Home > Ask The Rabbi
ASK THE RABBI
Do not hesitate to ask any question about Jewish life, Jewish tradition or Jewish law.
Does a Chatan Daven with a Minyan?I have heard that a chatan during the week of sheva berachot does not need to daven with a minyan. Is there anything to that, and what would the reason be?
There is something to what you have heard, but it has less to do with a minyan than with going to shul. Let us discuss the issues and put things in perspective.
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 131:1) says that Tachanun is not recited in a chatan’s house because the simcha of a chatan and the somberness of Tachanun do not go together well. The Rama (ad loc.) says that this is even when the chatan comes to shul, but only on the wedding day. The Taz (ad loc. 10) says that it applies all seven days after the wedding and comments that for this reason, a chatan should not come to shul during this time so as not to deprive people of Tachanun. The Mishna Berura (131:26) cites the Taz without dissent.
Contemporary poskim point out that some disagree with this restriction/recommendation (see Nitei Gavriel, Nisuin 63:4; Dirshu 131:(41)). Let us briefly analyze. While the tzibbur rarely minds missing Tachanun, it is an important prayer (see Mishna Berura 131:1). Still, should we exclude such an honored person (see below) who has done nothing wrong? Rav S.Z. Auerbach (cited in Tefilla K’hilchata 15:(41)) posits that according to the Rama, that it is only on the wedding day, people are correctly happy to share his simcha at the price of Tachanun, but for the Taz, who applies the exemption for a week, it is more of a problem to take away Tachanun that much (we hope for many weddings during the year). In answering why a mohel is not told not to come to shul, he also adds that due to the stature of a chatan and his (one-time, iy”H) preoccupation with his new wife and status, the importance of his tefilla b’tzibbur is diminished. This explains why we may prefer him to not come to shul. I would put it this way. Consistently davening in shul helps the individual and Klal Yisrael. A chatan personally has a halachically recognized competing reason to stay home (like the halacha to not go to work that week). The fact that his presence deprives the community of Tachanun is enough to tip the scale in favor of davening at home in the presence of his kalla.
Another reason not to go to shul is the concept that a chatan (and kalla) should not go on the streets by himself (Rama, Even Haezer 64:1). Some explain the practice based on concern for his physical and/or spiritual welfare (based on Berachot 54b). Others (Perisha, Even Haezer 64:1*) connect it to his stature resembling a king, who does not go unaccompanied (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 16). There are questions as to whether this applies in safe places/times (daytime). In any case, an escort of one including the new spouse suffices (see Nitei Gavriel, Nisuim 56:(10)), so this impediment is solvable.
Let us turn to practical guidelines and perspectives. If there is a minyan at Sheva Berachot, the chatan should take part, which should make the kalla happy. Going to shul can depend on the circumstances. If the couple is careful about not going out alone (which Askenazim, especially those with Chassidish leanings, are more likely to be), then he should consider the feasibility of the alternatives. Does he have someone to escort him both ways, without unreasonable tircha or discomfort to the kalla? Is it feasible and is the kalla interested to come to shul herself? How important is it to the chatan to not miss minyan, even on such a week? How important is it for the kalla that her chatan does not miss minyan “because of her” and that he/they thank Hashem for their marriage and add requests in an optimal setting for its success? It is not always simple for a chatan to raise these questions and get honest answers about how his kalla really feels. Therefore, some rabbis might wisely say that the point of the departure is that the chatan should not be expected to go to shul. However, if based on the personalities and circumstances, it is deemed desirable, there is insufficient reason to preclude his going to shul.
Kashrut of a Tea Bag HolderI have a porcelain tea bag holder (small saucer on which you put a tea bag after removing it from the tea). May I use it alternately for pareve tea served in both milchig (e.g., used for coffee with milk) and fleishig cups (e.g., used for chicken soup)?
Let us analyze your question. If a tea bag becomes fleishig in a fleishig cup, perhaps it makes the holder fleishig. Then, possibly, another tea bag could similarly become milchig, and treif up the holder and/or have the holder make the tea bag treif. It would then presumably be forbidden to reuse the tea bag. (We will skirt the issue of whether it is a problem of cooking basar b’chalav even if not reusing the tea bag, which should not be a problem here - see Pri Megadim, Siftei Da’at 87:19).
