice then its Targum, continue from Sheni until Shlishi twice, and then its Targum and so on. (See Derech Sicha from Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita page 2)
d) To read the first Posuk twice and then its Targum, then the second Posuk twice and then its Targum, and so on until you finish the entire Sidra.
All of the above methods have acceptable sources in Halacha. There is a prevalent Minhag (which the Vilna Gaon and others used to do) to read from the beginning until Sheni on Sunday, from Sheni to Shlishi on Monday, and so on until Friday. On Friday the Minhag is to do two portions (i.e. from Shishi until the end). This Minhag is an easy way to be Ma’avir Sidra without it being a daunting task to do in one sitting.
Besides for Chumash and Targum, one who fears Hashem should learn the commentary of Rashi on the entire Parsha. If one is not capable of doing this, he should try and read the English (or any other language he is familiar with) translation of the Parsha, so that he will understand what the week’s Parsha is about.
Since reading the words of the Targum takes some getting used to, it is worthwhile to have children (from about the age of 7) read a few Pesukim of Chumash and Targum each week, so that when they reach Bar Mitzvah they will have an easy time being Ma’avir Sidrah. Training them in this Mitzvah, like all other Mitzvos, is part of every father’s (and mother’s) obligation of Chinuch.
The ideal time to be Ma’avir Parshas V’Zos Habracha is on Hashana Rabbah eve or on Shmini Atzeres by day. (Mishna Berura Siman 285:18. See also Ben Ish Chai, first year, Parashas V’Zos Habracha Siman 15 that L’chatchilah it should be done on Hoshana rabbah and not on Shmini Atzeres.)
According to some Poskim it can be done on Simchas Torah eve as well. (Mishna Berura Siman 669:4)
If Parshas V’Zos Habracha was done before Hashana Rabbah (even though it was already read in Shul by Mincha on Shabbos Shuva) the obligation was not satisfied, according to many Poskim,  and it must be redone in its proper time. (See Shu”t Kaneh B’Shem from Rav Meir Bransdorfer Zatzal Siman 16.)
Parshas Bereishis can only be done after it was read B’Tzibbur on Simchas Torah, thus this year there is just Simchas Torah and Friday night to do it in its proper time. (ibid.)

603) Q: Can you please give me the reason why in a Jewish leap year ,during Mussaf on Rosh Chodesh we add “Lchaporas Pesha” only thru the end of Adar?
A: There are 12 requests mentioned there ( 1) Tova 2) Bracha 3)Sason 4) Simcha 5) Yeshua  6)Nechama 7)Parnasa 8)Chalkala 9)Chaim 10)Shalom 11)Mechilas Cheit 12) Slichas Avon) which correspond to the 12 months of the year as well as the 12 combinations of the utterence of Hashem’s holy name.
When we have a leap year, we add a 13th request, “L’kaporas Pesha” to correspond to the extra month and also to allude to the 13th way of uttering Hashem’s holy name, which in reality isn’t a new way as much as it is a Tziruf, a combination of all the other 12 ways.
This extra request is only necessary as long as the extra month is still in play, but after it passes the year goes back to being a normal year.
(See Sidur HaShla”h Pirush Sha’ar Hashomayim. See also Sefer Baruch She’Amar from the author of the Torah Temima for another approach to this question)

604) Q: Please tell me what kind of brush for hair can be used on Shabbos.
A:To use a brush on Shabbos, three conditions must be met:
1) it needs to have soft bristles so that pulling out hair is not guaranteed to happen.
2) It must be used gently.
3) It should be a designated brush for Shabbos use and not the same brush used in the weekday.

605) Q: When a person sits shiva are they allowed to wear makeup? What about during the sheloshim?
A: During Shiva, makeup is prohibited. After the Shiva, even before the Shloshim has been reached, it is permitted.

606) Q: Is it prohibited  to read a newspaper on Shabbos?
A:Of course you are referring to Kosher newspapers, and not newspapers that contain in them content, graphics and photos that may not be present in a jewish home or read even in the weekday.
Certain parts of the paper are 100% prohibited to read on Shabbos. These include business related ads (even if you don’t plan to purchase the advertised product or service), financial columns, cooking columns etc. (see Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 22:3 that business newspapers should not be read and are Muktzeh)
Torah content, biographies etc. may be read.
Sad Stories, obituaries etc. should not be read. (Mishna Berura Siman 307:3)
In general, if one can read a newspaper and avoid any prohibited content, it’s OK. But if one will be unable to avoid glancing at business ads etc. it is best to avoid reading newspapers altogether on Shabos.  (See Mishna Berura Siman 307:63 and Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah Perek 29:46 )

607) Q: One thing I always get confused with- Sometimes it happens that my obligations to wash netilas yadayim after going to the bathroom and to wash netilas yadayim for hamotzi coincide. What is the correct process? Do I wash my hands once or twice? Do I say Asher Yatzar first or al netilas yadayim first?
A:There are a few different options regarding one who uses the bathroom and now wants to wash for bread.
The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 165:1) rules that the hands should be washed, Asher Yatzar recited and then the hands washed again and Al Netilas Yadayim recited. The Mishna Berura explains the reasoning of the Shulchan Aruch as follows:  If the hands are washed only once, if Asher Yatzar is recited first followed immediately by Al netilas Yadayim, it will be a Hefsek between the washing and the Al Netilas Yadayim. If Al Netilas Yadayim is said first and Asher yatzar said immediately afterwards, it will be aHefsek between the Al Netilas Yadayim and the Hamotzi on the bread.
To say Al Netilas Yadayim, say Hamotzi and eat the bread and then say Asher Yatzar is also not proper, as Asher Yatzar should ideally be said immediately after exiting the restroom and washing the hands.
The Mishna Berura quotes some Poskim (including the Mogen Avraham) who say that the best thing is to wash the hands after the bathroom in a way that the washing will not be acceptable for eating bread (e.g. less than a revi’is, without a utensil etc.) and to recite Asher Yatzar and then to wash again a valid washing and recite Al Netilas Yadayim. This option is the most commonly accepted option amongst contemporary Poskim, as doing so avoids all the problems of Hefsek and also satisfies the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch. (See Halichos Shlomo, Tefilah, Perek 20:26)
The Mishna Berura then quotes other Poskim that maintain that  saying Asher Yatzar between Al Netilas Yadayim and hamotzi is not a hefsek, and thus if one already washed a valid washing upon exiting the restroom he can B’dieved say Al Netilas Yadayim followed by Asher Yatzar followed by Hamotzi.

608) If I am already chewing on a piece of gum and I later put another piece in my mouth for taste, do I make another brocha?
A: No, as long as the item you made the original Bracha on is still being eaten, no new Bracha is recited on another of the same food of that Bracha, be it another piece of gum or another similar SheHakol. If it is a totally different item, however, from the original item(such as gum and chicken), then another Bracha is required unless you specifically had in mind at the time of the Bracha thatyou would also be eating the new item. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:21 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 206:9, See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 10)

609) Q: If there is pilot light lit by a Jew, does it suffice for bishul akum purposes or must the Jew actually light the stove top.
A: If the pilot light does not add any heat at all to the stovetop or to the pot then it is very questionable if it suffices and a Rav needs to be consulted. If it does add some heat then it suffices.
It’s always best, however, if the actual burner is lit by a Jew.

610) Q: I am looking for a little bit of the background or wording to the gemara about how one can be mispallel for someone else's shidduch and that someone can get engaged during times seemingly not appropriate for engagement because “shemah yikadmu acher vyickach osah”?


A: The Talmud (Moed Katan 18b) says “Mutar L’Ares Isha B’Cholo Shel Moed -One may get engaged to a woman on Chol HaMoed lest someone else come along and get engaged to her first”

 

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Beitza Perek 5 Halacha 2) has the text as “shema Yekadmenu Acher B’Tefila- someone may get her first via prayer”. However, the Talmud there says that one who usurps someone’s intended wife via prayer, the marriage will not last (i.e. one of them will die, as per the commentary of the Korban HaEidah there. See also Pirush HaRan to Moed Katan ibid. Dnbur Hamaschil B'rachamim)

 

This shows us the power of Tefilah, and how careful one needs to be when praying to not pray for the wrong things, as a prayer for the wrong thing can be answered, yet not lead to good results. (See Maharsha to Kedushin 29b that Tefilah is not a miracle nor a secret formula. Rather, Hashem built into Teva that Tefilah works!)

 

This is why we pray "Chaim Sheyimalu Hashem Es Kol Mishalos Libeino L'TOVAH; we ask Hashem to only answer our prayers that are good for us, as what we think is good for us may not be so, and only Hashem knows what is good for us!

#shiduchim #tefilah

611) Q: Is a Kohen allowed to take out the garbage?
A: One may not ask a Kohen to take out the garbage but there is no prohibition for him to do so on his own.
See Mishna Berura Siman 128:175 where he clearly rules that it is forbidden to ask a Kohen to do a chore that is disrespectful. (See also Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 6 Siman 22)
However, a Kohen himself has no Issur to do such a job as there is no source anywhere prohibiting Kohanim from doing any jobs, especially when they arent in the Bais Hamikdash and wearing their begadim. How else would Kohanim’s garbage be removed from their own homes?
In fact if the Kohen offers to take out the garbage for you without being asked, you may accept the offer, it’s only the asking that is problematic. Thus if he can do it for you, he surely can do it for himself. (See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 128:71 and 72 and the Aishel Avraham (Butchatch) Siman 128:45)

612) Q: Why in the fourth bracha of birkas hamazon is there twice a mention of rachamim?  Wouldn’t once suffice?
A: There is no limit to the amount of Rachamim we need from Hashem. That being said, I believe the Pshat is as follows: We all need Rachamim, hence we request it. We follow that with a request for Parnassah. Once Hashem gives us bountiful Parnassah we tend  to forget where our Parnassah came from and then we are in danger of slipping in our Avodas Hashem, thus we must once again request rachamim from Hashem to keep us on the right path despite being blessed with Parnassah.

