Thursday, July 29, 2010

Halocho #621 - Smearing on Shabbat

Smearing non-edibles on Shabbat is forbidden, including wax, plaster, tar, putty, clay and creams.

One may not put wax or similar into holes on Shabbat, to seal them.

One may not dab a small amount of the above on a book or wall as a placeholder.

One may smear food; butter onto bread for example.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:58, Orach Chaim 321:19

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 18 Menachem Av 5770

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Halocho #620 - How do I know if fruit is Kosher?

Fresh fruit is always Kosher, however it may have an Orlo problem, as per yesterday and Sunday's Halocho.

When in doubt if the tree is less than 4 years old:

- In Israel the fruit from such a tree is forbidden. (This is one of the reasons that fruit needs Rabbinic Supervision in Israel. Other issues include Shmita, "Neta Revo'i"  and the separation of Terumot and Ma'asrot.)

- Outside of Israel the fruit is allowed, as long as you don’t pick it yourself. This is the way Moshe was given the Halocho at Har Sinai.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 173:2, Mishna Orlo, 3:9

- Danny
Wednesday, 17 Menachem Av 5770

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Halocho #619 - What comes after Orlo?

Orlo is the Torah prohibition of eating fruit from tress less than 3 years old, as per Sunday's Halocho.

In the 4th year the fruit is called "Neta Revo'i" and needs to be "redeemed" by transferring its status onto a coin. The coin needs to be worth at least a "peruta" (0.025 grams of pure silver; currently less than 2 US pennies.)

One says "I am redeeming the Neta Revo'i into this coin". The coin is then destroyed and disposed of. Instead of a coin one can use fruit worth 2 pennies, which then needs to be destroyed.

After redeeming them, the "Neta Revo'i" (4th year fruit) can be eaten, anywhere by anybody.

Sources: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 173:2, Mishna Orlo, 3:9

- Danny
Tuesday, 16 Menachem Av 5770

Monday, July 26, 2010

Halocho #618 - Why is Tu B'Av a joyous day?

A number of joyous events happened over the years on Tu B'Av.

- It was the day the Generation-of-the-Wilderness realized that the sin of the spies had been forgiven, in the year 2488.

- It was the day that the tribes were allowed to intermarry, including orphaned daughters (as per Bemidbar 36:8) once all those who conquered the Land had passed away.

- On the same day the tribe of Binyamin were allowed to intermarry with other tribes, after the scandal of Give'ah (as per Shoftim 19 - 21), around the year 2524.

- It was the day that King Hoshea ben Elah removed the blockades that the wicked King Yerav'am ben Nevat had placed on the roads, preventing the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the Festivals about 75 years earlier, around the year 3040.

- It was the day the Romans allowed those massacred by the wicked Hadrian in Beitar to be buried, some time after he died in 138 (C.E).

- It was the day they stopped chopping wood for the altar in the Bet Hamikdash every year, as it marks the end of "summer" (as per Rashi on Breishis 8:22) and the start of the 2 months of "heat". The wood had to be worm free to be used on the altar, and had to be fully dried before the rainy season.

This gave everybody more time for learning Torah - and therefore Tu B'Av is the Joyous Day of Increased Torah Learning (and one does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Av.)

Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol 3 page 307-313

Increase Torah learning on FaceBook; click on and invite your Jewish friends to sign up to this Torah group.

- Danny
Monday, ט"ו באב - 15 Menachem Av 5770

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Halocho #617 - Three years of Orlo for trees

For 3 years after planting a tree, one may not eat its fruit, nor derive any benefit from the fruit, peels or pits. This is a Torah prohibition and applies to trees planted anywhere on the planet by anybody.

How to count these 3 years:

- Trees planted until Tu B'av (tomorrow - 15th of the month of Av; 45 days before Rosh Hashana) have their first birthday on Rosh Hashana, and 2 years later they turn "three years old".

- Trees planted less than 45 days before Rosh Hashana need to count three years from their first Rosh Hashana.

