Sunday, 25 August 2019

Affixing Mezuzos with Tape

Questions: The sofer recently came round to my house to check my mezuzos. Most of my mezuzos are affixed with double-sided tape and he told me that it’s preferable to attach them with nails, though I am reluctant to do so in a rented house. Do I need to do so?
Answer: Rambam (Mezuza 5:6) and the Shulchan Aruch (YD 289:4) write that one should hang the mezuza either with nails or by placing it into a hollow in the doorpost.
R’ Menashe Klein (Mishne Halachos 4:140:12) notes that many people fix their mezuzos with glue, thereby not fulfilling the mitzva to attach a mezuza. Glue has a tendency to dry out causing the mezuzos to fall.
Nonetheless, other poskim understand nails to be an example of fastening the mezuza well. Thus, the Aruch Hashulchan (YD 289:15) writes that if one wraps the mezuza well and then sticks that wrapping or case firmly with glue, that is as good as nails.
R’ Mordechai Yaakov Breisch (Chelkas Yaakov YD 164), R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 7:72:3) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 6:58) all quote the Aruch Hashulchan as well as the Nimukei Yosef (Bava Metzia 102a) who writes that one can use either nails or sticky lime.
In conclusion, one can use anything to attach one’s mezuza to their doorpost providing that it is firmly attached.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Hot Food on Shabbos

Question: I was invited to some friends for Shabbos lunch who insisted that I must eat some cholent as it is a mitzva. Does one need to eat hot food every Shabbos?
Answer: The Baal Hamaor (Shabbos 16b) writes that chazal decreed that we must eat hot food on Shabbos as part of oneg Shabbos. One who refuses to do so is suspect of being a heretic. The Rema (OC 257:8) quotes the Baal Hamaor though clarifies that it refers to one who believes that it is prohibited to eat hot food on Shabbos. R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 1:1:2) explains that as the Karaites denied the Torah Shebaal Peh, they sat in the dark all Shabbos refusing to leave any flames lit (See Ibn Ezra, Shemos 35:3). By eating hot food such as cholent on Shabbos one is protesting against this belief and demonstrating one’s belief in chazal.
R’ Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani 28:8) notes that the Rema (OC 257:8) refers to it as a mitzva rather than a takana (decree) while the Mishna Berura categorizes it as a minhag that one should be particular to keep.
R’ Karelitz writes that even one who drinks a hot drink on Friday night that was insulated in a thermos flask has fulfilled this minhag, though it is ideal to have hot food during lunch.
The Magen Avraham (257:20) and Kaf Hachaim (OC 257:49) note that if one can’t eat such food then they must avoid it as it doesn’t serve as their oneg Shabbos.
In conclusion, there is a strong minhag to eat hot food such as cholent on Shabbos, though if necessary, one can fulfil this minhag by having a hot drink.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Benefitting from Melacha

Question: One of our teenage children added water to our Shabbos kettle on Shabbos mistakenly thinking that it was muttar. We need hot water to make baby bottles. Can we use the water?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 38a; Bava Kamma 71a; Kesubos 34a; Chullin 15a) teaches that chazal enacted a decree that one cannot benefit from a forbidden melacha, (maaseh Shabbos) that was performed on Shabbos. There is a machlokes as to whether this only applies to one who purposely transgresses a melacha and whether it applies to everyone or just the one who performed the melacha.
Rambam (Shabbos 6:23) and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:1) follow R’ Yehuda who maintains that one can never personally benefit from melacha that one did on purpose (bemeizid) though others may benefit from it after Shabbos. If one did so accidentally (beshogeg), however, then all may benefit from it after Shabbos.
Tosafos (Chullin 15a) and Ritva (Shabbos 38a) however, follow R’ Meir who allows one to immediately benefit from a melacha performed beshogeg. The Mishna Berura (318:7) writes that the Vilna Gaon (OC 318) follows this view and one may rely on this view in time of need.The Mishna Berura (318:6) defines one who performs a melacha due to not knowing the halacha as shogeg. Thus, one who accidentally cooked food on Shabbos would usually have to leave it until after Shabbos before consuming it unless there was a particular necessity, though that is difficult to define.In conclusion, one would be allowed to use the water for baby bottles as that constitutes a real necessity. One shouldn’t use this water to make oneself a hot drink, however.