Home > Ask The Rabbi
ASK THE RABBI
Do not hesitate to ask any question about Jewish life, Jewish tradition or Jewish law.
Doing Kaddish After Lacking Full ParticipationCan the final Kaddish D’Rabbanan at the end of tefilla be said when there is a minyan only when counting people who are not reciting Pitum Haketoret (e.g., busy taking off their tefillin)? Also, is it proper for one to say Kaddish D'Rabbanan or Kaddish Yatom along with others in shul when they did not participate in the learning session or tefilla after which the Kaddish is being said?
A relatively close case to those you ask about is what is called poress al Shema. This is when people who do not have a minyan for all of davening want to join with others, including those who finished davening, to enable them to take part in Kaddish (relating to P’sukei D’zimra) and Barchu. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 69:1) says that while it is good if there are six who have yet to take part in these devarim sheb’kedusha, it can even be done for one such person. Furthermore, if need be, even one who already took part in a minyan can lead the recitation.
Similarly, the Taz (55:3) infers from several sources that in order to say Kaddish, which relates to a previous text(s) that was recited, it suffices for the minyan to be assembled at the time Kaddish is recited, even if they were not there for the matters to which the Kaddish relates. The Magen Avraham, regarding the Kaddish after learning Torah (69:4) and after Ashrei at Mincha (234:1), says that the minyan must already have been present for the recitations that precede the Kaddish. The Pri Megadim (MZ 55:3) says that the Magen Avraham agrees to the Taz’s leniency regarding the Kaddish following P’sukei D’zimra because P’sukei D’zimra/Kaddish is a requirement. In other words, in cases like poress al Shema, where there is a real need for these things to be said, the minyan enables the recitation of Kaddish whenever it becomes possible. In contrast, regarding less critical recitations, we say that the need for Kaddish is created only by a minyan present at the previous activity.
Even where the Magen Avraham applies, he only requires the ten to be present during learning to justify Kaddish afterward, but does not require all to participate in the learning (ibid. 69:4). In this regard, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 55:9) is even more stringent, saying that since Kaddish after learning is optional, the ten people must have learned together.
The best way to avoid machloket in such cases is for the learners to include the minyan in a classic Kaddish-trigger statement, such as the famous statement of Rav Chananya ben Akashya. Similarly, at the end of P’sukei D’zimra, the chazan can read out loud three p’sukim for the whole minyan to hear (see Mishna Berura 55:2). Regarding Pitum Haketoret at the end of davening, if there are not ten davening, it is worthwhile for the chazan to say “Talmidei chachamim…” or the last three p’sukim out loud. If this is difficult, one can rely on the majority opinion (see also Mishna Berura 54:9) that you do not need even a majority of the minyan to be learning before Kaddish D’Rabbanan. Furthermore, the Aruch Hashulchan probably agrees that presence of ten is enough for Pitum Haketoret because it is a set part of tefilla for those who recite it and/or because having one Kaddish D’Rabbanan at Shacharit is important (see Living the Halachic Process vol. I, A-6).
Regarding someone not involved in that which the Kaddish is related to reciting it, we saw that this is possible regarding poress al Shema. The Mishna Berura (54:9) assumes that this is true also for Kaddish after learning, and there is no reason to think that this would not apply to the Kaddish after Aleinu or Shir Shel Yom. The Chelkat Yaakov (OC 20) says it is always permitted to just join others who are anyway saying Kaddish, as it is no worse than answering Amen to a beracha one knows has just been completed. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, YD IV, 61.8) says that it is permitted as long as the matter that Kaddish is going on is part of the tefilla or part of a learning session that is done as part of a tzibbur.
Language in Which to Recite the HaggadaAt our seder, there will be a wide range in Hebrew proficiency and understanding of the Haggada’s texts. What language should we use to read the Haggada?