613) Q: Why do we remove our Tefiling on Rosh Chodesh before Musaf?
A: In many congregations (Nusach sefard) the Kedusha that is said in Mussaf of Rosh Chodesh begins with “Keser Yitnu Lecha Hashem Elokeinu- We crown You Hashem our G-d”. Thus it is not proper to be wearing our crown (i.e.Tefilin) while we are proclaiming the crowning of Hashem. (See Mishna Berura Siman 25:61). Additionally, Rosh Chodesh is akin to Yom Tov, which is an Os, a sign of our bond with Hashem, and thus just as on Yom Tov we don't don Tefillin, which is an Os in its own right, so too during the Tefilah of Musaf on Rosh Chodesh we daven without Tefillin. (See Mishna Berura Siman 423 S"K 10)

614) Q: Can you please explain what the significance and/or the reason why people hand out garlic and sugar at a pidyon haben?
A: A food that was part of a Seudas Mitzvah, when taken home and used again in a different dish transmits some of the kedusha of the Mitzvah into the new food. It is said that one who partakes of a Seudas Pidyon Haben is as if he fasted for 84 days(See Bamidbar 3:49 where the Posuk says the word “Pid-yom” and the seforim see in this word an allusion to “Pei Daled (84) Yom (Days)”.
Thus, due to the significance of this meal we try and make it stretch into other meals and dishes.
Garlic and sugar are two foods that basically never spoil and can thus be stored for a long time for use in another dish. Thus, the minhag developed to  give these out at the special occasion of the Pidyon Haben.

615) Q: Can you please share with us the reason(s) for dipping the bread in salt 3 times?  Why not just once?  Is this associated with actions of sacrifice in the Bais HaMikdash?
A:This is based on Kabalistic teachings, quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 167:33.
The following was submitted by a reader after seeing the above Q&A:
“In addition to your answer regarding the salt, your readers may be interested that the word for salt, melach, has a gematria of 78, equivalent to three times 26, the gematria of Hashem’s name the Tetragrammaton, which is frequent reason given given for dipping three times.”

616) Q: At shacharis today we had exactly ten. Right after kedusha, two people had to leave.
somoene said that we should continue until the end of chazaras hashatz and say tachanun and say chatzi kaddish and then say Ashrei, Uva Letzion and then say kadish shalem and them say Aleinu and kadish yasom.
Was this correct?  Can we say kadish yasom after Aleinu If we had only eight (number nine and number ten left after kedusha).
A: Correct for all except the last Kaddish after Aleinu which isn’t said unless a Minyan is present.See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 55:3 and Mishna berura S”K 15 and 20.

617) Q:Is there any type of Chiyuv (obligation) to make a siyum on a mesechtah that you finished?
Can someone say the Hadran(text recited upon mking a siyum) without a minyan and no kadish?
Also is there some sort of halachah about specifically not learning the last couple lines of a mesechtah until the time of the siyum?
A: It is a Mitzvah to make a Siyum upon the completion of a Mesechta (tractate of Mishna or Talmud) or certain other complete sections of Torah books. (See Talmud Shabbos 118b-119a.)
The Steipler Zatzal ruled that one who starts a Mesechta and doesn’t finish it [if he has the ability to do so] has disgraced that mesechta and may also have made a false promise. (See Sefer Hadran Alach page 143:4 and page 166)
It is a Mitzvah to celebrate with a Seudah on the occasion of finishing  a Mesechta. (See Yam Shel Shlomo Bava Kama Perek Merubah Siman 37, Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 246:26 and Aruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deah Siman 246:45)
If no minyan is present, the Hadran can be said, but not the Kaddish.
Indeed, the minhag is to leave over the final piece of the Mesechta for the actual siyum. (See Shach  Yoreh Deah Siman 246:27)

618) Q: Can a cup being used for Netilas Yadayim  have a spout or not?
A: A pitcher or cup that has a spout through which the water is usually poured out , if the spout is the same height as the rest of the pitcher or cup, it may be used and poured onto the hands via the spout. If the spout is higher than the pitcher, the water should be poured onto the hands via the side of the pitcher and not via the spout. (See Mishna Berura 159:24. See also Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 21:7 and Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion 46:1 for a more stringent view)

