Sunday, July 31, 2011

Halocho #857 - No more meat leftovers!

From Rosh Chodesh Av (tonight - Sunday evening) until midday on 10th Av (10 August) 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 5771

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Halocho #856 - Don't interrupt the voyage

This week we read the Parsha of 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.

This week is Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Menachem-Av, with Rosh Chodesh Av being on Monday.

Shabbat Shalom
- Danny
Thursday, 26 Tamuz 5771

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Halocho #855 - 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 in PDF) with the differences between Ashkenazi and Sefardi customs in the 3 weeks, goto

- Danny
Wednesday, 25 Tamuz 5771

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Halocho #854 - 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 5771

Monday, July 25, 2011

Halocho #853 - 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 5771

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Halocho #852 - 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 5771

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Halocho #851 - 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 5771

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Halocho #850 - Is all music forbidden in the 3 weeks?

The period between the fast of 17 Tammuz and the fast of 9 B'Av 3 weeks later is known as Bein Hametzarim, or "The 3 Weeks".

Since 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, this period of 3 weeks has been set aside as a time of mourning.

If one plays a musical instrument for a living, one may continue to do so for non-Jews until Rosh Chodesh Av.

Some have the custom of refraining from meat and wine during the entire 3 weeks, except on Shabbat and Mitzva-meals (like at a Brit Mila).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1

- Danny
Wednesday, 18 Tamuz 5771

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Halocho #849 - Why do we fast on the 17th Tamuz?

Today - Tuesday - is the fast of 17 Tamuz which commemorates 5 major misfortunes which happened to the Jewish people on this date:

• Moshe Rabbeinu broke the Luchot - the tablets - upon seeing the Golden Calf being worshiped
• The daily Tamid sacrifice was suspended in the first Bet Hamikdash as a result of the siege
• At the time of the 2nd Bet Hamikdash the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the enemy, three weeks before the destruction
• Apustumus the wicked [Roman] burned a Sefer Torah
• An idol was placed in the Bet Hamikdash

On every fast-day there is Kriat HaTorah (Torah Reading) at both Shacharit and Mincha.

At Mincha, the 3rd Aliya also reads the Haftarah (דִּרְשׁוּ from Yeshayahu 55:6). Only somebody who is fasting should be called up to the Torah on a fast day.

During the Mincha Amida, individuals add the "עֲנֵנוּ" prayer into the 16th Bracha; שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ. If one forgot, one does not need to make amends.

The Chazzan adds עֲנֵנוּ during both Shacharit and Mincha, as a separate Bracha before רְפָאֵנוּ.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15, 19:14, 20:8

Have a meaningful fast,

- Danny
Tuesday, 17 Tamuz 5771

Monday, July 18, 2011

Halocho #848 - Who needs to fast on the 17th Tamuz?

Nearly everybody above Bar/Bat Mitzva needs to fast tomorrow - Tuesday. The fast starts at dawn and ends at nightfall.

Pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt from fasting.

Anybody who isn't healthy shouldn't fast. When in doubt, consult your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi).

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 121:9

- Danny
Jerusalem, Monday, 16 Tamuz 5771

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Halocho #847 - How long are the "3 weeks"?

The woes of the Churban - the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash - began on 17th Tamuz and ended with the Bet Hamikdash being set alight on the afternoon of 9 B'Av.

The fire burnt until sunset the following day.

This period of 23 days - which start on Tuesday - is know as "the 3 weeks" or Bein Hametzarim - בין המצרים.

As we then approach the 9th of Av - 3 weeks later - the laws of mourning intensify, as we will learn in the coming days.

The mourning continues until the day after the fast of 9 B'Av; i.e. 10 Av - July 21.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1, 124:20

- Danny
Sunday, 15 Tamuz 5771

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Halocho #846 - Last chance for a haircut!

It's customary not to have a haircut during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after 9 Av. This includes haircuts and shaving.

Since the "3 weeks" begin on Tuesday, Monday is the last chance to have a haircut.

It's a Mitzva to have a haircut on Friday in honor of Shabbat, if one needs one.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72,:14, 122:3

This week we will read the Haftara of Parshat Pinchas (starting at Melachim-I Ch. 18:46) which talks about Eliyahu Hanavi. Most years Parshat Pinchas is during the 3 weeks and we then read a Haftara (Yirmiyahu Ch. 1) relating to the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash.

Shabbat Shalom
- Danny
Thursday, 12 Tamuz 5771

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Halocho #845 - 5 shopping days left

It's customary not to say the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after 9 Av.

