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 […]

1 06, 2021

Is a Kohen Married to a Divorcee Able to Be a Witness?

June 1st, 2021|Choshen Mishpat|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Linzer, I was asked if a kohen married to a גרושה, who is otherwise 100 percent shomer mitzvot, is eligible to be an eid  for a wedding? Thank you.

ANSWER

He is pasul mide’orayta. See Shulchan Arukh CM 34:2, which rules that anyone who is liable malkut is pasul for eidut. Rambam (Hilkhot Sanhedrin 19:4, no. 151) explains that a kohen who marries a gerushah is liable malkut. Also see Shulchan Arukh CM 34:23 that rules he is pasul even without a public announcement. Although it sounds like you need eidut to invalidate him, this is a case […]

22 03, 2021

Traveling to the Mikveh by Car on Yom Tov

March 22nd, 2021|Amirah LeGoy, Choshen Mishpat, Niddah, Yom Tov, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Good evening! I was contacted by a woman who has to go to the mikveh this Motzei Shabbat, which is the first night of Pesach. She doesn’t live within walking distance of one, and is wondering if she can go on Friday, or if she has to wait until Monday night. She already practices 4+7 due to fertility purposes, so there isn’t any wiggle room there. Is there any way for her to go early? I assume not, but I wanted to check because of their ongoing fertility challenges. Thank you!

ANSWER

I would arrange before Shabbat to have a cab […]

14 03, 2021

The Requirement to Construct a Parapet

March 14th, 2021|Choshen Mishpat|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

A congregant is moving into a new house and one of the bedrooms has a door to the roof over an extended sunroom one floor above the ground. The builder told them that they don’t need a parapet, but she’s concerned from a halakhic perspective. Any thoughts on whether they need to build some kind of a safety structure?

ANSWER

Assuming that the roof is flat, accessible, and usable, she definitely needs one. It is a mitzvat aseih de’orayta, and it is a violation of a lo ta’aseih not to have it. From a halakhic perspective, if it is 10 tefachim off […]

25 12, 2020

Reporting Jewish Businesses for Not Following COVID Protocols

December 25th, 2020|Choshen Mishpat|

QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

Can a Jew report a Jewish business to 311 for not following COVID protocols?

ANSWER

I am assuming that the punishment for such violations is some form of fine / closure and not imprisonment. As such, it is by almost all accounts, permissible and does not fall into the category of moser. Added to this, there is an element of kiddush HaShem, given the public reporting of frum Jews violating these protocols – to have a frum Jew take them seriously is quite important.

20 12, 2020

Yerushah and Halakhic Wills

December 20th, 2020|Choshen Mishpat, Death and Dying|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

Does one have to be worried about halakhic rules of yerushah (boys over girls, פי שנים for the בכור, etc.)? and therefore put all their money in a trust to go into effect a minute before death except a small amount to fulfill halakhic yerushah. Or, can this totally be ignored and fill out your will to have equal parts go to daughters and sons, etc?

ANSWER

Yes, you do need to worry about it. The Rishonim are explicit that dina demalkhuta does not apply […]

17 12, 2020

Regifting Gifts

December 17th, 2020|Choshen Mishpat, Interpersonal Ethics|

QUESTION

New York, NY

בעניין גניבת דעת: is it a problem to give someone a gift that you received from someone else and you don’t want without disclosing that it is a re-gift? I don’t think this is an issue but a congregant said that her Rabbi said that it is.

ANSWER

Well, genveivat da’at is when you do something so someone feels underserved gratitude towards you – like you invite them to a wedding when you know they can’t make it. I assume the pesak here that […]

5 12, 2020

Lying to Children about Tooth Fairy

December 5th, 2020|Choshen Mishpat, Interpersonal Ethics, Non-Jews and Other Religions|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

My daughter just lost her first tooth and I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on telling kids about the Tooth Fairy and whether it’s harmless or if it borders of issues of chukat HaGoyim or Geneivat Da’at.

ANSWER

Interesting… I don’t think it is chukat HaGoyim, unless you think that we have to stop reading stories of Peter Pan and Pinocchio, etc. I guess this is somewhat worse because you are telling her that it is a real thing. I am having a hard […]

22 11, 2020

Indoor Minyans if Prohibited by the State

November 22nd, 2020|Choshen Mishpat, Shacharit, Mincha and Ma'ariv|

QUESTION

Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Linzer, would you say that states where all indoor gatherings are prohibited, to hold a minyan indoors would violate Dina DeMalkhuta?

My county just issued an order that, “Outdoor gatherings remain the only gatherings permitted, and they must only include 15 people maximum who are members of no more than 3 households.”

My shul only gathers outdoors, distanced, masks, no aliyot etc, but we are about 25 people and 20 different households. Although we are being extremely careful, would this mean that it is now […]

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