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

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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