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q&a page  5

195 ) Q: You wrote: “It is prohibited to give bread to a Jew who does not wash his/her hands before eating bread, even if the bread belongs to him/her, as doing so  will cause him/her to do a sin, and thus you will transgress the biblical prohibition of  “Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol”.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 163:2 and Mishna Berura Siman S”K 12)”


Is this really a prohibition? What if you give bread to someone who isn’t observant and the situation doesn’t allow for you to give it only on condition that they wash?

A: Yes, it is a real prohibition. That being said, there are certain circumstances under which the Poskim will indeed allow you to give the bread. One such exception is if you are in the midst of being mekarev a Jew to yiddishkeit and by giving him/her the bread now without washing it will lead to him/her becoming observant down the line.  Even in these situations, it is better to not give the bread to them directly, but rather have them take it themselves.


It is always best to try and ask them to “humor you” and wash their hands.


For each specific situations, a Rav should be consulted.


196) [ed. note: this question is from a woman reader] Q: I work for a woman who is not frum. She sometimes asks me to buy her lunch. Must I say no? There are no kosher places to eat close to where I work. A second related question: She sometimes asks me to go to lunch with her. When we do this, we take the car and drive for about 20 minutes to eat in a kosher establishment. I prefer to work through lunch and leave work early. Must I agree to go to lunch with her since on those occasions she eats a kosher meal?

A: Being that if you would refuse to buy your boss lunch it would jeopardize your job security (I assume), and she would get the lunch regardless through a different means, you probably may buy her the lunch. However, if you are using your own  money (or possibly even her money)  to purchase Basar B’Chalav that may pose a problem and  a Rav should be consulted about the proper course of action. There is no need for you to accompany her just for the purpose of having  her eat Kosher. However, if you feel that by doing so, it will contribute to her eventually becoming Torah observant, it would be good to keep going with her as the reward for facilitating someone’s becoming frum is boundless!

#kosherfood #teshuva

197) Q: You wrote: “…part of a fingernail that is loose and hanging is a Chatitzah and must be removed before washing Netilas Yadayim”. What do you do if it’s Shabbos, Chol HaMoed or Yom Tov? Are you allowed to remove the part of the fingernail that is loose?

A: Removing a loose fingernail on Shabbos is an Issur D’Rabanan, and may not be done. The only time it may be removed with your teeth or hands, but never with a scissor, is if it causes Tza’ar, pain or discomfort. Thus, in a case where it does not cause discomfort, it may not be removed on shabbos, yet is a chatzitza for washing! This poses a problematic situation. The same problem would  arise if a woman’s nail polish starts cracking and peeling on Shabbos. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

#netilasyadayim #hilchosshabbos #chatzitza

198) Q:Do you wash your hands for Netilas Yadayim once each hand , or twice each hand? So when you say you open and close the faucet and then open and close the faucet [in cases where no cup is available to wash with] – is that the procedure for one hand (twice one hand) or for both (once each hand)? Also, I’ve been wondering about a halacha you posted,  where you say you must wash for bread crumbs – I have two questions: 1) Isn’t it true that if the food was made specifically for a non-bread type item, i.e. only for bread crumbs, you don’t wash for it; and 2) if you eat schnitzel, etc, made with bread crumbs on top, do we have to wash for it?

A: 1) We will iy”H discuss the amounts of time to wash each hand etc. in the near future. (But yes, when using the faucet it should be opened twice for each hand)

2) The Halacha you are referring to  is: “If the bread is being eaten as a secondary food (tafel) to a more important food (Ikar), and thus doesn’t need a Bracha of Hamotzi (e.g. croutons in soup, or bread crumbs on chicken) it also doesn’t require washing of the hands. (Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 212:6). However, if the amount of bread being eaten as a tafel is more than a Kzayis, some Poskim require washing the hands without a Bracha (See Sha’ar HaTzion 158:11 and Mishna Berura ibid. 10)”
Yes, you are correct that if the item was specifically manufactured for use as a salad crouton or a coating, then its bracha is Mezonos and not Hamotzi, and then will not need washing, even without a Bracha and even when a Kzayis is eaten. However, if the bread crumbs or croutons are of the homemade variety (from leftover challah or bread etc.) then  when eating more than a Kzayis worth of it, it is best to wash without a Bracha before partaking of it.

The same would apply for shnitzel. If using store bought bread crumbs, which were made for that purpose, no washing is ever needed. Even if using homemade variety, usually the amount eaten is less than a Kzayis so no washing would be necessary then either.

#brachos #shnitzel #hamotzi #ikarandtafel

199) Q:In some bathrooms they have a faucet that you push down and water comes out for a short time at which point you have too press again. Would you be able to allow the water to flow over one hand [for Netilas Yadayim when no cup is available] then the other while it’s still flowing, then press again?
A: No, even in those faucets, only the initial flow which directly came about from your action can be relied upon for “Koach Gavra”. Thus it would be best to push it again for each hand.


200) What has to be checked for shatnez? just things with linings or even 100% wool sweaters? what if the label says there’s no linen?


