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How to Detemine when Paying on Time IsI live in New York, but often people in Israel do work for me, which they send me via computer. How do I calculate my deadline to pay them and fulfill the mitzva to pay on time – based on my time-zone or my workers’?
I did not find poskim who deal with this question, which is not surprising, because the ability to work and pay at such a distance is new, and nowadays people do not usually pay for such jobs right away (see below). We must analyze the matter at its roots.
We will start with the general issue of time differences. Obviously, a person does mitzvot according to his time, but what about when they relate to someone or something with a different time? We cannot deal with all halachic applications, but the general rule is that the person deciding how to act follows his own time. Let us mention a couple of examples. At least fundamentally, one may operate in a place where it is not Shabbat on behalf of one for whom it is Shabbat or operate equipment where it is Shabbat (see this column, Bamidbar 5774). One may not own chametz when he is in a place where it is Pesach even if the chametz is in a place where it is not Pesach. In the opposite case (it is on Pesach for the object, not the person), Igrot Moshe (OC IV:94) says that it is fundamentally permitted (he claims it creates a Rabbinic problem, while some say it is fully permitted).
On the other hand, it seems obvious that although a father is obligated to do/arrange a brit mila on his son’s eighth day, if the two are many time zones apart, he would have it done on his son’s eighth day. Why is that obvious? The mitzva of mila is focused on the baby. The father’s mitzva is as a facilitator. A proper facilitator has to act in synch with the baby who is becoming nimol and being impacted in the process. It may not always be simple to determine upon whom the focus is. In Living the Halachic Process (I, D-13) we discussed the possibility that matanot la’evyonim need to be given at a time when it is Purim both for the giver and the receiver.
So on whom is the focus regarding an employer paying a worker promptly (i.e., before the next change of day/night after receiving the product – Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 339:6)? Is it the worker who may need the money promptly, or is it the employer, who must not procrastinate (or both, so that the time requirements of both must be met)? While philosophically, Chazal considered this mitzva crucial, likely due to the needs of the worker (see Devarim 24:15), the mitzva includes unusual halachot that focus on feasibility for the employer. For example, if a craftsman finished his work and informed the client, the payment clock does not start until the client receives it (ibid.; see opinions in Pitchei Choshen, Sechirut 9:(31) about cases where the employer improperly refuses to receive it). Also, if the employer does not have money available, he does not violate bal talin (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 10). In both cases, the worker may need the money as desperately as usual, but we follow the employer’s situation, if he is not stalling from his perspective. These are some of the indications (not proofs) that the basic halachot are based on the mandate on the employer not to procrastinate – apparently based on his circumstances.
These halachot are not usually practical because of another surprising leniency. If the worker knows that the employer usually has cash flow only on the market day or that he usually doesn’t pay anything until he has calculated how much he owes, he is not obligated to pay right away. Also, it is only when the worker has asked (or assumed to want) immediate payment that the mitzva to pay promptly is activated (ibid.). Therefore, since in most cases, workers are not paid for several days after they give the work they did, the employer/client can keep within the normal range (see also Shach ad loc. 2). Of course, it is laudable to try (when feasible) to be ahead of the curve in paying workers (see Rav Pealim IV, CM 7), but the exactness you refer to is rarely needed.
Women Passing through an Outdoor MinyanWe have an outdoor “Corona minyan” outside the entrance of my building. Some men stand in locations that make it impossible to enter or exit the building without entering someone’s four amot. I (a woman) avoid passing by during davening, but to take my son to his school van, I go before Shemoneh Esrei. Last week, I felt compelled to pass by during Shemoneh Esrei and return during chazarat hashatz. Was that permissible?
In normal times (for which we yearn), we likely would take the whole minyan and the particular “path blockers” to task for gross inconsideration. However, it is scientifically/statistically clear that the existence of outdoor minyanim with proper spacing has, nationally, saved lives. While people can argue whether it is better for people whose only safe place for a minyan disturbs others should daven at home, Jewish society is expected to make certain special allowances for shuls (see Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 156:3). In the “old days,” people would debate the pros and cons of minyanim on (El Al) planes. But nowadays, without ideal options, some (including high risk men) would end up davening in unsafe and/or illegal minyanim. Especially since you are not complaining, we will be melamed z’chut and assume that the minyan overall finds the right balance of meeting needs and focus on your dilemma about passing through.
