Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halocho #1442 - First Aid

"When a member of one's household is unwell, one should go to a Rabbi and ask him to pray for mercy" is what Rav Pinchas bar Chama taught us in Bava Basra (116a) based on the verse in Mishlei (16:14):

"חֲמַת מֶלֶךְ מַלְאֲכֵי מָוֶת וְאִישׁ חָכָם יְכַפְּרֶנָּה"

"The wrath of the King are messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it."

It's customary to also give charity to the poor, since "Repentance, Prayer and Charity abolish evil decrees".

The custom is to make a special "Mi Sheberach" prayer in the synagogue for the patient; even on Shabbat, if the condition is life threatening.

In extreme cases, the patient's name is changed (usually by adding another name), as this is another effective way of abolishing evil decrees against a person.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:2

- Danny
Wednesday, 28 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halocho #1441- Staying healthy

It's a Mitzva to keep one's body in the best of health.

A person should continuously pray that they remain healthy, since once one gets sick, one needs spiritual merits - repentance and good deeds - to fully recover.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  190:3, 192:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 27 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halocho #1440 - May one throw out Sukkah decorations?

Since the S'chach (branches covering the Sukkah) were used for a Mitzvah, they deserve some respect even after having done their duty.

After Sukkoth when the S'chach is taken down, one should not trample on it.

One may throw them away, but one may not use them for disrespectful purposes like building an outhouse.

One may burn S'chach.

Care should be taken with decorations that have Torah verses written on them.

Preferably one shouldn't hang up such decorations, but if one did, then they need to go into Geniza or otherwise carefully looked after.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 134:13, 14

- Danny
Monday, 26 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Halocho #1439 - Wind and rain

Since Mussaf on Shmini Atzeret (last Thursday) we have been praising Hashem for the wonderful gift of rain, by adding - מַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ וּמוֹרִיד הַגֶּשֶׁם - "He makes the wind blow and He causes the rain to fall"  into - אַתָּה גִּבּוֹר - the second Bracha of the Amida.

If one forgets to add מַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ וּמוֹרִיד הַגֶּשֶׁם, what does on do?

If one has not yet finished the 2nd Bracha - בָּרוּךְ... מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים - then one adds it after any of the many phrases in this Bracha. If one wishes, one may restart the Bracha and say it in its correct place.

If one already finished  - מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים - the 2nd Bracha?

- If you have the custom of adding מוֹרִיד הַטָּל  during the summer, then continue as usual. No amendment is required.

- If you do NOT have the custom of adding  מוֹרִיד הַטָּל  during the summer, then you have to restart the Amida from the beginning. This is because the first 3 Brachot of the Amida are considered a single entity.

One continues saying  וְתֵן בְּרָכָה in the 9th Bracha of the Amida  - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ - until the 7th Marcheshvan in Israel and the 5th December in the Diaspora.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:1, 2, 5

- Danny
Sunday, 25 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halocho #1438 - The 4 minim; putting it all together!

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog, as the Torah says:

וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפּוֹת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבוֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל

When shaking them on Sukkoth, the Lulav, 3 Haddasim and 2 Aravot are tied together and held in one's right hand, and the Etrog in the left hand. (Lefties hold the Lulav in their left, Etrog in the right.)

All 6 branches must be facing upwards, with the side where they were cut off the tree facing down.

The spine of the Lulav must be facing you. The 3 Haddasim are tied to the right of the Lulav. The 2 Aravot are tied to the left of the Lulav.

The Lulav is first bound with 3 ties typically made of palm leaves. The 3 Haddasim and 2 Aravot are then bound to it with another 2 ties. The Haddasim should be slightly higher than than the Aravot.

The spine of the the Lulav must protrude at least 1 Tefach (8 cm - 3") above the Haddasim and Aravot.

The top Tefach (8 cm - 3") of the Lulav should not have any ties on it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:8

Wishing everybody a Chag Same'ach!

- Danny
Tuesday, 13 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

==> Add a reminder to your calendar for Eruv Tavshilin for tomorrow and again next week, if you don't live in Israel. <==


Monday, October 6, 2014

Halocho #1437 - What to bring into the Sukka

The Torah commands us to live in the Sukka for the duration of Sukkoth. Seven days in Eretz Yisrael, eight days in the Diaspora.