619) Q:I read/say Hallel slower than the congregation because I am not as fluent in the words and the congregation reads/says Hallel fast. 
I am a Kohain and often the only one, so I know that I will be called up.
I will not be able to finish my recitation of Hallel before they call me up.
Am I allowed to do any of the following in order to try and finish in time before I am called up?
1. Start Hallel early, such as right after Modiem which is the last response I have to make in the repetition?
2. Say Hallel without a brachah? Perhaps then I am just “reading pesukim” and it’s not so bad that I’m be forced to interrupt when I am called up?
A: There is no need for you to start Hallel early or to say Hallel withouta Bracha.
If you get called to the Torah while you are in the middle of Hallel, you may go up and say both the Bracha before and after the reading, and then resume the Hallel after your Aliyah, from where you left off. ( Sefer Ishei Yisroel Perek 39:47)
It is best to try and be between paragraphs of the Hallel, while doing so, just as with the other permissible responses allowed during Hallel.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 488:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 4-6)

620) Q: In Avoda Zora 28b it discusses whether to use a remedy [medicine] on Shabbos.  It says that vinegar is permitted as it is also a product used as a food item and thus after rinsing the mouth, it is swallowed.  It also talks about this in Shabbos 111a.
How does this equate with using mouth wash on Shabbos.  Is mouth wash used fort medicinal purposes, cleansing purposes or as a prophylactic [e.g. as a vitamin] to prevent disease?
A: The use of mouthwash is permitted on Shabbos for freshening and/or cleaning one’s mouth.
See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 34: 7 and Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim from Rav Ephraim Greenblatt, Talmid of Rav oshe Feinstein Zatzal, Vol. 2 Siman Siman 115:23

621) Q: My family doesn’t say “Layehudim Haysa Ora…” aloud altogether at Havdalah- is there a halachik source for everyone to say it out loud?
A: My family doesn’t say it loud either. It is only a Minhag that some people say that Posuk loud, while other people do not. From the language of the Rama in Siman 296:1 it doesn’t seem that he had the minhag for anyone other than the one reciting Havdalah to say this or any other Pesukim.

622) Q: Where is the makor in minhagim seforim or even Halacha to give gifts on Chanuka?  I strongly believe it is none other than chukas hagoyim one hundred percent.  Chanukah gelt perhaps has a source, however, this business of giving gifts?  Where does that originate from?
I am hoping that perhaps you can change my opinion.
A:The Poskim disucuss this and conclude that it isn’t a problem of Chukas HaGoyim, as in all likelihood the Goyim’s minhag of giving gifts on their holidays was taken from us and not vice verca. (See Emes L’Yaakov from Rav Yaakov Kamenetskky Zatzal Siman 670 in the footnote.)
The Ponovez Rav, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kajaneman Zatzal said that after the greeks forbade the Jewish children from learning Torah, their parents had to “bribe” them with gifts to get them to learn once again. Giving gifts on Chanukah commemorates that aspect of the Chanukah miracle. Indeed, children should be told when receiving gifts that it is for this reason and thatthey are expected to increase their Torah learning because of the gifts. (See Sifsei Chaim from Rav Chaim Friedlander Zatzal; Moadim  Vol. 2 page 134)
See also Shu”t Avnei Yashfeh Vol. 1 Siman 129:2 and Sha’arei Halacha U’Minhag Vol. 2 page 283

623) Q: Why is it not permitted to blow bubbles on Shabbos?
A: The reason the Poskim say not to blow bubbles is that doing so is Nolad, creating  something new  that was not in existence before Shabbos out of something else that was.
Also, it’s Uvda D’Chol. a weekday activity.  For small children we can be lenient and allow it.

624) Q: I’ve been trying to find a makor (source) for the direction one turns during “Bo-ee V’shalom” during kabalas Shabbos.  It would seem that one should turn to one’s right, just like any other mitzvah; however, I seem to recall seeing in a Sefer that EVERYONE should actually turn towards his LEFT, but I don’t recall why (I think he was quoting the Munkatcher Rav?)    
In any case, can you help provide me with a makor?
A: Like with any other Mitzvah, probably the correct way to rotate to the back is to the right.
During the recitation of the last verse of the Lecha Dodi, Bo’ee V’Shalom,  the Pri Megadim and other Seforim say to turn to Maariv, westward, which is to the back of the shul.
In the Siddur of Rav Yaakov Emden Zatzal he says in the name of his father the Chacham Tzvi Zatzal that  when saying the first “Bo’ee Kallah” he would  bend his head to his left, which is to the right of the Shechina and when he said the second “Bo’ee Kallah” he would bend his head to the right.
See also Ben Ish Chai, second year Parshas Vayeira Siman 2 for a detailed discussion about this.

625) Q: A few weeks ago, I was at Target and the cashier gave me 2 pairs of shoes for free because I joked that they’re free because they didn’t have a price on it. I was happy but obviously I doubt the cashier had authority to give me the shoes. I asked my family and they said one is allowed to steal from a non Jew. I know you have to return something if it will cause a kiddush Hashem, but in this case the shoes were worth 40 dollars and if the only reason I would have to return would be to make a kiddush Hashem, then I opted not to because the 40 dollars is a lot for me. So I was wondering what the halacha would be here and in general from stealing from a non Jew.
A: Geneivas Akum, Stealing from a non Jew is 100% prohibited, and may even be a worse sin than stealing from a Jew. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 348:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 182:1 and Ben Ish Chai Parshas Ki Seitzei.)
“If one steals from a non -Jew, swears falsely and dies, his death is no atonement for his sin because of Chillul Hashem” (Tosefta Bava Kamma, 10 quoted in facinating, must read essay on Chilul Hashem written  by Rav Shimon Schwab Zatzal which can be seen here).
Ta’us Akum, where a non Jew made a mistake in your favor, is where it may be permissible, if no Chilul Hashem is involved.
In your case, you must return the shoes.
[editor's postscript: A day after receiving the above question, I received an email from this person telling me that both pairs of shoes which were in a bag in the car,  were stolen from the car.]
 

626) Q: Have any recent poskim commented on the customs of Nittel Nacht (the custom of not learning Torah on the Christian holiday of Xmas)?  If most Jews in fact observed this custom, and no Torah was studied for part or all of the night, couldn’t this put the entire universe in jeopardy, since without a moment of Torah study the world would disappear?

A: There is much debate about this minhag and many Poskim reject it, but it clearly has many sources in the Poskim who do indeed rule this way, most relating to the danger in days of old of Jews being seen in the streets that night or even having a candle lit in their homes, thus resulting in no learning that night.  Another reason, cited in the name of Rav Nosson Adler Zatzal, the Chasam Sofer’s Rebbi, is that this night was established as a time of mourning for all the persecutions of the Jewish nation due the birth being celebrated on this day by the Christians, and thus just as on Tisha B’Av it is forbidden to learn, so to this night. See Sefer Nitei Gavriel Page 388 footnote 4. See also Ta’amei Haminhagim page 500 for other reasons.

Though those who follow the teachings of Chasidus follow this, it is rejected by Lithuanian Jewry, Sephardic Jewry and basically all others.   The Chazon Ish was against it and virtually all Yeshivos today maintain regular learning on this day.  See Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 551 and Shu"t Yabia Omer Vol. 7, Yoreh Deah  Siman 20 for more. See also Orchos Rabbeinu, from the Steipler,  Vol. 1 page 193

Regarding your second question, being that it isn't the same date and time in all parts of the world, and given that many people don’t have this custom or lived in parts of the world where there was no threat, learning Torah was never brought to a total halt. If it ever halted, the world would indeed cease to exist. (Many Tzadikim indeed would be careful to learn Torah at times when most of the world was busy with other things, such as on Purim, Motzei Yom Kippur and other such times).

A reader submitted the following:
 

the Nitei Gavriel records a story about one of the previous  Belzer rebbes ztz'l who was asked this same question by a priest(!)

 

The rebbe responded by saying "minhag yisroel Torah hee".  That observing minhagim is like Learning Torah, and this night the world is able to exist Due to the fact that the Jews are NOT learning, thereby observing the minhag.  


 

627) Q: If someone said Al Hamichya [after eating bread] in place of bentching should he still bentch or was he Yotzai with Al Hamichya?
A: He should still Bentch, as even if M’Doraysa he may have satisfied his obligation, M’Drabanan he has not. Furthermore, there is a requirement to mention  “Bris and Torah” in Bentching, and those are missing in Al HaMichya.  See Shulchan Aruch Siman 187:3. and Sha’ar Hatziyun Siman 168:71 See also Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 5 Siman 31.

628) Q: What is the Halacha regarding using dishes that have not been used for at least 15 -20 years. They are fine bone china, but I know they did not come from a kosher home?
A:  Usually china cannot be koshered.
If they are expensive, and havent been used in over a year ( as is your case) some Poskim alow them to be koshered and used. Consult a Rav for halacha L’Ma’aseh.

629) Q: Can someone use a meat thermometer on Shabbos (the kind that pokes into the meat and gives the internal meat temperature) if it is not a digital read-out?
A: No, it is prohibited to measure on Shabbos for purposes other than healing or for a Mitzvah.
Also, there may also be  an issue of  heating up the liquid in the thermometer when it is inserted into the hot meat.

630) Q: Is there a way to be able to wear gloves on shabbos?
A: If they are firmly  tied on to the coat it is less of a problem according to some Poskim. (See Biur Halacha  Siman 301:37)
If not, although there are lenient opinions on which many people rely, it is best for a Yerei Shomayim to avoid wearing gloves on Shabbos.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 301:37 and Mishna Berura S”K140 and 141)
In extreme weather conditions where there is no chance they will be removed, many Poskim allow it. additionally,many Poskim are more lenient for women and allow them to wear gloves even when they arent tied to the coat.
[All of the above is when there is no Eruv, as within an Eruv they may be worn of course, as the problem with gloves in the first place is lest they be removed in Reshus Harabim and be carried more than 4 Amos.]
For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.

