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Lighting Candles When One Needs to Leave the HouseMy husband and I were going away for Shabbat, walking to a different side of the neighborhood to eat with relatives and sleep at a neighbor’s empty home. We left late, so we knew we would not make it in time to light at our destination. What should we have done about Shabbat candles?
We start with what one should/can do when he has time. The main place for Shabbat candle lighting is the place of the Shabbat meal (Rama, Orach Chayim 263:11). If the homeowner is lighting there, there seems to be little point to add on. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:7) says that if a guest has no place to light or person lighting for him, he should become a partner in the homeowners’ lighting, a practice rarely done these days. The Mishna Berura (263:33) cites a Magen Avraham in the related context of a guest on Chanuka, that if a guest relies on the homeowner (especially regarding food, which is very common), he has no obligation to light.
However, if the guest has a room entirely set aside for his purposes, he has an obligation to light there (Mishna Berura 263:31). From this it follows that you should have lit in the place you were sleeping, which many poskim prefer (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 45:8; Chovat Hadar p. 95), and is the prevalent Sephardi minhag (see Yalkut Yosef, OC 263:20). The Ashkenazi minhag is to light with a beracha where they eat, although it is hard to justify the minhag when the homeowner has already lit there (Tehilla L’David 263:7; see Kavod V’oneg Shabbat p. 11 in the name of Rav M. Feinstein).
(While poskim often discuss the bedroom, common practice assumes that it is anachronistic to light in the bedroom. The point of light in a bedroom is to not trip over things (Mordechai, Shabbat 294), which takes away from tranquility in the home. Nowadays, few people feel tranquility with a candle in their bedroom. Rather, they find an electric nightlight, light from the hall or the window, etc., to be preferable to a candle. In many ways, electric lights remove the need for Shabbat candles. However, we assume that the Rabbinic mandate of a flame still adds honor and extra festive light to Shabbat (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 43:171, in the name of Rav S.Z. Auerbach; Yalkut Yosef, OC 263:8). If one is sleeping in another’s house, lighting a candle in the normal place where they light adds honor and can be used upon returning from seudat Shabbat. Certainly, when the homeowners have not shown you a secure place to light in the bedroom, one has no halachic right to assume permission to light there and endanger their house (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 45:3).)
If one lights before leaving his home or the place he is sleeping, he must ensure he will get benefit from the light on Shabbat. The suggested way is for the candles to last until one returns (Mishna Berura 263:30). This was apparently not feasible in your case. If it was already starting to get dark, you might have been able to receive benefit before leaving for Shabbat by doing an activity in a way that the candlelight made it more pleasant (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 45:8). This works if the wife accepted Shabbat at that time (i.e., she did not need to do melacha afterward), so that she has “Shabbat benefit” even before nightfall. Those Sephardi woman who do not always accept Shabbat with candle lighting (see Yabia Omer II, OC 16) would need to not intend to accept Shabbat early.
The simplest thing for you to have done is to appoint a shaliach to light candles where you would be for Shabbat (see Mishna Berura 263:21). If you are an Ashkenazi woman, the place of eating is also the simplest technically. If you are a Sephardiya, someone lighting safely at the neighbors is best. (If someone can take care of the electric lights, this can be of value both for the main halachic lighting (see Yalkut Yosef 263:22) and the general need of proper lighting.) However, if the shaliach is anyway making her own beracha, adding candles on your behalf, without a new beracha, where you are eating carries little risk.
Timtum Halev – Part IIIs there timtum halev [approximately, spiritual pollution of the heart] when one ingests non-kosher food in a halachically valid manner, e.g., based on bitul (nullification)?
Last time we saw sources and analyzed possible causes of timtum halev.
How much should timtum halev concern us? Many halachot assume that, even if timtum halev exists without wrongdoing, it is not a serious normative factor. One is not required to stop a child from eating non-kosher food (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 343:1). Certainly, if one sees a child ingesting poison, he would have to save him! (The claim that the above is “only” on a halachic level, but that one must save the child (see Pri Chadash, Yoreh Deah 81:26) is difficult).
