Halachah

Davening Early on Shavuot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In a shul with many elderly members who have trouble staying up late, may we have a minyan for Ma’ariv of Shavuot before tzeit hakochavim (=tzeit)? Answer: The idea of waiting until tzeit to start Shavuot is not found in Chazal but arises first in early Acharonim, beginning with the Masat Binyamin (Chiddushei Dinim, Orach ...

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Missing the Beginning of Havdala

by R. Daniel Mann Question: This week, I did not hear the beracha of Borei Pri Hagafen during Havdala. Was I required to hear Havdala again? Answer: Clearly the most important beracha of Havdala is the final one of Hamavdil, which contains its basic content. The berachot on besamim and on fire are not crucial obligations (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim ...

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Ba’omer or La’omer?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Which is the correct version of counting the omer – “… yamim la’omer” or “… yamim ba’omer”? Is there a content difference or only a grammatical one between them? Answer: Let’s start with the simple background. Omer is the measurement of barley brought as a korban on the second day of Pesach, and it is ...

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Language in Which to Recite the Haggada

by R. Daniel Mann Question: At our seder, there will be a wide range in Hebrew proficiency and understanding of the Haggada’s texts. What language should we use to read the Haggada? Answer: The mishna (Sota 32a) lists texts that may be recited in any language, including Kri’at Shema, tefilla, Birkat Hamazon. While the Haggada is not mentioned, it is ...

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Dividing Megillat Esther Among Readers

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it proper to divide the reading of Megillat Esther among multiple baalei kri’ah? Answer: It depends what you mean by “proper,” as we will explain. The gemara’s (Megilla 21a-b) discussion of multiple ba’alei kri’ah refers to their reading at the same time, which is valid (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 290:2) although rarely done. The ...

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