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Protecting Sefarim But Aiding TerroristsI read a news report that ISIS has looted rare Jewish artifacts, such as old scrolls of various sefarim, to help finance their operations. Is appropriate to save the sefarim, or is it forbidden to support ISIS?
As a practical question, this hinges on many issues that are beyond our strategic-political expertise. Although one’s first response is that one obviously may not do anything that would help murderers such as
First we ask: is there a mitzva to save these artifacts? There are two possible mitzva reasons to “redeem” them. One is to save holy articles from disgrace. Another is to save Torah information for the Jewish people. Often, people buy such things for a personal reason – the desire to own coveted Judaica – it is hard to consider that a mitzva.
Saving holy scrolls from disgrace is recognized as something for which it is worthwhile to pay a halachic price. It is permitted to violate certain Rabbinic laws of Shabbat in order to save holy writings with enough sanctity to require geniza, whether halachic sifrei Torah, remainders thereof, or even any Torah writings (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 334:12, Mishna Berura 334:39 and Rama, OC 334:17). On the other hand, we do not find sweeping leniencies or an obligation to seek out such items to save.
The element of saving vital information comes up in the following context. The mishna (Gittin 45a) says that despite the great mitzva of pidyon shvuyim (paying ransom to free captives), the Rabbis prohibited paying more than the captive’s “market value.” The apparently accepted explanation is that it encourages the taking of captives. Tosafot (ad loc.) asks how it was permitted for R. Yehoshua ben Chananya to pay an exorbitant price to free a youngster who showed great Torah promise (Gittiin 58a). One of Tosafot’s answers, which the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 252:4) accepts, is that it is permitted to pay a high price for someone with the potential to make great Torah contributions. The same logic should also apply to redeeming a valuable Torah work.
Yet, “redeeming” Torah works is apparently not included in formal pidyon shvuyim, which applies to alleviating human suffering (see Bava Batra 8b). In fact, one may sell a sefer Torah to afford pidyon shvuyim (Tosafot, ad loc.). In some ways, this may lessen the mitzva to redeem them. On the other hand, if sefarim are not within formal pidyon shvuyim, they are not within the formal Rabbinic prohibition of overpaying. Thus, if one wanted to extend the prohibition to paying any especially dangerous “seizer of Torah scrolls,” we would say it formally does not apply either. The lack of a formal prohibition, though, does not mean that one should not use common moral sense.
Often, the price people are willing to pay for valuable Judaica has little to do with its practical importance for Torah information, but due to its historical, sentimental, or even artistic value. In the case of a terrorist organization, it seems inexcusable to pay even the “going rate” for them if it means helping an “organization” like
Let us put things in perspective. Sometimes the Rabbis forbade commerce which may be used to further sinful activity (see Avoda Zara 2a). On the other hand, the Rabbis were careful not to forbid more than society is able to handle, and there is a limit to how many things we can boycott (remember the comment about cars). In a case as stark as the one you raised, the spirit of the law suffices to preclude buying even important holy objects in a manner where there is a rational fear that it would put people in mortal danger. Only in exceptional cases might one contemplate that the cost-benefit comparison makes redemption moral.
Requirement for the Seller to Fix the SituationI bought an apartment from the project’s developer’s brother. My lawyer did not discover that the project’s building permits were incomplete. Now, the municipality is “making noise” about kicking out the residents and/or allowing us to stay with limitations. I have tried to smooth things with the municipality but have not yet succeeded. The developer has the best chance of getting the municipality to complete the permit after the fact, and the seller, who admits he did not tell me of the problem, can make him to do it. The seller says that it is uncertain that anyone can get the permits, but that if people act wisely, the municipality will not evict us. (He points out that he still has an apartment in the project, and many who knew of the problem bought). He is willing to buy back the apartment but not take action. Can I force him to fix the situation?
This case undoubtedly contains many unclear elements, which require either a settlement or adjudication in beit din, but we will address your main inquiry in general terms.
