Chanukah Candles and Shabbos

1: The time for lighting the Chanukah candles on Friday is after Plag Hamincha, before sunset, and should burn a half hour after Tzeis Hakochavim. Therefore, care should be taken to see that there should be enough oil in the Menorah at the time of the lighting, to burn for the required amount of time. One should preferably daven Mincha first and then kindle the Chanukah lights. However, if this is not possible, one may light first and then daven Mincha. One should rather daven Mincha with a minyan after lighting the Chanukah candles, then daven alone before lighting the candles. (See Shulchan Aruch 679 and Mishnah Berurah 2)
2. On Erev Shabbos, the Chanukah lights are kindled before the Shabbos candles even if a man is lighting the Shabbos candles. The reason is that there is a view which holds that men are mekabel Shabbos when he lights the Shabbos candles and melacha is prohibited. Although most poskim disagree with this view, and feel that men are not mekabel Shabbos when lighting the Shabbos candles, the custom is to preferably conduct himself accordingly.
3. However, if a man lit the Shabbos candles and did not intend to usher in Shabbos, he may kindle the Chanukah lights afterwards. This Halacha concerns a man, who does not accept Shabbos by lighting the Shabbos candles. However, when a woman lights the Shabbos candles, the custom that the she does accept Shabbos and is prohibited from doing any melacha. Therefore, if she should, accidentally, light the Shabbos candles, she is no longer permitted to kindle the Chanukah lights. She should, instead, instruct another person to light for her (as long as it is before sunset) and recite the blessing “Lehadlik Ner Shel Chanuka” on her behalf. She may, however, recite “Sheasa Nissim”. (Mishnah Berurah 679:1)
4. The poskim debate whether one should light the Chanukah lights before reciting Havdalah this Motzei Shabbos, or is Havdalah recited before kindling the Chanukah lights. (See Shulchan Aruch, Rama, Mishnah Berurah and Biur Halacha 681 for full discussion) In shul, the custom is to light Chanukah lights first. At home, however, since there is basis for both views, one should continue to conduct himself according to his own custom. If one has no specific custom he should perform Havdalah first and then kindle the Chanukah lights. (Opinion of Harav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin zt”l cited in Luach and of Harav Shimon Eider zt”l in Halachos of Chanukah page 44)

