One may cut one's nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls.
On each Shabbat of the "3 weeks" we read a Haftara in which the prophet warned about the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash.
The first week (this week) we read the first chapter of יִרְמִיָּהוּ, which is the Haftara for "Matos" in most Chumashim.
The second week we read most of the second chapter of יִרְמִיָּהוּ.
The third week we read the first chapter of יְשַׁעְיָהוּ - Chazon; most of it in the sad tune that Megilat Eicha is read.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:6, 5
Thursday, 22 Tamuz 5776
Thursday, July 28, 2016
One may cut one's nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The Kotel ("Wailing wall") is the Western retaining wall of the Temple Mount where the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) stood until it was destroyed over 1,900 years ago.
The Kotel "plaza" is outside the Temple Mount. Every prayer of ours - Amida and Birkat Hamazon - includes a supplication to once again be able to serve Hashem on the other side of the Kotel; from inside the rebuilt Bet Hamikdash.
When seeing the place where the Bet Hamikdash stood, one needs to do Kri'a; tear one's clothes in the same way that mourners do.
One only needs to tear Kri'a if one hasn't been in Jerusalem for more than 30 days.
Source Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 561
The prevalent Yerushalmi custom is to not tear Kri'a on days one doesn't say Tachanun, including Friday afternoons.
Monday, 23 Tamuz 5776
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
We learned that the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) started on 17 Tammuz with the breaching of the walls, and ended 3 weeks later when it was set alight.
During this period of mourning, we do not get married.
Getting engaged is permitted during the 3 weeks.
Until Rosh Chodesh Av (Sunday night) one may even celebrate with a festive meal, but without music and dancing. After Rosh Chodesh Av one may not have a festive meal, but one may serve refreshments.
One may even get engaged on a fast day, but no food may be served.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1
Tuesday, 20 Tamuz 5776
Monday, July 25, 2016
The period between the fast of 17 Tammuz and the fast of Tisha-B'Av 3 weeks later is known as Bein Hametzarim, or "The 3 Weeks".
Since the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) started on 17 Tammuz with the breaching of the walls, and ended 3 weeks later when it was set alight, this period of 3 weeks has been set aside as a time of mourning.
The custom is to forbid music, weddings, haircuts and shaving during The Three Weeks.
If one plays a musical instrument for a living, one may continue to do so for non-Jews until Rosh Chodesh Av.
Some have the custom of refraining from meat and wine during the entire 3 weeks, except on Shabbat and Mitzva-meals (like at a Brit Mila). Everybody refrains from meat & wine during the 9 days.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1
Monday, 19 Tamuz 5776
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Today - Sunday - is the [deferred] fast of 17 Tamuz which commemorates 5 major misfortunes which happened to the Jewish people on this date:
• Moshe Rabbeinu broke the Luchot - the tablets - upon seeing the Golden Calf being worshiped
• The daily Tamid sacrifice was suspended in the first Bet Hamikdash as a result of the siege
• At the time of the 2nd Bet HaMikdash, the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the enemy, three weeks before the destruction
• Apustumus the wicked [Roman] burned a Sefer Torah
• An idol was placed in the Bet Hamikdash
On every fast-day there is Kriat HaTorah (Torah Reading) at both Shacharit and Mincha.
At Mincha, the 3rd Aliya also reads the Haftarah (דִּרְשׁוּ from Yeshayahu 55:6). Only somebody who is fasting should be called up to the Torah on a fast day.
Only during the Mincha Amida do individuals add the "עֲנֵנוּ" prayer into the 16th Bracha; שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ. If one forgot, one does not need to make amends.
The Chazzan adds עֲנֵנוּ during both Shacharit and Mincha, as a separate Bracha before רְפָאֵנוּ.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15, 19:14, 20:8
Have a meaningful fast,
Sunday, 17 Tamuz 5776
Thursday, July 21, 2016
It's customary not to have a haircut during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after the fast of 9 Av. This includes haircuts and shaving.
Since the "3 weeks" begin on Sunday, Friday (tomorrow) is the last chance to have a haircut.
It's always a Mitzva to wash with warm water and cut one's nails on Friday in honor of Shabbat, as well as have a haircut if one needs one.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:3, 72:14
Thursday, 15 Tamuz 5776
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Nearly everybody above Bar/Bat Mitzva needs to fast on Sunday - "The Fast of 17th Tammuz" which is deferred to 18th Tammuz this year. The fast starts at dawn on Sunday morning and ends at nightfall on Sunday evening.
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; only bread and water if possible.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:9
Jerusalem, Wednesday, 14 Tamuz 5776
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
The woes of the Churban - the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash - began on 17th Tamuz and ended with the Bet Hamikdash being set alight on the afternoon of 9 B'Av.
The fire burnt until sunset the following day.
