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Note: These Halachos are just as important for men to learn and know, as they are for women.



Aishes Chayil Mi Yimtza...A woman of valor who will be fortunate enough to find (Mishlei 31:10)


Chochmas Noshim Bansa Baysa...The wisdom of women is what builds [and saves] Jewish homes. (Mishlei 14:1)


B'Zchus Nashim Tzidkaniyos Nigalu MiMitzrayim...U'Bizchusam Asid l' the merit of the righteous women we were redeemed from Egypt, and in their merit we will be redeemed from this Galus. (Talmud Sotah 11b and Zohar)

The Jewish woman is a princess, a queen, the exalted daughter of Hashem, the backbone of a Jewish home. (See Mishna Yoma 1:1)


The Torah, as well as nature (which is Hashem's way of masking Himself), prescribes different roles to men and women; different but equal.


Contrary to many people's mistaken belief, women are not viewed by the Torah as secondary to men; they are equally (and in many ways, more) important, albeit with a different set of rules for them to achieve their goals of serving Hashem.

Unlike other cultures, and contrary to what many think about Torah Judaism's view, the Torah demands that men respect women.

"A man must respect his wife more than his own body and he must love her like his own body. If he has money he should buy her things according to his means. He should not make her unnecessarily afraid of him. He should talk soft and calm with her. He should not be depressed or angry." (Rambam Hilchos Ishus Perek 15:19)

Being that men and women have different roles, primarily the fact that women are more involved in child rearing and in the upkeep of the home, the Torah exempted them from certain obligations and duties which would preclude them from being available to care for their children and their homes.

We will now embark upon the study of "Halachos pertaining to women" and see which areas of Halacha are different for the Jewish female than they are for the Jewish male.

Note: These Halachos are just as important for men to learn and know,  as they are for women.


Chief among the Seforim I used as I researched and wrote these Halachos was the Sefer "Hilchos Nashim" written by Rabbi Moshe Haleivi Steinberg, Rav of Kiryat Yam in Eretz Yisroel.


As with all the Halachos that we review, they are for learning purposes only and not for Halacha L'Ma'aseh.

For Halacha L'Ma'aseh please consult your local Orthodox Rabbi.


1) A girl who is twelve years and one day old, who exhibits physical signs of adolescence, is biblically considered a gedolah (Halachic adult) for all matters of Halacha. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 616:2)

At this age she is referred to as a Bas Mitzvah.

2) If she reaches that age, but does not yet exhibit the necessary physical signs, she is still rabbinically considered a gedolah for all matters of halacha. (ibid.)


1) On the day a girl reaches Bas Mitzvah, many have the custom to make a Seudas Mitzvah celebrating this milestone, just as a Seudah is made for a boy who reaches the age of thirteen, and allow this Seudah to take place in a Shul. (See Shu"t Yaskil Avdi Orach Chaim Siman 28 and Shu"t Yabia Omer Vol. 6 Siman29)

Others do not make a Seudah, and refrain from doing so in a Shul, rather a more modest celebration takes place in the girl's home or in her school together with her friends. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 97 and Vol. 4 Siman 36 and Shu"t Seridei Aish Vol. 3 Siman 93)


2) According to those opinions that no Seudas Mitzvah is made for a Bas Mitvah, it is proper for the girl to wear a new article of clothing on her twelfth birthday, and recite the bracha of "Shehechiyanu" on the clothing and have in mind that the bracha also be a praise for her reaching the milestone of her becoming a Bas Mitzvah. (See Ben Ish Chai; year 1; Parashas Re'ei Siman 17. He also writes there that each year on a person's birthday he should celebrate it as a Yom Tov and doing so is a good sign and in his home that was the custom.


Halachos for Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1) As a general rule, women are exempt from fulfilling Mitzvos Asei She'Hazman Grama, positive commandments that are bound to a certain time of the day or to a certain time period during the week, month or year. (See Mishna Kidushin 29a)


This applies equally to biblical commandments as well as to rabbinical commandments. (Ruling of Tosafos Pesachim 108b Dibur Hamaschil SheAf and also the prevalent ruling of most Poskim. Some Poskim argue and maintain that for rabbinical Mitzvos women are obligated even if they are time bound, as the biblical prohibition against deviating from the words of Chazal (Lo Tasur, Devarim 17:11) is always in effect. See Sefer Nefesh Chaya from Rav Reuven Margolies Siman 428 quoting the opinion of the MaHaral of Prague Zatzal in Gevuros Hashem Perek 48)


2) There are, however, a few exceptions to the aforementioned rule, and there are a handful of such Mitzvos which women are indeed obligated to fulfill, each for its own specific reason.


These Mitzvos include eating Matzah on the first night of Pesach, the rest of the Mitzvos on the first night of Pesach, Kiddush on Shabbos, the Mitzvos of Chanukah and Purim and the Mitzvah of eating on Erev Yom Kippur. (See Talmud Pesachim 43b and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 472:14, Siman 271:2 and Shu"t Ksav Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 112 and Shu"t Yechaveh Da'as Siman 58. Eating the Korban Pesach. Hakhel and Simcha on Yom Tov may also be obligatory for women. See Rambam Hilchos Avodah Zarah Perek 12:3)



Halachos for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1) Women are not obligated in the recital of Hallel, being that it is a time-bound Mitzvah, Mitzvas Asei She'Hazman Grama, except for the first night of Pesach, as being that they too were part of the miracle of redemption, they are obligated in saying praise to Hashem for it. (See Talmud Pesachim 108b and Mogen Avraham Siman 422:5)




However, even on the days when they are not obligated to recite the Hallel, they still may do so if they so desire.




2) According to some Poskim they may even recite a Bracha on the Hallel in the event that they do choose to recite it. This is the prevalent custom of Ashkenazi women to indeed recite a bracha when performing any time bound Mitzvah. (See Biur Halacha Siman 422, end of Dibur Hamaschil Hallel where he cites two reasons. See also Rama Orach Chaim Siman 589:6 )




Women who follow the Sephardic tradition and follow the ruling of the Bet Yosef, don't recite Brachos on any time-bound Mitzvos, and should also refrain from reciting a Bracha on Hallel any time except on the first night of Pesach. (See Rambam Hilchos Tzitzis Perek 3:10, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 589:6 and Shu"t Yabia Omer Vol. 1 Siman40 and 42)


Halachos for Thursday, April 25, 2013

1) Women and men are equally obligated in the Mitzvah to honor their parents.


However, a married woman's obligations (Shibud) to her husband supersede her obligation to honor her parents in situations where she must choose between the two. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:17)


2) Single girls, as well as married women whose husbands do not have an issue with them choosing to honor their parents even at the husband's expense, must follow all the halachos of Kibud Av V'Eim just like males. (See Shach to Shulchan Aruch ibid. Os 19)


[ Archives of Hilchos Kibud Av V'Eim can be seen here.]


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, April 26, 2013


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Although when it comes to positive commandments women are exempt due to the rule of "Mitzvos Asei SheHazman Grama", they are not exempt from Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh, negative commandments, and must not transgress them the same way men may not.


2) There are, however, three exceptions to the aforementioned Halacha:




a)Females are not prohibited from using a razor to shave their sideburns (Bal Takif; Vayikra 19:27)




b)Females are not prohibited from using a razor to remove any of the five "corners" of their beards (Bal Tashchis; Vayikra 19:27)




c) Female Kohanim are not prohibited from coming in contact with bodies of the deceased.(Bal Titamei L'Meisim; Vayikra 21:1) (See Rambam Hilchos Avoda zarah Perek12 Halacha 3)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

1) A divorced woman may not get married to a Kohen. (Vayikra 21:7)


In the event that a Kohen does go ahead and marry a divorcee, he as well as she both transgresses the biblical commandment against such nuptials. (See Talmud Yevamos 84a)


2) Approximately 1,000 years ago, a great sage, Rabbeinu Gershom, known as "Me'or Hagola, the light of the diaspora" issued a series of Cherems and Takanos, bans and restrictions regarding various areas of Jewish law and life, including a ban against polygamy, a ban against divorcing a woman against her will, a ban against the unauthorized reading of another person's mail and other items which were accepted by large segments of the Jewish world, and are still adhered to until today, by virtually all Jews across the world. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Even HaEzer Siman 1:10)

There is a debate among the Poskim if these rulings of Rabbeinu Gershom apply equally to men and women or if they were addressed to men only and thus are not incumbent on women to follow. (According to many opinions, the express purpose of these edicts was for the benefit of women, to protect them and ensure respect for them. See Darchei Moshe Even HaEzer Siman 1:10. See also Shu"t Chasam Sofer Vol. 6 Siman 52 and Otzar haPoskim Siman 1:4)

Halachos for Sunday, April 28, 2013


1) A woman is not obligated in the Mitzvah of "Pru U'Revu", the Mitzvah to procreate and have children. (See Mishna Yevamos 65b and Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 1:13. See also Meshech Chachma Parashas Noach Perek 9:7 for an interesting explanation of this ruling)




2) However, since she assists her husband in fulfilling this great Mitzvah of having children, she receives reward for doing so. (See Ran beginning of the second Perek of Kidushin)




Halachos for Monday, April 29, 2013


1) Even though a woman has no obligation to have children of her own, as we learned yesterday, it is still proper for women to try their best to get married as voluntarily staying single can lead to false accusations about living counter to the Torah's way of life.(See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 1:13)




2) Besides for the Mitzvah of Pru U'Revu, there is another Posuk (Yeshaya 45:18) of "Lo Tohu Bera'ah Lasheves Yetzara, He [Hashem] did not create it [the world] a waste, but formed it for habitation]".




There is a debate among the Poskim if this Posuk is a commentary on the Mitzvah of Pru U'revu, and thus women aren't obligated, or if it is an independent Mitzvah in which they are indeed obligated to help populate the world. (See commentary of the Torah Temima to Bereishis 1:28. See also Shu"t HaElef Lecha Shlomo Even HaEzer Siman 2)




Halachos for Tuesday, April 30, 2013

1) A Jew fortunate enough to be living in Eretz Yisroel should not leave to Chutz L'Aretz unless there is a pressing need to do so.

A girl who is seeking to get married may leave Eretz Yisroel for the purpose of finding a suitable marriage partner in Chutz L'Aretz.(See Tosefos Avoda Zara 13 a Dibur Hamaschil Lilmod and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 10 Siman 42)

2) If a girl chooses a suitable mate and her parents protest her choice and try to persuade her against it, she has no Halachic obligation to listen to them. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 240:25 and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 13 Siman 78. That being said, it is surely advisable for children to objectively listen to the opinions of their parents and take their concerns into serious consideration before making any final decisions about this important life decision)




Halachos for Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1) A daughter of a Kohen may marry a Ger, a convert to Judaism.(See Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 19:14)




2) According to the Tzava'ah (will) of Rav Yehuda HaChasid (the 12th century kabbalist and Jewish leader, author of the Sefer Chasidim), a man should not marry a woman whose name is identical to that of his mother. (Tzava'ah 23)




However, if one of them adds an additional name, or changes something about their name (e.g. Rivka to Riva) then there is no problem. (See Sefer Likutei Halachos on the Tzava'ah, by Rav Shabsi Vigder, for a lengthy discussion about this.)



Many authorities are of the opinion that the entire Tzava'ah is only binding on his descendants and not on all of Klal Yisroel. (See Shu"t Noda B'Yehuda; Mahadura Tinyana; Even HaEzer Siman 79)


Halachos for Thursday, May 2, 2013


1) For the purposes of finding a suitable marriage partner, a female may undergo plastic surgery to enhance her appearance, if this is deemed truly necessary.


2) The reason for this is that even though it is forbidden to intentionally cause harm to one's own body, if done for medical or health reasons, even non-essential ones, it is permitted and thus this too would be deemed a valid health reason. (See Shu"t Chelkas Yaakov Vol. 3 Siman 11. See also She'arim Metzuyanim B'Halacha's commentary on the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 190:4)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 3, 2013

(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Married women, as well as divorced and widowed women, may not be seen publicly with their hair uncovered, as the hair of a woman that is [or was] married is considered Erva. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 21:2 and Bais Shmuel Os 5. See also Rashi to Sanhedrin 58b Dibur Hamaschil MiShetifra. In certain limited instances, certain leniencies may apply to divorced women; for halacha L'ma'aseh a Rav should be consulted for each individual situation)


2) Single girls [who were never yet married] may be seen in public with their hair uncovered. (See Bais Shmuel ibid.)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Any area that is considered "covered" may not be revealed on a woman in the presence of men under any circumstances, as those areas are considered Ervah, and a man may not gaze at the Erva of a woman. This applies equally to married and single females.(See Rama Orach Chaim Siman 75 and Mishna Berura S"K 6 and 7)


2) In the presence of her husband, only if a tefach (between 3 and 4 inches) or more of a covered area is exposed is it considered Ervah. (and in that case her husband may not recite Brachos or Krias Shma or other Tefilos in the presence of the Erva) . (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 75) 



Halachos for Sunday, May 5, 2013



1) A woman may not wear clothing that is thin and see-through so that her skin is visible through her garments. (See Mogen Avrohom beginning of Siman 75)




2) A woman whose collar bone is uncovered to the point that it is exposed almost to her bosom, is considered to be revealing Ervah.(See Tiferes Shmuel's commentary on the Rosh, Brachos Perek 3 Os 37. IMPORTANT NOTE: Although it may not be considered Ervah until it is revealed until that point, it may still be a serious issue of lack of proper Tznius to expose too much of the collar bone. As with ALL Halachos that one may read in this, or any other, email, it is of utmost importance to consult with one's own Rav for halacha l'ma'aseh and not rely on what is written here for final Psak halacha, as the Halachos we write are for learning purposes only and any variation in the facts or situation can totally change the halacha.)





Halachos for Monday, May 6, 2013


1) A woman may not wear men's clothing, including men's pants and men's hats, as doing so is a biblical prohibition of "Lo Yihyeh Kli Gever Al Isha, a man's clothing shall not be on a woman"

(Devarim 2:5.) 


This prohibition extends to any action done by a woman to make her look like a man, including shaving in a masculine manner.(See Rashi ibid. and Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 182:5)




2) Some Poskim rule that the prohibition is only in place when done for the express purpose of looking like a man, but if wearing a man's garment for protection from the sun, rain or other elements it would be permitted.(Taz on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman182 S"K 4)




However, other Poskim are stringent, and it is best for a woman to avoid men's clothing at all costs. (Ruling of the Bach quoted in Taz ibid.)




Halachos for Tuesday, May 7, 2013


1) A man may gaze at his wife and take pleasure in her beauty even during the days when she is a Nidah. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 195:7 and Even HaEzer Siman 21:4)




2) However, when she is a Nidah he should refrain from gazing at the covered parts of her body. (ibid.)





Halachos for Wednesday, May 8, 2013


1) A woman who is unwell during the time that she is a Nidah may not be physically assisted by her husband to get into or out of the bed or chair or similar assistance.(Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 195:16)



2) If there is nobody else present to assist her, some Poskim allow her to be assisted by him. This is the prevalent minhag in cases of absolute necessity. (Rama ibid.)





Halachos for Thursday, May 9, 2013


1) If a man is ill and unable to wash his hands in the morning by himself (Negel Vasser) it is preferable that they not be washed by a female aide during the time when she is a Nidah.(See Ben Ish Chai; Year one, Parashas Toldos Siman12)



2) A man may be present in the delivery room where his wife is giving birth in order to support her and keep her calm, but being that he is forbidden from gazing at her covered areas while she is a Nidah, he must not watch as the baby is actually delivered. (See Shu"t Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 75)





Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , May 10, 2013

(Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) It is incumbent upon Jewish men and women to not be in a situation of "Ta'aruvos" (literally, a mixture), in a [public] gathering where males and females are mixed together.


2) This applies to all gatherings indoors and outdoors, including, but not limited to, in Shul or a house of an Avel R"L or other places where davening takes place as well as at a Chupah or other parts of a wedding or any party or R"L at a Levaya or Hesped. 

(See Talmud Sukkah 51b-52a, Shulchan Aruch Siman 529:4, Mishna Berura S"K 22 and Biur Halacha Siman 339 Dibur Hamaschil L'Hakel. See also Shu"t Chasam Sofer Choshen Mishpat (hashmatos) Siman 190 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 12. An actual mechitzah may only be necessary for indoor gatherings, where it is possibly an Issur D'Oraysa to not have one, while outdoor gatherings may only require a separation and not an actual mechitzah. See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 39 at length.) 



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Regarding situations of Ta'aruvos, there is no difference if the females are married or single; males may not be in a "mixed gathering" with them.(See Biur Halacha ibid. see also Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 104 and Yoreh Deah Vol. 3 Siman 78 that even male and female children should not go to school together or otherwise engage in mixed activities. See also Sefer Chasidim Siman 168) 



2) If a woman finds herself in such a gathering, she is obligated to get up and leave in order to not be a part of the Chilul Hashem (as the larger the mixed gathering, the larger the Chilul Hashem) and also to "make a point of protest" [especially if the people in the gathering are aware of the prohibition of mixed gatherings, yet for whatever reason decide to be lax, as is unfortunately sometimes the case]. (See Rama Siman 608:2 and Mishna Berura there. If the situation can be fixed and  and  a mechitzah put up,  or at least to separate the males and females, of course that would be better than simply protesting.See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 44) 




Halachos for Sunday, May 12 2013


1) At a public gathering that includes a sit down meal, such as at a Bris, Sheva Brachos, banquet or any similar event, males and females should not eat in the same room without a separation, even if they are eating on separate tables, as if they are too close and can see one another it will lead to impure thoughts. It goes without saying that males and females should not sit on the same tables at these public events.


According to some Poskim, at a Sheva Brachos where males and females are not separated by a mechitzah [and they can see one another], the Bracha of "Shehasimcha B'Meono, that our joy reaches the abode of Hashem" is not recited, as it isn't a Simcha in the eyes of Hashem when the situation is such that it can lead to thoughts of sin. (This is especially prevalent at a Simcha where females tend to "dress up" and are thus very attractive looking to males. See Be'er Heitev Siman 622:2 quoting Tosafos in Megilah 31a Dibur Hamaschil B'Mincha. See Bais Shmuel Even HaEzer Siman 62:11 and Mishna Berura Siman 415:2)


2) Nowadays, some Poskim are lenient regarding the recitation of this Bracha and allow it even without a [proper] Mechitzah as long as the tables of males and females are adequately separated. (See Pischei Teshuva Even HaEzer Siman 62:18 quoting the Levush. See Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 8 Siman 281 that L'chatchilah at least some sort of physical separation [such as a low mechitzah] should be made as a "mental reminder" to stay on the proper side.)


As with all halachos, a Rav needs to be consulted for Halacha L'ma'aseh.


Halachos for Monday, May 13 2013



1) It is prohibited to daven in a Shul that does not have a [Kosher] Mechitza (separation) between the men and the women.


Even if the women are dressed modestly, it is still prohibited to daven in such a shul.


2) Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 39)and others (including the Seridei Aish Vol. 2 Siman14)maintain that a Mechitza in a Shul is a biblical obligation as not having the separation may lead to Kalus Rosh (levity) between the sexes, and may lead to touching and/or excessive interacting and communicating.


Halachos for Tuesday, May 14 2013

(Triple Portion L'Kavod Chag HaShavuos)


Halachos for  Tuesday, Erev Chag HaShavuos


1) The Mechitza in a Shul must be a minimum of 3 Amos high(between 60 and 72 inches, depending on how you determine the size of a Tefach)


2) Anything lower than that is ineffective and unacceptable. Rav Moshe Feinstein adds that those who make it higher, to the point that no part of the women's heads can be seen, will receive additional heavenly blessings, especially in Shuls where there are women who do not have their heads covered according to Halacha. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 39, Vol. 3 Siman 23 and 24 and Vol. 4 Siman 30 and 31 for more about this. See also Seridei Aish Vol. 2 Siman14)


Rav Moshe Zatzal adds that the aforementioned Halachos are not only pertinent during davening, but also at any gathering in the Shul. (funeral, Simchas Torah, Simchas Bais HaShoeva, Sheva Brachos etc.) where men and women are present, a Mechitza must separate them.)

Halachos for Wednesday, 1st Day Chag HaShavuos


1) The separation between the genders is not only for adults; even very young children should be taught separately in different classrooms and not be schooled together. (See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 137 where he explains that although very young children don't yet have a Yetzer Hara and don't usually have improper thoughts, still from a Chinuch standpoint this is the proper way to act)


2) Once the children reach age 9, it is even more important to ensure that they are schooled separately, as from that age onward they already are developed enough to have improper thoughts and thus schooling them together presents a real halachic issue.(See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 104and Shu"t Yabia Omer Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 4)


Halachos for Thursday, 2nd Day Chag Hashavuos (Isru Chag in Eretz Yisroel)


Note: We will now begin reviewing "Halachos of Yichud". We have covered this topic in the past, but a review is warranted due to their importance, and also to incorporate them into the "Halachos of women" that we are currently studying, to give a complete coverage of the topic.


1) According to most Rishonim and Poskim, the prohibition of Yichud is a biblical one. (Based on the Posuk in Devarim 13:7. See Talmud Avoda Zara 36b and the Rabeinu Chananel there. See also Rashi to Shabbos 13a Dibur Hamaschil Mah Eishes Re'ehu and Tosefos Dibur Hamaschil Mah. Also see Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 188. The Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:2 calls it "Divrei Kabala" which may mean he holds it is less than a D'Oraysa. See Talmud Kidushin 80b and Me'iri there for more on this. See also Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:2, Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61 and Vol. 4 Siman 65:12 and Shu"t Minchas Shlomo Siman 91)


The Yichud that is biblically prohibited is the seclusion of one man with one woman. One man who is secluded with two women is a rabbinical prohibition, according to many Poskim. (See Shu"t HaRashba Vol. 1 Siman 587 and Shu"t Chavos Yair Siman 73. However,  Yam Shel Shlomo Kidushin Siman 20 and Shu"t MaHarsham Vol. 3 Siman 152 maintain that even with 2 women it is a biblical prohibition)


Furthermore, the Yichud that is biblically prohibited, is between a man and a woman who are considered "Arayos" to one another; which means that these 2 people are prohibited from marrying one another (e.g. they are close relatives) or in a situation where the woman is a Niddah, where she is considered an "Ervah" and biblically may not be secluded with any man. (See Tosefos Sotah 7a Dibur Hamaschil Niddah)


2) The prohibition for a man to be secluded with a woman is in force for all women (besides for the exceptions, which we will discuss in the coming days B'Ezras Hashem), young or old, attractive looking or otherwise, as the seclusion of a man and a woman may lead to impropriety Chas V'Shalom. (See Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:1, Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1 and Yam Shel Shlomo end of Maseches Kidushin Siman 21)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 17 2013

(Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) It is forbidden for a  single female, even if she isn't a Niddah, to be alone with a man. This prohibition was instituted by Dovid HaMelech and his court, due a story that transpired with Amnon and Tamar, as described in the Pesukim of Shmuel II Perek 13. (See Talmud Sanhedrin 21a-b and Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:2)


Nowadays, since single girls do not (and may not) immerse in a  Mikvah, every female above the age of 12 has the status of a Niddah, thus it is biblically prohibited for her to be alone with a man. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1Siman 26 and Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61, Shu"t Riva"sh Siman 425, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:1)


2) Just as it is prohibited for a Jewish male to be alone with a non Jewish female, single or married, so too it is forbidden for a Jewish woman or girl to be alone with a non Jewish male, (even if the non-Jew's wife is present),  and according to some Poskim there are instances when this can be a Biblical transgression. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:2 and 3 and Yoreh Deah 153:4. See also Minchas Chinuch Mitzva 188:5, Be'er Heitev Even HaEzer Siman 16:2 and Pischei Teshuva Even HaEzer Siman 16:1)


If the Jewish woman is married, this is a biblical prohibition. (See Ram"a Even HaEzer Siman 115:4 and Biur HaGr"a there Sif Katan 19. See also Shu"t Chavos Yair Siman 73)


Halachos for  Shabbos Kodesh  



1) An adult male may be alone with a girl below the age of 3 years, and a woman may be alone with a boy below the age of 9 years.


However, once a girl is above 3 years old and a boy is older than 9 years old, all the Halachos of Yichud apply to them, as if they are adults. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:11)


There is some debate among the Poskim whether a boy under Bar Mitzvah (13) may be alone with a girl who is under Bas Mitzvah (12). Many Poskim are lenient, while others are stringent. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L'Ma'aseh. (See Yam Shel Shlomo end of tractate Kidushin Siman 22, Bach  Siman 22:7, Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:11 and Sefer Birur Halacha page 71 quoting Rav Noson Gestetner Shlita ,author of Shu"t  L'Horos Noson who prohibits it)


2) If  a man is [R"L] ill to the point that he is, according to his doctors,   incapable of doing the things for which the prohibition of Yichud were instituted, according to many Poskim there is no prohibition for a woman caregiver (or otherwise) to be alone with him. (See Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:10 and Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer  Vol.6  Siman 40:22   See also Shu"t Zayis Ra'anan Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 1 who is stringent with this)


However, an older man or a weak man, who does not have the strength to engage in the activities for which Yichud was instituted, and has even separated from his wife due to this, but has not done this based on any medical reason or on the advice of a doctor, is still subject to the biblical prohibitions of Yichud, though he won't be subject to the rabbinical prohibitions. (Igros Moshe ibid.)



Halachos for Sunday,  May 19,  2013


1) It is permitted for a father to be alone with his daughter.(Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1)


Likewise, it is permitted for a grandfather to be alone with his granddaughter (both his son's daughter and his daughter's daughter) (See Bach to Even HaEzer Siman 22 and Pischei Teshuva there S"K 2 what he quotes from the Zechor L'Avraham. See also Shu"t Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Even HaEzer Siman 18 Dibur HaMaschil V'Hinei, where he seems to prohibit a grandfather from being alone with his son's daughter based on a story that transpired. See also Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 60)


A mother and a son may be alone.


Likewise, it is permitted for a grandmother (both paternal and maternal grandmothers) to be alone with her grandson.


The above is true for great grandchildren/great grandparents as well. (See Mishne L'Melech Hilchos Sotah Perek 1:3 Dibur Hamaschil Kina)


2) It is permitted for a man to be alone with his wife when she is a Niddah, provided they have already consummated their marriage. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:1 and Yoreh Deah Siman 195:1. See also Tosefos to Sotah 7a Dibur Hamaschil Niddah and Sanhedrin 37a Dibur HaMaschil HaTorah. See also Ram"a Yoreh Deah Siman 192:4 and the commentaries there)


Halachos for Monday, May 20,  2013


1) There is much discussion among the Poskim if it is permitted for a woman to be alone with her brother. 

(As the Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and many others do not specifically include a sister in the list of women with whom Yichud is permitted) 



The consensus of most Poskim is that it is permitted for short periods of time (i.e. Temporarily) but it is prohibited to be alone with him for long stretches of time, or to settle under one roof [alone] for any extended period of time. (See Yam Shel Shlomo Perek 4 of Kidushin Siman 23, Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 64:3 and Siman 65:11. See also Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 2:5 where he quotes the Chazon Ish Zatzal as saying that one need not be too stringent with Yichud with a brother. Furthermore, the leniencies of Yichud between a brother and sister apply when the sister is married as well. See Mishneh L'Melech Hilchos Sotah Perek 1:3 and Tzafnas PaNeach Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 21:4.) 



2) What exactly is a "short period of time" is a much discussed topic in the Poskim as well.


Some Poskim maintain that up to 30 days is considered temporary living, and thus a woman and her brother may live together [alone]  in one house for up to 30 days.(Shu"t Imrei Yosher Vol. 2 Siman 43) 



Other Poskim, however, disagree, and maintain that 30 days is too long to be considered a"short period of time" and they only allow a sister and brother to live together [alone] in a house for the amount of time that "guests" would spend in a home, which is a "few" nights, but not an entire month. (This is determined in each community what is considered for them a "normal" time for guests to stay, and isn't a specific amount of nights universally. See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 64:3 and  Sefer Emes L'Yaakov from Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote 7) 



If the parents go away on vacation to a far place for more than a few days, and leave a brother and a sister alone in their home, it is not considered "temporary", and the brother and sister may not sleep in the same home, unless a Shomer, a guardian, is put in place (we shall discuss the details of a Shomer and other deterrents in the coming days B'Ezras Hashem) (see Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Siman 64 Dibur HaMaschil V'Ach and Siman 65:11) 



In a case when one either the brother or the sister  is elderly, or ill, where there is even less of a reason to need the prohibition of Yichud, many Poskim allow then to live together even permanently 

(See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 end of Siman 64) 



Halachos for Tuesday, May 21,  2013


1) If the door of a home is "open" to the street, the prohibitions of Yichud to not apply to the inhabitants of that home. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:9)


What is considered "open"?


Some Poskim rule that the door must actually be open; a closed door even if it isn't locked is not considered open. (See Shu"t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 100 [written by the Bais Meir] and 101 [written by Rav Akiva Eiger].)


2) Some Poskim maintain that even if the door is closed, as long as it isn't locked and people can freely enter without a key or combination code, it is considered open. (Shu"t Mabit Vol. 1 Siman287, Shu"t RadBaz Vol. 1 Siman 121, Shu"t Binyan Tzion Vol. 1 Siman 138. This was also the opinion of the Chazon Ish quoted in Kraina D'Igrasa Vol. 2 Siman 122 and others)


However, if nobody has permission to enter through the door, even according to these Poskim it isn't considered open and the fact that it's unlocked will not remove the prohibition of Yichud. 

(See Shu"t RadBaz and Shu"t Binyon Tzion ibid. )


Halachos for Wednesday, May 22,  2013


1) Some Poskim say that it depends on the custom of each society and whether it is deemed normal to walk through a door without first knocking (in which case an unlocked door would be considered open) or if it is expected to knock on a door prior to entering, regardless if it is not  locked (in which case all the prohibitions of Yichud would apply  so long as the door is  closed) (See Emes L'Yaakov Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote 8. Where he says that for biblical Yichud it is best to be stringent and have the door open, while for rabbinical Yichud is enough with an unlocked door)


In a store or other place of business, where people come and

go frequently, it is sufficient to have the door unlocked, and it isn't necessary to actually keep it open.(Psak of Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer Shlita)


2) Very often, homes have screen or storm doors installed in front of the main door to the house, for the purpose of keeping out bugs, cold air etc.


Even according to the Poskim that require the main door to the home to be open, and not just unlocked, this screen/storm door need not be open and as long as it is unlocked it is sufficient, as it is the accepted custom for people who see the main door open to simply open the screen/storm door and walk in. (ibid.)


Halachos for Thursday, May 23,  2013


1) As we mentioned earlier, inhabitants in a house with a door that is open to the street (Reshus HaRabim), are permitted to be alone in the house.


This "street" need not be a real Reshus HaRabim, public thoroughfare, with all the criteria that we find by Hilchos Shabbos, nor does it need to even be a real street.


If the door is open to a courtyard, or to a hallway in an apartment building or to other similar areas where people come and go, it is considered a "street" for the purposes of being a deterrent to the inhabitants of the home being considered "safely alone" (where they do not fear someone walking in on them) and thus there is no problem of Yichud. (See Shu"t Binyan Tzion Vol. 1 Siman 138 and Chochmas Adam Klal 126:7 and in Binas Adam ibid Os 18) 



2) The leniency of having a door that is open to the street only works during the daytime hours when people are around (or in some cases even during the nighttime in a place where people are around), but during the night time (or even in the daytime when people aren't around) the open door to the empty street will not remove the prohibitions of Yichud. 

(See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:5, Shu"t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96. See also Sefer Nidchei Yisroel from the Chofetz Chaim Perek 24:7) 



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh,  May 24,  2013

(Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) One who is in a room with a window that faces the street, and people from the street can see in to the room (i.e. There is no window shade or other means of obstructing the view), is not subject to the prohibitions of Yichud while in that room, as we consider it like an open door to the street. (see Shu"t Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Kama Even HaEzer Siman 71 and Shu"t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4 Dibur Hamaschil Ata) 



The above is true even if the door to the room is closed.


However, if there is any part of the room that cannot be seen from the street through the window, the prohibitions of Yichud will apply to those areas that cannot be seen.


Thus, if it is absolutely necessary for a man and a woman (e.g. patient and doctor) to meet [and thus be alone] in a building that does not have a door that opens to the street, they must meet in a room, where they will be clearly visible through the window to any passersby on the street.


2) Likewise, if one lives in a high-rise building and thier window is opposite the window of a neighbor, as long as the windows are not obstructed and each neighbor can see into the others home, it is considered like a door that is open to the street and there would be no Yichud prohibitions [in the areas that can be seen in to] 

(Rav Yaakov Ephraim  Forchheimer shlita quoting Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 3:12) 



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) It is permissible, in cases of necessity, for a woman and a man to be in a car [alone] together, since any passersby can see in through the windows and thus it is considered like a door open to the street. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal quoted in Sefer Dvar Halacha page 185. See also Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 202:1. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal does not allow this L'Chatchilah, and only B'dieved does he allow it in cases of great necessity) 



However, if the windows of the car are tinted, or if they are driving at a time and/or in a place where no people are around (e.g. During the night in a quiet neighborhood where there are no people or other cars around, or even during the day while driving on a remote street) according to many Poskim the prohibition of Yichud applies to them and they may not be in the car [alone] together.(See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 2 Siman 82 and Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:3) 



2) Even in cases when it is permitted for a man and a woman to be in the same car together, it is best if the passenger sits in the back seat. 





Halachos for Sunday, May 26 , 2013


1) All of the Halachos that we have learnt so far were in regard to a woman and a man who have no close, personal  relationship with one another, and thus as long as the guidelines set forth are followed, the prohibitions of Yichud are avoided.


However, when the  woman and man are close to one another and have a personal relationship (known in Halachic terms as "Libo Gas Ba", e.g. they have feelings for each other, they are friends, they grew up together, they are related to one another, they lived in the same home for a long period of time, they work together or other similar situations) the Poskim debate whether having a door open to the street is a deterrent enough to allow them to be alone in a house together.


Many early Poskim maintain that  in cases of Libo Gas Ba, an open door will not help (Opinion of Rabbeinu Yeruchom Vol. 1  Nesiv 23, Chelkas Mechokek Even HaEzer Siman 22:13, Bais Shmuel 22:13, Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana  Even HaEzer Siman 18, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:5 and other Poskim)


On the other hand, many other early Poskim maintain that an open door will always be a deterrent even in cases of Libo Gas Ba. (opinion of Taz Even HaEzer Siman 22:8, Chochmas Adam Klal 126, The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel Perek 24:7, Shu"t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4 and other Poskim)


2) So what's the Halacha?


When the Yichud in question is of the biblical variety, most contemporary Poskim are stringent and do not allow them to utilize the leniency of an open door to the street.


When the Yichud is of the rabbinical variety, and there is great necessity for them to be alone in the home, many contemporary Poskim allow them to utilize the open door leniency. (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:12 and Emes L'Yaakov Even HaEzer Siman 22 footnote



Halachos for Monday, May 27, 2013



1) Another  way in which a  woman and a man in the same home together can avoid the problems of Yichud, without having to keep the door open,  is by having a Shomer, a guardian, present in the house with them, which will ensure that nothing inappropriate will transpire between them.


There are various different acceptable Shomrim, and we will try and discuss all of them and some of their practical applications.


Children, both boys and girls, are acceptable Shomrim. (We will discuss age in tomorrow's B'Ezras Hashem) (Even though from the Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:10 it seems that only  a female child works, the majority of Poskim maintain that male children  work as well. See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 192:4, Shach ibid S"K 14 as well as the Bais Shmuel ibid. S"K 9 and Taz S"K 9. See also Chochmas Adam Klal 127:5 and 9. This was also the Psak of the Chofetz Chaim in Nidchei Yisroel 24:9 and the  Chazon Ish, quoted in Dvar Halacha Siman 4:2)


2) There is no difference if it is the man's child. The woman's child or if the child is not related at all, they are all adequate Shomrim. (See Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 6 Siman 40; Perek 16:5)


In the event that 2 Shomrim are necessary (as we will discuss in the near future) it doesn't matter if the 2 children are both males, both females, or one male and one female. (Psak of Rav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer Shlita)



Halachos for Tuesday, May 28, 2013


1) As we discussed in yesterday's Halachos, a child in the home together with the man and the woman can be a suitable Shomer to prevent the prohibition of Yichud.


The Poskim debate from what age a child becomes eligible to serve as a Shomer (i.e. from what age will the child understand if something inappropriate takes place and tell people about it, thus  be able to serve as a deterrent to ensure it doesn't happen in the first place. See Rashi to Kidushin 81b)


The Chazon Ish ruled that any male child between the age of 6 and 9 can be a Shomer.


Once the boy turns 9 he may no longer serve as a shomer as he himself is now subject to the prohibition of Yichud.


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ruled that a boy had to be 7 years old in order to be an adequate Shomer. (Chazon Ish quoted in Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman 4:3. See also Chochmas Adam Klal 115:9 and Shu"t Poras Yoseph Vol. 1 Siman 27:3. See also Shu"t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96. See Sefer Children in Halacha from Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlita page 47 footnote 37)


2) A female child can be a Shomeres from the age of 5 until the age of 9. (See Chochmas Adam ibid. and Shu"t Or Sameach Vol. 1 Siman 4)


Some Poskim allow children to be shomrim until they reach Bar/Bas Mitzvah, and  many contemporary Poskim  rule that in cases of great necessity this leniency may be relied upon. (See Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 6 Siman 40; Perek 16:2. See also see Sefer Hamakneh to Kidushin 81b Dibur Hamaschil B'Gemara Mai Tama. See also Children in Halacha page 46 footnote 34)

Halachos for Wednesday, May 29, 2013


1) During the daytime hours, one shomer is adequate. Therefore, during the day, a man may be alone with a woman and her child.


During the nighttime, however, two Shomrim are required.


Nighttime does not begin at sunset or Tzeis HaKochavim, rather at the time when children usually go to sleep, as from that time we are worried that one of the children may fall asleep and not be able to be a Shomer anymore.


However with two children, as long as the door to the room is open, even if both children fall asleep there is always the fear that one of them will awaken. (See Shu"t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:6, Shu"t Panim MeIros Vol. 2 Siman 131.Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlita quotes Rav Yechezkael Roth shlita that the door to the room  needs to be open)


2) When an adequate Shomer is present, Yichud is permitted even when it is  "Libo Gas Ba" , when the man and woman are close to one another and have a personal relationship, as we detailed in previous Halachos. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 148:2)



Halachos for Thursday, May 30, 2013


1) A man may not be alone with two women. (See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Taz S"K 4)


The Poskim debate whether a man may be alone with 3 adult women, and some allow it if it is during the daytime/early evening hours. This leniency should only be relied upon in cases of great necessity, and after speaking to a Rav for guidance.(See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 22:5. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14 and 20 where Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal rules stringently in this matter)


2) However, according to all poskim,  a man may be alone with three girlswho are all between the  ages 5 until 9.


Regarding one man being alone with two girls, ages 5 until 9,  it isn't clear from the Poskim if this is better than 2 adult women or if it  is the same problem, and it is best to be stringent. (See Sefer Dvar Halacha Siman10:5) 


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 31, 2013

(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) A woman may be alone with a man if the man's mother, daughter or sister is also present. (See Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 15 end of Dibur Hamaschil V'Hinay Af and end of Dibur Hamaschil V'Hinay Matzasi, and Vol. 4 Siman 65:8. This was also the Psak of the Chazon Ish.  Other Poskim including the Chida, Hafla'ah and Z'Chor L'Avraham were more stringent and did not allow this.)


Their presence eliminates the problems of Yichud even if the woman in question is "Libo Gas Ba" (Rav Yaakov Forchheimer shlita)


However, the above is only during the daytime hours, as during the night time an additional Shomer would be required besides the man's  mother/daughter/sister. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Chazon Ish Hilchos Ishus Siman 34:3)


2) Likewise, a woman may be alone with a man (even Libo Gas Ba) during the daytime hours if her father, son or brother is also present.


During the night time hours an additional Shomer is necessary.


The exception to the above is a woman who is alone with a man and her son is present in the home, where according to many Poskim no additional Shomer is required even at night, as her son's presence alone is an adequate deterrent. (See Pischei Teshuva Siman 22:2. See also Shu"t Ein Yitzchak Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 77:6)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) A man may be alone with any woman if his wife is also present in the home, as his wife is his ideal Shomeres. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:3)


A man's wife is an adequate Shomeres even during the night time hours. (See Mishna Kidushin 80b and Tosefos Dibur Hamaschil R' Shimon and Pnei Yehoshua's commentary on that Tosefos)


2) According to many Poskim, the above is true only if his wife is actually with him in the same house or at least in the same courtyard, and simply having the wife in the city does not work [unlike in the reverse, where a woman's husband being in the city can be an adequate shmira, details of which we will B'Ezras Hashem discuss in the near future] (See Shulchan Aruch ibid.. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:6, Prisha Yoreh Deah Siman 245:20. See Bais Shmuel on Shulchan Aruch ibid. S"K 22 who seems to rule that if the wife is in the city it does indeed help. See also Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:15 and Sh'arim Metzuyanim B'Halacha in his commentary to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:7 where he differentiates depending on where she went and for how long. See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer vol. 4 Siman 71 Dibur Hamaschil U'Bidvar, where Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal seems to concur with this view)


A person's wife is an adequate Shomeres even if the other woman is Libo Gas Ba.(See Shu"t Sha'ar Yosef from the Chida Siman 3 Dibur Hamaschil V'Hinay Ra'isi)



Halachos for Sunday, June 2, 2013


1) There is a debate amongst the Poskim whether a man whose line of work brings him in contact with mostly women (such as a women's doctor, a women's clothing store owner or similar occupation where most of the work day is spent around women) may be alone with a woman when his wife is with him, or if an additional deterrent is necessary (such as an open door etc.) 


According to many Poskim, having his wife with him will not suffice for such a man (ruling of Tosefos Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo, Yam Shel Shlomo end of Kidushin Siman 28, Taz Siman 22:6, and the Gaon of Vilna in his commentary to Kidushin 80b), while other Poskim maintain that having his wife there with him helps even for such a man. (Ruling of Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:8, Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:7, Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14 and others) 


2) A Jewish woman may not be alone with a non-Jewish man even if the non Jew's wife is present, as a non-Jewish woman is not an acceptable Shomeres. 

(Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:7) 




Halachos for Monday, June 3, 2013



1) A  woman whose husband is "in the city" (referred to in Halacha as Ba'alah B'Ir. we will B'Ezras Hashem discuss more details of what is called "in the city" in the near future) may be alone with a man, as the fear of her husband coming home is enough of a deterrent to prevent anything inappropriate from happening. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:8, Shu"t Radvaz Vol. 3 Siman 481, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:4  and Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel Perek 24:6. Although a minority of Poskim, including the Bach, disagree with this leniency based on Rashi Kidushin 80a Dibur Hamaschil Ba'alah, most Poskim rule like the Shulchan Aruch and allow Yichud in such a case) 


Likewise, a man may be alone with 2 women if the husband of either one  of the women is in the city. (See Chochmas Adam Klal 126 and Binas Adam there Os 17) 


However, if the woman is not in her own home, and the husband does not know where she is, or even if  her husband  allowed her to go to a different man's home, and knows where she is, the Poskim debate if the fact that her husband is in the city still helps.


The Chochmas Adam (Klal 26:6) rules that in the above cases the heter of Ba'alah B'Ir no longer applies.


Other Poskim (including the Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Nidchei Yisroel 24:6, Chazon Ish, Chida and others)maintain that the leniency still applies. (If the husband knows where she is, even more Poskim agree that there is no Yichud problems if Ba'alah B'Ir. See Radvaz ibid.) 


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:21) rules stringently, unless in cases of dire necessity where he allows it.


