Sunday, February 28, 2010

Halocho #524 - Shushan Purim is tonight

Today - Sunday - Purim is celebrated in most of the world.

The Purim meal should begin with a Dvar-Torah. Since Purim is 30 days before Pessach, the following is an appropriate Purim-meal Dvar-Torah:

“The laws of Pessach in Shulchan Aruch begin with: One should start learning the laws of Pessach thirty days before Pessach.”

In Jerusalem - and other cities that were walled in the time Joshua-ben-Nun conquered the Holy Land - we celebrate Shushan-Purim a day later.

On both Purim and Shushan-Purim Tachanun, Kel-Erach-Apaim and Lamenatze'ach are not said and fasting is not allowed.

Don't forget to add עַל הַנִּסִּים during Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:9

- Danny who celebrates Purim tomorrow.
Sunday, 14 Adar 5769

Next Halocho-a-day on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Halocho #523 - Destroy and remember

This Shabbat - the one before Purim - is Parshat Zachor.

There is an opinion that it's a Torah obligation to hear Parshat Zachor being read in shul this week, and if you don't have a Minyan near home you need to go to a town with a Minyan for this Shabbat.

If a Minyan cannot be found, Parshat Zachor should be read even without a Minyan.
A second Sefer Torah is taken out and for Maftir we read about the obligation to annihilate the nation of Amalek and remember their wickedness.

For the Haftara we read the story of King Saul's attempt to fulfill the Mitzva of annihilating Amalek. (Shmuel-1 Ch. 15)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2, 3

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, Fast of Esther, 11 Adar 5770

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Halocho #522 - When is Ta'anit Esther?

When Purim is on Sunday - like this year - then the fast of Esther is on the Thursday before. (That's tomorrow!)

If one forgets to fast on Thursday, one fasts the next day - on Friday.

Ta'anit Esther is not as stringent as other fast days, and expecting and nursing mother do not fast, nor does anybody who is unwell. When in doubt, consult with a Rabbi.

The custom is to give 3 coins to charity after Mincha on Ta'anit Esther. Each coin should be half the local currency - half dollar, half shekel, etc.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:5

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Adar 5770

Please daven for Sarah Rochel bat Genya

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Halocho #521 – When did Esther fast?

Over 2,300 years ago, two days before Pessach, Haman decreed that all the Jews would be destroyed on 13th Adar, eleven months later.

After consulting with her cousin Mordechai, Queen Esther declared a 3-day long fast that lasted through the first days of Pessach, after which she went – uninvited – to the king and invited him and Haman to a wine feast.

At the wine feast she invited them to a second wine feast where which she gained royal permission for the Jews to defend themselves.

Jews always fast and pray when going out to war, and so they did on Adar 13, 3406 (354 BCE). On Adar 14 they celebrated their victory.

Ta’anis Esther is the only one of the 6 fast days not mentioned in Tanach.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1,8, Esther 2:7, 3:12-9:30

- Danny
Tuesday, 9 Adar 5770

Please daven for the recovery of young father, David ben Mashiah, and for Hoshea ben Moshe

Monday, February 22, 2010

Halocho #520 - How do we publicize the miracle of Purim?

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is hearing Megilat Esther being read at night and again in the morning.

One needs to hear every single word to fulfill this Mitzva.

The Megila should be heard in a shul if possible; the bigger the crowd the bigger the publicity of the miracle.

Everybody needs to hear the Megila including men, women and children old enough to attend without disturbing.

The reading needs to be done from a Kosher Megila; one that is handwritten by a Sofer on parchment.

The entire Megila - some 20 columns in a standard edition - is unrolled and folded like a letter before it is read.

Three Brochos are recited before the Megila is read (both in the evening and the morning) and a single one after the reading.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Oruch 141:7, 9, 10, 11

- Danny
Monday, 8 Adar 5770

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Halocho #519 - Yahrzeit of our teacher Moses; Moshe Rabeinu

Today (according to most opinions), 7 Adar, is the Yahrzeit of our teacher Moses - Moshe Rabeinu - and is a Ta'anis Tzadikim.

