Friday, 27 December 2019

Moving Menora on Shabbos

Question: We plan on placing our menora on a table near the window. Is there any way that we can move the table on Shabbos morning as we are having guests?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 279:1) writes that even after a candle has gone out on Shabbos, it remains muktze for the rest of Shabbos. If one places their candles on a tray, the tray itself is considered to be a bassis¸ a base, and is rendered muktze, too (ibid. 309:4).
The Magen Avraham (277:8) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 277:6; 310:16) write that if one places something such as challa on the bassis before Shabbos comes in, then the table becomes a bassis for the permissible item, too. This item must be more important than the muktze item. In this way, one would be able to move the bassis after the candles have gone out (See Shulchan Aruch 310:8). The Mishna Berura (277:18) adds that it must be an item that one needs for Shabbos. Thus, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 20:n216) suggests placing a bottle of wine on the table. R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 8:52) explains that this prominence does not mean that it is worth more, though dependent on its necessity. As the challa or wine is needed for the Shabbos meal, it is more important than the candles that are no longer burning.
In conclusion, if one wants to move the table after the menora has gone out, one should place something important that one will later use such as challos or wine on the table before Shabbos, thereby ensuring that the table is not just a bossis for the muktze item.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Chanuka Guests

Question: My wife and I have been invited to a friend’s home for Shabbos Chanuka. We will be staying there for Friday night though returning home a couple of hours after Shabbos. What should we do about lighting the menora?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 23a) relates that when R’ Zeira was a guest before he got married, he would pay his hosts in order to contribute to the mitzva of lighting the menora. Once he got married, he relied on others to light on his behalf at his home when he was away. Following this, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 677:1) writes that a guest should contribute to their host’s candles unless someone can light for them at their home. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 263:9) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 6:43) write that if one is not paying one’s host for food and board, one can assume that their host is giving them the necessary oil for the menora, too.
The Mishna Berura (677:3; 7) writes that ideally the guest should light their own menora. Sefardim who follow the   Shulchan Aruch (OC 671:2) and only light one menora per house would participate in their host’s lighting.
The Taz (677:2) and Mishna Berura (677:12) write that one who is eating out but sleeping at home must light at home. While the Biur Halacha (677:7) writes that one needs to be staying at one’s host for eight days in order to light there, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Chanuka 14:18) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:391) maintain that staying one night is sufficient. If one is rushing back home straight after Shabbos, they should light there. Otherwise, one should light where they have been staying.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 3:14:5) explains that people will understand if one is away from their home why no one has lit there. If one plans on returning at night to their home, however, people may suspect that they were home and haven’t lit. One should endeavour, therefore, to either light before one goes out or arrive back before everyone goes to bed.
In conclusion, one who goes away for Shabbos should light before Shabbos in their host’s home. If they are going home straight after Shabbos, they should light at home. Otherwise, they should light where they have been staying.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

One or Two Ovens

Question: Do I really need a separate oven for milk and meat?
Answer: The Gemara (Pesachim 76a) teaches that there is a machlokes as to whether we are concerned about aroma, reiach, being transferred between two foods that are cooked together in an oven. While Tosafos (Pesachim 76b) follows the stricter opinion, Rambam (Maachalos Asuros 15:33) and the Shulchan Aruch (YD 108:1) write that reiach from a non-kosher dish does not render the other non-kosher, though one mustn’t cook such foods together lechatchila. The Rema adds that the same halacha applies to cooking a meat dish alongside a milky dish. Thus, one cannot cook a milky dish and meat dish in the oven simultaneously.
The Mishna (Machshirim 2:2) teaches that hot steam, zeiah, can render food tamei. Following this, the Rosh (Teshuvos 20:26) writes that one can’t cook a meaty dish above a milky one as the steam from the lower dish is considered to be like milk. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 92:8) paskens this way, though the Rema writes that if one of the pots is covered, then the food is kosher, though urges one to be stringent in this regard.
There is a machlokes as to whether one can use an oven consecutively for meat and milk.
R’ Mordechai Yaakov Breisch (Chelkas Yakov YD:23) writes that one cannot use the oven freely for both as the zeiah remains in the walls of the oven. Similarly, R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 5:20) encourages one to have separate ovens (See Yabia Omer YD 5:7). Otherwise, one must double wrap milky food in a meaty oven (or vice-versa) or kasher it in between.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 1:40; 1:59) advises that one designate the oven meaty (or vice-versa) and ensure that any milky food one places in later is tightly covered to ensure that no zeiah can enter. As solid dishes don’t produce any real zeiah, one would be allowed to bake a milky dish uncovered in a meaty oven. One must wait until the oven cools down and ensure that the oven is clean.
The Aruch Hashulchan (YD 92:55) writes that as our ovens are ventilated there would be no issue of either reiach or zeiah, and one could, therefore, use the oven simultaneously for meat and milk.
In conclusion, while it is preferable to have separate ovens for meat and milk, one can use one oven for both. Ideally, one should designate their oven either meaty or milky, and wait until it cools down before putting the other dish in. Unless it is a dry dish, one should cover it well and ensure that the oven is clean.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Buying Raffle Tickets with Maaser Money

Question: Can I use maaser money to buy raffle tickets for charity?
Answer: The Mishna (Bava Metzia 34b) writes that one mustn’t profit from another person’s animal that they are looking after. R’ Yisroel Yaakov Fisher (Even Yisroel 8:64) compares this to one’s maaser money, writing that one cannot use one’s maaser money for raffle tickets that one could potentially profit from. If one were to use one’s maaser money, any prize won would belong to the tzedaka organization.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:76:2), however, writes that it depends whether there are a limited number of tickets for sale. If there are say only 100 tickets for sale, then each ticket is technically worth one percentage of the prize value. One wouldn’t be able to use one’s maaser money for such tickets as one is essentially buying a ticket for oneself with that money. If the tickets aren’t limited, however, then the tickets do not have a specific value, per se. One would be able to use maaser money to buy such tickets. Even if one used maaser money for such a ticket and won, they would be able to keep the prize as it is considered a gift from the organization. R’ Moshe advises that the winner give the maaser of their winnings back to that institution.
R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:289) adds that when one runs a charitable organisation, there are necessary expenses. Just as it is acceptable to pay one who fundraises, so too, it is considered acceptable for the charity to give away prizes by way of a lottery in order to raise funds. If the charity couldn’t do that, they would lose out. Regardless as to whether there were a limited number of tickets or not, one could use one’s maaser money to buy the tickets (See Shevet Halevi 9:200).
In conclusion, one may use one’s maaser money to buy raffle tickets for tzedaka as it means that people will give money to this charity that may not have done so otherwise. What one wins belongs to them.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

White Wine for Kiddush

Question: Is it preferable to use red wine for kiddush even if one prefers white wine?
Answer: The Gemara (Bava Basra 97b) teaches that one cannot use white wine as only red wine is considered to be proper wine. There is a machlokes among the rishonim however, as to what this applies to. According to Ramban, this includes both wine which is poured over the mizbeiach as well as wine used for kiddush. Rashbam maintains, however, that it only refers to the wine on the mizbeiach, and there would be no issue in using white wine for kiddush (See Nimukei Yosef).
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 272:4) quotes the Ramban and writes that while he doesn’t allow using white wine for kiddush¸ one may for havdala. Nonetheless, he writes that the minhag is to allow using white wine even for kiddush.
R’ Akiva Eiger (OC 272:4) writes that as one may use chamar medina, national beverages, for the daytime kiddush (See Shulchan Aruch OC 272:9), even the Ramban would agree that one could use such wines then (See Biur Hagra OC 272:4). Following this, the Mishnah Berura (272:10) writes that while all agree that it is preferable to use red wine for kiddush, one may use white wine lechatchila, particularly if it is better quality.
Regardless, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 47:n89) writes that if one added a little red wine to white wine, it would be considered red.
In conclusion, it is preferable to use red wine for Friday night kiddush when one has a choice, unless the white wine is superior to the red wine.