If 49 pieces of treif meat get mixed up with 50 pieces of kosher meat, bitul (sometimes) enables the eating of all the pieces (Shulchan Aruch YD 109:1) (some have the stringency to remove some meat to avoid the appearance of impropriety – Rama ad loc.). When treif gravy falls into a larger amount of kosher food and lower its quality of taste, it is permitted to eat the combination (ibid. 103:2). In neither case do poskim raise timtum halev. In fact, it is a machloket if it is permissible to refuse to eat food that is permitted based on bitul (see Pitchei Teshuva, YD 116:10 and a distinction in Mishneh Halachot VII:104). (Bnei Yisaschar (II, p. 95) views the circumstances as a divine mandate to bring tikkun of the issur). If Reuven sold non-kosher food to Shimon, who ate it, Shimon gets a full refund if the food was forbidden from the Torah and has to pay if it was only Rabbinically forbidden (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 234:2-3). The main reasons given (see S’ma, Shach ad loc.) ignore timtum halev as a factor. Thus, it seems clear that on a normative level, when the eater lacks guilt, there is either no timtum halev or it is halachically insignificant.
There is a normative halachic source that warns about timtum halev. The Rama (YD 81:7) says that one who has a choice should not have a baby nurse from a non-Jewish or not kashrut-observant wet nurse. This is apparently based on the Rashba (see Torat Chatat 65:11), who says that a non-Jewish woman’s milk is kosher, but it is pious to avoid due to concern for the baby’s future spiritual health. Also, the Chatam Sofer (Shut, OC 63), after justifying sending a shoteh child to a non-Jewish center at which he had the best chance at improved mental health, advised not to send him due to timtum halev (many argue or limit the ruling). Even if these are ‘extra-halachic’ advice, why do they come up where they do?
One cannot always reconcile exceptional rulings with the rules. However, these cases, especially the Rama’s, have unique factors. A baby’s basic sustenance on an ongoing basis is from nursing during a crucial point of development in which he lacks performance of mitzvot and has few other things that counteract timtum halev. (Yabia Omer VIII, CM 11 does not accept these distinctions, as he sees the Rama as reason to prefer, if possible, to have blood infusions from kosher-eating Jews. The Netziv (Devarim 6:11) and Torat Hayoledet (42:(2)) do raise the distinction between chance and ongoing exposure to problematic foods.)
Practical Recommendations: While some compare eating non-kosher food to poison (see Mesilat Yesharim 11, who addresses a case in which there was halachic concern). However, apparently one dose does not “kill.” Rather, the more one is exposed, the worse for the person. Several things cause timtum halev (see Mishheh Halachot ibid.) and other similar concepts (e.g., ruach ra’ah in food touched before netilat yadayim), and many things rectify problems of the spirit. The average person should trust halacha to factor in this element in a balanced manner and need not factor timtum halev into his halachic decisions (concern for possible sin is serious enough). One who strives for spiritual near-perfection might need to factor in even the finest points, but this response is not geared for such unique people.
Timtum Halev – Part IIs there timtum halev [approximately, spiritual pollution of the heart] when one ingests non-kosher food in a halachically valid manner, e.g., based on bitul (nullification)?
We will divide our view of the sources and analysis to deal with this excellent question into three parts: 1. What causes timtum halev? 2. How severe is exposure to it? 3. How should concern about it affect our decisions?
What causes timtum halev? The classical source that introduces the concept of timtum halev is the gemara (Yoma 39a). It derives from the spelling of “v’nitmeitem bam” (you will become defiled) in the context of eating sheratzim (crawling creatures) (Vayikra 11:43) that it causes not just tumah but also timtum of the heart. (We will not try to describe it exactly – Rashi (ad loc.) says “it seals off and blocks out all wisdom.”) The gemara’s statement is that “sins causes timtum halev.” There are at least three ways to understand this gemara (the approaches are not mutually exclusive but can be complementary):
A. Acts of sin cause timtum halev, irrespective of exposure to a problematic object. The Maharal (Tiferet Yisrael 8) and Rav Kook (Mussar Avicha 1:4) have this understanding, which is the simple reading of the gemara (see Beit Halevi, Bereishit 6:5).
B. The reason that certain foods are forbidden by the Torah is their negative impact on the spirit. While it may be strongest regarding certain specific forbidden foods (e.g., sheratzim), this is generally true, to some degree, of forbidden foods (Ramban, Shemot 22:30).