631) Q: What are the different opinions regarding Kol Isha, for a man to hear a group of girls singing? is this allowed? how many girls must be in the group? can the man be singing with them? because many people say there is a heter when it’s a group of girls and I would like to be able to clarify for them where their heter comes from and how it really isn’t valid.
A: A man may not hear girls above the age of 9 (or according to some opinions as early as age 6 or as old as 11) singing. period.

 

There is no difference if it’s one girl or a group.

 

The Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer Siman 21 states clearly that a man may not hear a woman sing, as a woman’s voice is considered “Ervah”.

 

A man may not say a Bracha or other Devorim Sh’Bekedusha while a woman is singing within earshot, even if it is his own wife or daughter.



There are certain Heterim, when a man and a woman whose voice he is allowed to hear sing zemiros together, as we say that since he is singing too he hears his own voice and doesnt hear her voice, a concept in halacha known as “Shtei koli Lo Nishmaim- two voices cannot be heard at once”.

 

But even the Poskim that accept it, it is only for when the man is singing himself and the woman he is singing with is someone whose voice he is allowed to hear.

 

However, virtually all Poskim agree that this concept of “two voices aren't heard” is only when one of those voices is his own, but if he is listening to two women (who are not his wife, daughter etc.) singing it is 100% prohibited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 560:13 where he writes, based on the Talmud Sotah 48a and Rashi there dibur hamaschil K’Aish B’NeOres, that a man hearing one or more women singing is like a burning fire (i.e. Yetzer hara), which he must run away from).

 

A full discussion of allowing or prohibiting a family to sing Zemiros together is beyond the scope of this email and each person should consult their own Rav. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 20:11).

Listening to a group of girls is not a heter, according to virtually all Poskim, and it may not be relied upon.

 

While there were a minority of Poskim who relied on this, many years ago in the United States, when it was necessary to find some sort of heter, for Kiruv purposes during that era when Yiddishleit in America was on shaky ground, many Poskim reject this Heter, surely nowadays.

 

These people you refer to must stop listening to any girl above the age of 9 (or 6 or 11 ) sing, regardless if it’s one girl or singing in a group.

 

May Hashem give them all the strength to do the right thing.

 

632) Q: Does the Shulchan Aruch state that one must be standing when taking off Tefilin?
A: Yes, indeed it does state that one should be standing when removing the Shel Rosh (Siman 28:2) and for Ashkenazim, when taking off the Shel Yad as well.(Mishna Berura Siman 28 S”K 6)

633) Q: What is the minhag of saying “baruch hu u’baruch shemo” at davening or anywhere else when a bracha with shem Hashem is made? Does it create a hefsek from hearing the full bracha? And sometimes people dont get all 4 words out but just a “baruch shemo” what is the source for any of it?
A: The Tur Siman 124 writes that he heard from his father (The Rosh) that whenever one hears Hashem’s name in a Bracha, the words “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo, Blessed is He and blessed is His name” should be recited.  He writes that this is based on a pasuk said by Moshe Rabbeinu (Devarim 32:3) “Ki Shem Hashem Ekra, Havu Godel L’Elokeinu, When Hashem’s name is called, bring forth (i.e. respond with) the greatness of our Lord” See Rashi to the Posuk ibid.
If one is at a juncture in davening where he may not make interruptions, or if someone is listening to someone else who is being Motzi him with a particular Bracha on a  mitzvah and thus must concentrate on the Bracha being recited as if he himself is saying it (Shomea K’Oneh),  he should not say “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” (Mishna Berura Siman 124:21)
If the Bracha at hand is a short Bracha, and by saying Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo, one will end up missing answering Amen properly, the “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” should not be said. However, it is proper for the one saying the Bracha to leave adequate time for it as well as the Amen to be answerd. (Mishna Berura Siman 124:22)
Of course, when saying it itis important to pronounce all 4 words, and not swallow it up so it sounds only like “Baruch Shemo”

634) Q: I know that applying lotion on shabbat is prohibited, but what about putting on Purell Instant hand-sanitizer? Is this the same as liquid soap & therefore permitted?
A: Yes, hand sanitizers are like liquid soap and not like lotion, and thus according to the Poskim who allow the use of  liquid soap on Shabbos it would be permitted to use this hand sanitizer.
According to the Poskim that prohibit  liquid soap on Shabbos, this hand sanitizer would be prohibited as well. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 113  and Shu”t Oz Nidberu  Vol. 10 Siman 16)