2) If the woman goes with the man to a deserted place, where she doesn't suspect that her husband would ever show up and find her, most Poskim agree that the leniency of Ba'alah B'Ir no longer applies. (See Sefer Nesivos L'Shabbos from the Hafla'ah Even HaEzer Siman 22:5 and Sefer Nidrei Zerizin from Rav Shlomo Kluger Zatzal Vol. 2 in the Teshuva at the end of the Sefer page76b) 




Halachos for Tuesday, June 4, 2013



1) If a couple lives in a large city (e.g New York, Chicago, Jerusalem or similar), and although the husband is in the city, the wife knows that he is at the other end of the city (e.g. in his office or at work and it would take him a while to return home) it is debatable if the Heter of Ba'alah B'Ir still helps.


Many Poskim maintain that if he went to work and he  cannot return home during work hours (as he is a salaried employee etc.) then the prohibition of Yichud is in effect even if the husband is "in the city".


However, if he is self employed or in a job where he may come home at will at any time, even if he seldom does that, the heter of Ba'alah B'Ir still applies. 

(See Igros Moshe  Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:7 and 21) 


2) Other Poskim are stringent, and consider it Yichud even if the husband is free to come home at any time, but seldom does during those hours.


Moreover, if the wife spoke to the husband on the phone and knows he is at work (i.e. she saw the caller ID and knows exactly where he is calling from), or somewhere else  where it would take him a while to get home,  the prohibitions of Yichud apply even though he is "in the city". (See Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 3 Siman 180 and Vol. 5 Siman 203 where Rav Wosner shlita is stringent with this) 





Halachos for Wednesdayday, June 5, 2013


1) A Jewish female may not be alone with a non Jewish male, even if her husband is "in the city" (See Chazon Ish Yoreh Deah Siman 66:2 that if other Jewish males are nearby, it may be ok.) 


However,  a Jewish male may be alone with a non Jewish woman, if her husband is present in the room. (See Hagahos Radal to Kidushin 81a Dibur Hamaschil Ba'ala B'Ir)


2) The leniency of Ba'alah B'Ir does not work if the woman is Libo Gas Ba. Thus, a man may not be alone with a woman that he grew up with, is related to, or otherwise  is comfortable with or has a relationship with, even if her husband is "in the city" (unlike with an open door, where it may help even by Libo Gas ba, as there the open door removes it from being Yichud, whereas here it remains Yichud) (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:8 based on  story of Rav Bibi in Gemara Kidushin 81a) 


According to most Poskim, the heter of Ba'alah B'Ir  works even for a man whose profession is around women. (See Shu"t Sha'ar Yosef  from the Chida end of Siman 3 and Radal on Tosefos Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo) 





Halachos for Thursday, June 6, 2013


1) Most Poskim agree that a woman may be alone  [in the city] with  two [G-d fearing] Jewish men, as  each of the men is assumed to be embarrassed to do anything inappropriate in the presence of the other man. (Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5, Shu"t Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Kama Even HaEzer Siman 69, Biur HaGra Even Haezer 22:11, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:3 and others. If it is outside of the city, it is only permitted if her husband is also present.) 


Most Jewish men who keep Torah and Mitzvos and aren't known as Prutzim (people who don't take Mitzvah observance, especially in the realm of Tznius, seriously.) are assumed to be G-d  fearing. (See Shu"t Rashba Vol. 1 Siman 587, Biur HaGra ibid. See also Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:17 where Rav Moshe Zatzal rules that  even someone who is a kosher Jew that never sinned with a woman,  but is not confident  that he can control himself from sinning with a woman were the opportunity to arise, is also considered "Parutz" for matters of Yichud.) 


However, if the men are Prutzim, a woman may not be alone with them no matter how many men are present. (See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:10 where he says "10 men". The Poskim however say that the Rama didn't mean only up to 10, rather he meant with any amount of men. See also Talmud Yerushalmi Kidushin Perek 4 Halacha 11 where the Gemara says "even 100 men" present still remains Yichud) 


2) If only one of the 2 men is a "Parutz", or if one is a G-d fearing Jew and the other is a non Jew (who is always considered a "Parutz"), the Poskim debate if Yichud in this case is permitted.  It is best to be stringent, unless in cases of dire necessity. (See Shu"t Shav Yaakov Siman 19, Sefer Hamakneh Kidushin 80b Dibur Hamaschil V'rabanan and Dibur Hamaschil Od Yesh Lomar and Shu"t Maharil Diskin Pesakim Siman 2) 


A Jewish woman may not be alone with 2 non Jewish men.




Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh,  June 7, 2013

(Double portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Two G-d fearing males may be alone with a woman, even if she is non-Jewish or even if she is a Prutzah, as we assume that each of the men will be too embarrassed to do anything inappropriate  in front of the other man, regardless of the woman's intentions. (See Shu"t MaHaril Diskin Psakim Siman 2 Dibur Hamaschil Rishona and Shu"t Shav Yaakov Siman 19) 


2) The leniency of one woman allowed to be alone with 2 men is only during the day time hours.



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) During the night time hours (starting from when it is usual for the men to go to sleep), three men will be required in order to eliminate the problem of Yichud. 

(See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 152:3,  Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer Siman 22:8 and Chazon Ish Hilchos Ishus Siman 30:3 Dibur Hamaschil V'Nireh. Regarding if this applies to situations of Yichud D'Rabanan as well: see Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 61. See also Shu"t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 2 Siman 96)


The reason for this is that with only 2 men, we are afraid that one of them will fall asleep and thus she will end up alone with the remaining man. (See Ra'avad in sefer Ba'alei Hanefesh Sha'ar Haprisha Siman 1:23. See also Bais Shmuel on Shulchan Aruch Siman 22 S"K 9)


2) If the men are only visiting the woman in her home, and plan to return to their own  homes to go to sleep, then even during the night time hours, 2 men are enough to remove any Yichud problems as we don't worry about one of them falling asleep.


All of the above is even in cases where Libam Gas Ba, and even if their occupations are around women,  as since they are G-d fearing Jews we assume that they will be too embarrassed to sin in front of each other.


Halachos for Sunday, June 9, 2013


1) When a woman is traveling with men in a remote area where there aren't many people in the streets or on the roads, even during the day, three men are required to be present in order for there not to be a Yichud problem. (See Gemara Kidushin 80a and Rashi there that explains that if only two men are present, one of them may need to leave the group to use the restroom, and thus leave the woman and the remaining man alone, and thus it would be Yichud as no other people are around. See Rama Even HaEzer Siman 22:5)


Even though a woman may be alone with 2 men, it doesn't work in the reverse and a man may not be alone with 2 women. (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 22:5)


2) If three women are present, there is a debate in the Rishonim if that is an acceptable deterrent for the man. (Rashi Kidushin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Lo Yisyached allows it. See also Shu"t Divrei Malkiel Vol. 4 Siman 102 Dibur HaMaschil V'Hinay B'Ish. See also Shu"t Rashba Vol. 1 Siman 587. The Ram"a 22:5 brings this opinion as a "Yesh Matirim". Tosefos ibid. and Rambam Hilchos Isurei Biah Perek 22:8 prohibit it, and this is how the Shulchan Aruch 22:5 rules.)


According to most Poskim, it is best to be stringent and even when three women are present; one man should not be alone with them. In cases of great necessity, a Rav should be consulted. (See Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:14)




Halachos for Monday, June 10, 2013



1) Although, as we learned,  a man may ordinarily not be alone with 2 women, there are 5 exceptions that are discussed in  thealmud (Yevamos 117a, referred to in Halacha as "Chamesh Nashim") based on the fact that the 2 women in question  will not succumb together to be inappropriate with the man, and will also let everyone know about any iniquities that  may take place, due to the fact that these 2 women have an ingrained dislike for one another.[It is important to note that although nowadays many of these women have no ill feelings for one another, and at times are even best of friends, or have never displayed anything but love and admiration for one another, still in Halacha they have a status as women who intrinsically do not get along, and thus regardless of the facts, they are looked upon [Halachically] as not getting along. (See Shu"t Chasam Sofer Even HaEzer Vol. 1 Siman 49. See also  Ezras Nashim from MaHaram Ben Chaviv quoted in Dvar Halacha Siman 5:22)]


2) I will list two of the more common combinations of  "2 women" with whom Yichud is permitted:


It is permitted for a woman and her mother in law tobe alone with a man. (As there exists a natural animosity between daughters in law and mothers in law, and thus  each one will prevent something inappropriate from taking place while they are present, and thus are acceptable Shomer for one another)


The above is only if it is her husband's mother, and not if it is her father in law's wife from a different marriage. (See Meiri to Yevamos 117a and Pischei Teshuva Even HaEzer Siman 17:26)


A  woman and her sister in law (husband's sister) may also be alobe with a man, as they have a natural animosity towards each other, and thus are acceptable Shomros for one another) (See Rashi  to Yevamos 117a Dibur Hamaschil V'Yevimtah)



Halachos for Tuesday, June 11, 2013



1) The length of time that a  woman and a man must be alone for it to be considered Yichud is the amount of time that would be necessary for inappropriate relations to take place between them.


2) However, the exact amount of time this takes according to Halacha, is a subject of debate amongst the contemporary Poskim.

Some Poskim say that for it to be Yichud, they have to be alone for 5 minutes.(Shu"t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 4 Siman 94 -97, Shu"t L'Horos Nasan Vol. 1 Even HaEzer Siman 58 towards the end)


Others say as little as 2 minutes is sufficient to be considered Yichud. (Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita quoted in Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 4 Siman 94. See also Sefer Dvar Halacha in Hosafos Chadashos to Siman 15 that in as little as 35 seconds it can already be considered Yichud.)



Halachos for Wednesday, June 12, 2013



1) Although an  amount of time is given for it to be considered yichud (as we described yesterday), it is prohibited for a man and a woman to be alone in a place where Yichud is prohibited [had they been there the given amount of time], even for a shorter amount of time than is prohibited. (The reason for this is that Chatzi Shiur Asur Min HaTorah. See Shu"t MaHaril Diskin Kunteres Achron Siman 206 and Shu"t Chelkas Yaakov Vol. 2 Siman 14. See also Rav Shlom Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal's Haskama to Sefer Dvar Halacha, where he rules this way as well.)


2) However, if they are in a place alone, where they cannot be for the amount of time necessary to be Yichud (i.e. an elevator whose doors open at every floor, or where people can technically summon it to stop at each floor) then there is no Yichud problem at all with being alone for a short amount of time. (See Shu"t Igros Moshe Even HaEzer Vol. 4 Siman 65:16)


If an elevator does not open at each floor, and it cannot be opened during its ascent/descent (as the elevators in some high rise buildings operate), and the trip takes the amount of time that Yichud is prohibited, it is indeed a problem of Yichud.

Halachos for Thursday, June 13, 2013


1) We will now discuss some common practical situations where Yichud applies.


When parents go away from the home and hire a female babysitter to watch over the children there are a few problems that can arise.


If she is watching over a boy above the age of 9, there is a prohibition of Yichud, and thus a shomer would be necessary.


If it is during the day time hours, one additional child [boy between 6 and 9 or  girl between 5 and 9 as we discussed a little while back] is sufficient.


If it is during the night time hours when the children are going to sleep, 2 additional children must be present as Shomrim.


2) If no other children are present to be Shomrim, and the babysitter is watching a boy above the age of 9,  there are some other things that can be done to  remove the Yichud problem, as we will discuss tomorrow.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 14, 2013

(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) There are some things that can be done to  remove the Yichud problem with female babysitters watching over boys, as follows:


The door to the home can be left open. This only works during the hours that people are still out and about, and won't work late at night. (i.e. this won't work if the parents will be gone overnight)


2) A key to the home (or the necessary combinations) can be given to a neighbor [one who is an acceptable shomer] and they be told that they can enter the home at any time. (i.e. even if they knock before entering, they will enter before waiting for  a response to their knocking). Some Poskim even suggest that the neighbor actually enter the house once or twice, so the babysitter will see that it is a serious deterrent.


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) If the babysitter is a boy, and he is watching over a girl above the age of 3, there is a problem of Yichud.


Therefore, additional children will be required to be in the home in order to serve as Shomrim.


If no other children are present to be shomrim,  the other methods we mentioned (door open to the street or key given to a neighbor with access to enter any time) must be utilized in order for it to be acceptable.


2) Another way to avoid Yichud is for the boy to bring along another boy (or another 2 boys for night time hours, when we worry that one of the boys will fall asleep) to watch the children along with him.   


This is the preferred method, according to many Poksim.




Halachos for Sunday,  June 16 , 2013


1) Another common situation when Yichud issues arise is in the  workplace.


When one or two women are alone in an office with one man, it is a transgression of Yichud. (According to many Rishonim, even with 3 women, it can still be a problem of Yichud as we have discussed previously and it is best to be stringent.)


Although the husbands of the women are in the city, it may not be sufficient, as usually men and women who work in the same office are considered "Libo Gas Ba" and thus we cannot rely on the leniency of "Ba'alah B'ir".


Likewise, since it's Libo Gas Ba, the leniency of an open door may not work either.


In cases of necessity (e.g. they need to be in the office to meet a work related deadline etc.) other men must be in the building and told that the man and the women will be in that particular office, and asked to walk in without knocking from time to time.


2) In situations where no one else is in the building (e.g. late nights, Sundays, weekends etc.) there is no real way to allow one man to be alone with one or two women in an office. If there are 3 or more women, it can be better. In any case, a competent Rav must be consulted for Halacha L'ma'aseh, as these transgressions are very serious.




Halachos for Monday,  June 17 , 2013



1) When a man and a woman work together in an office or similar work environment, even though her husband is in the city, the door is left open and other precautions are put in place to prevent anything inappropriate from happening, unfortunately, even if "halachically" it isn't Yichud,  all too often many unfortunate things have been known to happen due to men and women getting "too close" to one another.



Therefore it is incumbent on each and every Jewish man and women to not get emotionally or otherwise connected, involved or fall into a "friendship" with members of the opposite gender that work in the same workplace, or anywhere.


2) A large part of the "Al Cheits" that we beg forgiveness from Hashem  on  Yom Kippur, also referred to as Yom HaKadosh, the holy day,  revolve around iniquities relating to inappropriate seeing, talking, involvement  etc. with members of the opposite sex and other sins related to not retaining  our holiness.


In fact, the Torah reading on Yom Kippur is the portion that deals with the forbidden "Arayos- relations". This just goes to show the gravity of being complacent in these areas and the importance of making sure we improve in these areas, which unfortunately we have become  desensitized to  in our world which thrives on immorality at every turn.


There is no question that the Nisayon, the heavenly test, of this generation are the Nisyonos of immorality. It is everywhere around us and it is all too easy to fall into the deepest depths of sin with the click of a button.  The Yetzer Hara lurks everywhere.


The generation before Mashiach (which is the generation we are living in) will sink to a lower depth of Tumah than the generation  that was redeemed from Mitzrayim(See Ohr HaChaim Parshas Shmos Perek 3:8).


If we aren't actively working to protect ourselves, our spouses and  our children we are all but certainly going to fail on one level or another; we must pass these tests in order to merit going with Mashiach when he arrives!


In the merit of strengthening ourselves in the areas of Kedushas HaAinayim, Kedushas HaBris, Kedushas HaPeh, Kedushas HaGuf and Kedushas HaBayis (Holiness of our eyes, covenant, tongue, body and home) may we all merit the speedy arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu and may we once again be worthy of being called the Am Kadosh, the holy nation and may we see the true fulfillment of "V'Haya Machanecha Kadosh", May your camp be holy.





Halachos for Tuesday,  June 18 , 2013



1) Another common situation is a repair or service man (plumber, electrician, gardener, exterminator etc.) being in a home alone with the Jewish housewife, which of course is a problem of Yichud.


If the woman's husband is "in the city" it will be sufficient if the repairman is Jewish.


However, if the repairman is a non Jewish person, having her husband "in the city" will not suffice.


2) If the front door to the home is left open to the street where people are out and about, it is OK.


However, it is important to note that if the Yichud in question is of the biblical variety (one man, one married woman) then the door must actually be left ajar, and not simply unlocked.


If a child [who fits the criteria of an acceptable Shomer, as we discussed a while back] is also home with the woman, that too removes the Yichud problem.





Halachos for Wednesday,  June 19 , 2013


1) If a man is home alone with a cleaning woman, the door must be kept open, or a child [or other shomer] must be in the home in order to prevent Yichud.


Very often a female babysitter or a cleaning woman needs to be driven home after their job has been completed, and often a man is the one that drives.


2) As long as there are other people driving on the streets, and they can see into the car, it is not a problem of Yichud. Ideally, the doors to the car should not be locked and the passenger should sit in the back seat if possible.



If it is very late at night and no people are around, it can be a problem and a Rav should be consulted for Halacha L'Ma'aseh.

(Took a break to cover other Halachos, then resumed on Sep. 30 2013)



Halachos for Sunday, September 29, 2013


1) Women are obligated to pray each day. (See Rambam Hilchos Tefilah Perek 1 Halacha 2 and Shulchan Aruch Siman 106:1)


However, according to many Rishonim and  Poskim their obligation is not the same as men, and those that cannot daven the entire Tefilah each day (due to raising young children, or other valid exemptions) could simply recite a “Tefilah Ketzarah”, a  short prayer which includes a  request, a praise and a giving of thanks to Hashem. (See Mishna Berura Siman 106 S”K 4).


2) There are certain segments of Tefilah and certain Brachos that are more important  than others for women to recite, as we shall see in the next few days.



Halachos for Monday, September 30, 2013


1) Women are obligated in all the Brachos of Birchas HaShachar. The only difference: women should recite “SheAsani K’Retzono- Hashem created me according to His will” instead of “SheLo Asani Isha- Hashem did not create me as a woman (who is obligated in less Mitzvos than a man) , which men say.


2) The Chida and others bring a Sephardic custom for women to say “Shelo Asani Goya” rather than the masculine “goy” and  Shelo Asani Shifcha”(female maidservant) rather than “Eved” (male slave). (This was the minhag of Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky A"H, wife of Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal, who recited this Nusach each morning, in the presence of her saintly husband, who answered Amen to her brachos.)


However, most Poskim say that this change should not be made and women should say the same nusach as men as the collective goy includes women as does the collective Eved.


Halachos for Tuesday, October 1, 2013



1)     Jewish males have an obligation to recite [at least] 100 Brachos every single day (According to the Bais Yosef and most Rishonim this “day”  also begins at sunset, like most other things in Halacha. Others argue and maintain that for this it begins in the morning).


2)     Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach , Rav Shmuel Wosner Zichronam L’vracha , and others maintain that women and children are not obligated in this requirement, but do get reward if they try and fulfill this obligation. (See Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:25 and Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 23)



Halachos for Wednesday, October 2, 2013


1) The Shulchan Aruch Harav quotes a Rabbeinu Yonah that women are obligated in saying Parshas HaTamid.


2) Though most women nowadays do not have the custom to say Karbanos or Parshas HaTamid daily,  in an instance that a woman would be obligated in bringing a korban (if the Bais Hamikdash was standing, such as a Korban Yoledes  41 days after giving birth to a son or 81 days after giving birth to a daughter, or if she did a sin by mistake, and thus would be obligated in bringing a Korban Chatas etc.) she should indeed read the corresponding Parsha in the Chumash to satisfy her obligation.



Halachos for Thursday, October 3, 2013


1) Every Jew (male and female, regardless if they plan on learning any Torah that day or not) is obligated to say “Birchos HaTorah” (blessings before learning, reciting, hearing or even writing any Torah) every day.


This is an extremely important obligation, and every effort should be made to be meticulous in these blessings.


The Talmud (Nedarim 81a) relates that the reason that Eretz Yisroel was destroyed, even though the people were great scholars and learned Torah all day, was because they weren’t careful to recite Birchos HaTorah before learning (according to Rashi and Ran’s interpretation), and thus showed that they didn’t revere the holiness of the Torah; they regarded it as any other subject matter to be learned (i.e. science, astronomy, astrology, etc.)


Having this attitude towards the Torah is extremely harmful to the Jewish people. Our holy Torah is the vehicle through which each and every Jew merits Olam Haba as well as Olam Hazeh, and isn’t simply another subject matter!


2) The Mishna Berura (Siman 47 S”K 2) quotes Chazal that one who isn’t careful to say Birchos HaTorah will G-d forbid not merit to have sons who are Talmidei Chachamim. It is also  important to recite the Birchos HaTorah with extreme Simcha (joy) and concentration, and with great thanks to Hashem for choosing us as his people and giving us his most prized possession [The Torah)] (See Chayei Adam Klal 9:2). It is also the accepted custom to recite the Birchos HaTorah while standing.






Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , October 4, 2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) According to many Rishonim  (including Ramban, Rashba, Sefer HaChinuch, Rambam [according to the interpretation of the Aruch HaShulchan], and others) Birchos HaTorah are a biblical obligation.


Others (including Rambam [according to the interpretation of the Sha'agas Aryeh Siman 24], Levush, and Ma’amar Mordechai) maintain that it is a rabbinic obligation. (See Mishna Berura Siman 47 S"K 1)


2) We are stringent and worry for the latter opinion, and thus if one isn’t sure if he recited them or if one was awake all night, he/she  should not say them  him/herself and should rather hear them from someone else or have in mind by the blessing of “Ahava Rabba” (or “Ahavas Olam” according to Nusach sefard) to satisfy the obligation. (See Mishna Berura ibid. and S"K 14)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) The 3 Brachos that collectively form “Birchos HaTorah”, each serves a unique purpose and thus it is important to recite all three of them each morning.


2) The three Brachos, and a short explanation of their unique purpose, are as follows:


a) ...Asher Kideshanu...La’asok B’Divrei Torah (Birchas HaMitzvos. Necessary as learning Torah is a Mitzvah like many other Mitzvos that require a Bracha before performing them)


b) V’Ha’arev Na...V’Nih’yeh Anachnu V’Tzetza’enu... (Birchas HaNehenin. Necessary as learning Torah and doing Mitzvos is full of sweetness and enjoyment like other pleasurable things in life that require a Bracha before we may partake of the pleasures)


c) ...Asher Bachar Banu MiKal HaAmim...(Birchas HaShevach. Necessary as we must praise and thank Hashem for giving us his holy Torah, which is the most valuable gift in the entire universe, as it transforms us from lowly creatures into spiritual, lofty vehicles of holiness etc.)



