Halachah

Answering Devarim Shebekedusha During One’s Beracha

by R. Daniel Mann Question: What are the halachot regarding someone who is saying a beracha (e.g., Asher Yatzar) and then starts hearing Kaddish or Kedusha? If she can finish before “amen yehei shmei rabba” (=aysr), should she just say the beracha quickly? Answer: First, we must understand that there are two reasons not to speak external matters during a ...

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Unintentional and Innocuous Deceit

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I ordered something and had it delivered to my in-laws’ house. I forgot to mention it to them, so when it arrived, they assumed it was a gift for them and thanked me. Is it permissible to “play along” and pretend it was intended for them? Answer: One forbidden form of geneivat da’at (deceiving someone) ...

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Maintaining a Possibly Grafted Tree

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I bought property with a nectarine tree and do not know if it is grafted. What do I do with it? Answer: The main prohibition regarding tree grafting is the act of grafting – (inserting the branch (scion) of one tree into the wood (rootstock) of another tree). Actually, this prohibition is not explicit in ...

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Avinu Malkeinu When Yom Kippur Falls Out on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I understand that this year, with Yom Kippur falling out on Shabbat, we will not be saying Avinu Malkeinu, except at Ne’ila. What makes Avinu Malkeinu fitting, among all the tefillot of Yom Kippur, to be eliminated, and why is Ne’ila an exception? Answer: First, we imagine you are Ashkenazi, as most Sephardic communities do ...

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Shehecheyanu on Shofar on Second Day

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Why is it that at Kiddush on the second night of Rosh Hashana we require a new fruit in order to make Shehecheyanu but say Shehecheyanu before shofar-blowing of the second day without “help”? Answer: Usually on the second day of Yom Tov (i.e., in chutz la’aretz), Shehecheyanu is recited at Kiddush even though it ...

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When to Cut the Challah?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Does one fulfill lechem mishneh if the bread is cut, or the matza is broken, prior to the completion of the beracha? Answer: The basic question you ask is the subject of a machloket in the gemara (Berachot 39a) in regard to the preference of making a beracha on a full loaf of bread throughout ...

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Improper Table Manners?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I was at the home of very fine friends, who have a few-weeks-old baby. Soon before the meal, they put a changing pad down on the dining room table and changed the baby. I didn’t say anything, but I (like most would) found it distasteful. Is it also halachically forbidden, and should I say something? ...

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Calling a Kohen Who is a Child

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We sometimes have only one adult kohen and his son, who is under bar mitzva, doing Birkat Kohanim. In that case, should we call out “Kohanim”? Answer: The halacha that you are assuming, that someone calls “Kohanim” before Birkat Kohanim only when there are at least two kohanim, is derived by the gemara (Sota 38a) ...

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Netilat Yadayim from a Chipped Cup

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I have a cup for netilat yadayim that has a few small chips on the top of the cup. Is it kosher for that purpose? Answer: The gemara (Chulin 107a) provides some of the rules for the kli (utensil) used for netilat yadayim, including that it must be able to hold a reviit of water. ...

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Animal Experimentation

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I am working for a medical researcher, and a lot of it includes experimentation on rodents. Let’s just say that these animals’ lives are not always pleasant. Is this permitted, or is it tza’ar baalei chayim (causing pain to animals)? How should I feel about my involvement? Answer: There is a machloket in the gemara ...

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