18 06, 2021

Birkat Eirusin When the Bride or Groom Cannot Drink Wine

June 18th, 2021|Berakhot, Even HaEzer, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

South Central, USA

I’m officiating at a wedding, and the kallah said she can’t drink wine or grape juice. The only liquids she can drink are water or tea. What would you recommend they say the berakhot over at the wedding? Thank you.

ANSWER

A couple of possibilities:

1. The chatan can drink without the kallah doing so.

2. You don’t need wine really – Shulchan Arukh EH 62:1 ואם אין יין מצוי מברך על השכר.

3. Bedieved you don’t need a kos at all. See Beit Shmuel there who writes ואם אין שכר מצוי יברך בלא כוס.

I think if you don’t want to do #1, she should do tea, which […]

13 06, 2021

May an Aveil Purchase a New Car? Can someone do so during the 3 weeks?

June 13th, 2021|Aveilut, Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

A man in aveilut needs a new car. The old car the family has used is breaking down more and more frequently. Is this something that should wait another 10-12 months? What if his wife purchased the car and recites שהחינו? Would the halakha be the same during the 3 weeks?

ANSWER

The practice of not saying shehecheyanu is recorded in the case of the 3 weeks (Shulchan Arukh OC 551:17). Poskim explicitly state that this does not apply to a mourner. See Magen Avraham OC 551:42 and Mishnah Berurah 551:98. The reason is that the problem with shehecheyanu is not the simchah per se, […]

9 05, 2021

Ending Shivah on Shabbat Before Shacharit

May 9th, 2021|Aveilut, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

When shivah ends on Shabbat, does it end when Shacharit ends on Shabbat or the time Shacharit would have ended if it were a weekday? Since we’re talking about a community in which people do not pay shivah calls on Shabbat, should we go by the time that services end on weekdays? If so, if we start start davening on Shabbat after we normally finish davening during the week, could someone whose last day of shivah was Shabbat receive an aliyah in shul?

ANSWER

As you note, Rema rules in Shulchan Arukh YD 395:1 that even if מנחמים don’t usually come on day 7 (which, as the poskim note, […]

9 05, 2021

Day of Brit When Father’s and Doctor’s Time Conflict

May 9th, 2021|Milah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

A baby boy was born Wednesday night. Sunset was 8:04. The father initially thought he was born at 8:06, however, the birth certificate says 7:58. Does this qualify as a safeik?

ANSWER

In such a case we would follow the doctor’s recording of the time and rule that the birth occurred on Wednesday before sunset, and the brit will be on the following Wednesday.

To understand why, we have to consider two scenarios:

  1. The most likely scenario is that the father’s time is not the moment of halakhic birth. According to halakha, the halakhic time of birth is when the majority of […]
2 05, 2021

Mourner’s Kaddish with a Minyan Created by Zoom

May 2nd, 2021|Aveilut, Kaddish, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Canada

Thank you for your answer regarding saying Mourner’s Kaddish when connecting to a minyan via Zoom. What would be the halakha if the minyan itself was created via Zoom? That is, if all 10 men are in different places, but they are Zooming into the same Zoom room. Will this work for saying normal Kaddish, Barekhu, repeating Shemoneh Esrei? Will it work for saying Kaddish?

ANSWER

As we discussed in that earlier teshuvah, to create a core minyan they all must be in the same geographic space. Thus, a minyan that is formed over Zoom would not be good […]

2 05, 2021

A Non-Literal Translation on the Ketubah

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

QUESTION

New York, NY

What does the Rosh Yeshiva think about having a non literal translation, or something similar to a Brit Ahuvim, on a traditional Aramaic ketubah. Meaning that the artwork would have the regular ketubah and an English translation on the same document.

ANWER

If it is on the bottom after חתימת העדים or on the side, such that you can cut it off and the ketubah remains whole, then it is fine. It is another document written on the same piece of paper. Just don’t say that it is a translation of the ketubah, and don’t have it say anything that […]

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 […]

2 05, 2021

Using a Mohel Who is Not Shomer Shabbat

May 2nd, 2021|Milah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

New York, NY

In a small town without a traditional mohel nearby, would we be lenient on who the mohel is to avoid postponing a Shabbat brit milah? Would we allow a mohel who is not shomer Shabbat  (i.e. a Jewish doctor who does circumcision in coordination with local shuls)? What if the mohel live close enough to walk (~1.5 hour) but will likely drive? What if they use the Gomco clamp and not the Mogen clamp/shield?

ANSWER

This contains a lot of issues.

A. Postponing from Shabbat. This can definitely be done when necessary for appropriate halakhic reasons. For example, a number […]

20 04, 2021

Does Someone Who Becomes Bar Mitzvah During Sefirat HaOmer Count With a Berakhah?

April 20th, 2021|Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Sefirah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Assuming counting the omer is one mitzvah for the entire period, if you turn 13 in the middle of the counting, are you allowed to say the blessing since there was no obligation to count prior to turning 13? What if you know ahead of time that you will miss a day of counting in the future (could be because you are flying across the world which will make you miss a day), should you be saying the blessings prior to missing a day knowing you will not perform the mitzvah in its entirety?

ANSWER

If you think about it, it comes […]

11 04, 2021

Are There Limitations on an Uncircumsised Levi?

April 11th, 2021|Milah, Status, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Philadelphia, PA

A levi wasn’t circumcised because his parents are intactivists. Does the Rosh Yeshiva allow such a person to read from the Torah? Could they have the levi aliyah? Can they wash the kohen for birkat kohanim?

ANSWER

The basic pesak is that someone who does not have a brit milah, even if he is מומר לערלות, is only considered to be a mumar for one aveirah. He does not have a larger status of pasul.  See Shulchan Arukh YD 2:7. (The one exception might be whether he can be a mohel, see Rema in Shulchan Arukh YD 264:1.) There is a […]

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