A: Certain things that say 100% wool may still contain shatnez, so a reliable shatnez tester needs to be consulted as to which clothes needs to be checked and labels cannot be trusted.

201) If I'm sick on shabbos and I can’t take medicine can I at least daven for a refuah even though I’m really not supposed to have bakashos on shabbos?

A: If you are sick enough that you need to lay down, certain medicines may indeed be taken (Consult a Rav regarding which ones etc.). We do say the Mi Shebarach for Cholim on Shabbos, we just add in a verse “Shabbos Hi M’Lizok..” You can do the same thing and ask Hashem to make you feel better.

#refuah #mishebairach #cholehonshabbos

202) Q: In reference to the question about baal tashchis vs. achilas gasa- I always have a similar question, how can one throw out food that became unusable due to kabalistic reasons (a peeled onion, food under a bed that someone slept on, a drink left uncovered over night) does the kabbalistic reason overrule baal tashchis which is a clear aveirah?

A: Peeled onions, drink left uncovered etc. is not just for Kabalistic reasons. These things are brought in the Gemara, and brought as Halacha in the Aruch Hashulchan, Mogen Avraham and other Poskim. The reason for their being prohibited is that they are a danger to the one who may eat it. As such is isn’t an Aveirah to throw out something which is harmful to you.

Also, the Talmud (Shabbos 129a)  says “Bal Tashchis D’Gufa Adif- the wasting of one’s body is more important than wasting food”


203) Q: Is one permitted to take piano lessons during s’firah, where they won’t be learning songs, but just theory?  Can they press down keys, but not play songs?

A: The Poskim debate whether one may learn how to play a musical instrument during Sefirah. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim  Vol. 3 Siman 87) seems to maintain that if one is doing this for Parnasa reasons it would be OK, but if one is doing this for pleasure and thus get Simcha out of it, it is prohibited.

Many contemporary Poskim (She’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2. Rav Shmuel Felder  shlita in Kuntres Shiurei Halacha quoting Rav Elyashiv Zatzal, and others) are lenient in this matter especially if you will lose out by not taking those lessons now. If just learning theory and making sounds, but not actually playing songs, it would probably be permitted according to everyone, as that is not music.

A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Maaseh.

#sefirah #sefirashaomer #musiclessonsinsefirah

204) Q: [You wrote in an earlier Q&A, #167, that] “… regarding your brother, if you gave him the money as a loan, and now want to allow him to not repay it, you can think in your mind that  when you tell him that he doesn't need to repay it, that should be an act of Ma’aser” I have to look it up… But I am pretty sure a loan can’t be turned into Maaser, even if you have the proper intention at the time of the mechilas chov[forgiving of the debt]…

A: The Poskim do indeed allow one to subtract  the amount of  a forgiven debt from Ma’aser as long as you had the right Al Pi Din to collect on that debt. See Shu”t Meishiv Davar Siman 49.  See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman471. This was also the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zatzal and many other Poskim (as quoted in Sefer Hilchos Ma’aser Kesafim Perek 9:8)

205) Q: You wrote in a previous Q&A as follows: "regarding the utensils, if they haven't been toveled, you may not eat off of them. You must either use paper dishes, or lift the food (if it's kosher of course) off the plate and eat it from your hands."


I was under the impression that with Tevilas Kelim, while the chiyuv remains in place obviously, this wouldn’t affect the food eaten off of them. I was under the impression that this was often the case with restaurants, etc. Is this not true?

A: Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. s Siman 22) maintained that food that does not  need a utensil, and the utensil is only being used  to be civilized (such as a solid food) may be eaten off a non toveled plate in cases of necessity. However, foods that require the utensil (such as drinks, soup, pasta etc.)  may not be eaten off these utensils ever.

Rav Moshe also maintains that there is no difference between a private home or a public restaurant, hotel etc. when it comes to these Halachos.

There are Poskim (See Darchei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 120:70) who differentiate and are more lenient in a restaurant etc., however most contemporary Poskim do not rely on that leniency. For Halacha L’maaseh please consult your Rav.


206) Q: you wrote regarding the proper procedure for Netilas Yadayim that you first wash twice on the right hand, then fill up the water  again and then wash the left hand. I only see people washing by first filling up the cup and then using that water for your hands (and not refilling in the middle). is that okay?

A: Yes, as long as there is enough water left in the cup  for an acceptable washing (two times on the hand) , there is no need to refill the cup again for the left hand.


207) Q: In the shul I daven at, a number of years ago they started saying Tehillim after mincha because the situation in Eretz Yisroel was very grave. They have continued this practice and are still doing it, even though I don’t think the situation there is any worse than it always is. My point is that if it was good to say extra Tehillim every day, Chazal would have instituted it. I feel that by saying Tehillim in a non-emergency situation we are saying that we are so frum and have such great kavanot that we can’t get them all in during the regular mincha, we need to say more. The truth is that almost everybody hardly says it at all, or mumbles through it. I asked the rabbi if we should discontinue the practice but he didn’t agree. I’m not even sure we’re allowed to stop any more, maybe it’s like a neder or something! What do you think? Are we allowed to stop? Is it OK to add on to mincha? I think the whole thing is very wrong and should be discontinued immediately.

