13 01, 2023

Public Hanukkah Candle-lightings

January 13th, 2023|Berakhot, Candle lighting, Chanukah, Moadim, Orach Chayim|



What is the most appropriate way to handle public Hanukkah candle-lighting, that is not in a shul, and that does not fulfill anyone’s obligation? Should we participate in Chabad public lightings? Should we have lightings at a shul Hanukkah party?


I agree with the assumption of your question – that the practice to light in shul with a brakaha is itself a chiddush, and ein lecha bo ela chidusho (i.e. the ruling here cannot be extended to other cases) (not to mention that it might also have greater weight because it is dumya d’beit HaMikdash – analogized to the Beit HaMikdash). […]

19 08, 2022

Aveil Serving as Shaliach Tzibur

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



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?


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|


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?


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

2 09, 2021

Sephardic Haftarah in Ashkenazic Context

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


Baltimore, MD

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


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|


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?


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

12 07, 2021

Saying The Bedtime Shema If Going to Sleep in The Morning

July 12th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|


Midwest, USA

Shalom Rav, I have a congregant who is taking on a night job where he will work all night, arrive home after sunrise and then go to bed. Since his now kavua “bedtime” is in the morning he asked if he could still say the bedtime Shema. The Biur Halakha on Shulchan Arukh OC 239:1 seems to clearly say one should not, at least not the berakhah, and the Arukh HaShulchan mentions that the point of the Shema al HaMitah is to protect from demons, which would only be a night problem. Does the fact that his bedtime is officially during the day […]

18 06, 2021

Birkat Eirusin When the Bride or Groom Cannot Drink Wine

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


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.


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|


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?


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, […]

11 06, 2021

Mechitzah on the Bimah

June 11th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Tefillah|


Chicago, IL

Kevod HaRav,  we are building a new bimah/platform and we would like to be able to divide it in half so that there is the possibility of having space for men and women during davening. Would a clear glass divider suffice for this or must the glass be opaque? It would only be used during keriyat HaTorah when a woman would ascend the bimah to read a MiShebeirakh.


A clear divider should be fine if the basic purpose is, as Rav Moshe would have it, to have single sex spaces and is not about הרהורים (Iggrot Moshe OC 1: 39). Rav […]

1 06, 2021

Is There a Time Limit to Say Birkat HaGomeil?

June 1st, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|


Washington, D.C.

Regarding Birkat HaGomeil, the Shulchan Arukh (OC 219:6) suggests you can still say the berakhah after three days have passed. Arukh HaShulchan seems to suggest that someone can say the berakhah after three days as long as they haven’t forgotten the incident. A congregant heard me give over this halakha and asked if he could make the berakhah 50 years later! He still remembers the event clearly as it was very traumatic. Is this an appropriate interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch and Arukh HaShulchan or is it taking things too far? Thank you.


The simple language of the Shulchan Arukh is indeed that there is no time limit. Arukh HaShulchan’s […]