Thursday, November 28, 2013

Halocho #1231 - Motzai Shabbat and Chanuka; which comes first?

On Motzai Shabbat - the  4th night of Chanukah this year - one first makes Havdalah and then lights the Chanukah Menorah.

In Shul the Menorah is lit after the full-Kaddish - before  וְיִתֶּן לְךָ  - on Motzai Shabbat.

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 will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.

- Danny
Thursday, 25 Kislev 5774

Quick recap of the laws of Chanuka:
 (All times mentioned are for the year 2013 in Jerusalem.)

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

On weekdays, the preferred time is at sunset (16:40) or nightfall (17:10) 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 4:15 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 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 15:30 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 (17:15) and then you make Havdala and light the Menora. Which to do first depends on family custom.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Halocho #1230 - What comes first? Chanukah or Shabbat candles?

We will light the first Chanukah flame this evening; Wednesday afternoon, 27th Nov. - and every evening for the next 8 days.

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

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.

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, 24 Kislev 5774

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Halocho #1229 - Who should light the Chanukah Menorah?

This year Chanukah starts on Thursday, 28th November 2013. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 27th Nov.

Since both men and women were included in the miracle of Chanukah, they 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, 23 Kislev 5774

Monday, November 25, 2013

Halocho #1228 - Al HaNisim during Chanukah

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
Monday, 22 Kislev 5774

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Halocho #1227 - Bracha when lighting the Chanukah Menorah?

This year Chanukah starts on Thursday, 28th November 2013. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 27th Nov.

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, 21 Kislev 5774

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Halocho #1226 - 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, 18 Kislev 5774

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Halocho #1225 - 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 they mustn't be close enough to melt each other. 

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, 17 Kislev 5774

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Halocho #1224 - 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 (during the week) 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, 16 Kislev 5774

Monday, November 18, 2013

Halocho #1223 - 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, 15 Kislev 5774

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Halocho #1222 - Traveler's guide to Chanukah

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, 14 Kislev 5774

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Halocho #1221 - Flowerpots on Shabbat

Picking fruit or flowers that are growing in a flowerpot is forbidden on Shabbat; it's no different than 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 flowerpots 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, 11 Kislev 5774

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halocho #1220 - May one move 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.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:8, 13

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Kislev 5774

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Halocho #1219 - 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 Thursday, 28th November 2013. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 27th Nov.

A week later - (Wednesday afternoon, 4th 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, 9 Kislev 5774

Monday, November 11, 2013

Halocho #1218 - Is a Bar Mitzva meal a Se'udat Mitzva?

It's a Mitzva to celebrate a Bar Mitzva with a meal.

If the meal is not on the boy's 13th Hebrew birthday, then the Bar Mitzva boy has to give a Torah-related sermon for it to be considered a Se'udat Mitzva.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:8

- Danny
Monday, 8 Kislev 5774

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halocho #1217 - 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:

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר פטרני מעונשו של זה

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, 7 Kislev 5774

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halocho #1216 - 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
Thursday, 4 Kislev 5774

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halocho #1215 - 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 affect on his work.

This includes teachers as well as any other paid employee.

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
Wednesday, 3 Kislev 5774

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halocho #1214 - 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 affect 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, 2 Kislev 5774

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halocho #1213 - Tefillin on Rosh Chodesh?

Men wear Tefillin (phylacteries) every day during Shacharit (morning prayers) except for Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Rosh Chodesh has some aspects of a Yom Tov, yet work is permitted. 

Tefillin are worn on Rosh Chodesh during Shacharit, Hallel and the Torah reading. They are removed before starting Mussaf.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 10:19

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5774

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halocho #1212 - Ya'aleh VeYavo - it's Rosh Chodesh!

Today (Sunday) and tomorrow are Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

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

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

If one forgot to do so during Shachrit (morning prayers) or Mincha (afternoon prayers), then one has to return to the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רצה and make amends.
If one already finished the Amida - by saying Yihyu leRatzon - יהיו לרצון - then one needs to restart the Amida.

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

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10

Chodesh Tov

- Danny
Sunday, 30 Marchesvan, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5774