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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.
Double Wrapping Food in a Treif OvenI know that sometimes when warming something in a not kosher oven or a milchig food in a fleishig oven, he double wraps the food. When is this necessary and why?
A proper job of double wrapping solves virtually any issue of heating things up in ovens. Sometimes, less is needed, and sometimes double wrapping is only a stringency. We will summarize the issue but will not be able to cover every circumstance.
The classic and surest way for a non-kosher food to transfer ta’am (a sufficient amount of particles to give off taste), and thereby make a kosher food forbidden is for them to make direct contact when they are hot. Yet, two other possible ways are discussed in the sources: 1. They are heated up in close proximity so that reicha (vapor) from one is liable to reach the other. When the vapor is strong/wet enough, it is called zeiah, and the chance of significant transfer is greater. Which factors must be present for this to actually forbid the food, l’chatchila or b’dieved, is detailed, complicated, and includes machlokot, so it is beyond our scope (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 108:1). We will relate to scenarios in which the transfer is significant. 2. Heat and/or other factors cause particles to go from the food into utensils, from which they may go and “contaminate” other food that comes in contact with that utensil.
Now let’s analyze what can possibly happen in a treif oven. If one heats up kosher food at the same time with treif food, the vapor from the treif food can enter the kosher food. Here, there is a clear requirement for double wrapping for the following reason. With a single wrap, the treif food will make the wrapping treif. The hot kosher food on the inside of the single wrapping would then extract the ta’am from the wrapping and make the food forbidden. When working properly, the double wrapping ensures that there is nothing in between the two wrappings. Under those conditions, we say that ta’am is not transferred from one utensil directly into another one without the medium of a food or liquid (Rama, YD 92:8).
If the oven is “empty,” then even if is there is edible non-kosher residue on the walls and ta’am within the walls, it is unlikely that it will produce enough vapor to cause a problem. The problem is that the vapor of the kosher food could provide the medium to transfer the treif particles to the kosher food. However, to prevent this, it suffices to have a single cover to keep the vapor in (see Rama, YD 108:1).
Another problem can occur if the kosher utensil is placed directly on non-kosher residue. Then, the non-kosher ta’am can go straight into the utensil and from there into the kosher food. To prevent this one does not require a full wrapping, but a simple sheet of something to separate between the utensil and the possible residue suffices.
If milchig and fleishig foods are being cooked or heated at the same time, wrapping only one of them with a single wrapping is not enough. The vapors of each can reach the wrapping, thus making it at that moment, both a milchig and a fleishig utensil, which is a problem (see Rama, YD 95:3). If it is only a milchig food in an empty fleishig oven, then the situation is similar (and perhaps a little more lenient – beyond our scope) to the case of an empty treif oven.
In the case of pareve food in an oven that is also baking fleishig, it is questionable whether one covering is enough to keep the food pareve. It is no better than the level of pareve which people call “meat (or dairy) equipment,” which has certain halachot of pareve and certain halachot of fleishig. Some say it is worse because the fleishig and pareve interact within the medium of the utensil that separates them at one and the same time (Chavot Daat 95:1). If the meat oven were empty, then as mentioned before, a sufficiently effective single wrapping would certainly succeed in preventing the oven’s meat element from affecting the pareve food. Again, one must ensure that no meat residue comes in direct contact with the utensil/wrapping.
Musaf or Hallel?After davening Mincha on Rosh Chodesh, I (a woman) wanted to make up Hallel and Musaf that I did not have a chance to do in the morning. I saw that I did not have enough time before sunset to do both. Which one should I have done?
There are certain set factors that Chazal used for precedence, such as tadir (the one which is more regular) and mekudash (the one that has more sanctity). On these grounds, there is what to discuss regarding Musaf and Hallel (see Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim III:70). However, the subject is somewhat complicated to delve into in this context, and so we will leave those elements as inconclusive.
