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Missing the Beginning of HavdalaThis week, I did not hear the beracha of Borei Pri Hagafen during Havdala. Was I required to hear Havdala again?
Clearly the most important beracha of Havdala is the final one of Hamavdil, which contains its basic content. The berachot on besamim and on fire are not crucial obligations (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 297:1; ibid. 298:1), and while they are preferably attached to Havdala, they can be said at other times as well (Rama, Orach Chayim 298:1). Thus, if one did not hear those berachot, it does not affect Havdala (Mishna Berura 298:3), but he should make the berachot when he is able to during the course of the night.
In contrast, the cup of wine that one uses for Havdala is part and parcel of the mitzva on a Rabbinic level. Realize that normally we have already fulfilled the Torah-level mitzva of Havdala previously, during Ma’ariv. We recite Havdala again in order that the second time it will be with wine. In your case, on the one hand, you heard the beracha of Havdala recited by one holding a cup of wine. On the other hand, you did not hear the beracha of Borei Pri Hagafen on that wine. Is that lacking enough to prevent you from fulfilling the mitzva of Havdala?
The Magen Avraham (296:10; see Pri Megadim ad loc.) discusses one who heard a complete Havdala but had in mind to include himself in the beracha of Hamavdil but not of Borei Pri Hagafen. He says that such a person fulfilled the mitzva of Havdala, just that he cannot drink the Havdala wine without making a new beracha. The Mishna Berura (296:33) explains that whereas Hamavdil is the essential beracha of Havdala, Borei Pri Hagafen is needed only to enable one to drink the wine.
Several Acharonim (including Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 172:(2); Igrot Moshe, OC III:45; Chelkat Yaakov I:91) demonstrate the extent of this distinction’s cogency by comparing the beracha structure to that of the parallel mitzva of a holy declaration performed on Shabbat over a cup of wine – Kiddush. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 271:4) posits that one who was in the midst of a meal in which he had already made a beracha on wine when Shabbat began makes Kiddush without reciting Borei Pri Hagafen. Admittedly, regarding Havdala during seuda shlishit that included wine, there are two opinions in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 299:3) whether one recites Borei Pri Hagafen. However, the stronger opinion is that he does not need to (see Mishna Berura ad loc. 10). In any case the issue is whether Havdala is considered part of the meal (ibid.), and not whether Havdala counts without Borei Pri Hagafen, which it clearly does.
Your case, when Borei Pri Hagafen was said but you did not hear it, is no worse. There is even a question whether Borei Pri Hagafen is crucial for the one who makes Havdala and is not in the midst of the meal. Rav Moshe Feinstein (ibid.), based on the rule learned from the aforementioned Shulchan Aruch that the beracha is only important to allow one to drink, posits that if one mistakenly recited Shehakol on Havdala wine, he fulfills Havdala, as he is able to drink. He further proposes that even if one forgot to make any beracha but already drank the Havdala wine, he fulfilled the mitzva. (If one did not drink a sufficient amount of wine, there is uncertainty about whether he has fulfilled Havdala (see Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 190:4; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 30:36)).
Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (vol. III, notes to 60:(91)) cites Rav Auerbach as saying that since one needs to drink the wine and needs the beracha for that, Borei Pri Hagafen is a part of Havdala that listeners need to take seriously. However, concerning after the fact for one who missed it, Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (60:30) agrees that there is no need to hear Havdala again, and he cites several poskim who agree. This covers cases of one who came in after Borei Pri Hagafen was said, or he did not hear it or concentrate on it. While you would have needed a beracha before drinking the wine, there was, of course, no need for you to do so.
“Ba’omer” or “La’omer”?Which is the correct version of counting the omer – “… yamim la’omer” or “… yamim ba’omer”? Is there a content difference or only a grammatical one between them?
Let’s start with the simple background. Omer is the measurement of barley brought as a korban on the second day of Pesach, and it is the accepted rabbinic parlance to refer to the korban. The mitzva to count 49 days starts the day the korban ha’omer is offered (Vayikra 23:15). There is a machloket whether in our times, when there is no korban ha’omer, the mitzva of sefirat ha’omer is Torah law or Rabbinic (see Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 489).
Ba’omer almost certainly means “within the period of the omer.” La’omer can be a different expression of the same thing, or it can mean “from the time of the offering of the korban omer.” The Taz (OC 489:3) assumed that the latter explanation of la’omer is correct and, therefore, rejects it in favor his community’s minhag and the Rama’s (OC 489:1) opinion – ba’omer. He argues that the first night la’omer would not make sense since the count precedes the omer offering. It follows, then, that the text throughout must be ba’omer. We present another indication that the omer represents a time period and not from the bringing of the omer. The beracha is “on the counting of the omer.” This makes sense if omer is a period of time, broken up into days and weeks, which we count. However, if it is a korban or the day one brings it, we do not count it, but from it. (To deflect the proof one would have to say that the beracha is a slight misnomer.)
The Chok Yaakov (489:9) demonstrates that the apparently most prevalent text in the time of the Rishonim was la’omer. He supports the text, saying that la’omer means from the day of the offering of the omer and argues that ba’omer does not work well because it implies that this is one of the days that the omer is brought, which is true only on the first day. As mentioned, proponents of ba’omer understand it differently.
The Beit Yaakov (23) and his father-in-law, whom he cites, understand both la’omer and ba’omer as going on the day within a time period. The question for them is which the more appropriate prepositional prefix is. We find, in a get and a ketuba, that the letter lamed is used for the day number within the month, and bet for the day number within the week. The Bach (Even Haezer 126) feels that the standard way of writing is with a lamed and gives a technical reason why bet is sometimes needed to avoid confusion. On the other hand, we find “Tisha B’av, Tu B’shevat, and Lag Ba’omer, for days within months, even when there is no concern of confusion.
Regarding practice, perhaps because the Arizal and Shelah join most Rishonim in promoting la’omer, Sephardim and Nusach Sephard (Chassidic minhag) say la’omer. Perhaps because the Gra joins the Rama to promote it, most followers of Nusach Ashkenaz say ba’omer. The Mishna Berura (489:8) does claim that most poskim say la’omer, and the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 489:9), while citing both texts, prefers la’omer. In practice, as well, many otherwise Nusach Ashkenaz people and shuls say la’omer. Everyone can and preferably should follow their family minhag.
Realize that the stakes are very low. Even if one leaves out the word entirely, the counting is valid (Mishna Berura 489:8), and it seems that even if the word were needed, both versions are similar enough to be valid. One’s preference is certainly not an excuse to recite out loud a different version than is accepted (if one is accepted) in a specific shul (see Igrot Moshe, OC II:23), all the more so the chazan or other who recites it for the rest of the community must conform to their minhag.
There are reports of talmidei chachamim who repeat(ed) the count to cover both versions. This is certainly not necessary and probably not preferable (it is not found in classical poskim). If one is constantly in the practice of covering all halachic bases, and wants to include this one, he should do so only unnoticeably.
Ma’aser Kesafim from Proceeds of a Damage Suit SettlementI was injured in a car accident a few years. I had and will have large, related medical expenses. I just received a large damages payment. Should I give ma’aser kesafim from it?
Refuah shleima! It is important to realize the nature of the practice of ma’aser kesafim. Tzedaka is a mitzva from the Torah, but its practical parameters are hard to define and quantify. Maa’ser kesafim gives a moderately ambitious (depending on a person’s circumstances) tzedaka formula (compare Rambam, Matanot Ani’im 7:1 and ibid. 5). In general, there are three opinions as to whether the practice of ma’aser kesafim is a mitzva from the Torah (Tosafot, Taanit 9a), a Rabbinic obligation (Maharil 54; Taz, Yoreh Deah 331:32), or a proper practice for one to accept (Bach, cited Taz ibid.; Shut Chatam Sofer, Yoreh Deah 231). The latter is the stronger possibility.
Most poskim rule that if one receives money as a gift and has freedom to use it as he likes, he is obligated in ma’aser kesafim (see Chikrei Lev, Yoreh Deah III:102). If the money is earmarked for a certain purpose, it is as if he received that matter as a present, and, according to many, he is exempt (see Tzedaka U’mishpat 5:(26)), especially if giving ma’aser kesafim will effectively preclude his obtaining that matter.
