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Imperfectly Said Tefillat HaderechWhen I go on bus tours, the tour guide often has someone say Tefillat Haderech, to which everyone answers “Amen,” before we leave the city limits of Yerushalayim. I thought it is supposed to be recited after you have left the city. In such a case, should I say "Amen"? Should I say it myself at the right time? Also, on a one day trip, if the person leaves out the phrase “v’tachzirenu l’vaytenu l’shalom,” should I repeat the tefilla with that phrase?
[We will not answer the question you did not ask: nowadays, when traveling in relatively built up areas, whether Tefillat Haderech is called for when traveling from point X to Y.]
The gemara (Berachot 30a) asks when one begins to recite Tefillat Haderech and until when, and answers “from the time he seizes the road” (there are different texts and it is hard to translate literally) and up to a parsa (approximately 4 km.), respectively. It is unclear from the Rishonim when one is considered on the road. The Magen Avraham (110:14) says it is after he leaves the city, and in fact comes to a place where there has been 70 amot without houses outside the city. (The determination on each road out of a city and whether rules for the city limits are the same as for eiruv techumin are beyond our present scope – see Machatzit Hashekel 110:14).
The Taz (110:7) says that there is no source for waiting until after leaving the city, as the gemara about seizing the road means just that one must be certain he is embarking on the journey. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 110:6) cite the practice of the Maharam MiRutenberg to connect Tefillat Haderech to Birkot Hashachar (since Tefillat Haderech starts as an open beracha, which is fitting to follow a previous beracha). The Taz understands that this is done during Shacharit and thus before leaving the city. Others, including the Eliya Rabba (110:14), counter that the Maharam did this when he davened on the way. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 230:1) connects Tefillat Haderech to the beracha said for leaving the city one was visiting. The Pri Megadim (OC, Mishbetzot Zahav 110:7) sees that as a sign that he holds that it is recited right after leaving the city, even if there are still houses.
You are likely right that sometimes people recited Tefillat Haderech too early. However, b’di’eved (after the fact), this is not so bad. First, almost all Acharonim agree that b’di’eved one fulfills the obligation when reciting once he was preparing to leave (Eliya Rabba ibid., Mishna Berura 110:29). Therefore, the beracha is not l’vatala and you may and should answer Amen (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 215:2). Also, In our times, it may make more sense to say Tefillat Haderech earlier. In the past, the main concerns were bandits and animals, who were more prevalent outside the city, whereas nowadays our primary concern, car accidents, can happen anywhere (see an application in Shevet Halevi X:21). On the other hand, it is hard to change halachic rules based on such a factor.
One could argue that it would be best for you to answer Amen but have in mind not to be yotzei, and say it later yourself at the better time. However, besides possible awkwardness, you can lose out. One advantage of saying it relatively early is that Rashi (Berachot ibid.) understands that you must say Tefillat Haderech within the first parsa after leaving (the Rama OC 110:7 cites as l’chatchila), and, if the Taz is right or if you do not act quickly, you can miss. So simply being yotzei with everyone else is proper.
The matter of not saying the addition for the return trip is not an issue. The phrase (different siddurim have variations), is mentioned for all trips by certain Rishonim (Rosh, Berachot 4:18) and not by others (see Kaf Hachayim, OC 110:13). It is only some Acharonim and contemporary practice who set it aside for cases where you are returning the same day. Therefore, there is no good reason to be concerned that the validity of the beracha is affected by omitting it (Ishei Yisrael 50:(3)).
LED Shoes for Children on ShabbatCan a child wear on Shabbat shoes that have lights (LED) in the soles that light up when he walks?
The consensus is that activating light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on Shabbat is not a Torah-level prohibition, but is a Rabbinic level one. One connects a circuit and light is emitted (by the transfer of electrons through junctions of semi-conductors). It is not simple to pinpoint what the Rabbinic violation is (when the diodes do not form writing or pictures). Some (including Rav S.Z. Auerbach) say it is molid (creating something new), even though there is no explicit Talmudic category of molid with light. Others say it is under the category of uvdin d’chol, which is a sort of catch-all for things that by halachic intuition and precedent, must be forbidden on Shabbat, which we assume regarding operating electric systems on Shabbat.