We start by analyzing the status of pareve tea that is used in a fleishig (or milchig) tea cup. In general, the tea can pick up fleishig taste on the level of nat bar nat (twice removed taste, e.g., from the chicken soup into the cup, then from the cup into the tea). The gemara (Chulin 111b) cites a machloket whether hot fish that was placed on a fleishig plate may be eaten with milchig sauce. While many “know” this to be a machloket between Ashkenazim (stringent) and Sephardim (lenient), this is inaccurate. All actually agree that in the gemara’s case, the fish may be eaten with milchig food (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 95:1). The stringency of the Rama (YD 95:2)/Ashkenazim is when the pareve food was cooked or roasted in a fleishig pot. In that case, a more powerful taste is transferred than when hot fish is put on a fleishig utensil, where no flame is present. Our case is equivalent to that of the gemara, as putting hot water into a fleishig cup will extract no more than nat bar nat taste, which all agree remains pareve.
However, the matter is not that simple. Many say that even according to the Shulchan Aruch, who says that pareve food with nat bar nat fleishig taste can be mixed with milk, that is only once the nat bar nat food exists. However, one should not purposely put hot pareve food in a fleishig utensil if he plans to eat it with milk, (see Pri Chadash 95:1; Kaf Hachayim, YD 95:1; Yalkut Yosef is lenient). The idea is that we do not rely on nat bar nat on a l’chatchila level. In your case, you are ostensibly asking whether you can use the holder l’chatchila in a way that the foods will remain kosher only because of nat bar nat, raising this problem.
One could claim this depends on the following machloket among Acharonim. Ashkenazim are allowed to put “meat-equipment” pareve food, which they may not eat with milk, into a milchig utensil (Rama, YD 95:2). If you know you in advance you want to put a pareve food into an empty milchig utensil, may you cook it first in a fleishig pot, or is that using nat bar nat l’chatchila? The Pri Megadim (MZ 95:4) and Badei Hashulchan (95:30) rule stringently, and the Bach and Igrot Moshe (YD III:10) are lenient. Your case sounds the same – you want to use nat bar nat to allow a hot food to be exposed both to fleishig and milchig utensils.
Still, there is no problem for the following reason. The stringent poskim discussed cases where the milchig and fleishig utensils were truly that. In contrast, the holder always remains pareve because all tea bags put on it were previously nat bar nat. Therefore, all should agree that one can even set up the situation l’chatchila, by using the same holder.
There are further possible grounds for leniency, especially the fact that the heat sources that might transfer taste from cups to tea bag and between tea bag and holder are once or more removed from a flame. Water poured into the cup is iruy mikli rishon, the tea bag often enters at the point of kli sheni and the hot tea bag is removed from the kli sheni before going to the holder. There is much to discuss on these topics, but the matter is permitted fundamentally anyway. (If the holder lost its pareve status by direct contact with milchig or fleishig food, these issues could be relevant.)
Using Notes Taken on Shabbat or Yom TovI was asked by a talmid of mine who is in college, whether he can use notes taken on Shabbat or Yom Tov by a non-religious Jewish friend?
There are various opinions from the Tannaim down through the poskim on the extent of the prohibition of ma’aseh Shabbat, things produced through the violation of Shabbat (see Ketubot 34a). Rabbi Meir says that if Shabbat was violated by mistake, it is permitted to use the result even on Shabbat; if it was done on purpose, it is forbidden for the perpetrator but permitted for others. According to Rabbi Yehuda, even by mistake, it is forbidden for everyone on Shabbat but permitted after Shabbat for those other than the perpetrator. (There is a third, more stringent opinion, which is not accepted as halacha.) The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:1), following the Rif and Rambam, rules like Rabbi Yehuda. The Gra, like Tosafot before him, rules like the lenient Rabbi Meir. The Mishna Berura (318:7) says that one can rely on the lenient opinion regarding shogeg (that it is permitted for all on Shabbat). In any case, since your talmid is not the perpetrator, it seems clear that it is permitted for him, as all the normative opinions agree that it is permitted for others after Shabbat.