In your case, on the one hand, you can use the money for whatever you wish. However, medical expenses are primarily necessities one cannot reasonably ignore. One can suggest a proof that ma’aser kesafim does not apply to damage payment’s that relate to medical expenses (=ripuy). Ripuy is intended and calculated so that medical expenses should not harm the victim’s financial situation. It is conceptually optimal for the damager to directly arrange medical services for the victim rather than give an estimated lump sum of money for past and future expenses (Bava Kama 85a). Lump sum payments, when done, are a matter of practicality and convenience. If one had to give ma’aser on those payments, he would sustain a net 10% loss, and we do not find halachot of adding 10% to ripuy to cover the ma’aser. (One can deflect the proof on technical grounds, arguing that the obligation to pay damages is a Torah law, which does not take the victim’s worthy tzedaka practices into account, especially assuming they are Rabbinically-mandated or less. We would counter that the practice of ma’aser kesafim/tzedaka does consider the fact that ripuy is not general profits but necessarily earmarked payment, which it would be wrong to “tax.”
In most cases, it is possible to at least approximate the breakup of the elements of large lump sum payments based on an itemized insurance claim or a court or arbitrator’s ruling). Major injuries can include loss of income, which should (halachically and legally) be compensated for, and here, the halachic logic is different. Since such payments are in place of earnings that that are presumed to be lost, this element should be treated as income, which is subject to ma’aser kesafim.
We explained in Living the Halachic Process, vol. I, F-5 that people who cannot afford to give significant amounts of tzedaka should not do so, as their obligations to their families come first. While some injured people have no financial worries, many in this situation should consider their present and future financial outlook. Considering we do not know your situation, we will share our suggestion to the average person receiving large lump-sum damage payments. Since the payments are planned for long-term use, it is logical to set up a fund to be invested, with a certain amount being freed periodically. If you take that approach (we are not giving financial advice), it is fine to give any appropriate ma’aser only from the periodic payments (minus the portion that relates to medical or other injury related expenses. Do not give from the lump sum in the beginning. Thereby, as time goes by, you can see whether you will be able to give full ma’aser kesafim or the extent to which you will be able to fulfill the wonderful mitzva of tzedaka.
Doing Kaddish After Lacking Full ParticipationCan the final Kaddish D’Rabbanan at the end of tefilla be said when there is a minyan only when counting people who are not reciting Pitum Haketoret (e.g., busy taking off their tefillin)? Also, is it proper for one to say Kaddish D'Rabbanan or Kaddish Yatom along with others in shul when they did not participate in the learning session or tefilla after which the Kaddish is being said?
A relatively close case to those you ask about is what is called poress al Shema. This is when people who do not have a minyan for all of davening want to join with others, including those who finished davening, to enable them to take part in Kaddish (relating to P’sukei D’zimra) and Barchu. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 69:1) says that while it is good if there are six who have yet to take part in these devarim sheb’kedusha, it can even be done for one such person. Furthermore, if need be, even one who already took part in a minyan can lead the recitation.
Similarly, the Taz (55:3) infers from several sources that in order to say Kaddish, which relates to a previous text(s) that was recited, it suffices for the minyan to be assembled at the time Kaddish is recited, even if they were not there for the matters to which the Kaddish relates. The Magen Avraham, regarding the Kaddish after learning Torah (69:4) and after Ashrei at Mincha (234:1), says that the minyan must already have been present for the recitations that precede the Kaddish. The Pri Megadim (MZ 55:3) says that the Magen Avraham agrees to the Taz’s leniency regarding the Kaddish following P’sukei D’zimra because P’sukei D’zimra/Kaddish is a requirement. In other words, in cases like poress al Shema, where there is a real need for these things to be said, the minyan enables the recitation of Kaddish whenever it becomes possible. In contrast, regarding less critical recitations, we say that the need for Kaddish is created only by a minyan present at the previous activity.
Even where the Magen Avraham applies, he only requires the ten to be present during learning to justify Kaddish afterward, but does not require all to participate in the learning (ibid. 69:4). In this regard, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 55:9) is even more stringent, saying that since Kaddish after learning is optional, the ten people must have learned together.
The best way to avoid machloket in such cases is for the learners to include the minyan in a classic Kaddish-trigger statement, such as the famous statement of Rav Chananya ben Akashya. Similarly, at the end of P’sukei D’zimra, the chazan can read out loud three p’sukim for the whole minyan to hear (see Mishna Berura 55:2). Regarding Pitum Haketoret at the end of davening, if there are not ten davening, it is worthwhile for the chazan to say “Talmidei chachamim…” or the last three p’sukim out loud. If this is difficult, one can rely on the majority opinion (see also Mishna Berura 54:9) that you do not need even a majority of the minyan to be learning before Kaddish D’Rabbanan. Furthermore, the Aruch Hashulchan probably agrees that presence of ten is enough for Pitum Haketoret because it is a set part of tefilla for those who recite it and/or because having one Kaddish D’Rabbanan at Shacharit is important (see Living the Halachic Process vol. I, A-6).
Regarding someone not involved in that which the Kaddish is related to reciting it, we saw that this is possible regarding poress al Shema. The Mishna Berura (54:9) assumes that this is true also for Kaddish after learning, and there is no reason to think that this would not apply to the Kaddish after Aleinu or Shir Shel Yom. The Chelkat Yaakov (OC 20) says it is always permitted to just join others who are anyway saying Kaddish, as it is no worse than answering Amen to a beracha one knows has just been completed. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, YD IV, 61.8) says that it is permitted as long as the matter that Kaddish is going on is part of the tefilla or part of a learning session that is done as part of a tzibbur.
Language in Which to Recite the HaggadaAt our seder, there will be a wide range in Hebrew proficiency and understanding of the Haggada’s texts. What language should we use to read the Haggada?
The mishna (Sota 32a) lists texts that may be recited in any language, including Kri’at Shema, tefilla, Birkat Hamazon. While the Haggada is not mentioned, it is obviously permitted. There are no required Torah texts, and most of it is not even formally Rabbinically-instituted (except for the Kiddush, the berachot, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon). The Maggid and Nirtza sections are a compilation of passages from different periods that were bound together post-Talmud. The Rama (Orach Chayim 473:6) confirms that one can fulfill the mitzva of telling about the Exodus in any language one understands.
Acharonim who rail against tefilla in another language (despite the aforementioned mishna) raise no reservation regarding the Haggada. Why? The Mishna Berura (101:13) summarizes objections to tefilla in other languages as follows. 1. Maybe it is permitted only on an occasional basis. 2. It is hard to translate exactly and in a manner that captures the many secrets included in the words (Be’ur Halacha ad loc.). 3. It is capitulation to the dangerous changes the Reform have tried to insert into Jewish life.
Reviewing each issue, we can conjecture about the calmness behind reciting the Haggada in translation. The seder comes once a year, and the group dynamics in this regard may change often. The texts of the Haggada, which were composed/compiled centuries after tefilla likely contain fewer secrets. Families’ private sedarim were not a flashpoint of the struggle against Reform.
There is a further reason, which explains why the Rama sometimes requires translation (earlier sources only permit it for tefilla). One can fulfill the mitzva of tefilla in Hebrew even if one does not understand the words (see Orach Chayim 101:1), whereas the Rama indicates that participants in the seder are required to understand the Maggid section to fulfill the mitzva. To how much of Maggid does this apply? Generally all of it should be recited (Shulchan Aruch, OC 473:7), as it is a basic Jewish text, even if written later than most. However, the base obligation is the three statements of Rabban Gamilel (see Mishna Berura 473:6). Other pieces of prominent importance include “Avadim hayinu…” and Ma Nishtana. These passages should be translated or explained for those who do not understand the language in which it is recited. If this is done, it is halachically valid to read all of the Haggada in Hebrew.
Let us now discuss basic strategies (there are too many permutations of factors to cover in this forum). The Rama cites a Rishon who would read the whole Haggada in the local language, and this is a fully legitimate option when called for, but we have a luxury he presumably lacked. It is easy to provide a Haggada with a clear translation for everyone at the seder. Thus, the majority can be read in the original, and those who cannot read or understand can read along in the translation, with there being frequent stops to discuss the past or upcoming texts. Reading along with the eyes is insufficient for the critical sections (see Chazon Ovadia Pesach II, p. 48), so those participants should either read with their lips or hear that which someone else is reading aloud in a language they understand (see ibid.). When appropriate, participants can be given homework to prepare sections in which they will understand the Hebrew.
Personally, I, like many, have loved the original Haggada text from a young age and believe it is a big part of a Jew’s heritage. Growing up as a frum American Jewish kid, key Haggada passages and phrases were as familiar as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” In order for this to exist, a normal observant home that is open to Jews of different levels of Jewish knowledge should find a healthy balance between a classical seder and using vernacular to meet the needs of those who need it. (Unique situations deserve unique consideration).
Effect of Wrong Type of Bitul ChametzWhat are the consequences if, after bedikat chametz, one recited the daytime bitul chametz?
We must start with a look at the purpose and mechanism of the various bituls.
The Torah forbids possession of chametz on Pesach (Shemot 13:7) and mandates its removal before Pesach (Shemot 12:15). To facilitate this, we search for chametz the night before Pesach and physically “destroy” the leftovers the next day (bi’ur chametz). The gemara (Pesachim 6b) says that after bedikat chametz, the Rabbis instituted bitul chametz. It explains that this is out of concern that he might find some tasty chametz on Pesach, which without bitul would cause him a problem (there are different explanations on how). The gemara refers to bitul chametz at night.
The gemara does not mention bitul’s text, and slightly varied versions exist. The consensus, though, is that it applies to chametz that is unknown to the declarer at the time of bitul. One reason to exclude known chametz is because some is slated for eating during the next half day, making a statement that his chametz is worthless and ownerless disingenuous. Regarding chametz slated for burning, we want it in our possession because the complete fulfillment of bi’ur chametz is with one’s own chametz (Mishna Berura 434:7). (This is only a hiddur. We also do bi’ur chametz at a time and in a manner in which it is anyway not clear that the burning of the chametz is a special fulfillment (this is beyond our scope – see Dirshu 445:4).)
Daytime bitul is a post-Talmudic minhag designed to deal with the possibility that some of that which was purposely left over was neither eaten nor destroyed (ibid. 11). According to most poskim, it is done after bi’ur chametz and, therefore, is done with catch-all terminology that even includes chametz thrown into the fire but insufficiently burnt (Da’at Torah 434:3). If one uses the daytime text at night, it will ostensibly have applied to even that which he plans to eat and that he plans to burn. Is that a problem? Well, what does bitul do?
According to Tosafot (Pesachim 4b), bitul makes chametz hefker (ownerless). Assuming that no one hears the mistaken declaration and takes still desired chametz, the owner can eat the nullified chametz as is or reacquire it (if it is in his house, he requires no action to reacquire it). Regarding wanting to burn his own chametz as well, he can easily reacquire some (which suffices) or all. The potentially more serious issue is the bitul’s impact on one’s mechirat chametz, which rabbis do for us the next morning. However, the same answers probably apply.
There is also a more fundamental factor. If one reads the words of bitul and does not understand their content, the bitul is ineffective (Mishna Berura 434:9). This is probably the case for one who reads the morning instead of the night version. Even if he understood the words and forgot that it was the wrong time to do an all-inclusive hefker, we should apply the concept that hefker done by mistake is ineffective (Tosafot, Pesachim 57a).
According to Rashi (Pesachim 4b), bitul is not based on hefker but is a special “mental destruction” of chametz, which the Torah indicated is significant in regard to one’s chametz. This certainly does not affect one’s ability to eat chametz he desires before the time of bi’ur chametz. It probably also does not impact the ability to sell chametz to a non-Jew. To the contrary, if anything, it is likely that the act of sale, in regard to food that he put aside in special places for that purpose, may undo such bitul for the following reason. If you do not value the chametz, how are you able to sell it? But you will be redoing the bitul the next morning anyway. Regarding the value of bi’ur chametz after such a bitul, it could in theory be negatively impactful (well beyond our scope). However, again fundamentally, bitul without intent or probably even by mistake is not valid (see Ran, Peaschim 1a).
While most likely unnecessary, it does not hurt to state that he reverses his declaration regarding chametz he is aware of.
Paying Earlier than the Payment Plan PrescribedMy company pays suppliers with payment plans we work out in advance with each one. Occasionally, a supplier calls with a request that we pay earlier than already agreed in exchange for a “cash” purchase discount we work out. (By “cash,” we include checks and debit cards – the point is that payment is not delayed). Is this like a regular permitted business discount, which is permitted, or is this discount a case of ribbit?
Actually, the case you ask about is easier to permit than that which you assume is permitted. Let us develop the topic from the beginning.