Fundamentally, a sale is the transfer of an object from the ownership of one person to another, as opposed to obligating the seller to give or do something for the buyer. Thus, the seller has a good point, when refusing to take a course of action, despite the flaws in the property and his behavior. Rather, the buyer’s general recourse regarding purchases that turn out to be seriously flawed is to nullify the sale (see Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 232:3).
Some sources do indicate that the seller is required to act to fulfill the buyer’s basic expectations from the purchase. For example, there is an opinion that if one made a purchase before a document was written but pledged to write one, he can be forced to write it and cannot opt to nullify the sale (Shulchan Aruch, CM 243:9). The Imrei Yosher (II:52) explains that the document is part of the process of the purchase.
However, these sources are quite different from your case. For one, there the buyer pledged to write the document. Here, even if (we do not know) the seller said or implied the property had a complete permit, he did not pledge to take further steps to get it to that point. If he gave a false picture of the present situation, there may be grounds for nullifying the sale, but not to force him to take the action you desire. Second, in the case of buying property second hand, dealing with building permits is not part of the sale process (when buying from the developer, the contract usually states what his legally required steps are).
The Rosh (Shut 96:6) says that if one buys an object with a flaw that can nullify the purchase, the seller can, under certain circumstances (see Shulchan Aruch and Rama, CM 232:5), say that he is willing to fix it rather than allow the purchase to fall. Our question is the opposite situation: can the buyer say: “Rather than have to nullify the sale, I demand of you to fix the flaw.” The Ulam Hamishpat (ad loc.) understands from the Rosh that he can demand that the seller either fix the problem or reduce the price so the buyer can. However, some Acharonim (including Lev Meivin, CM 144( disagree. I believe that the latter opinion is correct. Realize also that the Rosh says (Bava Batra 5:14) that a seller who overcharges by enough that the sale can be nullified cannot be forced to return the overcharging if he prefers to cancel the sale. Similarly, the Shulchan Aruch (CM 232:4) says that a seller can opt to nullify a sale rather than reduce the price due to the flaw. The Ulam Hamishpat is also clear that he is only referring to cases where that which needs to be done is readily accomplished. In fact, even if one promises as part of a sale to do something, he can only be forced to do so if it is readily accomplished (see S’ma 209:23).
Therefore, in your case, it does not appear that you can compel the seller to take complicated steps that may or may not rectify the situation, although there may be various claims that can be made on him.
Stopping to Rent Out to a ShulI own a property that I have been renting out to a shul for years, but now I want to sell it. The members of the shul say I have no right to do it because my sale will effectively close down the shul, which is forbidden, so I must continue the rental. Are they correct?
We cannot get into “Choshen Mishpat” questions of when a landlord can remove a tenant from rental property (see Shulchan Aruch, CM 312). Rather, we will deal with the “Orach Chayim” questions of closing down a shul, assuming that you otherwise would be permitted to end the rental.
First of all, under certain circumstances and conditions, one may sell a shul (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 153:6-7). One basic condition is that the decision is made in a serious manner by community leaders that the step is in the community’s best interest. In this case, the community wants to keep the shul, so we must see whether the fact that it is rented rather than owned makes a difference.
The gemara (Megilla 26a) cites the Rabbanan’s ruling that the part of town where prayers are held on public fast days lacks sanctity because praying is done there on an ad hoc basis. The Beit Yosef (OC 154) cites Mahari Ibn Chaviv as saying that the batei knesset of his time/place lacked kedusha because they are expected to be used for a limited time, secretly, until removed by the authorities. Some (including Shut Chatam Sofer, Yoreh Deah 225, Michtam L’David OC 5) say that the critical factor in his case is the lack of even short-term security. However, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 154:2) implies that regarding any rental, where the congregation’s ongoing use of the premises depends on the landlord’s agreement, there is no kedusha (see Mishna Berura 154:4). Distinctions are made, including the duration of the rental (Mishbetzot Zahav 154:1) and whether the rental is for a set time or open-ended (see opinion cited by Piskei Teshuvot 154:2). However, all seem to agree (see Chatam Sofer, ibid.) that when the rental period is over, the status of beit knesset ceases. Poskim assume that no status of beit knesset can prevent a landlord from legally discontinuing the rental. (Admittedly, some of the sources relate to non-Jewish landlords, but some discuss Jews (including Divrei Yatziv, OC 78), and the basic sources do not distinguish.)
