Sunday, 28 October 2018

Lighting Shabbos Candles too Early

Question: We were going out for Friday night Dinner so I lit candles and stayed with them for a while before leaving the house. I later found out that I lit them before plag hamincha. Did that count, or does it mean that I didn’t light Shabbos candles?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 23b) writes that one should not light the Shabbos candles too early or too late. Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:4) writes that one shouldn’t light the Shabbos candles before plag hamincha, one and a quarter halachic hours before nacht, as it wouldn’t be apparent that one is lighting them for Shabbos. The Rema adds that if the candles were lit too early, they need to be blown out and relit for Shabbos.
R’ Akiva Eiger (OC 263:4) writes that the Rema only requires relighting the candles if they weren’t lit lekavod Shabbos. While lechatchila one shouldn’t light too early, if one lit early lekavod Shabbos, they have fulfilled their obligation.
The Mishna Berura (263:20; Biur Halacha) argues that R’ Akiva Eiger is specifically referring to one who lit before plag hamincha. One lighting this early would need to relight the candles regardless of their intent.
R’ Aryeh Zvi Frommer (Eretz Zvi 1:113), however, understands that R’ Akiva Eiger is referring to lighting before lekavod Shabbos. Providing they lit early lekavod Shabbos, one wouldn’t need to relight (See Elef Hamagen 610:7).
Similarly, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 263:19) writes that while it isn’t ideal to light before plag hamincha, if one did so, they wouldn’t need to relight later.
In conclusion, one should not ideally light their Shabbos candles before plag hamincha though if one did so, they wouldn’t need to relight them later.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Early Maariv on Motzaei Shabbos

Question: My neighbour has started a minyan for maariv in his house on Motzaei Shabbos. They begin 15 minutes before nacht. Is this ideal?
Answer: The Gemara (Rosh Hashana 9a; Yuma 81b) teaches that there is a mitzva of tosefes Shabbos, to add on a little bit of time both at the beginning and at the end of Shabbos. One should therefore endeavour to bring Shabbos in a few minutes early and not end it until a few minutes after nacht (See Mishna Berura 261:19).
Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 293:1) writes that one should delay davening maariv on motzaei Shabbos in order to add some time onto Shabbos. The Mishna Berura (293:1) writes that this is the universal practice. The Rema adds that there is even a minhag to say the opening words of maariv, vehu rachum, very slowly to add on a few extra seconds.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 293:3) writes that in extenuating circumstances, such as one had a pressing mitzva matter, they can daven maariv after pelag hamincha. Nonetheless, the Magen Avraham (293:4) writes that the acharonim disapprove of this as it doesn’t look right when most people are waiting until nacht and some are davening earlier. The Mishna Berura (293:9) adds that we also need to be concerned that people may come to perform melacha before it is nacht.
In conclusion, it is important to wait until nacht to daven maariv on Motzaei Shabbos.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Standing up for a Rabbi during Davening

Question: Should we stand up for a Rav or old man who comes into our shul while we are davening?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (YD 244:1) writes that there is a mitzva mideoraisa to stand for a talmid chacham or anyone over seventy. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 3:70) writes that if one isn’t sure if one is seventy yet, they need to stand regardless, following the rule of safek deoraisa lechumra, that we are strict with regards to doubts of Torah laws.
The Shulchan Aruch (YD 244:11) writes that if a talmid chacham walks in while one is learning, one should interrupt their learning to stand up for them. The Aruch Hashulchan (YD 244:7) explains that this is no different to other mitzvos which one is supposed to interrupt their learning for.
The Mishna (2:1) and Shulchan Aruch (OC 66:1) discuss when one can interrupt during shema and its surrounding berachos for important reasons. The Magen Avraham (66:1) and Mishna Berura (66:2) write however, that this doesn’t really apply nowadays, and we don’t interrupt the shema to speak to anybody.
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 14:10), however, writes that the reason that one who is learning should stand is because one should be able to do so without properly interrupting their learning. Nonetheless, he writes that while one should stand during their davening, one shouldn’t if they are reciting the shema.
Nonetheless, R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 4:22) writes that one should stand even while saying the shema especially as it is unlikely that it will stop one’s concentration (See Shevet Halevi 6:146:4). Similarly, the Ben Ish Chai (Ki Seitzei 2:15) writes that as honouring a talmid chacham is essentially honouring Hashem, one should stand even in the middle of the shema.
In conclusion, one must stand up when a Rav or elderly person passes them even if one is davening and even while saying the shema providing it won’t disturb them.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Forgot to Wait after Meat

Question: I forgot that I was still meaty and accidentally said a beracha on a cup of tea. What should I have done?
Answer: The Gemara (Chullin 105a) writes that after eating meat, Mar Ukva would wait until the next meal before eating milky food. There is a machlokes however, as to how long this wait is.
Rambam (Maachalos Asuros 9:28) and the Shulchan Aruch (YD 89:1) writes that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating cheese while the Rema writes that one only has to wait one hour, wash their hands and rinse their mouth first. While the Dutch community typically waits one hour and many wait three, the Taz (YD 89:2) notes that the main minhag is to wait six hours.
The Gemara (Berachos 33a) writes that we learn from a passuk not to say a beracha levatala. According to Rambam (Berachos 1:15) and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 215:4), it is forbidden mideoraisa while Tosafos (Rosh Hashana 33a) holds that it is forbidden miderabanan (See Mishna Berura 215:20).
R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 4:24) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:389) thus write that providing one had finished their meal and it had been an hour since they ate meat, one who accidentally recited a beracha on milky food should taste the food rather than say a beracha levatala.
While R’ Sternbuch writes that this doesn’t necessarily apply to sefardim who follow Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer YD 2:5; Yechave Daas 4:41) writes it is still preferable to taste the food. While there is a machlokes as to how long to wait after meat, all agree that it is forbidden to say a beracha levatala.
In conclusion, providing one is no longer in the middle of their meaty meal and at least an hour as elapsed since they had meat, one who accidentally recites a beracha over milky food should taste a little bit of the food rather than say a beracha levatala.