Amirah L’Akum

1) There is a rabbinic prohibition for a Jew to instruct a non-Jew to perform on his behalf any activities that are prohibited on Shabbos.
There are 3 reasons given for this prohibition: A) The Rambam (Shabbos 6:1) writes that it is prohibited so that Shabbos will not be taken lightly. [Parenthetically, this is the very reason that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l was against using electrical items with Shabbos clocks, as it is included in the prohibition of the Rambam.] B) It is included in the prohibition of “V’Daber Davar”, forbidden speech on Shabbos. C) The non-Jew is your messenger to do a prohibition.
2) In addition to the prohibition to command a non-Jew to perform prohibited activities on Shabbos, it is also prohibited to benefit from the non-Jew’s action. Therefore, if a non-Jew “knows” to turn on the light for you or turn on the fire etc. without being told, one still cannot benefit from those activities (one cannot read by the light or stay warm by the fire etc.) Even though he didn’t command the non-Jew, he cannot benefit from the actions.
Leniencies in cases of Torah prohibitions (Part 1)
Under certain circumstances, it is permissible to tell a non-Jew to perform even a biblical prohibition:
1) Bein Hashmashos– Bein Hashmashos is the time between sunset and nightfall. During Bein Hashmashos on Friday night one can be lenient to ask a non-Jew to perform any activity, even biblical in nature, for any one of the following reasons- A) For the sake of a mitzvah, B) Shabbos needs (oneg shabbos), C)Avoiding substantial financial loss, D) Avoiding significant distress.
2) Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l discusses the specific amount of time one can ask a non-Jew during Bein Hashmashos and he concludes that for this discussion one can be lenient to ask the non-Jew (as per the needs above) during the 30 minute period after sunset. The leniency of Amirah L’Akum would no longer apply  after 30 minutes. (Refer to Igros Moshe O.C. 4:62 and 4:64 40)
Some examples of the above halacha is- One can tell a non-Jew to turn on an electric stove during Bein Hashmashos in order to warm the food. (Oneg Shabbos) One can ask a non-Jew to lock one’s place of business and activate an alarm system during Bein Hashmashos if one forgot to do so. (Avoiding substantial loss) (Refer to Orchos Shabbos vol. 2 page 503 and The Sanctity of Shabbos pgs. 40-45)
1)  Pesik Reisha– Pesik Reisha describes a permissible action which will inevitably result in the performance of a prohibited melacha on Shabbos. An example is opening a fridge on Shabbos when the light will go on. The desired action is to open the fridge (permissible action), however, this will inevitably cause the forbidden act of turning the light on. On Shabbos performing a Pesik Reisha is forbidden. Therefore, in the above case one cannot open the fridge on Shabbos if the light will go on.
Yet, it is permitted to tell a non-Jew to perform the permissible act even though it will result in a melacha being performed by a pesik reisha. (Magen Avraham 253:41)
2) Therefore, if something necessary for Shabbos was left in the car, one may ask a non-Jew to open the car door even though a light will inevitably go on. Similarly, one may ask a non-Jew to open the fridge, even though the light will go on. (Igros Moshe 2:68) [The non-Jew may also be asked to close the fridge because that too is a pesik reisha. If food which is essential for the Shabbos meals remain in the fridge after it is closed, the non-Jew may be asked to first uncsrew the bulb if: A) There will not be a non-Jew available to open the fridge door at a later time, and B) there is no other way to preserve the food. (Sanctity of Shabbos page 49)]
1) Public Mitzvah– If a group of people cannot perform a mitzvah a non-Jew can be asked to do even a biblical prohibition in order to facilitate the performance of the mitzvah. (M.B. 276:25 and Sanctity of Shabbos page 57)
Therefor, if the lights (even incandescent) went out in the shul and the congregants are unable to daven on learn, a non-Jew may be asked to turn the lights on.
2) Similarly, it is permissible to tell a non-Jew to do a biblical prohibition if it will save many people from sinning. Therefore, if a public eiruv broke, and many people are unaware of this and they will continue carrying, a non-Jew may be asked to repair the eiruv, even if it involves a biblical act of repairing.
1) Choleh She’ein Bo Sakana– It is permitted to ask a non-Jew to perform any action on Shabbos to cure or to ease the pain of a choleh she’ein bo sakana, an incapacitated person. (M.B. 328:47)
An incapacitated person is a person who is feeling so unwell that he or she would go to bed if that would help (e.g. someone with a severe cold or flu). Similarly, when an illness causes a person so much pain that he cannot function normally, that person is considered to be incapacitated. (Shulchan Shlomo 328:23)
2) Therefore, one may ask a non-Jew to drive to a drug store and buy the patient medicine; to turn on a light; to turn on the heat or the air conditioner. One may also tell a non-Jew to adjust an electric hospital bed for a sick person.
[It should be noted that if it is possible to achieve the objective treatment without asking a non-Jew, then we must do that. (Beis Yosef 330:4) Therefore, if the medication can be obtained without having a non-Jew drive to the store, one must obtain it in a permissible way.]
Adults must be ill to be categorized as cholim shein bahem sakana. However, children, in general, are treated as cholim shein bahem sakana even when they are healthy. Therefore, if a child has a need, that if left unfulfilled, may lead to any sickness, one may tell a non-Jew to do a biblical prohibition. (Rama 328:17) For example, if an infant will only eat a certain baby food which was not prepared before Shabbos, one may tell a non-Jew to prepare and cook that food. Similarly,  a child who experiences fear of the dark is considered a choleh. Therefore, if the fuse in the house blew and the lights are off, one may ask a non-Jew to repair the fuse on Shabbos. (Sanctity of Shabbos page 53)
2) The poskim debate what age is a child still considered a choleh and has the heterim described above. According, to Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l, Harav Elyashiv zt”l and Harav Wosner zt”l all maintain that until the age of 3 the child is treated as a choleh. The Tzitz Eliezer extends it to 6, the Minchas Yitzchak 9 and Harav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l permits it until the child is bar or bat mitzvah. Harav Oelbaum shlit”a (Minchas Chein vol. 1 page 51) discusses this issue and after compiling all of the opinions he concludes: “All agree that a child under 3 can be considered a choleh shein bo sakana. A child more than 9 years old cannot generally be considered a choleh, according to most opinions. For children aged between 3 through 9, it is dependent on the relative strength or weakness of the child. If he is relatively weak, he may be treated as a choleh shein bo sakana, if he is relatively strong, he should not be included in this category.”
Question: If my house is cold can I ask a non-Jew to turn on the heat? Does it make a difference if there are elderly or children in the house?
Answer: Turning on the heat on Shabbos is a biblical prohibition. Therefore, to ask a non-Jew should only be permitted in the case of a ill person (choleh shein bo sakana) as was discussed in the previous emails. However, the poskim have determined that people who live in a house that is not adequately heated are likely to become ill. Therefore, people lacking adequate heat are treated as a choleh shein bo sakana.
Thus, it is permitted to tell a non-Jew to turn on the heat in a house that is very cold. (S.A. 276:5) [If the house is adequately heated for the average adult, then one would not be able to ask a non-Jew to turn on the heat. The Aruch Hashulchan does point out that it is very difficult to determine what is considered adequately heated and what is considered very cold in halacha.] Even if the house was warm enough for the average adult but there are children or elderly people present, who require additional heat, it is permissible to tell a non-Jew to turn on the heat. (Sanctity of Shabbos page 52)
Reader’s Question: Over the last few halachos you mentioned numerous heterim to allow one to ask a non-Jew to perform even biblical prohibitions (such as pesik reisha, public mitzvah, cholim etc.). Is one allowed to outright ask the non-Jew to perform the prohibition or must one hint it to him? What is the whole inyan of hinting in general?
Answer: In short, one need not hint to the non-Jew in all those cases. When it is permitted to ask a non-Jew (such as pesik reisha, public mitzvah, cholim etc.), it is permitted to do so outright.
The whole concept of hinting is only in a very specific case, as we shall discuss below. The reason is as follows: There are 2 issues with AmirahL’Akum- 1- The prohibition to command the non-Jew and 2- benefiting from his actions. Therefore, even if one hints for a non-Jew to perform a prohibited activity (which removes the 1st issue), it is still prohibited to benefit from his actions (2nd issue). In the previous halachos one is permitted to ask and benefit from the activities of the non-Jew.
When then does hinting apply? Hinting only applies when one is not directly benefiting from a non-Jew. The poskim describe 2 instances where one does not benefit from his actions (and when hinting would be effective). A) Indirect Benefit- Indirect benefit is where the actions of the non-Jew merely removes an obstacle rather than giving direct benefit. For example, putting out a light in the bedroom does not directly enable a person to sleep. It merely removes the obstacle of light. Therefore, one may hint to a non-Jew to turn off a light in the room. B) Additional Benefit- Addition benefit is where the melacha only makes it easier to do something which was possible even without his actions. For example, additional lights in an already lit room. Therefore, one may hint to the non-Jew to turn on a light in an already lit (albeit dimly lit) room.
In these 2 instances there is no prohibited command (1st issue), since one is hinting and there is no issue of benefiting from the non-Jew (2nd issue) as there is no benefit from his actions in this case. In all other cases hinting is not effective and not relevant.
Reader’s Question: If I need to overnight a package for work on Friday am I allowed to do so or is it Amirah L’Akum since I am asking the UPS workers to work for me on Shabbos.
Answer: Sending a package express overnight on Friday is a problem in general do to the issues of Amirah L’Akum. However, in case of great need and financial loss one can be lenient to overnight the package. A rabbi should always be consulted to determine if this case is considered “a great need” and warrants a lenient ruling.
The reason for the lenient view is that the poskim debate whether one may ask a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew on shabbos to perform an activity for the Jew. This is called “Amirah L’Amirah“. The Chavos Yair 53 rules that one may tell a non-Jew to tell another non-Jew to perform a melacha on Shabbos. However, the Avodas Hagirshuni rules stringently on the matter. The Mishnah Berurah 307:24 cites both views and rules that one may rule leniently in case of great financial loss. Overnighting a package is indeed a case of Amirah L’Amirah because the Jew does not directly commission the non-Jew who will deliver the package. The Jew merely interacts with a clerk in the UPS store who in turn tells the other non-Jew to deliver the package.
Yet, this case is a little bit better than the case of the Mishnah Berurah since the command is happening during the week. The Chasam Sofer 60 rules that Amirah L’Amirah is allowed if the command happens before Shabbos. The whole debate is whether one may tell a non-Jew to tell another non-Jew on Shabbos, however, before Shabbos is more lenient. (See Biur Halacha 307 for a dissenting view) Based upon the above reasoning one may be lenient only in a case of great need.

Lighting Shabbos Candles (Assorted Halachos)

1) Although, the sages have established that candle lighting is the woman’s responsibility, the obligation to light Shabbos candles rests equally on every member of the household. When the wife lights the candles she is being motzei her family’s obligation. (Tur Orach Chaim 263)
Rashi (Shabbat 32a s.v. Hareni) writes in name of Bereshis Rabba that women are more obligated in lighting candles since they were involved in the sin of extinguishing the light of the world in the sin of Etz HaDaas.

2) If a man is single living alone, or he is married and his wife is out of the house, or his wife is running late and will not make it home to light,  then he should light candles with a bracha.  A woman alone should obviously light with a bracha.

Mishnah Berurah 262:11

Question: What should a woman do regarding the Shabbos candles when she is in the hospital for Shabbos after giving birth?
Answer: Lighting the Shabbos candles is an obligation that applies even to someone who is hospital bound.
If her husband will be at home, he should light the Shabbos candles at home with a bracha. (See M.B. 263:32) However, she is still required to light at the hospital. Since hospital regulations forbid the actual lighting of candles in the room, one should light an electric incandescent lamp or flashlight in the hospital room. Since according to some poskim, including Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, one may not recite a bracha when lighting electric lights, she should light them without reciting a brocho.
[The poskim debate whether one can recite a bracha when lighting electric lights- 1) The Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 120, Mechezeh Avraham 41, Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l Yabia Omer 2:17, Rav Henkin zt”l Edus Lyisroel page 122, Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso vol. 2 page 34 note 22, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l Kochvei Yitzchak page 20 all feel that one can recite a bracha on electric lights. 2) Harav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l and Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l feel that one can only recite a bracha on a battery operated flashlight. 3) While many poskim rule that no bracha is recited on any electric lights- Refer to the Maharshag 2:107, Beer Moshe Kuntres Electric 58, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank zt”l Mekraei Kodesh Chanukah 20, and Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l in Radiance of Shabbos page 12]
There is a custom that the wife adds a candle for every child that she has. If she lit two candles before having the child, she now lights three. (Mateh Moshe 414)
1) If one lights candles and does not benefit from them in any way (e.g. she lights in the dining room and then eats on the porch) and by the time the meal is over the lights will be extinguished, the bracha is a bracha l’vatala (bracha was said in vain). (S,A. 263:8)
2) There is an interesting machlokes between the Shulchan Aruch (sefardim) and the Rama (Ashkenazim). According to the Shulchan Aruch (263:8) only one woman is able to light with a bracha in a room. Meaning, once one woman lights in that room if another woman lights, the second cannot recite a bracha. Therefore, if a mother and daughter in law are staying in the same house and both will light, the mother lights in the dining room and the daughter in law lights in her bedroom. The daughter in law should make sure to eat or read using the light, in order to benefit from them before they extinguish. Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l codifies this law as normative for Sefardim. The Rama, however, maintains that many women can light in the same room with a bracha.
A very common question is where a couple should light when they are eating in one location and sleeping at home. Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Radiance of Shabbos page 13) is cited as ruling that it is preferable for the woman to light candles in her own home where she is sleeping (this is the custom of Sefardim, as we shall explain), however, Harav Moshe explains that if this is difficult she may light in her hostess’ home.
Although, both locations are legitimate options (as cited above), each has its own challenges and stipulations, as we shall explain:
Lighting Where You Eat– The reason to light where you eat is that one needs to benefit from the candles (as we discussed in yesterday’s email) and many times when one lights where one sleeps the candles are extinguished by the time the couple arrives at home. This problem does not exist when lighting at the host. In addition, women accept Shabboswith the candle lighting and if she wishes to drive to the host for the meal, she cannot light beforehand at home. However, the issue with lighting at the hostess’ home is the view of the Shulchan Aruch (cited yesterday) that according to Sefardim two women cannot light in the same room with a bracha. Therefore, Sefardim should light at their home and not at the hostess’ home. As noted yesterday, the Rama maintains that multiple women can light with a bracha in the same room. [Indeed, Rav Moshe endorsed lighting at home in order to adhere to the strict view of the Shulchan Aruch.]
Lighting At Home Where You Sleep– As noted above, Rav Moshe advised lighting at home. However, she must derive some benefit from the candles which she lights. This can be accomplished in multiple ways: A) She should either leave home after having derived some benefit from the candle light (e.g. she should daven next to the candles), B) She should use candles which will burn long enough to provide light when they return home from their meal. She may then derive her benefit from them by eating next to the candles. C) I recently heard from Harav Menachem Genack shlit”a that Harav Soloveitchick zt”l offered a very clever eitzah. He explained that before lighting the candles, she should light the electric lights for the sake of Shabbos and recite the bracha over them as well as over the candles. This ensures that the Shabbos lights (in the case the electric lights) will still be lit when they arrive at home. [As noted above, after lighting she has accepted Shabbos upon herself and therefore cannot drive to the hostess’ home.]
Yesterday I received many variations of the following question. I would like to therefore address it today. In yesterday’s halacha email it said “after lighting she has accepted Shabbos upon herself and therefore cannot drive to the hostess’ home.” I was under the impression that a woman can light with the intention of not accepting Shabbos and then drive after lighting, is that not correct?
Answer: The rishonim debate whether a woman can stipulate that she is lighting with the intention of not accepting Shabbos. The Mishnah Berurah (263:44) rules that normative halacha is that we only allow one to stipulate in “case of great need”. It is unclear what is considered “great need”. For example, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l is of the opinion that driving to the kotel to daven is not considered a need that would warrant allowance of a stipulation. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso page 48. See radiance of Shabbos for a permissible view from the Tzitz Eliezer) In addition, it is clear from the Mishnah Berurah that a stipulation in order to daven mincha is not allowed (and therefore he writes that a woman who has not yet davened mincha should light and daven maariv twice and he does not offer stipulating as an option)  It is therefore difficult to ascertain whether driving to one’s host is considered a “great need” and a rabbi should be consulted.
In addition, the view of the Baal Hatania (263:11) is that the woman can only stipulate if someone from her household will keep Shabbos with her lighting. Generally, when a woman lights only she herself accepts Shabboswith the lighting and not her family members. However, if she wishes to stipulate, someone from her household must keep Shabbos with the lighting. This is also the view of Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso. Therefore, even if she wishes to stipulate and drive to her host someone from the family must walk and keep Shabbos from the time of the lighting.
Reader Question #1- You mentioned that one must benefit from the lights or the blessing is in vain. Many times when there is a simcha in a hotel or a convention in a hotel, there will be a special hallway or room set aside for lighting candles. How is this permitted since people will neither eat or sleep or gain any pleasure from these candles, as you light and then leave to the dining room?
Answer- Unfortunately you are correct this is not allowed. Let me quote Harav Simcha Bunim Cohen shlit”a (Radiance of Shabbos page 13): “If a family spends Shabbos in a hotel, it is preferable that the wife should light candles in their private room, or at the table in the dining room. However, if this is not possible, she should light candles anywhere in the dining room where some additional illumination will be provided for the diners. Regrettably, hotels often request that the women light candleson a table too distant to provide illumination to any of the diners, or light in a small room other than the main dining room. This practice is not in accordance with the halacha and any blessing made there is, unfortunately, in vain (oral ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l).” If it is not possible to light candles in the dining room, it is best that she not light candles at all but rather fulfill her obligation by turning on an electric light in her room without a bracha.
Reader Question #2- You mentioned that if lighting at home and then eating out one needs to gain benefit from the lights or the bracha is in vain. One of the options you mentioned was “She should either leave home after having derived some benefit from the candle light (e.g. she should daven next to the candles)”. Can she do this before Shabbos starts- meaning if candle lighting is 6:00 p.m. can she light and derive benefit at 6:01 and then leave or must she wait for halachic nightfall?
Answer- That’s a fair question and to be honest it is unclear from the poskim. The view of the Piskei Teshuvos (263 note 269) is that one need not wait for nightfall, rather, she must wait for it to be dark outside so that the house gets darker. And since this is difficult to ascertain it is better to gain benefit after nightfall or employ the other options (using candles that are long enough to still be lit or light the electric lights etc.)
1) The Rama (263:1) writes that if a woman forgot to light Shabboscandles, she is penalized to add an additional candle from then on to the number which she generally lights each week. If a woman knows that she will be unable to light, she should have her husband light for her and therefore avoid any penalty.
If she lit candles but neglected to light the regular number, there is no penalty. (Biur Halacha)
2) A woman is only penalized if she was negligent and did not light. However, if she couldn’t light for reasons beyond her control (e.g. she was stuck on the road during the onset of Shabbos or was ill and unable to) she is not penalized. (M.B. 263:7) At times it is unclear whether she is negligent or it’s an ones (out of her control) and a rabbi should be consulted.
The question I have been asked is what happens if a woman forgot to light candles on Yom Tov is she penalized as well? The Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso vol. 2 page 35 note 28 writes that this an actuality a debate amongst the poskim. According to the Kinyan Torah it is not common for women to forget to light on Yom Tov (as she can light all night after the meal- unlike Shabboswhere one cannot light after the 18 minutes) and therefore no penalty was created. However, according to Harav Menashe Klein zt”l there is a penalty if she forgot to light on Yom Tov. For normative halacha, a rabbi should be consulted.
2) If a woman was not religious and baruch Hashem she becomes observant and begins to light candles, she is not penalized for the shabbosim that she was not religious and did not light candles. (Yalkut Yosef shabbos vol. 1 263)

Yom Kippur (Assorted Halachos)


1) It is customary to perform the ritual of kapparos in preparation for YomKippur. The custom consists of taking a chicken and gently passing it over one’s head three times while reciting the appropriate text. The fowl is then slaughtered in accordance with halachic procedure and its monetary worth given to the poor, or, as is more popular today, the chicken itself is donated to a charitable cause. We ask of Hashem that if we were destined to be the recipients of harsh decrees in the new year, may they be transferred to this chicken in the merit of this mitzvah of charity. (Rama 605)

2) A male takes a rooster while a female uses a hen. The Rama rules that a pregnant woman should perform kapparos with two chickens, a hen and a rooster. The rooster in case her baby is a boy and the hen in case it’s a girl. If the baby is a girl, the one hen is sufficient for both the mother and the daughter. However, according to the Ariz”l a pregnant woman should perform kapparos with three chickens, two hens and a rooster. One hen for herself, and the other hen and rooster for the unborn child (of undetermined gender). If taking three chickens is too expensive, she can rely on the Rama and take a hen and a rooster.
3) Harav Meir Brandesdorfer zt”l and Harav Yitzchak Weiss zt”l maintain that a woman who follows the Ari z”l and knows through the use of a sonogram that she is carrying twins should take five chickens, three hens and two roosters. (See Shu”t Koneh Bosem 2:20)
4) Harav Gavriel Zinner shlit”a (Netai Gavriel Y.K. page 88) writes that if the pregnancy is not yet forty days old, she need not take any extra chickens for the fetus.

5) Harav Zinner shlit”a adds that the pregnant woman need not take the multiple chickens at once. Rather, she can perform the ritual one chicken at a time.
Eating Erev Yom Kippur
1) There is a biblical mitzvah to eat on Erev Yom Kippur. (S.A. 604:1) The Rosh (Yoma 88) explains that the reason for the mitzvah was that Hashem wanted us to eat on Erev Yom Kippur in order for it to be easier to eat on Yom Kippur.

2) There is a discussion amongst the poskim whether there is a mitzvah to eat the night before Yom Kippur or only during the day on Erev YomKippur. (See Magen Avraham, 604:1 citing Shlah, Gra, and Aishel Avraham Botchetch) Most authorities maintain that the main mitzvah begins the morning of Erev Yom Kippur. (See Chazon Ovadia Yomim Noraim Erev Yom Kippur)
3) There is a discussion amongst the poskim whether women are obligated in this mitzvah to eat on Erev Yom Kippur. (See Rav Akiva Eiger Shu”t 16 and Chochmas Shlomo 604) Most authorities maintain that women are obligated to eat. (See Chazon Ovadia Yomim Noraim Erev Yom Kippur)
4) One may discuss on Yom Kippur (not during davening) what he plans on eating after Yom Kippur. Even though one may not discuss on Shabbos what prohibited actions he plans on doing after Shabbos, discussing eating on Yom Kippur is not considered prohibited speech. (Halichos Shlomo Yom Kippur)
Taking Medication
1) The poskim permit taking a bitter tasting pill on Yom Kippur for an incapacitated person.(See Igros Moshe 3:91, Shearim Metzuyanim B’Halacha 133:9, Rav Shlomo Zalman Aeurbach zt”l in Shulchan Shlomo Refua vol. 2 page 192 and Netai Gavriel Y.K. page 274)
2) An incapacitated person is someone whose pain is so severe that he stays in bed, e.g. someone with a severe cold, the flu, or a migraine. (Refer to Shulchan Aruch O.C. 328:17 and Chut Shani vol. 4 page 197) Furthermore, when an illness causes a person so much pain or discomfort that he or she cannot function normally, they are considered to be incapacitated. He or she may not take water with the pill. (Shulchan Shlomo ibid.)
3) Someone who has pain but not severe enough to incapacitate them, such as a headache that is not a severe migraine, is not permitted to swallow a pill.
4) The incapacitated woman should not swallow a pill that has a sweet coating. (Shulchan Shlomo Refua vol.2 page 274)
5) Rav Gavriel Zinner shlit”a (Netai Gavriel Yom Kippur page 277) writes that it is preferred for the incapacitated person to leave shul to take a nap, if that will ease the pain and avoid the necessity of medicine, rather than stay in shul and take medicine.
Eating For A Choleh
1) A pregnant woman must fast on Yom Kippur. (S.A. 517:1) Someone whose life may be in danger by fasting on Yom Kippur is obligated to eat. Not all cholim who are obligated to eat on Yom Kippur have the same halachic dispensation. There are cholim (who may be in danger) whose illness only warrants minimal eating or drinking. Minimal consumption is termed pachos mi’keshiur, or “shiurim”. Eating in shiurim means eating not more than a prescribed amount within a prescribed period of time.
2) At times a doctor will forbid a pregnant woman from fasting if she suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, or if she has experienced miscarriages in the past. A pregnant woman must therefore consult with her doctor and her rabbi before Yom Kippur to see if she can fast. Even if the doctor and rabbi advise her to eat she must ascertain whether eating and drinking pachos m’kishiur would suffice. We will therefore discuss the laws of eating on Yom Kippur for a choleh, however, every woman must discuss her particular situation with her rabbi, because everyone’s circumstances and specific needs are unique.
3) In the event that one must eat or drink on Yom Kippur, one should first say the following prayer:
הנני מוכן ומזומן לקיים מצות אכילה ושתיה כמו שכתבת בתורתך, ושמרתם את חוקתי ואת משפטי אשר יעשה אותה האדם וחי בהם, ובזכות קיום מצוה זו, תחתום אותי ואת כל חולי עמך ישראל לרפואה שלימה, ואזכה ביום הכפורים הבא לקיים שוב ועניתם את נפשותיכם. כן יהי רצון, אמן.
“I am about to fulfill the mitzvah of eating and drinking, as You wrote in Your Torah, ‘And you shall keep My statutes and My laws that one must do and live through them.’ In the merit of fulfilling this mitzvah, please seal my decree, and that of all those who are ill among Your nation Yisrael, for a complete recovery. Next Yom Kippur, may I merit to fulfill once again the mitzvah of ‘you shall afflict your souls [through fasting].’ May this be Your will, Amen.” (See Netai Gavriel Yom Kippur Page 295)
4) Eating- On Yom Kippur the pachos mi’keshiur requirement for food is the volume of food that is less than a koseves hagasa, a type of large date. Harav Moshe Heinemenn shlit”a explains that the volumetric measurement of a koseves hagasa is more than 1.5 fl. oz. (44 ml). Therefore, one who is ill (as above) may eat 1.5 fl. oz. (which is less than a koseves hagasah) of food. Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes, “The common custom is to give one who is ill pieces of bread with a condiment the size of 30 grams (1.05 oz.).”
5) One should preferably measure out the food before Yom Kippur. However, if one did not do so one may measure the food on Yom Kippur. (Chazon Ovadia Yomim Noraim page 297)
6) In between eating sessions one must wait kdei achilas pras, the amount of time it takes to eat a pras of bread. The poskim debate how many minutes it takes to eat a pras of bread:
A) According to the Chasam Sofer (6:15)- 9 minutes.  This is also the view of the Mishnah Berurah (618:22).
B) The Baal Hatania is cited as ruling that it is 8 minutes. (See Shiurei Torah by Rav Chaim Naeh page 204)
C) According to the Aruch Lner (Bikurei Yaakov 639:13)- 7.5 minutes. This is also the view of Harav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman zt”l. (Melamed L’Hoeil 113:5)
D) There are conflicting reports of the view of the Tzemech Tzedek. One report from the Tzemach Tzedek is 7 minutes. While another report from the Tzemach Tzedek is 6 minutes. (See Shulchan Menachem page 43 and Katzos Hashulchan 2:36:5) Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yabia Omer 9:108:96) writes that, “The proper amount of time (kdei achilas pras) in accordance with most authorities is between 6 and 7.5 minutes.”
E) Harav Yitzchak Elchonon Spekter zt”l is cited as ruling that one should wait 5 minutes. (See Chazon Ovadia Yamim Noraim page 298)
F) Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:41) writes that while one should wait on Yom Kippur 9 minutes, if this is difficult one may wait half that amount (4.5 minutes).
G) It should be noted that Harav Ahron Felder zt”l writes that Harav Moshe told him that a choleh should wait 4 minutes between eating sessions on Yom Kippur. (Rishumei Ahron vol. 2 page 47)
H) The Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso (Chapter 39:18) cites the Chasam Sofer that at the very least one should wait 2 minutes between eating sessions.
7) For practical halacha, one should wait 9 minutes between eating sessions. If this does not suffice and the person must eat more frequently they should wait as long as she can, depending on her state of health. At all events, one should wait for a period of at least 2 minutes. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso ibid.)
8) Drinking- The minimal volume for beverages that qualifies for shiurim is less than a m’lo lugmav, a cheekful of liquid. Unlike food, the shiur of liquids differs with each individual’s capacity to hold liquid in his or her mouth. The larger the mouth, the larger the m’lo lugmav. Conversely, the smaller the mouth, the smaller the m’lo lugmav. (S.A. 612:9) Harav Moshe Heinemann shlit”a explains that for purposes of drinking on Yom Kippur we say an average adult has a m’lo lugmav that is larger than 1.5 fl. oz. (44 ml). A teenager may have a smaller m’lo lugmav.
9) One can ascertain his or her personal m’lo lugmav by filling his mouth completely with water, expelling the water into a measuring cup and dividing the amount in half. This number is the amount held by one cheek – a m’lo lugmav. Pachos mi’keshiur is slightly less than this amount. This “test” should preferably be conducted before Yom Kippur. (M.B. 618:21)
10) How long should one wait between drinking sessions. Ideally, one should wait 9 minutes between drinking, as one would ideally wait between eating sessions. (Chazon Ovadia Yomim Noraim page 297) If this amount of liquid is insufficient for the patient, one may drink this amount of liquid every two minutes. (View of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l Rishumei Ahron vol. 2 page 47)
11) If it is determined that this amount is insufficient and one’s life may still be in danger, the patient must drink as much as necessary, even if it is more than the shiur of volume and less than the shiur of time.
12) If staying in bed will help prevent the patient from eating, even one session, in shiurim, she should stay in bed and not go to shul. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso 39:28)
13) A patient who has to eat in shiurim must not eat or drink more than he or she needs that day in order to keep him or her out of danger. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso 39:26)
14) It must be remembered that eating or drinking in shiurim is permitted only if the doctor and rabbi require it and that a person who is ill but is not in danger must not eat or drink at all, even if confined to bed.
Brachos and Kiddush- A pregnant woman who has to eat or drink on Yom Kippur should recite the proper bracha rishona before doing so. Once she has done so, she should not repeat it before every eating session, unless she has, during the pause, diverted her attention from the food or drink by going out of the house or by deciding to no longer eat or drink. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso 39:21)
If she eats 1.27 ounces of food within four minutes, she should recite a bracha achrona. If
that amount was eaten in a period of time exceeding four minutes, it is questionable whether or not to recite a bracha achrona may be made and a bracha should not be recited. (Rav Elyashiv zt”l in Vsein Bracha page 247)
In either case, she does not recite a bracha achrona on the drinks that she drank in shiurim. (Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso ibid.)
One who is eating on Yom Kippur does not recite Kiddush. (M.B. 618:29) If Yom Kippur is on Shabbos, the poskim debate whether one must recite Kiddush before eating. (Kaf Hachaim 618:60)
If she is eating bread, she need not have lechem mishnah. (Magen Avraham 10)
If she is eating bread, she must wash her hands fully as she would the rest of the year. (Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l in Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchos page 516)
If she is going to eat more than a kebaytzah of bread (2.53 oz.), she must wash her hands with a bracha. (M.B. 158:9)
If she is going to eat less than a kebaytzah (2.53 oz.) but more than a kezayis of bread (1.27 oz.), she should wash without a bracha. (M.B. 10)
If she is going to eat less than a kezayis of bread (1.27 oz.), the poskim debate whether she must wash her hands without a bracha or whether she is completely exempt from washing. It is proper to be strict to wash without a bracha.
If she eats 1.27 ounces of bread within four minutes, she recites birchas hamazon. In birchas hamazon, she should add the יעלה ויבוא prayer, with the insertion of the words, ביום הכפורים הזה. On Shabbos, the רצה prayer should be added. Nevertheless, if she finishes the blessing in which these prayers are always added and then realizes that she has forgotten either or both of them, there is no need to say birchas hamazon again.
A person who has to eat on Yom Kippur and eats, for example, cake or dates should insert the words “וזכרנו לטובה ביום הכפורים הזה” in the al hamichya or al hapeiros blessing which she says afterwards.
Question: Throughout the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur davening we constantly open the Aron Kodesh. My question is I know many people stand up when the Aron is opened, however, is that required?
Answer: You are correct that it is customary to stand up when the Aron is opened. Therefore, one should definitely stand up if they can as this is the custom and if one does not do so it may be perceived by others as a slight to the Aron. (Refer to Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:13) The only question is if one is older and standing is difficult is one allowed to remain seated. In this situation no one would perceive it as a slight to the Torah.
The only question is whether standing is an obligation, which would require the older person to stand, or is it merely customary. The view of the Taz (Y.D. 242:13) is that one is technically not required to stand when the Aron is opened during the Yomim Noraim davening as the Torah is in a separate domain. The Panim Meiros (74) disagrees and maintains that if one can see the Sifrei Torah (he is sitting in front of the Aron) he is obligated to stand. The majority of the poskim agree with the view of the Taz. Therefore, if one is older and is having a difficult time standing, one may rule leniently. (Refer to Kovetz Halachos Yomim Noraim page 94).

Tefillas Haderech

  1. The Shulchan Aruch (110:4) writes that when one travels out of the city he should recite Tefillas Haderech.
  2. It makes no difference whether one is traveling by foot, car, train, airplane or boat.  Ishei Yisrael 50:1 quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman saying that one who is traveling by car can add the phrase “VeTatsileynu MeTeunot Derachim” (may we be saved from a car accident). However, Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a is not in favor of adding to the text of the Tefillah.
  3. The poskim discuss when to recite it when flying. According to Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (Halichos Shlomo page 254) one recites it when the plane is high enough of the ground that if it were to fall it would be dangerous. For all intents and purposes one would recite it immediately after beginning takeoff, when the plane is ascending. According to Harav Yaakov Kamanetzky zt”l (Emes L’Yaakov 110) one recites it when the plane is still on the runway when the engine begins to really rev up and it begins it’s last push before takeoff.
  4. Rav Yaakov Kamanetzky zt”l explained that Tefillas Haderech actually has the status of a tefillah (prayer) and not a bracha. Therefore, if one is able to recite Tefillas Haderech on his own (he is capable and has a siddur), one should not lchatchila have someone else say it for him to be motzei him. This is similar to other tefillos where we do not initially have someone motzei others if they are capable of davening on their own. As opposed to brachos where there is no issue with that. (See Emes L’Yaakov 110 and Shulchan Halevi page 19) If one is unable to say it himself (he is not able to read hebrew, doesn’t have a siddur or is driving), he may have someone else be motzei him.
  5. Another practical halacha that stems from this view of Rav Yaakov is that if one is in doubt as to whether Tefillas Haderech is required, one may recite it (as is the law regarding prayer, as opposed to brachos where we conclude safek brachos l’hakel).
  6. The poskim discuss whether one can say Tefillas Haderech for someone else (to be motzei others) after he has already recited it himself. (See Aishel Avraham Botchetch 110 and Halichos Shlomo ch. 21) For normative halacha, a rabbi should be consulted.
  7. Initially, one should recite Tefillas Haderech while standing. (S.A. 110:4 and Aruch Hashulchan 11) If this is difficult to do, one may recite it while seated. Therefore, if one is on a bus or train and one is able to stand, one should do so.
  8. Although we just mentioned that one should initially recite Tefillas Haderech while standing, if one is driving in a car one is not obligated to pull over and get out of the car in order to recite it while standing as this is considered a tircha. However, if possible one should pull the car over and recite it while seated. Yet, if this is difficult to do, one may recite Tefillas Haderech while the car is in motion. (Ishei Yisroel page 608)
  9. One only recites Tefillas Haderech once per day. Meaning, Tefillas Haderech covers the entire days’ travels. This is true even if one rested for a few hours during the day. Therefore, if one travels from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim during the day with the intention of returning back to Tel Aviv at night, one only recites Tefillas Haderech once. (Kuntres Tefillas Haderech R’ Sroya D’Blitzky zt”l 13)
  10. Similarly, if one traveled from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim for a few hours and intended (at the beginning of the trip) to continue from Yerushalayim to Chevron on that very day, one only recites Tefillas Haderech once. (ibid.)
  11. However, if one didn’t originally intend to have a second trip at all (e.g. He traveled from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim with the intention of staying in Yerushalayim and then he subsequently decides to travel to Chevron), a second Tefillas Haderech is required before traveling to Chevron. (ibid.)
  12. Similarly, if one travels from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim and intends (at the beginning of the trip) on sleeping in Yerushalayim and then changes his mind and decides to go back home to Tel Aviv that very day, he must recite Tefillas Haderech a second time on his way back home. (ibid.)
  13. If one takes an extended road trip that will last longer than a day, one recites Tefillas Haderech once each day.
  14. This is only true if one formally went to sleep that night (shinas keva). However, if one is driving through the night and he pulls over periodically to nap on the side of the road, one would not recite another Tefillas Haderech in the morning. (Ishei Yisroel 50:4) [One should try to recite Tefillas Haderech without the name of Hashem or recite it in the bracha of Shema Koleinu in Shemoneh Esrei- Halichos Shlomo end of ch. 21]
  15. The Shulchan Aruch writes that one only recites Tefillas Haderech when travelling “one parsa” beyond the outskirts of the city limits. According to the Mishnah Berurah and many authorities “a parsa” is defined by distance and therefore one recites Tefillas Haderech  if you will go at least 2.8 miles outside the inhabited area. However, Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Yabia Omer 1:13) explains that “a parsa” is defined by time and one only recites Tefillas Haderech when travelling outside of the city limits for 72 minutes. The common custom (amongst Ashkenazim) is to follow the first view of the Mishnah Berurah.
  16. The “outskirts of the city” begins from the last house. As long as there is a dwelling located within 70 2/3 amos of the previous dwelling, it is still considered within the city limits, even if this situation extends for many miles and during that time one should still not say Tefilas Haderech.
  17. It is preferable to recite tefilas haderech during the first 2.8 miles after passing the outskirts of the city. If one forgot to do so, he still may recite it with the concluding bracha as long as he still has at least another 2.8 miles to the city of his destination. If the remaining distance is less than this, he recites tefilas haderech without the concluding bracha. (ibid.)
  18. If one feels that it is difficult to recite it immediately after leaving the city limits, you may b’dieved say Tefilat HaDerech as soon as you start your journey (when you leave your house or get in your car, etc.), even within the city. (M.B. 29) According to Rav Sroya D’Blitzky zt”l it is better to recite it within the city, than to recite it after the first 2.8 miles of the trip. Therefore, if there is a chance one will not say it within the first 2.8 miles, one should preferably recite it with in the city, when beginning his trip.