A: There is nothing halachically wrong with saying Tehilim after davening. In fact, many Tzadikim and even many simple people in years past used to say a chapter or two of Tehilim after each Tefilah. Many Kehilos still have this Minhag today where they say a chapter or two each day B’Tzibbur.

If you find that you cannot do this, you aren't obligated to join them is the recital, but there is definitely nothing wrong, as Klal Yisroel needs all the Tefilos they can get.


208) Q:Do you have to tovel glass?

A: Yes, Glass  utensils that are used for food must be Toveled with a Bracha

#tevilaskeilim #tovelglass

209) Q: How do you dispose of Stale Matza?

A: Stale Matza, or any Matza[or bread] that can no longer be eaten, may be discarded. The best thing to do with any leftover bread (including Matza) is to feed them to the birds or ducks and the like, so as not to waste Hashem’s bread. However, if it is no longer edible, it may Halachically be discarded.

#baltashchis #stalematzah

210) Q: In response to your  reader’s question/answer (#171)- what if your minhag is davka not to say tachanun on a certain date and you happen to be davening with a kehilla that doesn’t have this minhag. Surely you’re permitted to skip tachanun, right?

A: As long as nobody notices you are doing different, it’s OK not to say it. When they put their heads down, you should do it too, even if you arent saying the words.


211) Q: Can someone make his bed on Shabbos (even after a nap in the afternoon) for neatness reasons?

A: If it bothers them to have a “messy” room then its OK, as this is Oneg Shabbos. If he/she is preparing it for  the next use, which will be after shabbos, then it's forbidden.

#shabbos #hachana

212) Q:Does Hamotzi end after the bracha is said or after the k'zayis of bread is eaten? If the process is not complete until the bread is eaten – then why are we allowed to stop after the bracha to sprinkle salt or honey on the bread. Wouldn’t we need to pre-sprinkle the bread even before netilas yedayim to avoid interrupting the process?

A: As far as the hefsek after washing is concerned, Hamotzi is over as soon as the Bracha is recited.


That being said, it is important to eat the bread immediately after saying the bracha of Hamotzi. BUT, it isn’t a Hefsek to dip in the salt or honey as that is a part of eating the bread.


Incidentally, you write “sprinkle the salt”. The proper way for the salt to be applied to the bread is to “dip” the bread into the salt [three times, according to some], and not to “sprinkle” it. This dipping, indeed should only be done after the bracha is recited and the piece is cut, before it is eaten.


213) Q: Is one (adults) permitted to play board games on Shabbos-where it doesn’t involve any m’lacha. If yes, is it better not to?

A: Any games that make noise (rattles, bells,  etc.) may not be used on Shabbos, and may even be Muktzah.
Any games that usually entail writing (scrabble, boggle, magna doodle etc.) may not be used, even if no writing is done.
Similarly, any games that involve clay, playdough etc. may not be used on Shabbos.
Any games that require assembling, via screws, bolts or nails, maynot be used on Shabbos.
Many Poskim forbid making puzzles on Shabbos, while others are lenient in certain instances.
These are the basic guidelines, though each individual game must be determined to be acceptable before playing on Shabbos.

#shabbos #gamesonshabbos


214)  Q: Is there any Halacha regarding women shaving their legs or plucking the eyebrows during  Sefirah?
A: Plucking the eyebrows, according to Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach  and Rav Shmuel Wosner Zichronam L'vracha it  is never a problem, as it isn’t considered “cutting the hair” so it’s permitted for all women all the time. Shaving the legs, for married women is not a problem during Sefirah according to all opinions. For single girls, there are opinions that forbid it, but the majority of contemporary Poskim allow it.


215) Q:Regarding  washing clothes on chol hamoed, can you wash adult and older children things that are absolutely needed for chol hamoed and 2nd days, i.e. Underwear, shirts, etc. ?

A: Adult clothing and even children over 8 years old clothing is not permissible to wash on Chol HaMoed, and it is very hard to find a real heter to do this. It is better to buy a new pack of underwear etc. than to wash them. if this isn’t possible, a Rav should be consulted.

#cholhamoed #laundryoncholhamoed

216) Q:Regarding a Davar Charif, what is the status of a lemon? when you go to a hotel lounge, for example, and order a diet soda, they usually stick a half lemon in the cup to know which one is diet. hence, they most probably are using a treif knife to cut it - does that invalidate the drink? is it a problem? should you ask for diet soda without a lemon wedge?

A: Lemons are indeed treated in halacha as a Davar Charif. (There can be exceptions for mild lemons. See Shach  Os 20 to Yoreh Deah 96:4).  You should indeed avoid the lemons  in hotel lounges, where non kosher food is served.


