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Running Out of P’sukim after the Second AliyaAt Mincha of Shabbat, the ba’al korei did not stop at the end of the second aliya, until he read all of the third and final aliya. What should we have done for the third aliya: 1) done a regular third aliya (as a repeat); 2) gone on beyond the normal reading?
We begin with the possibility of repeating, which is easier for a ba’al korei who presumably did not prepare beyond the normal reading.
We repeat p’sukim in kri’at haTorah only in limited circumstances. Generally, Ashkenazim do not allow one to have an aliya that just repeats that which was already read (see Rama, Orach Chayim 282:2, Mishna Berura 282:10). The Shulchan Aruch (ad loc.) says that it is permitted to repeat (as a hosafa). The Mishna Berura (282:6) points out that even according to the Shulchan Aruch, such an aliya does not count toward the required number of aliyot. Therefore, in our case, where the third aliya has to count, option #1 seems to be a problem.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 137:6) says that in order for an aliya that contains repeated p’sukim to be valid, one has to have three new p’sukim or, when there is a need, two new p’sukim. His source (cited in the Beit Yosef) is an Avudraham in the name of Geonim, based on the following gemara (Taanit 27b). Ma’amadot (representatives of the nation regarding daily korbanot) had a special daily kri’at haTorah from the beginning of Bereishit, which did not have enough p’sukim for three aliyot. According to Rav, they read the first five p’sukim as two aliyot with both reading the third pasuk. Shmuel said that they each read two and a half p’sukim, splitting the third pasuk. From the fact that no one suggested starting the second aliya from the beginning again, we see that repetition is not a valid alternative, and even when there is a need, if there are not two new p’sukim, the aliya is of no value.
The Pri Chadash (OC 137:6) (boldly) argues with the Shulchan Aruch and the Geonim, saying that just as the Shulchan Aruch agrees (as above) that one can make the berachot for a hosafa that is a total repeat, so too it can count as a new aliya. He brings a proof from the gemara (Megilla 30a) about the case (precluded by our calendar) where Parashat Shekalim is read on Parashat Tetzaveh, in which case there is a problem that Shekalim looks like a continuation of the parasha, not a separate reading. Abaye says that the second to last aliya reads up to and including Shekalim and then we repeat Shekalim for the last aliya (details are beyond our scope). The Pri Chadash cites Rishonim who explain why the ma’amadot did not start the second aliya from the beginning – those who come or leave in the middle might think there are only two aliyot. In any case, the Bi’ur Halacha says we follow the Shulchan Aruch, not the Pri Chadash.
Nevertheless, all agree that there are cases (i.e., on Sukkot and Chanuka in
Therefore, you should have read at least three p’sukim beyond the normal reading. (If the ba’al korei is unable to read, even with help, what he did not prepare without significant embarrassment, one can rely on the Pri Chadash.)
Providing Non-Kosher Food for Non-Jewish WorkersWhere I come from, it is very common for employers to provide non-kosher food for their live-in household help. Is that permitted?
The gemara derives from Vayikra 11:11 that one may sell non-kosher species that come into his possession but may not actively acquire and then sell them. This applies to most foods that are forbidden by Torah law (mainly meat and fish – not wine, …) (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 117:1).
According to most Rishonim, the prohibition of commerce in forbidden foods is from the Torah (see Shut Chatam Sofer, YD 104-106, 108; Yabia Omer VIII, YD 13). The Rashba (Shut III, 223) says that the reason is to minimize the chance one will eat forbidden foods; others say it is a gezeirat hakatuv (Heavenly decree without a known reason). In any case, it applies only to things that are usually acquired for eating purposes (Shulchan Aruch, YD 117:1). The consensus of poskim is that this prohibition applies as long as a Jew owns the food in the framework of a commercial process, even if he is not expected to come in direct contact with the food (Chatam Sofer, ibid.108).
The Rama (YD 117:1) rules that it is forbidden to buy non-kosher food in order to feed it to non-Jewish workers. The Taz (ad loc. 2) explains that for one who is required to feed his workers, buying them the cheaper non-kosher food is a commercial act like buying it to pay a debt. The Shach (ad loc. 3) argues with the Rama, apparently because he considers it using the food for his own non-eating purposes, not using it commercially. He asks on the Rama from a Yerushalmi that says that how one who bought pig to give his workers can sell it. (The Taz counters that the Yerushalmi was discussing getting rid of what was bought improperly.)
All agree that one can give money to his non-Jewish worker so that he can buy food for himself, even if he knows the non-Jew will buy non-kosher (Knesset Hagedola, YD 117, Beit Yosef 20). Based on this, the Pri Chadash (YD 117:3) argues that since the Jew does not benefit by acquiring the food and then giving it to the worker (as opposed to giving the money to the worker), the prohibition of commerce does not apply. Those who are stringent can argue that the fact that there another way of getting to the same point does not mean that the acquisition is not beneficial.
There is logic to distinguish between where the food is delivered to or by the Jew, who then gives it to the non-Jew, and where he arranges someone to deliver it to the non-Jew. First, when the food enters the Jew’s domain, the concern he might come to eat it, which some say helps define the prohibition’s parameters, pertains. Additionally, it is more difficult to arrange or claim that the Jew does not acquire ownership, which might be at the heart of the problem (see Chatam Sofer ibid.) when it is brought into his home (the details are complex). On the other hand, consider the Aruch Hashulchan’s logic for agreeing with the Shach that there is no prohibition to buy food to give to workers. The Aruch Hashulchan (YD 117:19) argues that if one has workers in his home whom he needs to feed, since the natural thing is that they should eat (the cheaper) non-kosher food, fulfilling that need in the natural way is not considered initiating commerce. If the worker lives and functions independently, but they have included food into his “compensation package,” it is more likely to be considered initiating commerce. Paradoxically, giving non-kosher food as a present is forbidden (see Shach ibid.) because the investment in good relations is considered equivalent to selling to the non-Jew.
In the final analysis, there are respected opinions on this matter in either direction, and it is legitimate to acquire non-kosher food for a non-Jewish worker in cases of significant need. One should try, if feasible, to arrange that the Jew does not acquire the food but arranges its transfer from supplier to worker and thereby also avoid marit ayin (see Teshuvot V’hanhangot II:394).
A Minyan Which Loses Its Tenth ManMy minyan for Shacharit was short one person. Someone who had already davened agreed to join us until the end of chazarat hashatz. Could we recite Kaddish Shalem, like when a regular davener leaves? Was it permitted to complete the minyan with someone who had to leave before the end?
You are apparently aware that when there is an exact minyan to begin a part of tefilla and someone leaves, the rest can finish up the unit, if six remain (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 55:2-3, based on the Yerushalmi, Megilla 4:4). The poskim do not distinguish between when the one who left had been davening with the minyan or not. However, the Yerushalmi says that it is a sin and a bad omen for the one whose departure left them without a minyan.
Your question of whether the group can take advantage of the halacha of continuing when they knew they will lose the minyan is discussed by several Acharonim in slightly differing cases (see references in Ishei Yisrael 15:(120) and Piskei Teshuvot 55:7). There are also many shades of answers. Rav Pealim (I, OC 15) deduces from the Yerushalmi’s language (one can argue) that a group mustn’t start a unit if it expects to lose its minyan before the unit ends. The logic is that being in the middle without a minyan is a bad situation, and one may not knowingly create it. The Pitchei Teshuva (Isserlin – 143:1) is unsure. Levushei Mordechai says (OC 15) it is generally permissible.
Several responsa deal with the matter from the perspective of the person who was asked to help out but had only a few minutes to give. Should he put himself in the situation of leaving and ostensibly be subject to a bad omen? Ohel Yissachar (OC 6) said that since if he joins he cannot leave in the middle, he can, when necessary, refuse to join. The Shevet Halevi (IV:7) says that only if the “helper” has a very important reason to leave may he join and leave, with the people continuing according to the regular rules. The opinion we prefer is that the Yerushalmi’s criticism cannot apply to one who comes from outside the minyan to help the maximum that he can, as he should (Kinyan Torah Bahalacha II:111). Similarly, Rav S.Z. Orbach is cited (V’aleihu Lo Yibol I:27) as positing that the ability to help create a minyan outweighs the negative elements.
Your case has a lenient element missing from the cases that most of the Acharonim discussed – your helper stayed until the end of chazarat hashatz. One would think this is the end of a unit, and it is permitted for one to leave before the next unit (Mishna Berura 55:12). However, the Terumat Hadeshen (I:15) and the Rama (55:3) say that after losing a minyan in the middle of chazarat hashatz, the group can say the first two Kaddishes afterward because they relate to chazarat hashatz. The Mishna Berura (ibid.) says that consequently one should not leave before the second Kaddish. On the other hand, the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch (see Beit Yosef, OC 55) disagree with the Terumat Hadeshen. Also, the Eshel Avraham (OC 55) says that leaving is forbidden only during chazarat hashatz, which consists of berachot. Furthermore, it does not make sense that the concern over an improper Kaddish should cause a group to miss out on s full chazarat hashatz, which is an older, stronger obligation.
Let us end with an innovative idea, linking stringency and leniency. Since the helper is following the group’s request within his limitations, it is the group more than the helper that is responsible for the minyan disappearing in the middle. (In the classic case, one leaves against the community’s will.) Therefore, the fall-out should be on the group, and to avoid it, they should look for another helper to take the first one’s place (there is not a need for the same ten the whole time). Given this stringency, the group has a right to expect that they will find a replacement. If they do not, the situation is like the standard one where a minyan was expected the whole time and lost.
The Need for a Shamash Candle These DaysIs there a need for a shamash (extra candle) for our Chanuka candles now that we have plenty of electric light?
The short answer: yes and no. As always, we will start with background.
The gemara (Shabbat 21b) says that it is forbidden to use the light of the Chanuka candles. Rashi explains that this is so that it is clear the candles are for the mitzva, not for other use. The Ba’al Hamaor and Ran (9a of
The simple explanation is that when the Chanuka lights were in places that usually did not have lights, their identification as for mitzva purposes was clear and there also was no particular concern that one would improperly use the light. Thus, there was no need for a shamash. The Meiri (ad loc.) says that while those who light the candles near the door theoretically should not need a shamash, since sometimes one uses the Chanuka light even there and the minhag is to have one, that is what should be done. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 673) says that even in places where we would not logically need a shamash, we put one because people do not know how to distinguish. The Shulchan Aruch and Rama (673:1) both say to have an extra candle, with one difference between them: the former says that this is in addition to the candle one uses for lighting; the latter says that the candle used for lighting is put in the shamash’s place after the lighting is finished.
It would seem that electric lights cause a situation where no one uses candles for seeing, and the situation is no worse than the medura that the gemara says makes an extra candle unnecessary. Even the Beit Yosef’s logic of not knowing how to distinguish does not seem to apply when the situation is uniform throughout society. Apparently, Rav S.Z. Auerbach indeed posited that the shamash is not halachically needed in our times when the house’s lights are on, although he still felt it was worthwhile (see Halichot Shlomo, Moadim II:16:13; Nitei Gavriel, Chanuka 20:8 agrees). (Some sources give great importance, based on kabbalistic reasons, to the shamash, but these are extra-halachic concerns into which we do not, as a rule, delve.)
There is room to discuss whether we can now relax certain parameters of the halachot of shamash. The Magen Avraham (673:5) says that when several people light, there should be a shamash next to each set of candles. The Mishna Berura (673:18) explains that this is based on the halacha that each person lights in a distinct place so that it will be clear how many candles there are per person (Rama, OC 671:2). It seems that nowadays, when we have clearly defined chanukiyot, we do not separate them so much. Therefore, it does not seem so important for there to be multiple shamashim (I saw a claim that Rav Auerbach was lenient on this point because the need for a shamash is now a chumra). On the other hand, in our present system, where the shamash has a set place in the chanukiya and people expect there to be one, some might find it harder to discern the number of candles in a chanukiya without a shamash.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 672:1) says it is permitted to benefit from the Chanuka lights after its required time period (see Living the Halachic Process II, D-9) is over. The Mishna Berura (672:8) cites those who are stringent. However, it is an extreme stringency to still nowadays require the shamash to last as long as the mitzva lights. This is of particular practical value for those who light with olive oil but use a simple wax candle for the shamash.
Returning Food to an Oven on ShabbatMy electric stove has a Shabbat mode, which enables us to cancel the automatic shut off (needed for 2 days of Yom Tov) and keeps the exact heat you set without fluctuation when the door is opened. On Shabbat, can fully cooked dry food be placed in the oven to be warmed
We will try to make a little order in what the Shabbat mode does and what it does not do. We will be able to provide only an overview of the most basic of the many complex halachot that remain to be discussed.
The main element of the type of Shabbat mode you describe is to circumvent systems in modern ovens that cause problems for Shabbat. The obviation of the shut-off feature is of technical value for the Shabbat observer and is irrelevant to the question of returning food on Shabbat.
Another element is to circumvent the direct impact of opening the doors on a variety of lights, sensors, etc., which would make opening the door forbidden. Regarding an oven in which even in Shabbat mode it works with a set temperature that is controlled by a thermostat, there is still an issue that opening the door cools off the chamber and causes the oven to turn back on sooner and/or stay on longer, which is debated by the last generation’s poskim (see Shemirat Shabbat K’Hilchhata 1:29 – stringent; Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim IV:74.28 – lenient; Yalkut Yosef, OC 253:5 – inconclusive). There are ovens in
In any case your question relates to the rules of hachzara (returning food to a heat source), which is a stricter application of the laws of shehiya (having the food stay on the heat source). The basic law of shehiya is that one may not leave food on a heat source on Shabbat when he may have an interest to raise the heat and an ability to do so, without certain steps to reduce that concern. A blech, for example, works by reducing the intensity of the heat on the food by covering the flame, and thus serving as a reminder that reinforces the message not to consider increasing the heat. Non-adjustable hot plates make it unfeasible to raise the heat and thus are permitted. An oven is problematic in that it is hard to duplicate the positive these elements and its heat is adjustable. Leniency can be contemplated if one tapes up the controls or based on the Rama’s (OC 253:1) minhag that for foods that are nominally cooked, there is little interest in raising the heat.
Returning dry food to an oven on Shabbat is much more problematic (including, that it might look like cooking), and it apparently requires the fulfillment of six conditions (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 253:2): 1) The food must be fully cooked (easy); 2) The heat source must be covered according to the aforementioned criteria (see above); 3) If one takes food off, he must hold it if he wants to return it (not feasible in your case); 4) One has to have in mind, when removing the food, to return it to the heat (easy); 5) The food did not cool down (not feasible). 6) The food should be put onto an open heat source, not into an enclosed one, especially when it is a place where food is often cooked (see Mishna Berura 253:58; Yalkut Yosef OC 253:8). An exception to these requirements is a place that is less hot than yad soledet bo (app. 45̊ C= 113̊ F) (Rama, OC 253:2) or one made for reheating rather than cooking where it is also not feasible to adjust the heat. These include ovens that are off with residual heat (Rama 253:5) and, according to some, non-adjustable hot plates made for Shabbat reheating (see Yechaveh Da’at II:55).
There are certain conditions in which there are opinions (including one by Rav Soloveitchik, which requires much explanation) that one can reheat in an oven, and you are free to ask the rabbi of your choice about the matter. The point of this overview is to explain that your Shabbat mode is no better in regard to reheating than standard ovens of decades past.
Encouraging a Child to Criticize His Parent (Part II)Psychologists sometimes believe that a patient’s symptoms – depression, anger, poor functioning etc. – are a result of his parent’s destructive behavior toward him. Can we encourage a patient to express his resentment to the offending parent in a controlled, appropriate manner? The goals of these interventions are to help the patient reduce his symptoms and the suppressed hatred toward the parent. This can help improve the relationship, even though, on an immediate basis, the negative feelings are legitimized and brought to the fore.
After seeing that there are times that a psychologist may encourage a child to “confront” his parent about harmful behavior, we will suggest some strategies, when possible, to minimize the halachic problem of disrespect to a parent. We refer to responsible, while flawed, parents.
The gemara (Kiddushin 31b) tells of Rav Assi’s mother who deteriorated to the point that she viewed her son romantically. Rav Assi left her to sever the relationship. The Rambam (Mamrim 6:10) rules that while one should try to tend to a parent whose mind has deteriorated, if their behavior is bad enough, he leaves the parent and instructs others to tend to him. The Ra’avad argues because he does not see an alternative to the child’s care. The Kesef Mishneh rejects the Ra’avad’s question because the Rambam is clearly based on the story of Rav Assi.
The Ra’avad seems to understand that the idea that the son leaves is permission because the task is not doable, and so he argues with the Rambam, saying there is no better alternative. The Radvaz (ad loc.) and Aruch Hashulchan (Yoreh Deah 240:32) explain that the child specifically could not be the caregiver. Others can deal more forcefully (which may be necessary) in a manner that a child is forbidden to do. Thus, the child will get someone else to do what he is not allowed to despite the parent’s need for such treatment. We see, then, that even when a parent needs non-respectful behavior, the child should find someone else to do it. Therefore, in our case, it is best (if it does not undermine the therapeutic process) for someone other than the child (e.g., the psychologist) to raise the grievances with the parent. Then the parent can approach the child and they can focus on ways to improve things.
Another halachic advantage of the psychologist broaching the topic is that it gives the parent an opportunity to be mochel (waive) his honor before discussion with the child ensues. The gemara (Kiddushin 32a) says that a father’s relinquishing of rights to kavod is effective. Some say (Raavad, cited by Rivash 220, Beit Yosef, YD 334) that he can only waive his rights to honor but not to allow being disgraced. Some equate a parent allowing disgrace to a parent allowing being hit (Turei Even, Megilla 28a) and some distinguish between them (Pri Yitzchak 54). In any case, some level of negative interaction must be permitted based on the following story (Kiddushin 32a). A rabbi did something upsetting to his son to test his reaction. The gemara asks that he was (possibly) causing his son to violate honoring his father and answers that the father waived his honor (see Birkei Yosef, YD 240:14).
When the psychologist prepares his patient for a conversation with the parent, he will teach him to raise the issues in a way that heals, not creates feuds. I imagine he will say things like “I know you love me, but when you act in a certain way, it hurts me.” While not pleasant to hear, it is likely not considered the type of disgraceful behavior for which mechilla does not work.
In summary, a child should be encouraged to complain to his parent about their parenting only when truly necessary for the patient’s mental health and/or the parent/child relationship. Even then, it is better for the psychologist to relay some of the harsher criticism instead of the child. The parent’s willful participation in the process, which hopefully will not be overly disgraceful, is helpful not only psychologically but also halachically.
Encouraging a Child to Criticize His Parent (Part I)Psychologists sometimes believe that a patient’s symptoms – depression, anger, poor functioning etc. – are a result of his parent’s destructive behavior toward him. Can we encourage a patient to express his resentment to the offending parent in a controlled, appropriate manner? The goals of these interventions are to help the patient reduce his symptoms and the suppressed hatred toward the parent. This can help improve the relationship, even though, on an immediate basis, the negative feelings are legitimized and brought to the fore.
We cannot relate to every pertinent factor or give full guidelines but will use halachic sources and logic to make certain recommendations. A psychologist must be careful (as always) and should consult a well-versed rabbi in some cases. We relate to cases of normal parents with shortcomings, not criminals or sadists.
In addition to doing positive things for a parent (kavod), one is to revere him (or her) by avoiding even things that would be appropriate toward others (mora). The gemara (Kiddushin 32a) says that a son should not disgrace his father even when the latter throws much money into the sea. The gemara seems to assume that according to the opinion that honoring parents is to be done with the parent’s money (as we pasken), silence is required only when the father throws his own money. Yet, the Rambam (Mamrim 6:7), extends it to a case in which the father discarded the son’s money. The Beit Yosef (Yoreh Deah 240) explains that while a son does not have to spend to honor his parent, he must give up all his money before disgracing him. The Ri (cited by the Tur, CM 240) says that a son does not have to let his father cause him financial damage. The Ramah (ibid.) says he can stop him before damage is done, even if the father is embarrassed; after the damage is done; he cannot scold the father – but he can sue. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 240:8) accepts the Rambam’s application of mora to the son’s significant loss. The Rama rules like the opinions that a son can protect his rights. It is not clear how far one is expected to go to avoid the theoretical possibility of suing a parent and whether the Rambam could agree to such a possibility (see Birkei Yosef ad loc. and K’tav Sofer, YD 108). The machloket between the Shulchan Aruch and Rama seems to impact on our case – a child standing up for his psychological rights (which can be no less important than monetary rights), at the expense of upsetting a parent.
Another pertinent discussion is tochacha (rebuke)of a parent for his actions? The gemara (Kiddushin 32a) says that a son who sees his father violating the Torah should only hint to him that it is wrong. Yet, certain laws of tochacha are learned from Yonatan’s rebuke of Shaul (see Arachin 16b). Apparently, while being as soft as possible, a child does rebuke a parent under certain circumstances. Does tochacha extend to the parent’s sins against his child? The p’shat of the pasuk of tochacha (Vayikra 19:17- see Sefer Hachinuch 439) is that if one wrongs you, you should air your grievance rather than harbor hatred, and the Rambam (De’ot 6:6) paskens this application. However, the extent to which one can upset such an offender is limited (ibid. 8) and it is laudable to let the matter go if the victim can remove the enmity by himself (ibid. 9). It makes sense that when the offender is a parent, if the victim/child is permitted to say anything, it should be under great need and then with “kid gloves.” On the other hand, while disgracing parents is particularly severe (Devarim 27:16; Shulchan Aruch, YD 241:6), harboring hate them for them is also severe (Aruch Hashulchan, YD 240:8; see Chashukei Chemed, Sanhedrin 84b). Thus, if needed to fix a greatly strained relationship, it would seem that one can raise certain criticisms carefully.
To summarize, a psychologist can contemplate encouraging a patient (at the least, for Ashkenazim) to appropriately air grievances to his parent. Next time, we will continue with certain guidelines.
Keep the Beat?I am a member of YU’s a cappella group, The Maccabeats. We recently made a clip of the zemer Dror Yikra, in which we use Kiddush cups, hands, and table as a means to create a beat. Someone suggested we are encouraging a forbidden action on Shabbat: using an instrument to produce music. Is it forbidden on Shabbat, and are we responsible for a viewer’s possible halachic mistake?
The mishna (Beitza 36b) forbids one to clap, bang with his hands on his thighs, or dance on Shabbat, and the gemara explains that it is out of concern one will be metaken (lit., fix) a musical instrument. The gemara (Eiruvin 104a) says that while there is a machloket whether one can use a utensil to make non-musical sounds, one certainly may not use an instrument to produce pleasant noises.
There has long been tension between these halachot and practice. The gemara (Beitza 30a) says that the reason rabbis did not protest when people clapped and danced is that it is better that people sin unknowingly than knowingly. The Rama (Orach Chayim 339:3), bothered by such practices in his time, said that either that concern of non-compliance still exists or people rely on Tosafot (Beitza 30a). Tosafot says that since nowadays people do not know how to make musical instruments, the prohibition does not apply. Although Tosafot’s thesis is surprising and not widely accepted, the Rama cites it as a second possible explanation for lenient practice.
How far does the leniency go? The Mishna Berura (339:10) says that the Rama (reluctantly) condones only clapping, thigh banging, and dancing, not use of noise-making and musical instruments. Others understand the Rama broadly. Actually, the Rama elsewhere (OC 338:3; Shut 125; see Magen Avraham 338:5) clarifies himself. One may make a beat with non-instruments. Musical instruments are permitted only for a non-Jew to play at our behest (the Rama referred to wedding celebrations, which in the past could continue into Shabbat).
