Thursday, December 29, 2011

Halocho #957 - Foggy windows on Shabbat

Writing and drawing is forbidden on Shabbat - even if it's temporary.

One may not use one's finger to write or draw on the condensation of a window.

One may not write nor draw using water that spilled on a table.

One may not use one's nail to make a mark on page, to enable one to find the place again, or for any other reason.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:62

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 3 Tevet 5772

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Halocho #956 - Chanukah leftovers

Oil that was put in the Chanukah Menorah and was not burnt, as well as wicks that were used and candles that didn't burn fully should be burnt after Chanukah.

Since they were set aside for the Mitzva of Chanukah they cannot be used for any other purpose.

If one had the explicit intention to use the left-overs, then they need not be burnt.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:20

- Danny
Wednesday, 2 Tevet 5772, 8th day of Chanuka; זאת חֲנֻכַּה

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Halocho #955 - What is Zot Chanuka?

The Torah Reading for tomorrow - the last day of Chanuka - has 39 verses.

It starts from בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי in Parshat Naso and continues all the way past the end of the Parsha and ends with the first paragraph of Parshat בְּהַעֲלתְךָ which talks about the daily lighting the 7-branched Menora in the Mishkan and the Bet HaMikdash.

The last paragraph of Parshat Naso starts with the words זאת חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ- as a result the last day of Chanuka is often referred to as Zot Chanuka.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  139:23

Chodesh Tov! Don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo and Al Hanisim in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

- Danny
Tuesday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5772, 7th day of Chanuka

Monday, December 26, 2011

Halocho #954 - The Chanukah Menorah in shul

In order to publicize the miracle of Chanukah, the Menora is lit - with the correct Brachot - in the synagogue, between Mincha and Ma'ariv.

The person who lit the Menora in shul has to light again at home, with the correct Brachot.

A mourner should not light the Menora in shul on the first night of Chanuka, since it's inappropriate for him to say "Shehechiyanu" in public. At home a mourner does say "Shehechiyanu" on the first night.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:15

Chodesh Tov! Don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo and Al Hanisim in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

- Danny
Monday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 5772, 6th day of Chanukah

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Halocho #953 - Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah

Tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday will be Rosh Chodesh Tevet.

Rosh Chodesh Tevet is the only time the full-Hallel is said on Rosh Chodesh. (Usually on Rosh Chodesh we leave out 2 half-paragraphs.)

Between Shacharit and Mussaf we will take out 2 Sifrei Torah. First we call up 3 people to the Torah for Rosh Chodesh and then - in the second Sefer Torah - a fourth person for Chanukah.

We then daven Mussaf for Rosh Chodesh, with Al Hanisim.

Starting tonight - Sunday night - don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo and Al Hanisim in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:24

- Danny
Sunday, 29 Kislev 5772, 5th day of Chanukah

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Halocho #952 - Motzai Shabbat: First do Havdala or light the Menora?

On Motzai Shabbat - the  5th night of Chanukah this year - one first makes Havdalah and then lights the Chanukah Menorah.

In Shul  - on Motzai Shabbat - the Menorah is lit after the full-Kaddish - before וְיִתֶּן לְךָ (after ensuring that it's already Motzai Shabbat if one started prayers early).

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:18

Some have the custom of lighting the Menorah before making Havdala, since one already heard Havdalah in shul. (Source: רמ"א 581:2)

The Haftara this week is the Chanuka one (רָנִּי וְשִׂמְחִי בַּת צִיּוֹן  from Zecharia 2:14).

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach, Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be on Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th days of Chanukah.

- Danny
Thursday, 26 Kislev 5772, 2nd day of Chanukah

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Halocho #951 - What comes first? Chanukah or Shabbat candles?

Since one cannot light fire on Shabbat, on Fridays the Menorah is lit before Shabbat begins.

The correct order for Friday is:
- Daven "early" Mincha
- Light the Chanukah Menorah. One can light as early as 75 Halachic minutes before sunset.
- Light Shabbat candles at the regular time (15 to 40 minutes before sunset, depending on local custom).

The Chanukah Menorah needs be stay lit until 30 minutes after dark.

On Friday one needs longer candles or more oil than during the week, since it needs to burn for 70 minutes or longer.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:17

- Danny
Wednesday, 25 Kislev 5772, 1st day of Chanukah

Please daven for the complete recovery of Miriam bat Esther-Devora

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Halocho #950 - Who should light the Chanukah Menorah?

We will light the first Chanukah flame this evening; Tuesday afternoon, 20th Dec - and every evening for the next 8 days.

