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Daily Halacha Podcast - Daily Halacha By Rabbi Eli J. Mansour

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Daily Halacha Given Daily by Rabbi Eli J. Mansour. Please check back frequently to get the latest Halacha.

Daily Halacha Given Daily by Rabbi Eli J. Mansour. Please check back frequently to get the latest Halacha.
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Daily Halacha Given Daily by Rabbi Eli J. Mansour. Please check back frequently to get the latest Halacha.




If Two Brothers Died as a Result of Berit Mila

The Shulhan Aruch (Yoreh De’a 263; listen to audio recording for precise citation) addresses the tragic situation of a couple whose baby boy died as a result of being circumcised, and then had a second baby boy who also died after circumcision. After two boys in a family die as a result of Berit Mila, the Shulhan Aruch writes, it can be assumed that infants in this family are too fragile to survive a Berit Mila. Therefore, boys born subsequently are not circumcised, given the potential risk...


Delaying a Berit Mila if the Child is Jaundiced

Jaundice is a very common condition in newborn children, and under certain circumstances, circumcision would be considered dangerous for a jaundiced infant. The Halachic authorities discuss at length the question as to the precise level of jaundice required for a Berit Mila to be delayed, and when the Berit should be performed after it was delayed past the eighth day due to jaundice. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Israel, 1910-2012) maintained that if the infant’s bilirubin count is above 12,...


If a Berit Mila Was Performed at Night, or Before the Eighth Day

A Berit Mila must be performed during the day, and not at nighttime, and it must be performed on the infant’s eighth day, or later if it could not be done on that day. What happens if a mistake was made, and the child was circumcised before his eighth day, or if he was circumcised after the eighth day, but at night? This issue is subject to a three-way debate among the Halachic authorities. The Rama (Rav Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1530-1572), in Yoreh De’a, distinguishes between these two...


How Early in the Day Should a Berit Mila be Performed?

The earliest time for performing a Berit Mila in the morning is the point of Nes Ha’hama (sunrise). However, if the circumcision was performed earlier, it is nevertheless valid, as long as it was performed after the point of Amud Ha’shahar (when the first rays of light become visible in the eastern sky). The Shulhan Aruch, in discussing the laws of Berit Mila, writes that a Berit should be performed early in the day, in fulfillment of the famous rule of “Zerizin Makdimin Le’misvot,” which...


If a Mohel Performing a Berit on Shabbat Cannot Perform the Mesisa

Hacham Eliyahu Shama Ha’levi (Chief Rabbi of Aleppo, d. 1814), in his work Machshireh Mila (12:44), addresses the case of a Mohel who performs a Berit on Shabbat for a child on the child’s eighth day, but is unable to perform the Mesisa – the extraction of blood from the wound after the circumcision. This can happen in the case of a Mohel with an infection in his mouth, and could thus endanger the child if he performs the Mesisa. The Shulhan Aruch rules that the two stages of the act of...


Birkat Kohanim - The Unconditional Blessing

A friend recently shared me a remarkable passage from the Torah commentary of Rav Eliezer of Worms (Germany, 1176-1238), known as the “Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah,” who was a disciple of Rabbenu Yehuda Ha’ahasid (author of Sefer Ha’hasidim, 1150-1217), and a teacher of the Ramban (Rav Moshe Nahmanides, Spain, 1194-1270). (The Hida, in Shem Ha’gedolim, tells that the teachings transmitted by Rabbenu Yehuda Ha’hasid to Rav Eliezer of Worms originate from Shimon Ha’pakuli, one of the Tanna’im.) Commenting...


May a Mohel Perform a Circumcision For the First Time on Shabbat?

If a child’s eighth day falls on Shabbat, the Berit Mila is performed on that day, as the Misva of Berit Mila on the eighth day overrides the Shabbat prohibitions. However, as the Shulhan Aruch rules (Orah Haim 331, Yoreh De’a 266), an exception is made in the case of an inexperienced Mohel. If a Mohel had never before performed a Berit, then he is not permitted to perform a Berit on Shabbat. The reason is that because of the Mohel’s inexperience, it is possible that he might not perform the...


On Which Days of the Week May a Delayed Berit Mila be Performed?

The Mishna Berura (Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) addresses (331) the case of “Mila She’lo Bi’zmanah” – a circumcision that was not performed on the infant’s eighth day, such as if it was delayed due to a medical condition. The Rashbetz (Rav Shimon Ben Semah Duran of Algiers, 1361-1444), as the Mishna Berura cites, ruled that in such a case, the infant should not be circumcised on Thursday, as this might necessitate Shabbat violation for the sake of caring for the infant on...


Berit Mila on Shabbat - Bringing the Baby to the Synagogue

The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 331:6) establishes the rule that although circumcision is performed for a baby on his eighth day even if it is Shabbat, “Machshireh Mila” – preparatory stages of circumcision – do not override the Shabbat prohibitions. This means that anything needed for the Berit which could have been done before Shabbat may not be done on Shabbat if it entails an act forbidden on Shabbat. The classic example is bringing the knife through a public domain. Since the knife could...


Performing a Berit Mila on Friday After Accepting Shabbat; Performing a Brit Mila After Sundown

An interesting question arises in the case of a Mohel who accepted Shabbat about an hour before sunset on Friday afternoon – as many people do during the summertime – and is then asked to perform a Berit for a baby born the previous Friday. This baby requires circumcision that day, Friday, as it is his eighth day, but as this Mohel had already accepted Shabbat, it is unclear whether he is allowed to perform the Berit. As we know, a Berit Mila is performed on Shabbat for a child who was born...