In the case of a child’s shoes, we can raise various grounds for leniency. This is especially the case if we assume, as depends on the circumstances, that despite the initial excitement of watching himself light up his shoes, a child eventually walks without thinking about the lights. Since the lights definitely will go on, this is a case of p’sik reishei, someone who intends to do an act (e.g., walking) for a certain purpose, but, by necessity another result, which is forbidden (e.g., activating LEDs on Shabbat), also occurs. While p’sik reishei is forbidden, the Terumat Hadeshen (64) says that a p’sik reishei of a Rabbinic violation is permitted. While we accept the opinion of the Magen Avraham (314:5), who forbids p’sik reishei even of a Rabbinic prohibition (see Mishna Berura 314:11), it is still a mitigating factor.
At some point, it is possible that the child is not considered to have a preference that the shoes light up, in which case, we have a p’sik reishei d’lo nicha lei, which the Aruch permits (see Beit Yosef, OC 320). Admittedly, the Aruch’s opinion is not generally accepted (Shulchan Aruch, OC 320:18; see Mishna Berura 320:53, that all agree with the Aruch that there is no Torah prohibition). However, there are quite a few opinions (including Yabia Omer V, OC 28) that a p’sik reishei d’lo nicha lei on a Rabbinically forbidden result is permitted. While many are stringent even in that, in cases in which refraining from the matter at hand causes particular trouble, it is quite accepted to be lenient (Orchot Shabbat 30:5). Thus, if an adult were to ask about wearing the shoes in question, we would not allow it without special need, but this strict ruling would not be a definite one if he did not care out all about the lights.
When we turn to the question of a child wearing such shoes, the situation becomes much more lenient. If it is a toddler, who is too young to train in any serious way about observing Shabbat, then his parents do not have to distance him from violations of Shabbat. On the other hand, when one is involved in facilitating the prohibition for the child (the applications are broader than the Talmudic term of “feeding him by hand,” and certainly include putting shoes on him), it is prohibited. The Rashba and Ran say that this prohibition does not apply to Rabbinic prohibitions (see Beit Yosef, OC 343). While the Shulchan Aruch (OC 343:1) does not accept this opinion, many are lenient in certain cases of need, at least with small children (Orchot Shabbat 24:(32) - see Bi’ur Halacha to 343:1). Regarding something which is not even unanimously agreed to be forbidden for an adult, it is much easier to be lenient for a child.Despite all the technical grounds for leniency, it is very much out of the spirit of Shabbat to have a child wear such shoes on Shabbat, and, therefore, we rule that it is generally forbidden. That being said, if a one-time, unique situation arises where these are the only shoes the child is able to wear and the child does not think about activating the lights, it is possible to combine the indications for leniency and let a small child wear such shoes (or even put them on for him).
Products Containing Minute Quantities of Non-Kosher FoodI want to use a homeopathic allergy medicine that contains some apis mellifica, which is trace quantities of crushed honeybee. Is this permitted?
There is disagreement on the topic of alternative medicine. Extreme opinions are rarely right. Some treatments under the umbrella of alternative medicine are helpful, and some are quackery and serve as a placebo at best. There is also a significant category of medicines and treatments (homeopathic or conventional) whose efficacy is unclear or varies from person to person. We are not in the position to take a stand on which treatments fall into which category. This general disclaimer has added significance in the case of ingesting something non-kosher as a medication. There is significant room for leniency when ingesting non-kosher items in a not classic manner of eating for the medicinal needs of the sick (Pesachim 25b; Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Yoreh Deah 155:3). Not only do many cases of allergy not qualify as sick, but the Rama (ibid.) requires that a medicine must be proven effective for leniency to apply; this is rarely if ever true of homeopathy. So let us look at the kashrut of the ingredient in question.
Bees are sheratzim and thus not kosher, even though their honey is (Rambam, Maachalot Assurot 3:3). It is permitted to eat honey into which taste from parts of bees enters, because the taste is assumed to be negative (Shulchan Aruch, YD 81:8). One could say that this is only true when bee parts fell in accidentally, but that if one purposely put them in, he thereby gives them importance, thus preventing bitul (nullification) due to its bad taste (achshevei – Chulin 120a). Many poskim (including Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim II:92, Minchat Shlomo II:65) say that if the purpose of the non-kosher food is not related to its food qualities but just medicinal ones, achshevei does not apply.
In this case, we ostensibly have a simpler reason for permissibility - homeopathic solutions use trace quantities of the active ingredient, so that there is undoubtedly sixty times more kosher than non-kosher (see Shulchan Aruch, YD 98:1). On the other hand, bitul is supposed to come about by accident, whereas it is forbidden to add kosher material to arrive at criteria for bitul (Shulchan Aruch, YD 99:5). If this is done, the bitul is disqualified, and the food remains forbidden for the person who did the bitul and those for whom he did it (ibid.). Ostensibly, in this case, that is the consumers of the apis mellifica.
However, bitul is disqualified as a penalty for the sin of nullifying the forbidden food. If the food was put into a mixture in which it is batel by a non-Jew, who is obviously not forbidden to make that mixture, there is no reason to penalize him, and it is permitted, according to most opinions, for a Jew to buy the product (see Badei Hashulchan 99:38).
If the company is owned by Jews but the act of nullification was done by non-Jews, the matter is not simple. On the one hand, the Beit Yosef (YD 99) says that if a Jew asked a non-Jew to do bitul, the Jew cannot eat it (or sell it to profit from the bitul – Rama ibid.). On the other hand, even if a Jew did bitul, the Taz (99:9) says that if he did not realize it is forbidden for him to do so, the mixture is permitted.
Apparently, the product in question has an edible base (including alcohol), whose kashrut we cannot confirm, and thus ingesting may be forbidden due to the inactive ingredient. This leads us to an interesting question. Would it be permitted to give a hasgacha to this product? The Badei Hashulchan (to 99:5) says that this is forbidden because the rabbi becomes a partner in the nullification process through his instructions. However, this is logical only in a case where the rabbi has them do the process according to his instruction. If, though, the regular process renders the mixture kosher through bitul and all the rabbi does is confirm that, he would be allowed to give a hechsher and it would be permitted to ingest.
Removing Hair from EyebrowsI am a young man with a unibrow, which I find very embarrassing. May I remove some hair with tweezers from that area? Also, may I remove some more hair to make my eyebrows less bushy?
The gemara (Nazir 58b-59a) forbids a man to shave his pubic and underarm hair with a razor. There are different versions on whether this ruling is a severe Rabbinic violation or a violation of the Torah law forbidding a man to do things of aesthetics that are considered feminine (“lo yilbash gever simlat isha” – see Devarim 22:5).
There is a machloket among the Rishonim (see Beit Yosef, Yoreh Deah 182) whether there is any problem with hair removal from other parts of the body. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 182:1) rules that in these other places, it is forbidden only with a razor, whereas it is otherwise permitted even to cut short with scissors. Presumably, tweezing eyebrows falls under the category of being permitted.
The gemara (ibid.) tells of one whom Rav Ami gave a special dispensation when Rav Ami discovered he did not remove underarm hair. The Ran (Avoda Zara, 9b of the Rif’s pages) makes the following halachic observations. It must have occurred in a place where most men remove hair from there, so that we see that hair removal is then permitted, just that the pious still avoid it. This is how the Rama (YD 182:1) rules. The Rambam (Avoda Zara 12:9) says that in that case, it is not a severe Rabbinic violation, which warrants flogging, but, as the Beit Yosef (ibid.) understands the Rambam, it is still forbidden, as he rules in the Shulchan Aruch (YD 182:1). The Rav Pealim (III, YD 18), after declaring that Sephardim should rule like the Shulchan Aruch, justified the wide practice in Bagdad for men to remove hair from one of the problematic places using chemicals, given that women do it by razor.
While we find that changed practice can turn classically forbidden grooming into permitted, practice can also expand matters forbidden due to its feminine nature. The gemara (Makkot 20b) forbids removing individual hairs (from the head or the beard, which is generally permitted) if he is removing white hairs from among dark hairs, to make him look younger, as women do. Similarly, poskim of our era have generally assumed that grooming eyebrows is a feminine activity, and thus, as a rule, is forbidden for men.
Even so, fixing a unibrow is permitted according to rabbinic consensus (including Rav S.Z. Auerbach, cited in Nishmat Avraham, YD, p. 140). While not meaning to put down anyone who is willing to keep it, many, including you, consider it an embarrassing blemish (in some cultures, it is desired). Just as the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 4) permits hair removal that would otherwise be forbidden when it is done to alleviate skin pain, so too it is permitted to remove emotional distress, even if it is not extreme. The main rationale is not that the need enables waiving minor prohibitions or relying on lenient opinions. Rather, the prohibition is based on the assumption that a man is acting with a degree of care for beautification that is generally reserved for women (see Igrot Moshe, YD II:61, in permitting coloring hair in order to get a job for which he looks too old). Removing a unibrow is not seen as acting to looking one’s absolute best, but just as avoiding sticking out negatively, and this is not within the prohibition’s parameters.
