Sunday, 31 January 2016

Light Candles Before Being Mekabel Shabbos

Question: We’re eating out on Friday night and want to light candles at home before driving to our host’s home. Can I light Shabbos candles while stipulating that I’m not being mekabel Shabbos?
Answer: The Rema (OC 263:10) writes that women are typically mekabel Shabbos when they light the Shabbos candles. They may, however stipulate, even mentally, that they don’t wish to be mekabel Shabbos at that time. Thus, the Mishna Berura (263:43) writes that women mustn’t daven Mincha after lighting as it is no longer considered to be Friday.
Nonetheless, the Magen Avraham (OC 263:20) writes that this should only be relied on in times of great need. The poskim debate the parameters of this. The Mishna Berura (263:21) writes that a woman who needs to prepare that night for going to mikvah may rely on this.
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 10:19) writes that a woman who wishes to daven kabbalas Shabbos at the kosel may light candles while stipulating that she isn’t being mekabel Shabbos yet, and then drive there. The extra inspiration she will get from davening there is considered to be a great need. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 43:n137), however, held that this doesn’t qualify as a great need and so she shouldn’t do this.
The Magen Avraham (OC 263:18) writes that this doesn’t apply to men, as they typically aren’t mekabel Shabbos when they light the Shabbos candles, though it is ideal for them to stipulate that they want to be mekabel Shabbos later.
Thus, under normal circumstances, a woman who had lit Shabbos candles wouldn’t then be allowed to drive to her host, though a man who had would be able to.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Melacha after Lighting Candles

Question: Is there anything wrong in driving to shul after my wife has lit the Shabbos candles? Can I do melacha for her?
Answer: The Rema (OC 263:10) writes that while women are mekabel Shabbos on themselves when they light, that doesn’t affect others in their home. Thus, others may continue to do melacha until they accept Shabbos. The Mishna Berura (261:31) writes that when one davens kabbalas Shabbos, they automatically are mekabel Shabbos.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:17) writes that one who has accepted Shabbos early may ask another Jew who hasn’t yet accepted Shabbos to do a melacha on their behalf. Likewise, one may ask another who had recited havdala at the end of Shabbos to do a melacha for them if they are still observing Shabbos, providing that they aren’t following Rabbeinu Tam’s later zeman (See Piskei Teshuvos 263:44).
Each kehilla has its own minhag as to how long before shekia (sunset) they light Shabbos candles and are mekabel Shabbos. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 2:6) writes that the reason why we are mekabel Shabbos so long before shekia is to fulfil the halacha of tosefes Shabbos, adding from the weekday onto Shabbos (See Shulchan Aruch OC 261:2). While Rambam (quoted in Biur Halacha 261) holds that tosefes Shabbos is miderabanan, according to some poskim, it is mideoraisa (See Tosafos Moed Katan 4a; Ohr Zarua, Erev Shabbos 14). Thus, while one can do melacha up until shekia if absolutely necessary, one should be most particular to keep to the minhag of their kehilla and light by the time printed on the luach (See Igros Moshe OC 3:38).

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ask Child to Switch Lights on Shabbos

Question: We left a bedroom light on by mistake before Shabbos. Can we place our two year old son in front of the light switch to turn it off on Shabbos?
Answer: The Gemara (Sukka 42a) writes that parents are obligated to teach and train their children to do mitzvos before they become bar / bas mitzva. This obligation, chinuch, only applies when a child is old and mature enough to appreciate what they are doing and why. The Mishna Berura (128:123) writes that with regards to most mitzvos, the age is approximately 5 to 6.
The Gemara (Yevamos 114a) writes that adults mustn’t feed children non-kosher food or make them do things that are forbidden on Shabbos. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 343:1) writes that this prohibition, known as sefiyah, also applies even if they are only forbidden miderabanan. Nonetheless, this only applies if the adult is specifically instructing the child to do the prohibition (See Mishna Berura 343:4).
The Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 343:10) writes, however, that one may give things to a young child on Shabbos even though you know that they will do something that is forbidden.
Thus, R’ Yisroel Dovid Harfenes (Nishmas Shabbos 7:479) and the Piskei Teshuvos (343:2) write that one may stand a young child in front of a light switch on Shabbos even though they will switch it on or off, providing that they are too young to comprehend what they are doing.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Monopoly on Shabbos

Question: Can children play Monopoly on Shabbos?
Answer: The Chayei Adam (Shabbos 38:11) writes that one mustn’t play games on Shabbos that include any type of transaction. Some use this halacha to explain that one mustn’t play Monopoly on Shabbos (See Halachos of Muktza, p28:n33).
Nonetheless, it is clear from the poskim that the Chayei Adam was not referring to playing with toy money. The Rema (OC 338:5) forbids one to play any game on Shabbos which entails winning or losing anything tangible such as nuts, though writes that one doesn’t need to stop one’s children from playing especially if they won’t listen anyway (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 338:13). One may play a regular game, however, where the winner gains nothing upon winning.
Thus, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 16:32; n84) writes that while ideally adults shouldn’t play such games on Shabbos, he heard from R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that one can play such games as the money isn’t real.
R’ Moshe Stern (Be’er Moshe 6:100) writes that while children shouldn’t play with toy coins on Shabbos, they may play with toy paper money. Similarly, R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:42:n5) writes that children can play with monopoly on Shabbos.
In conclusion, while there is no prohibition in playing Monopoly on Shabbos, it is best for adults to refrain, though children may play.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Children in Shul

Question: When should we start bringing our child to shul?
Answer: The Gemara (Chagiga 3a) writes that the reason why children were also supposed to assemble at hakhel was to ‘bring reward to those who brought them’. Tosafos comments that this is the source for bringing children to shul.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 124:7) writes that one should teach his young children to answer amen. The Magen Avraham (OC 124:11) however cautions that children must be trained to behave respectfully if coming to shul. If they are going to run around, it is best not to bring them. The Mishna Berura (96:4) writes that one shouldn’t daven with a young child in front of them as they will likely distract them.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 689:1) writes that children should listen to the megilla being read on Purim. The Mishna Berura (689:3) writes that this is only applicable to children who have reached the age of chinuch. The Chafetz Chaim bemoans the unfortunate reality that many parents bring their younger children who disturb everyone else (See Biur Halacha 689:6).
The Shelah (quoted in the Mishna Berura 98:3) strongly criticised parents who bring their young children into shul. Not only are they disturbing others who are davening and being disrespectful to the shul, but as they grow up, they will continue to talk and be disrespectful. Certainly, when they are mature enough to be respectful, parents should bring them and educate them about tefilla.
The Shaarei Teshuva (OC 104:1) writes that if a child is disturbing one from davening properly and signalling to them doesn’t help, then one should move away from them even while davening the shemone esrei. Thus, if a child is disturbing in shul, their parent should take them out immediately.
In conclusion, while it is great to bring children to shul when they grow up and are old enough to be quiet and respectful, shuls should create children services for younger children to attend rather than attend shul.