This period of 23 days - which start on Shabbat - is known as "The 3 Weeks" or Bein Hametzarim - בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים. (The fast is deferred to Sunday, as we learned yesterday.)
As we then approach the 9th of Av - 3 weeks later - the laws of mourning intensify, as we will learn in the coming days.
This year only some of the customs of mourning (like no wine & no meat) continue until the morning after the fast (i.e. until Monday morning 11 Av - 15 August).
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1, 124:20
Tuesday, 13 Tamuz 5776
Monday, July 18, 2016
This year the 17th of Tammuz is on a Shabbat, and we never fast on Shabbat, except for the Torah-ordained fast of Yom Kippur.
In years when 17th Tammuz is on Shabbat, we fast on Sunday instead.
The same applies 3 weeks later; we will fast on Sunday, 10th Av - details to follow.
So this year we will fast on Sunday 24th July/18th Tammuz and Sunday 14th August/10th Av - unless the Bet HaMikdash is rebuilt before.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:6
Monday, 12 Tammuz 5776
Sunday, July 17, 2016
It's customary not to say the Bracha of שֶׁהֶחִיָּנוּ during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after 9 Av.
Therefore, one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period.
Therefore, one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period. (This refers to new clothes that are important enough to require the Bracha of שֶׁהֶחִיָּנוּ.)
Since the "3 weeks" begin next Sunday, one should finish one's shopping and wear all those new clothes the require the Bracha of שֶׁהֶחִיָּנוּ [at least for a short time] before then.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2
Sunday, 11 Tamuz 5776
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Making a roof on Shabbat is forbidden; even if it's a temporary flimsy roof.
A roof is defined as a cover, over an area of at least 1 Tefach (8 cm, 3") by 1 Tefach, and at least 1 Tefach of space underneath it.
For example, on Shabbat one may not put a netting over a baby's crib - to protect the baby from flies - since one is creating a roof over the crib.
However, one may extend an existing roof, if the roof was already stretched out at least 1 Tefach before Shabbat started.
For example, one may roll up the netting over a baby's crib until the last Tefach, before Shabbat, and unroll it on Shabbat, since 1 Tefach was left unrolled.
Even if the netting - when rolled-up - was wider than 1 Tefach, it does not count towards the unrolled section. One needs 1 Tefach unrolled, besides for the width of the roll.
These Halachot apply to Yom Tov also.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:77, 81
Thursday, 8 Tamuz 5776
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
When seeing the ocean one says the Bracha of עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית - "... Who makes the work of creation".
When seeing mountains that are famous for their height one says the same Bracha.
These Brachot can only be said if one hasn't seen the ocean or that specific mountain at least for 30 days; excluding the day one last saw it and excluding the day of the current sighting.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:5, 12
Wednesday, 7 Tamuz 5776
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
After Shacharit (morning prayers) a person should have a fixed time to learn Torah; at least one verse or a single Halacha.
The Torah requires everybody to have a fixed time to learn Torah every day and every night.
Somebody who does not know how to learn Torah, or cannot find the time to learn, should support others who do learn Torah and they share the reward.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:1-2
Tuesday, 6 Tamuz 5776
Monday, July 11, 2016
When finding out joyous tidings or upon hearing good news from a reliable source, one says a Bracha.
If it only affects oneself, then one says שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ; "... who has kept us alive, sustained us and permitted us to reach this occasion."
If it affects a group of people then one says הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב; "..Who is Good, and bestows good."
If one cannot say the Bracha right away - due to an unclean location or hands - then one can say it later, as long as one still feels the joy.
Even if the joyful event will probably cause one trouble at a later date, one still says the Bracha.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:1,3
Monday, 5 Tammuz 5776
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Yesterday - 3 Tammuz - was the day that יְהוֹשֻׁעַ told the sun and moon to stop orbiting, as recounted in Sefer Yehoshua Ch.10, verses 12-14.
Kiddush Levanah - (the blessing on the new moon) - can be found in any Siddur; usually after the Ma'ariv service.
Men have an obligation to say Kiddush Levanah every month. The custom is that women do not say Kiddush Levanah.
Kiddush Levanah cannot be said before the new moon is 3 days (72 hours) old. Some even wait until it's 7 days old.
Kiddush Levanah can only be said while the moon is waxing.
Kiddush Levanah can only be said at night.
Kiddush Levanah should not be said while standing under a roof. However, if this is impossible or impractical, then it can be said inside by a window.
Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:7, 8, 10
Sunday, 4 Tammuz 5776
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Reminder: Today is Rosh Chodesh!
It is forbidden to draw blood on Shabbat even from one's own body.
One may not squeeze pimples or open up wounds on Shabbat, as that would cause puss and/or blood come out.
