This Sunday and Monday will be Rosh Chodesh Adar-II.
When the 3rd Shabbat meal continues into the night, one still inserts רְצֵה during Birkat Hamazon.
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 יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא during Birkas Hamazon.
What happens when both of the above happen together?
If Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday and one eats a Kezayis of bread after dark during the 3rd Shabbat meal, then one inserts both רְצֵה and יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא during Birkas 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.
The same concept applies to עַל הַנִּסִּים in 2 weeks time when Purim will be on Sunday.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:17
Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
Thursday, 27 Adar-I 5774
Thursday, February 27, 2014
This Sunday and Monday will be Rosh Chodesh Adar-II.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This week is Shabbat Shekalim and 2 Torah Scrolls are taken out.
First we read the regular Torah Reading - Parshat Pekudai, after which we will say "Chazak" concluding Sefer Shemot.
We then read the beginning of Parshat כי תשא (Shemot Ch. 30, Verses 11-16) in the second Sefer Torah.
This is followed by the Haftara for Shekalim from Melachim-2 Ch.11
Shabbat Shekalim reminds us of the half-Shekel that everybody donated yearly to finance the daily sacrifices in the Bet Hamikdash, may we merit to see it rebuilt, speedily in our days.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:1
Wednesday, 26 Adar-I 5774
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
On a regular Shabbat, a Kaddish is said after reading the Parsha, before the Maftir is read.
When 2 Torah scrolls are used - like this coming week - then the second Torah scroll is put on the Bima next to the first one and the Kadish is said over both.
Then Hagba is done on the first Sefer Torah and the second one is read. No Kaddish is said after the second reading.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 79:1
(This Thursday will be Yom Kippour Katan.)
Tuesday, 25 Adar-I 5774
Monday, February 24, 2014
When visiting the sick who is lying on the floor, one may not sit on a chair, in deference to the Shechina (Divine presence) 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 Shulchan Aruch 193:2-3
Monday, 24 Adar-I 5774
It's a Mitzva 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 the patient's Mazal and give them 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.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 193:1
Sunday, 23 Adar-I 5774
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Making a roof on Shabbat is forbidden; even if it's a temporary flimsy roof.
A roof is defined as a cover, over an area of at least 1 Tefach (8 cm, 3") by 1 Tefach, and at least 1 Tefach of space underneath it.
For example, on Shabbat one may not put a netting over a baby's crib - to protect the baby from flies - since one is creating a roof over the crib.
However, one may extend an existing roof, if the roof was already stretched out at least 1 Tefach.
For example, one may roll up the netting over a baby's crib until the last Tefach, before Shabbat, and unroll it on Shabbat, since 1 Tefach was left unrolled.
Even if the netting - when rolled-up - was wider than 1 Tefach, it does not count towards the unrolled section. One needs 1 Tefach unrolled, besides for the width of the roll.
These Halachot apply to Yom Tov also.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:77
Thursday, 20 Adar-I 5774
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
[Comments in brackets are based on my observations,and are not in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch]
On day 31 of a firstborn's life (if he was born naturally and neither parent is a Cohen or Levi) the Pidyon HaBen ceremony takes place - along with a festive meal.
The Cohen washes and says haMotzi over bread, starting the festive meal.
The father then holds the baby [bedecked in jewelry on a silver tray] and says to the Cohen:
"This is my firstborn son; he is the the first issue of his mother's womb and Hashem has commanded me to redeem him as it says in the Torah: "And those who must be redeemed, from the age of a month you are to redeem... five silver Shekel of the sanctuary..." (Numbers 18:16)
He then sets the baby down [on the table] in front of the Cohen, and the Cohen asks [rhetorically]:
"What do you prefer? Your firstborn son or the 5 Shekels you need to redeem him?"
The father then answers:
"I want to redeem my son, as we are commanded in the Torah, and here is the cost of his redemption"
While still holding the money [in Israel they have specially minted silver coins with the exact weight of a Biblical Shekel] the father says the Brachot:
While waving the money over the baby's head the Cohen says:
"This is instead of that; this is in exchange for that; this is pardoned because of that. May this son enter into life, into Torah and into fear of heaven. May it be Your will that just as he was redeemed so too shall he enter into Torah learning, marriage and doing good deeds."
