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q&a page 16

768)  I heard that a son may not give his father a haircut. is this correct? (Now during this virus, many barbershops are closed and options for haircuts are limited.)

A: Nowadays when haircuts are given with machines and not with razors, and thus there is almost never a situation where a haircut causes bleeding, it is generally permitted for a son to give a haircut to a parent, as the issue with giving a haircut to a parent was based on the prohibition to do things that may lead to making the parent bleed (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 241). 


If the father is prone to getting cut during haircuts, even when a machine is used,  it may still be prohibited, and a Rav should be consulted.

#Corona #kibudav

769) Q: Is it permissible to say "G-d" in regular conversation? In a bathroom?


A: The  Mishna Berura Siman 85 S"K 10 clearly says that saying "Gut" in Yiddish in a restroom or other unclean place is forbidden. G-d in English would be the same thing. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 4:27 rules this way as well and writes that one should not say G-d in an unclean place, or utter it for no good reason at all.The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 6:3 also rules this way and goes so far as to rule that one who curses someone using the name  of Hashem in English or any other language  transgresses a Torah prohibition. He bemonas the fact that many are not careful with this and flippantly use the word G-d in their language. He writes that this leads to poverty and other misfortunes. He also writes there not to write the full word G-d in letters as they will come to be thrown out and treated disrespectfully.

See also Shu"t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 25 where he rules this way, based on the Rambam's opinion.

There is a more lenient opinion that you do not transgress a Torah prohibition when misusing the name of Hashem in another language, but even according to that opinion it still should not be done. (See Shu"t Minchas Pitim Siman 215 quoting the Nimukei Yosef to  Nedarim 7b)

Bottom line: It is important to not say G-d for no reason and in an unclean place, and surely not use it in a curse or in another unholy way.  Also, when writing, it is definitely a good idea to write it with a dash, as G-d, and not fully write it out. A better idea would be to write "Hashem" which is clearly allowed, as it is a word which means " The name" and specifically means we are NOT saying/writing the real name or its translation in another language.

parenthetically, the Kiztur Shulchan Aruch (ibid. based on the Taz Siman 621:2) writes that when saying "Hashem" in place of the real name of Hashem, one should say "Hashem"  and not "Ado-Shem", as many people do, as doing so is not respectful to Heaven.

770) Q: If  I remove my Tzitzis on Shabbos afternoon for a nap, do I recite a new bracha on them when I wake up and get dressed again?

A: First some introductory points about Tzitzis:


The wearing of a Talis Katan is an extremely important Mitzvah, as the Shulchan Aruch states (Siman 8:11) that the purpose of this Mitzvah is that one should always see his Tzitzis and thus be reminded of all the Mitzvos of the Torah. In fact, according to Chazal (Sifri Zuta 15 and other places) the mitzvah of Tzitzis is equal to all the mitzvos in the Torah and one who is is careful to always wear Tzitzis is as if he fulfilled all the commandments of the Torah!


The Mishna Berura (S"K 26) writes very strongly about the importance of always seeing the Tzitzis, and is not happy with those who wear their Tzitzis in a hidden way that they cannot be seen proudly. He goes on to write that Chazal say that those who are very careful in the observance of the mitzvah of Tzitzis will merit seeing the Shechinah, (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 24: 5 and 6) and that the Jews that will merit being alive at the time of the final redemption will be those who were outstanding in their observance of this exalted mitzvah!


Now, to your question, the Mishna Berura (Siman 8 S"K 42) writes that it is not clear if sleep during the day is a hefsek (interruption) that would necessitate a new bracha. Thus it is best if the Tzitzis remain on during the nap, or at minimum be used as a cover during the nap, so that way it surely won't require a new bracha.


If they were removed for a short daytime nap, no new bracha should be recited when putting them back on. Some Poskim rule that if they were off for more than an hour, a new bracha would be recited. 


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal seems to say that never is a new bracha recited on a Talis Katan when putting them (i.e. the same pair) on again during the day (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 137).


For halacha L'ma'aseh a Rav should be consulted.


771) Q: Are there any time limits to davening the very beginning of shachris? For example korbonos and ketores. chatzos or all day?


A:Korbanos and Ketores can be said all day, and possibly even at night, if necessary. (See Mishna Berura Siman 1 S"K 17).


Some Poskim do not allow Parshas Hatamid at night, and only allow that, if necessary, for the other Karbanos. 


See also Shulchan Aruch Siman 47:13 where he rules that Parshas Hatamid cannot be said at night, and see Mishna Berura S"K 32 where he applies that ruling to all Korbanos, so it is not clear if in situations where it is necessary he also allows Parshas Hatamid at night, as he rules in Siman 1, or not.

772)  Q:  I heard that if you can't start Shemona Esrai with the Tzibur then you should wait until Chazaras Hashatz, and say it with the chazzan. How do you this? Do you say Kedusha, and Bircas Kohanim, and can you still say Elokai Netzor? Also, what if you are only a little bit behind the Tzibur, is it better to wait about five minutes to say Shemona Esrai with Chazaras Hashatz or is better to just start right away because you will still be able to say most of your Shemona Esrai during the time when the Tzibur says its silent Shemona Esrai.

Although it is indeed proper to start the silent Shemona Esrei at the same time as the Shliach Tzibur and the rest of the congregation.or at least while they are still in the middle of the first bracha of Avos, according to many Poskim even if you started a little later, while most of the people are still in the middle of their silent Shemona Esrei, albeit deeper in than the first bracha, you are still considered to be davening Tefilah B'Tzibur. (See Shu"t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 4 and Halichos Shlomo; Tefilah; Perek 8:7 and footnotes 7 and 8.)


If possible, when starting the silent Shemona Esrei later than the Tzibbur, try to finish in time to say Kedusha with the Tzibur. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 109:1). This is a better option, according to many Poskim, than simply waiting and only starting your silent Shemona Esrei together with the Shliach Tzibur when he starts Chazaras Hashatz.


