q&a page  7

295) Q:  Why is honey Kosher? If milk from a nonkosher animal isn’t kosher, why is honey from a bee?
A: Although technically honey  comes from bees, which are unkosher animals, and thus their “milk” should be unkosher, the Gemara tells us that honey is indeed Kosher. The reason is that honey is nectar of a flower that is removed and  stored inside a bee, but not considered  produced by the bee. Secondly the Torah specifically permits honey to be eaten, so even if it was indeed produced from within the bee, it would still be  permitted. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 81:8 and 9  and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 81:7. See also Mishna berura Siman 158:14)

296) Q: Can a woman write a mezuzah?
A: The Rambam (Hilchos Tefilin 1:13, based on the Gemara in Gittin 45b) rules that a woman may not write a mezuza, and if she does it is Posul. The Shulchan Aruch does not make any mention of this one way or another regarding mezuza, and only rules  this way regarding Tefilin (in Orach Chaim Siman 39:1) and Sefer Torah (in Yoreh deah Siman 281:3). Some commentaries  interpret that to mean that the Shulchan Aruch indeed allowed it. (See Shach to Yoreh Deah ibid. quoting the position of the Derisha) However, the contemporary Poskim rule that it is best to be stringent and not allow women to write a Mezuza. The Mishna Berura Siman 39:1 also rules that women may not write Mezuzos.

297) Q: If someone who davens Ashkenaz is davening for the Amud in a Sefard Minyon [or vice versa] , what Nusach does he use for his own Shmoneh Esrei
A: This is a very much discussed question amongst the contemporary Poskim.
Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal was of the opinion that he must daven the quiet Shemona esrei the same Nusach as the Tzibbur, as he held that the quiet Shemona Esrei is recited  by the Shatz as a preparation for the next Shemona esrei he will be saying  out loud, thus it has to be davened in the same nusach. (See Igros Moshe Vol. 2 Siman 29 and Vol. 4 Siman 33)
However, many Poskim do not accept Rav Moshe’s reasoning, as they posit that today that we daven from a Siddur, there is no need to prepare, and they pasken that the silent Shemona esre should be davened in whatever Nusach the Shatz personally davens. Only the loud Shemona esrei needs to be in the Nusach of the Tzibbur. (This is the opinion of  the Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 6 Siman 31:3, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zatzal in Halichos Shlomo Page 68 as well as the opinion of  Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Shu” t Avnei Yashfe Vol. 1 Siman14:8, as well as many other Poskim including the Shoel U’Meishiv, the Netziv, Ohr L’Tzion, Rav Ovadia Yoseph Shlita etc.) Also, according to Rav Moshe Zatzal’s reasoning, it should be said that at maariv where there is no Chazaras haShatz he agrees that the shatz should daven his own personal nusach.  For Halacha L’Ma’aseh please consult your Rav.

298) Q:Are there any issues with respect to yichud in chat rooms?  What about corresponding generally with women, for the sake of business ventures?
A: The Issur of Yichud is a fence to ensure that no improper activities happen between men and women. From my understanding of chat rooms, they are places where Prikas Ol, Leitzanus, flirting, and other improper behaviour  between men and women are prevelant, and often lead to personal  phone calls, and even meetings that end up with at best very compromised situations, and at worst with the transgression of very severe cardinal sins.
There is absolutely no Heter or good reason for a frum Jew to frequent these “social” rooms which are structured  as uninhibited  virtual lounges for the sexes to mingle, and although I can’t say that by entering these rooms the issur of Yichud was transgressed, the spirit of Yichud, and the very fabric of Yiddishkeit is compromised by engaging in these “harmless” chats.
Keep in mind that even if it isn’t a Yichud proplem per se, it is definitely a violation of Hilchos Tzniyos and is a serious breach of the holiness of klal Yisroel (as the Torah states V’Haya Machanecha Kadosh). Also, it may be a violation of Lifnei  Iver Lo Siten Michshol, the commandment against causing another to sin, as many  serious sins   can take place during and after the chat.
Regarding corresponding with women/men  for legitimate business purposes, it’s hard to generalize. Every serious Jew must know him/herself and their own limitations and struggles. A Rav should be consulted before any “ventures”  with members of the opposite gender are undertaken.
If one foregoes a business venture for the sake of Hashem, no monetary loss will befall him for doing so, as Hashem will surely repay him/her for doing the right thing.

299) Q: If I bought a new garment now [before the three weeks], can I wear it for the first time during the three weeks?
A: The problem of new clothes in the three weeks is wearing them, not buying them. (See Halichos Shlomo Chapter 14:1)
If they are the kind of clothing that require a Shehechiyanu they should not be worn during the 3 weeks. If they are  less important clothing (socks, underwear etc.) they may be worn.
Today’s days when  new clothing are more common and many people do not make Shehechiyanu on new suits, dresses etc., some Poskim are lenient until Rosh Chodesh Av, but  according to a majority of Poskim it is best to be stringent.