In certain cases, another factor arguably plays a role. The gemara (Bava Batra 26b) says that a community may not take down a shul before they secure its replacement. This is beyond the matter of kedusha, as it applies even if they are just renovating the shul for future improved use (see Mishna Berura 152:2). Rather, it is a matter of concern that the community, for a short or possibly a long time (see gemara) will be without a proper beit knesset. One might have argued that this concern should prevent a landlord from closing a shul, if there is no proper alternative.
The Mishna Berura (152:3) cites the opinion of several Acharonim that a community that rents a beit knesset may not leave the rental before securing a replacement location. They speak of the permissibility of the community’s steps, not the landlord’s. One cannot infer that there is no prohibition on the landlord because the context of this halacha’s primary source (the Eliya Rabba 152:1 in the name of the Nachalat Shiva) is of a non-Jewish landlord, who obviously has no obligation to be concerned about batei knesset. Nevertheless, since the community is obligated to search for alternatives to rental shuls, the concern need not fall on the landlord. Understand that landlords cannot evict a tenant without giving sufficient opportunity to find an alternative (Shulchan Aruch, CM 312:5). Once the community is forewarned, they are obligated to find an alternative, such as building their own shul (may be preferable) or finding another rental location.That being said, there may be circumstances where at least the spirit of the law would require giving a community an especially long warning period to ensure their ability to find an alternative beit knesset.
Sharing Surprising Grounds for LeniencyA couple of times recently, I have been troubled by your columns, in which you entertain leniencies that I view as dangerous or against the spirit of halacha. Although you acknowledge that such leniency is only for great need, since those cases are rare, isn’t it wrong to share this with a broad readership, which includes people who might misunderstand or abuse the grounds for leniency? In one such column, you discussed the possibility of serving food in a non-kosher establishment, which is at least pas nisht (inappropriate).
The good point you make is one we do take into account. You have prompted us to highlight for our readership the background and goals of this column.
The OU Ask the Rabbi service, in which
We have several goals in sharing some of our answers with the public. One is to inform the masses how to act when they encounter the same circumstances addressed. However, there are other important goals. We treasure teaching Torah lishma, including regarding issues and cases that few are likely to encounter.
We also strive to expose our readership to a multi-faceted and, we pray, balanced approach to rendering halachic decisions. We aim for an approach that is traditional on one hand, but with an openness for innovative problem solving. We aim for high halachic standards, but with a realization that an objective or even a subjective need often plays an important role even according to these high standards. We view implementation of this balance as one of the most exciting and important elements of p’sak halacha.
One case-in-point is a set of teshuvot (Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah II: 4, 5), in which Rav Moshe, in the course of a week, wrote ostensibly “contradictory” rulings to the same rabbi on the same case (a shochet who publicly did something that was chillul Shabbat according to almost all rabbanim). The rulings are not contradictory because Rav Moshe begins the second responsum: “if we will forbid him … it will negate all that you have fixed with toil in the kashrut and the peace in the city.” He follows with a novel leniency to allow the shochet to continue with certain provisions. It is fascinating that Rav Moshe was willing to publish (in 1973) the two responsa back-to-back without hiding his change of mind due to the circumstances. The first responsum remains the basic one. The second one demonstrates how he could “stretch” to be lenient when needed. It also teaches that when Rav Moshe ruled stringently even in the face of great need, it is not out of lack of effort.
We estimate that a clear majority of this column’s readers are solidly Orthodox English-speaking olim. As a rule, we would not consider (or allow our child) to be a waiter in an Israeli non-kosher restaurant. But Rav Ovadia allowed someone in great financial distress to be a cook in a non-kosher restaurant, until he could find another job, and published it (Yabia Omer, YD 6). Rav Moshe (ibid. YD I:51) allowed a delivery man in
We want our readership to enjoy the Torah’s richness and hone their halachic sophistication to know what to ask and how. We want them to know that while pas nisht should often preclude things, we subscribe to the approach of the many rabbis, from a variety of traditions, who search for solutions to “non-cookie cutter” cases. Sometimes such rulings should be kept quiet; sometimes they should be publicized. May Hashem protect us from mistakes.