217) Q: Is there an inyan in the Torah whether halachically or hashkafically to celebrate ones Birthday (Hebrew of course) and also to give out brochos. I see a lot off people doing this and I was wondering if there was a source for this in the Torah. In general what is an appropriate approach to a Birthday

A: The Sefarim do say that on a person’s birthday his Mazal is very strong and it is an opportune time to pray  and say Tehilim and work on improving oneself. Many people have the custom to give Tzedaka on their birthday.
The Midrash (Sechel Tov, Bereishis 40:20)   does make mention of a person’s birthday being a special day of Simcha. See also Talmud Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana Perek 3:8 where it refers to a Yom Genusiya being a special day. According to Rashi (Bereishis 40:20)Yom Genusia is a Greek term for  birthday)

Birthday parties, if done in an appropriate  and kosher fashion as a way to express Shevach and Hoda’ah to Hashem for granting you another year of life, are a good way to celebrate with family and friends and to receive and give Brachos to one another. However, if it will simply be a “party” devoid of spirituality, and perhaps lead to Leitzanus or Chas V’Shalom sinful behavior, it should be avoided.
Obviously, the “birthday” that should be celebrated is the hebrew date, and not the secular date on which you were born.
The Ben Ish Chai (Parshas R’ei , Year 2, Siman 17) writes that celebrating ones birthday is an acceptable minhag and is a “Siman Yafeh” and is done in his home each year.

See also the Pri Megadim (MishPetzos Zahav Siman 444:9) where he mentions a minhag to make a 70th birthday feast. See also Resisei laila from Rav Tzadok hakohen of Lublin, Divrei Chalom 20 and Shu"t Ksav Sofer  Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 148 where he writes that he celebrated  his birthday with a siyum Masechta, as was the custom of his holy father the Chasam Sofer Zatzal, who also distributed coins to his students on this day.

After posting this Q& A, I received feedback from many readers. Below are  some additional  points, courtesy of some readers:

1)  In many Chasidic circles Birthdays were indeed celebrated ex: Breslev, Chabad, Ruzhin. Some also bring a pasuk to promote this minhag and also the minhag of giving Brachos. The Pasuk in the second chapter of תהילים, where it says " בני אתה אני היום ילדתיך שאל ממנו ואתנה " loosely translated as "My son, today I gave birth to you, ask from me and I will give you". Thus meaning that on the birthday you can ask and daven for anything and of course give Brachos to others.

2) The Sefer Nitei Gavriel brings a lot of sources and other interesting tidbits about birthdays. Click Here to see some of it.

3) Regarding birthdays, Rav Zev Cohen, from Chicago,  tells a story of being at a vort when he was a bachur that was also attended by Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt’l.


Rav Yaakov was asked to speak, and he said ‘heint iz ah simcha bei mir oichet – heint iz mein goyishe g’birtstug’ - ! (Today is sort of a simcha for me, as today is my secular birthday)


As our halachic calendar is based on a combination of the solar and lunar cycles, it can be feasible that the ‘secular’ birthday also has significance – though interestingly Rav Yaakov referred to the day as his ‘goyishe’ birthday – yet if there really is Jewish significance, he could have referred to the day as his birthday based on tekufos hachama (or something similar).


Not sure what to make of it – perhaps you can offer some insight.

[My response to this reader: 

Fact is, we do find in Chazal that we recognize the solar calendar, by Ketores, Karbanos, the Satan not having power on Yom Kippur  and other such references to a year of 365 days as opposed to only 354 days, so the solar calendar is not "goyish" per se.  I guess it's only when it comes to how we calculate months, as they relate to Yomim Tovim, Yahrtzeits, and birthdays that matter (Bar Mitzvah, Besulim, Mazel etc.) where we  specifically go by the lunar year and NOT the solar year.


It definitely needs more in depth study to sort it all out.

#birthday #birthdayinyiddishkeit

218) Q: Would you be allowed to bring an ipod that has shiurim (Torah lectures) on it into a bathroom? while it’s playing I'm assuming not but what if you pause it or it’s in a pocketbook?

A: Yes, since there is no actual Torah texts in it, it has no Kedusha and it may be brought in to the bathroom. Similarly, tapes, CD’s, tape recorders etc. may be brought in.


Of course, it must be turned off off or paused, as it may not be broadcasting Torah while in the restroom, nor may you listen to Torah in the restroom, even if the source of the broadcast is outside the restroom.


219) Q: Why do we only keep 33 [days of mourning] of the 49 days of the Omer? why is one half different than the other?

A: The whole concept of Aveilus in Sefirah is an old minhag (which is now codified Halacha) The Minhag began as a partial mourning, and remained so.

According to some, the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva stopped dying on Lag B’Omer, hence the mourning stopped and only 33 days of mourning was accepted. Hence, even those who hold the second half, retained the 33 day minhag as well

#sefirah #RebbiAkiva #LagBomer

220) Q: Would writing the day of the omer be the same problem [of being considered that you counted already] in cases where saying it is?
A: While there is such an opinion that deems writing the sefirah as a valid counting (See Shu"t Rav Akiva Eiger volume 1 Siman 29-32) most Poskim rule that writing it does not constitute a “counting”. As such, if one texted or emailed the omer count of that day, before actually counting it, he can still go ahead and count that evening's sefirah with a bracha.

#sefirah #countingtheomer

221) Q: Is it permitted to fall asleep while listening to music?

A: Based on the Talmud Yerushalmi and other sources, many Rishonim and Poskim indeed maintain that it is best not to fall asleep and wake up while listening to music. (See Rashi and Tosefos to Gittin 7a)


Talmud Yerushalmi Megilah 5:3 alludes to the fact that going to bed and rising to music is not an appropriate practice. This is especially true after the churban when although we are lenient to listen to music, to do so in a way that is steady, such as rising and going to bed with it, it is more stringent. See Halichos Shlomo Vol. 1 Perek 13:18 and footnote 28

#musicinhalacha #fallingasleeptomusic #churban

222) Q: You wrote: ”If one is invited to a wedding at a time when they are observing Sefira, while the one making the wedding observes the “other half” of Sefira and is thus permitted to make a wedding, he/she may attend the wedding, listen to the music and even participate in the dancing. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 95 and Vol. 1 Siman 159)”


I have heard that even though it is permitted to attend the wedding, dancing is only permitted when the Chosson and Kallah are in the simcha hall and not during the time photographs are being taken.  In that case, is it also correct that one should not listen to the live music during the time when the Chosson and Kallah are not in the simcha hall?

A: Yes, it does indeed make sense to only allow dancing when it will be Mesameach the Choson/Kallah, which is when they are in the room. (See Shulchan Halevi from Rav Yisroel Belsky Zatzal Siman13:7, where he rules as such).  However, there is no need for you to leave the room while the music is playing, even if they aren't in the room, as you are permitted to be at that wedding, no matter what is taking place at that time in the room.

#sefirah #chasuna

223) Q:I have a question about not making a bracha l’vatala. What happens if I start a bracha and cannot finish it for some reason?  What if I have said “Baruch”… or “Baruch Atah…” or Baruch Atah HaShem…” or if I have gone further with up to three more words… what should I do? And what if i have just made a bracha on a piece of fruit, the only fruit around, and as I am about to bite into it, I see bugs on it that I hadn’t noticed before?

A: If you just said “Baruch” or “Baruch Ata”: Just stop.


If you said Baruch Atah HaShem” finish with the words “Lamdeini Chukecha” (as that is a Posuk in Tehillim 119:12 ,”Baruch Ata Hashem Lamdeini Chukecha”


If you started to say “Elokei”(and didn’t finish the entire word” Elokeinu”)  finish with “Elokei Yisroel Avinu M’Olam V’Ad Olam”, also a Posuk (Divrei HaYomim 29:10). (See Tzlach Brachos 39a and Chayei Adam Klal 5:1 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 6:4).


If you said the word “Elokeinu” finish with “Ata Anisam, Keil Nosei Hayisah lahem V’Nokem Al Alilosam”, a Posuk in Tehilim 99:8 (Sefer V’Zos Habracha)


If you said beyond the word “Elokeinu”, say “Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso L’Olam Va’aed”. This is also said any time the name of Hashem is said in vain.


Regarding the bugs, if you can’t take a little bite of a part of the fruit that has no bugs, do not eat it, and say “Baruch Sheim…”

#brachos #brachalevatalah

224) Q: Regarding listening to music during Sefira, is it true that an individual may listen to music when alone?
A: I have never heard that, and I don’t see why it would be any different. Perhaps the logic would be that alone, one wouldn’t dance? But, I have never heard or seen any such heter just based on the person being alone.

Perhaps what you heard is that if someone is feeling down or sad, and he/she is listening to calm music to lift his/her mood or help alleviate their anxiety, there are leniencies for that person to discreetly listen to music. (See sefer Hilchos Chag B'Chag where he quotes such a ruling from Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal)

#sefirah #musicinsefirah

225) Q: Can you tell me what is the generally accepted practice regarding ovens.  What if a person only has one oven?
A: Having only one oven for both milk and meat presents a whole slew of complex halachic problems. I will try to give you a brief summary of some guidelines, but a Rav MUST be consulted for your particular situation. These guidelines are for ovens only, and not for microwave ovens, which may have additional problems.1) meat and dairy foods  may never be in the same oven at the same time when  touching each other. Also, they may never be in the same oven, even separately, if gravy or any other substance of one can reach or drip on to the other.
2) Even if the above problems are avoided, there still remains the problem of the Ray-ach, or aroma of the foods mixing with one another.
3) Even when the above problems are avoided and the oven is not used at the same time for milk and meat, there still exists certain problems when using the oven for one, immediately after using it for the other. The steam of a liquid containing food has the halachic status of that food. Therefore there may be a problem of the steam of the food that was just cooked in the oven now entering the other food that is now cooking. Obviously, this particular concern doesn’t apply to pots/pans that are covered. Some Poskim are lenient about this, as our ovens are vented, and all steam leaves the oven. However, Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal and other Poskim aren't so convinced that the vent does a proper job of removing all steam, and thus may render a milk dish into Basar B’Chalav. Another leniency that Rav Moshe Zatzal and others consider is that the steam which may or may not enter the new food, is Batul B’Shishim, as the food in the oven contains more than sixty times the volume of the steam, and also the steam is only a rabbinic prohibition. Thus in certain instances  Poskim will be lenient with this.
4) When using an oven for the second food item, the oven must be clean and  no residue of the first item may be left in the oven lest it heat up and present a real problem. Again, the above is only a short synopsis of a very complicated halachic situation. It is ideal to have two separate ovens. If not possible, a Rav MUST be consulted about the proper usage of one oven for both food types.