Our minhag nowadays is not to use musical instruments (even by non-Jews for mitzvot). Regarding not classical musical instruments for music, including making an audible beat while singing (e.g., “drumming” on a table), the Mishna Berura (ibid.) and contemporary poskim (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:41; Yalkut Yosef 338:1; Orchot Shabbat ) forbid it; we agree. Yet, it is undeniable that many serious Jews do bang on the tables during zemirot. They apparently rely on the lenient opinions and the assumption that any action that enhances an activity that enhances Shabbat (e.g., davening, zemirot) is grounds for leniency in the case of a mitzva. (The latter assumption is far from simple – see Tosafot, Sukka 50a – further discussion development is beyond our scope). We would neither permit nor come out against one who “drums” in this way.
Back to your cups. Cups are not a musical instrument. Are cups on a table worse than hands on a table, considering that, either way, the table is a makeshift drum? (Unlike most drums, a bongo drum is played by hands on an instrument). They might be slightly worse, as hands hitting many things, including each other, produce noise, so hands on a table may be compared to clapping, while cups on a table more closely resemble a makeshift musical instrument (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 339:3). Importantly, the lenient practice is regarding hands, not instruments, on the table (Bnei Banim I:12).
You were filmed during the week, like Chassidic music artists singing zemirot with orchestras. Yet because people might think what you did is permitted on Shabbat, they could mistakenly copy you on Shabbat. Lifnei iver does not apply to cases where you neither facilitate nor encourage a violation. If it were a clear violation of Shabbat, there would be more reason to make clear disclaimers to avoid confusion. However, since some rabbis would permit the cups and most rabbis do not protest when people do something similar (i.e., banging with hands), any step you might take to avoid confusion is, perhaps laudable, but not mandated.
Continuing to Pray for Rain During a Trip AbroadI will be traveling outside of Israel, leaving after Israelis start asking for rain (“v’ten tal u’matar livracha” = vtul) and before those in chutz la’aretz start (7 Cheshvan – Dec. 4 or 5). Do I say vtul while abroad?
We will start with a brief overview of the question of saying v’ten tal u’matar outside Israel during this time period (see Living the Halachic Process, vol. II, A-11) before relating to your specific question.
The Rabbis instituted saying vtul according to the needs for rain of the time’s major Jewish communities. The entire Diaspora follows the needs of Bavel, starting 60 days after the beginning of Tekufat Tishrei (Dec. 4 or 5). The Rosh (Shut ) rules that countries that require rain at other times of the year can insert the request accordingly. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 117:2) agrees with the Rosh in principle, but not in practice because of the minhag, and he treats the case of one who said it at that time as a doubt, so that he repeats Shemoneh Esrei as a voluntary prayer. The Rama (ad loc.) does not require repeating Shemoneh Esrei.
The Mishna Berura (117:5) cites two opinions on whether one who resides in
Because of the doubt that surrounds this matter, major poskim (Rav S.Z. Orbach and Rav Elyashiv, quoted in Yom Tov Sheni K’Hilchato 10:2; Yalkut Yosef, Kitzur 117:15) suggest to says vtul in Shomeia Tefilla during the questionable period and is safe according to all opinions. This works because it is permitted to ask for rain during the summer in the beracha of Shomeia Tefilla, and it is sufficient b’di’eved to do so during the winter. Rav Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, OC II:102) implies that Israelis visiting countries where rain is desirable at that time should recite vtul in its regular place. However, the former opinion is preferable, especially for Sephardim (see Birkei Yosef, OC 117:5; Kaf HaChayim, OC 117:11).
We now move to your question. The Chida (Birkei Yosef, OC 117:6) says that one who started saying vtul in Israel and left with plans to return should continue to recite it normally. He explains that it is like a farce to begin saying it and then stop. There is a similar concept in the gemara (Taanit 4b-5a) regarding the discussion how to introduce “mashiv haruach …” in chutz la’aretz, where we treat two days like the possible end of Sukkot. Some say we should start saying “mashiv haruach” on the first day and then stop for some tefillot before resuming it on the second day. The gemara concludes that once we start, we do not stop. This, though, is not a halachic proof to the Chida’s concept, as commentaries explain the ruling differently (see Ritva, Turei Even ad loc.). Also, there is logic to distinguish between how the Rabbis institute the matter in the first place and what one does in the special situation of visiting a place with a different practice.
