One of the differences between Yom Tov and Shabbat is the laws of lighting fire.
On Shabbat one may not light fires, nor extinguish them nor make them larger or smaller. One needs to light the fire before Shabbat and then leave it alone.
On Yom Tov one may light a fire from an existing flame, if there's a need. One may also make the fire larger.
One may light a flame or make an existing flame larger for:
- Light, including "candle-lighting" if one didn't manage before Yom Tov.
- Cooking, baking or warming food
- Boiling water for drinking
- Keeping warm, if it's so cold that food starts to congeal
- Warming water to wash one's hands and face
One may not use matches nor a magnifying glass to light a fire on Yom Tov; one has to light the fire from an existing flame.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:25, 29, 30, 31
Thursday, 11 Iyar 5775, 26th day of the Omer
Thursday, April 30, 2015
One of the differences between Yom Tov and Shabbat is the laws of lighting fire.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
With some exceptions, the laws of work on Shabbat and Yom Tov are identical. These exceptions are:
- Some aspects of food preparation
- Carrying in the public domain
- Lighting fires from an existing flame
We will go into more detail in the coming days.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:1
Wednesday, 10 Iyar 5775, 25th day of the Omer
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The Torah prohibits men from removing their פֵּאוֹת.
The Payot-area is the hair in the triangular area from the top of the ear to the forehead to the bottom of the ear.
According to some opinions, even cutting the פֵּאוֹת very close to the skin with scissors is forbidden.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 170:1
Tuesday, 9 Iyar 5775 - 24th day of the Omer
Monday, April 27, 2015
The Torah explicitly forbids tattooing; coloring the skin permanently.
Both puncturing the skin and filling the holes with ink as well as putting ink on the skin and then injecting it are forbidden.
However, one may put colored medication on wounds even if it will cause a permanent discoloring, since the wound will leave a scar making it obvious that it's not a tattoo.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 169:1
Monday, 11 Iyar 5775, 23rd day of the Omer
Sunday, April 26, 2015
On the first "Monday, Thursday and Monday" in the month following Pessach (Iyar) and Sukkoth (Marcheshvan) the custom is to say extra Selichot during Shacharit. (Some communities do this on the last "Monday, Thursday and Monday" of the month. )
Since Monday is "Yom Sheni" or "Yom Bet - ב - and Thursday is "Yom Chamishi" or "Yom Heh - ה - these days are referred to as BeHaB - בה"ב.
BeHaB will be this week on Monday & Thursday and again on Monday next week.
Some people have the custom to fast on BeHaB. A special מִּי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ was recited on Shabbat morning before the Torah was returned to the Aron Hakodesh to bless those who will fast.
Having answered אָמֵן to the מִּי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ does not oblige one to fast.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 127:3, 14
Sunday, 7 Iyar 5775, 22nd day of the Omer
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Before making the Bracha on counting the Omer one should know which day one is going to count.
If one has not yet counted the Omer, and somebody wants to know which day we're up to, you should tell them "yesterday was such-and-such".
If, instead, you replied "today is such-and-such" you may not be allowed to make a Bracha on that night's count, since you already counted.
However, you should still count "properly" (without a Bracha) since you have to mention the weeks as well.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:3, 4
Wednesday, 3 Iyar 5775, 18th day of the Omer; 2 weeks and 4 days
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
If you forget to count the Omer at night, then you should count the next day - but without a Bracha. You then continue counting (at night) as usual with a Bracha.
If you forgot to count during the night as well as the following day, then you should still continue counting the Omer, but you may no longer make the Bracha.
If you're unsure if you counted the previous night, you may continue counting with a Bracha.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:2
Tuesday, 2 Iyar 5775, 17th day of the Omer
Monday, April 20, 2015
Today is the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar.
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.
Don't forget יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא in Birkat HaMazon and the Amida.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:2, 6
Monday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5775, 16th day of the Omer
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Today - Sunday - and tomorrow - Monday - are Rosh Chodesh Iyar.
One needs to add יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא - into the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רְצֵה.
If one forgets 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 forgets to add יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא during Shacharit (morning prayers) or Mincha (afternoon prayers), then one has to return to the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רְצֵה - and make amends.
If one forgets יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא during Shacharit and then prayed Mussaf, one still has to make amends for Shacharit. Even if one already prayed Mincha one has to make amends for Shacharit.
If one already finished the Amida - by saying יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי - then one needs to restart the Amida.
One also needs to add יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא - into Birkat Hamazon.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10
1st day Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5775 - 15th day of the Omer
Thursday, April 16, 2015
This Sunday and Monday will be Rosh Iyar.