C. Forbidden foods are not necessarily naturally damaging to the spirit, but after the Torah forbade them, they become so.
There are practical differences between these approaches. The following prohibitions seem to lack a naturally damaging element. Therefore, A applies and B does not (C depends on the case). 1. Forbidden actions that do not include ingesting foods; 2. Foods that are forbidden based on Rabbinic law – Hashem apparently created these foods to not be timtum causing, but the Rabbis forbade them due to various halachic concerns; 3. Foods that are forbidden because they are too holy for the eater (e.g., teruma, certain korbanot); 4. Foods that are forbidden only at certain times (e.g., food on Yom Kippur, chametz on Pesach); 5. Foods that are forbidden for a circumstantial moral reason (e.g., mother and child shechted on the same day, ever min hachay – see Moreh HaNevuchim III:48).
In the other direction, in the following cases, a prohibited food has entered the body, without moral culpability, so that A does not apply and B and C do: 1. The person eating followed halachic rules, which resulted in ingesting the forbidden food (e.g., animal had blemishes we are not required to check for, bitul made it permitted); 2. The eater is not forbidden to eat the food (non-Jew, small child, severely mentally disabled); 3) One needed to eat it to save his life; 4) The substance entered the body in a way other than eating.
We begin a small sampling of the many sources that provide different views of some of these matters before focusing on the most central. Chashukei Chemed (Megilla 13a) cites a machloket whether eating forbidden food based on an unavoidable mistake creates negative spiritual effects (Rav Pe’alim – no; Ramah M’panu – yes; see Pitchei Teshuva, Yoreh Deah 29:1). Besides saying that without fault there is no cause for timtum, it is also possible that Hashem intervenes to rectify the spirit of one who followed halacha (see Derashot Haran 11, who says similarly regarding a case in which Sanhedrin mistakenly permits something that should be forbidden).
The Netziv (Devarim 6:11) says that the reason it is better to shecht an animal on Shabbat for a dangerously sick person than to give him non-kosher meat is that the latter causes timtum. This assumes that timtum exists even without wrongdoing. However, the fact that all the Rishonim give other explanations (see Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 328) demonstrates the opposite.
We will continue with further analysis next week.
Why Not Use an Eiruv?Why would someone not trust an eiruv constructed under respectable rabbis’ supervision?
The main reason that some people do not carry on Shabbat in an area with an eiruv is actually not a lack of trust in a given rabbi’s expertise, as it is more commonly on fundamental grounds. Rather, they (including some rabbis who are responsible for eiruvin) are not convinced that an eiruv can be effective in the place in question. While all agree to the efficacy of eiruvin, some trust them only for small areas, not city or neighborhood eiruvin. Why?
What most people call an eiruv (a slight misnomer) is a collection of various structures, including walls and sets of strings connecting poles (tzurot hapetach). When an area is sufficiently encompassed with structures, it is a reshut hayachid (private domain, where one may carry, if certain other requirements are met). With all the possible places things that can go wrong in a big eiruv, including a need to rely on certain leniencies and the chance of changes (e.g., fallen or disqualified tzurot hapetach) since the last check, there is concern that something will. An eiruv is only as strong as its weakest link.
More fundamentally, the gemara (Eiruvin 6a-b) says that tzurot hapetach do not work in a reshut harabim (public domain, in which carrying more than four amot is forbidden by Torah law). Only in a karmelit (an area with reshut harabim-like status based on Rabbinic law) do tzurot hapesach make an area into a reshut hayachid, in which one may carry. Only actual physical impediments, such as walls and doors/gates can turn a reshut harabim into a reshut hayachid in which one may carry, and these are rarely feasible in municipal settings. Thus, in order to use our standard eiruvin, we need to assume that the areas in question are not reshuyot harabim. Are they?
The only Talmudicly explicit requirements of a reshut harabim are that it is sixteen amot wide (Shabbat 99a), it is not roofed over (ibid. 98a), and perhaps that is frequented by people (Eiruvin 6b). Such places abound (see Rambam, Shabbat 14:1).
