Halachah

Walking in Israel

by R. Daniel Mann Question: What are the parameters of the idea that every 4 amot one walks in Eretz Yisrael is a mitzva? Is it only to new places? Does one have to walk on foot? Answer: We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we were not able to find any classical or semi-classical ...

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When to Say Malei

by R. Gil Student I. Days Without Malei The Mishnah (Mo’ed Katan 27a) discusses when we eulogize someone before burial and when refrain from doing so. On days of communal happiness, a sad eulogy evokes feelings contrary to spirit of the day. Among those days are Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and Purim. Later customs developed regarding lesser practices, such as the ...

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Stretching Halakhah For An Agunah

by R. Gil Student Extreme cases demand special treatment. The Sages of the Talmud recognized this and allowed otherwise invalid witnesses to testify on behalf of a classical agunah, a woman whose husband has disappeared (as opposed to today’s colloquial reference to a recalcitrant spouse). Defining the husband as deceased allows the agunah to remarry, freeing her from permanent captivity ...

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Tosefet Yom Kippur

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When and how should one accept Yom Kippur? Answer: We wrote (see Living the Halachic Process III, C-4) that there are two or three elements of tosefet Shabbat (adding on to Shabbat). 1) One should cease doing melacha before Shabbat begins; 2) If one accepts Shabbat earlier than required, (at least many elements of) Shabbat ...

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When is Shabbat Over?

by R. Yaakov Hoffman Determining when Shabbat concludes has always been a weekly necessity for observant Jews. Thus, one might assume that everyone ends Shabbat at more or less the same time. In actuality, there is a great deal of variation. Some people commence weekday activities on Saturday night 40 minutes after sunset, while others wait longer—some as long as ...

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Paying for Unscheduled Entertainment

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I witnessed the following scenario years ago and have wondered about the halacha. During a wedding, a talented entertainer dressed in full costume with remote-controlled dancing puppets burst onto the dance floor.  He gave a performance, which the guests thoroughly enjoyed, for 10 minutes. Each set of parents assumed the other had arranged and paid ...

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