Preference of Davening in a ShulIs there a preference of davening in a beit knesset as opposed to a house-minyan? Does it matter if the place is not an actual shul but consistently hosts a minyan?
The short answer is that there is probably, a small preference.
The gemara (Berachot 6a) says: “A person’s prayer is heard only in a beit knesset, as it says: ‘… to hear the praise and the prayer’ (Melachim I, 8:28) – at the place of the praise, there should be the prayer.” The Rambam (Tefilla 8:1) cites this idea with the addition that the prayers will not be “heard at all times” outside of a beit knesset. This would seem to be an important reason to daven specifically in a shul, and indeed the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 90:9) writes: “A person should try to daven in a beit knesset with the community.” He continues that there is also a preference to daven in a beit knesset even if he will be davening there alone (this is the subject of a machloket Rishonim - see Beit Yosef, OC 90).
The question is whether all davening out of a beit knesset is inferior and to what extent. The Magen Avraham (90:15) cites, as the reason for the Shulchan Aruch’s recommendation, the idea of b’rov am hadrat melech (roughly, it is preferable to the King when there is a large group). The Pri Megadim (ad loc.) posits that even without the factor of b’rov am, a shul is always a preference, as he assumes that the preferences of a minyan and a shul are both called for. This is not a clear conclusion. The Tzelach (Berachot 6a) says that the important thing is having one’s tefilla heard and that this can be accomplished either by davening in a shul, even as an individual, or by davening with a minyan, even out of shul.
There is another Talmudic source about davening in a beit knesset. The gemara (Berachot 8a) says that whoever does not daven in a community’s shul is called a bad neighbor and is slated for exile. The Chida (Machazik Beracha 90:4) says that this does not apply if the person davens elsewhere with a minyan because the Divine Presence dwells wherever a minyan is praying. However, he continues to say that in order to receive the full positive impact, it must be in a place that is “set for holiness.” The definition of “set for holiness” is not always clear. Public vs. private ownership is not the issue (see Rama 153:7). Whether steps were taken to allow occasional use of the place for meals, especially when limited to mitzva-related eating (see complex issue in Shulchan Aruch, OC 151:11; Igrot Moshe OC I:45) is also probably not critical. However, using one’s living room for a minyan after a regular shiur or a daily Mincha minyan in a business’s board room does not turn these places into batei knesset.
While we accepted the preference of davening in a beit knesset (see Mishna Berura 90:38; Ishei Yisrael 8:2), this is not an absolute requirement. This qualification is important, not only to justify one opting out due to a significant inconvenience, but also because other preferences can potentially outweigh that of davening in shul. We will mention some such possible cases, while warning that the particulars of a given case can make all the difference. 1. Davening in a place where one learns on a regular basis (Shulchan Aruch, OC 90:18). 2. The speed of the davening and/or congregants’ behavior make one’s davening noticeably “better” out of the beit knesset (Ishei Yisrael 8:10; see Mishna Berura 90:28; Aruch Hashulchan, OC 90:15). 3. One will have to daven in the shul without a minyan, but can make one elsewhere (Mishna Berura ibid.).
We are generally strong believers in the importance of community on various grounds. We note that Rav Kook, commenting on Berachot 6a, says that it is important to show that one connects his prayer to the matter of publicizing Hashem’s greatness and that this is done most profoundly in the communal setting (Ein Ayah, Berachot 1: 48,49). That being said, sometimes even the most communally oriented people have recourse to davening outside a shul.
Conflict Between “Salvation Day” and YahrtzeitFor many years, I have been celebrating a day on which I had a significant salvation. It now turns out it that it is my father’s yahrtzeit. Can the two commemorations go hand-in-hand? If not, which has precedence? Follow-up Question: What have you been doing until now, and what has changed? Clarification: Since my father died seven years ago, I have been lighting a candle, learning mishnayot, and saying Kaddish, along with thinking about him a lot, on the yahrtzeit. Recently I realized that I miscalculated the Jewish date of the salvation; the true date falls on the yahrtzeit.
On the yahrtzeit that completes the twelve months of aveilut for a parent, the full laws of the year’s aveilut apply (Rama, Yoreh Deah 395:3). In subsequent years, the laws of aveilut do not apply.
There is an old, recommended but not binding, minhag to fast on the day portion of a parent’s yahrtzeit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 568:7, Rama, YD 376:4). The Rama (YD 391:3) says that that one should not take part in festive meals from the night that begins the Jewish day. The Levush (YD 402:12) argues based on how he views the fast’s logic. The yahrtzeit is a day of bad omens for the offspring, and the teshuva that accompanies the fast helps protect him. The Levush says that since it has nothing to do with aveilut, there are no restrictions on attending festivities the night before. The Shach (391:8) and others say that the minhag is like the Rama. These days, it is very common to not fast on a yahrtzeit. However, there is a stronger minhag to avoid or at least lessen one’s participation in weddings. The Taz (YD 395:3) posits that aveilut- type behavior is indeed part of the yahrtzeit experience.
There are several grounds for leniency, besides the aforementioned Levush. Many (including Chochmat Adam 171:11) quote the Magen Avraham as saying that the aforementioned restrictions apply only on a yahrtzeit that ends the twelve months of aveilut. Additionally, the Pitchei Teshuva (YD 391:8) says that participation is forbidden only in a wedding, where the intensity of simcha activity exceeds that at other celebrations. Several poskim say that an avel is permitted to take part in a seudat mitzva such as a siyum (see Shach, YD 246:27). While the Shach (ibid.) cites the Maharil as not allowing a person to eat at a siyum on the yartzeit, that is when his minhag is to fast, and even then, the Maharam Shick (YD 369) rules that one who accepted the practice to fast can still eat at his own siyum.
What is the status of your self-created salvation holiday? The Chayei Adam (125:41) , who instituted one when his family survived a fire, says that it is a mitzva to keep such a day. While the Pri Chadash (496:14) says that the ability to institute semi-holidays ended with the retraction of megillat ta’anit, a clear majority of poskim disagree (see presentation in Yabia Omer X, OC 53). Therefore, all of the aforementioned reasons for leniency exist in your case, and it is fully reasonable to celebrate your salvation on the yahrtzeit.
However, it is apparent from your question [only partially presented here], that you are uncomfortable with the combination, as is very understandable. Therefore, we do not recommend that you move your celebratory day to the yahrtzeit. While the meal you have on this day is likely a seudat mitzva, one is not obligated to institute it. Admittedly, once instituted, it is not a simple matter to undo it (beyond our present scope), but this is not a problem for you. Perhaps min hashamayim, the day you have been celebrating does not cause you a conflict. There are no set rules as to when and how to do such a celebration. Even Purim, after which the concept is modeled, is not held on the day of salvation. Some known “family Purims” consisted of a fast day on the day of salvation and a feast on a different day. Thus, you can continue on the day you instituted it (or a different one), so that the celebration and the yahrtzeit do not cast a shadow on each other.
Working in a Non-Kosher EstablishmentIs it permitted for a religious Jew to work (e.g., as a waiter) in a non-kosher restaurant or café where most of the food is not kosher?
The question is general(/theoretical?), so we will not ask clarifying questions. The issue of providing non-kosher food for Jewish customers is beyond our scope.
Most non-kosher foods are permitted in benefit. Some notable exceptions are chametz, wine with a concern of use for idolatry, and beef and milk that were cooked together. In such cases, one may not earn money from dealing with them, even if he does not own the food or get direct physical benefit from it (see Taz, Orach Chayim 150:6). However, it is not common for these foods to be forbidden in benefit according to all opinions. Regarding wine, many are lenient about benefit in times (like ours) where libations for idolatry are rare) (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 124:6; Rama, YD 123:1). Regarding meat and milk, many combinations are permitted in benefit (e.g., poultry, meat from a non-kosher animal, combined without cooking – learn Yoreh Deah 87). It is thus possible that one could work in a non-Jewish restaurant without violating a prohibition of benefiting from forbidden foods (see more in Tzitz Eliezer XVII:33).