The Cohen then adds the following classic blessings:
The Cohen then [hands the baby back to the father and] says the Bracha of HaGafen over a full cup of wine.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 163:4
Wednesday, 19 Adar-I 5774
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Usually a firstborn baby boy whose father is a Cohen or Levi, or his mother is the daughter of a Cohen or Levi does not need a Pidyon HaBen.
If the firstborn's mother is Jewish but his father is not, then he does his own Piyon at his Bar Mitzva.
A daughter of a Cohen or Levi who slept with a non-Jew has lost her special status and no longer exempts her firstborn son from a Pidyon HaBen, even if the firstborn's father is Jewish.
A firstborn who was orphaned from his father before his Pidyon HaBen, should get redeemed by Bet Din, not by his mother.
A firstborn who was not redeemed as a child, needs to do a Pidyon HaBen to himself as soon as he finds out; once he becomes Bar Mitzva.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 164:7, 8
Tuesday, 18 Adar-I 5774
Monday, February 17, 2014
At the Pidyon HaBen ceremony the father has to give a Cohen 5 biblical Shekalim.
5 biblical Shekalim is about 117 grams of silver (3.77 troy ounces) with a value of about $82.- at yesterday's rate.
This value can be given in coins, or other goods.
Bank notes, checks, IOUs and property are not acceptable for a Pidyon HaBen.
If the Cohen wants, he can return the money to the father, after the ceremony, but he does not have to.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 164:1, 6
Monday, 17 Adar-I 5774
Sunday, February 16, 2014
All firstborn sons (born naturally) have to be "redeemed" by giving 5 biblical Shekalim to a Cohen; unless the baby's father is a Cohen or Levi, or his mother is the daughter of a Cohen or Levi.
The Mitzva is to be done on the 31st day of his life.
If day 31 is Shabbat or YomTov then the redemption is done at night on Motzai Shabbat or Motzai YomTov.
It is customary to have a Seuda - a festive meal - to celebrate this ceremony.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 164:1
More details tomorrow...
Sunday, 16 Adar-I 5774
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Today (Thursday 13th Adar-I) Tachanun is not said at Mincha, since tomorrow (Friday) is Purim-Katan. (However, today is not the Fast of Esther; that applies in Adar-II only.)
On both days of Purim-Katan (Friday & Shabbat this year) one omits Tachanun, קל אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם (before the Torah reading on Mondays & Thursday) and לַמְנַצֵּחַ (between אַשְׁרֵי and וּבָא לְצִיּוֹן).
On Shabbat one omits אָב הָרַחֲמִים before Mussaf and צִדְקָתךָ at Mincha.
One may not fast nor eulogize on these 2 days.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 142:10
Thursday, 13 Adar-I 5774
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
In a non-leap year the 13th of Adar is Ta'anit Esther.
In leap years - like this year 5774 - תשע"ד - we fast and celebrate Purim in Adar-II.
However, in Adar-I we mark the 14th and 15th as "Purim Katan".
One should eat a bigger meal to increase happiness on 14th of Adar-I. Even in "walled cities" where Shushan-Purim is celebrated (e.g. Jerusalem) this is done on 14th (not 15th) of Adar-I.
During Adar-I the Megila is not read, nor does one say עַל הַנִּסִּים.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:10
Wednesday, 12 Adar-I 5774
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The custom is for everybody to stand while a Brit Mila is taking place, except for the Sandek who is holding the baby.
This is learned from the verse וַיַּעֲמד כָּל הָעָם בַּבְּרִית - "and the entire nation stood at the Brit" (Melachim-II 23:4)
It is forbidden to circumcise a baby who is not 100% healthy; delaying a Brit Mila is better than risking a baby's life.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 160:2, 4
Tuesday, 11 Adar-I 5774
Monday, February 10, 2014
The person who holds the baby during the Brit Mila is called a Sandek.
The custom is that the father never honors the same person twice with Sandeka'ut. (*)
On the other hand, the custom is to always use the same Mohel, if he is available.
