Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Roasted Meat on Seder Night

Question: This is the first time we are making seder. Both my mother and mother-in law have always fried schnitzel for seder night though I see that this is not common. Is this wrong?

Answer: The Gemara (Pesachim 53a) teaches that one may only eat roasted meat on seder night in places where it is customary to do so. Otherwise, it is forbidden to do so. Rashi explains that doing so gives the mistaken impression that one is partaking of the korban pesach outside the holy places. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 476:2) writes that this prohibition extends to roasted fowl, too. The Mishna Berura (476:9) writes that one may eat roasted fish and eggs, however, as we are not concerned that people will mistake those for roasted lamb.

The Gemara (Pesachim 41a) teaches that there is a machlokes as to whether the korban pesach can be roasted in a pot. Rambam (Korban Pesach 8:8) rules that one mustn’t cook the lamb, whether before or after roasting it. The Aruch Hashulchan (OC 476:2) writes that as doing so invalidates the korban pesach it should be permissible to eat any meat cooked in a pot, even if roasted without any liquid. The Mishna Berura (476:1) however disagrees, writing, that we do not eat such meat due to maris ayin. R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet HaLevi 9:120:1) suggests that one adds a little extra water so that the gravy is easy to see.

The Piskei Teshuvos (476:1) writes that there is a machlokes as to whether fried foods are considered to be cooked, and therefore, permissible, or one should avoid them because they are considered to be roasted.

In conclusion, while many avoid fried meat or chicken on seder night, one who has a custom to eat fried meat or chicken may continue doing so.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Erev Pesach Food

Question: May one eat matza balls (kneidlach) or meat balls made from matza-meal on Erev Pesach?

Answer: Rambam (Chametz Umatza 6:12) writes that one must not eat matza on Erev Pesach. The Mishna Berura (471:12) notes 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.

The Rema (OC 471:2) writes that one cannot eat matza that had been broken up and kneaded with wine and oil. Thus, one would not be able to eat matza brei, etc. on Erev Pesach. The Mishna Berura (444:8; 471:20) explains that even if one does so, it is still considered to be matza. However, if one cooked the matza, to make kneidlach one would be able to eat it up until sha’ah asiris, three halachic hours before Yom Tov.

R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet HaLevi 8:117) writes that this prohibition includes cakes baked from matza meal (See Piskei Teshuvos 471:3).

According to R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Pesach 8:4), one may eat food made with matza meal providing that it doesn’t have the ‘form of bread’. R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer OC 6:39) writes that the prohibition only applies to actual matza but cake made with matza meal can be eaten.

In conclusion, one may eat kneidlach and meat balls made with matza meal. There are different customs as to whether one can eat biscuits and cakes made with matza meal on Erev Pesach.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Chazak, Chazak

Question: Is it ideal to give the final aliya of a Sefer to the baal korei, or is saying chazak a hefsek before his beracha?

Answer: The Avudraham (Tefillos Shabbos 57) suggests a reason for the minhag to say chazak. The Midrash teaches that when Hashem speaks to Yehoshua and tells him chazak ve’ematz, he was holding a Sefer Torah (See Rema OC 139:11; Aruch Hashulchan OC 139:15). Others compare this to the hadran that one recites upon completing a sefer (See Taamei Haminhagim 339).

R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 3:28:2) and R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 7:202:2) note that the words chazak, chazak venischazek are aimed at the one who was called up to the Torah. It makes no sense, therefore, for him to recite these words. Doing so before the beracha, would certainly constitute a hefsek. If they do want to sayTop of FormBottom of Form it, they should do so after reciting the beracha.


R’ Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 2:98; 4:80) adds that for this reason, the gabbai should not call up the baal korei for this aliya, as he will not be able to respond with those words. He quotes R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv as saying that if the baal korei was given this aliya, he must not repeat the words, and just say the beracha after his aliya.

In conclusion, the one who receives the last aliya of the sefer should not say the words, chazak, chazak venischazek. It is best not to give this aliya to the baal korei.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Starting Amida Early

Question: I cannot keep up with the pace of davening at our minyan. Is it okay to start the amida early so that I can be finished in time for kedusha?

Answer: The Gemara (Berachos 8a) teaches the importance of davening with the tzibbur whenever possible. Rambam (Tefilla 8:1) codifies this as a halacha. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 90:10) adds that one is not allowed to begin their davening earlier than the tzibbur unless it is getting really late due to adding in various piyuttim or for some other reason.

The Chayei Adam (19:1) writes that tefilla betzibbur specifically applies to the amida. One should be particular to come on time to shul so that they can maintain the pace of davening.

The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 109:2) writes that one only fulfils their obligation of tefilla betzibbur when they begin the amida at the same time with the tzibbur. Nonetheless, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 3:4) writes that as everybody davens at a different pace, the tzibbur will not necessarily be reciting the same berachos as each other simultaneously. Therefore, it does not matter if one begins a little later.

The Ben Ish Chai (Ki Sissa 1:6) writes that one who davens slower than the tzibbur and so does not listen to the chazaras hashatz, is considered to have participated in chazaras hashatz, too. Accordingly, they should start their amida along with everyone else (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 109:5).

Nonetheless, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 2:7) and R’ Moshe Stern (Baer Moshe 4:9) write that one who davens slower than the tzibbur can start their amida earlier. Doing so still constitutes tefilla betzibbur. The Bach (OC 236) writes that the gabbai can start davening amida early on Rosh Chodesh so that he can remind people loudly to recite yaaleh veyavo. Clearly, he maintains that doing so still constitutes tefilla betzibbur.

One reason to start at the same time is out of respect for the tzibbur. When it is apparent that one starts early so that they can keep up, they are not disrespecting the tzibbur. Therefore, one who davens slower than the tzibbur may begin their amida earlier to be able to recite kedusha. One may not do so in mincha, however, as it is more important to respond to kaddish than to recite kedusha.

In conclusion, one who davens slower than the tzibbur may begin their amida before the tzibbur. They should not do so in mincha (or maariv) as doing so will mean forfeiting kaddish.