8 10, 2020

Outside Hakafot on Simchat Torah

October 8th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Simchat Torah, Tefillah|

QUESTION

South Central, USA

Simchat Torah question: We are planning on doing scaled down, outdoor hakafot on Simchat Torah. Is there any reason we would need to be inside around the bimah to begin the hakafot, or can we do the whole thing outside (with one person holding a Torah in the middle)?

ANSWER

It’s fine outside around a person holding a Torah. Here’s what I responded to an earlier similar question:

The point of the bimah is that it is the place of the sefer Torah. […]

6 10, 2020

Eating in the Sukkah on Simchat Torah

October 6th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Simchat Torah, Sukkot|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

I’m curious on your thoughts on eating in the sukkah on Simchat Torah. The Shulkhan Aruch OC 666:1 seems to say you need to remove pots and pans or make some kind of hekeir. What will suffice? Can someone just say before the meal “this is not for the sake of a mitzvah” and would that be okay or does it need to be literal hekeir. Thank you!

ANSWER

No, that isn’t enough. It’s true that in terms of ba’al tosif, absence of kavanah lehosif […]

5 10, 2020

Birkat Kohanim During the Pandemic

October 5th, 2020|Kohanim, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, Simchat Torah, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

With no Kiddush being served in shul, strict masking rules, and shortened hakafot on Simchat Torah, what are your thoughts about duchaning on Simchat Torah? Is it now Minhag HaOlam to do it at Shacharit even if no concern of drunkenness or should we delay until Musaf like other chagim?

ANSWER

I think Shacharit still makes sense because not everyone will stay to the end even with things shortened, no? If you think they will, then yes, I’d go back to Musaf.

1 10, 2020

Simchat Torah Hakafot Before Tzeit HaKokhavim

October 1st, 2020|Orach Chayim, Simchat Torah, Yom Tov|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

We have been davening Shabbat afternoon with the Plag HaMinchah split (Mincha before Plag and Ma’ariv after Plag), as we are davening outside in an unlit backyard. Scheduling hakafot for that early feels wrong — when davening Ma’ariv for the next day (whether it’s Yom Tov or chol), everyone then walks home and continues to act like Shabbat until Tzeit HaKokhavim. But to dance hakafot and publicly celebrate the next day of Yom Tov while it is still Shabbat feels different. Am I right in thinking that there might be halakhic issues […]

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