Category Archives: Archives 5763


Elul 5763 – How Can I Count The Ways? Hilchos Maaser

1 Elul, 5763

How Can I Count the Ways. . . ? (aka, Halachos Pertaining to Maaser)

One may use maaser money for any of the following donations:
* Poor individuals or a “community tzedakah fund” or your shul tzedaka fund
* hachnosos kallah (to assist a young couple in setting up a home for
* pidyon shvuyim (freeing a captive)
* bikur cholim
* hachonsos orchim
* local Eruv and Bais Din
* chevra kadisha
* mikvah
* maos chitim (Pesach)
* shul building
* seforim for public use
* ads placed in a journal for a school, shul, or chesed organization

The following may be taken from maaser if the noted conditions are met:
* Banquet tickets–One may use maaser money for the cost of the ticket minus the value of the meal to you. For example, if a ticket is $125.00, and the meal is worth $20.00 to the individual (even if the caterer charges more), one may use $105.00 from one’s maaser fund.
* Raffle tickets–If an unlimited number of tickets are sold, one may use money from maaser for the entire ticket, as the value of each ticket is negligible. If there is a limited amount of tickets being sold one must subtract the value of the ticket from the donation and use that amount for the maaser figure. For example, if 1000 tickets are sold for $100.00 apiece for a grand prize of $15,000, the ticket value is $15,000 divided by 1000 tickets or $15.00. The $15.00 is subtracted from the $100.00 donation, and thus $85.00 of the original $100 is maaser money.

One may not use money of maaser for the following:
* Items for a specific mitzvah (e.g. shofar or lulav) or for shadchanus
* If one rents needed items from a Jewish organization, for example, one rents flowers from a tzedaka organization

To be continued b’ez’H next month. . .


Iyar 5763 – Mitzvos – They Do A Body Good!

15 Iyar 5763

***Mitzvos: They Do a Body Good!***

–V’nishmartem Ma’od L’nafshosachem is a mitzvah that obligates us to take care of our health.
–During the month of Iyar, there are two minhagim that relate to this important mitzvah.

1. Time to Work on Those Marvelous Midos
Studying Pirkei Avos on each Shabbos between Pesach and Shavuos
• The Siddur Torah Ohr cites that in ancient times, the weeks after Pesach were the most popular time to perform Hakazas Hadam (therapeutic bloodletting).

• Chazal explain that since this period is beneficial for physical health, so, too with spiritual growth. And what better way to grow spiritually than by learning Pirkei Avos?!

2. Starve the Body, Feed the Soul
The fasts of Behab that occur every year during Iyar (and Cheshvan).
• Rav Chaim Schmelczer zt”l , my Rosh Hayeshiva in Telshe-Chicago, once explained that during the months of Iyar and Cheshvan, the weather changes and the risk of illness increases.

• During the seasonal change Chazal established these fast days as a Kapara (atonement) for Klal Yisroel and a z’chus for our health and well-being.

• Accordingly, in one of the s’lichos of Behab we ask Hashem to answer our tefillos on behalf of children suffering from illness.


Nissan 5763 – Hachana on Shabbos

13 Nissan 5763

* Making Preparations. . .
One may not prepare on Shabbos for after Shabbos. This is true even if Sunday is Yom Tov. Similarly one may not prepare on Yom Tov for the next day of Yom Tov or for after Yom Tov, except for the Eiruv Tavshilin case discussed below.

* Some Examples. . .
– One may not wash the lunch dishes until nightfall (except if the dishes will be used again on that Shabbos).
– On Yom Tov one may not wash dishes after lunch as this is preparing for the next day. Dishes from the first day of Yom Tov may be washed once the first day ends (i.e. when it gets dark). If the first day is Shabbos, upon the conclusion of Shabbos, one must say Baruch Hamavdil bain kodesh l’kodesh before washing dishes or preparing for the second day.
– A room that will still be used later in the day on Shabbos may be tidied up. Therefore, one may clear the table after lunch.
– Similarly, one may make his or her bed after taking a Shabbos nap if he or she will come in the bedroom during the remaining part of Shabbos.
– One may clean up Seudas Shlishis if the room will be used afterwards. However, in the winter when one finishes Seudas Shlishis after sunset, one should wait until Shabbos is over to clean up.

* Making an Eiruv Tavshilin. . .
– When Yom Tov occurs on Friday (as Pesach does this year), Eiruv Tavshilin is prepared before Yom Tov. This allows one to cook on Yom Tov for Shabbos and make all preparations for Shabbos (that are permissible on Yom Tov) including cleaning and washing dishes.
– This year the First Days of Pesach occur on Thursday and Friday. The se’udah that one eats on Friday afternoon should preferably be finished before “the 10th hour” (approximately 4:00 p.m.), because if one eats after that time he will have difficulty eating the se’udas Shabbos that evening.

Rabbi Dovid Heber