Therefore one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period.

Since the "3 weeks" begin on Tuesday, one should finish one's shopping and wear all new clothes [at least for a short time] before then.

When eating a fruit for the first time in a season one says the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu. If possible, one should not wait for the "3 weeks" to eat those fruit for the first time.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2

- Danny
Wednesday, 11 Tamuz 5771

Monday, July 11, 2011

Halocho #844 - Why don't we fast today?

In the year 3,339, on 9th Tamuz, the city walls of Jerusalem were breached by the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar's army. Four weeks later - on 9th Av - the first Bet Hamikdash was destroyed.

For 70 years - until the second Bet Hamikdash was built - the 9th Tamuz was a fast-day.

At the time of the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash the walls were breached a week later - on 17 Tamuz.

The Rabbis decided not to burden the Yidden with having to fast 2 weeks in a row.

Since the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash is more relevant to us, the original fast-day was dropped.

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta'anit 4:5) is of the opinion that the walls were breached both times on 17 Tamuz, but due to the turmoil at the time of the first destruction, the date was wrongly recorded as 9 Tamuz.

Source: Tur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 549
- Danny
Tuesday, 10 Tamuz 5771

Halocho #843 -The tourists' Bracha guide

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

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

When seeing mountains that are famous for their height one says the same Bracha.

These Brachot can only be said if one hasn't seen the ocean or that specific mountain for 30 days; excluding the day one last saw it and excluding the day of the current sighting.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:5, 12
- Danny
Monday, 9 Tamuz 5771

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Halocho #842 - Sky gazing

When seeing comets or falling stars one says the Bracha of "Oseh Ma'aseh Breishith" - "Who makes the work of creation".

 ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
 עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

The Bracha on falling stars can only be said once per night even if one sees different meteors every time.

One can only say the Bracha once per comet, unless 30 days have passed since one last saw it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2

- Danny
Sunday, 8 Tamuz 5771

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Halocho #841 - Squeezing pimples on Shabbat

It is forbidden to draw blood on Shabbat even from one's own body.

One may not squeeze pimples or open up wounds on Shabbat, as that would cause puss and/or blood come out.

One may remove scabs on Shabbat, if one is sure that no bleeding will occur.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:54, 91:14

Shabbat Shalom
- Danny
Thursday, 5 Tamuz 5771

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Halocho #840 - When should one learn Torah?

After Shacharit (morning prayers) a person should have a fixed time to to learn Torah; at least one verse or a single Halacha.

The Torah requires everybody to have a fixed time to learn Torah every day and every night.

Somebody who does not know how to learn Torah, or cannot find the time to learn, should support others who do learn Torah and they share the reward.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:1-2

- Danny
Monday, 4 Tamuz 5771

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Halocho #839 - Can one say Kiddush Levanah by a window?

Today - 3 Tammuz - is the day that Yehoshua told the sun and moon to stop orbiting, as recounted in Sefer Yehoshua Ch.10, verses 12-14.

Kiddush Levanah - (the sanctification of the new moon) - can be found in any Siddur; usually after the Maariv service.

Men have an obligation to say Kiddush Levanah every month. The custom is that women do not say Kiddush Levanah.

Kiddush Levanah cannot be said before the new moon is 3 days (72 hours) old. Some even wait until it's 7 days old.

Kiddush Levanah can only be said while the moon is waxing.

Kiddush Levanah should not be said while standing under a roof. However, if this is impossible or impractical, then it can be said inside by a window.

Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:7, 8, 10
- Danny
Tuesday, 3 Tammuz 5771

Monday, July 4, 2011

Halocho #838 - What Bracha does one make on Good News

When finding out joyous tidings or upon hearing good news from a reliable source, one says a Bracha.

If it only affects oneself, then one says Shehechiyanu; "... who has kept us alive, sustained us and permitted us to reach this occasion."

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה

If it affects a group of people then one says Hatov Vehametiv; "..Who is Good, and bestows good."

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
הטוב והמטיב

If one cannot say the Bracha right away - due to an unclean location or hands - then one can say it later, as long as one still feel the joy.

Even if the joyful event will probably cause one trouble at a later date, one still says the Bracha.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:1,3

- Danny
Monday, 2 Tammuz 5771

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Halocho #837 - Must one eat on Rosh Chodesh?

Today is the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.

One may not fast on Rosh Chodesh.

It's a Mitzva to eat a bigger meal on Rosh Chodesh.

There is no obligation to eat bread on Rosh Chodesh.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:2
- Danny
Sunday,  2nd day Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5771