How, then, can the great majority of Shabbat-observant Jews use an eiruv that relies on tzurot hapetach? First, rest assured that usage of such eiruvin is indeed the Ashkenazi minhag, supported by leading poskim for hundreds of years (see Magen Avraham 345:5) and to this day (see Igrot Moshe, OC I:139). The main source of leniency, which the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 345:7) cites, albeit as a secondary opinion, is that a reshut harabim requires the presence of 600,000 people. The Magen Avraham (ad loc. 5) says that this is the more accepted opinion. The Beur Halacha (ad loc.), while citing many Rishonim who accept it, cites even more Rishonim who are stringent. He also questions the Shulchan Aruch’s contention that the 600,000 must be on an individual street in the course of a normal day. Another “disqualification” of reshuyot harabim is when they are not mefulash (i.e., if streets are lined by buildings on their sides and their openings end or they curve before making it through the city (see Shulchan Aruch, ibid. and Magen Avraham ad loc. 10).
There are other theses to explain our lenient practice (see Aruch Hashulchan, OC 345:20; Chazon Ish 107:5). Perhaps the strongest, found in the Avnei Nezer (OC 273), is that the idea that tzurot hapetach are ineffective in a reshut harabim is just a Rabbinic stringency. After erecting the classic eiruv, then, the worst-case-scenario is only a Rabbinic prohibition, making it is easier to rely on the lenient opinions that a reshut harabim requires 600,000 people.
While we have confirmed the validity of the practice of most of us to rely on eiruvin, we have seen that there are often also strong reasons to refrain from usage, even if an illustrious rabbi vouches for the eiruv. Although we would warn people of the dangers of being machmir on this matter (e.g., due to communal and family dynamics), one should not misinterpret the intention of those who do so.
Partial Reneging on HiringI am self-employed in a service providing field. The Cohens hired me two months in advance for a block of time at high season. I told them I needed to know exactly when I was needed, and as a result I did not put out the word I was available for that time. Soon before I was supposed to start working, they told me they were cutting back to a fraction of the time. Do I have a financial claim against them? While a learned person told me I can get two thirds of the projected salary, I want to hear from a Rav who adjudicates financial matters.
Members of our beit din are usually careful not to give advice to one side or give the impression we agree with his claims without hearing the other side. However, I believe you sincerely want to know if it is appropriate to make a claim and are not asking to gain an advantage. Therefore, I will give you some perspective to help you decide how to resolve your issues with the Cohens.
One who commits to hire a worker is bound financially not to cancel (or cut back, which is equivalent) the work order, only if there was an act that finalized (kinyan) the hiring. Beginning of work, starting with traveling to the job, is a special kinyan-equivalent for workers (Bava Metzia 76b). However, if the “employer” wants to back out between the commitment and the beginning of the work, the “worker” has no monetary claim, but only a moral complaint (taromet) (see ibid. 75b; Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 333:1).
Rishonim ask that the employer should be obligated because he caused the worker the damage of a lost employment opportunity. Two distinctions are made between cases where the worker has claims and when he does not. 1) Can the worker find work after being informed? (Tosafot, Bava Metzia 76b); 2) Would he have found a different job originally if the employer did not hire him? (see Maggid Mishneh, Sechirut 9:4). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 2) rules that only when both factors are in the worker’s favor is he entitled to compensation for the loss. You imply that you did not have enough warning to find an alternative job (we do not know if the Cohen’s agree). You imply that you did not turn down work offers because of the Cohens, but that your chances to find other jobs would have been much greater if you had known you needed work and “put out the word.”
There is little discussion about cases where the extent to which the work order was responsible for not receiving other work is unclear. One also should consider that many say that the reneging employer is not legally culpable because he is not damaging but indirectly preventing profit (see K’tzot Hachoshen 333:2). Some say obligation before kinyan is only a Rabbinic obligation to help workers or an assumption of tacit agreement (see Netivot Hamishpat 333:3). Putting everything together, unless you demonstrate convincingly that the Cohens’ actions “robbed you” of otherwise expected employment, it is hard to extract money in beit din.
Your moral grounds are much stronger. We mentioned the idea of taromet. The extent of the moral complaint is impacted by the reason the Cohens committed themselves and changed their minds. Was there a sudden change in their needs? Was it beyond their control? Could they have informed you earlier?
The idea of paying two thirds is due to the fact that people would take a cut in salary to receive vacation (Bava Metzia 76b). If the alternative job you would likely have found is for less pay than the Cohens’ job, you would again have to reduce your claim.
It sounds (albeit without hearing the Cohens) that it would be mentchlach for them to pay you an appropriate amount for harming your employment situation by their actions, but it is hard to say how much. It is not clear if and how much you could demand. Considering the many types of “prices” of litigation (including endangering your professional reputation), I urge you to consider the possibility that dropping the matter or raising your complaint pleasantly (perhaps presenting our discussion could help) serves you better.
Waiting Between the Beracha and the Kri’at HatorahIn my shul (I am the rav), it is often too noisy to start laining right after the beracha. (How long/) may we delay the beginning of the aliya?
We must investigate different distinctions in the laws of hefsek. (Realize that many sources equate talking between a beracha and the food it goes on to talking between a beracha and the mitzva it goes on.) 1) Speaking is a more problematic break than silence. For example, a single word is a hefsek, while the time it takes to say a single word is not (Mishna Berura 206:12). 2) The most sensitive time is between the beracha and the start of the matter to which it pertains. For example, if one speaks a pasuk or more into an aliya, he does not have to make a new beracha (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 140:2). If he spoke inappropriately in between the beracha and the beginning of the laining, he would have to repeat it (Mishna Berura 140:6). 3) A break that serves a purpose for that which the beracha relates to (e.g., one who asks for salt between the beracha on bread and eating it) does not necessitate repeating the beracha (Shulchan Aruch, OC 167:6).
In your question, waiting silently before the beginning of the aliya, there are two factors for leniency (silence, for a good reason) and one of stringency (before beginning the aliya). Let us consider the extent of the leniencies.
The Beit Yosef (OC 206) cites a Shibolei Haleket who says, based on his understanding of a Yerushalmi, that if one pauses between the beracha and its subject (regarding food and mitzvot), for more than k’dei dibbur (1-2 seconds), he must repeat the beracha. However, the Magen Avraham (206:3) paskens against this, at least regarding after the fact (i.e., not repeating the beracha), citing the following discussion in the Beit Yosef (OC 140). On Chanuka/Rosh Chodesh they opened the wrong Torah first and had to roll it to the right place (from Naso to Pinchas) after the opening beracha. Some argued that they should have made another beracha for two reasons: 1. The delay for rolling was too long. 2. The beracha was made with an intention for the wrong place. The Avudraham rejects reason #1 because a break of silence does not disqualify, and the Beit Yosef seems to agree. Regarding reason #2, the Beit Yosef is unsure (he cites both opinions in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 140:3)). Regarding #1, some learn from the fact we do not cut loaves of bread until after the beracha (Berachot 39b) that a moderate delay is not a problem (unless people took their mind off the fact the beracha was made (Mishna Berura 206:12)).
The Rama (206:3) does say not to wait more than k’dei dibbur between a beracha and the food. This is even for waiting silently but, on the other hand, this is only to be avoided l’chatchila – the wait does not necessitate repeating the beracha (see Mishna Berura 206:12; Mor Va’aholot OC 1).
The Rama (OC 167:6) says that one should avoid where possible talking even for a purpose related to the subject of the beracha. We see from the above discussion that according to the Shibolei Leket, a silent break is a problem even if one is involved in getting the mitzva done (e.g., rolling the sefer Torah). (Apparently, this is talking about time beyond normal transition time, as regarding laining and shofar, for example, it is very common to take a few seconds to find the right word or place the shofar at the right spot.) It is unclear if according to those who accept the Shibolei Leket only l’chatchila, we should avoid a silent break when the silence plays a productive role.
We summarize as follows. It is certainly preferable to wait for quiet before the berachot and if there is only a slight disturbance, to read at least one pasuk before stopping. If one is going to stop, it is best for it to be less than the amount of time to recite the birkat Hatorah (see Ritva, Megilla 21b) or at least the amount of time it takes to read the first three p’sukim (see discussion in Mor Va’aholot ibid). However, if the need to wait is acute, even a moderate break can be justified.
Whose Responsibility is it to Make a Proper Fence?The house we are renting has a somewhat elevated (up to a meter in some places) mirpeset (balcony), with just a 50 cm (20 inch) fence (ma’akeh) around it. We do not want to invest money in a house we do not own. It is our obligation to fix the ma’akeh or the landlord’s? If it is his obligation, can we use that mirpeset, or is it still forbidden until it is fixed? If it is our obligation, can we simply decide to not use the balcony or would it require blocking off?
