Do All Tzitzit Knots Need to be Double?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When I tied a pair of tzitzit, I tied a double knot to the garment and for the final knot, but for the three knots in between the chulyot (subsections of string wrappings), I tied single knots. Is that sufficient?   Answer: The gemara (Menachot 39a) posits that the “upper knot” of tzitzit is a Torah-level ...

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P’sak Halacha during a Modern Pandemic – Interim View

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My own question: What observations can we make about the way halachic rulings were made and disseminated during the first stage of the coronavirus crisis?  Answer: As a “student of the history of the halachic process,” I find breathtaking the difference in the tools available in reaching halachic rulings and sharing them in today’s society ...

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Which Way to Turn at Bo’i B’shalom

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In what direction should one turn when getting up to “Bo’i B’shalom” at the end of Lecha Dodi? Many shuls seems to have confusion on the matter.   Answer: The practice of welcoming the Shabbat “bride” in a special physical manner has its roots at least a thousand years before Rav Shlomo Alkabetz wrote Lecha Dodi ...

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Use of Informal Sefira Counting to Solve Problems

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If one answers an inquiry about what day of the omer it is and does not count again that day, may he count the next day with a beracha? If yes, an onen (before funeral of close relative, who does not perform mitzvot) for a full day of sefira should be able to simulate such ...

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Washing Hands after Leaving a Hospital

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When visiting a hospital, I saw a kohen alert sign. Upon leaving, should I have done netilat yadayim due to exposure to tumah? Answer: We will first survey the point of netilat yadayim in various cases including yours.  When one becomes tameh on the level of Torah law in a manner that he needs rechitza ...

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How to Time Vatikin?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When minyanim closed, I started davening vatikin (starting Shemoneh Esrei (=SE) at hanetz hachama (sunrise=netz)). If I do not know precisely when netz is, is it better to err on the side of starting SE before or after netz?    Answer: That is a noble approach (see Living the Halachic Process II, A-5 on whether vatikin ...

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Kri’at HaTorah in the Shadow of Corona

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When minyanim are taking place with the permission of health authorities under social distancing rules, what should be done to separate “functionaries”? Answer: [This is being written as small outdoor minyanim just became re-permitted in Israel, and little has been written on the topic. Health rules may change by the time the column is read, ...

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Consequence of Removal of Sleeve from under Tefillin

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When after fastening the tefillin shel yad, I find part of my sleeve under the tefillin and pull it away, must I refasten the tefillin due to the rule of ta’aseh v’lo min ha’asuy (=tvlmh – mitzva-related actions must be performed directly)? In this case, the placement of the tefillin becomes proper not by fastening ...

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Key Accessibility for Non-Jew Who Buys Chametz

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Mechirat chametz forms ask me to identify someone with access to our key to the chametz’s location if we are away. Is this necessary considering the non-Jew never comes to get the chametz? Answer: Mechirat chametz has developed over the centuries. In the time of the Rishonim, it started to be used as an arguably ...

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