The mishna (Sota 32a) lists texts that may be recited in any language, including Kri’at Shema, tefilla, Birkat Hamazon. While the Haggada is not mentioned, it is obviously permitted. There are no required Torah texts, and most of it is not even formally Rabbinically-instituted (except for the Kiddush, the berachot, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon). The Maggid and Nirtza sections are a compilation of passages from different periods that were bound together post-Talmud. The Rama (Orach Chayim 473:6) confirms that one can fulfill the mitzva of telling about the Exodus in any language one understands.
Acharonim who rail against tefilla in another language (despite the aforementioned mishna) raise no reservation regarding the Haggada. Why? The Mishna Berura (101:13) summarizes objections to tefilla in other languages as follows. 1. Maybe it is permitted only on an occasional basis. 2. It is hard to translate exactly and in a manner that captures the many secrets included in the words (Be’ur Halacha ad loc.). 3. It is capitulation to the dangerous changes the Reform have tried to insert into Jewish life.
Reviewing each issue, we can conjecture about the calmness behind reciting the Haggada in translation. The seder comes once a year, and the group dynamics in this regard may change often. The texts of the Haggada, which were composed/compiled centuries after tefilla likely contain fewer secrets. Families’ private sedarim were not a flashpoint of the struggle against Reform.
There is a further reason, which explains why the Rama sometimes requires translation (earlier sources only permit it for tefilla). One can fulfill the mitzva of tefilla in Hebrew even if one does not understand the words (see Orach Chayim 101:1), whereas the Rama indicates that participants in the seder are required to understand the Maggid section to fulfill the mitzva. To how much of Maggid does this apply? Generally all of it should be recited (Shulchan Aruch, OC 473:7), as it is a basic Jewish text, even if written later than most. However, the base obligation is the three statements of Rabban Gamilel (see Mishna Berura 473:6). Other pieces of prominent importance include “Avadim hayinu…” and Ma Nishtana. These passages should be translated or explained for those who do not understand the language in which it is recited. If this is done, it is halachically valid to read all of the Haggada in Hebrew.
Let us now discuss basic strategies (there are too many permutations of factors to cover in this forum). The Rama cites a Rishon who would read the whole Haggada in the local language, and this is a fully legitimate option when called for, but we have a luxury he presumably lacked. It is easy to provide a Haggada with a clear translation for everyone at the seder. Thus, the majority can be read in the original, and those who cannot read or understand can read along in the translation, with there being frequent stops to discuss the past or upcoming texts. Reading along with the eyes is insufficient for the critical sections (see Chazon Ovadia Pesach II, p. 48), so those participants should either read with their lips or hear that which someone else is reading aloud in a language they understand (see ibid.). When appropriate, participants can be given homework to prepare sections in which they will understand the Hebrew.
Personally, I, like many, have loved the original Haggada text from a young age and believe it is a big part of a Jew’s heritage. Growing up as a frum American Jewish kid, key Haggada passages and phrases were as familiar as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” In order for this to exist, a normal observant home that is open to Jews of different levels of Jewish knowledge should find a healthy balance between a classical seder and using vernacular to meet the needs of those who need it. (Unique situations deserve unique consideration).
Effect of Wrong Type of Bitul ChametzWhat are the consequences if, after bedikat chametz, one recited the daytime bitul chametz?
We must start with a look at the purpose and mechanism of the various bituls.
The Torah forbids possession of chametz on Pesach (Shemot 13:7) and mandates its removal before Pesach (Shemot 12:15). To facilitate this, we search for chametz the night before Pesach and physically “destroy” the leftovers the next day (bi’ur chametz). The gemara (Pesachim 6b) says that after bedikat chametz, the Rabbis instituted bitul chametz. It explains that this is out of concern that he might find some tasty chametz on Pesach, which without bitul would cause him a problem (there are different explanations on how). The gemara refers to bitul chametz at night.
