Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halocho #1449 - Ask for rain

In Israel, starting this evening - Thursday evening - (7th Marcheshvan) we start praying for rain in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleinu - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ.

In the Diaspora we will start 5 weeks later - on Monday night, 10 Kislev, the eve of Tuesday 6 December.

If you forgot to add "וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה" - "and bless us with dew and rain", then:

- If you remember before you finish the 9th Bracha -  מְבָרֵךְ הַשָּׁנִים -  then you insert it and continue from there.

- If you already said "Baruch Ata HaShem" of the 9th Bracha, then you insert it into שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ - the 16th Bracha - before "כִּי אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ ".

- If you forget to say it in שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ then you need to go back to the 9th Bracha - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ.

- If you didn't remember until you finished the Amida (defined as saying "יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי ") then you have to restart the entire Amida.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:5

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 6 Marchesvan 5775

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halocho #1448 - 0% interest on loans

The Torah prohibits charging interest and paying interest to fellow Jews. The Torah allows charging interest and paying interest to non-Jews.

A person who lends money to a Jew and charges interest, has transgressed six Torah commandments and - if he doesn't repent - will not awaken at Techiyat Hameitim - when the dead will be revived at the End of Days.

The person who borrows the money transgresses three Torah commandments.

The scribe, witnesses, co-signer and middle-man all transgress one Torah commandment.

In most cases, a person who received interest from a loan needs to return it. Even if the borrower - on his own accord - returns more than he borrowed or adds a gift, it is considered interest on the loan and the lender is not allowed to accept it. Even non-monetary gain from a debtor is forbidden. For example:

The creditor may not ask the debtor to inform him when somebody has arrived, unless he used to do this before giving him the loan.

The debtor may not go out of his way to greet the creditor, unless he always used to do so.

The debtor may not patronize the creditor's business, unless he used to do so before getting the loan.

When doing a business deal with a fellow Jew, one needs to use a Heter Iska - the subject of a future posting.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 65:1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halocho #1446 - Must medicine be Kosher?

In order to save a life, one must take medicine even if it's not Kosher. One must also transgress any other Mitzva needed to save one's life, with the exception of murder, adultery and idolatry.

In non-life threatening situations:

- One should not take non-Kosher medicine, if there's a Kosher alternative readily available.

- If only non-Kosher medicine is available, it may be used. However, if it has a pleasant taste, then one should spoil its taste, for example by adding something bitter to it, or wrapping it in tissue paper.

- If the medicine is a mixture of meat and milk, a Rabbi should be consulted, since normally meat and milk mixtures cannot be used as medicine. The same applies to Kil'ay Hakerem; grains and grapes that grew in close proximity.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:5, 6, 7

- Danny
Tuesday, 4 Marchesvan 5775

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halocho #1445 - May one be a Doctor?

Even though illness is divinely decreed on a person; the Torah commands the Doctors to heal, as it says in Shmot 21:19 - וְרַפּוֹא יְרַפֵּא - and he shall be healed.

It's a Mitzva for experts in the medical field to heal people; there is no greater Mitzva than saving lives.

A Doctor who refuses to heal is considered a murderer - even if there are other doctors around, since some illnesses are decreed to leave only after a certain Doctor treats it.

However, somebody who is not trained to be a medical practitioner, should not try healing people, since mistreating illness is also considered murder.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:4

- Danny
Monday, 3 Marchesvan 5775

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halocho #1444 - May one go to Doctors?

A person may not rely on miracles when it comes to health issues.

When one is not feeling well, one must consult a qualified medical practitioner.

Refusing to do so is a sign of arrogance, besides for the prohibition of endangering one's life.

One should use the best doctors one can find; yet pray to Hashem that this doctor should be His successful messenger.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:3

- Danny
Sunday, 2 Cheshvan 5775

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halocho #1443 - Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat Rosh Chodesh

The 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan start this evening - Thursday evening.

On Rosh Chodesh one adds יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא into Birkat Hamazon and the Amida.

On Friday we will call up 4 people to read from the Torah, between Hallel and Mussaf.

On Shabbat we will take out 2 Sifrei Torah after Hallel. In the first one we will call up at least 7 people to read from Parshat Noah. Then we call up the Maftir to read from the 2nd Sefer Torah: וּבְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת and וּבְרָאשֵׁי חָדְשֵׁיכֶם from Parshat Pinchas.

The Haftara this week is הַשָּׁמַיִם כִּסְאִי for Shabbat-Rosh Chodesh, consisting of the last chapter in Sefer Yeshayahu.

For Mussaf one says the אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ version (usually found at the bottom half of the Shabbat Mussaf pages) which includes both Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh.

Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 425

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 29 Tishrei, Erev Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan 5775

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

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 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 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 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