However, there are a few issues to deal with. First, there are opinions that even others need to wait bichdei sheya’asu (the amount of time it would take to get the result if one started after Shabbat). This concept is found regarding a non-Jew who did work on behalf of a Jew. This waiting period is still required even though the non-Jew did nothing wrong and even in cases where the Jew did not improperly tell him to do so (Beitza 24b). Two possible reasons are advanced for this halacha. Rashi (ad loc.) says that it is in order to not benefit from work done on Shabbat. Tosafot says that it is so one not come to ask the non-Jew to do work. The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 225:22) reasons that the issue of benefiting from work on Shabbat should apply to a Jew who regularly violates Shabbat. However, regarding Tosafot’s reason, we do not expect a religious Jew to ask a Shabbat desecrator to do work on Shabbat. The Mishna Berura adds a reason not to say bichdei sheya’asu regarding a Jew – a Jew will not listen to a request to do melacha, and one can argue that this does not apply to those who regularly violate Shabbat (see our Bemareh Habazak I:31). The Pri Megadim leaves the matter unresolved, and there is not a consensus among contemporary poskim (see ibid., where we leaned toward leniency, and Orchot Shabbat 25:(25), who leans toward stringency).
How long would bichdei sheya’asu be in our case? On the one hand, if the student did not take notes at the time of the class, he would not have them, and thus maybe it is forever. However, logic dictates that the information could still be obtained from another student, and it would not take long. Therefore, even if one were to be stringent regarding bichdei sheya’asu, he could take the notes relatively soon after Shabbat.
If the note taker takes money for using his notes, paying him might be forbidden (see Shut K’tav Sofer, OC 50). We will curtail discussion of this point, with the assumption that this is not the case here.
While according to pure halacha, it is permitted to use the notes, there is a preference to use a non-Jew’s notes for the following reason. There is an element of chillul Hashem in taking advantage of chillul Shabbat in a manner that includes personal interaction. It can be seen (to your talmid and/or to his classmate) as if he is saying: “I can’t come to class, but I am glad you are there to help me out.” The aforementioned responsa in Bemareh Habazak rules that it is permitted to take a ride from shul on Motzaei Shabbat with one who drove his car there on Shabbat. However, we said (see also Tzitz Eliezer XIII:48) that it is improper to do so on a regular basis for the above reason. The appropriate level of sensitivity in this regard depends on the people involved and cannot be fully captured in this forum.
To Whom to Sell One’s Apartment?My apartment is for sale, and the apartment’s present renter and my nephew are interested in buying it. Do laws of precedence apply here? If so, does it make a difference if someone offers more than others?
Our response cannot cover all elements of your case without hearing the claims of all affected sides. Our response is intended to inform you of your responsibilities based on your account.
There are two levels of precedence regarding selling land. One is non-binding. In this regard, a relative has precedence over those with no connection to the seller, but a talmid chacham and a neighbor have greater precedence (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 175:50).
A bar metzra or matzran (he who lives on the boundary) has a higher level of precedence, including the possibility of legal action. Specifically, if a sale that ignores a matzran’s rights occurs, he can take the land from the buyer for the sale price (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 6). The is a takana based on doing the “good and straight thing” to give the opportunity to buy property to one who can benefit more than others, classically when he can connect the properties. A matzran’s rights are not intended for cases of innate loss to the seller (Rama ibid. 23). Therefore you have a right to sell to whoever agrees to the highest final price or best conditions for you.
Being a relative does not give such rights. There are no gemarot about a renter, but there is discussion (Bava Metzia 108b) of a similar case (i.e., temporary connection to land), when one has a lien on land (mashkanta). Rishonim and Acharonim debate several questions regarding renters and mashkanta, including whether a matzran has precedence in renting a property next to his and whether a matzran can demand the land already sold to its renter. Regarding continuing to rent the property as opposed to bringing in a new renter, the Taz says the renter has rights, the Pitchei Teshuva (175:27) brings a dissenting view, and the K’tzot Hachoshen (175:3) says it depends if the owner has good reason to want the renter out.
The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 60) says that a renter’s connection to a property adjacent to his rental is insufficient for him to take it if sold to someone else. What about the sale of the rental property itself (without compromising the renter’s existing rights)? On one hand, combining properties does not apply. On the other hand, being able to acquire property to which he has become accustomed may count as maximization. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 63) says that here too, the renter does not have matzran rights.
