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