Sunday, 26 July 2020

Accidentally Broke One’s Fast

Question: I forgot it was a taanis and made myself a cup of tea. What’s the halacha now that I’ve broken the taanis?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 568:1) writes that if one accidentally ate on a taanis tzibbur, communal fast day, one must continue fasting. The Mishna Berura (568:1) adds that this applies equally to one who purposely ate.
The Rema (Darkei Moshe OC) and Magen Avraham (568:4) quote the Maharil who instructed one who accidentally ate on asara b’teves to fast three fasts as an atonement. The Kaf Hachaim (OC 549:7) writes that while this incident occurred on asara b’teves, this halacha would apply equally to any other taanis tzibbur. Nonetheless, the Magen Avraham and Kaf Hachaim quote the Terumas Hadeshen (156) who writes that this is not required.
Thus, while the Shulchan Aruch writes that one who broke a personal fast would have to make up for breaking it by fasting on another day, the Mishna Berura (568:8) writes that this doesn’t apply to one who ate on a taanis tzibbur.
The Mishna Berura (568:3) writes that even if one has eaten, they may still say aneinu in mincha. Yet, elsewhere (Biur Halacha 565:1) he quotes the Chayei Adam who maintains that one who isn’t fasting should omit aneinu. R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 5:60:4; 8:131) explains the difference. One who cannot fast due to ill health, etc. cannot say aneinu as they are exempt. One who has eaten on their fast, can say it, however, as they are still obligated to fast.
In conclusion, if one accidentally ate or drank on a taanis, one must continue fasting until the end of the day. One should still say aneinu in mincha.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Beracha on Seeing a Friend

Question: I haven’t seen some of my close friends for a few months due to lockdown. Should we say a beracha when we meet or does the fact that we have spoken over the phone and via Zoom mean that we don’t need to?
Answer: The Gemara (Berachos 58a) teaches that one who sees their friend after an absence of thirty days recites the beracha of shehecheyanu, and if after a year, they recite the beracha of mechaye hameisim. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 225:1) adds that this only applies to particularly close friends who one is most excited to see.
Thus, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 4:17) writes that if one is excited about seeing their close friends or family after a prolonged absence, one recites shehecheyanu.
Nonetheless, many poskim limit this, writing that it does not apply to typical situations nowadays. Thus, the Eshel Avraham (230:4) and Ben Ish Chai (Ekev 1:14) write that we are not particular about this beracha and one should rather recite this beracha without shem umalchus (Hashem’s name). R’ Yosef Yuzpa Han (Yosef Ometz 451) explains that such friendships are few and far between.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 23:12; n53) concurs, writing that one would only say it in rare circumstances such as if one had survived fighting in the front lines in battle, etc. When his daughter and son-in-law (and R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky) came to visit him in eretz Yisrael from abroad, he went out to buy a new fruit in order to be able to say shehecheyanu.
R’ Nissan Karelitz (Chut Shani, Rosh Hashana, Kobetz Inyanim 16) writes that if one had seen their friend over live video in the meantime then this, too, would diminish the joy and prevent one from being able to recite shehecheyanu.
In conclusion, one should not say shehecheyanu upon seeing one’s friends after lockdown, especially if one has been in touch with them in the meantime.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Who Should Light Instead?

Question: A few weeks ago my wife was in hospital over Shabbos and I lit the candles. My teenage daughter asked if she should have lit instead. Who should have lit under these circumstances?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 263:3) explains that lighting the Shabbos candles is first and foremost a woman’s responsibility as traditionally they are more involved in the house affairs. Rashi (Shabbos 32a) quotes the midrash that explains that as Chava caused Adam to sin, she diminished the world’s light. Thus, the Bach (OC 263:3) writes that even if a married man wishes to light, his wife has prerogative in performing this mitzva (See Magen Avraham 263:6; Baer Heitev OC 263:5).
R’ Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani 4:263:n8) writes that as a couple usually share the mitzva in lighting, when one’s wife is away, he must light instead. He notes that as Adam was also guilty for ‘diminishing the world’s light’ when one’s wife is away, he must take responsibility for lighting the candles. R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 8:67) adds that as one lights candles in each house lekavod Shabbos, it wouldn’t be right for him to delegate the lighting to anyone. Even if he has daughters over bas mitzva who usually light, he must still light himself.
R’ Shraga Feivish Schneebalg (Shraga Hameir 6:127:2) relates that when his father was widowed (from his first wife), he would light the candles himself each week even though he had teenage daughters at home (See Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 43:n46; Rivevos Ephraim 6:126:1).
In conclusion, if a married woman is away one week, her husband should light the Shabbos candles himself.