The gemara does not mention bitul’s text, and slightly varied versions exist. The consensus, though, is that it applies to chametz that is unknown to the declarer at the time of bitul. One reason to exclude known chametz is because some is slated for eating during the next half day, making a statement that his chametz is worthless and ownerless disingenuous. Regarding chametz slated for burning, we want it in our possession because the complete fulfillment of bi’ur chametz is with one’s own chametz (Mishna Berura 434:7). (This is only a hiddur. We also do bi’ur chametz at a time and in a manner in which it is anyway not clear that the burning of the chametz is a special fulfillment (this is beyond our scope – see Dirshu 445:4).)
Daytime bitul is a post-Talmudic minhag designed to deal with the possibility that some of that which was purposely left over was neither eaten nor destroyed (ibid. 11). According to most poskim, it is done after bi’ur chametz and, therefore, is done with catch-all terminology that even includes chametz thrown into the fire but insufficiently burnt (Da’at Torah 434:3). If one uses the daytime text at night, it will ostensibly have applied to even that which he plans to eat and that he plans to burn. Is that a problem? Well, what does bitul do?
According to Tosafot (Pesachim 4b), bitul makes chametz hefker (ownerless). Assuming that no one hears the mistaken declaration and takes still desired chametz, the owner can eat the nullified chametz as is or reacquire it (if it is in his house, he requires no action to reacquire it). Regarding wanting to burn his own chametz as well, he can easily reacquire some (which suffices) or all. The potentially more serious issue is the bitul’s impact on one’s mechirat chametz, which rabbis do for us the next morning. However, the same answers probably apply.
There is also a more fundamental factor. If one reads the words of bitul and does not understand their content, the bitul is ineffective (Mishna Berura 434:9). This is probably the case for one who reads the morning instead of the night version. Even if he understood the words and forgot that it was the wrong time to do an all-inclusive hefker, we should apply the concept that hefker done by mistake is ineffective (Tosafot, Pesachim 57a).
According to Rashi (Pesachim 4b), bitul is not based on hefker but is a special “mental destruction” of chametz, which the Torah indicated is significant in regard to one’s chametz. This certainly does not affect one’s ability to eat chametz he desires before the time of bi’ur chametz. It probably also does not impact the ability to sell chametz to a non-Jew. To the contrary, if anything, it is likely that the act of sale, in regard to food that he put aside in special places for that purpose, may undo such bitul for the following reason. If you do not value the chametz, how are you able to sell it? But you will be redoing the bitul the next morning anyway. Regarding the value of bi’ur chametz after such a bitul, it could in theory be negatively impactful (well beyond our scope). However, again fundamentally, bitul without intent or probably even by mistake is not valid (see Ran, Peaschim 1a).
While most likely unnecessary, it does not hurt to state that he reverses his declaration regarding chametz he is aware of.
Paying Earlier than the Payment Plan PrescribedMy company pays suppliers with payment plans we work out in advance with each one. Occasionally, a supplier calls with a request that we pay earlier than already agreed in exchange for a “cash” purchase discount we work out. (By “cash,” we include checks and debit cards – the point is that payment is not delayed). Is this like a regular permitted business discount, which is permitted, or is this discount a case of ribbit?
Actually, the case you ask about is easier to permit than that which you assume is permitted. Let us develop the topic from the beginning.
Paying for something not at its “natural” time raises issues of ribbit. The normal time to pay for a sales item is at the time he receives it. Therefore, it is forbidden for a seller to allow a buyer to pay on credit and clearly charge him more for the privilege (Bava Metzia 65a).
Therefore, one has to be careful when buying on credit. We will now mention some of the permitted ways of buying on credit. If during deliberations before the sale only the sales price for credit pay was on the table, it is permitted (ibid., Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 173:1) even if, in fact, it would have been cheaper if he bought with cash. This system has a couple of conditions, which are predicated on the need to ensure it is not clear that the seller is charging extra for waiting for payment. One is that there must not be a set price for the item that they exceeded with the credit agreement (ibid.). Another is that the increase in price for credit is not steep enough to be clearly related to the credit (ibid.). If you negotiate your own prices with suppliers, you can agree on a payment scheme before agreeing on a price and then negotiate one price accordingly. It is not a problem if other customers get to choose between different rates for cash and for credit.
Another possibility is to use a heter iska for the transaction, especially if the item is for business, not consumption use (Brit Yehuda 40:21). (It is preferable but not absolutely required for the heter iska to be a written document (Brit Yehuda 40:9; Torat Ribbit 16:2).) Then, the late payment, which is considered like the seller’s loan to the buyer, is viewed as the seller’s investment of the sales money in the buyer’s hands with assumed joint profits. One who regularly sells on credit would be wise to put up a clearly visible sign stating that all the transactions on credit are “according to the heter iska found in …”
There is a distinguished but minority opinion (Chochmat Adam 139:5) that if the accepted market price is the one the seller gave for credit and this seller gives a particularly cheap price for cash, it is permitted to buy on credit even when two prices were given. The Pitchei Teshuva (YD 173:5) and most contemporary poskim do not accept this leniency.
There is a more accepted opinion (Imrei Yosher I:150; see Torat Ribbit 8:15, Brit Yehuda 22:8), although far from unanimous, that applies in many business settings. If the industry standard is to pay by credit, that becomes the normal payment time. Then, even if there is a known cheaper price for cash, paying on credit is normal and not an issue of ribbit.
Regarding your question, if after a proper sale on credit, you are offered to pay earlier than agreed for a discount, this is permitted (Shulchan Aruch, YD 173:3). Rishonim (see Tur and Beit Yosef, YD 173) compare this to someone who sells a debt for future payment to a third party for immediate cash but at a lower face value. The discount is not considered a new “loan” that the seller is requesting from the buyer, who owes him later. This is apparently because the payment still corresponds to the sale, which classically is paid immediately. The Rama (YD 173:3) warns that the offer of a discount should be made only after a kinyan has made the sale final. Otherwise, it will be forbidden for the buyer to stand by the credit deal. While it is not always clear when the kinyan is, if you already received the merchandise, the kinyan will presumably be complete.
Dividing Megillat Esther Among ReadersIs it proper to divide the reading of Megillat Esther among multiple baalei kri’ah?
It depends what you mean by “proper,” as we will explain.
The gemara’s (Megilla 21a-b) discussion of multiple ba’alei kri’ah refers to their reading at the same time, which is valid (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 290:2) although rarely done. The Magen Avraham (292:2) is the first major posek to discuss dividing the Megilla by sections, presenting it as a ba’al korei losing his voice in the middle. As the question is not discussed in the gemara or Rishonim, early Acharonim compare it to parallel areas of halacha. The Magen Avraham compares it to one who had to stop in the middle of haftara reading, where the replacement must return to the beginning (Shulchan Aruch, OC 284:5) and repeat the beracha (Magen Avraham 284:4). He says that while for Megillat Esther too the second ba’al korei returns to the beginning, he does not recite the beracha again because the first ba’al korei’s beracha was said for everybody, as we find regarding a switch in shofar blowing (Shulchan Aruch, OC 585:3). Indeed, regarding the beracha, the Rama (OC 692:2) says that one is allowed to make the beracha on Megilla reading for the reading of another.
The great majority of Acharonim say that the second reader does not need to return to the beginning of Megillat Esther. The Eliya Rabba (692:3) and Shvut Yaakov (I:42) agree with the comparison to shofar blowing but apply it the whole way. Just as regarding shofar, the first person’s blasts do not need to be repeated (Shulchan Aruch, OC 583:40), so too the p’sukim of the Megilla do not need repeating. The reason Torah reading needs to be repeated (Yerushalmi, Berachot 5:3) is that the whole reading needs to be linked to the opening and ending berachot. This makes it a problem when the first one made only the opening beracha and the second one only the concluding beracha (see Tur, OC 140). The Eliya Rabba says that Megillat Esther is different in that the ending beracha is not strictly related to the reading and in that the aliya for Torah reading is made by the oleh for the oleh, whereas the beracha for Megillat Esther is on behalf of everyone. Therefore, anyone can continue Megillat Esther where the first left off based on his beracha. The Shvut Yaakov says that the first reason is not universally accepted, but agrees with the second one.