Regarding bushy eyebrows, the matter is less clear-cut and depends on time/place but likely also on the degree of grooming one is talking about. Extreme bushiness could reach the point of blemish. Regarding cases that are within the bounds of normal, we would say that a few decades ago, it was forbidden. However, it has become increasingly common for men to groom eyebrows (the norms of non-Jews are, according to many, relevant for determining these matters – Prisha, YD 282:5). Therefore, it is likely permitted these days in many places. We would just say that a man should do the grooming in the way men do it, if and assuming it is different from the way women do.
Kashering Frozen LiverIf a piece of liver was frozen for weeks, can it be cooked and roasted?
Your question touches on several halachic issues, which we will mention only in passing as necessary background for the answer to your question.
As you know, meat must have its blood removed before it can be eaten. Not everyone is aware that the main halachic problem relates to blood that moved from its initial position (Kritot 21b; Beit Yosef, Yoreh Deah 67). Salting, following the regular process, which includes rinsing the meat, is usually sufficient to remove the blood (YD 69). However, due to the high concentration of blood in liver, salting is insufficient and the more powerful process of broiling is required, after slitting the meat to allow blood to flow out more easily (Shulchan Aruch, YD 73:1). (There are important halachot regarding this process that we assume you know or will learn).
One of the situations that makes it more difficult to remove blood from any meat is if it sat 72 hours in between the shechita and the salting (Shulchan Aruch, YD 69:12). The situation can be remedied only by removing the blood through broiling (ibid.). The classical poskim were unsure to what extent broiling is fully effective in that case. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) takes a middle approach. On the one hand, he is concerned that the broiling did not remove all the blood, so that if one cooked (or fried or sautéed) the meat afterward, some blood could come out and render the meat not kosher. Therefore, one should not cook such meat even after broiling. On the other hand, since it is not certain that further blood will be displaced in the process, if he did cook such meat after broiling, it is permissible to eat it.
Decades ago, there was a major halachic dispute regarding the aforementioned 72 hours. Important poskim (including Aruch Hashulchan, YD 69:79, Yabia Omer II, YD 4) reason that if one froze the meat solid (basar kafoo), so that chemical processes are suspended, the “72-hour clock” stops. Others argue that freezing cannot change the halacha. (Nowadays the salting process is almost always done at the slaughtering facility soon after the shechita.) If one takes the lenient approach there, then the liver as well, assuming (on technical grounds, a safe assumption) it was frozen well within 72 hours, the broiling should work as it normally does.
The question is if one were to be stringent in regard to salting frozen meat. Based on our introductory words, we should understand the following Pitchei Teshuva (YD 69:26). He cites the Chamudei Daniel as saying that although one should not let meat sit for 72 hours before salting because he might improperly cook it instead of broiling (Rama, YD 69:12), he may let liver sit that long, because in any case one always has to broil liver. He raises the issue that the broiling of the liver is not a full solution for liver that sat 72 hours (which is no better than such meat) since one is not allowed to cook it after broiling. However, he answers that since we said that if he did cook after a delayed broiling, he may eat it, the issue is not so serious and one may therefore allow liver to sit 72 hours.
The same approach of relative leniency regarding liver that is to be broiled as compared to meat that is to be salted will help answer your question as well. It is quite a stringency to keep the 72 hour clock ticking when meat is frozen. Therefore, it is certainly halachically safe to use liver freely after broiling after it was frozen for 72 hours (see HaKashrut (Fuchs) 9:(263)). It is also permitted to l’chatchila allow this situation of freezing the liver with this intention, as Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Da’at VI:46) explains cogently.There is a difference of opinion among poskim whether one must wait for the liver to thaw before broiling (so that the beginning of the process not be considered cooking the liver in liquid as it thaws) or whether broiling is effective in any case (see HaKashrut 9:87).
Al Hamichya on a FruitI ate a fruit that requires the beracha acharona of Al Ha’eitz but, due to a lack of concentration, I recited Al Hamichya. Do I have to subsequently recite the correct beracha acharona?
It actually depends which fruit you ate. We will start, though, with the Levush’s (Orach Chayim 208:17) overview of the various berachot acharonot and of one reciting the wrong one.
