10 01, 2021

Staying in a Hotel Next to a Hospital

January 10th, 2021|Kashrut, Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Los Angeles, CA

A woman, for a medical procedure, is temporarily staying at the hotel connected to the hospital.

A. They brought a mezuzah, but were told not to put it on the outside of the doorpost. Can they put it on the inside of the lintel, so that it’s not beyond the hotel door, but is still on the lintel?

B. There are pots and pans in their room that they’d like to use. Libun seems like it’s probably […]

27 12, 2020

Mezuzah on a Garage Door

December 27th, 2020|Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Canada

Does one make a berakhah on a mezuzah put on a garage that does not have an entrance to the house?

ANSWER

Yes. Definitely.

As long as it is not a place with really bad smells, etc. Even if one does not live in the building, as long as it is a place this is of regular use to the person living in the house, it is biblically obligated in a mezuzah. This is the case in the Gemara and Shulchan Arukh regarding a structure for storing straw, etc.

See […]

1 12, 2020

Laying Tefillin for Chinukh

December 1st, 2020|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Tefillin|

QUESTION

California, CA

For numerous reasons, I daven at home before going into school, but then I put on tefillin at school again for chinukh reasons. I should say a berakhah, right?

ANSWER

If there is hefseik of siluk hada’at or that you go into a place where you cannot be wearing your tefillin – i.e., the bathroom (although, whether that is really true with today’s bathrooms is a different question) – then you say another berakhah. If you were to take them off, go into the car, go […]

26 11, 2020

Mezuzah for Bedrooms off Hall

November 26th, 2020|Mezuzah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Does this (see picture) require a mezuzah? I assume the doors off the hallway are bedrooms. Not sure the entrance to the hallway is itself a doorway or not.

ANSWER

There are two requirements to be obligated in a mezuzah: two doorposts AND a lintel (horizontal beam on the top of the doorway for the door, if it exists, to close on) (Rambam, hilkhot […]

12 10, 2020

Cloth Covering on the Shulchan During Keriat HaTorah

October 12th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Does a shulchan require a cloth covering for when the Torah is being read? Or can the Torah be read directly on wood?

ANSWER

No, a cover is not strictly needed. The Gemara talks about it being put down directly on a chair or the like. See Megillah 26b, Shulchan Arukh YD 282:12 (and the Tur/Beit Yosef there).

To clarify, if it is read directly on the wood, then the bimah becomes a tashmish kedushah, not just a tashmish DeTashmish. This is a larger discussion if it was only used […]

9 10, 2020

Rolling Sefer Torah on Shabbat in Preparation for Yom Tov

October 9th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Sefer Torah, Yom Tov|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Is there an issue with rolling sifrei Torah on Shabbat in preparation for Yom Tov? Would the tircha detzibura override any hachanah or quasi-hachanah concerns?

ANSWER

Well, someone could always get to shul early on Yom Tov morning, so not really tircha detzibura. But if you read (not keriah, just read like from a chumash) from the section you rolled it to, then you are using it on Shabbat. You can even point out to someone some interesting feature, like how the days are each a separate paragraph. […]

7 10, 2020

Unrolling the Entire Sefer Torah on Simchat Torah

October 7th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

I see a lot of non-Orthodox shuls have a practice of unrolling the Torah entirely on Simchat Torah (I think this started with the Renewal movement). Is this a kavod to the Torah or it a bizayon to the Torah? Are there any halakhic issues with this practice?

ANSWER

Regarding holding the entire Torah open – the first and primary concern that I would have is the issur to hold the klaf of the sefer Torah directly with your hands, based on Shabbat 14a, that a person cannot hold a sefer […]

27 09, 2020

A Woman Holding the Sefer Torah During Kol Nidrei

September 27th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Sefer Torah, Tefillah, Women|

QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

May a women hold one of the two sifrei Torah during Kol Nidrei? Neither person is on the bimah and they will be 8 or so feet away from the bimah, for Covid-19 reasons.

ANSWER

Should be fine, but I would make sure that there is a third man standing in front or whatever, and it’s clear that the three men are the beit din.

23 08, 2019

Time to Check the Mezuzot?

August 23rd, 2019|Mezuzah|

The mitzvah of mezuzah appears at the end of this week’s parasha in what we know of as the second paragraph of Shema: “And you shall write them (these words) on the doorposts of your house and of your gates.” (Deut. 11:20). This verse also appears earlier in the first paragraph of Shema (6:9), and it is these two sections of the Torah that are written in the mezuzah.

But what is the purpose of the mezuzah?  Is it to remember God, or is to serve as some type of spiritual or even magical protection of the house?  The idea of […]

14 04, 2011

Magical Mezuzahs? Not so Much

April 14th, 2011|Mezuzah, Tefillin, Uncategorized|

In Masechet Menachot, there is a very rich section that deals with the laws of tefillin and mezuzah.   A particular theme of interest, especially in the context of the korban Pesach, is that of the mezuzah as an object that protects the house.   This idea is never stated in the Torah.  To the contrary, the Torah juxtaposes the mitzvah of mezuzah with that of tefillin and of constant Torah study.  The message is clear – have reminders of God all around you,  think of God and God’s mitzvot, and learn Torah at all times – when you […]

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