300) Q: Is one permitted to place papers in sheet protectors on Shabbos? What about putting pictures in albums?
A: Yes to both questions, as long as there is no adhesive making the paper/picture stick to the page.
Also, with the photos, you may not sort them on Shabbos, but if they are already sorted (or if you will put them in randomly), there is no problem of inserting them into the page to protect them from getting ruined.

301) Q: Are you supposed to sleep at night with Tzitzis?
A: There is no obligation of wearing Tzitzis at night, as the Posuk tells us U’reesem Osam, that only when you can see them do we have to wear them (See Gemara Menachos 43a)
Some people, for kabalistic and other Shemira reasons, do indeed sleep with Tzitzis. Those who have this custom should make sure to change to a different pair in the morning, otherwise there will be a problem with regard to making a new Bracha in the morning. (See Mishna Berura Siman 21:15 quoting the Arizal)

302) Q: I was at a sheva brochos this evening and was told to drink some of the wine after the chosson and kallah because its a kos brocho and good for shidduchim etc. Is there some halachic source for this? Or a general inyan to drink Kos brocho? Should I make a special effort to drink?
A: Yes, it is a great source of Bracha to partake of Kos Shel Bracha (any cup of wine  that had a blessing recited over it such as from a Bris, Sheva Barchos, Birkas HaMazon etc.)
The Gemara (Brachos 51b) relates a story of Yalta, wife of the Amora Rav Nachman, who broke 400 barrels of wine upon being told that it wasn’t important for her to drink  Kos Shel Bracha herself. (See MaHarsha and Ben Yehoyada who  explain her actions as righteous, as she was showing that it isn’t wine that is important rather the Bracha that one receives from drinking it)
You should definitely make every effort to partake of Kos Shel Bracha at every opportunity, even after you find your shidduch B’Karov. (See Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura Siman 190)

303) Q: what do the poskim say about putting sefarim on chairs or benches, with or without people sitting on them at the same time? I know that the olam is meikel [lenient], but I’ve known yechidim who are makpid not to do it, what does the halacha pesuka have to say about it?
A: It is prohibited to sit on a chair, bench etc. if Seforim are laying  on them. According to some Poskim, even if the seforim are in a standing position  on the chair or bench it is prohibited. If the Seforim are on something else, that’s on the bench, and thus not on the same level as  the person sitting, it may be more lenient, however it is best to be stringent in all situations as not to seem like we are being disrespectful to Sifrei Kodesh.(See Ram”a Yoreh Deah Siman 282:7  and Shach there Os 8 and 9. see also Aruch Hashulchan Siman 282:12 and Shu”t Avnei Yashfei Siman 1:16)

304) Q: Is it mutar to say Tehillim on Tisha B’av?
A: If being said on behalf of Cholim(sick people) it is permitted. However, if one has a regimen of saying Tehilim each day, the portion that was supposed to be said on Tisha B’Av should be said the day before/after Tisha B’Av. (See Shu”t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 3 Siman 433 and Shu”t  Divrei Malkiel Vol. 6 Siman 9)
Hopefully. Mashiach will be herebefore this Tisha B’Av and then we will be able to say Tehilim, learn Torah and be joyous on that day!

305) Q: Are you allowed to use the rollup stick deodorants [on shabbos]?
A:No. The roll ons that are liquid are permitted according to many poskim as  nothing is getting “smeared”, rather the ball is simply releasing the liquid. The solid sticks however, are like bars of soap, and when you use them they become smeared, and is prohibited due to it being memarayach (smearing) a Tolda  of the Melacha of Memachek (smoothing).

306) Q: [ I read on another wonderful Halacha website that]“one may leave a pot on an uncovered fire[without a blech] before Shabbos if they are not planning to return the pot to the fire after removing it on Shabbos. Also, the contents of the pot must be half cooked before Shabbos, or if there is no other possibility, at least one third cooked” Does this halacha sound right to you please?
A: Although according to the letter of the law ,once a food has been partially cooked (a third according to some Poskim, and half cooked according to others) it may be left on the fire on Shabbos without a blech, it is best tobe stringent and not keep food on an open flame, and also try and make sure all food is fully cooked before Shabbos, unless in extreme situations of great necessity. (See second opinion of Bais Yosef and the  Ram”a Siman 253:1 and Biur Halacha, Chazon Ish  Siman 37:3, Mishna Berura in his summary end of Siman 259 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 253:7. See also Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 1:63)

307) Q: Is liquid soap allowed to be watered down on shabbos?
A: Preferably it should be done before Shabbos. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 10 Siman 16)

308) Q: Is it pemitted to put on suntan lotion on Tisha B’av?
A:Is the suntan lotion for medical reasons? If so, it may be permitted. Otherwise, it is prohibited.