One should move into the Sukka and bring along one's creature comforts; one's comfortable chairs and favorite dishes.

The Mitzvah of Sukka is one of the few where the Torah explicitly gives us a reason:

"לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דוֹרוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם"

"Sit in the Sukka for seven days in order that your descendants should be aware that the Yidden dwelled in Sukkoth during their journey out of Egypt."

Sukkoth could be referring to the Clouds of Glory that surrounded and protected the entire Jewish encampment (as per R' Eliezer) or actual Sukkah-huts that individual families lived in (as per R' Akiva).

One should keep these "reasons" in mind when fulfilling the Mitzvah of Sukka.

One should treat the Sukka with respect and not bring in items one wouldn't tolerate at the Shabbat table.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:1, 2

- Danny
Monday, 12 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Halocho #1436 - How to make a Kosher Sukka

The days between Yom Kippour and Sukkoth are joyous days, since Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon) inaugurated the first Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple) during this period.

One does not fast even for a Yahrzeit, nor does one say Tachanun on these days.

A Sukkah needs at least 3 walls that do not move in the wind.

The roof of the Sukkah is made of branches or bamboo that have not been used for any other purpose.

The covering must be thick enough to ensure that even on the last day of Sukkoth at midday there will be more shade than sunshine.

The covering must not be so thick that rain cannot get through.

In rainy climates, one should make a Sukkah that can be covered, so that it can be used once it stops raining.

One must be careful to open the roof before using the Sukkah. On the first night of Sukkoth the roof should be opened from candle-lighting until nightfall, if possible.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:30, 31, 134:1

- Danny
Sunday, 11 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halocho #1435 - It's a Mitzvah to eat tomorrow

Tomorrow - Friday - is Erev Yom Kippour.

It's a Mitzvah to eat more than usual on the day before Yom Kippour, in order to have an easy fast the next day. Those people who find it easier to fast if they don't eat too much beforehand, do not need to eat more than usual.

On Erev Yom Kippour one does not say מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה in Shacharit. The reason being that מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה parallels the Korban Toda (thanksgiving sacrifice) which was eaten for 2 consecutive days. Since a sacrifice brought on Erev Yom Kippour couldn't be eaten for 2 consecutive days, therefore one couldn't bring a Korban Toda on Erev Yom Kippour.

On Erev Yom Kippour one also omits Tachanun and לַמְנַצֵּח . Since Yom Kippour is on Shabbat this year, one says Avinu Malkeinu during Shacharit on Erev Yom Kippour.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:2,3

Wishing everybody an easy and meaningful fast and a Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday,  8 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halocho #1434 - The Yom Kippour Mitzva

There is a Mitzva in the Torah unique to Yom Kippour: afflicting oneself.

To fulfill this Mitzva properly one should keep in mind that the Yom Kippour restrictions are a fulfillment of this 25-hour long Mitzva. This Mitzva includes the following prohibitions:

- On Yom Kippour one may not eat nor drink, even when Yom Kippour is on Shabbat, like this year. If fasting will affect your health, contact a doctor and a Rabbi for instructions.

- On Yom Kippour one may not bathe; one may not even get wet unnecessarily. Upon awakening and after relieving oneself one can wash until the knuckles. Before Birkat Cohanim, the Cohanim wash until their wrists.

- On Yom Kippour no anointing is allowed. This includes perfumes and deodorants.

- On Yom Kippour one may not wear leather shoes.

- On Yom Kippour one may not have marital relations.

All the above are forbidden from candle-lighting on Erev Yom Kippour (Friday afternoon, this week) until after Havdala some 25 hours later.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:1

Gmar Vechatima Tova

- Danny
Wednesday, 7 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Halocho #1433 - First pay then Apologize

Yom Kippour does not atone for misdeeds done against fellow-Jews unless one first asks them for forgiveness.

One should be careful to repay all overdue loans before Yom Kippour; after which one can beg for forgiveness for the delay.

If one is being asked for forgiveness, one should not be stubborn nor vengeful; rather one should be forgiving, the same way one hopes that Hashem will be forgiving of our sins.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:4

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year full of good tidings.

- Danny
Tuesday, 6 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Monday, September 29, 2014

Halocho #1432 - Should children be given Yom Tov treats?

