Halachic Principles of Pikuach Nefesh

by R. Daniel Mann Introduction: Over the past few weeks, we have on our minds the precious need to save lives, including by “pushing off” Shabbat to enable this. We will now present some of the halachic and practical underpinnings of the laws that pikuach nefesh (saving a life) takes precedence over almost all of the Torah’s mitzvot and prohibitions.      ...

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Naming for One, Thinking of Another

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Sometimes a man dies and his widow offers family members a monetary gift if they name a baby after him. If someone wants to do so, to be nice and also for the money, but they do not want to connect their son spiritually to the deceased (let’s call him Uncle David), may they tell ...

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Dissolving Colored Pill in Contact Lens Solution on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I have instructions to put my contact lenses between uses in a solution in which one is supposed to put in a tablet, which dissolves and gives the liquid a tinge of yellow (the color has no significance). Is the dissolving or the turning of colors a halachic problem on Shabbat? Answer: Actually, if the ...

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Building a Sukka on Public Property

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one build a sukka in front of his house but on public property? Answer: Most of our discussion will focus on the ability to fulfill the mitzva, but civic considerations are crucial regarding the mitzva as well as on their own.  Rabbanan rule that one does not need to own the sukka he uses, ...

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How/When to Start Breaking Yom Kippur Fast

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I (a religious doctor) am often consulted about those who cannot fast all of Yom Kippur. Is there a halachic preference for such people to start eating/drinking earlier “with shiurim” (small installments) or to wait longer but then necessarily have the amount of full “violation.”  Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 618:7, based on Kritot ...

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Shofar Blowing during the Silent Amida

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I will be the chazan for Musaf at a small, quite new minyan. The one thing that is “foreign” to me, is that they blow 30 kolot (blasts) during the silent Amida (=Amida). They are willing to not blow shofar for my sake, since the existing group anyway has mixed feelings about the minhag. Should/may ...

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The Chazan’s Pre-Birkat Kohanim Practice

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In chutz la’aretz, I was taught that the chazan says the whole Elokeinu Veilokei Avotainu prayer quietly except for calling out the word “kohanim.” In Israel, someone else says “kohanim.” Does the chazan still recite the whole prayer quietly? What is the logic of the two practices? Answer: The main point of the prayer of ...

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Whose Responsibility Is Raising the Wall?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I built my house years before the next-door property was developed, with an approximately meter-high wall between properties. My property is 2 meters higher than the next one; now they are excavating to build the other house, there will be a 5-meter drop, which I feel makes it dangerous for my children. [He seems to ...

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An Ashkenazi Joining Sephardi Selichot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My neighborhood’s small Sephardi beit knesset has difficulty maintaining an (early-morning) Elul Selichot minyan. I (an Ashkenazi) have joined them a few times during Elul and found it uplifting, but someone claimed that I cannot count for a minyan because according to my minhag, I am not obligated in Selichot then. Do I count toward ...

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Can One Fix an Unwarranted Beracha on Netilat Yadayim?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I came out of the bathroom and did netilat yadayim for that purpose, but accidentally I recited the beracha of netilat yadayim. I tried to salvage the situation by indeed eating bread as fast as I could. Did that help? Answer: We wash our hands after using the bathroom without a beracha because it is ...

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