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Shaming one who does not vaccinateShalom Eretz Chemda, Is it permitted to publicly shame those that do not vaccinate their children and put other people in the community at risk in order to get them to vaccinate? Thank you very much Please dont print my name.
It is our opinion that the government (Health Ministry) who should set proper and effective penalties on people who do not vaccinate in those cases in which it endangers others. It is a dangerous precedent for individuals to take the right to resort to shaming, which, as we know, can be used for a variety of reasons, even if in a case like this, the rationale is noble (saving lives). On the other hand, individuals and groups have every right to distance danger from themselves. Thus, one can turn down an invitation to someone's house or not invite someone he normally would have if there is some at risk for exposure to the disease (e.g., children under the age of a year). A shul can decide to tell people who(se children) are not vaccinated that they should not come to shul. This, though, should be done without going out of one's way to shame, as the Rambam (Hilchot Deot 6:8) writes about rebuke.
Muktzeh during Bein HashemashotMay one “violate” muktzeh during bein hashemashot (=bhs; the time between sunset and nightfall treated as a doubt of day or night) based on the rule of sefika d’rabbanan l’kula (we are lenient in cases of doubt of a Rabbinic prohibition) even without a mitzva need. If not, why?
The gemara (Eiruvin 32b) cites R. Yehuda Hanasi (=RYHN) as saying that anything that is forbidden only Rabbinically on Shabbat is permitted during bhs. The gemara’s language implies that the Rabbis made a conscious decision to not extend their prohibitions to this period, not that it is based on sefika d’rabbanan l’kula. The Rosh Yosef (Shabbat 34a) does attribute RYHN’s rule to safek d’rabbanan l’kula, but he points out that this rule does not apply to all Rabbinic laws. If it were a simple application of safek d’rabbanan l’kula, it would apply equally to bein hashemashot entering Shabbat and bein hashemashot ending Shabbat. Saturday evening bhs is actually the subject of debate among the poskim (see Mishna Berura 342:2 and Biur Halacha ad loc.). In any case, the RYHN’s rule is “on the books” at least for Friday evening. However, there is a need for further halachic exploration.
The Rambam (Shabbat 24:10, accepted by the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 342:1) writes that the leniency applies only when it is needed to enable a mitzva or in a pressing situation. How great must this need be? On the one hand, the Mishna Berura cites the Gra as requiring the pressing need to be a great one. On the other hand, he writes (Biur Halacha, ad loc.) that even if the thing only adds oneg (enjoyment) to Shabbat, this is considered for a mitzva, even if there are alternatives. This seems to contradict what he writes (in Mishna Berura 261:4), in the context of taking ma’aser during bein hashemashot, that it is a mitzva only when there is not alternative food. The needs of guests are generally equivalent to those of mitzva (Rama, OC 333:1).
As we mentioned, not all d’rabbanans are equal. A mishna (Shabbat 34a) mentions actions that are permitted during bhs (eiruv chateizrot, hatmana, ma’aser of d’mai), and there are strong indications that these are permitted without special need. On the other hand, many poskim say that certain Rabbinic prohibitions are forbidden even during bhs for a mitzva because they bring one too close to a Torah-level Shabbat violation (see Mishna Berura 342:1). One example is a melacha that is done in the form of a melacha she’eina tzricha l’gufa. In the other direction, some say that actions that are forbidden as weekday-like activity or melacha-related speech do not require special need (see Dirshu 342:11).
Where does muktzeh stand in this regard? Some explanations of muktzeh connect it to the concern that one will come to fully violate Shabbat, e.g., carrying to a reshut harabim (see Rambam and Ra’avad, Shabbat 24:13). However, indications are that muktzeh is a regular Rabbinic law in our regard, as the Mishna Berura (394:3) posits.These halachot are of limited practical value. According to our consensus (against Rabbeinu Tam), bhs begins directly after what we call sunset. Although many communities do not consider it night for 20-25 minutes, since the core opinion is that bhs is around 13 minutes, we do not allow Rabbinic prohibitions beyond that (Orchot Shabbat 27:(69)). Another time issue is tosefet Shabbat, which prevents us from doing work before actual nightfall (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 261:1). While RYHN’s rule does not impact tosefet regarding the Torah level, it is likely that a short time at the end of bhs should be free of Rabbinic prohibitions as well (Biur Halacha to 342:1). It is permitted to apply RYHN’s leniency after one personally accepted Shabbat, when there is proper need (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 46:19 rules this way, despite citing dissenters). However, once the community has, as a group, accepted Shabbat (through davening, probably, at Mizmor Shir …), an individual may no longer use this leniency (Mishna Berura 261:28).