However, if one missed davening the silent Shemona Esrei while the congregation did, and is only ready to daven when the Shliach Tzibur is about to start Chazaras Hashatz, indeed, he should start and daven together with the Shliach Tzibur. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 109:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 4 and 14)


Some Poskim say that doing this will give him tefilah B'Tzibur, while others say that although it isn't 100% Tefilah B'Tzibur, it is still better than davening B'Yechidus. (See Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 19:7 and Shone Halachos Siman 124:9. See also  Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 9 at length.See also Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 100)


When doing this, every word should be recited together with the shliach tzibur, including every word of Kedusha, the bracha of Hakel Hakadosh (or L'dor V'dor Nagid Gadlecha) , Modim etc. ( Shulchan Aruch Siman 109:2). 


Regarding the Birchas Kohanim that the Shliach Tzibur says, the one davening the silent Shemona Esrei should not say 'Elokeinu V'Elokei Avoseinu...' together with the Shliach Tzibur, but listen silently.(Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal)


In a place where there is actual Birchas Kohanim in Chazoras Hashatz, Some Poskim say he should stop and listen quietly, and resume after the Birchas Kohanim, while other Poskim say he should actually answer Amen after each of the 3 parts of Birchas Kohanim. . (See Shu"t Shevet Halevi Vol. 3 Siman 15:3 and Sefer Da'as Noteh page 373 quoting the Chazon Ish)

773) Q:  I was reading the halacha of a minyan and that someone in the room [not part of the minyan]  can even be counted as a minyan, or even if you start with a minyan and when someone leaves you can continue davening and say kaddish. 


However in the minyanim that I daven in, the chazen waits for all ten men to finish davening before starting chazaras hashatz. What is the minimum that you need to start davening chazaras hahsatz? 

A: Ideally the Shliach Tzibur should not begin Chazoras Hashatz until there are 9 members of the congregation answering Amen to his Brachos. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 124:4)


Although the Shulchan Aruch in Siman 55:6 and Mishna Berura S"K 32 seem to support a more lenient opinion, at least B'dieved, where if only 6 are listening/answering it is acceptable, many Poskim (including the Shulchan Aruch Harav  Siman 55:7 and 11, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  Siman 15:7 and 20:2 and Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo; Tefilah  Perek 9: D'var Halacha  3) say that is referring to Kaddish and Kedusha but not to Chazoras Hashatz. Rav Shlomo Zalmen writes that only B'sha'as hadchak can we rely on this for Chazoras hashatz, but not as a matter of practice. Some Poskim only allow Chazoras Hashatz to begin, b'dieved, if one of the nine is still in middle of  his silent Shemona Esrei, but not if more of them are. (See  Chayei Adam Klal 29:1)


Regarding where Kaddish or Chazoras Hashatz was started with a minyan and someone left, and now there is no minyan left, as at least six of the minyan remain, it is permissible to finish that  item that was already started, but it is not permissible to begin a new item. (see Shulchan Aruch Siman 55:2 and 3 and Mishna Berura  there  for more details about what is considered  one item and what is considered a new item)


However, it is a sin for any member of the minyan to leave and break up a minyan. (See Rama Siman 55:2)

(See also Q&A #100 Here)
#Minyan #kaddish

774)   Q : Is there a mekor to not eating the ends of a challa? How does this apply to a challa roll (Bulka) ? What about borer? (removing the bad from the good)

There is no real source for this minhag, and most poskim, including Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal were not concerned about it. 


Some suggest that this minhag is based on the Talmud (Horiyos 13b ) where it says that eating bread that is not fully baked leads to forgetting one's learning, and thus ends of bread, in Talmudic times, may have been less baked than other parts of the loaf, perhaps due to being stuffed in the ovens too close together. Nowadays this is usually not an issue. 


Dayan Weiss in Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 9 Siman 8:7 does bring this minhag, and he writes that he doesn't know the source, but still feels that it should be adhered to, as since it is something that people are careful with it assumes a status as "sakana/danger" to do, and thus it should not be dismissed. He writes that he himself was makpid with this.


If this is your family minhag, keep it. Otherwise, there is no real reason to worry about this according to most Poskim.


I would imagine that it only applies to a large loaf, and not to a small challah roll which doesn't really have an end, as it is a small round loaf.


Also, regarding Borer, if someone is truly makpid on this, it is probably best to not separate the end that he will not be eating from the rest of the loaf, and rather remove the rest of the loaf from the end. 


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

775)  Q: Is there a requirement to stand for Asher Yatzar?


A: It is a Birchas Hashevach, and as such M'Ikar Hadin may be recited sitting or standing. (See Pri Megadim, introduction to Hilchos Brachos, Os 18).


Some Poskim maintain that although it isn't required, it is still proper to stand. (See Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 76)


Of course, if one will have more kavana by standing, it is definitely worthwhile to try and stand. 


It should ideally not be recited while walking (See Halichos Shlomo;Tefilah Perek 22: 5)


775)  Q: May women wear make-up on Tisha B'Av? What about deodorant and mouthwash?

A: Applying make-up on Tisha B'Av is forbidden.


Some Poskim allow deodorant if necessary, while others are more stringent.


Many Poskim, including Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (quoted in Rav Shimon Eider Zatzal's Halachos of the Three Weeks page 19) prohibited the use of mouthwash on Tisha B'Av.


Each individual should consult their Rav for a Psak Halacha L'ma'aseh.


776) Q: One who has the custom to don Rabbeinu Tam tefilin each day, does he do so on Tisha B'Av at Mincha as well??


A: Yes, those who have the minhag to wear Rabbeinu Tam Tefilin, should maintain this minhag on Tisha B'Av as well, at mincha time when the regular Tefillin are donned.

See Shu"t Yechave Da'as Vol. 2 Siman 16 and Vol. 6 Siman 2

#RabbeinuTam #TishaBav #Tefillin



777) Q: Does the Mishnah Berura say that one can say Tachanun at Mincha up to as late as 15 minutes after shekiah?


A: He doesn't say 15 minutes, he just writes that during Bain Hashemashos the minhag is to be lenient and allow it. (See Siman 131 S"K 17). It is best, however, to try and daven mincha enough time before shkiah, to say Tachanun before shkia.


The minhag in Yerushalayim is to be stringent and not say it after shkiah at all, based on kabbalah that it is a sakanah to say Tachanun then. (See Halichos Shlomo; Tefilah; Perek 13:4 and Dvar Halacha Os 6)


778) Q: When one says the after-bracha of Me'ein Shalosh for 3 items -  grapes, wine and cookies, for example

which goes first second and third? What's the correct order?

A: The correct order is in order of their chashivus, as follows: Al Hamichya, Al Hagefen, Al Haeitz, both in the beginning as well as at the conclusion of the bracha. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 208: 12)


Some Poskim say that on Shabbos morning by a Kiddush before the meal, Al Hagefen would go before Al Hamichya, as the Mezonos is only there to serve the Kiddush to make it B'Makom Seudah, thus the Al Hagefen is the main one then (See Shu"t Shoel U'Meishiv Siman 18)


However, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (quoted in Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa Perek 54 footnote 70) said that the accepted custom is to always say Al hamichya first, even Shabbos morning. (See also Shu"t Az Nidberu Vol. 6 Siman 64.)


779) Do you say tiskabel in kaddish at a bais haavel?

A: Yes, unlike Tisha B'Av where Tiskabel is not said, so that it should not seem that it is going on the Kinos, in a Avel's home Tiskabel is indeed recited, as of course we want the Tefilos of the Avel to be accepted by Hashem! ( See  Shu"t Rav Akiva Eiger Vol. 2 Siman 24)

#kaddish #avel #aveilus

780) Q: If a minyan didn't have a Shofar, or if they forgot to blow after Shacharis during Elul, what should they do?

A: If an entire Tzibbur did not blow the Shofar after Shacharis one day during Elul, they should blow the Shofar that day after Mincha.


See Shu"t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 21. See also Aruch Hashulchan Siman 581:12

#shofar #minyan

781) Q: When davening b’yechidus, is one obligated to hear / blow shofar in Elul at Shachris?

A: No. This minhag is only for the Tzibur, and not incumbent on an individual who is davening alone. See Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 12 Siman 48

#minyan #shofar

782) Q: If I accepted Shabbos early [after Plag Hamincha, but before Shkiah] and then I put on a pair of Tzitzis may I make a bracha on them, or is it already considered night when no bracha is recited.

A: Harav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal ruled that no bracha is recited in this situation. (Siach HaTorah page 277)


783) Q: Is it muttar on shabbos to kick found money to the side to save it to retrieve later, or to prevent one's money (wallet) from being left in a public place? (assuming kosher eruv,or reshus hayachid)?

A: Yes, to prevent a monetary loss it may be moved with the feet to a safe spot. It may not be picked up with the hands in a regular manner. (See Biur Halacha to Shulchan Aruch Siman 266:13 dibur hamaschil Pen. See also Mishna Berura Siman 308 S"K 13)


784)  Q: Anything to do about shofar blowing and corona, being that the saliva being cast out in a large way from the shofar and can be harmful to others?

A: Best if the ba'al tokea uses his own shofar, and not a communal shofar that s shared by many people, and also, he must stand at least 10- 15 feet away from anyone else when he blows and point the shofar away from people.


Common sense should be used with this, and in all situations.

#shofar #coronahalacha

785)   Q: If the #sukkah is already built before the holiday begins, and people wish to eat in it for some reason, is this allowed? My daughter wanted to have a little bas mitzvah seudah outside this week and once our sukkah is built, that will be the only place to eat outside.

A: Yes, you can. Best if possible  to cover the #schach so that it is deemed a non kosher sukkah for the duration of the party.

786) Q: Is there a specific way that the #Hadasim and #Aravos need to be tied on to the #Lulav?

A: Yes. The Hadasim and Aravos should be tied in such a way that the top leaves are a tefach (approximately 4 inches) below where the shedra (the spine, the centermost branch) of the Lulav, starts splitting.


The spine itself must be at least 4 tefachim (Approximately 16 inches).


Lulavim that have very short spines, even if the Lulav itself is very tall, are not OK.


See Shulchan Aruch Siman 650 and Mishna Berura S"K 2

787)  Q:  How can one best "tovel" himself this year before Yom Kippur without going to a #mikve, which is not an option for many people due to #Corona? 

A: If going to the #Mikvah is really not an option, shower with  9 Kabim of water (around 3.5 gallons of water) hitting the entire body at one shot in a steady stream. (See Mishna Berura Siman 582 S"K 26)


Also, remember what Rebbi Akiva taught us (in Mishna Yoma Perek 8, based on Pesukim in Yechezael and Yirmiyahu ) that the "Mikveh" of the Jewish people is Hashem!


A Jew should "immerse" himself/herself in the learning of Torah and living life according to the directives of Hashem and His holy Torah, and thus become purified!

אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא, אַשְׁרֵיכֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל, לִפְנֵי מִי אַתֶּם מִטַּהֲרִין, וּמִי מְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם, אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, (יחזקאל לו) וְזָרַקְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהוֹרִים וּטְהַרְתֶּם. וְאוֹמֵר, (ירמיה יז) מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל יְיָ, מַה מִּקְוֶה מְטַהֵר אֶת הַטְּמֵאִים, אַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְטַהֵר אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל

#YomKippur #coronahalacha

788)  Q: If one is davening without a #Minyan in Aseres Yemei Teshuva, does he recite "Avinu Malkeinu" or is that only B'Tzibbur?

