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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.




The Fourth Day of Sukkot - The Ushpizin of Moshe Rabbenu

The fourth day of the holiday of Sukkot is the Ushpizin of Moshe Rabbenu (the day when Moshe "visits" us in the Sukka). Some Rabbis have noted that this day will always fall on the same day of the week as the seventh of Adar, the date of which Moshe was born and on which he passed away. If the fourth day of Sukkot falls on a Tuesday, for example, then the previous 7 Adar also fell on Tuesday. Likewise, the fifth day of Sukkot, which is the Ushpizin of Aharon Ha’kohen, will always fall on the...


May One Ask a Non-Jew to Replace Sechach or Rebuild a Sukka on Shabbat or Yom Tob?

If the Sechach over one’s Sukka fell off on Shabbat or Yom Tob during Sukkot, or some other part of the Sukka was ruined, thus disqualifying the Sukka, is it permissible to ask a non-Jew to repair the Sukka? At first glance, this question depends on the nature of the prohibition of building a Sukka on Shabbat or Yom Tob – meaning, whether for a Jew building a Sukka on Shabbat or Yom Tob constitutes a Torah prohibition, or a Rabbinic violation. As a general rule, one may not ask a non-Jew to...


How does one Choose Hadasim?

How does one choose kosher hadasim when purchasing the arbat haminim? The Shulhan Aruch (646) discusses the requirements of the hadas. The most important halacha relates to the clusters of leaves along the stem of the hadas. Each cluster much have three, symmetrical leaves, on each horizontal line. This law is called "meshulshim." R. Ovadia Yosef (Hazon Ovadia, Sukkot pg. 305) mentions an additional level of hidur. He writers that the leaves on the bottom cluster should preferably overlap...


Succot- How Does One Choose a Kosher Etrog?

What should a person look for when purchasing an etrog? First, one should be careful to purchase etrogim from an orchard which maintains a tradition that their etrogim are not grafted, as almost all halachic authorities invalidate grafted etrogim. Regarding the etrog itself, it is crucial to understand what is law, and what is custom, as many are unnecessarily strict when choosing an etrog. While examining an etrog, one should take the etrog, and hold it at the distance at which he would...


Succot- May One Use a Grafted Etrog?

The Torah commands us to take a "peri eis hadar," known to us as an "etrog." At times, a farmer will combine a lemon and etrog tree; this is called grafting. The poskim discuss the identity of the fruit of this tree, and whether a "grafted" etrog is still considered to be an etrog. The Rema (Teshuvot HaRema 117) rules that one should not use an etrog murkav (grafted etrog). This opinion appears to have been the consensus of the Rabbis of Sfat in the 16th century, including R. Moshe ben...


Reciting the Beracha Over a Candle on Mosa'e Yom Kippur

Halacha requires that we recite Havdala on Mosa'e Yom Kippur and include in this recitation the Beracha of "Bore Me'ore Ha'esh" over a candle, just as we do on Mosa'e Shabbat. There is, however, one critical difference between the candle used for Havdala after Shabbat and the candle used after Yom Kippur. When reciting Havdala after Shabbat, we light a new candle; on Mosa'e Yom Kippur, however, one must, as the Shulhan Aruch rules (Orah Haim 624:4), recite the Beracha over a flame that was...


Yom Kippur - May Somebody Receive an Aliya or Serve as Hazzan if He Needs to Eat or Drink

The Shulhan Aruch, in discussing the laws of fast days (Orah Haim 566), rules that somebody who must eat on a fast day may not receive an Aliya to the Torah. The question arises as to whether this applies also on Yom Kippur, if a patient or elderly person is advised by doctors that he must eat or drink, and, after consulting with his Rabbi, he eats or drinks "Pahot Pahot Mi’ke’shi’ur" – meaning, small amounts at a time, as required by Halacha. Such a person clearly acts in full accordance...


Yom Kippur - Wearing Gold Jewelry

The Gemara tells that when the Kohen Gadol would enter the Kodesh Ha’kodashim for the special Yom Kippur service, he would wear white garments, rather than his usual gold garments. The reason, the Gemara explains, is "En Kategor Na’asa Sanegor," which literally means, "A prosecutor cannot become an advocate." Gold brings to mind the sin of the golden calf, and is thus a "prosecutor" in the sense that it is a sign of our nation’s religious failure. As such, it cannot be worn as the Kohen...


When Does Yom Kippur Begin?

The Talmud (Rosh Hashan 9a) teaches that one must add a bit of time onto Yom Kippur, and abstain from melacha, and from eating and drinking and the other afflictions, a few minutes before the fast begins. There is no clear definition of this time. This misva is known as Tosefet Yom HaKippurim. This acceptance should preferably be done verbally. Therefore, one should say "hareinu mekabel alay tosefet yom kippurim, hamisha inuyim veissur melacha" (I accept upon myself the added sanctity of...


If One Must Eat on Yom Kippur

If a person needs to eat on Yom Kippur for medical reasons, he should, if possible, limit his food intake to a Ke’zayit of food every nine minutes. This means he should eat a Ke’zayit, then wait nine minutes, and then eat another Ke’zayit. As for drinking, a patient who must drink should drink a "Melo Lugmav" – a cheek-full – every nine minutes. Since every person’s "cheek-full" is different, one who knows he will need to drink on Yom Kippur should "measure" this amount before Yom Kippur, by...


