Category Archives: Ask the Posek

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Tishrei 5773 – Showering On Yom Tov

Showering on Yom Tov Tishrei 5773
Showering on Yom Tov
by Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

 

***This pertains to Sukkos, not to Yom Kippur!***

L’chvod Harav

If I’m feeling uncomfortable, is there any way that I may take a shower on Yom Tov?

Thanks,
Name & Seminary Withheld

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Hi, and thanks for your question. There are actually two possible ways that it would be permitted to shower on Yom Tov, if a person is very uncomfortable. A cold shower would be permitted. Cold doesn’t necessarily mean freezing, anything less than body temperature is considered cold (regarding this Halacha specifically). The other possibility would be to take a hot shower, but not wash your entire body at once, i.e. to wash arms, legs, head, separately. This is permitted just as you would be permitted to wash your face in the sink with hot water. We may actually bathe little children who need to be bathed, in warm water, just as during the week. However, whenever showering or bathing is permitted, this is only using liquid soap, not a bar of soap. Some people are stringent to dilute the liquid soap somewhat before using it on Shabbos or Yom Tov (including dish washing soap). This may be done on Yom Tov if you forgot to do it before. The soap should be poured into a cup already containing water, so no lather builds up. However, if this is not your custom, you may use it as you would during the week. Also, one should not towel dry vigorously on Yom Tov, rather you should gently pat yourself dry with a towel, or just “air dry”. Regarding hair, it may be washed in a _very_ gentle manner, with care being taken not to pull out any hairs. If you know that your hair easily falls out, it should not be washed.

I hope that this has been helpful. If you’d like sources for the above, please see the Shemiras Shabbath K’Hilchasa by Rabbi Neuwirth Shlit”a, which is also available in English translation. I don’t have it in front of me, but I believe that he discusses bathing on Yom Tov in Chapter 14.

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

 

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Kislev 5772 – Tehillim on Shabbos for Someone Who is Sick

Kislev 5772
Tehillim on Shabbos for Someone Who is Sick
by Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

L’chvod Harav

I learned in a lecture that we are not allowed to say tehillim for a sick person on Shabbos. We may say tehillim, of course, but we may not beseech Hashem for our needs on Shabbos.

The women at my Shul undertook to say tehillim for a healing calling out names of people and for some saying a specific psalm. From what I learned we are not permitted to do this and I mentioned this to a woman next to me. She said she would ask her sponsor and I said to ask a Rabbi because she may not know the halacha. I hope she was not offended.

I want to know if what I am thinking is correct in case I told her the wrong information. Also, please provide the sources.

Thank you for your question. The Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa (Siman 40 Hlacha 49) discusses this issue, and states that it is permitted to say Tehillim publicly on Shabbos on behalf of someone who is in immediate danger to their lives. If there is no immediate danger, Tehillim should not be recited publicly, but may be recited by an individual privately.

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

 

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Shevat 5772 – Making Up For Missed Tefilos – What to Do??

Making Up For Missed Tefilos - What to Do?? Shevat 5772
Making Up For Missed Tefilos – What to Do??
by Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

L’chvod Harav

I heard there is something regarding that if one misses saying shacharis in the morning he has to say mincha twice. Why is is that one can reciprocate saying one tefilla for another – If a person misses shaking lulav one day, he can not shake it twice the next to make up for it! The question is: Where is this “halacha” found? I know there are halochos of tefilla that no longer apply – Is this maybe one of them? Is it ever permissible to do that? Also, because it is not a woman’s obligation to daven anyway, if a woman forgets to daven, would she need to daven the next tefilla twice?

Name and Seminary withheld by request

Thank you for an excellent and interesting question. The source of the Halacha regarding compensating for missed Tefillos is the Gemara in Berachos 26a, and the details are discussed in the Shulchan Oruch, Orach Chayim 108, and the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch Siman 21. I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you mention that there are Halachos of Tefillah that no longer apply, as far as I know they all apply today. This Halacha most definitely does apply.

The Gemara there actually asks your question- if you cannot do a Mitzvah once you’ve missed the proper time for it, how can you compensate for a missed Davening? The Gemara replies that this is true if you deliberately missed, if it is unintentional, you may make it up. Tosafos there explain that Davening is not like other Mitzvos. According to the Torah, a person may and should Daven as often as they want- “Halevai (if only!) a person would Daven all day long!” Tefillah is perhaps the most profound connection one can establish with Hashem, and it certainly would seem to be praiseworthy if a person could truly connect with Hashem the entire day!! However, Chazal discouraged voluntary Tefillah, and once Anshei Knesses HaGedolah instituted the order and the frequency of the Davening, they said the opposite, “Halevai people should properly Daven the Tefillos they are required to Daven!” If a person insists on Davening more than required by Chazal, they said the person must add something new to the supplementary Tefillah, it shouldn’t just be a repetition of a previous Tefillah they had said.