There's a Mitzvah to by happy on Jewish Holidays and therefore one must eat two Yom Tov meals; one at night and one during the day. (Se'udat Shlishi - the 3rd meal - is only eaten on Shabbat and is not required on Yom Tov.)

Each meal starts with Kiddush over wine and two Challot (loaves of bread) and should include meat and other delicacies.

It's also a Mitzvah to ensure that others are happy:

- Children should be given treats

- Wives should get new clothes and jewelry according to one's budget

- Men should be served meat and wine

In order to prove that the extra expenses are for Yom Tov and not simply for self-indulgence, one must ensure that the poor and needy are also supplied with their Yom Tov needs; invite them over for meals and donate generously to reputable charity funds before Yom Tov.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:3, 5, 9

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; may you always be on the giving end!

- Danny
Monday, 5 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Halocho #1431 - Today (Sunday) is a fast day; Zom Gedalya

On the 3rd of Tishrei גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶּן אֲחִיקָם  was killed. After the destruction of the first Bet HaMikdash, נְבֻכַדְנֶאצַּר  appointed him Governor over the remnants of the Jews in Land of Israel . Once Gedalya was killed then they too were exiled or murdered and the land became desolate.

Some say that גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶּן אֲחִיקָם  was killed on Rosh Hashanah and the fast was deferred till after Yom Tov. The verse in Melachim-II 25:25 merely says:

 וַיְהִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בָּא יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן נְתַנְיָה בֶּן אֱלִישָׁמָע מִזֶּרַע הַמְּלוּכָה וַעֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים אִתּוֹ וַיַּכּוּ אֶת גְּדַלְיָהוּ וַיָּמֹת וְאֶת הַיְּהוּדִים וְאֶת הַכַּשְׂדִּים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ אִתּוֹ בַּמִּצְפָּה

This tragic event is the reason that today is a fast day. Since we could not fast yesterday as it was Shabbat.

The fast begins Sunday at dawn and ends at nightfall (a few minutes before the time for Motzai Shabbat).

Pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt from fasting. Anybody who isn't healthy shouldn't fast. When in doubt, consult your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi).

Children are not allowed to fast.

Those who are not fasting should limit their food intake to the bare minimum to remain healthy; only bread and water if possible.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:2, 9

Have a meaningful fast,

- Danny
Sunday, 4 Tishrei 5775

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halocho #1430 - Warning! The King is arriving!

A main theme of Rosh HaShanah is Hashem's reign over the entire world. This sovereignty is displayed by His ability to judge the world.

As a result, from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippour is over, we replace "Gcd" with "King" in various places in davening (prayers).

1. The ending of the 3rd Bracha of the Amida - אַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ - changes to הַמֶּלֶךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ. If you forget, you have to restart the Amida, unless you caught yourself immediately. (Immediately means: you didn't yet have time to say 3 words.) If you're not sure what you said, you also have to restart the Amida.

2. The end of the 11th Bracha in the weekday Amida - הָשִׁיבָה שׁוֹפְטֵינוּ - changes to הַמֶּלֶך הַמִּשְׁפָּט. If you forget or are not sure what you said then you continue. No correction is needed.

3. Friday night during מָגֵן אָבוֹת בִּדְבָרוֹ we replace "HakEl HaKodesh" with  הַמֶּלֶךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ. If you forget, no correction is needed.

From Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippour is over we add four phrases to the Amida. If you forget after concluding that Bracha, no correction is needed. Until saying בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה you should make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:3, 4 5

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a sweet and healthy year.

- Danny
Wednesday, Erev Rosh Hashana, 29 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Clarification: Eruv Tavshilin can be done on bread or Matza.

==> Do a Mitzva: Call a friend and remind them to do Eruv Tavshilin.<==


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Halocho #1429 - Don't forget: Eruv Tavshilin

One may not prepare from Yom Tov to Shabbat unless one does Eruv Tavshilin before Yom Tov.

Since Rosh Hashana is on Thursday & Friday, every household needs to do Eruv Tavshilin sometime on Wednesday before candle lighting.

