Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Halocho #1512 - Treat your parents the Torah way!

Honoring Parents: 

Honoring parents includes feeding them, clothing and covering them as well as accompanying them.

All the above must be done cheerfully - as the attitude counts more than the actions; one gets punished for being dour around one's parents even if one treats them with delicacies.

Respecting parents: 

One may not sit nor stand in one's parents designated place in shul or at home or anywhere else where they may have a designated place.

One may not contradict one's parents.

One may not approve of one's parents in their presence (e.g. I see your point) as this indicates that one would have the ability to say otherwise.

Even if parents insult one in public one may not upset them, though one may take legal action to recuperate any monetary loss they caused.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:1, 3

- Danny
Tuesday, 7 Shevat 5775




אֵיזֶהוּ מוֹרָא. לֹא יַעֲמֹד בִּמְקוֹמוֹ הַמְיֻחָס לוֹ לַעֲמֹד שָׁם בְּסוֹד זְקֵנִים עִם חֲבֵרָיו אוֹ מָקוֹם הַמְיֻחָד לוֹ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל, וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בְּמָקוֹם הַמְיֻחָד לוֹ לְהָסֵב בְּבֵיתוֹ, וְלֹא יִסְתֹּר אֶת דְּבָרָיו, וְלֹא יַכְרִיעַ אֶת דְּבָרָיו בְּפָנָיו, אֲפִלּו לוֹמַר, נִרְאִין דִּבְרֵי אַבָּא. עַד הֵיכָן מוֹרָאָם. הַיָה הַבֵּן לָבוּשׁ חֲמוּדוֹת וְיושֵׁב בְּרֹאשׁ הַקָּהָל, וּבָאוּ אָבִיו אוֹ אִמוֹ וְקָרְעוּ אֶת בְּגָדָיו, וְהִכּוּהוּ עַל רִאשׁוֹ, וְיָרְקוּ בְפָנָיו, לֹא יַכְלִים אוֹתָם וְלֹא יְצַעֵר בִּפְנֵיהֶם וְלֹא יִכְעַס כְּנֶגְדָּם, אֶלָּא יִשְׁתֹּק וְיִירָא מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁצִּוָּה בְּכָךְ. אֲבָל יָכוֹל לִתְבֹּעַ אוֹתָם לַדִּין עַל הַהֶפְסֵד.




אֵיזֶהוּ כָבוֹד? מַאֲכִילוֹ וּמַשְׁקֵהוּ, מַלְבִּישׁ וּמְכַסֶּה, מַכְנִיס וּמוֹצִיא (וְעַיֵּן לְעֵיל סִימָן לד סָעִיף ו). וְּיִתְּנֶנוּ לוֹ בְסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. שֶׁאֲפִלוּ מַאֲכִילוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם פְּטוּמוֹת, וְהֶרְאָה לוֹ פָּנִים זוֹעֲפוֹת, נֶעֱנָשׁ עָלָיו. 


Monday, January 26, 2015

Halocho #1511 - Bikur Cholim - Visiting the sick

It's a Mitzvah to visit sick people irrelevant of the social standing of the visitor or the patient.

Close friends and family may visit immediately, but others should wait until the 4th day, so as not to aggravate his Mazal and give his the "sick" title.

However if a person becomes very ill very suddenly then all may visit immediately.

One may visit numerous times a day - as long as it doesn't bother the patient.

How to behave when doing Bikur Cholim:

When visiting the sick one may not sit on a chair of he's lying on the floor, in deference to the Shechina which is above the sick person's head. If he's in a bed, one may sit on a chair.

