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Al Ha’eitz for Those Who Have Eaten a Variety of FruitsDoes the bracha acharona of Al Ha’eitz include other fruits eaten (not from the seven species)? Is it preferable to recite the beracha acharona of Al Hamichya / Al Ha’eitz before Borei Nefashot?
The beracha acharona of Al Ha’eitz, the Me’ein Shalosh (often colloquially called Al Hamichya) for fruit of the sevens species (olives, dates, grapes, figs, and pomegranates) is an interesting hybrid. It is similar to Birkat Hamazon in terms of content; it is a single beracha , similar to Borei Nefashot, yet it begins and ends with a beracha form, and is of a higher level (see below); it does not mention the specific fruit, unlike the beracha on wine.
With this background, let us answer your first question. One who ate both fruit of the seven species and other fruit should make Al Ha’eitz to fulfill all the obligations (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 208:13). Since Al Ha’eitz thanks Hashem for fruit generally, this stronger beracha can cover “lesser fruit” as well. The Mishna Berura (207:1) says that even if one recites Al Ha’eitz improperly (e.g., after eating only an apple), he still exempts himself from Borei Nefashot. Since the exemption is based on the language of Al Ha’eitz, it does not apply regarding fruit that does not grow on a tree, i.e., those fruit whose beracha is Borei Pri Ha’adama (Shulchan Aruch ibid.; Sha’ar Hatziyun 208:64). Admittedly some say that even “fruit of the ground” are included in tenuvat hasadeh and are exempted by Al Ha’eitz, and according to Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer, V, OC 17), one who already recited it should not make Borei Nefashot (see below). The logic is stronger according to those who end off Al Ha’eitz with the words “al hapeirot,” as opposed to “al pri ha’eitz,” as the former refers to fruit generically and not to the fruit of the tree.
Regarding the order of the berachot acharonot, conceptually it is proper to recite the Me’ein Shalosh first because it is a higher level beracha than Borei Nefashot for one or more of the following reasons. According to some (see Beit Yosef, OC 209), it is actually a Torah-level obligation; it is longer and more extensive; it is more specific than Borei Nefashot (Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 202:206; Be’ur Halacha 202:11). However, some say that because of the opinions above that Me’ein Shalosh fulfills the obligation for all sorts of fruit, it is preferable to make Borei Nefashot first, for if not, it will be unclear if he should or should not recite Borei Nefashot afterward. If the Borei Nefashot is needed for something that does not grow from the ground (e.g., meat, water) and according to many if one is drinking fruit juice (which lost its status of fruit regarding berachot –see Mishna Berura 208:63), this is not an issue (Yabia Omer ibid.), and it would be preferable to recite the Me’ein Shalosh first.
The Magen Avraham (202:26) is not concerned with the opinion that one should say Borei Nefashot first, and this is the accepted ruling and practice for Ashkenazim (see V’zot Haberacha p. 54). For Sephardim, it is hard to say. The Shulchan Aruch seems to not believe that “ha’adama fruits” can be included in Me’ein Shalosh. Furthermore, Ohr L’tzion (Rav Abba Shaul, II:14:24) employs very strong logic – one who plans to say Borei Nefashot after Me’ein Shalosh is considered like one who has in mind not to have the Al Ha’eitz cover the Borei Nefashot fruit, in which case there are ample sources that it is not effective for those foods. (One would do well to have this in mind explicitly.) On the other hand, the Kaf Hachayim (208:73) says it is better to avoid the situation and recite Borei Nefashot first (V’zot Haberacha cites Rav M. Eliyahu as agreeing). Rav Ovadia Yosef (ibid.), basing himself on the rule he champions to avoid doubtful berachot even when the Shulchan Aruch approves them, says that if one already said a Me’ein Shalosh, he should not make a Borei Nefashot . Given his authority, it is hard to tell a Sephardi to not follow his position, at least in regard to l’chatchila.
A Minyan Split Between Adjacent RoomsIn small shuls and “shiva houses,” where there is an overflow to an adjacent room, do there have to be ten men in one room? Someone claimed that if everyone is under one roof, there are no questions.