You had a few reasons to give the preference to Musaf over Hallel. One is their relative importance for women. There is a machloket whether women are obligated in Musaf. The Tzelach (Berachot 26a) says that the opinions that women are obligated in davening similarly to men do not apply to Musaf. The reason to obligate them, despite it being a time-based mitzva is that it is critical since it is a request of mercy (Berachot 20b). However, since Musaf is a special tefila added in connection to the service in the Beit Hamikdash and does not have to do with requesting mercy, women are not obligated. There are a few reasons to claim they are obligated (see Elef Hamagen 106:4), with perhaps the strongest one being that we do not easily distinguish between one tefilla and another (see opinions in Halichot Beita 6:(8)). The Mishna Berura (106:4) cites both opinions without expressing a preference.
In contrast, women are clearly exempt from reciting Hallel, which is a time-based mitzva, and at least on Rosh Chodesh, there are no special reasons to obligate them (Tosafot, Sukka 38a; Magen Avraham 422:5). While some women (perhaps including you) accept upon themselves an obligation to recite Hallel (see Be’ur Halacha to Orach Chayim 422:2), one would still give preference to the part of davening in which they are more likely to be innately obligated (Musaf). To this we add the fact that Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is only a minhag even for men (Tosafot, Berachot 14a).
Another factor favoring Musaf relates to the firmness of the deadline. You are working with the assumption that Musaf and Hallel (and presumably Mincha) must be done before sunset, which makes sense for non-Chassidic Ashkenazim. However, there may be room to recite Mincha several minutes thereafter (see Ishei Yisrael 27:6), based on one or more of the following factors. 1) According to Rabbeinu Tam and others, the day does not end until well after what we call sunset. 2) Even after sunset, it is not definite night, but bein hashemashot, which is treated as a doubt whether it is day or night. 3) If a certain moment during bein hashemashot is too late for Mincha, then it is time for Maariv, and therefore one can make a condition that the tefilla count for whichever is appropriate (see development of this idea in Be’ur Halacha 233:1).
#3 does not apply to Musaf, which is uncalled for if it is night, and therefore davening Musaf after sunset, with all the questionable berachot involved, is very problematic. However, Hallel is different in this regard. Granted, the time for Hallel is only during the day (Megilla 20b), but that primarily relates to fulfilling the mitzva. There does not appear to be a prohibition to recite Hallel at night. You can, then, recite Hallel right after finishing Musaf, even if it turns out that you will not finish it by sunset, as long as you do so without a beracha. This way, you have a decent chance of fulfilling the mitzva. (It is not a problem to recite Hallel without a beracha, which is always Sephardic practice on Rosh Chodesh, based on several Rishonim.) Although one may not recite Hallel freely (Shabbat 118b), doing so on a one-time basis when it is possibly still the time for it should be fine. You could not do this for Musaf if you did Hallel first.
Therefore, we would have recommended doing Musaf first, followed by Hallel, without a beracha if it was after sunset.
Supermarket Manners or Halacha?I was in a supermarket and saw a woman take the last packages of a certain item. She then left them in her shopping cart and walked off elsewhere. Another woman saw the empty shelf and the items in the cart, and took some of them from the cart and put them in hers. Was that just bad manners or stealing (i.e., the first woman already had acquired it)?
Anything we say here is general information and does not relate in any reliable way to the specific case, whose exact details we do not know. In a case that is not halacha l’ma’aseh, we can have a more general discussion.
We will start with the issue you raise. Many people think that one acquires items in a store by paying for them. However, the halacha is that money is not a valid kinyan for movable objects (Bava Metzia 44a). Rather, one must do a physical kinyan to the item, which is usually hagbaha (lifting the objects), which woman #1 did physically when taking the items off the shelf. Classical poskim discuss at what point we assume that the one who performed such an action intended to acquire it (see Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 200:8,11). However, in the contemporary context you describe, the kinyan is clearly not until the buyer lifts an item it after paying for it, not before he puts it in the shopping cart. I say that with confidence because it is very common for someone to put an item in the cart and continue on, only to change his mind later and return it to the shelf. If he would have acquired it, he would need the store’s permission to return it. Since people do not think that way, it is a sign that taking it off the shelf is just the first step toward the likely future purchase of the object. Thus, it would not be stealing on these grounds.