In any case, the Chida’s ruling that avoiding the “farce” of stopping what one started overcomes the rule to follows the practices of a host community – during the silent Shemoneh Esrei is the accepted one (see Ishei Yisrael 23:38). According to most authorities, an Israeli in chutz la’aretz at this time can be a chazan, in which case he says vtul in his silent Shemoneh Esrei but omits it during chazarat hashatz (ibid. 39).
The logic of continuing what one started does not suffice for one who has a fundamental reason to stop asking for rain. Therefore, an Israeli who is moving permanently abroad during this time and a ben chutz la’aretz who started saying vtul while visiting Israel in deference to local practice cease doing so when they leave Israel (Yein Hatov, OC 35; B’tzel Hochochma I:62).
Giving Tzedaka During AveilutI was told that an aveil should not give monetary gifts. Is it permitted to give tzedaka freely during this time, or are there limitations?
It is not clear what stage of aveilut you are referring to, but let us start with the most severe stage – shiva.
The Maharil (Shut 31, cited by the Darchei Moshe and Rama, Orach Chayim 696:6) says that one may not give mishloach manot to a mourner during the year of aveilut for a parent because it is like sh’eilat shalom (inquiring about the mourner’s welfare), which is forbidden (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 385:1). If giving mishloach manot to an aveil is like sh’eilat shalom to him, it follows that the mourner’s giving to someone else is like his sh’eilat shalom of someone else. A mourner may not be sho’eil b’shalom other people during shiva, whereas thereafter it is permitted (ibid.). Thus, there would be logic to forbid an aveil from giving mishloach manot during shiva. Yet, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 696:6) rules that the aveil does give mishloach manot because he is required to fulfill mitzvot including this one even during shiva (see Darchei Moshe ibid.; Mishna Berura 696:20). However, an aveil is forbidden to give during shiva presents that are not mitzvot at this time. (Even mishloach manot should be done in a simple manner- Magen Avraham 696:11).
After shiva, as mentioned, an aveil is allowed to do sh’eilat shalom to others, and therefore he should also be allowed to give presents. Although some Acharonim forbid a mourner for a parent to give presents throughout the year (see Divrei Sofrim 385:22), this stringency does not have a strong basis. Even if one wants to be stringent on the matter, it seems clear that this is only when the present is conspicuous in its ceremoniousness, not when the nature of the gift or the relationship between the mourner/giver and the recipient makes the gift a matter of course (see Nitei Gavriel, Aveilut II 14: 10, 13). Only a festive type of gift would be parallel to the Magen Avraham’s ruling of an aveil not giving the type of mishloach manot that evoke specific joy.
Let us move on to giving tzedaka. It is very appropriate for a mourner to give tzedaka throughout the various stages of mourning, and this is true on several grounds. After shiva, it is hard to identify a good reason not to give. While we hope that giving tzedaka brings the donor joy, the joy of doing a mitzva is not something the Rabbis intended to withhold from a mourner. Only actions that are joyful by their very nature, irrespective of their religious/moral content, are problematic. If one gives money to a tzedaka organization, there is no interpersonal interaction that might even raise questions of simcha or sh’eilat shalom.
Even during shiva, the aveil is like anyone who is obligated to fulfill mitzvot, and this includes giving tzedaka. In many ways, tzedaka is considered a good way to bring merit for the deceased. As the Mishna Berura (696:17) comments, if a mourner during shiva gives mishloach manot, he certainly gives matanot la’evyonim. The same applies to tzedaka. The only difference is that matanot la’evyonim needs to be done on a specific day, whereas some donations of tzedaka can be done easily afterward. Indeed, during shiva, we would not recommend a mourner to occupy himself with his periodic writing of tzedaka checks, etc. However, if a particular need arises (a collector at the door, a pressing need, etc.), the mourner is not precluded from donating appropriately. Perhaps, we might say that shiva is a good time to decide to give significant donations, whereas the actions of carrying them out can be after shiva.
The only tzedaka-related limitation that a mourner might consider throughout the year of aveilut is the following. Large donors are periodically honored at dinners and in other ways. While the year of aveilut is a great time to give enough to be honored, it is better for the donor to accept the more festive honors after the year.
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