Many Jewish Burial Societies [Chevra Kadisha] have their annual meeting today, including fasting and special prayers.

Halachot related to Moshe Rabeinu:

When babies start talking one should teach them the verse "תּוֹרָה צִוָּה-לָנוּ, משֶׁה. מוֹרָשָׁה, קְהִלַּת יַעֲקב" and Shma Yisrael...", after ensuring that they are clean while being taught.

Moshe Rabeinu went up to Har-Sinai to get the 2nd set of tablets on a Thursday and came down on a Monday, which is why these 2 days are auspicious for praying - and we therefore add the long "Vehu Rachum" prayer before Tachanun on these 2 days.

There's a limit as to how long one may mourn a deceased - but even for a great Torah scholar one may not mourn longer than 30 days, as nobody can be greater than our teacher Moshe for whom it is stated "and they mourned Moshe for 30 days".

Sources: Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 58:2, KSA 165:10, 22:9, 215:1

- Danny
Sunday, 7 Adar 5770

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Halocho #518 - If you forget to day Al Hanisim - עַל הַנִּסִּים on Purim

On Purim 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 מרדכי

and then continue with the rest of the עַל הַנִּסִּים.

During every Amida of Purim 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

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 4 Adar 5770

P.S. You can find Shabbat-related posts in the archives at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Halocho #517 - Purim gifts for your friends

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is Mishlo’ach Manot; sending at least two food items to one fellow Jew.

These 2 food items need to be ready to eat. For example fruit, wine, cake or cooked meat.

It’s commendable to send Mishlo’ach Manot to a lot of people, but it’s even better to spend more on Matonot La’Evyonim to the poor and needy.

Both men and women need to send Mishlo’ach Manot. Men should send to men, women should send to women.

A mourner (in the 12 months for parents or 30 days for siblings, spouse or child) also needs to send Mishlo’ach Manot. One does not send Mishlo’ach Manot to a mourner unless there are no other Jews around.

One may give Matonos L’evyonim to a needy mourner.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:1, 2, 4, 7

- Danny
Wednesday, 3 Adar 5770

Please daven for newborn Noa Chaya bat Nava Yehudit, who is recovering from open heart surgery

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Halocho #516 - Purim gifts for the poor

One of the 613 Mitzvot in the Torah is to obey the Torah Sages. The Sages instituted Purim and its Mitzvot.

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is Matanot La'Evyonim - to send gifts to at least two needy people. This gift is usually money.

Even somebody who lives off charity needs to fulfill this Mitzva.

One needn't hand the gifts directly to the needy; one can send them via messenger (or charity organization).

Purim is the only day of the year one does not check credentials; anybody who asks for charity on Purim is given something.

Both men and women have an obligation to give Matanot La'Evyonim. Men may send Matanot La'Evyonim to women and vice versa.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:3-4

- Danny
Tuesday, 2 Adar 5770

Please daven for newborn Noa Chaya bat Nava Yehudit, who is recovering from open heart surgery

Monday, February 15, 2010

Halocho #515 - Be happy! Adar is here

One increases joy when Adar begins because Adar and (next month) Nissan historically have been full of miracles, including the redemption from Egypt and (nearly a millennium later) the miracle of Purim.

Adar is considered an auspicious month for the Jews.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1

- Danny
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Adar 5770

Please daven for newborn Noa Chaya bat Nava Yehudit, who is recovering from open heart surgery

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Halocho #514 - 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
Sunday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Adar 5770

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Halocho #513 - Rosh Chodesh on Sunday and Monday

This Sunday and Monday is Rosh Chodesh Adar

When the 3rd Shabbos meal continues into the night, one still inserts Retzai – רצה during Birkas Hamazon (grace after meals).

When one starts a meal on Erev Rosh Chodesh and eats a Kezayit (the size of an olive – 27 cc) of bread after dark, one inserts Ya’aleh V’Yavo – יעלה ויבוא during Birkas Hamazon.

What happens when both of the above happen together?

If Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday and one eats a Kezayis of bread after dark during the 3rd Shabbos meal, then one inserts both Retzai – רצה and Ya’aleh V’Yavo – יעלה ויבוא during Birkas Hamazon.

However, some argue that mentioning both is a contradiction – since Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh aren’t on the same day.

Therefore one should be careful not to eat after dark at the 3rd Shabbos meal when Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday.

The same concept applies to Al-Hanism in 2 weeks time when Purim will be on Sunday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:17

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach

- Danny
Thursday, 27 Shvat 5770

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Halocho #512 - Shabbat Shekalim

This week is Shabbat Shekalim and 2 Torah Scrolls are taken out.

After the regular Torah Reading - Parshat Mishpatim - we read the beginning of Parshat  כי תשא (Shemot Ch. 30, Verses 11-16) in the second Sefer Torah.

This is followed by the Haftara for Shekalim from Melachim-2 Ch.11

This is to remind us of the half-Shekel that everybody donated yearly to finance the daily sacrifices in the Bet Hamikdash, may we merit to see it rebuilt, speedily in our days.

Shabbat is also Shabbat Mevarchim of the upcoming month of Adar. Rosh Chodesh Adar will be on Sunday and Monday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:1

- Danny
Wednesday, 26 Shvat 5770

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Halocho #511 - Kaddish when there are 2 Torah scrolls

On a regular Shabbat, a Kaddish is said after reading the Parsha, before the Maftir is read.

When 2 Torah scrolls are used - like this coming week - then the second Torah scroll is put on the Bima next to the first one and the Kadish is said over both.

(This Thursday will be Yom Kippour Katan.)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 79:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 25 Shvat 5770

Monday, February 8, 2010

Halocho #510 - When does the younger boy become Bar Mitzva first?

Thirteen years ago - 1997 - תשנ"ז was a leap year - with an Adar-1 and an Adar-2

Boys born in both these months become Bar Mitzva next month - in Adar.

As a result, a boy born on the first day of Adar-2 5757 will become Bar Mitzva this Sunday, 29 days before the boy who was born 2 days before him on 29 Adar-1 5757.

A boy who was born on 30 Adar-1 should consult a competent Rabbinic authority how to proceed, as there's a dispute if he becomes Bar Mitzva on Rosh Chodesh Adar or Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221, Lu'ach Dvar B'Itoh (30 Adar-1)

- Danny

Monday, 24 Shvat 5770

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Halocho # 509 - Honoring other family members

A person must honor his father's wife and his mother's husband.

A person must honor his father-in-law and his mother-in-law.

A person must honor his grandparents, though his parents' honor has priority.

A person must honor his older brother; even if he's a half-brother.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:19-20

- Danny
Sunday, 23 Shvat 5770

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Halocho # 508 - Knots on Shabbat

Taking both ends of a string and crossing them over - like when tying your shoes - is permitted on Shabbat.

Crossing them over twice - thereby creating a knot - is forbidden.

Tying a knot at the end of a piece of string is also forbidden. Joining 2 or more pieces of string this way is also forbidden.

Tying knots is one of the 39 forbidden categories of work forbidden on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:45

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 20 Shvat 5770

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Halocho #507 – Respecting parents

If your mother requests something be done and your father then asks "who asked you to do this?", and giving the correct answer will cause animosity between your parents, then you should not blame your mother, even if this causes your father to be angry at you.

One is obligated to stand when either parent enters the room.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143: 6 – 7.

- Danny
Wednesday, 19 Shvat 5770

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Halocho #506 - Waking one's parents

This Shabbat we will read the 10 commandments - so we are reviewing the laws of the 5th commandment.

One may not wake up one's parents even if it is going to cause one a major monetary loss.

However if one's parents are going to suffer a monetary loss and they will be distressed over the loss then one must wake them.

So too one should wake them in time for prayers or for any other Mitzva.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:4

- Danny
Tuesday, 18 Shvat 5770

Monday, February 1, 2010

Halocho#505 - Honoring Parents

Honoring parents includes feeding them, clothing and covering them as well as accompanying them.

All the above must be done cheerfully - as the attitude counts more than the actions; one gets punished for being dour around ones parents even if one serves them delicacies.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:3

- Danny
Monday, 17 Shvat 5770