Even if it was assumed that the original Mohel would be out of town, and another Mohel was asked to officiate, the original Mohel has precedence, if he's back in town on time.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 163:1
(*) The reason given is that being a Sandek is a Segula for prosperity, and we want to "spread the wealth". Similarly, each Cohen was only given one opportunity to bring the Ketoret (Incense) in the Bet Hamikdash, since it's a Segula for prosperity.
Monday, 10 Adar-I 5774
Sunday, February 9, 2014
When a newborn boy is 8 days old, his father has to ensure he gets a Brit Mila (circumcision).
So if a baby is born on Sunday, his Brit Mila is the following Sunday.
If the father cannot do the Brit Mila himself, he asks a Mohel (a Jewish expert at circumcision) to do it for him.
To show that he is appointing the Mohel to do his Mitzva, the father should put the baby on the Sandek's lap and hand the Mohel the knife.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 163:1
Sunday, 9 Adar-I 5774
Thursday, February 6, 2014
The Minhag (custom) is to celebrate with fruit and drinks on the Friday night before a baby boy's Brit Mila.
This party is a Se'udat Mitzva (and is called a Shalom-Zachor)
There is also a custom to gather in the baby's house the night before the Brit and to learn Torah. The meal served at this event (known as a Brit Yitzchak) is not a Se'udat Mitzva.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 163:8
Thursday, 6 Adar-I 5774
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
According to most opinions, on 7 Adar (Friday) will be the Yahrzeit of our teacher Moses - Moshe Rabeinu.
Many Jewish Burial Societies [Chevra Kadisha] have their annual meeting that day, including fasting and special prayers.
Halachot related to Moshe Rabeinu:
When babies start talking one should teach them the verse "תּוֹרָה צִוָּה-לָנוּ, משֶׁה. מוֹרָשָׁה, קְהִלַּת יַעֲקב" and Shma Yisrael...", after ensuring that they are clean while being taught.
Moshe Rabeinu went up to Har-Sinai to get the 2nd set of tablets on a Thursday and came down on a Monday, which is why these 2 days are auspicious for praying - and we therefore add the long "Vehu Rachum" prayer before Tachanun on these 2 days.
There's a limit as to how long one may mourn a deceased - but even for a great Torah scholar one may not mourn longer than 30 days, as nobody can be greater than our teacher Moshe for whom it is stated "and they mourned Moshe for 30 days".
Sources: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 58:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 165:10, 22:9, 215:1
Wednesday, 5 Adar-I 5774
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The "five grains" are wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye.
Grain that was planted and started taking root before the first day Chol Hamoed Pessach may be eaten immediately - and is called "Yoshon" (old).
Grain that took root thereafter is "Chodosh" (new) and may not be eaten until after the 2nd day Chol Hamoed Pessach of the coming year. This presents a problem for food made from grain that was harvested recently.
In Israel, Chol Hamoed Pessach starts on 16th Nissan, in the Diaspora on the 17th Nissan.
According to all opinions, the Torah prohibition of eating Chodosh applies to grain grown on Jewish land. There is a minority opinion that Chodosh does not apply to grain grown in the Diaspora on non-Jewish land; the custom is to rely on this opinion in emergency.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 172:1-3
Tuesday, 4 Adar-I 5774
Monday, February 3, 2014
One may not divert trouble coming one's way if it will then go to a fellow Jew. However, before the damage arrives, one may protect oneself from being damaged, even if somebody else may suffer as a result.
For example: If a river overflows into one's garden, one may not divert nor drain it, in a manner that will then flood the neighbor's garden.
However, before the river arrives near one's property, one is allowed to create a barrier, even if it would then go to a neighbor should it overflow, since the neighbors can also protect themselves beforehand.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 183:2
Monday, 3 Adar-I 5774
Sunday, February 2, 2014
The Torah commands us to put a Mezuza on all our doorposts except for washrooms.
The Mezuza needs to be affixed to the top third of the doorpost - but not in the top 1 Tefach (~9 cm; 3.5").
Every Mezuza needs to be checked twice in seven years.
A Mezuza on public buildings only needs to be checked twice in 50 years.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 11:5,17,25
Some have the custom of checking their Mezuzot in Adar-I; this is slightly more frequent than twice in seven years, but it's easy to remember.
Sunday, 2 Adar-I 5774