309) Q: Are marital relations permitted on Shiva Asar B’tamuz? Are they permitted at night, before the fast begins?
A: Marital relations are generally forbidden on a fast day, unless in certain circumstances (night of tevilah, one who has no children etc.). They are generally permitted the night before, before the fast begns (besides Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur). A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

310) Q: What are the halachos for the maintenance of a house [during the three weeks, such as] gardening, mending garments not intended to be used immediately, refinishing furniture, beginning new projects of a similar nature?
A: Garments and shoes that have become torn may be mended, and buttons that fell off may be sewn back on even during the nine days [if they will be used during the 9 days]. Heels and soles of shoes  however may not be replaced. (See Halichos Shlomo, Moadim Vol. 2,  Perek14:16 and footnote 22 and Shu”t da’as Torah Siman 468:2)
Refinishing furniture, painting and other house projects, while permitted until Rosh Chodesh Av, are still preferably not done at all during the three weeks.( Kobetz M’Bais Leivi page 8, quoted in Laws of the 3 weeks by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita, page 47)
Gardening, if being done for enjoyment would probably fall under the same guidelines as a home project. if done to keep the grounds kept up, it is probably permitted. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh

311) Q:What is that Halacha about moving in to a new apartment during the 3 weeks (It had been rented earlier)?
A: Until Rosh Chodesh Av it is permissible. from Rosh Chodesh Av until aftr Tisha B’Av (The nine days) it is more problematic, and a Rav should be consulted.

312) Hi, I’d like to know if it is permitted to use a dishwasher on shabbos if its goes on automatically in middle of the night (so nobody hears it), the dishes are the dishes that were used on shabbes and they are then used again on shabbos.
A: No, it is not permitted to have a dishwasher  go  on automatically with a time clock,  nor is it permitted to have a non Jew turn on the dishwasher on Shabbos. (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa Chapter 12:35. According to Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, no appliances may be operated via a time clock on Shabbos (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 60) . Though many Poskim are more lenient than Rav Moshe Zatzal for certain things, all agree that a dishwasher is not one of them)

313) Q: What bracha is sushi?
A:I personally do not eat, and thus am not that familiar with,  Sushi…but from what i have seen, the rice is there as a sort of glue to keep the fish together in some cases, and in some cases it is the majority ingredient.
Does the rice lend taste? Or just texture?  Also, it isn’t clear if it is a mixture in the first place, as each component can be clearly seen and eaten as such.
It is a tough call on such kind of foods that consist of a mixture of things that it is hard to determine the express purpose of each component.
Arent there fruits/vegetables in there too, like avocado?
Probably the best thing would be to make a Mezonos on something (and a HaEitz/Ha’Adama on something, if there is fruits/vegetables in it) and a Sh’Hakol on something and  have in mind to exempt the sushi.
For halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted.
 

314) Q: Does it specifically say in the Torah that during the 3 weeks there should be no parties? Is it really a sin to listen to music?
AIt isn’t a biblical prohibition; it was instituted by the holy Rabbis after the destruction of the temple and it should be taken very seriously. 

 

The Talmud (Bava Basra 60b) tells us : All who mourn [the destruction of] Jerusalem will merit and see her when she is joyful, and whoever does not mourn Jerusalem will not see see her when she is joyful.”


The prohibition isn’t the party (even though, those should be avoided too in the 3 weeks), it’s the music and the dancing that was forbidden in this time period due to it being a period of  mourning for the destruction of the temple. Even an engagement party or a Seudas Mitzvah may not have music during the three weeks, and surely not a birthday or other non-Mitzvah  party. (See Mishna Berura Siman 551:16 based on  the Magen Avraham).


Live music is surely prohibited, and even recorded music is prohibited. This applies to men and women and even to older children, as this is a national time of mourning. (Ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 21:4. See also Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman166 and Vol. 3 Siman 87. See also Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 1 Siman 111 ).


Many authorities even prohibit Capella style music,which is without instruments, rather with sounds made by mouth to mimic instruments. Some authorities are lenient with this kind of recording. But it is best to be stringent if possible. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 8 Siman 127:2, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 15 Siman33:2. See also Sefer Ishei Yisroel page 765 where he quotes Maran Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita who is stringent. Rav Ovadiya Yoseph Zatzal in Shu”t  Yechave Da’as Vol. 3 Siman 30 is also stringent)


Keep in mind, that according to the Talmud, it is prohibited to listen to music for pleasure all year round! This is also the opinion of the Bais Yosef, Rambam, many other Rishonim as well as contemporary Poskim such as Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal. Though we are lenient all year round for various reasons, for these three weeks a year when all Poskim agree that we must be less happy than usual, there is no real heter for listening to music, much less attending a party with live music.