There is a relevant interesting concept, which is likely to apply, which the gemara (Kiddushin 59a) calls ani mehapech b’charara. The classic case is when Reuven is in the midst of efforts to acquire something, and Shimon enters the scene later but beats him to the acquisition (see Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 237:1). In such a case, Shimon is called a rasha. (There is a machloket whether there is any binding or practical consequence of that status – see Pitchei Choshen, Geneiva 9:(29).)
There is a machloket Rishonim (see Rashi, Kiddushin 59a, Rosh, Kiddushin 3:2) if this affront exists only to one who buys or rents or even to one who tries to acquire something from hefker (a state of not being owned). Both of these opinions are cited in the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.). One is likely to have applied the distinction in the opposite direction: what’s the big deal who gets to buy the object, as one can buy elsewhere, whereas acquiring from hefker is a fleeting opportunity, which is worse to grab? The logic of the opinion that taking from a hefker is not as bad is that we understand the importance to the second person to seize the opportunity. In contrast, one who seizes the sale before his counterpart is needlessly petty – he should take the time to go elsewhere to buy (see S’ma 237:2). The Rama (ad loc.) says that according to the opinion that ani mehapech does not apply to hefker, it also does not apply to an item at a unique sales price. The logic is the same – it is not petty if there is no equivalent alternative. Possibly, the event you saw involved a special sale. On the other hand, the Shach (ad loc. 3) argues and says that neither opinion of Rishonim distinguishes between cases of sale. Therefore, it is quite likely that there was a violation of ani mehapech.One can suggest that what was done was theft for the following interesting reason. If the first shopper did not acquire the items, then the store still owned them. It is possible (in certain societies) that the store objects to one shopper taking a product from the cart of another, as it can cause a very unpleasant shopping experience, let alone if it brings on shouting matches. If this is the case, such an action is actually stealing from the store, who did not permit shopper #2 to take the items from the cart.
Child Riding a Bicycle on ShabbatMay a child ride a bicycle on Shabbat in a place that has an eiruv?
When bicycles became popular, many poskim discussed their use on Shabbat, and almost all forbade it, for one or more of the following reasons. 1) Uvdin d’chol – This is a weekday-like activity, for, amongst other reasons, it is a mode of transportation that takes people to many places for purposes that include non-Shabbat-appropriate ones (see Tzitz Eliezer VII:30). 2) Bicycles often need repairs that a rider might perform while forgetting about Shabbat (see ibid. and Yaskil Avdi III, Orach Chayim 12). 3) One might ride outside the techum Shabbat (boundaries of travel outside the city). 4) When riding on ground, one makes grooves (Shut R. Azriel Hildesheimer I:49). While Rav Yosef Chayim of Bagdad (Rav Pe’alim I, OC 25) dismissed the issues and permitted riding a bicycle (some say he later changed his mind), the consensus of both Ashkenazi (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 16:18) and Sephardi poskim (see Kaf Hachayim 403:8) and the broad minhag is to forbid it. While, in theory, Rav Ovadia Yosef did not find any of the halachic issues formidable, he agreed that one should not ride a bicycle on Shabbat (see Yabia Omer, OC 55:29 and Chazon Ovadia IV, p. 40). The increasing popularity of electric bicycles likely makes all bicycles even more problematic (one can make the opposite claim).
Your question, regarding children riding, deserves consideration on a few grounds. First, most of the reasons to forbid bicycles apply less to a child, especially a young one. He uses a bicycle as recreation, which is harder to call uvdin d’chol, and he is arguably less likely to leave the city or fix it when it breaks. Furthermore, when there are strong grounds to claim that a certain practice is permitted but a stringent opinion is more accepted, we have halachic precedent for being lenient regarding children. See for example, Rav Ovadia Yosef’s suggestions regarding waiting less than six hours between meat and milk for children (Yabia Omer III, Yoreh Deah 3) and allowing for them cheese produced by a non-Jew without supervision in a case of need (ibid. V, YD 11; Sdei Chemed vol. VIII, p. 238, regarding feeding children certain foods on Pesach that adults refrain from due to a (remote) possibility of chametz). See also a statement in this direction in Beit Yosef, OC 269.