226) Q: Regarding what you wrote that when Rosh Chodesh Iyar is on Shabbos, it is permitted to shave and take a haircut on Friday, even during Sefirah, what’s with Rav Yehuda Hachasid’s takana [of not cutting hair on Rosh Chodesh], will one be permitted to take a haircut on this Friday which is the first day Rosh Chodesh notwithstanding?

A: There is a debate amongst the Poskim about this. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky Zatzal (Emes L’Yaakov Siman 260:1) and many contemporary Poskim are of the opinion that even those who usually keep Rav Yehuda HaChasid’s Takana and don’t shave on Rosh Chodesh, may do so this Friday in honor of Shabbos (This applies only to people who have already begun Sefirah, and not to those who are only starting to keep from Rosh Chodesh)The Chida and the Kaf HaChaim (Siman 493:47) held that in this case you would shave Thursday after Chatzos, L’Kavod Shabbos.

The Steipler and some others maintained that  one who follows Rav Yehuda HaChasid must stick to Rav Yehuda HaChasid, and may not shave at this time.( See Sefer Bain Pesach L’Shavuos page 246)

If you are indeed one who follows Rav Yehuda HaChasid, please consult a Rav for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

#sefirah #ravyehudahachasid 

227) Q: Is it permissible to take vitamins on Shabbos? E.g. calcium for bone health?  What about taking a baby aspirin on Shabbos – prophylactically – to prevent head aches, strokes, and for heart strength, etc.

A: If the vitamins are being taken as a supplement for food, they are permitted. If it is being taken to fortify  the body or to combat certain medical symptoms. however, Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 54) and other Poskim are stringent, while the Tzitz Eliezer (Vol. 14 Siman 50) and others are lenient. A Rav should be consulted for Psak Halacha. Preventative medicine may also be permitted in certain instances. A Rav should be consulted for  each specific situation.

228) Q: Do I recall that toiveling is not applicable to  items made by Jews in Eretz Yisrael?
A: Utensils made by Jews anywhere, not just Eretz Yisroel, do not require Toveling.

#toveling #tevilaskeilim

229) Q:What does one do if one has for  example a bagel store and they have these huge coffee machines in terms of toiviling them?

A:If the machines will not work properly if toveled, many Poskim will allow their use without it. However, in many cases the parts that have the coffee in them can be taken off and Toveled, or even the entire machine can be toveled, and still work properly if left to  dry completely for 24-48 hours after the Tevilah. If there is no way to do this, a Rav should be consulted for a Psak halacha.


230) Q: The other day while at an appointment with my daughter’s orthodontist, the orthodontist (Jewish but not observant or particularly knowledgeable about Torah and Mitzvos) proudly showed my daughter and myself a bird’s nest right outside of his office window in a tree with a bird in it presumably sitting on its eggs. If this is an opportunity to do the Mitzvah of Shaluach HaKan, how do I do it?  Certainly even just shooing the mother off her eggs in front of the non-observant and non-Jewish staff will not make a good impression (to say the least), let alone taking or touching the eggs in front of them. I could go back this Sunday, when the office is closed, and perform the Mitzvah without watchers – it is private property but not so private since there are several offices in the complex – I would have very low fear of being arrested (if the police saw me walking around the building, I would probably be questioned but not likely more than that).

A: There are a few points that you need to determine before performing this Mitzva. whose property is it? As you may not go into someone else’s property without permission  to do this mitzvah. Also, it isn’t so simple that the nest may be on a private property at all, even if you received permission from the owner, as if it is on private property the birds have owners, as a person’s property is Koneh them.(On one's own property, so long as it is not a totally enclosedproperty he can - and should - say that he never wants his property to be koneh birds, this way  he will be able to perform the Mitzvah if it presents itself, but this cannot be done for someone else's property)

Are the species of bird kosher? As they need to be kosher in order to be able to do the Mitzva.
If you go during the day  , for most species of bird, it is likely to be  be the father that you chase away and not the mother, and thus according to most opinions you will not be doing the Mitzva. Most species, the mother is there around sunset and later.
There are many other intricate details you need to know, so the best thing would be to ask a Rav for the best way to proceed.


231) Q:You wrote regarding dipping one’s hands in a body of water that’s a kosher mikva: “If the water that one is dipping into is suitable for Netilas Yadayim, the Bracha made is “Al Netilas Yadayim. If the water would not be suitable to  wash with, the Bracha made is “Al Tevilas Yadayim” (Mogen Avraham 159:31)” 


I’m just wondering,  What were you referring to by “if the water would not be suitable to wash with”?

