Author Archives: Eliezer Melamed

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed is Head of Yeshivat Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish Law. His works include the Peninei Halacha series on Jewish law and a popular weekly column "Revivim" in the Besheva newspaper. Some of Rabbi Melamed's books are currently being translated into English. These articles are excerpts from the authorized translations, with occasional brief introductions by the editor.

How Binding is Minhag?

by R. Eliezer Melamed Minhagei Avot “Rabbi, the issue of minhagei avot (custom of one’s fathers) really bothers me, and I don’t know what to do. My family emanated from Germany. The customs in our house followed the traditions of our ancestors – for example, to wash our hands before Kiddush on Shabbat, and keep three hours between meat and milk. As you know, ...

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Prayers

by R. Eliezer Melamed The Men of the Great Assembly instituted the prayers and the blessings (Berakhot 33a). They set the wording of the Shemoneh Esrei and formulated all the berakhot, including those recited before and after the recitation of Shema (Birkhot Keri’at Shema)and Birkhot Ha-nehenin (blessings recited upon deriving pleasure from something). They also instituted the recitation of the ...

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Yom HaAtzmaut as a Lasting Holiday

by R. Eliezer Melamed Excerpted with permission from the official English translation of Peninei Halakha, Zemanim 4:3-5. Day of Salvation On Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), the Jewish people were delivered from bondage to freedom – from subjugation to the kingdoms of the world, to political independence. This also brought about an actual resurrection from death to life. Until then, we were ...

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When To Get Married

by R. Eliezer Melamed At What Age are Men Obligated to Marry? Although young Jewish males become obligated to fulfill all the mitzvot at the age of 13, our Sages said that a man should get married at the age of 18, but no later than 20. There are two main reasons for this: A. Torah Study Before marrying, a ...

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Blocked: Three Steps Back

by R. Eliezer Melamed When taking the customary three steps back after finishing the silent prayer, you must take care not to disturb others by walking too close. If so someone is praying nearby, you might have to wait patiently for him to finish. The law is as follows for someone who has finished praying: if the person still praying ...

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Before the Shacharit Prayer

by Eliezer Melamed Greetings Before Prayer From the time of amud hashachar it is forbidden for a person to walk to the doorstep of his friend, his father, or his rabbi and greet him with a hello or address him in any other way. If he does, he shows that he is ascribing more importance to that person than to ...

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Electric Chanukah Lights

All types of oils and wicks are kosher for Chanukah candles, even those that are unusable for Shabbat candles. After all, the purpose of Shabbat candles is to illuminate the house, and if they do not light well, there is concern that one may tilt a candle to improve its light and thus desecrate the Sabbath. Therefore, the Sages prohibited ...

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Dealing With Different Prayer Formats

I. In What Cases Is One Permitted to Change His Nusach? As I discussed elsewhere, one must maintain his family’s minhag. The Chachamim based this statement on the verse, “Al titosh torat imecha,” meaning, “Do not abandon your mother’s teachings” (Proverbs 1:8). However, this custom is no more important than other laws, and therefore it is often superseded. For example, ...

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The Rosh Chodesh Meal

Rosh Chodesh is an underappreciated monthly celebration, often neglected due to frequency and ignorance. Rosh Chodesh is among the holidays on which it is appropriate to rejoice. However, there is no explicit commandment to rejoice on Rosh Chodesh by partaking in festive meals. While it is meritorious to have special meals on the day, one is not obligated to do ...

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The Current Status of the Minor Fasts

Guest post by R. Eliezer Melamed R. Eliezer Melamed is Head of Yeshivat Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish law. His works include the Peninei Halachah series on Jewish law and a popular weekly column Revivim. The following is the authorized translation of Peninei Halachah, Zemanim 7:1. The first paragraph was added by the editor. Is there an ...

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