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 […]

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 […]

11 04, 2021

Permissibility of Praying Barefoot

April 11th, 2021|Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|

QUESTION

New England, USA

If a person has difficulty wearing a sock or shoe due to discomfort, can they daven at home barefoot? There is a medical reason they do not want to wear a sock or shoes on their foot, but they’re certainly not choleh kol HaGuf. It seems pashut that none of this would exempt the person from tefilah, and we know we can relax other rules – like someone who needs to stay in bed should still say the amidah without standing. Hagahot Maimoniyot to Hilkhot Tefillah 5 and Tosafot on Shabbat 10a consider Rava bar Rav Huna’s actions as establishing […]

5 10, 2020

Birkat Kohanim During the Pandemic

October 5th, 2020|Kohanim, Orach Chayim, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, Simchat Torah, Tefillah|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

With no Kiddush being served in shul, strict masking rules, and shortened hakafot on Simchat Torah, what are your thoughts about duchaning on Simchat Torah? Is it now Minhag HaOlam to do it at Shacharit even if no concern of drunkenness or should we delay until Musaf like other chagim?

ANSWER

I think Shacharit still makes sense because not everyone will stay to the end even with things shortened, no? If you think they will, then yes, I’d go back to Musaf.

27 09, 2020

Splitting into Two Minyanim for Chazarat HaShatz

September 27th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

We have two outside minyanim starting at 7:30 Yom Kippur morning. I’m worried about having a minyan at both right away. The two tent areas are only about 50 feet apart. If people stand in the middle, can they count for both minyanim?

ANSWER

What an interesting question. I don’t know if it’s ever been dealt with. Why not just count it as one minyan and have one Shaliach Tzibur until more arrive? (Which is probably why it’s never been dealt with before.)

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