Question #1: "When I was young, I do not think I ever heard about a prohibition called chodosh, or that something was yoshon. Now I am constantly hearing these terms. Do we now have a new mitzvah?" Question #2: "We have decided to stay permanently in Eretz Yisrael, but we visit the United States a [...]Full Story »
How can we pass Parshas Behar without discussing the laws of shemittah? And the fact that we read these laws annually teaches that the Torah wants us to understand the lessons of shemittah every year. Yet many chutz la’aretz residents see no need to learn these laws, assuming that they are never affected. Well — [...]Full Story »
The second of this week’s two parshios, Kedoshim, mentions the mitzvah of neta reva’ie. Hence… The Fruits of the Fourth Year Question #1: Rabbi Lamdan, a local talmid chacham, asks his Rav: “I have carefully studied this week’s parsha, which contains the Torah’s only mention of the mitzvah of neta reva’ie (fruit that grows during [...]Full Story »
Whether a particular plant is defined halachically as a tree or not influences several areas of halacha, including:
1. What bracha one recites on its fruit.
2. What bracha one recites on its fragrance.
3. Whether the prohibition of orlah applies to its fruit.
4. How severe is the prohibition to destroy it (ba’al tashchis).
5. There are several agricultural halachos concerning kilayim, shmittah, and ma’aser, all of which are relevant only in Eretz Yisroel.
What does this have anything to do with the impending beginning of Elul and the papaya tree? Stay tuned and find out.Full Story »
Recently, our school had several fruit trees planted for decorative and educational purposes. Someone told us that we must carefully collect the fallen fruits and bury them to make sure that no one eats them. Is there really an arlah prohibition in chutz la’aretz, and is it possible that these fully grown trees are producing arlah fruits? If indeed we need to be concerned about arlah, do we also need to redeem the fruits of the tree in the fourth year?Full Story »
Whereas those living in chutz la’aretz do not recite ve’sein tal umatar (the prayer for rain added to the bracha of Boreich Aleinu in the weekday shmoneh esrei) until the beginning of December, those living in Eretz Yisroel begin reciting this prayer on the Seventh of MarCheshvan. This difference in practice leads to many interesting shaylos:
Yankel, who lives in New York, is in aveilos l”a for his father and tries to lead services (colloquially often called “davening before the amud”) at every opportunity. He will be visiting Eretz Yisroel during the month of November. Does he recite the prayer according to the Eretz Yisroel practice while there? Which version does he recite in his quiet shmoneh esrei? Perhaps he should not even lead services while he is there?
Does someone attending Yeshiva or seminary in Eretz Yisroel recite ve’sein tal umatar according to the custom of Eretz Yisroel or according to the chutz la’aretz practice?Full Story »
“Rivkah is a student at Bnos Aliyah Seminary and is uncertain whether she should keep one day of Yom Tov or two. A few weeks ago she visited a family for Shabbos and mentioned her predicament. The man of the house graciously told her that he answers halachic inquiries and ruled that she need keep only one day of Yom Tov. However, upon returning to Seminary, a teacher told Rivkah that she should not ask her shaylah from anyone, but must ask one of the seminary rabbis. Rivkah did so, and was told to keep two days. Subsequently, someone told her that she should not have asked the question a second time and must follow the first ruling she received. Now she is in a dilemma: should she observe the second day of Yom Tov or not? Is she supposed to find someone reciting Kiddush or Havdalah?”Full Story »
The Gemara quotes the great Amora Rav as saying: “Because Dovid HaMelech believed loshon hora, the Jewish kingdom was divided, the Jews worshipped idols, and we were exiled from our land” (Shabbos 56b). What does this enigmatic statement mean? Can Rav possibly be blaming Dovid, the author of Tehillim, the founder of the Jewish royal [...]Full Story »
“My daughter came home from school telling us that she was taught that we cannot make deviled eggs on Shabbos because adding mustard and shaping them is considered ‘kneading’ the yolks. But I remember my mother always mixed hard boiled eggs with minced onion and oil on Shabbos morning shortly before the meal. Could my mother have been wrong?”Full Story »
Recently, our school had several fruit trees planted for decorative and educational purposes. Someone told us that we must carefully collect the fallen fruits and bury them to make sure that no one eats them. Is there really an orlah prohibition in chutz la’aretz, and is it possible that these fully grown trees are producing orlah fruits? If indeed we need to be concerned about orlah, do we also need to redeem the fruits of the tree in the fourth year?Full Story »