Halachah

Adding Salt to Hot Food on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In our home, the health concerns of some and the taste concerns of others clash in regard to salt in our food. If I cook with less salt, may people add salt to their soup or cholent on Shabbat? Answer: We will discuss the issues that impact the different permutations of the question. The gemara ...

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Giving Ma’aser Years Later

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Over the years, I have received cash gifts for birthdays, bar mitzva, etc. and never gave ma’aser kesafim (=mk) from them. I would like to do so now but do not remember the exact amounts I received. What should I do?  Answer: Indeed, the standard ruling is that in most cases, cash gifts are subject ...

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“Hineni Muchan U’mezuman” before Sefirat Ha’omer

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I am not consistent about saying “Hineni muchan u’mezuman” (=hmum) before sefirat ha’omer. Should I decide one way or the other, and which way is better?   Answer: The practice of saying “Hmum” before mitzvot, like many “extra” ritual recitations, can be traced to the Arizal (16th century) and a small elite group of his disciples ...

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Accidentally Paying Back Early

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Recently, the Citigroup “bank” mistakenly paid some $900 mil. to Revlon’s creditors before the loans were due. A few big creditors refused to return the money. A court ruled that since the creditors took the money (they were owed) in good faith, they need not return it. Citigroup cannot demand the money from Revlon and ...

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Dealing with Late Payments and Ribbit

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I, a lawyer, often need to write a contract with a clause for extra payment if the buyer pays late. How can I do this without making the client violate ribbit (usury)?  Answer: In some ways, such late payments are classic ribbit in that a person who needs to pay must pay extra because of ...

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White Wine for the Seder

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permissible to use white wine for the arba kosot (four cups at the Seder)?  Answer: We dealt previously (Living the Halachic Process, II:C-7) with the question of white wine for Kiddush, which is pertinent because poskim generally equate between the requirements of the two (compare Orach Chayim 272 and 472). The gemara (Bava ...

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Adding a Shabbat Candle after Forgetting

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I am a man living alone. Last week, I forgot to light Shabbat candles. Must I light an extra one from now on?   Answer: The Rama (Orach Chayim 263:1) accepts the minhag presented by the Maharil (Hilchot Shabbat 1) that if a woman forgets to light Shabbat candles one week, she must add one from ...

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Attaching a Mezuza to a Door Leading to Nowhere

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We are adding a floor to our house. At first, we will access it from the house, but we may eventually make it a separate unit with access via stairs from the street. Therefore, we made a door on the side of the street – during construction it is accessed by a temporary ramp, but ...

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Purim Meshulash

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Could you please review some of the rules and rationale of the practices of Purim Meshulash (Triple Purim) in Yerushalayim? [This is a re-edited repeat from 15 years ago.] Answer: When the fifteenth of Adar, celebrated as Purim in cities that were walled at the time of Yehoshua (notably including Yerushalayim), falls on Shabbat, when ...

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