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Jewish Law

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A question I received recently Q: If a yahrtzeit falls out in Adar - which month should it be observed on in a leap year?  A: The Shulchan Aruch says to observe it in Adar II and the Rema says Adar I.  The Vilna Gaon says to observe it in both months.  If the death occurred during a leap year, the majority opinion would seem to be to observe the yahrtzeit in the Adar it fell out in that year. I tell people that absent a family tradition - one should try to observe it in both months with the first month being the primary one for Ashkenazi Jews and the second being primary for Sephardi Jews. Rabbi Kalmar

 

Someone asked me this week Q: if one can have a non-Jew do something on Shabbat that is permitted to do - but it is preparation for after Shabbat.  A: there is a debate.  According to some (Maharsham and perhaps Pri Megadim) the issue of asking a Non-Jew to do something is only problematic where a violation of Shabbat law is occurring.  But not here where the preparation is not a technical violation of the Shabbat.  However others (Magen Avraham and Mishna Berurah) rule that one should be strict and not ask a Non-Jew to do preparation for after Shabbat.  However in the case of a great loss, there is room to be lenient.  Also, if the Non-Jew decides to do this work on their own because it is beneficial to them to do it on Shabbat, one not need protest and stop them.

 

Q: May one use an electric or battery operated light for Shabbos Candles and may one make a bracha on them?  A:  Although it is not ideal and only used in a situation where one cannot light a real fire, one may use electric light for Shabbos candles and even make a bracha on them.  Common time when one may need to do this would be in a hospital or hotel or even turning on the light in a closet when staying as a guest at another's home.
 

Q:  Someone asked me recently - What can I do about a stain that I get on my tablecloth or shirt on Shabbos? I've seen people pour water or seltzer on it to try to remove the stain.  A:  Pouring any liquid onto cloth is a violation of the melacha (forbidden category of 'work') of Melabein (whitening or laundering) and cannot be done on Shabbos.  One can remove pieces of dirt or stain with a napkin or such that is dry, but cannot try to remove the stain from the garment or tablecloth.  If the tablecloth is made from a non-absorbent material such as plastic, one may add water to the surface and then wipe up the stain.  However, one must be careful to use a large enough towel to wipe it up so that the towel does not become saturated with liquid which could lead to the melacha of sechita (squeezing our liquids).


Sabbath Mode Ovens - Someone asked me about using a Sabbath Mode oven to put food in on Shabbat. A: Sabbath Mode is a good thing to use to remove food that was put in before Shabbat from some ovens - because it turns off functions, like the light or an electronic indicator light. However, putting food directly into an oven on Shabbat itself is a practice that is generally not allowed - with a Sabbath Mode over or without. One of the advantages of the Sabbath Mode oven really can be found for the holidays and it really should be called the Yom Tov Mode oven. This is because according to some rabbis, (Rav Moshe Heineman of Baltimore prominent among them,) the Sabbath Mode may be used on a (non Sabbath) Yom Tov to turn the oven temperature inside the electronic display oven up and down. This is permitted because the display does not change at all and the oven begins to work on a random delay. For more on this topic please discuss with me anytime.

Using a Dish One Time - Question - May one use a metal or glass dish one time before it is tovelled in the mikvah?  A:  No.  This urban legend probably comes from the fact that a utensil that is a 'shimush chad paami' - a throwaway - according to Rav Moshe Feinstein (among others) does not require tevilah even if it is made from metal like throwaway aluminum pans.   There is a big debate as to whether one needs to tovel (immerse) a throwaway pan if you plan on using it more than once.  Rav Moshe allowed one to use it a few times and still call it a 'throwaway' and did not require immersion.    By the way - the colanders that came in the shul shalach manot this year do require immersion in a mikvah.

Q:  Someone asked me recently about D.E. (Dairy Equipment) which is seen on some products. 
What does it mean?  How does it affect what I can eat?

A: What it means is that this otherwise pareve product was cooked on equipment that was used for hot dairy.  Ashkenazik custom is not to eat this product with meat but one may eat this product and directly before or afterwards eat a meat product.  This holds true as well for products cooked in our own homes on meat or dairy pots or pans: we may not plan to use the otherwise 'pareve' food with the opposite meat or dairy food from the pot it was cooked in.  However, if the food had already been mixed by accident with the meat or dairy - one may still eat it.  And if one has cooked a pareve food in a dairy pot (lets say pasta) that has not been used for more than 24 hours with dairy, and then afterwards one wants to use the pasta with meat, they may do so.   This 24 hour rule holds true unless the food cooked in the pot/pan was a 'sharp' food like onion, garlic, hot peppers, lemons, pickled foods etc.  The OU does not use the designation D.E. on most of its products so one needs to verify from the OU if a product that says OU-D but seems to have no dairy products in it is in fact D.E. or really does have dairy in it.  This is a complicated and confusing area of halacha so feel free to ask your LOR about it more! rabbikalmar@asktshul.com

End of Life Series

Jewish Law - A Few Steps of Halacha Series

"A Few Steps of Halacha"

The Academy of Eliyahu taught: Anyone who studies Halachos (Jewish laws) every day has the assurance of being a person of the world to come as it says “The ways of the world are His” (Chabakuk 3:6) – do not read Halichos (ways) but Halachos (laws).
Special Holiday Version" - "Elul and Shofar" Click Here to Listen
Episode 1: "Waking up the Morning" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 1" Click Here to Listen
Episode 2: "Kippah Coverage" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 2" Click Here to Listen
Episode 3: "Talking in the Bathroom" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 3" Click Here to Listen
Episode 4: "Netilat Yadayim: Brocha On Washing When Staying Up All Night" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 4" Click Here to Listen
Episode 5: "Paying Attention to the Words" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 5" Click Here to Listen
Episode 6: "Did I Say Asher Yatzar? - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 6" Click Here to Listen
Episode 7: "Asher Yatzar: How Long Do I have to say it?" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 7" Click Here to Listen
Episode 8: "Oops...The case of the falling Tallis" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 8" Click Here to Listen
Episode 9: "Tzitzis Made From Synthetic Materials" - "Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 9" Click Here to Listen

"5 Minute Fix of Torah" with Rabbi Wes Kalmar - "Mussar Mondays"

Mussar Mondays

Monday November 4 - Click here for the link for the podcast: Mussar Mondays

Monday December 2 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Mussar Mondays - 'Oil For All Time'

Monday December 9 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Mussar Mondays - 'Sincerity in Service'

Monday December 23 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Mussar Mondays - 'Hard To Do Teshuva If You Think You've Done Nothing Wrong'

Monday December 30 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Mussar Mondays - Why Good Things Happen To Bad People

Monday January 27 2014 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Mussar Mondays - Clean from Theft

"5 Minute Fix of Torah" with Rabbi Wes Kalmar - "Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays"

Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays

Wednesday November 6, 2013 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Way of Jewish Laws Wednesdays

Wednesday November 13, 2013 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Way of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - 'Sponges and Spills on Shabbat'

Wednesday December 4, 2013 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - Squeezing Fruits and Latkes on Shabbos

Wednesday December 11, 2013 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - Early Shabbat on Asarat BiTevet?

Wednesday December 18, 2013 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - 'Is Tearing on Shabbat so Tearible???'

Wednesday January 1, 2014 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - 'Oops... spilled cholent on the tablecloth'...the Melacha of Kevisa - Laundering

Wednesday February 12, 2014 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - Peeling Fruits and Veggies on Shabbat

Wednesday February 26, 2014 - Click here for the link to the podcast: Ways of Jewish Laws Wednesdays - Women Keeping Purim

Wed, June 19 2019 16 Sivan 5779