Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Is wearing Tzitzit an obligation?

"The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (113b) states that there are seven kinds of individuals that are excommunicated in Heaven and among them is one who does not don Tefillin on his arm and head, tie tzitzit to his garment, and place a Mezuzah on his doorpost. The Tosafot (ibid.) write that it seems that one must purchase a garment to tie tzitzit onto so as to obligate one’s self in the Mitzvah of tzitzit, just as we find in the Gemara in Masechet Sotah (14a) that Moshe Rabbeinu longed to enter Eretz Yisrael in order to be able to perform the Mitzvot that are specific to the land of Israel."

Saturday, June 6, 2015

To tuck or not to tuck Tzitzit? it depends...

"...Sepharadim, who generally follow the laws and customs of the Kabbalists, should keep their Tzitzit tucked into their garments. Chacham Bentzion Abba Shaul Z”L (Jerusalem, 1924-1998) cited his mentor, Chacham Ezra Attia Z”L (head of the renowned Yeshivat Porat Yosef in Jerusalem), as remarking that any Sepharadi that exposes his Tzitzit denigrates and casts aspersions on the previous generations of Sepharadim, who followed the practice of keeping the Tzitzit concealed. Rabbi Yehuda Tzadka Z”L (who served as Rosh Yeshiva along with Chacham Ezra Attia Z”L) testified that the esteemed Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer (1870-1939), author of Kaf Ha'chayim Sofer, likewise kept his Tzitzit inside his clothing. The same is said about the prominent Kabbalist Rabbi Efrayim Cohen Z”L, and this is the ruling of Chacham Ovadia Yosef, in his work Yechaveh Da'at (2:1)."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kosher shavers list - Not all shavers are Kosher to use

Harav Moshe Heinaman Shlit”a (Star K / Baltimore) DOES permit* the use of the BRAUN microscreen (foil) shavers for use straight out of the box. However, this heter (leniency) does NOT include the Remington Microscreen (foil) shavers.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lift up your heads, Oh charitable ones!

...Hashem showed Moshe a coin made of fire, a coin that was all quality and not quantity. Hashem's message to Moshe was that the half-shekel was not about showing off how much money one could give to charity. Rather, it was about each person making his contribution and showing that he counted in a meaningful manner. Each person's contribution was special, and when a person does something special, a person can be proud and can life his head up high. Thus, Hashem told Moshe to "lift up the heads" of the Jewish people. He commanded Moshe to teach the Jews a mitzva that would allow each person to feel pride in his role as an equal member of the Jewish nation.

Half Shekel rabbinic law applicable even for paupers, why is it so important?

... A third question is based on Rambam (Hilchot Shekalim 1). He says that it is a positive commandment for one to give the half-shekel, and it is so important that a pauper must sell the clothes off of his back in order to fulfill this law. This notion of selling the shirt of off one's back appears in two other places - in order to buy four cups of wine for the Pesach seder and in order to buy Chanukah candles. It is understandable that both of those commandments are reflective of great national miracles, and thus it is not surprising that we would require one to go to great lengths to be able to participate in them. However, how does the giving off the half-shekel fit in? Why is it so important that one has to sell his shirt in order to participate in it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

“Chilazon” – The aquatic or semi-aquatic creature

In the Talmud, in Menachos 44a, we find the following description: “The ‘Chilazon’s’ body has the color of the sea, and its form is that of a fish. It appears only once in seventy years (In Masechet Tzitzit, the probable source of this information, ‘seventy’ is replaced by ‘seven’), and ‘Techeilet’ is made from its blood; therefore it is very expensive.” Bava Metzia 61b says that the color of the dye made from the “Chilazon” was identical to the color “indigo.” And Menachot 43b says that “Techeilet” was a permanent dye.