Interrupting Shabbat Meal for Shema/Sefira

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When we make early Shabbat, is it better, when nighttime falls, to recite Kri’at Shema and sefirat ha’omer during the meal or to wait until after the meal? Answer: We will be assuming you were correct in starting the meal. To make that clear cut, you should have started the meal at least a half-hour ...

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Disposing of Tea Light Leftovers

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I read that one should not throw directly into the garbage mitzva-related objects. Should I wrap in plastic the leftover shell and wax residue from “tea light” Shabbat candles?  Answer: [We have discussed questions about respect for objects involved in mitzvot (tzitzit, netilat yadayim cups, a “yad”), and so relying on electronic access, we will ...

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A Minor Doing the Concluding Barchu

by R. Daniel Mann Question: At Ma’ariv, a boy under bar mitzvah recited Kaddish Yatom. When he finished, people told him to say Barchu as well. Was that proper? If not, should I have answered?  Answer: A mishna (Megilla 24a) seems to address your question. Whereas a katan may get an aliya, he may not serve as chazan or be ...

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Mechayei Hameitim after Long Separation

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I will soon see my son-in-law after a more than two year Corona-forced separation. We have been in frequent contact and have seen each other often on Zoom. Should I say the beracha, “… mechayei hameitim” (Who brings the dead to life)? Answer: The gemara (Berachot 58b) says that upon seeing a friend after separation, after ...

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Mistakes in Kiddush of Yom Tov that Falls on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I sometimes get confused in the Kiddush of Yom Tov that falls on Shabbat. What does one do if he did not say all of the correct elements? Answer: There are too many permutations to touch all of them, but we will try to address the main ones, with a focus on likely mistakes. Most ...

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Folded Over Matza

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I have heard that it is a problem if part of a matza is folded over (matza kefula). How much of a problem is this, and what do I do about it? Answer: The gemara and early Rishonim do not speak explicitly about such a problem. However, the late Ashkenazi Rishon, the Terumat Hadeshen (I:127), ...

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Weak Prohibition Vs. Beracha L’vatala

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If someone makes a beracha on a milchig food and then realizes that he is fleishig, should he eat a little of it to avoid a beracha l’vatala? Answer: The dilemma of choosing the lesser of two evils arises in many cases.  The gemara (Shabbat 4a) rules that one who sticks dough to a hot ...

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Raffle on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one hold a raffle on Shabbat? Answer: The mishna (Shabbat 148b) allows using a lottery on Shabbat to give out food servings to household members, as long as it is not to give the “winners” bigger pieces than the “losers.” The gemara (ibid. 149a) permits lotteries only within the household because others are assumed ...

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Batim of Tefillin on the Floor on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: The “retired” tefillin batim (in which the parshiyot go) I keep in a closet fell to the floor on Shabbat, inside a flimsy plastic bag. I intuited that it was better to pick them up than to leave them in disgrace on the floor. Was that correct? Answer: There are ample sources on the premise ...

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Listening to the Megilla with Limited Concentration

by R. Daniel Mann Question: It troubles me that I often daydream and/or doze off for a few words during Megilla reading. Do I fulfill the mitzva under those circumstances? Answer: You sound like most people. While almost impossible to pinpoint the level of concentration one needs to fulfill the mitzva, sharing what we do know gives a reasonable picture.   ...

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