On Shabbos one may not crush snow or hail - causing them to dissolve, but one may put snow or hail into liquids where they will dissolve by themselves. On Shabbos one may not shake a black garment to remove the snow or dust from it. Source: Kitzur Sulchan Aruch 80: 14, 39. The 39 categories of activity prohibited on shabbat
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
If no cup is available for washing ones hands, one can immerse them into a river or into snow, if there's enough snow on the ground to fill a mikve. (About 350 litres/90 gallons.) This applies to washing three times after arising as well as before eating bread. Sources: KSA 2:6, 40:7
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A father must educate his children to do all mitzvos (Torah and Rabbinical) that are appropriate to their age. One also needs to prevent a child from doing any sin which he is capable of relating to, starting with telling the truth, eating only Kosher and not carrying things on Shabbat (in areas where one may not carry, i.e where there is no Eruv.) A child who stole must return the theft if it exists. If it no longer exists then he needn't return its value even after he becomes an adult. However, in heaven he will be required to account for the theft, so it's recommended to make amends. Source KSA 165:1-6
Monday, January 28, 2008
A Talmid Chacham has preference over a Cohen. Everybody else needs to give preference to the Cohen; he gets called first to the Torah, gets to speak first at functions, at meals gets served first and leads the Zimun. In a business partnership a Cohen does not get preferential treatment. One may not use a Cohen to run ones errands or do other mundane tasks, unless the Cohen has agreed to relinquish his Cohen status for this purpose. Source: Kitzur SA 144:8-9 To clarify: A Cohen always gets called to the Torah first, so as to prevent the unpleasantness of people arguing as to whether a specific person is a Talmid Chacham worthy of displacing the Cohen or not.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
One must stand up for a Torah Scholar even if he's young. One must stand up for people over seventy even if they're not Torah Scholars, so long as they're not wicked. Even non-Jews over 70 deserve some show of respect. Source: KSA 144: 2
Friday, January 25, 2008
It's a mitzvah to bathe on Friday with warm water; or at least to wash ones face, hands and feet. It's also a mitzvah to shampoo ones hair, cut ones nails and have a haircut if needed. One should not cut finger and toe nails on the same day. One doesn’t cut [finger] nails on Thursday as then they begin growing (and looking unkempt) on Shabbos. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:12, 14 Shabbat Shalom
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A person must honor his father's wife and his mother's husband. A person must honor his father-in-law and his mother-in-law. A person must honor his grandparents, though his parents' honor has priority. A person must honor his older brother; even if he's a half-brother. Source: KSA 143:19-20
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
If your mother requests something be done and your father then asks "who asked you to do this?" and giving the correct answer will cause animosity between parents, then you should not blame your mother, even if this causes your father to be angry at you.
One is obligated to stand when either parent enters the room.
Source KSA: 143: 6 – 7.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The blessing "Ho'Etz" is only made on fruit that grows on trees which retain their branches in winter and then leaves grow again from these branches. Otherwise a "Ho'Adomo" is made on the fruit. These blessings are only said if the fruit (or vegetable) is normally eaten raw. If the fruit is normally eaten cooked then on the raw fruit one says "Shehakol". On fruit pits that are sweet one says "Shehakol"; if they are bitter one doesn’t make any blessing on them. Fruit eaten during a meal as desert do require a blessing. If the entire meal is a "fruit meal" then the HaMotzi blessing covers the fruit too. Source: KSA 52:1, 4, 10, 43:3-4
Monday, January 21, 2008
Tonight will be 15th Shvat – Tu B'Shvat – the New Year as far as tithing fruits are concerned. Fruit from trees that blossomed before Tu B'Shvat belong to the previous year's Trumot & Ma'aser quota. The custom is to eat more fruit than usual on Tu B'Shvat. One does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Shvat, nor at Mincha the day before. Source: KSA 22:8, 139:26. Rosh Hashana Mishna 1:1.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
One may not wake up ones parents even if it is going to cause one a major monetary loss. However if ones parents are going to suffer a monetary loss and they will be distressed over the loss then one must wake them. So too one should wake them for in time for prayers or for any other mitzva. Source: KSA 143:4
Thursday, January 17, 2008
House pets are any other animals that depend on you for their food may be fed on Shabbat. Animals that do not rely on you for their food may not be fed, and you may not even throw them leftovers, with the exception of stray dogs. One may not feed pigeons as they are capable of fending for themselves. The custom to put out grain for the birds on Shabbat Shira (this week) is incorrect as birds do not rely on humans for their food. (One may put out grain for them before Shabbat.) Source KSA 87:18
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
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 ones parents even if one treats them with delicacies. Source KSA 143:3
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
One may not sit nor stand in ones parents designated place in shul or at home or anywhere else where they may have a designated place. One may not contradict ones 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: KSA 142:1
Monday, January 14, 2008
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: KSA 193:2-3
Sunday, January 13, 2008
The Torah gave permission to Doctors to heal and therefore someone ill may not rely on miracle, but must go see a doctor and follow his instructions. Somebody who ignores medical advice is not only endangering his life but is also considered to be arrogant; rather he should use the top expert in the field. That said, a person needs to realize that the actual cure comes from The One Above and should pray that his doctor be a successful messenger to heal him. Source KSA 192:3
Thursday, January 10, 2008
It's a mitzva to review the week's Torah Reading by reading it twice in the original and once with the (Aramaic) Onkelus translation. One who doesn't understand (or appreciate) Onkelus may read Rashi instead or even an English translation. One may start on Sunday already and one should finish before the Torah is read on Shabbat morning. Source: Kitzur SA 72:11
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
It's a mitzva 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. Source: KSA 193:1
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
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: KSA 97:2, 3, 6
Monday, January 7, 2008
Some have the custom of fasting on the eve of Rosh Chodesh (the new Jewish [lunar] month) and adding the Yom Kippour Kottan prayers (during Mincha). Source: Kitzur Shulchan Oruch 97:1 Today is Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
Keeping Shabbath is equivalent to keeping the entire Torah, and transgression it is equivalent to denying the entire Torah.
Somebody who transgresses Shabbath in public (viz. 10 Jews know about it) is like a non-Jew in many aspects: If he touches wine it becomes forbidden (Yayin Nesech), the foods he cooks or bakes are Bishul Akum.
Source: KSA 72:1-2
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The same way it’s a mitzva to preserve ones health – to ensure its health and wellbeing – so to it’s a mitzva to look after ones possessions not to loose, 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 Lo Sashchis. Source: KSA 190:3
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
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: KSA 191:2
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
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: KSA 191:1