Sunday, 30 June 2019

Clothes from the Dryer

Question: Can I remove clothes from the washing line or dryer on Shabbos?
Answer: The Rema (OC 301:46) writes that as one is not allowed to squeeze clothes out on Shabbos (sechita), wet clothes are muktze on Shabbos. The Mishna Berura (308:63) adds that clothes that are wet when Shabbos came in are muktze the entire day.
Nonetheless, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 301:19) writes that something which will automatically become usable does not become muktze during bein hashmashos. R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 1:81) explains that the Mishna Berura may be referring to clothes that one isn’t sure would dry over Shabbos. As the owner clearly never intended on using them over Shabbos, they are muktze. Thus, R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 1:62:3) writes that if one was sure that clothes will dry on Shabbos, they are not muktze (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 15:15).
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchas Shlomo 1:10:7) and R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 5:22:38) write that if it wasn’t for the noise, one would be allowed to put the clothes in on Friday and let the dryer finish on Shabbos. Providing the machine ended before Shabbos, however, one may remove the clothes from a dryer on Shabbos.
In conclusion, one may remove dry clothes from a washing line or dryer to wear on Shabbos, even if they were wet when Shabbos came in.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Building a Fence

Question: I’m building an extension and having a small balcony installed. Can I still say the beracha on building a fence even though my builders are installing it?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (CM 427:1) teaches us the details of the mitzvah to build a maakeh, a fence around a flat roof. The Meiras Einaim (CM 427:1) notes that this chapter, the last in Choshen Mishpat, does not exist in the Tur and is in fact a copy of Rambam (Rotzeach Ushemiras Nefesh 11).
The Gemara (Kiddushin 41a) teaches that while one can appoint a sheliach to perform certain mitzvos on their behalf, it is preferable for one to perform them oneself. Thus, Rambam (Berachos 11:13) writes that if one asked a Jewish worker to build a maakeh on their behalf, the worker recites the beracha.
The Shulchan Aruch (CM 427:1) writes that one cannot appoint a non-Jewish person to act as a sheliach to perform a mitzva on one’s behalf. Nonetheless, the Machaneh Ephraim (Sheluchin Veshutfin 11) argues that one would still say the beracha if one’s non-Jewish worker built the fence. Firstly, the worker is working on behalf of the house owner rather than independently. Additionally, it is the practical result that matters more than the act of building (See Aruch Hashulchan CM 427:3).
The Nesivos Hamishpat (188), Minchas Chinuch (546) and Shoel Umeshiv (1:2:110) challenge this, however, writing that building a maakeh is no different to any other mitzva for which one cannot appoint a non-Jewish sheliach.
In conclusion, if one employs a Jewish worker to create the fence, then the worker can recite the beracha as a sheliach. One doesn’t say a beracha, however, if the builders are not Jewish.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Start Wearing Tefillin

Question: I am going to be bar mitzva in a few weeks. When should I start wearing tefillin? Do I say a beracha before my bar mitzva and do I say shehecheyanu?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 37:3) writes that a boy’s father must buy him tefillin when he’s mature enough to control himself and treat them with the proper respect. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 6:3; Yechave Daas 2:4) demonstrates that this is the sefardi minhag (See Ohr Letzion 2:44:47)
While the Rema disagrees, writing that he must wait until he’s bar mitzva, the Magen Avraham (37:4) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 37 write that the minhag is for boys to start wearing them two or three months before their bar mitzva. Thus, minhag chabad is for boys to begin wearing tefillin two months before their bar mitzva.
The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 37:4) notes that the minhag ashkenaz is to begin one month before one’s bar mitzva. R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 13:10:3) notes that this is the minhag ashkenaz in Yerushalayim. He adds that even though they are doing so to train themselves for when they are bar mitzva, they should still say a beracha.
R’ Waldenberg later (ibid. 13:24:5) writes that one who who wears them in advance of his bar mitzva doesn’t recite shehecheyanu as when he first wears them, he does so to train for when he is bar mitzva and later on they are no longer new. Yet, the Chasam Sofer (OC 55) suggests that a bar mitzva boy recites shehecheyanu when he wears his tefillin for the mitzvos that he is now obligated.
As there is a doubt as to whether one should say shehecheyanu or not, the Mishna Berura (Biur Halacha 22:1) recommends that one wears new clothing then so that one says shehecheyanu on both simultaneously. Similarly, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo 4:14) ensured that while his sons began wearing tefillin a month before their bar mitzva, he didn’t gift them their tefillin until the day of their bar mitzva so that they could say shehecheyanu then.
In conclusion, the main ashkenazi custom is for boys to begin wearing their tefillin for a month before their bar mitzva with a beracha. Ideally, they should wear a new suit on their bar mitzva and recite shehecheyanu when they put on their tefillin.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Skipping a Parsha