The first issue we will dispatch of is whether a woman may be in close proximity to men davening. Our community does not require mechitzot for even a minyan in places that are not set for tefilla, including shiva homes and airplanes (see Living the Halachic Process, V, A-9; Rav Moshe Feinstein, cited ibid., distinguishes between places that are open or closed to the public). It is unclear how long a minyan must operate in a makeshift location to qualify as set. However, even when a mechitza is needed, a woman may pass through, if necessary. Rav Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, OC V:12) reports that individual women have always been allowed to enter to, for example, collect tzedaka. While he says this should be done only on an ad hoc basis, your situation is especially valid case.
Whether there is or is not a mechitza, men may not daven or learn aloud if a woman not dressed according to the halachot of tzniut is in their sight (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 75). We do not feel a need to review for you what this entails, and this need not be a problem at all.
Finally, we address the halacha of not walking in front of someone who is davening Shmoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch, OC102:4-5). (During chazarat hashatz, it is only an issue regarding the chazan). Most agree that the issue of walking in front of a davener concerns harming his concentration. What if he does not mind? Just as the davener may not do things to harm his own kavana, so too he may not allow others to do so to him (see similar idea in Bava Kama 91b). However, there are a few grounds for leniency. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 102:4) rules that one may pass near someone from the side, and the Mishna Berura (ad loc. 16) is inconclusive on whether passing diagonally in front is a problem. In a case of need, one can rely on the lenient opinion. Here, there are multiple levels of need. You need to pass by for your need. If we would not allow you and your neighbors to do so, then it would be unreasonable to have the minyan there, which we are assuming is important.
On a more fundamental level, the Da’at Torah (to OC 102:5) says that if a davener blocks a “thoroughfare” (even in shul), it is comparable to one who was buried in a public area, and therefore he allows people to walk by. One certainly cannot create an off-limits zone that prevents from entering or exiting their own building. Therefore, what you did was absolutely justified. (Whether people may daven in such a location given that others may walk by is beyond our present scope). Your normal attempt to not disturb is an act of tzidkut; people helping others with their practical and spiritual needs is crucial in navigating this crisis.
How Does the Chazan Act During Modim D’Rabbanan?I have seen some chazanim wait, during their Modim, at “l’olam va’ed” for the tzibbur to finish Modim D’Rabanan. That seems to make the most sense, so everyone can hear all of Modim. Should everyone be doing that?
The gemara (Sota 40a) lists various recitations of praise to Hashem, proposed by different Amoraim, for the tzibbur to say as the chazan recites Modim (the Yerushalmi Berachot 1:5 has different proposals). The gemara concludes with the idea that we therefore say all of them. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 127) posits that it is called Modim D’Rabbanan because it combines sayings of several rabbis. The idea of the recitation, along with the unique practice of bowing along with the chazan (see how the Yerushalmi ibid. connects it to the recitation) is that at the moment of the main praise of Hashem, the tzibbur must be actively involved to show their agreement and not imply disagreement (see Aruch Hashulchan,OC 127:1; Teshuvot V’hanhagot II:60).
The first nine words of the regular Modim and Modim D’Rabannan are identical. According to the original, short versions, the tzibbur would miss no more than a very little of Modim by reciting it, and it would serve like a long amen. In fact, several Acharonim assume that if the chazan or even one saying the silent amida recited Modim D’Rabbanan, he would not have to go back because they did the right beginning and end of the beracha and the middle is similar enough (see Eliya Rabba, OC 127:1; Halichot Shlomo 8:28; Yechaveh Da’at (Chazan) III:17). You (and others) are bothered with missing part of Modim, which deserves a minyan. Indeed, some Acharonim, starting with the Eliya Rabba (ibid.) and including more recent authorities (some are cited in Ishei Yisrael 24:(124)), instruct the chazan to say the first (joint) words slowly or wait for the tzibbur to finish. There is another minhag (cited ibid. 125) that the chazan says the beginning of Modim quietly, as there is no point in saying it out loud if no one will be listening.
