The question of a Kohen’s visit to burial sites of our righteous ancestors is a matter that commentaries and halachic authorities have discussed for hundreds of years. Do the burial sites of the righteous impart ritual impurity (tumas mes), and is there a halachic permit for Kohanim to visit them? This week’s article discusses the issue, from its primary sources through to practical conclusions.
ויקח קרח בן יצהר בן קהת בן לוי ודתן ואבירם בני אליאב ואון בן פלת בני ראובן And Korach, son of Yitzhar, son of Kehas, son of Levi, took, as… Read more »
The ten meraglim (the spies), whose sorry tale is narrated at the opening of Parashas Shelach, are termed an eidah – an assembly or congregation.
Concerning the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 74b)derives from the Torah’s description of the spies that all ten people before whom the Kiddush Hashem is performed must be Jewish. Although the spies were wicked people, and according to the Sages they were even heretics (claiming that Hashem did not have the power to bring the nation into the Land of Israel), they still formed an assembly.
Based on this derivation, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros Moshe Vol. 1, no. 23) writes that the same halachah applies to saying Kedushah with a minyan: Under extenuating conditions, even non-observant Jews constitute a minyan for Kedushah.
Rav Moshe adds that the principle does not apply to completing a minyan for tefillah be-tzibbur, but states that under extenuating circumstances one should look for a minyan even of secular Jews, for this will at least be effective for purposes of Kedushah.
Although Rav Moshe Feinstein gave only a brief reply to the question, the matter of joining secular, non-observant Jews in a minyan has been discussed at length by a number of authorities. In the article below we will present a short discussion of the subject, explaining some of the angles from which the issue has been approached, and delineating some of the practical considerations involved.
The Yalkut on Parashas Behaalosecha (719) mentions a connection between lighting Shabbos candles and the light of the Menorah: “The glory of Shabbos – its candles are its glory. If you light the candles of Shabbos, I shall show you candles of Zion, as it says: It shall be at that time I shall search for Jerusalem with candles.”
By being meticulous in lighting Shabbos candles, we merit to see the future candles of Zion.
In the present article we will address the common question of whether unmarried girls should light candles alongside their mother, or whether it is preferable that they should not light. Also, what is the halachah of married daughters who spend Shabbos with parents? How should a number of families who are sharing the same house light candles?
These questions, among others, are addressed below.
A common Shabbos question of the modern day, which many authorities have addressed, is the question of lighting Shabbos candles in a room, well-lit by electric lighting. In terms of… Read more »
The present article addresses the custom of eating dairy foods on Shavuos, a custom that is. What is the relationship between the two obligations? What are the requirements of the respective mitzvos? Which parts of Torah take precedence? These, and more questions, are discussed in the article below.
Pesach is already a distant memory. Lag Ba’omer and the beginning of the post-sefirah wedding season are almost upon us. However, before we get to that, we first have an almost unnoticed date on the Jewish calendar – the fourteenth of Iyar, otherwise known as Pesach Sheini. Let us examine this holiday and some of its unique minhagim.
ויקרא אל משה וידבר ד’ אליו מאהל מועד לאמר And He called to Moshe, and God spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: The book of Vayikra has… Read more »
Recently, there was a story circulating about a gabbai tzedakah (an official in charge of funds for the poor) who approached a certain wealthy man and asked him for a… Read more »
One of the Aseres Hadibros, which we will hear in this week’s parsha, is the prohibition of “lo sisa es Sheim Hashem Elokecha lashav,” “Do not recite the name of Hashem, your G-d, in vain.” The Gemara (Shavuos) explains that this mitzvah relates primarily to the issur of swearing falsely or unnecessarily, as the classical type of oath is when one invokes Hashem’s Name. This mitzvah also includes more common situations of saying Hashem’s Name without a valid reason.
Although the topic of swearing and taking oaths is an important one, it is rare to find an observant Jew swearing an oath with Hashem’s Name. Therefore, in this week’s article we will discuss some of the more common applications of this mitzvah.
The mitzvah of honoring parents (Shemos 20:12) has a unique distinction. The Yerushalmi (Kiddushin 1:7) refers to it as a “mitzvah chamurah min hachamuros” – a mitzvah… Read more »
Shabbos Parshas Beshalach is called Shabbos Shirah – the Shabbos of the Song. This refers to the Shiras HaYam, the song of thanks that the Jewish nation sang to Hashem after crossing through the Red Sea on dry land and seeing their enemies drown. The name Shabbos Shirah appears in the Rishonim (Sefer HaMinhagim [Tyrnau], s.v., Shevat; Sefer Maharil, Hilchos Teves-Shevat-Adar, #7).
Chazal instituted various types of brachos, some of which are recited more frequently than others. There are brachos that are part of davening which are said on a daily basis… Read more »
In this week’s parashah we find Yaakov Avinu offering sacrifices to the G-d of his father, Yitzcak. The mention of Yitzchak, rather than Avraham, leads Rashi to comment (based on the Midrash) that a person is obligated in the honor of his father to a greater degree than that of his grandfather. We take the opportunity to discuss the concept of honoring one’s grandparents. Is there an obligation to honor one’s grandparents, and what is the extent of the obligation? Does the obligation apply even after a parent’s death? Does it apply equally to paternal and maternal grandparents? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.
We find that when Yaakov sleeps at Har Hamoriah 28:20 (וַיִּדַּר יַעֲקֹב, נֶדֶר לֵאמֹר: אִם-יִהְיֶה אֱלֹקים עִמָּדִי, וּשְׁמָרַנִי בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ, וְנָתַן-לִי לֶחֶם לֶאֱכֹל, וּבֶגֶד לִלְבֹּשׁ). That… Read more »
29:32 When Rebbi’s oldest son was born, Rebbi wanted to name him after Rav Elya Chazan which he did. There happened to be a Zeidy R’ Elya on Rebbi’s… Read more »
29:35 The Tur Al Hatoirah and Rabbeinu B’rachye brings it as well. When Leah gives birth, she names her fourth child Yehuda. It says in the Posuk,… Read more »
Introduction One of the Rabbinic prohibitions connected to the melacha of bishul (cooking) is the prohibition of Shehiya, leaving uncooked or partially cooked food on an open flame from before… Read more »
This week’s article we discuss the issue of Kiddush, and in particular the question of which beverages can be used for Kiddush. When is it permitted to make Kiddush on beer, and other beverages? Can whisky be used for Kiddush, and how much needs to be drunk? Can one make Kiddush on bread? These questions, and more, are discussed below.
Halacha Talk Pikuach Nefesh on Shabbos One of the basic foundations of halacha is that saving a life supercedes every mitzvah in the Torah, with the exception of forbidden relationships,… Read more »
1:16 The Posuk says אֶת-הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל, לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם. The Michtoim Eliyahu says an incredible thing. He says the Yoid’ai Dina, the ones who understand know, the word Gadol as used… Read more »
Rav Baruch Rubanwitz a Dayan in the Beis Hahora’ah Travel Fruits, vegetables, fish and treif knives Fresh fruits and vegetables grown in chutz la’aretz are kosher whether bought whole or… Read more »
Rav Baruch Rubanwitz a Dayan in the Beis Hahora’ah The Chofetz Chaim recommends setting aside one-third of one’s maaser money to be used for loans. One fulfills… Read more »
This week’s article discusses the production techniques of a Shofar, and addresses the halachic issues that arise from the method. In particular, the article assesses the question of changing the form of the Shofar (done by immersing the Shofar in hot water), and the question of stopping up holes in the Shofar. What are the ramifications of these processes for the kashrus of the Shofar, and why indeed is kashrus certification important for those wishing to purchase a Shofar?
This week’s Q & A addresses the question of eating spicy foods on Rosh Hashanah.
When called to the Torah, two blessings are recited. In the second, we bless Hashem for “giving us a true Torah; and the life of the world you planted in… Read more »