Sunday, 27 March 2016

Paying on Time

Question: I asked a child to deliver some mishloach manos packages for me on Purim for a small fee. Do I need to pay him on Purim or can it wait until the following day?
Answer: There is both a positive mitzva (Devarim 24:15) to pay workers on time as well as an aveira (Vayikra 19:13) not to withhold paying one’s worker’s wages. The Gemara (Bava Metzia 111a) writes that there another 5 potential mitzvos that one transgresses by not paying one’s worker on time.
The Gemara (ibid 112a) writes that the employer has only transgressed the aveira when they refuse to pay the employee when they ask for payment.
The Chafetz Chaim (Nesiv Hachesed 9:29) writes that if the employee doesn’t actually ask for his money, though comes for it, the employer must still pay that day.
The Chafetz Chaim (Ahavas Chesed 1:9:5) stresses that these halachos applies equally to children, though unfortunately people often take advantage of them and don’t pay them on time (See Shut Harashba 3:99). As children may be shy to specifically ask for the money, their employers need to be particularly careful to pay even if they don’t ask.
While one can agree to pay one’s worker at a later date, it is certainly ideal to pay them that same day.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Davening in Costume

Question: Is it appropriate to daven in shul on Purim while wearing a fancy-dress costume?
Answer: Davening nowadays has replaced the korbanos that were offered by the kohanim. Just as they wore unique clothes when they performed their avoda, it would be ideal to have separate clothes for davening in. Nonetheless, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 98:4) concedes that this is not really feasible.
Rambam (Tefilla 5:1) lists appropriate dress as one of eight things that are necessary for davening. The Mishna Berura (91:12) writes that one should dress as one would when greeting a dignitary, noting that what is considered appropriate is different in each place.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 90:23) writes that one should not daven in front of art or colourful drapes as they can distract one’s davening. The Rema adds that one should avoid printing pictures in siddurim as they can also be distracting.
Thus, R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 10:18:1) writes that one may daven on Purim while wearing a fancy-dress costume, though one must ensure that it is respectable, properly covers the body and will not distract themselves or others. While the example that R’ Wosner brings is of one dressing up as a chassid, etc. it would seem that this would be subjective to the shul that one davens in and what would be considered appropriate there on purim.
In conclusion, one may daven in shul on Purim while wearing a fancy-dress costume, provided that the costume is appropriate and would not unnecessarily distract anyone from davening properly.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Working on Motzaei Shabbos

Question: I was fixing a button to a jacket that fell off on Shabbos, though my husband said that I shouldn’t be doing this on Motzaei Shabbos. Why is this?
Answer: The Gemara (Pesachim 50b) writes that one who does work on Motzaei Shabbos will not be blessed. Based on this, the Magen Avraham (OC 299:15) quotes the Abudraham (end of Seder Motzaei Shabbos) who writes that the custom is for women not to perform melacha on Motzaei Shabbos.
The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 299:22), however, writes that this custom is unheard of, and providing that they have heard havdala, can do any melacha. He quotes the Gemara Yerushalmi (Pesachim 4:1) that writes that while there is a minhag for women not to do menial melacha on rosh chodesh, there is no such minhag to abstain on Motzaei Shabbos. As for the Gemara that writes about lack of blessing, that is specifically talking about doing melacha before hearing havdala.
Likewise, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 2:107) writes that as this minhag is not brought in the later poskim, women may do any melacha after havdala.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mezuza on Exits Doors

Question: Does one need to put a mezuza on an outside exit door. If so, which side would it go on?
Answer: R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchas Shlomo 2:97:22) writes that an emergency exit that can only be accessed from the inside and is only used in case of an emergency is not considered an entrance to the house and so does not require a mezuza. Similarly, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (11:1) writes that if one has a doorway that is only used on an occasional basis for loading things in, one doesn’t need to affix a mezuza to it.
If one’s patio door serves as another entrance to their house, then one affixes the mezuza to the right side of the doorway from the outside. There is a machlokes, however, as to which side of the door the mezuza goes on when such a door opens out onto an enclosed balcony or garden. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 289:2) writes that if one puts up the mezuza on the wrong side then they haven’t fulfilled the mitzva. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 1:176) writes that when in doubt one mustn’t place a mezuza on each side (See Binyan Tzion 89).
The Chazon Ish (YD 168:5) writes that it is considered to be an entrance to the house and so goes on the right side from the outside.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 1:181) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 4:51 quoting many other poskim,) however, write that as the balcony or garden is only accessible from the house, the mezuza must be placed on the right side from the inside. R’ Ovadia Yosef writes that if the balcony is smaller than four amos by four amos (3.7m2 according to R’ Chaim Naeh; 5.9m2 according to the Chazon Ish) then it doesn’t technically require a mezuza though one should ideally affix one (See Shearim Metzuyanim Behalacha 11:3).