We have seen at least one important posek who permitted bicycles for adults and others who implied that while the minhag is to be stringent, it is possible that this is a stringency. This makes bicycles for children a good candidate for leniency. Contemporary poskim do take this approach – but only partially. Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata (ibid.) says that, except in places where the minhag is to be stringent, children may ride tricycles – but not bicycles. He cites two distinctions between the two (see ftnt. 53). 1) Tricycles wheels do not have an inflatable tube, which is one of the reasons to forbid bicycles. 2) A tricycle is clearly a form of recreation, as opposed to serious transportation. It is also likely that he factored in the fact that the average tricycle rider is usually much younger than the average bicycle rider.
We summarize as follows. Conventional Orthodox wisdom has determined that bicycles are forbidden – period. Therefore, we are not open to leniency just based on age. Only in the separate, albeit related case of tricycles, have poskim added up the halachic indications in a manner that permits their use.
Since a large part of the prohibition of bicycles, especially for children, is based on minhag, there is no need to oppose a practice of leniency that may exist in certain communities (more likely among Sephardim). In general, even if a child is violating a clear Rabbinic prohibition, one does not have to stop him or even tell his father to do so (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 343:1 and Mishna Berura 343:3). It is even legitimate, even for a father, to allow his minor child to ride a bicycle on Shabbat if it is in consonance with the local minhag.
Using an Hourglass on ShabbatThis past Yom Kippur, I was a few days after birth, and so a rabbi said that I could eat small amounts of food. He lent me an hourglass set to give the correct amount of time for “eating in intervals.” Is it always permitted to use an hourglass on Shabbat, or was it a special leniency because of my medical status?
Mazal tov! Chazal forbade measuring things on Shabbat. This comes up in the gemara in Beitza (29a) in the context of using utensils with measure markings in transferring produce from one person to another. It also comes up in Shabbat (157a-b) in the context of measuring a mikveh and other pools of water.
There seem to be two approaches to the underlying reason behind the prohibition, and they are likely to be complementary rather than alternative. The Rambam (Shabbat 23:13) connected measuring to Rabbinic prohibitions related to commerce, which itself is forbidden lest one come to write (Rambam ibid. 12). However, the Rambam (ibid. 24:5) also brings it among things that are forbidden as weekday activities (uvdin d’chol). The need for a second element of the prohibition makes sense because many of the applications discussed are totally unrelated to commerce. Likewise, the Mishna Berura in some contexts invokes the reason of commerce (e.g., 323:3, 324:4), whereas elsewhere (306:34) relates measuring to uvdin d’chol.
The Beit Yosef (OC 308) cites the Maharil, who was uncertain whether an hourglass is muktzeh because it is used for measuring. Indeed, it is not classical measuring, which is when one uses an instrument to measure an object. In contrast, here one uses an instrument to determine the passage of the non-physical entity of time. While the Shulchan Aruch (OC 308:51) leaves the matter as a doubt, the Rama (ad loc.), like the Maharil, says that the minhag is to prohibit an hourglass. This is the ruling of contemporary poskim as well (see Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:35). (Poskim agree that a wrist watch is permitted – see Mishna Berura 308:168; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:20. The distinction between this and an hourglass that makes most sense to me is that a watch tells you what time it is, whereas an hourglass measures the “distance” between point A and point B in time).
So indeed, the ruling you received was due to your special need. The idea that measuring is permitted for cases of special need is explicit in the gemara (Shabbat 157b) regarding measuring a mikveh to see if it is still valid, because this is a mitzva. Rishonim extend the leniency from mitzva use to the needs of a sick person. The Tur (OC 306) brings discussion of an ancient “alternative medicine” procedure for one with a headache that included measuring a certain distance and then saying an incantation. One authority forbade it, one permitted because the measuring is not done in a serious manner (see Shabbat 157b), and the Maharam MiRutenberg permitted it because healing the sick person is a mitzva. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 306:7) accepts the latter opinion. It is clear from the context of the above discussions that the needs of a sick person in this regard include one who is not dangerously sick (see also Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 28:35). Tosafot (Shabbat 126b) explains that we are more lenient regarding measuring for a mitzva than for most Rabbinic prohibitions in which a mitzva is not sufficient (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 328:17). Measuring, which is forbidden only because of uvdin d’chol, is more lenient than most Rabbinical prohibitions.
In your case, there are actually two ways of looking at how it was a mitzva. One is that it was necessary to allow you to eat according to the ruling you received, so it was the needs of a “sick” person. The other way is that given that you were allowed to eat, the hourglass helped you fulfill the mitzva of lessening the necessary violation of eating on Yom Kippur. Either way, it was permitted for you, even though without a special reason it would have been forbidden to mark the passage of time with an hourglass on Yom Kippur.
An Israeli Being a Chazan Abroad Before Dec. 5If a “chiyuv” to be a chazan is abroad between 7 Cheshvan and Dec. 5th, is it okay for him to be a chazan? Does he say “v’ten tal umatar livracha,” (=vtum) during his silent Shemoneh Esrei (=SE) and chazarat hashatz?
We discussed the matter of travelers to chutz la’aretz during this time of year in Living the Halachic Process (II:A-11), and we start with a summary. If an Israeli is abroad on 7 Cheshvan and will be returning during the year, he should start asking for rain on 7 Cheshvan. While some say to do so in its regular place, it is preferable to make the request during the beracha of Shomeiah Tefilla, due to a machloket on the matter. If he started reciting vtum in Israel and traveled later, it is even clearer that he should continue doing so, and there is more reason for him to do so at its regular place.
One can question permissibility to be chazan on two grounds. One is the question whether someone who is obligated in one form of SE can function on behalf of a tzibbur that is obligated in a different form. Regarding the matter of an Israeli being chazan for a chutz la’aretz community on second day of Yom Tov, this is a daunting halachic problem (see Bemareh Habazak II:36). One can claim the same issues apply here. However, stringency requires making several assumptions (see responsum of Rav C.P. Scheinberg in Yom Tov Sheni K’hilchato, p. 415-423), and it is very unlikely that all of them are correct. The great majority of poskim say that this is not a problem (see Minchat Yitzchak X:9, Yom Tov Sheni 10:6). Therefore, he can serve the tzibbur according to their needs, which is to not say vtuv. (Yalkut Yosef (5745 ed., vol. I, p. 264) says that even within chazarat hashatz he should unobtrusively whisper vtuv during Shomeia Tefilla. However, that is practically and halachically problematic, and is not accepted practice.)
Another issue is how the chazan deals with his conflicting needs during silent SE. On the one hand, he is obligated to have a SE that includes vtum. On the other hand, Chazal instituted silent SE for a chazan who is about to recite chazarat hashatz (which is a valid SE), in order to practice for that task (Rosh Hashana 34b). If our traveler says vtum in its regular place, he is practicing in a way that would ruin his chazarat hashatz, which makes his SE self-defeating. Yet, the Birkei Yosef (117:8) says that this is what he does. He cites as a source the Taz’s (117:2) idea that a community that needs rain at a time when vtum is not said can ask in Shomeia Tefilla (including the chazan) even though chazarat hashatz cannot be done that way.
