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.





Eating Before Davening

30 12 2010

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Ari Jacobson

Eating Before Davening

The Gemara teaches us, based on the verse in Vayikra, “Lo tochlu al hadam,” that one may not eat or drink before Shacharit. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that one who does eat is referred to in the verse, “You have cast me behind your back.”   In Hebrew, the word gabecha (back) can be interchangeably read as geyecha (arrogance). Tending to one’s own physical needs prior to acknowledging the source of one’s sustenance is haughtiness in one of its highest forms.

 

The accepted ruling in the Shulchan Aruch is that one may drink water before praying. Similarly, someone who is very weak and will be unable to have minimal concentration may eat before davening. However, at the very least, one should recite birkot hashachar beforehand. The majority of halachic opinions permit drinking coffee or tea if a person needs it to concentrate in prayer. The Mishna Berura prohibits adding milk or sugar as one may only drink what is minimally necessary. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach writes that in our times when most people can afford milk and sugar and are generally accustomed to it daily, it is permitted. Going beyond this and having a cappuccino or a double vanilla shake is prohibited.  The Kitzur writes further that someone who is old or weak and cannot wait till the end of davening on Shabbat and Yom Tov, when the prayers are lengthy, should daven Shacharit at home, make kiddush and eat something, and then go to shul for Mussaf.

 

How do these halachot apply to women? The Mishna writes that women are obligated to pray because they need Hashem’s mercy too.  The Rambam holds that the Torah obligation of tefilah is to pray once a day in any language as long as it includes praise, supplication, and thanks.  The specific text and times are d’rabanan. The Ramban disagrees and states that tefilah on a daily basis is completely d’rabanan. Only in times of distress does prayer becomes a Torah obligation.

The Magen Avraham notes that women in ancient times who would pray a tefillah in their own language were relying on the Rambam. Some modern day poskim continue to argue that women can fulfill their obligation with a short prayer that includes praise, supplication, and thanks. Others say that they must recite the Shemonei Esrei of Shachrit and Mincha daily. The consensus among all poskim is that women are exempt from Maariv because this was originally voluntary for men.

 

Rav Shlomo Zalman rules that the halachot of eating before davening apply equally to women.  Therefore, a woman must pray before eating unless she is weak or infirm, in which case a man would be exempt too. On Shabbat, a woman should daven whatever prayers she is accustomed to praying and then make Kiddush.

 

Many times, women who are busy with their family may make it to shul late on Shabbat. If a woman arrives when the tzibbur is already davening Mussaf, she should daven Shacharit first. Rav Akiva Eiger writes that women may be exempt from Mussaf. This is because even though Shacharit and Mincha have an element of sacrificial services, they are mainly an expression of compassion.  However, Mussaf strictly corresponds to sacrifices. Since women did not contribute to the half shekel and did not participate in the sacrifices, there is a machloket whether they are obligated to pray Mussaf at all. Therefore, for women, Shachrit takes precedence over Mussaf.





Contemporary Halacha-Meat & Fish

19 12 2010

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Michael Taubes

Meat and Fish

Rav Kana taught that if one bakes bread in an oven with roasted meat, one cannot eat this bread with dairy. Further on the Gemara  in Pesachim writes that Rava B’Parziska prohibited consuming fish that had been roasted in an oven with meat, together with dairy. Mar B’rav Ashi  adds that one should not even eat the fish itself because it causes bad breath and tzoraat.

The Shulchan Aruch develops this halacha further and writes that not only may one not eat fish roasted in an oven with meat, but one should refrain from eating fish and meat altogether. The Rema notes that b’dieved if one already cooked fish and meat together it is permitted. This is corroborated by the Shach. The Beer Sheva disagrees and rules that even b’dieved one may not eat it since this is a question of danger. The Chasam Sofer notes that the Rambam did not cite this din at all. He postulates that the case mentioned in Gemara may have referred to a particular fish, or that human nature has changed since ancient times and the danger referred to no longer exists. Nevertheless the Chasam Sofer rules that “Minhag avoseinu k’din“-the customs of our forefathers are like law and therefore we do not mix fish with meat.  However we cannot say that the laws of meat and fish are stricter than the laws of meat and dairy.

The Shulchan Aruch writes further that one should wash ones hands and eat something to wash out ones mouth between fish and meat because it can lead to tzoraat, and “Sakanta chamura m’issura“-Matters of danger are more stringent than prohibitions.  The Magen Avraham disagrees and notes that we find many examples in Gemara where Chazal tells us about dangers which are not found today. This is because our natures have changed and we dwell in different lands. Therefore there is room to be more lenient here. The Mishna Berura rules that we follow the Rema who holds that one does not need to wash ones hands between fish and meat. The Rema writes that fish and meat are only a problem when they are cooked together however it is still better to eat or drink something in between courses. The widespread practice in Klal Yisrael during the Shabbat meal is to drink liquor between fish and meat.

Chazal categorized poultry the same way as meat with regard to the laws of meat and dairy. Therefore the halacha would be the same in regard to fish and meat too. Some Sefardic Poskim prohibit consuming fish with dairy. Rav Akiva Eiger notes that there is a practice to refrain from drinking water after fish because that too is a danger. Indeed as noted, the custom is to drink schnapps. Perhaps the minhag to say L’chaim after drinking an alcoholic beverage stems from this idea.

Living a Torah life means living a measured, focused, existence. There is meaning and purpose behind everything we do.  May our studying and knowing the halachot well help us reach our ultimate purpose.