Monday, February 13, 2012

Halocho #986 – Cohen gets preferential treatment

A Talmid Chacham (Torah scholar) has preference over a Cohen.

Everybody else needs to give preference to the Cohen; he gets called first to the Torah, gets to speak first at functions, at meals gets served first and leads the Zimun.

In a business partnership a Cohen does not get preferential treatment.

One may not use a Cohen to run ones errands or do other mundane tasks, unless the Cohen has agreed to relinquish his Cohen status for this purpose

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:8-9

To clarify: A Cohen always gets called to the Torah first, so as to prevent the unpleasantness of people arguing as to whether a specific person is a Talmid Chacham worthy of displacing the Cohen or not.
- Danny Schoemann
Monday 20 Shevat 5772

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Halocho #985 – Honoring other family members

Everybody has to honor the following people:
- One's father's wife and one's mother's husband.

- One's father-in-law and one's mother-in-law.

- One's grandparents, though one's parents' honor has priority.

- One's older brother; even if he's a half-brother.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:19-20

- Danny
Sunday, 19 Shvat 5772

סעיף יט - חייב אדם לכבד אשת אביו אף על פי שאינה אמו כל זמן שאביו קיים. וכן חייב לכבד בעל אמו כל זמן שאמו קיימת, ודבר הגון הוא לכבדם גם לאחר מיתת אביו ואמו. סעיף כ - חייב אדם בכבוד אחיו הגדול ממנו בין שהוא אחיו מן האב בין מן האם, וחייב אדם בכבוד חמיו וחמותו (כדמצינו בדוד המלך עליו השלום שחלק כבוד לשאול המלך שהיה חמיו קראו אבי, שאמר לו אבי ראה גם ראה) וחייב בכבוד אבי אביו, אלא שכבוד אביו גדול מכבוד אבי אביו

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Halocho #984 – Bathing for Shabbat

It's a Mitzvah to bathe on Friday with warm water; or at least to wash one's face, hands and feet.

It's also a Mitzvah to shampoo ones hair, cut ones nails and have a haircut if needed.

One should not cut finger and toe nails on the same day. One doesn’t cut [finger] nails on Thursday as then they begin growing (and looking unkempt) on Shabbat.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:12, 14

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 16 Shvat 5772

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Halocho #983 - 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

- Danny
Wednesday, 15 Shvat 5771

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Halocho #982 - Tomorrow is Tu B'Shvat

Tu B'Shvat starts tonight (Tuesday 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
Tuesday, 14 Shvat 5771

Monday, February 6, 2012

Halocho #981 - Which Bracha comes first?

Wednesday 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
Monday, 13 Shvat 5771

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Halocho #980 - Waking one's parents

One may not wake up ones parents even if it is going to cause one a major monetary loss.

However if one's parents are going to suffer a monetary loss and they will be distressed over the loss then one must wake them.

So too one should wake them for in time for prayers or for any other Mitzvah.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:4
- Danny
Sunday, 12 Shevat 5772

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Halocho #979 - 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 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch holds that 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. He allows one to put out grain for them before Shabbat.
Other Rabbis disagree, and allow the Minhag of feeding birds on this Shabbath.

One may feed silkworms on Shabbat.
Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 87:18

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 8 Shvat 5772

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, February 1, 2012

Halocho #978 - Preparing the weekly Parsha

It's a Mitzvah to review the week's Torah Reading by reading it twice in the original and once with the (Aramaic) Onkelus translation.

One who doesn't understand (or appreciate) Onkelus may read Rashi instead, or even an English translation.

One may start on Sunday already and one should finish before the Torah is read on Shabbat morning.

Source: Kitzur SA 72:11
- Danny
Wednesday, 8 Shevat 5772