Halachah

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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Sending Packages on Shabbat or Yom Tov

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I often send packages with UPS. May I have them do a pick up on Shabbat or Yom Tov, when everything was done from beforehand, and they take it without my involvement? Answer: There are two main issues to deal with: whether they are considered doing work on your behalf; whether there is a problem ...

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Whose Minhag About Being Chazan Should an Avel Follow?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I was in an (Ashkenazi) shul on Rosh Chodesh morning, when a visitor who is an avel asked if he could be chazan for Shacharit or whether there were other avelim. The gabbai said that there were no other avelim but that normally avelim are not chazanim on Rosh Chodesh. The avel said that he ...

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Halachic Consequences of Use of Medical Marijuana

by R. Daniel Mann Question: After years of unsuccessful ‘conventional’ treatment for debilitating pain, the medical marijuana my doctor has prescribed for me has proven more effective and with lesser side effects. My license is only for “leaves,” not pills or oil. Obviously, I can’t smoke on Shabbat, so I baked a batch of “cannabis brownies” to eat. These take ...

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Kabbalat Shabbat of Part of the Community

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My community has a small minyan for Kabbalat Shabbat that accepts Shabbat early, and no second minyan (there is a larger minyan for the rest of Shabbat). Must I accept Shabbat at the time the early minyan does, which is sometimes difficult for me? Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 263:12) rules, based on the ...

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Stopping Kohen Before Second Aliya

by R. Daniel Mann Question: The gabbai did not realize that a levi was present in shul and called on the kohen to have a second aliya. As the kohen was about to start, the levi made his presence known. Was the levi supposed to replace the kohen in that case? Answer: The halacha is that it depends. The Shulchan ...

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Paying for Job One Thought Was Free

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My child’s friend (under bar mitzva) has joined my son in helping me with various chores and projects. He has asked many times if I will pay him and I say, “No.” I have never demanded him to help, although I appreciate it. Now he has come to me with the claim that I owe ...

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Nichum Aveilim by Phone and by Email

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If it is difficult for me to do nichum aveilim in person, may I do it by phone or by email, and is one better than the other? Answer: Nichum aveilim is on the Rambam’s (Avel 14:1) list of Rabbinic obligations that are fulfillments of the Torah commandment to love one’s friend like himself. The ...

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Berachot on Snacks and Drinks Throughout a House

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When I am home for extended periods, I take snacks and drinks on no particular schedule, and I move from room to room and floor to floor. A similar situation exists at work, where I am based in one office but also go to other rooms. Should I make berachot each time I eat or ...

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Respect for the Elderly

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is one required to give special respect to an individual between 60 and 70 years old? I remember that one stands up only for those over 70. Answer: While we should be respectful of people in general and certainly older people, the specific mitzva regarding older people is standing for them. The Torah commands: “Stand up ...

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