However, these are not the more accepted opinions. The Mishna Berura (127:3) rules like earlier Acharonim and the simple reading of the gemara that the chazan continues Modim despite the tzibbur’s recital of Modim D’Rabbanan and that he should do so out loud (ibid. 124:41). The Mishna Berura provides two reasons for the latter: 1) Chazarat hashatz was instituted for those who do not know how to daven on their own, and they would be listening to the chazan rather than saying Modim D’Rabbanan; 2) Ten people need to hear the chazan. The Mishna Berura does not explain how #2 can be accomplished if people are reciting something else. Halichot Shlomo (8:(40)) suggests that one can speak and listen at the same time to two similar things. This seem to work better on a halachic rather than a practical level. If one is saying the same basic thing as the chazan, he is considered part of the minyan. (We substantiated this elsewhere – soon to appear as Living the Halachic Process VI, A-6, regarding one who starts Shemoneh Esrei with the tzibbbur’s chazarat hashatz. Admittedly, it is easier to make this claim when they are saying the same words.)
According to what we laid out above, this approach sits well with the historical and logical development of the practice of Modim D’Rabbanan. Chazal saw it not as an independent recitation (see Teshuvot V’hanhagot ibid.) that ends up competing with chazarat hashatz but as a natural accompaniment of this crucial part of chazarat hashatz. Due to this understanding, the Rabbanan did not have a problem extending a few-word response into a longer piece and did not see it as stopping the flow of chazarat hashatz. Because this caused a perception that the tzibbur is not involved in all of chazarat hashatz, practices arose to either give up on the middle of Modim as a joint matter and have the chazan recite it silently or, in the other direction, wait to have everyone listen. But the main minhag accepted by most poskim is that the chazan and tzibbur say different words and still form one unit.
Is Raw Spaghetti Muktzeh?An open package of spaghetti fell out of the closet, with its contents spilling on the counter and floor. I swept up what was on the floor but left the spaghetti on the counter, as I was unsure if it was muktzeh. One of my boys noshed on some of it. Was he allowed to eat it or was it muktzeh?
We will start with the simple answer before suggesting a bold position. Objects need to fit into a category of useful objects in order to not be muktzeh, and foods are such a category. The status of food that is not yet edible depends on whether one can permissibly make it edible. So a live chicken is not muktzeh on Yom Tov, because one may shecht and cook it (Beitza 2a). However, an inedible raw food on Shabbat that does not have a permissible way for its owner to make it edible is muktzeh (see Beitza 27a).
Therefore, the simple answer to your question is that the raw spaghetti that is not set up before Shabbat to finish cooking on Shabbat is indeed muktzeh, as it is written in Tiltulei Shabbat (Bodner, p. 102) and elsewhere. You could have removed it from the counter, as you did from the floor, by moving it by means of a permitted utensil, assuming that you had a need to remove it in order to properly use the counter (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 311:8; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 22:36).
I am, though, inspired by your son’s actions and my memory as a child and a father of young children, to consider that there are people, primarily children, who like to nosh/nibble on raw pasta. While that is certainly not the norm, might it be enough to make it considered edible?
The gemara (Shabbat 128a) states that raw meat is not muktzeh. Tosafot (ad loc.) explains that this is because the meat can be used to feed domesticated animals. However, the Rambam (Shabbat 26:16) says that the gemara is based on the presumption that raw meat is fit for human consumption, as the Shulchan Aruch (308:31) concludes. Although we talk about meat being nominally edible only at ma’achal ben d’rusai (a third or a half cooked – machloket between Rashi and the Rambam), this does not disprove the Rambam because that refers to nominally edible as cooked, as ma’achal ben d’rusai applies even to foods that are edible raw.
Several other halachot are based on the premise that food need not be commonly eaten raw to avoid muktzeh: A raw egg is not muktzeh (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 328:38). The Magen Avraham (517:2) posits that kernels of rye and barley are not considered muktzeh, even though their beracha is Shehakol, like foods that are generally considered edible only in a different form (see Rama, OC 208:4). We note that in our times, most poskim no longer consider raw meat edible, and therefore it is muktzeh (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 20:28; Tiltulei Shabbat’s citation of Rav Moshe Feinstein #20). But that can be because it is rare to hear of anyone who eats it. So perhaps, a certain, albeit small, percentage of the population who nibbles on raw spaghetti counts like those who nibble on raw grain. (It does not seem pertinent that those who eat raw pasta would not eat a whole package, because any piece therein could be eaten.)