Another issue is working professionally with food that is forbidden to eat. The gemara (Pesachim 23a) derives that even concerning forbidden foods from which one may benefit, one may not seek to obtain them for commercial purposes (sechora), just that he can sell that which came his way. According to most Rishonim (see Shut Chatam Sofer, YD 104-106, 108), this is a Torah-level law, although significant opinions among Rishonim and Acharonim say it is Rabbinic (see Noda B’Yehuda II, YD 62).
The Rashba (Shut
Your question is the opposite case – someone who does not own the food but is in a situation where he is liable to eat it. The Pitchei Teshuva (YD 117:6) assumes that if the prohibition of sechora is to distance one from eating the food, we should follow that logic for stringency and not allow one to work with non-kosher food even without owning it. On the other hand, many poskim (including Sho’el U’meishiv I,
There are often additional grounds for leniency. Sechora is forbidden only regarding food forbidden by Torah law (Shulchan Aruch, YD 117:1). In many dairy eateries, the food is primarily forbidden Rabbinically, at least according to many opinions (again, beyond our scope). When the commerce is mainly not in the context of the prohibition of sechora, even if some is problematic, it is likely not forbidden (see Shut Chatam Sofer, YD 108). The classic example is one who raises animals for kosher meat and sells the forbidden parts of the animal to non-Jews.
Even when the prohibition of sechora does not apply, it might still be halachically required to refrain from situations where one could easily come to eat non-kosher food (see a variety of opinions in Yabia Omer IV: YD 6). One interesting source is the Maharsha on Rashi, Chulin 106a, who discusses one who, after separating the non-kosher parts of an animal, would cook them before selling them to non-Jews. The issue of the practical concern of eating may be influenced greatly by the type of contact with the food and the extent to which one has permission to eat freely from the food with which he is working (see Yabia Omer ibid.).Some poskim were reluctantly lenient in cases of great need to allow people to work in non-kosher settings. However, the severity of the issues and the level of need vary greatly from case to case, and each case requires its own evaluation.
Disposing of Old Netilat Yadayim CupsI have plastic cups that we had used for netilat yadayim and negel vaser but no longer need. Should I put them in geniza, just keep them, or dispose of them, and how?
The gemara (Megilla 26b) says that tashmishei mitzva (articles used to facilitate a mitzva) may be thrown away, as opposed to tashmishei kedusha (related to holy texts), which require geniza). The examples given for tashmishei mitzva are: sukka, lulav, shofar, and tzitzit.
The Tur (Orach Chayim 21) cites the Sh’iltot, that as long as tzitzit are still on the garment, they must be treated with respect and may not be used for non-mitzva purposes. Although they lack intrinsic sanctity, using them for other things while they are still slated for a mitzva is a bizuy (disgrace to the) mitzva.
Is there bizuy mitzva after one has finished using them? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 21:1) rules that tzitzit may be discarded in the garbage (although they may not be used for something disgraceful - see Mishna Berura 21:13). On the other hand, the Darchei Moshe (the Rama on the Tur) cites the Kolbo, who says that the gemara only means to exempt them from geniza, but one may not disgrace them, and the Rama (OC 21:1) says that throwing them out in a disgraceful place is included. He also cites the Maharil’s more stringent practice to do geniza as a preferable but not binding practice.
The arguably different levels of tashmishei mitzva, depending primarily on the level of connection to the mitzva, apparently adds complexity. For example, the Shulchan Aruch (21:2) says that although one many not disgrace a tallit, it (the garment part) does not require geniza but may be thrown into the garbage. Unlike regarding tzitzit, the Rama agrees regarding a tallit (understanding of the Mishna Berura 21:13; see practical complexity in Living the Halachic Process, II-G-5). This is because although tzitzit are meaningless without the garment, the tzitzit are the main part of the mitzva.
