Monday, January 31, 2011

Halocho #736 - Bat/Bar Mitzvas in a Jewish leap year

This year is a Jewish leap year; the 12th month (starting on Shabbat) will be Adar-I (or "Adar-Alef" or "Adar-Rishon") and the 13th month will be Adar-II (or "Adar-Bet" or "Adar-Sheni").

Girls and boys born in Adar (12 and 13 years ago) do not become Bat/Bar Mitzva until Adar II.

Girls born in either Adar-I or Adar-II this year will become Bat Mitzva in Adar, in 12 years time.

In 13 years time will again be a leap year, so boys born in either Adar-I or Adar-II this year will be Bar Mitzva on their "real" birthday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 15:2

- Danny
Monday, 26 Shvat 5771

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Halocho #735 - What Bracha to make on fruit pits?

If one eats fruit pits that are bitter and inedible, one does not make a Bracha when eating them.

If one improved bitter pits by roasting them (or otherwise), one says the Bracha of "Shehakol".

If one eats fruit pits that are naturally edible, one says the Bracha of "HaAdama".

If one eats the pits while eating the fruit , then they are included in the Bracha of HaEtz that one made on the fruit.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:10

- Danny
Sunday, 25 Shvat 5771

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Halocho #734 - Erasing on Shabbat

The same way that writing is forbidden on Shabbat, so too is erasing forbidden.

There are opinions that it is forbidden to open books that have writing along the edge.

The custom is to allow opening such books - even though the writing will be "broken" and again "repaired" when one closes the book.

However, it is best to not write along the edge of books that will be used on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:63-64

Shabbat Shalom
- Danny
Thursday, 22 Shvat 5771

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Halocho #733 - Bracha on truffles and mushrooms

The correct Bracha before eating truffles and mushrooms is שֶׁהַכּוֹל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ

Even though they usually grow on the ground, they do not grow from the ground; they get their nourishment from the air.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:3

- Danny
Wednesday, 21 Shvat 5771

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Halocho #732 - Bracha after eating grapes

After eating grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives and figs one says the "short 1-in-3 Birkat HaMazon" (often referred to as "Al HaMichya") with the עַל הָעֵץ ועַל פּרִי הָעֵץ  - "on the trees and the fruit of the trees" option.

If one ate grapes and mistakenly used the עַל הַגֶּפֶן ועַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן -  "on the vine and the fruit of the vine" option, one does not need to correct it, since grapes are also the "fruit of the vine."

On all other fruit, the after-Bracha is "Boreh Nefashot".

Fruit eaten during a meal are covered by the Birkat HaMazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 56:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 20 Shvat 5771

Monday, January 24, 2011

Halocho #731 - HaGefen on grapes???

The correct Bracha before eating grapes is בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ - "who creates the fruit of the tree".

The correct Bracha before drinking wine is בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן - "who creates the fruit of the vine".

If one mistakenly says בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן on grapes, one can eat the grapes without making another Bracha, since grapes are also the "fruit of the vine."

If one mistakenly says בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ on wine, then one should try correct it immediately (within the time it takes to say 3 words). If one delayed longer than that, one can still drink the wine without another Bracha.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 56:1,3

- Danny
Monday, 19 Shvat 5771

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Halocho #730 - Chop down trees?

One is not allowed to chop down fruit bearing trees without a good reason. Besides for the transgression of wasting, doing so is also considered to be dangerous.

If a tree is preventing other trees from growing, then it may be chopped down.

If lots of trees are growing together in a small area, then one may chop down some of them so that the others can flourish.

If one needs the space that the tree is growing on, then it may be chopped down.

If the wood of the tree is more valuable than its fruits, it can be chopped down for the wood.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 33:11

- Danny
Sunday, 18 Shvat 5771

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Halocho #729 - What happens on Tu B'Shvat?

Our Sages have designated the 15th of Shvat - Tu B'Shvat- as the boundary between one year and another, since (in most years) most of the rain of the winter has already fallen by then.

Any new growth of fruit after this day, is the result of the blessing of the new year.

It is customary to pray for a beautiful Kosher Etrog on Tu B'Shvat.

Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol I, page 346-349

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 15 Shvat 5771

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Halocho #728 - Tomorrow is Tu B'Shvat

Tu B'Shvat starts tonight (Wednesday evening).

Tu B'Shvat - the 15th of the month of Shvat - is the New Year as far as tithing fruits is concerned.

Fruit from trees that blossomed before Tu B'Shvat belong to the previous year's Trumot & Ma'aser quota.

The custom is to eat more fruit than usual on Tu B'Shvat.

One does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Shvat, nor at Mincha the day before.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 139:26. Rosh Hashana Mishna 1:1.

- Danny
Wednesday, 14 Shvat 5771

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Halocho #727 - Which Bracha comes first?

Thursday will be Tu B'Shvat and customarily lots of fruit will be served.

Which fruit should you choose as the one to hold in your right hand and make the Bracha on?

- If one has a favorite fruit and it's being offered, it should be used to make the Bracha. 
- If one has no preference then one of the "7 species" has preference.
- If there are none of the 7 species, then one should pick a whole fruit, as opposed to a cut one.
- A Boreh Pri Ha'Etz has precedence over Boreh Pri Ha'Adama (e.g. strawberries and bananas).

The 7 species are (in order of Bracha-precedence): Bread from wheat, Cakes from wheat, Wine, Olives, Barley (baked or cooked), Dates, Grapes (in solid form), Figs, Pomegranates

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 55:1 - 3

- Danny
Tuesday, 13 Shvat 5771

Please daven for Asher ben Gohar and David ben Mashiah for a complete recovery

Monday, January 17, 2011

Halocho #726 - Blessing before eating fruits

The blessing "Ho'Etz" is only made on fruit that grows on trees which retain their branches in winter and then leaves grow again from these branches. Otherwise a "Ho'Adomo" is made on the fruit.

These blessings are only said if the fruit (or vegetable) is normally eaten raw. If the fruit is normally eaten cooked then on the raw fruit one says "Shehakol".

On fruit pits that are sweet one says "Shehakol"; if they are bitter one doesn’t make any blessing on them.

Fruit eaten during a meal as desert does require a blessing.

If the entire meal is a "fruit meal" then the HaMotzi blessing covers the fruit too.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:1, 4, 10, 43:3-4

- Danny
Monday, 12 Shvat 5771

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Halocho #725 - Kilayim; Grafting trees

It's a Torah prohibition to graft trees with branches from a different type of tree or plant. One may not own a grafted tree; it needs to be uprooted.

One may graft a tree with a branch of the same type of tree. One may take a branch from a grafted tree and plant it.

One may eat the fruit from grafted trees.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Oruch 174:1-2

- Danny
Sunday, 11 Shvat 5771

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Halocho #724 - May one feed the birds on Shabbat Shira?

House pets or any other animals that depend on you for their food, must be fed on Shabbat before one starts eating.

Animals that do not rely on humans for their food may not be fed on Shabbat, and one may not even throw them leftovers, with the exception of stray dogs.

One may not feed pigeons as they are capable of fending for themselves.

The custom to put out grain for the birds on Shabbat Shira (this week) is incorrect since birds do not rely on humans for their food. (One may put out grain for them before Shabbat.)

One may feed silkworms on Shabbat.

Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 87:18

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 8 Shvat 5771

Aruch Hashulchan:
יש מתרעמים על המנהג בשבת שירה לזרוק חטין לפני העופות. אבל נראה לי דמנהג ישראל תורה, שהרי אין אנו טורחים בשבילם, אלא בשבילנו, דמרגלא בפי ההמון שהעופות אמרו שירה על הים, ולכן אנו מחזירים להם טובה, ואם כן הכוונה כדי לזכור שמחת... שירת הים ולית לן בה, ויש מי שכתב דכיון דכוונתינו לשם מצוה מותר.
The Maharal MiPrague:
שהמלמדים יאספו הילדים בחצר בהכ"נ להודיעם על המנהג לפזר חטים בשבת שירה

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Halocho #723 - Don't scare me!

