The 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Adar-I 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 Terumah. 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.
In 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, Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar I, 29 Shvat 5774
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The 2 days of Rosh Chodesh Adar-I start on Thursday evening.
One increases joy when Adar begins. Adar is a good time to deal with court cases involving non-Jews.
I have not been able to establish if - during a leap year - the above is also valid for Adar-I (being the "real" Adar; the 12th month) or it only refers to the Adar closest to our joyous month of redemption (Nissan), viz. Adar-II.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1
Wednesday, 28 Shvat 5774
This year - 5774 - is a Jewish leap year; the 12th month (starting on Shabbat) will be Adar-I and the 13th month will be Adar-II.
If a person dies during Adar in a non-leap year, then on leap years the Yahrzeit is observed during Adar-I.
However, Kaddish should be said in both Adar-I and Adar-II.
Nevertheless, in Adar-II one doesn't have the usual precedence given to a Yahrzeit; in places where only one person says Kaddish at a time, all other mourners get to say a Kaddish first, and if there are any left, one does too.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 221:3
Tuesday, 27 Shvat 5774
Monday, January 27, 2014
This year is a Jewish leap year; the 12th month (starting on Shabbat) will be Adar-I (or "Adar-Alef" or "Adar-Rishon") and the 13th month will be Adar-II (or "Adar-Bet" or "Adar-Sheni").
Girls and boys born in Adar (12 and 13 years ago) do not become Bat/Bar Mitzva until Adar II.
Girls born in either Adar-I or Adar-II this year will become Bat Mitzva in Adar, in 12 years time.
In 13 years time will again be a leap year, so boys born in either Adar-I or Adar-II this year will be Bar Mitzva on their "real" birthday.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 15:2
Monday, 26 Shvat 5774
Sunday, January 26, 2014
If one eats fruit pits that are bitter and inedible, one does not make a Bracha when eating them.
If one improved bitter pits by roasting them (or otherwise), one says the Bracha of " שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ".
If one eats fruit pits that are naturally edible, one says the Bracha of "בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה".
If one eats the pits while eating the fruit, then they are included in the Bracha of בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ that one made on the fruit.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:10
Sunday, 25 Shvat 5774
Thursday, January 23, 2014
The same way that writing is forbidden on Shabbat, so too is erasing forbidden.
There are opinions that it is forbidden to open books that have writing along the edge.
The custom is to allow opening such books - even though the writing will be "broken" and again "repaired" when one closes the book.
However, it is best to not write along the edge of books that will be used on Shabbat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:63-64
Thursday, 22 Shvat 5774
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The correct Bracha before eating truffles and mushrooms is שֶׁהַכּוֹל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ
Even though they usually grow on the ground, they do not grow from the ground; they get their nourishment from the air.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:3
Wednesday, 21 Shvat 5774
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
After eating grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives and figs one says the "short 1-in-3 Birkat HaMazon" (often referred to as "Al HaMichya") with the עַל הָעֵץ ועַל פּרִי הָעֵץ - "on the trees and the fruit of the trees" option.
If one ate grapes and mistakenly used the עַל הַגֶּפֶן ועַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן - "on the vine and the fruit of the vine" option, one does not need to correct it, since grapes are also the "fruit of the vine."
On all other fruit, the after-Bracha is " בּוֹרֵא נְפָשׁוֹת".
Fruit eaten during a meal are covered by the Birkat HaMazon.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 56:1
Tuesday, 20 Shvat 5774
Monday, January 20, 2014
The correct Bracha before eating grapes is בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ - "who creates the fruit of the tree".
The correct Bracha before drinking wine is בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן - "who creates the fruit of the vine".
If one mistakenly says בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן on grapes, one can eat the grapes without making another Bracha, since grapes are also the "fruit of the vine."
If one mistakenly says בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ on wine, then one should try correct it immediately (within the time it takes to say 3 words). If one delayed longer than that, one can still drink the wine without another Bracha.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 56:1,3
Monday, 19 Shvat 5774
Sunday, January 19, 2014
One is not allowed to chop down fruit bearing trees without a good reason. Besides for the transgression of wasting, doing so is also considered to be dangerous.
If a tree is preventing other trees from growing, then it may be chopped down.
If lots of trees are growing together in a small area, then one may chop down some of them so that the others can flourish.
If one needs the space that the tree is growing on, then it may be chopped down.
If the wood of the tree is more valuable than its fruits, it can be chopped down for the wood.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 33:11
Sunday, 18 Shvat 5774
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Our Sages have designated the 15th of Shvat - Tu B'Shvat- as the boundary between one year and another, since (in most years) most of the rain of the winter has already fallen by then.
Any new growth of fruit after this day, is the result of the blessing of the new year.
It is customary to pray for a beautiful Kosher Etrog on Tu B'Shvat.
Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol I, page 346-349
Thursday, 15 Shvat 5774
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Tu B'Shvat starts tonight (Wednesday evening).
Tu B'Shvat - the 15th of the month of Shvat - is the New Year as far as tithing fruits is concerned.
Fruit from trees that blossomed before Tu B'Shvat belong to the previous year's Trumot & Ma'aser quota.
The custom is to eat more fruit than usual on Tu B'Shvat.
