Monday, March 31, 2014

Halocho #1317 - Found Chametz on Pessach, now what?

Chametz is Muktzah on Pessach, since it may not be used for anything.

Chametz (that was not sold to a non-Jew) found in one's possession on Pessach needs to be burned.

If one finds Chametz on Yom Tov or Shabbat during Pessach, (to ensure that one doesn't eat it accidentally), one covers it with a bowl until after Havdalah - and then one burns it.

When burning Chametz on Pessach one says the Bracha of "Al Bi'ur Chametz" if the Chametz is the size of a Kezayit (size of an olive) or larger.

Chametz found on the closing Yom Tov of Pessach, must be burned after Pessach without a Bracha.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:17

Chodesh Tov; tonight is Rosh Chodesh Nissan - no Tachanun from Mincha today until after Rosh Chodesh Iyar

- Danny
Monday, 29 Adar-II 5774

Please daven for 3 year old נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה who is being treated for lymphoma

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Halocho #1316 - The second day of Pessach

On the second night of פֶּסַח  we start counting the 49 days of  סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר; culminating with שָׁבוּעוֹת.

On the second day of פֶּסַח  one should do something at the meal to commemorate Queen Esther's second feast, which ended with the wicked Haman being hanged on that day.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:6

- Danny
Sunday, 28 Adar II 5774

Please daven for 3 year old
 נָעֳמִי בַּת דִינָה 
who is being treated for lymphoma!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Halocho #1315 - Is January the first month?

This Shabbos we take out 2 Sifrei Torah. In the first we will read the weekly Parsha of  תַזְרִיעַ, in the second we will read Parshat הַחֹדֶשׁ (Exodus Ch. 12, Verses 1-20)

Parshat הַחֹדֶשׁ reminds us of the following upcoming Mitzvot: 

  • The month of Nissan (which begins on Tuesday) is the first month in the Jewish calendar, as the opening words of Parshat הַחֹדֶשׁ proclaim: הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים - "This month is for you the first month". 
  • The laws of Korban Pessach; sacrificed on Erev Pessach in the afternoon; it has to be roasted whole and then eaten on the first night of Pessach with Matza and Marror (bitter herbs). 
  • Korban Pessach leftovers have to be burnt on the first day of Chol Hamo'ed. 
  • Matza needs to be made carefully to ensure it doesn't become Chametz (leaven). 
  • The first and last days of Pessach are Yom Tov. 
  • One may not own Chometz, nor eat it, during Pessach. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach

- Danny
Thursday, 25 Adar II 5774

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Halocho #1314 - The Seder night menu

On Seder night there's a Mitzva in the Torah to eat a piece of Korban Pessach on Matza with Marror (bitter herbs). 

Until the Bet Hamikdash (temple) is rebuilt we only have the Matza and Marror. 

The minimum Torah requirement is to eat a Kezayit (an olive's worth) of Matza, which is approximately one-third of a square machine-Matza. 

At a typical Seder it is customary to eat 2 Kezeitim for Motzi-Matza, a 3rd Kezayit for the Hillel-sandwich and a fourth Kezayit for the Afikomen. 

On Seder night there's also a Rabbinic requirement to drink 4 cups of wine. 

All the above - besides for the Marror - must be eaten while leaning on one's left side. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 119:4, 5, 7

May we merit to eat the Korban Pessach soon, in our lifetime.

- Danny
Wednesday, 24 Adar II 5774

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Halocho #1313 - Storytelling is a Mitzva

At the Seder one reads the entire Haggada. 

However, there's no Mitzva to simply say all the words in the Haggada. 

There's a Mitzva in the Torah to tell one's children the story of the Exodus from Egypt in Question-Answer format on Seder night. 

The Haggada gives a framework so that one covers all required parts of the story.

It is important to understand and explain all those parts of the Haggada that recount the slavery, 10 plagues and deliverance, in a language that all participants understand. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 119:4

- Danny
Tuesday, 23 Adar II 5774

Monday, March 24, 2014

Halocho #1312 - Writing on Chol Hamo'ed

The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkot are known as Chol Hamo'ed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden.

Writing is only allowed in cases of need:

- Writing down information so that it won't be forgotten, is allowed.

- Writing letters to friends and family is allowed.

The custom is to write the first line at an angle as a reminder that writing is only partially permitted.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104.

- Danny
Monday, 22 Adar II 5774

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Halocho #1311 - Chol Hamo'ed; Chol or Mo'ed?

The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkot are known as Chol Hamo'ed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden.

Chazal (our Rabbis of blessed memory) have some harsh words for those who don't honor Chol Hamo'ed properly. Honoring Chol Hamo'ed includes eating meals and wearing clothes that are closer to Yom Tov standards than regular weekday standards.

On Chol Hamo'ed one may do any work needed to prevent a monetary loss.

Preparing food for other days of Chol Hamo'ed or for the last days of Yom Tov is allowed.

Gardening is forbidden besides for picking fruit for Chol Hamo'ed or Yom Tov, and to prevent plants dying, e.g. if they need to be irrigated. Planting is forbidden.

Cutting hair is forbidden on Chol Hamo'ed. Cutting nails is only allowed if one also cut them before Yom Tov.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104.

- Danny
Sunday, 21 Adar II 5774

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Halocho #1310 - What color is a Red Heifer?

This Shabbat a second Sefer Torah is taken out for Maftir and the laws of פָּרָה אֲדֻמָה – the Red Heifer – are read. (The beginning of Parshat חֻקַּת, Numbers 19:1-22)

There are opinions that it’s a Torah obligation to hear it being read, and people who don’t have access to a Minyan should find one this week.

A Kosher פָּרָה אֲדֻמָה is a (female) cow past its second birthday that is completely ginger-brown. Even two white or black hairs near each other would invalidate it.

The cow is slaughtered and burnt and the ashes mixed with spring water and sprinkled on people who come in contact with a corpse, on the third and seventh day of their purification process.

This was a prerequisite for access to the בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ (Temple).

Since there’s a Mitzva to go into the בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ on Pessach, we read this in anticipating of being able to implement it this year, or at least בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ – soon in our lifetime.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2-3, Mishna Masechet פָּרָה, Ch. 1, Rambam Hil. פָּרָה Ch. 1

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 18 Adar II 5774

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Halocho #1309 - Can one eat Matza before Pessach?

Matza is made from flour and water. Nothing else.

The water is drawn from a well or spring the night before it is used. The water for Sunday's baking is drawn on Thursday night.

The flour is ground from wheat that was harvested while still slightly green; once wheat is fully ripe it can become Chametz (leaven) even before being harvested, if it comes into contact with water.

The wheat needs to be ground into flour at least 24 hours before it is used, to give it time to cool down.

18 minutes after water is added to flour, the dough becomes Chametz. Matza baking happens in 18-minute batches after which all equipment is thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of dough.

Matza used at the Seder needs to be made with the intention of it being used for a Mitzva; everybody involved in its production says "L'shem Mitzvat Matza" (for the purpose of the Mitzva of Matza) before all activities.

If a Matza has a fold in it, or a bubble more than a finger high (2.5 cm), then the fold or bubble are considered Chametz and need to be broken off and disposed of. The rest of the Matza can be eaten.

One is forbidden to eat Matza on Erev Pessach. Most people have the custom to stop eating Matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan already. Some don't eat Matza an entire month before Pessach.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: 108, 109, 110

- Danny
Wednesday, 17 Adar II 5774

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Halocho #1308 - Why start learning about Pessach?

The laws of Pessach in Shulchan Aruch begin with: "One should start learning the laws of Pessach thirty days before Pessach."

This is learned from the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu started teaching the laws of Pessach-Sheini on Erev Pessach.

Starting 30 days beforehand is especially important for Pessach, where - as opposed to other Chagim - certain things have to be done before the Chag, like destroying all Chametz and having Kosher L'Pessach food.

Source:  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429:1

- Danny
Tuesday, 16 Adar-II 5774

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Halocho #1307 - Al Hanisim - עַל הַנִּסִּים on Purim

On ɯıɹnd 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 מרדכי

and then continue with the rest of the עַל הַנִּסִּים.

During every Amida of Purim 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, from Jerusalem
Sunday, Purim, 14-Adar II 5774

No Halocho-a-Day tomorrow; it's Shushan ɯıɹnd for us in Jerusalem

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Halocho #1306 - Destroy and remember

This Shabbat - the one before Purim - is Parshat Zachor.

There is an opinion that it's a Torah obligation to hear Parshat Zachor being read in shul this week, and if you don't have a Minyan near home you need to go to a town with a Minyan for this Shabbat.

If a Minyan cannot be found, Parshat Zachor should be read even without a Minyan.

A second Sefer Torah is taken out; we read about the obligation to annihilate the nation of Amalek and remember their wickedness.

For the Haftara we read the story of King Saul's attempt to fulfill the Mitzva of annihilating Amalek. (Shmuel-1 Ch. 15)

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2, 3

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, Ta'anit Esther, 11 Adar II 5774

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Halocho #1305 - When is Ta'anit Esther?

When Purim is on Sunday - like this year - then the fast of Esther is on the Thursday before. (That's tomorrow!)

If one forgets to fast on Thursday, one fasts the next day - on Friday.

Ta'anit Esther is not as stringent as other fast days, and expecting and nursing mother do not fast, nor does anybody who is unwell. When in doubt, consult with a Rabbi.

The custom is to give 3 coins to charity after Mincha on Ta'anit Esther. Each coin should be half the local currency - half dollar, half shekel, etc.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:5

- Danny
Wednesday, 10 Adar II 5774

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Halocho #1304 - Purim gifts for the poor

One of the 613 Mitzvot in the Torah is to obey the Torah Sages. The Sages instituted Purim and its Mitzvot.

