Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Halocho #701 - Who should light the Chanukah Menorah?

This year Chanukah starts on Thursday, 2nd December 2010. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 1st Dec.

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
Tuesday, 23 Kislev 5771

Monday, November 29, 2010

Halocho #700 - 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
Monday, 22 Kislev 5771

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Halocho #699 - Bracha when lighting the Chanukah Menorah?

On the first night of Chanukah one says 3 Brachot:

1. Lehadlik Ner Sel Chanukah - "Blessed... to light the Chanukah lights"

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוקינו מלך העולם
 אשר קדשנו במצותיו
וצונו להדליק נר שלחנוכה

2. She'Asa Nissim La'Avoteinu Bayamim Hahem Bazman Hazeh - "Blessed.. who did miracles for our ancestors in those days at this season"

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוקינו מלך העולם
 שעשה נסים לאבותינו
בימים ההם בזמן הזה

3. Shehechiyanu - "Blessed... who has kept us alive, sustained us and permitted us to reach this occasion."

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוקינו מלך העולם,
שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה

These Brachot are said before lighting.

On the other 7 nights one only says the first 2 Brachot.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  139:12, 13

- Danny
Sunday, 21 Kislev 5771

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Halocho #698 - Oil or candles for Shabbat and Chanukah?

For lighting Shabbat candles one may only use a combination of fuel and wicks that together produce a steady non-flickering light.

For Chanukah one may use any fuel and wick combination that will burn for the required time. Preferably one should use something that provides a steady light, like our candles. Best is to use olive oil, since the Chanukah miracle happened with olive oil.

Wicks should be made of cotton wool.

There is no need to use new wicks every night.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:4

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 18 Kislev 5771

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Halocho #697 - Menora: Artisic and Silver

If one uses clay lamps for the Menorah then one has to replace them every night.

When using glass holders one must make sure they are clean; not oily or smoky from the previous night.

Best is to use a nice metal Menorah. If one can afford it, one should buy a silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva.

The wicks on a Menorah must all be at the same level; you cannot have some higher and some lower.

The Shamash should be higher. Its purpose is to provide light so that you don't use the Chanukah lights which are for "display and not for use".

The wicks should be far enough away from each other that they don't join and become a torch. If using candles they mustn't be close enough to melt each other.

The wicks do not have to be in a straight line; a Menorah can be shaped as a semi-circular or even a full circle.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5, 9
- Danny
Wednesday, 17 Kislev 577

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Halocho #696 - 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 fix the problem and 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 139:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 16 Kislev 5771

Monday, November 22, 2010

Halocho #695 - 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
Monday, 15 Kislev 5771

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Halocho #694 - Traveler's guide to Chanukah

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

If one is traveling, and one's 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.

If one comes home past the time for lighting candles, one should light as soon as possible. As long as some other member of the household is still awake, one lights with a Bracha. If nobody else is awake anymore, one lights without a Bracha.

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, 14 Kislev 5771

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Halocho #693 - Flowerpots on Shabbat

Picking fruit or flowers that are growing in a flowerpot is forbidden on Shabbat; it's no different to plants growing in the ground.

Moving a flowerpot from the floor to an elevated surface is forbidden on Shabbat, since the plant draws nourishment from the floor, and this would be similar to uprooting it, which is forbidden.

Similarly,  moving a flowerpot from a table or other surface to the floor would be similar to planting which is forbidden on Shabbat.

The above applies to flowerpot made of any material, and irrespective of whether or not it has a hole on the bottom.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:61

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 11 Kislev 5771

Please daven for
Noa Chaya bas Nava Yehudis,
who has been diagnosed with symptomatic West Syndrome

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halocho #692 - 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 one's obligation. One needs to extinguish it and light it again, but without the Brachot.

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. - 33 ft. ) from the floor.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:8, 13

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Kislev 5771

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Halocho #691 - 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 Thursday, 2nd December 2010. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 1st Dec.

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

On weekdays the Chanukah lights should be lit at nightfall and should be able to burn for at least 30 minutes.

Chanukah lights can already be lit from Plag HaMincha (75 Halachic minutes before nightfall).

Even when lighting earlier, the Menorah has to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1, 10

There are 2 opinions regarding nightfall: Some say it refers to dusk, other say it refers to 3 stars appearing (like Motzai Shabbat). Everybody should follow their family custom.

- Danny
Tuesday, 9 Kislev 5771

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halocho #690 - Is a Bar Mitzva meal a Se'udat Mitzva?

It's a Mitzva to celebrate a Bar Mitzva with a meal.

If the meal is not on the boy's 13th Hebrew birthday, then the Bar Mitzva boy has to give a Torah-related sermon for it to be considered a Se'udat Mitzva.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:8

- Danny
Monday, 8 Kislev 5771

Please pray for Moshe Ben David

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Halocho #689 - The Bracha on a Bar Mitzva

A boy becomes Bar Mitzva at age 13 and is then considered a full adult. It is customary to call him up to the Torah as soon as possible after his 13th birthday.

After he had been called up to the Torah and said the final Bracha, his father then makes a Bracha:

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר פטרני מעונשו של זה

Blessed are You, Hashem, our Gcd, King of the universe, Who has freed me from the punishement due this boy.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:8

- Danny
Sunday, 7 Kislev 5771

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Halocho #688 - Items hanging on trees on Shabbat

Picking fruit is forbidden on Shabbat.

On Shabbat one may not even remove items hanging from trees.

If there's a basket hanging on a tree, one may not even remove items from the basket, nor put items into the basket.

If the basket is hanging from a hook that is screwed into the tree, one may not remove the basket (nor hang it up).

However, if the basket is hanging from a hook that is screwed into the tree, one may remove items from the basket, as well as add items into the basket on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:60

So, it would seem that if the hammock is tied to hooks that are screwed into the trees - and the trees won't move when swinging on the hammock (as we learnt 2 weeks ago) - it shoud be permissible to use a hammock on Shabbat.

Source: http://www.zomet.org.il/Eng/?CategoryID=160&ArticleID=6381

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 4 Kislev 5771

--> VirtualGeula has a selection of Shabbat-related books <--

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halocho #687 - May a worker go on a starvation diet?

In this week's Parsha we learn that Yaakov said to Lavan's daughters "with all my might I worked for your father".

All employees have to work to the best of their ability.

A worker may not fast (besides on obligatory fast days) nor go on a starvation diet, if that will have a negative effect on his work.

This includes teachers as well as any other paid employee.

If one hires out one's animals, then one may not work with them at night if that will tire them out the next day.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:6

- Danny
Wednesday, 3 Kislev 5771

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halocho #686 - Is moonlighting allowed?

In this week's Parsha we learn that Yaakov said to Lavan's daughters "with all my might I worked for your father".

All employees have to work to the best of their ability.

A worker may not take on a extra night job, if that will effect his performance the next day.

If one hires out one's animals, then one may not work with them at night if that will tire them out the next day.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:6

- Danny
Tuesday, 2 Kislev 5771

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halocho #685 - 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
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5771

Please daven for Rabbi Asher ben Gohar

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halocho #684 - Ya'aleh VeYavo - it's Rosh Chodesh!

Today (Sunday) and tomorrow are Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

One needs to add Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא  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 - יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא  - in Birkat Hamazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Sunday, 30 Marchesvan, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5771

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halocho #683 - Shabbat is Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev

This Sunday and Monday is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

When the 3rd Shabbat 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 Birkat Hamazon.

What happens when both of the above happen together?

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

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

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

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:17

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Thursday, 27 Marchesvan 5771

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halocho #682 - Tomorrow is Yom Kippour Kattan

The day before Rosh Chodesh is called Yom Kippour Kattan.

If Rosh Chodesh is on Shabbat or Sunday then Yom Kippour Kattan is on Thursday.

In certain communities, 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 even have the custom to fast on Yom Kippour Kattan.

Tomorrow - Thursday - is Yom Kippour Kattan. Rosh Chodesh Kislev will be on Sunday and Monday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1, 128:1

- Danny
Wednesday, 26 Marcheshvan 5771

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halocho #681 - It's going to be a long year

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

This year - 5771 - has 13 months; the 11th month - Shevat - is followed by Adar-I and then Adar-II. Purim is in Adar-II

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 - 5771 - is a "full year" with both Marcheshvan and Kislev having 30 days.

Adar-I is always 30 days long, even though Shevat is 30 days long.

This year - 5751 - is 385 days long, a full 55 weeks. As a result, Pessach will once again start on Tuesday, and Rosh Hashana will once again be on Thursday-Friday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221:4

- Danny
Tuesday, 25 Marcheshvan 5771

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halocho #680 - Finder's keepers?

If you find Jewish property that is obviously lost, you have an obligation to return it to it's owner.

However, if the object was "put down" and not dropped, then you are not allowed to move it; if you move it you are preventing the owner from finding it.

When in doubt, leave it alone, unless you know who the owner is and you will return it to them immediately.

Similarly, if you can prevent somebody else's property from being destroyed, damaged or stolen, you have an obligation to do so.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 187:1, 3

- Danny
Monday, 24 Marcheshvan 5771