Birkat Hamazon is a Torah-level obligation (see Devarim 8:10), prescribed by the Torah for bread, which is filling and is the staple of a classic diet. The Rabbis modeled a Birkat Hamazon-style beracha (Me’ein Shalosh) for the seven foods that are mentioned in the p’sukim around the one on Birkat Hamazon. (There are opinions that this too is a Torah-level obligation.) Within the versions of Me’ein Shalosh, the highest level (and thus the first mentioned when one makes a beracha on multiple Me’ein Shalosh foods) is Al Hamichya because it is for grain-based foods, which are generally more filling than fruits. Afterward, wine (Al Hagefen) is more important, followed by Al Haeitz for grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. The Levush explains that it is obvious that a lower-level or an inaccurate beracha is insufficient for that which requires a higher-level one. Additionally, a higher-level beracha does not cover foods which call for lesser praise because an exaggerated beracha is not of value. Thus, for example, reciting Birkat Hamazon for vegetables, as if it constituted a meal, is valueless, and Borei Nefashot must still be said.
Two exceptions to this rule are dates and wine. The gemara (Berachot 12a, as understood by Rishonim – see Beit Yosef, OC 208) says that if one recited Birkat Hamazon after eating dates, he fulfilled his obligation because dates are particularly filling. Another gemara (ibid. 35b) says similarly that wine is filling and would have required Birkat Hamazon if not for the fact that people rarely make it the basis of a meal. Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 208:17) rules that Birkat Hamazon is valid after-the-fact for dates and wine. All other foods that require Me’ein Shalosh are not exempted by Birkat Hamazon that was recited on them outside the framework of a meal with bread (ibid.).
What about when the mistake was to recite Al Hamichya instead of Al Haeitz (or Al Hagefen)? The Levush (ibid.) assumes that regarding dates and wine, if Birkat Hamazon is not too much of an exaggeration, then certainly Al Hamichya is not, and one would not have to repeat Me’ein Shalosh. The Taz (OC 208:16, see Pri Megadim ad loc.) disagrees. He argues that Birkat Hamazon contains the word zan (roughly, sustain), which is appropriate for dates and wine, whereas michya (roughly, food that gives life) is a different quality, which does not apply to them. The Malbushei Yom Tov (208:11) reasons that the fact that the halacha of fulfilling the beracha on dates with the wrong beracha acharona was said in regards to Birkat Hamazon implies that Al Hamichya is invalid even after-the-fact, and the Eliya Rabba (208:26) does not discount this possibility. However, the majority of Acharonim assume that after Al Hamichya for dates or wine, one does not need another beracha (see Minchat Shlomo 91, V’zot Haberacha p. 48). Since the general rule is that when is in doubt, he does not make another beracha, this is the proper ruling to adopt.
The question of Al Hamichya sufficing for dates and wine is much more complicated when one had both grains and dates or wine and mentioned “al hamichya” without the other elements. In that case, we assume that the person, when omitting the other elements, demonstrated that he did not remember the need to have the beracha cover them. Therefore, the stronger view in that case is to repeat Me’ein Shalosh with just the missing element (see discussion in Har Tzvi, OC I:108; Yalkut Yosef, OC 207:(2)).
The clear consensus is that one does not fulfill his beracha acharona obligation on grapes, figs, pomegranates, and olives with Birkat Hamazon or Al Hamichya (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 208:17).
Maariv Around the Time of ChatzotWhen I have the chance to daven Maariv only close to chatzot (astronomical midnight), dilemmas arise. Sometimes I have time to either recite Kri’at Shema or Shemoneh Esrei before chatzot, but not both; which has precedence? Other times, I can daven all of Maariv before chatzot at home, but if I go to our local “minyan factory,” the minyan misses chatzot; which is better?
The answer to the first question is clear for a few reasons. First, we accept the opinion that while by Torah law, one may recite Kri’at Shema until the morning, the Rabbis instructed us to do so by chatzot (Berachot 2a; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 235:3), whereas not all agree whether Maariv has to be said by chatzot, as we will discuss. Second, Kri’at Shema at night is a mitzva from the Torah, whereas Maariv is at best a Rabbinic mitzva (see Rambam, Tefilla 1:1), and we rule that it is an originally optional tefilla that became accepted (ibid. 6). Third, while there are times it is justified to say Shemoneh Esrei before Kri’at Shema and its berachot (Shulchan Aruch, OC 236:3), we prefer not switching the accepted order (ibid. 2). Therefore, if it is close to chatzot, start with Kri’at Shema even if Shemoneh Esrei turns out to be after chatzot.
The more serious question is the relative importance of davening all of Maariv by chatzot vs. davening with a minyan. (Certainly, one should recite Kri’at Shema without its berachot before chatzot, even if means coming late or missing a post-chatzot minyan, as a minyan does not override even Rabbinic obligations. The question is whether he should go to a minyan and repeat Kri’at Shema within Maariv.)
The mishna (Berachot 26a) says that there is no set time of night for Maariv, and the Rambam (ibid. 6) mentions having all night for it without distinguishing between before and after chatzot. The Levush (108:3) is perhaps the earliest source to imply otherwise, as follows. One can do tashlumin (makeup) for a missed tefilla only during the next tefilla time slot (Shulchan Aruch, OC 108:4). The Levush comments that one who missed Mincha makes it up during Maariv time, but not the whole night. While the Malbushei Yom Tov argues with the Levush, one suggestion of the Eliya Rabba (108:4) is that the Levush limits the makeup time until chatzot, as it makes sense that the time of Maariv is limited like that of Kri’at Shema, which is a component of Maariv. The Pri Megadim (108, MZ 3) prefers the Eliya Rabba’s other suggestion, that the Levush only meant to say Maariv by alot hashachar (dawn), even though the night arguably continues beyond that. The Mishna Berura (108:15) cites both opinions without a clear preference.
The Tzelach (Berachot 26a) understood from the silence of the early poskim that there is no chatzot limit and wonders why not. After all, the reason regarding Kri’at Shema, that we want to avoid situations where people will forget, should apply to tefilla as well! He gives two main answers: 1. Tefilla is modeled after placing certain korban parts on the altar, which can be done all night. 2. Since Maariv is not a full obligation, they were less concerned about mistakes.
Because there are significant opinions who say that one should say Shemoneh Esrei by chatzot, we find contemporary poskim who say that Maariv by chatzot takes precedence over a minyan (Ishei Yisrael 28:15; Ohr L’Tzion II:15:9). This makes a good deal of sense from a purist perspective. However, not all agree (see Tefilla K’hilchata 3:53). Since all agree that one may daven after chatzot and the question is whether it should, l’chatchila, be done by chatzot, it is logical to let the individual decide which setting is better for his tefilla. Consider that these matters are not just about fulfilling obligations, which is accomplished in any case, but of having the best tefilla. Time plays a role, but so do other things. Realize that a minyan is impactful in having the tefilla accepted, by joining with other Jews (see sources in Living the Halachic Process II:A-5).
Mezuzot on Both Doorposts?I am unsure to which doorpost to affix a mezuza. May I affix one on both sides, or is that prohibited as bal tosif (adding on to a mitzva)?
We will start with some of the basic rules/opinions of bal tosif. Tosafot (Rosh Hashana 16b) asks how we can blow shofar both before and during Musaf without violating bal tosif and answers that there is no bal tosif on repeating a mitzva more times than necessary. The Rashba (Rosh Hashana 16a) says that one does not violate bal tosif if the additional activity is mandated by Chazal. (The Rambam (Mamrim 2:9) says that if the Rabbis formulate their Rabbinic law as if it is a Torah obligation, they are in violation of bal tosif.)
Many Acharonim compare the matter of two mezuzot due to a doubt to that of two sets of tefillin due to a doubt, and the latter is the subject of much discussion. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 34:2) says that one who wants to don the “tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam” in addition to “the tefillin of Rashi” should, if possible, don both pairs at the same time. The Shulchan Aruch just requires avoiding bal tosif by having in mind that while whatever is really the correct tefillin is for the mitzva, the other one is “no more than straps.” (Tosafot Yeshanim, Yoma 57a says that adding to a mitzva just for the purpose of eliminating doubt is not subject to bal tosif, but this is not the accepted opinion.) The Tur (OC 34) rejects the relevance of bal tosif more fundamentally, saying that it applies, for example, when one has five compartments in the tefillin, but not by wearing two separate pairs of normal tefillin.
Many take issue with the Tur based on a gemara in Eiruvin (96a), which says that one who finds tefillin on Shabbat outside an eiruv and wants to wear them so that he can bring them to safety may not wear two pairs at a time, among other reasons, because of bal tosif. While we cannot summarize all the discussion on the matter, we mention that the Magen Avraham (34:2) says that one can don two pairs of tefillin only if one of them is not kosher. The Mishna Berura (34:8) says that the Shulchan Aruch’s case is permitted only because it has two factors that minimize bal tosif: 1. the extra element is separate from the basic one (see Sanhedrin 88b); 2. one of the entities is unfit for the mitzva. Even then, one should intend that only one of them (we do not know which) is for the mitzva.