However, matters are not that simple. Regarding mashkanta, the Rama (ibid. 57) argues on the Shulchan Aruch and rules that the lender, who holds the lien of the property, can claim the purchase rights. The S’ma (175:116, cited by Netivot Hamishpat 175:67) claims that the Rama likewise argues with the Shulchan Aruch and gives purchase rights to the renter on the rental property, as well. In some ways, a renter is better than mashkanta based on the concept that rental is like a sale (Bava Metzia 56b). The Pitchei Teshuva (175:28) cites several who assume that the Rama does not argue regarding rental (the main claim is that a lien is more significant long-term than a rental). On the other hand, the Shulchan Aruch’s author (see Beit Yosef, CM 175) does not totally reject matzran rights to a renter but stresses that it is not strong enough to extract property from one who bought the land. Since you are asking about the proper actions before having sold, there is reason to give the renter preference.
Therefore, you have a choice between a relative’s weak halachic preference and a machloket about a renter’s possible full bar metzra rights along with the likelihood of some level of his precedence. This seems to be a case where discussion can be helpful. The parties should know that while you care about the interests of each, neither seems to have a clear halachic advantage over the other. We hope you will be able to resolve things without hurt feelings.
How Many People Together to Start Shemoneh Esrei? – part III daven at a small minyan at which some people daven slower than the rest and others come late. We do not always have ten ready to start Shemoneh Esrei with the chazan. Should we wait for ten, or is six enough?
[Last week we saw the main sources and arguments of the sides on this matter.]
Several important poskim say that six davening in the presence of another four (= 6+4) is considered tefilla b’tzibbur, based on their understanding of the Rambam and Magen Avraham. This includes Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Da’at V:7), Minchat Yitzchak (IX:6,7), Shevet Halevi (XI:20), Beit Baruch (19:3), and B’tzel Hachocma IV:135). Several also report this to be common practice.
The stringent camp includes (in addition to Rav M. Feinstein, see last week) Halichot Shlomo (8:5, in the name of Rav Auerbach), Teshuvot V’hanhagot (I:102, also citing the Brisker Rav), and Rav Y.C. Zonnenfeld (Salmat Chayim, OC 52). The contemporary Ishei Yisrael (12:7) and Tefilla K’hilchata (8:71) treat it as a machloket with a slight leaning toward stringency.
The primary disagreement between the two sides may be more conceptual (is it called tefilla b’tzibbur?) than practical (may one daven in that manner?). For example, the Minchat Yitzchak (IX:7), a member of the lenient camp, says that ten starting together is preferable to 6+4. On the other side, Igrot Moshe (Orach Chayim III:16) relates to 6+4 as a reasonable option in some cases. After all, tefilla b’tzibbur is not an absolute obligation and requires the investment of only moderate efforts (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 90:16). There are many questions discussed (including in this column) of preference between full tefilla b’tzibbur and other tefilla enhancers.
There are also levels of connection between tefilla and tzibbur. It is best to start Shemoneh Esrei exactly with the minyan, but starting later is also significant (see differences between Igrot Moshe, OV III:4 and B’tzel Hachochma IV:3). Starting Shemoneh Esrei as chazarat hashatz begins has value but may not be full tefilla b’tzibbur (see this column, Vaeira 5773). Davening even in an empty shul has value, as does davening at home at the time of davening in shul. 6+4 may also have a status of significant but incomplete value. Teshuvot V’hanhagot (ibid.) calls 6+4 tefilla b’tzibbur and ten together tefillat hatzibbur. Igrot Moshe (ibid. 29) says that the presence of ten men draws the Divine Presence (see Berachot 6a), but only with ten davening together are the tefillot accepted in the best way (see ibid. 8a).
The Rambam (see last week) seems to view 6+4 for chazarat hashatz as ideal tefilla b’tzibbur because chazarat hashatz’s importance exceeds that of a minyan for silent Shemoneh Esrei. The Chatam Sofer (Kovetz 4) holds this, whereas Igrot Moshe (OC III:9) denies such an opinion. The Rambam thus can agree that 6+4 counts only for chazarat hashatz but say this suffices. If so, for the majority, who prefer silent Shemoneh Esrei to chazarat hashatz, the Rambam is not a proof. It might also work only with a full nine people answering every beracha and only for those who answer (see Kinyan Torah Ba’halacha IV:5). It also would not help at Maariv.
So, there is relative value in being stringent, but at what price?
Philosophically, approaching prayer united with the community is crucial (see Ein Ayah, Berachot 1:48,89). While it is hard to prove that ten starting Shemoneh Esrei together are a condition for unity, the Talmudic sources stress maximizing these elements. Therefore we urge the following. A minyan that has time for a complete tefilla experience (e.g., a yeshiva), should wait as long as necessary for ten to start together. Waiting can also remind individuals to come early enough and/or learn the halachot of skipping. A minyan that needs to stick to schedule (e.g., people must be on time to work) and/or is harder to educate may rely on the lenient opinions rather than tack on minutes. (One should try to internalize his responsibility for a minyan’s existence/proper functioning (see Rama, OC 55:22).)