635) Q: Is there any source to the idea that Kol Isha (a man listening to a woman singing) is mutar (permitted) if one is listening to a recording rather than a live voice?
A: See Shu”t MaHaram Shik, Even HaEzer Siman 53 where he rules that the prohibition is only when you see the woman singing.
Many Poskim, including Rav Ovadya Yoseph Shlita, in Shu”t Yabia Omer Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 6, rule that  if one knows what the woman looks like, be it personally or from a photo, even the MaHaram Shik would concur that it’s prohibited to listen to her voice.
In Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 5 Siman 224 he writes that even if it is halachically permitted to hear  the woman’s voice when she isn’t seen, it is still a “Davar Mechuar, a repulsive thing” for a male to listen as it definitely brings to improper thoughts. He writes that even if the prohibition of Kol Isha wasnt transgressed, the prohibition of “Lo Tasuru Acherei Levavchem” will be transgressed by listening to her voice, recorded or otherwise. This is according to the MaHaram Shik as well.
See also Shu”t Chelkas Yaakov Vol. 1 Siman 163 and Shu”t Shevet Haleivi, Even HaEzer,  Vol. 3 Siman 181 where they categorically rule that even recorded voice of a woman is prohibited.
There are no Posklim that rule that it is 100% permitted.

636) Q: Is it true that you can’t learn words of Torah when you need the bathroom? And is there a makor (source)  for this?
A: Yes. If one needs the bathroom, and would not be able to hold it in for more than 72 minutes, he/she should not begin studying Torah.
If one is already in middle of learning, he/she can finish that session and then go, assuming the urge isnt so great that he/she wouldnt be able to hold it in for 72 minutes, in which case it would be prohibited to even continue learning at that point.
Regarding Davening, if one has an urge to use the bathroom, even if he/she can hold it in for 72 minutes, it is still prohibited to pray and they must use the restroom first.
If one does daven when needing the bathroom, and would be unable to hold it in for 72 minutes, it is an abomination and he/she is required to repeat the davening.
If one is in already in middle of Shemona Esrei and suddenly need sto use the restroom, if the urge is slight, the Shemona Esrei may be completed.
If the urge is strong, he should go to the restroom and then complete (and sometimes, if he was away for a long time, repeat) the Shemona Esrei when he returns.
See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura Siman 92: 1 and 2

637) Q: Is someone supposed to answer Baruch Hu U’varuch Shemo on Friday night after the Shemonah Esreh of Maariv when the Chazan says the birkas Me’ein Sheva’.  Most of the congregation does not answer.  Yet, I heard one individual answer.  What is the halachah?  Also, what is the source?
A: I did not find anyone that specifically says to say it.
I did, however, find that the Aruch HaShulchan Siman 268:17 as well as the Siddur Shla, Sidur Otzar Hatefilos and Sidur Ya’vetz all say that when the Chazan says this Bracha following Magen Avos the congregation should be quiet and not say anything at all.
The Gaon of Vilna and others rule that the congregation should not even say “Magen Avos” themselves and only the Chazan should say it and the Bracha following it.
This means that the congregagtion must hear it from the Chazan as he is being Motzei them. As with every Bracha that one is being exempt with, no Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo should be interjected.

638) Q: I was just wondering if you could explain waiting 6 hours between fleishig and milchig. Is this a minhag or actual halacha? And what is the difference of opinions regarding waiting 1 hour or any other waiting period. And is it necessary to wait between milchig and fleishig or is washing your mouth out sufficient?
Also, why do we wait 6 hours? Does it have anything to do with how long it takes to digest the meat?
A:The requirement to wait six hours is a halacha in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 89:1. The Rama writes that the custom in Germany was to wait only one hour, but concludes that those who are scrupulous in Mitzvah observance should wait six hours.
The almost universally accepted custom is to indeed follow the stringent ruling and wait six hours. Those of Dutch or German decsent who indeed have the custom to wait 1 or 3 hours respectively, may follow their familial custom, but one who does not have this lenient custom should not rely on it. See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 89:7 and Shach to Shulchan Aruch ibid.
Some Poskim maintained that once in the sixth hour, it would already be permitted to eat dairy, thus some people wait either 5 hours and 1 minute, or five hours and 31 minutes (a majority of the sixth hour). Again, if one has this custom he may follow it, otherwise stick to six full hours.
After drinking milk, the mouth should be rinsed and then meat may be eaten immediately.
After eating cheese or cheese products, a parve solid food should be eaten and the mouth rinsed out and half an hour waited,  and the hands washed before eating meat.
Some people have the custom to wait half an hour before eating meat, even after milk.
After eating hard cheeses (Cheeses were aged for six months and thus have fatty residue. Consult your Rav or Kashrus agency to determine which cheeses fall into this category, as there are many varying opinions regarding today’s cheeses), a full six hours must be waited before eating meat.
If the hard cheese was melted into another food, such as lasagne, according to many Poskim you no longer must wait six hours before eating meat. Some Poskim maintain that even after melting it still requires a six hour wait
The “six hours” was the amount of time between the day meal and the evening meal, in the time of Chazal. (See Talmud shabbos 10a and Biur HaGra Yoreh Deah Siman 89:2)

639) Q: If Shabbat has ended in a Jew’s time zone but he or she manipulates electronics in another time zone where Shabbat has not ended, has he or she transgressed?  For example, sending and receiving information via the internet from a website/etc. based primarily in the latter time zone where it is still Shabbat.
A: According to the Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 31: 26 ,this is permitted.