One could argue that spaghetti is worse than raw meat because the dehydrating of the dough in the factories is an act of pushing off their use, which can create muktzeh (see Shulchan Aruch 308:17). However, this is likely not applicable here for a couple of reasons. First, in the gemara’s classic case of removing from use, sun-drying grapes and figs, it only becomes muktzeh because the process makes them inedible to eat (Mishna Berura 310:9). But if we assume that raw spaghetti is edible, then the drying did not remove it from use! Furthermore, the dehydrating did not take food that was ready to be eaten and make it unfit to eat, but took unfit dough, which anyway needed cooking, and made it stable so it could be marketed. (See more on this complicated point in Orchot Shabbat 19:(154).)
Therefore, while we cannot prove that raw spaghetti is edible enough to avoid muktzeh, it might just be so.
Touching Torah ScrollsI know that people are careful not to touch the parchment of a sefer Torah. Does this apply to other scrolls, like haftara scrolls and Megillat Esther?
The gemara cites R. Parnach’s statement in two places: “Whoever holds a sefer Torah naked (i.e., with an uncovered hand (according to almost all)) will be buried … without the mitzva [he was involved in].” In Megilla (32a) it is a free-standing statement in a sugya about the rules of laining and gelila. In Shabbat (14a-b) it comes up in the context of a Rabbinical decree to treat several objects, including “a book” as tameh, so that if they touch teruma, they make it tameh and disqualified. The gemara explains that people used to keep teruma and holy scrolls together because both are holy, but this attracted mice, which nibble on the scrolls, so they enacted that such scrolls disqualify the teruma. The gemara also explains that hands before netilat yadayim are metameh teruma because they are often dirty. The gemara also mentions such a decree on hands that touched a sefer, since this violated R. Parnach’s idea, and Tosafot (ad loc.) posits that this is true even if one did netilat yadayim soon before touching the sefer. The gemara discusses why there was a need for two different decrees regarding hands.
There are different approaches in the Rishonim (see Rambam, She’ar Avot Hatumah 9:5 & Sefer Torah 10:6; Mordechai, cited by the Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 147) as to whether, nowadays (when we don’t eat teruma), the issue of touching a sefer Torah is still connected to tumah, proximity to teruma, or dirtiness of the hands. (The analysis is too complicated for this forum – see the Aruch Hashulchan’s, OC 147:1-7 overview). If it is an independent matter, the problem is that touching directly reflects insufficient honor for the sefer Torah (Levush, OC 147:1). The different approaches can impact on the question of whether it applies only to a sefer Torah or to all holy scrolls, which also create tumah and affect teruma. It also can impact the question of whether netilat yadayim before touching the scrolls helps. If it is related to needing clean or not tameh hands (see Shabbat ibid.), then netilat yadayim should help as it does for hands that need to touch teruma (Aruch Hashulchan ibid. 2).
As far as halacha is concerned, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 147:1) mentions the prohibition to touch only in regard to a sefer Torah, but even if one did netilat yadayim. However, the Rama (ad loc.) cites and prefers the opinion that it applies to all of Tanach, if it is written with the basics (letter formation, parchment, ink) of a sefer Torah (Mishna Berura 147:3). The Rama compromises, in that he permits handling when the two reasons to be lenient are present, i.e., it is not a sefer Torah and one did netilat yadayim. (The Bi’ur Halacha explains this as being because there are two reasons for leniency, not that the two leniencies remove all doubt). In an interesting application, R. Akiva Eiger (I:58) forbids kissing a mezuza scroll when passing by if it is not in a mezuza case.
Since the standard assumption is that touching is a matter of disrespect, context plays a role. Ashkenazim attach atzei chayim to the sefer Torah to facilitate rolling the klaf without touching (see Sha’arei Teshuva 691:3), but Sephardim usually use an attached scarf to roll by hand, and many allow touching after netilat yadayim when a lot of rolling is needed (Yalkut Yosef, OC 147:1). Sofrim touch the klaf directly when writing and even when handling, for various reasons, a completed sefer Torah klaf. There is a machloket whether it is better to have or not have atzei Chayim for navi scrolls, and this is connected (likely in both directions) to whether one rolls with his hands (see Dirshu 147:6). The Sha’arei Teshuva (ibid.) writes that the minhag is not to have atzei chayim and not to be careful about touching a Megillat Esther because it is called an iggeret rather than a sefer. He says it is a nice but uncommonly followed chumra to do netilat yadayim before handling it.