A: Yes, Avinu Malkeinu is recited even when davening alone. (See Shu"t Shevus Yaakov Vol. 3 Siman 42 quoting the Rivash)

#AvinuMalkeinu #AseresyemeiTeshuva 

789) Q: When Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, on the first night (Friday night), does one cut the top challah or the bottom challah first?

A: There are varying minhagim with this.


According to  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal (in Sefer Doleh U'maskeh page 152, based on Talmud Chullin 101b that Shabbos is more Chashuv than Yon Tov) in this case we would cut the bottom #Challah first as we do every Friday night, and not the top Challah as we usually do on Yom Tov. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 274:1)

#yomtov #shabbos

790) Q: Are Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur sad days?

A: No, they are not sad days at all.


They are solemn days,they are serious days, they are important days, and days to utilize to their fullest, but not sad!


Rosh Hashana is a time for us to express our joy in being part of the Jewish nation and anointing Hashem as our King, and a day to proudly be a part of Am Yisroel, and confidently anticipate receiving a favorable judgement from our Father and King for the year ahead.(See Mishna Berura Siman 581 S"K 5)


Yom Kippur is a time to express our joy at receiving a divine gift of forgiveness from Hashem, a day to appreciate the fact that Hashem accepts our sincere Teshuva!. (See Sha'arei Teshuva; Sha'ar 4: 8. See also Mishna Ta'anis Perek 4 Mishna 8 that there were no more joyous days in the Jewish year as Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur!)


Rosh Hashna and Yom Kippur are Yomim Tovim and should be treated with proper Simcha!

#roshhashana #yomkippur #simcha

791) Is one allowed to cut nails on Rosh Chodesh?

A: According to the Tzava'ah of Rav Yehuda Hachasid (quoted in Be'er Heitev Siman 260:2)  one should not cut hair or nails on Rosh Chodesh.  See also Aruch Hashulchan  Orach Chaim Siman 260:6.

 Many people are stringent with this, while others are not. Each individual should follow the custom of their family/community in regards to these things.


792) Q: I learned  that there is an inyan to dip the bread 3x in salt. I think I once read in one of your emails something about the gemetriya of melach x 3. Do you recall?

A: See Mishna Berura Siman 167 S"K 33 and Be'er Heitev Siman 167: 8 that according to Kabalah we dip it 3 times.


The seforim bring that the Gematria (numerical value) of  the Hebrew words Melach, as well as Lechem equals 78, and when we divide this in 3 (i.e. 3 dippings of the Lechem, bread into Melach, salt) we get  3 iterations of 26, which is the Gematria of Hashem's holy name. This is an allusion to the Pasuk (Devarim 8:3) that man does not live on bread alone, rather on the word/will of Hashem. See also Kaf Hachaim Siman 167:37

#seudah #melach #lechem

793) Q: Is iit permissible to use a tuning fork on shabbos for a chazan? 

A: While there are some Poskim who allow it (See Shu"t Yabia Omer, Orach Chaim  Vol. 3 Siman 22) , many, including the Aruch Hashulchan (Siman 338:8) and the Mishna Berura (Siman 338 S"K 4) rule that it is prohibited. It is best to be stringent with this.

#shabbas #chazzan

794) Q: When davening for someone to have hatzlocha,shidduch,parnassah, should one use the father or mother's name. Can you provide sources for this please.

A: Generally, when we are davening for someone and beseeching Hashem to have rachamim on them, such as for Refuah, Yeshua, Parnassah, Shidduch etc. we use the mother's name. When it's a matter of respect, such as an Aliyah to the Torah, or after one passes from the world, we use their father's name.


One reason given for this is that the Zohar (Parshas Lech Lecha page 84a in the old prints) says that when davening for something that needs Rachamim, we try to be as precise about the person, and about the issue, as possible. Thus, it is more of a guarantee that a person's mother is his true mother than it is that his father is his true father. This is why Dovid Hamelech is referred to as "the son of your maidservant" and not the son of his father. (Even though, halachically it is not in doubt, as per Talmud Chulin 11b Rov B'Ilos Achar Habal, still for the purposes of prayer we don't take any chances.)


Additionally, the Zohar (Parshas Lech Lecha page 79 a in the old prints)teaches that a person's mother is more related to his body while his father is more related to his soul, thus with items related to the material world we use the mother's name. 


See Ben Ish Chai in  Ben Yehoyada Brachos 55b for additional reasons, including that the zechus of one's mother is stronger than that of his father as women don't have the sin of Bitul Torah and other masculine sins that may prevent zechusim.


Also, the Talmud (Shabbos 66b) quotes Abaye as saying that all chants that are uttered (for the purpose of healing) are done using the mother's name. Possibly this may apply to davening too.

#tefilah #choleh #davening

795) Q: On Shabbos and Yom Tov, if my hearing aid Battery dies, can I replace a new battery myself, if an Aino Yehudi is not available?       

A: The best option, of course, is to have an Aino yehudi do it.


If that is not possible, many Poskim allow the Jew to do it, with a shinui. ( The reason for this is that wearing a hearing aid, and ensuring its function, on Shabbos and Yom Tov is a matter of Kavod Habriyos,  human dignity, and as such, many Poskim go out of their way to find permissible ways to allow wearing it and making sure it works properly. This can especially be an issue over a long 2 or 3 day Yom Tov, where we look to preserve the dignity of the person in any way that we can.  Furthermore, many Poskim consider hearing impairment to be a sickness (choleh She'ain bo sakana), and thus allow Melachos D'rabanan to be done to alleviate it. Being that wearing and using it is possible in a way where no D'Oraysa melachos are involved, and even changing the battery can be done in a way that does not involve D'Oraysah melachos, many Poskim figure out ways to allow it.)