From the above it is clear that, when Chaza”l said a person may compensate for a missed Tefillah if they unintentionally missed one by saying two of the next Tefillah, they weren’t requiring it, but allowing it. Whereas usually they frown upon additional Tefillos, in this case they allow and encourage it. In this situation there is no requirement to add something new to the compensating Tefillah, since it itself serves a “new purpose”, i.e. compensation for the missed Tefillah.

Regarding a woman who normally recites Shemoneh Esrei, but unintentionally forgot to do so, since she is compensating for a “missed” Tefillah, she should say two Shemoneh Esrei’s during the next Tefillah. However, it must be the next Tefillah, not the next one she Davens. Therefore, if a woman would want to compensate for a Missed Mincha, she would have to Daven Maariv twice, even if she usually doesn’t Daven Maariv.

If a woman does not usually say Shemoneh Esrei, there is no point in her saying two the next Tefillah in a situation where she planned on Davening but “missed”. The same would apply to if she forgot to say Yaaleh V’Yavo. There is no need to Daven again, if she does not regularly Daven that Tefillah.

I hope you found this helpful!

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

 

Kislev 5771 – Are We All Thieves? Copying Music

Are We All Thieves? Copying Music Kislev 5771
Are We All Thieves? Copying Music
by Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

Dear Rabbi Tendler,

If I have Music on my ipod that I copied from my friends music library, and I would not (REALLY I WOULDN’T ) buy it otherwise but I like the cd or song and listen to it every once in a while, is it considered stealing? and what about cds you used to have or your married siblings have, can you copy those … thank you so much!!!!!

Name and Seminary withheld upon request

Thank you for your important question. Believe it or not, this is one of the easiet questions to answer- yet at the same time it is one of the most difficult questions to answer! The easy answer is that it all depends on what restrictions the artist or whoever “owns” the song have placed on it. If they say no copying allowed, and you have copied the song to your ipod, this would be theft (I’m assuming that you copied contemporary Jewish music, in which case it is likely that there was a “Mechirah Al Tanai”, a conditional sale restricting unauthorized copying. Music with a generic copyright may be copied for personal use, if you would not purchase it otherwise, and only resale to others would not be allowed.) The difficult part is- how do you know exactly what they are restricting you from? There are some situations where a person is permitted to make an assumption that an artist gives permission, for example if you purchased a CD and you make a copy just in case it may scratch. Then the question arises- can I now keep the backup copy in my car, lend it to a friend, or give it to my daughter going away for a year in seminary? There are so many different situations and variables involved in this, that it is almost impossible to give a thorough answer that would cover all circumstances.

I’m taking the liberty of pasting here an answer given by Rabby Yisroel Belsky Shlit”a of Yeshiva Torah V’Daas (and posted on the torah.org website) that sheds light on some of these issues. I hope you find it helpful!

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

QUESTION 82: COPYING ONE’S OWN CD FOR SAFEKEEPING

Can I make a copy of my own CD or tape, and put it away, in case it breaks or gets lost?

RABBI BELSKY

I think it is universally accepted that when you buy a CD, you are allowed to make a backup copy of the CD. This way if you break or lose the CD, you still have a copy to replace the original, and you don’t have to buy another one. I tried to look into this, and I believe that this is the accepted practice – that a person who buys a tape or CD can make a backup copy of it.

The bottom line when making a copy is that there shouldn’t be two people who have the same tape or CD, when only one paid for it. That’s the easiest way to define the central issue. If two people have use of a tape or CD at the same time, that means both people should have paid. If there are two users, there should have been two customers. But if there is one user who just wants to make sure that he doesn’t lose his tape or CD, and makes a copy, then we only have one user, with an extra backup, and that’s allowed.

QUESTIONER

If it breaks, and I hadn’t made a copy, can I borrow the same title from a friend, and then make a copy for myself?

RABBI BELSKY

If it breaks and you had forgotten to make a backup, does that mean you are now stuck, and have to go out and buy another original version of the tape or CD? I would say that you could act as if you had been wise and prudent in the beginning, and could make a backup now – by making a copy from someone who has one. The producer of the tape or CD doesn’t expect there to be two users who buy three originals. His intention is that there are two users who buy two original copies. You’re not taking away from his business, or causing him a loss.

I think it can be done because you had the right to do this before you lost it.  You just assumed that you wouldn’t break or lose it.

——————————————–
QUESTION 84: MAKING COPY OF CD FOR SPOUSE

I bought a CD that I listen to in my car. Can I make a copy so my wife can listen to it in her car also?

RABBI BELSKY

The rule of thumb is this – ask if you are making a copy instead of buying it.  If you did not have the ability to make a copy, would you buy another one? If so, you would be required to buy two, i.e. pay for two.

The reason it’s permitted for someone to make a copy to use in the car as well as at home, is because a person can’t be at home and in the car at the same time. If he couldn’t make a copy, he would have to carry the CD back and forth between his house and his car. He makes the copy for the convenience of leaving one in the car, and having one at home, so he doesn’t always have to take it back and forth. But if he couldn’t make a copy, this ‘convenience’ is probably not important enough for him to actually buy two copies. So when you make the copy for the car, it’s not to copy an item that you would otherwise buy, because you wouldn’t have bought two to begin with. You are just making the copy for the car because this is more convenient for you.

However, having one for yourself and then making a copy for your wife – that’s different.  Perhaps if you couldn’t copy the CD, then you would actually buy two. Perhaps both of you want to listen to the CD at the same time. In that case, you’d be making a copy to save yourself the price of the second one, which is prohibited.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that you and your wife are very frugal, and that you would never buy two. Instead, you tell your wife, “We should buy two different CD’s, and I’ll listen to one and you’ll listen to the other one. Then later, when we get tired of listening to our CD’s, we’ll switch. It will be better, since instead of having only one CD that we have to share, we’ll have two instead.”

Still, it’s not that common for people to buy two of the same CD, even in the case of getting one for himself and the other for his wife.  But if that’s what you usually do, then you must pay for the copy.

QUESTIONER

Assuming I made a copy for the car, and the original is at home, how important is it that I know, for example, that my kids aren’t listening to it at home while I’m in the car listening to mine. So it ends up that both CDs (the original and the copy) are being used at the same time. Should I make sure they’re not being used at the same time, or is that not important?

RABBI BELSKY

The fact that they are being used at the same time is not really going to change things. It’s whether you would have bought two of them or not. When it comes to kids, I think it’s more common for a person to get one for the kids and one for themselves, because the kids will probably end up damaging it. On the other hand, if you’ve already heard it a lot, and you wouldn’t mind taking risks and giving it to the kids, then it should be all right.

QUESTIONER

So you have to be honest with yourself? Just ask yourself: Would I have normally bought a second copy?  If the answer is yes, then you have to buy another copy.  If the answer is no, then you could make a copy and both use it.

RABBI BELSKY

Yes, I think so, but you have to be very honest with yourself.

QUESTIONER

So the question is how honest you are being with yourself?

RABBI BELSKY

Yes. If you’re not too honest, or if you doubt that your soul-searching is that accurate, then follow the rule by kashrus: “When in doubt, do without!”

posek

Teves 5771 – Stretching Our Religion – Yoga

Yoga Teves 5771
Stretching Our Religion – Yoga
by Rabbi Aaron Tendler

 

Dear Rabbi Tendler,

Is there a problem with doing Yoga? I’ve heard that it may be a form of Avodah Zarah. Can you clarify the issue?

Thank you very much.

Name and Seminary withheld upon request

Thank you for your question. Although I must admit that I know very little about Yoga, from the information that I have gleaned from various references it is clear that it is an important feature of Hinduism, which is clearly Avodah Zara. Apparently, there are also many different types of Yoga, some involving “religious meditation”, and other involving non-religious meditation.

It is important to realize that every religion that is started has some elements of truth to it, as this is how they attract adherents. However, they “repackage” the truths with other beliefs, and present it as a “package deal”, and the claim is made that if one part is true, the whole must be true. This is how Christianity and Islam were started (based on our truths of Yiddishkeit). The Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zara 1:1) writes that even Avodah Zara was started in this manner, and over time the original truths were pushed to the background, and only the nonsense (in the case of Hinduism I assume that this would be the deification of cows, etc.) remained.

Consequently, it is important to distinguish between meditation and exercises that are beneficial to a person’s mental and physical well being, no matter what their beliefs are, and rituals that are part of idol worship. There is nothing wrong with meditation per se, references to it can be found in the Sifrei Kabbalah and even to a certain extent in Sifrei Mussar (Hisbodedus). People claim that meditative exercises can assist them in reducing weight, toning nerves and muscles, and improving their mental health, among other things. If this is true, there is nothing wrong with it, and a person might even be fulfilling the Mitzvah of “V’Nishmartem Me’od L’Nafshoseichem” by doing so. But to believe that this only works through a religious medium, and to pattern these exercises in the manner of those that practice Avodah Zarah, is clearly not proper according to Halacha. I also believe that since Yoga is so closely connected with Hinduism, it would not be proper to organize a group of people, even if they are properly doing these exercises and call it a “Yoga class or group”, rather it should be called a “meditation class”, or something along those lines.

If however, it is a regular exercise class with the yoga and breathing stretches and so forth- not connected to any form of religion etc – this, of course, is fine.

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler