Daily Halacha Podcast - Daily Halacha By Rabbi Eli J. Mansour

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Daily Halacha Given Daily by Rabbi Eli J. Mansour. Please check back frequently to get the latest Halacha.

Rabbi Eli J. Mansour


    • Jan 20, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    • 5m AVG DURATION
    • 515 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from Daily Halacha Podcast - Daily Halacha By Rabbi Eli J. Mansour

    Doing Favors for the Lender in Lieu of Interest

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2022 2:00

    The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Maimonides, Spain-Egypt, 1135-1204), in Hilchot Malveh Ve'loveh (5:12), establishes that the Torah prohibition of Ri'bitt, which forbids taking interest on loans from a fellow Jew, includes demanding favors from the borrower as a condition on the loan. Not only may the lender not demand that the borrower pay money or valuables in exchange for the loan, he may also not demand that he perform favors, such as studying Torah with him. Since the borrower does the favor as compensation for the time he was allowed to retain the lender's money, this arrangement constitutes Ri'bitt and is forbidden.This Halacha applies even if the borrower customarily studied with the lender before the loan was given. Since the lender specifically stipulated that the loan is granted on condition that the borrower continues studying with him, this constitutes Ri'bitt, despite the fact that the borrower in any event had been regularly studying with the lender. Rabbi Moshe Halevi (Israel, 1961-2001) codifies this Halacha in his work Milveh Hashem (p. 307).Summary: The prohibition against receiving or paying interest includes not only monetary interest payments, but also doing favors for the lender. Even if the borrower regularly did a certain favor for the lender before receiving the loan, the lender may not stipulate that he gives the loan on condition that the borrower continues providing the given service.

    Lending Money on Condition that the Borrower Fulfills a Wish of the Lender

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2022 3:25

    The Torah prohibition of Ri'bitt (receiving or paying interest) applies not only to the payment of interest, but also to acquiescing to the lender's will as a condition on the loan. Thus, for example, as Rabbi Moshe Halevi (Israel, 1961-2001) writes in his work Milveh Hashem (p. 159), one may not lend money to his fellow Jew on condition that he – the borrower – gives money to a third party, even to a gentile. Even though the lender does not receive any interest payment, this arrangement is nevertheless forbidden because the borrower must fulfill the lender's wish in exchange for receiving the loan. This applies even if the lender demands that the borrower pay money to a charitable cause, such as a poor person or a Yeshiva. Since the borrower must acquiesce to the lender's will and fulfill his wishes in exchange for the loan, this constitutes Ri'bitt and transgresses a Torah prohibition.In fact, a lender may not even demand that the borrower take money or one of his possessions and cast it to the river or otherwise destroy it. Even though nobody derives any benefit from the borrower's fulfilling the lender's wishes, imposing this condition nevertheless constitutes Ri'bitt because the borrower is required to fulfill the lender's wishes in exchange for the loan. (Milveh Hashem p. 160)The Sages extended this prohibition to cases where the lender gives the loan on condition that the borrower approaches a third party and asks in the lender's name that he give him a certain object or sum of money. Even though the borrower in this case actually receives something, rather than pays, as a condition for the loan, this arrangement is forbidden because it requires the borrower to acquiesce to the lender's wishes in exchange for the loan. As mentioned, however, this arrangement is forbidden only on the level of Rabbinic enactment, and does not transgress the Torah prohibition of Ri'bitt. (Milveh Hashem, p. 161)Summary: A lender may not give a loan on condition that the borrower fulfills his wishes, such as by paying money to a third party or even giving money to charity or destroying money. Even if the lender hinges the loan on the condition that the borrower ask a third party to give him (the borrower) something, this arrangement is forbidden.

    May A Seller Compensate For Partial Defect Or Must He Issue Full Refund?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2022 4:14

    In a previous Daily Halacha, we discussed the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch (Hoshen Mishpat 232:3) that if somebody purchases defective merchandise, he can demand that the transaction be voided and the seller must fully refund the money. The question arises, under what circumstances, if any, may the seller insist on maintaining the transaction and simply refund part of the payment to compensate for the defect? May he refuse to void the sale, and instead offer to return some money as compensation for the low defective portion only?The Shulhan Aruch (Hoshen Mishpat 232:4-5) rules that the answer to this question depends on the nature of the defect. Based on a responsum of the Rosh (Rabbenu Asher Ben Yehiel, Germany-Spain, 1250-1327), the Shulhan Aruch writes that if the defect does not detract from the item's inherent functionality, and the object still serves its basic purpose, then the seller has the option of paying compensation rather than voiding the sale. The Rosh addresses the case of a person who purchased a residence and when he arrived he saw that vandals had broken the windows and doors. Since the house still retained it basic definition as a residence, and merely required some refurbishing, the sale was not voided. The seller was therefore entitled to maintain the transaction and simply pay for the repairs. If, however, vandals had toppled the house's walls, then it loses its status as a viable residence and the buyer can demand that the sale be voided. Since he did not receive that for which he paid the money – a viable residence – the sale is null and void and he is entitled to a complete refund of his payment.A modern application of this principle pertains to the sale of used electrical appliances. If the buyer discovers an unsightly mark or scratch on the appliance that has no effect on its operation, then he cannot demand a full refund; he is entitled only to compensation for having paid for a higher-valued item than what he in fact received. If, however, the appliance does not work properly, then he can certainly declare the transaction null and void and the seller must refund all the money he had paid. (But if the seller allows a refund even for a scratch, then of course one may return it.)Needless to say, in all such cases one must consult with a competent Halachic authority to determine whether the defect is inherent to the object's operation or but a minor imperfection.Summary: If a buyer purchases an object and discovers that it is inherently defective, such that it cannot serve its basic function, he can declare the sale void and demand a full refund. If, however, the object functions properly but has a minor defect, such as an electrical appliance with external scratches or marks, then the seller has the option of refunding part of the payment as compensation, rather than voiding the sale.See the book- "Pure Money" by Dayan Cohen, pages 150-151.

    Does A Purchaser Have The Right To Return A Defective Item

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2022 3:15

    According to Halacha, every sale of merchandise is made on the implicit condition that it is not defective. If the buyer discovers a defect in the merchandise, he can demand a full refund even though he had not explicitly stipulated at the time of the sale that his payment is contingent upon the condition of the merchandise. Halacha considers it self-evident that a buyer renders payment on condition that the merchandise is in proper working order, and therefore upon the discovery of a defect the buyer can demand a full refund.The Shulhan Aruch (Hoshen Mishpat 232:3) applies this rule even in a case where the defect is discovered only several years after the transaction. Assuming it can be proven that the item was defective at the time of the sale, the buyer can demand that the sale be voided and that his money be returned. The Shulhan Aruch adds, however, that if the buyer used the merchandise after discovering the defect, then he effectively forgoes on his right to cancel the transaction, and he can no longer demand a refund. By using the item, he essentially declares that he is prepared to accept it despite its defect, and thus the transaction cannot be voided thereafter.Rabbi Yehoshua Falk (Poland, 1555-1614), in his commentary to the Hoshen Mishpat section of the Shulhan Aruch (the "Sema," 232:10), establishes an important qualification to the Shulhan Aruch's ruling. Namely, if people customarily inspect a certain item before purchasing it, then a buyer who purchased such an item without inspecting it cannot later demand a refund upon discovering a defect. Used cars, for example, are generally brought to a mechanic for inspection before being purchased. If a person purchases a used car without first inspecting it, he implicitly expresses his acceptance of the car regardless of its condition. Therefore, if he later discovers a significant defect in the car, the sale is nevertheless binding and he cannot demand a refund. Of course, it is unethical for a seller not to disclose to prospective buyers information about defects or possible defects in the car; a seller who withholds such information is deemed a sinner. Nevertheless, if he withheld this information and the buyer chose not to inspect the car, the sale is binding.Summary: If a person buys merchandise and discovers that it is defective, he may annul the sale and demand a full refund from the buyer, even several years later, assuming that the defect was present at the time of the sale. The buyer is not entitled to a refund if he used the item after discovering the defect, or if this kind of merchandise is normally inspected before being purchased (such as used cars) and he chose not to inspect it.See the book- "Pure Money" by Dayan Cohen, pages 147-148.

    Damages Caused to a Car That is Blocking a Driveway or a Street

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2022 2:58

    Whenever we study the Halachot relevant to property damages, we must carefully analyze the cases discussed in the Talmud and the Shulhan Aruch, and then see how these rules would apply in parallel situations that arise in modern-day life.A perfect example of this process is a Halacha codified in the Hoshen Mishpat section of the Shulhan Aruch (379:4) concerning a person who placed barrels of wine or oil in his fellow's property without permission. Even though the barrels were put there without the property owner's permission, and it causes an obstruction, the property owner is not permitted to deliberately damage the barrels. He is allowed, however, to have them removed at their owner's expense. Likewise, he may conduct himself normally in his property without bearing responsibility for the damage this causes to the barrels. So long as he did not deliberately damage the barrels, and the damage resulted from his normal conduct, he does not bear liability.A modern-day application of this rule is the case of a driver who parks in front of somebody's driveway without permission, thus blocking the homeowner's access to the driveway. Although the driver obviously acted improperly, the homeowner does not have the right to smash the car's windows or flatten its tires, for example. He may, however, call a towing company, have them tow the illegally-parked car, and then send the bill to the driver. Furthermore, if the parked car causes a partial obstruction, and when the homeowner attempts to drive into or out of his driveway he accidentally dents the parked car, he is not liable for the damages. Since he drove normally in or out of the driveway, he does not bear responsibility for the damages caused to the illegally-parked car.This rule would also apply to a car that causes an obstruction in the public domain, such as a double-parked car, that occupies public space in the street. If a driver drives normally down the street and accidentally side-swipes the double-parked car or knocks off its mirror, the driver is not required to compensate the owner of the double-parked car. Since the car caused an obstruction without permission, and the driver drove in normal fashion down the street, he does not bear liability.Summary: If a person parks his car in front of someone's driveway without permission, the homeowner may not intentionally cause damage to the parked car. He may, however, have it towed at the car owner's expense, and is not held liable for damages accidentally caused to the car by his attempts to drive in or out of his driveway around the parked car. Similarly, if a person illegally double parks in the street, people may not cause damage to the car, but they are not held liable for damages accidentally caused to the car as they attempt to drive normally down the street.

    The Status of a Witness Who Received Money to Testify

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2022 3:42

    Among the "Pesuleh Edut" – people disqualified to serve as a witness – is a "Noge'a Be'edut," somebody who has a certain bias or prejudice in the case at hand. The most obvious case of a "Noge'a Be'edut" is that of a person who received money from one of the parties to testify. For example, a lender might want to pay somebody who witnessed the loan to come to court and testify that he lent the sum in question to the defendant. In such a case, the witness may not give testimony in court. If a witness gives testimony and it is then discovered that he had been paid, his testimony is invalidated. Even if afterward he repents and returns the money, he may not return to court to give testimony, due to the Halachic rule of "Kevan She'higid Shub Eno Hozer U'magid" – once a witness gave testimony, he cannot return to testify again.In light of this Halacha, one might, at first glance, question the common practice to pay witnesses to sign on a Get in the case of a divorce. How can a Bet Din accept witnesses who were paid for the service, if Halacha clearly disqualifies paid witnesses?The answer lies in a basic distinction between two different kinds of witnesses. The disqualification of paid witnesses applies to giving testimony about an event that transpired. If a person witnessed an event and his testimony is needed in the court, then he bears an obligation to go to Bet Din and give testimony, without pay. For example, if a person witnessed a loan, or if, in the times when Bet Din had the authority to punish violators of Torah law, a person witnessed a violation, he must come to Bet Din to testify about what he saw. In the case of a Get, however, as in the case of the Kiddushin at a wedding, witnesses are required not to testify about something that happened, but rather as part of the ceremony. These kinds of witnesses may be paid just like anyone who provides a service. People who are brought to sign a Get may thus receive payment as compensation for their time and the inconvenience of coming to Bet Din. (Generally, either the husband and wife split the costs of the witnesses, or one party agrees to accept the expense.) Likewise, if a couple wants to bring special witnesses for the Kiddushin, they may pay them and compensate for their airfare, hotel stay and other expenses. Since their service is ceremonial in nature, and they are not brought to give testimony about something they saw, they are not disqualified as a result of their receiving payment.Summary: Witnesses who were paid to give testimony in Bet Din about an event they witnessed – such as a loan – are disqualified, and their testimony is not valid, even if they subsequently return the money. However, when witnesses are required for a ceremonial purpose, such as to sign on a Get or to witness Kiddushin at a wedding, they may be paid for their service.

    Which Transgressions Render a Person Disqualified From Serving as a Witness?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2022 3:57

    A person who is, God forbid, involved in certain kinds of sinful behavior is disqualified from serving as a witness. These Halachot are especially important in the context of a wedding, when valid witnesses are required both for the signing of the Ketuba contract, and to witness the act of Kiddushin (when the groom gives the bride an object of value for betrothal). Care must be taken when choosing the witnesses, as appointing invalid witnesses could invalidate the Kiddushin.We list here several examples of people who are disqualified from serving as a witness:1) A person who is suspected of having an illicit relationship. The man is disqualified from serving as a witness even though there are no witnesses to the offense, but rumors have spread about his involvement in a forbidden relationship.2) The Bet Shemuel (Rav Shemuel Feivush, Poland, 17th century), in Siman 42, rules that a man who hugs and kisses women who are forbidden to him is also disqualified from serving as a witness, on the level of Torah law. 3) One who is "married" to a non-Jewish woman. Even though a Jew cannot be Halachically considered married to a gentile, a man who lives with a non-Jewish woman as husband and wife is disqualified from serving as a witness, on the level of Torah law. According to the Kenesset Hagedola (Rav Haim Banbenishti, Turkey, 1603-1673), one is disqualified if he has relations with a non-Jewish woman even if they do not live together as a married couple.4) One who eats the cheese of non-Jews or drinks the wine of non-Jews is disqualified from serving as a witness. 5) One who lends or borrows money on interest may not serve as a witness. Since it is forbidden by Torah law to accept interest or to pay interest, both the lender and borrower are disqualified.6) A person who raises his hand to strike his fellow is disqualified from serving as a witness by force of Rabbinic enactment, whereas somebody who actually strikes a fellow Jew is disqualified on the level of Torah law.7) It goes without saying that a "Moser" (somebody who cooperates with non-Jewish authorities in their persecution of Jews) is disqualified from serving as a witness on the level of Torah law. 8) A heretic who does not accept the authority of the oral tradition – the Mishna, Talmud, etc. – is disqualified from serving as a witness on the level of Torah law. In light of these guidelines, it is imperative to choose people of the highest caliber to serve as witnesses at a wedding. Witnesses should not be chosen simply because of their close relationship to the bride or groom, or to their families; they should be chosen based upon their level of Torah observance, to ensure that they are valid. Discretion is far more critical when it comes to the witnesses than with regard to the Berachot recited under the Hupa. A wedding ceremony is perfectly valid even if the Berachot are not recited at all, and the personal religious stature of the people who recite the Berachot will have no effect upon the legal validity of the marriage. But if the witnesses are unsuitable, they undermine the validity of the Kiddushin. It therefore cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to ensure to choose men of a high religious caliber to serve as witnesses.

    Why are Women Disqualified From Serving as Witnesses?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2022 3:17

    Halacha disqualifies women from serving as witnesses in court, and this disqualification applies on the level of Torah law. At first glance, this disqualification might appear unfair, discriminatory, or degrading to women. Some might "accuse" the Torah of relegating women to "second class" status, or of assuming that they have less intelligence or integrity than men, as reflected by their disqualification for rendering testimony.This assumption is very far from the truth. The Aruch Ha'shulhan (Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein of Nevahrduk, 1829-1908) writes explicitly (Hoshen Mishpat 34:19) that we cannot know the reason for women's disqualification, and it is simply a divine decree. This Halacha falls under the category of "Hukim," Torah laws whose underlying rationale eludes us and cannot be explained by human reasoning, like the ritual of the Para Aduma (red heifer). As such, one cannot reach any conclusions whatsoever regarding the Torah's general attitude toward women, or regarding anything else, on the basis of this Halacha. This is simply an expression of the divine will whose reason we do not understand. In fact, Halacha also disqualifies a Jewish king from serving as a witness. This means that when Mashiah arrives and becomes king, he will not be accepted as a witness in a Jewish court. Mashiah will be one of the most brilliant and pious men who ever lived, near the stature of Moshe Rabbenu, and, according to some, even more brilliant than King Shelomo. Clearly, his disqualification has nothing at all to do with questionable intelligence or integrity. These are laws which we should not even attempt to understand, and which we should simply accept as part of God's will as expressed through the Torah.The Torah in Parashat Korah (Bamidbar, chapter 16) tells of the revolt mounted by Korah against the authority of Moshe Rabbenu. The Sages teach that Korah's mistake was his insistence on understanding the rationale behind all the Torah's laws. He took a Tallit made entirely from Techelet, and asked Moshe whether it requires Sisit, with a Techelet string. Moshe answered that it indeed requires Sisit, whereupon Korah began ridiculing Moshe and challenging his authority. If a single thread of Techelet suffices for an entire garment, Korah said, then it makes no sense for a garment made entirely of Techelet to require an additional thread. Similarly, he asked Moshe whether a house filled with Sifreh Torah requires a Mezuza, and Moshe replied that it does. Once again, Korah ridiculed Moshe, claiming that there is no reason for a house filled with Torah scrolls to require a small Mezuza on the doorpost.Korah demanded a sound, logical explanation for every Halachic detail. He refused to accept a Torah law that was not comprehensible to the logical, human mind, and this led him to reject Moshe's authority. We believe in the Torah's laws and accept the fact that there are certain Halachot whose underlying reasoning is not within our grasp. And we believe that even these laws are an expression of the divine will, no less than those laws whose rationale we can understand.

    May a Sinner Serve as a Witness If He Thought He Was Doing a Misva When He Sinned?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2022 3:31

    Generally speaking, a person who commits certain kinds of Torah violations is disqualified from serving as a witness. This applies to Torah violations that are punishable by Malkot (lashes) or execution, and also to violations involving money. If a person disregards the Torah's code of monetary law, then there is reason to suspect that he will not speak truthfully in court, and he is therefore disqualified as a witness.An exception to this rule is somebody who committed a Torah violation under the mistaken assumption that he was committing a noble act. The classic example of such a situation, as discussed in the Gemara, is the case of Hebra Kadisha members who perform burials on the first day of Yom Tob. Burying on the first day of Yom Tob is certainly forbidden, but Hebra Kadisha members might assume that given the importance which the Torah affords to the immediate burial of a deceased person, they actually perform a Misva by burying on Yom Tob. Therefore, even though this assumption is wrong and misguided, they are nevertheless qualified to serve as witnesses, since they mistakenly perceive their sinful conduct as noble conduct. This Halacha applies even if they continue this wrongful practice after the local Bet Din had placed them under Nidui (excommunication). One might have assumed that once Bet Din condemned their practice of burying on Yom Tob, to the point of issuing a writ of excommunication, subsequent violations would be considered willful, intentional sins that disqualify them from testimony. In truth, however, the Hebra Kadisha members are still qualified as witnesses, because they figure that the Nidui is necessary as atonement, but not an indication that they act wrongly. They might compare their situation to one of a person who experiences a frightening dream on Friday night, who is allowed to fast on Shabbat, but must then observe another fast to atone for having fasted on Shabbat. Similarly, the Hebra Kadisha members might view their Nidui as a means of atonement that they must endure for burying on Yom Tob, even though the burial is warranted. Therefore, they are qualified to serve as witnesses despite the violation they commit.Another example is a person entrusted with the funds inherited by young orphans, and lends some of the money on interest. Generally, lending on interest renders one disqualified from giving testimony, because, as mentioned earlier, one who commits Torah violations involving money is disqualified as a witness. However, in the case of the administrator entrusted with orphans' accounts, he mistakenly thinks he performs a Misva by lending the funds on interest and thereby earning money for the young orphans under his charge. Therefore, even though he acts wrongly and commits a Torah violation, he is nevertheless allowed to serve as a witness, since his violations were committed under the assumption that he performs an important Misva.Summary: A person who commits a Torah violation thinking that he performs a Misva – such as an administrator of young orphans' funds who lends their money on interest – is allowed to serve as a witness, even if the violation he commits generally renders one disqualified for giving testimony.

    The Disqualification of "Shameless" People From Serving as Witnesses

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2022 2:15

    Among the groups of people whom Halacha disqualifies from serving as witnesses is that of "Bezuyim," meaning, people who act in a self-degrading, shameless manner. Such people are disqualified from serving as witnesses "Mi'de'rabbanan" (by force of Rabbinic enactment).An example of this kind of character is somebody who regularly eats full meals while walking through the street. Eating meals – such as a sandwich, or pizza – while walking through the street is considered undignified, and reflects a lack of self-respect. Therefore, somebody who conducts himself in this manner on a regular basis may not serve as a witness. This also applies to people who do not wear proper clothing outdoors, while they work or conduct their personal affairs. Such people who show no concern for their personal dignity are looked upon not as people, but as animals. As such, we cannot trust them to speak truthfully in court, and they are therefore disqualified from serving as witnesses.This reminds us of the importance of selecting as witnesses (such as at weddings and the like) people who maintain high standards of ethical and refined conduct. Even those who do not commit specific Torah violations are unsuitable for this role if they regularly act in an unbecoming and undignified manner.

    Who is Disqualified From Serving as a Witness?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 9, 2022 5:05

    The Shulhan Aruch, in Hoshen Mishpat (Siman 34), discusses the qualifications required by Halacha for somebody to be eligible to serve as an "Ed," a witness. These guidelines are critically important in several different contexts, including testimony before a Bet Din that the defendant owes the plaintiff money, and the required witnesses who sign on a Ketuba or are present at the Kiddushin in a wedding ceremony. A person is not valid for these purposes if he does not meet certain qualifications.The Shulhan Aruch writes that a person who has the formal status of a "Rasha" ("wicked person") is not qualified to serve as a witness. He defines the term "Rasha" for the purposes of this Halacha as somebody who intentionally transgressed a Torah violation that is punishable by either Malkot (lashes), death, or Karet (eternal spiritual excision). A violator obtains this status regardless of whether he transgressed "Le'hach'is" – with the specific intent to anger the Almighty – or "Le'te'abon" – because he could not restrain his evil inclination. This Halacha is inferred from the Torah's use of the term "Rasha" in the context of a person liable to Malkot ("Ve'haya Im Bin Hakot Ha'rasha" – Debarim 25:2). If a violator of a prohibition punishable by Malkot is considered a "Rasha," then certainly violators of capital offenses obtain this status. Hence, one who willfully violates a prohibition that is punishable by Malkot, death or Karet has the formal Halachic status of a "Rasha" and is thus disqualified from serving as a witness.This does not apply to a person who willfully neglected a Misvat Aseh (an affirmative command), such as if somebody did not take a Lulab or eat in the Sukka on Sukkot. Neglecting a Misvat Aseh is not punishable by Bet Din, and therefore it does not render a violator a "Rasha."The Aruch Ha'shulhan (Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, (1829-1908), in his Aruch Ha'shulhan (Hoshen Mishpat 34:5), writes that a person is also disqualified from serving as a witness if he strikes his fellow. We read in the Book of Shemot (2:13) that when Moshe confronted the two quarreling Israelite slaves, he approached the "Rasha" to reprimand him for striking the other. This demonstrates that striking another person also places one under the category of "Rasha." As such, one who commits such a crime is ineligible to serve as a witness.However, the Aruch Ha'shulhan claims that this disqualification applies only Mi'de'rabbanan – meaning, on the level of Rabbinic enactment. According to Torah law, one who commits the offense of striking his fellow is nevertheless eligible to serve as a witness, but the Sages enacted a provision disqualifying such a person. The reason the person remains eligible according to Torah law, the Aruch Ha'shulhan explains, is that he is not liable to Malkot for such an offense. There is a Halachic principle exempting a violator from Malkot if his violation makes him liable to pay money, and one who causes physical damage to his fellow must pay monetary compensation and therefore does not receive Malkot. As such, if not for the Rabbinic enactment, such a violator would not be disqualified from serving as a witness. Others disagree, and claim that this disqualification applies even on the level of Torah law. In a case where a person causes his fellow less than a "Peruta"-worth of damage by striking him, he is indeed liable to Malkot, since there is no payment involved. Therefore, the crime of striking another person is considered a Malkot-level violation, even though in most cases Malkot are not actually administered. As such, according to this view, the violator is disqualified from serving as a witness on the level of Torah law.In any event, this discussion alerts us to the importance of carefully choosing one's witnesses whenever witnesses are required, such as at a wedding. One should ensure to choose as his witnesses the most righteous and pious men available, in order to guarantee their eligibility.Summary: A person who willfully committed a Torah prohibition that is punishable by corporal or capital punishment, or who intentionally beat his fellow, is disqualified from serving as a witness, such as at a wedding, for the signing of a Ketuba, or in a hearing of Bet Din.

    Watching a Lost Item Until it is Returned to its Owner

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2022 1:40

    The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Ki-Tabo (listen to audio recording for precise citation), writes that if one finds a book that belongs to another person, and the book bears the person's name, stamp, or other identifying feature, the finder may not use the book. He is obligated to return the book to its owner, and until it can be returned, he must care for the book properly, and may not make personal use of it.If a person finds a lost item and cannot return it to its owner immediately, he may give it to somebody he trusts to watch it in the interim. For example, if the finder is leaving on a trip and does not want to take the article with him, he may entrust it to somebody he deems reliable. Lost items differ in this regard from a "Pikadon" – an object that was specifically entrusted to somebody to watch. If a person gives an article to his fellow to watch it for him, and the friend accepts responsibility, he is not allowed to hand the object over to somebody else to watch it in his stead, since the owner specifically entrusted him with the object. If the person is leaving on a trip and does not want to take the article with him, he may bring it to the Bet Din, and the Bet Din will appoint a reliable person to watch the item.Summary: If a person finds a lost item that could be identified by the owner, he must watch the item in the interim until it is returned, and may not use it. He may, however, entrust it to somebody whom he deems trustworthy and reliable. This is in contrast to the case of an article whose owner assigned a particular person to watch it, in which case it may not be entrusted to somebody else.

    Who Keeps Money That is Found in a Private Backyard, or in a Store?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2022 3:28

    The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1839-1933) addresses the case of a person who makes a wedding in his backyard (which was common in those days), to which many guests are invited, and somebody finds on the ground money that was apparently lost. Assuming the money was not stacked in a unique and distinctive way, and was not in a wallet or other personal item, the finder may keep the money. Even though the wedding is held in a person's private property, the setting is considered a public domain with respect to this Halacha, since large numbers of people are present. It can be assumed that the individual who dropped the money immediately despaired from retrieving it since there were so many people in the area. If, however, the money had a distinctive feature, such as if it was found in a wallet or bag that could be identified by the owner, then the finder must announce the find so that the owner could come forward to describe the item and then retrieve his lost money. Since there are Simanim (distinctive features), and the people in the area are Jews, the obligation of "Hashabat Abeda" (returning lost objects) applies. Otherwise, however, if a bill is found lying on the ground, the finder may keep the bill.The Ben Ish Hai then adds that this applies only if the money is found at a public event. It goes without saying that ordinarily, if a person finds money scattered about on somebody's private property, such as in his yard or on his porch, and it clearly belongs to the owner of the property, he cannot claim rights to the money that he finds. Even if it is clear that the money was misplaced, the owner did not despair from finding it, since it was lost on his property, where it would eventually be found. Therefore, the money must be returned to the owner.The Ben Ish Hai rules that a store, where customers are coming in and out, has the status of a public domain with respect to this Halacha. If somebody finds money lying on the ground in the store, he may keep the money, and the storekeeper cannot claim that the money belongs to him. Even though he owns the property, the finder may keep the money, because the store is considered a public area.Summary: If a person finds money on somebody else's private property, then generally speaking, he must give it to the property owner. If, however, this occurs when a public event takes place on the property, such as if a wedding is held in somebody's backyard, the finder may keep the money. If the money had some distinctive feature, such as if it was in a wallet or a particular kind of bag, the finder must announce his find. A person who finds money in a store that has customers coming in and out may keep the money.

    Returning and Claiming Lost Items

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 3:10

    If a person finds an object that somebody had lost, and the object has Simanim – distinguishing features whereby it can be identified by the owner – he must announce in the synagogue that he found the item. He must specify what the object is, and announce that the owner can retrieve it after naming the Simanim. It is not sufficient to announce that he found an object, without specifying what kind of object, and invite the owner to name the item. For example, if somebody found a wallet, he should not announce that he found something, and then give the wallet to somebody who comes forward and says that he lost a wallet. Rather, he should announce that he found a wallet, and then the one who lost his wallet should come and name the color, the size, and other distinguishing features, such as if it is torn in a certain place, or had specific contents, and so on. Similarly, if a bag containing several items was lost, the owner can specify how many items were in the bag, and this qualifies as a valid Siman.If the lost item was found in a place where the majority of people are gentiles, the finder is not required to announce the find. In such a case, he may assume that the object was lost by a non-Jew, in which case the obligation to announce the find does not apply. Thus, for example, if a person found something in Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, he may assume it was lost by a gentile and keep the item, even if it has Simanim. If the owner comes along and identifies the object based on its Simanim, then, in certain circumstances, the finder will still be entitled to keep the item. Namely, if the item is something that a person notices immediately when it is lost – such as money, since people regularly check their pockets when carrying money to make sure it is still there – then the finder may keep the money. In such a case, we may reasonably assume that the owner despaired immediately after the money was lost, since it was dropped in a public place, and thus the finder legally acquired the money. It would then be too late for the owner to demand that the money be returned. Since he despaired as soon as the money was lost, the finder acquired ownership when he found it, and may therefore keep it for himself.(Based on Ben Ish Hai, Parashat Ki-Tabo)Summary: If a person finds a lost object with unique features, such that it could be identified by its owner, he must make an announcement in the synagogue. He must specify the kind of object that he found, and the owner should then identify its unique characteristics, such as size, weight, color, and other distinctive features. If a person finds a lost item in a place where most of the people are non-Jews, he may keep the item.

    Hashabat Abeda - The Obligation to Return Lost Objects

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2022 4:29

    If one sees an item that belongs to another Jew and was lost, he is obligated to take that object and return it to its owner. One who sees a lost object and ignores it violates a Misvat Lo Ta'aseh (Torah prohibition) that forbids ignoring a lost object, and also neglects a Misvat Aseh (affirmative Biblical command) to return lost objects to their owner, as the Torah commands, "Do not see your fellow's ox or sheep wandering astray and ignore them; you shall return them to your fellow" (Debarim 22:1). If a person takes the item with the intention of keeping it, rather than returning it to its owner, he also violates the Torah prohibition against theft ("Lo Tigzol" – Vayikra 19:13). If, however, the finder then decides to return the object to its owner, he has corrected his mistake and is no longer in violation of these prohibitions, assuming the owner had not despaired from retrieving the item. If the owner despaired after the finder took the object for himself, the finder is guilty of a these violations even if he then returns the object.This obligation does not apply to possessions that have no Siman – meaning, a distinguishing feature by which it can be identified as a person's possession. Money, for example, has no Siman; there is nothing on a coin or dollar bill whereby it can be definitively identified as belonging to a particular person. Therefore, if a person dropped money in a public place, one who finds the money is allowed, strictly speaking, to keep the money. People generally feel their pockets regularly to ensure their money is still with them, and it can therefore be assumed that the money's owner realizes he has lost the money and has despaired, since the money has no Siman and was left in a public place. According to the strict Halacha, then, one who finds money that was lost in a public area may keep the money for himself, even if he knows whom it belonged to, since the owner has presumably despaired.Of course, this applies only if the money is indeed unidentifiable as a particular person's property. If the money was found in a wallet, or it was stacked in some particular way whereby it can be identified as belonging to somebody, then the finder must return the money to its owner.Although this is the strict Halacha, one who finds lost money fulfills a Midat Hasidut (measure of piety) if he returns it to its owner. He is allowed to keep the money, but it is worthwhile as a Midat Hasidut to return it.The question arises as to why the Torah allows one to keep money that is found in a public area, even if he knows who lost it. Why shouldn't the finder be required to return the money to its rightful owner? The answer, as mentioned in several works, is that Hashem "settles all accounts" and we can rest assured that the finder rightfully deserves the money. It is possible, for example, that in a previous Gilgul (incarnation) the owner owed the finder money but never paid him, and for this reason Hashem arranged that this money would be lost and then found. We never know for sure the precise reasons why these situations occur, but we do know that God precisely calculates people's assets, and that there is a reason why He saw to it that a person would lose money and it would be found by somebody else.(Based on Ben Ish Hai, Parashat Ki-Tabo)Summary: It is forbidden to ignore an item that was lost by a fellow Jew and one finds, and it is certainly forbidden to keep it for oneself. However, if the item has no distinguishable feature, such as in the case of lost money, the finder may, strictly speaking, keep it for himself, though as an extra measure of piety he may wish to return it.

    Reading "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum"

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 2, 2022 6:27

    The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 146, and again in 285) writes that it is permissible, strictly speaking, to read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" during the Torah reading. This refers to the obligation to read the weekly Parsha twice and its translation once. Although Halacha generally forbids speaking or learning during the Torah reading, one is permitted to read "Shenayim Mikra" during the Torah reading, since it is relevant to the reading. Nevertheless, the Shulhan Aruch adds (in Siman 146) that it is preferable only to read along with the reader to complete one of the two readings of "Shenayim Mikra," rather than read the Parsha twice and the translation during the congregational reading. Accordingly, Hacham Ovadia Yosef (in Yehaveh Da'at) and Hacham Bension Abba Shaul (in Or Le'sion, vol. 2) write that one should not read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" during the Torah reading, but one may read along with the reader to fulfill one required reading, and conduct the other readings at some other point. The most preferred way to fulfill this obligation, as Hacham Ovadia writes in his Halichot Olam, is to read each verse twice followed by its translation. If time is short, one may read once along with the reader, and then read the Parsha again followed by the translation, as discussed.Preferably, one should complete the reading of "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" before he prays Minha on Shabbat afternoon. If one did not complete the reading by that time, then he can complete it until the reading of Parashat Bereshit on Simhat Torah.Although there are some opinions that one should not study Targum (the translation of the Torah) at night, Hacham Ovadia rules that one is allowed to read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" at night.Rav Haim Palachi (Turkey, 1788-1869) warns that one should not read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" as though it is a heavy burden of which he seeks to relieve himself. Rather, one should read the material slowly and carefully, in an attempt to enhance his understanding of the Torah text.If a teacher teaches the weekly Torah portion in school, and during the course of his work he reads the Parasha twice, this suffices for the two readings required for "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum," and he must then read only the Targum to fulfill his obligation.The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Lech-Lecha, writes that it is preferable to read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" on Friday, as this is part of one's preparations for Shabbat. Nevertheless, as Hacham Ovadia notes, one who does not have time to do the entire "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" reading on Friday may do so earlier in the week. The Ben Ish Hai also writes that it is preferable to conduct the entire "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" reading all at once, in a single sitting, without any interruption. Nevertheless, one may get a drink and recite "She'hakol" during the reading if he feels thirsty. Likewise, if a Rabbi is reading "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" and he is approached with a Halachic question, or is asked to deliver a class, he may certainly interrupt his reading. Otherwise, however, it is preferable to conduct the entire reading without any interruptions. The Kaf Ha'hayim (Rav Yaakob Haim Sofer, Baghdad-Israel, 1867-1939) writes that we create angels by reading "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum," and by interrupting in the middle of the reading, we cause these angels to be blemished.Reading "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" is a "Segula" for long life. However, as with all Misvot, we should perform this Misva in order to fulfill G-d's will, and to learn and acquire Torah knowledge, and not for the rewards.The Ben Ish Hai writes that it customary to read the final verse of the Parasha an additional two times after completing "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum." Some also have the custom of reciting "Mizmor Shir Le'yom Ha'Shabbat" and "Hacham Malach" after the reading.The Rama (Rav Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1525-1572) writes that it is customary to also read each week's Haftara. Unlike the Parasha, however, the Haftara is read only once, and not twice, and not with the Targum. In a week before a Shabbat when a special Maftir and Haftara are read, such as Shabbat Rosh Hodesh, Parashat Shekalim and Parashat Zachor, one does not have to read the Maftir for "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum," since those Pesukim are read on the week of the Parasha in which they appear. However, the Ben Ish Hai writes that in such a week one should read the Haftara of that week's Parasha, even though that Haftara will not be read in the synagogue.The Ben Ish Hai writes that one should read "Shenayim Mikra Ve'ehad Targum" for Parashat Vezot Ha'beracha on Hoshana Rabba.

    The Importance of Avoiding Anger

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 4:38

    The Shulchan Aruch, amidst his discussion of the laws of proper etiquette at a meal, writes (Orach Chayim 170:6) that one should not be "Kapdan" – angry, nervous or uptight – during a meal. The Kaf Ha'chayim (by Rabbi Yaakov Chayim Sofer, 1870-1939), commenting on this Halacha (170:29), offers two reasons why anger must be avoided during a meal. Firstly, if a person comes to a meal with an attitude of anger or anxiety, his family members will likely be reluctant to share some of the food with the needy. If a person in need comes to the house during the meal to ask for some food, the family members might feel inhibited from sharing their food with him if they see the head of the household in a state of anger. Secondly, guests and family members may not eat heartily if they see the head of the household upset. Anger and anxiety on his part causes them to feel uneasy, and they might refrain from eating out of concern not to cause him further aggravation.The Kaf Ha'chayim adds that although the Shulchan Aruch here addresses specifically the context of a meal, in truth, one must endeavor to avoid anger in all areas of life, and not merely at mealtime. The Gemara comments in Masechet Pesachim (66; listen to audio for precise citation) that if a Torah scholar becomes angry, he loses his knowledge. And the Zohar, as cited by the Kaf Ha'chayim, comments that whereas other sins adversely affect different parts of a person's body, anger has a harmful effect upon a person's soul. The "Maggid," the angel that would appear to Rabbi Yosef Karo (author of the Shulchan Aruch) and study Torah with him, instructed him (listen to audio for precise citation) never to react angrily over anything, including matters of religion that are of sublime importance. Indeed, it is told that the Arizal (famed Kabbalist, Israel, 1534-1572) was particularly careful to avoid anger, even more so than regarding other sins.Thus, one must ensure to avoid anger not only during mealtime, but also in all venues of life, given the particularly destructive effects of anger upon other people and upon oneself.

    A Woman's Obligations When the Torah is Removed From the Heichal and During Torah Reading

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2021 2:55

    The Shulchan Aruch writes (134:2; listen to audio for precise citation) that the person who removes the Torah scroll from the Heichal for the reading must show the writing of the Torah to everybody in the synagogue, including the women. Upon seeing the writing of the Torah, the congregation must slightly bow and recite the verse, "Ve'zot Ha'Torah Asher Sam Moshe Lifnei Benei Yisrael." The Arizal (famed Kabbalist, Israel, 1534-1572) held, based on Kabbalah, that one should come close enough to the Torah to be able to read the actual letters, for then the spiritual light of the letters will surround and influence a person. Therefore, the person removing the Torah from the Heichal must ensure to bring the Torah near the ladies' section in the synagogue so that they, too, can see the writing of the Torah scroll.Sephardic custom allows women to attend the synagogue services and look upon the Torah scroll even during their state of Tum'a (ritual impurity, such as during the period of Nida). Although many Ashkenazim are stringent in this regard, according to Sephardic custom women may attend services and look at the Torah regardless of their current status with regard to Tum'a.Women do not, however, bear an obligation to hear the Torah reading. Therefore, if a woman arrives in the synagogue as the Torah is taken from the Heichal, after she looks at the Torah she may recite Shacharit, even as the Torah is read. (This would be forbidden for a man.) In fact, if she wishes she may leave the synagogue during the reading in order to pray Shacharit in the hallway. It is forbidden for both men and women to speak during the Torah reading in the synagogue. Therefore, the Be'er Moshe (work of responsa by Rabbi Moshe Stern of Debereczyn) ruled that if a woman finds it difficult to refrain from talking during Torah reading, it is preferable that she leave and not hear the reading at all, since, as mentioned, women are not required to hear the reading.Summary: It is a Mitzva for both men and women to look at the Torah scroll when it is taken from the Heichal for the reading. Women are exempt, however, from listening to the reading. Therefore, a woman may leave during the reading to pray Shacharit, and if she finds it difficult to remain silent during the reading, it is preferable that she leave the sanctuary.

    Bringing Young Girls to the Synagogue

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 5:05

    Many parents bring their young children to the synagogue, and often, young girls sit with their father in the men's section, or walk in and out during the prayer service. There are many parents who do not enforce upon their young daughters the accepted standards of Seniut (modesty), and the question thus arises as to whether men may pray in the presence of these young girls. Is it forbidden to pray in the presence of young girls who are not dressed according to accepted standards of Seniut, or is this permissible in light of the girls' young age?Hacham Ovadia Yosef addresses this question in a lengthy responsa in his work Yabia Omer (vol. 6, Orah Haim 14; listen to audio recording for precise citation). After citing and discussing the different opinions on the subject, the Hacham concludes that one may rely on the lenient view among the authorities and recite Shema, Amida, and the other prayers in the presence of young girls, even if they are not dressed according to proper standards of Seniut. He adds, however, that it is admirable to satisfy the stringent opinion by closing one's eyes or turning his eyes away as he prays. Thus, although young girls who come to the synagogue should certainly be dressed properly, if a girl who is not dressed according to proper standards is sitting next to her father, the men may continue praying, and if they want to follow the stringent view they should ensure not to look at her as they pray.It must be emphasized that this discussion relates only to young girls. Once a girl reaches the age of 12, she is considered an adult woman and may not enter the men's section of the synagogue during prayer services.Of course, all this assumes that the child sits quietly during the prayer service. The Shela Ha'kadosh (Rav Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, 1558-1630) writes in Masechet Tamid (Perek Ner Misva; listen to audio recording for precise citation) that one who brings very young children to the synagogue "loses more than he gains." He adds that one who brings a young child to the synagogue must supervise the child and ensure that he stays in one place and does not run around the synagogue. There is no educational value whatsoever in bringing children to the synagogue if they run around, and a parent who brings a child to the synagogue must take responsibility to monitor the child and ensure that he acts in a manner that is appropriate for the synagogue.Summary: No child should be brought to the synagogue unless he sits quietly and respectfully. Girls who have reached the age of twelve may not enter the men's section of the synagogue during services. Young girls may sit with their fathers, and of course, they should be dressed respectfully. If a young girl who is not dressed modestly is in the men's section, the men are nevertheless allowed to pray in their presence.

    Must a Married Woman Cover Her Hair?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2021 10:37

    Most of the halachic discussion regarding the obligation of married women to cover their hair has focused on the proper types of coverings to fulfil the Misva. However, there has even been some discussion whether the obligation is applicable at all nowadays. Hacham Shalom Masas, the late Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, originally from Casablanca, presents a detailed series of Teshuvot (responsa) in his Tevuot Shemesh (Even HaEzer, 137-139). It is highly recommend reading these Teshuvot and enjoying the various opinions he brings. He opens Teshuva 138 by outlining the extreme opinions, at opposite poles: Those who hold that the Halacha is not applicable nowadays, and on the other hand, the opinion of Hacham Ovadia and others that even covering with a wig is not sufficient. The Hod Yosef, Hacham Yosef Masas, attempted to marshal proofs from early sources that this Halacha is no longer applicable. Hacham Masas methodically goes through the proofs and refutes each one. His overwhelming conclusion is that the broad consensus of all the Poskim is that the prohibition remains intact.One of the arguments of the Hod Yosef questions how can a Torah prohibition be derived from the Pasuk regarding a Sotah that states the Kohen uncovers her hair, implying that, in general, a married woman's hair must be covered. He brings the Gemara in Masechet Shabuot (35a) that establishes that a Torah prohibition cannot be derived from an implication of the text, but only from a direct statement.Hacham Shalom categorically refutes this argument. He demonstrates that the Gemara only means that a bona-fide Misvat Lo Ta'aseh or Misvat Aseh (negative or positive commandment) cannot be derived from an implication. However, many times, a Torah prohibition is learnt from an implication. For example, "Hasi Shiur Asur Min HaTorah"-the Torah prohibition of eating less than a Kezayit (olive bulk) of a forbidden food is derived from an implication. While it is not subsumed in the negative commandment, it remains a Torah prohibition. Therefore, while there is no official Misvat Aseh or Lo Ta'aseh regarding covering hair, there is still a Torah prohibition. Hacham Shalom cites this as the opinion of Hacham Ovadia in Yabia Omer (Even HaEzer 4:3). Another argument of the Hod Yosef is based on the Talmudic principle that if the reason behind a Gezerah (Rabbinic decree) no longer applies, the Gezerah is annulled. He cites an example of the Gezerah not to drink from "Mayim Megulim"-water left out uncovered overnight, out of concern that a snake may have secreted venom into the water. Many Poskim say that nowadays snakes are not common, and therefore the Gezerah is annulled. The Hod Yosef wanted to extrapolate from this that since the norm today is not for women to cover their hair, not covering the hair is no longer a breach of modesty and there is no longer a prohibition.Hacham Shalom vehemently opposes this reasoning and makes the sharp distinction between a Gezerah D'Rabanan, which is inherently based on a specific rationale and a Misva of the Torah, which is the infinite wisdom of the Creator and is not subject to change. These are two arguments of the Hod Yosef. It is important to realize that the opinion of the Hod Yosef is considered a lone opinion, and his arguments have been refuted. The overwhelming majority of Poskim hold that married women are obligated to cover their hair, and the Halachic discussion focusses on how to best fulfil the obligation.SUMMARYA married woman is obligated to cover her hair.

