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Adar I 5765 – Kashrus Questions for Shabbos

7 Adar 1 5765
Kashrus Questions for Shabbos

Q) On Shabbos, what would be the procedure for washing strawberries? Does borrer or killing bugs play a part?

A) It isn’t necessary to be concerned about killing the bugs, however they should not be washed in a manner where Borer would be transgressed. They should not be washed in a strainer, or a container with holes, but they may be washed in a bowl and then removed from the water.

Q) I help organize Shabbatons for youth groups in many communities. Sometimes trouble arises in the kitchen on Shabbos. For instance, a member of the shul (a Jew) will open the oven that is holding our chulent or kugel, and then close the oven. He may even mix the chulent and then close the oven door. What is the status of the food with regard to Shabbos? Occassionally, the shul’s caretaker (a gentile) may open the oven door to check on the food or try to be helpful and mix the chulent (not knowing that it is not helpful) and then close the oven doors. Do problems arise with regard to mechalel Shabbos?

A) In the situations that you describe above, B’dieved (after the fact) we don’t say that the food will become Ossur. The only time the food itself will become Ossur would be if a Jew would cook it on Shabbos, not just mix it or open and close the oven door. This is stated by The Mishna Berura in the beginning of Siman 318.

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Shevat 5765 – Drinking from Water Coolers at Work

2 Shevat 5765
Drinking from Water Coolers at Work

Q-I work for a large Jewish organization with many non-Jews.
We have several Poland Spring water coolers, and I wanted to know if I could take hot water from these coolers?

A-Yes. It is better not to hold the cup up to right under the tap, though,
but rather hold it in a way in which the steam from the cup will not come
into contact with the tap.

Q-Also, I was wondering if the company Del Monte, which
preparaes canned fruit and vegetables and bears a triangle K, is
fine to eat.

A– Although generally I don’t feel that triangle-K is one of the more
reliable Hashgachos, for items such as canned fruit and juices it is
acceptable. I would avoid using bread and cakes (and more complicated
items) with their Hashgacha, though.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Teves 5765 – Feeding Animals & Folding on Creases on Shabbos

1 Teves 5765
Feeding Animals & Folding on Creases on Shabbos

Q: Why is it prohibited on Shabbat, to feed animals (other than pets) that don’t rely on you?

A: The reason this is forbidden is because it goes into the category of “unnecessary exertion” (Tircha Yiseira) that Chaza”l said should not be done, even though technically according to the laws of the Melachos of Shabbost they should be permitted. Since the animal is quite capable of foraging for food for itself, this is considered unnecessary. The reason why they forbade these things was to aid and encourage the proper atmosphere and spirit on Shabbos, similar to the laws of Muktzah. Unnecessary exercise is also forbidden for this reason.

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Q: Why is it prohibited to fold along creases on SHabbos?

A: I hope that I’ll be able to answer this one satisfactorily, since this is a Halacha that many people don’t understand. One of the 39 forbidden works on Shabbos is laundering (Michabes). Chaza”l forbade any step in the laundering process to be done (e.ge pouring water on the clothing even without rubbing, etc.) . Now, we must realize that in previous times modern day washing machines had not yet been invented, neither had polyester and many permanent press fabrics. Consequently, laundering frequently involved washing natural fabrics in the river, beating with sticks, etc. (You get the picture. Just another reason to be grateful that we live in this century :-). After this was done, the clothing was clean but pretty much non wearable until it was folded and smoothed properly, therefore this was considered part of the laundering process, and also forbidden Rabbinically.

Interestingly, this only applies to old, laundered items. New items may be folded, since such folding does not improve the garment in any way. Therefore, a new tablecloth may be folded on Shabbos.

Although today it does not seem to us to be part of the laundering process at all, this Takanah is still in effect. Therefore, we do not fold a Talis or tablecloth on Shabbos on the original crease. Folding against the crease is not improving the garment in any way, and is permitted.

Regarding folding pants and other articles of clothing I have heard from Rabbi Moshe Heinemann Shlit”a that although a person should not deliberately fold them on the creases, he may dangle them by the waist and either lay them down on the creases or slip a hanger in a way that they will hang on the creases. This is not the type of folding that our Chaza”l prohibited.

Take care,
Aaron Tendler

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Cheshvan 5765 – Mixed Seating & Dancing at Weddings

2 MarCheshvan 5765
Mixed Seating & Dancing at Weddings

Q. I was wondering what the halachas of going to places where there is no Mechitzah is? When and what does it refer to? If there is a kiddush given in my shul and there is no Mechitzah, should I not go in? What about weddings that are mixed seating?

A. L’Halacha, it is a requirement that there be a Mechitzah in a Shul- i.e. a place that is designated for Tefillah. This is why, if a Minyan is made on an airplane or in a wedding hall, since it is not designated for tefillah, no Mechitzah is required, and a Minyan may Daven in the same room as women. However, there are certain situations in which common sense would dictate that a Mechitzah is required. One example of this would be on a dance floor at a wedding shared by both women and men. A Mechitzah is erected for Tznius issues. However, in other situations where Tznius is not an issue, no Mechitzah is necessary.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with going to a Kiddush or a wedding where there is no Mechitzah. Although mixed seating is Halachically allowed at a wedding, the Halacha is that we don’t say “SheHaSimcha B’MiOno” at a wedding where there is mixed seating. This is because we say that Hashem does not have joy at such a wedding. However, the Minhag seams to be lenient regarding this as well, and to say it.

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Q. I was recently invited to a mixed seating wedding. There will, however, be separate dancing with a Mechitzah. I know from previous weddings that there are always men who don’t go dance and remain in their seats to watch the dancing. If there are men that remain in their seats on the women’s side of the mechitzah is it untznius for me to dance?

A.Thank you for your question.
It would be improper for a woman to perform a dance in front of men who aren’t members of her immediate family, but it is permitted to dance at a wedding with the Kallah, even if there is a possibility that men will observe her dancing. There are two issues that are involved here. One is engaging in behavior that is “non-Tzniusdik” (immodest), and thus violating Das Yehudis, which is defined by what is considered modest and accepted behavior in that society for a Bas Yisroel. Although a dance performance in front of men certainly would violate this tenet, there are many Chashuv Jewish women who dance at weddings, especially when there is a Mechitzah, and even when there are men present, and therefore this would not be a problem. The other issue is “Lifnei Iver Lo Sitein Michshol” (lit. putting a stumbling block in front of a blind man), i.e. causing someone to have improper thoughts about you. Since you don’t absolutely know that this will occur, it is not a reason to refrain from the Mitzvah of being MiSameach a Kallah.

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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Tishrei 5765 – Hataras Nedarim & Studying in the Sukkah

4 Tishrei 5765
Hataras Nedarim & Studying in the Sukkah

L’chvod HaRav,

I’ve recently been feeling overwhelmed by the thought of Hataras Nedarim. I don’t mind the procedure of reading the standard text, but it makes me uncomfortable to know that I have to say what specifically I want to be matir.

As far as I know I haven’t actually taken anything on as a neder. But there are lots of things that I have done more than three times. For example I used to say Tehillim regularly, I also used to recite a list of Tehillim names, and I learn something at night, etc. These are things that I either don’t wish to continue, or do wish to continue but knowing that I don’t have to continue it because I’m doing it as a b’li neder.

Can I just say a general Hataras Nedarim without telling one of the Rabbis the specific things I want to be matir?

If the answer is that I do have to tell the Rabbi specifically and it ends up that it doesn’t work out that I get to tell him before the hatara, or if I don’t think to mention something etc, does the general hatara nullify it anyway?

In terms of things that I did years ago, and stopped years ago, (ie, saying Maariv friday night which I did when I was in camp,) do previous hataras that I have said cover them even though I wasn’t specific to the Rabbi?

Also can I make a general statement that from now on I don’t want anything I do to count as a neder even if I do it three times?

Thank you very much!

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Thank you for your questions. You’ve brought up a number of issues, and I’ll try to answer them one by one. First of all, it’s important to realize that Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashana is a custom, not an obligation. Although men do so at the end of Shacharis on Erev Rosh Hashana, women never had such a custom to be Mattir Neder at this time, and there is no reason why anyone should start such a Minhag now. Some men have a Minhag to act as emissaries for their wives to be Mattir Neder, but this is not a Chiyuv at all. A father may not be an emissary for his daughter to be Matir her Nedarim on her behalf.

The Minhag is not to specify which vows one is being Mattir, but rather to state that you are requesting Hatarah for vows that you don’t know about, and for those that you do, but are too many to list, and so you request that the Dayanim be considerate of that fact and be Mattir them anyway. We do mention in the Nussach that we are only requesting Hatarah for Nedarim which according to Halacha we may be Mattir.

Previous Hataros will help for Nedarim made in previous years, of course. Otherwise- there wouldn’t be any point in doing one this year either! A Neder can not take affect involuntarily, therefore, if a person specifies that no matter what, no action that they do should be considered a Neder, even if done three times, it would not be considered a Neder at all, and no Hatarah is necessary. Preferably, this should be spoken out orally, and not just thought in your heart.

I just want to reiterate what I said in the beginning of my answer. There is no reason for a woman to be Mattir Neder on Erev Roshana in front of Dayanim, unless she has actually taken a specific Neder that she is aware of which should would like to be Mattir.

Take care, and Gmar Chasima Tova!

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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L’chvod HaRav,

Are you allowed to go to someone who professionally shapes eyebrows or waxes on chol hamoed? As well, I heard that you shouldn’t do anything not kadosh in the sukkah. If you is supposed to spend as much time in the sukkah as possible, then if I have to study for university, should I be doing it in the sukkah or is it better not to? Is the halacha much less strict because I am a girl?

Thank you so much and a k’sivah v’chasimah tovah. Name & Seminary withheld.

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Thank you for your question. Shaving is forbidden for both men and women on Chol HaMoed, and this includes eyebrow shaping and waxing, since this is something which can and should be done before Yom Tov. A girl does not have to do things in the Succah, but there is nothing wrong with studying in the Succah if you wish- as long as you aren’t studying things you shouldn’t be learning about in any case!

Take care,

Rabbi Aaron Tendler