The laws of Orlo apply to trees grown from shoots or pits, and sometimes to trees that have been replanted. A tree that has was cut and its stump is less than 1 Tefach (about 9 cm) high becomes Orlo again.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 173:1,3,4

One does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Av, nor at Mincha the afternoon before. The bride and groom do not fast on their wedding day if it's on Tu B'Av.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 146:2

- Danny
Sunday, 14 Menachem Av 5770

Please daven for a complete recovery of Pola Bat Chaya Malkah

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Halocho #616 - Shabbat Nachamu

Usually the Haftara is connected to the weekly Torah Reading.

During the 7 weeks following the fast of 9 B'Av we read the Seven Haftarot of Consolation from Yeshayahu.

This Shabbat is named after the opening words of the first of the Seven Haftarot of Consolation: נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי  - Hashem instructs the prophet Yeshayahu to "Console, console My people". (Isaiah Ch. 40)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:4, 22:8,

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 11 Menachem Av 5770

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Halocho #615 - Tish'a B'Av isn't over yet

We mourn and fast on 9 B'Av since the Bet Hamikdash was burned to the ground. The fire was ignited on 9 B'Av in the afternoon and burned throughout the 10th of Av.

Therefore the restrictions of "the 9 days" continue until after midday on the 10th of Av (today - Wednesday).

The custom is to refrain from eating meat and wine, bathing, doing laundry, shaving and haircuts, saying Shehechiyanu and listening to music until Wednesday after noon.

One may make a Se'udat Mitzvah (like a Brit) in the morning, with meat and wine.

(When 9 B'Av is on Thursday - as will happen in 10 years time if the Bet Hamikdash is not yet rebuilt - then these Halalchot are slightly different.)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:20-22

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Menachem Av 5770

Monday, July 19, 2010

Halocho #614 - Who must fast on 9 B'Av?

On 9 B'Av (from sunset today - Monday afternoon - until nightfall on Tuesday evening) almost everybody needs to fast.

Pregnant and nursing mothers need to fast on 9 B'Av even if it causes them discomfort, unless it's dangerous to their health.

When in doubt, consult your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi).

During the first 7 days after childbirth, a mother is not allowed to fast.

Anybody who isn't healthy should only fast for a few hours. This includes a mother between 7 and 30 days after childbirth unless she feels up to fasting. When in doubt, consult your LOR.

Children are not allowed to fast.

Those who are not fasting should limit their food intake to the bare minimum; only bread and water if possible.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:6

- Danny
Monday, 8 Menachem Av 5770

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Halocho #613 - Can we sit on chairs on 9 B'Av?

On the fast of 9 B'Av it is customary not to sit on chairs from the time the fast begins (Monday afternoon before sunset) until noon the following day (Tuesday).

Instead, one sits on the floor. Anything within 3 Tefachim (about 9" - 24 cm) of the floor is considered as being on the floor.

After noon one may sit on regular chairs. However, all other restrictions of the fast apply until the fast is over at night-fall.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124: 16

- Danny
Sunday, 7 Menachem Av 5770

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Halocho #612 - What about Havdala and Kiddush Levana this week?

One makes Havdala as usual this week using wine (and spices and a candle).

If there is a small child who can drink most of the cup of wine, then one gives it to him to drink.

If not, then the person making Havdala drinks the wine.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:8

Some people have the custom of using beer for Havdala this week. If one uses beer for Havdala then the first Bracha needs to be "Shehakol" instead of "Borei Pri Hagofen".

Source: Halachos of the 3 weeks by Rav Shimon Eider zt"l page 7

My Rosh Yeshiva - Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l - always used wine for Havdala and always drank it himself.

One does not say Kiddush Levana (the monthly blessing over the new moon) until after the fast of 9 B'Av. On Motzai Yom Kippour one can say Kiddush Levana immediately after Ma'ariv (the evening prayers). On Motzai 9 B'Av one may not say Kiddush Levana until one has broken the fast and put on shoes.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:19, 130:6

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 4 Menachem Av 5770

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Halocho #611 - May one wear shoes at The Final Meal?