A roof requires a fence of 10 tefachim (approximately 80 cm.) (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 427:5), and any dangerous area (not just the roof the Torah refers to) requires a fence or covering, as appropriate (Shulchan Aruch, ibid. 7). Thus, the balcony in question seem to require a proper ma’akeh.
Who is obligated – the landlord or the renter (you)? The gemara (Bava Metzia 101b), regarding the question of who is responsible for seeing to a variety of needs of the house, sets a rule that that which requires expert work is the landlord’s domain and simple work is the renter’s. Ma’akeh is given as an example of the renter’s responsibility. Although the Pitchei Teshuva (CM 427:2) brings two opinions, a renter’s obligation is apparently of Rabbinic origin, as according to Torah law, only an owner of a house is obligated. Some explain (see Yereim 234) that the obligation was given to the renter because he is more likely to fulfill his obligation promptly. On the other hand, the Pe’at Hashulchan (ibid.) has a novel claim that the landlord is obligated, and the gemara refers to a case where he erected one and it was damaged. The Rama (CM 314:2) can be read as saying that who is obligated in ma’akeh is impacted by local minhag. We believe the minhag is that a landlord should provide safeguards for an objectively unsafe balcony (the religious obligation of ma’akeh when it is anyway safe might not be included). In any case, if the landlord refuses to do so, you are likely obligated.
Will setting up a situation in which you will barely use the balcony help? The Rambam (Rotzeiach 11:1) says that a ma’akeh is required only for a house that is lived in somewhat normally. Some want to infer that if one goes to his roof infrequently, a ma’akeh is unnecessary. However, that approach is correctly rejected (see Pe’at Hashulchan 2:(27)). Only when the roof is not fit for use (e.g., it is steeply slanted) do we say that it is excluded from the obligation (see Aruch Hashulchan, CM 427:5). Making it physically inaccessible would exempt.
Your decision to not use the balcony probably might not help, as there are still likely to be occasional circumstances in which you will want/need to use it, which is enough in this regard. On the other hand, a distinction we made in Living the Halachic Process (I, H:8) may help. We substantiated a distinction between a ma’akeh for a roof and for other places, whereby a roof has a formal obligation for a formal ma’akeh even if one could effectively minimize the danger in another way. Other places are treated according to the reaching of the goal of safety. Thus it is possible that a decision to rarely use the mirpeset along with other factors could cause a situation where there is no real danger and you might be exempt. Of course, if it is practically not safe, halacha and common sense both dictate that one cannot leave the situation, and it might be easier to pressure the owner in a way he should understand.Therefore, it seems legitimate to be lenient to just make sure you are in a safe situation even if the official heights are not present. It is likely possible to halachically raise the height in a way that is quite cheap, as the formalistic element does not have to be that strong – just enough that the fence as a whole will support the weight of a person leaning on it (Shulchan Aruch, CM 427:5).
Reciting Aleinu Along with the TzibburIf I am in the midst of davening and the tzibbur is up to Aleinu, should I stop what I am doing and recite it along with them?
Let us trace where what you heard about saying Aleinu with the tzibbur comes from and then try to apply it properly.
The gemara (Berachot 20b) says that the reason the mishna instructs one who is impure and may not recite Kri’at Shema to “think about it” when others are reciting it is “so he should not be idle” at such a time. The Rosh (Berachot 3:14) says that the Behag says that for the same reason one who already recited Kri’at Shema and entered a shul in which they are reciting it should recite it again. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 65:2) rules this way, explaining that “he should not look as if he does not want to accept the yoke of the
The Magen Avraham (ad loc. 3) expands significantly on this idea, saying: “the same is true of other things that the tzibbur recites, e.g., Tehilla L’David (Ashrei), that he reads with them, for this is derech eretz.” A few things are not clear in this Magen Avraham. What is it about Ashrei specifically that makes it something that the tzibbur says (was it said aloud or in unison in his time?)? What else meets this criterion? What does he mean by derech eretz (is that the same as looking like not accepting)?