The main point of visiting the sick is to find out if one can help him in anyway, so that he feels he has friends who care about him and in order to pray for him.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 193:1-3

- Danny
Monday, 6 Shevat 5775

סימן קצג - הלכות בקור חולים :

סעיף א' - כְּשֶׁחָלָה הָאָדָם, מִצְוָה עַל כָּל אָדָם לְבַקְרוֹ, שֶׁכֵּן מָצִינוּ בְּהַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁמְּבַקֵּר חוֹלִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁדָּרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ, זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, בְּפָסוּק וַיֵרָא אֵלָיו ה' בְּאֵלוֹנֵי מַמְרֵא, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁבָּא אֵלָיו לְבַקֵּר הַחוֹלֶה. הַקְּרוֹבִים וְהַחֲבֵרִים שֶׁרְגִילִים לִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ תָמִיד, הֵמָה הוֹלְכִים לְבַקְּרוֹ מִיָד כְּשֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ שֶׁהוּא חוֹלֶה. אֲבָל הָרְחוֹקִים שֶׁאֵינָם רְגִילִים בְּבֵיתוֹ, לֹא יִכָּנְסוּ מִיָד, כִּי הֵיכִי דְלָא לִתְרַע מַזָּלֵהּ לְהַטִּיל עָלָיו שֵׁם חוֹלֶה. וְאֵינָם נִכְנָסִים עַד לְאַחַר שְׁלשָׁה יָמִים. וְאִם קָפַץ עָלָיו הַחוֹלִי, גַּם הָרְחוֹקִים נִכְנָסִים מִיָד. אֲפִלּוּ הַגָּדוֹל, יֵלֵךְ לְבַקֵּר אֶת הַקָּטָן, וַאֲפִלּוּ כַּמָּה פְעָמִים בַּיוֹם. וְכָל הַמּוֹסִיף, הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה לָטֹרַח עַל הַחוֹלֶה. הַשּׂוֹנֵא לֹא יְבַקֵּר אֶת שׂוֹנְאוֹ הַחוֹלֶה, וְלֹא יְנַחֲמֶנּוּ כְּשֶׁהוּא אָבֵל, שֶלֹּא יַחְשׂב שֶׁשָּׂמֵחַ לְאֵידוֹ. אֲבָל מֻתָּר לְלַוּותוֹ, וְלֵיכָּא לְמֵיחַשׁ, שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ כִּי הוּא שָׂמֵחַ לְאֵידוֹ, בַּאֲשֶׁר זֶהוּ סוֹף כָּל אָדָם. (עַיֵן לְקַמָּן סִימָן רז סָעִיף ב, דְּהַחוֹלֶה אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַעֲמֹד אֲפִלּוּ מִפְּנֵי נָשִׂיא. וְאִם רוֹצֶה לַעֲמֹד, אֵין אוֹמְרִים לוֹ שֵׁב). 

סעיף ב' - כְּשֶׁהַחוֹלֶה שׁוֹכֵב עַל הָאָרֶץ, לֹא יֵשֵׁב הַמְבַקֵּר עַל גַּבֵּי כִסֵּא שֶׁגָּבֹהַּ מִמֶּנּוּ, לְפִי שֶהַשְׁכִינָה לְמַעְלָה מְרַאֲשׁוֹתָיו שֶׁל חוֹלֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, ה' יִסְעָדֶנוּ עַל עֶרֶשׂ דְוָי. אֲבָל כְּשֶׁהַחוֹלֶה שׁוֹכֵב בַּמִּטָּה, מֻתָּר לַמְבַקֵּר לֵישֵׁב עַל כִּסֵּא וְסַפְסָל .

סעיף ג'  - עִקַּר מִצְוַת בִּקּוּר חוֹלִים הוּא לְעַיֵן בְּצָרְכֵי הַחוֹלֶה מַה הוּא צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ, וְשֶׁיִמְצָא נַחַת רוּחַ עִם חֲבֵרָיו, וְגַם שֶׁיִתֵּן דַעְתּוֹ עָלָיו וִיבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים עָלָיו. וְאִם בִּקֵּר וְלֹא בִקֵּשׁ, לֹא קִיֵם אֶת הַמִּצְוָה. וְלָכֵן אֵין מְבַקְּרִין בְשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁל הַיוֹם, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאָז כָּל חוֹלֶה מֵקֵל עָלָיו חָלְיוֹ וְלֹא יָחוּשׁ לְבַקֵש עָלָיו רַחֲמִים. וְלֹא בְשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁל הַיוֹם, שֶׁאָז מַכְבִּיד עָלָיו חָלְיוֹ וְיִתְיָאֵשׁ מִלְּבַקֵּשׁ עָלָיו רַחֲמִים. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Halocho #1510 - Looking after your health and possessions

The same way it's a Mitzvah to preserve one's health and wellbeing – so too it's a Mitzvah to look after one's possessions; not to lose, break or waste them.

Anybody who breaks vessels, tears clothes, wastes edible food, wastes money or throws away objects that other people could use has done the Aveira of לֹא תַשְׁחִית.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:3

- Danny
Sunday, 5 Shevat 5775


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁצָּרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְאַבְּדוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְקַלְקְלוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַזִּיקוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאֹד, כָּךְ צָרִיךְ לְהִזָּהֵר בְּמָמוֹנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְאַבְּדוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְקַלְקְלוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַזִּיקוֹ. וְכָל הַמְשַּׁבֵּר כְּלִי, אוֹ קוֹרֵעַ בֶּגֶד, אוֹ מְאַבֵּד מַאֲכָל אוֹ מַשְׁקֶה אוֹ מְמָאֲסָם, אוֹ זוֹרֵק מָעוֹת לְאִבּוּד, וְכֵן הַמְקַלְקֵל שְׁאָר כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי שֶׁיֵהָנוּ בוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָּהּ וְגוֹ'.‏ 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Halocho #1509 - Laws of somebody who doesn’t keep Shabbat

Keeping Shabbat is equivalent to keeping the entire Torah, and transgressing Shabbat is equivalent to denying the entire Torah.

Somebody who transgresses Shabbat on purpose, in public, (i.e. 10 Jews know about it) is like a non-Jew in many aspects: If he touches wine it becomes forbidden (Yayin Nesech), the food he cooks or bakes are Bishul Akum.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:1-2

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 2 Shevat 5775




סעיף א': שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ הוּא הָאוֹת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַבְּרִית, שֶׁנָּתַן לָנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, לָדַעַת כִּי בְּשֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה ה' אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם וְשַׁבָּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וְהוּא יְסוֹד הָאֱמוּנָה. וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, שְׁקוּלָה שַׁבָּת כְּכָל הַמִצְוֹת. כָּל הַמְשַׁמֵּר אֶת הַשַׁבָּת כְּהִלְכָתוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ מְקַיֵּם כָּל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ. וְכָל הַמְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַׁבָּת, כְּאִלּוּ כָּפַר בְּכָל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּעֶזְרָא, וְעַל הַר סִינַי יָרַדְתָּ וְגוֹ' וַתִּתֵּן לָהֶם מִשְׁפָּטִים יְשָׁרִים וְתוֹרוֹת אֱמֶת וְגוֹ', וְאֶת שַׁבָּת קָדְשְׁךָ הוֹדַעְתָּ לָהֶם. ‏‏‏



סעיף ב' : וְכָל הַמְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַׁבָּת בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא, הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים לְכָל דְּבָרָיו. אִם נוֹגֵעַ בְּיַיִן אוֹסְרוֹ. וְהַפַּת שֶׁהוּא אוֹפֶה הֲוֵי כְּמוֹ פַּת שֶׁל עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים. וְכֵן הַתַּבְשִׁיל שֶׁהוּא מְבַשֵּׁל, הֲוֵי כְּמוֹ בִּשּׁוּלֵי עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים. וּפַרְהֶסְיָא הֲוֵי בִּפְנֵי עֲשָׂרָה מִיִשְֹרָאֵל. וְלָאו דַּוְקָא שֶׁעושֶׁה בִּפְנֵיהֶם מַמָּשׁ, אֶלָּא שֶׁיּוֹדְעִין מֵהָעֲבֵרָה, דְּהָכִי מוּכָח בְּשַׁ"ס וּפוֹסְקִים, גַּבֵּי וְהָא אֶסְתֵּר פַּרְהֶסְיָא הֲוָה. וְכֵן כָּתַב הַפְּרִי מְגָדִים, פִּרְסוּם הֲוֵי עֲשָׂרָה מִיִשְֹרָאֵל אוֹ שֶׁיֵּדַע שֶׁיִּתְפַּרְסֵם

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Halocho #1508 - Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

Today (Wednesday) is Rosh-Chodesh Shevat.

Hallel is recited on Rosh Chodesh and

Mo'adim during Shacharit between the Chazzan's repetition of the Amida and Reading the Torah.

One needs to stand during the recitation of הַלֵּל, which preferably should be recited with a Minyan. If one comes to shul late, one joins the Minyan in their recitation of הַלֵּל, even if one has not yet prayed.

If one already started פּסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָה and the Minyan begins הַלֵּל , one joins them. However one doesn’t say the Bracha before and after הַלֵּל, relying instead on בָּרוּךְ שֶׁאָמַר and יִשְׁתַּבַּח.

This applies only to days like Rosh Chodesh (excluding Tevet) when one says the "half"-Hallel.

One should not interrupt the recitation of הַלֵּל .

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4

Chodesh Tov!

- Danny,
Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5775


הַלֵּל צָרִיךְ לְאָמְרוֹ בַּעֲמִידָה וְלֹא יַפְסִיק בּוֹ. וְיִשְׁתַּדֵּל לְאָמְרוֹ עִם הַצִּבּוּר. וְלָכֵן אִם בָּא לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת סָמוּךְ לְהַלֵּל, יֹאמַר הַלֵּל עִם הַצִּבּוּר וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתְפַּלֵּל. וְאִם הוּא עוֹמֵד בִּפְסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָה, (דְּהַיְנוּ מִן הוֹדוּ עַד לְאַחַר אָז יָשִׁיר) יִקְרָא הַלֵּל עִם הַצִּבּוּר וְלֹא יְבָרֵךְ לֹא בִּתְחִלָּה וְלֹא בַסוֹף, כִּי בִּרְכַּת בָּרוּךְ שֶׁאָמַר וּבִרְכַּת יִשְׁתַּבַּח, עָלוּ לוֹ גַּם לְהַלֵּל. וְדַוְקָא בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, שֶׁאוֹמְרִים הַהַלֵּל רַק בְּדִלּוּג, וְכֵן בְּחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד וְיָמִים הָאַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁל פֶּסַח.‏ 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Halocho #1507 - May one fast on Rosh Chodesh?

Tonight (Tuesday night) and tomorrow - is Rosh Chodesh Shevat.

It’s a mitzvah to eat a bigger meal on Rosh Chodesh.

One may do work on Rosh Chodesh, but one may not fast nor say eulogies.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:2, 3, 6

- Danny
Tuesday, 29 Tevet 5775

Monday, January 19, 2015

Halocho #1506 - Erev Rosh Chodesh is Yom Kippour Kattan

Some have the custom of fasting on the eve of Rosh Chodesh (the new Jewish [lunar] month) and adding the Yom Kippour Kattan prayers (during Mincha).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1

Tomorrow - Tuesday - will be Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat

- Danny
Monday, 28 Tevet 5775


יֵֹש נוֹהֲגִין לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּעֶרֶב רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ. וְאוֹמְרִים סֵדֶר יוֹם כִּפּוּר קָטָן, לְפִי שֶׁבּוֹ מִתְכַּפְּרִין כָּל הָעֲוֹנוֹת שֶׁל כָּל הַחֹדֶשׁ, דּוּמְיָּא דִּשְׂעִיר רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ. וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹמְרִים בְּמוּסָף, זְמַן כַּפָּרָה לְכָל תּוֹלְדוֹתָם. וְכָל מָקוֹם לְפִי מִנְהָגוֹ (עַיֵּן פרי חדש)(תי"ז)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Halocho #1505 - Horse power

It’s a Mitzvah to help horses that are pulling a wagon and are struggling due to the incline or the rough terrain – even if they don’t belong to Jew.

