Shulchan Arukh

29 08, 2022

Mezuzah on Permanently Closed Door

August 29th, 2022|Mezuzah, Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Massachusetts

In a new apartment a door between two rooms doesn’t open and will remain shut. Even if the door could be opened, there will be furniture on one side of the door. Does the door need a mezuzah?

ANSWER

I assume at one time it was made to open and it still has the door frame. If that is the case, some say it does still require a mezuzah. The issue is how you distinguish between the case of Shulchan Arukh and the case of Rema in Shulchan Arukh YD 286:18

בית שיש לו פתחים הרבה, אף על פי שאינו רגיל […]

19 08, 2022

Aveil Serving as Shaliach Tzibur

August 19th, 2022|Aveilut, Shulchan Arukh, Tefillah, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Colorado

There are not a lot of people in our community who can serve as Shaliach Tzibur on Shabbat. We want Shlichei Tzibur who can uplift the kehillah with singing and proper nusach. Under these circumstances, it is permissible for an aveil to serve Shaliach Tzibur?

ANSWER

It is permitted. Even Rema (YD 376:4) who rules that an aveil not to be a shaliach tzibur on Shabbat and Yom Tov

אבל לא נהגו להתפלל בשבת ויום טוב, אף על פי שאין איסור בדבר

makes it clear that it is a minhag and not technically an issur. And poskim thus make exceptions when necessary.

The […]

16 08, 2022

Tenth Man for Minyan Outside

August 16th, 2022|Minyan, Orach Chayim, Shulchan Arukh, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Rhode Island

We are required to have a security person at the door when the building we daven at is otherwise closed (on Shabbat). For financial reasons, we use rotating volunteers, but sometimes, like for Mincha, we have only ten men. The security person can just barely see into the shul room from the back door of the room where we daven. The last person in the room can barely see them. Can that security person be the tenth, bedieved or lekhatchilah?

ANSWER

Shulchan Arukh (OC 55:14) rules that a tziruf for minyan can be achieved even if a person is outside […]

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 09, 2021

Sephardic Haftarah in Ashkenazic Context

September 2nd, 2021|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Shabbat|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Can one adopt the Sephardic custom of haftarah reading for one week to accommodate a bar mitzvah?

ANSWER

I think it should be totally fine, based on Iggerot Moshe OH 1:103. Rav Moshe Feinstein lets a bar mitzvah boy who prepared one haftarah say it another week when Sephardim read that same haftarah, as the bar mitzvah boy wasn’t be able to say it the week of due to another boy’s bar mitzvah.  Since it at was the appropriate […]

30 07, 2021

May a Son Sit on the Women’s Side of the Mechitzah With His Mother Who Has Dementia?

July 30th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

A man would like to sit with his mother in the women’s section because she has severe dementia and cannot sit in shul on her own. A woman from shul can volunteer to sit with her, but the comfort of her son next to her is a significant difference. Can he sit next to his mother?

A man with a physically debilitating sickness has a female aide (not Jewish) who needs to sit next to him in the men’s section. Can she sit next to him?

ANSWER

Many do not view the purpose of a mechitzah as to ensure that there is a barrier between men […]

18 07, 2021

Havdalah on Tisha b’Av By Someone Not Fasting

July 18th, 2021|Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

If someone is not fasting for Tisha b’Av, should they make full Havdalah after Shabbat?

ANSWER

If a person is going to eat on Tisha b’Av because they are sick, they should make Havdalah before they eat, whether that be at night or the next day. It is a full Havdalah, except we don’t do besamim and we don’t say the pesukim before. So it is only the cup, borei me’orei (if making Havdalah Saturday night), and HaMavdil.

שערי תשובה סימן תקנו

עבה”ט וכ’ בר”י בשם תשו’ כנה”ג ח”ב חולה שאוכל בט”ב יבדיל תיכף במוצאי שבת והב”י שם דעתו נוטה קצת שיכול […]

18 07, 2021

Washing off Makeup on Tisha b’Av

July 18th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tisha B'Av - 3 Weeks|

QUESTION

New York, NY

When Tisha B’Av falls on Sunday, is a person allowed to remove makeup that she was wearing on Shabbat on Tisha B’Av using a wipe?

ANSWER

If the makeup is smudgy, etc., then it is permissible as per Shulchan Arukh OC 554:9. If she just wants to remove it, it is hard to permit. A permissible way would be to wipe it off as much as possible with a dry tissue, and then the rest looks pretty smudgy and dirty, and that can use a wipe.

Finally, it’s not obvious to me that the small amount of moisture on the wipe […]

13 07, 2021

Kiddush Without Mezonot

July 13th, 2021|Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

Shalom Rabbi Linzer, if one is making kiddush on Shabbat morning in shul after Shacharit for the kehilah but there will be no kiddush food afterwards, should kiddush still be made? If so, does the one making kiddush need to eat mezonot or can they just drink, make a berakhah acharonah and then go home and make/hear kiddush again over a proper meal? Our shul hasn’t yet brought kiddush back and someone suggested that the rabbi  make kiddush in the sanctuary for those who won’t hear it at home and as a morale booster as we still slowly return to regular […]

13 07, 2021

Can a Lender Charge the Borrower for the Opportunity Costs of a Loan?

July 13th, 2021|Choshen Mishpat|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Linzer, one person wants to lend a large sum of money (short term loan) to a someone. The lender will withdraw money from an investment account to do this. In order to liquidate the investments, the lender  will have a tax penalty and also have opportunity costs because he wont be making money over the course of the short term loan. I assume it is ribit to charge for the opportunity costs. Can the borrower pay the capital gains tax penalties that will result or is this considered ribit as well? Thank you.

ANSWER

Payment to enable the loan, even […]

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