Paying for something not at its “natural” time raises issues of ribbit. The normal time to pay for a sales item is at the time he receives it. Therefore, it is forbidden for a seller to allow a buyer to pay on credit and clearly charge him more for the privilege (Bava Metzia 65a).
Therefore, one has to be careful when buying on credit. We will now mention some of the permitted ways of buying on credit. If during deliberations before the sale only the sales price for credit pay was on the table, it is permitted (ibid., Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 173:1) even if, in fact, it would have been cheaper if he bought with cash. This system has a couple of conditions, which are predicated on the need to ensure it is not clear that the seller is charging extra for waiting for payment. One is that there must not be a set price for the item that they exceeded with the credit agreement (ibid.). Another is that the increase in price for credit is not steep enough to be clearly related to the credit (ibid.). If you negotiate your own prices with suppliers, you can agree on a payment scheme before agreeing on a price and then negotiate one price accordingly. It is not a problem if other customers get to choose between different rates for cash and for credit.
Another possibility is to use a heter iska for the transaction, especially if the item is for business, not consumption use (Brit Yehuda 40:21). (It is preferable but not absolutely required for the heter iska to be a written document (Brit Yehuda 40:9; Torat Ribbit 16:2).) Then, the late payment, which is considered like the seller’s loan to the buyer, is viewed as the seller’s investment of the sales money in the buyer’s hands with assumed joint profits. One who regularly sells on credit would be wise to put up a clearly visible sign stating that all the transactions on credit are “according to the heter iska found in …”
There is a distinguished but minority opinion (Chochmat Adam 139:5) that if the accepted market price is the one the seller gave for credit and this seller gives a particularly cheap price for cash, it is permitted to buy on credit even when two prices were given. The Pitchei Teshuva (YD 173:5) and most contemporary poskim do not accept this leniency.
There is a more accepted opinion (Imrei Yosher I:150; see Torat Ribbit 8:15, Brit Yehuda 22:8), although far from unanimous, that applies in many business settings. If the industry standard is to pay by credit, that becomes the normal payment time. Then, even if there is a known cheaper price for cash, paying on credit is normal and not an issue of ribbit.
Regarding your question, if after a proper sale on credit, you are offered to pay earlier than agreed for a discount, this is permitted (Shulchan Aruch, YD 173:3). Rishonim (see Tur and Beit Yosef, YD 173) compare this to someone who sells a debt for future payment to a third party for immediate cash but at a lower face value. The discount is not considered a new “loan” that the seller is requesting from the buyer, who owes him later. This is apparently because the payment still corresponds to the sale, which classically is paid immediately. The Rama (YD 173:3) warns that the offer of a discount should be made only after a kinyan has made the sale final. Otherwise, it will be forbidden for the buyer to stand by the credit deal. While it is not always clear when the kinyan is, if you already received the merchandise, the kinyan will presumably be complete.
Dividing Megillat Esther Among ReadersIs it proper to divide the reading of Megillat Esther among multiple baalei kri’ah?
It depends what you mean by “proper,” as we will explain.
The gemara’s (Megilla 21a-b) discussion of multiple ba’alei kri’ah refers to their reading at the same time, which is valid (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 290:2) although rarely done. The Magen Avraham (292:2) is the first major posek to discuss dividing the Megilla by sections, presenting it as a ba’al korei losing his voice in the middle. As the question is not discussed in the gemara or Rishonim, early Acharonim compare it to parallel areas of halacha. The Magen Avraham compares it to one who had to stop in the middle of haftara reading, where the replacement must return to the beginning (Shulchan Aruch, OC 284:5) and repeat the beracha (Magen Avraham 284:4). He says that while for Megillat Esther too the second ba’al korei returns to the beginning, he does not recite the beracha again because the first ba’al korei’s beracha was said for everybody, as we find regarding a switch in shofar blowing (Shulchan Aruch, OC 585:3). Indeed, regarding the beracha, the Rama (OC 692:2) says that one is allowed to make the beracha on Megilla reading for the reading of another.
The great majority of Acharonim say that the second reader does not need to return to the beginning of Megillat Esther. The Eliya Rabba (692:3) and Shvut Yaakov (I:42) agree with the comparison to shofar blowing but apply it the whole way. Just as regarding shofar, the first person’s blasts do not need to be repeated (Shulchan Aruch, OC 583:40), so too the p’sukim of the Megilla do not need repeating. The reason Torah reading needs to be repeated (Yerushalmi, Berachot 5:3) is that the whole reading needs to be linked to the opening and ending berachot. This makes it a problem when the first one made only the opening beracha and the second one only the concluding beracha (see Tur, OC 140). The Eliya Rabba says that Megillat Esther is different in that the ending beracha is not strictly related to the reading and in that the aliya for Torah reading is made by the oleh for the oleh, whereas the beracha for Megillat Esther is on behalf of everyone. Therefore, anyone can continue Megillat Esther where the first left off based on his beracha. The Shvut Yaakov says that the first reason is not universally accepted, but agrees with the second one.
It seems that according to the Magen Avraham, it is a major problem to break up the Megilla reading (Mikraei Kodesh (Harari) 7:(91) says otherwise in the name of Rav M. Eliyahu). According to the others, who rule you do not need to repeat, is it proper to divide the reading l’chatchila? Remember that the poskim describe the situation of a ba’al korei losing his voice, which may indicate that otherwise we would not allow the division. The alternative explanation is that it was just not common practice, but no halacha precludes the division even l’chatchila. The Shvut Yaakov and others who cite him prominently (including Shaarei Teshuva 692:2 and Kaf Hachayim 692:11) say that we do not go back to the beginning due to tircha d’tzibbura, but if the community does not care or only a few psukim were read, we would return to the beginning. Thus, it sounds like most poskim do not like the set-up l’chatchila.
Thus, I submit that a “purist” minyan would not agree to divide the Megilla reading. In addition to deference to the Magen Avraham and others, it is probably also more kavod for the mitzva to have one person do it. Due to the mitzva’s prominence, it also makes sense to have the best available ba’al korei do the whole thing. However, not all situations lend themselves to purist approaches. These include places where it is difficult for anyone to learn the whole Megilla well and communities in which the importance of involving as many people (especially, young ones) as possible is part of the shul’s DNA. This is a local rabbi’s call. (Since the ten-chapter breakup is non-Jewish, it is distasteful at best to break it up exactly in that way).
Ribbit in a Loan from an Irrevocable Trust FundMy father set up an irrevocable trust fund with my three sisters, brother, and I as beneficiaries. A specialized company (probably not Jewish, although our trust is handled by Jews) serves as trustee. I “borrowed” money interest-free from the fund to buy a house, but it is unlikely I will have to return the loan, as what I received will probably end up counting as most of the money coming to me. I want to turn the loan into interest paying, so that I will, for the sake of my siblings’ part, compensate the fund for the missing appreciation because I took the money. Is this a violation of ribbit? If so, may I use a heter iska to make it permitted, and with whom would I do it?
We must determine an irrevocable trust’s halachic status. The trust enables your father (the settlor or grantor) to bequeath money to his children in what he views as a financially advantageous manner. He gives funds to (a) trustee(s) (the company), who legally owns the funds, which are explicitly earmarked for certain purposes, specifically to provide assets for the beneficiaries (you and siblings) at the trustee’s discretion. A major halachic question is whether the trust fund obviates the halachot of inheritance. This would be either because money (perhaps even for a revocable trust) has been given to a third party with instructions (beyond our scope) or because, especially for an irrevocable trust, the money no longer belongs to the grantor, so that the halachot of inheritance cannot take effect. The emerging consensus of poskim seems to be that yerusha does not apply to the contents of the trust (see Pitchei Choshen, Yerusha 4:(34)). (If the trust is a farce, and the grantor fully controls the money, the matter is more problematic).
Ribbit exists when Jewish owned money is lent to another Jew with interest. It does not help if a non-Jew carries out the transaction as a guardian, if the financial impact relates to the Jewish owner (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 168:24). However, in this case, assuming the trustee really controls the money, the halachic status likely accepts the legal one (based on dina d’malchuta and situmta) – that your father no longer owns the funds. It is even clearer that the beneficiaries, who never owned the money, do not own it yet. They have made no halachic kinyan, and the law does not recognize them as owners. When and how much they will receive depends on various consequences and the trustee’s decision. Their only legal right is the ability to sue the trustee for breach of fiduciary obligations. Thus, the trustee is not merely handling the funds; it is the owner, albeit with conditions attached.
Even if halacha were not to recognize the trustee’s ownership of property ceded to it, due to a lack of valid kinyan or because it is sometimes a farce, you probably still do not have a problem. After all, the trustee sets up a bank account which the grantor and beneficiaries cannot touch. Even if they were to sue the trustee in beit din and win, the trustee would owe money, but the value (theoretical not coins or property) in the account is likely the trustee’s. Therefore, the actual money you received as a loan, was the trustee’s.
What is the ribbit status of the trustee company? The great majority of poskim (see Torat Ribbit 17:52), say that the laws of ribbit apply to a lender who is a corporation. However, most poskim (see Brit Yehuda 30:16; Torat Ribbit 17:64) rule there are no ribbit problems if Jews own a minority share, irrespective of the workers who handle a given fund (see Shulchan Aruch ibid.). Therefore, if the company is mainly of non-Jewish ownership, you have no problems. If you are concerned with possibility of Jewish ownership, you can do a heter iska with them. This is slightly more complicated than usual because you need to convert an existing loan into an iska investment (see Brit Yehuda 40:23), and we are willing to guide you through the process. (Even if you avoid heterei iska when they obviate the spirit of the law, this case is unobjectionable.)
Husband Accepting Shabbat with his WifeMy wife generally lights candles 15 minutes before sunset, in keeping with our community’s practice. I generally cease melacha then, as do she and our two little children. Sometimes, due to work, I can make it home only by sunset, not candle lighting time. May my wife light at the usual time or should she wait for me? I am afraid that my small children, who are used to my not doing melacha after my wife lights, will be confused.
A community’s candle lighting time is not the time that all community members are expected to accept Shabbat but is the first formal action done towards that end. The Behag (cited in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 263:10) posits that a woman accepts Shabbat with this lighting. This is true at least for Ashkenazi women (see Rama, ad loc.), who for this reason recite the beracha only after completing lighting (see Darchei Moshe, OC 263:2). (The ruling for Sephardi women is more complicated – see Yabia Omer, IX, OC 24).
However, lighting candles is not a home’s absolute acceptance of Shabbat. For one thing, the Rama (ibid.) allows a woman to not accept Shabbat by lighting by means of even a mental condition. After all, lighting is innately a preparatory act before Shabbat, not an act of Shabbat, such as davening Maariv or making Kiddush. In fact, men do not accept Shabbat when they light candles (Mishna Berura 263:42).
On the other hand, there are several indications that candle lighting it is not merely a technical preparatory act. First, we must light Shabbat candles even if we are happy with the existing light situation and this mitzva is accompanied by a special beracha. Additionally, not everyone allows a woman to make a condition to light candles without accepting Shabbat. We rule it requires a real need (Magen Avraham 263:20; Mishna Berura 263:44; see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 43:24).
Regarding your question, the Rama states clearly that members of the household other than the woman who lights do not accept Shabbat with that lighting. Most men do not want to accept because they want to daven Mincha in shul, which is usually after candle lighting time (women should daven Mincha before (Mishna Berura 263:43)) and often will drive there. In some households, daughters generally accept Shabbat when their mother lights, which has a certain appropriateness to it. However, it is not halacha and in many households, after lighting candles, there may still be work to do. Therefore, it is not always healthy to expect the whole family to be ready or for the mother to feel the pressure that she must be sure everything is taken care of before she lights.
Do not teach your children that their father must cease work after their mother lights candles. Your assumption that it is confusing is based on your assumption that this is proper. To the contrary, it is confusing to see you being careful not to do melacha while neighbors are driving to shul.
Certainly there are many advantages to a father being home well before Shabbat, but life is not always that obliging. There is some question whether there is a minimum time before sunset to stop doing melacha for tosefet (early acceptance of) Shabbat (see Rosh, Berachot 4:6), and we usually assume a few minutes is enough. Of course, the closer to Shabbat, the more preferable it is to not do melacha. Forgetting the rejected opinion that bein hashemashot begins several minutes before sunset, according to some opinions, the time of sunset is affected a few minutes due to mountains in the area. On practical grounds, one’s watch can be off, he can forget the exact time, or he could lose track of time under the pressure of last minute delays. Therefore, it is prudent although halachically not required to leave at least, say, five minutes before sunset to be finished with all traveling and other melacha.
In short, your wife need not wait for you and should not wait more than a few minutes. Her correct time and yours are not linked.
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