The only time it would be prohibited is if there is someone getting  actual enjoyment from a prohibited melacha, for example: If it is still Friday by you, you may not talk on the phone with a irreligious Jew in a time zone where it is already Shabbos for him. Or, if the radio is playing on shabbos in Israel, it would be prohibited for a Jew in America, where it is still Erev Shabbos, to listen to it.
640) Q: If I am eating/drinking something whose bracha is shehakol and then I want to eat a piece of gum afterwards, should I eat, say borei nefashos and then make another shehakol on the gum, or should i just eat the gum and never say a bracha acharona? or can i say borei nefashos and eat the gum without a bracha? What is the correct thing to do in this situation?
A: This is a tricky situation. Best to say a Bracha Achrona and leave the room and say a bracha on the gum in the next room, as once you leave the room the Bracha Rishona wouldnt have worked anyhow.

641) Q: I  am cleaning out old stuff.I  have a whole bag of dried out old esrogim.  I know that some of them have kedushas Shvi’is(i.e they are from Eretz Yisrael  and were grown in the Shemitah year and thus may not be discarded). I used to use them as decorations but now i want to throw them out. If they are all dried up is it a problem to dispose shmitah produce in a regular manner?
A: Once they are dried up and not edible anymore they no longer have Kedushas Shvi’is and may be disposed of. They should, however, be disposed of respectfully (e.g. in a bag and on top of the garbage can and not mixed in with the regular garbage) as a Mitzvah was performed with them.

642) Q: Is a person allowed to hold off on some of the morning brachos (i.e. She’asah li kol zarchi / shelo asani goy etc.) and save them for later in the day to invigorate him, i.e. If he is depressed and needs a chizuk, he recites one of those brachos.I heard a story of a chasidishe rebbe who was depressed and burst out one of the brachos (possibly before tefillah mind you) but thought that is a great idea!
A:  Although it is best if recited in the morning before davening, all the Birchos Hashachar (with the exception of “Al Netilas Yadayim” and according to some Poskim the Bracha of “Elokai Neshama”, as well as Birchos Hatorah)  must be recited after davening if they weren't recited before davening. Preferably they should be recited before the end of the fourth hour, but B'dieved you have all day. (See Rama Siman 52:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 9)
 


May they be recited at any time during the day as opposed to immediately after davening? From the language of the Poskim it seems that they should be said as soon as possible.


There are other Tefilos etc. which can be said anytime throughout the day if you need Chizuk and need to connect to Hashem.


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

643) Q:  Are there any hakpodos (halachic concerns) about buying something in a pawn shop?
A: If you have reason to believe that the item being purchased is stolen ( the price is too good to be true, the shop in question doesnt have such a good reputation, or if the item being sold shouldn’t be in such a shop, e.g. Judaica)  it should not be bought, as doing so may be considered assisting a thief, which is prohibited. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 356:1)
Regarding Sifrei Torah, tefilin and Mezuzos,they should indeed be bought so as they shouldn't come to be disrespected. Regarding using them, though, consult a Rav. (See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura Orach Chaim Siman 39;7)
If you already purchased the item, according to many opinions you may keep it as the sale is valid based on the fact that even if it was stolen goods the owner probably gave up on ever getting it back (a halachic concept referred to as “Yiush”). Additionally, we consider the fact that the item is no longer in the actual thief’s posession (a halachic concept referred to as “Shinui Reshus”) (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 353:3)
For halacha L’ma’aseh, of course, a Rav must be consulted.

644) Q: Can a person use whipped cream on Shabbos?- the bottles that make it from a liquid to a solid when it gets sprayed out?
A: According to many Poskim it is indeed prohibited to discharge this whip cream from the bottle as doing so changes the liquid into a solid and thus violates “Molid”, the prohibition to create a new entity on Shabbos. (Psak quoted in “The Shabbos Kitchen” by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita in the name of the Debreciner Rav, Rav Menashe Klein Zichronam L'vracha and YBLC"T Rav Yechezkel Roth shlita and Rav Shmuel Felder Shlita)

 

Other Poskim are lenient and allow it to be used on Shabbos, and indeed many people rely on this lenient Psak (See Orchos Shabbos Siman 15:45)

 

For Halacha L'ma'aseh each individual should consult their Rav

645) Q: Is a person allowed to be motzei someone else in the bracha acharorona of borei nefashos?
A: Although its best for each person to  recite Borei Nefashos themselves, in cases of necessity (e.g. they don’t know how to say it themselves or they are not well and thus unable to say it themselves) as long as the one reciting it has in mind to exempt the one listening and the one listening has in mind to be exempted, it woks. Ideally, if possible for the one listening to say along with the one saying it that would be best. (See Mishna Berura Siman 213:9. See also Sha’ar hatziyun there Os 7 that this will only work if they both sat and ate together)

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