More importantly,  The pasuk tells us (Tehilim 137:5 and 6) “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.


As Jews, we must never forget that we are in exile and although we are too weak to mourn properly all year round, these three weeks are important to at least follow the minimal guidelines of mourning instituted by our sages.

 

At a minimum, if we don't feel the pain of the Churban, we should at least feel pained that we don't feel pained!


May we merit the speedy arrival of Mashiach, and the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash real soon.

315) Q: Is a woman who is in her 6th month of pregnancy supposed to fast on Tisha’B Av?  I’ve heard of women who are further along fasting for Yom Kippur so are they usually exempt?
A: As a general rule, otherwise healthy pregnant and nursing women must fast on Tisha B’Av (as well as on Yom Kippur) no matter how far along they are in their pregnancies.  There may be exceptions for  certain situations, sickness etc. and a Rav must be consulted before any leniencies are relied upon.

316) Q: I do not normally daven in a minyan, as I am a girl, but I never know how to approach tachanun. If I daven at home, which is clearly not in front of a Sefer Torah, am I obligated to put my head down for Nefilat Apayim? Is there a difference between Shacharis and Mincha? What about on days where “Vhu Rachum” is said- should I say the entire Tachanun? Also, if I happen to be in a shul, should I put my head down for Nefilat Apayim?
A: When saying Tachnun in a place with no sefer Torah, the head is not put down. When you daven in Shul, although you don’t have to (as the prevelant custom is for women not to recite Tachnun, as per the Artscroll women’s siddur quoting Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita), you may put your head down.
V’Hu Rachum may be said at home. The only thing in Tachnun that requires a Minyan is the 13 Midos HaRachamim.
After seeing the above, a reader emailed me the following, written by Rabbi Daniel Travis at www.Torah.org
It is not customary for women to recite Tachanun. Some explain that the reason for this is similar to the reason that women do not recite Maariv. Since they were both originally optional prayers, women did not accept them upon themselves (Tefillas Bas Yisrael 2,12).
Others explain that Tachanun creates a situation where we pray in every possible position. Pesukei D’zimra and Shema are recited mostly while seated, Shemoneh Esrei while standing, and Tachanun in a bowed position. Since many halachic authorities rule that women are not obligated to say Pesukei D’zimra and Shema, they do not recite Tachanun either (Machzeh Eliyahu 20).
We may add that throwing oneself to the floor may be immodest for a woman. Since Tachanun originally involved falling before Hashem, women did not say this prayer. Even today, when the custom is to recite Tachanun while leaning on one’s arm, women still do not say this prayer.

317) Q: Does a bracha have to be made on gum and if so, what about a bracha acharona?
A: Yes, a Bracha Rishona is required since the sugar gets swallowed and causes pleasure to the throat. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 57 and Shu”y\t Ohr l’Tzion Vol. 2 14:8)
No Bracha achrona is made, as not enough was eaten in the required amount of time ( as a Kzayis within 3-6 minutes is required.)

318) Q: What is the deal with women and reciting Kiddush Levana?
A: The prevelant custom is for women not to recite Kidush Levana. (See Mogen Avraham Siman 426:1, Chochmas Shlomo 426:1. See also MaHarsha in Chidushei Agados to Sanhedrin 42a. There are also many mystical reasons given why women may not recite Kidush Levana. When Mashiach comes, women will once again say Kiddush Levana)

319): Q: I’m curious to know what exactly is the story with strawberries? I heard there’s something wrong with eating them but I never got it straight. Who said there’s something wrong with them and what is wrong, then? Is it all strawberries, or certain types? Is there any way of cleaning/ checking them that will make them permissible to eat? Is it ossur to eat them?
A: A few months ago, the kashrus agencies let it be known that strawberries had a problem with bugs in them and needed special checking. This applies only to fresh strawberries and not frozen ones.
The Star K Kashrus agency, on their website states the following:
” Strawberries
1. Fill basin with water and some liquid cleanser* or special strawberry wash
(such as Tsunami 100).
2. Soak strawberries while agitating the water.
3. Rinse strawberries under a stream of water.
4. It is preferable to cut off the top with a small amount of the flesh.
5. Strawberries may now be used.”
They also have a video about this, which can be seen here

320) Q: You say that when cooking food and if you eat less than a Reviis [if not doing so for pleasure] a bracha is not required. Does this mean that if you make a bracha it is a bracha levatala?
A: Yes, if a Bracha is not required and you recite one anyway it is indeed a Bracha L’Vatalah.

