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Tammuz 5765 – Status of Food Baked in Milchig / Fleishig Oven

7 Tammuz 5765
Status of Food Baked in Milchig/Fleishig Oven

Lichvod HaRav,

This is a very technical question that I’m extremely confused about: What is the status of food baked in a milchig/fleishig oven? For example, if I bake oatmeal cookies in a milchig oven are they milchig, or are they merely “milchig utensil”, which would mean they can’t be eaten together with actual fleishig, or are they totally pareve since they are considered dry and therefore there is no issue of Za’eh-steam that would render them the same kashrus status of the oven they were baked in? How does this apply to, say, cake batter or lasagna or fish?
Help!

Thanks,
Hadassah

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Dear Hadassah,

Thank you for your question. I hope my answer doesn’t confuse you even more!!

When you describe an oven as Milchig, you really need to know what is it about it that makes it Milchigs. If it is a clean oven which has been designated for Milchig use, any cookies baked in them are unquestionably Pareve, and may be eaten with Fleishigs (although, I must admit, a salami and cookie sandwich doesn’t sound very appealing to me!). You may even bake cookies in them even though your intention is to eat them with Fleishigs. However, if there is some Milchig residue in the oven, you should not bake cookies in them that you intend to eat with Fleishigs (L’Chatchiloh- before the fact). This is because we say that L’Chatchiloh “Reicha Milsa Hi” – we should try to avoid a situation where the smell of something Milchig will go into something Pareve that you intend to eat with meat. However, once you have baked cookies in the oven, as long as they did not actually come into contact with any Milchige residue, you may actually eat them with Fleishigs – B’dieved we say that they did not become Milchigs just because they absorbed the smell of the Milchig residue. Obviously, these cookies may certainly be eaten right after Fleishigs as well.

If the cookies were baked in a Milchige oven at the same time as a Milchige dish that produces Zei’ah (a significant amount of steam) is in there, the cookies should be treated as Milchigs and should not be eaten with Fleishigs even B’dieved. However, even in this case, you would not have to wait 6 hrs. (or whatever your Minhag is) after eating meat to eat these cookies. This is because the only time something is considered Milchigs or Fleishigs regarding the Halacha of waiting six hours is when the milk or meat was deliberately added to give it flavor, as stated in the Shach in Yoreh De’ah 89.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Sivan 5765 – Movies, Baseball Games, Museums…Can We Go?

8 Sivan 5765
Movies, Baseball Games, Museums…Can We Go?

Lichvod Harav,
I have previously written to the Rav to ask him a question about movies or rather more specifically entertaining oneself with things that were originally done by gentiles (like batei tiatron as is stated in the gemorah) for entertainment. One of my previous questions is on the archive page about going to movies. I wanted to add another question to that topic:

If it is assur to go to movies or broadway shows or baseball games (besides for the pritzus…) because of involving ourselves in activities that were originated and still practiced by the goyim, as well as because they are activities that are “moshav leitzim” and possibly issues of “avodah zorah” (as i’ve been told by another Rav who quoted this from a gemorah in avodah zara, 18), then if this includes all theatres and modern day stadiums such as baseball and basketball ones, does it also include museums, zoos, classical concerts, educational and informational documentaries, holocaust movies or documentaries?

I had previously asked how far this halacha/definition of gemarah goes but im not sure the Rav’s broad answer included all this, as I’ve read in other answers from the Rav that this excludes some documentaries, “obviously”. Does this gemarah only pertain to entertainment activities or is this a message to us about our entire lives-of how we should live our lives not including ourselves in anything gentile-based. Because if that’s the case, then it seems as if we wouldn’t be able to include ourselves in anything!!!
Also, is this considered halacha? The reason I ask this, is not to validate this way of thinking or acting for myself but rather I have recently had friends asking me about this and because this is not the usual reason of not wanting to go to movies because of the content in them, this idea has ramifications on other parts of my/others life as well and they therefore wanted to know if this indeed is a halacha based on the gemarah. I know that Rav Moshe did paskin that all stadiums and theatres are assur. So does that mean it is based on halacha? I see I am making this question loaded & confusing, but I hope the Rav can answer at least some of this to clarify it for me. Thank you so much for your time.

Name and Seminary Withheld

Thanks for your question.
There are actually two separate issues that we need to be aware of. The first is that, as a Zecher L’Churban, Chaza”l forbade us from rejoicing with non-Jews in the manner is which they rejoice. This means that we may not attend circuses, ball games, bullfights, etc., where they get together to cheer one another on and are happy when one side wins or when they see someone doing amazing feats. If we hear them cheering, we are supposed to moan to ourselves about the Churban and Daven to Hashem that Moshiach should come already, as stated in the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch 126:4. The second issue is that we may not be party to a Moshaiv Laitzim, a group of people that gather for mindless and unconstructive entertainment. This precludes attending regular movies, and also ball games where the participants are Jewish and would not be forbidden as a Zecher L’Churban. Neither of these Halachos would prohibit visiting museums, zoos, watching documentaries and even attending classical concerts, as long as there are no Tzenius issues. I’m a bit confused as to what you mean when you ask if this is “based on Halacha”. This clearly is a Halachic issue.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Iyar 5765 – Halachos of Hamapil

1 Iyar 5765
Halachos of Hamapil

The following was written by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights, and a Halacha teacher in Yavneh Seminary. It is reprinted here with his permission and with the permission of www.torah.org

QUESTION: How strict need one be about talking, eating or drinking after reciting the berachah of Ha-mapil prior to retiring for the night?

DISCUSSION: L’chatchilah, Ha-mapil is recited(1) right before falling asleep. Indeed, according to one opinion, one may recite Ha-mapil only in the last few moments before falling asleep, when his eyelids are fluttering and he can barely remain awake.(2) Although we do not rule in accordance with this view,(3) we still attempt to recite Ha-mapil at the last possible moment before getting into bed or before falling asleep.(4) Accordingly, one is encouraged to prepare himself for sleep in such a way as to eliminate any interruptions between Ha-mapil and falling asleep.

But this cannot always be arranged: Some people toss and turn for a while before finally falling asleep; others can only fall asleep after reading or learning for a while in bed; some parents know that no sooner than they have recited Ha-mapil, a child will require attention. Should these people omit Ha-mapil from their nightly Kerias Shema al ha-mitah?

Some poskim suggest that they should. They explain that Ha-mapil is similar to She’hakol or Borei peri ha-eitz which must be recited right before drinking or eating with no interruption allowed. One who recites a She’hakol or Borei peri ha-eitz and does not immediately eat or drink has recited a berachah levatalah. In our case, too, one who interrupts between Ha-mapil and falling asleep is reciting a berachah levatalah(.5) It follows, therefore, that one who knows or suspects that he will have difficultly in falling asleep should omit Ha-mapil(.6)

The vast majority of poskim, however, disagree.(7) Ha-mapil, they explain, is not a berachah for an individual’s personal sleep; rather it is a general blessing of praise to Hashem for giving His creations the opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate themselves through sleep and rest. It is a berachah similar to Elokai neshamah and the other morning birchos ha-shachar which are general berachos of praise to Hashem. Accordingly, while Ha-mapil is recited near the time when one is ready to retire for the night, there is no concern of berachah levatalah if sleep did not immediately follow the recitation of the berachah. Even l’chatchilah, therefore, one could recite Ha-mapil although he is well aware that he will be forced to make an interruption after reciting the berachah.

What is the practical halachah? In deference to the minority opinion, l’chatchilah one should plan that no interruption will take place after reciting Ha-mapil. All eating, drinking, talking or any other activity should take place prior to reciting Ha-mapil(.8) But when this is difficult to do, or b’diavad if one recited Ha-mapil and now needs to eat, drink, answer an important phone call or do any other necessary activity, he may do so and he need not be concerned about reciting a berachah levatalah.

Similarly, if after reciting Ha-mapil one realized that he forgot to daven Ma’ariv [or repeat the evening Kerias Shema at the proper time], count Sefiras ha-Omer, or recite Kiddush levanah (on the last possible night), he must make up whatever tefillah he missed and not be concerned that he is reciting a berachah levatalah.

Based on the above, the poskim infer the following: One who needs to use the bathroom after Ha-mapil recites Asher yatzar; if he sees lightning or hears thunder, the appropriate berachos are recited; if, for some reason, one needs to recite Ha-mapil in a location other than his sleeping quarters, it is permitted to do so, as we are not concerned about the laws of shinui makom(.9)

It follows, therefore, that there is no excuse to skip Ha-mapil before retiring for the night. Omitting Ha-mapil because one fears being interrupted between making the berachah and falling asleep, is not justified.(10)

QUESTION: Under what circumstance would Ha-mapil not be recited?

DISCUSSION: Ha-mapil would not be recited under the following circumstances:

* When taking a nighttime catnap.(11)

* When sleeping during the day.(12)

* When going to sleep before tzeis ha-kochavim, even if one is planning to sleep all night.(13)

* When going to sleep in the early morning, but one will not fall asleep until after alos ha-shachar.(14)

* According to some Kabbalistic sources, one should omit Ha-mapil if he goes to sleep past chatzos. In addition, Ha-mapil is not recited on Friday nights, during the nights of Sefiras ha-Omer and Aseres Yemi Teshuvah. Other Kabbalistic sources dispute these omissions and require that Ha-mapil be recited at all times.(15)

FOOTNOTES:

1 The poskim are in agreement that men and women are equally obligated to recite Ha-mapil (Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 239:16) and that it has become universally accepted for both men and women to do so (Aruch ha-Shulchan 239:6; Halichos Shelomo 1:13, Dvar Halachah 22).).

2 Mishnah Berurah 239:3, quoting Seder ha-Yom.

3 Mishnah Berurah 239:3, quoting Knesses ha-Gedolah and other poskim.

4 While it is permitted to recite Ha-mapil and Kerias Shema al ha-mitah either standing, sitting or lying in bed, it is recommended that Kerias Shema be said standing or sitting, and Ha-mapil be recited once one is lying in bed and ready to fall asleep; see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 71:4; Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 239:10; Aruch ha-Shulchan 239:6.

5 Mishnah Berurah 239:4 and Beiur Halachah, s.v. samuch, seems to endorse this view.

6 See Ben Ish Chai, Pekudei 12 and Teshuvos v’Hanhagos 2:131.

7 See Beiur Halachah 239:1, s.v. samuch, quoting Eliyahu Rabba and Chayei Adam; Aruch ha-Shulchan 239:6; Many poskim quoted in Tzitz Eliezer 7:27-3 and Yechaveh Da’as 4:21.

8 In addition, Rama 239:1 writes that no eating, drinking or talking should take place after Kerias Shema al ha-mitah, even before reciting Ha-mapil.

9 Halichos Shelomo 1:13-15; Tzitz Eliezer 7:27-3.

10 Even an onen (the term given to a mourner during the period of time between the death of a relative and his burial), who is exempt from all teffilos and berachos, is obligated to recite Kerias Shema al ha-mitah and Ha-mapil; Minchas Shelomo 1:91-25.

11 Teshuvos Keren L’David O.C. 60.

12 Mishnah Berurah 239:8.

13 B’tzeil ha-Chachmah 5:166.

14 See Beiur Halachah 239:1, s.v. samuch.

15 See Sha’arei Teshuvah 239:1, Kaf ha-Chayim 239:8 and Yechaveh Da’as 4:21.

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Nissan 5765 – Maximum for Tzedakah

4 Nissan 5765
Maximum for Tzedakah

Lichvod HaRav,
I just started a new job and am making a nice salary. I am single and live at home. I do not have to support myself. For the most part, my money is saved for future use, when I will IMY”H need it. I obviously give ma’aser, but because I barely use the money right now, I can afford to give more. My question is, what percentage of my salary is appropriate to give as tzedakah?

Thank you,
Name Witheld

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Thank you for your very interesting question.
The Rambam writes (Hilchos Arachin 8:12-13) that a person should not donate more that 20% of his possessions for use in the Bais HaMikdash (Temple). “This is not Chassidus(piety) but rather Shtus (stupidity) because he gives away all of his money and will have to come onto others”. The Chochmas Adam, however, states that this applies only to an average person, but a very wealthy person may give away more than 20%. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatza”l (iggros Moshe Yoreh De’ah Vol. 1 Siman 143) states that a person should not give away more than 20% of their possessions unless it is for a Tzedakah that will save someone’s life, e.g. to pay for medical treatment or Pidyon Sh’vuyim (ransom) for someone.

Generally speaking, a person should give a minimum of 10% of their income and possessions, but not more than 20%, unless there is a pressing need- in which case they would be obligated to give more if it is a situation of Pikuach Nefesh (saving someone’s life), or may give more if they consider themselves wealthy and there is some pressing need.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Adar II 5765 – Israeli Politicians & Lashon Hara

4 Adar II 5765
Israeli Politicians & Lashon Hara

Lichvod HaRav,

I am presently learning here in Israel. Most of the politicians in this country are Jewish, and newspapers seem to be constantly badmouthing the politicians and other public figures, and that’s (I assume) all lashon harah. So what’s the heter for reading a newspaper? Or is there some sort of heter for talking about famous people? Please let me know.

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Thank you for your interesting question.
To the best of my knowledge there is no Heter to purchase or subscribe to a newspaper that spreads Loshon Hara about anyone, whether they are public figures or not. Although Loshon Hara does not apply to information that is already “public knowledge”, i..e. that three people know about it, if the newspaper is the reason why it became public knowledge you are aiding them in spreading Loshon Hara by buying their newspaper, and this is Ossur. If someone else purchased it and you are just reading it, it would seem that Min HaDin it would be permitted to read what is written there, but a person who is considerate of other’s feelings would refrain from doing so even in this case.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler