From Rosh Chodesh Av until midday on 10th Av is the period known as the "9 days". The custom is not to eat meat and chicken and not to drink wine during the 9 days, except on Shabbat. Food cooked together with meat should not be eaten - even if one doesn't eat the meat. Those who need to eat meat (or drink wine) for health reasons may do so. If possible, even they should refrain (with the Doctor's permission) from the 7th of Av; the day the Romans entered the Holy Temple. At a Se'udat Mitzva (a Mitzva meal) - a Brit, Pidyon HaBen or Siyum - one may serve meat and wine. Besides for close family, one may invite up to 10 friends whom one normally invites. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:8 - Danny Thursday, 28 Tamuz 5768
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
When the month of Av begins, one diminishes joy. From Rosh Chodesh Av until midday on 10th Av is the period known as the "9 days". During the 9 days one does not do any laundry even if one only intends wearing the clothes after the 9 days. One may not even give laundry to a non-Jew to wash during the 9 days, but a Jew may do laundry for non-Jews. One does not wear freshly laundered clothes during the 9 days except on Shabbat. This does not apply to garments worn directly on the body; undergarments, socks, PJs and the like. One may not change bed linens, tablecloths and towels during the 9 days. The 9 days start this Shabbat and end 10 days later on Monday afternoon. --> Therefore it's advisable to prepare a week's supply of shirts, pants, skirts, etc. by wearing them for a short while this week. One can also prepare towels by using them once. Baby clothing that gets dirty all the time and needs to be changed many times a day are exempt from the above and may be laundered and used during the 9 days. Anything halachically needed for her 7 clean days, a Niddah may launder and wear during the 9 days. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:9 - Danny Wednesday, 27 Tamuz 5768
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
One may not wear leather shoes on 9 B'Av. Even if the shoe is only partially made of leather it's forbidden. One may wear footwear made of any other material. Those who must be among non-Jews and will be ridiculed if they are not wearing leather shoes, may wear them after putting some sand inside. Those who needs to walk long distances may wear leather shoes until they get close to their destination. One may wear leather jackets and belts, and any other clothing item made of leather on 9 B'Av. Wearing leather shoes for medical reasons is permissible. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:11. Halachos of the 3 weeks by Rav Shimon Eider zt"l page 22. - Danny Tuesday, 26 Tamuz 5768
Monday, July 28, 2008
On 9 B'Av almost everybody needs to fast. Pregnant and nursing mothers need to fast on 9 B'Av even if it causes them discomfort, unless it's dangerous to their health. When in doubt, consult your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi). During the first 7 days after childbirth, a mother is not allowed to fast. Anybody who isn't healthy should only fast for a few hours. This includes a mother between 7 and 30 days after childbirth unless she feels up to fasting. When in doubt, consult your LOR. 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. Before eating, one needs to make Havdala this year (and any other year when 9 B'Av is on Sunday). Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:6 - Danny Monday, 25 Tamuz 5768
Friday, July 25, 2008
On each Shabbat of the "3 weeks" we read a Haftara wherein the prophet foretold the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. The first week (this week) we read the first chapter of Yirmiyahu. The second week we read most of the second chapter of Yirmiyahu. This year the second week (next week) is also Rosh Chodesh, which has its own special Haftara. Most communities will read the second chapter of Yirmiyahu. Some communities will read the regular "Shabbat-Rosh-Chodesh" Haftara instead. A few will read both. The third week we read the the first chapter of Yeshayahu - Chazon; most of it in the tune that Megilat Eicha is read. BTW: You can cut your nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls. Since 9 B'Av is on Sunday this year, you can cut nails up to - and including - Erev Shabbat Chazon. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:6, 5 Shabbat Shalom - Danny Erev Shabbat Matos, 22 Tamuz 5768
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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 ones clothes in the same way that mourners do. One only needs to tear Kri'a if one hasn't been in Jerusalem for 30 days or longer. Source Shulchan Aruch, OC 561 The prevalent Yerushalmi custom is not to tear Kri'a on days one doesn't say Tachanun, including Friday afternoons. - Danny Jerusalem, Thursday, 21 Tamuz 5768
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
After the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) certain types of joy were forbidden and certain acts of mourning were instituted "Zecher L'Churban" - as a reminder of the destruction. One may not plaster ones entire house; a square Ama (~50 cm x 50 cm) of wall opposite [or above] the front door should be left bare to recall the destruction. The reason many people don't do so nowadays is unclear. A woman should never wear all her jewelery at the same time. Some ashes are put on a groom's head before the Chuppa (wedding ceremony) on the spot he usually wears his Tefilin. A bride's veil should not have gold nor silver threads. A plate is broken at the engagement, and a cup under the Chuppa. All these [and more] are done Zecher L'Churban - as a reminder of the destruction. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 126:1,2 - Danny Wednesday, 20 Tamuz 5768
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We learned yesterday 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 one may even celebrate with a festive meal, but without music.
- 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.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The period between the fast of 17 Tammuz (Sunday - yesterday) and the fast of 9 B'Av in 3 weeks time 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. Weddings are not held during the 3 weeks. If a Jew plays a musical instrument for a living, he 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). Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1 - Danny Monday, 18 Tammuz 5768 ==> I know of 2 great programmers who are looking for work in the Jerusalem area; contact me for details. <==
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Today - Sunday - is the fast of 17 Tamuz. On every fast day there is Kriat HaTorah (Torah Reading) at both Shacharit and Mincha. At Mincha, the 3rd Aliya also reads the Haftarah (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 "Aneinu" prayer into the 16th Bracha; Shema Kolienu. If one forgot, one does not need to make amends. The Chazzan adds Aneinu during both Shacharit and Mincha, as a separate Bracha before Refo'enu. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15, 19:14, 20:8 Have a meaningful fast, - Danny
Friday, July 18, 2008
It's a Mitzva to eat a meal after Shabbat. This meal is called Melave Malka - accompanying the [Shabbat] queen [on her way out] - essentially a farewell party for Shabbat. If possible one should wash and eat bread and a warm cooked food for Melave Malka. At the very least one should set the table nicely and eat cake or fruit. On Sunday morning the fast of 17 Tammuz begins at day-break; about 90 minutes before sunrise. Check your Luach [Jewish calendar] for local times. If one awakens before day-break one cannot eat anymore unless one intended to do so before going to sleep. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 76:13, 121:8 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny Erev Shabbat Pinchas, 15 Tamuz 5768
Thursday, July 17, 2008
It's customary not to have a haircut during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until 9 Av. This includes haircuts and shaving. Since the 3 weeks begin on Sunday, tomorrow is the last change to have a haircut. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:3 - Danny
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We fast on those days when misfortune happened to the Jewish people as a reminder to improve our ways.
Those who treat a fast day as a semi-holiday and go on trips are missing the point.
Fast days should be dedicated to introspection and figuring out which Mitzvot to take more seriously.
On Sunday will be the fast of 17 Tammuz when 5 major misfortunes happened to the Jewish people:
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:1, 4
Tuesday, 12 Tammuz 5768
Monday, July 14, 2008
It's customary not to say the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until 9 Av. Therefore one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period. Since the 3 weeks begin on this coming Sunday, one should finish ones shopping this week and wear all new clothes [at least for a short time]. When eating a fruit for the first time in a season one says the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu. One should not wait for the "3 weeks" to eat those fruit for the first time. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2 - Danny Monday, 11 Tamuz 5768
Friday, July 11, 2008
The 4th of the 10 commandments is to remember the Shabbat to sanctify it. This is done by marking the start of Shabbat with Kiddush and its end with Havdala. Women also have to make Kiddush, or hear it from somebody over the age of Bar-Mitzva. If one doesn't know how to make Kiddush and an under-Bar-Mitzva is making Kiddush then one has to say along word for word. The person making Kiddush must drink a mouthful of the Kiddush wine immediately after those present say Amen after Kiddush. It's a Mitzva for all present to drink some of the Kiddush wine. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:4, 9 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny Erev Shabbat Balak, 8 Tamuz 5768
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The Torah forbids one to act based on superstitions. (Vayikra 19:26) Saying "Because the bread fell out of my mouth / my walking stick fell / a deer crossed my path, therefore I will/won't do something" is forbidden. Similarly, when being asked for a loan at the beginning of a week / month it's forbidden to answer "please don't make me start the week/month by lending money". Refusing to walk under a ladder for fear of injury is a Mitzva; looking after your wellbeing. Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 166:1, 33:13 - Danny Wednesday, 6 Tamuz 5768
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The Parsha this week is Balak; all about Bilam the Wizard's failed attempts to curse the Jews. It's a Torah prohibition to curse a fellow Jew. E.g. Saying "Darn him!" is an sin. Cursing a fellow Jew using any reference to Hashem - in any language - would result in 39 lashes by Bet Din. E.g. Saying "The Almighty should punish Ploni" is a Torah prohibition for which one deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din. Using G-d's "real" name in any language (e.g. G-d, or Hashem as said during prayers) would add a second sin of saying His Name in vain. Even invoking the loss of a blessing - "The Merciful One shouldn't let Ploni succeed" - is a Torah prohibition. Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:3 Be Blessed! - Danny Tuesday 5th Tamuz 5768
Monday, July 7, 2008
Kiddush Levanah - (the sanctification of the new moon) - can be found in any Siddur; usually after the Maariv 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 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 77:7, 8, 10 - Danny Monday 4th Tamuz 5768
Friday, July 4, 2008
On weekdays the Amida (silent prayer) of each of the 3 daily prayers consists of the same 19 Brachot. On Shabbat the Amida only has 7 Brachot, in order to shorten the prayer service. The middle Bracha changes for each of the 4 prayers; Ma'ariv (at night), Shacharit and Mussaf (morning) and Mincha (afternoon). If one switched between the Ma'ariv, Shacharit and Mincha versions and didn't notice until after finishing the middle Shabbat Bracha, then one continues, since all 3 versions refer to Shabbat. If one noticed before finishing the middle Bracha then one restarts the middle Bracha. During Mussaf one stops - even in the middle of a sentence - and switches to the Mussaf prayer. If one already finished the entire Amida then one has to daven Mussaf again. If one started the weekday Brachot during Ma'ariv, Shacharit or Mincha:
- If one hasn't yet started the last 3 Brachot (from Retzei onward) then one needs to complete the Bracha one started, and then continue with the Shabbat middle Bracha.
- If one already started the last 3 Brachot, one stops even in the middle of a sentence and starts the Shabbat middle Bracha.
- If one finished the entire weekday Amida, then one has to start the Shabbat Amida from the beginning.
There are other possible mistakes one can make, therefore it's recommended to pray from a Siddur on Shabbat, especially since it's considered a "Siman Ra" - a bad omen - to say the weekday prayers on Shabbat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 76:16-22
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,
Please daven for a little girl - TAMAR bat NAAMA - תמר בת נעמה - who is undergoing chemotherapy
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Today - Thursday - is the first of 2 days Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. 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 eulogize. Some women have a family custom to not do some types of work on Rosh Chodesh. Remember to add Ya'aleh Veyavo in davening (prayers) and bentching (grace after meals). Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:2, 3, 6 Chodesh Tov, - Danny See the Halocho a Day on your profile as an RSS feed.Go to http://www.facebook.com/editnotes.php?import and import from http://halocho.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Today (Wednesday 29 Sivan) is Erev Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. On 29 Sivan 2450 - some 3,318 years ago - the 12 spies left on their 40 days reconnaissance of the Promised Land. Tachanun is not said at Mincha on Erev Rosh Chodesh. Some people have the custom of adding the Yom Kippour Katan prayers during Mincha. Some even fast on Erev Rosh Chodesh to atone for the sins of the past month. Rosh Chodesh Tamuz is on Thursday and Friday. Tonight - Wednesday night - one starts adding Ya'aleh Veyavo into the davening (prayers) and bentching (grace after meals); forgetting to do so at night does not require amendment. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1 - Danny See the Halocho a Day on profile as an RSS feed.Go to http://www.facebook.com/editnotes.php?import and import from http://halocho.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
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.
- 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
I discovered the following two useful sites:
- Online Kitzur Shulchan Aruch with vowels:
- Online Kitzur with English translation - a work in progress