Sunday, 28 February 2021

Lechem Mishne on Matza before Pesach

Question: We have the minhag not to eat matza between Purim and Pesach. Can we use a matza for lechem mishne if our minhag is not to eat it?

Answer: Rambam (Chametz Umatza 6:12) writes that one must not eat matza on erev Pesach. Later poskim, including the Mishna Berura (471:12) note that some have the minhag not to eat matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:155) notes that some abstain from eating matza for 30 days before Pesach as according to one view in the Gemara (Pesachim 6a) this is when our Pesach preparations begin.

R’ Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 11:23) quotes the Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav 274:2) who writes that one who is particular not to eat pas akum, bread baked by a non-Jewish baker, can still use such bread for lechem mishne. So too, one may use matza for one’s lechem mishne even on erev Pesach. Additionally, even if one cannot eat the second bread, it still serves to remind us of the double portion of mann.

R’ Betzalel Stern (Betzel Hachachma 3:110) quotes R’ Chaim Zvi Hirsch Manheimer (Ein Habedolach 61) who writes that one who does not eat chadash cannot use bread made from chadash flour as lechem mishne. Accordingly, one would not be able to use matza at a time that one does not eat it. Nonetheless, he disagrees, writing that one may use a second bread or lechem mishne even if they cannot eat it. Thus, even though one should only eat shemura matza on seder night one may use non-shemura matza for lechem mishne (See Chelkas Yaakov 1:95:2; Kaf Hachaim OC274:14; Rivevos Ephraim 1:202).

R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 1:91:13) notes that usually food that cannot be eaten would be muktze on Shabbos. Nonetheless, as one can feed matza to little children even on erev Pesach, it is not muktze.

In conclusion, there is no issue with one using matza for one’s lechem mishne before Pesach, regardless of one’s minhag.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Zachor Without a Minyan

Question: I am unable to go to shul to hear parshas zachor. What should I do?

Answer: The Rosh (Berachos 7:20) writes that reading parshas zachor is a mitzva deoraisa that should be performed with a minyan (See Tosafos Berachos 13a). The Terumas Hadeshen (108) paskens like this, writing that it is more important, therefore, to listen to parshas zachor being read with a minyan than to listen to the megilla with a minyan. The Pri Chadash (OC 146:2) questions why the Rosh maintains the need for a minyan (See Shaar Hatziyun 685:5). The Keren Ora (Berachos 3a) suggests that the mitzva to vanquish Amalek is a communal one and this is why we read parshas zachor as a community.

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 685:7) writes that one who lives in a village with no shul should endeavour to go to a place with a minyan for this Shabbos (See Shulchan Aruch OC 146:2).

The Rema adds that one who is unable to attend should still read it with its correct tune. The Kaf Hachaim (OC 685:35) explains that one should read parshas zachor from a Chumash unless they have a sefer Torah.

In conclusion, it is important for one to try to hear parshas zachor read in Shul. If one is unable to do so, one should read it to themselves from a Chumash, ideally in the right tune.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Same Time as the Minyan

Question: Due to my health condition, I have been advised by my doctor to shield and not to attend shul. Is there any preference to davening at the same time as shul?

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 90:9) writes that one who cannot daven with a minyan in shul should daven at the same time that the tzibbur are davening. The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 90:17) notes that this specifically applies to the amida rather than the rest of davening. The Mishna Berura (90:30) adds that it has to be same amida. Thus, there is no advantage to davening shacharis while the tzibbur are davening mussaf.

The Kaf Hachaim (OC 90:64) explains that when the community davens together, it is considered an eis ratzon, auspicious time, when the tefillos go up together.

R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 5:18) notes that this has to be a specific minyan. Likewise, R’ Yehoshua Neuwirth (quoted in Ishei Yisrael 8:n32) maintained that this applies specifically to the shul at which one regularly davens.

In conclusion, one who cannot daven in shul should strive to daven the amida at the same time as their regular minyan.