Along the lines of the gemara, the Pitchei Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 291:2) says that one who puts two mezuzot on the same doorpost violates bal tosif. This is not as strange an occurrence as one might think. Poskim discuss, for example, one who rents an apartment from a Jew who is not very careful about mitzvot who has a tiny mezuza case covered by paint, which the renter does not have permission to remove. Then, the question is whether he can affix another one.
Regarding your question of putting mezuzot on two posts, where only one can be obligated in a mezuza, Acharonim disagree. The Binyan Tzion (99) says that the mezuza that is on the wrong door post has no more halachic significance than the wrong pair of tefillin, and therefore the Shulchan Aruch’s idea of donning two pair of tefillin can be applied to mezuzot on the two questionable posts. The Maharam Shick (Yoreh Deah 287) argues that a kosher mezuza affixed to a door post, even when it is to the doorpost that does not have an obligation, falls within the realm of the mitzva, making it subject to bal tosif when it is opposite a mezuza in the right place.
Among contemporary poskim, while there is no clear consensus (see Yabia Omer VI, OC 2), the stronger opinion is to not sanction mezuzot on opposite door posts, whether as a clear ruling (Minchat Yitzchak I:9) or as a practical preference (Shevet Halevi III:150; Bemareh Habazak (IX:35). In addition to formalistic bal tosif issues, it is problematic policy to create a an odd-looking new phenomenon of two mezuzot, even if it is out of a desire for stringency/covering all bases, which itself is very often a two-edged sword.
Roasted Foods on PesachIs it permissible to eat roasted food at the seder, and if not, what is included?
Eating roasted meat at the seder is one of the cases that the mishna (Pesachim 53a) says depends on the local minhag. However, in this matter there is presently quite a bit of uniformity in minhag among edot (communities based on ethnic origin, which, these days, is more important than locality).
The gemara (ibid.) explains that we do not want to do things that look like we have sanctified something as a korban in place of the Korban Pesach. It says that all agree that it is forbidden to eat a roasted complete lamb or to say that an animal or piece of meat is set aside for Pesach (which has a double meaning – the holiday or the korban). Those who have the minhag not to eat any roasted meat on this night extend the reach of this concern further than those whose minhag is to eat most roasted meat. Interestingly, while the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 476:1-2) presents both minhagim, he does not take clear sides, nor does the Rama. However, Acharonim, both Ashkenazi (Mishna Berura 476:1) and Sephardi (Chazon Ovadia, Pesach II, p. 103) say unequivocally that the minhag is to not eat roasted meat. (I understand that Yemenites do eat roasted meat.)
There are some important details to add, including some about which there is not unanimity. The prohibition is on all meat that requires shechita, which includes poultry but not fish (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 2). The standard approach is that pot roast (without the addition of a significant amount of liquid – see Shevet Halevi IX:120) is considered roasted (Magen Avraham 476:1 Mishna Berura 476:1). When the meat was both roasted and cooked, we usually follow the last process that was done, as it determines how the meat appears, which is the main issue (ibid.). While this approach sometimes indicates strictness and sometimes leniency (depending on which was last), there is room for leniency in cases of need (ibid.), which makes sense considering the whole topic is a minhag. (If meat was first totally cooked and was then only heated up without gravy, this is not a problem (see Shaarei Teshuva 476:1 and Chazon Ish OC 37:14), as long as the reheating did not alter its texture to the point that it might seem roasted.)
There is some question as whether the prohibition is only at the seder (or sedarim in chutz la’aretz – Mishna Berura ibid.) or even the next day (see Ben Ish Chai I, Tzav 30). However, the consensus is that it is only at seder night – the time that the Korban Pesach would have been eaten (Mishna Berura ibid.; Yechaveh Da’at III:27).