Moving into a Home during the Nine DaysWe sold our home and have been renting because construction on our new apartment is not complete. Now, it is basically ready, but lacks a Tofes 4 (municipal permission to inhabit). If we get the Tofes 4 during the Nine Days, is it permitted to move in then?
Classical sources do not discuss entering an apartment during the Nine Days, but building then. The gemara (Yevamot 43b) requires one to “lessen building activities” during the Nine Days, without specifying. In a parallel context, the gemara (Ta’anit 14b) says to not build a “house of simcha” on a fast day and gives as an example building a house for a chatan, implying that most building is permitted. In contrast, the Yerushalmi (Ta’anit 4:6) writes that it is permitted to build when there is concern that a wall will collapse, implying that most building is forbidden. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 551:2) brings both extreme rulings; the Mishna Berura (ad loc. 12) follows the Magen Avraham and Ran, who say that any unnecessary building, for nonessential expansion/enhancement, is forbidden.
Our understanding (see Bemareh Habazak III:60) is that when something is too simcha-related to be permitted to build in the Nine Days, one should not move into it either (Levushei Mordechai I:101 disputes this thesis). It should also be at least as problematic as wearing a new article of clothing (Levushei Mordechai disputes this too), which is forbidden on grounds of simcha (Rama, OC 551:6).
Let us, therefore, investigate whether building would have been permitted. The Mishna Berura (ibid.) permits to build when it is needed to enable normal living conditions. In your case, this is not grounds for leniency if your present rental setup is satisfactory.
However, the Mishna Berura (551:13) permits building needed to prevent a financial loss, similar, although less dramatic, to the Yerushalmi’s case of a possibly collapsing wall. Finishing up the building to receive the building’s Tofes 4 is certainly justified, as even a minor missing detail can hold up a building-full of families for weeks, causing large losses of money and hardship. Is paying several days of rent enough of a justification? In a parallel case of buying a car during the Nine Days, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, OC III:80) allows it when needed for work (it is unclear what his assumptions were regarding the person’s alternatives: no job, renting, using taxis?) In your case, it depends greatly on the individual family and its financial situation. In borderline cases, there is logic to allowing moving in during the beginning of Av but not during the week in which Tisha B’av falls (Bemareh Habazak ibid.).
There is another issue – the beracha upon entering the house. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 551:17) says that one should refrain from reciting Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks because the time is one we are not happy about. Many assume that one should recite Shehecheyanu upon entering a new house (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 223:3). The Levushei Mordechai (ibid.), whom we cited as being very lenient on building, forbids entering the home due to inability to recite Shehecheyanu. Rav Moshe Feinstein (ibid.) ruled, that in case of need, one can get the car during the Nine Days and recite Shehecheyanu after Tisha B’av; that logic applies here too. In Bemareh Habazak (ibid.), we accepted the Bi’ur Halacha (to 223:3) that when the homeowner has a wife and children benefitting from the house, the beracha to make is Hatov V’hameitiv (see more in Living the Halachic Process V, D:18), rather than Shehecheyanu. Since it does not mention “this time,” it is permitted in Av.
Another factor in play here is the concern that major projects undertaken during this period will be lacking in good mazal (see Ta’anit 29b). We are not experts on the rules of mazal. We suggest to consider the psychological element as well – a believing Jew is sometimes uneasy and/or regretful, short and perhaps long-term, about projects he did in the Nine Days, and it is wise to consider that feeling as well.
Geniza for Parts of a PasukI received a bar mitzva invitation containing the words “Vayehi David maskil” (in Hebrew). Since this is part of a pasuk, does the invitation require geniza? (This phenomenon exists in various contexts, so please broaden the picture.)
A crucial source regarding respect for p’sukim excerpts is found in the context of sirtut (etching lines in a writing surface to help one write straight). The gemara (Gittin 6b) tells of one who, in a letter, criticized a situation as comparable to part of a pasuk in Tanach. The gemara indicates that the writer should have done sirtut and cites two opinions as to whether the requirement is for a minimum of three or of four words. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 284:2) paskens that three words require sirtut. Poskim posit that the guidelines for what is holy enough to require sirtut apply to what must not be disgraced and must be discarded in geniza (see Ginzei Hakodesh 9:3). So, it might appear that the three words you refer to require geniza.
But we will look deeper. First, while the words are reminiscent of and inspired by a pasuk (Shmuel I, 18:14), the navi uses two words that are missing in the invitation (between David and “maskil”). Tosafot (Gittin 6b) posits that only when the words are in the order found in the pasuk do they require sirtut, and certainly then if words are skipped it is not a pasuk segment. Even if one put in “…” to indicate that words are missing, still there is an insufficient section of the pasuk to be significant. This is logically so even according to those (Shut Harashbash 482) who say that three words is not the determinant, as two words that create a whole idea (e.g., “Lo tirtzach”) count while three words that do not form an idea (e.g., “el Moshe v’el”) do not. Some also say that when one leaves out a letter from the word, it is as if the word does not exist, although this is less clear when this is the normal way of writing, e.g, if one writes yud yud or heh instead of Hashem’s Name (see machloket cited in Ginzei Hakodesh 9:(23)).
There is another reason that the invitation does not require geniza based on these words. Tosafot (ibid.), accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.), rule that when the words of a pasuk are borrowed as a crisp way of expressing an idea, it is not considered a pasuk. This is even stronger when the context differs greatly from that of the pasuk, as this case illustrates. The pasuk refers to David Hamelech’s great success and/or wisdom; the invitation refers to a regular thirteen-year-old named David.
The exact line between a direct reference to a pasuk and using Tanach’s language to express other ideas (rabbis do this a lot) is difficult to determine. One phenomenon is using a phrase from the weekly parasha along with the day of the week to signify a letter’s date. (One could argue that this practice is justified because such letters usually contain real divrei Torah, so that they anyway require geniza, but that is unlikely to be the reason – see Ginzei Hakodesh 9:(25)). It is more problematic for an organization to put on its letterhead a pasuk or a statement of Chazal that captures their philosophy/activity because there they do want you to think about the message behind the pasuk (similar to the use in Gittin 6b above). Sometimes a pasuk turns into more of a well-known general idea than a quotation of a pasuk (e.g., mipnei seiva takum on Israeli buses). The use of quotation marks or citing the statement’s location are liable to make borderline cases more problematic.
In your case, there is clearly no requirement for geniza. In general, since it is forbidden to write p’sukim in places where they are likely to get disgraced (Shut Harambam 268), one should be careful before using them in invitations, solicitation letters, and various bulletins, which are likely to be thrown out. This is a counterweight to our healthy desire for Torah to be present in our daily lives – left, right and center. If they are used, one has to develop an approach to how to deal with borderline/low-level “sheimos.”
Pressure to Include Second Storage Room[Summary after back and forth]: I bought an apartment from Shimon. We came to a basic agreement on terms in early October. It was important to Shimon to finish by month’s end; our lawyers were working on loose ends throughout Oct. I was interested in Shimon throwing in his spare storage room in the building, but, for a technical reason, I did not initially raise my request. In the meantime, I was getting cold feet due to the high price and decided that I would buy the apartment only if the room was included at the same price. When I raised it, near the end of Oct., Shimon refused, but when he saw I was serious about backing out, he gave in. We will be closing soon, and Shimon has complained that he gave in only because I put unfair pressure on him. I want to do the right thing. Did I violate lo tachmod (coveting a friend’s property), and should I therefore forgo the room?
This is a discussion of general principles, which will help you form a direction for action. We will not make a ruling because: We did not hear the other side, the case and the topic are complex and unclear according to your presentation, and you ask about doing the right thing, which includes subjectivity.
On the one hand, one violates lo tachmod when he pressures an owner who does not want to sell an object until he relents (Rambam, Gezeila 1:9). The means of pressuring found in classical sources are not exhaustive, and your actions should qualify.
Still, whether you violated lo tachmod depends on what was behind Shimon’s refusal to include the storage room. If he values the room enough to not consider selling it, then your actions violated lo tachmod. One would have to determine whether at this late point and after the written agreement, you have to give up your rights to the room (see machlokot between the Rambam and Ra’avad, Gezeila 1:9, with the help of the Maggid Mishneh and Even Ha’ezel ad loc.) and how relinquishing such rights might affect the sales price. These are all beyond our present scope.
If Shimon’s initial refusal to include the storage room was just a matter of finances, (i.e., why should he give it for free?), then your pressure was in effect to lower the price, not to receive something that should have been off limits. Pestering someone who is happy to sell in order to get a good price does not violate lo tachmod. This is all the more so regarding a storage room in the building, which is often sold along with the apartment, so that your raising your desire is not pestering.
However, there is another problem to consider. If one gives his word to do a transaction, without making a kinyan or money being paid, while there are no steps to enforce the word given, it is considered halachically immoral (mechusarei amana) for either side to back out (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 204:7). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 7) limits the parallel (and more severe) censure for backing out of a deal after money was paid (mi shepara) to cases where the price was already set. The Pitchei Choshen (Kinyanim 1:(4)) posits that mechusarei amana is also limited to cases with set prices and adds that it excludes cases in which “even one detail is not agreed upon.” You could take that position and argue that you had details that were not worked out, and perhaps you are right. However, this position is strong only if the open details were potential deal-breakers. Also, not hashing out those details promptly when you knew that Shimon was counting on the sale and needed it soon is a moral issue. If you could not back out, then you should not receive benefits (i.e., the room) for threatening to do so.
If the only issue is morality and not legality and Shimon is not suing, the present moral decision is yours. We perceive, based on your account, that the process was not “glatt” for one or more reasons. Therefore we recommend you reach some sort of real compromise so that you go into your house with a clear conscience and on good terms with the seller (both valuable things).
Salad at Meat and Milk MealsSometimes I serve the same salad at a fleishig meal and again at a milchig meal. My daughter told me that her friend’s family does not do that. Is it okay?
The main source on such issues involves bread. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 89:4) rules (based on a Yerushalmi in Pesachim, cited by the Tur, YD 91) that between a dairy meal and a meat meal, one “must remove from the table the leftover bread which was eaten with the cheese.” The Beit Yosef, after citing these sources, quotes a Hagahot Oshri: “It is a choice mitzva in cases in which one ate cheese and wants to eat meat that he needs to remove from the table the bread and the food that came to the table with the cheese, and then he can bring the meat and eat.” While the Beit Yosef does not cite anyone who argues, he also does not explicitly cite this second source in the Shulchan Aruch.
These sources greatly resemble your question (it is difficult to argue that one must remove such food from the table but can use it in a future meal if he ascertains it is clean). However, we must notice nuances and explore distinctions. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, YD I:38) notices that the Yerushalmi and Shulchan Aruch refer to “leftover” bread, which he takes to mean a piece of bread that was cut from the loaf and was eaten along with the fleishig food in his plate, or at least was intended to have been. Those pieces are more problematic than the rest of the loaf, which, even if it was sitting on the table, ready to be cut, still was separate from the food as it was being eaten. Therefore, Rav Moshe comes up with the following distinction – that which is cut off must not be eaten with the other type of food. Regarding the uncut remainder of the loaf, it is only a worthy stringency.
Rav Moshe does not address other foods that were on the table. There is halachic precedent to say that the stringency is only in regard to bread, as we find unique kashrut precautions in regard to bread. It is generally forbidden to bake a milchig loaf of bread because one must be concerned that he will eat it with meat; if he does bake milchig bread, it is forbidden to eat it at all (Shulchan Aruch, YD 97:1). The Siftei Da’at (ad loc. 1) posits that this halacha is just for bread because it is the foundation of classic meals. On the other hand, the Aruch Hashulchan (YD 89:15) extends the recommendation to remove all of the food from the milchig table and claims that this is the minhag. It makes sense that Rav Feinstein would agree, considering that the Beit Yosef/Hagahot Oshri, which is the basis of his distinction between required and recommended, refers to all foods on the table.
The Badei Hashulchan (89:(209)), while mentioning a dissenting view, accepts Rav Moshe’s leniency regarding the remaining loaf, to which we will now add support (not a full proof). One of the exceptions to the prohibition on milchig (or fleishig) bread is if the loaf is small enough to be expected to be finished in one meal because it is then less likely a mistake will occur (Shulchan Aruch, YD 97:1). This implies that in the standard Talmudic case, one loaf was used for more than one meal. Yet, in that standard case, if the bread is pareve, it is not considered a problem, even though often one meal will be milchig and one fleishig. Apparently, the only serious problem is when there is actual contact between the pareve bread and food of one type.