It seems that according to the Magen Avraham, it is a major problem to break up the Megilla reading (Mikraei Kodesh (Harari) 7:(91) says otherwise in the name of Rav M. Eliyahu). According to the others, who rule you do not need to repeat, is it proper to divide the reading l’chatchila? Remember that the poskim describe the situation of a ba’al korei losing his voice, which may indicate that otherwise we would not allow the division. The alternative explanation is that it was just not common practice, but no halacha precludes the division even l’chatchila. The Shvut Yaakov and others who cite him prominently (including Shaarei Teshuva 692:2 and Kaf Hachayim 692:11) say that we do not go back to the beginning due to tircha d’tzibbura, but if the community does not care or only a few psukim were read, we would return to the beginning. Thus, it sounds like most poskim do not like the set-up l’chatchila.
Thus, I submit that a “purist” minyan would not agree to divide the Megilla reading. In addition to deference to the Magen Avraham and others, it is probably also more kavod for the mitzva to have one person do it. Due to the mitzva’s prominence, it also makes sense to have the best available ba’al korei do the whole thing. However, not all situations lend themselves to purist approaches. These include places where it is difficult for anyone to learn the whole Megilla well and communities in which the importance of involving as many people (especially, young ones) as possible is part of the shul’s DNA. This is a local rabbi’s call. (Since the ten-chapter breakup is non-Jewish, it is distasteful at best to break it up exactly in that way).
Ribbit in a Loan from an Irrevocable Trust FundMy father set up an irrevocable trust fund with my three sisters, brother, and I as beneficiaries. A specialized company (probably not Jewish, although our trust is handled by Jews) serves as trustee. I “borrowed” money interest-free from the fund to buy a house, but it is unlikely I will have to return the loan, as what I received will probably end up counting as most of the money coming to me. I want to turn the loan into interest paying, so that I will, for the sake of my siblings’ part, compensate the fund for the missing appreciation because I took the money. Is this a violation of ribbit? If so, may I use a heter iska to make it permitted, and with whom would I do it?
We must determine an irrevocable trust’s halachic status. The trust enables your father (the settlor or grantor) to bequeath money to his children in what he views as a financially advantageous manner. He gives funds to (a) trustee(s) (the company), who legally owns the funds, which are explicitly earmarked for certain purposes, specifically to provide assets for the beneficiaries (you and siblings) at the trustee’s discretion. A major halachic question is whether the trust fund obviates the halachot of inheritance. This would be either because money (perhaps even for a revocable trust) has been given to a third party with instructions (beyond our scope) or because, especially for an irrevocable trust, the money no longer belongs to the grantor, so that the halachot of inheritance cannot take effect. The emerging consensus of poskim seems to be that yerusha does not apply to the contents of the trust (see Pitchei Choshen, Yerusha 4:(34)). (If the trust is a farce, and the grantor fully controls the money, the matter is more problematic).
Ribbit exists when Jewish owned money is lent to another Jew with interest. It does not help if a non-Jew carries out the transaction as a guardian, if the financial impact relates to the Jewish owner (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 168:24). However, in this case, assuming the trustee really controls the money, the halachic status likely accepts the legal one (based on dina d’malchuta and situmta) – that your father no longer owns the funds. It is even clearer that the beneficiaries, who never owned the money, do not own it yet. They have made no halachic kinyan, and the law does not recognize them as owners. When and how much they will receive depends on various consequences and the trustee’s decision. Their only legal right is the ability to sue the trustee for breach of fiduciary obligations. Thus, the trustee is not merely handling the funds; it is the owner, albeit with conditions attached.