A person who frightens another person - e.g. by yelling suddenly from behind them, or by appearing suddenly  in the dark - will be made to account for their action in heaven.

Therefore is is recommended to ask them for forgiveness, while one is still alive.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:6

- Danny
Wednesday, 7 Shvat 5771

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Halocho #722 - Educating children

A father must educate his children to do all mitzvos (Torah and Rabbinical) that are appropriate to their age.

One also needs to prevent a child from doing any sin which he is capable of relating to, starting with telling the truth, eating only Kosher and not carrying things on Shabbat (in areas where one may not carry, i.e where there is no Eruv.)

A child who stole must return the theft if it exists. If it no longer exists then he needn't return its value even after he becomes an adult. However, in heaven he will be required to account for the theft, so it's recommended to make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 165:1-6

- Danny
Tuesday, 6 Shvat 5771

Monday, January 10, 2011

Halocho #721 - In my house I'll do what I feel like?

You are not allowed to cause other people damage or even discomfort - even if you are in your own home and they are in the street or in their home.

The exception being those things that "everybody does" and they are accepted as the norm in that area.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:5

- Danny
Monday, 5 Shvat 5771

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Halocho #720 - Thunder and lightning

When seeing lightning one says the Bracha of "Baruch... Oseh Ma'aseh Breishith" - "... Who makes the work of creation".

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', א-לקינו מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

This Bracha must be said immediately after seeing the lightning. Immediately is defined as the time needed to say 3 short words.

If one hears the thunder after saying the above mentioned Bracha, then, on the thunder one says the Bracha of "Baruch... Shekecho Ugvurato Maleh Olam" - "...for His strength and His power fill the universe".

ברוך אתה ה' א-לקינו מלך העולם
 שֶׁכּוֹחוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם

If the thunder boomed before one finishes saying the Bracha on the lightning, then it is included in the same Bracha, and one does not say a second Bracha on the thunder.

This Bracha must be said immediately after hearing the thunder. One can begin before the roll of the thunder ends.

These Brachot can only be said once per storm. The storm ends when the sky clears of clouds.

No Bracha is said on lightning that is caused by the heat and doesn't produce thunder (summer lightning).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2, 3

- Danny
Sunday, 4 Shvat 5771

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Halocho #719 - Abridged Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

On Rosh Chodesh one says Hallel between the Amida and the Torah reading.

On Rosh Chodesh one skips 2-half paragraphs of the Hallel.

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 one's morning prayers.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5771

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Halocho #718 - Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Tonight (Wednesday night) is Rosh Chodesh Shevat; Tachanun is omitted at Mincha.

On Rosh Chodesh one adds Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

If one forgot to add Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida at night one does not need to make amends. During the day one needs to go back to רצה.

If one forgot Ya'aleh Veyavo during Birkat Hamazon (during the day or night), and one remembers before starting the last Bracha, one can say:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר נָתַן רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן

If one only realizes after starting the last Bracha, or one does not have the above Bracha readily available, then one does not need to make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10, 44:14

Chodesh Tov!

- Danny
Wednesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5771


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Halocho #717 - Banana peels

It is forbidden to throw items into the street - or anywhere that people walk - if it could cause damage.

This includes glass items and slippery items.

If one dropped something dangerous one is responsible for the damage it causes and one has an obligation to clean it up.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:3

- Danny
Tuesday, 28 Tevet 5771

Monday, January 3, 2011

Halocho #716 - What Bracha on an Eclipse?

Tomorrow (Tuesday morning) there will be is a partial sun eclipse in Israel and surrounding areas.

There is no special Bracha said on seeing an eclipse, though on meteors and comets one says "Oseh Ma'ase Breishis":

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

Blessed are You... Who makes the work of creation.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2

 - Danny
Monday, 27 Tevet 5771

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Halocho #715 - Noise pollution

If one has a neighbor who suffers from headaches caused by noise, one must make sure to take them into account; one may not use a hammer if the neighbor will hear it and suffer.

The same would apply to loud music during siesta or after they have put their kids to bed.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:4

- Danny
Sunday, Tevet 5771