Since both men and women were included in the miracle of Chanukah, 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, 24 Kislev 5772

Summary of the laws of Chanuka:
 (All times mentioned are for the year 2011 in Jerusalem.)

The earliest time to light the Menora is at Plug-HaMincha - which is at 15:36 - but the Menora has to burn until 30 minutes after dark.

The best time is at sunset (16:39) or nightfall (17:06) depending on family custom.

You can light any time after this - but you cannot make the Brachot then, unless somebody else is awake in the house with you - or you live on a busy street and people are still walking outside and they can see your Chanuka Menora.

The latest time to light would be 4:28 the next morning - 30 minutes before dawn.

Once it's time to light the Menora, one should not do anything else except get organized to light. Even learning Torah and eating is not allowed; though one can have a light snack (fruit or similar).

The only exception is: one can first Daven Maariv - תפילת ערבית - if one lights at nightfall.

After candle lighting one can do anything. However, there is an ancient custom that women do not do any work for the first 30 minutes, to commemorate their pivotal role in the Chanuka victory. ("Work" being anything they cannot do on Yom Tov.)
The custom is to spend these 30 minutes singing Maoz Tzur and other Chanuka songs, relating the miraculous story of Chanuka and discussing the Halachot of Chanuka.

On Friday afternoon one lights Shabbat candles at the usual time (16:00) and one has to light the Menora BEFORE lighting Shabbat candles. (So the Menora has to be lit between 15:37 and 16:00)

The Menora has to burn until 30 minutes after dark - so you'll need oil or candles that will last for at least 70 minutes.

Since you cannot move the Menora on Shabbat, you have to place it in a safe place - but (if possible) it should not be near your Shabbat candles.

On Motzai Shabbat you must wait until Shabbat is over (17:20) and then you make Havdala and light the Menora. Which to do first depends on family custom.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Halocho #949 - Adding Al HaNisim during Chanukah

This year Chanukah starts on Wednesday, 21st December 2011. We will light the first flame on Tuesday afternoon,  20th Dec.

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 Schoemann
Monday, 23 Kislev 5772

Please daven for the complete recovery of Miriam bat Esther-Devora

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Halocho #948 - What Brachot are said when lighting the Chanukah Menorah?

This year Chanukah starts on Wednesday, 21st December 2011. We will light the first flame on Tuesday afternoon,  20th Dec.

On the first night of Chanukah one says 3 Brachot:

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו
 וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ, בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ, וְקִיְּמָנוּ, וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

The 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, 22 Kislev 5772

Please daven for the complete recovery of Miriam bat Esther-Devora

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Halocho #947 - 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, 19 Kislev 5772

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Halocho #946 - 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, there must be enough space between candles that they do not melt one another.

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, 18 Kislev 577

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Halocho #945 - 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, 17 Kislev 5772

Monday, December 12, 2011

Halocho #944 - 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, 16 Kislev 5772

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halocho #943 - Traveler's guide to Chanukah

This year Chanukah starts on Wednesday, 21st December 2011. We will light the first flame on Tuesday afternoon,  20th Dec.

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, 15 Kislev 5772

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Halocho #942 - Flowerpots on Shabbat

Picking fruit or flowers that are growing in a flowerpot is forbidden on Shabbat; they are 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, 12 Kislev 5772

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Halocho #941 - May one move or use 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.

Each night of Chanukah one adds an extra light, starting at 1 and ending at 8.

Besides for the nightly number, the custom is to add an extra candle each night - known as the Shamash.

This is ensure that one doesn't accidentally use the light from the actual Chanukah lights, which is forbidden.

After the Chanukah Menora has been burning for half an hour after nightfall, one may derive benefit from the lights of the Chanukah Menora.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:8, 13, 14

- Danny
Wednesday, 11 Kislev 5772

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Halocho #940 - 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 Wednesday, 21st December 2011. We will light the first flame on Tuesday afternoon,  20th Dec.

A week later - (Tuesday afternoon, 27th 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, 10 Kislev 5772

Don't forget to add  "וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה"!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Halocho #939 - Ask for rain in the Diaspora tonight!

In Israel,  we started adding "וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה" - "and bless us with dew and rain" in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleinu - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ on the 7th Marcheshvan.

In the Diaspora we will start tonight -  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

- Danny
Monday, 9 Kislev 5772

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Halocho #938 - 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:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 אֲשֶׁר פְּטָרַנִי מֵעָנְשׁוֹ שֶׁל זֶה

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, 8 Kislev 5772

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Halocho #937 - 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.


Shabbat Shalom

- Danny Schoemann
Thursday, 5 Kislev 5772