One does not say Tachanun on Tu B'Shvat, nor at Mincha the day before.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 139:26. Rosh Hashana Mishna 1:1.
Wednesday, 14 Shvat 5774
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Thursday will be Tu B'Shvat and customarily lots of fruit will be served.
Which fruit should you choose as the one to hold in your right hand and make the Bracha on?
- If one has a favorite fruit and it's being offered, it should be used to make the Bracha.
- If one has no preference then one of the "7 species" has preference.
- If there are none of the 7 species, then one should pick a whole fruit, as opposed to a cut one.
- A בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ has precedence over בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה (e.g. strawberries and bananas).
The 7 species are (in order of Bracha-precedence): Bread from wheat, Cakes from wheat, Wine, Olives, Barley (baked or cooked), Dates, Grapes (in solid form), Figs, Pomegranates
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 55:1 - 3
Tuesday, 13 Shvat 5774
Monday, January 13, 2014
The blessing "בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ" is only made on fruits that grow on trees which retain their branches in winter and their leaves grow again from these branches. Otherwise a "בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה" is made on the fruit.
These blessings are only said if the fruit (or vegetable) is normally eaten raw. If the fruit is normally eaten cooked then on the raw fruit one says " שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ".
On fruit pits that are sweet one says " שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ"; if they are bitter one doesn't make any blessing on them.
Fruit eaten during a meal as desert does require a blessing.
If the entire meal is a "fruit meal" then the הַמּֽוֹצִיא לֶ֝֗חֶם מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ blessing covers the fruit too.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 52:1, 4, 10, 43:3-4
Monday, 12 Shvat 5774
Sunday, January 12, 2014
It's a Torah prohibition to graft trees with branches from a different type of tree or plant. One may not own a grafted tree; it needs to be uprooted.
One may graft a tree with a branch of the same type of tree. One may take a branch from a grafted tree and plant it.
One may eat the fruit from grafted trees.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 174:1-2
Sunday, 11 Shvat 5774
Thursday, January 9, 2014
House pets or any other animals that depend on you for their food, must be fed - even on Shabbat - before one starts eating.
Animals that do not rely on humans for their food may not be fed on Shabbat, and one may not even throw them leftovers, with the exception of stray dogs.
One may not feed pigeons as they are capable of fending for themselves.
The Kitzur says that the custom to put out grain for the birds on Shabbat Shira (this week) is incorrect since birds do not rely on humans for their food. (One may put out grain for them before Shabbat.)
One may feed silkworms on Shabbat.
Source Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 87:18
Thursday, 8 Shvat 5774
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A person who frightens another person - e.g. by yelling suddenly from behind them, or by appearing suddenly in the dark - will be made to account for their action in heaven.
Therefore is is recommended to ask them for forgiveness, while one is still alive.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:6
Wednesday, 7 Shvat 5774
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
A father must educate his children to do all Mitzvoth (Torah and Rabbinical) that are appropriate to their age.
One also needs to prevent a child from doing any sin which he is capable of relating to, starting with telling the truth, eating only Kosher and not carrying things on Shabbat (in areas where one may not carry, i.e where there is no Eruv.)
A child who stole must return the theft if it exists. If it no longer exists then he needn't return its value even after he becomes an adult. However, in heaven he will be required to account for the theft, so it's recommended to make amends.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 165:1-6
Tuesday, 6 Shvat 5774
Monday, January 6, 2014
You are not allowed to cause other people damage or even discomfort - even if you are in your own home and they are in the street or in their home.
The exception being those things that "everybody does" and they are accepted as the norm in that area.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 184:5
Monday, 5 Shvat 5774
Sunday, January 5, 2014
When seeing lightning one says the Bracha of "Baruch... Oseh Ma'aseh Breishith" - "... Who makes the work of creation".
If one hears the thunder after saying the above mentioned Bracha, then, on the thunder one says the Bracha of "Baruch... Shekecho Ugvurato Maleh Olam" - "...for His strength and His power fill the universe".
This Bracha must be said immediately after hearing the thunder. One can begin before the roll of the thunder ends.
These Brachot can only be said once per storm. The storm ends when the sky clears of clouds.
No Bracha is said on lightning that is caused by the heat and doesn't produce thunder (summer lightning).
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2, 3
Sunday, 4 Shvat 5774
Thursday, January 2, 2014
On Rosh Chodesh one says Hallel between the Amida and the Torah reading.
On Rosh Chodesh one skips 2-half paragraphs of the Hallel.
Hallel must be said standing, and one may not interrupt the Hallel by talking.
If the congregation is saying Hallel while one is saying Psukei D'Zimra, one says Hallel with them, without its opening and closing Bracha. (This can only be done on days that one says the shortened "half"-Hallel.)
If one arrives late to shul and the congregation is already up to Hallel, one says Hallel with them, and then one starts one's morning prayers.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5774
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Tonight (Wednesday night) is Rosh Chodesh Shevat; Tachanun is omitted at Mincha.
On Rosh Chodesh one adds Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.
If one forgot to add Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida at night one does not need to make amends. During the day one needs to go back to רצה.
If one forgot Ya'aleh Veyavo during Birkat Hamazon (during the day or night), and one remembers before starting the last Bracha, one can say:
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10, 44:14
Wednesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5774