Monday, 24 February 2020

Writing on One’s Skin

Question: My teacher taught me that I mustn’t write on my hands. Is this forbidden in halacha?
Answer: The Mishna (Makkos 21a) teaches that there are two components of the prohibition of tattoos, scratching the skin and marking it with ink. If one just marked it with ink one has not transgressed the aveira (See Shulchan Aruch YD 180:1). Rambam (Avoda Zara 12:11) writes that if one only wrote but didn’t scratch the skin, one is pattur. Usually, when Rambam writes this it means that it is nonetheless prohibited miderabanan.
The Minchas Chinuch (253:1) quotes Tosafos (Gittin 20b) and the Beis Shmuel (EH 124:16) who write regarding a slave with a divorce document tattooed onto him, that one mustn’t sign their signature onto their skin as doing so is assur mideraban. R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 3:111:1) challenges this, however, writing that the Beis Shmuel was referring to when one had scratched one’s skin. If one were to fill an existing scratch with ink, one would transgress an issur miderabanan though writing alone wouldn’t be assur.
R’ Avraham Avraham (Nishmas Avraham YD 180:1) notes that as the Shulchan Aruch, Chochmas Adam (89:11), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (169:1) and Ben Ish Chai (Masei 2:15) make no mention of writing on one’s skin being prohibited, it mustn’t be an issue. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and R’ Chaim Kanievsky, likewise, maintain that one may write on one’s arm, etc.
In conclusion, there is no halachic issue with writing on one’s hand.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Dry Kli Sheni

Question: I always us a cup as a kli sheni to fill up hot water to make coffee on Shabbos. Do I need to ensure that the cup is dry before using?
Answer: Tosafos (Shabbos 40b) teaches that while a pot on a flame (kli rishon) retains its heat even after it’s been removed from the flame, a kli sheni cannot cook raw food placed into it.
Tosafos (Shabbos 42a) writes that there is a machlokes as to whether iruy kli rishon, pouring from a kettle, is equivalent to a kli sheni, secondary container, or if it is considered to be cooking kdei klipa, the outermost food that it is poured over. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 3:33:16) writes that there are rishonim who hold that it is the same as a kli rishon¸ while other rishonim hold that it is like a kli sheni. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 318:10) writes that one cannot pour from a kli rishon onto spices. The Mishna Berura (318:74) explains that we pasken that iruy kli rishon cooks kdei klipa.
R’ Yitzchak Meltzen (Shevisas Hashabbos, Hakdama to Bishul 19) relates that R’ Aryeh Leib of Stavisk ensured that he only poured hot water into a dry cup, though no one else adhered to this practice, and it is unnecessary. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 3:33:1) explains that this difference in opinion is actually a machlokes as to whether pesik reisha delo nicha lei, (where one has no interest in the inevitable benefits), is muttar or assur miderabanan.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:93; 4:74 Bishul 19) writes that one mustn’t pour hot water into a cup that contains wet droplets, as one will be heating those droplets from a kli rishon. While R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak 9:30) writes that one can shake out the cup so that it is relatively dry, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 1:52; n153) and R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 6:110) write that the cup must be totally dry.
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 13:40), R’ Menashe Klein (Mishne Halachos 6:67) and R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 7:42:2), however, write that that these drops are inconsequential and that there is no melacha involved by heating them up.
In conclusion, if the kli sheni contains cold droplets, it is ideal to shake out the droplets before pouring in hot water.