When Tisha B’Av Falls On Shabbos

1) The final meal before Tisha B’Av is called the seuda hamafsekes and has special requirements. The purpose of the seuda hamafsekes is to experience sorrow and mourning for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. (M.B. 552:1) Therefore, it is prohibited to eat meat or drink wine at this meal. (Although the custom is not to eat meat or drink wine during the Nine Days, during this meal it is prohibited and not merely a custom.)  In addition, one may eat only one type of cooked food, so that the meal should not be one of honor and pleasure. (S.A. 551:1 M.B. 11, 17) The custom is for the seuda hamafsekes to consist only of bread, cold hard-boiled eggs and water (Rama 552:5, M.B. 13).
2) When Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbos  and is postponed until Sunday (as it does this year), the seuda hamafsekes (Shalosh Seudos) does not have the restrictions cited above. One may eat meat and drink wine and his meal may consist of many cooked dishes. (S.A. 552:10) Unlike other Shabbasim, however, he must stop eating before sunset. The mood during the meal should be somber and not joyous. (M.B. 24)
3) Learning Torah on Tisha B’Av is prohibited, except for those portions and topics which are relevant to Tisha B’Av and mourning. (S.A. 554:1) (I will try to discuss this in more detail in a future halacha)
4) There is a debate amongst the poskim whether one may learn Torah on Shabbos when Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbos (and is postponed until Sunday). Many poskim maintain that on Shabbos after noon, one may only learn these portions and topics of Torah which are permitted on Tisha B’Av. (See Rama 553:2 and Netai Gavriel page 522) According to these poskim Pirkei Avos is not said. (M.B. 9) While some poskim hold that since eating meat and drinking wine is permissible, learning Torah is also permissible. The Taz concludes that one who conducts himself according to this lenient view (even after noon) is not acting in error. (M.B. 10)
5) When Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbos and the fast is postponed until Motzei Shabbos, one may not prepare for Tisha B’Av on Shabbos. Therefore, one may not bring copies of Eicha, Kinos or stools to Shul on Shabbos. (Netai Gavriel page 533)
6) When Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbos, the customary Havdallah is not said on Motzei Shabbos. Rather, on Motzei Shabbos after nightfall, the bracha of borei meorei haeish is said upon seeing candlelight. The bracha should be recited after Maariv before reading Eicha. However, if he forgot to say it before Eicha, he may say it any time during the night. The bracha over besamim is not recited. (See Halachos of the Three Weeks by Rav Shimon Eider page 17) [B”h in a future email we will discuss the laws of Havdala which is said after Tisha B’Av (Sunday night)]
7) The Gemara tells us that the Beis Hamikdash continued burning until sunset of the tenth of Av. Therefore, the restrictions of the Three Weeks and the Nine Days apply until noon of the tenth of Av. (M.B. 558:5) Therefore, one should not eat meat or drink wine until the noon after Tisha B’Av. Bathing, haircuts, washing clothes and music is also prohibit. (M.B. 2) [Regarding Havdallah, some permit drinking wine while others advise to use beer or chamar medina- for normative halacha, a rav should be consulted.]
8) Rav Shimon Eider zt”l (Halachos of the Three Weeks page 32) writes the following, “When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbos and is postponed until Sunday [as is the case this year], eating meat and drinking wine is permissible Monday morning. On Sunday evening, however, it is prohibited … since the day was spent in mourning, it is not proper to assume conduct of simcha (i.e. eating meat and drinking wine) immediately after it is over. Bathing, washing clothing and haircuts are permissible Sunday evening. Music is not permitted until the morning.” Harav Gavriel Zinner shlit”a, however, permits music on Sunday evening as well. (Netai Gavriel page 553)

Removing Mezuzos When Moving Out


  • Upon moving out of a rental home, the renter may not remove his Mezuzahs from the doors. (Y.D. 291:2) The Gemara adds that doing so can r”l be dangerous to one’s families safety. This applies even if one plans to place the Mezuzos on the doors of his new home.
  • The Chida writes that it is assur even if the landlord is willing to replace the mezuzos immediately. (291:5, see Beer Moshe 3:181 for a lenient view)
  • Even if the house is to remain empty after he has moved out, it is still forbidden to remove the Mezuzos. (Sheilas Yaavatz 2:117)
  • When the renter leaves his Mezuzahs on the doors of the rented home, if he is particular on their cost, the second person [the next renter who moves in, or from the owner, if he is moving in] must pay him for the Mezuzahs. (Rama 291:2) However, even if the person that moved in refuses to pay for them, the renter may nevertheless still not remove the Mezuzahs. (Aruch Hashulchan 3)
  • Rav Henkin zt”l extends a heter. He rules that since one must remove the mezuzos before painting a room, if one knows that the house will be painted before the next tenant moves in, he may take them down before he leaves in anticipation of the painting. After the room is painted he need not replace them. (See Igros Moshe Y.D. 4:44)
  • If the house is to be rented to gentiles or was rented from gentiles, he is obligated to remove the Mezuzos. It is forbidden to give or sell a Mezuzah to a gentile out of concern that it not be mistreated. (S.A. and Rama 291:2)
  • If the landlord is a gentile, and one does not know if the next tenant is Jewish, he should take down the mezuzos and not leave them in the possession of a non-Jew. If the next tenant will be a Jew, however, he has not yet signed a lease agreement, the Mezuzah should be removed. If the next tenant signed a lease agreement it is unclear whether the mezuzos may be removed and a rabbi should be consulted. (Refer to Sefer Zichron Shoshana on Mezuzah page 165)
  • If the landlord is an Observant Jew and one is unsure if the next tenant will be a Jew or a gentile, one should tell the landlord to take charge of the Mezuzos and remove the Mezuzos if the next tenant is a gentile. This is preferable to removing the Mezuzos when one is unsure whether the next tenant will be Jewish.
  • Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Halichos Olam vol. 7) writes that if those Mezuzos are very expensive and one doesn’t want to leave them there. He may take them down on 2 conditions: A) He must replace them with kosher Mezuzos, albeit less expensive ones. B) He should take down the expensive Mezuzos for the purpose of getting them checked by a sofer. After they are checked he may place them on his new home.



