Thursday, 25 April 2019

Havdala on Motzaei Pesach

Question: Should one make havdala on beer on motzaei Pesach?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 296:2) writes that one cannot say havdala over bread. One may use beer, however, providing that it is chamar medina, a national beverage. This is different to Friday night kiddush where the Shulchan Aruch (OC 272:9) writes that one should use bread for kiddush rather than other drinks, though similar to the daytime kiddush when beer would be second best.
The Rema (OC 296:2) writes that the minhag is to use beer for havdala on motzaei Pesach as one appreciates beer more then. The Taz (296:3) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 296:10) note that this is subjective, and if one prefers wine then one should use wine for havdala.
R’ Chaim Volozhin (Maaseh Rav 185) notes that the Vilna Gaon was particular to eat chametz on motzaei Pesach. The Taamei Haminhagim (Kuntres Acharon 593) explains that he wanted to demonstrate that the reason that he avoided chametz for the past week was only because it was a mitzva to do so. For this reason, there were various acharonim who were particular to use beer for havdala (See Nitei Gavriel, Pesach 3:21:2). The Torah Temima (Shemos 12:168) even relates that the Vilna Gaon himself used to use beer for havdala on motzaei Pesach.
The Kaf Hachaim (OC 296:26), however, disagrees, writing that even if one prefers beer, one should use wine for kabbalistic reasons. Nonetheless, other poskim aren’t particular about this. Thus, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 551:26) writes that it is ideal to use beer for havdala during the nine days when it is best not to have wine.
The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 448:28) stresses that the Rav should buy back the chametz that’s been sold as soon as possible as one can’t take it until then.
In conclusion, some have the minhag to use beer for havdala on motzaei Pesach. They should only do so if they like beer, and must either buy it then or wait until the chametz that they sold has been bought back.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Drinking after Afikoman

Question: I have always found it difficult to stay awake until the end of seder night. Can I have a coffee after I’ve eaten the afikoman?
Answer: The Mishna (Pesachim 119b) teaches that we mustn’t eat anything after the pesach afikoman. We include this halacha in our answer to the chacham, wise son. Rambam (Chametz Umatza 8:9) writes that nowadays when we don’t have the korban pesach, one mustn’t eat after the afikoman.
The rishonim offer various reasons for this. According to Rambam this is to ensure that the taste of the matza remains in one’s mouth. The Baal Hamaor (Pesachim 119b) explains that immediately after eating, everyone would go outside and sing hallel on the rooftops. It was important not to eat anything else that may have delayed them. The Ramban (Milchamos Hashem), however, explains that the reason is that the afikoman had to be eaten at the end of the meal with the korban Pesach which must be eaten when a person is full.
There is a machlokes, however, as to whether this restriction applies to drinks, too. The Gemara Yerushalmi (Pesachim 71b) teaches that one mustn’t drink as one needs to stay sober. The Tur (OC 481:2 quoting Rabbeinu Yonah) explains that this is to ensure that one can properly fulfil the mitzva of relating over the story. While the Rif (Pesachim 27a) only allows one to drink water afterwards, the Rosh (Pesachim 10:33) writes that one may drink any non-alcoholic beverages. Ramban (ibid.) and the Ran (Pesachim 119b), however, write that having other drinks gives the impression that one is adding to the four cups and trying to start a second seder.
Following this, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 481:1) writes that one may only drink water after the four cups. The Mishna Berura (478:2; 481:2) explains that different drinks would be problematic depending on which reason one follows, though the acharonim permit mild drinks such as fruit juice and tea.
The Baer Heitev (481:1) writes, however, that there is a machlokes as to whether it is ideal to have coffee or not. The Mishna Berura writes that it is ideal for one to be stringent on the first night seder and avoid it (See Shulchan Aruch Harav OC 481:1). R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:317; 3:319:1) notes, though, that the Chassam Sofer would customarily drink coffee following his Seder. One is allowed to drink coffee if it would help them stay awake for the seder.
In conclusion, one may drink coffee even after eating afikoman if they feel that it will help them stay awake and continue the mitzvos of the seder.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Checking Car for Chametz

Question: Do I say a beracha when I check my car for chametz? Does it matter when I check it?
Answer: The Rema (OC 433:13) writes that one should properly clean every room of their house before they do bedikas chametz. This applies to any room where one may have taken chametz into throughout the year. One must, therefore, clean one’s car before Pesach.
The Chayei Adam (119:18) writes that even though one needs to check one’s pockets and containers, the main mitzva of bedikas chametz is specifically to check their house. One would, therefore, only recite a beracha upon checking their house. There is a discussion, however, whether one should recite a beracha upon checking their car.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 1:5) writes that one should do bedikas chametz in one’s car after they’ve looked around their house the night before Pesach. One should not repeat the beracha even if it took a while to get to one’s car. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Pesach 5:5) adds that if one can’t do it that night, one should do so earlier during the day. Regardless, as it isn’t one’s house, one would not say a beracha.
R’ Ben Tzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 3:7:9; 19) writes however, that if one only has a car then one should say a beracha upon doing bedikas chametz on it. Similarly, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Mesores Moshe 1:286; 2:185) questioned whether a car is considered to be more like a house. If one only had a car then one should recite a beracha on searching it for chametz (See Rivevos Ephraim 4:106).
In conclusion, one should clean one’s car well before the night of bedikas chametz. One should begin bedikas chametz on their house before searching their car. If one only has a car then they could say a beracha before performing bedikas chametz. Otherwise, one wouldn’t say a separate beracha. 

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Taking Challa from Biscuit Dough

Question: I’m baking a big batch of biscuits. The recipe doesn’t call for any water. Do I take challa from the batter?
Answer: The Mishna (Challa 1:5) writes that one isn’t obligated to separate challa from a thin batter unless it takes on a thicker consistency when it is baked (See Rashi). Following this, the Shulchan Aruch (YD 329:2) writes that, providing it contains enough flour, one has to take challa when baking something from a liquid batter just as one does from a thick dough. R' Avraham Borenstein (Avnei Nezer YD 413) writes, however, that one shouldn’t separate challa until after the cake or biscuits have baked.
The Aruch Hashulchan (YD 329:15) disagrees, writing that as cakes and biscuits are not considered to be bread, there is no need to separate challa from them in chutz la’aretz when separating challa is only miderabanan.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchas Shlomo 68:n1; Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 42:n41) disagrees, however. After all, if one were to eat enough cake as a meal, one would need to wash beforehand, say hamotzi beforehand and bentch afterwards. R’ Pesach Eliyahu Falk (Machazeh Eliyahu 110) writes that it is clear that the other poskim disagree with the Aruch Hashulchan, too. One must, therefore, separate challa even with a beracha.
The Shulchan Aruch (YD 329:10) writes that one should avoid baking without water or one of the other liquids that is mekabel tuma. If necessary, one should add some water to avoid this issue (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35:7).
In conclusion, if one bakes a large enough batch of cake dough, one should separate challa with a beracha. One should add a little water to recipes that don’t call for water (or one of the other seven liquids). If the mixture is more of a batter than a dough, then one should wait until it is baked to separate challa.