Thursday, December 31, 2009

Halocho # 483 - Fruit coloring on Shabbat

Dyeing is one of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat.

If one's hands are colored from eating fruit on Shabbat, one must be careful not to touch clothes and make them dirty.

So too, if one has a bloody nose, one should not use a cloth; especially a red one.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:42

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 14 Tevet 5770

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Halocho # 482 - Visiting the sick - how to behave

When visiting the sick one may not sit on a chair if he's lying on the floor, in deference to the Shechina (Divine presence) 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 193:2-3

- Danny
Wednesday, 13 Tevet 5770

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Halocho # 481 - Visiting the sick

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: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 193:1

With wishes for a healthy winter,

- Danny
Tuesday, 12 Tevet 5770

Monday, December 28, 2009

Halocho # 480 - Looking after your health

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: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:3

- Danny
Monday, 11 Tevet 5770

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Halocho # 479 - Why do we fast today?

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

In the year 3,338 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

- Danny
Sunday, 10 Tevet 5770

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Halocho # 478 - Makeup on Shabbat

Coloring is one of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat.

One may not color anything on Shabbat even if the color is not permanent.

One may not apply rouge, lipstick or eye-shadow on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:42

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 7 Tevet 5770

Reminder: Sunday will be the fast of Asara B'Tevet.

Please daven for Yerucham Dovid ben Rochel Leah - he was in a car accident and is at the hospital in the intensive care unit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Halocho # 477 - When does the fast start on Sunday?

On Sunday will be the fast of 10 B'Tevet.

No eating and drinking is allowed from dawn to nightfall.

One may eat before dawn if one had the intention of doing so before one went to bed the night before.

If one always drinks when one gets up, then one can drink before dawn even of one didn't think about it when going to bed.

Pregnant and nursing mothers as well as people who aren't feeling well do not need to fast if fasting will cause them discomfort.

Those who may eat, as well as children, should not indulge in food. If possible they should limit themselves to bread and water.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:8, 8

- Danny
Wednesday, 6 Tevet 5770

Please daven for a complete recovery for 4 year old Avraham Moshe ben Miriam Tova who has cancer that spread to his brain and spine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halocho # 476 - Torah reading on a fast day

On Sunday will be the fast of 10 B'Tevet.

On fast days we read the Torah during Shachrith and Mincha.

Three people are called up to the Torah. At Mincha the 3rd person also reads the Haftara (from Yeshayahu 55:6).

A person who is not fasting should not be called up to the Torah.

During Mincha, those who are fasting add Aneinu during Shma-Koleinu.

The Chazzan says Aneinu during both Shachrith and Mincha as a separate Bracha before Refa'enu.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15

- Danny
Tuesday, 5 Tevet 5770

Monday, December 21, 2009

Halocho # 475 - Cruelty to 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).

One may not tie the legs of animals in such a way that they are in discomfort.

One may not sit a bird to roost on eggs from a different type of bird.

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, 3

- Danny
Monday, 4 Tevet 5770

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Halocho # 474 - 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
Sunday, 3 Tevet 5770

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Halocho # 473 - All the candles

On the last day of Chanukah (Shabbat this year) we first read the Parsha (Miketz) and then - in the the 2nd Sefer Torah - from "the 8th day" to the end of Parshat Naso and the beginning of the next one (Beha'alotcha).

Reminder: The correct order for Friday afternoon is:

- Daven "early" Mincha

- Light the Chanukah Menorah. One can light as early as 75 Halachic minutes before sunset.

- Light Shabbat candles at the regular time.

The Chanukah Menorah needs be stay lit until 30 minutes after dark. One needs longer candles or more oil than during the week, since it needs to burn for 70 minutes or longer.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:17, 24

The Haftara this week is the "second" Chanuka one (ויעש חירום from Melachim-1 7:40)

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 6th day of Chanukah, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Halocho # 472 - Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah

Tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday is Rosh Chodesh Tevet.

Rosh Chodesh Tevet is the only time the full-Hallel is said on Rosh Chodesh. (Usually on Rosh Chodesh we leave out 2 half-paragraphs.)

We then take out 2 Sifrei Torah. First we call up 3 people to the Torah for Rosh Chodesh and then - in the second Sefer Torah - a fourth person for Chanukah.

We then daven Mussaf for Rosh Chodesh, with Al Hanisim.

Don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo and Al Hanisim in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:24

Chodesh Tov,

- Danny
Wednesday, 5th day of Chanukah, 29 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halocho #471 - May one move the Menorah while it's lit?

The Chanukah Menorah has to be lit in the correct place. If the need arises, one can then move it.

If the Menorah was lit too high, too low or in a location where the wind will extinguish it, and was subsequently moved, one has not fulfilled ones obligation. One needs to extinguish it and light it again, but without the Brachot.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:13

- Danny
Tuesday, 4th day of Chanukah, 28 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Halocho # 470 - How high can a Menorah be?

The lights on the Chanukah Menorah must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") above the floor.

The Chanukah Menorah must be no higher than 20 Amos (~10 m.) from the floor.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:8

- Danny
Monday, 3rd day of Chanukah, 27 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Halocho # 469 - Traveler's guide to Chanukah

If one is in ones hometown, one needs to go home to light the Chanukah Menorah.

If one is traveling, and ones wife is lighting the Chanukah Menorah at home, then one should light without the Brachot. If possible one should try hear the Brachot from somebody else.

Bachelors and others living away from home, who don't have a spouse lighting for them at home, preferably should light for themselves with the Brachot. Alternately they can chip in with somebody else's Menorah lighting, by giving him a Peruta (a few pennies).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:19

- Danny
Sunday, 2nd day of Chanukah, 26 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Halocho # 468 - What comes first? Chanukah or Shabbat candles?

This year the first and last day of Chanukah are on Shabbat.

Since one cannot light fire on Shabbat, the Menorah is lit before Shabbat.

The correct order is:

- Daven "early" Mincha

- Light the Chanukah Menorah. One can light as early as 75 Halachic minutes before sunset.

- Light Shabbat candles at the regular time.

The Chanukah Menorah needs be stay lit until 30 minutes after dark. One needs longer candles or more oil than during the week, since it needs to burn for 70 minutes or longer.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:17

The Haftara this week is the "first" Chanuka one (רני ושמחי from Zecharia 2:14)

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach,

- Danny
Thursday, 23 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Halocho # 467 - What comes first? Havdala or Chanukah candles?

On Motzai Shabbat - the second night of Chanukah this year - one first makes Havdalah and then lights the Chanukah Menorah.

In Shul the Menorah is lit after the full-Kaddish - before ויתן לך - on Motzai Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:18

Some have the custom of lighting the Menorah before making Havdala, since one already heard Havdalah in shul. (Source: רמ"א 581:2)

- Danny
Wednesday, 22 Kislev 5770

See other laws of Chanukah at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Halocho # 466 - Where should one light the Chanukah Menorah?

Originally the Chanukah Menorah was lit at the entrance closest to the street, in order to publicize the miracle.

When put in a doorway with a Mezuzah, the Menorah should be placed opposite the Mezuzah so that one is surrounded by Mitzvot.

If the doorway doesn't have a Mezuzah, then the Menorah goes on the right, when walking in.

Nowadays most people light indoors, preferably at a window. If this is not practical, the Menorah should be placed in a doorway.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:6-7

- Danny
Tuesday, 21 Kislev 5770

Monday, December 7, 2009

Halocho # 465 -When should one light the Chanukah Menorah

During the week, the correct time to light the Chanukah Menorah is when the stars appear (about 18 minutes after sunset).

One should light as close to this time as possible, however if one cannot light then, one may light later, as long as some other member of the household is still awake.

If nobody is awake anymore, one lights without a Bracha.

If one cannot light on time, one can already light - with a Bracha - from Plag HaMincha; 75 Halachic minutes before sunset. (Divide the daytime hours by 12 to get a Halachic hour.)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:10

Many have the custom to light the Chanukah Menorah at sunset.

Source: Mishna Berura 676:11

- Danny
Monday, 20 Kislev 5770

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Halocho # 464 - What happens if your Chanukah candles blow out?

A Chanukah Menorah must be lit such that it could burn for the required half hour.

If it didn't have enough oil, or the location was windy, then one has not fulfilled the Mitzva, and one must light them again. No Bracha is said the second time.

If it was not a windy place, and it unexpectedly blew out, the Mitzva has been fulfilled, though the Minhag is to light it again.

One cannot light one candle from another; one needs to use the Shamash or another source of fire.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:14

- Danny
Sunday, 19 Kislev 5770

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Halocho # 463 - Mud on Shabbat clothes

One may remove mud from clothes on Shabbat with a knife or ones nails, provided the mud is not dry.

One may not removed dry mud from clothes on Shabbat, since the mud will crumble, and that resembles the Torah prohibition of grinding.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:38

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 16 Kislev 5770

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Halocho # 462 -The Chanukah Menorah in shul

In order to publicize the miracle of Chanuka, the Menora is lit - with the correct Brachot - in the synagogue, between Mincha and Ma'ariv.

The person who lit the Menora in shul has to light again at home, with the correct Brachot.

A mourner should not light the Menora in shul on the first night of Chanuka, since it's inappropriate for him to say "Shehechiyanu" in public. At home the mourner does say "Shehechiyanu" on the first night.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:15

- Danny
Wednesday, 15 Kislev 5770

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Halocho # 461 - The Chanukah Torah Reading

On Chanukah, during Shacharit we have Torah Reading every day from Parshat Naso (Bemidbar 7) which talks about the Chanuka - inauguration - of the Mishkan.

Each day of the first 12 days of Nissan, another of the 12 tribes brought the identical set of Korbanot (sacrifices).

Each day of Chanuka we read the 6 verses corresponding to that day of the inauguration, for the Cohen and Levi, and the "next" day for the Yisrael.

On the first day we read from the beginning of the chapter - and since it's also Shabbat this year, we first read the Parsha (Vayeshev).

We will learn about Rosh Chodesh and the last day soon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:23

- Danny
Tuesday, 14 Kislev 5770

Monday, November 30, 2009

Halocho # 460 - Who should light the Chanukah Menorah?

Since both men and women were included in the miracle of Chanukah, they both need to light the Chanukah Menorah.

At least one person per household must light.

The custom is for everybody to light, including children under Bar Mitzva. However, married couples share one Chanukah Menorah that either the husband or wife lights.

Even blind people should light, if they live by themselves.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:16

- Danny
Monday, 13 Kislev 5770

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Halocho # 459 - Al HaNisim during Chanukah

During all 8 days (and nights) of Chanukah one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים to the Birkat Hamazon during the 2nd Bracha. If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make amends.

However, if possible you should say the following during the HaRachaman's after the 4th Bracha:

הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָנוּ נִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹת,
כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הַהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה
בִּימֵי מַתִּתְיָהוּ

...and then continue with the rest of the עַל הַנִּסִּים

During every Amida of Chanukah (including Mussaf) one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים during Modim.

If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:16, 139: 21

- Danny
Sunday, 12 Kislev 5770

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Halocho # 458 - Water: Jump or detour?

If one needs to cross a narrow body of water on Shabbat, and one has the choice of jumping over it or walking around it, one should rather jump over it, since it means less walking.

One may not walk through it, lest one squeeze out those clothes that got wet.

On Shabbat one may not walk anywhere where there's a risk of slipping and falling into water.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:36

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 9 Kislev 5770

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Halocho # 457 - Using the light of the Chanukah Menorah

Each night of Chanukah one adds an extra light, starting at 1 and ending at 8.

Besides for the nightly number, the custom is to add an extra candle each night - known as the Shamash.

This is ensure that one doesn't accidentally use the light from the actual Chanukah lights, which is forbidden.

After the Chanukah Menora has been burning for half an hour after nighfall, one may benefit from the lights of the Chanukah Menora.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:14

- Danny
Wednesday, 8 Kislev 5770

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Halocho # 456 - When is Chanukah this year?

The 8 days of Chanukah always start on the 25th of Kislev; the first candle being lit on the 24th in the late afternoon.

This year Chanukah starts on Shabbat 12 December 2009. We will light the first flame on Friday afternoon, 11th Dec.

A week later - (Friday afternoon, 18th Dec) we will light all 8 flames for the 8th day of Chanuka.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 7 Kislev 5770

Monday, November 23, 2009

Halocho # 455 - Dangerous property

One must ensure that people do not get hurt on ones property.

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

- Danny
Monday, 6 Kislev 5770

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Halocho # 454 - A fence around your roof

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

The fence must be at least 10 Tefachim (~80 cm) 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
Sunday, 5 Kislev 5770

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Halocho # 453 - Getting drenched on Shabbat

If one gets caught in rain on Shabbat one can continue on home even if ones clothes are soaked; however one may not squeeze out the water.

Once one gets home and removes them, one may not hang them up to dry.

One may also not dry them by standing near a source a heat while wearing them.

The same applies to clothes that are soaked from sweat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:35

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 2 Kislev 5770

Please daven for SARAH MIRIAM BAT TAMAR; a 7 year old currently in ICU due to a severe case of swine flu.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halocho # 452 - Tefillin on Rosh Chodesh?

Men wear Tefillin (phylacteries) every day during Shacharit (morning prayers) except for Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Rosh Chodesh has some aspects of a Yom Tov, yet work is permitted.

Tefillin are worn on Rosh Chodesh during Shacharit, Hallel and the Torah reading. They are removed before starting Mussaf.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 10:19

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Wednesday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5770

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Halocho # 451 - What happens if one forgets Ya'aleh Veyavo?

On Rosh Chodesh one should add Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

If one forgot to add Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida at night one does not need to make amends. During the day one needs to go back to רצה.

If one forgot Ya'aleh Veyavo during Birkat Hamazon (during the day or night), and one remembers before starting the last Bracha, one can say:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן

If one only realizes after starting the last Bracha, or one does not have the above Bracha handy, one does not need to make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10, 44:14

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Tuesday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5770

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halocho # 450 - How many days are there in Marcheshvan and Kislev?

Some years the Jewish calendar has 12 months, the rest (7 out of 19) are leap years with 13 months.

Jewish months alternate between being 29 and 30 days long.

However, the months of Marcheshvan and Kislev sometimes both have 30 days (a full year), sometimes both have 29 days (a missing year) and sometimes follow the regular order with Marcheshvan having 29 days and Kislev 30.

As a result, Chanukah (which starts on 25 Kislev and lasts 8 days) sometimes ends on 2 Tevet and sometimes on 3 Tevet.

This year is a "full" year; Marcheshvan has 30 days, Kislev has 30 days and Chanukah ends on 2 Tevet.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221:4

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Monday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 29 Marcheshvan 5770

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halocho # 449 - May one write Pesukim?

One may not write a Pasuk (verse in the Torah) in Hebrew on paper without lines.

Some say one should not write mundane things in the special script used for a Sefer Torah.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:12

- Danny
Sunday, 28 Marcheshvan 5770

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Halocho # 448 - Hair care on Shabbat

One may not braid hair on Shabbat.

One may not undo braids on Shabbat.

One may not use a brush that pulls out hair on Shabbat.

One may fix up ones hairdo using ones hands or a brush with soft hair.

Preferably one should have a Shabbat-brush; one that is soft and doesn't pull out hair, that one only uses on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:31

This week is Shabbat Mevorchim. Rosh Chodesh Kislev will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach,

- Danny
Thursday, 25 Marcheshvan 5770

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halocho # 447 - Don't drop the Sefer Torah

If - Gcd forbid - one drops a Sefer Torah, one needs to fast.

This is true even if the Sefer Torah was in its cover.

The Minhag is that those who saw the Sefer Torah fall, also fast.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:12

- Danny
Wednesday, 24 Marcheshvan 5770

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halocho # 446 - Retrieving stolen goods

 Yesterday we learned that one should buy certain religious items at their fair price, even of they were stolen.

As a general rule, one may not buy goods from a thief; whether he is Jewish or not, since non-Jews are also forbidden to steal.

Buying from a thief encourages him to steal, which is a sin in itself.

One may buy stolen goods to return them to their rightful owner, if there's no other way to retrieve them.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:8

- Danny
Tuesday, 23 Marcheshvan 5770

Monday, November 9, 2009

Halocho # 445 - Buying stolen goods

One should not buy stolen Sefer Torah, Tefillin or Mezuzot for more than their worth, so as not to encourage them to be stolen.

However, if one is offered them at market value, one must buy them, even if they are no longer Kosher.

If the thief is asking above market value then one should bargain with him to try get the price down; if he insists on a higher price, then one does not buy them.

One should not offer a ridiculously low price so as not to annoy the seller, lest he get angry and destroy the religious items.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:11

- Danny
Monday, 22 Marcheshvan 5770

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halocho #444 - Can one hide behind a Sefer?

One may not place a Sefer such that it blocks the sunlight to enable one to be more comfortable.

One may not place a Sefer such that ones friends cannot see what one is up to.

If the sun is disturbing ones ability to learn Torah, then one can use another Sefer to block the sun.

One may use a Sefer to prop up the Sefer one is learning, if that will help one learn better.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:9

- Danny
Sunday, 21 Marcheshvan 5770

Please daven for Marina bat Ludmila for a full recovery

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halocho #443 - Shabbat meals in the garden

Spilling water onto fertile soil is forbidden because of "Zore'a" - planting, since the water could help things grow.

Therefore one should refrain from eating in the garden, since it's almost impossible that something won't be spilt onto the floor.

This is besides the problem that one cannot always carry into the garden unless there's a proper Eruv.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:28

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
 Thursday, 18 Marcheshvan 5770

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halocho #442 - May one throw a Sefer?

One may not throw Sefarim.

One may not put Sefarim upside-down; not with the cover facing the table, and not in the bookshelf with the letters upside down.

If one sees a Sefer upside-down one has to turn it over.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:6

- Danny
Wednesday, 17 Marcheshvan 5770

Please daven for young Refoel Chaim Simcha Binyamin ben Devorah Aliza, who has been fighting Leukemia the past 18 months and is having terrible reactions to the bone marrow transplant

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halocho #441 - What can one put on a Sefer?

One may not put a Sefer on ones knees and then rest ones elbows on it.

One can put a Chumash (5 books of Moses) on top of a Nach, but one may not place a Nach or any other Sefer on top of a Chumash.

One may put a Nevi'im on a Ketubim, or Ketubim on top of Nevi'im.

One can put any other Sefarim on top of each other.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:4

- Danny
Tuesday, 16 Marcheshvan 5770

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halocho #440 - Treating Sefarim with respect

One may not sit in the same bench or chair as a Sefer (any book from which one can learn Torah-related subjects).

If the Sefer is placed on the bench on an item at least 1 Tefach (~10 cm) high, then one may sit on the bench.

One may not put a Sefer on the floor.

One may sit on a cupboard that has Sefarim inside, but not if there's a Sefer Torah inside.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:4

- Danny
Monday, 15 Marcheshvan 5770

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halocho #439 - Honoring a Sefer Torah

A Sefer Torah needs to be stored in its own special place which must be kept clean.

One may not spit in front of a Sefer Torah.

One may not touch the parchement of a Sefer Torah unless it is covered.

One who sees a Sefer Torah being carried must stand up.

If a Sefer Torah is carried past one, one should walk behind it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:3

- Danny
Sunday, 14 Marcheshvan 5770

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halocho #438 - Being picky on Shabbat

One may not remove the inedible and unwanted pieces from ones food on Shabbat.

Rather one must remove the food from the inedible or the unwanted pieces.

This should only be done during the meal, or right before it.

(This is one of many Halachot of "Borer" - separating, one of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat.)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:15

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 11 Marcheshvan 5770

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halocho #437 - Buying Sefarim

Everybody has a Mitzva to buy Sefarim to learn from.

This should include the Chumash (5 books of Moses), Mishna, Talmud and Practical-Halachic works.

If one does not understand them in the original, one must buy them with a translation, since the point is to learn them.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:2

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Marcheshvan 5770

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halocho #436 - Hiring a Sofer to write your Sefer Torah

Yesterday we learned that every male Jew has to write his own Sefer Torah.

If you cannot write your own Sefer Torah, you can hire a Sofer (scribe) to do it for you.

If you buy a Sefer Torah and correct a mistake in it, it's as if you wrote it.

Similarly if you buy an unfinished Sefer Torah and complete it, it's as if you wrote it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 9 Marcheshvan 5770

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halocho #435 - Write a Sefer Torah

It's a Mitzva for every male Jew to write his own Kosher Sefer Torah.

Even if you inherited a Sefer Torah, you still needs to write your own copy.

You may not sell your Sefer Torah; in case of dire poverty, consult a Rabbinic authority.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:1

- Danny
Monday, 8 Marcheshvan 5770

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halocho #434 - What's BeHaB?

On the first "Monday, Thursday and Monday" in the month following Pessach and Sukkoth the custom is to say extra Selichot.

Some communities do this on the last "Monday, Thursday and Monday" of the month.

Since Monday is "Yom Sheni" or "Yom Bet - ב" and Thursday is "Yom Chamishi" or "Yom Heh - ה" these days are referred to as BeHaB - בה"ב

Some people have the custom to fast on BeHaB.

A special Mi-Sheberach was recited on Shabbat before the Torah was returned to the Aron Hakodesh to bless those who will fast.

Despite being a "private" (not communal) fast day, a person need not "declare his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, if he answered Amen to the Mi-Sheberach.

Yet, answering Amen to the Mi-Sheberach does not oblige one to fast.

Even if one intended to fast when answering Amen and then on the designated day there was a Se'udat Mitzva (e.g. Brit Mila or Siyum or Pidyon HaBen) one should join the meal and not fast.

However, if one "declared his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, then one needs to fast.

Tomorrow (Monday), and Thursday and next week Monday are BeHaB in most communities.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 127:3, 14

Don't forget to add "ותן טל ומטר לברכה" - as per Halocho #433

- Danny
Sunday, 7 Marcheshvan 5770

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halocho #433 - Pray for rain, or not?

In Israel, starting this Motzai Shabbat (7th Marcheshvan) we start praying for rain in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleinu - ברך עלינו.

In the Diaspora we will start 6 weeks later - on Motzai Shabbat Vayishlach - וישלח.

If you forgot to add "ותן טל ומטר לברכה"; "and bless us with dew and rain", then:

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

- If you already said "Baruch Ata Hashem" of the 9th Bracha then you insert it into Shma-Kolienu - the 16th Bracha - before "Ki Ata".

- If you forget to say it in Shma-Kolienu then you need to go back to the 9th Bracha - Barech-Aleinu.

- If you didn't remember until you finished the Amida (defined as saying "Yihyu Leratzon") then you have to restart the entire Amida.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:5

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 4 Marcheshvan 5770

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halocho #432 - Nicknames

We learned yesterday that one may not embarrass anybody.

Even calling somebody by a name or nickname which they're embarrassed about, is forbidden.

One may not tell embarrassing stories about somebody in their presence; even if it doesn't entail Lashon Hara.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:17

- Danny
Wednesday, 3 Marcheshvan 5770

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halocho #431 - How often can one murder the same person?

Causing a person's blood to drain from his face is considered murder.

In Hebrew, embarrassing somebody is referred to as מלבין פני חברו - whitening a fellowman's face; since the blood drains from his face when embarrassed.

Embarrassing somebody is forbidden - whether verbally or otherwise - and could make one lose ones portion in Olam Haba - the world to come.

Embarrassing somebody is forbidden both in private and obviously in public.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:17

- Danny
Tuesday, 2 Marcheshvan 5770

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halocho #430 - Abridged Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

On Rosh Chodesh one says Hallel after the Amida - but one skips 2-half paragraphs.

Hallel must be said standing, and one may not interrupt the Hallel by talking.

If the congregation is saying Hallel while one is saying Psukei D'Zimra, one says Hallel with them, without its opening and closing Bracha. (This can only be done on days that one says the shortened "half"-Hallel.)

If one arrives late to shul and the congregation is already up to Hallel, one says Hallel with them, and then one starts ones morning prayers.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4

Chodesh Tov,

- Danny
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan 5770

Written in memory of Rivka bat Mordechai Ha-cohen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halocho #429 - Ya'aleh VeYavo - it's Rosh Chodesh!

Today (Sunday) and tomorrow are Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan.

One needs to add Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יעלה ויבא in the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רצה.

If one forgot to do so during the Amida of Ma'ariv (evening prayers) - on either day - one does not need to make amends; since the Sanhedrin did not sanctify the month at night.

If one forgot to do so during Shachrit (morning prayers) or Mincha (afternoon prayers), then one has to return to the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רצה and make amends.

If one already finished the Amida - by saying Yihyu leRatzon - יהיו לרצון - then one needs to restart the Amida.

One also needs to add Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יעלה ויבא - in Birkat Hamazon

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10

Chodesh Tov

- Danny

Sunday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan 5770

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halocho #428 Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday and Monday

This Shabbat is "Shabbat Mevarchim".

Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan will be on Sunday and Monday

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

This week's Haftarah is "Machar Chodesh" - "And Jonathan says to him (David): tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh" from Shmuel-1 20:18

Previous Shabbat-related posts can be reviewed at

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach

- Danny,
 Thursday, 27 Tishrei 5770

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halocho #427 - Eat an early Se'udat Shilishit

If one starts or finishes a meal on Shabbat, one needs to add Retzei - רצה - during the 3rd Bracha of Birkat HaMazon.

If one starts or finishes a meal on Rosh Chodesh or Yom Tov, one adds Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יעלה ויבא - during the 3rd Bracha of Birkat HaMazon.

This week on Motzai Shabbat will be the first of 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan.

If the third Shabbat meal continues into the night, one says both Retzei - רצה and Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יעלה ויבא.

However, some are opinions that saying both would be self-contradictory. It is therefore recommended to not continue eating the third Shabbat meal after dusk, this week.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:17

Erratum: One continues saying V'Then Bracha - ותן ברכה - in the 9th Bracha of the Amida until the 7th Marcheshvan in Israel and the 5th December in the Diaspora.

- Danny,
 Wednesday, 26 Tishrei 5770

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halocho #426 - Wind and rain

Since Mussaf on Shmini Atzeret (last Shabbat) we have been praising Hashem for the wonderful gift of rain, by adding Mashiv HaRu'ach Umorid HaGeshem - משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם - into the second Bracha of the Amida.

If one forgets to add this?

If one has not yet finished the 2nd Bracha then one adds it after any of the many phrases of this Bracha. If one wishes, one may restart the Bracha and say it in it's correct place.

If one already finished the 2nd Bracha?

If you have the custom of adding "Morid haTal" - מוריד הטל - during the summer, then continue as usual. No amendment is required.

If you do NOT have the custom of adding "Morid haTal" - מוריד הטל - 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 as a single entity.

One continues saying V'Then Bracha - ותן ברכה - in the 9th Bracha of the Amida until the 7th Marcheshvan in Israel and the 5th December in the Diaspora.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:1, 2, 5

- Danny,
 Tuesday, 25 Tishrei 5770

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halocho #425 - 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, 24 Tishrei 5770

Join my Mitzva-a-Day group at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halocho #424 - The Isru Chag meal

The day after Pessach, Sukkoth and Shavuoth is called Isru Chag.

Today (Sunday) is Isru Chag in Israel and tomorrow (Monday) is Isru Chag everywhere else.

On Isru Chag the custom is to eat a larger meal than usual.

Nobody - not even a bride and groom on their wedding day, nor a Yahrzeit - may fast on Isru Chag.

Some communities don't say Lamenatze'ach (before Uvo L'zion in Shacharis) on Isru Chag.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 103:14, 146:2

- Danny
Sunday, 23 Tishrei 5770

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Halocho #423 - - 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.

When shaking them on Sukkoth, the Lulav, 3 Haddasim and 2 Aravot are tied together and held in ones right hand, and the Etrog in ones 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 of the Lulav should not have any ties on it.

Since the first day of Sukkoth is on Shabbat, we will only start this precious Mitzvah on Sunday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:8

Wishing everybody a Chag Same'ach!

- Danny Thursday, 13 Tishrei 5770

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Halocho #422 - What to bring into the Sukka

The Torah command us to live in the Sukka for the duration of Sukkoth. 7 days in Eretz Yisrael, 8 days in the Diaspora.

One should move into the Sukka and bring along ones creature comforts; ones comfortable chairs and favorite dishes.

The Mitzvah of Sukka is one of the few where the Torah explicitly gives us a reason to accompany the Mitzvah: 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 a Shabbat table.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:1, 2

- Danny
Wednesday, 12 Tishrei 5770

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halocho #421 - 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 is 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 fist 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 Tuesday, 11 Tishrei 5770

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Halocho #420 - It's a Mitzvah to eat! Why?

Today - Sunday - is Erev Yom Kippour. It's a Mitzvah to eat more than usual on 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 Mizmor Lesoda in Shacharit. The reason being that Mizmor Lesoda 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, Lamenatze'ach and Avinu Malkeinu. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:2,3 Wishing everybody an easy and meaningful fast, - Danny Sunday, Erev Yom Kippour 5770

Please daven for Simcha bat Shamsi who had heart surgery

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Halocho #419 - When is Kiddush Levana recited this month?

Kiddush Levana (the monthly blessing on the waxing moon) should be said when one is happy, and the 10 days of repentance are solemn days of introspection.

Some people delay saying Kiddush Levana until Motzai Yom Kippour.

On Motzai Yom Kippour Kiddush Levana can be said while still fasting since one is happy with the knowledge the Hashem has forgiven ones sins. This is unlike Motzai 9 B'Av when one has to first eat and put on shoes so as to end the mourning, before saying Kiddush Levana.

Others prefer to say Kiddush Levana before Yom Kippour, since every Mitzvah counts towards tipping the scales in our favor to be granted a good year.

Similarly, some people buy their 4 Minim (Lulav, etc) before Yom Kippour.

This week's Shabbat is known as "Shabbat Shuva" in honor of its Haftara which starts with the words "Shuva Yisrael"; Repent O Israel!

The Minhag is for the Rabbi or some other dignitary to be given the Haftara of Shuva.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 130:5, 6

Shabbat Shalom and G'mar Chatima Tova

- Danny Thursday, 6 Tishrei 5770

Please daven for Shifra Bracha bas Mindel Fraid

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Halocho #418 - The Yom Kippour Mitzva

Any work that may not be done on Shabbat may not be done on Yom Kippour. In addition 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. 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. See Halocho #133 for details. ( - On Yom Kippour one may not have marital relations. All the above are forbidden from candle-lighting on Erev Yom Kippour until after Havdala some 25 hours later. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:1 Gmar Vechatima Tova - Danny Wednesday, 5 Tishrei 5770

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Halocho #417 - First pay then Apologize

Yom Kippour does not atone for misdeeds done against ones fellow-Jew 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, 4 Tishrei 5770

Monday, September 21, 2009

Halocho #416 - Today (Monday) is a fast day; Zom Gedalya

On the 3rd of Tishrei Gedalya ben Achikam was killed. After the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash, Nebuchadnezzar 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 Gedalya ben Achikam was killed on Rosh Hashanah and the fast was deferred till after Yom Tov.) This tragic event is the reason that today is a fast day. The fast begins Monday 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; only bread and water if possible. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:2, 9 Have a meaningful fast, - Danny Monday, 3 Tishrei 5770

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Halocho #415 - 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 changes to HaMelech Hakadosh. 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 changes to HaMelech HaMishpat. If you forget or are not sure what you said then you continue. No correction is needed. 3. Friday night during the "Magen Avot" we replace "HakEl HaKodesh" with HaMelech Hakadosh. 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 "Baruch Ata" you should make amends. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:3, 4 5 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a sweet and healthy year - Danny Thursday, 28 Elul 5769

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Halocho #414 - The symbolic Rosh Hashanah menu

At the Rosh Hashanah evening meal it's customary to eat foods that symbolize a Good New Year. The bread from Motzi is dipped in honey and after eating it the Yehi Ratzon is said praying for a sweet new year.

יהי רצון שתחדש עלינו שנה טובה ומתוקה
Then one dips an apple in honey, says the Bracha on the apple ("Borei Pri HaEtz") and eats some. One then says the Yehi Ratzon again. There are various other foods that are eaten with their appropriate Yehi Ratzon; 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-Rosh-Hashanah, which has 4 chapters; one for each meal. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a sweet new year. - Danny Wednesday, 27 Elul 5769
Please daven for Dana bat Shulamit who is undergoing radiation therapy

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halocho #413 - - What should I have 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 Tuesday, 26 Elul 5769

Please daven for a month old baby diagnosed with congenital CMV - Evan Yair ben Rut Bayla

Monday, September 14, 2009

Halocho #412 - Shofar vs. Shabbat

The Torah commanded us to blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashana - even if it's Shabbat!

However, the Rabbis decreed that one not blow the Shofar on Shabbat out of fear that somebody may transgress the Shabbat by carrying the Shofar outside, in a city that does not have an Eruv.

Therefore this year we will only hear the Shofar on the second day of Rosh Hashana - next Sunday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:23

Ktiva Vechatima Tova

- Danny Monday, 25 Elul 5769

Please daven for Nechama Malya bas Chana Machla; her doctors have given up and only our Tefilot can help.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Halocho #411 - Tashlich when Rosh Hashanah is on Shabbat

This year, because of Shabbat, Tashlich is said on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashana.

After Mincha (afternoon prayers) on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Minhag is to walk to a river to say Tashlich; verses about Hashem's willingness to forgive those who repent.

Preferably the river should have fish and be outside the city. If this is impractical one can even use a well which doesn't flow and is without fish.

One then symbolically shakes out ones pockets as a reminder to shake off ones sins and to start the new year with a fresh attitude towards Mitzvoth. (Feeding the fish is forbidden according to many Halachic authorities.)

After Tashlich one should go to shul and spend the rest of the time before Maariv (evening prayers) learning Torah, Mussar or saying Tehillim.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:21, 22

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah,

- Danny Sunday, 24 Elul 5769

Please daven for Menashe ben Shlomit

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Halocho #410 - When do we start saying Selichot?

This year Selichot start on Sunday (24 Elul, 13 September), a week before Rosh Hashana. Selichot should be said before Shacharit, towards the end of the night. The end of the night is an "Et Ratzon"; an auspicious time when Hashem is more receptive to listening to ones prayers. When arising for Selichot one should wash ones hands even if it's still night, and make the Bracha "Al Netilat Yadayim". One should say the 2 Brachot of Birkat haTorah before saying Selichot. After Selichot one should wash ones hands again (if the first washing was pre-dawn), but one does not repeat the Bracha. One should preferably stand during Selichot; during the "kEl Melech Yoshev", 13 Middos and the Viddui one must stand. The Chazzan for Selichot should preferably be a Torah Scholar, well liked and if possible married with children and over 30 years of age. However, any Jew can be a Chazzan as long as the community approves. The same applies to the Chazzan for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippour as well as the person blowing the Shofar. Selichot are not said on Shabbat. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:5, 6, 7 [Sefardim say Selichot the entire month of Elul.] Ktiva Vechatima Tova; may all your prayers be answered, Shabbat Shalom, - Danny Thursday, 21 Elul 5769

Please daven for little Leiba Shmuel ben Sara who is undergoing an operation today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Halocho #409 - Glad to be around? Say Shehechiyanu!

The blessing of Shehechiyanu; - "... 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 Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting on Yom Tov candles: - Some women have the Minhag of saying Shehechiyanu when lighting Yom-Tov candles (except on the last days of Pessach) - Others never say Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting If a woman makes her own Kiddush she must be careful to only say Shehechiyanu once; either at candle-lighting or during Kiddush. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah there's a Halachic debate if Shehechiyanu 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 Shehechiyanu 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 Shehechiyanu. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:4, 129:23 See Halocho #109 - for other uses of the Bracha of Shehechiyanu. K'tiva V'chatima Tova; wishing you a year full of happy tidings - Danny Wednesday, 20 Elul 5769

Please daven for Daniel Menashe ben Mas'uda who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Halocho #408 - 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 Tuesday 19 Elul 5769

Monday, September 7, 2009

Halocho #407 - If it rains, does one sleep in the Sukkah?

Since the Mitzvah of Sukkah is to move out of the house and into the Sukkah for the duration of Sukkoth, one should really sleep in the Sukkah.

People who are meticulous about their Mitzvah observance will not even take a nap outside the Sukkah. Their entire family moves into the Sukkah; husband, wife and children.

There are numerous reasons why not to sleep in a Sukkah. However, if the Sukkah is not fit for sleeping (e.g. it's too dangerous) then the Sukkah is not Kosher even for eating in.

The slightest precipitation renders the Sukkah unfit for sleeping and one should then sleep indoors. Once one lies down inside one is exempt from returning to the Sukkah the entire night, even if the Sukkah subsequently dries.

Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Sukkah, as it's a time-bound Mitzvah.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:8, 9, 10

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah,

- Danny Monday, 18 Elul 5769

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Halocho #406 - Yom Tov on Sunday

This year Rosh Hashana, Sukkoth and Shmini Atzret all start on Shabbat. The second day of Rosh Hashana will be on a Sunday. Outside Israel the second day of Sukkoth and Simchat Torah will also be on a Sunday. One may not prepare anything on Shabbat for Yom Tov - including setting the table and lighting candles. After the time for Motzai Shabbat - when the stars are visible - one can say המבדיל בין קודש לקודש and start dealing with the second day of Yom Tov. One should eat the 3rd Shabbat meal early in the afternoon so as not to spoil ones appetite for the Yom Tov meal. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 96:3, 103:2 Ktiva Vechatima Tova - Danny Sunday, 17 Elul 5769

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Halocho #405 - Should children be given Yom Tov treats?

There's a Mitzvah to relish 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 ones 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 some over for the 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 Thursday, 14 Elul 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery of Rafael Moshe Yisrael ben Shulamith Adina

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Halocho #404 - Must the Aravot come from a riverside?

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog. The Arava comes from a known type of willow tree with long leaves, non-serrated edges, and its bough turns red when mature. The Arava must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long. If possible one should get Aravot from a tree that grows alongside a river. Willows dry up very quickly. A wilted Arava is not Kosher. Some say that once its leaves start drooping it is not fresh enough to be a Kosher Arava. Many have the Minhag to get fresh Aravot every day of Chol Hamo'ed Sukkoth. An Arava is no longer Kosher if most of its leaves have come off, or its tip is cut off. This can happen if they are wilted, have been shaken too hard or while replacing them. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:5, 6, 7 and 137:6 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a healthy, wealthy year to come, - Danny Wednesday, 13 Elul 5769

Please daven for Rachamim ben Charlotte Jacqueline

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Halocho #403 - Does the Haddas have berries?

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog.

Each Haddas is a branch of a myrtle bush, and is at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long.

Myrtle leaves grow on the stem in groups of three or more. A Kosher Haddas needs to be Meshulash; with each group of leaves growing out of the branch at exactly the same height.

Preferably the Haddas should be Meshulash its entire length, though it's Kosher if only the top half is Meshulash.

The entire Haddas needs to be covered in leaves, the top of the lower leaves must reach the bottom of the higher ones.

Myrtle bushes have berries growing on them. A Haddas should not have any berries on it; berries should be removed (with their stems) before Yom Tov.

Make sure that the top of the Haddas is not cut off, it usually ends in a set of tiny leaves.

Haddasim need to be kept fresh; dried out Haddasim are not Kosher.

Source: Shulchan Aruch 646.

Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you a year full of good news,

- Danny Tuesday, 12 Elul 5769

Monday, August 31, 2009

Halocho #402 - In which hand do we hold the Etrog?

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog. The Etrog is a citron; Citrus Medica. It is held in ones left hand when shaking the four species, with the stem (where it was cut off the tree) facing downwards. By nature the Etrog tree is very soft (mine buckled during a light Jerusalem snow storm), therefore it is often grafted onto other trees to make it stronger. An Etrog from a grafted tree cannot be used when shaking the four species. (Grafted fruit is Kosher to eat, despite the prohibition against grafting trees.) The Etrog needs to be whole; scratches and dents may invalidate it. The Etrog should not have dark dots on it, though it may have light scabs that are a result of leaves and thorns brushing against it while it grows. (Etrog trees have thorns that grow to about 2" long.) The "nose" of the the Etrog - from where it starts getting narrow - should be perfectly clean. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 174:2, Shulchan Aruch 648 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; wishing you happy year to come - Danny Monday, 11 Elul 5769 Please daven for Rachamim ben Charlotte Jacqueline

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Halocho #401 - Why do we shake the Lulav?

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog. The Torah commands us to shake the four species on all 7 days of Sukkoth in the Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple), and on the first day of Sukkoth everywhere else. After the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed, the Rabbis instituted shaking the four species during the entire Sukkoth, Zecher L'Mikdash; in memory of the Temple. One does not shake the four species on Shabbat. The Lulav is a palm branch that is still closed. Once the leaves start fanning out, it's no longer a Lulav. A Lulav has a spine from which the leaves protrude; this spine needs to be facing you when you shake the four species. The Lulav spine should be straight, a slight curvature towards you is allowed. The Lulav spine must be at least 4 Tefachim (32 cm - 13") long. This is measured from the bottom of the lowest "leaf" to the bottom of the highest "leaf". Each "leaf" is made of 2 parts that are connected (and will eventually open up into a V-shaped palm leaf). If these double-leaves start separating then the Lulav may no longer be Kosher. Special care should be taken that the highest leaves remain coupled. Source: Shulchan Aruch 645. Ktiva Vechatima Tova - Danny Sunday, 10 Elul 5769 My son is looking for a job in IT -

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Halocho #400 - Shabbat is a good time for Teshuva

During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach:

  • Teshuva; repenting.
  • Tefilla; praying.
  • Tzedaka; giving charity.

Learning Torah is a prerequisite for repenting; if one isn't aware of ones obligations, one cannot repent for not doing them, or for doing them incorrectly. Every person has a Mitzva to learn Torah every day and every night. One should concentrate on learning practical Halacha, to review what ones obligations are and to discover their finer details. People who are too busy all week should learn at least one Halacha every day, and one at night. On Shabbat one should spend as much time as possible learning Torah; the less Torah one learns during the week, the more time one should spend learning Torah on Shabbat. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:2, 77:24 K'tiva V'chatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah, Shabbat Shalom, - Danny Thursday, 7 Elul 5769

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Halocho #399 - Understanding ones prayers

During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach: - Teshuva; repenting. Improving ones Mitzva observance - Tefilla; praying. Asking Hashem for help and praising and thanking Him for being good to us. - Tzedaka; giving charity to those less fortunate than ourselves. In order to pray properly one needs to understand what one is saying. If one is not fluent in Hebrew, one should get a Siddur and Machzor with an English translation. One should remember that one is praying - talking - to the One Above. If ones thoughts wander during prayers one should pause and recollect ones thoughts. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18: 3-4. Ktiva Vechatima Tova; with wishes for a Happy New Year, - Danny Wednesday, 6 Elul 5768

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Halocho #398 - Are your Mezuzot Kosher?

Some people have the custom to get their Tefillin and Mezuzot checked yearly during the month of Elul.

At the very least one should check ones Mezuzot twice every 7 years.

Tefillin that are used daily do not need to be checked unless they get wet. However, one should check them every few years since they do wear out eventually.

Tefillin that are only used occasionally should be checked twice every 7 years.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3, 11:25, 10:26

Ktiva Vechatima Tova
- Danny Tuesday, 5 Elul 5769

Monday, August 24, 2009

Halocho #397 - Forty special days

Doing Teshuva - repenting - is a Mitzva mentioned in the Torah.

Even though Hashem is prepared to accept our Teshuva all year round, the days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippour are an auspicious period for improving ones ways.

This dates back to when Moshe went up to Har Sinai to receive the second set of Luchot; Moshe went up on Rosh Chodesh Elul and returned 40 days later on Yom Kippour with the second set of Luchot.

At the very least one should choose one Mitzva or Halacho to improve on during this period.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128: 1

Ktiva Vechatima Tova

- Danny Monday, 4 Elul 5769

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Halocho #396 - Seasonal greetings in Elul

When writing to friends from the beginning of the month of Elul until after Yom Kippur, one should add seasonal greetings. This can be done at the start or end of the letter. One should wish them - or bless them - with a good year; to be inscribed in the book of good life. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128: 2 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; with wishes for a year full of blessings - Danny Sunday, 3 Elul 5769

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Halocho #395 - Why do we blow the Shofar during Elul

Today - Thursday - is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul. Today's date is 30 Av 5769. Tomorrow - Friday - will be the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, and first day of the month of Elul. The custom is to blow the Shofar after Shacharit (the morning prayers) from tomorrow, until Thursday , 28 Elul (17 September) , as a reminder to start improving ones Torah observance and to repent for past misdeeds. On Erev Rosh Hashana the Shofar is not blown, so as to create a break between the custom of blowing Shofar in Elul and the Torah-commandment to blow Shofar on Rosh Hashana. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:1, 2 Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom - Danny Thursday, 30 Av, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Elul 5769

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Halocho #394 - Haircuts and cutting nails on Rosh Chodesh

Tonight - Wednesday night - is Rosh Chodesh Elul. Rosh Chodesh Elul will be on Thursday and Friday. Many people follow the Tzava'a (last will) of Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid and do not cut their nails nor have haircuts on Rosh Chodesh. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch follows this opinion. Those who do not cut nails nor have haircuts on Rosh Chodesh, should cut their nails and have hair cuts - today (Wednesday) in honor of Shabbat. Don't forget to add Ya'aleh Veyavo in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon on Rosh Chodesh. Chodesh Tov! Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:14 Chodesh Tov! - Danny Wednesday, 29 Av 5769

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Halocho #393 - Tomorrow is Yom Kippour Kattan

The day before Rosh Chodesh is called Yom Kippour Kattan. Mincha (the afternoon prayers) on Yom Kippour Kattan includes prayers asking for repentance, so as to begin the new month with a "clean slate". Some have the custom to fast on Yom Kippour Kattan. In anticipation of the month of Elul and the upcoming High Holidays, most communities say the Yom Kippour Kattan prayers before Rosh Chodesh Elul, in order to get into the Teshuva (repentance) mood. Tomorrow - Wednesday - is Yom Kippour Kattan. Rosh Chodesh Elul will be on Thursday and Friday. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1, 128:1 Chodesh Tov! - Danny Tuesday, 28 Av 5769

Monday, August 17, 2009

Halocho #392 - Revenge!

Taking revenge is a Torah prohibition. One may not refuse to lend a person something only because that person refused to lend us something. One may not even say to them: "I'm lending you this, despite the fact that you didn't lend me something." The way to take revenge is to become a better person, your good name and sterling character will upset your enemies more than anything else. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 30:7, 8. - Danny Monday, 27 Av 5769

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Halocho #391 - Comforting mourners

It's a great Mitzva to comfort mourners - we learn (Breishis 25:11) that Hashem comforted Yitzchak Avinu when Avraham Avinu died.

When comforting mourners one should not initiate a conversation. It's up to the mourner to speak first.

If a mourner hints that the comforters should leave, they are not permitted to stay.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:1

- Danny Sunday, 26 Av 5769

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Halocho #390 - There's a fly in my soup!

Borer is one of the more complicated of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat. Borer refers to separating bad from the good. Separating good from the bad is less of a problem - though certain condition apply. "Good" being the item wanted now, "bad" being the item not needed / wanted at the moment. If a fly falls into a liquid, one may not remove the fly by itself. One may scoop it out along with some of the liquid; thereby separating some "good" and "bad" from the "good". Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:19 Shabbat Shalom - Danny Thursday, 23 Av 5769

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Halocho #389 - the Bracha on bad news

Upon hearing really bad news one says the Bracha of Dayan Ha'Emet - the True Judge.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
דַּיַּן הָאֱמֶת
This is the Bracha one says when a close relative dies. If the person who died isn't a close friend or relative, one says the abbreviated form:
בָּרוּךְ דַיַּן הָאֱמֶת
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:6 - Danny Wednesday, 22 Av 5769
Tamar bat Naama (Bamberger) - תמר בת נעמה passed away yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Halocho #388 - Facing Jerusalem during Davening

One should face Jerusalem during Davening, especially during the silent Amida.

In Jerusalem one should face the Temple Mount, and the place where the Kodesh-Kodashim (the Holies of Holies in the Bet Hamikdash) was.

If one started the Amida facing the wrong direction one may not change direction, though - if practical - one should turn ones face to the correct direction.

If there are non-Jewish religious emblems in ones line of vision, one should pray towards another direction.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:10

- Danny Tuesday, 21 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Monday, August 10, 2009

Halocho #387 - A song of praise - Mizmor L'Thoda

During the week one says מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה - Mizmor L'Thoda (Tehillim Ch. 100) after Hodu. One should stand up while reciting Mizmor L'Thoda. Mizmor L'Thoda should be said with joy - since it replaces the Korban Toda - the thanksgiving offering. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 14:4 Serve Hashem with gladness: come before Him with singing. (Tehillim 100:2) - Danny Monday, 20 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה - a 12 year old whose cancer has spread to her lungs.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Halocho #386 - What to do with old Tzitzit

Tzitzit that were removed from a Tallis, or fell off, should not be thrown into the garbage, since they were once used for a Mitzva.

Some people use them as bookmarks.

An old Tallis - even after the Tzitzit are removed - should not be treated disrespectfully, such as being used for a cleaning rag.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:19

- Danny Sunday, 19 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Friday, August 7, 2009

Halocho #385 - The day the Western Lamp was extinguished

In the Bet Hamikdash, a Cohen would light the Menorah every afternoon. Its 7 lamps would burn until morning.

Miraculously, the Ner Ma'aravi - the Western Lamp - would burn all day, even though it was identical to the other 6 lamps. One of the reasons most Shuls have a Ner-Tamid always burning, is to commemorate this miracle.

Forty years before the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple), in the days of the wicked King Achaz, (father of King Hezekiah), this miracle stopped.

This happened on the 17th of Av (some say on the 18th). As a result, this day was declared as one of the tragic days in our history and is included in the list of days on which it would be appropriate to fast.

Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:1-2, Yoma 39.

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny Erev Shabbat, 17 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Halocho #384 - Why is Tu B'Av a joyous day?

A number of joyous events happened over the years on Tu B'Av.

- It was the day the Generation-of-the-Wilderness realized that the sin of the spies had been forgiven, in the year 2488.

- It was the day that the tribes were allowed to intermarry, including orphaned daughters (as per Bemidbar 36:8) once all those who conquered the Land had passed away.

- On the same day the tribe of Binyamin were allowed to intermarry with other tribes, after the scandal of Give'ah (as per Shoftim 19 - 21), around the year 2524.

- It was the day that King Hoshea ben Elah removed the blockades that the wicked King Yerav'am ben Nevat had placed on the roads, preventing the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the Festivals about 75 years earlier, around the year 3040.

- It was the day the Romans allowed those massacred by the wicked Hadrian in Beitar to be buried, some time after he died in 138 (C.E).

- It was the day they stopped chopping wood for the altar in the Bet Hamikdash every year, as it marks the end of "summer" (as per Rashi on Breishis 8:22) and the start of the 2 months of "heat". The wood had to be worm free to be used on the altar, and had to be fully dried before the rainy season.

This gave everybody more time for learning Torah - and therefore Tu B'Av is the Joyous Day of Increased Torah Learning.

Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol 3 page 307-313

Increase Torah learning on FaceBook; click on invite your Jewish friends to sign up to this Torah group.

- Danny Tuesday, 14 Av 5769, Erev Tu B'Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery of Chava Elya Rivka Bat Kayla's eyesight

Monday, August 3, 2009

Halocho #383 - Is Tu B'Av the festival of love?

One does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Av, nor at Mincha the afternoon before. The bride and groom do not fast on their wedding day if it's on Tu B'Av. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 146:2 This Wednesday will be Tu B'Av, the day girls went to dance in the vineyards in the hope of attracting a future husband. The only other day this was done was on Yom Kippour, the day Hashem forgave the sin of the Golden Calf. The 15th of Av was the day Hashem forgave the Generation-of-the-Wilderness for the sin of the spies talking evil about the Promised Land. To quote The Book of our Heritage: "Since these 2 days were days of purification from sin, the earlier generations did not hesitate to regard them as days of festivity and dancing for the daughters of Israel... and there was no apprehension lest they breach the fence of chastity and modesty." Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol 3 page 307 King Saul called his son Yehonathan "Ben N'avat Hamardut", son of the rebellious outgoing one, because Achinoam noticed that Saul was too shy to approach any of the girls dancing, so she approached him. Source: Rashi on Shmuel-1, 20:30 - Danny Monday, 13 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Halocho #382 - What is a Zecher L'Churban?

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 jewelry 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 Sunday, 12 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Bracha Elisheva bas Kayla - a young mother in urgent need of a Refu'a Sheleimah

Friday, July 31, 2009

Halocho #381 - Shabbat Nachamu

Usually the Haftara is connected to the weekly Torah Reading.

During the 7 weeks following the fast of 9 B'Av we read the Seven Haftarot of Consolation from Yeshayahu.

This Shabbat is named after the opening words of the first of the Seven Haftarot of Consolation: "Nachamu, Nachum Ami"; Hashem instructs Yeshayahu to "Console, console My people".

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:4, 22:8,

- Danny Erev Shabbat Nachamu, 10 Menachem-Av 5769

Please daven that Dalia Rivka Bat Tamara should find her Shidduch soon

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Halocho #380 - May one wear shoes at The Final Meal

The "Seudat Mafseket - final meal" before the fast of 9 B'Av - is eaten while seated on the floor. However, one may wear ones leather shoes during this meal. It typically consists of only a cold hard boiled egg and bread which is dipped into ashes. (One does not have to eat the ashes.) This meal must end before sunset. Before this meal one may eat a regular meal. One does not wear leather shoes on the fast of 9 b'Av, and therefor one must remove them before sunset - Wednesday afternoon this year. One may wear shoes that have no leather in them; cloth, rubber and wood are OK. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 123:3, 5 - Danny Wednesday, 8 Av 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה