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Showing posts from January, 2016

Thought for the Day: So Why Don't We Say שהחיינו At Kiddush Friday Night?!

The bracha of שהחיינו is said on events that occur from time to time that bring one joy.  The classic examples are a new suit of clothes and new fruits.  The problem with שהחיינו on new clothes is that I hate shopping and getting little to no joy out of wearing new clothes (much to my family's chagrin).  The problem with שהחיינו on a new fruit is.... well, that's a story.

I had heard that R' Moshe says that now a days we don't say שהחיינו on new fruits because you can get basically any fruit any time.  I had heard that, but I don't like to relinquish my halachic decisions to hearsay.  I resolved to call R' Fuerst, but wanted to do my homework first.  I reviewed what the Mishna Brura has to say.  Pretty much what you'd expect: the general rule of ספק ברכות להקל applies, but one really, really does not want to give up the the opportunity to make a שהחיינו.  Basically, proceed with caution, but don't use ספק ברכות להקל as an excuse to be lazy.  (Dirshu did…

Thought for the Day: When Two חצירות Are Two, One, and One and a Half

As you may know and/or recall, the intent of an עירוב is to give everyone in a חצר some shared ownership of the space.  A not so obvious corollary of that fact is that unless everyone in the חצר participates, there is no עירוב.  That fact leads to some very interesting discussions in the shulchan aruch itself about what happens when someone whose house opens to the חצר dies on (or just before) Shabbos, and even more fun ensues when the possibility that the heir will move in on Shabbos itself.

Before you can run, though, you need to walk.  Let's take 10 houses that are built around (and open into) a central חצר.  Either all 10 participate, or there is no עירוב.  Now build a solid brick wall that is about, oh... I don't know..., let's say 100' (30 m, if you are so inclined) tall right down the center of our חצר; five on each side, which we'll call the A and B sides for concreteness.  In that case, each side is on their own.  The A and B sides can each make an עירוב (…

Thought for the Day: חלב ישראל and Camel Milk

Here's a fact that probably doesn't interest you at all:
Aside from cattle, many kinds of livestock provide milk used by humans for dairy products. These animals include buffalo, goat, sheep, camel, donkey, horse, reindeer, and yak. The first four respectively produced about 11%, 2%, 1.4% and 0.2% of all milk worldwide in 2011. (From Wikipedia... so you know it's true!) Notice that most of those animals are kosher, so their milk is also kosher.  The only non-kosher animal that even made it into the top four is camel at 1.4%.

Why might that be an interesting factoid for you to file away?  The gemara wonders (Avoda Zara 35b) why Chazal instituted the decree of חלב ישראל.  After all, explains the gemara, milk from a kosher animal is white and can be made into cheese, whereas milk from a non-kosher animal is creamy/yellow and cannot be processed into cheese.  That being the case, we could easily detect if milk from non-kosher sources was added, so why do we need a special decr…

Thought for the Day: Why I Do My Utmost To Avoid Relying On Any Metropolitan עירוב

I had a close friend in college who was (is still, actually) a heavy smoker.  I once talked to him about the health risks.  I was pre-med at the time so really thought I probably knew more about the details of the health risks than he did.  I expected him to say something like, "Really?  I don't know that aspect/detail/depth/breadth of the health risks!"  Instead he replied, "I really enjoy smoking."  That, of course, was the end of not only that conversation but all future conversations.  I have no argument that smoking is not enjoyable; I only have data that smoking is a serious (very, very serious) health risk.  If that is taken out of the equation, I have nothing to say.

Given that introduction and the title of this TftD, one can make his own assessment if it is advisable to read further.

Recall that an עירוב can only be effective when you have an area that is only a public domain at the rabbinic level, but private at the Torah level.  There are two opinions…

Thought for the Day: Sharp Foods, Knives, and שלוש סעודות

The CRC has many nice shiurim on very practical questions.  For example, there is a shiur on a general approach to handing questions that come up on Friday afternoons.  They also have some shiurim that are given for the benefit of the staff themselves.  Even those, given the venue and mandate of the CRC, tend to be more practically oriented.  One (actually two parts) such shiur was on the concept and issues of דבר חריף/sharp or spicy foods.  You are certainly welcome and encouraged to listen to then yourself (Davar Charif part 1, part 2), what follows is my take away.

Whenever situations invloving forbidden mixtures arise in the home (usually milk and meat; most of us don't anything non-kosher in our kitchens, after all), there are three questions the rav is always going to ask: (1) Was it hot?  (2) Was the bowl/cup/spoon used within that last 24 hours?  (3) Was there direct contact (the milk fell into the cholent) or transfer contact (the spoon that was used to taste the cholent …

Thought for the Day: עירוב חצירות -- How Does It Work?

The phrase "the עירוב is up" is understood to mean that there are none of the wires designated by the עירוב committee (and probably costing the community some money in fees to the city and/or power company) are broken.  Yet the word עירוב literally means "mixture"; as reflected by the word for evening (that time when day and night are mixed): ערב.  Even though night fall comes on the heels of the evening (implying that evening is "up" in some sense, I suppose), it's hard to really understand what might be the connection between the word "עירוב" and "wires".

The simple answer is: Nothing!  There is no connection at all and the whole thing is a misuse/abuse of the term.  That's a bit of a cheat, though, as people do use the term and it is more than a little arrogant too assert. "Heck!  What can I do about the fact that the whole world is wrong?"  Since even my arrogance knows some boundaries, I thought it worth clarifyi…