The "Seudat Mafseket - final meal" before the fast of 9 B'Av - is eaten while seated on the floor.

The meal typically consists of only a cold hard boiled egg and bread which is dipped into ashes. (One does not have to eat the ashes.)

This meal must end before sunset.

Before this meal one may eat a regular meal.

One may wear ones leather shoes during this meal.

One does not wear leather shoes on the fast of 9 b'Av; one must remove them before sunset - next Monday afternoon this year.

One may wear shoes that have no leather in them; cloth, rubber and wood are OK.

- Danny
Wednesday, 3 Menachem Av 5770
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 123:3, 5

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Halocho #610 - May one do work on 9 B'Av?

One may do "minor" work on the fast of 9 B'Av, such as turning on lights and driving.

Any work that takes times, as well as all business dealings, should not be done until noon, so as not to get distracted from mourning the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash - the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

While one may go to work and open ones business on 9 B'Av afternoon, it's commendable not to.

One may have a non-Jew do ones work on 9 B'Av, and one may do any work needed to prevent a monetary loss.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124:15

- Danny
Tuesday, 2 Menachem Av 5770

Monday, July 12, 2010

Halocho #609 - Why do we fast on 9 B'Av?

Unless Moshiach comes first, the fast of 9 B'Av will start next week on Monday afternoon and will last for about 25 hours until after nightfall on Tuesday.

The fast of 9 B'Av commemorates 5 tragedies that befell the Jewish people on that date:

- It was decreed that the generation which left Egypt would remain in the desert for 40 years and not enter the land of Israel, after believing the inaccurate report of 10 of the 12 spies over 3,000 years ago

- The first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av almost 2,500 years ago.

- The second Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av about 1950 years ago.

- The city of Betar was captured and tens of thousands of Jews were killed about 1,800 years ago.

- The wicked Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Bet Hamikdash and its surroundings and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, about 1,800 years ago.

Since these tragedies occurred on 9 B'Av, it was decreed as a day of fasting and mourning.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:5

Other tragedies that happened on 9 B'Av:

- 4,000 Jews were expelled from England by King Edward I in the year 5050 (18 July 1290)

- 300,000 Jews were expelled from Spain by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in the year 5252 (2 August 1492)

- Word War 1 started in 5674 - 1 August 1914 - with Germany declaring war on Russia

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Monday, Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av 5770

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Halocho #608 - No more meat leftovers!

From Rosh Chodesh Av (tonight - Sunday evening) until midday on 10th Av (21 July) is the period known as the "9 days".

The custom is to not eat meat and chicken and to not drink wine during the "9 days", except on Shabbat.

Food cooked together with meat should not be eaten - even if one doesn't eat the meat.

Those who need to eat meat (or drink wine) for health reasons, may do so. If possible, even they should refrain (with the Doctor's permission) from the 7th of Av; the day the Romans entered the Bet Hamikdash.

At a Se'udat Mitzva (a Mitzva meal) - a Brit, Pidyon HaBen or Siyum - one may serve meat and wine. Besides for close family, one may invite up to 10 friends whom one normally invites.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:8

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Sunday, 29 Tamuz 5770

Please daven for a complete recovery for
Chagai Yitzchak ben Pnina - חגי יצחק בן פנינה

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Halocho #607 - Don't interrupt the voyage

This week we read the double Parsha of Matos-Mas'ay. Parshat מסעי begins by listing the 42 encampments the wandering Jews had during their 40 years in the desert.

All 42 encampments should be read together during the same "Aliya".

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 78:4

After the last Aliya the congregation says "חֲזַק חֲזַק וְנִתְחַזַּק" in honour of finishing the 4th Chumash - Bemidbar.

The Haftara this week is שמעו - the 2nd chapter of Yirmiyahu.

See for more Shabbat related Halachot.

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 26 Tamuz 5770

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Halocho #606 - Last chance for laundry

When the month of Av begins, one diminishes joy. From Rosh Chodesh Av until midday on 10th Av is the period known as the "9 days".

