Thursday, April 27, 2017

Halocho #1814 - Tefillin on Rosh Chodesh

Men wear Tefillin (phylacteries) every day during Shacharit (morning prayers) except for Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Rosh Chodesh has some aspects of a Yom Tov, yet work is permitted. 

Tefillin are worn on Rosh Chodesh during Shacharit, Hallel and the Torah reading. They are removed before starting Mussaf.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 10:19

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
- Danny

Thursday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5777 - 16th day of the Omer


אֵין לַחֲלֹץ אֶת הַתְּפִלִּין עַד אַחַר קְדֻשַּׁת וּבָא לְצִיּוֹן כְּשֶׁאוֹמֵר יְהִי רָצוֹן שֶׁנִּשְׁמֹר חֻקֶּיךָ (עַיֵּן א"ר). וּבִמְקוֹם שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין שֶׁבְּיוֹם קְרִיאַת סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אֵין מַחֲזִירִין אֶת הַסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה עַד אַחַר קְדֻשַּׁת וּבָא לְצִיוֹן, אֵין חוֹלְצִין אֶת הַתְּפִלִּין עַד שֶׁיַּחֲזִירוּ אֶת הַסֵּפֶר תּוֹרָה לָהֵיכָל. סִימָן לַדָּבָר, וַיַּעֲבֹר מַלְכָּם לִפְנֵיהֶם וַה' בְּרֹאשָׁם. וּבְיוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ מִילָה, אֵין לַחֲלֹץ עַד אַחַר הַמִּילָה

בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ חוֹלְצִין קֹדֶם תְּפִלַּת מוּסָף

בְּחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד סֻכּוֹת, כֻּלָּם חוֹלְצִין קֹדֶם הַלֵּל. וּבְחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד פֶּסַח, הַצִּבּוּר חוֹלְצִין קֹדֶם הַלֵּל, וְהַשְּׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר אַחַר הַלֵּל 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Halocho #1813 - Ya'aleh VeYavo - it's Rosh Chodesh!

Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow are Rosh Chodesh Iyar.

One needs to add  יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא  in the 17th Bracha of the Amida - רְצֵה. 

If one forgot 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 forgot to do so 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 already finished the Amida - by saying יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן - then one needs to restart the Amida.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10

Chodesh Tov!

- Danny
Wednesday, 1st day Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5777 - 15th day of the Omer


שָׁכַח יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ בְּשַׁחֲרִית אוֹ בְּמִנְחָה, וּבְחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד, בֵּין בְּשַׁחֲרִית בֵּין בְּמִנְחָה בֵּין בְּמַעֲרִיב, אִם נִזְכַּר קוֹדֶם שֶׁאָמַר יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן, חוֹזֵר וּמַתְחִיל רְצֵה, וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם נִזְכַּר קוֹדֵם שֶׁהִתְחִיל מוֹדִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁסִּיֵּם בִּרְכַּת הַמַּחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתוֹ לְצִיּוֹן, צָרִיךְ לְהַתְחִיל רְצֵה (כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַבְתִּי בְּמַשִּׁיב הָרוּחַ) אַךְ אִם נִזְכַּר קוֹדֶם  בִּרְכַּת הַמַּחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתוֹ לְצִיּוֹן, אוֹמְרוֹ שָׁם וּמְסַיֵּם וְתֶחֱזֶינָה עֵינֵינוּ וְכוּ' וְאִם לֹא נִזְכַּר עַד לְאַחַר יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן וְגוֹ', חוֹזֵר לְרֹאשׁ הַתְּפִלָּה

וּבְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ שָׁכַח יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא בְּמַעֲרִיב, בֵּין שֶׁרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ הוּא בּ' יָמִים, בֵּין שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא יוֹם א', כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' וְהִזְכִּיר אֶת הַשֵּׁם, שׁוּב אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר, אֶלָּא מְסַיֵּם הַמַחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתוֹ לְצִיּוֹן וְגוֹמֵר תְּפִלָּתוֹ. וְהַטַּעַם בָּזֶה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ מְקַדְּשִׁין אֵת הַחֹדֶשׁ בַּלַּיְלָה

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Halocho #1812 - Tuesday night - is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar.

On Rosh Chodesh, one should add יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא during the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.