Several poskim see this setup as not problematic at all (see opinions in Yom Tov Sheni K’hilchato 10:(17)), while others prefer avoiding the situation (see B’tzel Hachochma I:62; the Birkei Yosef also implies it). It likely depends on whether we say the idea of practicing is just the original reason to institute silent SE or that it remains the practical guide for how the chazan does the SE. Another application is the question whether a chazan uses his own nusach for silent SE when leading a shul with a different nusach. The Minchat Yitzchak (VI:31) justifies what he claims the minhag is to use one’s own nusach, by saying that it is enough that he does chazarat hashatz from a siddur. In contrast, Igrot Moshe (OC II:29) posits that the practice SE should be done as chazarat hashatz will be, i.e., like the tzibbur.As a chiyuv, you have certainly have the right to be a chazan, whether because of the opinions that there is no problem or because being precluded from being chazan is a b’dieved situation. We add the following suggestion (not requirement). If the chazan adds personal requests in Shomeia Tefilla, he should say vtum along with them instead of at its regular place, with the following logic. Some poskim say to do so even when not a chazan, he certainly fulfills his obligation, and since the chazan never adds requests in chazarat hashatz, saying vtum will not cause a mistake.
Color of the Inside of the Retzuot (Tefillin Straps)Until recently, I had only seen tefillin retzuot blackened on one side, but when I went to buy tefillin for my son, the sofer suggested retzuot that are black on both sides. He says these are now common and preferable, and the price difference is modest. Which is better to buy?
The gemara (Menachot 35a) says that there is a halacha l’Moshe miSinai that retzuot must be black and asks from sources that if the batim are not black (yes, many say this is possible – see Shulchan Aruch, OC 32:40), the retzuot should be the same color. The gemara answers that the alternative color is on the retzuot’s underside.
The Rambam (Tefillin 3:14) rules: the underside can be any color (other than red, which is degrading if turned over); it should be the same color as the batim; it looks nicest if the batim and the entire retzuot are black. There is a machloket (see Radbaz and Rabbeinu Manoach ad loc.) in understanding the Rambam, whether, when the batim are black, the retzuot’s underside must be black or it is just nicer. However, he certainly at least prefers our retzuot being black on both sides. On the other hand, the Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 33), Rama (Darchei Moshe ad loc.), and Mishna Berura (33:21) have no qualms with the widespread minhag to ignore this opinion.
Some Acharonim cite the Arizal as positing that there are important kabbalistic grounds for the retzuot to be black on both sides. We do not deal with kabbalistic issues and have nothing to add on this.
There are two other advantages to black on both sides. It is deemed very negative for the parts of the retzuot that fasten down the tefillin to turn over and preferable that no part of the retzuot do so (Shulchan Aruch 27:11 with Mishna Berura 27:38). This is not a problem, or is less of a problem, if the bottom side is black (see Biur Halacha 33:3). Also, some note that the way retzuot are blackened on both sides is by soaking them through and through. This is advantageous in that even if the layer of black paint peels or cracks in a way that affects the retzuot’s validity, the general blackness saves it.
On the intrinsic level, we know no reason to object to fully blackened retzuot. Yet, my retzuot are natural color on the bottom, and I and many others have no plans to replace them anytime soon – based on minhag. Let’s understand what that means in this context. Very often, each minhag on a matter has advantages and disadvantages, so that changing minhagim means adopting a practice with intrinsic negative elements. In contrast, here the negative elements are missing.
Still there are several related issues – yuhara (holier-than-thou haughtiness); casting aspersions on others in the past or present; causing machloket. These general issues have many classical sources to which we cannot presently do justice, but one can start with the Shulchan Aruch, OC 34:3 and ibid. 468:4. Therefore, we discourage people from trendsetting in this matter, especially because the advantages we have mentioned are merely preferences and are not halachically compelling (see Mishna Berura 468:23).
Veteran sofrei stam can testify about a mushrooming of hiddurim/chumrot for standard upper-echelon tefillin over the last 50 years (sociological analysis is interesting). Many youngsters have more mehudar tefillin than their fathers and rabbis, and none of the mentioned problems have resulted. The difference is that the coloring of the retzuot are noticeable, and the advertisement (even, unintentional) of the stringency/hiddur turns into a real potential problem (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 468:4).So, here is our recommendation. Get for your son that which is normal for his peer group. Do not be one who spreads a new practice due to the above reservations. On the other hand, to the extent that the practice has spread in your surroundings, it is not your doing. Every generation brings changes, and, in retrospect, many of them are fine. Your young son need not be a minhag-preservation purist and should not feel that his tefillin are sub-standard among his peers.
