This Sunday and Monday is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
When the 3rd Shabbat meal continues into the night, one still inserts Retzai – רצה 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 – יעלה ויבוא during 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 – יעלה ויבוא 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
Thursday, 27 Marchesvan 5774
Thursday, October 31, 2013
This Sunday and Monday is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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 and Monday.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1, 128:1
Wednesday, 26 Marcheshvan 5774
Monday, October 28, 2013
Some years the Jewish calendar have 12 months, the rest (7 out of 19) are leap-years with 13 months.
This year - 5774 - has 13 months; the 11th month - Shevat - is followed by Adar-I and then Adar-II. Purim is in Adar-II
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 - 5774 - is a "full year" with both Marcheshvan and Kislev having 30 days.
Adar-I is always 30 days long, even though Shevat is 30 days long.
This year - 5754 - is 385 days long, a full 55 weeks. As a result, Pessach will once again start on Tuesday, and Rosh Hashana will once again be on Thursday-Friday.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221:4
Tuesday, 25 Marcheshvan 5774
Sunday, October 27, 2013
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
Sunday, 23 Marcheshvan 5774
Thursday, October 24, 2013
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
Thursday, 20 Marcheshvan 5774
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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
Wednesday, 19 Marchesvan 5774
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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
Tuesday, 18 Marchesvan 5774
Monday, October 21, 2013
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
Monday, 17 Marchesvan 5774
Sunday, October 20, 2013
If you borrow 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 lets 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 for others to use, only one person at a time may use it.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:1
Sunday, 16 Marchesvan 5771
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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
Thursday, 13 Marchesvan 5774
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
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
Wednesday, 12 Marchesvan 5774
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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
Tuesday, 11 Marchesvan 5774
Monday, October 14, 2013
Before taking medicine - or doing any medical procedure - one should say:
"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:
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:4
Monday, 10 Marchesvan 5774
Sunday, October 13, 2013
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 "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 answered Amen to the Mi-Sheberach.
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
Sunday, 9 Marchesvan 5774
Thursday, October 10, 2013
In Israel, starting this this evening - Thursday evening - (7th Marcheshvan) we start praying for rain in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleinu - ברך עלינו.
In the Diaspora we will start 7 weeks later - on Wednesday evening; the 8th night of Chanuka (5 Dec).
If you forgot to add "ותן טל ומטר לברכה" - "and bless us with dew and rain", then:
- If you remember before you finish the 9th Bracha, then you insert it and continue from there.
- If you already said "Baruch Ata Hashem" of the 9th Bracha, then you insert it into Shma-Kolienu - the 16th Bracha - before "Ki Ata".
- If you forget to say it in Shma-Kolienu then you need to go back to the 9th Bracha - Barech-Aleinu.
- If you didn't remember until you finished the Amida (defined as saying "Yihyu L'ratzon") then you have to restart the entire Amida.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:5
Thursday, 6 Marchesvan 5774
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
When selling medicines, one is not allowed to charge more than the fair market value of the medication.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:10
Wednesday, 5 Marchesvan 5774
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
In order to save a life, one may take medicine that is not Kosher. One may 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
Monday, October 7, 2013
Even though illness is divinely decreed on a person; the Torah commands the Doctors to heal,as it says in Shmot 21:19 - וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא - and he shall be healed.
It's a Mitzva for experts in the medical field to heal people; there is no greater Mitzva than saving lives.
A Doctor who refuses to heal is considered a murderer - even if there are other Doctors around, for some illnesses are decreed to leave only after a certain Doctor treats it.
However, somebody who is not trained to be a medical practitioner, should not try healing people, for mistreating illness is also considered murder.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:4
Monday, 3 Marchesvan 5774
Sunday, October 6, 2013
A person may not rely on miracles when it comes to health issues.
When one is not feeling well, one must consult a qualified medical practitioner.
Refusing to do so is a sign of arrogance, besides for the prohibition of endangering one's life.
One should use the best doctors one can find; yet pray to Hashem that this doctor should be His successful messenger.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:3
Sunday, 2 Marchesvan 5774
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan start this evening - Thursday evening.
On Rosh Chodesh one adds יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא into Birkat Hamazon and the Amida.
On Friday we will call up 4 people to read from the Torah, between Hallel and Mussaf.
On Shabbat we will will take out 2 Sifrei Torah after Hallel. In the first one we will call up at least 7 people to read from Parshat Noah. Then we call up the Maftir to read from the 2nd Sefer Torah.
The Haftara this week is הַשָּׁמַיִם כִּסְאִי for Shabbat-Rosh Chodesh, consisting of the last chapter in Sefer Yeshayahu.
For Mussaf one says the אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ version (usually found at the bottom half of the Shabbat Mussaf pages) which includes both Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh.
Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 425
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
Thursday, 29 Tishrei, Erev Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan 5774
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
"When a member of one's household is unwell, one should go to a Rabbi and ask him to pray for mercy" is what Rav Pinchas bar Chama taught us in Bava Basra (116a) based on a verse in Mishlei (17:14).
It's customary to also give charity to the poor, since "Repentance, Prayer and Charity abolish evil decrees".
The custom is to make a special "Mi Sheberach" prayer in the synagogue for the patient; even on Shabbat, if the condition is life threatening.
In extreme cases, the patient's name is changed (usually by adding another name), as this is another effective way of abolishing evil decrees against a person.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 192:2
Wednesday, 28 Tishrei 5774
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
It's a Mitzva to keep one's body in the best of health.
A person should continuously pray that he remain healthy, for if one gets sick one will need spiritual merits - repentance and good deeds - to fully recover.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:3, 192:1
Tuesday, 27 Tishrei 5774