Halachah

Restrictions on a Former Employee

by R. Daniel Mann Question: A long-time rebbe at Yeshiva A left his job and now teaches at Yeshiva B, which caters to a similar population. May he approach Yeshiva A alumni, with whom he developed a relationship at Yeshiva A for assistance (money, ideas) in promoting his work at Yeshiva B? May he raise money for an NPO he ...

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Making Up a Skipped Beracha during Shemoneh Esrei

by R. Daniel Mann Question: After Kedusha of chazarat hashatz, the chazan went to “R’ei v’onyeinu” instead of “Ata chonen” and finished the beracha before people succeeded to correct him. He went back to “Ata chonen.” When he got up to “R’ei v’oyneinu,” he did not recite it, reasoning that it was incorrect to repeat it. Was he correct, and ...

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Davening in Front of a Mirror

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is the prohibition against davening in front of a mirror or reflexive glass a chumra or a serious halacha? Answer: The matter of not davening in front of a mirror is not a Talmudically mandated halacha, but it is modeled after, an extension, or perhaps even an application of one or more halachot of Chazal. ...

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Sefarim Under Seats

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In our shul, the seats have drawers underneath them to store chumashim, siddurim, etc. Thus, we sit over these books. Is that allowed? Answer: A few gemarot are relevant. One (Berachot 18a) forbids putting a sefer Torah under one’s saddle when riding an animal unless it is necessary to protect it. Another gemara (Menachot 32b) ...

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Moving Kugel into a Cholent Pot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May I take a kugel that was on a hot plate on Shabbat and put it into a cholent that is in a crock pot? Answer: In addition to making sure the kugel and cholent are fully cooked before the transfer, two issues need to be addressed. One issue is chazara – the prohibition on ...

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Donating a Sefer Torah to a Shul

by R. Daniel Mann Question: People who own sifrei Torah often lend them to a shul. Is there any reason they cannot donate them (which can get them a tax credit)? Answer: The 613th mitzva in the Torah is, “Write for you (plural) this song,” which refers to the Torah (see the Rambam’s formulation of Chazal’s derivation – Sefer Torah ...

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Reading Before Going to Sleep

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permissible to read a book after the bedtime Shema/Hamapil?  I like to read in bed before falling asleep, but I sometimes fall asleep and, if I have not said them beforehand, it is possible that I will sleep through the night without reciting them. Answer: Reciting the beracha of Hamapil is mandated by ...

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Short Mincha on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In my community (I am the rabbi), we daven Mincha during the week without a separate chazarat hashatz (=heiche Kedusha) because of people’s busy schedules. In the winter, we have the practice of davening Mincha of Shabbat after the shul Kiddush following Musaf. Some congregants have requested that we do short Mincha, as their wives ...

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Muktzeh during Bein Hashemashot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one “violate” muktzeh during bein hashemashot (=bhs; the time between sunset and nightfall treated as a doubt of day or night) based on the rule of sefika d’rabbanan l’kula (we are lenient in cases of doubt of a Rabbinic prohibition) even without a mitzva need. If not, why? Answer: The gemara (Eiruvin 32b) cites ...

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Interruptions during Hallel

Question: Is it and/or under what conditions is it permitted to interrupt Hallel for matters of some importance? Answer: The mishna (Berachot 13a) cites two opinions about when it is permitted to greet people during Kri’at Shema and its berachot. The factors are: whether the speaking is in the midst of a beracha or section of Kri’at Shema or between ...

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