Halachos for Sunday , October 6,  2013


1) Women that cannot daven the entire Tefilah, yet can do more than a simple Tefilah Ketzarah, should keep in mind that certain parts of Tefilah are bigger obligations for them than other parts and therefore should say the more important parts first.

Women who can daven are obligated in Birchos HaTorah, Birchas HaShachar and Pesukei D’Zimrah from Baruch SheAmar through YishTabach.


2) Women are exempt from the Brachos before and after Krias Shema, as well as from reciting the entire Krias Shema (as there is a specific time for these to be said, and they are thus Mitzvas Asei SheHazman Gerama).


However, they should recite the first Pasuk of “Shema Yisrael…” and “Baruch Sheim…”, as they are definitely obligated in Kabolas Ol Malchus Shamayim (accepting upon themselves the yoke of Hashem’s Kingdom)


Women are obligated in remembering our exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt) each day and therefore are obligated in saying “Emes V’yatziv…” after Krias Shema. (See Mishna Berura Siman 70 S"K 2 and Sefer ishei Yisroel Perek 7 Siman 10-15 for more details)


Halachos for Monday , October 7,  2013


1) Women who daven Shemona Esrei (which according to many Poskim, is also an obligation for them) should also be careful to say Shemona Esrei immediately after saying the Bracha of “Ga’al Yisrael” (L’Hasmich Geula L’Tfilah)


2) A woman who cannot daven Shemona Esrei in the morning, due to a valid reason, is still obligated in davening Mincha, if she isn’t otherwise busy with the children etc. at that time.


The prevalent Minhag is for women not to daven Ma’ariv (though Rabeinu Yonah and many other Poskim maintained that they are obligated).



Halachos for Tuesday , October 8,  2013


1) A woman that accepted upon herself to daven (one, two or all the Tefilos), every day and did not stipulate that the acceptance was “bli neder- without the stringency of a vow” is obligated to always daven (those Tefilos that she accepted).


If she needs to renege on this obligation, Hataras Nedarim (nullification of her vow) is required.


2) However, if a woman didn’t accept upon herself to daven daily, and rather started davening with the intention that she would do so whenever she had the opportunity to do so, she  isn’t obligated to daven on days that she is otherwise occupied etc. (even if she davened every day for weeks or months already, and once in a while a day comes along when she can’t)


Halachos for Wednesday , October 9,  2013


1) A woman who accepted upon herself to daven daily is subject to all the laws of Tefilah that apply to men.

If she forgot something in Tefilah that would require repeating the Tefilah for men (e.g. Mashiv HaRuach, Ya’aleh V’yavo etc.) it will require her to repeat as well.


2) Similarly, if she forgot or was unable to daven one of the Tefilos, she is required to daven two Shemona Esreis (one regular and one as a Tashlumin, a make-up Tefilah,  at the next Tefilah.



Halachos for Thursday , October 10,  2013

1) A woman who usually davens Shacharis and Mincha, but not Maariv (as is the custom of many women), may still daven Maariv twice, if she forgot or was unable to daven Mincha.


She may not, however, skip Maariv (as is her custom) and then daven twice at Shacharis, as the “make-up Tefilah” must be the Tefilah immediately subsequent to the Tefilah that was missed.(Ruling of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal).


(Regarding a woman who always Davens Maariv, and forgets, there is a dispute amongst the Poskim if she may, must, or may not daven twice at Shacharis.A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh)


2) A woman who doesn’t usually daven, or only davens when she is able, does not repeat anything that she inadvertently forgot while davening (e.g. Mashiv Haruach, Ya’aleh V’Yavo ) and does not daven a “make-up” Tefilah ever.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , October 11,  2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos


1) Although women are not obligated to daven in Shul with a minyan,it is still praiseworthy, when possible, for them to do so.


Any Tefilah davened in Shul with a minyan has a bigger chance of being better accepted by Hashem and is a bigger Mitzvah than Tefilah that isn’t in Shul with a Minyan. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 90:9. See also Aruch HaShulchan 90:13)



2) After completing Shemona Esrei and  saying  “Elokai Netzor ” and “YihYu L’Ratzon” , 3 steps must be taken back, while simultaneously bending the back and  bowing , the way a servant takes leave of a master.  (Mishna Berura Siman 123:1)


One of the reasons for the three steps is because the Babylonian  king Nebuchadnezzar was allowed to destroy the Bais HaMikdash due to his running three steps forward in honor of Hashem; therefore we take three steps back and ask Hashem to rebuild the Bais HaMikdash ( See Mishna Berura Siman 123:2 quoting the Bais Yosef)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) The first of the three steps should be taken with the left foot. The size of the step should be the length of one foot, i.e. the big toe of the left foot should reach right behind the heel of the right foot.


The second step is then taken with the right foot. The size of this step should be the length of 2 feet, i.e. the big toe of the right foot should now reach right behind the heel of the left foot.


The third step, again with the left foot, should be the length of one foot, which will once again bring the two feet together. (The Chazon Ish Zatzal would take the third step also the length of two feet, and then take an additional  step to bring his two feet together. This was the opinion of the Levush as well as a few other Poskim. They obviously didn’t consider this last step as one of the “steps”, rather just a movement to bring the feet back together, as it is prohibited to add “steps” beyond the 3 required ones.)


A left handed person, reverses the aforementioned order, and takes the first step with their right foot etc. (Biur Halacha quoting the Chayei Adam and Shulchan Aruch HaRav). The reason is that we want to “step away” from Hashem with our weaker foot, so it should seem difficult for us to take leave of Hashem (See Mishna Berura Siman 123:13)


2) Some Poskim maintain that these measurements, which are derived from the way Kohanim must stand during the Avodah, are not applicable to women. (Sefer Ishei Yisroel, quoting Sefer Orach Ne’eman Siman 123:11)


The prevalent Minhag, however, is for women to indeed follow the same procedure as men when taking the steps back after Shemnona Esrei.


Halachos for Sunday, October 13,  2013



1) Women should also recite Krias Shema SheAl HaMitah before going to bed, as the primary reason for its recital is for Shmirah, protection, and women also require protection. (Elya Rabbah and Pri Megadim Siman 239)


2) Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita (in Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 198) quotes in the name of Rav Meir Premishlaener Zatzal that women should say the Bracha of Hamapil, as saying it is a Segulah to not miscarry a child.


Thus, even according to those opinions that maintain that women are exempt from the complete Krias Shma Al HaMitah, there is still a good reason for them to say HaMapil. (See the Teshuva of Rav Sternbuch Shlita  at length that according to all opinions, women should say the first parsha of Shma, V’Hee Noam, B’Yadcha Afkid Ruchi, and Bracha of HaMapil)


Halachos for Monday , October 14,  2013


1) As we mentioned earlier, women are not obligated to daven with a minyan.


However, many stories are found in Chazal and the Poskim regarding the  big heavenly  rewards afforded to  women who do in fact frequent the Ezras Nashim (women’s section in Shul) to take part in Tefilah B’Tzibur. (See Yalkut Shimoni Parshas Eikev Siman 871. See Talmud Bava Metziah 107b).


2) However, women who do go to Shul must be careful not to squander their rewards for doing so, by coming to Shul inappropriately dressed or by spending their time in Shul with idle chatter (or even worse: Lashon Hara and Rechilus, G-d forbid) and thus desecrating the holiness of the Ezras Nashim [which has holiness just as the Shul does](See Igeres HaGra that the Gaon of Vilna wrote to his wife and daughters regarding this)


Halachos for Tuesday , October 15,  2013


1) M’Ikar Hadin, women are not obligated in Tefilas Mussaf of Shabbos, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh, as these Tefilos were enacted as a commemoration of the Korbanos, and women were not obligated to donate to or partake of those Korbanos (being that they are time-bound Mitzvos)


2) However, being that women throughout the ages did in fact accept upon themselves to daven all tefilos, the prevalent custom (for those women who daven all other tefilos) is for them to daven Musaf as well. (See Shu”y Besamim Rosh Siman 89 and Shu”t Sho’el U’Meishiv, Madurah Tinyana, Vol. 2 Siman 55)


Halachos for Wednesday , October 16,  2013


1) A married woman who wants to eat something [before she herself davens] on Shabbos morning,  before her husband finishes davening in Shul is permitted to do so without first reciting Kiddush. (Ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal in Igros Moshe  Orach Chaim Vol. 4  Siman 101:2. See at length for the reasoning)


However, once davening is over in Shul, even if the husband lingers and isn’t home yet, she must recite Kiddush before eating anything.


2) The above applies to married women only. Single girls who want to eat something before their fathers come home from shul, even if it is before they themeselves davened, require Kiddush first. (ibid.)


Halachos for Thursday , October 17,  2013


1) M’Ikar Hadin, Krias Shma, Tefila and all Brachos may be recited in any language that one understands, not just the original Lashon Kodesh. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 62:2)


However, nowadays the prevalent ruling is to require it be said in the original Lashon Kodesh as it is written in the Torah. (See Mishna Berura ibid. S”K 3 for the reason)


2) The Mishna Berura, however, is lenient for women and allows them to recite Krias Shma, and all Tefilah and Brachos in any language that they understand, if for whatever reason they cannot recite it in its original Hebrew form. (See Mishna Berura Siman101 S”K 18)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , October 18,  2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Single girls who are not obligated cover their hair when they are in public, as married women are (See Mishna Berura Siman 75 S”K 10) may daven with their hair uncovered as well, according to the ruling of Ashkenazic Poskim.


2)Some Sephardic Poskim (including HaRav Ovadia Yoseph Zatzal, in Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 6 Siman 15) rule that it is proper for single girls to cover their heads when davening Shemona Esrei.


For halacha L’ma’aseh each girl should consult with her Rav.



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) The Rama (Siman 88:1) writes that the custom is that women during the time when they are in an active state of Niddah should not enter  a Shul , gaze at a Sefer Torah or even daven privately or otherwise recite the name of Hashem. (See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 193:16)


The Bais Yosef (Siman 88) and the Mishna Berura (Siman 88 S”K 5) cite Rabbeinu Yerucham who disagrees and declares this a Minhag Ta’us, an erroneous custom. (See Shu”t Yad Haleivi Orach Chaim Siman 12)


The prevalent ruling nowadays indeed is for women to always daven, recite brachos and attend Shul regardless of their Niddah status. (See Chayei Adam Klal 13:38 and Mishna Berura Siman 88 S”K 7)


However, they should indeed refrain from gazing at the open Torah scroll while they are in a state of Niddah and refrain from visiting a cemetery until after they have been to the Mikvah. (Mishna Berura ibid.)


2) If a woman wants to be stringent and refrain from entering Shul during her time of impurity, she may abide by this stringency. However, she must continue to daven and recite brachos privately. (See Mishna Berura Siman 88 S”K 6 quoting Shu”t Binyamin Zev Siman Siman 153. See also Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 4 Siman 4)



During the Yamim Noraim and days of Selichos, all agree that women may attend Shul regardless of their personal state of impurity, and they shouldn’t even try and be stringent during this time period. (Rama ibid. See also Mateh Ephraim Siman 181:25)


Halachos for Sunday , October 20,  2013


1) There are a plethora of opinions amongst the Poskim as to a woman’s obligation to learn Torah and as  to her obligation to teach her children Torah and to educate them (Chinuch) in the performance of Mitzvos. 


We will not delve into all of the discussions as that is beyond the scope of this email. We will just touch upon a few points and opinions about this topic.


2) The Talmud (Yerushalmi Sotah Perek 3:4 and other places) forbids the teaching of Torah to women.


The “prohibition” for women to learn Torah does not apply to Torah Shebiksav (the written Torah), only to Torah Sheba’al Peh (The oral Torah). (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 246:6)


Additionally, all Halachos that pertain to women are permitted and even mandatory for them to learn, know and follow. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 246:6)


Being that there are parts of Torah that are obligatory for women to learn, they are thus obligated in reciting Birchos HaTorah each morning. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 47:14 and Magen Avrohom there.)

Halachos for Monday , October 21,  2013


1) The general rule is “Whoever is obligated to learn [Torah] is obligated to teach it”. Thus, according to many Poskim a mother is not obligated to teach her children Torah nor is she responsible to educate them (Chinuch). (See Talmud Kidushin 29b and Nazir 29a,  Rambam beginning of Hilchos Talmud Torah, Magen Avraham Siman 343:1 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 343:4)


A mother is, however, obligated to raise her children to avoid transgressing Torah commandments, and surely may not assist them in transgressing any negative commandments. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 181:6)


2) Many Poskim, however, maintain that mothers are indeed equally as  obligated as fathers in the Chinuch of their sons and daughters. (See Tosefos Eruvin 82a Dibur Hamaschil Katan and Orach Nishor Maseches Nazir 29a. See also Aruch Hashulchan Siman 343 and Mishna Berura Siman 343 S”K 2. Regarding chinuch of daughters, see Meshech Chochma Parashas Vayeira Perek 18 Posuk 19)



Halachos for Tuesday , October 22,  2013


1) If the father is deceased, and the mother is raising her children on her own, according to all opinions she is now obligated in educating her children in the study of Torah as well as in the observance of Torah. (See Talmud Eiruvin 82b and Shu”t Imrei Yosher Vol. 1 Siman 3)


2) Even though a woman is not obligated in teaching her children Torah and its observance, if she does assist her children (or her husband) in their study of Torah, she shares the great heavenly reward with them.  (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 246:6)



Halachos for Wednesday , October 23,  2013


1) Although we cited a lot of sources from the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch and other Poskim that make it pretty clear that women should not learn Torah She’ba’al Peh, nowadays when the “Emunah” of many people is much weaker than it used to be, it is of primal importance for girls and women to learn Chumash, Navi, Musar, Pirkei Avos and other segments of Torah that can strengthen their Emunah. (See Chofetz Chaim in Likutei Halacha Sotah Perek 3)


Furthermore, the “prohibition” for women to learn Torah was in place for the average woman [in those days when there was no formal Torah education for girls], but women that were intellectually capable of studying Torah were never included in the “prohibition”. (See Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah Perek 1 Halacha 13 where he writes that “most” women are incapable of learning and understanding Torah Sheba’al Peh properly. See also Prisha to Tur Yoreh Deah Siman 246:6)


Many women nowadays are educated and intellectual (thanks in large part to Frau Sara Schneirer Z"L), and thus may be allowed to learn Torah Sheba’al Peh. Of course, every woman should follow her family’s traditions and the guidance of her Rav.


2) Below is a short list of “intellectual” women throughout history who indeed studied, and even tought, Torah. ( With appreciation to daily reader, Y.S. for bringing some of the following information to my attention and for the inspiration to post this info)


The daughters of Tzelafchad were learned in Torah. (See Sifri Bamidbar 27:4)


Devorah the prophetess and other prophetesses in our history were known to disseminate Torah and  rule on Torah issues.


The Talmud ( See Pesachim 62b and Eruvin 54b ) relates that Bruria, Rabbi Meir's wife, was a Torah scholar.


Rashi is said to have studied Torah and Talmud with his daughters, who were outstanding Talmidei Chachamim. (Rashi had no sons)


See Shu”t Teshuva M’Ahava (Vol. 2 Siman 295) where he relates that the esteemed daughter of Rav Dovid Oppenheim wrote a megilah and expounded upon the permissibility of reading from it.


The Shu”t Tashbatz (Vol. 3 Siman 75) cites a woman who was an outstanding Torah scholar.


See Bach (Yoreg Deah Siman 188) where he cites Rav Zanvil Katz who learnt a halacha in an important topic from a woman.


The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh  studied is commentary to the Torah with his daughters. (Sefer HaTorah V’HaOlam by Rav Nissim Telushkin)



The MaHarshal (Siman 29)  relates that his grandmother, Harabanit Miriam, headed a yeshiva for many years and indeed sat in a tent and gave Torah lectures to the Bachurim.


Rav  Yitzhak Hutner Zatzal, Rosh yeshiva Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin is known to have taught Talmud in depth to his daughter,   Rebbetzin Beruriah David, dean of Beth Jacob Jerusalem Seminary.



Halachos for Thursday , October 24,  2013



Review of Halachos of Hadlokas Neiros Shabbos:



1) The lighting of candles in every Jewish home prior to the onset of Shabbos is an obligation M’divrei Sofrim (a term used to describe biblical obligations that aren’t explicitly written in the Torah, rather derived by Chazal, who are also referred to as Sofrim, via the 13 Midos SheHaTorah nidreshes Bahen, various Halachic Drashos that were handed down from Har Sinai as a blueprint to extrapolate laws from the Torah’s text.See Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos, shoresh Rishon and  Keren Orah to Moed Katan 2a and Chida in Birchei Yosef  Orach Chaim Siman 530)


The Jewish nation already  lit Shabbos candles in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu. (See P’sikta Zutrasa Perek 35:3)


2) The reason for these lights is that there is an obligation of Oneg Shabbos, having a pleasurable Shabbos, and we can’t have pleasure unless we have light.


Additionally, having candles adds to the Kavod of Shabbos, the honor of Shabbos. (See Talmud Shabbos 25 b and Rashi, Tosefos and Meiri there. See also Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:1 and 2)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , October 25,  2013

 Double portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) The main Mitzvah of Neiros Shabbos is to have them lit and standing on or near the table during the Shabbos evening meal as to derive pleasure from their light. (See Rama Siman 263:10 and Mishna Berura S”K 45)


Some have the custom to light the candles on a shelf on the south side of the room where the Seudah is being eaten. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:68)


2) Aside from the candles near the table, there is an obligation to have light (candles or any source of light including electric lamps) in all areas in the home that will be used over Shabbos in order to ensure that nobody stumbles or otherwise gets hurt due to darkness, and thereby disturb the harmony in the home (Shalom Bayis). (See Rashi to Shabbos 25b Dibur Hamaschil Chovah, Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:3 and Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 2)

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) The candles on or near the table should be long enough so that they remain lit for the duration of the Seudah. (See Derech Hachaim page 78)


Thus it is important to buy extra-long candles for the Pesach Seder, the eve of Simchas Torah and any other times when the Shabbos or Yom Tov Seudah extends later into the night than usual.


The light in the other areas of the home should remain lit at least until the members of the household go to sleep for the night. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 3 and K’Tzos Hashulchan Siman 74)


2) If it is usual for members of the household to get up during the night to learn Torah, feed a baby, use the restroom or for any other reasons, it is proper to ensure that some lights remain on in those areas where they will use, for the entire night. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu ibid. quoting the Ben Ish Chai in Shu”t Rav P’alim Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 30)


Halachos for Sunday , October 27,  2013


1) The Bracha recited when lighting the Shabbos candles is “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu L’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbos... Blessed are You Hashem, our G-d, Master of the world, who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbos”. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:5)


Even though more than one candle is lit, the text of the Bracha remains in the singular, “Ner” and not in the plural, “Neiros”, as the obligation of lighting Shabbos candles can be fulfilled even with one candle. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:22)


2) The Ashkenazi custom is to light the candles first, cover the eyes, recite the Bracha and then uncover the eyes to have enjoyment from the lights. (See Rama Siman 263:5 where he writes to “cover the fire”, however the custom is to cover the eyes. According to Kabalistic sources it is also imperative to close the eyes while reciting this Bracha, and not just to cover the eyes.)


The reason for this is that ideally the Bracha, like all brachos on Mitzvos, should be recited before the kindling (Over L’Asiyasan), but there is a concern that once the Bracha is recited it may be considered an acceptance of Shabbos and then it will be prohibited to kindle a flame. Thus the custom developed to light the flame first and cover the eyes while reciting the Bracha and that is considered as if the Bracha has been recited before kindling the flame. (See Rama Siman 263:5 and Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:10)


Some people do indeed recite the Bracha first and then light the candles. (Rama ibid. This is the custom of some who follow the Sephardic traditions. See Ohr L’Tzion Perek 18:3)



Halachos for Monday , October 28,  2013


1) When lighting Neiros before the onset of Yom Tov that falls out on a weekday, the Bracha recited is “Baruch Ata Hashem... L’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov”


When Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos, the Bracha recited is “Baruch Ata Hashem...L’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbos V’Shel Yom Tov”


2) When Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos the same procedure as Shabbos is followed, as we described in the previous Halachos.


However, when Yom Tov falls out on a weekday, and the candles are being lit on Erev Yom Tov, as is done on Erev Shabbos, many Poskim rule to recite the Bracha first and then light the candles, while some rule that the procedure followed on Erev Shabbos should be followed here as well, and the candles should be lit, the eyes covered and the Bracha recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:27)


If the candles are being lit on Yom Tov, as is the custom of some people to not light Yom Tov candles at the onset of Yom Tov, rather to light them only after the men return from Shul and are ready to eat the Seudah, then all agree that the Bracha should be recited first and then the candles lit. (See Mateh Efraim Siman 625:33 and Elef L’Mateh footnote 50)



Halachos for Tuesday , October 29,  2013


1) The Bracha is recited over the candles that are kindled in the place where the Seudah will be held, as that is the main place where light is needed, and the Bracha will exempt any other candles or lights that are lit in any other areas in the home. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 2 and 45)


2) However, in instances where the candles will be lit in a place other than where the Seudah will be (e.g. a Yeshiva student that will be eating the Seudah not in the place where he resides, and thus will be lighting candles in his apartment where he sleeps but will not be eating) the Bracha is indeed recited over the candles in whatever place they are placed in order to use their light. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:29)



Halachos for Wednesday , October 30,  2013


1) Although the obligation to light Shabbos candles in every Jewish home is for both men and women, traditionally it has become a Mitzvah for the women to light and thus exempt their husbands and other members of the household.