    May One Talk About Mundane Matters on Shabbat?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 5:30

    The Navi (Prophet) warns regarding speech on Shabbat: "V'Daber Dabar"-(From speaking talk). The Hachamim derive from this phrase that one's speech on Shabbat should be different than his speech during the week. Rambam understands this to mean that it is prohibited to speak on Shabbat about activates which would be forbidden to perform on Shabbat-whether by Torah or Rabbinic law. For example, one may not say, "Tomorrow, I am driving to New Jersey," or "Tomorrow I am flying to Miami." Since those activities cannot be performed on Shabbat, it is also prohibited from saying it. However, Tosafot have a different understanding of this issue. They learn that not only is it prohibited to speak about prohibited activities, but it is even prohibited to talk excessively about any mundane topic, such as news, politics etc. They cite an incident in the Midrash, in which Rabbi Shimon rebuked his grandmother for talking too much on Shabbat about any subject. The Talmud Yerushalmi records that the Hachamim barely permitted saying Shalom on Shabbat. Of course, there is no issue with talking words of Torah, Tefila and Musar.Interestingly, Shulhan Aruch (307:1) records both the opinion of the Rambam and the Tosafot. It is important to know that the Aruch Hashulhan (Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein of Nevarduk, 1829-1908) understand the opinion of Tosafot, who hold that any excess speech is problematic, as a preference and not as actual law. He proves this from the comment of the Rema who adds that if a person derives enjoyment from talking about permitted topics, he may do so. Clearly, if the issue was a bona fide prohibition, enjoyment would not be a factor to permit it. The fact that someone may enjoy turning on lights does not justify violating the Shabbat. Thus, even though the Halacha says that one should curtail his speech on Shabbat, it is regarded as Midat Hasidut-the behavior of the righteous.The Mishna Berura (Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) cites a custom of certain Sadikim to speak only in Lashon HaKodesh-Hebrew- on Shabbat. Doing so enabled them to avoid idle speech. Other Sadikim would engage in a Ta'anit Dibur-a day of silence-every Shabbat. While this may seem extreme for most people, these practices underscore the lofty nature of Shabbat. It is not just a day for rest and relaxation. One should focus on the Shechina and the pursuit of holiness. For most people, refraining from speaking during the Torah reading is a challenge, but for the Sadikim, the entire day of Shabbat was like one long Torah reading, and hence they refrained from speaking.SUMMARYIt is a bona fide prohibition on to speak on Shabbat about activities which are prohibited to perform on Shabbat. It is preferable to refrain, in general, from speaking about mundane matters on Shabbat, unless he derives special benefit from doing so.

    May one use Moist Towelettes for Mayim Aharonim?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 26, 2021 4:58

    The Halacha requires washing Mayim Aharonim at the conclusion of the meal, before Birkat Hamazon. The question was asked whether one may use moist towelettes, which are commonly distributed at the end of a meal in restaurants, for this obligation. This question can be answered only after reviewing the four reasons given for this obligation. According to the reason that it is to clean the hands for Birkat Hamazon, the towelette should be permitted. With regard to cleanliness, there is no difference whether one uses a traditional vessel with water or the towelette. Another reason for Mayim Aharonim was to remove traces of a certain salt called "Melech Sedomit", which was once common in the bread. If it would remain on the fingers, it was liable to be rubbed on the eyes and, Heaven forbid, cause blindness. If that is the reason, the towelette should be sufficient. There is yet another explanation, based on the Gemara in Masechet Yoma, that relates the story of someone who was once killed because he didn't do Mayim Aharonim and traces of food remained on his face. Again, if this is the reason, towelette can also effectively wipe the face. However, there is a fourth reason for Mayim Aharonim, based on the Kabbalah, brought by Rav Haim Vital (1543-1620, Tsfat-Damascus) in the Sha'ar Ha'Kavanot. He writes that after a person eats, the Sitra Achra (the Satan) wants to prosecute the diner and claim that he doesn't deserve to eat because of his sins. This would cause the Heavenly court to open his books and investigate his merit. To avoid this, one must give a "bribe" to the Satan in the form of water with the residue of food from the fingertips. That is his portion and causes him to remain quiet. According to that reason, it is questionable whether the moisture in the towelette is sufficient. It could be argued that it is enough, since anyway, all the Poskim say that one should only use a small amount of water for Mayim Aharonim. Apparently a minute amount is sufficient. The fact that the moisture in the towelette is not water, but a chemical, is not a problem. Mayim Aharonim nay be performed with any liquid, including saliva, soda or juice. Rabbi Gidon, in his new Sefer, Yoru Mishpatecha (Siman 20) discusses this question. He rules that ideally, if one has water, he should wash in the regular manner, since the Kaf Ha'Haim (Rav Yaakob Haim Sofer, Baghdad-Israel, 1870-1939) specifically formulated the Halacha that one should "pour" water over his hands. However, if he is travelling and does not have easy access to water, e.g. he is eating while driving in a car, he may use the towelette. This may also be considered "pouring". The Kaf Ha'Haim was only coming to exclude immersing one's hands in the water. However, it is problematic to use them on Shabbat, if he squeezes them. In any event, one should never be lenient and omit Mayim Aharonim, as the Poskim are very strict in this matter. SUMMARYIf one does not have access to water, he may use moist towelettes for Mayim Aharonim.

    How To Do Birkat Kohanim When There Are Only Kohanim Present In Shul

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 2:26

    What is the proper procedure for Birkat Kohanim (the priestly blessing) if the congregation consists entirely of Kohanim? Do all the worshippers ascend to recite the Beracha, or do only some of them recite the Beracha?The Halacha in this case depends on how many people are present in the synagogue. If the Minyan is comprised of only ten Kohanim and nobody else, then they all ascend for the recitation of Birkat Kohanim. Women and children present at the synagogue would answer "Amen" to the Beracha. If there are no women and children in the synagogue, then of course nobody would answer "Amen," but this does not undermine the validity of the Birkat Kohanim.This situation, of course, gives rise to the interesting question of whom they are blessing, since nobody is present in the synagogue to receive their blessing. The answer is that they bless all other Jews, who are not in attendance in the synagogue. The Kohanim customarily wave their hands side to side at certain points during the recitation of Birkat Kohanim, in effect bestowing the blessing to those beyond the synagogue walls.If more than ten Kohanim are present (but no non-Kohanim are present), then all the Kohanim go up except 10, to maintain a Minyan.In all cases, the Chazan (even though he is a Kohen) does not participate in Birkat Kohanim, and instead remains in his place and dictates the Beracha to the other Kohanim.Summary: If a Minyan consists of only ten people, all of whom are Kohanim, they all recite Birkat Kohanim, except for the Chazan, who stays in his place and dictates the Beracha to the others. If the Minyan consists of more than ten Kohanim but nobody else, all the Kohanim go up, so long as at least 10 stay down.

    Should a Mourner be Called for an Aliya if He is the Only Kohen in Attendance?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2021 2:35

    A mourner who is observing Shib'a should not be called for an Aliya to the Torah, since it is forbidden for mourners to study Torah. An interesting question arises in a case where a mourner who is a Kohen does not have a Minyan in his home, and prays in the synagogue, instead, where no other Kohanim are in attendance. Normally, if there is a Kohen present, he must be given the first Aliya to the Torah, as otherwise people might question whether he is in fact a legitimate Kohen. In light of this Halacha, should we perhaps allow a mourner to receive the first Aliya if he is the only Kohen, in the interest of protecting his reputation?The answer is that even in such a case, the mourner should not receive an Aliya, and he does not need to be asked to leave, either. It can be assumed that the people in the congregation realize that this Kohen is in mourning and is therefore unable to receive an Aliya, and therefore, nobody will question his status as a valid Kohen. This case resembles a case where the only Kohen in the synagogue is in the middle of Shema or the Amida prayer when the Torah reading begins. Since he cannot be called for the first Aliya – as waiting for him to finish his prayer would inconvenience the congregation – and it is clear to everyone present that he cannot receive the Aliya because he is praying, and not because he is not a valid Kohen, he does not receive the Aliya. Likewise, if the only Kohen in the synagogue is a mourner, he does not receive an Aliya, because everybody knows the reason why he cannot be called to the Torah.The exception to this rule is Shabbat, when a Kohen who is a mourner should be called for the first Aliya if no other Kohanim are present. Public displays of mourning are forbidden on Shabbat, and if the only Kohen in the synagogue does not receive an Aliya because he is in mourning, or if he is asked to leave so a Yisrael can be called, this would publicly display his status as a mourner. Therefore, if it happened on Shabbat that the only Kohen in the synagogue is a mourner, he should receive the first Aliya. This is the ruling of Hacham David Yosef, in his Halacha Berura.Summary: If the only Kohen in the synagogue is a mourner observing Shib'a, the first Aliya is given to a Yisrael, unless this occurred on Shabbat, in which case the mourner should receive the first Aliya.

    May Birkat Kohanim be Recited if a Non-Jew is Present

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 3:05

    If a non-Jew is present in the synagogue, such as if maintenance workers come during Shaharit to make repairs, or the custodian comes in to take a chair, may Birkat Kohanim be recited, or must the Kohanim wait until the non-Jew leaves?The Poskim address this question in the context of the Shulhan Aruch's ruling (Orah Haim 55) regarding a case where people hear Kaddish or Kedusha, or a Beracha, but there is a non-Jew situated in between them and the Hazan. The Shulhan Aruch rules in such a case that those who hear the recitation cannot respond, as the non-Jew constitutes an "interruption" between them and the one who recited the Beracha. One might, initially, conclude on this basis that the presence of a non-Jew "interrupts" the Kohanim's blessing, and thus the blessing should not be recited while the non-Jew is in the synagogue. In truth, however, this is incorrect. The Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806), in Yosef Ometz (70), writes that the Shulhan Aruch speaks only of a case where the Beracha is recited in one room, and people hear the recitation in a different room. In such a case, the people in the different room cannot respond unless there is no separation between them and the person who recited the Beracha. But if everyone is in the same room, the presence of a gentile does not constitute any sort of interruption. As such, it is entirely permissible for Birkat Kohanim to be recited when a gentile is present. This ruling appears in the work Orech Yamim (p. 326; listen to audio recording for precise citation).Summary: If a non-Jew enters or is present in the synagogue during Birkat Kohanim, the Kohanim may recite the blessing as usual, and they do not have to wait until the non-Jew leaves.

    If a Kohen Was Mistakenly Called for the Second Aliya; Calling Kohanim for Later Aliyot

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 7:59

    The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 135:7; listen to audio recording for precise citation) addresses a case where a Kohen, after completing the first Aliya, was called for the second Aliya, as the Mesader assumed there was no Levi in the synagogue. Just as the Kohen began, the Mesader was notified that there was, in fact, a Levi in attendance. The Shulhan Aruch rules that if the Kohen had already begun reciting the Beracha, then he continues and finishes the Aliya. If, however, the Mesader realized his mistake before the Kohen began reciting the Beracha, such as if he had only recited, "Rabanan Barechu Et Hashem," then the Levi is called in place of the Kohen.The Shulhan Aruch then writes if there indeed is no Levi in the synagogue, then the Kohen who received the first Aliya is called for the second Aliya, in place of a Levi. The reason for this Halacha, as the Shulhan Aruch explains, is that if a different Kohen is called, people might conclude that the first Kohen is not truly a Kohen. In order to avoid such suspicions, the Kohen who received the first Aliya receives the second Aliya when no Levi is present.Different customs exist regarding the issue of calling Kohanim for Aliyot after the third Aliya. Many Ashkenazim have the practice of never giving Kohanim and Leviyim Aliyot beyond the first two Aliyot. According to this custom, all Aliyot after the first two Aliyot are given to Yisraelim. Others allow calling up Kohanim and Leviyim beyond the third Aliya, but only in the sequence of Kohen, Levi, Yisrael. Sepharadim, however, allow calling up Kohanim and Leviyim for the later Aliyot, provided that two Kohanim or two Leviyim do not receive successive Aliyot. Meaning, if a Kohen receives the fourth Aliya, another Kohen may not receive the fifth. A Yisrael should receive the fifth Aliya, and then a Kohen can be called for the sixth. The same applies to Leviyim.There are, however, situations when Sephardic practice allows two Kohanim or Leviyim to receive successive Aliyot. For instance, two Kohanim can receive the Aliyot of "Mashlim" (the final Aliya before Kaddish) and "Maftir." Since Kaddish is recited in between these Aliyot, they may both be given to Kohanim or to Leviyim. This is a practical solution in situations where two Kohanim in the congregation have a Yartzheit on the same Shabbat – one can receive "Mashlim," and the other "Maftir." Another situation where Kohanim or Leviyim can receive successive Aliyot is when the Aliyot are read from different Sifreh Torah. Even if Kaddish is not recited in between the two Aliyot, they may nevertheless be given to Kohanim or Leviyim. On Simhat Torah, for example, we read from three Sifreh Torah, and thus three Kohanim or three Leviyim may be given the final three Aliyot. This applies as well when Rosh Hodesh Tevet – which is during Hanukah – falls on Shabbat, and thus three Sifreh Torah are read. The congregation may call a Kohen for the final Aliya in the weekly Torah portion, another Kohen for the Rosh Hodesh reading, and another Kohen for the Maftir reading, since all these are read from different Sifreh Torah. Hacham Ovadia Yosef, in Kol Sinai, cites an extension of this Halacha from Rav Haim Palachi (Izmir, Turkey, 1788-1869). Many congregations have the custom of selling the third Aliya during Minha on Yom Kippur, which is the Aliya of Yona and considered a great honor. Hacham Ovadia ruled that a Kohen who purchases this Aliya may be called, even though it is the third Aliya, which ordinarily must be given to a Yisrael. The reason, he explains, is that this Aliya is a "Maftir," and not an ordinary third Aliya. Moreover, the reason why a Kohen ordinarily may not receive the third Aliya is because people might suspect that he is not really a Kohen. In a case where a Kohen pledged a large sum of money to purchase the privilege of receiving the Aliya of Yona, it is clear that he is receiving this Aliya as a privilege, and not because he is not really a Kohen. Since there is no reason for concern that people will doubt the Kohen's status, he may receive this Aliya. For the same reason, this Aliya may be given to a distinguished Torah scholar who is a Kohen, as it is clear that he receives the Aliya due to his stature of distinction, and not because he is a Yisrael.Hacham Ovadia expressed opposition to the practice of some congregations to ask the Kohanim to leave the synagogue when they want to give all three Aliyot (on a weekday, for example) to a Yisrael. Sometimes there are three Yisraelim at a Minyan who need Aliyot, and so the Kohanim are asked to leave in order to make all three Aliyot available for Yisraelim. Hacham Ovadia discouraged this practice, as it infringes upon the honor due to the Kohanim. He notes that this practice was accepted in one particular instance, as documented by the Maharik (Rav Yosef Kolon, 15th century). There was a custom among some communities to sell the first Aliya on Shabbat Parashat Bereshit to the one who pledged to supply all the oil for the synagogue throughout the coming year, which involved a great deal of money. These communities would then ask the Kohanim to leave so that the person who made the pledge could receive the first Aliya. The Kohanim agreed to leave, and this custom was accepted for the sake of honoring the Torah and securing vital funds for the synagogues. Hacham Ovadia maintains that we cannot extend this custom, which was a well-established tradition at one time among certain communities, to allow asking Kohanim to leave whenever a congregation feels it wants to make all three Aliyot available for Yisraelim. Since we have no such established custom, we should not utilize this "solution" when we want to give three Aliyot to Yisraelim.Summary: If no Levi is present in the synagogue, the second Aliya is given to the Kohen who received the first Aliya. If he was mistakenly called for the second Aliya when a Levi was present, the Levi is called in his place, unless the Kohen had already begun reciting the Beracha. Sephardic practice allows giving Kohanim and Leviyim Aliyot after the third Aliya, as long as two Kohanim or two Leviyim do not receive successive Aliyot. Kohanim or Leviyim may receive successive Aliyot only if the Aliyot are separated by a Kaddish or are read from different Sifreh Torah. A Kohen may be called for the third Aliya at Minha on Yom Kippur. It is improper to ask the Kohanim to leave the synagogue to make all three Aliyot available for Yisraelim.