A similar distinction exists regarding a sukka. The Mishna Berura (21:6; 638:24) forbids throwing s’chach to a garbage dump or even a place where many are likely to trample them. Regarding the walls of the sukka, he cites the Pri Megadim as saying not to use them directly for something disgraceful (actually, in Mishbetzot Zahav 21:2 he is uncertain), but brings no limitations on throwing them out. Again, while walls are needed for a sukka and are set aside for its exclusive use during the chag (Shulchan Aruch, OC 638:1), the s’chach has a higher mitzva status, which may increase the care needed after the mitzva is over.
What is a netilat yadayim cup’s status in this regard? Our halachic intuition is that it is similar to a tallit and the walls of a sukka rather than to tzitzit and s’chach. After all, while a utensil (or a body of water) is required for netilat yadayim before a meal, the specific qualifications are very broad and general, and one does not need a special netilat yadayim cup (see Orach Chayim 159). While the mitzva of netilat yadayim always pertains, when one comes to retire a cup, it apparently can be disposed of like sukka walls.
We will now relate to different situations. Simple netilat yadayim cups that are often used for other kitchen purposes besides netilat yadayim do not assume any halachic status. It is laudable to avoid putting special cups used exclusively for the mitzva, directly in a garbage, especially with identifying elements that link it to the mitzva (see this distinction in Ginzei Hakodesh 20:(9) in the name of Rav Chaim Kaniefsky). Putting it in an opaque bag first sufficiently removes bizuy. Placing it in a recycling bin (if feasible) is a cleaner and more dignified solution (see Shevet Hakehati IV:OC 10). Geniza is certainly not required, and keeping them “around,” without disgraceful use, is fine. Cups that are used primarily for negel vaser (upon awaking), after the bathroom, or before davening should be even more lenient, as there is not a real halachic requirement to use a cup for these (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 4:7).
Special Halachot of Motzaei Shabbat Kiddush/HavdalaPlease review the unique halachot of Kiddush of Shavuot night that falls on Motzaei Shabbat.
First of all, the most basic advice is to take a good look at the siddur before you start to see what you will be saying –the five berachot that follow the acronym of yaknehaz (wine, Kiddush, candle, Havdala, Shehecheyanu). Beyond that, we will divide some of the unique halachot into categories. (Almost all of the halachot we are mentioning can be found in Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (II) 62:9-22, and we will not list specific citations from there.)
Pre-Havdala: If one wants to do work that it is forbidden on Shabbat but permitted on Yom Tov and it is late enough, he/she should have davened Ma’ariv with the addition of Vatodi’einu (the Yom Tov equivalent of Ata Chonantanu) or made the declaration of Hamavdil. Regarding the latter, it is important to remember to say “… hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh.”
Wine: While both Kiddush and Havdala should preferably be made over wine (or grape juice), bread (challa) can be used for Kiddush but not for Havdala (the status of other beverages is beyond our present scope). Regarding this Kiddush that also includes Havdala, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 296:2) cites two opinions if bread suffices, but the Rama says that it does. Nevertheless, the Mishna Berura (296:16) says that an extra effort should be made to use wine in deference to the opinions that this is fully required.
The minhag that many have to pour enough wine for Havdala to spill over is not in effect in this case.
Besamim: There is no beracha on besamim because the festivities of Yom Tov are sufficient “resuscitation” after the loss of the neshama yeteira (Tosafot, Beitza 33b). The beracha on besamim is not made after Yom Tov finishes either.
If one mistakenly made the beracha on the besamim in the midst of the Havdala, it does not cause a problematic break (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:(22) and Nitei Gavriel 30:2, contrary to the opinion of Shalmei Toda, p. 149).
Candle: There are major discussions as to whether the beracha on fire justifies lighting a new flame and combining flames to create a torch effect. We dealt with the matter in Living the Halachic Process III, D-4. Our operative suggestion is to take the Yom Tov candles and hold them together for the beracha. According to any system, it is important to not directly extinguish the flame.
Even those who usually shut the electric lights to get more significant benefit from the Havdala candle’s light can make the beracha on the candle(s) with the electric lights on.