Scheduling a Berit for a Child Born After Sundown on Friday Afternoon

When a child is born on Shabbat, the Berit is performed on Shabbat a week later, which is the child’s eighth day, as the Torah required performing a Berit on the child’s eighth day even when it falls on Shabbat. However, this Halacha applies only when it is certain that Shabbat is the child’s eighth day. In situations where this cannot be definitively ascertained, the Berit cannot be performed on Shabbat. The most common example of such a case is that of an infant born during “Ben...


Walking Beyond the "Tehum Shabbat" to Perform a Berit on Shabbat or Yom Tob

Hacham Ovadia Yosef was asked whether it would be permissible for a Mohel to walk on Shabbat (or Yom Tob) beyond the point where walking is allowed on Shabbat, in order to perform a Berit. The prohibition of “Tehum Shabbat” forbids walking beyond a certain distance (2000 Amot) outside one’s town on Shabbat, and the question thus arises as to whether this prohibition is overridden in the case of a Berit which is to be performed on Shabbat. In some rural regions, where people live in small...


May Two Different Mohalim Participate in the Same Berit on Shabbat?

It sometimes happens that a Berit is performed by different Mohalim, each of whom performs a different stage of the circumcision. One Mohel removes the foreskin (the stage known as “Mila”), and the other removes the membrane underneath the foreskin to expose the top of the organ (the stage known as “Peri’a”). Ordinarily, this is perfectly acceptable. The question arises, however, as to whether this is permissible when a Berit is performed on Shabbat. Maran (Rav Yosef Karo, author of the...


Performing a Berit Mila on Shabbat

The Torah in the Book of Vayikra says that after a boy is born, “U’bayom Ha’shemini Yimol Besar Orlato” – he undergoes circumcision on his eighth day. The Gemara notes that the verse could have just as easily written, “on the eighth he shall be circumcised,” without using the entire phrase, “U’bayom Ha’shemini” (“on the eighth day”). The word “U’bayom” was added, the Gemara explains, to instruct that this command applies even on Shabbat. If a newborn boy’s eighth day falls on Shabbat, the...


Scheduling a Berit Mila for a Baby Born on Shabbat or Yom Tov, or Right After Sundown on Ereb Shabba

Scheduling a Berit Mila for a Baby Born on Shabbat or Yom Tov, or Right After Sundown on Ereb Shabbat or Ereb Yom Tob Length: 5:40 Checked: An infant who is born on Shabbat is circumcised the next week, on Shabbat. Although inflicting a wound is generally forbidden on Shabbat, the Misva to circumcise a boy on his eighth day overrides this prohibition, and thus a Berit Mila is performed on Shabbat for a child born the previous Shabbat. The Talmud infers this rule from the verse, “U’bayom...


Opening a Front Door with a Key on Shabbat

The Shulhan Aruch, in Siman 345, based on the Gemara, delineates the four different Reshuyot, or domains, that are relevant to the laws of Shabbat. These are Reshut Ha’yahid (a private domain) and a Reshut Ha’rabim (public domain), and the two categories of Karmelit and Mekom Petur which were instituted by Hazal. The Shulhan Aruch writes that a private domain is defined as a place with an area of at least 4 X 4 Tefahim (handbreadths) surrounded by walls that are at least ten Tefahim high. A...


Using Baby Wipes or Moistened Toilet Paper on Shabbat

The Halacha of “Sehita” (squeezing) forbids extracting absorbed liquid from a material on Shabbat. The question thus arises as to whether one may use baby wipes to clean an infant on Shabbat. The wipes have liquid absorbed in them which is then extracted when one presses the wipe against the child’s skin. Seemingly, this would be forbidden due to the Shabbat prohibition of “Sehita.” In truth, however, one who uses baby wipes on Shabbat has authorities on whom to rely, provided that he wipes...


Taking Fertility or Birth Control Pills on Shabbat

Halacha forbids ill patients from taking medications on Shabbat under certain circumstances, as discussed by the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 328). The Sages enacted this prohibition out of concern that a person in need of medication might grind herbs to prepare the medicine, and since grinding constitutes a Torah prohibition, the Sages forbade taking medicine as a safeguard against Shabbat desecration. Maran, in Bet Yosef (Orah Haim 328; listen to audio recording for precise citation),...


May a Doctor Receive Payment for Medical Services Provided on Shabbat?

If a doctor saw a patient on Shabbat, such as a doctor or midwife who was called to deliver a baby on Shabbat, may he or she receive payment for the work performed on Shabbat? As a general rule, it is forbidden to work for money on Shabbat, unless one is also paid for services provided during the week. And thus, for example, a Rabbi may certainly receive a salary for the work he performs on Shabbat, since he also works during the week. Likewise, if a doctor receives payment for monitoring a...


Violating Shabbat for a Woman and Newborn After Childbirth, and for Fetal Distress During Pregnancy

The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 330:6) writes that within thirty days after childbirth, if the woman feels cold on Shabbat, it is permissible to light a fire so she can be warmed. During the first thirty days after childbirth, the chills can be dangerous to the woman’s health, and thus the prohibition against lighting a fire on Shabbat is overridden by the concern for her wellbeing, and a fire may be kindled for her on Shabbat. There were some earlier authorities, however, who ruled that this...