Sunday, 28 June 2015

Melave Malka in the Summer

Question: Do I need to sit down for melave malka even when Shabbos goes out after 11pm?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 119b) writes that one should set one’s table for a meal after Shabbos. This meal is known as melave malka, escorting out the Shabbos queen. Rambam (Shabbos 30:5) and the Tur (OC 300:1) explain that we should escort Shabbos out with the same respect that we brought it in with. Thus, the Mishna Berura (300:1; 3) writes that one should lay the table properly as one does for Shabbos, light candles and sing zemiros.
While the Mishna Berura (300:1) writes that melave malka is not as important as the three Shabbos meals, the poskim stress the importance of this meal and the reward of those who are particular to partake.
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 63:3) quotes many poskim who write that women are equally obligated to eat melave malka (See Maaseh Rav 150).
The Vilna Gaon (Biur Hagra OC 300:1) says that one should eat bread at the meal. The Magen Avraham (OC 300:1) writes that when this is difficult because Shabbos ends so late, one should have a snack instead (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 300:3; Mishna Berura 300:1). At the very least, one should have a hot drink (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 63:8).
The Baer Heitev (300:1) and Aruch Hashulchan (ibid) quote the Elya Rabba who writes that if one ate shalosh seudos late, and carried on eating after it was dark out, then one has fulfilled one’s obligation and doesn’t need to eat again after Shabbos. Not everyone relies on this leniency, however (see Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 63:6).

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Seeing the Sea

Question: I am going to visit Israel. Do I say a beracha upon seeing the Mediterranean Sea and Dead Sea?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 228:1) writes that upon seeing the ocean one recites the beracha, ..oseh maaseh bereishis. When one sees the Mediterranean, one should recite ..oseh hayam hagadol instead.
The Mishna Berura (228:2) however, writes that many acharonim disagree and write that one only says oseh hayam hagadol upon seeing the Atlantic Ocean.
To fulfil both views, one could say ..oseh maaseh bereishis  and then add the words sheasah es hayam hagadol (Minchas Yitzchak 1:110; Halichos Shlomo 23:29).
While R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:14:40n) writes that one should say ..oseh maaseh bereishis upon seeing the Dead Sea, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 23:n43) and R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 9:47) held that one doesn’t recite a beracha as it was not created during the Six Days of Creation (Rashi, Bereishis 14:3).
R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:76:1) writes that if one is driving past the sea, one should ideally stop and get out of the car so that one can stand up properly to recite the beracha.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Throwing Sweets at a Chassan

Question: If we’re not allowed to throw food then how can we throw sweets at a chassan at his aufruf?
Answer: Rambam (Berachos 7:9) and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 171:1) write that one must treat food in a respectful manner. R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 20:29) writes that this even applies to food that one isn’t allowed to eat, such as chametz on Pesach.
The Gemara (Berachos 50b) writes that as bread is more important than other food, one should never throw bread. Other food, however, may be thrown providing that it won’t get ruined (Rambam, Berachos 7:9; Magen Avraham OC 171:1; Aruch Hashulchan OC 171:3; Mishna Berura 170:9).
Thus, the Magen Avraham (OC 167:38) writes that when one says hamotzi on behalf of others, he must pass the bread to them rather than throw it (See Mishna Berura 167:88).
The Gemara (ibid) writes that people used to throw nuts towards the chassan and kalla.
Nowadays, people typically throw sweets or small bags of food at a chassan when he gets his aliya on his Shabbos aufruf. While this almost universal custom has no real mekor, Sefer Taamei Haminhagim (940) explains the significance behind many of the foods that people throw. Additionally, it is not assur and adds to the excitement for many. The Kaf Hachaim (OC 171:26) and Mishna Berura (171:21) write that those who do so should not throw soft sweets that will get ruined.
The poskim (Magen Avraham OC 171:1; Aruch Hashulchan OC 171:5) write that one who sees food on the floor must pick it up. Additionally, one must ensure that one does so to enhance the simcha and one isn’t mevazeh the kedusha of the shul.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Lechem Mishne

Question: Does one need lechem mishne for seuda shelishis? If so, can I use a frozen challa? Do I need to remove it from the bag if I’m not going to eat it?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 117b) writes that we are botzeia over two challos to remember that two portions of man fell in the midbar before Shabbos. While according to the Magen Avraham (OC 254:23) this requirement is derabanan, the Taz (OC 678:2), Chasam Sofer (OC 46) and Aruch Hashulchan (OC 274:1) write that it is mideoraisa.
Following Rashi, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 274:1) understands this to mean saying hamotzi over the two challos. The Vilna Gaon, however, follows Rashba who writes that the requirement is to cut both challos (See Mishna Berura 274:4; Aruch Hashulchan OC 274:3).
The Daas Zekeinim (Shemos 16:22) writes that as the bnei yisrael would only have had one portion of man left by Shabbos afternoon, there is no need to have lechem mishne for seuda shelishis. The Rema (OC 291:4) writes that while many only use one challa for seuda shelishis it is ideal to use two challos (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 55:2).
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 8 OC:32), R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 11:23) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:170) write that ideally one should only use fresh challa, though R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 2:115:2) wrote that he often used a frozen challa for lechem mishne as by the end of the meal, the challa had defrosted and was perfectly edible (See Minchas Yitzchak 9:42; Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 55:n39).
R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:201) and R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 55:n38) write that ideally, the second challa should be removed from the bag before saying hamotzi.