Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Halocho #936 - 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.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:6

- Danny
Wednesday, 4 Kislev 5772

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Halocho #935 - 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, 3 Kislev 5772

Monday, November 28, 2011

Halocho #934 - Come to Israel!

Living in Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva. Walking 4 Amot (~2 m.) in Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva. Even moving to Eretz Yisrael is considered part of the Mitzva.

One may not leave Eretz Yisrael except to learn Torah, get married, to escape from danger or for business trips.

Source: - Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 248:4 - ספר המצות הקצר - מצות לא תעשה קצב

- Danny
Monday, 2 Kislev 5772

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Halocho #933 - Ya'aleh VeYavo - it's Rosh Chodesh!

Today (Sunday) is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

One needs to add Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא  into the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רְצֵה .

If one forgot to do so during the Amida of Ma'ariv (evening prayers) - one does not need to make amends; since the Sanhedrin did not sanctify the month at night.

If one forgot to add Ya'a'leh VeYavo - יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא - during Shachrit (morning prayers) or Mincha (afternoon prayers), then one has to return to the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רְצֵה  and make amends.

If one already finished the Amida - by saying Yihyu leRatzon - יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן  - then one needs to restart the Amida.

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

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5772

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Halocho #932 - Shabbat is Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev

This Sunday is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

When the 3rd Shabbat meal continues into the night, one still inserts Retzai – רְצֵה  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 – יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא into 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 – יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא 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 5772

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Halocho #931 - 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.

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

- Danny
Wednesday, 26 Marcheshvan 5772

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Halocho #930 - 5772 is a regular year; when is 30th Marcheshvan?

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

This year - 5772 - has 12 months; as opposed to last year where the 11th month - Shevat - was followed by Adar-I and then Adar-II. This year we only have a single Adar.

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 - 5772 - is a "regular year" with Marcheshvan having 29 days and Kislev having 30 days.

As a result, events that happened during a full year on the 30th of Marcheshvan don't have a "date". The custom for Yahrzeits to commemorate somebody who passed away on 30 Marcheshvan is as follows:

- If, on the first anniversary there was no 30th Marcheshvan then the Yahrzeit is on the 29th Marcheshvan whenever there's no 30 Marcheshvan. However, Kaddish should also be said on the morroow (1 Kislev) if possible.

- If, on the first anniversary there was a 30th Marcheshvan then the Yahrzeit is on 1 Kislev whenever there is no 30 Marcheshvan.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221:4

- Danny
Tuesday, 25 Marcheshvan 5772

Monday, November 21, 2011

Halocho #929 - 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 5772

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Halocho #928- Being responsible to the last minute

When returning an object that you were asked to safeguard, or when returning a loan, it must be returned to the person who gave it to you.

Giving it to a member their household is not acceptable;  if something happens to the item you would be held responsible.

However, giving it to the owner's spouse is permitted, unless you were explicitly asked not to do so, since spouses trust each other to look after each other's property.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 188:5

- Danny
Sunday, 23 Marcheshvan 5772

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halocho #927 - Trees on Shabbat

Moving objects that are Muktza is not allowed on Shabbat. One may touch Muktza on Shabbat if it will not move.

However, one may not use a tree on Shabbat even if it is solid and will not move; one may not climb on it, nor hang from it.

One may not hang things onto trees on Shabbat, nor remove items hanging on trees.

One may not tie an animal by its leash to a tree on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:60

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 20 Marcheshvan 5772

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Halocho #926 - Looking after other people's objects

If somebody gave you an object to look after, you have to safeguard it in the best possible way for that object; some items need to be locked away, others need to be aerated, etc.

Even if you are careless about looking after your own items, you still have to guard other people's items properly.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 188:3

- Danny
Wednesday, 19 Marchesvan 5772

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halocho #925 - May you use something you're safeguarding?

If somebody gave you an object to look after, then you may not use it without their explicit permission.

Even if you are certain that the owner does not mind, it's better not to use it.

This is forbidden even if the object will not suffer any wear and tear from being used.

Letting other people use the object is absolutely forbidden.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 188:2

- Danny
Tuesday, 18 Marchesvan 5772

Monday, November 14, 2011

Halocho #924 - Lending out borrowed money

Yesterday we learned that if you borrow or hire something, you are not allowed to let other people use it, without explicit permission from the original owner.

Money is different. You may lend out money that you borrowed, since the lender does not expect you to return the same coins and bills.

However, if you are expected to return those same bills and coins, then you may not lend them to others.

For example, if they are collector's items, or they are tied up and you are safeguarding them - not using them as a loan - them you may not let others use them.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 188:1

- Danny
Monday, 17 Marchesvan 5772

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halocho #923 - Borrowers can't be lenders

If you borrow, rent or hire something, you are not allowed to let other people use it, without explicit permission from the original owner.

If one knows for a fact that the owner allows this particular person use this item (or similar items) then one can lend or rent the item to that person.

Even though it's a Mitzva to let other people use your Sefarim (Torah related books), if you borrow a Sefer you may not let others use it.