Question: I am going on holiday to Eretz Yisrael for a week. As they are a parsha ahead of us, I will be skipping a parsha. What should I do?
Answer: The Rema (OC 135:2) writes that if a shul didn’t manage to lein one week, they should catch up the following week by reading the omitted parsha. The Gra (OC 135:2) comments that this is akin to one who skipped a tefilla who can later make it up. Following this, the Mishna Berura (Biur Halacha 135:2) writes that if one purposely skipped leining one may not be able to make it up. The Mishna Berura (135:7) writes, however, that a shul only needs to catch up if the majority of the congregants didn’t manage to hear the leining.
When Pesach begins on a Shabbos or Shavuos begins on a Friday, the last day of Yom Tov in chutz la’aretz is also Shabbos while in Eretz Yisrael it is already isru chag. This discrepancy causes Eretz Yisrael to be one parsha ahead of chutz la’aretz. The Piskei Teshuvos (285:9) writes that one who travels to Eretz Yisrael during this time should ideally find a minyan that will read the missing parsha allowing one to catch up. R’ Gavriel Zinner (Nitei Gavriel, Pesach 40:5) writes that if this isn’t feasible, then one fulfills one’s duty of listening to the local leining.
R’ Nosson Gestetner (Lehoros Nosson 3:13:8) writes that even though when one returns to chutz la’aretz they have already heard that leining, one needs to listen again, as one shouldn’t go for three days without hearing leining.
In conclusion, if one can easily daven in a minyan where they will catch up the leining, one should do so. Otherwise, one should listen to the leining there and listen to it again upon their return.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Wait at the Bus Stop

Question: I want to go to visit someone in hospital on motzaei Shabbos. Can I walk to the bus stop on Shabbos and wait for the bus that will come a few minutes after Shabbos? My sister will meet me there with the fare.
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 114b; 118a) decreed that one mustn’t prepare on Shabbos or Yom Tov for the following day (See Shulchan Aruch OC 302:3; 503:1). Different reasons are offered for this prohibition. According to Rashi (Shabbos 114b) the extra tircha, effort, that one has to expend is inappropriate on Shabbos (See Mishna Berura 323:28). Rambam (Shabbos 23:7), however, writes that hachana, preparation, is akin to mesaken¸ fixing something.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 306:1) writes that the prohibition of hachana includes actions that are not otherwise melachos. One of the examples given is walking to the city gates in order that they can rush to the bathhouse when Shabbos is out. The Magen Avraham (306:1), however, writes that this is only problematic when it is apparent that one is preparing.
Thus, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 4:97:92) quotes R’ Refael Zilber (Marpeh Lenefesh 3:40:2) who writes that while it would be wrong to wait in a bus stop, one can walk towards it and wait nearby so that it isn’t obvious that they are catching the bus. Similarly, R’ Menashe Klein (Mishne Halachos 7:50) gives a few reasons why one can walk to a bus stop if necessary on Shabbos.
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa) allowed one to walk until the end of one’s techum before Shabbos was out though only if they were travelling for a mitzva. Under such circumstances, one would even be allowed to do so if it was apparent.
In conclusion, one who is going to perform a mitzva may walk to a bus stop to catch a bus after Shabbos. They must ensure that they are not carrying anything muktze. Preferably, they should not stand by the actual stop where it is obvious that they are waiting for a bus.

Making Sushi on Shabbos

Question: If I prepare the rice before Shabbos, can I make sushi rolls on Shabbos?
Answer: There are a few potential issues with making sushi on Shabbos.
The Gemara (Shabbos 145b) teaches that one mustn’t rinse salted fish on Shabbos. The Levush (OC 318:4) and Pri Megadim (OC 318:16) explain that doing so would be makeh bepatish (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 318:29). The Mishna Berura (Biur Halacha 318) disagrees, and writes that makeh bepatish does not apply to food (See Igros Moshe OC 3:52). Regardless, R’ Asher Weiss (tvunah.org) writes that as each of the ingredients are edible before rolling, this prohibition wouldn’t apply even according to the Levush and Pri Megadim.
The Chayei Adam (87:2) writes that the prohibition of tefira, attaching, also applies to food. Nonetheless, moistening the seaweed sheet to close the roll would not pose an issue of tofer as it isn’t something that lasts (See Rema OC 317:3). Additionally, R’ Weiss notes that a little moisture does not count as attaching.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 321:12) writes that one must not cut vegetables into small pieces as doing so is tochen, grinding. Thus, the Mishna Berura (321:45) writes that one must ensure that the pieces are slightly larger than usual. Nonetheless, he cautions (Biur Halacha) that this is hard to define.
The Magen Avraham (340:17) writes that one mustn’t create cheese on Shabbos, as it is included in the prohibition of boneh, assembling. While some foods can be attached together, one mustn’t do so to create a particular shape or picture. Following this, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (80:25) and Chayei Adam (39:1) write that boneh applies to food as well as other items. Based on this, R’ Asher Weiss writes that creating sushi on Shabbos would also be an issur of boneh.
In conclusion, one should not make sushi on Shabbos.