Greeting before DaveningThe Mishna Berura rules that one may not go over to his friend’s place in shul before davening. As the shul’s rabbi, is there a heter for me to go over to a new congregant to make him feel welcome and comfortable with our tefilla?
After discussing the halacha in general, we will examine if and how it can be different for a rabbi.
The gemara (Berachot 14a) forbids greeting someone with “Shalom” before Shacharit. It then asks from the mishna which allows, at times, greeting someone even during Kri’at Shema and its berachot. The gemara answers that the problem is when you go specially to his place to greet; if one chances upon him, it is permitted (see Rashi, ad loc.). The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 89:2) describes the case of not going out of his way as one in which he went to see to something that needed attention, and in the course of going there, greeted his friend.
The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) cites room for leniency once one has recited Birchot Hashachar. While most Acharonim severely limit this leniency (see Taz ad loc. 2), Ishei Yisrael cites some who are lenient to greet without saying “Shalom” after Birchot Hashachar.
The Magen Avraham (89:7, accepted by the Mishna Berura 89:12) says that once one has cause to be near his friend’s house, he may continue on to his house to greet him. A few Acharonim (including the Pri Megadim (89, Eshel Avraham 7), accepted by the Mishna Berura (89:9)) say that it is forbidden to go from his place in shul to his friend’s place. Why don’t these two rulings contradict each other? Is it permitted to go several feet out of one’s way for this purpose or not? I believe the following distinction explains the matter. If one legitimately went quite a distance to the point that he is near his friend’s house, going a few more feet to greet him is “called for” and permitted. If one is in shul and the natural thing is for him to daven, going over to someone else first is inappropriate. Therefore, one should not leave his place in shul or detour noticeably on his way there (Piskei Teshuvot 89:150 is lenient on detouring).
However, there are several arguments to allow you, the shul’s rav, to greet someone when you think it will be meaningful. One is need based. The Mishna Berura (89:10) says that one may greet a violent person before Shacharit to avoid enmity. On the other hand, he does not permit this for every legitimate need; he writes there that one should not go to greet his father or rebbe. Perhaps the distinction is that normally, these important people do not need or want one’s greeting specifically before davening. In contrast, if someone will be affected positively by the rabbi’s approaching him right away, this is likely sufficient need. Furthermore, if the problem is to not see to your needs first but to your relationship with Hashem, then your greeting to another Jew to further his relationship with Hashem should be permitted.
Additionally, the Eshel Avraham (Butchatch) suggests that it is only problematic to go greet someone in his place, but it is fine in a public place like a shul. Although most poskim reject this idea, a similar idea may be more widely acceptable. Part of the job of many rabbis is to deal with issues and help matters run nicely throughout the shul. Therefore, one can look at such a rabbi’s “domain” as throughout the shul, so that he is never really leaving his domain whenever he greets someone within the shul. Thus, there are ample halachic grounds to allow you greet and especially enquire if you can be helpful. It is certainly worthwhile, especially since it is easy, to first recite Birchot Hashachar and to avoid using “Shalom (Aleichem).”
This being said, a rabbi should consider carefully not only the positive but also the negative impact of potentially appearing talkative before (and/or during) davening. Others with less noble intentions might follow his lead, and it becomes harder to preach quiet. You are best equipped to make the local determination and find the right balance.
Do the Chatan and Kalla Need to Eat at Sheva Berachot?Must the chatan and kalla eat (bread) at Sheva Berachot (upper case for the week and the meal; lower case for the berachot recited) in order to recite the berachot? (Sometimes one does not feel well and eats little or nothing.)