The gemara in Pesachim (85b), in the context of eating Korban Pesach within a certain area, discusses whether those who are within the doorway of the border are considered inside or outside. The gemara says that the same is true for tefilla, i.e., tziruf (formation of a minyan). The gemara in Eruvin (92b), regarding a minyan split between adjacent courtyards of different sizes, distinguishes between different configurations. One might have argued that these sources are not referring to cases under one roof. However, it is clear from Rishonim, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 55:19) and many poskim that the guidelines for separate rooms inside a building are much the same as those of separate courtyards.
The Rashba (Shut I:96) asks why it is allowed for a chazan to stand on the bima when its dimensions make it a separate domain, thus separating the chazan from the tzibbur. He gives two answers: 1. A bima specifically functions as an integral part of the shul; 2. If some people in one domain see some people in the other one, they constitute one unit (as they do regarding a zimun for bentching- Berachot 50a). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) cites the Rashba’s first answer as halacha regarding tziruf for a minyan, while citing an opinion that this is only on condition that the bima’s partitions do not reach the ceiling. These are among the many sources that debunk the claim you were told, as a bima is obviously under the same roof as the rest of the shul, and still other reasons are needed to explain the tziruf.
Most practical cases depend on the extent to which we accept the Rashba’s second answer – that a visual connection between the two groups suffices. (Another scenario, based on the details of the aforementioned gemara in Eruvin (see Shulchan Aruch ibid. 15), is rarely applicable. Those standing in the doorway probably do count (Mishna Berura 55:50), but that is not of much help.) The major question is whether the parameters for connecting groups regarding zimun (i.e., visual) apply to creating a minyan for tefilla. The Mishna Berura (55:48 & 55:52) is not conclusive on the matter. Therefore it is best, when possible, to have ten people in one room.
Once a minyan is achieved in one room, most opinions assume that those in the overflow room receive the benefits of a minyan, regardless of the visibility connection. The Radbaz (650) says that those in the small room are fully considered as davening with a minyan if the small room can be accessed only through the main room. In any case, those not in the room with the minyan may answer to those parts of tefilla that require a minyan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 55:20) and be exempted from obligations by those inside the main room (Mishna Berura 55:61). The logic is that the ten in one room create the setting (the shechina – see Mishna Berura 55:60) for the matter of kedusha, after which we say that partitions do not prevent the sanctity to flow (see ibid. and Pesachim 85b). (See further opinions in Piskei Teshuvot 55:27.)It seems that the logic just mentioned allows for leniency in the following common scenario. Ten men are davening in the main room, but not enough of them have finished Shemoneh Esrei when the chazan would like to start. In Living the Halachic Process (I:A-10) we preferred the opinion that one needs eight people, not including the chazan, to answer. Some poskim required fewer because the presence of the ten brings the shechina, but others counter that chazarat hashatz requires a minyan who relate to the repetition. In the case of adjacent rooms, we can combine factors. The presence of ten in the big room brings the shechina. Then, we only need ten people who are connected to chazarat hashatz. Since those in the small room can fulfill their obligation through the chazan, they count toward the quorum needed to start.
Treatment of Leftover BreadWhat are the halachot of treatment of bread at the end of a meal?
There are clear halachot in the gemara (Berachot 50b; 52b) and poskim (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 171, 180) regarding “respect” due to food in general and especially bread. Two related issues are involved: not causing food to be wasted; not degrading food.
First we shuld mention that if one plans things as he or she should, there should little waste of sizable pieces of bread (or other foods). Leftover bread can be frozen, used for breadcrumbs (while avoiding meat/milk issues), or left for birds. Where this is difficult is at semachot, where there can be half-eaten rolls, etc.
One is not allowed to involve food in non- eating, in a way that it is likely to become soiled and become unappetizing (Shulchan Aruch OC 171:1). It is forbidden to throw any food that could get soiled upon falling and to throw bread even if it will not become soiled, due to bread’s extra importance (ibid. - see Beit Yosef, ad loc.). The gemara (Berachot 52b) explains Beit Shammai’s opinion that one should clean the eating area before washing with mayim acharonim so that the water not fall on and ruin the food. Beit Hillel is not concerned because people will know to remove k’zayit-sized pieces of bread. We are not concerned about smaller pieces, as Rabbi Yochanan says these can be destroyed. Seemingly then, sizable pieces are due respect, while small ones are not, as the Shulchan Aruch (OC 180:3-4) assumes.
However, the matter is complicated. The gemara in Shabbat (143a) says in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that one may not destroy even pieces smaller than a k’zayit. The gemara in Chulin (105b) also says that not being careful with small pieces of leftover food makes one susceptible to poverty. Tosafot (Shabbat 143a) says that our text in Shabbat, which follows Rashi, is incorrect, as the gemara in Berachot says that one is not required to care for small pieces. On the other hand, Tosafot (Berachot 52b) says that even if there is no prohibition, disgracing small pieces could cause poverty. The Magen Avraham (180:3) distinguishes based on different types of lack of care. One is not required to preserve small pieces; however, he may not disgrace them, e.g., by having people trample them. Water falling on them and making them not usable is not a disgrace. Bigger pieces must not even get soiled by water. The Pri Megadim (ad loc.) claims that according to the Rambam, there are no halachic limitations on small pieces, although perhaps there is a danger of poverty.
Even regarding big pieces, if one has decided not to eat them and there is no issue of not wasting them, what should one do with them? Presumably one should discard them without disgracing them, but what is considered a disgrace? Is putting them in the garbage, the normal place to discard things, a disgrace? Every written source I found on the topic (see V’zot Haberacha, p. 16; Etz Hasadeh 19:4; Rav E. Melamed - online) said (without classical sources) that one must put k’zayit -sized pieces in a bag before throwing them into the garbage, and many people, especially in Israel, are careful about this.
Is there any explanation for at least most of the American community within which I grew up, who are not careful about this? We have mentioned in the past (Beshalach 5768) that Rav Yisraeli’s ruled that one can put food with the sanctity of Shemitta in a bag before throwing in the garbage even together with foods without sanctity, as long as those other foods are not spoiled. Touching and even getting a little soiled by other foods before being thrown into the garbage dump may not be a disgrace. One could claim, then, that most kitchen garbage bins contain bags in which there are various leftover food and disposable matters; thus, putting bread in there may not be a disgrace. However, the easier position to justify, in regard to halacha and avoiding poverty, is to put bread leftovers (at least, bigger pieces) that cannot be salvaged, in a separate bag before putting it in the garbage.
Short Pants for Davening on ShabbatSomeone in shul told me last Shabbat that I should not wear shorts to shul. When I told him I learned it is permitted, he said that Shabbat is different. Why should Shabbat change the halacha?
Halachot like these involving clothes tend to be subjective. However, one needs to start with the halachic philosophy and standard situations. We wrote (Eikev 5771) about wearing shorts, with a focus on a chazan, and we refer you there for additional sources.
When one davens, he stands before Hashem and should be dressed respectably (Shabbat 10a; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 91). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 4) says that this includes covering one’s legs, when this is how people dress before important people. The Mishna Berura (91:12) adds that one should wear a hat, explaining that this is the way people dress publicly. (In some circles, this is still true; in others, it does not apply at all).
Even in surroundings where one should cover his legs, there are limits to the severity of the matter. One’s tefilla is invalid after the fact only if his private parts are uncovered (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 91:1) or there is no separation between his heart and private parts (Biur Halacha ad loc.). There is some question as to whether it is better to daven or to skip davening if he is not able to cover his chest (ibid.). Regarding other “improper attire,” including one who has only shorts, he may daven. However, the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 5) writes that when it is possible, one must be properly dressed.
Rav Ovadya Yosef (Yechaveh Da’at IV:8 – see also the dissenters he cites) says that in places (e.g., kibbutzim) and for people (children during the summer) where shorts are commonplace, it is permitted to daven in shorts (not as a chazan). We accept that approach, which leads to the challenge of determining whether short pants are commonplace enough in a give venue.
Does Shabbat change anything? Actually, shorts on Shabbat, not just at the time of davening deserves a similar discussion to the above, as one is supposed to wear nice clothing on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch, OC 262:2). This is not a matter of oneg (enjoyment) but of kavod (honoring Shabbat), and this applies even when one is by himself (Mishna Berura 262:6) or prefers more casual clothes. Here, too, societal factors are crucial in determining what types of clothes are necessary, praiseworthy, and appropriate. (The Biur Halacha to 262:3 discusses whether wearing white clothes is showing off. In some circles, the same question could be raised about wearing a black hat, while in others a hat or even a shtreimel are expected). Factors such as age, weather, venue (vacation resort, camp) may also play a role.
Logic dictates that since we are taking a practical, subjective approach, there is every reason to combine factors. On average, people dress more formally at tefilla on Shabbat than they do either at tefilla during the week or on Shabbat outside of shul. The same is true regarding standing before important people, the model for attire for davening. One is likely to dress more formally at a formal setting with an important person than at a casual setting with him. We also find the honor of Shabbat elevating the prominence of other halachic matters. For example, a Shabbat meal warrants Sheva Berachot even without panim chadashot (Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 62:8); even minor eating (ara’i) is forbidden on Shabbat before taking ma’aser (Rambam, Ma’aser 3:4).
In summation, if it is rare for people to come to shul in your community with shorts on Shabbat, we would certainly agree with the content of the person who spoke to you (hopefully, in an appropriate way, which is not always easily done). If it is not uncommon, one needs to know where to draw the line, which is best done by local rabbis with a finger on the pulse of the community. In general, though, it is appropriate for the norm to be to wear long pants.
Delay Between Birkat Kohanim and Sim ShalomI, a kohen, turn around at the end of Birkat Kohanim when the chazan starts Sim Shalom. Recently, a chazan chanted a tune between Birkat Kohanim and Sim Shalom. Was that proper? Were we supposed to turn around when he started chanting or when he said Sim Shalom?
The gemara (Sota 39b) indeed says that kohanim should not turn around until the chazan begins Sim Shalom. Therefore, it seems that you should have waited until he actually started Sim Shalom, as an introductory tune does not have halachic standing. However, the matter deserves a better look.
Rashi (ad loc.) describes the end of Birkat Kohanim as follows: the congregation finishes saying Amen to the last beracha, the kohanim turn around and close their hands, the chazan starts Sim Shalom, and the kohanim start reciting “Ribono shel olam.” His order places turning around after Amen but before Sim Shalom (i.e., in your case, you did not have to wait). How could Rashi contradict an explicit gemara? The Maharshal (ad loc.), based on Rashi, says that the gemara means that the time for Sim Shalom must have come, i.e., the congregation must have completed answering Amen.
While Tosafot (Sota 39a) and the Ran (Megilla, 16a of the Rif’s pages) quote Rashi without comment, the Rambam (Tefilla 14:6) and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 128:15) bring the halacha with the simple reading of the gemara – when the chazan starts Sim Shalom. There is no indication from their wording or the sources that the Beit Yosef and commentaries cite that their intention is the Rashi/Maharshal approach.
Let us see if there is halachic logic to have to wait literally for the beginning of Sim Shalom. The apparent logic for the kohanim not to turn around immediately is that they should not rush to finish their job before Birkat Kohanim is totally finished, perhaps thereby showing disrespect to the blessings and the blessed (see Birkot Horai 12:(1)). Perhaps, then, Sim Shalom is not necessary, as long as Birkat Kohanim is over.
Does one need to start a new beracha to finish the previous section? This point seems to be at the heart of another halachic discussion. If one did not mention rain in the winter in the second beracha of Shemoneh Esrei until after the beracha, he needs to return to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch, OC 114:4). However, the beracha is not considered over in this regard until he begins the next beracha; before this, he can insert the mention of rain where he is up to (ibid. 6). This provides a precedent for the end of one section (e.g., Birkat Kohanim) depending on the beginning of the next (e.g., Sim Shalom).
One might deflect this proof because: 1) Not everyone agrees with that Shulchan Aruch (see Biur Halacha ad loc.). 2) The Mishna Berura (114:31) says that one should start mentioning rain within k’dei dibbur (1-1/2 – 2 seconds) of the beracha’s end. To this, we respond: 1) Not only is the Shulchan Aruch ultimately accepted, but even some dissenters do not say that it is like one started the next beracha but that at that point the mistake is viewed as a nonretractable. 2. The Mishna Berura (based on Derech Hachayim 33:34) only says it is preferable to mention rain right away.
There are also strong indications (based on Megilla 18a) that Sim Shalom is the natural continuation of Birkat Kohanim and may serve as confirmation of the blessing (see Rav Nota Greenblatt in Afikei Torah, pg. 131) and is the appropriate time for the kohanim to commence the second stage of their blessing (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 128:15). Therefore, it makes sense that the gemara means that only after Sim Shalom actually begins should kohanim turn around and say Ribbono Shel Olam.
Kohanim should follow the consensus of poskim (see Magen Avraham 128:28; Mishna Berura 128:70) to not turn around until Sim Shalom starts. Chazanim should not procrastinate or chant before Sim Shalom, which confuses the kohanim and the congregation (see Shulchan Aruch, ibid. 23).
Staging a Fake Pidyon HabenI often serve as the kohen for pidyon haben. A friend told me he was a kohen at a fake pidyon haben: the mother had previously miscarried, and they were embarrassed to tell, so they faked the pidyon. If such a situation arises, what should I do?
Poskim (see Yabia Omer, VIII, Yoreh Deah 32; B’er Moshe VIII:237) discuss the case of a woman who had been pregnant before marriage. Her husband did not know, so he assumed their firstborn boy required a pidyon haben. Could she allow him to do so, including two berachot l’vatala, to save embarrassment and possible repercussions to the marriage? The consensus is that considerations of k’vod hab’riyot (preserving human dignity- see Berachot 19b) allow her not to tell.
One factor of leniency is that most Rishonim hold that a beracha l’vatala is only a rabbinic prohibition (see Tosafot, Rosh Hashana 33a; Mishna Berura 215:20), and k’vod hab’riyot overcomes rabbinic laws (Berachot 19b). (The content of most berachot, e.g., Hashem commanded us, generally, in the mitzva of pidyon haben, is always true and positive.) Also, the wife just did not stop her husband from making a mistake, and the Rosh (Kilaei Begadim 6) says that in such cases, k’vod hab’riyot supersedes even a Torah law.
This case is worse in a few ways. First, the father knowingly is making a non-mandated beracha. Granted, he can make Shehecheyanu over new clothing and mumble the beginning of the main beracha and not utter Hashem’s Names. Still, there is a problem that those assembled will answer Amen to what is not a valid beracha, which is forbidden (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 215:4 and a parallel case of answering a non-beracha in Minchat Shlomo I:9). One cannot invoke the aforementioned Rosh because the father is presenting a “beracha” to which it is forbidden to respond. This ostensibly violates the Torah-level prohibition of lifnei iver – facilitating a person’s act of sin, certainly when one consciously causes others to do so unknowingly (see Dagul Meirevava to Shach, YD 151:6).
Yet there still may be grounds for leniency. It is forbidden to daven when one has to use the facilities, and if the need is acute, his tefillot and berachot are invalid (Shulchan Aruch, OC 92:1). Yet, the Biur Halacha (ad loc.) says that a chazan in that situation who will be very embarrassed to walk out in the middle may continue davening. Here one knowingly makes improper berachot to which people will answer Amen, and it is permitted due to k’vod hab’riyot. On the other hand, that case may be better, as the berachot are intrinsically valid, just that there is a side violation due to his physical state, one which k’vod haberiyot can lift. Here, the nonsensical nature of the beracha should make the amen problematic.
There are further reasons for leniency. According to some, Amen l’vatala is not nearly as severe as a beracha l’vatala (see Pri Megadin 215, Eshel Avraham 1.) Perhaps more fundamentally, saying Amen is not intrinsically problematic and much depends on context. Possibly, if from the perspective of the person who is saying it, there is every reason to believe the beracha was appropriate, then the responder did nothing wrong even if it was not a good beracha, (see Yabia Omer ibid. who cites those who use this logic even regarding a beracha). Additionally, a “non-beracha” that people considered a beracha may be better than a beracha l’vatala (see similar matter in Yechaveh Da’at II:68). Finally, since the exact parameters of lifnei iver are elusive, setting up such a situation may not be forbidden.
Nevertheless, it pays to encourage people not to make a fake pidyon haben when not necessary. Not always is the fact that a few close friends and relatives find out about a miscarriage as embarrassing as it seems. Furthermore, one can say the delivery was caesarian, which exempts from a pidyon haben (Yoreh Deah 305:24), or that the delivery was with forceps, which calls for a pidyon without berachot (Otzar Pidyon Haben 1:16). However, every case and every person are unique.
Shehecheyanu, Clothes, and Renovations During SefiraMay one buy and wear new clothes, do work on his house, and recite Shehecheyanu during the Sefira period? (I have recently been hearing that this is forbidden.)
The halachot of aveilut (mourning) for a deceased relative and the national mourning over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, during the days/weeks before Tisha B’av are discussed in the gemara. The minhagim of national mourning over the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students are not found in the gemara. There are both overlap and differences in the details for these different time periods.
Regarding the aveilut of the Sefira period, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 493) cites prohibitions on marriages and hair cutting (and work after sunset – which is not widely accepted). The Mishna Berura (493:3) mentions the minhag of not dancing, which many have applied to all forms of instrumental music (see Igrot Moshe, OC I:166). These standard sources make no mention of the things about which you inquired.
Let us look briefly at minhagim about Shehecheyanu, clothes, and work on the house, as they appear in regard to the period before Tisha B’av. One is to reduce certain activities before Tisha B’av, including building projects (Yevamot 43a), but according to the Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:2), this is only during the Nine Days and not the Three Weeks. There is also a recommendation, which not all accept (see opinions in Mishna Berura 551:98), not to recite Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 17). The logic is that Shehecheyanu expresses our gratefulness to have made it to “this time,” which may not be appropriate at a particularly sad time on the calendar.
While the standard sources do not mention these issues during the Sefira period, there are some sources that do, especially in regard to Shehecheyanu (see several opinions cited in Bein Pesach L’Shavuot 16:(2)). There is basis for this extension on two grounds. First, there is logic, as this is a nationwide sad period (as opposed to aveilut over a relative, which is personal- see Mishna Berura 551:98). Secondly, it is relatively easier to transfer minhagim when there is a model for such halachot, by doing, so to speak, “copy and paste” from one time to another.
However, the logic and the model are also reasons, paradoxically, to ignore the minority strict opinions and the practice of some to refrain from some or all of the matters you mentioned, for the following reason. People can get confused as to what practices apply when. They remember that there is a concept of not saying Shehecheyanu and not doing renovations during national mourning periods, and they may have heard of someone knowledgeable who says to act this way during Sefira. They then may start adopting the practice, not based on a decision with knowledge of the sources and indications and a desire to accept the stringency. Rather, they think these are the standard minhagim. This is called a minhag ta’ut. In such a case, even one who has already followed the stringent practice may suspend it without hatarat nedarim.
Rav Ovadya Yosef has an interesting approach to these questions. First he explains (Yechaveh Da’at I:24) that one cannot call Sefira, which is actually the bridge between the joyous holidays of Pesach and Shavuot, a tragic period of time, as we call the period leading up to Tisha B’av. Therefore, he is against refraining from Shehecheyanu on fruit at that time. He is not against the stringency to avoid wearing new clothing that warrants Shehecheyanu, out of extra mourning. Regarding moving into a new home or doing work on an existing one, he simply permits the matter (ibid. III:30). The Tzitz Eliezer (XVIII:41) is perhaps more resolute in rejecting the appropriateness of stringency in these matters.So, one need not be stringent and if he has been, he may continue if he likes, but he should consider whether his (family’s) practice is more based on confusion than a conscious decision to accept minority stringencies.
Pumping Air from a Wine Bottle on ShabbatThose of us who appreciate fine wine take steps to protect leftover wine from Shabbat to Shabbat. I use a special pump and bottle top to remove the air that causes oxidation. I can pump after Shabbat (nothing happens for around a week), but I prefer to take care of it immediately so as not to forget. Is it permitted to pump on Shabbat, or is it hachana (forbidden preparation from Shabbat to weekday)?
Our research indicates that at least some wine experts are more discriminating than you and say that even with the pump, the wine can “survive” only 3-5 days. For them, we imagine there is significant loss to wait until the end of Shabbat. We will start our answer for them.
