31 03, 2022

Starting Seder Earlier

March 31st, 2022|Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Marriage and Family, Orach Chayim, Pesach, Uncategorized|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

What is the earliest time for the first cup for the start of the seder

ANSWER

I would definitely follow the Gra (Biur HaGra on SA OH 261:2; MB ad. loc., no. 23) here and start as early as 14 minutes after sunset. 

The only reason not to start earlier than tzeit is the Terumat HaDeshen (137) – then paskened by the Shulchan Aruch OC 472:1 – who holds that just as matzah can only be at (full) […]

2 05, 2021

Does a Chuppah Needs Poles?

May 2nd, 2021|Even HaEzer, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Marriage and Family|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Can a chuppah hang from the ceiling? Is it sufficient for it to be a canopy over the couple or must it have poles to create four invisible walls through Tzurot HaPetach or some such mechanism?

ANSWER

Sephardim do not use poles, and just hold a tallit over the chatan and kallah. Ashkenazim do have poles. This seems to be rooted in the debate whether a chuppah is a פריסת סעיף על הכלה or if it is a בית חתן. Even though בית will be satisfied later by the yichud room, there is a need to do the chuppah/nisuin now to make the Sheva Berakhot. Some argue that even […]

6 03, 2021

Being Mesadeir Kiddushin for Saturday Night Wedding for a Non-Shomeir Shabbat Couple

March 6th, 2021|Amirah LeGoy, Marriage and Family, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|

QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

I was asked to be Mesadeir Kiddushin on Saturday night for a non-Shomeir Shabbat couple, either at my shul building or at a hotel. The wedding would be 90 minutes (120 minutes?) after Shabbat, such that no hakhanah/melakhah is required to be done on Shabbat, but, that said, hakhanah/melakhah likely will be done by the couple. Do you think it is okay to be involved in/be Mesadeir for such a wedding? Would it be appropriate for such a wedding to be held at a shul?

ANSWER

I think if it is being done outside the shul, and you give them directions, which they will […]

25 02, 2021

Megillah Reading between Shekiah and Tzeit HaKokhavim

February 25th, 2021|Marriage and Family, Orach Chayim, Purim|

QUESTION

New York, NY

If we take our baby to an early reading that’s between Shekiah and Tzeit, do my husband and I have to also take turns going to readings that are actually at night while the baby sleeps?

ANSWER

The first question is whether someone is yotzei during Bein HaShemashot. See Shulchan Arukh OC 692:4 where for a case of serious ones or illness, we allow one to read even from Plag! But see Mishnah Berurah and Biur Halakha, where the Achronim are pretty machmir in a normal case, even regarding Bein HaShemashot. That being said, I think that if it started 14 minutes after Shekiah, […]

7 05, 2020

Sefirat Ha’Omer: Whose Minhag Counts?

May 7th, 2020|Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Sefirah|

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (1920-2013), born in Iraq and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, was the preeminent Sephardi posek of the previous generation. His responsa are collected in two multi-volume works: Yabia Omer (11 volumes), which contain his lengthy responsa, and Yachaveh Da’at (6 volumes), which contain his short-form responsa based on a weekly radio show of his where he answered listeners’ questions. Rav Ovadia Yosef is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the entirety of Rabbinic literature, from the Talmud through all later-day halakhic authorities.  In his responsa, he presents in a highly organized, clear and […]

5 06, 2019

Accepting the Mitzvot as a Convert: Does it Matter What You’re Really Thinking?

June 5th, 2019|Geirut and Geirim, Marriage and Family, Shavuot|

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Shmelkes (1828-1904) was one of the leading rabbis in the latter part of the 19th century in Eastern Europe. He was the head of the rabbinical court in Lvov (Lemberg) from 1869-1893. His Beit Yiẓḥak (6 vols., 1875–1908), on the four parts of the Shulkḥan Arukh, was widely acclaimed. His opinion on halakhic questions was sought by many prominent contemporary scholars. Rabbi Schmelkes made a number of particularly influential rulings in new areas of Jewish law. Regarding copyrights, he argued that an author’s exclusive right to publish their manuscript derived from the Jewish law of unfair competition and the author’s property right […]

7 02, 2019

Abortion in Halakha: A Study Guide

February 7th, 2019|Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Niddah, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Science and Medical Ethics, Sex|

Guided Questions for Chavruta Learning

  1. Sources 1-7 were covered in the previous sheet.  Look at sources 8-12.  Do they indicate that a fetus has the legal status / protections of a human life or not?  Which ones indicate yes, which ones indicate no?  If one were to claim that it was a life, how would she reconcile all the sources?  How would one do so if she were to claim that it was not a life?  Is there a middle position?  How would you articulate it: quasi, potential, or something else?  What halakhic category would destroying such a […]
17 10, 2018

Should a Father Personally Circumcise His Son? – The Mitzvot of Bris and Milah

October 17th, 2018|Marriage and Family, Milah|

QUESTION: I am the father of a newborn beautiful baby boy.  The bris is coming up in a few days.  Since I have a mitzvah to give my son a bris, and the mohel is just an agent, is it better that I do the bris myself (after the mohel sets everything up, of course)?

 

ANSWER:  Mazal Tov to you, your wife, your new son, and your whole family.

A good way to approach your question is to start by looking at the blessing that the father makes during the bris ceremony, while the mohel is performing the circumcision.  “Blessed are you […]

26 04, 2018

May a Husband Give His Wife Supportive Touch During Childbirth? – Part 2

April 26th, 2018|Marriage and Family, Niddah|

May a husband hold his wife’s hand or give her a massage during childbirth, according to halakhah?  We began to answer this question last week and came to the following interim conclusions:

  1. A pregnant woman is not considered to be in niddah until either she experiences uterine bleeding (distinct from mere stains), or until a limb of the baby emerges from the womb.  Prior to this time, all forms of touch are permitted.
  2. During childbirth, a woman is in the halakhic category of a person whose life is at risk, and Torah prohibitions, including Shabbat violations, […]
19 04, 2018

May a Husband Give His Wife Supportive Touch During Childbirth?  – Part 1

April 19th, 2018|Marriage and Family, Niddah|

QUESTION:

I am nine months pregnant, and my husband and I have been doing Lamaze classes to prepare for the birth of our baby.  Part of the Lamaze method includes pressure massage and massage of the abdomen.  I have been told, though, that it is forbidden by halakhah for my husband to do this because I will be in niddah at that time.  Some people have even told me that I can’t hold my husband’s hand during childbirth for this reason.  Is this true?

ANSWER:

It is wonderful to hear that you are expecting a baby!  B’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachat!

Your question is one that […]

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