One takes bread or Matza and a cooked or baked food that will be eaten on Shabbat and one says the Bracha:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל מִצְוַת עֵרוּב

One continues with the following, which must be said in a language one understands:

בַּהֲדֵין עֵרוּבָא יְהֵא שָׁרֵא לָנָא לַאֲפוּיֵי, וּלְבַשּׁוּלֵי, וּלְאַטְמוּנֵי, וּלְאַדְלוּקֵי שְׁרָגָא, וּלִמֶעְבֵּד כָּל צָרְכָּנָא מִיּוֹמָא טָבָא לְשַׁבְּתָא

"With this Eruv we are permitted to bake, cook, keep things warm and light fire and do all that is needed from Yom Tov to Shabbat".

The Eruv Tavshilin food should be kept in a safe place; if they are eaten before Shabbat, a Rabbi should be consulted how to proceed.

Even those who don't have to cook for Shabbat, still need Eruv Tavshilin in order to light Shabbat candles on Friday before sunset (from an existing flame).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 102

- Danny
Tuesday, 28 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

==> Add a reminder to your calendar to do Eruv Tavshilin tomorrow

Monday, September 22, 2014

Halocho #1428 - The symbolic Rosh Hashanah menu

At the Rosh Hashanah evening meal it is customary to eat foods that symbolize a Good New Year. The bread from haMotzi is dipped in honey and after eating it the יְהִי רָצוֹן  is said praying for a sweet new year.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ שֶתְחַדֵש עָלֵינוּ שָנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה

Then one dips an apple in honey, says the Bracha on the apple ("בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ") and eats some. One then says the יְהִי רָצוֹן  again.

There are various other foods that are eaten with their appropriate יְהִי רָצוֹן ; one may even add new ones.

One tries to have only sweet items on the menu; no food cooked in vinegar, for example. The custom is to not eat nuts.

One should remember to learn some Torah at the Yom Tov meals; some learn a chapter of Mishna מַסֶּכֶת רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, which has 4 chapters; one for each meal.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a sweet new year

- Danny
Monday, 27 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Halocho #1427- What should I think about when hearing the Shofar?

The blast of the Shofar should remind us to awaken from our spiritual slumber and start taking our Torah study and Mitzvah observance seriously.

Hearing the Shofar being blown on Rosh Hashanah is a Torah commandment!

This crucial detail should not be forgotten when reflecting on the various symbolic reasons given for Shofar blowing.

One should not talk after hearing the Brachah on the Shofar until after hearing 100 blasts from the Shofar so as not to interrupt between the Bracha and fulfilling the Mitzvah as prescribed by Chazal. This means not talking until after Mussaf.

(As a general rule one shouldn't ever talk during prayer services. On Rosh Hashanah there's another reason why not to so.)

At a minimum one should be careful not to talk after the Bracha until hearing the first set of 30 Shofar blasts.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:15

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah,

- Danny
Sunday, 26 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Halocho #1426 - Does one say Shehechiyanu on candle-lighting?

The blessing of שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה - "... who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion" - is recited during Kiddush on all nights of Yom Tov, except on the last days of Pessach. There are two Minhagim (customs) regarding שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ at candle-lighting on Yom Tov candles:

- Some women have the Minhag of saying שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ when lighting Yom-Tov candles (except on the last days of Pessach)

- Others never say שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ at candle-lighting

If a woman makes her own Kiddush she must be careful to only say שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ once; either at candle-lighting or during Kiddush.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah there's a Halachic debate if שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ is required. To be on the safe side, one should wear a new item of clothing, or see a new fruit (that one hasn't tasted yet this season) while saying שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ on the second night of Rosh Hashanah; both during Kiddush and during candle lighting (if applicable).

If one does not have a new item of clothing, nor a new fruit, on the second night of Rosh Hashanah, one still says שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:4, 129:23

K'tiva V'chatima Tova; wishing you a year full of happy tidings

- Danny
Thursday, 23 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Halocho #1425 - Chol Hamo'ed; Chol or Mo'ed?

The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkot are known as Chol Hamo'ed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden.

Chazal (our Rabbis of blessed memory) have some harsh words for those who don't honour Chol Hamo'ed properly. Honouring Chol Hamo'ed includes eating meals and wearing clothes that are closer to Yom Tov standards than regular weekday standards.

On Chol Hamo'ed one may do all work needed to prevent a monetary loss.

Preparing food for Chol Hamo'ed or the last days of Yom Tov is allowed.

