Honoring parents includes feeding them, clothing and covering them as well as accompanying them.
All the above must be done cheerfully - as the attitude counts more than the actions; one gets punished for being dour around one's parents even if one treats them with delicacies.
One may not sit nor stand in one's parents designated place in shul or at home or anywhere else where they may have a designated place.
One may not contradict one's parents.
One may not approve of one's parents in their presence (e.g. I see your point) as this indicates that one would have the ability to say otherwise.
Even if parents insult one in public one may not upset them, though one may take legal action to recuperate any monetary loss they caused.
Source: KSA 142:1, 3
Tuesday, 7 Shevat 5772
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
It's a Mitzvah to visit sick people irrelevant of the social standing of the visitor or the patient.
Close friends and family may visit immediately, but others should wait until the 4th day, so as not to aggravate his Mazal and give his the "sick" title.
However if a person becomes very ill very suddenly then all may visit immediately.
One may visit numerous times a day - as long as it doesn't bother the patient.
How to behave when doing Bikur Cholim:
When visiting the sick one may not sit on a chair of he's lying on the floor, in deference to the Shechina which is above the sick person's head. If he's in a bed, one may sit on a chair.
The main point of visiting the sick is to find out if one can help him in anyway, so that he feels he has friends who care about him and in order to pray for him.
Source: Kitzur Shuhlchan Aruch 193:1-3
6 Shevat 5772
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The same way it’s a Mitzva to preserve one's health and wellbeing – so too it’s a Mitzva to look after one's possessions not to loose, break or waste them.
Anybody who breaks vessels, tears clothes, wastes edible food, wastes money or throws away objects that other people could use has done the Aveira of Lo Sashchit.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:3
Sunday, 5 Shevat 5772
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Keeping Shabbath is equivalent to keeping the entire Torah, and transgression it is equivalent to denying the entire Torah.
Somebody who transgresses Shabbath on purpose, in public, (i.e. 10 Jews know about it) is like a non-Jew in many aspects: If he touches wine it becomes forbidden (Yayin Nesech), the foods he cooks or bakes are Bishul Akum.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:1-2
Thursday, 2 Shevat 5772
סימן עב – גודל קדושת שבת סעיף א שבת קודש היא האות הגדול והברית, שנתן לנו הקדוש ברוך הוא לדעת כי בששת ימים עשה ה' את השמים ואת הארץ וכל אשר בהם ושבת ביום השביעית. והוא יסוד האמונה, ואמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה שקולה שבת ככל המצות. כל המשמר את השבת כהלכתו כאלו מקיים כל התורה כולה, וכל המחלל את השבת כאלו כפר בכל התורה כולה. וכן הוא אומר בעזרא ועל הר סיני ירדת ותתן לעמך תורה ומצות, ואת שבת קדשך הודעת להם. סעיף ב וכל המחלל את השבת בפרהסיא הרי הוא כעובד כוכבים לכל דבריו, אם נוגע ביין אוסרו, והפת שהוא אופה הוי כמו פת של עובד כוכבים, וכן התבשיל שהוא מבשל הוי כמו בישולי עובד כוכבים. ופרהסיא הוי בפני עשרה מישראל, ולאו דוקא שעושה בפניהם ממש אלא שיודעין בהעבירה, דהכי מוכח בגמרא ופוסקים גבי, "והא אסתר פרהסיא הוה". וכן כתב הפרי מגדים פירסום הוי עשרה מישראל או שידע שיתפרסם
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Today (Wednesday) is Rosh-Chodesh Shevat.
Hallel is recited on Rosh Chodesh and Mo'adim during Shacharit between the chazzan's repetition of the Amida and Reading the Torah.
One needs to stand during recitation of Hallel, which preferably should be recited with a minyan. If one comes to shul late, one joins the minyan in their recitation of Hallel, even if it's before one has prayed.
If one already started Psukay D'Zimra and the minyan begins Hallel one joins them, however one doesn’t say the Bracha before and after Hallel, relying instead on Baruch-She'amar and Yishtabach.
This applies only to days like Rosh Chodesh (excluding Tevet) when one says the "half"-Hallel.
One should not interrupt the recitation of Hallel.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4
Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5772
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Tonight - Tuesday night - is Rosh Chodesh Shevat.
It’s a mitzvah to eat a bigger meal on Rosh Chodesh.
One may do work on Rosh Chodesh, but one may not fast nor say eulogies.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:2, 3, 6
Tuesday, 29 Tevet 5772
סעיף ב מצוה להרבות בסעודה בראש חודש, ואם חל בשבת יעשה תבשיל אחד יותר מבשאר שבתות. סעיף ג ראש חודש מותר בעשיית מלאכה, ונשים נוהגות שלא לעשות בו מלאכה, ומנהג הגון הוא ואין להקל להם. סעיף ו ראש חודש אסור בתענית ובהספד, ואין אומרים בו צדוק הדין
Monday, January 23, 2012
Some have the custom of fasting on the eve of Rosh Chodesh (the new Jewish [lunar] month) and adding the Yom Kippour Kattan prayers (during Mincha).
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1
סעיף א יש נוהגין להתענות בערב ראש חודש ואומרים סדר יום כפור קטן, שבו מתכפרין כל העונות של כל החדש, דומיא דשעיר ראש חדש וכמו שאנו אומרים במוסף זמן כפרה לכל תולדותם, וכל מקום לפי מנהגו
Sunday, January 22, 2012
It’s a Mitzvah to help horses that are pulling a wagon and are struggling due to the incline or the rough terrain – even if they don’t belong to Jew.
One should prevent the rider from whipping them unnecessarily to try get them to pull more than they can.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 191:2
Sunday, 27 Tevet 5772
Thursday, January 19, 2012
From the Pasuk "זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת" - "remember the day of Shabbat" we learn that it's a Mitzvah to keep Shabbat in mind all week; all special food should be reserved for Shabbat.
On Friday it's a Mitzvah to get up early to go shopping for Shabbat this can even be done before Shacharit if need be (as long as you don't miss your Minyan).
However, items that require preparation should be bought on Thursday already.
Ezra the Scribe (who lived about 2,500 years ago) already instituted doing laundry on Thursday in anticipation of Shabbat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:4
This week is Shabbat Mevorchim of Chodesh Shevat. Rosh Chodesh Shevat will
be on Wednesday
Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
Thursday, 24 Tevet 5772
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
It’s a Torah prohibition to cause pain to animals – and a Mitzvah to prevent such pain and even cure animals (even if they don’t belong to a Jew).
However, if an animal is causing harm to humans, or can be used to help cure humans, then one may kill it (as humanely as possible) for we see that the Torah allows one to eat meat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 191:1
Wednesday, 23 Tevet 5772
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Any life threatening danger needs preventive protection as appropriate. E.g. a well or pit needs a fence or a cover strong enough to ensure nobody falls in.
Similarly one may not own a dangerous dog nor a shaky ladder.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1-2
Tuesday, 22 Tevet 5772
Monday, January 16, 2012
It's a Mitzvah to put a fence around ones roof to prevent people from falling off.
The fence must be at least 10 Tefachim (80 cm - 30") high and must be strong enough that a person can lean on it and not fall.
A roof that is never used does not need a fence.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1
Monday, 21 Tevet 5772
Sunday, January 15, 2012
After the daily Shacharit (morning prayers) you should have an immutable fixed time to learn some Torah.
Even the potential of earning a lot of money should not void this fixed time.
In an emergency, at the very least you should learn one Pasuk or one Halacha, and remember to catch up on your daily quota when you free up.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:1
Sunday, 20 Tevet 5772
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
If one has a neighbor who suffers from headaches caused by noise, one must be considerate and be careful not to make unnecessary noise. E.g.: one may not use a hammer if a neighbor will hear it and suffer.
The same would apply to loud music during siesta time or after they have put their kids to bed.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:4
Wednesday, 16 Tevet 5772
Sunday, January 8, 2012
One is not allowed to hit one's servants, even as a means to force them to obey.
One may hit one's own children - including adopted children - if done in a way that will educate them to be upright people.
Before hitting, one should first try explaining the issue; if that fails and one must resort to hitting, one must be careful not to be cruel; one may not beat up a kid to vent one's anger.
It is forbidden to forewarn a child that they will be hit later, as this can traumatize the child. If hitting is called for, one either hits or one keeps quiet about it.
It is forbidden to hit children who will hit back - even if they are not yet Bar Mitzva - since one causes them to sin.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:2, 143:18: 165:1
Sunday, 13 Tevet 5772
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Today - Thursday 10 Tevet - we fast to commemorate the beginning of the siege against Jerusalem.
Almost 2,500 years ago the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Jerusalem which culminated in the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash, a year and a half later.
This is the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in whose court Daniel (who survived the lion's den) served.
The purpose of the fast is to awaken us to repent; if the Bet Hamikdash has not been rebuilt then we suffer from similar deficiencies that caused it to be destroyed.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:3
Trivia: We did not fast on Asara B'Tevet during 2011. :-)
Thursday, 10 Tevet 5772
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tomorrow - Thursday - will be the fast of the 10th of Tevet - עשרה בטבת.
The fast begins Thursday at dawn (5:04 in Jerusalem) and ends at nightfall (a few minutes before the time for Motzai Shabbat - 17:10 in Jerusalem).
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 121:2, 9
Wednesday, 9 Tevet 5772
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
On Thursday will be the fast of the 10th of Tevet - עשרה בטבת.
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
Tuesday, 8 Tevet 5772
Monday, January 2, 2012
If one is happy when seeing a very dear friend (including spouses, parents, siblings and teachers) after not having seen them for more than 30 days, one makes the Bracha of Shehechiyanu:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁהֶחֱיָינוּ וקִיְּמָנוּ והִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
One can make this Bracha even if one received letters from them during this time.
If one has not seen them for more than 12 months one makes this Bracha instead:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
"Blessed... who revives the dead".
This is because anything 12 months old is considered to be forgotten. Therefore, if one communicated with them - or received regards from them - during the past 12 months, one says Bracha of Shehechiyanu.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:20
Monday, 7 Tevet 5772
Sunday, January 1, 2012
It is forbidden to hit a fellow Jew.
One who hits another Jew has transgressed a Torah prohibition.
Even one who simply lifts his hand with the intent to hit is called "wicked" as we will learn in next week's Parsha (Shmot); "[Moshe] said to the wicked one: Why are you going to hit your friend?" - even before he hit, he was referred to as the wicked one.
Hitting back in self-defense is permitted, if there are no other options.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:1
Sunday, 6 Tevet 5772