The Yom Kippur Fast - Guidelines For a Woman Who Has Just Given Birth

The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 617:10) rules that a woman who gave birth within three days before Yom Kippur is entirely exempt from the Yom Kippur fast, and is permitted to eat on Yom Kippur as much as she normally does. Since a woman during this period is exceedingly frail, any diminishing of her food intake could be injurious to her health, and so she is allowed to eat as usual. According to the Shulhan Aruch, this exemption applies only if the woman gave birth within three halachic days...


Rosh Hashana- The Power of Shofar

We find an allusion to the Misva of Shofar in Parashat Nisavim, where the Torah warns, "Pen Yesh Bachem Shoresh Poreh Rosh Ve’la’ana" – "Lest there is among you a root of evil of rebellion" (Debarim 29:17). The first letters of the phrase, "Shoresh Poreh Rosh Ve’la’ana" are "Shin," "Peh," "Resh" and "Vav" – the letters of the word "Shofar." This allusion is very significant, as it expresses the unique power and impact of the Shofar blowing – namely, its ability to eliminate the "root" of...


Rosh Hashanah - The Omission of Hallel; the Torah and Haftara Reading; the Importance of Reciting Cu

The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 584) writes that Hallel is omitted from the service on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, despite the fact that we recite Hallel on every other Yom Tob (listen to audio recording for precise citation). The Mishna Berura (commentary by Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) explains (listen to audio recording for precise citation) that we omit Hallel because the festive singing of Hallel is inappropriate on these days of judgment, when the books of life and death...


Rosh Hashanah - Laws and Customs of Torah Reading

The custom among the communities hailing from Aram Soba (Aleppo) is to sing special Pizmonim (hymns) on Rosh Hashanah when the Torah is taken from the ark. Some have the custom to sing, "Ozrenu Kel Hai," a song that relates to the period of Aseret Yemeh Teshuva (Ten Days of Repentance), which begins on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. On the second day, some congregations sing, "Rabat Sab’a Lah Nafshi." Several different customs exist regarding the singing of Pizmonim, and every congregation...


Rosh Hashana: The First Night of Rosh Hashana

Halachot from the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) in Parashat Nisavim concerning the first night of Rosh Hashana Foods: One should avoid sour foods on Rosh Hashana. Therefore, lemon flavors should not be used. If the pomegranate, which is customarily eaten on the first night of Rosh Hashana, is tart, sugar should be added. In general, on should not eat fruits that are not fully ripe. It is fitting to eat choice cuts of meat and sweet foods as a good Siman (omen). One...


Shofar - The Shebarim Sounds; Proper Intention While Listening to the Blowing

One of the Shofar sounds is called the "Shebarim," and consists of three brief sounds. It is the same as the long, straight Teki’a sound, only shorter, and three such sounds are blown consecutively. (Listen to audio recording to hear a simulated Shebarim sound.) The Toke’a (person who blows the Shofar in the synagogue) must ensure to blow all three sounds in a single breath. He may not stop to take a breath in between any two sounds of the Shebarim. If he did stop to take a breath, then the...


Rosh Hashana-The Misva of Shofar

The centerpiece of Rosh Hashana is the Misva of Shofar. In Parashat Nisavim, there is a Remez (allusion) to this Misva. The Pasuk warns the Jewish people, "Pen Yesh Bachem Shoresh Poreh Rosh V'La'Anah"- Perhaps you will have amongst you a root of someone who wants to throw off Hashem's yoke and rebel. In the Hebrew text, these words form the acronym, Sh'O'Fa'R. This means that the Shofar has the spiritual ability to remove the bad root ingrained in us. After Adam HaRishon ate from the Tree...


Rosh Hashanah - Are Women Required to Hear the Shofar?

Women are exempt from the obligation of Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, in accordance with the general rule exempting women from "Misvot Aseh She’ha’zman Gerama" – Misvot that apply only at a particular time. As the obligation of Shofar applies only on Rosh Hashanah, women are exempt from this Misva. Nevertheless, if a woman comes to the synagogue and hears the sounding of the Shofar, she is credited with a Misva. Although she has no obligation to hear the Shofar, she is considered as having...


Ereb Rosh Hashanah - Charity, Hatarat Nedarim, Halla, and the Mikveh

The Rama (Rav Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1530-1572) mentions the custom to give charity to the poor on Ereb Rosh Hashanah. This practice is based on the verse in the Book of Nehemia (8:10) in which the prophet instructed the people on Rosh Hashanah to enjoy fine foods and drinks, and to give food packages to the poor so they can enjoy the Yom Tob. Since we cannot give food packages on the Yom Tob, it is proper to give either food or money to the poor on Ereb Rosh Hashanah. This custom is...


Rosh Hashanah - Candle Lighting on the Second Night

Women light candles on both nights of Rosh Hashanah. On the second night, the candles must be lit only after nightfall, once the first day of the holiday has ended, as it is forbidden to make preparations on the first day of Yom Tob for the second day. The common custom is to wait until 40 minutes after sunset on the second night of Rosh Hashanah before lighting candles. There are those who, every Shabbat and Yom Tob, refrain from Melachot De’Orayta – activities proscribed by force of Torah...