If one forgot יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא during Birkat Hamazon (during the day or night), and one remembers before starting the last Bracha, one can make amends by inserting this before starting the last Bracha:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן

If one only realizes after starting the last Bracha, or one does not have the above Bracha readily available, then one does not need to make amends.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10, 44:14

Chodesh Tov!
Tuesday, 29 Nissan 5777 - 14th day of the Omer

טָעָה בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וְלֹא אָמַר יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא, אוֹמֵר בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְֹרָאֵל 
לְזִכָּרוֹן, וְאֵינוֹ חוֹתֵם (וְאֵין חִלּוּק בָּזֶה בֵּין בַּיּוֹם בֵּין בַּלָּיְלָה

וּבְחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד אִם לֹא אָמַר יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא יֹאמַר בָּרוּךְ אַתָה ה'  אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן מוֹעֲדִים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְֹרָאֵל לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה אֶת יוֹם חַג (פְּלוֹנִי) הַזֶּה, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' מְקַדֵּשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים

 וְאִם לֹא נִזְכַּר עַד לְאַחַר שֶׁהִתְחִיל הַבְּרָכָה שֶׁלְּאַחֲרֶיהָ אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר לְרֹאשׁ מִשּׁוּם דִּבְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וּבְחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד אֵינוֹ מְחֻיָּב לֶאֱכֹל פַּת דַּוְקָא


Monday, April 24, 2017

Halocho #1811 - Why the mourning during part of the Omer?

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.

One may get engaged during the Omer and even celebrate with a meal, but dancing and music are not allowed.

The Sandek, Mohel and father of the newborn may take haircuts the day before the Brit.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:6 - 9

- Danny
Monday, 28 Nissan 5777 - 13th day of the Omer


בִּימֵי הַסְּפִירָה מֵתוּ תַּלְמִידֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא בְּל"ג יוֹם, וְלָכֵן נוֹהֲגִין בְּיָמִים אֵלּוּ קְצָת אֲבֵלוּת, שֶׁאֵין נוֹשְׂאִין נָשִׁים וְאֵין מִסְתַּפְּרִים

הַסַּנְדָּק (הוּא הַתּוֹפֵס אֶת הַתִּינוֹק בִּשְׁעַת מִילָה) וְהַמּוֹהֵל, וַאֲבִי הַבֵּן, מֻתָּרִין לְהִסְתַּפֵּר בְּיּוֹם שֶׁלִּפְנֵי הַמִּילָה סָמוּךְ לָעֶרֶב קֹדֶם הֲלִיכָה לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת

לַעֲשׂוֹת שִׁדּוּכִין אֲפִלּוּ בַּסְּעוּדָּה, מֻתָּרִין בְּכָל הַיָּמִים. אַךְ רִקּוּדִין וּמְחוֹלוֹת, אֲסוּרִין

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Halocho #1810 - Don't work before counting the Omer?

The custom is to not do any work from sunset until after one has counted the Omer.

This applies to men and women.

This is hinted to in the verse (Shmot 23:15) which refers to the 7 weeks of the Omer-counting as "Sheva Shabbatot" - using the word "Shabbat" instead of weeks.

 וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם, מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת, מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת-עוֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה: שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת, תְּמִימוֹת תִּהְיֶינָה

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:10

- Danny
Sunday, 27 Nissan 5777 - 12th day of the Omer


נוֹהֲגִים שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה, אֶחָד אֲנָשִׁים וְאֶחָד נָשִׁים כָּל יְמֵי הַסְּפִירָה מִשְּׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה עַד לְאַחַר סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר, וְרֶמֶז לָזֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת, מִלְּשׁוֹן שְׁבוֹת, שֶׁבִּזְמַן הַסְּפִירָה, דְּהַיְנוּ מִשְּׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה וָאֵילֵךְ, יֵשׁ לִשְׁבוֹת מִמְּלָאכָה עַד לְאַחַר הַסְּפִירָה

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Halocho #1809 - Dismantling tents on Shabbat

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.

Any roof that one is not allowed to make on Shabbat, one is also forbidden from dismantling.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:81

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach - Rosh Chodesh Iyar will be on Wednesday & Thursday

- Danny
Thursday, 24 Nissan 5777 - 9th day of the Omer

כָּל מְחִצָּה אוֹ אֹהֶל שֶׁאֲסוּרִין לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ, אִם הוּא עָשׂוּי, אֲסוּרִין לַהֲסִירוֹ, מִשּׁוּם דַּהֲוֵי סוֹתֵר אֹהֶל

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Halocho #1808- Countdown!

From the second day of Pesach until Shavuot we count the 49 days of the Omer.

Counting is done after nightfall. Before counting a Bracha is said:

ברוך אתה... אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בּמִצְוֹתָיו, וצִוָּנוּ עַל ספִירַת הָעוֹמֶר

One counts both days and weeks, as the Torah says (Vayikra 23:15-16):

וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם ... שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת ... תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם
"And you shall count ... 7 weeks ... you shall count 50 days."

Today is the 8th day of the Omer which is 1 week and 1 day.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:1

- Danny
Wednesday, 23 Nissan 5777 - 8th day of the Omer

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Halocho #1807 - Erev Pesach check-list

Tomorrow - Monday - is Erev Pessach; a busy day.

  • Remember to light a 26-hour candle (or leave on a flame on the stove) so that you can light Yom-Tov candles on Tuesday evening if you live outside Israel.
  • For details of the Fast of the Firstborn see Halocho #1804.
  • Prepare the Salt Water for the Seder.
  • Roast the Egg and Bone.
  • Open the boxes of Matza, so as not to tear writing on Yom Tov.
  • Ensure the wine bottles can be opened on Yom Tov without tearing any writing; else open them beforehand.
  • Ensure Challa has been separated from the Matza to be used on Yom Tov.
  • Make the Charoset.

One does not say מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה nor לַמְנַצֵּחַ from Erev Pesach until Isru Chag.

One may not eat Chametz after 1/3 of the day, and then  - within the hour - one needs to burn one's Chametz and say Kol Chamira 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 Pesach after noon. See Halocho #1311, #1312 and #1320 for details.

One may not eat Matza on Erev Pessach.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 113: 1 - 5

Wishing everybody a meaningful and enjoyable Pesach

- Danny
Sunday, 13 Nissan 5777 - tonight is Bedikat Chametz night

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Halocho #1806 - What's great about Shabbat Hagadol?

Today, 10 Nissan, in the year 2449, the Jews in Egypt selected lambs for their Pesach sacrifice.

Forty years later, on 10 Nissan, the prophetess Miriam - sister of Aaron and Moshe - died.

A year later on 10 Nissan, the Jews crossed the Jordan river, as recorded in Joshua 3-4.

The Jews in Egypt were commanded to take home a lamb for their pre-Exodus Seder on 10 Nissan, four days before it was going to be sacrificed.

It was a miracle that the Egyptians didn't harm the Jews when they did this, since lambs were considered sacred objects in Egypt.

Since we left Egypt on Thursday 15 Nissan, this miracle happened on a Shabbat. To commemorate this miracle, the Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat Hagadol - the Great Shabbat - and a special Haftarah is read; the last chapter in Malachi which predicts the future redemption, may we merit it in our days.

The custom is to read the narrative section of the Haggada - from Avadim Hayinu (we were slaves) until (but not including) Rabban Gamliel's admonition to say "Pesach, Matza and Marror" - at Mincha on Shabbat Hagadol.

Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 430

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 10 Nissan 5777


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Halocho #1805 - Should one use a candle for Bedikat Chametz?

On Sunday night one may not do any work, nor eat anything, until one has checked the house for Chametz.

Before one starts searching the house for Chametz the entire house needs to be cleaned, and the Chametz that one plans to use until mid-morning on Monday 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 “Kol Chamira” 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 Kol Chamira 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

- Danny
Wednesday, 9 Nissan 5777

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Halocho #1804 - Why do the firstborns fast instead of celebrating?

Why don't firstborns celebrate the fact that they were saved from the 10th plague - the smiting of Egyptian firstborns?

On Erev Pesach - this coming Monday - all firstborns will fast in memory of them fasting in Egypt on Erev Pesach, to ensure they wouldn't be punished along with the Egyptians in the 10th plague.

The Hallel said at the Seder includes praise for their delivery.

All firstborn males fast; even if they're only a firstborn to one of their parents.

Even firstborns who are exempt from Pidyon haBen - like Cohanim, Levites or being born after a stillborn - also have to fast.

The father of a young firstborn needs to fast for the infact.

Whether a firstborn (or his father) may attend a Se'udat Mitzva like a Siyum, Brit or Pidyon haBen and break his fast to participate in the meal, depends on local / family custom.

After breaking his fast, he can eat the rest of the day.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 113:6, 115:2

- Danny
Tuesday, 8 Nissan 5777

Monday, April 3, 2017

Halocho #1803 - Tell me about selling Chametz to a non-Jew

Since most of us don't want to start selling Chametz on Erev Pesach, one can go to most local Rabbis and appoint them as a messenger to sell our Chametz.

