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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Participation in a Siyum by Skype

by R. Daniel Mann Question: On Erev Pesach, I will be in a small Jewish community that will not have a siyum. Is it permitted for me – a bechor[1]Firstborn. – to break the ta’anit bechorot[2]The fast of the firstborn. based on a siyum[3]The completion of a significant section of Torah. in which I “participate” via Skype?  Answer: In the ...

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“G” Dash “D”?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Some people write Hashem’s Name in English as “G-d.” Is that necessary, or are the halachot of Hashem’s Name only in Hebrew? If a Name can be in any language, then isn’t “G-d” another recognized form to write Hashem’s Name and have the same problem? Answer: What to consider a Name of Hashem is significant ...

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Drinking during Davening

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I showed my surprise to a serious young man who was drinking coffee during Shacharit. He said it helps him daven and is permitted. Can that be correct? Answer: We are not discussing one with special physical/medical needs. It is forbidden to eat before davening Shacharit (Berachot 10b), as derived (although it is probably Rabbinic) ...

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Parashat Zachor with Different Pronunciations

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My shul has always read Parashat Zachor once, with our regular havara (pronunciation). Some people now complain that we do not follow other shuls and read multiple times with different havarot to fulfill the mitzva according to more opinions and to do the mitzva properly for Sephardim. Should we change our minhag? Answer: Let us ...

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Kaddish after An’im Zemirot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In my shul, at the end of An’im Zemirot, the chazan (child) does not say “Lecha Hashem hagedula …” I understand that it is not permitted to say Kaddish after a shir (song of praise) without p’sukim. Can you provide me with sources to prove this?   Answer: To start with, we at Eretz Hemdah ...

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