One may remove scabs on Shabbat, if one is sure that no bleeding will occur.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:54, 91:14
Thursday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh, 1 Tammuz 5776
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Today is the 1st day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.
One may not fast on Rosh Chodesh.
It's a Mitzva to eat a bigger meal on Rosh Chodesh.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:14, 97:2
Wednesday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5776
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Kosher meat that is given to a non-Jew to store or transport, needs 2 seals, to ensure it's not tampered with.
The same applies to wine that is not cooked and to fish that no longer have their scales attached.
Cooked wine, wine-vinegar, milk, bread and cheese only need one seal.
The above applies whether a non-Jew is involved, or even a Jew who cannot be trusted to keep Kosher.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:16
- Danny Schoemann
Tuesday, 29 Sivan 5776
P.S. Tonight, tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday will be Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
Monday, July 4, 2016
When needed, one can Kasher utensils that are not Kosher. E.g. if one put a Milky spoon in a hot bowl of Meat it cannot be used until it is Kashered.
Before Pessach one can Kasher certain Chametz utensils to make them Kosher for Pessach.
Kashering must be done under the supervision of somebody who has learned all the intrinsic laws of Kashering, when possible.
When utensils are Kashered, they become Kosher and Parev; neither milky nor meaty.
The custom is to refrain from Kashering Milky utensils to use them subsequently for Meaty, or Meaty utensils to use them for Milky.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:15, 116:18
Monday, 28 Sivan 5776
Sunday, July 3, 2016
The Shulchan Aruch says that it's appropriate to today - 27 Sivan - since about 2,000 years ago on this date, the Romans wrapped the great רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶן תְּרַדְיוֹן in a Sefer Torah, and burnt him to death.
Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon was one of the 10 martyrs.
King David started Tehillim - Psalms - by declaring:
Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon taught (Avot 3:3):
- A gathering of the scornful is when Jews sit together and don't discuss Torah-related topics.
- When Jews do discuss Torah then the שְׁכִינָה - Gcd's presence - is with them.
- Even when a lone Jew learns Torah (like a Halocho a Day), Hashem takes note and rewards him.
Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:2
Read about the 10 martyrs at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Martyrs
Read about Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haninah_ben_Teradion
Sunday, 27 Sivan 5776
Thursday, June 30, 2016
This Shabbat is "Shabbat Mevarchim".
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz will be next week on Wednesday and Thursday.
There's an ancient custom to bless the upcoming month on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh, before Mussaf.
This is not to be confused with Sanctifying the Month that was done by the Sanhedrin when the new moon appeared.
Nevertheless, the custom is to stand when the Chazzan announces which day(s) will be Rosh Chodesh, since the sanctification of the month was done while standing.
Source: Mishna Brura 417:1
Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
Thursday, 24 Sivan 5776
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
If one cooks meat in almond milk, one has to leave some almonds in the dish, so that people do not suspect one of having cooked meat in milk.
As a general rule, one should be careful not to do anything which looks like it's against Halacha, even if one is not doing anything wrong, as it says in Bemidbar 23:22 וִהְיִיתֶם נְקִיִּים מֵה' וּמִיִּשְׂרָאֵל and in Mishlei 3:4 - וּמְצָא חֵן וְשֵׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱ-לקִים וְאָדָם.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:14, 29:20
Wednesday, 23 Sivan 5776
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
After eating milky products one needs to wash one's hands or check them carefully, eat something hard (like bread) and rinse one's mouth or drink something and check between one's teeth or brush them. Then - if it's not during the same meal - one can eat meat right away.
The exception is hard cheese that aged for 6 months or became wormy. After eating such cheese, one needs to wait 6 hours before eating meat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:11
As we learned yesterday, some have the custom to only wait 1 or 3 hours.
There's a debate among Poskim if modern hard cheese that didn't age 6 months is considered like hard cheese. Check with your favorite LOR.
Tuesday, 22 Sivan 5776
Monday, June 27, 2016
After eating meat or chicken, one must wait 6 hours before eating milky products.
Even if one only chewed the meat, but did not swallow it, one must still wait.
If, after waiting 6 hours, one finds meat stuck between one's teeth, one has to remove it and rinse one's mouth and eat something solid before eating Milky, though one need not wait another 6 hours.
If the food did not contain any meat, chicken or gravy, but was simply cooked in a meaty pot - even if the pot wasn't spotlessly clean - one may eat milk right afterwards.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:9-10
Some have the custom of only waiting 1 hour or 3 hours, and not 6 hours between meat and milk. Everybody should follow their family Minhag.
Monday, 21 Sivan 5776
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Any life threatening danger needs preventive protection as appropriate.
E.g. a well or pit needs a fence or a cover strong enough to ensure nobody falls in.
Similarly one may not own a dangerous dog nor a shaky ladder.
Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1-2
Sunday, 20 Sivan 5776