Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Halocho #1254 - Banana peels

It is forbidden to throw items into the street - or anywhere that people walk - if it could cause damage.

This includes glass items and slippery items. 

If one dropped something dangerous one is responsible for the damage it causes and one has an obligation to clean it up.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:3

- Danny
Tuesday, 28 Tevet 5774

Monday, December 30, 2013

Halocho #1253- What Bracha on an Eclipse?

There is no special Bracha said on seeing an eclipse, though on meteors and comets one says "Oseh Ma'ase Breishis":

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

Blessed are You... Who makes the work of creation.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2

 - Danny
Monday, 27 Tevet 5774

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Halocho #1252 - Noise pollution

If one has a neighbor who suffers from headaches caused by noise, one must make sure to take them into account; one may not use a hammer if the neighbor will hear it and suffer.

The same would apply to loud music during siesta or after they have put their kids to bed.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:4

- Danny
Sunday, 26 Tevet 5774

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Halocho #1251 - 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 a window.

One may not write or draw using the 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, 23 Tevet 5774

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Halocho #1250 - Socializing before morning prayers

One may not go to a friend's house before Shacharit (morning prayers), even if one only plans on wishing them a "good morning".

If one happens to meet a friend before Shacharit one should not use the standard greeting, as a reminder to oneself not to get distracted before prayers.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:5

- Danny
Monday, 22 Tevet 5774

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Halocho #1249 - Hitting as an educational tool

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 a 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

- Danny
Tuesday, 21 Tevet 5774

Monday, December 23, 2013

Halocho #1248 - Is boxing a Kosher sport?

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 learned in last 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

- Danny
Monday, 20 Tevet 5774

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Halocho #1247 - Long time no see

If one is happy when seeing a very dear friend (including spouses, parents, siblings and teachers) after not seeing them for at least 30 days, one makes the Bracha of Shehechiyanu:

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

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
מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים
"Blessed... who revives the dead".

The reason being that 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

- Danny
Sunday, 19 Tevet 5774

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Halocho #1246 - Dissolving ice and fat on Shabbat

One may put congealed fat onto hot food on Shabbat even though it will dissolve. 

One may not crush snow or ice in order to help them melt faster. 

One may put ice into liquids in order to chill them, even though the ice will melt. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:13

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny
Thursday, 16 Tevet 5774

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Halocho #1245 - Davening in transit

Even while travelling one has to pray at the correct times. 

Men need to put on Tallit and Tefillin even when praying in transit.

When travelling by foot, one should stand still for the first 2 verses of Shma, if possible. (Shma Yisrael and Baruch Shem)

When travelling in a vehicle one should stop, alight and stand for the Amida. If one is in a hurry, then one should do so at least for the first 3 and last 3 Brachot.

If alighting is not an option, one can daven the Amida while seated.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:8

- Danny
Wednesday, 15 Tevet 5774

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Halocho #1244 - Eating in transit

If you ate while walking, you may say Birkat Hamazon while walking.

If you sat while eating you have to sit while saying Birkat Hamazon

If one didn't eat in a house - or one ate in the house of a non-Jew, one replaces the 6th הָרַחֲמָן with:

הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ בְּרָכָה מְרֻבָּה בִּמְקוֹם הֲלִיכָתֵנוּ וּבִמְקוֹם יְשִׁיבָתֵנוּ עַד עוֹלָם

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:9, 10

- Danny
Tuesday, 14 Tevet 5774

Monday, December 16, 2013

Halocho #1243 - Travel preparations

Before leaving on a trip one should give charity.

Since one should learn Torah or say Tehilim while traveling, one should remember to take along a Sefer.

One should never go on a trip - even a short one - without taking along food.

Men should also take along spare Tzitzit in case the one they are wearing rip and become Pasul (unfit), as well as their Tefillin if there's a chance they won't be back home before the morrow.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:6

- Danny
Monday, 13 Tevet 5774

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Halocho #1242 – Washing with Snow

If no cup is available for washing one's hands, one can immerse them into a river or into snow, if there's enough snow on the ground to fill a Mikve. (About 500 litres/130 gallons of water.) 

This applies to washing three times after arising as well as washing before eating bread. 

Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 2:6, 40:7

- Danny, in snowy Jerusalem
12 Tevet 5774

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Halocho #1241 - Is tomorrow's fast (עשרה בטבת) mentioned in the Bible?

The prophet יְחֶזְקֵאל was told to record the 10th day of the 10th month (Tevet, counting from Nissan) as the day the the siege started:

 וַיְהִי דְבַר ה' אֵלַי בַּשָּׁנָה הַתְּשִׁיעִית, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִי, בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ, לֵאמֹר.   בֶּן-אָדָם, כְּתָב לְךָ אֶת-שֵׁם הַיּוֹם--אֶת-עֶצֶם, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ-בָּבֶל אֶל-יְרוּשָׁלִַם, בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. 
 יְחֶזְקֵאל פרק כד:א-ב

The prophet זְכַרְיָה prophesied that the fast of the 4th month (Tammuz, counting from Nissan), the fast of the 5th month (Av) and the fast of the 10th month (Tevet) will be turned into days of joy.