A: There are certain waters which are unsuitable  to “wash” Netilas Yadayim with, such as discolored water, or very dirty water.  If the body of water (Mikva, lake etc.) is of that variety of water, it is still acceptable to “dip” one’s hands into, even though it is not OK to wash with that water. In that case the Bracha would change.

#netilasyadayim #tevilasyadayim


232) Q: Is there a difference between saying “ba'omer” or “la'omer” at the end of the nusach of saying the yom of Sefira? In a sefira calendar that i have it says “la'omer” but on the daily email reminders that I get it says “baomer”.


What is the reason for the difference? And does it make a difference which one I say? For example, some nights I say it from the email, and other nights from the calendar, so I've kind of been switching off. please clarify.

A: There are 2 different Minhagim. One (L’Omer)is a count down “from” when the Korban Omer was brought while the other (B’Omer) is in reference to how many days “in” Sefirah we are in.


Most Poskim go with L’Omer. However it is only L’Chatchila, as either one is acceptable, and even if it isn’t said at all, rather you just said ” Today is the 21st day which is three weeks” you are Yotzei. See Mishna Berura Siman 489:8.

It would probably be best to say the same Nusach each night, and not switch off. The Nusach that your family says is the one you should follow.


Some people actually repeat the counting, and say both nuscha'os each night, so for example on the first night they would say " Hayom Yom Echad B'Omer. Hayom Yom Echad L'Omer"


233) Q: Lag B’Omer. We celebrate it as a day the talmidim of Rabi Akiva stopped dying. What is the mekor (source) for this?

A: The Tur Siman 493:3 states that the Talmidim of Rav Akiva stopped dying on Lag B’Omer.
This is brought in earlier Rishonim as well, such as the Meiri to Yevamos 62b and Sefer HaManhig and others.

Interestingly, the MaHaril writes that they died on all the days between Pesach and Shavuos, except on the days that we do not say Tachnun ,7 days of pesach, 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the 7 Shabbosim in Sefira, 17 days in all, therefore they only died on 32 of the 49 days. As a commemoration of this, we designate the “33rd” day as the day that the dying stopped and we celebrate that day, but not that it totally stopped on Lag B’Omer.

#sefirah #lagbomer

234) Q: If one only has a commercial bottle of water (i.e. a Poland Spring or Mei Eden  bottle) and no cup, may he halachically wash his hands with the water inside by pouring it directly onto his hands?  If so, may he drink the water that remains in the bottle afterwards?

A:Yes, if no cup is available, he may indeed pour directly from the bottle onto his hands. It would be best to do this fast, in a way that the most water possible  go over his hands at one time, as it must come out in a stream, and not in small drips.
Yes, you may drink the leftover water.


235) Q: Can I use a comb for my Shaitel on Shabbos?

A:Yes, a comb may be used on a wig on Shabbos, since the “hair” you are combing is already detached. However, you should still try and do it in a different manner than during the week, and softly so as not to surely pull out any of the shaitel hair.


If the comb will “surely” pull out hairs, it is more problematic.


For your own hair though, a comb may not be used on Shabbos. as it will inevitably pull out hair.


(If it's a wide toothed comb that is used softly, and it is not guaranteed to pull out hair, there may be room for leniency. Consult a Rav for Halacha L'ma'aseh)

#combonshabbos #hilchosshabbos #shaitel #shaitelonshabbos

236) Q: I have read in your archives about the the status of “sharp” food cut with either a meat or dairy utensil . You mentioned a strong/sharp lemon, an onion and raw horseradish.


What about pickles (sour; half sour) and hot peppers? Are there any other foods you can think of where this rule would apply?

A: Other examples of foods besides raw onions and horseradish  that (may be considered) Davar Charif are Radishes, garlic and  olives. According to some Poskim pickles and other items containing vinegar may also be a Davar Charif. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

#davarcharif #kashrus

237) Q:Is there a requirement to keep the challahs covered while holding them during the Hamotzi on Shabbos?  Do the majority of poskim suggest that?

A: Some Poskim (Pri Megadim: Mishbetzos Zahav 271:12 and Aishel Avrohom 271:20, Shulchan Aruch Harav 271:17 and others) maintain  that the Chalos can be uncovered immediately after Kiddush. The majority of Poskim however, including the  Mishna Berura (Siman 271:41,rule that they should remained covered until after the Bracha of Hamotzi. The prevalent Minhag is like this opinion, and unless one's family minhag is otherwise, they should indeed keep the chalos covered until after Hamotzi.

By Seudah Shlishis there is no requirement to cover the Chalos. See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 291:10 and 299:14) 

#chalos #shabbostable #coverthechalos

238) Q:Is it a proper custom to distribute the portions of Challah to others at the table BEFORE the one reciting the bracha eats his portion? Also, is it OK for him  to SLICE all the portions before eating his own portion?