The Magen Avraham (321:7) discusses meat before kashering whose deadline for washing before the salting is on Shabbat. He posits that, in theory, if it were necessary to prevent loss, one would be allowed to rinse it without hachana being a problem. One of the sources for this concept is the halacha that one may move a non-muktzeh utensil to protect it from breakage or theft, even if he does not need it on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 308:4).
In practice, the Magen Avraham forbids the rinsing because even after the deadline, one may kasher the meat by broiling. Considering that some people prefer salting to broiling, we see that not any “loss” justifies hachana, thus raising questions about freshness of wine. On the other hand, there is certainly not a requirement of total loss. Even meat that cannot be kashered at all can be sold to a non-Jew, and yet if not for the solution of broiling, rinsing would have been permitted. Those for whom their expensive wine will lose its value if they do not promptly pump the air out may do so on Shabbat. (We also see from the halacha about protection from theft, that preventing possible significant loss suffices).
Let us now deal with your question from the perspective of one like you for whom waiting until after Shabbat is not impactful. A husband may revoke his wife’s oaths on Shabbat only because he cannot do so after Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch, OC 341:1). In general, when there is an alternative to avoid loss after Shabbat, one must wait (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:91). The concern that you might forget to pump after Shabbat is probably not sufficient, under normal circumstances, to justify doing so on Shabbat (we do not find that concern regarding the oaths).
Yet, there are a few ideas that might justify pumping on Shabbat. The Orchot Shabbat (22:(270)) posits that an action whose only purpose is to prevent loss is totally divorced from concerns of hachana. (He explains that regarding washing the meat, we require alternatives because washing has a positive element to it other than avoiding loss.) Thus, in your case, you could claim that since one pumps only to avoid loss, it does not matter that you could do it after Shabbat.
Another possible leniency is based on a rule championed by Rav S.Z. Auerbach and cited by several contemporary works (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:89). Actions that a person does naturally, as a matter of course, without specific thought of doing it now to save time later, are permitted even if their benefits are only after Shabbat. Some examples are taking home one’s tallit and siddur after shul and putting food in the refrigerator (and even the freezer- ibid.; that is a considerable extension). These are considered finishing off the previous usage. While pumping air from a wine bottle seems to me to be a deliberate action with a clear thought process, perhaps for more serious wine consumers, it is as natural as returning the cap to a soda bottle.
In summation, it is permitted to pump the air from a wine bottle on Shabbat for those who consider it a real loss to wait. Other users have what to rely upon if they want to do so on Shabbat instead of waiting. The strength of the leniency may depend on the level of discrimination and the extent to which doing so is a standard, almost trivial action.
A Ben Chutz La’aretz Flying Out of Israel on Yom Tov SheiniMay an American visiting Israel who keeps one day of Yom Tov fly on the day after Pesach in Israel (Yom Tov Sheini abroad) if he will land at his destination after Yom Tov there?
We will only touch on the question of a ben chutz la’aretz (a Jew who lives in the Diaspora) keeping one or two days of Yom Tov in
Bnei chutz la’artez keep two days abroad because of the binding minhag to treat the second day as if it might be the first even after the calendar was set (Beitza 4b). Those who keep two days reason that this applies even in
Let us analyze the unique situation on this plane. Israeli travellers do not have a problem because they are not obligated in a second day of Yom Tov unless they move permanently to the Diaspora or need to refrain from work on Yom Tov within a Diaspora Jewish community (the plane does not qualify). In contrast, the American traveler is a ben chutz la’aretz, who is fundamentally obligated in a second day. The Chacham Tzvi’s logic no longer applies, as a plane over chutz la’aretz is not in
One might claim that Yom Tov status cannot change in the middle of the day. However, the accepted opinion is that one who makes aliya (e.g., by boat) or makes the decision to remain permanently in Israel on Yom Tov Sheini changes his status in the middle of the day (Yom Tov Sheni K’hilchato 4:6). (The logic of the minority who disagree seems to apply only to ridding oneself of the kedusha that was accepted, not to preventing it from starting in the middle of the day- see B’tzel Hachochma I:53). We find the idea of entering into days in the middle regarding sefirat ha’omer and other halachot for those who pass the International Date Line (see our teshuva in the Hebrew version of Hemdat Yamim, Vayeitzei 5773; article by Rav Z. Ryzman, Techumin XXXII, p. 30).