While it is unclear how he would answer the above questions, the Machatzit Hashekel (ad loc.), cited by the Mishna Berura (65:9) without dissent, says that the same is true of Aleinu. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OC III:89), without discussing Aleinu, gives guidelines for saying parts of tefilla along with the tzibbur. It is an obligation to answer devarim sheb’kedusha (things that require a minyan) that do not have a set amount of times per day to say them. The derech eretz applies only to sections of praise of Hashem, not to sections that are supplication.
The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 65:6) says that the minhag in his time was not to be careful to recite Ashrei or Aleinu with the tzibbur but just to bow with the tzibbur at the appropriate point of Aleinu. He does mention that some recite all of Aleinu with the tzibbur. While Ashrei has a very central place in davening (see Berachot 4b) and is recited three times a day, the thrice-recited Aleinu, instituted by Yehoshua Bin Nun, is very prominent as well, including in that we stand during its recitation (see Rama, OC 132:2, and Baer Heitev, ad loc. 3; Ishei Yisrael 26:(34)).
The fact that reciting Aleinu with the tzibbur comes from relatively late sources, is not unanimously held, and is described as derech eretz rather than an obligation, has an impact. There is a machloket whether the practice of reciting Kri’at Shema with the tzibbur justifies interrupting P’sukei D’zimra (opinions cited by Mishna Berura 65:11) or not (Shulchan Aruch, OC 65:2). Regarding Aleinu, which is of a lower level, halachic logic indicates that one should not stop during P’sukei D’zimra and certainly not during Shemoneh Esrei and Kri’at Shema and its berachot (see Ishei Yisrael 26:14).
We, therefore, summarize as follows. If one is in the last parts of davening, he should interrupt what he is reciting, preferably at a good place to stop, to say Aleinu with the tzibbur. (If he is not up to the post- U’va L’tzion section of his tefila, he should repeat Aleinu when he gets up to its normal place – Tefilla K’hilchata 17:16.) If one is davening with a minyan that says Aleinu in a different spot than he is used to, he should say it as the tzibbur does (Ishei Yisrael ibid., despite some opinions to the contrary in Tefilla K’hilchata 17:(31)). If he is in a place in davening at which he may not stop, it suffices to bow like others at “… va’anachnu korim…” According to the aforementioned Aruch Hashulchan, this is always enough, and this is parallel to bowing when the chazan gets up to Modim and one is not in able to say Modim D’Rabbanan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 109:1).
Leaving Eretz Yisrael for a TripMay one leave Israel for a short trip to, for example, enjoy Hashem’s creations that can be seen abroad?
(We will not distinguish between Biblical/historical Eretz Yisrael and the State of Israel’s borders, although the matter deserves discussion). This issue of leaving Eretz Yisrael has been written about in many contemporary works, since we have been blessed with the ability to live Eretz Yisrael in our own state. We will go from an introduction, to classical sources, to halachic indications.
There are three possible halachic issues with leaving Eretz Yisrael, which themselves can be explained in different ways: 1) Uprooting oneself from fulfillment of the mitzva to live in Eretz Yisrael. 2) For a kohen, not being contaminated by the Rabbinic-level impurity of chutz la’aretz. 3. Violating an (apparently) lower-level prohibition of leaving. In some of the sources, it is not clear which issue is on the table.
The gemara in Ketubot (111a) both says that it is forbidden to “leave Eretz Yisrael for [even] Bavel” and tells of Rabbi Chanina telling someone not to leave to perform the mitzva of yibbum. However, these sources are likely referring to leaving permanently, which is worse not only cumulatively but because he uproots the mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael, which by leaving for a short time likely one does not do. Rabbi Yochanan was reluctant to let Rav Assi go to greet his approaching mother (Kiddushin 32a). Eventually, he agreed, stressing that Rav Assi should return. It is possible that the issue was that Rav Assi was a kohen (see Mishpat Kohen 147). The gemara in Avoda Zara (13a), which explicitly addresses a kohen, says he may not go out without special justification. The examples given are to learn Torah in a qualitatively better way than in Eretz Yisrael, to get married, and to adjudicate with a non-Jew. Tosafot (ad loc.) says that only these mitzvot are important enough to justify leaving (the She’iltot disagrees) and that even so, the permission was only to leave temporarily. A final gemara (Moed Katan 14) we will cite is about permission to shave on Chol Hamo’ed after returning from a trip to chutz la’aretz (according to the Ra’avad, accepted by the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 531:4). Shaving is not permitted if the trip was improper. The guidelines are that it is permitted to go for livelihood and forbidden to go “lashut” (we translate as going for the sake of travel). There is a machloket if he went to make money that he did not need, and we rule leniently (ibid.). Apparently, a temporary trip (how long is unclear) can be wrong, but it is not very hard to justify it.
