Author Archives: Daniel Mann

This column is produced on behalf of Eretz Hemdah by Rabbi Daniel Mann. Rabbi Mann is a Dayan for Eretz Hemdah and a staff member of Yeshiva University's Gruss Kollel in Israel. He is a senior member of the Eretz Hemdah responder staff, editor of Hemdat Yamim and the author of Living the Halachic Process, volumes 1 and 2 and A Glimpse of Greatness.

Pressuring a Store to Take Back Purchase

R. Daniel Mann Question: I bought something in a store and wanted to return it. The customer service person was reluctant to take it back, but I was persistent and she eventually agreed to it. Was it permitted for me to handle it as I did, or did I violate lo tachmod (I heard in a shiur that you can ...

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The Necessity to See the Moon Before Kiddush Levana

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Last week clouds covered the moon after some of us began Kiddush Levana. Can the remainder rely on their “testimony” to join the beracha?   Answer: Many early sources (Yerushalmi, Berachot 9:2; Sanhedrin 42a, in some texts; Rambam, Berachot 10:16; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 426:1) present the seeing of the moon as the presumed prompt for making ...

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A Kohen Serving Others

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I am a kohen who likes to fit in with others. When I lend a helping hand, occasionally someone tells me that I need not or should not because I am a kohen. Should I listen to them?   Answer: The Torah (Vayikra 21:8) writes about a kohen “v’kidashto” (you shall sanctify him), from which Chazal ...

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Tefillin Prepared by Children under Bar Mitzva

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Several years ago, when I was 11, my (Orthodox) shul brought in a person who makes tefillin batim (boxes) and guided several friends and me to more or less make our own tefillin. Someone questioned me as to whether the tefillin are kosher because I was not yet bar mitzva. I would rather not ask my rabbi, who ...

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Backing Out of a Verbal Offer to a Potential Worker

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I needed work done on my house – only part of the job acutely. I contacted Reuven, who came recommended; he quoted a high price. Because of the acute need, I agreed without shopping around. When he said he could only come a week later, I found Shimon to do the first part of the ...

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The Son of a Convert Feeling Looked Down Upon

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My father converted (his mother was not Jewish). I have struggled with my identity due to what I have read in the Kuzari, Maharal and Kabbalistic and Chassidic works, which seem to view gerim as lesser than born Jews. Does Judaism view someone like me as somewhat defective?  Answer: You are wise to seek information ...

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When to Say Yehiyu L’ratzon

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Does Yehiyu L’ratzon (=YL) come before or after Elokai Netzor (=EN) and/or personal requests at the end of Shemoneh Esrei (=SE)?   Answer: The gemara (Berachot 4b) cites R. Yochanan as instructing to recite the pasuk “Hashem sefatai tiftach …” (=HST) (Tehillim 51:17) in the beginning of SE and “Yehiyu l’ratzon …” (ibid. 19:15) at its ...

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Davening for a Friend on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I regularly daven that my friend will find a shidduch. May I do so, mentioning her name, on Shabbat?  Answer: After seeing ostensibly conflicting sources on making requests of Hashem on Shabbat and seeing some distinctions that poskim raise, we can address your question about your friend’s shidduch needs.  The Yerushalmi (Shabbat 15:3) forbids davening ...

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Taking Out a Sefer Torah for a Child to See

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My two-year old loves sifrei Torah and when he is with me in the Beit Midrash, he is sometimes adamant that I take one out and show him the writing. May I do that?   Answer: One must treat a sefer Torah with great respect (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 282:1), but the halachot mentioned there do ...

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Corona Policies and Clarifications for Yom Kippur

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We will review some practical issues for Yom Kippur that are likely to come up this year, in the shadow of Corona. Although local rabbis will address many of them and public policy may change, we assume our discussion will be helpful.   Answer: 1. Pushing oneself to daven with a minyan – Regarding most of ...

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