One should prevent the rider from whipping them unnecessarily to try get them to pull more than they can.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 191:2

- Danny
Sunday, 27 Tevet 5775

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Halocho #1504 - Prepare for Shabbat

From the Pasuk "זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת" - "remember the day of Shabbat" we learn that it's a Mitzvah to keep Shabbat in mind all week; all special food should be reserved for Shabbat.

On Friday it's a Mitzvah to get up early to go shopping for Shabbat. This can even be done before Shacharit if need be (as long as you don't miss your Minyan).

However, items that require preparation should be bought on Thursday already.

Ezra the Scribe (who lived about 2,500 years ago) already instituted doing laundry on Thursday in anticipation of Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:4

This week is Shabbat Mevorchim of Chodesh Shevat. Rosh Chodesh Shevat will
be on Wednesday

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach

- Danny
Thursday, 24 Tevet 5775


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Halocho #1503- One may not harm animals

It’s a Torah prohibition to cause pain to animals – and a Mitzvah to prevent such pain and even cure animals (even if they don’t belong to a Jew).

However, if an animal is causing harm to humans, or can be used to help cure humans, then one may kill it (as humanely as possible) for we see that the Torah allows one to eat meat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 191:1
- Danny
Wednesday, 23 Tevet 5775


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Halocho #1502 – Protection from dangerous items

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
- Danny
Tuesday, 22 Tevet 5775


Monday, January 12, 2015

Halocho #1501- A fence around your roof

It's a Mitzvah to put a fence around ones roof to prevent people from falling off. 

The fence must be at least 10 Tefachim (80 cm - 30") high and must be strong enough that a person can lean on it and not fall. 

A roof that is never used does not need a fence.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1
- Danny
Monday, 21 Tevet 5775


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Halocho #1500 - Learn some Torah every day

After the daily Shacharit (morning prayers) you should have an immutable fixed time to learn some Torah. 

Even the potential of earning a lot of money should not void this fixed time. 

In an emergency, at the very least you should learn one Pasuk or one Halacha, and remember to catch up on your daily quota when you free up. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:1

- Danny
Sunday, 20 Tevet 5775


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Halocho #1499 - Snow on Shabbat

On Shabbat one may not crush snow or hail, causing them to dissolve.

One may put snow or hail into liquids where they will dissolve by themselves.

On Shabbat one may not shake a black garment to remove the snow or dust from it.

Source: Kitzur Sulchan Aruch 80: 14, 39.

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny Schoemann
Thursday, 17 Tevet 5775


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Halocho #1498 - Noise pollution



If one has a neighbor who suffers from headaches caused by noise, one must be considerate and be careful not to make unnecessary noise. E.g.: one may not use a hammer if a neighbor will hear it and suffer.

The same would apply to loud music during siesta time or after they have put their kids to bed.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:4
- Danny
Wednesday, 16 Tevet 5775


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Halocho #1497 - Let the animals eat

We learnt yesterday that while an animal is working with food, one is not allowed to muzzle it.

If the animal cannot eat the food because it's thirsty, one has to provide it with water, so that it can eat.

If the food in question is harmful (or dangerous) for the animal, then one can muzzle it, so as to prevent it getting harmed. One does not have to provide it with alternate food, if it's not feeding time.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 186:3

- Danny
Tuesday, 15 Tevet 5775


Monday, January 5, 2015

Halocho #1496 - Muzzling animals

While an animal is working with food, one is not allowed to muzzle it.


This is a Torah prohibition (דברים פרק-כה) for which one would get 39 lashes for transgressing it, as it says: לֹא תַחְסֹם שׁוֹר בְּדִישׁוֹ - do not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.

This applies to all animals - Kosher or nor, and to all types of work with food that is attached to the ground.

Even preventing the animal from eating by telling at it, so that it is afraid to eat, is forbidden.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 186:1

- Danny
Monday, 14 Tevet 5775

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Halocho #1495 - Hitting as an educational tool

One is not allowed to hit one's servants, even as a means to force them to obey.