The most prominent post-Talmudic source is the Rambam (Melachim 5:9), who seems to take guidelines from several gemarot. He says that it is permitted to leave to marry, learn Torah, and adjudicate but he must return. Then he adds that one can also go temporarily to engage in commerce. While there are slight variations, the consensus among poskim of the contemporary era (including Rav Kook, Mishpat Kohen 147; Rav Yisraeli, Eretz Hemdah I:10; Yechaveh Da’at V:57; Shevel Halevi 5:173) is that it is permissible to go abroad for any significant reason (that is no less important than commerce). What this entails seems subjective and may depend on a posek’s philosophy. The Magen Avraham (531:7) mentions to see a friend, and presumably taking part in his significant simcha is at least as important. The Shevet Halevi says there is room to be lenient to see the wonders of Hashem’s work in nature, especially if one approaches that properly. Rav Lichtenstein (Har Etzion site) says that cultural enrichment is no less important than business opportunities. In Bemareh Habazak (IV:140, based on Rav Yisraeli), after stressing the feeling one should have for being in Israel, we gave, as examples of legitimate reasons, educational trips and family vacations that do not have a viable alternative in Israel.
While there are too many sources and scenarios to analyze exhaustively, we hope our survey is useful.
How to Tell When Your Tefillin Need AdjustmentHow can one tell when his tefillin shel rosh needs adjustment?
Firstly, an adult who has not adjusted his tefillin shel rosh’s knot in several years almost certainly needs an adjustment. Tefillin straps stretch slowly as we apply pressure to them (some more than others) when fastening the tefillin on our head. If one’s hairline has not receded, he can easily check (see above).
Now, a little review of the anatomy of a normal human head. The skull is highest towards the back of the head; it then gradually slopes down. Near the front of the head, the slope increases, and then turns into a “cliff” (i.e., the forehead). The hairline ends at the end of the gradual or the midst of the increased slope. No hair (except eyebrows) is rooted in the forehead.
Based on the above, the following are signs of misplaced tefillin. If the end of the tefillin looks like it is “hanging off a cliff,” it is certainly much too far forward, as a line drawn down from the end of the tefillin would hit the forehead or even the nose. Because of the increased slope, there may be a little space between the bottom of the tefillin and the head. However, if there is too much room (i.e., a finger fits in comfortably), it is very likely not in the right place.
Another sign is the tefillin’s angle. The angle is determined primarily by where the tefillin are fastened to the head by the straps – at the back of the tefillin. Generally, tefillin in the right place will be upright with a slight downward slant. If the tefillin has a serious downward-facing angle, it is generally (unless one has a rounder head than most) too far forward, so that its rear is where its forward part should be (on the steeper slope). Thus the tefillin’s front will be too far forward, unless the tefillin are very small.
A final sign is the kippa. With average size kippot and tefillin, there should be little or no room between the two. One with a particularly large kippa or who wears it on the top of the head (as opposed to part top/part back) will have to move the kippa back.
When I look around many of the shuls I regularly daven in or visit, I see many too many people with apparent (or definite) problems in this regard. Among the older generation, I would estimate that the problems are in well above 50% of the people. As I HATE correcting people (and most hate being corrected), I am torn as to when the rectifiable problem is clear enough to halachically/morally require me to do the uncomfortable. The following limud zechut decreases the problem. Most people put the tefillin at a certain position and push it forward in the process of fastening. Thus, some of those who keep the tefillin too far forward had it in the right place for a few moments after the beracha (so that it is not l’vatala) before the fastening was complete, and thereby may have fulfilled the mitzva for that short time.
More people should learn how to shorten the circumference of the head strap, which is necessary for the tefillin to stay in the right place. You are invited to visit me or ask a sofer. It may be easier to Google search: “youtube tefillin head adjust.” Then, you can help yourself and your friends.
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