Even if halacha were not to recognize the trustee’s ownership of property ceded to it, due to a lack of valid kinyan or because it is sometimes a farce, you probably still do not have a problem. After all, the trustee sets up a bank account which the grantor and beneficiaries cannot touch. Even if they were to sue the trustee in beit din and win, the trustee would owe money, but the value (theoretical not coins or property) in the account is likely the trustee’s. Therefore, the actual money you received as a loan, was the trustee’s.
What is the ribbit status of the trustee company? The great majority of poskim (see Torat Ribbit 17:52), say that the laws of ribbit apply to a lender who is a corporation. However, most poskim (see Brit Yehuda 30:16; Torat Ribbit 17:64) rule there are no ribbit problems if Jews own a minority share, irrespective of the workers who handle a given fund (see Shulchan Aruch ibid.). Therefore, if the company is mainly of non-Jewish ownership, you have no problems. If you are concerned with possibility of Jewish ownership, you can do a heter iska with them. This is slightly more complicated than usual because you need to convert an existing loan into an iska investment (see Brit Yehuda 40:23), and we are willing to guide you through the process. (Even if you avoid heterei iska when they obviate the spirit of the law, this case is unobjectionable.)
Husband Accepting Shabbat with his WifeMy wife generally lights candles 15 minutes before sunset, in keeping with our community’s practice. I generally cease melacha then, as do she and our two little children. Sometimes, due to work, I can make it home only by sunset, not candle lighting time. May my wife light at the usual time or should she wait for me? I am afraid that my small children, who are used to my not doing melacha after my wife lights, will be confused.
A community’s candle lighting time is not the time that all community members are expected to accept Shabbat but is the first formal action done towards that end. The Behag (cited in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 263:10) posits that a woman accepts Shabbat with this lighting. This is true at least for Ashkenazi women (see Rama, ad loc.), who for this reason recite the beracha only after completing lighting (see Darchei Moshe, OC 263:2). (The ruling for Sephardi women is more complicated – see Yabia Omer, IX, OC 24).
However, lighting candles is not a home’s absolute acceptance of Shabbat. For one thing, the Rama (ibid.) allows a woman to not accept Shabbat by lighting by means of even a mental condition. After all, lighting is innately a preparatory act before Shabbat, not an act of Shabbat, such as davening Maariv or making Kiddush. In fact, men do not accept Shabbat when they light candles (Mishna Berura 263:42).
On the other hand, there are several indications that candle lighting it is not merely a technical preparatory act. First, we must light Shabbat candles even if we are happy with the existing light situation and this mitzva is accompanied by a special beracha. Additionally, not everyone allows a woman to make a condition to light candles without accepting Shabbat. We rule it requires a real need (Magen Avraham 263:20; Mishna Berura 263:44; see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 43:24).
Regarding your question, the Rama states clearly that members of the household other than the woman who lights do not accept Shabbat with that lighting. Most men do not want to accept because they want to daven Mincha in shul, which is usually after candle lighting time (women should daven Mincha before (Mishna Berura 263:43)) and often will drive there. In some households, daughters generally accept Shabbat when their mother lights, which has a certain appropriateness to it. However, it is not halacha and in many households, after lighting candles, there may still be work to do. Therefore, it is not always healthy to expect the whole family to be ready or for the mother to feel the pressure that she must be sure everything is taken care of before she lights.
Do not teach your children that their father must cease work after their mother lights candles. Your assumption that it is confusing is based on your assumption that this is proper. To the contrary, it is confusing to see you being careful not to do melacha while neighbors are driving to shul.