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) 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 bread after dark at the 3rd Shabbat meal when Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:17
Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
- Danny Schoemann
Thursday, 27 Nissan 5575, 12th day of the Omer.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
During the Omer period the great sage Rabbi Akiva (who lived during and after the destruction of the second Temple) lost almost all of his thousands of Torah students; reducing Torah Scholars to a handful.
As a result, 33 days of the Omer are customarily observed as days of mourning during which weddings and haircuts are forbidden.
These 33 days of mourning are either observed from day 1 of the Omer, or from Rosh Chodesh Iyar; depending on local/family custom.
One may get engaged during the entire Omer period and even celebrate with a meal, but dancing and music is not allowed during the 33 days of mourning.
The Sandek, Mohel and father of the newborn may take haircuts the day before the Brit even during the 33 days of mourning.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:6 - 9
Wednesday, 26 Nissan 5775, 11th day of the Omer
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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 חָדָשׁ - "Chodosh" (new) - and may not be eaten until after the 2nd day Chol Hamoed Pessach of the coming year. In Israel, Chol Hamoed Pessach starts on 16th Nissan, in the Diaspora on the 17th Nissan.
The Torah prohibition of eating Chodosh applies to grain grown on Jewish land, according to all opinions.
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, 25 Nissan 5775, 10th day of the Omer
Monday, April 13, 2015
The custom is not do any work from sunset until one has counted the Omer. This applies to men and women.
This is hinted in the verse which refers to the 7 weeks of the Omer-counting as שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת - using the word "Shabbat" instead of weeks.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:10
Monday, 24 Nissan 5775, 9th day of the Omer
Sunday, April 12, 2015
From the second day of פֶּסַח until שָׁבוּעוֹת we count the 49 days of the עֹמֶר.
Counting is done after nightfall. Before counting a Bracha is said:
One counts both days and weeks, as the Torah says (Vayikra 23:15-16):
"And you shall count ... 7 weeks ... you shall count 50 days."
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:1
Sunday, 23 Nissan 5775, 8th day of the Omer
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Tomorrow - Friday - is Erev Pessach and Erev Shabbat; a busy day.
One does not say מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה nor לַמְנַצֵּחַ from Erev Pessach until Isru Chag.
One may not eat Chametz after 1/3 of the day, and then - within an hour - one needs to burn one's Chametz and say כָּל חֲמִירָא declaring all Chametz one owns to be ownerless like dust.
Work that may not be done on Chol Hamo'ed may not be done on Erev Pessach after noon.
One may not eat Matza on Erev Pessach.
One needs to prepare the salt water for the Seder before Shabbat begins.
One needs to ensure one has taken Challa from one's Matzot before Shabbat begins. (Matzot one buys in a sealed box usually have Challa separated already; check the box near the Kashrut seal to double check.)
Remember to light a 48-hour candle (or leave on a flame on the stove) so that you can light Shabbat candles on Motzai Shabbat, if you live outside Israel.
For details of the Fast of the Firstborn see Halocho #1550 - http://halocho.blogspot.com/2015/03/halocho-1550-why-do-firstborns-fast.html
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 113: 1 - 5
Wishing everybody a meaningful and enjoyable Pessach
Thursday, 13 Nissan 5775
The next Halocho-a-Day is scheduled for after Pessach, Sunday, 23 Nissan
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
On Thursday night one may not do any work, nor eat anything, until one has checked the house for Chametz.
The entire house needs to be cleaned Before one starts searching the house for Chametz. The Chametz that one plans to use until mid-morning on Friday morning needs to be put in a secure place.
First one says the Bracha "אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל בִּעוּר חָמֵץ" – "… to destroy Chametz", since the point of the search is to rid the house of Chametz.
After the search is complete one says "כָּל חֲמִירָא" declaring that "all Chametz one isn’t aware of" to be "ownerless and worthless like dust".
This declaration constitutes a Halachic "destroying Chametz", which is why one shouldn't interrupt between the Bracha, the searching and the כָּל חֲמִירָא with anything not related to the search.
One may appoint other members of the household to help with the search, as long as they are over Bar/Bat Mitzva.
The search is done using a single candle which provides the optimal light for searching. A torch (like a Havdala candle) is not allowed – as it's a fire hazard and it gives a flickering light – and if it was used one needs to redo the search.
Search under all furniture, inside all closets, pockets of all clothes worn in the past year, school bags, purses, cars and anywhere else where Chametz could have been placed accidentally or purposely by adults, children or toddlers.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:1-10
There is no need to turn off the electric lights while searching with a candle, since with more light it's easier to find Chametz.
After searching with a candle in those places where it's safe and convenient to do so, one should continue with a flashlight, so that one can search safely and calmly without fear of burning down the house.
Source: Rabbi Shimon Eider zt"l, Halachos of Pessach, Vol. 1, page 86
Wednesday, 12 Nissan 5775