There is an interesting dilemma regarding foods from the seder plate, specifically the z’roa (forearm) of an animal and an egg, which are reminders of the Korban Pesach and Korban Chagiga, respectively (Shulchan Aruch, OC 473:4). The Shulchan Aruch says that the z’roa is roasted and the Rama says that the egg is roasted, as well. Because the z’roa is roasted, it should not be eaten at the seder (Yechaveh Da’at ibid.), whereas the egg can be eaten because it is not meat (Mishna Berura 473:32). According to those who cook the z’roa, the Pri Megadim (473, MZ 4) says that it is still forbidden because the fact that it represents the Korban Pesach increases the chance of confusion with it. He says that we don’t forbid eating the egg even though it represents another korban because the egg has other significances (see Rama, OC 476:2). However, one may be lenient if indeed the z’roa was cooked and not roasted (Yechaveh Da’at ibid.).
The prohibition on eating the z’roa raises another issue (although not this year, when the seder is on Shabbat). If one did not roast the z’roa before Yom Tov, there is a question how one can roast it at night, given that one can only cook things on Yom Tov that he will eat (Magen Avraham 473:8). The Magen Avraham says that in such a case, one should have in mind to eat it during the day meal. The Maharshal (cited, ibid.) suggests to cook it, rather than roast it, and then eat it that night.
Working at a Bakery on Chol Hamoed PesachI am the only religious Jewish worker at a bakery owned by non-Jews that has a hashgacha during the year but not for Pesach. I believe that if I take off for Chol Hamoed, they will fire me. May I work then?
Concerning work on Chol Hamoed per se (e.g., Sukkot), one of the broad leniencies is davar ha’aved (significant loss) (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 537:1). Therefore, you may go to work if the alternative is losing your job (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 67:11).
Working with chametz on Pesach, though, raises serious problems. In one of our columns (B’ha’alotcha 5775; please read it), we discussed parameters for working with non-kosher food in various capacities. We dealt with various opinions on a few issues: the possibility the worker will eat the non-kosher food, commerce in non-kosher food, and sometimes lifnei iver (facilitating an aveira). According to our analysis, we would rarely condone holding a job such as waiter at a non-kosher restaurant, for a combination of reasons. While there are differences between the cases in different directions, working directly with chametz on Pesach has obstacles that are even harder to overcome.
First, the level of concern about eating chametz is more severe than for other forbidden foods. The Rama (OC 450:6, based on the Rivash 401) forbids buying chametz for a non-Jew on Pesach, which we do not find for most non-kosher foods. One of the reasons is the concern the Jewish buyer might come to eat it (Rivash; Mishna Berura 450:21). This is in line with the halacha that one who is watching a non-Jew’s chametz in his house (without accepting monetary responsibility) must make a partition in front of it, which, again, we do not find everywhere (Pesachim 6a; Mishna Berura 440:13). It is certainly, then, forbidden to work with ongoing direct physical contact with chametz on Pesach (see also Yabia Omer IV, YD 6).
There is another reason to forbid work dealing with chametz. It is forbidden not only to eat but also to benefit from chametz (Pesachim 21a). The most direct applications of this prohibition are direct physical benefit and selling chametz. However, there are much broader applications of benefit, which are placed under the name of rotzeh b’kiyumo (one wants the forbidden object to exist). The Talmudic sources (see Avoda Zara 63b) discuss rotzeh b’kiyumo mainly, but not only, in the context of yayin nesech (strictly forbidden wine), and almost all Rishonim and poskim say it also applies to chametz. See many examples in Orach Chayim 450, including ones with indirect and minor interest in the chametz. For example, the Magen Avraham (450:10) explains that the aforementioned Rama about buying chametz for a non-Jew as being forbidden also because of rotzeh b’kiyumo.
Is it rotzeh b’kiyumo if you forgo pay for your work on Pesach, and thus ostensibly do not benefit? Regarding yayin nesech, this does not help, as one may not even watch yayin nesech for free and without responsibility to pay for loss because a watchman feels bad if he does not do his job well (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 133:6). Acharonim disagree to whether one can be in a situation in which he suffers when chametz is lost but does not gain positively from its presence. Some forbid this only for yayin nesech, assuming that it is more stringent than chametz in these areas (see Makor Chayim 450:7). Distinctions are made to reconcile apparent contradictions on the matter. According to a particularly pertinent distinction, one may not do an action of interaction with the chametz on Pesach (Maharam Shick, OC 225). In your case, almost all opinions will consider your work forbidden due to rotzeh b’kiyumon, as you would be actively working with chametz. Even if you artificially relinquish the pay you are due, your right to continued employment and future pay as a result is a benefit of your agreement to work with the chametz.Therefore, we believe you are forbidden to work with the non-Jews’ chametz on Pesach, both because of the possibility of eating and/or because of the semi-direct benefit.
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