Some Poskim, however, maintain that it is similar to a case of putting shoelaces into a shoe for the first time, and will thus be a biblical melacha of Mesaken Maneh, and thus be prohibited for a Jew to do. (See Mishna Berura Siman 317 S"K 16)

See  Igros Moshe  Orach Chaim 4 Siman 85 , Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 3 Siman 41 and Shu"t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 18 who discuss this more at length and are all lenient.


For Halacha L'Ma'aseh, of course, a Rav must be consulted.

#hearingaidonshabbos #shabbos #hilchosshabbos

796) Q: Are we supposed to answer Amen after the bracha of Ahava Rabba/Ahavas Olam, before Krias Shema?

A: The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 59:4) rules that one should not answer Amen after the Bracha of Ahava Rabbah/Ahavas Olam as it is a Hefsek between the Bracha and Krias Shema. The Mishna Berura (Siman 59 S"K 24 and 25, and Siman 61 S"K 16) rules that it is best to finish that bracha in unison with the Shatz, so that you will not have to answer that Amen.


The Rama (Siman 61:3) rules to answer Amen after this bracha, and one who did not end together with the Shatz, as the Mishna Berura suggests to avoid having to answer this Amen, should indeed answer Amen.


The Sha'arei Teshuva (Siman 59 Os 3) suggests that when you do indeed answer this Amen, it is best to specifically have in mind the words 'Keil Melech Ne'eman; the acronym of Amen' as those 3 words are connected to Krias Shema and thus there will be less of an issue of Hefsek.


According to the Mishna Berura (Siman 59 S"K 25)  the allowance of answering Amen here is only for the bracha of Ahava Rabba/Ahavas Olam, and not for any other Amens, even though it is Bein Haprokim, where usually answering Amen is allowed. 

#amen #beinhaprokim #birchoskriasshema #kriasshema

797) Q: I understand that we need not take the Gemara’s statements about good health practices, medicine, etc. as halacha.  What are the sources for this?

A: Many Rishonim  and Poskim are of the opinion that nowadays we cannot utilize or rely on “remedies” that are brought in the Gemara. Some say because the nature of humans has changed, and others say that the remedies that work in Babylon may not necessarily work in other countries and cultures.


Furthermore, some say that these remedies are based on very deep kabalistic secrets and won’t necessarily work for people who are on much lower levels than they were in the times of Chazal. Also, some say that we are not capable of fully understanding what Chazal meant with these remedies, and thus when we employ them wrongly they won’t work.


The Yam Shel Shlomo (Chulin Perek 8 Siman 12)  cites a “Cherem Kadmon”(an ancient ban) against using any remedies brought in the Talmud, as it will lead to people ridiculing Chazal or otherwise minimizing their holiness Chas V’Shalom, when they use them and find them not to work.


Bottom line: If it isn’t brought in Shulchan Aruch or other contemporary Poskim, or if it isn’t something that has been proven to work and is accepted by doctors,  it is best to not try any remedies solely based on their being in the Talmud.


However, I must add that anything that is brought in Chazal as a “Sakana” that is dangerous to do, even if doctors say it is not a danger, it is still worthwhile to be careful, as we don’t know exactly what danger Chazal are referring to, and it may not be a physical danger or one that can be readily evident to doctors or  others.

For more on this see Otzar HaGaonim, Gitin, Teshuvos Siman 376, Tosefos Moed Katan 11a, Shu”t Chavos Yair Siman 234, Rav Akiva Eiger to Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 336, Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 3 Siman 145, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 15 Perek 10 and Piskei Teshuvos 328:9


For halacha L’ma’she,as always, each individual should consult their Rav.

798) Q: Backyard vines that haven't produced grapes in 10 years, is there a heter to chop them down?

A: If it is old and will surely never bear fruit again, there is no prohibition to cut them down. See Rambam Hilchos melachim perek 6 Halacha 9. See also Sforno To Devarim Perek 20 Pasuk 20.

For Halacha L'maaseh, as always, a Rav should be consulted.


799) Q: If a person wakes at night, before dawn, and wants to study, does he recite the brocha laasok b'divrei Torah... If indeed yes, and he returns to sleep, then the next morning, does he repeat it when doing tefillah?

A: Yes, if one wakes up before dawn and wants to learn, he should recite Birchos Hatorah and that will suffice for the entire day ahead. Even if he goes back to sleep while it is still night and awakens after dawn, no new brachos are required for that day, according to most Poskim.  If one wants to recite the brachos again in the morning, after having slept again, some Poskim allow it.


See Shulchan Aruch Siman 47:13 and Mishna Berura S"K 29.

#birchoshatorah #tefilah

800) Q: What is the reason why a “temporary” minyan does not say "Magen Avos" on Friday nights? What is the connection between saying that portion and needing a permanent minyan?


A: The reason this bracha was enacted was to ensure that nobody is left alone in the dark  field ( where they used to daven on Friday nights)  if they davened a little longer Shemona esrei.  Thus, it was only enacted in such a scenario, and not applied to a temporary minyan in a Bais Avel, Bais Chasanim or other temporary  minyan where this reason won't apply. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 268:10, based on Talmud Shabbos 24b.

A reader submitted the following additional information:

According to the Ari Z"L, one says the Birchas Magen Avos, as long as there are 10 people (a Minyan).  See Kaf HaChayim 268:10, in Seif Katan 50.

#magenavos #fridaynightdavening #minyan

801) Q:  Why on Shabbos for Lechem Mishna do we first cut into the challah before we make a Motzi, especially when we need both challas to be Shalem?