Halachically, one may hit one's own children - including adopted children - if done in a way that will educate them to be upright people.

Before hitting, one should first try explaining the issue; if that fails and one must resort to hitting, one must be careful not to be cruel; one may not beat up a kid to vent one's anger.

It is forbidden to forewarn a child that they will be hit later, as this can traumatize the child. If hitting is called for, one either hits or one keeps quiet about it.

It is forbidden to hit children who will hit back - even if they are not yet Bar Mitzva - since one causes them to sin.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:2, 143:18: 165:1

- Danny
Sunday, 13 Tevet 5775

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Halocho #1494 - Why do we fast today?

Today -  Thursday 10 Tevet - we fast to commemorate the beginning of the siege against Jerusalem.

Almost 2,500 years ago the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Jerusalem which culminated in the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash, a year and a half later.

This is the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in whose court Daniel (who survived the lion's den) served.

The purpose of the fast is to awaken us to repent; if the Bet Hamikdash has not been rebuilt then we suffer from similar deficiencies that caused it to be destroyed.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:3

Trivia: We did not fast on Asara B'Tevet during 2014; we will fast twice on Asara B'Tevet during 2015. :-)

- Danny
Thursday, 10 Tevet 5775

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Halocho #1493 - Laws of fasting

Tomorrow -  Thursday  - will be the fast of the 10th of Tevet - עֲשָׂרָה בטֵבֵת.

The fast begins Thursday at dawn (5:03 in Jerusalem) and ends at nightfall (a few minutes before the time for Motzai Shabbat - 17:07 in Jerusalem).

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 121:2, 9

- Danny
Wednesday, 9 Tevet 5775


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Halocho #1492 - Changes in davening on a fast day


On Thursday will be the fast of the 10th of Tevet - עֲשָׂרָה בטֵבֵת.

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. 

During the Mincha Amida, 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

- Danny
Tuesday, 8 Tevet 5775


Monday, December 29, 2014

Halocho #1491 - Long time no see; make a Bracha

If one is happy when seeing a very dear friend (including spouses, parents, siblings and teachers) after not having seen them for more than 30 days, one makes the Bracha of Shehechiyanu:

"Blessed... who has kept us alive, sustained us and permitted us to reach this occasion."

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 שֶׁהֶחֱיָינוּ וקִיְּמָנוּ והִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה

One can make this Bracha even if one received letters from them during this time.

If one has not seen them for more than 12 months one makes this Bracha instead:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים
"Blessed... who revives the dead".

This is because anything 12 months old is considered to be forgotten. Therefore, if one communicated with them - or received regards from them - during the past 12 months, one says Bracha of Shehechiyanu.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:20

- Danny
Monday, 7 Tevet 5775

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Halocho #1490 - Is boxing a Kosher sport?

It is forbidden to hit a fellow Jew.

One who hits another Jew has transgressed a Torah prohibition.

Even one who simply lifts his hand with the intent to hit is called "wicked" as we will learn in next week's Parsha (Shmot); "[Moshe] said to the wicked one: Why are you going to hit your friend?" - even before he hit, he was referred to as the wicked one.

Hitting back in self-defense is permitted, if there are no other options.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:1

- Danny
Sunday, 6 Tevet 5775

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Halocho #1489 - Foggy windows on Shabbat

Writing and drawing is forbidden on Shabbat - even if it's temporary.

One may not use one's finger to write or draw on the condensation of a window.

One may not write nor draw using water that spilled on a table.

One may not use one's nail to make a mark on page, to enable one to find the place again, or for any other reason.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:62

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 3 Tevet 5775


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Halocho #1488 - Chanukah leftovers

Oil that was put in the Chanukah Menorah and was not burnt, as well as wicks that were used and candles that didn't burn fully should be burnt after Chanukah.

Since they were set aside for the Mitzva of Chanukah they cannot be used for any other purpose.

If one had the explicit intention to use the left-overs, then they need not be burnt.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:20

- Danny
Wednesday, 2 Tevet 5775, 8th day of Chanuka; זֹאת חֲנֻכַּה