One reason cited for this Mitzvah being the woman’s Mitzvah is a practical one: the woman is in charge of the household needs and is more often found at home thus this household Mitzvah was given to her. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:3)


Another reason given, based on the teachings of kabbalah, for this Mitzvah “belonging” to women is as follows:


The first woman, Chava, Eve, extinguished the candle of the world, i.e. she caused Adam to sin, and thereby darkened his soul (which is likened to a candle as the Posuk,Mishlei 20:27,states “Ner Hashem Nishmas Adam- the candle of Hashem is the soul of man”) and caused death to descend on mankind.


Therefore, as a rectification for the first sin, woman-kind has been given the task of once again illuminating the world, via the kindling of the Shabbos lights. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)


2) Since the man of the house is also obligated in the performance of this Mitzvah, he should prepare the candles for the woman by inserting the candles/oil into the candelabra or similar preparations, to at least have some part in the Mitzvah.(Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)


Many men also have the Minhag of preparing the candles by lighting them and then extinguishing them, thus making them kindle easier when the woman later lights them for Shabbos.


Halachos for Thursday , October 31,  2013


1) In the event that there is no woman present in the home to light, the man of the house is obligated to light Shabbos candles.


If an older daughter, above the age of Bas Mitzvah, is present in the home there is a debate amongst the Poskim as to who takes precedence, the man of the house, as it is his obligation, or his daughter, as she is a female and this mitzvah is traditionally performed by females when possible.


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal rules that the man of the house takes precedence. (Ruling quoted in “The Radiance of Shabbos” by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita, page 7. See also Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43 footnote 46)


Other Poskim maintain that either of them can light the main candles and recite the Bracha and exempt the other one, and the other should kindle the lights in the other rooms of the home as those are also a component of the Mitzvah. (Ruling of Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Or Haner Perek 1:4 footnote 25)


2) A girl below the age of Bas Mitzvah may not exempt the household with the lighting of Shabbos candles. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 675:3 and Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43:48)


Thus, even in those homes where the custom is for all the girls to light their own Shabbos candles, as is the Chabad minhag and as was the custom in various communities in pre-war Europe, still if the mother or older daughter is not present, the man of the house will need to light and he cannot rely on the candles of the girls below the age of twelve, as their lighting is only for Chinuch purposes and not obligatory.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , November 1,  2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) M’Ikar Hadin, according to the letter of the law, only one candle needs to be lit to fulfill the obligation to light Shabbos lights.


However, the custom is to light a minimum of two candles.


The two candles represent the two words the Torah uses to describe Shabbos observance (one in the first Luchos, the Ten Commandments, in Parashas Yisro and the other in the second Luchos in Parashas V’Eschanan):


a) “Zachor” Es Yom HaShabbos, remember the Shabbos day

b) “Shamor” Es Yom HaShabbos, Guard the Shabbos day.

(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:1)


2) It is a Mitzvah to have a lot of candles.


Some people light ten candles, representing the Aseres Hadibros, the Ten Commandments. Others light seven candles, representing the days of the week. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 6. Those who light seven candles should not do so using candelabra with seven branches, regardless of its shape, as it is prohibited to replicate the Menorah that was in the Bais Hamikdash which had seven branches. See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 141:8 and Shach there Os 35 and Pischei teshuva Os 14 )


The prevalent Minhag is to start off lighting two candles, and to add an additional candle for each subsequent child that is born to the family, e.g. a family with four children lights six candles.



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

1) According to some Poskim, even when adding additional candles, the main two candles representing “Zachor” and “Shamor” should be placed away from the others so they are recognizable as the “main” candles. (See Darchei Moshe Siman 263:1 and Ra’avyah Siman 199. However, from the language of the Rama in Siman 263:1 it doesn’t seem like he ruled this way.)


2) Even those that light additional candles each Erev Shabbos when they are lighting at home (be it one for each child, seven, ten or any other amount) need only light two candles when lighting as a guest in someone else’s home.


However, whenever lighting at home the amount that is usually lit must be adhered to, and may not be lessened. (See Rama ibid. and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil SheShakcha.)


Even if the woman of the house is not present and the husband or another family member is lighting, they must light the same amount of candles that the woman usually lights every week in that home. (Ruling of Rav Nisim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Ohr Haner Perek 1:5 footnote 31)


Halachos for Sunday , November 3,  2013


1) We mentioned earlier that even though the Mitzvah of lighting candles is traditionally performed by women, still the man of the house should set up the candles in order to take part in the Mitzvah. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)


I found an interesting Remez, allusion, to this minhag based on the words of the Mishna (Shabbos Perek 2 Mishna 6), from HaRav Akiva Eiger Zatzal in his commentary to Mishnayos, Tosefos Rav Akiva Eiger, as follows:


The Mishna says that three things cause women to die during childbirth, “Al She’ainan Zehiros B’Nidah, U’Bchallah, U’B'Hadlokas HaNer, due to them not being scrupulous with [Halachos of] Nidah, [removing of] Challah and lighting the Shabbos candles”


Why does the Mishna not simply say “B’Nidah, U’Bchallah, U’BNer” as is the method used to refer to the other two (without any descriptive action preceding the word Nidah or Challah), but rather says “B’Hadlokas HaNer, with the lighting of the candle”


HaRav Akiva answers that from the wording of the Mishna you see that only the lighting of the candles is incumbent on the woman, whereas the setting up of the candles is not her concern and is the man’s part of the Mitzvah.


2) If by having the man light the candles in preparation for the woman’s lighting later on it will cause the candles to not light as nicely, as is common with the candles on the market nowadays that burn more beautifully the first time they are lit, some say that he should indeed not pre-light them and instead prepare them in other ways, i.e. set up the candelabra, insert the candles or oil etc. (Ruling of the Chazon Ish Zatzal quoted in Sefer Dinim V’Hanhagos 9:1)



Halachos for Monday , November 4,  2013



1) Shabbos candles must be lit using wicks and a burning substance that produces a nice and even flame. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 264 at length)


The ideal way to perform the Mitzvah of Shabbos candles is by using olive oil. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 264:6)


One who is scrupulous to use olive oil to light the Shabbos candles will merit children who will light up the world with their Torah [knowledge], which is compared to olive oil. (See Chida in Machzik Bracha Siman 264:2 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 264:38)


2) The wax candles that are common nowadays burn beautifully, and may indeed be better than any other substances, possibly even better than olive oil, as the candles burn brighter and steadier and often give off more and brighter light. (See Mishna Berura Siman 264:23 and Siman 275:4. See also Dibros Moshe from Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal Maseches Shabbos Perek 2 footnote 23 and Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 4)


Thus, in order to satisfy all opinions, many scrupulous people light the two main lights using olive oil and for the rest they use candles. This is a praiseworthy thing to do.



Halachos for Tuesday , November 5,  2013


1) When lighting the Shabbos candles, it is best to light the candle that is closest to you first and then move on to the one behind that and continue to the ones further away until they have all been kindled.


The reason for this is due to the rule of “Ain Ma’avirin Al Hamitzvos”, the obligation to not pass over any Mitzvah that is in front of you in order to do a different Mitzvah that is further away.(See Mishna Berura Siman 676:11 and Sha’ar HaTziyun Os 19)


2) If, however, by lighting the front candles first it will be difficult or dangerous to then reach over the already lit candles and light the rear candles, the rear candles may be lit first.



Halachos for Wednesday , November 6,  2013


1) It is a praiseworthy custom for women to put a few coins (or dollar bills) into the Tzedakah box before lighting the Shabbos candles. Many women have set aside a special “Erev Shabbos pushka, charity box” for this purpose. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 75:2. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:34 that for kabalistic reasons it is good to specifically give three coins to Tzedakah at this time.)


2) It is proper for every Jewish woman, after she kindles and recites the Bracha on the Shabbos candles, to daven to Hashem to bless her with children who will illuminate the world with their Torah, i.e. children who are Talmidei Chachamim, Torah scholars. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:2)

Women who experience difficult labor when giving birth, and especially women that have not yet merited having children, should recite the Haftarah of the first day of Rosh Hashanah [which details the story of Chana's childlessness and her ultimate giving birth to her son Shmuel the prophet] each Friday evening after lighting the Shabbos candles.


This Segulah works best when the woman understands what she is saying, and not simply reading words without meaning. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid.)



Halachos for Thursday , November 7,  2013


1) When kindling the Shabbos candles, the match or other fire being used to light the candles should be held there in the igniting position until the wick on the candle catches on and is burning nicely and steadily (i.e. when the hand with the igniting fire is removed, the candle should not be fighting for life as it sometimes is when the match or lighter is only brushed against the wick quickly and then removed, often resulting in the candle extinguishing and needing to be rekindled), similar to the requirement in the Bais HaMikdash when kindling the Menorah. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 264:8 and Mishna Berura S”K 26)


2) It is permitted to light one Shabbos candle directly from another without the aid of a match or other igniter, and there is no concern of Bizui Mitzvah, disrespecting the Mitzvah, as all of them are candles of Mitzvah.


However, it is prohibited to light a match or a non-Mitzvah candle directly from the fire of a burning Shabbos candle, even if the purpose of lighting this match is to then light another Shabbos candle. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:4)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , November 8,  2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) As we discussed earlier, most women of Ashkenazi descent, and even many of Sephardic lineage as well, light the Shabbos candles and only then recite the Bracha, as their recitation of the Bracha is considered for them as accepting Shabbos and thus they may not kindle the lights or do any other prohibited Melachos after the Bracha was recited.


2) As long as the Bracha was not yet recited, even though the candles were all lit, according to many Poskim it is not yet considered Shabbos for her, and thus she may extinguish the match with which she kindled the candles, or do any other Melacha for that matter. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:14 and Biur Halacha Siman 263:1 end of Dibur Hamaschil Shtei Pesilos.)


Other Poskim, however, maintain that immediately upon lighting the candles, it is considered for her an acceptance of Shabbos, and she may not do any Melachos, even though she did not yet recite the Bracha.


Thus, many women have the custom to not extinguish the match with which they lit the candles, rather they place it carefully on the tray and let it go out by itself, or in some households, the husband or another member of the household takes the lit match from her and extinguishes it. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek43 footnote 179. See also Ben Ish Chai; year 2 Parashas Noach Siman 8 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:62)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Once a woman kindles [and recites the Bracha over] the Shabbos candles it is Shabbos for her even if it is still before sunset on Friday afternoon. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 263:10. In cases of great necessity she may sometimes light candles and stipulate that she is not accepting Shabbos with this lighting, and then she would be allowed to do Melachos after lighting. However, a Rav must be consulted as to how early before sunset she may light in such a case and also to determine if this stipulation works for her in the first place in her particular situation. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:4)


A woman who regularly davens Mincha, must make sure to do so before she lights the Shabbos candles.


If she did not daven before lighting, she may not daven afterwards, as it is already Shabbos for her and she can no longer say the Mincha of Friday. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:43)


2) If a man is going to be lighting the Shabbos candles, and he wants to still do Melacha afterwards, it is best for him to stipulate (in his mind or verbally) that he does not intend to accept Shabbos yet by lighting the candles. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:42 and Siman 261:21)


If, however, he did not make the stipulation, and he wants to do Melacha after lighting the candles, he may do so B’Dieved (ibid. and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman75:7).


Furthermore, a man may daven Mincha for Friday after he lights the Shabbos candles, even L’Chatchila, as his lighting is not yet an indication of accepting the sanctity of Shabbos as it is with a woman. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid.)



Halachos for Sunday , November 10,  2013


1) The Shabbos candles should ideally remain in the same spot where they were kindled, and should not be moved to another spot after lighting [and reciting a Bracha on] them. (Rama Siman 263:10)


This is the case even in the event that a stipulation was made to not accept the sanctity of Shabbos immediately after lighting the candles. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:47)


2) In cases of necessity when they must be moved, they can only be moved within the same house, and even then only from one place that will be used [via these candles or via another light source in the room] on Shabbos to another place that will also be used [via these candles or via another light source in the room].


However, if either the original place where it was lit or the current place to where it is now be moved is not a place that will be used on Shabbos, the lighting is not valid even B’Dieved. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:48. He also quotes the Chayei Adam that those women who on Sukkos light the candles in the Sukkah and then move them into the house, are not acting properly.)


Halachos for Monday , November 11,  2013


1) It is important not to act in a disrespectful way in the presence of the Shabbos candles.


Thus, a child should not be totally or semi unclothed in the presence of the candles, nor should a child’s diaper be changed or other disgraceful things be done or placed in front of the candles. (See Rama end of Siman 275 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 275:41 and 42. This Halacha applies to the Havdalah candle as well as to any candles used for a Mitzvah.)


2) A woman who lit the candles and is certain that she forgot to recite the Bracha when doing so, as long as it is before sunset, and thus still within the time when she would halachically be able to kindle the lights, may recite the Bracha when she remembers.


If it is after sunset, she may no longer recite the Bracha. (See Biur Halacha Siman 263:5 Dibur Hamaschil K’sheyadlik Yevarech)


The above is true even if she accepted the sanctity of Shabbos upon herself with the lighting. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita, based on language of Biur Halacha ibid.)


Halachos for Tuesday , November 12,  2013


1) If a woman is blind R”L, ideally her husband should recite the Bracha over the Shabbos candles in her stead. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:14)


If the blind woman is alone in her home she may still recite a Bracha over the Shabbos candles. (Mogen Avraham Siman 263:9 quoted in Mishna Berura ibid. The reasoning is that blind people also benefit from light, as others are able to see and assist them when there is light. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 69:2)


2) If other people are eating the Shabbos Seudah together with the blind woman, and they lit candles with a Bracha in the room where they are eating the Seudah, her candles can be lit [with a Bracha] in another room where the light will enable them to assist her, but if she lights in the same room as them she should not recite the Bracha. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita based on Mishna Berura ibid.)


Halachos for Wednesday, November 13,  2013

1) If one will be eating the Shabbos Seudah away from home, but will be coming home to sleep, the Shabbos candles should be lit at home as usual, however, additional lights or lamps should be turned on as well. (See Shvus Yitzchok Perek 5:3 and 4 for the reasons it’s better to light at home than to light at the host’s home where the Seudah will be)


When turning on these lights or lamps it should be with specific intent that they are for the purposes of Shabbos light, and the Bracha recited over the candles will cover these lights as well.


2) The reason for this is that when they return home later that night after the candles already burned out, they will still have light L’Kavod Shabbos and for Shalom Bayis, as otherwise the Bracha, if recited over the candles alone, would have been in vain as no benefit was derived from them. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:2)




Halachos for Thursday, November 14,  2013


1) If one will be eating the Shabbos eve Seudah away from home and be returning to their home later that night, and will be leaving to their destination on Friday afternoon, they may already light the candles in their own home any time after Plag Hamincha (between 45 and 75 minutes before sunset, depending on time of year. For exact time of Plag Hamincha on a particular day please visit and  enter your zip code), as after this time anybody can already light the Shabbos candles and accept upon themselves the sanctity of Shabbos (unless they stipulated otherwise, which we will B’Ezras Hashem discuss further, tomorrow.) (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:4.)


2) However, if they need to leave home before Plag Hamincha in order to get to their destination on time, they cannot light Shabbos candles at home before they leave. (ibid.)


Rather, they should leave on the electric lights/lamps that they will need when they return home, but only light the Shabbos candles in the house where they will be eating.


Regarding the Bracha on the candles they are lighting in the host’s home, it is best if they listen to the Bracha of the hostess as she lights her candles, and be exempted by her. (Based on Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:8, as in this case it is possible that the obligation has been satisfied by leaving the lights/lamps on in their own home, and thus no Bracha may be required in the host’s home for these additional candles.)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 15,  2013

 Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) As we learned yesterday, a woman who is not eating the Shabbos eve Seudah in her own home and leaves her home before Shabbos, but will be walking back home later that night to sleep in her own home, should light candles in her home any time after Plag Hamincha.


If after lighting the candles, the woman wants to drive to where she will be eating the Shabbos Seudah, she has to make a stipulation before lighting that, this time, she does not want to accept the sanctity of Shabbos with the lightingof the candles. (If no stipulation was made she may not even travel by taxi or bus as a passenger, as it is disrespecting Shabbos to be driven in a vehicle after the sanctity of Shabbos has set in. See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43 footnote 136)


2) Although this stipulation should only be made in cases of necessity, many Poskim rule that this case is considered necessity. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Ohr HaNer Perek 4 footnote 78. Of course, every individual must consult their own Rav before executing this stipulation to ensure that their particular circumstance fits the criteria of “necessity”. See Mishna Berura Siman 263:44)


It goes without saying that this stipulation, to postpone the acceptance of the sanctity of Shabbos, does not work beyond sunset.



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) After making the aforementioned stipulation, she should light the candles and the other lights/lamps around the house with intent that it should be benefitted from when she returns home later that night, and then recite the Bracha over the candles as usual. (Ideally, the candles should be long enough to still be burning when she returns home, as according to many Poskim the Bracha cannot be recited if, when she returns home, benefit will only be derived from the electric lights. Other Poskim are more lenient. A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.)


2) Later on when she is at the host’s home and the time for Hadlokas Neiros arrives, she should accept upon herself the sanctity of Shabbos at the time that she usually lights when she is at home. (Preferably she should do this verbally by saying “I now accept upon myself the sanctity of Shabbos for the purpose of ‘Tosefes Shabbos’, the Mitzvah to accept Shabbos earlier than the actual time it arrives. This verbalization is not necessary when a woman lights the candles at the regular time, as then her action of lighting the candles serves as her way of accepting the sanctity of Shabbos earlier than sunset. See Mishna Berura Siman 261:21)


Halachos for Sunday, November 17,  2013


1) Generally, in a public place, such as a hotel, a hospital or similar, it isn’t possible, for valid safety concerns, to light candles in the private room where one is staying.


Therefore, one who finds themselves in such a place should turn on the light/lamp in their room with intent that this should be in place of the Shabbos candles in their room, and then they should go and light the candles in the designated room, preferably the public dining room where the meal will take place. (If the only area given to light is the lobby or another area where no meal will take place, ideally, it is best  to try and eat something near the candles. Ruling of Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita)


2) Regarding the Bracha on the candles in this case, the prevalent minhag amongst Ashkenazim is to recite a Bracha, whereas Sephardim do not recite a Bracha, rather they can listen to an Ashkenazi woman’s Bracha and will thus be exempted for their own lighting.(See Sefer Ohr HaNer page 30 footnote 90 for a lengthy dialogue about this)


Halachos for Monday, November 18,  2013


1) The prevalent minhag is for a woman to light candles wherever she happens to be for Shabbos, even if she isn’t in her own home.


The above is the case even if her husband or other household members remained home and are lighting candles there.


It is, however, ideal in situations where her husband or another household member will be lighting in her home when she is away, to have specific intent, when lighting where she is, not to be exempted from the obligation to light candles via their lighting. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Sefer Ohr HeNer Page 34)


2) The minhag used to be that the first Shabbos after giving birth to a child, a woman would not light the candles but rather have her husband do so. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:11)


However, nowadays most women do in fact light the Shabbos candles themselves the first Shabbos after giving birth, as due to the advancement of modern medicine and the modern birthing procedures, most women are back on their feet shortly after giving birth, and can light in the room where the Seudah will take place and also be present themselves at the Seudah. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 11 Siman 2. This is also the ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and many other contemporary Poskim)

Halachos for Tuesday, November 19, 2013



1) A woman that negligently or even inadvertently didn’t light the Shabbos candles on a particular week must from that week on always add an additional candle to the usual amount that she lights. (Rama Siman 263:1)


If she forgot multiple times, she is required to always add an additional candle for each time she missed lighting Shabbos candles. (Mishna Berura Siman 263:7)


2) This requirement was imposed on her as a K’nas, a penalty, to ensure that she is more careful in the future with honoring the holy Shabbos.


However, if the woman missed due to being unable to light (Oi’nes) she is not required to add any additional candles. (Mishna Berura ibid.)



Halachos for Wednesday, November 20, 2013



1) This penalty is in place only if she didn’t light the candles at all, but if on a particular week she, for whatever reason, lit a lesser amount of candles than her usual number, there is no requirement to subsequently add any candles in future weeks, as M’Ikar Hadin only one candle is required to be lit each week, and this that we always light two, and add additional ones for each child, is just a minhag. (See Biur Halacha Siman 263:1 Dibur Hamaschil SheShakcha)


2) Seemingly, this would apply to Yom Tov as well, however, according to some Poskim, since on Yom Tov she can still remember to light for the duration of the evening meal and thus there is less of a chance of her totally forgetting, they did not institute this Knas on a scenario that is not likely (known in Halachic terms as ‘Milsa D’Lo Sh’chicha Lo Gazru’. See Shu”t Kinyan Torah Vol. 1 Siman 87. This is also the ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Shvus Yitzchok page 6)


Other Poskim, however, do require the extra candle to be added in the event that she missed a Yom Tov lighting. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 101 and Vol. 8 Siman 63. See also Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 3 and Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 7 Siman 35.)


Some Poskim rule that a woman who forgot to light on Yom Tov would only be required to add an additional candle each Yom Tov but not every Erev Shabbos.


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




Halachos for Thursday, November 21, 2013



1) When a woman nurses her son, she should begin on the left side, which is closer to the heart. (Tzava’ah of Rav Yehuda HaChasid, Tzava’ah 55. This is based on the Talmud Brachos 10a and Niddah 48b. See Shmiras HaGuf V’hanefesh Siman 146 that this applies only to nursing a male child and does not apply to a baby girl. Other Poskim, however, maintain that this applies to baby girls as well. See Likutei Halachos on Tzava’as Rav Yehuda HaChasid written by Rav Shabsi Vigder Shlita, page 169-170)   

2) There is no difference in regard to this Halacha between left handed women and right handed women, as it is due to the fact that the heart is on the left side. (Ruling of Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 22, 2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) When visiting a grave, some have the custom to say “Yehi Ratzon Sh’tehey Menuchaso Shel Ploni Po B’Kavod U’Zechuso Ya’amod Li, May it be the will [of Hashem] that the resting of the person here be with dignity and may his/her merit be beneficial for me.” (Be’er Heitev Orach Chaim Siman 224:8)   

2) The custom that people have to rip out some grass or pick up a stone and leave it on the Kever, is a show of respect to the one laying there, as  it shows that people  came to visit and pay their respect. (ibid.)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

1) While visiting a grave it is proper to place one’s hand on the Kever. (ibid. The Arizal maintained that one should never go within 4 Amos of a grave, besides during the time of burial. See Mishna Berurah Siman 559:41)


The Gaon of Vilna (in the Igeres HaGra) wrote that people should not go to cemeteries at all, especially women.