 כֹּה-אָמַר ה'... צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית-יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, וּלְמֹעֲדִים, טוֹבִים; וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלוֹם, אֱהָבוּ. 
זְכַרְיָה פרק ח:יט

Tomorrow's Mincha consists of אַשְׁרֵי,  half-Kaddish and Torah reading. The 3rd Aliya also reads the Haftarah (דִּרְשׁוּ from יְשַׁעְיָהוּ) . Only somebody who is fasting should be called up to the Torah on a fast day. 

After the 3 Brachot following the Haftara (until מָגֵן דָּוִד) , the Torah is returned to the Aaron HaKodesh followed by half-Kaddish and the Amida.

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. 

Even at Mincha he adds Birkat Cohanim (or בָּרְכֵנוּ בַּבְּרָכָה הַמְשֻׁלֶּשֶׁת) after Modim. 

The final Bracha is שִׂים שָׁלוֹם , since there was Torah reading.

The repetition of the Amida is not followed by אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ nor by Tachanun, as it's Erev Shabbat. One ends with Kaddish and עָלֵינוּ .

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15, 19:14, 20:8, Rambam הלכות תעניות פרק ה,

Shabbat Shalom,

- Danny, from snowy Jerusalem.
Thursday, 9 Tevet 5774

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Halocho #1240 - When does the fast start on Friday?

On Friday will be the fast of 10 B'Tevet.

No eating and drinking is allowed from dawn (4:54 in Jerusalem) to nightfall (17:03 in Jerusalem).

One may eat before dawn if one had the intention of doing so before going to sleep the night before.

If one always drinks when one gets up, then one can drink before dawn even of one didn't think about it when going to bed.

Pregnant and nursing mothers as well as people who aren't feeling well do not need to fast if fasting will cause them discomfort. 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 may eat, as well as children, should not indulge in food. If possible they should limit themselves to bread and water.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:8, 8

- Danny
Wednesday, 8 Tevet 5774

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Halocho #1239 - Don't drop the Sefer Torah

If - Gcd forbid - one drops a Sefer Torah, one needs to fast.

This is true even if the Sefer Torah was in its cover.

The Minhag is that those who saw the Sefer Torah fall, also fast.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:12

- Danny
Tuesday, 7 Tevet 5774

Monday, December 9, 2013

Halocho #1238 - Asara B'Tevet on Friday

In the year 3,338 the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Jerusalem which culminated in the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash, a year and a half later. As a result we will fast this Friday.

Asara B'Tevet is the only public fast that can fall on a Friday. (The "Firstborns Fast" is on a Friday when Pessach starts on Friday night.)

Pregnant and nursing mothers do not fast, as well as anybody unwell, after consulting with a Doctor.

Keep in mind that Mincha will be earlier than usual, since it includes the Torah Reading and Haftara for fast days.

One gets ready for Shabbat as usual:

  • One may shower as usual, but one should not rinse one's mouth, if possible.
  • One can cut one's nails.
  • One puts on Shabbat clothing before candle lighting, which is at the regular time; 20 to 40 minutes before sunset depending on your communities custom.

However, one may not eat until after nightfall; even if one has already finished Ma'ariv prayers.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121

- Danny
Monday, 6 Tevet 5774

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Halocho #1236 - 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

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 2 Tevet 5774

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Halocho #1235 - Fire and rain on Zot Chanuka

On Wednesday night - the  8th night of Chanukah  - we start praying for rain in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - Barech-Aleina - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ - in the Diaspora.

Ashkenazim will add וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה in the 9th Bracha of the weekday Amida - בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ.
Sefardim will say בָּרֵךְ עָלֵינוּ  instead of בַּרְכֵנוּ as the 9th Bracha.

In Israel we started this on the 7th of Marcheshvan.

For more details see Halocho #668 - Ask for rain http://halocho.blogspot.com/2010/10/halocho-668-ask-for-rain.html

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

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

The last paragraph of Parshat נָשֹׂא starts with the words זֹאת 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
Wednesday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5774

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Halocho #1234 - The Chanukah Menorah in shul

In order to publicize the miracle of Chanuka, 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
Tuesday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 5774

Monday, December 2, 2013

Halocho #1233 - Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah

Tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday is 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 - Monday night - don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo and Al Hanisim in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:24

- Danny
Monday, 29 Kislev 5774

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Halocho #1232 - Using the light of the Chanukah Menorah

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 139:14

- Danny
Sunday, 28 Kislev 5774