A: During the week it is good to cut the bread a little so that you minimize the time between the Bracha of Hamotzi and the eating. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 167:1) On Shabbos, when we need Lechem Mishneh, we don't actually cut it the way we do during the week (See Rama ibid. where he says not to cut it at all on Shabbos) rather many just make a minimal etching with the knife, which does not  deem it cut as far as Lechem Mishneh is concerned, yet allows us to see where to start cutting once the Bracha is recited. (See Mishna Beruar Siman 274 S"K 5. It is possible that the Rama would agree to this minimal cut as well). Although many people do in fact follow this ruling of the Mishna Berura, the Tzlach (Brachos 39b) did not agree with this custom.

#lechemmishneh #shabbos #cuttingthechalls #chalah

802) Q: Am I allowed to sit down for Tachnun in front of someone (either right behind me or diagonally behind me) who’s still in middle of shemona esrei? I was always under the impression that one may not sit within Daled amos (in front) of someone still davening, but it seems like people are only strict when directly in front, and not diagonally in front. Also, someone mentioned to me that this is only an issue when person sitting is not in middle of davening himself, but for davening it’s OK. Would appreciate if you can please elaborate on this.


A: OK, you asked me to elaborate, so here is the long answer....


It is forbidden to sit [as well as walk] within 4 amos  of someone who is davening Shemona Esrei, so long as he did not take the 3 steps back for Oseh Shaom (according to the Mishna Berura Siman 102 S”K 3. The Aruch Hashulchan Siman 102:13  only prohibits it while the person is davening the actual Shemona Esrei, but not once he is done and is adding his own Tachanunim, even though he didn’t step back yet the 3 steps.)


This includes in front of them, on the side of them and even behind them. For the duration of his/her Shemona Esrei the Shechinah is present and it is disrespectful to be sitting in the presence of the Shechina, as it seems like you have no interest in accepting the yoke of heaven. Additionally, a reason is cited by the Poskim that doing so will distract him from his Tefilah. (some Poskim allow it if the one davening has his face covered with a Talis, as it won’t disturb him, but most Poskim do not accept that leniency, as the other, seemingly more important reason, of not disrespecting the Shechina, still applies. See Biur halacha Siman 102 dibur hamaschil Asur and Aruch Hashulchan Siman 102:13)


Thus, if one is sitting to learn Torah (either with a Sefer or visibly verbalizing  the words) , the Mishna Berura (S”K 6) is lenient when sitting behind the person davening, as being that he is learning Torah it does not  appear that he is shirking  the yoke of heaven. Some even allow this when sitting to his side, so long as it isn't directly in front, but the Mishna Berura seems to be stringent with the sides and  only allows  behind him.


In front of the person, some say not to sit even if it’s more than 4 amos away. The reason for this is that by sitting there it will seem that the person is davening to the one sitting there, Chas V'shalom.


If, however, you are involved in Tefilah yourself (including Tachanun)  then you may indeed sit on the side and behind the one davening, but not in front of them. (See Mishna Berura Siman 131 S"K 10)


If you are sitting somewhere (not in a shul)  and someone  comes near you and starts  Shemona Esrei, there is no obligation for you to get up, though it is proper to do stand up and move out of his 4 amos anyhow. In a shul, which is designated for davening, there is an obligation to stand up even if he started davening after you were already sitting there. The exception to this is if you are sitting and learning Torah, as in that case, if you were sitting there first you do not need to stand up when he starts Shemona Esrei near you.


If there is an item separating you and the one davening Shemona Esrei, if the item is 10 tefachim tall and 4 tefachim wide, many Poskim consider it a separate domain and thus allow you to sit in front of him. Some Poskim allow you to walk in front of him as well if there is this separation. It is still best to try and not sit/walk directly  in front of the person, and rather  rely on this for sitting to his side or behind him, unless the height of the item is such that he cannot see you. (See Mishna Berura  Siman 102 S”K  2 and Aruch Hashulchan ibid)


In cases of great necessity, or for purposes of a Mitzvah,  when the person behind you  is davening a long Shemona esrei, some Poskim allow you to take your 3 steps back after your own Shemona Esrei if it is done to the side (diagonally) , and not directly in front of the person still davening.(See Mishna Berura S”K 18)


Taking the 3 steps back so you can say Tachanun would be considered a Mitzvah and  be allowed if the person behind you finished davening but didn’t take 3 steps back yet, according to Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal (See Halichos Shlomo, Tefilah , Perek 8:34). But if he is still davening you cannot take steps back for Tachanun, and certainly not sit directly  in front of him for Tachanun, as  you can say the Tachanun standing where you are. (See Mishna Berura Siman 131 S"K 10. If you can take 3 steps back diagonally, that seems to be permitted. See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 102: 11 and 12)


I hope this clarifies things.

#tachanun #threestepsaftershemonaesrei 

803) Q: Is there a chiyuv to daven with a minyan?  My understanding is that we are supposed to make an effort to do it, but I haven't learned that there is a chiyuv.

A: The ideal place [for men always, and for women when possible] to daven is in a shul with a minyan. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 90:9. Although the language used by the Shulchan Aruch is “Yishtadel”. Many Poskim say that it is an actual obligation, and the language is only used to exempt one who is ill or otherwise has a valid reason to daven alone. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 12:7 adds "Yishtadel V'Yisametz" which means one should put in a significant effort to ensure Tefilah with a minyan)


A Tefilah davened in shul with a minyan is the most heard and accepted Tefilah by Hashem and is a bigger mitzvah than Tefilah that isn't in shul with a minyan. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Aruch Hashulchan Siman 90:13)


One who has a shul in his city, and never goes there [to daven] is considered a "Shachen Ra- a bad neighbor", and brings galus, exile, upon himself and his family (unless he davens in another shul in that city or davens with a minyan in his home, which although isn't as good as shul, still doesn't earn him the title of "Bad neighbor". (Shulchan Aruch Siman 90:11. See Mishna Berura Siman 90 S"K 37 through 39)


The Talmud (Brachos 6a and Ta'anis 8a) teaches that one who davens with a minyan in a shul has less of a chance of his Tefilah being scrutinized by Hashem for perfect kavanah, and a better chance of his Tefilah being accepted. One who davens alone has every word scrutinized, and there is a good chance that his prayers will be rejected for lack of sincerity or other reasons (See Rashi Ta'anis 8a divrei hamaschil b'tzibur)


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Siman 12:7) writes that Hashem does not reject the davening of a congregation, even if there are some wicked people in the Tzibur!


