Halachah

Trying on Tefillin at Night

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one try on tefillin at night, or does that fall under the category of not putting on tefillin at night? Answer: I have not found this exact question in the poskim, so we will extrapolate based on the principles and similar cases, The gemara (Menachot 36b and several other places) cites a machloket between ...

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Davening in Front of a Mirror

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is the prohibition against davening in front of a mirror or reflexive glass a chumra or a serious halacha? Answer: The matter of not davening in front of a mirror is not a Talmudically mandated halacha, but it is modeled after, an extension, or perhaps even an application of one or more halachot of Chazal. ...

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Sefarim Under Seats

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In our shul, the seats have drawers underneath them to store chumashim, siddurim, etc. Thus, we sit over these books. Is that allowed? Answer: A few gemarot are relevant. One (Berachot 18a) forbids putting a sefer Torah under one’s saddle when riding an animal unless it is necessary to protect it. Another gemara (Menachot 32b) ...

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Kaddish For An Extended Relative

by R. Gil Student Most Jews of all backgrounds recognize the custom to recite Kaddish for a parent and attempt to observe it, even if only partially. However, the recitation of Kaddish is sometimes appropriate for a relative other than a parent. In this brief essay, we will examine the background of this practice and its practical implications. I. Kaddish ...

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Donating a Sefer Torah to a Shul

by R. Daniel Mann Question: People who own sifrei Torah often lend them to a shul. Is there any reason they cannot donate them (which can get them a tax credit)? Answer: The 613th mitzva in the Torah is, “Write for you (plural) this song,” which refers to the Torah (see the Rambam’s formulation of Chazal’s derivation – Sefer Torah ...

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Reading Before Going to Sleep

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permissible to read a book after the bedtime Shema/Hamapil?  I like to read in bed before falling asleep, but I sometimes fall asleep and, if I have not said them beforehand, it is possible that I will sleep through the night without reciting them. Answer: Reciting the beracha of Hamapil is mandated by ...

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