Halachah

Me’ein Sheva at a Rotating Venue

by R. Daniel Mann Question: The fledgling community of which I am rabbi does not have access for Kabbalat Shabbat to the place we daven on Shabbat morning, so we have a rotation of houses for it. Should we say Me’ein Sheva (the beracha with “Magen avot…” in its midst) at Maariv?  Answer: Me’ein Sheva (=MS) is like a shortened ...

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Mechirat Chametz and Tevillat Keilim

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I never do tevillat keilim after Pesach on keilim I sell. Can that be justified? Answer: Your excellent question has been bothering Acharonim for centuries. If one follows the apparent consequences of mechirat chametz, the relevant keilim should require tevilla because when a Jew sells a kli to a non-Jew and buys it back, it ...

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Melacha Done on Yom Tov Sheni in Chutz La’aretz

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We (Israelis) will be spending Pesach at my parents’ home in chutz la’aretz. They keep the basics of the chag, especially when we are there, but do not observe Yom Tov Sheini (=YTS). May we benefit from forbidden melacha (ed. note – e.g., turning on a flame or electricity for cooking; turning on lights) they ...

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Nefilat Apayim without a Sefer Torah

by R. Daniel Mann Question: What are the rules of when one does and does not do nefilat apayim (putting one’s head down and partially covering it) during Tachanun?  Answer: The sources and depth of discussion regarding this question are underwhelming, but the background is fascinating.  Although no mishna mandates doing nefilat apayim in davening, several gemarot (including Megilla 22b ...

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Learning during Kaddish

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I give a shiur to a few people before Shacharit and aim to finish when davening begins, with Rabbi Yishmael/Kaddish D’Rabbanan. Sometimes we are not quite finished then, in which case, we try to answer Kaddish’s main recitations, although we sometimes get caught up and fail to respond. Someone complained that continuing to learn during ...

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Do All Who Ask Really Get Matanot La’evyonim?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: What is the operative result of the concept of kol haposhet yad notnim lo (= kpynl – whoever extends his hand to receive is given)? Answer: There is little discussion in the poskim on kpynl but two sources in Chazal touch on it. The Tosefta (Megilla 1:5, cited in Bava Metzia 78b), in discussing that ...

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Purchasing Tax Liens

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May a Jew purchase a tax lien when the tax delinquent is Jewish, or is that taking ribbit?  Background: In about half of US states, tax authorities auction off tax liens (unpaid taxes create liens on taxpayers’ property) to the public. After purchasing the tax lien (approximately for the amount due to the government), the ...

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Making Up a Tefilla Missed to Help the Sick

by R. Daniel Mann לעילוי נשמת יואל אפרים בן אברהם עוזיאל זלצמן ז”ל Question: I spent all afternoon in the emergency room with my mother and did not daven Mincha. Can/should I daven a second Ma’ariv as tashlumin (makeup prayer)?  Answer: The gemara (Berachot 26a) introduces the idea of tashlumin for tefillot missed “by mistake.” Those who missed intentionally are ...

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Three Views of How Zeh Gets Us Closer to God

by R. Gidon Rothstein Murder Reduces the Divine Presence in the World Mekhilta on Parshat Yitro assumes the five Dibberot on the left side of the Tablets paralleled those on the right, meaning murder parallels the declaration of Anokhi Hashem Elokekha, I am the Lord your God. Kli Yakar says a murderer reduces the Divine image and form in the world. To explain how that works, he ...

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Putting on Tallit and Tefillin in Early Morning

by R. Daniel Mann לעילוי נשמת יואל אפרים בן אברהם עוזיאל זלצמן ז”ל Question: During certain times of the year, I have to daven significantly before sunrise. What should I do about putting on tallit and tefillin (=t & t), as I start davening before the time for those mitzvot? Answer: The starting time for Kri’at Shema (Orach Chayim 58), ...

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