A Halocha A Day

Just take a 2 minute break from your work to learn a quick and important Halocha.

1:05 AM

Hilchos Shabbos #5

Posted by Scholar

Reciting the brocha on the candles:

The brocha should be said on the candles that were lit where one is going to have the meal and not on those lit around the house. All other candles are exempt from a brocha through the brocha on the main candles.

Guests may light Shabbos candles anywhere in the house. The guest is obligated to recite a brocha on their candle even if its in a bedroom as the host's brocha doesn't exempt theirs.

Shabbos candles should not be placed in a drafty place, for example next to a window. The reason is the flames might come to be extinguished.

Some Sages hold that one may place the candles by a window if there is no wind there but other argue its best not to lest a sudden wind come and extinguish the flame.

3:27 AM

Hilchos Shabbos #4

Posted by Scholar

Shabbos Candles:

This mitzva involves many details, some relevant every week when lighting in one's own home, and others when one is away for Shabbos. Let us go into the laws.
The mitzva to light candles is Rabbinical. One reason for this is that we should enjoy the evening Shabbos meal through its light.
It is best to light the Shabbos candles where one is going to eat their meal. One should also make sure the candles are able to burn the entire length of the meal in order to provide the light for the meal.
Candles should also be lit around the house for the sake of shalom bayis (peace at home), the reason is so people can avoid tripping over things in the dark. There is no need for every room to have candles lit, as long as the light shines and will prevent anyone hurting themself. These days one can use electricity to provide the light without needing candles.
The meal mitzva to light Shabbos candles still applies even if the house is full of light and must be lit by the Shabbos table.

2:36 AM

Hilchos Shabbos #3

Posted by Scholar

Meals on Erev Shabbos:

We may eat and drink until Shabbos begins. Once Shabbos has began we are obligated to make Kiddish before eating.

Our Sages forbid eating lavish meals Erev Shabbos. The reason is because we want to show honor to Shabbos and therefore enter with an appetite, we eat larger meals on Shabbos and also the Sages were worried someone might be too engrossed into their eating and will not be able to prepare accordingly for Shabbos.

We may partake in a Seudas Mitzva on Erev Shabbos. Its best to have such a meal in the morning.

Adding to Shabbos:

Its is a Mitzva to add onto Shabbos. The custom is to accept Shabbos slightly earlier on a Friday and wait a little later on Moztei Shabbos before concluding Shabbos.
The amount of time needed for this "addition to Shabbos" is not given in the Gemora. The general custom is 20 mins before sunset to accept Shabbos.
One should state verbally that they are accepting this addition to Shabbos by saying, "I hereby accept tosefes Shabbos."

6:12 AM

Hilchos Shabbos #2

Posted by Scholar

Haircuts on Erev Shabbos:

If a person's hair is long, it is a mitzva for him to cut it before Shabbos. It is best to have the haircut on Friday to show it is in honor of Shabbos.

Cutting Nails on Erev Shabbos:

It is a Mitzva to cut nails every Erev Shabbos in onor of Shabbos. The rema rites that one should not cut their nails in order. One should start with the 4th finger of the left hand and then to the second finger, then the 5th, 3rd and 1st. On the right hand the order is: 2nd,4th,1st,3rd,5th.

Other Poskim rule that there is no problem with cutting the nails in order. The Mishna Brurah holds its best to follow the rema's ruling.

Finger nails should not be cut on Thursday as it will then appear the nails weren't cut in honor of Shabbos as they would have started to grow already.
Some opinions hold that one should not cut their finger nails and toe nails on the same day.
Rav Yehuda HaChossid brings down, one should not cut their hair and nails on Rosh Chodesh even when it falls on Erev Shabbos.

Bathing for Shabbos:

One must enter Shabbos clean and in a state of purity. One has an obligation to use hot water while bathing. Using cold water does not fulfill ones obligation.

Shabbos Clothing:

One must dress in special clothes set aside for Shabbos. This brings honor to Shabbos. It is also a custom to wear the clothes until after Havdola has been said on Motzei Shabbos.

*Note: Some have a custom to wear Shabbos clothes until 1 hour after Shabbos.

1:55 AM

Hilchos Shabbos #1

Posted by Scholar

Preparing for Shabbos:

While the Jews were in the desert, they gathered the manna they would eat on Shabbos(along with Friday's portion). The manna was gathered early in the morning. From here our Sages learn that we should begin our Shabbos preparations early Friday morning.

Purchasing Shabbos Food: 

Right after davening(praying) on Friday morning one should begin preparing for Shabbos. If one has a custom to learn right after they should try and avoid the session getting drawn out so he can still prepare for Shabbos.
Even if all preparations were done Friday morning one should still do some form of preparation just before Shabbos.
When purchasing items for Shabbos one should declare "l'kavod Shabbos, for the honor of Shabbos," by doing so the holiness of Shabbos rests upon the purchased item.

Baking Challa:

It is a custom to bake Challah in honor of Shabbos. The custom includes baking enough challah to enable one to fulfill the mitzva of separating challah on Erev Shabbos.

Getting involved in the Shabbos preparation:

There is a general rule that it is better to perform a mitzva oneself then through an agent. A person should get involved in the preparation work for Shabbos even if his family is doing the work. Even an important person has the obligation to prepare for Shabbos. It is an honor for anyone to prepare for Shabbos. One must clean their house in honor of Shabbos. One should envision a king coming to visit the house, how hard would we all work to prepare for such a visit! All the more so should we work for the Shabbos Queen.

Tasting the Shabbos food:

There is a mitzva to taste each of the Shabbos foods before Shabbos to see if it requires any further preparation. It is also a Mitzva to taste all the dishes on Shabbos itself, there is a hint to this from the Mussaf Prayer, "Those who taste it, merit life."

4:16 AM

15th January 2009

Posted by Scholar

On all foods and drinks one recites the after brocha of "borei nefashot", with the following exceptions: bread(which we recite birkat hamazon/grace after meals), the seven species(wheat,barley,grapes,figs,pomegranates,olives and dates which on these we recite the after brocha of mein shalosh, the same applies to wine) 

4:47 AM

12th January 2009

Posted by Scholar

If there is produce from the ground and produce of the tree before one and they recited the brocha on the produce on the ground first, they need to recite the brocha on the fruit as well because the fruit of the tree is not exempted by the brocha on the produce of the ground. If one recited the brocha on the produce of the ground and had the fruit in mind then we can rely on this brocha and no need to say another one on the fruit. The Rabbis instituted a ruling that we should always recite the correct brochas on all foods so we should not exempt any food by reciting a general brocha, in this case we should recite a brocha on the fruit and also the produce of the ground.