Certainly there are many advantages to a father being home well before Shabbat, but life is not always that obliging. There is some question whether there is a minimum time before sunset to stop doing melacha for tosefet (early acceptance of) Shabbat (see Rosh, Berachot 4:6), and we usually assume a few minutes is enough. Of course, the closer to Shabbat, the more preferable it is to not do melacha. Forgetting the rejected opinion that bein hashemashot begins several minutes before sunset, according to some opinions, the time of sunset is affected a few minutes due to mountains in the area. On practical grounds, one’s watch can be off, he can forget the exact time, or he could lose track of time under the pressure of last minute delays. Therefore, it is prudent although halachically not required to leave at least, say, five minutes before sunset to be finished with all traveling and other melacha.
In short, your wife need not wait for you and should not wait more than a few minutes. Her correct time and yours are not linked.
A Rabbi’s Approach to Monetary Problem Solving[We present a summary of a conversation with a new community rabbi who sought our help in handling a monetary dispute between two congregants. The specific dispute and solution are not the focus of this presentation.] The scope of the dispute, between people who need to interact with each other regularly, is approximately 2-3,000 shekels. I was reluctant to accept responsibility for the matter, because I do not want to create resentment with congregants and because I do not “specialize” in monetary halacha. However, they want me, specifically, to handle it, and a rabbinical mentor told me I have no choice. So far, each side has told me their side separately; I have not met with them together. I think each one of them is trying to be honest, but each views the situation, on technical and legal grounds, differently.
I urge you to clarify with your congregants that the following rules of engagement are secure for a combination of halachic and practical reasons.
In such a case of only a moderate financial scope, a significant personal one, and technical claims, the sides should assure you they will not allow it to develop an adversarial bent. (Most of) each side’s claim has logic, and they must not be overly disappointed or surprised if they “lose” compared to their expectation. They should view any amount they “lose” not as a shame but as an honor to do the proper thing vis a vis their neighbor. It is no more of a loss than the extra cost of kosher food or of tuition at their children’s schools of choice. Hammering home these ideas is important for at least two reasons. 1) It is true and educational, and this is the right time/setting, as their rabbi, to teach or remind them. 2) If they have an adversarial approach, you are likely to incur resentment from either or both sides for not living up to their expectations. (As dayanim, we are used to that, and it is part of our sacred duty. It is also with people with whom we do not interact in other settings.) As you need to interact with them communally, you do not want to harm relationships. So if they do not have the right attitude, I recommend to refer them to a different framework. (In the shtetl, the rabbi/dayan often had no choice, but our dynamic society offers many options.) Working it out themselves is best but is hard with bad attitudes; mediation or beit din are options.
Next, let us look at your role. Due to a few issues, I suggest not to view or present yourself as an ad-hoc dayan bound to a Choshen Mishpat ruling. First, you have not had sufficient training and practice. Also, it may be very time-consuming to arrive at the correct ruling. Seeking assistance from dayanim minimizes but does not remove the problem.
Also, under normal circumstances, monetary decisions are to be made by a beit din of three, not a lone dayan (Shulchan Aruch, CM 3:1). Even a special expert, who can serve alone, should generally avoid it (ibid. 3, based on Pirkei Avot 4:8). While it may be permitted to do so when the litigants specifically ask for one, it is still problematic (see Shach, CM 3:10). The best solution is to say that your ruling can be either according to halacha, or even a halachic mistake, based on your reasoning.
Another issue is that you have already met with each side separately. That is great when dealing informally with disputes, but it is forbidden for dayanim, both according to halacha (Shulchan Aruch, CM17:5) and according to arbitration law. Admittedly, it is permitted to adjudicate afterward with the other side’s agreement (Rama ad loc.).
All these factors push toward a preference of giving up on the dayanut route in favor of less formal dispute resolution, as was Aharon’s practice, as opposed to Moshe’s (see Sanhedrin 6b). If you can serve as a mediator rather than an arbitrator – great. If they need you to make the decision, then to the extent that halacha guides you – wonderful. However, they should expect a ruling based on peshara, where you bring them to a settlement we wish they would have arrived at alone.
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.)
Top of page
Send to friend