There are several issues, which we will only be able to touch upon, that lack a consensus among classical poskim.
Two overlapping but distinct halachic elements of the Sheva Berachot period (usually a week) are pertinent to our question. One is an obligation of simcha (a week if it is a first marriage for the kalla, three days if she was previously married), in which the chatan must not work but focus on making the kalla happy. The other is that during these days, sheva berachot are to be recited when applicable.
A minyan is required to recite sheva berachot (Ketubot 8a). It is done specifically following Birkat Hamazon of a meal done in celebration of the marriage (Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 62:4). There are different opinions as to how many of the participants have to have eaten bread, which necessitates the Birkat Hamazon after the meal – the most prevalent opinion is seven (see Yabia Omer III, EH 11; Nitei Gavriel, Nisuin 102:2).
Does the couple have to be among those who had a full halachic meal? Several Acharonim discuss the matter. Rav Shlomo Kluger (Haelef Lecha Shlomo, Orach Chayim 93) posits that even at the wedding, if the chatan does not bentch with the others, sheva berachot cannot be recited. The logic is that the celebration (including the seudat mitzva) must include the chatan for the berachot to be relevant. This is not unanimously held. The Radbaz (Shut IV:249) justifies a minhag that the chatan would not eat during the wedding, but would do so with the waiters after the wedding and that sheva berachot would be recited at both meals. Nevertheless, most Acharonim (see Tzitz Eliezer XIII:99) accept Rav Shlomo Kluger’s ruling.
What is not as clear is whether this applies to the kalla as well. Rav Kluger (and the Tzitz Eliezer ibid. and Hillel Omer, OC 63, who cite him) writes not to make a beracha if the chatan did not eat bread, but does not mention if the kalla’s not eating would cause the same result. If the kalla is equivalent, we can still ask: is one eating enough or are both required? Let us search elsewhere.
The couple’s presence is needed, even if eating is not. The Ritva (Ketubot 8a) says that chatan/kalla must both be present at the celebration to recite sheva berachot. The Ran (Sukka 25b) writes that it suffices for the chatan or the kalla to be present at the place where the sheva berachot are recited. Neither distinguishes between the chatan and kalla. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer ibid.) assumes there is no reason to distinguish and posits that it is critical for both of them to eat bread (Nitei Gavriel ibid. 5; Hanisuin K’hilchatam 14:86 concur). The Maharam Shick (EH 90) does distinguish, saying that the berachot relate to the mitzva of marriage, which is incumbent specifically on the chatan. Note that while the simcha element is for the kalla’s benefit (see Rama, EH 64:2; Chelkat Mechokek 64:1), the sheva berachot relate more to the chatan (ibid.).It is undoubtedly proper policy for the chatan and kalla to eat bread at Sheva Berachot. However, we see that it is not unanimous that this is absolutely required. Considering the possibility that the kalla is not critical in this regard and that her feelings are to be respected (always, but especially this week), if she does not feel up to eating bread, she should not be coerced to do so. (In most cases, refusing to recite sheva berachot would be embarrassing and, effectively, coercion). Even regarding a chatan who did not wash when the kalla did, we would not recommend “protesting” if people are planning to recite the sheva berachot anyway (see Sova Semachot 1:(100)).
Announcements before Shemoneh Esrei of Ma’arivI thought that at Ma’ariv of Rosh Chodesh (or other times there is something new to say), the gabbai calls out “Ya’aleh V’Yavo” (=YVY) before Shemoneh Esrei. But in many shuls, someone just bangs. Which way is correct?
While all agree that semichat geula l’tefilla (connecting the beracha of “Ga’al Yisrael” to Shemoneh Esrei) is important at Shacharit, not all agree regarding Ma’ariv (see Berachot 9b). Since the conclusion is that it does apply at Ma’ariv, one may not talk before Shemoneh Esrei of Ma’ariv (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 236:2).
Nevertheless, the Rashba (Shut I, 293) justified a minhag to call out “Rosh Chodesh” before Shemoneh Esrei at night. He reasons that talking for the needs of tefilla is not considered a hefsek and that the fact that Ma’ariv is an optional prayer reduces the severity of such a break. Indeed we rule that pertinent announcements are permitted at Ma’ariv (Shulchan Aruch ibid.), but not at Shacharit (Taz, OC 114:2).
The Maharashal (see Bach, OC 236) disagrees with the Rashba. He argues that the only speech permitted between geula and tefilla is reciting things instituted by the Rabbis (such as Hashkiveinu and Baruch Hashem L’Olam). He posits that Ma’ariv is no longer optional because Klal Yisrael accepted it as binding, and that in any case, in the midst of tefilla, even if it were optional, one may not make a break. The Mishna Berura is among those who bring no dissenters on the Shulchan Aruch’s permission to announce YVY at Ma’ariv, and this is the standard approach presented by contemporary Ashkenazi tefilla compendiums (see Ishei Yisrael 28:24; Tefilla K’hilchata 19:20).
Some poskim, though, cite minhagim which do not permit calling out “YVY.” The K’tzot Hashulchan (27:5) cites the Ba’al Hatanya’s siddur as forbidding it; the Kaf Hachayim (OC 236:17) says that the minhag in Yerushalayim was against it, and the Yalkut Yosef (OC 422:2) rules this way. One explanation (see Kaf Hachayim ibid.) of these counter minhagim is that they are concerned that the Maharashal, not the Rashba, is right. It is perhaps more likely that it is a shame to allow speaking when there are effective, preferable alternatives.
As you mentioned, many suffice with simple banging, as in many shuls everyone understands what they are hinting at. Producing sounds, like other forms of non-speech hints, is not a hefsek in davening except for in Shemoneh Esrei and the first parasha of Kri’at Shema (Shulchan Aruch, OC 653:6; Mishna Berura 104:1). It is likely that the minhag of banging developed not as a rejection of the possibility of announcing, but out of a realization that, in some shuls, it is unnecessary.
Another alternative (see Magen Avraham 114:2, in a related context; Kaf Hachayim ibid.) is for one who gets up to YVY in Shemoneh Esrei to remind others by saying those words out loud. While one generally should not daven Shemoneh Esrei out loud, it is permitted for one davening at home when there is a reason for it (Shulchan Aruch, OC 101:2). In shul we are concerned that this will disturb others (ibid.). However, it is hard to have such an objection when one person is saying two words to help the tzibbur. An advantage of this system is that the reminder comes closer to the time people recite YVY, and is in that way more effective. Do note that some consider saying words of Shemoneh Esrei out loud to be disrespectful (see opinions in Dirshu 422:2), at least if not done by someone appropriate like a gabbai or the chazan (Halichot Shlomo, Mo’adim p. 1). There is often a technical problem – if the one saying out loud does not start early or daven faster than others, many will get to YVY before him.
In summary, there are three legitimate ways to remind people to recite YVY, each with advantages and disadvantages, some of which depend on the shul (e.g., if people understand the bang). Since people have seen each system, many shuls develop a hodgepodge of practices, which is neither great nor terrible. If the rav has not set a policy, any alternative is fine.
Bar MetzraI want to soon sell my semi-detached house, which, as is common, is officially owned by the Jewish Agency and rented by me. Do the halachot of giving precedence to buy to adjacent property owners (bar metzra) apply in my case? If yes: does the owner of the other half of my building take precedence over the neighbor from an adjacent building? Do I have to allow my neighbors bargain with me? If they decline at my asking price and someone else bargains me down, do I have to return to the neighbors with that price?
The basis of the idea of the rights of a matzran (adjacent neighbor) to acquire real estate before others is a Rabbinic rule that exceeds the letter of the law but is a matter of “hayashar v’hatov” (straight and good) (Bava Metzia 108a). It is based on a general assumption that a neighbor gains more by obtaining the property than someone else, and we therefore expect the other to buy elsewhere (see Rashi ad loc.). It is not surprising that various opinions limit the scope of this novel extra-judicial halacha, especially when the logic in a given case differs from that of the gemara’s classic case.
Rabbeinu Tam (see Tosafot, Bava Metzia 108b) posits that bar metzra applies only to agricultural fields, where the ability to connect and work the fields together is valuable, not to houses. (The Rosh, Bava Metzia 9:34 makes other distinctions.) We do not accept this opinion (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 175:53). However, it is apparently not because we reject the concept that the logic has to apply, but that we reject the premise that an adjacent homeowner does not have significant reasons to benefit more (see Bi’ur Hagra ad loc.).
The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 59) rules that the laws of bar metzra do not apply when one has rented out his land which his neighbor wants to rent, but only when he sells. Thus, your point that you and your buyer are/will be leasing from the Jewish Agency is cogent. However, a few contemporary piskei din (including one I co-authored) posit that since on practical grounds you bought your home and plan to sell it, the laws of bar metzra apply despite the formality that it is officially a long-term lease.
Regarding who is a bar metzra, poskim are also relatively practical. While bar metzra rules apply to adjacent single-family homes, that is because they can be “attached” for some joint usage (see Taz to CM 175:53; Pitchei Choshen, Matzranut 11:(61)). The Pitchei Choshen (ibid.) raises the importance of people within a building, even if their apartments are not adjacent, sharing stairways. In most cases, an apartment within one building cannot be “attached” to an apartment in another building. It is hard to determine without studying the layout and municipal rules of your situation whether your adjacent neighbor from a different building might have bar metzra rights; we assume that the owner of the other half of your building does.
Your personal responsibility to see to this matter is tricky. A seller does not have a halachic obligation per se to ask permission of neighbors, as the halacha focuses on the neighbor’s ability to claim the right to obtain the real estate from the buyer after his valid sale (see S’ma 175:7). Although the neighbor can protest before or after the sale, it does not seem that the seller must seek anyone out, and this is also common practice when one does not know of such interest.If the bar metzra wants to buy, he must meet the eventual price. If the buyer tells the seller that he will not buy it, this precludes later protest (Shulchan Aruch, CM 175:31), but if he was not given the final price, he can claim (at least, if it holds water) that for the lower price, he would have bought it (see S’ma ad loc. 56). Therefore, if you know of a neighbor’s interest, it is wise to be up front on the matter. In most cases, the neighbor makes a good buyer anyway. (If there is a good, verifiable reason that selling to the neighbor is not advantageous to the seller, the rules of bar metzra do not apply (Shulchan Aruch and Rama ibid. 23).)
When my family has seuda shlishit before sheki’a (sunset), I join them. The amount I eat varies, but I do not like to have a full meal with bread. MayWhen my family has seuda shlishit before sheki’a (sunset), I join them. The amount I eat varies, but I do not like to have a full meal with bread. May I continue eating after sheki’a?
The gemara (Pesachim 105a) says that one who is eating as Shabbat enters must interrupt his eating to recite Kiddush. It suggests that similarly one who is eating as Shabbat ends would have to interrupt the meal for Havdala. However, the gemara concludes that Havdala does not interrupt eating; it only interrupts drinking. Rashi explains that continuing the meal one started on Shabbat actually honors Shabbat. Since drinking is not considered a kavua (set, important) form of eating, there is nothing significant to continue. Furthermore, starting to eat when one should be making (or soon making) Havdala is a severe matter.
This gemara is the basis for the halacha that one who starts seuda shlishit before shki’a may continue freely (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 299:1). (The Shulchan Aruch ibid. mentions a minority opinion that once the time for Havdala has actually come, one must stop in any case; this is not accepted.)
May one continue when he has started eating but it is not a classic Shabbat meal, which must begin with bread and end with Birkat Hamazon (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 188:6-7)? The K’tzot Hashulchan (94, BHS 3) says that anything less than a proper meal is not the type of eating that allows one to continue. The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 299:5) adds that the fact that one did not wash and have bread shows that he did not consider it important enough. The Shevet Halevi (VIII, 36) seems to disagree, positing that any food that one eats in order to fulfill the mitzva of seuda shlishit has importance, and that status determines the matter of continuing. Rav Abba Shaul (Ohr L’Tzion II, 22:8) is lenient if one ate cake since eating a lot of cake constitutes a full meal regarding Birkat Hamazon. The Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (59:(47)) cites Rav S.Z. Auerbach as being unsure about this matter, but rules stringently even for one who was eating cake.