During the 9 days one does not do any laundry even if one only intends wearing the clothes after the 9 days. One may not even give laundry to a non-Jew to wash during the 9 days, but a Jew may do laundry for non-Jews.

One does not wear freshly laundered clothes during the 9 days except on Shabbat. This does not apply to garments worn directly on the body; undergarments, socks, PJs and the like.

One may not change bed linens, tablecloths and towels during the 9 days.

The "9 days" starts on Sunday evening (11 July / Rosh Chodesh Av) and ends 10 days later on Wednesday after noon (21 July / 10 Av).

==> Therefore it's advisable to prepare a week's supply of shirts, pants, skirts, etc. by wearing them for a short while before Rosh Chodesh. One can also prepare towels by using them once.

Baby clothing that get dirty all the time and needs to be changed many times a day are exempt from the above and may be laundered and used during the 9 days.

Anything halachically required for her 7 clean days, a Niddah may launder and wear during the 9 days.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:9

To see a chart (in Hebrew) with the differences between Ashkenazi and Sefardi customs in the 3 weeks, goto

- Danny
Wednesday, 25 Tamuz 5770

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Halocho #605 - Should I keep the Bet Hamikdash in mind?

After the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) certain types of joy were forbidden and certain acts of mourning were instituted "Zecher L'Churban" - as a reminder of the destruction.

One may not plaster ones entire house; a square Ama (~50 cm x 50 cm) of wall opposite [or above] the front door should be left bare to recall the destruction.
The reason many people don't do so nowadays is unclear.

A woman should never wear all her jewelry at the same time.

Some ashes are put on a groom's head before the Chuppa (wedding ceremony) on the spot he usually wears his Tefilin.

A bride's veil should not have gold nor silver threads.

A plate is broken at the engagement, and a cup under the Chuppa.

All these [and more] are done Zecher L'Churban - as a reminder of the destruction.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 126:1,2

- Danny
Tuesday, 24 Tamuz 5770

Please daven for a complete recovery for
Chagai Yitzchak ben Pnina - חגי יצחק בן פנינה

Monday, July 5, 2010

Halocho #604 - Why be sad when visiting the Kotel?

The Kotel ("Wailing wall") is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount where the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) stood until it was destroyed over 1,900 years ago.

The Kotel "plaza" is outside the Temple Mount. Every prayer of ours - Amida and Birkat Hamazon - includes a supplication to once again be able to serve Hashem on the other side of the Kotel; from inside the rebuilt Bet Hamikdash.

When seeing the place where the Bet Hamikdash stood, one needs to do Kri'a; tear ones clothes in the same way that mourners do.

One only needs to tear Kri'a if one hasn't been in Jerusalem for more than 30 days.

Source Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 561

The prevalent Yerushalmi custom is to not tear Kri'a on days one doesn't say Tachanun, including Friday afternoons.

- Danny
Monday, 23 Tamuz 5770

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Halocho #603 - May one get engaged during the 3 weeks?

We learned that the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) started on 17 Tammuz with the breaching of the walls, and ended 3 weeks later when it was set alight.

During this period of mourning we do not get married.

Getting engaged is permitted during the 3 weeks.

Until Rosh Chodesh Av one may even celebrate with a festive meal, but without music. After Rosh Chodesh Av one may not have a festive meal, but one may serve refreshments.

One may even get engaged on a fast day, but no food may be served.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1

- Danny
Sunday, 22 Tamuz 5770

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Halocho #602 - Cutting nails during the 3 weeks?

One may cut one's nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls.

On each Shabbat of the "3 weeks" we read a Haftara in which the prophet warned about the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash.

The first week (this week) we read the first chapter of Yirmiyahu, which is the Haftara for "Matos" in most Chumashim.

The second week we read most of the second chapter of Yirmiyahu.

The third week we read the the first chapter of Yeshayahu - Chazon; most of it in the sad tune that Megilat Eicha is read.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:6, 5

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 19 Tamuz 5770