How Many People Together to Start Shemoneh Esrei? – part II daven at a small minyan at which some people daven slower than the rest and others come late. We do not always have ten to start Shemoneh Esrei with the chazan. Should we wait for ten, or is six enough?
[We will divide our discussion into two. This week we will analyze the main sources and logic of the competing positions.]
There are two classical sources that are cited as the source that six men reciting Shemoneh Esrei in the presence of another four men in the room is considered tefilla b’tzibbur (davening with a minyan). The Rambam (Tefilla 8:4) describes chazarat hashatz, with everyone listening to a chazan, as the main element of tefilla b’tzibbur and then says that it is sufficient for six of the participants to be people who have not yet davened. We apply the rule of following the majority to set the character of the whole, and thus this is considered a minyan. Many see this as evidence that the Rambam holds that six people davening in the presence of ten is tefilla b’tzibbur (see Yechaveh Da’at V:7).
The Magen Avraham (69:4) says that while chazarat hashatz can be done for even one person who has not davened, it is preceded by a silent Shemoneh Esrei only if six men are presently davening. Several Acharonim (including Minchat Yitzchak IX:6, based on Shulchan Aruch Harav 69:5, and Mishna Berura 69:8) understand that the reason the silent Shemoneh Esrei before chazarat hashatz is justified is because it is considered tefilla b’tzibbur. Again, we ostensibly see that six is enough in this regard.
Apparently supporting the other camp, the Chayei Adam (19:1) says that the main element of tefilla b’tzibbur is having ten men davening Shemoneh Esrei together, as opposed to the misconception that a minyan for Kaddish, Kedusha, and Barchu suffices. This seems to indicate that six daveners plus four others present is not a fulfillment of tefilla b’tzibbur. Perplexingly, the Mishna Berura cites without comment both the Magen Avraham/Shulchan Aruch Harav (69:8) and the Chayei Adam (90:28). Members of the “lenient camp” explain the Chayei Adam as stressing that Kaddish/Kedusha/Barchu is not enough; by ten, he meant a majority of the ten men davening in the presence of the others.
The stringent camp is perhaps best represented by a compelling (in my humble opinion) set of arguments by Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim I:28-30). We start with halachic logic. The idea of six counting as a minyan, based on a majority, makes sense when there is a full quorum involved in the matter at hand, but a minority is lacking in some regard (e.g., they already fulfilled their obligation). Then we say that since the majority of the group is valid, the missing element can be overlooked. We turn to the prototype of following majority, in a court, as an example. While when three dayanim arrive at different decisions, we follow the two, when there are only two dayanim or one of the three dayanim is unable to arrive at any decision, majority cannot be used. So too, when six people are davening Shemoneh Esrei and four are taking off their tefillin after the early minyan, there is no minyan involved in tefilla and thus no tefilla b’tzibbur.
Rav Moshe (ibid. 28) points out that the Rambam is not relevant to our discussion, as he refers to chazarat hashatz in which all ten are actively involved. After all, listening to the chazan constitutes full participating in chazarat hashatz. Following the majority just solves the issue of the weaker connection of those who already davened. (Shulchan Aruch, OC 124:4 supports this distinction.) The Magen Avraham (/Mishna Berura) can be understood as being based on the quality of chazarat hashatz. If six obligated plus four others are doing so, it is complete enough to justify it being preceded by a preparatory silent Shemoneh Esrei, even though its participants are not credited with tefilla b’tzibbur.
Next week we will put things into halachic and philosophical perspective and give basic recommendations.
Place of Chanuka Candle Lighting at a GuesthouseMy extended family will be at a guesthouse for Shabbat of Chanuka. They have told us that we cannot light Chanuka candles in the rooms we will sleep in or our family’s small, separate dining room, but in the main lobby with the rest of the guests. Can we fulfill the mitzva that way, or must we find an alternative?