Gardening is forbidden besides for picking fruit for Chol Hamo'ed or Yom Tov, and to prevent plants dying, e.g. if they need to be irrigated. Planting is forbidden.

Cutting hair is forbidden on Chol Hamo'ed. Cutting nails is only allowed if one also cut them before Yom Tov.

Writing down information so that it won't be forgotten is allowed. Writing letters to friends and family is allowed. The custom is to write the first line at an angle as a reminder that writing is only partially permitted.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104.

Ktiva Vechatima Tova

- Danny
Wednesday, 22 Elul 5774


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Halocho #1424 - Lefties In Halacha

Go to http://tinyurl.com/leftiesinhalacha for a full overview of all Halachot related to lefties.

Regarding the Lulav and Etrog, this is what he writes:

According to the Mechaber (Rav Yosef Cairo, author of the Shulchan Aruch) a left handed person follows the same procedure and holds the Lulav in the right hand and the Esrog in the left hand, as since the Lulav has in it three Mitzvos (i.e. 3 of the 4 species) and the Esrog is only one Mitzvah, the item with more Mitzvos is held in the more highly regarded hand. Most Sephardic Jews follow this ruling. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 651:3 and Mishna Berura S"K 18)

However, the Rama (ibid.) rules that left handed people should switch the order and hold the Lulav in their strong hand (left) and the Esrog in their weaker hand (right). Most Ashkenazic Jews follow this ruling.

An ambidextrous person should take the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in the left hand. (ibid.)

If the Lulav was held in the wrong hand, the obligation has been satisfied (Rama ibid.)

However, if it was taken in the wrong hands it is best to be stringent and take the Lulav and Esrog again in the correct hands without reciting a new Bracha. (Mishna Berura S"K 19)

Many left handed people are stringent after taking the Lulav in their left and the Esrog in their right (or vice versa) to repeat the process the other way around (without a new Bracha) to satisfy the rulings of both the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama. (See Kaf HaChaim 651:38. See also Orchos Rabbeinu Vol. 2 page 288 that the Steipler Zatzal, who was a lefty and an Ashkenazi, followed the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch regarding this Halacha and not the Rama)

Go to http://tinyurl.com/leftiesinhalacha for a full overview of all Halachot related to lefties, including what lefties do in the following cases:
- The groom uses his right hand to hold the ring and to place it onto the right index finger of the bride
- When putting on shoes in the morning, one first puts on the right shoe, but first ties the left one
- When putting on an article of clothing, one should start with coveringthe right side
- The right hand should be washed first
- Holding the Tzitzis in one's left hands, near the heart, during the recitation of Krias Shma
- Tefilin which are bound to the left arm
- Covering one's eyes with the right hand when saying the first Pasuk of Shma
- After completing Shemona Esrei, bowing to the right, then to the left
- Handing over and holding or carrying a Sefer Torah with one's right hand
- A "Kos Shel Bracha" - the cup of wine should be held in one's right hand
- At the Seder, there is a Mitzvah to eat  while leaning on one's left
- Tearing Kriah for mourners
- The Shofar should be placed on the right side of one's mouth
- Vidui; pounding one's heart with the right hand
- When setting up and holding the Arba Minim, the three Hadasim (myrtle) should be tied onto the right side

All the halachot at http://tinyurl.com/leftiesinhalacha are based on a Sefer titled "Ish Iter- The left handed person" by haRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita

- Danny
Tuesday, 21 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Monday, September 15, 2014

Halocho #1423 - If it rains, does one sleep in the Sukkah?

Since the Mitzvah of Sukkah is to move out of the house and into the Sukkah for the duration of Sukkoth, one should really sleep in the Sukkah.

People who are meticulous about their Mitzvah observance will not even take a nap outside the Sukkah. Their entire family moves into the Sukkah; husband, wife and children.

There are numerous reasons why not to sleep in a Sukkah. However, if the Sukkah is not fit for sleeping (e.g. it's too dangerous) then the Sukkah is not Kosher even for eating in.

The slightest precipitation renders the Sukkah unfit for sleeping and one should then sleep indoors. Once one lies down indoors, one is exempt from returning to the Sukkah the entire night, even if the Sukkah subsequently dries.

Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Sukkah, as it's a time-bound Mitzvah.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:8, 9, 10

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah,

- Danny
Monday, 20 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Halocho #1422 - Tell me about the Lulav

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog.

The Lulav is a palm branch that is still closed. Once the leaves start fanning out, it's no longer a Lulav.

A Lulav has a spine from which the leaves protrude; this spine needs to be facing you when you shake the four species. The Lulav spine should be straight, a slight curvature towards you is allowed.

The Lulav spine must be at least 4 Tefachim (32 cm - 13") long. This is measured from the bottom of the lowest "leaf" to the bottom of the highest "leaf".

Each "leaf" is made of 2 parts that are connected (and will eventually open up into a V-shaped palm leaf). If these double-leaves start separating then the Lulav may no longer be Kosher. Special care should be taken that the highest leaves remain coupled.

Source: Shulchan Aruch 645. Ktiva Vechatima Tova

- Danny
Sunday, 19 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Halocho #1421 - May one smell an Etrog?

One does not shake the four species on Shabbat.

The Lulav, Haddasim and Aravot are Muktza on Shabbat.

The Etrog is not Muktza and one may smell it on Shabbat - after making the Bracha of:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
הַנּוֹתֵן רֵיחַ טוֹב בַּפֵּרוֹת

On the other days of Sukkoth one should not smell the Etrog.

One should not smell the Haddasim during the entire 7 days of Sukkoth.

An Etrog may be returned to its wrapping on Shabbat and Yom Tov, but may not be wrapped in a new wrapper - since the wrapper will absorb the aroma of the Etrog - and one may not add aroma to materials on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 137:7

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 16 Elul 5774


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Halocho #1420 - Tell me about the Aravot

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog.

The Arava comes from a known type of willow tree with long leaves, non-serrated edges, and its bough turns red when mature.

The Arava must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long.

If possible one should get Aravot from a tree that grows alongside a river.

Willows dry up very quickly. A wilted Arava is not Kosher. Some say that once its leaves start drooping it is not fresh enough to be a Kosher Arava.

Many have the Minhag to get fresh Aravot every day of Chol Hamo'ed Sukkoth.

An Arava is no longer Kosher if most of its leaves have come off, or its tip is cut off.

This can happen if they are wilted, have been shaken too hard or while replacing them.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:5, 6, 7 and 137:6

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a healthy, wealthy year to come,

- Danny
Wednesday, 15 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Halocho #1419 - Tell me about the Haddas - Myrtle?

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog.

Each Haddas is a branch of a myrtle bush, and must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long.

Myrtle leaves grow on the stem in groups of three or more. A Kosher Haddas needs to be Meshulash; with each group of leaves growing out of the branch at exactly the same height.

Preferably the Haddas should be Meshulash its entire length, though it's Kosher if only the top half is Meshulash.

The entire Haddas needs to be covered in leaves, the top of the lower leaves must reach the bottom of the higher ones.

Myrtle bushes have berries growing on them. A Haddas should not have any berries on it; berries should be removed (with their stems) before Yom Tov.

Make sure that the top of the Haddas is not cut off, it usually ends in a set of tiny leaves.

Haddasim need to be kept fresh; dried out Haddasim are not Kosher.

Source: Shulchan Aruch 646.

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year full of good news,

- Danny
Tuesday, 14 Elul 5774

Monday, September 8, 2014

Halocho #1418 - Tell me about the Etrog

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog.

The Etrog is a citron; Citrus Medica.

It is held in one's left hand when shaking the four species, with the stem (where it was cut off the tree) facing downwards.

By nature the Etrog tree is very soft (mine buckled during a light Jerusalem snow storm), therefore it is often grafted onto other trees to make it stronger. An Etrog from a grafted tree cannot be used when shaking the four species.

(Grafted fruit is Kosher to eat, despite the prohibition against grafting trees.)

The Etrog needs to be whole; scratches and dents may invalidate it.

The Etrog should not have dark dots on it, though it may have light scabs that are a result of leaves and thorns brushing against it while it grows. (Etrog trees have thorns that grow to about 2" long.)

The "nose" of the the Etrog - from where it starts getting narrow - should be perfectly clean.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 174:2, Shulchan Aruch 648

Ktiva Vechatima Tova

- Danny
Monday, 13 Elul 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma