Chukas – Kohanim At Kivrei Tzaddikim

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.

Making Up a Minyan with Non-Observant Jews

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.

30/05/2013

“Every Mother and Daughter” – Should Daughters Light Shabbos Candles?

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.

Parshas Vayeitzei 5772

  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 »

Dear Reader

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.

07/09/2012

Moadim Musings- PURIM

SAVE YOUR PRIDE, NOT YOUR HIDE! ויאמר מרדכי להשיב אל אסתר. אל תדמי בנפשך להמלט בית המלך מכל היהודים, כי אם החרש תחרישי בעת הזאת רוח והצלה יעמוד ליהודים ממקום… Read more »

08/03/2012

Kiddush on Beverages Other Than Wine

In 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 on 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 in this week’s article.

Parshas Va’eira 5770

8:8 & 8:26 ח. וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה וַיִּצְעַק מֹשֶׁה אֶל יְ־רוָ־ר עַל דְּבַר הַצְפַרְדְּעִים אֲשֶׁר שָׂם לְפַרְעֹה: כו. וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה וַיֶּעְתַּר אֶל יְ־רוָ־ר: Regarding the Tzefardai’a… Read more »