Women: On every Motzaei Shabbat, it is preferable for a woman not to make her own Havdala due to questions about whether she is obligated in Havdala and the beracha on the candle and due to the minhag that women not drink from Havdala wine (see our treatment of the topic in Living the Halachic Process II, C-8). Here, there is more of a problem because voluntarily making a beracha in the midst of a Kiddush in which she is certainly obligated and should not interrupt is questionable. However, if necessary, a woman may recite the whole Yaknehaz Kiddush, and she is then allowed and indeed required to drink from the wine.
Mistakes: If one forgot to make the Havdala beracha and he is in the middle of the meal, he should make it, over a cup of wine, before continuing to eat, as it is always forbidden to eat before Havdala. If, during Kiddush, he did not have in mind the possibility of drinking wine during the meal, he must make another beracha on the wine, but otherwise he drinks the wine without an additional beracha.
Finishing the beracha with “hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol” instead of “hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh” is equivalent to not saying Havdala at all.
One who left out Shehecheyanu can make it up throughout the chag. A forgotten “Borei Meorei Ha’eish” can be made up only that night.
Making Food in Fleishig Pot to Transfer into Other UtensilsSometimes I want to make a big pareve vegetable soup in a meat pot (my largest) and later put some of it in milchig or pareve pots or bowls. Is this permissible?
Questions of nat bar nat (twice removed taste, i.e., food into pot and then pot into food) are often complex due to the multiple permutations of l’chatchila (proper action) and b’dieved (after the fact). Let us proceed from rules to details.
Amoraim dispute whether pareve food that was placed while hot on a fleishig utensil can be eaten with milk, and we rule leniently (Chulin 111a). Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 95:1) rules that one may mix pareve food cooked in a fleishig pot (nat bar nat of fleishig) into milchig food. However, the Rama (whom Ashkenazim follow) rules that cooking food in a fleishig pot is more severe than simply placing hot food in a utensil. He says that in the former case, the originally pareve food may not be mixed in with milchig food (ad loc. 2).
However, the Rama incorporates a few leniencies. If the food cooked in the fleishig pot was subsequently mixed into milchig food, it may be eaten, b’dieved. Also, the pareve food may l’chatchila be placed hot into a milchig utensil without affecting the status of the pot or the food (ibid.). Thus, the soup you describe may be placed in a milchig pot or bowl.
However, there is a complicating factor – a further level of l’chatchila. The Beit Yosef cites several Rishonim who say that one may not set up l’chatchila a situation of nat bar nat. While his final opinion is unclear, most prominent Sephardi poskim (see Kaf Hachayaim, YD 95:1) say that one should not put hot pareve food in a fleishig pot if he intends to subsequently mix it in with milchig. The question is whether there are other cases where a food would be treated as pareve, b’dieved, but should not be “created” in that way.
One case in point is when a fleishig pot has not been used for fleishig within the 24 hours before the pareve use. The Rama says that in such a case, the resulting food is pareve enough to mix in with milchig. The Gra (95:10) says that in such a case it is even permitted to l’chatchila cook the pareve in that fleishig pot with intention to mix it in with milchig. However, the Chochmat Adam (48:2) says that one should not cook it in the fleishig pot with that intention, and this is the more accepted position.
Regarding your first specific question, making the soup in a fleishig pot with intention to put it into a milchig pot, there is a machloket among the Acharonim. Among the earlier authorities, the Bach allows it, and the Pri Megadim (Mishbetzot Zahav 95:4) forbids it. Amongst contemporary authorities, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, YD
In cases where there is an additional reason for leniency, one can be lenient freely. One is the second case you ask about – where the second utensil is itself pareve, not milchig. Since nothing can go wrong to the food in this utensil, and it is just a question of making the utensil fleishig, we do not have to go so far in our concern. It also makes sense that if the fleishig pot has not been used in 24 hours, it is permissible to cook in it with the intention of putting the food in a milchig pot.
It is important to realize in questions such as these that “all bets are off” if one is dealing with onions or other sharp vegetables that were sautéed in the fleishig pot or cut with a fleishig knife (Rama, ibid.). The details are beyond our present scope.
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