12 07, 2021

Saying The Bedtime Shema If Going to Sleep in The Morning

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

QUESTION

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|

QUESTION

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.

ANSWER

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|

QUESTION

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?

ANSWER

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, […]

1 06, 2021

Is There a Time Limit to Say Birkat HaGomeil?

June 1st, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

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.

ANSWER

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

7 05, 2021

Tefilah and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

May 7th, 2021|Berakhot, Disabilities, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

The following is a personal and complicated question, and I totally understand if you don’t have time to answer it, but I thought I’d give it a shot:

I have been diagnosed with OCD for a few years, and one of the ways that manifests itself for me is that, on a daily basis, I doubt whether I have said parts of davening correctly (especially Shema where wrong pronunciation prevents fulfilment of the mitzvah, as far as I know), and repeat myself several times, or at least have a really strong urge to repeat myself.

I’m wondering if you think that […]

20 04, 2021

Does Someone Who Becomes Bar Mitzvah During Sefirat HaOmer Count With a Berakhah?

April 20th, 2021|Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Sefirah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Assuming counting the omer is one mitzvah for the entire period, if you turn 13 in the middle of the counting, are you allowed to say the blessing since there was no obligation to count prior to turning 13? What if you know ahead of time that you will miss a day of counting in the future (could be because you are flying across the world which will make you miss a day), should you be saying the blessings prior to missing a day knowing you will not perform the mitzvah in its entirety?

ANSWER

If you think about it, it comes […]

11 04, 2021

Halakhic Status of Bread Made With Both Wheat and Almond Flour

April 11th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Pesach, Yoreh De'ah|

QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

A bread made with mostly rice flour but some wheat flour would be HaMotzi if you could taste the wheat. What about if instead it were made with almond flour? Would the same taste rule apply or would you need rov?

ANSWER

A very relevant question for those who are gluten intolerant. So how do they make HaMotzi or eat matzah? One answer is to use oats, which is one of the 5 species of grain. However, from what I have heard, it is very hard to eat bread that is completely made out of oats. (Also, from an academic perspective, it is questionable if oats […]

2 04, 2021

Saying HaGomel When Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

April 2nd, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Detroit, MI

In your article on making berakhot for the COVID vaccine, you mostly support שהחיינו and הטוב והמטיב but also say that הגומל makes sense for people such as healthcare workers who have been more exposed to the “front lines” and therefore feel more a sense of rescue rather than simple relief or joy. If someone has that emotional attitude to the vaccination, should they say הגומל by themselves at the time they get the shot, or in public the way standard cases of הגומל are said?

ANSWER

The first question is whether this person feels that she has […]

27 02, 2021

Berakhot for Latecomers to Megillah

February 27th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Purim|

QUESTION

New York, NY

I said berakhot and started leining megillah, for a small group of people, when one minute in, a few people show up. are any of the following workable solutions, for how they can be yotzei?

  • Restart from the beginning of the Megillah. If so, the new arrivals would say the berakhot, before we restart?
  • Pause, and have them read to themselves the first minute of the megillah, from their chumash, until they catch up. Here too, would they make sure to say the berakhot before doing that?

ANSWER

Either of those would work. Given that whichever solution you adopt, the rest of the people […]

26 02, 2021

Repeating Berakhot for Megillah if Interrupted for a Medical Call

February 26th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Purim|

QUESTION

Canada

If a ba’al korei gets an important call mid-megillah that they can’t ignore, can they continue the megillah from when the call came in or do they need to repeat the megillah? Should they repeat the berakhot?

ANSWER

The general halakha is that even a large interruption – כדי לגמור את כולה – is bedieved okay in the case of megillah (and pretty much everything else) – see Shulchan Arukh OC 690:5 and Rema. However, as Mishnah Berurah 690:18 points out, we find in Hilkhot Keriat Shema (Shulchan Arukh OC 65:1) that if the interruption was מחמת אונס, due to something out of your control, you do have to go […]

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