If one borrows a Sefer and is given permission for others to also use it, only one person at a time may use it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:1

- Danny
Sunday, 16 Marchesvan 5772

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halocho #922 - Breaking things on Shabbat

One should not break or cut items on Shabbat, with the exception of food.

Even items that are only fit for animals to eat may be cut or broken. Thus, one may break a piece of straw to make a toothpick.

One may rub or break spices in order to extract their fragrance, even if they are as hard as wood.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:59

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 13 Marchesvan 5772

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Halocho #921 - Achoo! Sneeze the Jewish way!

When a person sneezes, one blesses him with אֲסוּתָא - Be Healthy - Gesundheit - לַבְּרִיאוּת

The sneezer then responds with בָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶה - Bless you.

After sneezing one should say 'לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי ה - "for Your salvation do I hope, Hashem", since one who prays for somebody else is answered first.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:5

- Danny
Wednesday, 12 Marchesvan 5772

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halocho #920 - Breaking the glass cup

At an engagement party one breaks a plate, whereas under the Chuppa (wedding canopy) one breaks a glass vessel.

This is done in order to remember the destruction of Jerusalem and the Bet Hamikdash, even at the height of our joyous celebrations.

The glass cup broken under the Chuppa should be intact, whereas at the engagement one should break a damaged plate.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 126:2

- Danny
Tuesday, 11 Marchesvan 5772

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halocho #919 - The Bracha on medicine

Before taking medicine - or doing any medical procedure -  one should say:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלקֵינוּ וֵאֱלקֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ,
שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לִי עֵסֶק זֶה לִרְפוּאָה
כִּי רוֹפֵא חִנָּם אַתָּה

"May it be your will, Hashem,
 that this procedure should cure me,
for You are a Doctor who does not charge."

If the medicine tastes good, one should then say the relevant Bracha (usually Shehakol) before taking the medicine.

After taking medicine - or doing any medical procedure - one says:

בָּרוּךְ רוֹפֵא חוֹלִים

"Blessed is the One who heals the ill."

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:4

- Danny
Monday, 10 Marchesvan 5772

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halocho #918 - BeHaB; another fast?

The custom is to say extra Selichot on the first "Monday, Thursday and Monday" in the month following Pessach and Sukkoth.

Some communities do this on the last "Monday, Thursday and Monday" of the month.

Since Monday is called "Yom Sheni" or "Yom Bet - ב" and Thursday is "Yom Chamishi" or "Yom Heh - ה" these days are referred to as BeHaB - בה"ב

Some people have the custom to fast on BeHaB.

A special Mi-Sheberach was recited on Shabbat before the Torah was returned to the Aron Hakodesh, to bless those who will fast.

Despite being a "private" (not communal) fast day, a person need not "declare his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, if he already answered Amen to the Mi-Sheberach on Shabbat.

Yet, answering Amen to the Mi-Sheberach does not oblige one to fast.

Even if one intended to fast when answering Amen and then on the designated day there was a Se'udat Mitzva (e.g. Brit Mila or Siyum or Pidyon HaBen) one should join the meal and not fast.

However, if one "declared his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, then one needs to fast.

Tomorrow (Monday), and Thursday and next week Monday are BeHaB in most communities.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 127:3, 14

- Danny
Sunday, 9 Marchesvan 5772

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halocho #917 - Ask for rain

In Israel, starting this evening - Thursday evening - (7th Marcheshvan) we start praying for rain in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleinu - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ.

In the Diaspora we will start 5 weeks later - on Monday night, 10 Kislev, the eve of Tuesday 6 December.

If you forgot to add "וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה" - "and bless us with dew and rain", then:

- If you remember before you finish the 9th Bracha -  מְבָרֵךְ הַשָּׁנִים -, then you insert it and continue from there.

- If you already said "Baruch Ata HaShem" of the 9th Bracha, then you insert it into שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ - the 16th Bracha - before "כִּי אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ ".

- If you forget to say it in שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ then you need to go back to the 9th Bracha - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ.

- If you didn't remember until you finished the Amida (defined as saying "יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי ") then you have to restart the entire Amida.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:5

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 6 Marchesvan 5772

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halocho #916 - Are you bored? Do a Mitzvah!

It's a Mitzva to be aware of Hashem's presence all the time.

Any time one thinks of Hashem and the fact that He runs the world and that He is aware of our every movement and thought, one fulfills a Mitzva.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 1:1

- Danny
Wednesday, 5 Marchesvan 5772

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halocho #915 - Must medicine be Kosher?

In order to save a life, one must take medicine even if it's not Kosher. One must also transgress any other Mitzva needed to save one's life, with the exception of murder, adultery and idolatry.

In non-life threatening situations:
- One should not take non-Kosher medicine, if there's a Kosher alternative readily available.
- If only non-Kosher medicine is available, it may be used. However, if it has a pleasant taste, then one should spoil its taste, for example by adding something bitter to it, or wrapping it in tissue paper.
- If the medicine is a mixture of meat and milk, a Rabbi should be consulted, since normally meat and milk mixtures cannot be used as medicine. The same applies to Kil'ay Hakerem; grains and grapes that grew in close proximity.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:5, 6, 7

- Danny
Tuesday, 4 Marchesvan 5772