In a place without a clear minhag to not reuse the salad at the different type meal, it is logical to be pragmatic and subjective, a direction the Badei Hashulchan (89:99) embraces. If at the table, every salad has a serving utensil, people do not reach in to the salad bowl with soiled hands or their personal flatware, and they do not let the serving utensil touch their plate, one can be lenient to reuse the salad. When people are not careful (facemasks are not necessary J), it makes more sense (although not a full halachic requirement) to follow the stringent opinion/minhag.
Removing Hair from a NecklaceIs it permitted to remove loose hair on Shabbat, which usually includes ripping it, that has gotten stuck in a necklace?
There are three potential Shabbat prohibitions that need to be addressed: borer (selecting), muktzeh, and koreiah (ripping).
We have discussed in the past (see Living the Halachic Process, vol. IV, C-5) a similar case – removing detached hair from one’s head of hair. We concluded, based on very strong indications but without an outright proof, that this action does not violate borer or muktzeh. We will summarize the main indications.
It is forbidden to comb one’s hair in a manner that it is certain (p’sik reishei) that hair will be uprooted from the scalp (gozez- shearing), and it is permitted if done in a way that this is not certain (Shulchan Aruch, OC 303:27). The poskim do not seem concerned with the prospect of removing the unwanted loose hairs from the attached hair (potentially, borer). The Shulchan Aruch (OC 316:9) permits removing insects and lice from clothing, and the Rama (OC 302:1) permits removing feathers; again, this is not viewed as borer. It is difficult to delineate which “combinations” are subject to borer and which are not, but it is quite clear by comparison that removing hairs wrapped around a necklace is not borer.
Regarding muktzeh, since a detached hair is useless, it is muktzeh machamat gufo. If one removes it with a utensil, then it would be permitted because it is indirect movement (tiltul min hatzad) for the purpose of a permitted item, i.e., the necklace (Shulchan Aruch, OC 311:8). Actually it is permitted to handle directly, as we pointed out that it is permitted to directly touch useless things in removing them from desired utensils, e.g., when cleaning dishes. The Chazon Ish (OC 47:15) explains that in such cases, the impurities being removed are considered subsumed under the non-muktzeh items. While some disagree, the consensus follows the Chazon Ish (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 14:(149); Orchot Shabbat 19:207). One might claim that if the hair protrudes from the necklace, it is separate and muktzeh, but this is likely incorrect, as comparison to feathers indicates.
Now we relate to ripping the hair to remove it. One might actually prefer to keep it intact to remove the hair in one shot, making ripping, even if forbidden, an example of davar she’eino mitkaven, an unintentional forbidden consequence of one’s actions, which is permitted (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 337:1). If removal without ripping is impossible, we would have to deal with the laws of p’sik reishei (the forbidden result will definitely occur), which is usually forbidden (ibid.). On the other hand, there are cases (lo nicha lei, d’rabbanan) where some permit even p’sik reishei (see Yabia Omer III, OC 20).
However, this discussion is unnecessary because it is actually permitted to cut a hair in the setting of our discussion. Cutting detached hair is not gozez. If one cuts a loose strand of hair to a purposeful size this would be a violation of mechatech (see Mishna Berura 340:41). (See Be’ur Halacha to OC 340:13 regarding when there would be a prohibition of koreia al m’nat l’taken and when there would be metaken mana). However, when one cuts a flimsy object because it is in the way and the ripped object will not be reused, it is permitted (Shulchan Aruch, OC 314:8 and Be’ur Halacha ad loc.). Admittedly, poskim rule that not only may one not undo a knot, but he may not cut the knot cord at any point (Mishna Berura 317:23). But as hopelessly tangled as a hair might become, that does not automatically make it a halachic knot, and even if it fit the description, it can still be undone or cut when the knot was formed accidentally (ibid.).
In summary, if one feels the need to remove hair(s) from her necklace specifically on Shabbat, it would be permitted to do so by pulling off, ripping off, or cutting the hairs. Once removed, the hair scraps would be muktzeh.
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