1) 7 floor apartment building in North America, boiler is in the basement. May a shower with warm water be taken on Shabbat?

2) May a Jew take vitamins/minerals without animal byproducts, if the bottle has no “kosher” symbol?

3) Fertility supplements (with or without kesher)?

4) Does a disabled person, living below poverty on social assistance, have to give tzedakah, when that person needs to save money for surgery and wishes to save money (future long term goal) for one day buying a place of his own. Income is around $1400 per month and expenses are rent, telephone, food, trasportation, plus Yom Tovs (Succot-lulav,Chanukah-candles,tzitzit etc.) That leaves about $50-$100 to save in a good month, plus once a year home insurance and life insurance are paid and there are unforseen expenses — does he have to give or not? And to whom? He gives to his sister and mother. Used to give to Beit Halochem, local shul, but questions large %per cent going to administration and not directly to the needy.

Thank you very much.

Answer:

1) It is not permitted to take a warm shower. This will cause the introduction of cold water into the boiler system, and effective “cook” the water. In addition, it is not permitted to take warm showers on Shabbos, even if the water is heated by a non-Jew.

2) In general, it is always preferable to have a hechsher, because one cannot know what has been added. However, for vitamins/minerals that are certified as purely of plant origin, one can be lenient where no hechsher/kashrus list is available.

3) No difference to other vitamins/minerals.

4) Somebody living beneath the poverty line, for who giving maaser will bring him deeper beneath the poverty line, does not have to give maaser. However, he should give the amoung of tzedakah he can, to the best possible causes. Certainly, family comes first if they are needy. Please see our article on maaser for further details (see https://dinonline.org/2010/08/12/laws-of-tzedakah-part-i-the-basic-obligation/, and other articles on the subject).

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