    How Should the Aliyot be Arranged in a Minyan of Only Kohanim, or if There is Only One Yisrael?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 4:06

    Generally speaking, Halacha forbids calling two Kohanim to the Torah for Aliyot ("Kohen Ahar Kohen"). After a Kohen has been called for the first Aliya, another Kohen should not be called, as this would give the impression that the first was not a valid Kohen. In order to avoid rumors about the first Kohen's status, a synagogue should not call a second Kohen to the Torah.However, if there are only Kohanim present in a Minyan, then, as the Shulhan Aruch rules, three Kohanim are called to the Torah. In such a case, it is obvious to all that additional Kohanim are called because there are no non-Kohanim, and not because of any question surrounding the status of the first Kohen. The Shulhan Aruch adds that if the Minyan consists of nine Kohanim and one Yisrael, then the Yisrael should be called to the Torah for the first Aliya, out of concern for "Darcheh Shalom" (peaceful relations among the congregants). The Mishna Berura (commentary by Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) explains that if one of the nine Kohanim would be called up first, the other Kohanim might feel resentful and envious. Therefore, the Shulhan Aruch writes that the Yisrael should be called first, and then Kohanim are called for the subsequent Aliyot, to avoid contention.The Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1525-1572), in his glosses to the Shulhan Aruch, writes that these Halachot apply to Leviyim, as well. If a Minyan consists entirely of Leviyim, then three Leviyim are called – even though we generally do not call a second Levi after a first Levi has received an Aliya – and if there are nine Leviyim and one Yisrael, then the Yisrael is given the first Aliya and Leviyim the next two.The Mishna Berura, in this context, addresses the case where the only Kohen in the synagogue is a mourner within the first week of mourning, Heaven forbid. If this occurs on a weekday, he writes, then the Kohen may not be called for the first Aliya, because a mourner is forbidden from studying Torah. A Yisrael is therefore called to the Torah in his stead. On Shabbat, however, he is called for the first Aliya. If he would not be called for the first Aliya, this would constitute a public demonstration of mourning, which is forbidden on Shabbat. Therefore, if a mourner is the only Kohen in the synagogue on Shabbat, he should be called for the first Aliya. However, the Mishna Berura adds that it is preferable for him to exit the synagogue before the Torah reading, so that a Yisrael can be given the first Aliya instead of the mourner.Summary: Generally, only one Kohen is called to the Torah for every Torah reading, but if everyone in the synagogue is a Kohen, then all the Aliyot are given to Kohanim. If there are nine Kohanim and one Yisrael, then the Yisrael is called for the first Aliya, and Kohanim are called for the subsequent Aliyot. These laws apply to Leviyim, as well. If a mourner is the only Kohen in the synagogue, on weekdays he should not be given an Aliya, whereas on Shabbat he may be called for the first Aliya, though it is preferable for him to leave the synagogue before Torah reading so that the first Aliya can be given to a Yisrael.

    Do We Believe Somebody Who Says He's a Kohen?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2021 4:27

    The Gemara draws a distinction between the status of a Mamzer and that of a Halal. A Mamzer is a child of a forbidden union, such as if a married woman had an adulterous relationship. The child from this union has the permanent status of Mamzer, which forbids him or her from marrying (though a Mamzer and a Mamzeret may marry one another). The term "Halal" refers to the product of a union between a Kohen and a woman forbidden only to Kohanim. For example, if a Kohen marries a divorcee, in violation of the Torah prohibition forbidding Kohanim from marrying divorcees, the product of this marriage is called a Halal, or a Halala in the case of a girl. A Halal is not considered a Kohen, even though his father is a Kohen and his last name is "Cohen." And a Halala may not marry a Kohen, even though her father is a Kohen, since she was born from a relationship that violated the laws of the Kohanim. Unlike a Mamzeret, however, she may marry non-Kohanim.The Gemara states that "Jews recognize the Mamzerim among them, but do not recognize the Halalim among them." This means that the phenomenon of Mamzer is generally widely publicized, and when there is a Mamzer, people know about it. Therefore, when two people decide to get married, it is not necessary for each to do thorough investigations to ensure that the other is not a Mamzer or Mamzeret. The status of Mamzerut is well-known, and therefore in the absence of any particular reason to suspect that somebody has this status, there is no need to thoroughly investigate a potential spouse's family background to check for "Mamzerut."The status of "Halalut," however, is not widely known. People are not necessarily aware when a Kohen marries somebody forbidden for Kohanim, and it is therefore possible for a person to be a Halal or Halala without this being public knowledge. Therefore, we cannot automatically trust a person who says that he is a Kohen. Of course, if one comes from a family that is well-established as proper Kohanim, then we certainly treat him as a Kohen. But if a person comes from out of town, and nobody in the community knows him, we cannot automatically accept his claim that he is a Kohen. The Shulhan Aruch rules that the individual in such a case should not be given the first Aliya and should not recite Birkat Kohanim – and certainly would not be given Teruma in the days when Kohanim received Teruma – until his background is investigated and he is determined to be a proper Kohen. Since the status of "Halalut" is not widely publicized, a person's claim to be a proper Kohen cannot be accepted without some research into his background.The Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles of Cracow, Poland, 1525-1572) disagrees with this ruling, and claims that nowadays, we can accept a person's claim that he is a Kohen and call him to the Torah as a Kohen. From the Shulhan Aruch, however, as mentioned, it emerges that we cannot trust a person's claim even with respect to the Aliya to the Torah. Therefore, if a person moves into the community and claims to be a Kohen, his background should be checked before he is treated as a Kohen.Summary: If a person comes from out of town and says he is a Kohen, he should not be treated as a Kohen – with respect to Aliyot and Birkat Kohanim – until some research is done to ascertain that he is, indeed, a proper Kohen.

    Birkat Kohanim - The Hazan's Announcement of "Kohanim"; If There is One Kohen or No Kohanim Present

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 3:09

    The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Tesave, writes that the Hazan announces "Kohanim" to prompt the Kohanim to begin their Beracha. Birkat Kohanim takes place during the Hazan's repetition, immediately after the Beracha of "Ha'tob Shimcha U'l'cha Na'e Le'hodot." After the congregation completes its "Amen" response to this Beracha, the Hazan should announce "Kohanim" to signal to the Kohanim to begin their blessing. The Hazan should not make this announcement before the congregation completes their response of "Amen," and the Kohanim should not begin reciting the Beracha before the Hazan makes his announcement.The Hazan announces "Kohanim" only if there are at least two Kohanim present in the synagogue for Birkat Kohanim. If there is only one Kohen, the Hazan cannot announce "Kohanim," which is a plural term, and it is not customary to announce "Kohen" in the singular form. The custom in our community is that in such a case, somebody from the congregation besides the Hazan announces "Emor," which is based upon the Torah's formulation in introducing the Misva of Birkat Kohanim ("Amor Lahem" – Bamidbar 6:23). The Hazan should not announce "Emor," as this would constitute a Hefsek (forbidden interruption) in his repetition of the Amida (as opposed to announcing "Kohanim," which is, in a certain sense, part of the Amida prayer). After the announcement of "Emor" is made, the Kohen begins the Beracha of Birkat Kohanim.This is an important Halacha for everybody to know. The Kohen does not begin Birkat Kohanim until after he hears "Emor," and the Hazan, as mentioned, cannot make this announcement, and therefore the congregants must be aware of this Halacha so that somebody will announce "Emor" to prompt the Kohen. Only one congregant should make this announcement.If no Kohanim are present, then at the point in the Amida when Birkat Kohanim is normally recited, the Hazan recites a special insert that begins "Elokenu V'Elokeh Abotenu Barechenu Ba'beracha Ha'meshuleshet…" This insert cites the verses of Birkat Kohanim. After the Hazan recites each verse, the congregation should respond, "Ken Yehi Rason." They make this response after each verse – after "Ve'yishmerecha," after "Vi'huneka," and after "Ve'yasem Lecha Shalom." They do not respond "Amen" after each verse as they do when the Kohanim recite Birkat Kohanim. The Hesed La'alafim (Rabbi Eliezer Papo, 1770-1828) records a custom observed by the "Vatikim" (pious individuals) to respond not just "Ken Yehi Rason," but "Ken Yehi Rason Bi'zchut Abraham" after the first verse, "Ken Yehi Rason Bi'zchut Yishak" after the second verse, and "Ken Yehi Rason Bi'zchut Yaakob, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef Ve'David" after the third verse.Summary: After the Hazan concludes the Beracha of "Ha'tob Shimcha U'l'cha Na'e Le'hodot" in the repetition of the Amida, he waits for the congregation to answer "Amen" and then announces, "Kohanim." At that point, the Kohanim begin Birkat Kohanim. If there is only one Kohen present, then instead of the Hazan's announcement of "Kohanim," somebody else from the congregation announces, "Emor." If there are no Kohanim at all, then in place of Birkat Kohanim the Hazan recites the insert of "Elokenu V'Elokeh Abotenu Barechenu," which cites the text of Birkat Kohanim, and after each verse of the blessing the congregation responds "Ken Yehi Rason," and not "Amen."

    Birkat Kohanim in a Place Without a Sefer Torah; One Who Enters the Synagogue During Birkat Kohanim; Reciting Birkat Kohanim Several Times in One Day

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 1:53

    There is a misconception that since in the synagogue the Kohanim go in front of the Aron for Birkat Kohanim, the Beracha may be recited only in the presence of a Sefer Torah. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Tesave (13), writes that this is incorrect (listen to audio recording for precise citation). Even if a Minyan prays in a house or other place without a Sefer Torah, the Kohanim stand in the front of the room and recite Birkat Kohanim.If a person who is not participating in the Minyan happens to enter the synagogue during Birkat Kohanim, such as if he came to get his Tallit and Tefillin for a later Minyan, or happens to be passing through, he should stand silently in place until after Birkat Kohanim. Even though he does not pray in that Minyan, he should remain in the synagogue through the end of Birkat Kohanim.If a Kohen had already prayed and recited Birkat Kohanim in an earlier Minyan, and, for whatever reason, he finds himself in a different Minyan at the time of Birkat Kohanim, he may recite Birkat Kohanim again at that Minyan. There is no limit on how many times a Kohen may recite Birkat Kohanim on any given day; anytime he finds himself in a Minyan at the time of Birkat Kohanim, he may recite the Beracha, even if he had already done so earlier in the day.Summary: Birkat Kohanim is recited even in a place without a Sefer Torah. One who happens to be in a synagogue during Birkat Kohanim must stand in place silently and listen to the Beracha, even if he prayed at an earlier Minyan or will pray at a later Minyan. A Kohen who had already prayed and recited Birkat Kohanim may recite the Beracha again if he happens to be at another Minyan at the time of Birkat Kohanim. There is no limit on how many times a Kohen may recite Birkat Kohanim on any given day.

    Must a Kohen Wash for Birkat Kohanim if He Had Already Washed Earlier

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 3:46

    The Shulchan Aruch (128) writes that even though a Kohen washed his hands in the morning before Shacharit, he must wash his hands again before reciting Birkat Kohanim (the priestly blessing). This ruling is in opposition to the view of the Rambam (Spain-Egypt, 1135-1204), who held that if a Kohen was careful to keep his hands clean since the morning washing, he need not wash them again before Birkat Kohanim.Some Egyptian Jewish communities have the practice of following the Rambam's position, and do not require Kohanim to wash their hands again before Birkat Kohanim. It should be noted, however, that the Rambam's leniency applies only to the Birkat Kohanim of Shacharit. Before Birkat Kohanim of Musaf, however, a Kohen must, according to all opinions, wash his hands even if he had washed them earlier that morning. Since a long period of time elapses before Musaf, a Kohen may not rely on his earlier washing, and must wash his hands again. Therefore, even in those communities who follow the Rambam's ruling, where the Kohanim do not wash again before Shacharit, the Kohanim must wash their hands in preparation for the Birkat Kohanim of Musaf.Other communities follow the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch and require that Kohanim wash their hands again for Birkat Kohanim even during Shacharit. However, Chacham Ovadia Yosef, in Halichot Olam (Parashat Tetzaveh, 3), discusses three situations in which Kohanim may rely on the Rambam's view. The first is when only ten men are present in the synagogue, and the Minyan would thus be lost if the Kohen steps out to wash his hands. In such a case, the Kohen should preferably rely on his washing earlier that morning, in accordance with the Rambam's position, rather than break the Minyan. Secondly, if the Kohen must pass in front of somebody praying the Amida in order to leave the synagogue and wash his hands, he should rely on his earlier washing, rather than disrupt that person's concentration by walking in front of him. Finally, if the Chazan (person who leads the services) is a Kohen and will recite Birkat Kohanim, and he did not wash his hands before beginning the repetition of the Amida – which is the preferred practice – he may rely on his earlier washing and recite Birkat Kohanim without washing his hands a second time. Ideally, however, a Kohen who leads the services should wash his hands in preparation for Birkat Kohanim before beginning the repetition of the Amida.It must be emphasized that this applies only to Birkat Kohanim of Shacharit; in Musaf, a Kohen may not rely on his earlier washing, even in these three situations.Summary: Some Egyptians communities do not require a Kohen who had washed his hands before Shacharit to wash again before Birkat Kohanim in Shacharit. Even according to this practice, a Kohen must wash his hands again before Birkat Kohanim of Musaf. Other communities do not allow a Kohen to rely on his earlier washing even for Birkat Kohanim of Shacharit, except in three cases: if he would break the Minyan by leaving the synagogue to wash; if he would have to pass in front of somebody praying the Amida; or if he is the Chazan and he forgot to wash his hands before beginning the repetition of the Amida.