The Rabbi will make a legal sale of the Chametz including a legal document and a deposit. Realize that this is a bona fide sale, and that the non-Jew is entitled to come to our homes and request we hand over our Chametz, as has occasionally happened.

After Pesach, the Rabbi goes to the non-Jew and asks to be paid the remainder of the debt and offers to buy back the Chametz from the non-Jew at a higher price. Since the non-Jew usually prefers to make a quick profit rather than paying for hundreds of items scattered throughout the city, he will sell the Chametz to the Rabbi.

One should only sell Chametz and not the containers it's in - especially not containers that require Tevila, like metal and glass, otherwise one would need to Toivel them in a Mikva after Pesach, since they belonged to a non-Jew during Pesach.

Chametz that has been sold (via the Rabbi) must be locked away so that one doesn't accidentally use it, which would be a double problem: Chametz on Pesach and stealing from the non-Jew.
Even if one has no intention of keeping Chametz in one's home, one should still go to a Rabbi to appoint him to sell one's Chametz.

Why?

A lot of products may be Chametz contrary to popular belief - depending on the latest production methods - like medications, creams, soaps or even food which one discovers later weren't really Kosher for Pessach.

Or, during Pesach one may discover Chametz that one wasn't aware of, or that one forgot to get rid of in the last-minute pre-Pesach rush.

If one sold all one's Chametz then one didn't own any during Pesach.

Chametz that belonged to a Jew during Pesach may not be used after Pessach. This is a Rabbinical decree; a punishment for owning the Chametz.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 114

- Danny
Monday, 7 Nissan 5777

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Halocho #1802 - Is burning Chametz wasteful?

The Torah forbids us to waste or destroy items that can still be used.

The Torah commands us to burn - or otherwise destroy - all Chametz in our possession on Erev Pesach morning.

Can we reconcile these 2 Halachot?

The Mitzva to destroy Chametz can be fulfilled with a bare minimum of Chametz; preferably with leftovers that nobody would be able to use. Usable Chametz can be donated to various charity organizations which will distribute it to the needy.

Alternately, Chametz can be sold to a non-Jew. More about that tomorrow.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:9

- Danny
Sunday, 6 Nissan 5770

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Halocho #1801 - Moving homes on Chol HaMo'ed

One should not move one's furniture from one home to another on Chol HaMo'ed, with the following exceptions:

- Both homes are in the same complex and the furniture will not be carried into the street, or

- The 2 complexes have a common doorway and the furniture will not be carried into the street, or

- There's a financial loss involved in not moving, or

- One is moving from a rented home to one's own home, as this will increase one's joy on the holiday.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 105:1

Shabbat Shalom

- Danny
Thursday, 3 Nissan 5777

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Halocho #1800 - Bless the blossoms

During the month of Nissan, trees start to blossom (in the Northern hemisphere).

The first time a year that one sees edible fruit trees blossoming one says:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם - Blessed are you Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe,
שֶׁלּא חִסַּר בָּעוֹלָמוֹ דָּבָר - for nothing is lacking in His universe,
וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת - and He created in it good creatures and good trees,
לְהַנּוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם- to cause mankind pleasure with them.

Once the flowers have fallen off and the fruit is visible then one can no longer say this Bracha.

One makes this Bracha only once a year.

Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 226:1,

- Danny
Wednesday, 2 Nissan 5770

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Halocho #1799 - What happened on the First day of Nissan?

Today - Tuesday - is the first day of the first month - Nissan!

The first day of Nissan was the last of the 8 inaugural days of the Mishkan (tabernacle) and the first day that Aaron served as Cohen Gadol (high priest) and his 4 sons as Cohanim.

That same day, two of them - Nadav and Avihu - brought an offering, not in accordance with Halacha, and were killed by a heavenly fire.

On that day, the heads of the 12 tribes started bringing their inaugural sacrifices, one prince each day. Some people have the custom of reading that days' sacrifices during the first 12 days of Nissan. This can be found in the Siddur as the Torah Reading for Chanuka.

One does not say Tachanun during the entire month of Nissan.

One may not fast during Nissan, with the following exceptions:

  • Firstborns fast on Erev Pesach (tomorrow in 2 weeks).
  • Fasting for distressingly bad dreams.
  • Couples getting married during Nissan, even on Rosh Chodesh, even though on any other Rosh Chodesh the bride and groom do not fast.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 107:1,2

Don't forget יַעֲלֶה וְיָבוֹא in Birkat Hamazon and the Amida.

Chodesh Tov!
- Danny
Tuesday, 1 Nissan 5777