A:The one reciting the Bracha should ideally eat first, and then slice the rest of the pieces and distribute, as not to have a hefsek between the Bracha and the eating.


When distributing, he should give his wife first and then the rest of the participants according to chashivus, or age.

(Psak of the Mishna Berura 167:79, although the Rama and others Pasken like Tosefos and the Mordechai that he may slice all the pieces, give them out and then eat, as they hold doing so is not a Hefsek. If this is one's family minhag, he may follow it.)

#hefsek #hamotzi #shabbostable

239) Q: Can you please give me sources & the reasons for not falling asleep or waking up to music. I have been learning for many years & have never heard this.
A: This “prohibition” was instituted after the Churban Bais HaMikdash, based on pesukim, that it isn’t proper to listen to music in a fashion that kings and princes do, while we are in mourning over the Bais HaMikdash. One of the things that royalty would do was to fall asleep and be woken up to music, thus Zecher L’Churban it was prohibited.  In fact according to the Talmud in Maseches Gittin 7a (and according to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal and other Poskim who follow this stringent view) it is prohibited to listen to any music  any time while we are in Galus, unless it is for a Mitzvah!
Though most Poskim are lenient in general, they would be machmir regarding falling asleep and waking up to it. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek13:18 and the footnotes)

#zecherlechurban #zimra #halachaofmusic

240) Q: You wrote that salt needs to be on the table at each meal. I have heard that salt need not be on the table at night, as karbanos were not brought in the evening. Is this correct?

A: Interesting. I have never heard that and did not come across that in my research, and indeed the custom is to  use salt at night, and in fact there is a debate in the Poskim as to the proper way to “dip” salt at the Pesach Seder….which can only be at night!

If you find a source for this, please be so kind as to let me know about it.

 After Posting the above answer, quite a few readers responded that the minhag of the Chasam Sofer was indeed not to use salt on Friday night. The following is one of the responses I received: “In response to the question of salt at night. look at the Piskei Teshuvous Siman 167 footnote 44. The Chasam Sofer was not matbil on Friday night in salt due to the fact that the “Eimurim & Chaluvim” were not brought on Friday night. But on a regular weeknight they were and there was salt in the Haktora.”

Another reader sent the following: "Regarding salt at night, our family does NOT use salt Friday night for kiddish. Why? Because my father was a Talmid of Rav Eliezer Silver and he purposely did not. The reason being there never was a korban brought on Friday night."

#melach #saltatseuda #chasamsofer #korbonos

241) Q:What is the source for the custom of using a bow and arrow on Lag B’omer [as many Rebbes, and children do]?


A: The Talmud ( Kesuvos 77b and Yerushalmi Brachos Perk 9:1) states that during the lifetime of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, no rainbow (called Keshes in Hebrew, and which is a “bad” sign for the jews) was seen in the sky. The bow of  bow and arrow is also called “keshes”, so the minhag to use a keshes is to commemorate the greatness of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai who prevented  the Keshes.

#lagbomer #bowandarrowonlagbomer #minhag 

242) Q: What if a man recites a Beracha or Davens and then realizes that he didn’t have his Yarmulke on?

A: According to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, he must repeat the Bracha or the Tefilah, as davening with an uncovered head is an abomination. (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 40:14)


According to Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal, there is no need to repeat the Tefilah. (Halichos Shlomo on Tefilah Chapter 2:16).


For Halacha L’Ma’aseh please consult a Rav.

#yarmulka #kippah #daveningwithoutayarmulka #brachos #tefilah


243) Q: How can the rainbow be a bad sign? It was given to Noach as a covenant! Please explain.

A: The rainbow was given to Noach as a sign that Hashem will never destroy the world again…BUT, it will be displayed in the heaven at such a time that Hashem really wants to destroy the world for its sins, yet doesnt do so based on the promise to Noach.


Hence, the Talmud (Chagiga 16a) says that one may not gaze at a rainbow as it is a bad sign that the world is steeped in sin, and one who gazes at a rainbow transgresses a sin.

#keshes #rainbowinhalacha

244) Q: If a person said a brocha over milk and then realized that he was fleishig, does he say “Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso L’Olam Va’aed”?


A: The issue  is that saying a Bracha L’Vatala is a biblical transgression (or an asmachta of a d'oraysa, according to some rishonim) , while eating milk when fleishig is a rabbinic transgression. The ideal thing to do is to eat something parve of the same Bracha which is in front of you, so as the Bracha won;t be L’vatalah, and you also won't need to eat milchig. If no other food is around, and it is past an hour from when you ate fleishig, then take one bite of the milchig item and not eat any more after that initial bite.(Some Poskim say to take a bite, and then spit it out after you tasted it, but do not swallow it) if less than an hour passed since eating fleishig, the milchig item should not be tasted, rather “Baruch Sheim K’Vod malchuso L’Olam Va’ed” should be recited, as is done after every bracha L’Vatalah  (See Mishna Berura Siman 206:26 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Rak Shelo. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 24.)

#brachalevatala #basarvechalav 

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