The prevalent custom, however,  is that we do in fact go to cemeteries, and do in fact go within 4 Amos and even touch the Kevarim.


However, many women while they are in state of  Niddah customarily do not go. (See Mishna Berurah Siman 88:7 and Bais Baruch to Chayei Adam Siman 3:38)


Halachos for Sunday, November 24, 2013


1) At all Shabbos and Yom Tov meals, there is an obligation to have “Lechem Mishneh”, two [complete] loaves of bread over which to recite the bracha of hamotzi.(See Aruch Hashulchan Siman 274:5)


This obligation is equally applicable to men and women. (See Mishna Berura Siman 274 S”K 1)


2) In some circles women are less scrupulous about Lechem Mishneh than are men, and if that is their family or communal custom they have on whom to rely.(See Shu”t  HaElef Lecha Shlomo Orach Chaim Siman 114 for an explanation)



Halachos for Monday, November 25, 2013



1) Women are obligated to eat three meals on Shabbos, just as men are.


Thus, they are obligated to eat the third meal, Seudah Shlishis (commonly referred to as ‘Shalosh seudos’) as well. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 291:6)


2) Ideally, this meal, like the first two meals of Shabbos,  should contain bread and have ‘Lechem Mishneh’. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 291:5 and Mishna Berura S”K 23)


However, B’dieved, if one is unable to eat bread (common in the short winter months when many people are still full from the morning meal) this meal can be fulfilled with mezonos items or fish or even with fruit. (ibid.)


Halachos for Tuesday, November 26, 2013


1) It is best for women to not recite Havdalah for themselves; rather they should listen to a male recite the Havdalah and be exempted that way. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 296:8)


2) In the event that no male is available to exempt her with havdalah, she should indeed recite it herself and also drink the wine afterwards. (See Mishna Berura Siman 296 S”K 35)



Halachos for Wednesday, November 27, 2013


1) When reciting Havdalah for herself, there is a debate amongst the Poskim if a woman may recite the bracha over the fire.


Some Poskim say she should omit that bracha, as that bracha is not part and parcel of havdala ,rather a bracha commemorating the creation of fire, which was created on the first Motzaei Shabbos, and as such is a time-bound Mitzvah in which she isn’t obligated. (See Biur Halacha Siman 296 Dibur Hamaschil Lo)


2) Other Poskim allow her to recite the Bracha as since  it has been inserted into the text of  havdalah it is thus considered part of it (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 14 Siman 42)


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



Halachos for Thursday, November 28, 2013


1) If a woman is ill or otherwise cannot recite Havdalah herself or hear it live from a male, may she hear it over the telephone?

There is a huge debate in the Poskim whether Brachos that are heard via the telephone or via a microphone [or on the radio] are considered as if you heard the Bracha or if what you are hearing is a digitally reproduced voice that sounds like the person speaking but in reality isn’t his/her voice at all.


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (in Shu”t Igros Moshe  Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 108 and in Vol. 4 Siman 126) writes that  Brachos heard via a microphone  do not suffice.  Thus it is best to be close enough to the one making the Bracha to hear his voice directly. (Many Rabbanim at weddings insist on having a Minyan of men close enough to the Chupah to hear the entire Kidushin and Sheva Brachos not via the microphone)


2) Regarding Havdalah or any other Brachos on the telephone, Rav Moshe Zatzal  writes (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 91) that B’Sha’as Hadchak, in extreme situations, it’s acceptable. (See also Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 2 Siman 113 and Vol. 3 Siman 38)


However, most Poskim agree that when hearing a Bracha via phone or microphone, Amen may and should be answered. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 91, Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:15 and Shu”t Minchas Elazar Vol. 2 Siman 72)


For halacha L’Ma’aseh, of course, a Rav must be consulted in every situation.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 29, 2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh



1) The Seudah of Melave Malka, though very important, is not the level of obligation as the three meals on Shabbos itself, as the three meals on Shabbos are obligatory based on a biblical verse (Asmachta D’Kra), whereas the Melave Malka is a Mitzvah not derived from a verse, rather something instituted by the Chachamim. (Mishna Berura Siman 300:2)


The practical application of the aforementioned distinction is for instances where on one cannot eat both Melave Malka and the three (or one of the three) Seudos of Shabbos; it is then better to skip Melave Malka rather than skip any of the Shabbos Seudos. (ibid.)


Additionally, if one has a limited quantity of food, or of a certain special food, he should rather use the food, or that special food for Seudos of Shabbos rather than for Melave Malka. (See Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 300 Os 9)


2) It is proper for women to also partake of the Melave Malka meal. (See Pri Megadim Aishel Avraham Siman 300:1. See Mogen Avraham Siman 299:15 quoting the Abudreham, that there was a minhag that women did not do any [real] chores on Motzaei Shabbos.)


The Seforim write in the name of the Rebbe Rav Elimelech of Lizensk Zatzal, that eating Melave Malka, for women, is a good Segulah for an easy labor.




Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) The Gaon of Vilna was extremely stringent with the eating of Melave Malka for men and women alike. Once, the wife of the Gaon accepted upon herself a fast immediately after eating Seudah Shlishis, and went to sleep right after Havdalah, without eating Melave Malka. When this became known to the Gaon, he sent someone to wake her up and tell her that her entire fasting would not be able to rectify what she will lose by missing one Seudas Melave Malka. She immediately awoke and ate. (See Tosefes Ma’aseh Rav 39)


2) There is a debate amongst the Poskim if Melave Malka is eaten on Motzaei Yom Tov as on Motzaei Shabbos.


Many Poskim rule that there is no obligation to eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov, and indeed many people follow this ruling. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 63:4. See also Shu”t Radvaz Siman 620 where he writes that there is no Neshama Yeseira on Yom Tov as on Shabbos)


However, other Poskim maintain that one should indeed eat Melave Malka on Motzaei Yom Tov as well. (This was the Minhag of the Chazon Ish Zatzal quoted in the back of Ta’ama D’Kra by Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita where he lists minhagim of the Chazon Ish he heard from his mother A”H, the sister of the Chazon Ish Zatzal. See also Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 3 Siman 292)


Halachos for Sunday, December 1, 2013


1) All Jews are obligated in the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles.


This applies to men, women and children (who have reached the age of Chinuch; approximately 5 or 6  years of age), as all Jews were saved in the miraculous victory of the Macabbees over the mighty Greek army. (Additionally, as we discussed in the previous Halachos, women are specifically  obligated in the Mitzvos of Chanukah, due to their being saved from the harsh decrees levied against them, via the heroic act of Yehudis, a woman)


2) The prevalent Minhag is for the male head of household to exempt all the female members of the house (adults and children alike), through the lighting of his menorah.(Amongst Sephardim, the head of household exempts everyone in the house, even other males)


The females being exempted should make sure to be present and listen to the recital of the Brachos [and answer Amen] while the menorah is kindled.(Mishna Berurah Siman 675:9)


Of course, if no man is available to exempt her, a women may light [and make the blessings over] her own menorah. A woman can also exempt other people with her lighting, when no man is available to do this. (See Smag Hilchos Chanukah, Taz 675:3, Magen Avraham ibid.)




Halachos for Monday, December 2, 2013


1) The Minhag is that women do not do “Melacha” (work or chores) for the first thirty minutes after the Chanukah menorah is lit.


2) Some have this Minhag on each of the eight nights of Chanukah (Shibolei HaLeket).

Others have this Minhag only on the first and last night of Chanukah (Shiltei Giborim, Kol Bo, MaHaril and others)



Halachos for Tuesday, December 3, 2013


1) According to some opinions, the type of “Melacha” that the women shouldn’t do  is any “Melacha” that is prohibited on any other Yom Tov (Levush, Bach, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and others).


According to other opinions, only Melachos that women refrain from doing on Rosh Chodesh and Chol HaMoed are prohibited, such as sewing, laundry, ironing etc., but baking, cooking etc. is allowed. (Moed L’Kol Chai, Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, Debreciner Rav in Be’er Moshe, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in the name of his father the Steipler Zatzal)

2) Some Poskim maintain that the minhag not to do Melacha applies to men as well. (Elya Rabba’s understanding of the MaHaril, Bach and a few others).


Most Poskim however, maintain that this is a special Minhag for women only, as they had particularly harsh decrees targeting them ,namely that all Jewish brides were required to spend the night with the Greek general before being allowed to get married and the women had a special part in the miracle of Chanukah. (referring to the story of Yehudis who slayed the Greek general, before he was able to defile her and through her heroic actions, the decree was abolished. See Tosafos Pesachim 108b D”H HaYu B’Oso Ha’Nes. See also Rashi Shabbos 21b D”H V’Asum that there is no Issur Melacha on Chanukah)




Halachos for Wednesday, December 4, 2013


1) If a man is blind, and married, his wife lights the menorah in their home, on behalf of both of them. (See Mogen Avraham Siman 675:4)


2) A blind woman, who does not have a husband or father  to light the menorah on her behalf, may light the Menorah herself, with the help of another person, and recite the brachos as well. (Based on Shu”t MaHarshal Siman 77 who rules this way for a blind man, and regarding hilchos Chanukah men and women are equally obligated.)



Halachos for Thursday, December 5, 2013

1) The reading of “Parashas Zachor”, which is read in Shul on the Shabbos preceding Purim, is a biblical obligation, which must be read once a year with a Minyan, from a kosher Sefer Torah.

All the congregants should concentrate on hearing every word from the Ba’al Koreh (as well as the Brachos before and after the Aliyah) and have in mind to satisfy their obligation to hear this Parasha.

The Poskim debate whether this obligation is incumbent on women as well.

2) Though most Poskim are lenient and maintain that women have no obligation to hear it is Shul, the prevalent Minhag in many communities is for women and girls to indeed come to Shul [if possible] to hear Parshas Zachor.

If a woman cannot make it to Shul, she should read the Pesukim herself from a Chumash.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , December 6, 2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) The obligation to give Machatzis HaShekel, traditionally given on Erev Purim, is for males over the age of 20, and according to some opinions for all males over the age of 13.

However, the prevalent custom is for every father to give a separate "Half" coin (or 3 coins) for each of his male children, and if his wife is pregnant, to give for the unborn child as well. (See Mishna Berura 694:5)

2) Women are exempt from giving Machatzis HaShekel (Mishna Maseches Shekalim Perek 1:3)

However, some Poskim bring the custom to indeed give Machtzis HaShekel for the women [as well as the female children] in the household. (Leket Yosher and Levush Siman 686)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) It is a Mitzvah –equally for  men and women- to hear the reading of Megilas Esther on Purim, as part of a large congregation (B'rov Am Hadras Melech), as this way the "Pirsumei Nisa- the broadcasting of the miracle of Hashem" will be greater. (See Mishna Berura Siman 687:7)


2) The obligation of Megilah for women is different than the obligation for men, in that women are only obligated to "hear" the Megilah, whereas men are obligated to "read" the Megilah.


In fact, according to many Poskim, when a man reads the Megilah for a woman, or if a woman reads the Megilah herself, the Bracha she recites is not "Boruch Ata Hashem...Al Mikra Megilah- on the reading of the Megilah" rather she says "Boruch Ata...LiShmoa Mikra Megila- on the hearing of the reading of Megilah" (Ram"a Siman 689:2 and Mishna Berura S"K 8. This is also the opinion of the Chayei Adam. However, the opinion of the Gaon of Vilna quoted in Ma'aseh Rav, as well as the Pri Chadash 689:2 and others is that even women recite "Al Mikra Megila")


Halachos for Sunday, December 8, 2013



1) Being that the obligation of Megilah for women is not the same as for men, a woman may not read the Megilah for men. She may, however, read the Megilah for another woman. (Mishna Berura Siman 689:7).


However, according to some Poskim, a woman may not read the Megilah for an entire group of women. (Sha'ar Hatziyun ibid. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal, however, allowed a woman to read for a group of women; see Halichos Shlomo page 330 in footnote 4)

L'Chatchila, however, a woman should not read the Megilah herself; rather she should hear it from a man, if at all possible.(Mogen Avraham quoted in Mishna Berura ibid. S" K 8)

2) All the Halachos of reading the Megilah  that apply to men, apply to women as well. (See archives of Hilchos Purim for further details)




Halachos for Monday, December 9, 2013


1) Although it is customary to dress up in costumes on Purim, care must be taken that women do not don men's clothing, and men do not wear women's clothing as doing so, according to many Poskim, will be a biblical transgression of "Lo Tilbash" as well as potentially being a problem of Pritzus.


This applies to children as well, and G-d fearing people should not treat this lightly. (See Mishna Berura Siman 696:30 and Be'er Heitev Os 13. See also Aruch HaShulchan and Siddur Ya'avetz who are very stringent with this.)

2) Care should also be taken to ensure that the costumes do not contain Sha'atnez (materials containing wool and linen together) as that is also a biblical transgression, and may not be transgressed even on Purim. (ibid.)




Halachos for Tuesday, December 10, 2013



1) Women are obligated in all the Mitzvos of Purim , Seudah, Mishloach Manos and Matanos L'Evyonim, just as men are.



2) The 15th of Adar, the day on which the Jews of Shushan as well as the Jews of Yerushalayim [and a few other walled cities] celebrate Purim, is referred to by those in the diaspora who already celebrated Purim on the 14th of Adar as "Shushan Purim".


Some people are stringent and also refrain from work on Shushan Purim. Others say this is only a stringency for women. (Abudreham quoted in the Darchei Moshe Siman 696:1).




Halachos for Wednesday, December 11, 2013



1) In certain communities it is customary for women to wash Mayim Achronim before Birchas Hamazon, while in other communities it is less prevalent for women to do so. 


 Both Minhagim are acceptable. (See Aruch HaShulchan 181:5,  Shu"t Teshuvos V'hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 174, Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 4Siman 23 and Shu"t V'Yevarech Dovid Siman 30)


2) It is a good practice to train children in the washing of Mayim Achronim (Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, quoted in Sefer Otzar Hamayim Chapter 4)



Halachos for Thursday, December 12, 2013



1) One who eats bread, and it satisfies their hunger is obligated biblically to recite Birchas HaMazon (Benching), as the Posuk Says (Devarim 8:10) "V'Achalta, V'Savata, U'Verachta- You shall eat, You shall be satiated, and you shall bless [and thank Hashem]" (See Talmud Brachos 48b)


The sages required reciting Birchas HaMazon after eating a Kzayis of bread (approximately 1.1 fl. oz.) within a certain time frame known as Kdei Achilas Pras (around 3-4 minutes), even if  it hasn't satiated you.



2) If less than a Kzayis of bread was eaten, no Benching (or any Bracha Achrona) is required. (Unlike the Bracha of Hamotzi, where even on a small bite, the Bracha is required.) (Mishna Berura Siman 184: 21 and 22)


Women are obligated in Birchas HaMazon. (Though there is a debate amongst the Poskim if their obligation is biblical or rabbinical. See Mishna Berura Siman 186:1 and 2. See also Shu"t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 48, Aruch HaShulchan 184:3 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 184:1)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, December 13, 2013

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) A women who inadvertently omitted Ya'aleh V'Yavo in  Birchas Hamazon on Yom Tov (except during the bentching at  the Pesach Seder), does not need to repeat the Bentching, as women may, M'Ikar Hadin, fast on Yom Tov.


2) However, if she omitted Retzei on Shabbos or Ya'aleh V'yavo during the bentching at the Pesach Seder, she does need to repeat, as she is obligated in Seudas Shabbos as well as in eating Matzah on Pesach. (See Shu"t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 1 and Sdei Chemed; Brachos;Asifas Dinim Siman 4:3)


Halachos for  Shabbos Kodesh


1) A woman who ate a meal with two men cannot join with them to form the group of three required to recite Birchas Hamazon with "Zimun". (See Shulchab Aruch Siman 199:6)


However, if three or more  men are forming a group to recite Birchas Hamazon with Zimun, a woman who ate with them is required to, join them in their Zimun. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 199:7)


2) A group of three or more women who ate together may perform Zimun as a group for themselves. (See Shulchab Aruch Siman 199:6)


Even if the women ate together with the men, if they want to split off for Bentching and have their own group for Zimun, they are permitted to do so. (Ruling of Shulchan Aruch HaRav quoted in Mishna berura Siman 199 S"K 18)


Halachos for Sunday , December 15, 2013


1) Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Kiddush Levana and should indeed refrain from reciting this bracha, due to various kabalistic reasons. (See Mishna Berura Siman 426 S"K 1)


2)Many Poskim maintain that women do not recite Birchas Hachama, the special bracha recited once every 28 years when the sun returns to the very spot it was at its creation. (See Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 56 and Shu”t Shoel U’meishiv; Mahadura Tinyana; Vol. 4 Siman168 for the reasoning)


Others allow women to recite the Bracha without Shem U’Malchus (Hashem’s name), and some Poskim allow them to say it properly.(See Shu”t Ksav Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 34)


For Halacha L’Maaseh,, every woman should follow the Psak of her Rav.



Halachos for Monday , December 16, 2013


1) Women are as equally obligated as men to fast on rabinically enacted fast days  fast days (17th of Tamuz, 9th of Av, 3rd of Tishrei and 10th of Teves) due to the bad things that transpired to Klal Yisroel on those days.(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 549:1)


2) Unless there is a valid reason for them to not fast (as we shall soon discuss) women should not disregard this obligation or treat it lightly. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 550:1)



Halachos for Tuesday , December 17, 2013


1) On the fasts of the 17th of Tamuz, the 3rd of Tishrei and 10th of Teves, it is permitted to shower, apply lotions and creams, wear leather shoes and engage in marital relations.


Only on the fast of the 9th of Av are these additional restrictions applicable. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 550:2. See Mishna Berura S”K 6 that a scrupulous person should be stringent with showering on all fast daysand see  Sha’ar HaTziyun 8 that this stringency is only regarding using hot water, and not applicable to washing just the hands and face, which is permitted regardless.)



2) Additionally, only on the 9th of Av does the fast begin on the eve of the that date, as opposed to beginning at dawn as  is the case for the other 3 fasts. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)



Halachos for Wednesday , December 18, 2013


1) Pregnant women who find it hard to fast, are not required to fast on the 17th of Tamuz, the 3rd of Tishrei and 10th of Teves. (See Rama Siman 550:1)


Even if they don’t find it that hard to fast they are exempt, M’Ikar adin, but the prevalent custom is to be stringent and fast unless they are not feeling up to it. (ibid.)


Even if they eat, they should not eat more than they feel necessary to maintain their health and the health of the baby they are carrying. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 554:5)


2) On the 9th of Av, pregnant women, who are otherwise in good health, are obligated to fast. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 554:5)


There may be exceptions for certain situations and sicknesses etc. and a Rav must be consulted before any leniencies are relied upon.



Halachos for Thursday , December 19, 2013


1) Although women do not fill certain roles in Judaism, for various reasons, either halachically or traditionally, such as serving as dayanim, judges, or rabbis (See Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek 1:5), there are many roles they may indeed fill just as well as men.


2) A woman may serve as a Mashgiach, a supervisor, over Kashrus, the kosher status of food and its appropriate preparation.(See Shu”t Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 3 Siman 44 and 45)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh , December 20, 2013

Double Portion L'kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1)  A woman may be involved in the process of electing a leader of a Jewish communal organization.


2) Moreover, a woman may be elected as the leader of a Jewish communal organization. (See Shu”t  Mishpitei Uziel Choshen Mishpat Siman 5)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Just as a woman cannot serve as a judge on a Jewish court, so too she may not testify as a witness in a case in bais din, a Jewish court. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 33)


2) However, this is the case only if her testimony is deemed principle or fundamental to the case.



In certain instances, Chazal allowed for the acceptance of the testimony of women, as we will discuss beginning next week.


Halachos for Sunday, December 22, 2013


1) As we learnt last week, there are many instances where Chazal allowed and accepted the testimony of women to be valid and acceptable, some which we will enumerate over the next few days.


2) A woman’s testimony regarding the status of the burning of Chametz is accepted. (See Talmud Pesachim 4a)


Likewise, a woman’s word regarding if Ma’ser or Chalah was taken off a food, is accepted and believed. (See Talmud Kesuvos 72b)



Halachos for Monday, December 23, 2013


1) The testimony of a woman regarding the kosher Shechita, slaughtering, status of an animal is accepted.


2) Moreover, a woman’s testimony as to the proper Nikur, the complicated process of removing certain forbidden veins and fats from the hindquarters and other areas of slaughtered animals, is believed. (See Tosefos Pesachim 4b Dibur Hamaschil Himnuhu)





Halachos for Tuesday, December 24, 2013


1) In the event that there is a dispute regarding a seat in the women’s section of a Shul, where no men are usually knowledgeable of the circumstances, we accept the testimony of women in order to resolve it properly. (See Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 35:14)


2) Likewise, if there is a dispute regarding the ownership of women’s clothing, where one woman is wearing an article of clothing that another woman claims is hers, or a similar situation, we accept the testimony of a woman in order to resolve the issue. (ibid.)


Halachos for Wednesday, December 25, 2013



1) A woman’s testimony regarding the age of a girl, e.g. to testify that a girl is already Bas Mitzvah and is thus eligible for Chalitzah, is accepted and believed. (See Talmud Niddah 48a)


2) A woman is acceptable to be tasked with delivering a get from overseas, and believed when she testifies that the get was written and signed in her presence. (See Talmud Gittin 23b)



Halachos for Thursday, December 26, 2013



1) A midwife who delivers twins is believed regarding which child came out first, a testimony that affects the status of the firstborn.