322) Q: in the 23 Tammuz halachos you wrote about achila gasa.When it comes to melaveh malka, I’ve seen written that if it would be achila gasa then one can fulfill the obligation with mezonos or fruits. What is the achila gasa line? And is eating mezonos or fruit a hetter or l’chatchila?
A: Yes, if one cannot wash for Melava malka he/she should at least eat some Mezonos or fruit, and drink something hot. It is obviously, L’Chatchila, better to wash on bread if possible.
There are 2 kinds of Achila Gasa. One is when someone is so stuffed that if he eats another morsel of food he will be repulsed. This, in halacha, is not considered eating.(See Gemara Yoma 80b, that eating in such a manner on Yom Kippur it isnt considered eating). If, however, the person is full, yet if he eats something else he will still enjoy the taste, it is a lesser level of achila gasa, which should be avoided, but is still considered eating.In the latter case, on Motzei Shabbos a fruit or small piece of cake should be eaten. (See also Gemara Nazir 23a  and Tosefos Dibur Hmaschil Pesach and see  Rashbam  beginning of  Pesachim 107b)

323) Q: Some well-intentioned yidden, in the stressful moments before the bakery closes on shabbat, have the unfortunate practice of pushing ahead in line.  Can Hamotzei be recited on challah which has been purchased by “stealing” a place in line?  And what about if they have, more directly, “stolen” the last Challah (because they bought the last one) – can they even recite hamotzee now?
A: Although the practice of cutting a line or making a dash to buy the last Chalah when someone else was first is a rude and wrong practice, it does not make the Challah purchased a “stolen” Chalah, and a bracha must be receited when eating the challah.

324) Q: Does a person have to to teshuva for a sin that was done unintentionally (B’Shogeg)?
A:Yes. In fact, the Korbanos Chatos, the sacrafices that were brought in the Bais HaMikdash were ONLY for sins that were done unintentially. Sins that were purposely committed need a much more stringent Teshuva.
The main thing is to regret that it happened,  ask forgiveness from the person you sinned against, accept to be careful not to do the sin again, and say Viduy for the sin.

325) Q:Would a divorced man or woman that was getting remarried (to a NEW person) be required to make a new birchas “Shehechiyanu” on their 2nd marriage (in-spite of having already made this bracha at their 1st wedding), or perhaps a bracaha of “H’atov V’hamaytiv” or neither (i.e. is there just a once in a lifetime “Shehechiyanu” requirement for this typically once in a lifetime event OR would it be perceived more along the lines of buying an additional suit/clothing etc.)
A: Why do you assume that on a first marriage the bracha of shehechiyanu is recited? In fact, according to virtually all  Poskim, for various reasons, the Bracha of Shehechiyanu is not recited upon getting married.  At most, if a Shehechiyanu is recited on a new fruit, it can exempt the new marriage as well. Therefore, on a second marriage it is surely not recited, but can be exempted with a new fruit or new garment if so desired. (See Shu”t MaHarik 128:2 and  Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 55 and Kaf haChaim Siman 223:25)
 

326) Q: is it dangerous to fly to Israel during the 9 days? and why?

A:Flying, and any other dangerous activities should be avoided in the nine days, unless being done for a Mitzvah. 

 

The three weeks, and especially the last 9 days, is a time that many tragedies befell Klal Yisroel, and the rabbis say to avoid anything dangerous in that time period as the midas Hadin is strong then. 

 

 Unfortunately in this time of year  we always hear of tragedies, car accidents with fatalities, etc. rachmana L’Tzlan. 

 

The Halacha even says to avoid court-cases in this period, and not to start new business ventures.

 

Some Poskim say that if you are heading to Eretz Yisroel, that is a Mitzvah and thus permitted, and not included in the  minhag not to fly.

 

Of course, each individual should consult their own Rav for guidance.