    Wearing Tefillin at Minha on a Fast Day

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 5:59

    It is customary on a fast day, such as Shiba Asar Ba'Tammuz, to wear Tallit and Tefillin during Minha (if one is still fasting). The Bet Yosef (commentary to the Tur by Maran, author of the Shulhan Aruch), in Orah Haim (46), writes that this is done in order to give us the opportunity to recite an additional two Berachot (one over the Tallit, and one over the Tefillin). Halacha requires reciting 100 Berachot each day, and on a fast day, when we do not recite Berachot before or after eating or drinking, we risk falling short of the required 100 Berachot. The Bet Yosef presents a detailed calculation showing how these two extra Berachot over the Tallit and Tefillin at Minha could make the difference and help us reach 100.Which Tefillin should one wear during Minha on a fast day? The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) writes that the Arizal (Rav Yishak Luria of Safed, 1534-1572) used to wear Tefillin Rabbenu Ram during Minha every day (and not only on fast days). During Shaharit, he would wear Tefillin Rashi and Tefillin Rabbenu Tam together, and at Minha, he would wear only Tefillin Rabbenu Tam. Later, however, the Arizal changed his practice, and began wearing at Minha the special kind of Tefillin called "Shimusha Rabba," which are Tefillin Rashi, but exceptionally large. Accordingly, Hacham Bension Abba Shaul (Israel, 1924-1998) writes that at Minha on fast days, one who has a pair of "Shimusha Rabba" should wear this Tefillin, and recite a Beracha. He disagrees in this regard with Hacham Ovadia Hedaya (1889-1969), who writes in his work Yaskil Abdi that the "Shimusha Rabba" is on such an exalted level that we cannot connect to this kind of Tefillin nowadays, and therefore no Beracha should be recited when putting on such Tefillin. The purpose of the Beracha, Hacham Ovadia Hedaya explains, is to bring the spiritual impact of the Misva down into one's soul, and in the case of the "Shimusha Rabba," this spiritual impact is beyond our capability. As such, the Beracha over this Misva would be a Beracha Le'batala (Beracha recited in vain). He thus ruled that one who wears this Tefillin does not recite a Beracha. Hacham Bension agrees that the power of the "Shimusha Rabba" lies beyond our limited abilities nowadays, but in his view, this does not affect the Beracha, and therefore one who wears "Shimusha Rabba" indeed recites a Beracha.Hence, if one has "Shimusha Rabba," he should wear this Tefillin at Minha on fast days, with a Beracha. Even if no one else in the synagogue wears such Tefillin, he may wear it, and this does not violate the prohibition of "Lo Titgodedu" (deviating from the communal practice).If one does not have "Shimusha Rabba," then at Minha on fast days he wears Tefillin Rabbenu Tam. This is the conclusion of the Hid"a (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806), after a lengthy discussion in his Mahazik Beracha (Orah Haim, 1).However, this conclusion gives rise to a difficult question. The accepted practice is not to recite a Beracha over Tefillin Rabbenu Tam, and thus when wearing Tefillin Rabbenu Tam at Minha on fast days, no Beracha is recited. But as we have seen, the entire reason for wearing Tefillin at Minha on a fast day is to add more Berachot. Seemingly, then, wearing Tefillin Rabbenu Tam undermines the very purpose for which Tefillin is worn at this time.The answer is that there is also an additional reason for wearing Tefillin during Minha on fast days. The Rambam (Rav Moshe Maimonides, Spain-Egypt, 1135-1204), at the end of Hilchot Tefillin, describes the effect that wearing Tefillin has on a person's mind and behavior. While one wears Tefillin, the Rambam writes, he is overcome by humility and fear of G-d. This is why we do not wear Tefillin the entire day as was done in yesteryear – because we would be unable to maintain this lofty mindset and spiritual focus throughout the day, and so we wear it only during Shaharit in the morning. On the afternoon of a fast day, however, we feel frail and subdued because of the fast, and so we are able to wear Tefillin and experience the special feelings of humility and subservience to Hashem which Tefillin bring. This reason, of course, has nothing at all to do with the Beracha, and this explains the accepted practice to wear Tefillin Rabbenu Tam at Minha on fast days, even though no Beracha is recited.Summary: It is customary to wear Tallit and Tefillin at Minha on fast days (if one is still fasting when he prays Minha). One who has "Shimusha Rabba" Tefillin should wear this Tefillin, with a Beracha, and one who does not should wear Tefillin Rabbenu Tam, without a Beracha.

    May One Make a Bar Misva Celebration the Night Before a Fast Day?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 2:48

    A congregant raised the question as to the permissibility of scheduling the Bar Misva celebration for his son the night before the fast of Asara Be'Tebet, which is the day the boy will become a Bar Misva. As we know, the fast of Asara Be'Tebet begins at daybreak, early in the morning, and no restrictions apply the night before. (Even on the fast itself, the only prohibitions are eating and drinking; it is entirely permissible to take haircuts, shower, listen to music, and so on.) Seemingly, then, it should be permissible to host a party that night. On the other hand, one might argue that since the calendar date that night is already 10 Tebet, perhaps it would be inappropriate to have a celebration that night.Interestingly enough, Tosafot, in Masechet Erubin (40b), tell of a wedding that was held on the day of Asara Be'Tebet, and the cup of wine was given to a child to drink, as the adults were obviously not permitted to drink. It seems that at one time weddings were made on Asara Be'Tebet, surprising as that might sound. Accordingly, Hacham Ovadia Yosef rules that when necessary, one may make a wedding on Asara Be'Tebet, and have the meal served after the fast ends that night.Certainly, then, if there is room to allow making a wedding on the day of Asara Be'Tebet, we may allow a family to make a Bar Misva celebration for their son the night before, when the fast has not even begun, especially if that is the day the boy reaches Bar Misva age. We should also note that some Poskim allow making celebrations on the night of Shiba Asar Be'Tammuz, which begins the period of the Three Weeks. Other Halachic authorities rule stringently and forbid celebrations the night before Shiba Asar Be'Tammuz, but regardless, on the night of Asara Be'Tebet, when no prohibitions apply, and which does not begin a period of mourning, one may certainly host a Bar Misva celebration.Summary: It is permissible to schedule a Bar Misva or wedding celebration for the night before the fast of Asara Be'Tebet. There is a dispute among the Halachic authorities as to whether a celebration may be held on the night before Shiba Asar Be'Tammuz.

    Eating Before a Fast Before Dawn

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2021 5:22

    All of the fasts throughout the year can fall out on Shabbat, except for Asara B'Tebet. When that happens, the fast is postponed to Sunday, except for Yom Kippur, which is observed on Shabbat. On the other hand, the other fasts cannot fall on a Friday, except for Asara B'Tebet, which is observed on that day into Shabbat. Som Gedaliah, as well as Asara b'Tebet and Shiva Asar B'Tamuz, begin at Alot Hashachar (dawn). The Shulhan Aruch rules that if one stipulated before he went to sleep the previous night that he intends to wake up and eat before the fast begins, he may do so. According to Maran, this condition is necessary even if one only wants to wake up and drink, not to eat. The Rema is lenient with regard to drinking and does not require an explicit stipulation. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Re'eh, rules in accordance with the Shulhan Aruch.Hacham Bension in Or Lesion Vol.3 31:2 rules that if a person accepts upon himself a personal fast, he may stipulate to eat before dawn in his thought alone. However, for a Ta'anit Sibbur (public fast), such as Som Gedaliah, he must verbally articulate the condition.SUMMARYIf someone wants to eat or drink before dawn on a fast day, he must verbally stipulate that he intends to do so the previous night, before going to sleep.

    If One Is Unsure If He Recited Birkat Hamazon

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 4:51

    The Torah formulates the Misva of Birkat Hamazon, "When you eat, and are satiated, bless the Lord…" Therefore, Birkat Hamazon is only a D'oraita (a Torah) obligation when one eats enough to be fully satiated. However, if one ate only a Kezayit of bread and was not satiated, the obligation is only D'rabanan (Rabbinic.)These distinctions are important for determining the Halacha in the event a person is uncertain whether he recited Birkat Hamazon. The general principle is "Safek D'oraita-L'humra; Safek D'rabanan-L'kula"-When there is a doubt whether one fulfilled a Torah obligation, he must be strict and do it again, whereas when the doubt is regarding a Rabbinic obligation, one is lenient and does not repeat the Misva. Therefore, if a person was satiated after eating bread, and is uncertain whether he recited Birkat Hamazon, he must recite it again. However, if he was not satiated and has a doubt, he does not repeat Birkat Hamazon, since the original obligation was only Rabbinic. Even in cases where Birkat Hamazon is recited from doubt, only the first three Berachot are recited. The fourth Beracha is always a Rabbinic institution, and therefore is never recited in cases of uncertainty. According to the Ben Ish Hai, another instance in which the obligation is only D'rabanan is when a person remained thirsty even though he ate until satisfied. Hacham Ovadia disagrees and rules that even if one left the meal thirsty, his Birkat Hamazon is still D'oraita. One should avoid entering "disputed territory" and insure that he drinks in a meal that would otherwise leave him satiated. That way he insures that he is fulfilling the Misva of Birkat Hamazon at the Torah level. If he did not drink and then has a doubt whether he recited Birkat Hamazon, the Halacha is a function of this disagreement. According to the Ben Ish Hai, he may not recite Birkat Hamazon, since his obligation is only D'rabanan, whereas according to Hacham Ovadia, he is required to go back and recite the Beracha. To avoid this dispute, one should drink during the meal, if he is thirsty.SUMMARYIf one ate and drank until he was no longer hungry or thirsty, he is required by the Torah to recite Birkat Hamazon. If he is unsure whether he recited Birkat Hamazon, he must recite it again if he became satiated, but only the first 3 Berachot.If one is thirsty during a meal with bread, he should make sure to drink.

    Keeping Bread on the Table During Birkat Hamazon

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2021 2:48

    The Shulhan Aruch, in Siman 180, rules that bread must be left on the table during Birkat Hamazon. One explanation is that Birkat Hamazon draws down the Beracha from Heaven, and there is a general principle that blessings do not descend upon empty vessels. This is derived from the story of Elisha and the wife of Ovadia, in which he told her to use her last remaining oil to perform the miracle. Leaving bread on the table serves as the basis for the continued flow of Beracha from Hashem. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) went one step further that one should leave all the remaining bones, shells and peels from the meal. Apparently, the Beracha of Birkat Hamazon can extract from them sparks of holiness. Of course, one should collect them in an orderly fashion.----One should be very careful not to step on remaining pieces of bread or show disdain for them. Doing so leads to poverty. If the pieces are less than a Kezayit, they may be discarded respectfully. If there are bigger pieces, which will not be eaten, the Poskim allow sealing them in a bag and then placing the bag in the garbage. The precedent for this is discarding Teruma nowadays and fruits with Kedushat Shevi'it. This Halacha would also apply to cake and other Mezonot, as well.SUMMARYOne should leave bread on the table during Birkat Hamazon.Stepping on bread leads to poverty. Pieces larger than a Kezayit may be sealed in a bag and placed in the garbage,

    The Status of Water Condensation Regarding Berachot, Mayim Acharonim and Shabbat

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 5:29

    How does the halacha view moisture, or condensation often found on the outside of vessels? Is it considered, halachically, to be water? Some prove from the mishna (Machshirin 2:2) that steam, or vapor is only considered to be "water" if it comes from a clear source, such as the steam from a mikve. Condensation, however, would not halachically be considered water.If this is true, are there any practical, halachik ramifications? Let's look at three different casesThe Shulhan Arukh (Orah Haim 158:4) discusses a "davar shetibulu bemashkeh" – a fruit which has been dipped in water. The Talmud teaches that one is required to wash one's hands, with a cup, before eating a wet fruit which has been immersed in one of the "seven liquids" (wine, hone, oil, milk, dew, blood and water). That is why we wash our hands before "karpas" on Pesah. It would seem, therefore, that one is not required to wash one's hands before eating fruits which are moist from condensation, as condensation is not considered to be one of these seven liquids. However, regarding Mayim Aharonim (i.e. the requirement to wash ones hands after eating bread, before reciting the birkat hamazon), the Shulhan Arukh (181:9) writes that one may clean one's hands with any liquid, not specifically water. It would seem that in this case, since one does not need to use water, one would be allowed to moisten one's hands even with the condensation on the side of a glass and then say birkat hamazon.Finally, regarding the laws of Shabbat, this water would be considered to be a nolad, i.e. something which did not exist before Shabbat, and which was created on Shabbat. Nolad is considered to be mukse and cannot be handled (tiltul) on Shabbat. Therefore, one would not be allowed to use this condensed liquid for mayim aharonim on Shabbat, as it is considered to be mukse. Interestingly, the Hazon Ish questioned whether one may wipe condensation from a jar or pot before bringing it to the table? He insists that cleaning or wiping is not considered to be a violation of the laws of mukse, i.e. "tiltul," and therefore there is no prohibition of cleaning dirt, or condensation from a vessel. However, as mentioned above, it would be prohibited to use the moisture for mayim aharonim, on Shabbat, as that would be a form of "tiltul."

    If One Wants to Continue Eating after Washing Mayim Aharonim or Preparing for Birkat Hamazon

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 2:55

    The Shulhan Aruch (OC 179) rules that if one already washed Mayim Aharonim and then decides he wants to eat more, he may not do so, even if he makes a new Beracha. Rather, he must continue to recite Birkat Hamazon. However, in a case where he did not yet wash Mayim Acharonim, but merely announced "Hav Lan Nivrach"-Let us recite Birkat Hamazon, he may continue eating provided that he makes a Beracha on the new food. That formal announcement constitutes a "Hesech Hada'at"-an interruption of the meal and severs the connection to the original Hamosi. It is important to note that only the Ba'al Habayit-the head of the house can terminate the meal by his statements. A guest cannot control when the meal ends. Therefore, even if a guest made a declaration to end the meal, he is still dependent on the Ba'al Habayit and may continue to eat without a Beracha.Nevertheless, nowadays when the head of the house tell his family to bring the Birkonim or the Mayim Acharonim, it is not an official end to the meal. He is merely giving his family a "heads up" that the meal is concluding. Therefore, he may continue eating again without a new Beracha. Rav Elyashiv (1910-2012, Jerusalem) is quoted as explaining this Halacha that nowadays, it is more common for people to change their minds about ending a meal, and a statement of this sort is not necessarily a person's last word. Only the act of washing Mayim Acharonim or the actual Zimun terminates the meal.The best practice is to avoid such a situation in the first place, since the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Korach, does say that requesting to bring the Mayim Acharonim constitutes a termination of the meal. SUMMARY:Once a person washed Mayim Acharonim, he may not continue eating, even if he were to make new Berachot. Nowadays, a statement by the Ba'al Habayit that he intends to end the meal does not terminate the meal and all present may continue to eat, without making new Berachot.

