Rosh Yeshiva Responds
Rabbi Linzer answers halakhic questions from rabbis and community members

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

23 02, 2021

HaTov VeHaMeitiv on Wine for Poreis Mapah Seudah

February 23rd, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Midwest, USA

With a poreis mapah umekadeish seudah, could one make a הטוב והמיטיב along with קידוש היום, right?

ANSWER

You mean if it is a different bottle of wine? Then yes, but only if it follows the parameters of Shulchan Arukh OC 175:1,

ולאו דוקא הביאו להם מחדש, אלא ה”ה אם היה להם מתחלה שתי יינות, מברכין על הב’ הטוב והמטיב. הגה: ודווקא שלא היו לפניו יחד כשבירך בפה”ג, אבל היו ביחד א”צ לברך אלא בפה”ג

And see Mishnah Berurah 175:4 – regarding what it considered to be לפניו יחד,

ולאו דוקא וכו’ מחדש – ר”ל שהביאו להם עתה בבית אלא ה”ה אם היה להם מתחלה

21 02, 2021

Afternoon Purim Seudah Going into Shabbat Dinner

February 21st, 2021|Berakhot, Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim, Purim|

QUESTION

New York, NY

Can one have a Purim Seudah late in the day, and have it enter into the Shabbat meal?

ANSWER

Yes. This is the principle of poreis mapah umekadeish (Shulchan Arukh OC 271:4), that if one is in the middle of the meal on Friday towards sunset, he or she can spread a cloth over the bread, make Kiddush, and continue eating. The following is a guide for how to do this.

SHORT VERSION (for long version, with sources and discussion, see below)

  1. One may have the Purim seudah in the late afternoon
  2. Stop eating before sunset
  3. Bring out two loaves of bread
  4. Spread a
13 02, 2021

Men and Women Counting for Minyan for HaRav et Riveinu

February 13th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim, Purim, Women|

QUESTION

Canada

Can women and men be counted together for a minyan for megillah reading for the purposes of saying הרב את ריבנו?

ANSWER

You mean would it be different than Rema (Shulchan Arukh OC 690:18) regarding the preferences for 10 where he writes – הגה: ויש להסתפק אם נשים מצטרפות לעשרה? Or are you asking whether we rule that way? I would say that the halakhot of berakhot and preference for 10 in general should definitely be the same. As to do we rule that way – one could argue ספק ברכות להקל, but also see Biur Halakha 692 ד״ה אלא בציבור who quotes shitot that you can make the berakhah even ביחיד. Given the

7 02, 2021

Lost Sense of Smell and Borei Minei Besamim

February 7th, 2021|Berakhot, Kiddush, Seudah, Havdalah, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

If someone lost their sense of smell from Covid related symptoms are they allowed to say borei minei besamim? What should they do if saying the Havdalah for others in their household?

ANSWER

No. My sense of smell – unrelated to COVID – has become quite poor, and I have someone else (my wife) make the berakhah. Even according to those opinions – which I don’t pasken like – that women are patur from Havdalah, this isn’t Havdalah (which is the final berakhah), it’s just a

30 01, 2021

May a Son Say HaTov VeHaMeitiv When His Father Receives the COVID-19 Vaccine

January 30th, 2021|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

A congregant’s father who has serious medical conditions is scheduled to get the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow. When he hears the confirmed news of his father receiving the vaccine, could he say a berakhah of shevach and hoda’ah? Would HaTov VeHaMeitiv or HaGomel be appropriate?

ANSWER

As to the question itself HaTov VeHaMeitiv would not be the correct berakhah, as that is only when something directly happens to you. See my teshuva about reciting a berakhah when receiving the vaccine.

The question is do you

28 12, 2020

Kiddush Levanah 15 Minutes After Sunset

December 28th, 2020|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Any reason not to do Kiddush Levanah before night falls? Shekiah was 15 minutes ago, but the moon is pretty bright (see photo). I see the Shulchan Arukh and Rema are against.

ANSWER

In this situation, you may do so.

You are correct that Beit Yosef OC 426, quoting Agur (no. 591) states that one should not make this berakhah until it is nightfall, because “what good

22 12, 2020

Reciting a Berakhah on Hearing Good News

December 22nd, 2020|Berakhot, Orach Chayim|

QUESTION

Riverdale, NY

How good does news have to be to get a berakhah? Someone asked me if they can say HaTov VeHaMeitiv on hearing they got a negative covid test.

ANSWER

As I tried to articulate in my teshuva, it is not only a question of degree of joy (which admittedly has to be more than trivial and fleeting). This berakhah, together with shehecheyanu, is said when something specific and of concrete benefit happens to you. Someone asked me, for example, about a