New Sefer Announcement- Sefer On Kiruv Volume 3

Hello, I am writing because I recently finished writing the third volume of my sefer on Kiruv, Umekareiv Biyamin (ומקרב בימין). The sefer (hardcover, 380 pages), just as volumes one and two, is a Hebrew hallachic work discussing some of the more common questions posed to Kiruv and Chinuch rabbanim.

Some topics discussed in this sefer include: changing the name of a baal teshuva, the issue of maaris ayin when sitting in a non-kosher restaurant, birthdays in halacha, trusting a baal teshuva who says that he is a kohen, cooking kosher food in a non-kosher oven, reciting sheva brachos when the chosson and kallah are not besulim  etc..

Here is a sample of the sefer- sample vol. 3.  I will iy”h begin printing over the next few weeks and I am writing to find out if there is interest in pre-ordering a copy. The reduced price for pre-orders will be at the reduced rate $11 plus shipping and handling. Of course no payment is needed until the sefer is printed and ready for shipping.

If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy, so that you can have your copy reserved at the reduced rate, please email me at  . Please include your name and how many copies you would like to pre-order.

Thank you.


Stirring Food On Shabbos

Stirring Food On Shabbos

  1. Stirring tends to accelerate the cooking process. Therefore, it is prohibited to stir a pot of partially cooked food or liquid. (S.A. 318:18)
  2. Similarly, covering a pot hastens the cooking process. Thus, one may not cover a pot of partially cooked food. Therefore, if one uncovered a pot of food (such as cholent) and one realizes that the food is not fully cooked, one may not replace its cover (S.A. 254:4), unless the food is fully cooked. (See The Shabbos Kitchen page 9)
  3. Stirring a partially cooked food is forbidden even if the food is off of the fire. (S.A. 252:1)
  4. Interestingly enough, this prohibition extend to fully cooked food as well. Accordingly, one may not stir any food, cooked or uncooked, while over the flame, even if the flame is covered by a blech. (See Shar Hatzion 318:148 citing the view of the Kol Bo) When the food is off of the fire, cooked food may be stirred. (See Rama and M.B. 117 and Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74)
  5. As cited above, one may not stir food that is on the fire, even if the food is fully cooked. The question is whether one may scoop food from the pot while still on the fire (dish out cholent) or is that considered stirring. The Mishnah Berurah writes that it is forbidden to do so. Therefore, one may not serve cholent directly from the pot if the pot is still on the fire. Rather, one must remove the pot from the fire and only then serve the food.
  6. If the fire is not covered with a blech, since if he would remove the pot he would not be permitted to return it to the fire, (or if the pot is too heavy to lift or move), removing food with a spoon or fork from a pot of food which has been cooked completely may be permissible. (See Chazon Ish on M.B. and Halachos of Shabbos page 282. For a dissenting view see Igros Moshe O.C. 4:71) For normative halacha, a rabbi should be consulted.

Lag B’Omer

A number of reasons are given for commemorating Lag B’Omer:
1. It commemorates the students of Rav Akiva who ceased dying during this day (Shelah, Pesachim 525).
2. This day is the yahrtzeit of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, who revealed the inner secrets of the Torah (Chayei Adam Mo’adim 131:11).
3. This is the day that Rav Akiva granted ordination to his five students — among them Rabi Shimon bar Yochai (Pri Chadash OC 493).

According to the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch one may not take haircuts or get married until the thirty-fourth day of the omer in the morning. The Rama feels that one may get a haircut on Lag B’Omer. The Rama explains that one must wait for Lag B’Omer morning (after Neitz Hachama) to get a haircut. According to the Rama one would not be allowed to get a haircut on the night of Lag B’Omer. However, the Mishnah Berurah cites authorities who permit getting a haircut on the night of Lag B’Omer. Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l is cited as explaining that the second view feels that since there are bonfires and parties that take place tonight one would likewise be permitted to shave. For normative halacha, a rav should be consulted.

As noted in a previous post, according to the Arizal shaving is not allowed even on Lag B’Omer.

Counting Sefira:

1) On the night of Lag BOmer (after sunset), one who has not yet counted the sefira of Lag BOmer should avoid telling someone else that “tonight is Lag BOmer“, since doing so may be considered counting the omer. (See Shulchan Aruch 489:4) Harav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l rules that if one did say those words, he may still recite the sefira with a bracha since the person is not intending to count the day, but is rather referring to the name of the day. (Ohr Litzion vol. 3 chapter 16:4)

2) Harav Yitzchak Yosef shlit”a cites the above ruling and he adds that if one forgot to count the Omer the entire night and day of Lag BOmer, however, he mentioned in passing that “today is Lag BOmer” (e.g. he corrected the chazan who began to recite Tachanun that “today is LagBOmer“) he may continue to recite Sefira the following nights with a bracha. Post facto we can consider the statement of “Today is Lag BOmer” as a fulfillment of counting the Omer to allow him to continue to count with a bracha on the following nights.


1) It is well known that there is a custom to go to the Kever of Rav Shimon Ben Yochai (or Rashbi) on Lag BOmer. Some poskim write that if one is in America and unable to go to the Kever Rashbi, he should try to daven at the grave of other tzaddikim. (Netai Gavriel Pesach vol. 3 page 342)

2) The consensus of the poskim is that kohanim may not go to the graves of tzaddikim, such as Rashbi. And that although there are indications from a few midrashim that the graves of tzaddikim do not transmit tumah, this should not be relied upon for normative halacha. (See Pischei Teshuva Y.D. 372:2, Sdei Chemed vol. 9 page 65, Paas Hashulchan 2:18, Yechava Daas 4:58, Yaskil Avdi 8 page 192, Shaarei Halacha Uminhag 150, Halichos Shlomo Moadim Pesach page 366 and Minchas Asher Chukas.