 

327) Q: I was wondering if it is permissible to make a bracha when hearing thunder, even without seeing lightning? Are the two brachos dependent on one another?
A:Ideally, the Bracha on lightning (Oseh ma’asei Bereishis) should be made first and then the Bracha on thunder (SheKocho U’gevuraso Malei Olam). However, if thunder is heard and no lightning is seen, the Bracha can be made on the thunder, and then if lightning is seen afterwards, its bracha can be made.
If the thunder was heard and the lightning was seen simultaneously, one Bracha of Osei Ma’aseh Beraishis is recited on both. If the Bracha  of Shekocho U’Gevuraso was recited on both, you are also Yotzei. (Mishna Berura Siman 227:5)

328) Q:Can you use hot or warm water to wash your hands & face during the 9 days?
A: The water does not have to be freezing cold, but should not be enjoyabley warm either. You can add a little warm water to make it not freezing, and that’s all. Soap may also not be used, unless the dirt will not come off without it.(See Mishna Berura 541:94-96)

329) Q: What do you regard as the minimum kavanah for the four-letter name of Hashem and for Elokim in davening and brachos, etc.?  Some rabbis I’ve spoken to say there are no shortcuts.  Having in mind “The Master of Everything” is insufficient, but perhaps better than nothing.  Rabbi Simcha  Bunim  Cohen’s book references Reb Moshe’s tshuvah re: Shma, which seems to say “Gott” (G-d) is good enough, but it’s from a chelek of Igros Moshe that some seem to deem less than authoritative or authentic.  What do you think?  I’m having trouble with kavanah for these names during a fast minyan!
A: The minimum for Hashem is “Adon HaKol- master of everything” and if possible to also think “Haya Hoveh and Yihyeh- was, is and will always be”.
The minimum for Elokeinu is “Ba’al HaYecholos Kulam” or “Kol Yachol” the One who can do anything. If possible, also think ” Mashgiach Oleinu B’Pratus” the One who is involved in every small detail in our lives.
This is most important by Shema and the first Bracha of Shemona Esrei, but should ideally be done by all Brachos.
There is an opinion of the Aishel Avrohom and the Ben Ish Chai that the first time every day when Hashem’s name is uttered you should have in mind that for the rest of the day whenever I say this name the Kavanah should mean what I am thinking now! This is indeed a leniency, but it is at least a way to  make it doable for many people.
Although some don’t consider the last volume of Igros Moshe as authorative as the rest of the volumes [as it was published after Rav Moshe's passing], many do indeed rely on it, also  the fact that Rav Cohen, who is a talmid of Rav Moshe Zatzal quotes it gives this psak credence, any you can rely on it.

330) Q: Is there any significance to saying “Zecher Tzaddik L’vracha” or “Alav/Aleha HaShalom”? Does it to anything to the neshama? Are we obligated to say that?
A: Yes, whenever a Tzadik’s name is mentioned the words Zecher tzadik L’Vracha” should be added, to bless his/her soul, and whenever a rasha’s name is mentioned the words “Shem R’shaim Yirkav or Yemach shemo” should be mentioned. This is based on a Posuk in Mishlei Perek 10:7. See Rashi there. See also Gemara Yoma 38b.

331) Q: A question I am curious about: on Friday night when singing Shalom Aleichem, why do we (not all people but most people) say each line 3 times?
A:The “Shalom Aleichem” was authored based on the Gemara (Shabbos 119b) that says that each person has 2 malachim (angels) escort him home from shul each friday night, one a good angel and one a bad angel. When they enter the home they check for three things: 1) candles burning 2) the Shabbos table set and 3) the beds are nicely made up.. If the three things are found as they should be, the good angel blesses the  home that  it should be this way the following week as well, and the bad angel is forced to answer “amen” to this Bracha. If the three things are not found, the bad malach curses the home, saying that  it should be unready for shabbos the following week as well, and the good angel is forced to answer “Amen”
The “3″ times we repeat each verse of the shalom Aleichem are symbolic of the “3″ things above  that each jewish home should have prepared in honor of the holy shabbos day. (Based on the writings of the Ya’avetz in his siddur)

332) Q:Why do you have to drink something hot to be yotzei for malave malka [as you wrote in a previous Q&A]?
A:You are Yotzei without it. However, the Gemara in Shabbos 119b says that eating or drinking something hot (especially hot bread) at Melava Malka is a Refuah for the body. And many seforim say that it’s a Refuah for the neshama as well. See the MaHarsha to the  above Gemara who explains that by eating something that was warmed up after Shabbos we honor the Shabbos by showing that we were unable to cook on Shabbos!

333)Q: Must children also wear non leather shoes on Tisha B’Av?
A:Yes, if they  are above the age of Chinuch, they should be taught to wear non leather shoes on Tisha B’Av. (See Chochmas Adam 152:17. see also  Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 224 and Moadim U’Zmanim Vol. 7 Siman251)
In many circles, it is common practice to have even small children wear non leather shoes on Tisha B’Av.

334) Q: Is learning Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av after Chatzos permitted or prohibited?
A:This is a machlokes HaPoskim. However, all agree that if by not studying Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av after Chatzos, that time will be wasted, it is better to study Torah. The Gr”a, MaHarshal, Chayei Adam and many other Gedolim all learned on Erev Tisha B’Av, as they held it was an unnecessary Chumra to refrain from Torah study then. See Rama end of Siman 553, Mishna berura S”K 8 , Aruch HaShulchan  553:8.  See also  Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 156 for a different approach and reasoning for the prohibition.