It is not clear to what extent all the above opinions disagree and how far each opinion goes, as we will explain. There are different opinions found in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 291:5) as to what one must eat for seuda shlishit. While the main opinion requires a bread meal, there are others: a mezonot food; meal-like foods; even fruit. It is possible that some of those who do not count cake were working with the assumption that this does not suffice for seuda shlishit, and cake lacks importance on its own merits. If you accept the opinion that it works for seuda shlishit, it is not unreasonable that it does for continuing as well. It is also possible that in contemporary society, in which many people rarely eat bread, other serious eating would also count. We would expect a consensus (it is not widely discussed) that a gluten intolerant person in the middle of an otherwise normal seuda shlishit would be able to continue. The idea that no bread is a sign of not having a set meal does not apply in these cases.
In the other direction, perhaps the Shevet Halevi allows continuing eating only the main food with which you want to fulfill the mitzva. This likely includes all the intended non-Mezonot food and drink to go along with the Mezonot food of a breadless meal. However, if one intends to fulfill the mitzva with cake more or less alone and then, for example, when a nice desert is served, one decides to have that too, it is likely not included. Thus, it is difficult to answer your question, as it lumps many possible scenarios together, and each has its own opinions and nuances.It is certainly preferable to either eat bread or stop eating before shekia (or close to it – beyond our present scope). If you partake in a full meal but refrain from bread for a certain reason, leniency has strong grounds. If you are picking at food according to your mood, and even more so if you previously fulfilled seuda shlishit, it is difficult to allow eating as night approaches.
Walking in IsraelWhat are the parameters of the idea that every 4 amot one walks in Eretz Yisrael is a mitzva? Is it only to new places? Does one have to walk on foot?
We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we were not able to find any classical or semi-classical sources that there is a mitzva for every 4 amot one walks in Israel. The good news is that there are bigger and better ways to get that effect, which those of us who live here do naturally. On to the sources!
The gemara (end of Ketubot) attributes many wonderful benefits to Eretz Yisrael. One who lives there “dwells without sin” (Ketubot 111a). Being buried there is like “being buried under the altar” (ibid.). Rabbi Yochanan adds: “Whoever walks 4 amot in Eretz Yisrael is assured to be one who receives the World to Come.” Thus, walking in Eretz Yisrael has a powerful spiritual merit!
The Rambam (Melachim 5:11) paraphrases this gemara. However, his language indicates that this source may not be relevant to your question. The Rambam starts with the great merit of living in Eretz Yisrael and then continues: “… even if one walked in it 4 amot, he will merit the World to Come.” Thus, someone who lived in chutz la’aretz, took one trip to Israel, landed at Ben Gurion, walked a few steps, and took the next plane out gets this merit. He presents it as (obviously) a (significantly) lower fulfillment of connection to the Land than living there. The question is: if one is living in Israel and meriting extreme spiritual benefits (and has already walked hundreds of thousands of amot), does he get an additional mitzva for walking another four?
HaRav Yehuda Shaviv (Techumin (XXIII, p.)) and HaRav Shlomo Aviner (cited in Shut Eretz Yisrael, 44) assume that a tiyul in Eretz Yisrael is a matter of mitzva and between them cite a few sources: the above gemara/Rambam; a letter by HaRav Tzvi Yehuda Kook; and Mishneh Halachot (III:189). The latter source is dealing with a different question. Is it a mitzva for a ben chutz la’aretz to visit Israel? Some prominent sources posit it is not. The Maharit (II:28) says that if one made a neder to visit Eretz Yisrael, it can be nullified according to the rules for a non-mitzva vow, for there is a mitzva to live in Eretz Yisrael, not to visit it. Also, one is allowed to embark on a voyage by sea on Friday only for a mitzva, and there is a difference of opinions if visiting Eretz Yisrael counts (see Magen Avraham 248:15; Mishna Berura 248:28). The mainstream opinion to reconcile the “non-mitzva” sources with the gemara granting importance to even a “4 amot visit” is that it is not a mitzva per se, but it is nonetheless very worthwhile.
So there is a great spiritual jump when one who had no physical connection came and walked in the Land. But there are two ways to learn the gemara regarding one who already has a great connection by living in Israel (or, to a lesser degree, being in the midst of an extended stay). It is possible that walking more furthers it (1000+1>1000). The other approach is that 0 to 1 is a great jump, but that for one who lives every (or most) breathing moment of his life in Israel (and hopefully contributes to its flourishing), caring about a few more steps is missing the point. (Compare to one who wins a huge lottery and cares about the cents at the end of the multi-digit number.) While one can argue that approach #1 is correct, it is hard to claim that the gemara proves it.
Even according to approach #2, traveling in the Land is significant. Appreciating Eretz Yisrael is important (see Ketubot 111a-b) and may even be connected to the mitzva to live in it (Eretz Hemdah I,1). Seeing sacred, beautiful, … parts of the country promotes appreciation, and the more, the better. This is what Rav Tzvi Yehuda and others refer to. But it should make no difference if this enhanced connection/appreciation came on foot, by car, by going somewhere new, repeating an old visit, or thanking Hashem for Israel when you go to bed. The sources do not seem to indicate that walking per se is a mitzva.
The Nature of the Fulfillment of the Mitzva of MezuzaI will be moving into a home that already has mezuzot. If I just leave them there, do I fulfill the mitzva of mezuza, or must I remove and/or replace them? In general, when/how does one fulfill the mitzva: by affixing them, by having them in the house, by kissing them, or by thinking about them?
Much of the material on this topic concerns a statement by the Magen Avraham (19:1). He wonders why no beracha is made when one attaches tzitzit to a relevant garment (i.e., because the mitzva is not complete until one wears the garment), and yet there is a beracha when one attaches a mezuza to a doorpost (i.e., even though the mitzva is living in such a house). His answer is technical – one normally attaches mezuzot when he starts living there, so that he does fulfill the mitzva at that time, whereas one normally attaches the tzitzit before he wears them. So the Magen Avraham assumes that the mitzva is to live in a house that has mezuzot, not to attach the mezuzot to the doorposts. In fact, he says that if one put up the mezuzot before the obligation began, he would recite a beracha of “… commanded us to live in a house that has a mezuza” upon entering the house to live.
One of his indications is the idea that mezuza is “an obligation of the dweller” (Pesachim 4a), in other words that the mitzva is linked not to home ownership but only to living in it, i.e., in a house with mezuzot. R. Akiva Eiger (Shut I:9) apparently agrees, at least mainly, with the Magen Avraham (see Pitchei Teshuva, Yoreh Deah 291:4). He suggests that one who moves to a place where a previous occupant put a mezuza would make a beracha upon entering, as would one who left his own place for a significant amount of time and then returned to it.
Many (strongly) disagree with the Magen Avraham, but this can be for more than one reason. Some object to the beracha’s wording, arguing that one cannot create a non-standard form of the beracha that is not mentioned by Chazal (Birkei Yosef, Orach Chayim 19:2). The Beit Shearim (YD 370) points out that the Magen Avraham is aware that one cannot make the regular beracha (… likvo’ah mezuza), which refers to the action of attaching. He agrees with the Magen Avraham that there is a mitzva fulfillment as long as one lives in the house with a mezuza but claims that the beracha was established for the action that begins the process. (There is much discussion, beyond our scope, among the poskim (see Yabia Omer, VIII, YD27) about the stage at which one can and should attach the mezuza, e.g., as he moves in? when the house is prepared to be lived in? after he moves in?) However, there is close to a consensus (Rav Kook in Da’at Kohen 182 is a notable exception) that, irrespective of the matter of the beracha, the ongoing state of living in a house with proper mezuzot is a or the primary fulfillment of the mitzva.
Therefore, one need not have regrets if he came into a house with pre-existing mezuzot. He has no need to act or make a beracha, just like he need not be disappointed if his house has relatively few doorposts that require mezuzot. Note that generally one who leaves a house in which he attached mezuzot should leave the mezuzot there (Bava Metzia 101b), and we do not find that this is unfortunate because it deprives the new occupant of an action/beracha. That being said, the Aruch Hashulchan (YD 291:2) does allow one who comes into a house with mezuzot to remove and have them checked, which according to some/in certain circumstances makes it proper to make a beracha upon returning them (see ibid. and Living the Halachic Process I, G-5). Yalkut Yosef (Mezuza 92) suggests this; his father (Yabia Omer ibid.) did so regarding a case where one forgot to make a beracha when attaching them.
Thinking about the mezuzot, like thinking about any mitzva, is a nice thing. Some people have the practice of kissing the mezuza to show affection for the mitzva/holy scroll. However, neither of them have anything to do with the fulfillment of the mitzva.
Tying Up the Arba Minim on Yom TovLast year, I forgot to prepare the arba’a minim before Yom Tov and just put them in the koysheklach without tying anything. If this happens again, what can and should I do to prepare them on Yom Tov?
At first glance, your question is answered directly by very basic sources. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 651:1, based on Sukka 33b) rules: “If they were not tied together before Yom Tov or [the knot] came apart, it is not possible to tie them with a full knot but rather with an aniva (bow knot).” The Rama (ad loc.) cites an alternative – to wrap the lulav leaf around the three species and then tuck its head underneath. However, we should discuss some other factors about the process, including how koysheklach, used by Ashkenazim, affect the situation.
One question is whether what you did is different and inferior to the normal situation. There is a machloket Tannaim whether there is a full halachic obligation of egged – to tie the minim together (Sukka 33a). According to the opinion that it is required, it must be a halachic knot, the type that is forbidden to make on Shabbat/Yom Tom (ibid. 33b). While we pasken like the opinion that egged is not fully required, it is still a mitzva to have them tied up – in order to “beautify” (=noy) the mitzva (ibid. 33a). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) rules that this is normally to be done with a double knot. It is unclear if the Rama (ibid.), who gave the idea of wrapping and tucking, meant this only for when it is done on Yom Tov or it can even be done regularly (see Mishna Berura 651:11).
These opinions correspond to two approaches to what the gemara meant by rejecting the need for egged but urging some level of it due to noy. One approach is that the noy is in having the minim tied up together, the same way practically as egged, just that it is not as crucial. According to this, you ostensibly missed out by not being able to make a knot. The second approach is that there is a different criterion, which is aesthetic, and a halachic knot is not an independent value.
These approaches find expression in the machloket about koysheklach, which developed a few hundred years ago in Ashkenaz lands. There were some, including the Chatam Sofer (Sukka 36b), who say that noy in this context follows halachic grounds of egged, and therefore if the koysheklach are not wound firmly by a halachic knot, they are insufficient. Supporters of koysheklach respond in one of two ways: 1) Since egged is not needed, noy follows aesthetic criteria, according to which koysheklach exceed a simple double knot; 2) Koysheklach contain permanent intricate knots, and it makes no difference whether one tied a knot around the minim or whether the minim were slipped into an existing knot (or set thereof). (See more on the latter distinction in the Harerei Kedem notes to Mikraei Kodesh (Frank), Sukka II, p. 106-108). These questions also relate to the machloket about whether or not it makes a difference if the minim are bound together by one who is obligated in arba’a minim (see Mishna Berura 649:14).
According to the “practical” approach, what you did was fine, if you attached the koysheklach firmly to the lulav, preferably by wrapping or making a bow knot with a lulav leaf. According to the knot approach, what you did was only okay b’dieved.
Another issue is what to do if you did not remember to detach lulav leaves from the lulav before Yom Tov. Although muktzeh for the mitzva does not apply until the lulav has been used (see Mikraei Kodesh (Harari), Arba’a Minim 9:7), there is a machloket whether removing a leaf from a lulav to be used for this purpose is considered like making a kli (see ibid. 24). They certainly should not be cut to size or made into rings before attaching to the lulav on Yom Tov (ibid. 23, ftnt. 65; see Piskei Teshuvot 651:3). Realize that the more important connection is the one that holds the three minim together, whereas the two or three on the lulav are a later idea (Rama ibid.).
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