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים - to send gifts to at least two needy people. This gift is usually money.

Even somebody who lives off charity needs to fulfill this Mitzva.

One needn't hand the gifts directly to the needy; one can send them via messenger (or charity organization).

Purim is the only day of the year one does not check credentials; anybody who asks for charity on Purim is given something.

Both men and women have an obligation to give מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים. Men may send מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים to women and vice versa.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:3-4

- Danny
Tuesday, 9 Adar II 5774

Monday, March 10, 2014

Halocho #1303 - How do we publicize the miracle of Purim?

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is hearing Megilat Esther being read at night and again in the morning.

One needs to hear every single word to fulfill this Mitzva.

The Megila should be heard in a shul if possible; the bigger the crowd the bigger the publicity of the miracle.

Everybody needs to hear the Megila including men, women and children old enough to attend without disturbing.

The reading needs to be done from a Kosher Megila; one that is handwritten by a Sofer on parchment.

The entire Megila - some 20 columns in a standard edition - is unrolled and folded like a letter before it is read.

Three Brachot are recited before the Megila is read (both in the evening and the morning) and a single one after the reading.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:7, 9, 10, 11

- Danny
Monday, 8 Adar-II 5774

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Halocho #1302 - Purim gifts for your friends

One of the Mitzvot of Purim is Mishlo’ach Manot; sending at least two food items to one fellow Jew.

These 2 food items need to be ready to eat. For example fruit, wine, cake or cooked meat. 

It’s commendable to send Mishlo’ach Manot to a lot of people, but it’s even better to spend more on Matanot La’Evyonim to the poor and needy. 

Both men and women need to send Mishlo’ach Manot. Men should send to men, women should send to women. 

A mourner (in the 12 months for parents or 30 days for siblings, spouse or child) also needs to send Mishlo’ach Manot. One does not send Mishlo’ach Manot to a mourner unless there are no other Jews around.

One may give Matonos L’evyonim to a needy mourner. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:1, 2, 4, 7

- Danny
Sunday, 7 Adar II 5774

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Halocho #1301 - Covering a chimney on Shabbat

A chimney or exhaust pipe which juts out of a wall, may be covered on Shabbat, since that is considered adding to an existing wall, which is allowed on Shabbat.

A chimney or exhaust pipe which comes out of the roof may only be covered with its lid, if the lid is connected to the chimney or roof by hinges.

If one does not have a hinged cover, then one may not cover the chimney one Shabbat, because one is forbidden to make a roof on Shabbat.

These Halachot apply to Yom Tov also.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:79

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 4 Adar-II 5774

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Halocho #1300 - Mourning the Bet Hamikdash in Adar

Halocho #1300 - Mourning the Bet Hamikdash in Adar

The second Bet Hamikdosh was dedicated today - 3 Adar - about 2360 years ago. (Ezra 6: 15)

After the destruction of the Temple, Chazal (the Sages of blessed memory) instituted that at all joyous occasions we remember the destruction, including:

- At festive meals one should leave out one serving dish
- A woman should not wear all her jewelry together
- At the engagement a plate is broken - though it should be a damaged plate
- At the wedding a glass cup is broken
- The bride's veil shouldn't have gold or silver threads
- The groom has ashes placed on his hair (where he places his Tefillin) before the wedding

This way we fulfill the verse "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem...if I place not Jerusalem above my chief joy." (Psalms 137: 6-7)

אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָים  תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי
תִּדְבַּק-לְשׁוֹנִי, לְחִכִּי  אִם-לֹא אֶזְכְּרֵכִי
אִם לֹא אַעֲלֶה, אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלִַי  עַל רֹאשׁ שִׂמְחָתִי

Source: Kitzur Shulchon Aruch 126:1-2

- Danny
Wednesday, 3 Adar II 5774

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Halocho #1299 - Why are we happy in Adar?

One increases joy when Adar begins because Adar and (next month) Nissan historically have been full of miracles, including the redemption from Egypt and (nearly a millennium later) the miracle of Purim.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch  141:1,

- Danny
Tuesday, 2 Adar II 5774

Monday, March 3, 2014

Halocho #1298 - Must one eat on Rosh Chodesh?

Today is the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Adar-II.

One may not fast on Rosh Chodesh.

It's a Mitzva to eat a bigger meal on Rosh Chodesh.

There is no obligation to eat bread on Rosh Chodesh.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 77:2

- Danny
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Adar II 5774

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Halocho #1297 - May one work on Rosh Chodesh?

Today is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar-II.

Rosh Chodesh is a "minor" YomTov - and after Shacharit one adds Hallel, Torah Reading and Mussaf.

All types of work are permitted on Rosh Chodesh.

Some women have a family custom to not do certain types of work on Rosh Chodesh.

This is a valid custom and they may not disregard it.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:3

- Danny
Sunday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Adar-II 5774