Hilchot Shabbat: Final Halachot of Havdala class #17

22 11 2011
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson 

Community Kiddush #9 Havdala is recited twice, the first time in Maariv with the blessing of Ata Chonantanu and again over a cup of wine.

Why do we say Havdala in the blessing of Atah Chonen? The Yerushalmi in Brachot says, “Im ein da’at havdala minayin.” Without intellect, it is impossible to distinguish between different things. To make Havdala, one needs a measure of intellect. On Shabbat we are focused solely on spirituality. We don’t ask for any physical needs. Havdala serves as a sanction to begin working again. Therefore, Ata Chonantanu is inserted before the first supplication of mercy in order to allow us to engage in further requests.

If you forget Ata Chonantanu, you don’t have to recite it again, if you will be reciting Havdala over wine. If you didn’t say either of them, you must recite the prayer in Shachrit. The Mishna Berura cites the Magen Avraham that the makeup prayer would be the second prayer. Rav Akiva Eiger disagrees. Ata Chonantanu should be inserted in the first prayer because one needs its sanction to engage in further supplications.

One should not eat, drink, or do work before Havdala. If you are in the middle of a bread meal that you started before the end of Shabbat you can continue eating without reciting Havdala, but if it is just a fruit or cake meal, you must stop before bein hashmoshot, thirty minutes before the stars appear. Once Shabbat ends, one should say ‘Baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol’ and then work is permitted. Women who generally don’t daven Maariv should be careful to say this. Why can’t we eat or do work before Havdala? On some level it’s still Shabbat, until it is formally concluded. In addition, Chazal wanted to be sure we wouldn’t forget to make Havdala.

The cup for Havdala must not be pagum (flawed). It is filled until the wine overflows, showing our confidence in Hashem’s beneficence.

The Mishna Berura mentions that women shouldn’t drink the wine because it is possible that they are not obligated in the blessing over the flame and there’s a hefsek (break) between Hagafen and the drinking.

Many poskim maintain that one cannot fulfill Havdalah over the phone. Rav Moshe ruled that where there is no choice, it is permitted.

We smell sweet smelling spices to give us a lift after losing our neshama yeteirah, (extra soul). According to the Mishna Berura, one should not make a blessing on the spices if one can’t smell.

One should use an avuka, a candle with multiple wicks for the blessing on the flame. Most poskim do not consider electricity to be aish (fire), but some rule that an incandescent bulb does fall under this category.

There is a custom to escort the Shabbat out with a bread meal, called Melave Malka. One should eat as soon after Shabbat as possible so that it’s noticeable that it’s not just a regular meal. If one is very full then one should at least eat fruit or mezonot. Our sages tell us that the luz bone is nourished with the food of Melave Malka. The resurrection of the dead will begin from this bone. Melave Malka highlights the sanctity of Shabbat. Shabbat is not just a one day affair. It’s a reservoir of holiness that flows over into the coming week.





Community Kiddush #9

28 10 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

Community Kiddush #9 There is a disagreement between the Gra and the Gaonim regarding what constitutes Kiddush b’makom seudah (the obligation to eat a meal after Kiddush). The Gaonim rule that wine or any Mezonot food is enough, while the Gaon maintains that it must be a bread meal. The custom is to be stringent at the Friday night Kiddush, which is a Torah commandment, and lenient during the day Kiddush, which is a Rabbinic commandment. The Shulchan Aruch and the Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchato concur with the Gaonim. However, if you make Kiddush during the day on mezonot in shul, you haven’t fulfilled Kiddush according to the Gra. Therefore, Rav Soloveitchik suggests that Kiddush be repeated again at home before washing in order to designate the meal as a seudat Shabbat. Rav Moshe agrees with this practice.

The Mishne Berura notes that one should eat at least a kezayit (an olive size measurement) of mezonot, which is enough to make an Al Hamichaya (after blessing). Any mezonot will do, as long as it is from chameshet minei dagan (five grains). On Pesach, one who does not eat mezonot foods made from matza flour should drink a maleh lugma (a mouthful)of winein addition to a reviit (3.3 ounces) in place of the Mezonot.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that we should be careful to eat immediately after Kiddush.

There are a number of laws related to Kiddush b’makom seudah (making Kiddush in the place where one will eat). One big room is considered one place. If you are going from one room to the next, there are opinions that hold that if you can see from the first room into the second, and you intend to eat in the second room, it’s permitted. Going from one house to another should be avoided. If there is no choice, the Mishna Berura rules that you should at least be able to see into the second house.

During the day Kiddush, there’s a custom to say the prefatory verses of V’shamru and Zachor, but according to the Rambam it’s sufficient to just recite the blessing Borei Pri Hagafen. The role of Kiddush is to establish the meal as a seduat Shabbat. We don’t recite Kiddush at the third meal (although the Rambam does recommend it), because the very fact that there’s an extra meal indicates that it’s a special seudat Shabbat.





Embarrassing Others

6 07 2011
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Michael Taubes

Embarrassing Others

In Parshat Vayeishev the Torah records the difficult story of Yehuda and Tamar. Yehuda gave Tamar his staff and signet as collateral and when she was taken out to be burned, she sent a message to her father-in-law hinting to what he had done. Tamar refrained from embarrassing Yehuda at the risk of her own life. She left the choice up to him to admit his act. The Gemara in Bava Metziah makes an intriguing statement based on this story, “It is preferable for a person to allow himself to be thrown into a fiery furnace rather than to publicly humiliate someone.” Is this halacha l’maasah (practical halacha)?

The Rif and the Rosh maintain that it is. However there is a Gemara in Pesachim that says that a Jew may violate any sin to save himself except the three cardinal sins-idol worship, adultery, and murder. Tosfot in Sotah asks, what about humiliating another person in public? Why isn’t this included in the list?

The commentators answer that since the prohibition of embarrassing someone is learned indirectly from the verse, “V’lo sisa alov cheit” (Do not bear a sin on his account), it’s not included. The Rambam understands it differently. The Gemara says, “Noach lo..” (It is preferable), meaning that it is not a requirement. Rabbeinu Yonah maintains that humiliating someone is avak rechitza-an extension of murder because it causes the person’s blood to drain out of his face. Tosfot in Pesachim offers another explanation. In some instances, such as if you are a passive participant, you are not required to give up your life even in a situation of shefichat damim. Therefore it can be suggested that humiliating someone which involves talking is not considered actively killing someone.

The Rambam in Yesodei Hatorah writes that the din is “Yaavor v’al yiharog.”(Transgress rather than forfeit your life), except in times of gezeirot hashmad when it may be permitted.  The Gemara tells the story of Elisha Bal Kinfayim who risked his life to wear tefilin in public. Similarly in Gittin, the Gemara records the incident of the group of boys and girls who jumped into the sea to avoid sin. Tosfot notes that there are cases when you may voluntarily give up your life.

Perhaps we can say that the din of “Yaavor v’al yahorog,” only applies to mitzvoth between man and Hashem and not to mitzvoth between man and man. If it means hurting someone, one can possibly give up one’s life. We see that Tamar was ready to die rather than humiliate Yehuda. Similarly, the Gemara in Yoma records the story of Rav Yehuda who suddenly had stomach pains and needed to eat something quickly. He stole some bread. Rav Yossi rebuked him. Sometimes even saving one’s life doesn’t warrant stealing. An ones (one who is forced) is not considered a sinner. This may also be true bein adam l’chaveiro.  However since you have harmed another person you can’t pretend it didn’t happen. So maybe even the Rambam would agree that in these cases you may even give up your life.





Shabbat Scenarios: Demonstrations of the Melachot of Koshair and Mattir

3 06 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson 

  Koshair and Matir Demonstrations One may not tie a single knot on the drawstrings of a sweatshirt on Shabbat.

One should not tie the drawstrings of a garbage bag together in a bow knot as it is meant to last. A single slip knot is permitted.

Knots that are prohibited to be made on Shabbat may not be untied on Shabbat. Therefore, one may not untie a permanent knot, such as a tzizit knot, on Shabbat.

One may untie an inadvertent knot that was formed while undoing shoelaces.

One may not undo the knot on a bakery box as it is considered permanent. It should be cut open instead.





Dosh/Sechita Demonstration Part II

6 04 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

Shabbat Scenarios: Dosh/Sechita DemonstrationsThe Torah prohibition of Dosh traces back to the times of the Mishkan when wheat kernels were separated from their external shells by threshing. The most common toldah (derivative) of Dosh is Sechita or Mefarek – extracting a liquid from a solid.

·         Can you milk a cow on Shabbat? This appears to be a classic case of sechita, squeezing the cow’s udder, a solid, so that milk can flow out. The Gemara limits sechita to gedulei karka (vegetation, which grew from the ground). However, the accepted view is that milking is prohibited on Shabbat, since a cow is sustained by vegetation. The son of the Rambam adds that the condition of gedulei karka only applies to the av melacha as it was done in the Mishkan, and not to the toldah of sechita.

·         Similarly, the view of the Magid Mishna is that extracting blood from humans who are also sustained by vegetation is prohibited. Therefore, blood transfusions should not be done on Shabbat, except when a person’s life is in danger.

·         Squeezing a liquid directly on to a solid so that the juice is completely absorbed into the food is permitted. Therefore, you can squeeze a lemon onto a slice of fish on Shabbat. Dousing the fish with copious amounts of juice so that the excess liquid pools around the plate is prohibited. The Gemara gives an example of milking a cow directly into a pail of oats which will be fed to animals. If the cow gives such an abundance of milk that the oats can no longer absorb it, it is prohibited.

·         Extracting liquid from grapes and olives, which were offered as libations in the Temple, is prohibited mi’doraita.

·         The Rabbis prohibited squeezing fruits that are commonly juiced such as strawberries and pomegranates.

·         Sucking the juice out of a fruit directly into your mouth is generally permitted. The exceptions are grapes and olives, which

are   prohibited mi’doraita. Although the Rama writes that there is room for leniency, it is best to avoid doing this.





Shabbat Scenarios: Kotev and Mochek Part III

11 03 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

Kotev and Mochek Demonstrations, Part 3

·Can you zip or unzip a sweatshirt with words on it on Shabbat? A problem arises with bringing together and breaking apart letters on the shirt much like a book with wording on the side. Therefore, it should be avoided if possible. One can be lenient in cases of necessity as per the Mishna Berura.

·Jigsaw puzzles that are meant to last may not be put together on Shabbat.  Wooden picture puzzles where pieces are fitted into corresponding holes are permitted. Picture puzzles with a background are ok for children. Puzzles that are meant to be taken apart and are affixed to a surface may pose a problem. However if the pieces are on a cardboard background, one can posit that it is the same as affixing a background to a background, which is permitted. Nevertheless adults should avoid this if possible.

·Writing with icing on a cake violates the Rabbinic prohibition of Kotev. It follows that if one cuts  through the letters, one is violating Mochek.  One may not cut through icing with script writing as the letters are attached.

·Are biscuits with lettering ok to eat on Shabbat? The Maharam MiRottenberg prohibited this. Most Acharonim permit it on the basis that the Maharam ruled stringently in a specific case of biscuits which were meant to be erased/consumed as a Kabbalistic segula (good sign) for wisdom.  Indeed the Dagel Merivava notes that it is permitted as one is eating the letters directly, there is no intention to erase, and the writing is temporary. Likewise, the Mishna Berura permits it as one is swallowing letters in the normal manner of eating.

·Are chocolate bars with imbedded words a problem? Here too, the letters are engraved in the bar and one breaks the words with one’s mouth and not with an instrument. The Chazon Ish, ruled stringently and prohibited it. The custom is to be lenient.

·A four- pack yogurt, which when attached form a complete picture, may not be broken apart on Shabbat.

·Food particles stuck to a bentcher may not be removed on Shabbat as one can come to pull letters off a page.

·Food packages with printed words or images should be opened before Shabbat. If one needs to tear them on Shabbat, one should be careful to tear where there are no letters or pictures or between the letters.

·Shoes with soles that leave a written imprint in the snow may be worn on Shabbat as the writing is unintentional.





Shabbat Scenarios: Kotev & Mochek Demonstrations

9 03 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

Kotev and Mochek Demonstrations, Part 2

·Can you play Scrabble on Shabbat? The Chayei Adam’s view is that any game that requires keeping score and would normally involve writing should not be played on Shabbat.  The standard Scrabble games which is simply bringing together and distancing letters without affixing them to a permanent surface do not pose a problem with Kotev. However the deluxe editions, where the pieces are affixed to a groove, constitute writing according to Rav Moshe. He also ruled that the game was muktzah.

·Developing X-Ray films creates an image and is prohibited on Shabbat.

·Can you open and close a book that has writing on the side? The Rema rules leniently and permits it. He explains that one is not actually writing or erasing, one is simply bringing together and separating letters. Others add that it is similar to opening and closing a door or window in that it is part of the functionality of the book. However the Levush disagrees and argues that it may be a d’orayta prohibition. The Chazon Ish also rules stringently. Therefore one should avoid doing this if possible. If there is no alternative, one can follow the accepted lenient view held by the Mishne Berura. Random designs on the side of a book do not pose a problem.





Shabbat Scenarios: Sewing Science-Tofer/Koreah Part II

22 02 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

Sewing Science: Tofer/Korei'a Demonstrations part 3In order to violate the Torah prohibition of Koreah, tearing, one must do so for the sake of Tofer, sewing. This law is derived from the times of the Mishkan. Moths would eat circular holes into the curtains. These holes were hard to mend. They needed to be torn into a kind of line to be sewn up. This is an example of destructive action that is transformed into constructive action. Most poskim agree that tearing for a constructive purpose, although not for the sake of Tofer, is still a Torah prohibition of Koreah.

·Tearing open the sewn-up pocket of a new garment is prohibited on Shabbat.

·According to the Mishna Berura, one may not slit a sealed envelope open on Shabbat.

·Ripping paper towels, garbage bags, or toilet paper from a roll involves not only Tofer, but also Mechatech, cutting to a specific size. The accepted custom is to use pre-cut bags and tissues on Shabbat. In a situation involving human dignity, rabbinic prohibitions are waived. Therefore, tearing toilet paper with a shinui (in an unusual manner), is permissible when there are no other options, as long as it is not torn on the perforated lines.

·Opening food packages in a destructive way (being careful not to tear any printed letters) is permitted on Shabbat.

·Opening the tab on a closed cereal box is both Mechatech and Koreah. The box should be opened at the side or from another area which does not involve ungluing or tearing the perforation. The best solution would be to open it before Shabbat.

·One may not separate the pages of a new book on Shabbat. This involves Koreah in addition to Makeh B’patish.





Shabbat Scenarios: Sewing Situations – Tofer

16 02 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

The Prohibition of Tofer/ Sewing: Tofer Demonstrations

·The Mishna Berura notes that inserting a safety pin once into a garment is permitted, but making two “stitches,” i.e. sticking the pin into the cloth twice, is prohibited. This is based on the Korban Netanel who rules that a pin has the same halachic status as thread. Rav Moshe differs and maintains that a safety pin is not much different than a button and is permitted, if it will be temporary and is clearly noticeable.

·Brooches are normally inserted once and are therefore permitted according to both opinions.

·Gluing or sticking two pieces of paper together is similar in effect to sewing. Therefore, it is prohibited on Shabbos in the category of sewing.

·Diapers with adhesive tape should be opened before Shabbat. Taping the diaper onto a baby is permitted, as it is meant to be temporary. You should be careful when removing a soiled diaper not to close the tabs around the diaper, since they will remain that way permanently in the garbage. Diapers with velcro tabs are permitted because velcro achieves its stickiness by hooking, not by gluing. Today, most diapers are manufactured with a combination of velcro and adhesive tabs. Therefore, l’chatchila, one should be careful to open them before Shabbat and not re-stick the tabs when disposing.

·Stickers and Post-It notes should not be used on Shabbat.

·Magnets do not pose a problem of tofer, but may be a violation of kotev, writing.

·Suction cups have a medium of permanence and may be a violation of boneh, fixing something to a structure.

·Tightening or loosening the waistline belt of a skirt or pants is permitted.





Shabbat Scenarios: The Prohibition of Tofer-Sewing

8 02 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Shimon Isaacson

The Prohibition of Tofer/ Sewing: Tofer Demonstrations

The Torah prohibition of Tofer involves binding two items together in a permanent way. The classic example is sewing two stitches and then making a final knot to hold the stitches in place.

 

·      Opening and closing a button, zipper, or Velcro tab is    permitted because it is not a permanent binding.

·      Pulling a loose thread tighter on a button is prohibited.

·      Stapling and taping may not be done on Shabbat.

·      Most authorities rule that human stitches fall under the prohibition of tofer. In life threatening situations, however, it is permitted.

·      There is a disagreement among the poskim whether one may pull the tabs off a band-aid on Shabbat. Rav Shlomo Z. Auerbach rules that it is permitted because it was not meant to stay there permanently. Sticking the band-aid on a wound is a temporary act and may be done if it will be taken off within 24 hours. If it will stay for more than that time, there are poskim who rule leniently and permit it. When one takes off the band-aid, one should open it and not slip it off like a ring. In addition, one should avoid pulling a band-aid off skin where hair grows to avoid tearing hair on Shabbat.








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