Saturday, 25 January 2020

Lighting Shabbos Candles in Hotels

Question: We are going away for Shabbos and staying in a hotel. The hotel doesn’t allow us to light candles in our room though said that we can light in the dining room or lobby. What should we do?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:8) questions whether more than one family can recite a beracha if they light their candles next to each other. The Rema, however, disagrees, allowing multiple families to light together. While the Kaf Hachaim (OC 263:56) writes that sefardim follow the Rema, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, Shabbos 263:19) maintains that sefardim should follow the Shulchan Aruch and so avoid lighting together. Ashkenazim, however, follow the Rema and would each say a beracha even when lighting next to each other. Nonetheless, the Mishna Berura (263:38) writes that ideally one should light in their bedroom and recite the beracha there, rather than together with others in the dining room.
The Magen Avraham (263:21) writes that one cannot light in a public room that one isn’t eating in. One cannot, therefore, say a beracha when lighting candles in a hotel lobby.
R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 45:9) writes that the minhag is for women to each light in the dining room, though they should do so near to where they will eat, or if necessary, at least to where others are eating (ibid. n44).
R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emes Leyaakov OC 263:n274) advises that one switch on a light in their hotel room, such as one’s bathroom light before lighting candles in the dining room. That way, she has fulfilled her obligation either way.
While many have the minhag to light numerous candles, R’ Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 43:3) and R' Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 6:128) write that the minhag is to only light 2 when away from home.
In conclusion, one cannot recite the beracha when lighting in the hotel lobby. Ideally one should switch a light on in one’s hotel room before lighting candles in the dining room, ideally close to where they will be eating.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Shared Stove

Question: How can one use one stove for both milky and meaty pots? Do we need to designate any of the burners milky or meaty or can we use them interchangeably for both?
Answer: The Rema (Darchei Moshe YD 92:9) writes that there is a machlokes as to whether one can cook milky food in a pot next to a meaty one. According to the Mordechai (Chulin 691) no flavour gets transferred even if the pots are touching each other while R’ Yisroel Isserlin (Hagaos Shaarei Dura 51:3) maintains that some flavour will be transferred from one to the other. Thus, the Rema (YD 92:8) writes that while pots that touch do not transfer taste, lechatchila one should avoid doing so.
Following this, the Chochmas Adam (74:4) writes that one must kasher a non-kosher tripod that one stands pots on, though bedieved if one didn’t do so, the food and pots are kosher.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:124; YD 1:40; 59; 3:10) however, disagrees, writing that even lechatchila one can use a stove for cooking both milky and meaty food. He explains that the Rema wrote that one should be careful about cooking two dishes adjacent to each other as it is easy for food to boil over. Any food that falls onto the grates themselves would quickly be burned and wouldn’t later contaminate anything else (See Mishna Berura 451:34). One would need to kasher their stove before Pesach, however.
Similarly, the Ksav Sofer (YD 54) writes that one may place both milky and meaty pots on the stove simultaneously even though they may spill onto the stove. He concludes, however, that it is ideal to have separate grates for milky and meaty pots.
In conclusion, if one doesn’t have two stoves, they may cook meat and milk on the same stove, even simultaneously, though one must be vigilant that the pots are kept apart and covered so that nothing can splatter into the other.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Lighting Shabbos Candles in Hospitals

Question: My father is in hospital over Shabbos where he isn’t allowed to light candles. What should he do about lighting Shabbos candles? Can he rely on my mother lighting at home?
Answer: The Mishna Berura (263:28) writes that when a married man is not home for Shabbos, he needs to light where he is staying as he can’t rely on his wife’s lighting elsewhere.
R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe, Kuntres Electric 6:58:5) and R’ Shraga Feivish Schneebalg (Shraga Hameir 5:11:3) write that while one transgresses Shabbos by switching on an electric light, it isn’t the same as regular candles and one cannot say a beracha when switching them on for Shabbos. R’ Schneebalg stresses, too, that it is important that it is apparent that these lights were lit specially for Shabbos (See Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:157:4).
The consensus among poskim, however, is that one can use electric lights when necessary. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 2:17) explains why flicking a light switch on is akin to lighting a candle. R’ Zvi Pesach Frank (Har Zvi OC 143), R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 1:20:11) and R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 6:128) write that the light itself matters more than how the light came on. R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 43:4; n22) quotes various poskim who maintain that one can recite a beracha upon lighting with electric lights.
R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:18:13; 3:18:3) and R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 43:n22) maintained that one can only fulfil ones obligation with a battery powered lamp. As regular electric lights are powered by an electric current that is continually being fed into the wiring, it is akin to lighting a lamp that doesn’t contain sufficient fuel when it’s lit.
While it is ideal to have special lights for Shabbos, the Rema (OC 263:4) writes that if necessary one can (extinguish or) switch off one’s lights and switch them on again.
In conclusion, when one cannot light regular candles, one can use electric lights, ideally ones powered by batteries that one lights specially for Shabbos.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Messaging Someone on their Shabbos

Question: Am I allowed to message my family in America after Shabbos goes out here even though it’s still Shabbos there?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:17) writes that one who has accepted Shabbos early may ask another Jew who hasn’t yet accepted Shabbos to do a melacha on their behalf. Following this, R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 5:92) allows one in Eretz Yisrael to send a fax after Shabbos to someone in America even though it is still Shabbos there providing that they won’t come to break Shabbos by reading business communication.
Likewise, R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 6:115:2; 8:152:3; 8:158:2) quotes R' Yisroel Yaakov Fisher, R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and R’ Yisrael Belsky who allowed one to send a fax before or after Shabbos to one abroad even though it was Shabbos for the recipient. R’ Yisroel Pesach Feinhandler (Avnei Yashpei 5:47:1) explains that we only look at where the melacha is being performed. As it isn’t Shabbos for the one performing the melacha, they may send the fax then (See Shevet Halevi 8:40:3; Cheshev Haefod 3:86).
R’ Moshe Sternbuch adds, however, that one may not ask another explicitly to send them a fax while it is still Shabbos for them.
In conclusion, one may message people before or after Shabbos even if they are in a different time zone and it is still Shabbos there, providing that they won’t come to break Shabbos by doing so. One mustn’t specifically ask another to message them during Shabbos.