Thursday, April 30, 2009

Halocho #316 - Special "BeHaB Mi-Sheberach" this Shabbat

On the first "Monday, Thursday and Monday" in the month following Pessach (Iyar) and Sukkoth (Marcheshvan) the custom is to say extra Selichot during Shacharit. (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 BeHaB will be on this coming Monday, Thursday and again on Monday the following week. Some people have the custom to fast on BeHaB. A special Mi-Sheberach will be recited on Shabbat morning before the Torah is returned to the Aron Hakodesh to bless those who will fast. Answering Amen to the Mi-Sheberach does not oblige one to fast. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 127:3, 14 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny Thursday, 6 Iyar 5769, 21st day of the Omer

Please daven for a complete recovery for Rachel Leah bat Devorah רחל לאה בת דבורה

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Halocho #315 - Remembering miracles

If one experiences a miracle, one should celebrate the day of the miracle every year. On this day one should set aside time to thank Hashem for the miracle and to talk about the miracle. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:3 - Danny Wednesday, 5 Iyar 5769, 20th day of the Omer - יום העצמאות

Please daven for a complete recovery for Z'ev Eliezer ben Devorah who is undergoing a bone marrow transplant on Thursday

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Halocho #314 - Come to Israel!

Living in Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva. Walking 4 Amot (~2 m.) in Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva. Even moving to Eretz Yisrael is considered part of the Mitzva. One may not leave Eretz Yisrael except to learn Torah, get married, to escape from danger or for business trips. Source: - Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 248:4 - ספר המצות הקצר - מצות לא תעשה קצב - Danny Tuesday, 4 Iyar 5769, 19th day of the Omer

Please daven for a complete recovery for Yosef Ben Rachel who ruptured his colon and will be undergoing a second surgery in July.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Halocho #313 - What day of the Omer is it today?

Before making the Bracha on counting the Omer one should know which day one is going to count.

If one has not yet counted the Omer, and somebody wants to know which day we're up to, you should tell them "yesterday was such-and-such".

If, instead, you replied "today is such-and-such" you may not be allowed to make a Bracha on that night's count, since you already counted.

However, you should still count "properly" (without a Bracha) since you have to mention the weeks as well.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:3

- Danny Monday, 3 Iyar 5769, 18th day of the Omer; 2 weeks and 4 days

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

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Halocho #312 - Don't forget to count the Omer

If you forget to count the Omer at night, then you should count the next day - but without a Bracha. You then continue counting (at night) as usual with a Bracha. If you forgot to count during the night as well as the following day, then you should still continue counting the Omer, but you may no longer make the Bracha. If you're unsure if you counted the previous night, you may continue counting with a Bracha. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:2 - Danny Sunday, 2 Iyar 5769, 17th day of the Omer

Written in memory of my Opa Leo - דוד יהודה בן יעקב הלוי - whose 23rd Yahrzeit is today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Halocho #311 - Rosh Chodesh Iyar

Rosh Chodesh Iyar is on Friday (tomorrow) and on Shabbat. On Shabbat we will take out 2 Sifrei Torah; the first for the double-Parsha "Tazria-Metzora" and the second for Rosh Chodesh. In the second Sefer Torah we will read Maftir from Pinchas (B'midbar 28:9-15) - וביום בשבת - one of the rare occasions when we read about the Shabbat sacrifice on Shabbat. The Haftara is the one for "Shabbat-Rosh Chodesh" - הַשָּׁמַיִם כִּסְאִי - from Yeshayahu Ch. 66. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 79:7 Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom - Danny Thursday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5769, 14th day of the Omer Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Halocho #310 - Mourning during the Omer

During the Omer period the great sage Rabbi Akiva (who lived during and after the destruction of the second Temple) lost almost all of his thousands of Torah students; reducing Torah Scholars to a handful.

As a result 33 days of the Omer are customarily observed as days of mourning, during which weddings and haircuts are forbidden.

One may get engaged during the Omer and even celebrate with a meal, but dancing and music is not allowed.

The Sandek, Mohel and father of the newborn may take haircuts the day before the Brit.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:6 - 9

- Danny Wednesday, 28 Nissan 5769, 13th day of the Omer

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Halocho #309 - What's new? Chodosh and Yoshon

The "five grains" are wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye. Grain that was planted and started taking root before the first day Chol Hamoed Pessach may be eaten immediately - and is called "Yoshon" (old). Grain that took root thereafter is "Chodosh" (new) and may not be eaten until after the 2nd day Chol Hamoed Pessach of the coming year. In Israel, Chol Hamoed Pessach starts on 16th Nissan, in the Diaspora on the 17th Nissan. The Torah prohibition of eating Chodosh applies to grain grown on Jewish land, according to all opinions. There is a minority opinion that Chodosh does not apply to grain grown in the Diaspora on non-Jewish land; the custom is to rely on this opinion in emergency. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 172:1-3 - Danny Tuesday, 27 Nissan 5769, 12th day of the Omer Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Monday, April 20, 2009

Halocho #308 - Work during the Omer

The custom is not do any work from sunset until one has counted the Omer. This applies to men and women. This is hinted in the verse which refers to the 7 weeks of the Omer-counting as "Sheva Shabbatot" - using the word "Shabbat" instead of weeks. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:10 - Danny Monday, 26 Nissan 5769, 11th day of the Omer Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Halocho #307 - Countdown!

From the second day of Pessach until Shavu'ot we count the 49 days of the Omer.

Counting is done after nightfall. Before counting a Bracha is said:

ברוך אתה... על ספירת העומר

One counts both days and weeks, as the Torah says (Vayikra 23:15-16):

וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם ... שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת ... תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם

"And you shall count ... 7 weeks ... you shall count 50 days."

Today is the 10th day of the Omer which is 1 week and 3 days.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:1

- Danny Sunday, 25 Nissan 5769, 10th day of the Omer

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Halocho #306 - A day full of Mitzvot

Tomorrow - Wednesday - is Erev Pessach; a busy day.

- Remember to do Birkat Hachama soon after sunrise - see Halocho #290

- Don't forget to do Eruv Tavshilin before candle-lighting, if you live outside Israel - see Halocho #304

- Remember to light a 48-hour candle (or leave on a flame on the stove) so that you can light Shabbat candles on Friday afternoon, if you live outside Israel .

- For details of the Fast of the Firstborn see Halocho #301

One does not say מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה nor לַמְנַצֵּחַ from Erev Pessach until Isru Chag.

One may not eat Chametz after 1/3 of the day - and then one needs to burn ones Chametz and say Kol Chamira declaring all Chametz one owns to be ownerless like dust.

Work that may not be done on Chol Hamo'ed may not be done on Erev Pessach after noon.

One may not eat Matza on Erev Pessach.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 113: 1 - 5

Wishing everybody a meaningful and enjoyable Pessach

- Danny Tuesday, 13 Nissan 5769

The next Halocho-a-Day is scheduled for after Pessach, Sunday, 25 Nissan

Monday, April 6, 2009

Halocho #305 – Should one use a candle for Bedikat Chametz?

On Tuesday night one may not do any work, nor eat anything, until one has checked the house for Chametz.

Before one starts searching the house for Chametz the entire house needs to be cleaned, and the Chametz that one plans to use until mid-morning on Wednesday morning needs to be put in a secure place.

First one says the Bracha "אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל בִּעוּר חָמֵץ" – "… to destroy Chametz", since the point of the search is to rid the house of Chametz.

After the search is complete one says “Kol Chamira” declaring that "all Chametz one isn’t aware of " to be “ownerless and worthless like dust”.

This declaration constitutes a Halachic “destroying Chametz”, which is why one shouldn’t interrupt between the Bracha, the searching and the Kol Chamira with anything not related to the search.

One may appoint other members of the household to help with the search, as long as they are over Bar/Bat Mitzva.

The search is done using a single candle which provides the optimal light for searching. A torch (like a Havdala candle) is not allowed – as it’s a fire hazard and it gives a flickering light – and if it was used one needs to redo the search.

Search under all furniture, inside all closets, pockets of all clothes worn in the past year, schoolbags, purses, cars and anywhere else where Chametz could have been placed accidentally or purposely by adults, children or toddlers.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:1-10

There is no need to turn off the electric lights while searching with a candle, since with more light it’s easier to find Chametz.

After searching with a candle in those places where it’s safe and convenient to do so, one should continue with a flashlight, so that one can search safely and calmly without fear of burning down the house.

Source: Rabbi Shimon Eider zt”l, Halachos of Pessach, Vol. 1, page 86

- Danny Monday, 12 Nissan 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Liora Tamar bat Libah - ליאורה תמר בת ליבה

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Halocho #304 - A rare Mitzvah: Eruv Tavshilin

One may not prepare from Yom Tov to Shabbat unless one does Eruv Tavshilin before Yom Tov.

Since (outside of Israel) Pessach is on Thursday & Friday, people living outside of Israel need to do Eruv Tavshilin on Wednesday.

One takes Matza and a cooked or baked food that will be eaten on Shabbat and one says the Bracha:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנו בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל מִצְוַת עֵרוּב

One continues with the following, which must be said in a language one understands:בַּהֲדֵין עֵרוּבָא

יְהֵא שָׁרֵא לָנָא לַאֲפוּיֵי, וּלְבַשּׁוּלֵי, וּלְאַטְמוּנֵי, וּלְאַדְלוּקֵי שְׁרָגָא, וּלִמֶעְבֵּד כָּל צָרְכָּנָא מִיּוֹמָא טָבָא לְשַׁבְּתָא.

"With this Eruv we are permitted to bake, cook, keep things warm and light fire and do all that is needed from Yom Tov to Shabbat".

The Matza and food should be kept in a safe place; it they are eaten before Shabbat, a Rabbi should be consulted how to proceed.

Even those who don't have to cook for Shabbat, still need to do Eruv Tavshilin in order to light Shabbat candles (from an existing flame.)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 102

- Danny Sunday, 11 Nissan 5769

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

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Halocho #303 The great Shabbat Hagadol

The Jews in Egypt were commanded to take home a lamb for the pre-Exodus Seder on 10 Nissan, four days before it was going to be sacrificed. It was a miracle that the Egyptians didn't harm the Jews when they did this, since lambs were considered sacred objects in Egypt. Since we left Egypt on Thursday 15 Nissan, this miracle happened on a Shabbat. To commemorate this miracle, the Shabbat before Pessach is called Shabbat Hagadol - the Great Shabbat - and a special Haftara is read; the last chapter in Malachi which predicts the future redemption, may we merit it in our days. The custom is to read the narrative section of the Haggada - from Avadim Hayinu (we were slaves) until (but not including) Rabban Gamliel's admonition to say "Pesach, Matza and Marror" - at Mincha on Shabbat Hagadol. Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 430 Shabbat Shalom - Danny Thursday, 8 Nissan 5769 Please daven for a complete recovery for Tamar bat Naama - תמר בת נעמה

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Halocho #302 - Storytelling is a Mitzva

Seder night consists of food and talk.


- On Seder night there's a Mitzva in the Torah to eat a piece of Korban Pessach on Matza with Marror (bitter herbs). Until the Bet Hamikdash (temple) is rebuilt we only have the Matza and Marror.

The minimum Torah requirement is to eat a Kezayit (an olive's worth) of Matza, which is approximately one-third of a square machine-Matza.

At a typical Seder it's customary to eat 2 Kezeitim for Motzi-Matza, a 3rd for the Hillel-sandwich and a fourth for the Afikomen.

- On Seder night there's also a Rabbinic requirement to drink 4 cups of wine.

All the above - besides for the Marror - must be eaten while leaning on ones left side.


The rest of the Seder consists of reading the entire Haggada. However, there's no Mitzva per se, to read the Haggada.

There's a Mitzva in the Torah to tell ones children the story of the Exodus from Egypt in Question-Answer format on Seder night.

The Haggada gives a framework so that one covers all required parts of the story, which is why it's important to understand and explain all those parts of the Haggada that recount the slavery, 10 plagues and deliverance in a language that all participants understand.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 119:4, 5, 7

May we merit to eat the Korban Pessach soon, in our lifetime.

- Danny Wednesday, 7 Nissan 5769

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