335) Q:Why are nails tamei once you cut them?
A:The nails are not Tamei, they are  a Sakana, danger.The person’s whose nails were cut has a Ruach Ra on him/herself, and needs to wash their hands after cutting nails. This applies equally to nails of the hands and feet.
The nails themselves pose a danger to pregnant women who may walk over them, and thus require to be disposed of properly. (Based on Talmud Nidah 17a and Moed Katan 18)

336) Q: My wife is an aveilah (in mourning)  for her father.  One of my mechutanim is making an aufruf in a couple of weeks. They invited us for the Shabbos meal after the aufruf.  Is my wife permitted to attend the Shabbos meal?
A:Firstly, I am sorry to hear of her loss; may she be comforted amongst the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.
The acepted custom is indeed for an Avel not to eat any social meals outside of their home, unless not doing so will cause distress to the person who invited the Avel, or if the Avel has no other place to eat..
That being said, many Poskim  make exceptions for  relatives and friends for meals on Shabbos, where the absence of the Avel would be noticed, and thus be an expression of Aveilus on Shabbos, which is prohibited. (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol.  3 Siman 161) Also, some Poskim allow for the Ave l to attend if he/she does not sit down, but stands around and/or helps serve the food etc. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’maashe to discuss your particular situation.
 

337) Q: is there a halachic basis for a kallah having a shomeret on the day of her wedding? is the kallah not allowed to be alone at all on her wedding day? does one specific person have to be designated as a shomeret or as long as she is with someone (ex: hairdresser, mother, sister) then its ok?

A:Yes, indeed there is  a halachic as well as a Kabbalistic  basis that necessitates a shomeret for a Kallah (and a shomer for a Chasan). It doesnt have to be the same person, as long as someone is around, she isnt alone. She may be alone in her room  if other people are home. But she shouldn’t be home alone or go out in the street alone.

Although, M'Ikar Hadin the shemirah is needed from the Chupah (based on Talmud Brachos 54b and Rama Eveh Haezer Siman 64:1 and Aruch hashulchan Siman 64:3) there are accepted minhagim in Klal Yisroel  to require shemirah already from the Shabbos before the wedding (See Emes L'Yakov Even haezer Siman 64 footnote 32. See also Bikurei yaakov Siman 669;3 that a Choson is called a Choson starting the week of his wedding. See also Halichos Shlomo; Tefilah, Perek 5 footnote 26) and the more prevalent custom to require shemirah starting the day of the wedding, i.e. from the night before at shekiah. (This was the opinion of the Chazon Ish zatzal, quoted in  Sefer Mevakshei Torah  Vol. 25:page 292, and  in Ma'asei Ish  Vol. 5:page 25. See also Shu"t Shevet Halevi Vol 9 Siman 274). Each person should follow his accepted custom, and indeed if one has the custom to only require a Shomer after the Chupah,he definitely has on whom to rely.

 

338) Q: If I made a Bracha on coffee in my office and then went with the coffee to my car to go somewhere, do I make a new Bracha when I drink in the car? If a very short while later I return to my office, still with the coffee, do I make a Bracha when I continue drinking in the office where the first Bracha was made?
A:Yes, when you leve the location where you made the Bracha (besides for HaMotzi and Mezonos which have their own set of guidelines) it stops working and a new Bracha is required in the new location and then again when you return to the first location. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if you were eating a whole time you were changing locations (such as gum or a candy) or if you run out for a few minutes and people are still at the table and you return, no new Bracha is required to continue eating in the first location. Another exception may be if you really planned to only eat/drink in the car, and while waiting to go to momentarily  your car you made the Bracha in your home or office, the bracha will still work when you get to the car. (as he is considered a traveler, and travelers are not subject to the above halachos) What is considered a “change of location” and some other details of this halacha  are  beyond the scope of this email, as it is a very detailed set of halachos, which we may cover more in detail in the future when we revisit Hilchos Brachos.

339) Q:  Are you allowed to daven in your mind (without moving your lips) when you are in the bathroom?
A: NO. No Torah or Tefilah should be thought in the bathroom.
Follow-up question from the same reader: I guess the same would apply in a hospital if you are near a catheter. Am I correct?
A: As far as urine is concerned (outside of a bathroom),  it is only prohibited if there is a pool or while it’s dripping from the body. If not, as long as there is no foul smell and it is covered, as in the case of the catheter,  a Bracha may be recited. (see Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 27. See also Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 8 Siman 1)

Follow- up question #2 from the same reader: What about a potty, if it’s covered?
A: If it is plastic, metal, glass or glazed earthenware and clean with no smell emanating from it , you may recite Brachos in front of them, even uncovered. If it is rubber or wood, it is as if it is dirty, even when it is clean and no Bracha may be recited within 4 amos of it. (See Sefer Ishei Yisroel Perek 53:32 and 33 formore details)

340) Q: Is it considered Yichud if there is a baby, under the age of Chinuch, present with the man and woman?
A: Yes. In order for a child to be considered a Shomer to prevent Yichud, a girl must be at least 3 years old according to all Poskim, and according to others the girl must be five. According to Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal, the girl must be seven years old in order to serve as a deterrent. For young boys the age  is at least five years old, and according to Rav Moshe Zatzal, here too the boy must be at least 7.
See archives of Hilchos Yichud HERE.

341) Q:  Wouldn’t mezonos rolls be considered Maaris Ayin since someone may see you eat one without washing and assume it’s regular bread?
A: Well, first of all, “Mezonos Rolls”  that are eaten as a meal require Netilas Yadayim and HaMotzi and Birchas Hamazon anyway, according to virtually all Poskim. That being said, if you are eating it as a snack or other method where it is definitely Mezonos, how would the people seeing you know if you have washed or not? It is just as possible that you did indeed wash in another room and  come here to eat your “Hamotzi roll” If they heard you say the Bracha Mezonos, then there is no Maris Ayin either. And if the above for some reason does not work, you can always tell them that it is a Mezonos roll, which is a common item. All in all, I don’t think any Maris Ayin would apply to this situation. That being said, a Jew should always strive to act in a way that people who see him/her say how fortunate it is to be a  Torah Jew! (See Talmud Yoma 86a) Of course, a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.

342) Q: I have many tehilim names that I daven for every day.. For most of the names that I have, I do not know what the status is, like if the person is still sick chas veshalom etc. Is there a problem with saying tehilim for these names anyway, even if they have had a refuah shleima, or are no longer with us?
A: There is no problem per se with saying Tehilim for these names. However, the Seforim do say that it is best to only say names thatyou personally know, or know about, and not to say the names of lists that you have no idea about. All the Cholim that you don’t know should be included in the “B’SochShaar Cholei Yisroel” you say after the names that you do know.

343) Q: With regard to Ikar and Tafel, you gave an example of eating cheerios with milk and stated that one only says Mezonos.  What if one is generous with the milk and will drink the remaining milk after the cheerios have been eaten (whether actually drinking or spooning the milk after the cheerious were already eaten). In such a case would one make a shehakol after the cereal was finished and before eating/drinking the milk?

A:If the extra milk was put in initially because it was specifically wanted as a drink, it will require its own Bracha of SheHakol right away  and won’t be a Tafel to the cereal in the first place.
If however the milk was put in as a Tafel to the cereal, then he leftover milk may be drunk, and no new Bracha is required, as it retains its status as a Tafel even after the Ikar has been consumed.


344) Q: I would like to know, when we got the Torah did it come in a sephardic way, ashkenaz way, chassidic way or it just said straight out the halachos and everyone just keeps it their way, and if that’s how it is then which way is best?
A: There was only one Torah, and there still is only one Torah, and there will always be only one Torah.

 

Over the years certain things were forgotten or translated  differently, so there developed different schools of thought about what certain things mean, how certain things are done etc. However, all the different cultures and groups are doing the same thing...in their unique way. 

 

Hilel and Shamai, Rav Akiva and Rav Elazar, Rav Meir and the Chachamim, The Gaon of Vilna and the Ba’al HaTanya, Rav Akiva Eiger and the Chasam Sofer, Rav Avrohom Yitzchak Kook and the Brisker Rav, The Chazon Ish and Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld,  Rav Moshe Feinstein and the Satmar Rav, Rav Ovadia Yosef  and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zichronam Livracha...and all the sages throughout the ages always had (and will have, until Mashiach comes)  differences of opinion in halacha, hashkafa, etc....but were all striving for the same truth! The truth of the holy Torah. 

 

We serve the same Hashem and keep the same holy Torah, and are reaching for the same goal of earning Olam Haba...we just take different paths sometimes to get  there.

 

This is especially important to remember this time of year, that no matter what  kehila we are from, we must never, chas v'shalom, disparage others from other Kehilos who are keeping the Torah and serving Hashem according to the mesorah of their Rabbanim, as long as they are doing so with their hearts pointed to Hashem (She'yichavnu Libam L'Shomayim)

 

Not respecting the Avodas Hashem of others, even if it may be different than your own, leads to Sinas Chinam, and leads to the lengthening of our bitter Galus R"L.

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