When to Attend a Levaya

by R. Daniel Mann Question: It is difficult for me (a part-time working woman with school-age children) to know when to attend a levaya (lit., accompanying the deceased) of people I know but am not close with. Can you give me guidelines? Answer: It is more feasible to provide background and perspective than exact guidelines.  The basic sources seem clear. ...

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Is a Difficult to Remove Residue a Chatzitza?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I learned that due to the way we use our oven rack, it requires tevila (beyond our scope), but by now, it has baked-on residue. With hard work and chemical cleaners, I removed most of the residue, but it is not fully clean. May I do tevilat keilim now? Answer: The laws of chatzitza (impediments ...

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Breaking a Plate with a Religious Text

by R. Daniel Mann Eretz  Hemdah has begun a participatory Zoom class – “Behind the Scenes with the Vebbe Rebbe” – an analytical look at the sources, methodology, and considerations behind our rulings, with Rav Daniel Mann. Contact [email protected] to join while places are open. Question: A friend made an artistic plate to break at my daughter’s engagement party. The pasuk, “ahavat ...

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A Renter Having a Zecher L’churban

by R. Daniel Mann Question: The house I am renting does not have an unpainted segment of wall as a zecher lachurban (a remembrance that the Beit Hamikdash has been destroyed). Should I make one?  Answer: The gemara (Bava Batra 60b) is the source of the halacha (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 56:1) to leave an amah X amah of ...

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Measuring the Amount One Can Eat/Drink

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I will need to drink on Yom Kippur in shiurim (small amounts at a time to lower the violation). Should I prepare the portions of liquid beforehand in order to not have to measure on Yom Kippur? Answer: There is a Rabbinic prohibition to measure things (medida) on Shabbat and Yom Tov. It comes up ...

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Children Hearing Shofar Blowing

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Must children hear shofar blowing, at what age, when, and how many? Answer: As a rule, boys are obligated to fulfill positive mitzvot on a Rabbinic level from the age of chinuch (Sukka 42a), and this includes shofar (Arachin 2b). (There is a fundamental machloket whether the child is himself obligated in the mitzva or ...

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Buying Land for Shemitta

by R. Daniel Mann Question: A group provides the opportunity to buy agricultural land in Israel for the Shemitta year. Is that worthwhile?  Answer: We start with an overview of the agricultural mitzvot of Shemitta along with a brief analysis of the significance of obtaining land ownership.  The Rambam (Lo Ta’aseh 220-223) lists four such negative commandments, about: 1) working the land; 2) tending to ...

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Air Conditioner Drain Pipe during Shemitta

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In preparation for the upcoming Shemitta year, should I reroute my air conditioner drain pipe so that it does not drip in an area around vegetation? Answer: While watering is not one of the four melachot that are forbidden by the Torah on Shemitta (planting/sewing, pruning, reaping, and harvesting), watering is forbidden Rabbinically (Mo’ed Katan ...

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Playing Darts on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Can we play darts on Shabbat? (Additional information requested – the darts are classic ones that pierce the board’s surface; the board hangs loosely from a nail in the wall; in between uses, the darts often stay on the board.)    Answer: There are several possible problems to resolve before we can permit this. Tofer (sewing) ...

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Moving a Tzedaka Box on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I, a gabbai, found on Shabbat morning that the tzedaka box was on the bima, where it would get in the way and/or get knocked off during laining. Is it permitted to move the tzedaka box in that situation?  Answer: Review the basic rules of tiltul min hatzad (indirect moving of muktzeh) will allow us ...

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