While one usually lights Chanuka candles in his own home, the gemara (Shabbat 23a) does discuss lighting at a guesthouse (achsenai). A guest takes part in the lighting there, at least by contributing toward the oil, unless his wife lights on his behalf. The Shulchan Aruch (677:1) says that in any case, if the guest has his own place to sleep, he should light there so that it does not appear that the occupant of those quarters does not light candles. The Rama (ad loc.) says that in such a case, since people light inside nowadays and people will not be suspicious, the place one lights is where he eats. A precedent is the halacha that regarding matters of eiruvin, a person’s main place of inhabitation is where he eats, not where he sleeps (see Taz, OC 671:2).
Contemporary poskim have discussed various cases where it is less clear that the eating place is the best place. Yeshiva students living in dormitories is perhaps the most discussed. The Chazon Ish is among those who say that the yeshiva dining room is indeed the best place. However, many point out drawbacks. First, the dining room, being used by all students, lacks the personal connection to the individual that exists in his home or even dorm room (see Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah III:14). Also, students are usually allowed in the dining room only for short periods during the day (p’sak of Rav Abba Shaul). In contrast, one’s dormitory room is his all the time (even if a healthy, motivated talmid is in the beit midrash almost all day).
Your scenario might provide a test-case between the reasons. Over Shabbat, your small dining room is set aside for your family, which could make it ideal for most poskim. However, there is a possible drawback if, as it is likely it will not be open to you the whole day. Still, that is to a great extent to keep the room in good order for your next meal, and also on Friday night, it will certainly be available to you throughout the crucial time the Chanuka candles should be lit. While one might claim that the rooms you sleep in are as good or even better, the hotel will undoubtedly not give in (for excellent reason) to have candles burning in several unattended rooms. (During the week, it might work to promise to stay put for half an hour and then extinguish them). In short, if you can make a safe arrangement and get permission to light in your dining room, that is excellent.
At first glance, the lobby seems problematic, as it is neither the place of sleeping nor eating. However, important poskim (including Rav S.Z. Auerbach – see Halichot Shlomo 14:8 – and Shevet Halevi (III:83)) making the following cogent point. The discussions regarding the place of sleep vs. eating refer to the choice between places in different buildings (e.g., married children eating with parents and sleeping at home). However, when all major home activities occur in one premises, even a large one like a yeshiva, any location on those premises which they frequent can work. After all, it is accepted and acceptable to light in one’s home in the living room, for example, even if no one eats or sleeps in that room. We would say that the greater the extent to which the lobby is open to and used by the guests, all the more so if it is adjoining the dining room, the stronger the logic of being able to light there. If you visit the candles during the meal, that only improves the situation.
In most cases, we would suggest to light with a beracha in the lobby, if you don’t get permission for the private dining room. (If someone wants to be machmir, he can appoint an agent to light at a safe and appropriate place in his own home; it is still worthwhile to light, at least without a beracha, in the lobby.)
Serving as Chazan on the Shabbat Before a YahrtzeitHow important is it for someone to be chazan on the Shabbat before a yahrtzeit? Is it is just for parents, or also grandparents/in laws? Some people in my [the rabbi] shul feel that people use it as an excuse to “grab the amud.”
Although many shuls have this issue, the best solution differs based on resources, personalities, and character and needs of the shul. While we will provide sources and generic advice, local wisdom and sensitivity is crucial.
Reciting Kaddish and serving as chazan are a merit for the deceased, who cannot create his own merits but gets them through his descendants (see Divrei Sofrim, Aveilut I, p. 340-342 at length). During the first year after death, the deceased needs the most help. Yahrtzeit is both a time of potential improvement of his status (Arizal, cited in Gesher Hachayim I, p. 341) and a potentially difficult day for surviving children (Levush, Yoreh Deah 402:2). Due to the first reason, the logic of davening is the same as during aveilut, and one with a yahrtzeit for a parent is a relatively high-level chiyuv (Rama, YD 376:5).
The sources on serving as chazan the Shabbat before a yahrtzeit are more recent (there are earlier sources about aliyot). The minhag is cited in important works of the last century (Kaf Hachayim, Orach Chayim 53:23, regarding Kaddish; Gesher Hachayim 32:2; Kol Bo Al Aveilut, p. 401). One reason given is that every Shabbat the neshama is elevated, and the merit of the mitzva on its behalf may keep it in that state until the upcoming yahrtzeit. However, the Gesher Hachayim writes that this minhag is superseded by other chiyuvim. There are also different opinions whether it applies just to Musaf and Maariv of Motzaei Shabbat or to all tefillot (see P’nei Baruch 39:2). There is a value for a grandson or a son-in-law to stand in for the deceased if no son is doing so, but the level of their “chiyuv” is lower (Pitchei Teshuva, YD 376:7). Thus the chazanut “rights” on Shabbat before yahrtzeit vary, depending on the case, from moderately low to very low.
Even regarding full chiyuvim, a community has the right to decide that concern for the quality of tefillot warrants not having non-mourners serve as chazanim even during the week (Mishna Berura 53:60). This, of course, should be done for the right reasons with a fair and clear process, and this is not standard practice during the week (see ibid.).
In an ideal community with perfectly understanding people, an upcoming yahrtzeit would justify timing the turns of an “accepted chazan” on such Shabbatot. It might also justify allowing borderline candidates one or two Shabbat tefillot annually. It should not be something one can automatically demand. While mild pressuring for the opportunity to serve as chazan is not as severe one who “takes the amud by force” (see Rama, OC 53:22), it is frowned upon even with reasonable intentions (Mishna Berura 53:65). An upcoming yahrtzeit does not at all justify pressuring a gabbai.
Nevertheless, there are important halachically recognized concessions to accommodate the feelings of one who wants to honor/aid a relative’s neshama. Our issue should not be an exception. While the congregation’s desire for a better chazan is legitimate and sometimes important, these preferences are not usually critical in nature and do not erase the importance of another’s feelings. How does it feel to not only be regularly passed over when choosing a chazan (people often consider themselves better chazanim than others do), but to get the message that: “You aren’t even good enough to be chazan before yahrtzeit”? The rabbi/gabbai’s job is to strike the best possible balance regarding the needs of all.
We suggest a few generic pointers. 1. Consistent rules (e.g., a maximum of one tefilla per Shabbat) make things easier. 2. Absolute consistency might be counterproductive. We suggest one possible system. Every member gives in a list of kibbudim requests for the year rated according to priority for him. The gabbai should decide how to come closest to accommodating him.
Dilemmas of Chazan for Shabbat KedushaI am a frequent chazan. Someone pleasantly set out at length [condensed here] his objections to the way I (like others) do Kedusha of Musaf. He argued that since the tzibbur now recites “K’vodo malei olam…,” which introduces “Baruch k’vod…,” the chazan must not sing Kadosh in a way that encourages them to repeat it. He should start his tune with K’vodo, demonstrating that Kadosh and K’vodo are separate, and it is better if the chazan says Kadosh quietly. Is he right?
Kedusha consists of three introductory statements, each followed by a pasuk (from Yeshaya, Yechezkel, and Tehillim) used by the angels and us to sanctify Hashem’s Name. There is a machloket and different practices whether only the chazan (Tur, Orach Chayim 125) says the introductory passage(s) or even the tzibbur (Taz, OC 125:1). The minhag is to say the longer introductory passages of Shabbat/Yom Tov (Mishna Berura125:1).
The Be’ur Halacha (125:1) deals with the dilemma of how the chazan should say the p’sukim of Kedusha. If he waits for the tzibbur to finish, he is reciting them “without a minyan.” However, he needs to recite them out loud so that those in the midst of Shemoneh Esrei can be yotzei with him (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 104:7). Some say that the chazan can accomplish both by starting each pasuk before the tzibbur finishes reciting it (see Be’ur Halacha, ibid.). Some say that the fact that those in Shemoneh Esrei (ibid.) or the tzibbur (Emek Beracha, cited by Teshuvot V’hanhagot I:111) are listening to him makes him considered part of a minyan. One could even claim that the tzibbur’s present minhag to sing along actually creates a minyan (even though they just finished reciting it, one may answer Kedusha multiple times).
Regarding weekdays, practice is set, for whichever of the reasons provided. Shabbat davening, though, is a test case. Teshuvot V’hanhagot (ibid.) argues that since the long introductory passage is not an essential part of Kedusha, by the time the chazan starts Kadosh, he cannot connect himself to the tzibbur’s recitation. Therefore, he prefers that the chazan say Kadosh immediately along with the tzibbur, loud enough for those in need to hear him. (Igrot Moshe, OC III:4 does not like the prospect of trying to hear the chazan over multiple voices; it is unclear if he is talking about Shabbat.) One can also start Kadosh soon after the tzibbur, who can get used to being silent for Kadosh and singing K’vodo along with the chazan. While these may be the best ideas from a purist perspective, our average shul is not the place for purists to go against standard practice when there are reasonable alternatives.
Some have the practice, which is not new (see Ktzot Hashulchan 83:(22)), that on Shabbat the chazan says Kadosh along with the tzibbur quietly and starts aloud only from K’vodo. The K’tzot Hashulchan surmises that this is based on the assumption that on Shabbat, everyone has finished Shemoneh Esrei by the time of Kedusha. If indeed no one need to be yotzei, this works well, but this is not the case in many shuls.
There is enough to rely upon for the standard minhag for the chazan to say Kadosh, with or without the tzibbur singing, after the tzibbur finishes everything. It is true that from a purist perspective, it does not make sense for the tzibbur to sing Kadosh after introducing the next piece. However, while one may not speak during Kedusha (Rama, OC 125:1), considering that all of Kedusha is interrelated, it is hard to consider the tzibbur repeating Kadosh along with the chazan a hefsek. The idea of the tune not making it look like Kadosh is part of the same unit as K’vodo is a nice one l’chatchila. Therefore, there is logic for you, as a talented, learned chazan [ed. note - I know him], to start your repertoire of songs from K’vodo. (There is something nice about “good-old nusach” being heard more often). However, we would not deem joint singing of Kadosh illegitimate or the reason many people do not understand Kedusha’s structure.
Refusing Permission to Take Unwanted ThingsI am serving in the army, and I witness a lot of things being thrown out, whether it is food or other items that they no longer have use for. If I am confident that something is going to be thrown out, but it has not yet been done, can I take the item for myself in a manner that is against the rules? My understanding is that they object to people taking such food out of fear that someone will get sick from the food and sue. Regarding objects, I understand that if people get used to taking things that are about to be discarded, some will take certain things that are not really about to be discarded. However, if I am convinced that it is a time that they do not really want the items for themselves, is it forbidden to take them? Please provide sources to prove your point.
First, let’s set ground rules for our answer. The army has the right to make rules of discipline, which we join them in expecting soldiers to obey just because the army is a place that requires discipline. We are not dealing with the real possibility the actions described are prohibited on those grounds (for that, you can inquire in the army). We are also answering theoretically based on the assumptions raised in the question and do not intend to rule about specific cases.
All the objects in question were, at some point, fully owned by the army for the purpose of using them on their terms, and we are discussing objects that will end up in the garbage in a way that they will become hefker (ownerless). There are two justifications for using such objects before they are disposed of:
1. The owners give permission. It is a good question if permission has to be explicit or can even be assumed (see Machaneh Ephrayim, Gezeila 2). Presumably, if an owner says he does not give permission, then he does not give permission, even if one believes he is not losing anything (Rama, Choshen Mishpat 363:6). Granted, there is a concept of kofin al midat S’dom (we may force a person to allow someone to technically infringe on his ownership rights when failure to allow is immoral (Bava Batra 12b)). According to many, in a case the person can be forced, one who wants to use the object can take it on his own accord (see Rosh, Bava Kama 10:16). However, when there is any semi-plausible reason that the owner might lose out by his object being taken, it is forbidden to do so, even if it is only due to concern of what might possibly happen and even regarding indirect damage (see K’tzot Hachoshen 154:1). The reasons you cited suffice.
It is plausible that an entity such as the army might not give permission to others to take their food not because they really don’t give permission, but that it is a disclaimer in order to protect them from being sued if someone gets sick. That would change the picture, but we will not try to conjecture if that is the case here.
2. The object has become hefker (ownerless). In general, an owner needs to make an actual declaration in front of others in order for his property to become hefker (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 273:3,7). However, in a situation in which it is clear to the observer that the owner has no interest in keeping the object, no hefker procedure is necessary (see Pesachim 6b). This is on the assumption that the specific owner does not mind if someone takes it (ibid.). If, though, he does not let others take it, it is not hefker. One who sees a situation where the clear expectation of the objective observer is that the owner no longer is interested may take it and does not need to be concerned that this owner is different (S’fat Emet ad loc.). It is even possible that even if the owner, for some strange reason, does not want others to take it (yet), his strange outlook is not halachically significant, and one may treat it as hefker (ibid.). However, if in the case you talk about, there are rational reasons for him to not want others to take it, the objects are not hefker before some process of hefker has occurred.
Top of page
Send to friend