Halachah

Mezuza for a Balcony

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Summary after follow-up questions: The apartment we are moving into has an open balcony (mirpeset), accessed only by our living room, whose main functions are “taking in” the air, sun, and view, and presumably for kids to play. (It is not for a sukka because most of it is covered by a neighbor’s mirpeset.) Its ...

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The Power of Vinegar

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I made pareve cucumber salad in a fleishig eino ben yomo (not used in 24 hours) container. About an hour later, I used a milchig serving spoon, which then stayed in it for about a half hour. What are the halachic statuses of all of the elements involved?   Answer: As is often appropriate in ...

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Counting Sefira Somewhat Early

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My shul davens Mincha right before sunset and Ma’ariv right after it. During the sefira period, may I rely on sefirat ha’omer done at that time?   Answer: We find different starting times for mitzvot of the night/next halachic day. The time for evening Kri’at Shema is tzeit hakochavim (=tzhk; the emergence of three stars) ...

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How Many K’zeitim and Why?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I have heard that the mitzva of eating matza was supposed to be to eat one k’zayit but that it became a mitzva to eat five k’zeitim. Is that true, and if so, how and why is that? Answer: There is no individual mitzva to eat five k’zeitim of matza. Rather, the fact that matza ...

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Eating Matza for Health Reasons in Nisan

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I now eat matza throughout the year as a replacement for bread as a big part of reducing salt intake, on doctor’s orders. My family minhag I have always kept is to suspend eating matza from Rosh Chodesh Nisan. May I continue to eat matza until erev Pesach? Answer: The Yerushalmi (Pesachim 10:1) forbids eating ...

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Moral Culpability for Unintentional Actions on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My coordination, balance, and eyesight have deteriorated. Despite my best efforts, not infrequently on Shabbat I bump into and move muktzeh items in my small apartment. Are my accidental movements of muktzeh violations of Shabbat? If they are, I wonder about the following sad scene. A person who passionately kept Shabbat all his life suffers ...

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Hamotzi and Birkat Hamazon on Mezonot Foods

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I understand that if one eats a sufficient amount of food whose beracha is Mezonot (=mezonot), he recites Hamotzi and Birkat Hamazon (=BHM) on it. Do bread and mezonot combine to comprise the required amount when each separately lacks a shiur? How about different types of mezonot, e.g., cake and oatmeal? Answer: The gemara (Berachot ...

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Purim on Motzaei Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: What should we know about the transition from Shabbat to Purim this year (outside Yerushalayim)? Answer: There are no major issues, but there are a few that are worthwhile to raise. Normally, it is forbidden to eat a half hour before the time for Megilla reading (Mishna Berura 692:15; see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 235:2), ...

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Baruch Shem… at the Wrong Time

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Putting on tefillin, I (an Ashkenazi), after reciting “… l’haniach tefillin” and fastening the shel yad, recited “Baruch shem k’vod malchuto l’olam va’ed” (=bskmlv) instead of after putting on the shel rosh. What should I have done at that point? Answer: The gemara (Menachot 36a) states that one makes one beracha on tefillin but makes ...

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Reattaching Ripped Tzitzit

by R. Daniel Mann Question: One of my tzitzit strings ripped so that it was very short. May I tie the ripped part to the stub to restore it to legal length? Answer: According to your description, the tzitzit are kosher without reattachment, as we will explain. If the other tzitzit are of kosher length (details are not our focus) ...

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