    Mayim Acharonim- A Foul Spirit ?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 3:19

    It is commonly known that the Mayim Aharonim has a "Ruach Ra'ah"-foul spirit. The Shulhan Aruch (Siman 181) implies that this is only if the water reaches the earth-not carpet or flooring. That is why Maran states that one should not wash Mayim Aharonim over ground upon which people walk, since they may come to harm. The Levush (R. Mordechai b. Avraham Yoffe, 1530-1612, Europe), as cited by the Be'ur Halacha, maintains that the "Ruach Ra'ah" takes effect even if the water is poured into a vessel. According to him, one should immediately dispose of the water in the vessel so that nobody is exposed to it. Hacham Ovadia is lenient and rules in accordance with Maran. Therefore, there is no problem to pour the Mayim Acharonim onto plates or into the sink, as long as they are washed off afterwards. This is opposed to the opinion that many sicknesses are due to people who eat from plates upon which Mayim Acharonim was spilled, even if they were later washed off. Someone who wants to be strict and only wash into disposable bowls or a special receptacle is praiseworthy, but there is no problem according to the letter of the law.SUMMARYOne may pour Mayim Aharonim onto the floor under the table; likewise there is no problem pouring the water on dinner plates or in the sink, if he washes it afterward.

    The Obligation to Drive Responsibly

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2021 4:45

    The Torah's command of Ma'ake, which requires erecting a fence around one's roof or porch to guard against the risk of people falling, also obligates one to avoid any kind of activity that endangers himself or others. Accordingly, people who drive automobiles are required by Torah law to ensure that the car is in proper working condition and that he drives safely and in strict accordance with traffic laws. Speeding endangers the life of the driver and the lives of pedestrians and other motorists, and is thus strictly forbidden by Torah law. The Minhat Yishak (Rav Yishak Weiss, 1902-1989), in his work Masa Haderech (chapter 1, p. 32), writes that a motorist who drives unsafely has the Halachic status of a "Rodef" – somebody trying to kill others. He must therefore be stopped through any available means. And Rav Shemuel Wosner (contemporary), in his work Shebet Halevi (vol. 6, Siman 112), writes that is plainly obvious that speeding and reckless driving fall under the category of "Safek Resiha" (possible murder) and "Safek Me'abed Asmo La'da'at" (possible suicide).Furthermore, if a person parks his car on the sidewalk, thus compelling pedestrians to walk in the street and expose themselves to danger, he is in violation of the Torah prohibition against endangering people. In fact, the Shulhan Aruch rules in Hoshen Mishpat (18:1) that if a person poured water onto a public area, and somebody slipped on the water and was injured, the one who spilled the water is liable to pay compensation. The Shulhan Aruch also rules (Hoshen Mishpat 427:8) that there is a Torah obligation to remove anything that poses danger, and one who is aware of such an object and fails to remove it neglects a Misvat Aseh (affirmative command) and violates the Torah prohibition of "Ve'lo Tasim Damim Be'betecha" ("You shall not bring bloodguilt into your home" – Debarim 22:8). Certainly, then, people who drive motor vehicles are bound by a Torah obligation to drive and park safely, so as not to endanger themselves or others.Moreover, if a person applies for a driver's license and does not reveal that he suffers from a condition that makes it dangerous for him to drive (such as epilepsy, Heaven forbid), those who are aware of this condition must inform the Department of Motor Vehicles. If his private doctor or family members, for example, are aware of his condition, they should inform the authorities to prevent the prospective driver from obtaining a license. Some people might mistakenly think that they should keep quiet in order not to violate the prohibition of Lashon Hara (negative speech about other people). But this is incorrect. There is nothing "righteous" about withholding information that could save lives, and therefore the authorities should be notified of any medical condition that could make it dangerous for an applicant to drive.Summary: There is a Torah obligation to avoid posing danger to oneself or others, and therefore one who drives a car must ensure to drive responsibly, avoid speeding, and obey all traffic and parking laws. One should also inform the authorities if somebody applying for a license has a medical condition that makes driving dangerous.

    Hanukah - If the Hanukah Candles Burn Out on Friday Before Shabbat

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 5:22

    The Bayit Hadash (Rav Yoel Sirkis, Poland, 1561-1640) addresses the situation of a father of a firstborn boy who gives a Kohen the money for the Pidyon Ha'ben before the thirtieth day. As the Misva of Pidyon Ha'ben sets in only on the thirtieth day, the father stipulates when he gives the money to the Kohen that the Pidyon would not take effect until the thirtieth day. The Bayit Hadash rules that such an arrangement is valid, and one may fulfill the Misva in this fashion. He adds that the father may even recite the Beracha of "Asher Kideshanu Be'misvotav Ve'sivanu Al Pidyon Ha'ben" when he gives the father the money. Even though the Misva is not actually performed yet, the father may nevertheless recite the Beracha at that point. The Bayit Hadash draws proof to this ruling from the fact that we recite a Beracha on the Hanukah candle lighting on Friday afternoon, even though we light some 30-40 minutes or so before the time of the Misva. The Misva to light Hanukah candles begins around fifteen minutes or so after sunset, but on Friday afternoon, when we are unable to light at this time, we light the Hanukah candles some twenty minutes before sundown, before we light the Shabbat candles. Nevertheless, we recite the Beracha, even though the time for the Misva has not yet arrived. By the same token, the Bayit Hadash writes, a father may recite the Beracha over the Pidyon Ha'ben when he gives the money to the Kohen before the thirtieth day.Later writers (including the Yeshuot Yaakob) dispute this reasoning. The Sages instituted that Hanukah should be celebrated for eight days, and thus they must have taken into account the fact that at least one day of Hanukah will be Shabbat. Hence, from the outset, they established that the Friday candle lighting should be performed on Friday afternoon, since lighting candles is forbidden after sundown. As such, when we light the Hanukah candles before sundown on Friday afternoon, we are not lighting before the time of the Misva; we are lighting precisely at the time the Sages instituted that the Misva be performed. Moreover (as the Bayit Hadash himself noted in his responsum on the subject), the point of Pelag Ha'minha, according to some opinions, already marks the onset of night, as evidenced by the fact that the Arbit prayer may be recited already at that point. For this reason, too, our Hanukah candle lighting on Friday afternoon is to be viewed as being performed at the actual time of the Misva, and not before the time. Therefore, the recitation of a Beracha over Hanukah candles on Friday afternoon cannot provide proof for the situation of a father who gives money for the Pidyon Ha'ben before the time for the Misva.This discussion yields important ramifications for the situation of Hanukah candles that are blown out before Shabbat on Friday afternoon. Generally speaking, we follow the view of "Kabeta Eno Zakuk Lah," which means that if one lit the Hanukah candles properly, with the proper amount of oil and in a location where they are capable of burning for a half-hour, he is not required to rekindle them if they are extinguished before a half-hour has passed. One might have assumed, however, that if the Hanukah candles lit on Friday afternoon are extinguished before Shabbat, they should be rekindled. Since the Misva has not yet taken effect, as it is still well before nightfall, one has not yet fulfilled the Misva and he is therefore required to rekindle the flames. In truth, however, in light of our previous discussion, this is incorrect. As we have seen, the time for lighting Hanukah candles on Friday afternoon is before sundown, and thus one who lights at that point has fulfilled the Misva. Therefore, if the candles happen to be extinguished before Shabbat, one does not have to rekindle them, just as on any other day of Hanukah. Indeed, this is the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 673:2).Nevertheless, Hacham Ovadia Yosef writes (Hazon Ovadia – Hanukah, p. 110) that if one has time before Shabbat to rekindle the Hanukah lights, it is preferable to do so, though certainly no Beracha is recited over the second lighting.Summary: If one lit his Hanukah candles properly and in a manner which should allow them to burn for a half-hour, he does not have to relight them if they are extinguished, even if this happens within a half-hour of lighting. This applies even on Friday, if the candles are extinguished before Shabbat, though in such a case if one has time before Shabbat he should relight them without a Beracha.

    Hanukah - Lighting Hanukah Candles on Friday Afternoon

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 2:01

    On Friday of Hanukah, one must light the Hanukah candles before the Shabbat candles. The earliest time when one may light the Hanukah candles is the point of "Pelag Ha'minha," which during the Hanukah season is usually around 3:30pm (in the New York City area). Therefore, on Ereb Shabbat Hanukah, one must be extra vigilant to complete Shabbat preparations especially early, so that he can light the Hanukah candles before the wife lights the Shabbat candles.It is preferable on Ereb Shabbat Hanukah to recite Minha earlier in the afternoon, before lighting the Hanukah candles. This is because the afternoon "Tamid" sacrifice – to which the Minha prayer corresponds – would be offered in the Bet Ha'mikdash before the Menorah was kindled. Accordingly, it is proper, if possible, to pray Minha on Friday afternoon before lighting the Hanukah candles.Therefore, synagogues should try to arrange a Minyan for Minha Gedola – meaning, the Minha prayer recited earlier in the afternoon – for those who are able to recite Minha earlier. Synagogues should then have another Minyan for Minha closer to sundown for those who could not pray Minha earlier, but this Minha prayer must start earlier enough to allow for the Hanukah candles in the synagogue before the onset of Shabbat.When one lights the Hanukah candles on Friday afternoon, he must ensure to add enough oil, or use long enough candles, to sustain the candles until 45 minutes after sundown, a period of close to one hour fifteen minutes..

    Hanukah - The Custom to Light Candles in the Synagogue

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 7:28

    Although the Misva of the Hanukah candle lighting requires only lighting in one's home, it is customary to light also in the synagogue, and this custom is mentioned already by the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 671). The standard Berachot are recited over the lighting in the synagogue ("Le'hadlik," "She'asa Nissim," and, on the first night, "She'hehiyanu").The custom among Sephardic communities is to place the Menorah along the southern side of the synagogue, placing the first candle on the first night on the westernmost end of the Menorah, and then adding one candle each night and lighting the candles from east to west.If the person chosen to light candles in the synagogue on the first night – when the Beracha of "She'hehiyanu" is recited – lives alone, then when he returns home and lights his own candles, he does not repeat the Beracha of "She'hehiyanu." Since this fellow lit in the synagogue and recited "She'hehiyanu," and he is lighting at home only for himself, and not for family members, he does not repeat "She'hehiyanu." This is the ruling of the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Vayesheb. Conversely, if the first night of Hanukah is on Friday night, when people come to the synagogue after having already lit at home, the person who lights in the synagogue omits the Beracha of "She'hehiyanu." Since he recited "She'hehiyanu" when he lit at home, he does not repeat the Beracha when he lights in the synagogue.In his discussion of this subject, the Ben Ish Hai mentions only "She'hehiyanu," and not the Beracha of "She'asa Nissim." The clear implication of his comments is that in both these cases, the Beracha of "She'asa Nissim" is repeated. In the Ben Ish Hai's view, it seems, the Beracha of "She'hehiyanu" refers to the holiday of Hanukah, such that once it is recited on Hanukah it cannot be then repeated, whereas the Beracha of "She'asa Nissim" is linked to the act of lighting. And therefore, whenever one lights with a Beracha, he recites not only the Beracha of "Le'hadlik," but also the Beracha of "She'asa Nissim." This is also the view of Hacham Bension Abba Shaul (Israel, 1924-1998).However, Hacham Ovadia Yosef cites those who disagree, and who maintain that the Beracha of "She'asa Nissim" resembles "She'hehiyanu" in this regard. Therefore, if a person lit in the synagogue, and he lives alone, when he lights at home he recites only the first Beracha – "Le'hadlik." Conversely, on Friday night, the one who lights in the synagogue recites only "Le'hadlik," and does not repeat "She'asa Nissim" or, on the first night, "She'hehiyanu."Hacham Ovadia rules that if a synagogue has several different Minyanim for Minha, Hanukah candles are lit after each Minyan, with the recitation of Berachot. Even though candles were lit in the previous Minyanim, each Minyan lights candles, and the Berachot are recited. Hacham Ovadia notes that this is the custom is the famous Musayof synagogue in Jerusalem, which has many different Minyanim for Minha. Hacham Bension, however, maintained that it is preferable in such synagogues for candles to be lit after the first Minyan with enough oil supplied for the candles to burn throughout the duration of all subsequent Minyanim.It should be noted that if a Minyan is being held for Arbit late in the evening during Hanukah, such as at 10pm, and the people had clearly all prayed Minha in the synagogue where candles were lit, new candles are not lit at the Minyan for Arbit.Candles are lit in the synagogue only if ten people are present. Hacham Bension maintained that the presence of ten men is required for the synagogue lighting, but the Ben Ish Hai appeared to have held that women in the women's section can also be included. Since women are required to light Hanukah candles just as men are, they may be counted towards the group of ten that is necessary for the synagogue candle lighting. Sometimes, on Friday afternoon, ten men have not yet arrived by the time the Hanukah candles need to be lit in the synagogue. In such a case, the congregation may rely on the ruling of the Ben Ish Hai and count the women present in the women's section towards the required quorum of ten people, so the candles may be lit, with a Beracha.Hacham Benssion addresses the question of whether gentiles may be included in the "Pirsumeh Nisa" (publicizing of the miracle) required for the synagogue lighting. He concludes that non-Jews are not included in "Pirsumeh Nisa," and thus specifically ten Jews are needed for the synagogue lighting.Summary: If the one who lights candles in the synagogue lives alone, then when he returns home and lights Hanukah candles, he repeats only the Beracha of "Le'hadlik"; he does not recite "She'asa Nissim," or "She'hehiyanu" on the first night. On Friday night, the one who lights candles in the synagogue recites only "Le'hadlik," and does not repeat "She'asa Nissim" or "She'hehiyanu." If a synagogue has several different Minyanim for Minha, the Hanukah candles are lit after each Minyan, with the Berachot. Candles are lit in the synagogue only if ten people – men or women – are present.