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 48) rules that since it is not permitted to daven in a place where you know your Tefilos won’t be accepted, it also follows that it is an obligation to daven in a place where there is a significantly bigger chance that it will be accepted, namely, with a Minyan (Based on Talmud Brachos 8a)


Some say that once someone started davening with a minyan on a steady basis it now assumes the status of a vow to do a good thing and he must now continue to do so whenever possible, with the force of a regular obligation. (See Netziv to Brachos 6a)


Additionally, keep in mind, that one who is part of the Asara Rishonim, the first 10 people to arrive to form the minyan, gets tremendous Heavenly reward! (See Shulchan  Aruch Siman 90:14)


Definitely worth the effort, even if it is sometimes difficult! Lefum Tza'ara Agra!

#minyan #tefilahbtzibur #tefilah

804) Q: Is there a chiyuv to hear krias hatorah ?

A:There are 3 basic opinions regarding this in the Poskim, as follows:


1)   There is an individual obligation for every Jewish male to hear every word of Krias Hatorah, and thus hear the entire Torah read each year.


2)   There is a communal obligation to read the entire Torah each year, but no absolute obligation on any one individual to actually hear it; as long as the Tzibur reads it that has satisfied the collective obligation.


3)   Once the Tzibur is reading the Torah, there is now an obligation on every individual in that Tzibur to listen to every word being read there.


This is a very much debated topic in the Rishonim and Poskim, and every individual should consult their own Rav for a psak Halacha L’Ma’aseh.


If you want to delve deeper into this topic, here are some sources to get you started: See the opinions of the Ran and Ramban beginning of Maseches Megilah (3a in Dafei Harif) , Shulchan Aruch, Rama, Mishna Berura and Biur Halacha Siman 135, as well as Biur Halacha Siman 146, Birchas Shmuel Yevamos 21, Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 28, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 18 Siman 5 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 9 Siman 28

#kriashatorah #torahreading

805) Q: If someone leaves electronics (CD,phone etc.) on a table,bed,couch from before shabbos,is there bosis issues? Can he move it kelacher yad/with elbow?


Similarly if there is wet clothing on a bed from before shabbos,or a wet towel, may he also move it with elbow?

A: Electronics, CDs etc. are kli shemeleachto l'isur, and may thus be picked up and moved in a regular manner, if you need the place where they are, and placed down somewhere else.


Wet clothing that will become dry and wearable on shabbos may be moved as well, as they are not Muktzeh.  (For archves of Hilchos Muktzeh Click Here

#HilchosShabbos #Muktzeh

806) Q: My father in law purchased a children’s book for one of my kids and as I tried to read it to them I found multiple grammar errors and it's written in a very convoluted way, definitely not comprehendible to children to whom the book is catering.


I even had my wife look at it for a second opinion and she agreed.


My question is really in general but was prompted by this. Am I allowed to leave a bad review on an item sold by another Jew? Whether it’s on Amazon or similar website.



A: Most likely it is not OK to do so, as it will be very hard to conform to all hilchos Lashon Hara in such a public forum, as even if it may be L'toeles of some people reading it, it definitely will be read by others as well, who have no benefit from seeing such negative reviews.


You can definitely contact the author/seller privately and try and get your money back, and explain to them that it's not OK for them to put out such an item on the market.


Incidentally, when reading negative reviews online, like any negative information we hear or read about another Jew, we are not allowed to accept what we are reading or hearing as fact. At best, we can accept that it MAY be true, but not take it as 100% true at face value, as there may be details omitted in the negative review that can make it less negative to the one it is being said about, it may not be objectively written, it may be written with unfounded bias, and many other provisions that may make the information less than factual.

#lashonhara #halachaofonlinereviews

807) Q: I had always learnt that you don't daven or learn Torah at a cemetery, because the dead person becomes jealous. It is only permissible to say Tehillim.


I recently read the biography of Rav Gustman zt'l, and it says he went to the kever of the Rambam, and learned some of the teachings of the Rambam in front of the kever. He then said, "Now that I have discussed his Torah and have established a relationship with the Rambam, I have the ability to make requests in his merit."


Are we all permitted to do that?


A: Generally, it is prohibited to learn in a cemetery or even daven there, or go near the kevarim visibly wearing Tefilin or Tzitzis, as it is Lo'eg L'Rash (literally translated as poking fun at a poor person, i.e. doing Mitzvos in front of one who can no longer do Mitzvos, which causes them distress) (See Rambam Hilchos Avel Perek 14 Halacha 13 and Shulchan Aruch Yoreh deah Siman 368:1).


However, saying Tehilim or davening in the merit of the soul that you are visiting, or learning Mishnayos in their memory, or learning the Torah of the person buried there, as a zechus for them, is generally permitted. (See Birchei Yosef to Yoreh Deah 344:17)


You also find this concept in the Talmud to gather at a Tzadik's grave and learn of his Torah. (See Yevamos 121a; Rashi dibur hamaschil Tlasa Rigli for an example)

#kivreitzadikim #kever #loeglarash #rambam

808) Q: What is the source for the Halacha that one must sit while saying Tachanun?

A:The Mishna Berura Siman 131 S" K 10 quotes the Bais Yosef that this is based on kabbalah.  He also quotes the Rivash that there is no problem if it is done standing. Thus, in situations where sitting is not possible (such as when the pwrson behind you is still in middle of shemona esrei), we may do it standing. Otherwise, we should do it sitting, as per the prevalent Minhag.

809) Q: Why don't we say "Baruch Shepatrani" by a Bas Mitzvah?

A: This bracha is not mentioned in the Talmud, rather its source is in  the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba Parashas Toldos 63:10). Many Poskim maintain that this bracha is recited without Shem U’Malchus (As the Rama Siman 225:2 rules. See Mishna Berura S” K 8 for opinions that it is indeed recited with Hashem’s name)  The prevalent custom is to recite it without Hashem’s name.


There are two explanations given for this bracha.


The Mishna Berura writes the that until a boy is 13 years old, the father is liable for his son’s sins, as he did not properly educate (chinuch) his child. Once the boy reaches 13 he becomes responsible for his own sins (as the obligation  of chinuch is not the same as it was before he was 13. See Mishna Berura Siman 225 S” K 7. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’hanhagos Vol. 4 end of Siman 55), thus the father recites the bracha that he no longer is (as) liable for the sins of the son.


Another explanation, given by the Levush, is exactly opposite. That until 13, the child is liable for the sins of his father. Upon reaching 13 he is no longer liable for his father’s sins. Thus, the father recites a bracha, thanking Hashem that his son no longer  will get punished for  the father’s sins. (See Machtzis Hashekel 25:5. There are various complications with this explanation, and indeed, most Poskim do not concur with this Levush)


According to the reason of the Levush, this bracha should be recited for girls as well when they reach the age of 12.


However, according to the first reason ( that is accepted by most authorities)  it may not apply equally  to girls, as the obligation of Chinuch for girls is not the same as the obligation of chinuch for boys, namely, that boys must be trained to study Torah, whereas girls do not have an obligation to learn Torah, beyond knowing the Mitzvos that are incumbent on them.


There are various other reasons given for this bracha not being recited for girls.


Some say that since this bracha is recited publicly  in shul at Krias hatorah, it is not appropriate to do so for girls. (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’hanhagos Vol. 1 end of Siman 156)


Indeed, the prevalent custom is that it is recited for boys, at their first Aliyah in shul, but not recited at all for girls who reach Bas Mitzvah.

#barmitzvah #basmitzvah #baruchshepitrani #brachos

810) Q: You often mention things that are "Al Pi Kabalah". For example, you discussed not learning Torah Shebiksav at night, based on Kaballah. I thought that we don't pasken based on kabala?

A: When kabbalah and Halacha are at odds we go with halacha (besides some chasidic/sephardic communities, who may actually go with the kabbalah view).


However, when there is no conflict, we do indeed go with kabbalah very often, and the Poskim are full of items that we do based on Kabalistic sources. (See Mishna Berura Siman 25 S"K 42)


Incidentally, the Vilna Gaon held that it was impossible for there to be a conflict between Nigleh and Nistar (the hidden parts and the revealed parts of the Torah) as it is all ONE Torah, and he spent his later years dedicated to reconciling all the items that were seemingly at odds between the hidden and revealed Torah to show how they were actually not contradictory.


The Gaon cited the Posuk (Tehilim 19:10) "Mishpetei Hashem Emes Tzadku Yachdav" as meaning that ALL facets of the Torah are part of one absolute truth, without any contradictions".


Any seeming contradictions are due to our not grasping the depth of the Torah, not due to the Torah being contradictory in any way, shape or form.

#kaballah #torah #nistar #halacha 

811) Q: Does the concept of substituting "Brich Rachmana", the Aramaic term for Hashem's name, instead of saying Hashem's actual name, where you have a safek if you need to recite a bracha, have any halachic significance?

A:This is a Machlokes Haposkim. The Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim Siman 202:3) accepted this for all Safek Brachos. See also Ben Ish Chai, year 1, Parashas Naso Siman 9 and Pnei Yehoshua to Brachos 12a dibur Hamaschil V'Yoser Nireh.


However, many Poskim reject this and consider it a Bracha L'vatala even when using the Aramaic words Brich Rachmana in place of the Lashon Kodesh verbiage. These Poskim include Rav Akiva Eiger (Shu"t Mahadura Kama Siman 25) , the Chasam Sofer (Nedarim 2a), Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Mosher Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 40:27), as well as Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and many others.


Saying Brich Rachmana in Safek situations should definitely not be relied upon unless one receives such a ruling directly from his/her Rav.

#safekbracha #brichrachmana #brachos #hashemsname

812) Q: Does safek psik Reisha apply on a d'oraysa?

A: This is a Machlokes Haposkim. See Biur Halacha Siman 316:3  dibur Hamaschil V'Lachen. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 277:1, footnote 1 

#Pesikreisha #shabbos #hilchosshabbos

813) Q:  What is the value of learning Torah on Shabbos compared to learning on a week day? I know the Mishna Berura does mention this but I can not seem to find it.


A: The holy Ben Ish Chai (Year 2, introduction to Parashas Shemos ) quotes the Mekubalim who say that Torah learnt on Shabbos is 1,000 times more powerful than Torah learnt during the rest of the week!

A reader who saw the response above, submitted the following comment:

הגאון המקובל רבי סלמאן מוצפי זי"ע אמר: כל שעה אחת בשבת עולה שבע עשרה אלף ריבוא (170 מיליון) פעמים על ימי החול (על פי המואר בתיקוני זהר ע) והיה מזרז לנצל הזמן בשבת קודש (ומה שכתב הבא"ח אלף פעמים, לאו דוקא, וכוונתו עך דרך הפלגה).

-שיבת ציון, שבת חלק ב', שער י', סעיף כ"ב.

#shabbos #learningonshabbos #benishchai #torahonshabbos

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