Monday, March 2, 2015

Giving to Everyone on Purim

Hi,

Is there a requirement to give tzedakah to all who request it on Purim?

Normally, one is required to investigate a tzedakah recipient or fund before giving a gift that would reduce his tzedakah for others, lest he cheat authentically needy people. [There is an exception where the need is dire and immediate, as in a request for food.]

However, on Purim we are instructed to increase people's joy and to give gifts of money and portions of food. Therefore, the majority view of halachic authorities is that one should give to anyone who asks. [There is a minority view which contends that this rule applies specifically for official distributors of communal tzedakah funds.]


(Bava Metzia 78b; Bava Batra 9a; Yerushalmi Megilah 1:4; Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Megilah 2:16 and see Tzofnas Paneiach ibid.; Ramban to Bava Metzia 78b; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 694:3; Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 249:7, 257:1; Rivivos Ephraim 6:386)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mishloach Manos for Mourners?

Hi,

Does a mourner send or receive Mishloach Manos?

Even though the mitzvah of sending mishloach manos involves joy, a mourner is obligated to send mishloach manos. This applies even during shivah. However, the mourner should not send items like wine and delicacies, which increase joy.

One should not send mishloach manos to a mourner, meaning a person who is within the year after losing a parent, or one who is within 30 days after losing a spouse, sibling or child r"l. However, a mourner who receives mishloach manos is not required to refuse them.

One may send to a mourner's family members, where the sender has a relationship with them.

One may send mishloach manos to a needy mourner, as a form of tzedakah. One may send to a mourner who holds a professional position in which it is expected that people will send him mishloach manos as a means of support.

May we know happy occasions.

(Sefer Chasidim 713; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 696:6; Taz Orach Chaim 696:3; Mishneh Berurah 696:18; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 696:8-9; Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 1:692; Divrei Malkiel 5:237; Shevet haLevi 10:107:3)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Temporary Hiatus

Hello,

Unfortunately, I need to take a hiatus from the Daily Torah Thought for a week or so, due to obligations elsewhere. I hope to return some time next week.

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Monday, February 9, 2015

Threading a shoelace

Hi,

One may not thread a shoelace into a shoe on Shabbat, unless the lace was already in use for that shoe. The reason is that designating the lace to remain in this shoe is an act of rendering the shoe functional.

Based on this logic, it would appear that one could insert a temporary lace, where it was clear that the lace would not remain there - such as where the colour was wrong for the shoe, or where the lace was borrowed from someone else. However, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ruled not to distinguish among cases in this matter.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:243)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Extra buttons and other attachments

Hi,

There is halachic debate regarding whether one may travel outside an eruv on Shabbos wearing a shirt that has extra buttons attached to it. Those who permit it contend that the buttons are considered nullified to the shirt, and many people are lenient along these lines.

A similar approach permits travelling outside an eruv with clothing that has a laundry tag or a shaatnez-certification tag stapled to it.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:242)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fallen Buttons on Shabbos

Hi,

If a button falls from my shirt on Shabbos, is the button muktzeh?

Items that perform a function when Shabbos starts, like a button that is attached to a shirt, are not muktzeh. Even should they cease to perform that function during Shabbos, they would not become muktzeh so long as they were intact. Therefore, a fallen button is not muktzeh. However, it may not be re-attached until after Shabbos.

Note:
  • Some rule that a button loses its status if it is not functional right now. It would be good to satisfy that opinion, where possible, and treat a fallen button as muktzeh.
  • If one were to decide not to re-attach the button to the original garment, then the button would lose its status as a functional implement, and it would be muktzeh.
  • A button that has never been attached to a garment is muktzeh.


(Shabbos 122b, 124b; Mishneh Berurah 308:35; Az Nidbiru 7:46; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 15:72, 15:(222); Rivivos Ephraim 1:223:7; Yalkut Yosef Orach Chaim 308:87)

Have a  great day,
Mordechai

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My hat fell off!

Hi,

One whose hat falls off in an area outside and eruv on Shabbat may pick it up and put it on. One is not transporting it for the prohibited lateral distance of four amot (about seven feet), and one is not transporting it between public and private areas.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:241)

Have a great day,
Mordechai