Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Kosher Knife Sharpener

Question: I recently bought an electric knife sharpener. Does it need to be tovelled? Can I use it for my meaty and milky knives?
Answer: The Rema (YD 92:8) writes that meaty and milky pots that touch each other do not contaminate each other. Thus, providing the lids are on, one can cook food in a milky pot next to that of a meaty pot. Thus, providing the knife and stone were clean when sharpening the knife, no taam, flavour, would be transferred from the sharpener to any future knives it is used for.
The Beis Yosef (YD 122:9) quotes the Mordechai (Avoda Zara 833) who writes that one who left their knives with a non-Jewish person to sharpen them must kasher them as they may have been used for non-kosher food. If one saw them being sharpened, however, and then took them home, they do not need to be kashered.
Based on this, R’ Shamai Gross (Shevet Hakehasi 4:192) writes that one may use the same knife sharpener for both meaty and milky knives.
The Shulchan Aruch (YD 120:4) writes that only items that come into direct contact with the food require tevila. Thus, trivets that support the pot don’t. Accordingly, a knife sharpener wouldn’t either.
In conclusion, a knife sharpener may be used simultaneously for meaty and milky knives and does not require tevila.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

House Dedication During the Sefira

Question: We recently bought a house and are moving in next week. Can we make a chanukas habayis during the sefira?
Answer: The Mishna (Berachos 9:2) writes that one recites the beracha shehecheyanu upon building a new house or buying new items. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 223:3) adds that this applies equally to buying an old house. The Mishna Berura (223:11) notes that when one is buying a family home that will benefit multiple people, one says hatov vehametiv instead.
The Sheiltos (1:1) mentions that there is also an ancient minhag to invite others to a party when completing a house. The Magen Avraham (568:5) writes that it is only considered to be a seudas mitzva if one buys a home in Eretz Yisrael. He quotes the Maharshal (Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 7:37) who writes that for such a party in chutz la’aretz to be considered a seudas mitzva, one must ensure that they share divrei Torah there (See Kaf Hachaim OC 223:19; 568:25).
R’ Malkiel Tannenbaum (Divrei Malkiel 1:3:8; 4:8) disagrees, however, writing that the Sheiltos and other early sources do not differentiate between buying a new house in Eretz Yisrael or in chutz la’aretz, and a party celebrating a new house would be considered a seudas mitzva regardless.
R’ Ephraim of Luntschitz (Ollelos Ephraim 2:107) writes that as the sefira is such an overwhelming time, one should avoid saying shehecheyanu during this period. The Mishna Berura (493:2) writes that while one shouldn’t increase one’s simcha during the sefira, one should say shehecheyanu if the opportunity arises.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 1:24) and R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:227) however, disagree, writing that the sefira is markedly different to the three weeks which is a time of mourning for the churban. The sefira is certainly an auspicious time, though not a sad one. One may, therefore, recite shehecheyanu then. R’ Ovadia concedes, however, that one shouldn’t look for such opportunities. Thus it is ideal to wait for Shabbos or until after the sefira to wear new clothes.
The Piskei Teshuvos (493:1) quotes both opinions and writes that ideally one should avoid moving into a new house during this time.
In conclusion, while one may say shehecheyanu during the sefira, one should ideally wait until lag b’omer to make a chanukas habayis.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Advertising over Shabbos

Question: Am I allowed to advertise in the local weekend paper that gets printed on Shabbos?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 244:1; 247:1; 252:2) writes that one may give work to a non-Jewish person to do even though it entails a melacha that is prohibited on Shabbos, providing that the non-Jewish person can reasonably do the work at other times if they wish. Any such work must not be performed publicly on Shabbos, however.
R’ Mordechai Yaakov Breisch (Chelkas Yaakov 1:66) dismisses another Rabbi’s argument that one may, therefore, advertise in a newspaper over Shabbos as the printers could technically print it beforehand. Anyone reading this paper will know that it was, in-fact, printed on Shabbos. He quotes the Taz (244:5) who writes that one cannot hire a non-Jew to sew a garment or write a book and expect them to complete it by a particular deadline if they know that they can only realistically do so in time by working on Shabbos. The Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav 245:5) explains that doing so is akin to instructing them to work on Shabbos. So, too, by placing such an advert, it is as if they are asking the non-Jewish printers to print the advert on Shabbos.
Likewise, R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:280) writes that even if the adverts were placed in a supplement that is printed before Shabbos,  one still mustn’t advertise if it is distributed with a Saturday paper as people will erroneously suspect that melacha was performed on Shabbos on their behalf.
The Piskei Teshuvos (247:n21) adds that if one were to place a daily advert that included the Saturday edition, that would still be prohibited based on the above.
In conclusion, one must avoid placing adverts in a Saturday edition newspaper.