Halachah

Taking Tablets to Aid Fasting

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permitted/proper to take pills before Yom Kippur that improve one’s fasting on Yom Kippur?   Answer: Clearly, while the Torah commands “v’initem et nafshoteichem” (afflict yourselves) on Yom Kippur (Vayikra 23:27), the command’s operative meaning is to refrain from eating and drinking (Yoma 74b). One fully violates this prohibition only by ingesting food through ...

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One or Two Breaths?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I will be blowing shofar in an Ashkenazi minyan. What should I be doing about blowing tashrat (tekia-shevarim-teruah-tekia) – with neshima achat (=na – shevarim and teruah with “one breath”) or shtei neshimot (= sn – a significant break between them)? Answer: The gemara (Rosh Hashana 34a) derives the need for three sets of shofar ...

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Does Pruzbol Ruin the Ability to Fulfill Shemittat Kesafim?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My community has a project that in our pruzbol (=prz – a mechanism to obviate shemittat kesafim (=sk)), one excludes a loan given through a gemach, upon which we fulfill the mitzva of sk (voiding loans at the end of Shemitta). Why can’t the prz apply to everything, and I still fulfill the mitzva by ...

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Fulfilling Parashat Zachor on Ki Teitzei

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I heard a chumra that during a leap year, with 13 months between readings of Parashat Zachor, one should have in mind to fulfill the mitzva of zechirat Amalek during the reading of those p’sukim in Ki Teitzei. Should I do that (shuls do not usually announce it)? Answer: The 13 month “concern” occurs the ...

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Tasting Meat Liquids

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When I cook for Shabbat, I like to taste the chicken soup and gravies to make sure they are properly spiced. Does that “make me fleishig”? Answer: In many areas of Halacha, such a question would be easier to decide conclusively, but for whatever reason, Klal Yisrael shies away from leniency regarding meat and milk. ...

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Chazan Having Trouble Taking Three Steps Back

by R. Daniel Mann Question: As chazan, I was unable to take three steps back after my silent Shemoneh Esrei because someone was davening close behind me even when the gabbai signaled me to start chazarat hashatz. What should I have done at that point? Answer: The situation should not have occurred, as a slow davener or one who starts ...

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A Shul Kiddush as the “Third” Meal

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Can I count the cake and other foods I eat at a “shul Kiddush,” followed by a regular Shabbat meal at home, as the second and third meals of Shabbat? Answer: The question arises only if one is lenient on what constitutes seuda shlishit. The gemara (Shabbat 117b) derives from the pasuk about the manna ...

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Making Changes to Shabbat Clock on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one make changes on Shabbat (and which ones?) to the settings on a Shabbat clock that is connected to electrical appliances?   Answer: The use of Shabbat clocks, even without making changes, used to be debated (see Yabia Omer III, Orach Chayim 18; Igrot Moshe, OC IV:60), but according to the consensus that we ...

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Leather Arch Supports on Tisha B’av

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May I wear leather arch supports in my non-leather shoes on Tisha B’av?  Answer: Most of the sources on the prohibition of wearing shoes relate to Yom Kippur, but the halachot are mainly the same for Tisha B’av (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 550:16). The simple answer to your question is that arch supports are ...

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Family Name as Alternative for a Ketuba Witness

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Must witnesses on a ketuba sign with their father’s name (Ploni ben Ploni)? Can one instead use his first and last name? This could be valuable for a convert or someone whose father is someone else than what people think and is embarrassed about the truth. Answer: The discussion about how a witness is to ...

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