Moving Fallen Decorations on SukkotI know that there is a halacha about sukka decorations being muktzeh throughout Sukkot because they are set aside for a mitzva. Does that mean I should leave them where they fell and, if so, do the halachot apply to both Shabbat/Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed?
There are different levels of muktzeh l’mitzvato. The gemara (Sukka 9a) derives from shared terminology between a sukka and korban chagiga that just as the latter is off limits for people due to its holy status, so too the “wood of sukka” becomes forbidden. This is a Torah-level law (Tosafot, Beitza 30b). There is a machloket whether it applies only to the s’chach (Rosh, Sukka 1:13) or even to the walls (Rambam, Sukka 6:15). There is also discussion about if it applies only to the minimum size of the sukka and whether it applies after it has fallen down (see Tosafot, ibid.; Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 638).
However, there are Rabbinic extensions of this basic concept. The gemara (Shabbat 45a) discusses the Rabbinic prohibition of muktzeh in regard to leftover oil from Chanuka candles and sukka decorations (noyei sukka), due to the fact these are set aside for mitzva use. A gemara earlier in Shabbat (22a) implies that the reason it is forbidden to use noyei sukka for other things is bizuy (degrading a) mitzva. Tosafot (ad loc.) says that both reasons are needed, as muktzeh does not apply on Chol Hamoed and bizuy does not apply after they fall. The Ran (Beitza 17a in the Rif’s pages, citing the Ramban) distinguishes between the categories as follows: the wood of the sukka is forbidden based on Torah law, use of the objects during the chag is because of bizuy mitzva, and muktzeh explains why the prohibition continues throughout the eighth day.
The Rama (638:2) points out that on Shabbat and Yom Tov, the decorations’ muktzeh status precludes moving them, like other forms of muktzeh. The Gra (ad loc.) explains that anything from which one may not get personal benefit is muktzeh (apparently, unless its mitzva use includes movement (e.g., an etrog)). Paradoxically, if the decoration fell, one should not move it on Shabbat/Yom Tov even if one could have thereby returned it to use as a noy sukka. Similarly, one cannot move them to protect from the rain, thus enabling future use. The Biur Halacha (ad loc.) discusses the case of decorations falling on the table and disrupting the Yom Tov meal – whether they can be moved directly or indirectly to facilitate the continuation of the meal.
Regarding the Torah-level or Rabbinic-level prohibition against use of objects connected to mitzvot, there is no issue with moving the object per se except on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Thus, one may move decorations on Chol Hamoed or leftover Chanuka oil other than on Shabbat. (There is a machloket among contemporary Acharonim whether decorations may be removed from the sukka on Chol Hamoed when one is not going to use them for something else – see Dirshu, ftnt. 638:19. Presumably, it should be fine to remove them in order to protect and later return them – see ibid. and Piskei Teshuvot 638:7).
There is a way to be able to remove and even use noyei sukka (not the sukka itself) for other things. The gemara (Beitza 30b) says that one can make an oral condition to “not separate himself from use of the objects when the days of Sukkot begin.” When one does so, the decorations never develop the connection to the mitzva of sukka, and it is permitted to remove them from the sukka or use them for other things, even if they did not first fall (Shulchan Aruch, OC 638:2; Mishna Berura 638:19). Consequently, on Shabbat/Yom Tov, as well, they are not muktzeh. (That being said, many decorations are attached to the sukka in a way that forbids them from being taken from where they are attached due to melacha considerations. This applies on Shabbat and Yom Tov and, in some cases, even on Chol Hamoed.) There are requirements for how to make such a condition, and for that reason the Rama (638:2; see dissenting view in Mishna Berura 638:23) prefers that people not rely upon it.
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