2) Moreover, a midwife is believed regarding the status of children’s Yichus, heritage, to testify that they are a Kohen, Levi, Mamzer etc. (See Talmud Kidushin 73b and see Shu”t Chacham Tzvi Siman 31)




Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, December 27, 2013

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) In certain instances a woman is believed regarding the physical abilities of her husband to produce children (Koach Gavra) as they relate to her demanding a get. (See Shulchan Aruch EvenHaEzer Siman 154:7)


2) In certain instances, in the presence of her husband,  a woman is believed when testifying that he gave her a get.(See Talmud Kesuvos 23b)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) A woman’s testimony to the effect that a certain person passed away, and thus his wife is permitted to remarry, is accepted and believed. (See Talmud Gitin 23b and Yevamos 122a)


2) In all cases where the testimony of a single person suffices and the requirement for two witnesses is not applicable, the testimony of a woman is accepted. (See Ramban Hilchos Eidus Perek 5:3)



Halachos for Sunday, December 29, 2013


1) The prohibition of Shatnez, wearing clothing consisting of a combination of wool and linen, and all its applications, pertains equally to men and women. (See Devarim 22:11 and Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 551)


2) The Mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah (the separation of some dough before the baking of bread and other baked goods) though applicable to men as well, was specifically given to women as their special Mitzvah to perform as an atonement and rectification for the sin of Chava, the first woman. (See Talmud Shabbos 31b and Talmud Yerushalmi Shabbos perek 2 Halacha 6 for more on this)




Halachos for Monday, December 30, 2013


1) Only baked goods from the 5 primary grains are obligated in the Mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah.


2) Items made from grains other than wheat, barley, spelt, oats, or rye, are not subject to this requirement. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 324:1)




Halachos for Tuesday, December 31, 2013


1) The amount of dough that necessitates Hafroshas Challah M’doraysa is the biblical measurement referred to as “Asiris Ha’Aifa”. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 324:1)


Some opinions maintain that “Asiris Ha’Aifa” in modern measurements translates into 3.675 lbs. or more of flour. (Opinin of Rav Chaim Na’eh Zatzal)


Some opinions maintain that 4.95 lbs. of flour (a tad less than a full 5 lb. bag of flour) is required to satisfy the biblical measurement.(Opinion of the Chazon ish Zatzal)


2) If a biblical measurement is kneaded, a bracha will be required when performing the separation.


Each individual should follow the guidance of their Rav as to which of the aforementioned opinions to gfollow regarding when to recite a bracha.




Halachos for Wednesday, January 1, 2014


1) If the dough being kneaded is smaller than the biblical requirement but more than 2.6 lb. of flour, Challah is separated, but no bracha is recited over this separation, as this is a rabbinical requirement.


2) If the amount is less than 2.6 lb., no Challah is separated at all.




Halachos for Thursday, January 2, 2014


1) After kneding the dough and before performing the Mitzvah of Hafroshas Challah [on the appropriate amount of dough], the following bracha is recited:


“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu L’Hafrish Challah”. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 328:2. See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 35 and Aruch Hashulchan Siman 328:40)



2) Many have the custom to add two words to the end of the bracha and recite it as follows:


“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu L’Hafrish Challah Min Ha’Isa”.



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, January 3, 2014

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) After the bracha is recited, a Kzayis (1.33 fl. oz./40 ml) of the dough should be removed and burned. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 322:5)


2) Some have the custom to say “Harei Zu Challah” after separating the piece, before burning it.




Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh



1) The Challah should preferably be wrapped in foil before burning in the oven, and once completely burnt it should be removed and discarded.


2)While the Challah is burning in the oven, no other items should be baking in the oven at the same time.



Halachos for Sunday, January 5, 2014



1) A bracha on Hafrashas Challah is only recited when kneading dough for bread (i.e. an item whose bracha will be Hamotzi)


2) However, when kneading dough for use in Pas haba B’Kisnin (i.e. a Mezonos item such as cake or cookies) or for an item that will be cooked in water (such as noodles) or fried, Challah is separated as long as 2.6 lb. of flour is used, but no bracha is recited even if more than 4.95 lb. of flour is used. (See Shach Yoreh Deah Siman 329:4 and Aruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deah Siman 329:14. See also Pischei Teshuva Siman 329:2)



Halachos for Monday, January 6, 2014



1) Challah may not be separated from someone else’s dough, without their permission. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 328:3


2) However, if one knows that the owner would want them to separate the Challah for them (e.g. the dough is about to go bad and if it isn’t baked immediately it will spoil) then it is permitted, due to the halachic concept of ‘Zachin L’Adam Shelo B’Fanav, one may do something beneficial for someone else without their express permission. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 328:3)


Halachos for Tuesday, January 7, 2014



1) A dough that is jointly owned by 2 or more partners is obligated in Challah.


2) Any one of the owners may separate the Challah without express permission from the other partners. (See Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 328:3 and Taz Os 6)


A non-owner, who wants to take challah from a dough that is owned by partners, must receive permission from all the partners. (Rama ibid.)




Halachos for Wednesday, January 8, 2014




1) If one forgot to separate Challah from the dough, and only remembered after the item was baked, Challah can, and must, still be separated from the baked item.


2) A piece of the baked item should be removed, the bracha recited (if enough dough was used) and the separated piece burned. (There is a discussion amongst the Poskim if the words “Min Ha’isa” are omitted in this case or not, being that it isn’t isa, dough, at the time of the separation. For halacha L’ma’aseh a Rav should be consulted)



Halachos for Thursday, January 9, 2014


1) If one forgot to separate Challah and only remembered after the onset of Shabbos, Challah may not be separated on Shabbos. (See Mishna Berura Siman 339 S”K 26)


If this happens with an item that was kneaded in Chutz L’Aretz, it is permissible to continue eating the bread, as long as a small piece is separated and put aside until Motzaei Shabbos at which time the Challah procedure is done with that piece. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  Siman 35:9.)


2) If, however, this happens in Eretz Yisroel (or to dough that was kneaded in Eretz Yisroel) the bread may not be eaten that Shabbos.


Once Shabbos is over, Challah needs to be separated from the baked items before being permissible to eat. (Even though Challah nowadays is M’drabanan even in Eretz Yisroel, it is still more stringent than in Chutz L’Aretz where nowadays it is an even lesser rabbinic edict. See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 322:2 and 3 and Birchei Yosef there Os 3)




Halachos for Sunday, January 12, 2014



1) It is customary in many households for women to separate Challah specifically on Erev Shabbos, and indeed many women bake their own Challos on Erev Shabbos in order to thus be obligated in separating Challah in the process.


2)  As we mentioned earlier, women baking Challos serves as a rectification for the first sin, of Chava causing Adam to eat from the Eitz Hada’as.


Since this sin occurred on Erev Shabbos, it is apropos for the rectification to take place on Erev Shabbos as well.  (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)



Halachos for Monday, January 13, 2014


1) If a woman lit Shabbos or Yom Tov candles and then remembered that she did not separate Chalah, she may go ahead and separate the Challah [before sunset], as we deem her acceptance of Shabbos as an error in light of her forgetting to separate Challah. (See Shu’t Sho’el U’Meishiv, mahadura Tinyana,  Vol. 2 Siman 23 and Taz Siman 600:2)


2)  If a woman forgot to separate Challah before Yom Tov, and was told by her husband that separating Challah on Yom Tov is prohibited, yet did so anyhow, it is considered a valid Hafroshas Challah. (See Shu’t HaElef Lecha Shlomo Siman 289 for more details and the reasoning behind this halacha)



Halachos for Tuesday, January 14, 2014



1) It is prohibited to separate Challah on Shabbos or Yom Tov. (See Talmud  Beitzah 36b-37a)


2)  However, it is permissible to separate Challah on Yom Tov from a dough that was initially  kneaded on Yom Tov, as the obligation was not in effect until it was already Yom Tov. (See Rashi Beitzah 9a Dibur Hamaschil Gilgel and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 506:3)





Halachos for Wednesday, January 15, 2014



1) With most dough it is best to separate Challah while it is still dough and not wait until after it is baked.


However, when baking Matzos for Pesach, it is best to wait until after it is baked before separating Challah, as we don’t want the dough sitting idle  for the duration of time it will take to separate the Challah properly. (See Shulchan Aruch  Orach Chaim Siman457)


2) Some Poskim, however, maintain that even for Pesach Matzos the Challah should be separated while it is stilla dough. (See Bach Siman 457 quoting the Rosh)


The prevalent Minhag is indeed like the first opinion, to do it only after it is already baked.



[ Halachos for Thursday, January 16, 2014



We digressed for today from HALACHOS OF WOMEN to learn a few timely halachos pertinent to Tu B'shvat





1) It is customary for Ashkenazic Jews to eat different varieties of fruits on Tu B'Shvat, as this day is the 'Rosh Hashanah" for fruit trees (meaning that the "year" regarding Ma'aser and Arlah is counted from this day) (Mogen Avraham Orach Chaim Siman 131:16)


Some people have the custom to eat an Esrog (or Esrog Jelly) on Tu B'Shvat (Likutei MaHarich)


It is also customary to daven on Tu B'Shvat for a beautiful, kosher Esrog on the following Sukkos (Bnei Yissochor Shvat 2:2)



The Ben Ish Chai even wrote special Tefilah for this (see below for the text of the Tefilah)



2) It is a Mitzvah for a person to seek out and eat new fruits in order to be able to offer praise and thanks to Hashem and to show that we appreciate all the wonderful things that Hashem creates for us to enjoy in this world.


The Mishna Berura (Siman 225:19) quotes a Talmud Yerushalmi at the very end of Maseches Kidushin where it says:



"[When a person will stand in judgment before Hashem after he/she leaves this world] they will have to give a Din V'Cheshbon (reckoning) for anything (i.e. food that Hashem created) that they had the opportunity to taste, yet didn't taste!"



The Korban H'Eida in his commentary to this Gemara explains that it is referring to not reciting SheHechiyanu on every possible fruit.



Many Poskim maintain that the custom of eating various varieties of fruits on Tu B'Shvat, and seeking out fruits on which to recite the bracha of SheHechiyanu, developed as a way to fulfill this requirement of the Talmud Yerushalmi, and what better day to do this than on the Rosh Hashana for trees!


For Halachos regarding the bracha of Shehechiyanu, click here.




 Tefilah for a Beautiful Esrog, written by the holy Ben Ish Chai (Submitted by daily reader, T.K.)


יהי רצון מלפניך י-ה-ו-ה א-לה-ינו וא-לה-י אבותינו, שתברך כל אילנות האתרוג להוציא פירותי-הם בעתם, ויוציאו אתרוגים טובים יפים ומהדרים ונקיים מכל מום, ולא יעלה בהם שות חזזית, וי-היו שלמים ולא י-הי-ה בהם שום חסרון ואפילו עקיצת קוץ ויהיו מצויים לנו ולכל ישראל בכל מקום שהם, לקים בהם מצות נטילה עם הלולב בחג הסכות שיבא עלינו לחיים טובים ולשלום, כאשר צויתנו בתורתך על ידי משה עבדך, "ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון פרי עץ הדר כפות תמרים וענף עץ עבות וערבי נחל"(ויקרא: כ"ג, מ), ויהי רצון מלפניך י-ה-ו-ה א-להי-נו וא-לה-י אבותינו, שתעזרנו ותסעינו לקים מצוה זו של נטילת לולב הדס ערבה ואתרוג, כתקנה בזמנה בחג הסכות שיבא עלינו לחיים טובים ולשלום בשמחה ובטוב לבב, ותזמין לנו אתרוג יפה ומהדר ונקי ושלם וכשר כהלכתו.




"May it be Your Will, HaShem, our G-d, and The G-d of our forefathers, that You bless all of the esrog trees to bear their fruit at the proper time, and that they shall bear esrogim that are good, nice, beautiful, and clean from all blemish, and that no lichen should come upon them, and that they shall be complete and they should not have any deficiencies, even pricked by a thorn. Theseesrogim should be available for us and for all of Israel in every place that they are, in order to fulfill the mitzvah of taking [theesrog] with the lulav on the Holiday of Succos, that shall come to us with good life, and with peace, as You have written in Your Torah by way of Moshe, Your servant, "And on the first day you shall take for yourselves a beautiful fruit of the tree, date frond, and branch of a myrtle tree, and [branches from a] willow brook..." (Vayikra: 23; 40) May it be Your Will, HaShem, our G-d, and The G-d of our forefathers, that You Help us and Assist us in this mitzvah of taking the lulav, myrtle, willow, and esrog, in the proper manner, in its proper time, on the Holiday of Succos, that shall come upon us for good life, and peace, with happiness and good-heartedness, and that You shall make a nice, beautiful esrog[that is] clean [of all blemishes and deficiencies], and complete, and kosher, according to its laws, accessible to us. ]



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, January 17, 2014

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) A woman, after giving birth to a child, is considered like an ill person that recovered from an illness, and as such would seemingly need to recite Birchas HaGomel.

However, there are various different customs regarding women and Birchas HaGomel, as we will now discuss.


2) Some Poskim rule that any time a woman is in a situation where she was saved from a danger, she should recite Birchas HaGomel, no different than a man.(Siddur Ya’avetz, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 65:2 and Ben Ish Chai Parsha Eikev Siman 65. See Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:4 that only after childbirth is Birchas HaGomel recited by women and not for other dangers that they survive.)


Some have the custom for the woman to come to Shul and recite the Bracha in the Ezras Nashim (women’s section of the Shul) at a time when ten men are present in the Shul. (See Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 4 Siman 14 and 15 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 8 Siman 23:15)




Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Some have the custom that a minyan is assembled in the woman’s home to daven a Tefilah and she recites the Bracha afterwards. ( See Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 118, Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 65:6, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 19 Siman 53 and Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 4:31)

Others have the custom that the woman’s husband should recite the Birchas HaGomel and she should answer Amen, and thus exempt herself with his Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:17 that a man and his wife are considered one body and thus one may recite the Bracha of thanks on the others’ behalf. However, if doing so in her presence the text of the Bracha must be changed to “HaGomel L’Chayavim Tovos SheGmalach Kol Tov” or if she is not present, he should say “HaGomel L’Chayavim Tovos SheGamal L’Ishti Kol Tov”. The Aruch HaShulchan 219:9 frowns upon this custom)


2) Others have the custom that women do not recite Birchas HaGomel at all. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:3 that this was the custom in his time. The reason being that Gomel needs to be recited in front of 10 men and it isn’t appropriate for a woman to do so. This is also the ruling of Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman 161 and the Aruch HaShulchan 219:6. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 22 regarding alternative ways for a woman to express her thanks to Hashem without reciting Birchas HaGomel. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 4 Siman 53. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:4)


Halachos for Sunday, January 19, 2014


1) Another custom is for the woman to recite the Bracha in the presence of nine women and one man. (Mishna Berura Siman 219:3, quoting opinion of Elya Rabbah, Chayei Adam and Knesses Hagedola. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, in the very last Teshuva that he wrote in his life (Printed in Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 14) argues and maintains that there is no advantage to a “minyan” of women, and the Gomel is best recited in front of one person, a man or a woman, and if she is married it is best recited in front of her husband)

However, if the Bracha is being recited with less than ten men present, it is best recited without Shem U’Malchus. (Kaf HaChaim 219:3)

Some have the custom for the woman to recite Birchas HaGomel in front of ten male relatives only (Kaf HaChaim ibid.)     


2) Each of the aforementioned customs has basis in Halacha, and each woman should conduct herself as per the custom of her community.

2) If a woman has the custom to recite Birchas HaGomel after giving birth to a child, she must wait [at least] seven days after the birth of the child to be considered completely healed. (Kaf HaChaim 219:7. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 8 Siman 120)




Halachos for Monday, January 20, 2014


The Halachos of Rosh Chodesh (first day of a Jewish month), are an area of Halacha that many people are not that familiar with. Hopefully after we cover this area, we will all have a better understanding of this special day, the first Mitzvah given to Klal Yisroel as a nation (See Shmos 12:2. See also the very first Rashi in the Torah)   


1) On the Shabbos preceding Rosh Chodesh, it is customary to recite “Birchas HaChodesh”, which consists of a special “Yehi Ratzon” asking Hashem for a good month filled with blessing, Parnassah, fear of Hashem etc., as well as the Tefilah of “Mi SheAsah Nisim”, asking Hashem to bring the redemption speedily. (This Tefilah was recited daily by Rav after davening, See Talmud Brachos 16b. It isn’t clear what the origin of saying this Yehi Ratzon tefilah in conjunction with Birchas Rosh Chodesh is, and why it is acceptable to ask for Parnassah and other personal requests on Shabbos. See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 417:9. The early Siddurim do not have it, though it is printed in the Siddur of the Shla, the Gra and Rav Yaakov Emdin. The Mi SheAsah Nisim Tefilah is indeed found in the siddur of Rav Amrom Gaon as well as in the Machzor Vitri and Abudreham and other early Rishonim. See Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 417:1)   


2) The reason we beseech Hashem for the redemption in conjunction with the blessing of the new month, is that the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh was given to us as we were redeemed from the exile of Mitzrayim (Egypt), thus each time we announce a new month we appropriately remember our redemption from Mitzrayim and daven that we merit the final redemption soon. (See Levush Siman 421:1)   


Halachos for Tuesday, January 21, 2014



1) It is proper to know the exact time of the “Molad”, the rebirth of the new moon [in Yerushalayim] for the coming month, before reciting “Birchas HaChodesh”. (Sometimes the Molad has already occurred by the time the Birchas HaChodesh is being recited.)

Thus, in many congregations the Gabbai or another person announces this information before reciting “Mi SheAsah Nisim”.


 In some congregations this information is announced even before saying the initial “Yehi Ratzon”, while in some congregations it isn’t announced at all. (See Likutei Maharich Seder Hanhogas Rosh Chodesh)


The prevalent Minhag is to announce the time of the Molad in hours, minutes and Chalakim, e.g. “The Molad will be on Tuesday morning, 47 minutes and 12 Chalakim (Halachic seconds, each chelek is one 1,080th of an hour, or 3.33 seconds) after 8"   


If one did not know the time of the Molad when reciting Birchas HaChodesh it is still valid, as the main thing is to know the day(s) on which Rosh Chodesh will be.(See Sha’arei Ephraim Sha’ar 10:37)   


2) After saying “Mi SheAsah Nisim” the Chazan proclaims the name of the upcoming month and on which day(s) it will start; for example “Rosh Chodesh Adar Rishon Yihyeh B’Yom HaShishi U’Vyom Hashabbos Kodesh Haba Aleinu V’Al Kol Yisroel L’Tovah”

In many congregations after the Chazan makes the aforementioned proclamation it is then repeated by all assembled. Some congregations say it along with the Chazzan quietly. (See Sha’arei Ephraim Sha’ar 10:36)

This proclamation is followed by the short Tefilah of “YeChadesheihu Hakadosh Baruch Hu”. (See Machzor Vitri page 173 and Abudreham)


Halachos for Wednesday, January 22, 2014


1) It is customary to stand during the recitation of Birchas HaChodesh, especially when proclaiming the name of the upcoming month and the day(s) on which it will begin.   


One reason for this is that Birchas HaChodesh is akin to the “Kiddush HaChodesh, the sanctification of the month” that was done each and every month by the Bais Din in Yerushalayim (before our current calendar was put in place in the era following the destruction of the Second Bais HaMikdash around the year 358 CE, when Hillel HaNasi ,to whom this act is attributed by Rav Hai Gaon quoted in Sefer HaIbur by Rav Avraham Ben Chiya Zatzal as well as by the Sefer Hachinuch, sanctified every subsequent month until the arrival of Mashiach) and that was performed while standing. (See Mishna Berura Siman 417:1)   


2) It is customary that the Rav of the congregation or another respected member lead the Tzibur in the recitation of Birchas HaChodesh. (Also akin to the original Kiddush HaChodesh which was performed by the Rosh Bais Din. See Sefer Mishmeres Shalom Siman 30:1)   


During the recitation of Birchas HaChodesh it is customary for the one leading the prayer to hold the Sefer Torah. (Although this does not necessitate the congregation to stand, it is still respectful to do so any time the Sefer Torah is being held, and thus another reason for standing during this Tefilah. See Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 146:18)   



Halachos for Thursday, January 23, 2014


1) It is permitted to do Melacha (chores) on Rosh Chodesh. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 417:1)   


Some women have the custom to refrain from doing Melacha on Rosh Chodesh, and this is a commendable minhag. (ibid.)   


In some communities, women refrain from doing only certain Melachos on Rosh Chodesh and it is an acceptable minhag to follow. (Rama Siman 417:1.)   


The minhag in Yerushalayim is for women to refrain from doing laundry, sewing and knitting on Rosh Chodesh. (See Sefer Rosh Chodesh page 261 where he brings a machlokes if laundry nowadays with washing machines must be avoided as well. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 10 Siman 50.)   


One of the reasons cited for this is that as a reward for the women in the Midbar not acquiescing to remove their jewelry to be used in the formation of the Egel HaZahav (the golden calf), they were given each Rosh Chodesh as an exclusive Yom Tov for them. (Tur quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 417:3)   


2) According to many Poskim, there is no reason for men to refrain from any Melacha on Rosh Chodesh, as its status as a Yom Tov is applicable to women only, and any man that refrains from Melacha is not fulfilling any minhag whatsoever.(Ruling of the Mishna Berura Siman 417:2, quoting the Pri Chadash, Chida in Birchei Yosef and the Sha’arei Teshuva in the name of Rabeinu Chananel. However, see Siddur Ya’avetz Sha’ar HaChodesh Pesach 7:1 where he quotes Rav Ovadia M’Bartenura that men as well should refrain from Melacha on Rosh Chodesh, though he writes that the stringency of this applies to women more strongly. Everyone should follow their own community’s custom.)   



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, January 24, 2014

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Some Poskim rule that for those women who have the custom to refrain from Melachos on Rosh Chodesh it is only in effect the day of Rosh Chodesh and not on the eve of Rosh Chodesh (Ruling of the Ya’avetz in Mor U’Ketziah, quoted at the end of Biur Halacha Siman 417:1 Dibur Hamaschil Hu Minhag Tov)   


Other Poskim, however, maintain that the custom is in effect on the eve of Rosh Chodesh as well. (The way the Biur Halacha ibid. seems to rule. See also Shu”t Hisorerus Teshuva Vol. 1 Siman 1)   


2) When there are two days of Rosh Chodesh some Poskim rule that the custom of not doing Melachos applies to both days equally, while others maintain that only on the second day of Rosh Chodesh (which is the real first day of the new month and the “Ikar”, primary, day of Rosh Chodesh) are Melachos avoided. (See Mishna Berura Siman 417:4)   



Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Although it’s not obligatory, it is praiseworthy, and a Mitzvah to increase the quantity and quality of the food and drink at one’s meal on Rosh Chodesh.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 419:1 and Mishna Berura S”K 1)   

Some Poskim even give the Seudah of Rosh Chodesh the status of a “Seudas Mitzvah” (Be’er Heitev Siman 419:1 based on Talmud Yerushalmi Maseches Megilah)   


2) There is no obligation to wash and eat bread on Rosh Chodesh.    

However, scrupulous people are careful to indeed try and eat a bread meal on Rosh Chodesh. (See Sha’ar HaTziyun Siman 419:1 quoting the Ohr Zarua and Pri Chadash that L’Chatchila bread should be eaten. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 419:2)



Halachos for Sunday, January 26, 2014


1) There is a debate amongst the Poskim if there is reason to try and eat meat at the Rosh Chodesh Seudah or not.



The debate is based on the question if there is an obligation for “Simcha, joy” on Rosh Chodesh or not, as if there is an obligation for joy then one of the halachically mandated ways to increase joy is to eat meat. (We will discuss “Simcha on Rosh Chodesh” in more detail in the near future)



2) Many people are indeed scrupulous to eat meat on Rosh Chodesh. In fact some Poskim even allow meat on Rosh Chodesh Av. (See Ben Ish Chai, Year 1, Parashas Devorim Siman 15 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 551:126 that this is the Minhag of Sephardim, whereas Ashkenazim are stringent and avoid meat on Rosh Chodesh Av.)



Halachos for Monday, January 27, 2014


1) Scrupulous people have the custom to add an additional food item to their meal on Rosh Chodesh, which isn't there on a regular day, to ensure that it is noticeable that this day's meal is special. (Mishna Berura Siman 419:2 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 419:2)


2) Even when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos, it is praiseworthy to add a special additional item to the meal in honor of Rosh Chodesh. (ibid.)



If one did not add an additional food item to his Shabbos meal, he can add an item to his Melave Malka meal on Motzaei Shabbos in honor of the Rosh Chodesh that just passed on Shabbos. (Ya'avetz quoted in Sha'ar HaTziyun Siman 419:5)




Halachos for Tuesday, January 28, 2014


1) Some Poskim rule that adding to the meal in honor of Rosh Chodesh by day is sufficient and there is no need to also have a meal on Rosh Chodesh eve. (Mishna Berura ibid.)


Others maintain that it is proper to also add on to the meal on Rosh Chodesh eve.(See Mogen Avraham Siman417:2 quoting the Ramah M'Pano)



2) When there are two days of Rosh Chodesh, it is proper to add on special foods to the meals on each of the days of Rosh Chodesh. (See Mateh Moshe Siman 530. The Yosef Ometz Siman 694, however, seems to rule that only on the second day of Rosh Chodesh is it proper to add on to the Seudah)




Halachos for Wednesday, January 29, 2014


1) Women should also partake of the Seudah of Rosh Chodesh, as even though it is a Mitzvah SheHazman Grama, a time-bound Mitzvah, being that it's a rabbinical Mitzvah many Poskim rule that they are obligated.


Furthermore, since Rosh Chodesh is a day given to women as a Yom Tov due to their non-participation in the sin of the golden calf, as we discussed earlier, it behooves them to be a part of the meal on this day. (See Tur Siman 417 and 419)

 It is proper to eat the Seudah of Rosh Chodesh in a respectful manner, i.e. on the table used for Shabbos and Yom Tov. (See Ben Ish Chai, year two, Parashas Vayikra Siman 10 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 419:5)


2) It is proper when eating the Seudah on Rosh Chodesh to have in mind that it is being done in honor of Rosh Chodesh. (See Sha'ar HaTziyun Siman 419:1)


Even though one who does not specifically have this in mind has satisfied the obligation, that is only if he/she is aware that it is Rosh Chodesh. However, if they are totally unaware that it is Rosh Chodesh they have not satisfied their obligation.(See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 475:4 and Mishna Berura there)




Halachos for Thursday, January 30, 2014


1) During the Shemona Esrei on Rosh Chodesh, the Tefilah of "Ya'aleh V'Yavo" is added between the end of "Retzei" and before "V'Sechezenah". (Shulchan Aruch Siman 422:1)


2) A woman who forgets Ya'aleh V'Yavo in her Shemona Esrei, according to some Poskim isn't required to repeat the Shemona Esrei. (Chayei Moshe Siman 422:1)


Other Poskim, however, maintain that she too must repeat the Shemona Esrei (besides by ma'ariv when even men do not repeat) especially if she is someone that usually davens on a steady basis.(ibid.)



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, January 31, 2014

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Short Introduction:


Before we discuss Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, we will give a little background regarding Hallel in general.


The Nevi'im (the prophets) already instituted the recitation of Hallel for Klal Yisroel as a whole upon their being delivered from any perilous situations they found themselves in. (See Talmud Pesachim 117a. The Meiri even rules that an individual who was delivered from personal danger may recite Hallel each year on the anniversary of his personal deliverance, albeit without a Bracha)


The Talmud (Pesachim 95b)states matter of factly, "Is it possible that Klal Yisroel would sacrifice the Korban Pesach or take their Lulavim and not recite Hallel?" (See Rashi and Meiri there; the Seforim explain that these Mitzvos come only once a year and are both great sources of Simcha and thus it is unthinkable to not express that Simcha via the recitation of praise, Halel, to Hashem. The Talmud a few lines earlier also brings a Posuk, "Hashir Yihyeh Lachem K'Leil Hiskadesh Chag, to support this Halacha, but clearly came to this conclusion irrespective of the Posuk)


The Talmud (Megilah 14a) also posits that if Klal Yisroel recited Hallel (i.e. Shira at the Yam Suf, as Rashi explains) when they were delivered from slavery to freedom; it goes without saying that when they are delivered from life threatening situations that Hallel should be recited.




Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) In some places the Talmud refers to the obligation to recite Hallel in general as a rabbinical obligation. (See Talmud Brachos 14a)


In other places the Talmud refers to the recitation of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh as a rabbinic obligation, and seemingly considers its recitation at other times as a biblical obligation. (See Talmud Ta'anis 28b)ch


2) Indeed, some Rishonim do rule that Hallel on certain days (which we will enumerate later) is indeed a biblical obligation, either as a "Halacha L'Moshe Misinai" or as derived from Pesukim as an extension of the Mitzvah of Simcha on those special days. (See Sefer Hamitzvos of the Rambam Shoresh 1 quoting the Ba'al Halachos Gedolos. See also the Ramban in his comments on the Rambam there. See also Sha'agas Aryeh Siman 69 regarding if the text of the Hallel is also biblical or just the obligation to recite a praise and thanksgiving to Hashem)


Other Rishonim rule that the obligation is M'Divrei Kabalah (biblically derived but not quite biblical (See Ra'avad's comments to Rambam Hilchos Chanukah Perek 3:6)while others consider all Hallel recitations as Divrei Sofrim, i.e. rabbinically enacted. (See Rambam ibid. and Magid Mishne's comments on the Rambam where he wants to reconcile and differentiate between Hallel said upon being delivered from a perilous situation and the Hallel recited on holidays. See also Biur Halacha to Siman 422 Dibur Hamaschil L'Makom Sheta'ah)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) All agree that the recitation of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is a rabbinical obligation, and therefore "half" Hallel is recited, i.e. two paragraphs, "Lo Lanu" and "Ahavti" are omitted to make it clear that it is only a rabbinic custom and not a real obligation. (Talmud Ta'anis 28b and Shulchan Aruch Siman 422:2. We will discuss this more in detail in the near future.)


The other days on which Hallel is recited, are the days that the Torah refers to as "Mo'ed", distinct "time" or "special day" as well as days on which Melacha is forbidden.


2) The exceptions are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which despite being referred to by the Torah with the term "Mo'ed" and despite being days on which Melacha is forbidden, still do not require the recitation of Hallel.



The reason for this exception is that they are somber days of judgment when the heavenly books of life and death are open, and thus Chazal determined that reciting Hallel, an event requiring a joy-filled heart, is not appropriate. (Talmud Rosh Hashan 32b)



Halachos for Sunday, February 2, 2014


1) On all days of Sukkos, including Chol Hamoed, the entire Hallel is recited, as each day had a unique Korban in the Bais HaMikdash and thus is considered an individual holiday.


On all eight days of Chanukah the entire Hallel is recited, even though it isn't a "Mo'ed" and is not forbidden to do Melacha, as miracles were experienced by Klal Yisroel on each of the eight days and thus the recitation of Hallel was instituted.(See Talmud Eruchin 10b)


2) Purim, even though it is a day on which miracles were experienced by klal Yisroel, does not have the obligation to recite Hallel. 


There are two reasons given for this, a) Since Klal Yisroel was still subjugated under the rule of King Achashveirush even after their being saved from death, the joy was not complete, b) The reading of the Megilah, itself an expression of thanks and raise to Hashem, is in lieu of the recitation of Hallel. (See Talmud Megilah 14a)



Halachos for Monday, February 3, 2014


1) On the first day [and second day in Chutz L'Aretz] of Pesach the entire Hallel is recited. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 488:1)


On the last day [or days] of Pesach only "half Hallel" is recited as on that day we commemorate Krias Yam Suf, the splitting of the Red Sea and the annihilation of our Egyptian foes, and thus on a day when Hashem's creations (no matter how evil they were) are being destroyed, Hashem does not desire Hallel to be recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 490:7 quoting the Midrash)


2) On the days of Chol Hamoed Pesach we also only say "half" Hallel.

One reason cited for this is that since the Korban brought on these days was the same as was brought on the first day of Yom Tov (unlike Chol Hamoed Sukkos, where each day had a unique Korban) it does not qualify as a "joyous" day to necessitate a full Hallel recital. (See Talmud Eruchin 10a-b)


Another reason cited by the Mishna Berura (ibid.) is that since we do not recite the entire Hallel on the last days of pesach as we explained above, we don't want the days of Chol Hamoed to seem more respected than the days of Yom Tov and therefore do not require more than "half" Hallel on Chol Hamoed either.


On Shavuos the entire Hallel is recited.


Halachos for Tuesday, February 4, 2014


1) Before reciting the "half" Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, the blessing of "Baruch Ata Hashem...Likro Es HaHallel" is recited. (Even though it's only a minhag, as on some minhagim we do find that brachos were enacted. See Mishna Berura Siman 422:14 and 15)


2) It is proper, if possible, to try and recite Hallel together with another two people who say [at least] the main parts along with you. (See Rama Siman 422:2)




Halachos for Wednesday, February 5, 2014


1) The proper place for the recital of Hallel is immediately after Shacharis.


Even though Tefilah of Musaf is a more common recitation than Hallel and thus should really be recited first (due to the Halachic rule of Tadir V'She'aino Tadir, Tadir Kodem, the item that is said/performed more often precedes the less common item) still Hallel is first due to us wanting, for various reasons, to recite it in conjunction with Shacharis. (See Biur Halacha Siman 422 Dibur Hamaschil V'Korim. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 131:5 where he says it's due to "Zrizim Makdimin L'Mitzvos, our eagerness to fulfill this Mitzvah as early as possible". See also Shu"t Yaskil Avdi, from the great Mekubal and Posek Rav Ovadiah Ha'adayah Zatzal, Vol. 8 Siman 20:55, where he writes that Hallel is a continuation of Ya'aleh V'Yavo and also that by saying Hallel in the place where Tachanun is usually recited, it is a proclamation of respect for this exalted day. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 70 for additional reasoning)


2) Some Poskim rule that one may not talk or make unnecessary interruptions between the end of their Shemona Esrei and their recitation of Hallel; many Poskim, however, reject this. (See Igros Moshe ibid. and Mishna Berura Siman 123:18 where he seems to rule that this is a rule strictly for a Shliach Tzibur and not for individuals.)


Halachos for Thursday, February 6, 2014


1) Although women are not obligated in the recital of Hallel, being that it is a time-bound Mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei She'Hazman Grama), they still may recite the Hallel if they so desire, and indeed many women nowadays do recite it.


2) Although Ashkenazic women may recite a Bracha on the Hallel in the event that they do choose to recite it. (See Biur Halacha Siman 422, end of Dibur Hamaschil Hallel where he cites two reasons),  women who follow the Sephardic tradition and follow the ruling of the Bet Yosef, don't recite Brachos on any time-bound Mitzvos, and should probably also refrain from reciting a Bracha on Hallel on Rosh Chodesh or any time.


A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L'Ma'aseh



Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 7, 2014

Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) The Bracha of SheHechiyanu is not recited in conjunction with the recital of Hallel. (See Tosefos Sukkah 46a Dibur Hamaschil Ha'Oseh Sukkah and Mogen Avraham Siman 422:5 for the reasoning)


2) Hallel is not recited in a mourner's home in the presence of the mourner, as Hallel is a happy thing and not appropriate in the situation. (See Mishna Berura Siman 131 S"K 20)


Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh


1) Some have the custom that the non-mourners davening in the mourner's home go to a side room and recite the Hallel, while others have the custom to have the mourner leave the room for the duration of the Hallel.


In the event that Hallel was not recited in the mourner's home, there is a discussion amongst the Poskim if it needs to be recited upon leaving the home.



 Some say that on Chanukah it must be made up afterwards but not on Rosh Chodesh. (See Mishna Berura ibid.)


Halachos for Sunday, February 9, 2014


1) The Talmud (Pesachim 118b) states that one who recites Hallel every single day is considered a "Mecharef U'Megadef, one who Chas V'shalom insults and curses heaven".


Rashi explains that Hallel was enacted for special occasions as a means to thank Hashem, and overusing it shows that it is being relegated to a status of a simple, mundane song or even worse, as a recitation of levity.


Additionally, by reciting it daily, it assumes the status of something said by rote, and thus on the days when it is supposed to be recited, when it is meant to instill in us a sense of gratitude to Hashem for our salvation, it will fail to do so. (See Meiri to Pesachim 118b)


2) One who recites chapters of Tehilim each day before davening Shacharis, and happened to say the chapters that comprise the Hallel (Tehilim chapters 113 through 118) on the morning of Rosh Chodesh, should still repeat the entire Hallel with a Bracha later on after Shacharis.


The reason for this is that Hallel is meant to be recited with Simcha, joy, in a manner of praise and gratitude (Shira V'Hoda'ah) for the salvation we merited, and thus the Tehilim that was recited in the morning, which was done in a manner of a plea and supplication (Bakasha V'Tachanunim) does not suffice to satisfy the obligation. (See Shu"t Shevet Hakehasi Vol. 2 Siman 233 and Mogen Avraham Siman 584:1)


Halachos for Monday, February 10, 2014



1) If one used the restroom in the middle of Hallel and now is required to recite the Bracha of "Asher Yatzar", if it's on a day when "half" Hallel is recited, i.e. Rosh Chodesh or the latter days of Pesach, the "Asher Yatzar" may be recited either in the middle of Hallel if desired, or immediately afterward. (Based on Rama Siman 422:4, as then it is considered like in the midst of Pesukei D'Zimrah. See also Mishna Berura Siman 51 S"K 8)


2) If, however, it's on one of the days when the complete Hallel is recited, the hands should be washed but "Asher Yatzar" should only be recited after the completion of Hallel. (As it then has a status like during Krias Shma and its Brachos. See Rama ibid. and Mishna Berura Siman 66:23)



Halachos for Tuesday, February 11, 2014


1) Hallel should L'Chatchila be recited while standing. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 422:7. See Mishna Berura S"K 28 for the reason.)


2)  On Rosh Chodesh after reciting the "Shir Shel Yom" for whatever day of the week it is, it is customary to recite the chapter of "Barchi Nafshi" (Tehilim 104)  as well. (See Mishna Berura Siman 423 S"K 9 for the reason. Some congregations only recite Barchi Nafshi in lieu of the psalm that is usually said on that day of the week. See Ma'aseh Rav from the Gaon of Vilna Siman 158)


Halachos for Wednesday, February 12, 2014


1) When reciting Birchas Hamazon after a bread meal on Rosh Chodesh, Ya'aleh V'Yavo is added immediately preceding "U'vnei Yerushalayim". (Shulchan Aruch Siman 424:1)


If one forgot to insert Ya'aleh V'Yavo, the Birchas Hamazon is not repeated, as there is no obligation to eat bread on Rosh Chodesh in the first place. (ibid. and Mishna Berura S"K 1)


If one remembered before beginning the Bracha of "Hatov V'Hameitiv" (or even after beginning to the two words Baruch and Ata of the Barcha of Hatov V'Hameitiv) that he omitted Ya'aleh V'Yavo, he should say the following text right then and there: "Baruch Ata Hashem Shenasan Rosh Chodesh L'Amo Yisroel L'Zikaron" (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Mishna Berura Siman 188 S"K 21, 22 and 23 for more details.)


2)It is always proper to recite Birchas Hamazon loudly and clearly, as saying it loud ensures that all the words are recited properly and also brings about better Kavanah, concentration and understanding of the words being recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 185 S"K 3)


Moreover, it is praiseworthy to always recite Birchas Hamazon from a Siddur or Birchon, and not recite it from memory. (See what the Mishna Berura Siman 185 S"K 1 quotes from the Sefer Hachinuch and the Sefer Chasidim)


This is especially important on Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh and other times when additions are added to the text that aren't recited on a regular basis (e.g. Retzei or Ya'aleh V'yavo) as saying it loudly and from within a Siddur will make it less likely to inadvertently omit the required additions of the day. (Mishna Berura Siman 185 S"K 3)


Halachos for Thursday, February 13, 2014


1) On Rosh Chodesh during Birchas Hamazon, after"Bamarom Yelamedu..." the following short Tefilah is added: "Harachaman Hu Yechadesh Aleinu Es Hachodesh Hazeh L'Tova V'Livracha". (See Mishna Berura Siman 682 S"K 5)


On Rosh Chodesh, as on Shabbos and Yom Tov, "Migdol Yeshuos Malko" is said in place of "Magdil Yeshuos Malko" in the "Harachaman Hu Yizakeinu LeYemos Hamashiach..." (See Mishna Berura Siman 189:5)



2) When reciting the Bracha of M'ein Shalosh (Al Hamichya, Al Ha'eitz and/or Al Hagefen) on Rosh Chodesh, the words "V'Zachreinu L'Tova B'Yom Rosh Hachodesh Hazeh" are inserted at the end of the text right before the words "Ki Ata Hashem Tov U'Meitiv Lakol..." (See Mishna Berura Siman 208 S"K 58)


If this addition was inadvertently omitted, the Bracha need not be repeated.(ibid. See also Sha'ar HaTziyun Os 60 for the reasoning)


If one already started saying "Ki Ata Hashem Tov U'Meitiv Lakol..." but did not yet recite the concluding words "Baruch Ata Hashem", according to some Poskim you go back and say the words "V'Zachreinu L'Tova B'Yom Rosh Hachodesh Hazeh" and continue from there until the end.


Other Poskim maintain that the Bracha is finished without going back to mention the words regarding Rosh Chodesh. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 208:67)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 14, 2014

Double Portion L’’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) Cutting of hair and of nails should be avoided on Rosh Chodesh. (Based on the Tzava'ah, famous last will and testament, of Rav Yehuda Hachasid Siman 48, quoted in Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 260:1 and Mishna Berura Siman 260 S"K 7)


Some say that when there are two days of Rosh Chodesh, it is permissible to be more lenient with the cutting of hair and nails on the first day of Rosh Chodesh.(Opinion of the Yad Ephraim, in Kuntres Acharon of Tzavoas Rav Yehuda Hachasid and in Likutei Basar Likutei Siman 57 quoting the Darchei Teshuva)


However, from the language of the Mogen Avraham(Siman 260:1) it doesn't seem there is a difference between the two days of Rosh Chodesh regarding this, and indeed most Poskim do not mention such a differentiation, thus the prevalent custom is to be stringent and not cut the hair and nails on both days of Rosh Chodesh.


2) When Rosh Chodesh falls out on Erev Shabbos, some Poskim allow cutting of hair and nails while many other Poskim maintain that the prohibition is in place even on Erev Shabbos and thus the nails and hair should be cut on Thursday instead, even though usually the nails should not be cut on Thursday. (See Halachos for July 4 2008 here for more details. See Mishna Berura ibid.,Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 72:14, Be'er Heitev Siman 260:1, Aruch HaShulchan Siman 260:6, Kaf HaChaim Siman 260:12 and Likutei Maharich; Seder Hisnahagus Erev Shabbos Kodesh)


There is an opinion, not shared or quoted by many Poskim though, that in this case the nails and hair should be cut on Thursday night after sunset rather than on Friday after sunrise. (See Aishel Avraham Siman 417)




Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh



1) It is customary to avoid visiting graves on Rosh Chodesh, as on this day (as well as other days when Tachanun is not recited) the neshama, soul, of the deceased ascends to heaven, and is not present near the grave. (Based on the teachings of the Arizal. See Sefer Gesher Hachaim Perek 29:5)


2) One who observes a Yahrtzeit of a loved one on Rosh Chodesh, according to some Poskim , he should postpone the visit until after Rosh Chodesh.


Others allow visiting the grave on Rosh Chodesh if it's the actual Yahrtzeit, but limit what is recited there. (i.e. They say to recite only Tehilim but not the other Tefilos (Hashkavah) that are customarily recited at the graveside on a Yahrtzeit. See Hagahos Mordechai to Pesachim 37 and Shu"t Chaim Sh'al Vol. 2 Siman 38)


Every person should consult their own Rav for Halacha L'Ma'aseh.




With gratitude to Hashem Yisborach, this concludes our current foray into some of the the many Halachos pertinent to women. 

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