    Chanukah- Is It Permissible To Move The Lit Menorah

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 5:27

    The Shulhan Aruch in Siman 675 establishes an important Halachic principle: "Hadlakah Osah Misva"-The act of lighting the Menorah fulfils the Misva, as opposed to "Hanaha Osah Misva"-the placement of the Menorah is the Misva. That is, it makes no difference if the Menorah was set up by a minor or others who are exempt from the Misva; one would not have to set it up again. This is also true regarding the Shabbat and Yom Tob candles.There is a discussion amongst the Poskim whether may light the Menorah in one place and then move it to another place. All agree that it is preferable to leave it in the place it was lit. Shulhan Aruch (675:1) clearly writes that the Menorah should not be moved after it was lit, because people will assume that he lit it for his own benefit like a lantern. The Shulhan Aruch also rules that one may not light the Menorah and hold it in his hands for the full half hour. This also appears that he is using it for his own benefit. Based on this, the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) ruled that a sick person who is bedbound upstairs should not light the Menorah in his bedroom and then have it brought downstairs to his window. Rather he should appoint an agent to light for him downstairs. Hacham Ovadia writes that today the circumstances have changed. It is not such a severe concern that people will think he is using the Menorah for his own benefit, since we use a special Menorah designated for the Misva. Therefore, even if he moved around with it, nobody would assume that he is using it as a lantern. In the olden days, people used regular candles both for the Misva and for illumination, so it was easy to get confused. Therefore, if one moved his Menorah, his Misva is not invalidated. This is also the opinion of the Mishna Berura in Siman 675. In the case of the sick person, Hacham Ovadia would allow him to light in his bedroom and then have it brought downstairs, but he still prefers the option of appointing an agent. It is also preferable not to move the Shabbat and Yom Tob candles after they have been lit. (Although not preferable, one may move Shabbat candles as long as hee didn't accept Shabbat yet.) Although the Taz (Rabbi David Segal, Poland, 1586-1667) holds that Shabbat and Yom Tob are different, The Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806) defends the position of those who equate the two Misvot. The way to remember this Halacha is that the Beracha for all these Misvot is "L'Hadlik"-to light-meaning that the lighting is the Misva. SUMMARYIt is preferable not to move the Chanukah candles after they have been lit, but doing do would not invalidate the Misva..

    Shehechiyanu on the Second Night

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 1:17

    On the first night of Chanukah we make three berachot before lighting the menorah: L'hadlik Ner Chanukah, She'asah Nisim and Shehechiyanu. What would be the Halacha in case where someone's wife lit for him on the first night and recited all three berachot? For example, he had to stay late in the office and told his wife to light with the kids. On the second night, when he lights, does he now say the beracha of Shehechiyanu?Hacham Ben Sion Abba Shaul (Israel, 1923-1998), rules that he does not say Shehechiyanu. He has fulfilled his obligation with his wife's beracha. For that matter, if the wife wasn't at home on the first night, and the husband lit, she does not have to make a Shehechiyanu on the second night. SUMMARYIf either the ba'al ha'bayit or the ba'alat ha'bayit lit and made a Shehechiyanu on the first night, the rest of the household has fulfilled their obligation to say Shehechiyanu, even if they were not present.

    Mukse: Moving a Mukse Item for a Permitted Purpose

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 9:25

    One of the categories of Mukse is Keli She'm'lachto L'isur-a utensil whose primary function is prohibited on Shabbat. The Hachamim permitted moving such an item only L'sorech Gufo-for another permitted function or L'sorech M'komo-for its place. One example of Keli She'm'lachto L'isur is a sewing needle, as its primary purpose is for sewing which is prohibited. It would be permitted to use it to remove a splinter, L'Sorech Gufo. The same applies to knitting needles. The Poskim define rulers and scales, as Kelim She'm'lachtam L'isur, since it is prohibited to measure on Shabbat. This applies to non-digital scales as well. It is only permitted to use a food scale for the purpose of a Misva, such as measuring Masa or Maror for the Misva on Pesah. Other examples include: calculators, radios and flashlights. Accordingly, if someone wanted to move his clock radio to see the time, it would be permitted, as that would constitute L'sorech Gufo, as long as he is careful not to pull out the plug. He would also be permitted to move the clock radio from the dresser, L'sorech M'komo, in order to make space for something else that he wants to put there. A car is Keli She'm'lachto L'isur. If someone forgot food in the car before Shabbat, he may open the door or trunk to remove the food. This is considered L'sorech M'komo, since the closed door is blocking access to the food, it may be moved out of the way. Of course, this leniency applies only to rare cases in which opening the car door or trunk does not activate any lights or electric circuits. Also, there is no rationale to permit directly closing the door after removing the needed items.Clothes that were left in a closed electric dryer before Shabbat may be removed on Shabbat, assuming that opening the dryer door does not activate lights or electric circuits. Like the car, the leniency is because the door is a Keli She'm'lachto L'isur and opening the door is L'sorech M'komo. It would not be permitted to directly close the door after removing the clothes. Electric fans and electric blankets are Kelim She'm'lachtam L'isur, and may be used as long as they were plugged in before Shabbat. Of course, the dial or button may not be adjusted. It is permitted to move the fan to bring the flow of air closer, since that is considered L'sorech Gufo. Likewise, the fan may be moved so that the flow of air blows away from him, since that is considered L'sorech M'komo. Percolators, crockpots and coffee makers are classified as Keli She'm'lachto L'isur. If they have water inside of them, it is permissible to move them as needed. If not, they may be moved only L'sorech Gufo and L'sorech M'komo, e.g. remove them from the counter if their space is needed.Other examples of Keli She'm'lachto L'isur include:• extensions cords • adapters• scissors• Shabbat timers• nail clippers• fly swatters• regular pens (as opposed to special artist pens or quills which would have a stricter classification.• hole punchers, staplers• umbrellas• hair brush and comb• gardening tools such as hoes, rakes and sprinklersWallets- There is a Machloket (disagreement) between Ashkenazim and Sepharadim regarding wallets. When it has money in it, it is clearly Mukse as a Ba'sees (base) and may not be moved at all. However, if there was no money in the wallet, Ashkenazim are strict since it is designated for money. However, Maran in 310:7 rules that it is permissible. Similarly, an empty Sedaka pouch or an empty case of a musical instrument is also not Mukse.Toothbrush- According to the Poskim that brushing teeth with toothpaste is prohibited, a toothbrush is a Keli She'm'lachto L'isur. Hacham Ovadia has a famous ruling to permit the use of toothpaste on Shabbat, in which case the toothbrush is not considered Mukse at all.

    Mukse- Moving A Non-Mukse Item Unnecessarily and Other Items

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 5:03

    The Shulhan Aruch (308:4) states that a Keli She'm'lachto L'heter-A utensil which has a permitted function, may be moved for any purpose, including its own protection. However, Maran adds a caveat that even such a utensil should not be moved "Shelo L'sorech Klal"-for no purpose whatsoever. That is, one should not fidget with these items for no reason. Maran then lists two exception to this rule: food and holy books. These items may be moved randomly, in any fashion. Some Poskim want to include clothing and jewelry in this category of exceptions, as well. However, Hacham Ovadia in Hazon Ovadia (Vol. 3, p. 34) cites the Me'iri who rules that clothes and jewelry may not be moved randomly.-----Hacham Ovadia (Hazon Ovadia Vol 3, p. 47) rules that a food vessel requiring Tevilah (immersion) in a Mikveh before use, is not Mukse, even though it may not be immersed on Shabbat. He bases his leniency on the fact that some opinions do permit Tevilat Kelim on Shabbat, and even according to the mainstream opinion, the vessel can be given to a non-Jew, which removes the obligation for immersion, and then be used by borrowing it back from the non-Jew. A pot which became non-kosher, which needs Koshering through Hag'ala, is not Mukse. Hacham Ovadia explains that although it may not be koshered on Shabbat, it is still suitable for containing cold food.------There is a question whether one may move a food item which has a questionable Kashrut. For example, there is debate whether powdered milk was included in the prohibition of consuming milk from a non-Jew. Hacham Ovadia was strict on this matter and ruled that such products are not kosher. If one had a chocolate bar made with such milk, would it be Mukse on Shabbat? Hacham Ovadia gives several reasons why it is not Mukse. First, it may be given to a non-Jew or even to young children. Second, the dissenting opinions who do permit the powdered milk of non-Jews may be relied upon in the context of Mukse. ------Hacham Ovadia (Hazon Ovadia Vol. 3, p. 9) rules that stale bread is not Mukse, because it can be consumed in soup on Shabbat. SUMMARYNon-Mukse items may not be moved randomly, for no reason, except for food and holy books.Pots in need of immersion or Koshering are not Mukse. Products made with non-Kosher powdered milk are not Mukse. Stale bread is not Mukse.

    Is It Permissible to Touch a Mukse Item Without Moving It?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 3:19

    The Shulhan Aruch establishes in several places that it is permissible to touch Mukse items, as long as not even a part of it moves. For example, Maran rules that a corpse is Mukse, and even though a single limb may not be moved, it is permissible to touch it. The Shulhan Aruch (306:6) records the Halacha that covering a Mukse item with a vessel is permitted, only if he does not touch the Mukse itself. The commentaries wonder what the problem is, since it is permitted to touch Mukse. The Maggid Mishne understands that the case is referring to a Mukse item which is round, and touching it will cause the item to roll on its axis. The Trumat Ha'deshen (Rav Yisrael Isserlin, 1390-1460) offers an alternate explanation: Touching Mukse is prohibited in a case where the purpose of the contact is to benefit the Mukse item. The case of placing a protective covering over the Mukse item is for the benefit of the Mukse item, and that is why it is prohibited. Thus, there is a disagreement between the Maggid Mishne and the Trumat Ha'deshen whether one may touch a Mukse item for its benefit. The Bet Yosef brings both positions. The Magen Abraham (Rabbi Abraham Gombiner, Poland, 1637-1682) is stringent in accordance with the Trumat Ha'deshen. However, many Poskim rule in accordance with the Maggid Mishne, including the Vilna Gaon and the Mishna Berura.Hacham Ovadia brings a proof to be lenient from the ruling of Maran who permits anointing a corpse with oil on Shabbat, even though the corpse is being touched for its benefit. This is also the opinion of Teshubot Bene Sion.SUMMARYIt is permissible to touch a Mukse item for its benefit, as long as no part of it will move.

    Making a Permissible Item Mukse on Shabbat

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 5:01

    The Halacha prohibits "Bitul Keli MeHechano"-neutralizing a vessel from functioning on Shabbat. That is, one may not perform an action that would render an otherwise permitted vessel to be Mukse. The classic example is placing a bowl underneath a hen to catch her egg. The egg is Mukse as "Nolad"-an item that came into being on Shabbat. Once the egg falls in the bowl, the bowl becomes Mukse as a "Basees"-a base for Mukse. Another case would be placing a vessel underneath a lit candle to catch the oil that drips. That oil is Mukse because it was designated for lighting. This is prohibited because when the oil drips on the bowl, it neutralizes the bowl from any other use. The Mishna Berura (Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) discusses an interesting case brought by the Magen Abraham (Rav Abraham Gombiner, Poland, 1637-1682) in which one neutralizes a vessel by "Gerama"-indirect means. For example, if there was a drip of oil from a hanging lamp on to the table. If one placed a vessel under the table, is it permitted to then move the table to expose the vessel and catch the drip? The Magen Abraham rules that it is permitted to do so, because he merely moved the obstacle and the bowl became aligned "automatically." Similarly, the Gemara deals with a case of "Teruma Tehora" (pure gifts to the Kohen), which is not Mukse, and "Teruma Temeah" (impure gifts to the Kohen) which is Mukse, in the same basket. As long as both are in the basket, the basket may be moved. The Gemara permits removing the "Teruma Tehora" on Shabbat, leaving only the Mukse "Teruma Temeah," even though the basket becomes Mukse as a "Basees." This is permitted since, taking out the "good" neutralized the basket only indirectly by leaving the "bad" to remain. This leniency can also be applied to a plate of food which also contains Mukse bones. It is permitted to eat all the food and leave only the bones, even though the plate becomes Mukse. Again, since the vessel was neutralized indirectly it is permitted. This is the conclusion of Hacham Yishak, as well.SUMMARYOne may rely on the lenient authorities and neutralize a vessel from use through indirect means.

    Mukse: Firewood, Matches and Disposable Pans

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 8:30

    Hacham Yishak Beracha, in his book Birhat Yishak on Hilchot Mukse (p.10), establishes a principle based on the Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (p. 124) that any item not considered a Keli (utensil), is completely Mukse, and may not be moved even L'Sorech M'komo-for its place, or L'sorech Gufo-for a permitted function. Therefore, a log of firewood is altogether Mukse and may not be moved for any purpose. A log is not a Keli (utensil), since it only has a one-time use; it is consumed as soon as its purpose is fulfilled. Hacham Yishak applies this principle to matches, cigarettes and charcoal, as well. These items are not considered a Keli, since they are consumed and destroyed with their use. However, he cites Hacham Bension who distinguished between a natural log of firewood and these items which were designed and produced expressly for this purpose. Therefore, he considers the match a Keli (utensil), and it may be moved L'Sorech M'komo-for its place, or L'sorech Gufo-for a permitted function-such as a toothpick or collar stay. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Russia-New York, 1895-1986) was stringent and did not view matches as a utensil, rather as firewood. However, all agree that this line of reasoning does not apply to a disposable utensil whose function was prohibited, such as an aluminum foil baking pan. Although like firewood, it too is discarded upon completing its function, there are two major differences. First, while the disposable pan may be thrown away after use, it does not disintegrate as the log, match and cigarette. Moreover, it is common to reuse aluminum foil pans nowadays. Therefore, disposable pans have the same Halacha as cooking pots and are designated Keli She'm'lachto L'isur, which may be moved L'Sorech M'komo-for its place, or L'sorech Gufo-for a permitted function. SUMMARYA log of firewood is completely Mukse and may not be moved for any purpose. Disposable baking pans are utensils and may be moved L'Sorech M'komo-for its place, or L'sorech Gufo-for a permitted function. One should avoid using matches for a permitted function, such as for a toothpick, although there are those who are lenient.

    Are Fruit Peels, Flour, Raw Rice, or Raw Potatoes Considered Mukse?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2021 4:10

    Shells and peels of food which are edible, even if only to animals, are not Mukse. For example, the Shemirat Shabbat K'hilhata (Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuvirth, Jerusalem 1927-1913, Ch. 20:27) rules that orange peels, watermelon pits and soft bones are not Mukse and may be handled on Shabbat. He goes as far as to say that even if these items were already put in the garbage, they are not Mukse. On the other hand, there are foods which are Mukse on Shabbat. For example, flour or raw rice are Mukse because they are inedible and may not be prepared on Shabbat. Regarding raw potatoes, the Shemirat Shabbat K'hilhata is stringent, although the Menuhat Ahaba (Rabbi Moshe Halevy, Israel, 1961-2001) was lenient, since they are edible under extenuating circumstances. Similarly, all types of raw meat are not Mukse, since it can be consumed. Therefore, if a woman left raw meat on the counter before Shabbat, she may place it in the freezer on Shabbat. Frozen raw meat in the freezer may be moved, as long as it could be thawed out before the end of Shabbat. Food which is Asur B'hana'ah-forbidden to benefit from, such as Hames on Pesach, is Mukse. Therefore, it is prohibited to handle or rearrange Hames items on Shabbat and Yom Tob of Pesah that have been sold to the non-Jew before Pesah. Similarly, fruit which is Orlah (within the first three years) or food upon which a vow of forbidding benefit has been taken, are also Mukse.SUMMARYWatermelon pits, orange peels, soft bones, raw potatoes and raw meat are NOT Mukse.Raw rice and flour ARE Mukse, as well as food items that are forbidden to benefit from, such as Hames, Orlah and foods upon which there is a vow forbidding benefit.

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