Is it permitted to put oneself in a situation that he will experience Yom Tov on a plane for several hours? Under certain circumstances, it is permitted to enter a ship even though he will be on it on Shabbat (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 248:1), and we could not make a blanket ruling regarding those who feel they have to leave Israel right after Yom Tov. In some ways, a plane is better than a ship and in some ways worse (see referenced articles in depth). However, there are so many difficulties with this arrangement (purely halachic and technical created by the halacha) that we strongly discourage taking such a flight except under extreme conditions. A few examples of difficulties follow. One would not be allowed to lock the door to the bathroom because lights go on. He could not look at the television screen. Muktzeh applies to such things as passport, boarding pass, and customs declaration. It is likely that he would even be obligated in Yom Tov davening, full Kiddush, and lechem mishneh. He cannot eat chametz.
In summation, even those bnei chutz la’aretz who keep only one day of Yom Tov in
Beracha on Homeopathic MedicineI understand that one does not make a beracha on medicine. This raises a question for Orthodox users of homeopathic medicines (which are normally sweet). Should they listen to their homeopaths, who consider it medicine, and not make a beracha or listen to conventional doctors, who say it is not medicine, and make a beracha on it?
There is disagreement on the topic of alternative medicine. Like in most topics, extreme opinions are rarely right. It is clear that some treatments under the umbrella of alternative medicine are helpful, and it is clear that some are quackery and serve as a placebo at best. There is also a significant category of medicines and treatments (homeopathic or conventional) whose efficacy is unclear or varies greatly from person to person. We are not in the position to take a stand on the important question as to which treatments fall into which category.
These questions are relevant regarding cases where we want to do something which would otherwise be forbidden in order to heal the sick (see Orach Chayim 301, 328). However, your question does not depend on this matter. It is not that the status of medicine uproots the need for a beracha. Rather, berachot were instituted for the benefits of food (primarily, taste), not for medical benefits alone (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 204:8). If one receives both benefits, he must recite a beracha (ibid.). Therefore, if any medicine’s taste is good, a beracha would be required on it. If there is not a good taste, then even if there is no medicinal value either, there would be no beracha. (Indeed, there is no beracha on swallowing paper).
However, there is still a question about the beracha for anything taken for medicinal purposes that has additives that give it a somewhat positive taste. The Sha’ar Hatziyun (204:37) says that medicinal food does not need to have a particularly good taste; the main thing is that it does not have a bad one. One might claim that the classic sources discuss cases where the therapeutic agent has a reasonable taste but that if the medicine tastes bad and sweetener improves it, the sweetener is the medicine’s less important part and should not count regarding berachot (see Berachot 36a). However, the rule that the beracha follows a food’s more important ingredient for berachot applies only when the important part has a beracha, but if the medicinal part has no beracha, we should make a beracha on the sweetener (Pitchei Halacha, Berachot pg. 246; Yalkut Yosef, Berachot, pg. 442).
Yet, there still are cases where a beracha is doubtful. If one swallows a pill, it is not considered a manner of eating in regards to berachot even if it leaves a sweet taste on the tongue before swallowing (V’zot Haberacha pg. 311). Also, Rav S.Z. Auerbach is quoted by several as minimizing the cases in which a beracha is called for. Nishmat Avraham (IV, OC 204:8) quotes him as saying that if the sweetener is on the outside of a chewable pill and one enjoys the taste before getting to the medicinal part there is a beracha, but if the tastes are all mixed together, there should not be a beracha. This is based on the assumption that the mixture does not have a taste which would interest anyone as a food. V’zot Haberacha (pg. 312) cites Rav Auerbach from a different angle. If the active ingredient’s taste is neither bad nor particularly good, the minor taste enjoyment suffices for a beracha. However, for an external taste to turn a non-food into a food, the medicinal mixture must have an actually good taste overall. Not all agree with Rav Auerbach (see ibid.), and it is logical to say that as long as one appreciates the positive element, the fact that the negative element neutralizes it somewhat does not take away from the beracha. However, it is hard to require a beracha against Rav Auerbach’s opinion. There also will be borderline cases regarding how they are to be considered according to the different opinions. In a case of doubt, one should not make a beracha (one who wants, can eat something else first, having in mind to cover the medicine).
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