Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mezuman with people who don't respond

Hi,

For a full mezuman, in which the Name of Gd is invoked, we require a full minyan participating. People who do not understand and do not respond to the leader are not included, despite having eaten.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:144)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kiddush Levanah during the Nine Days and after Tisha b'Av

Hi,

May I recite kiddush levanah during the Nine Days, or right after Tishah b'Av?

Kiddush levanah is meant to be joyous; therefore, many halachic authorities say that kiddush levanah should be postponed until after Tishah b'Av. Others rule that mitzvot should never be delayed, but they do refrain from singing and dancing at kiddush levanah during this period.

Those who wait to recite kiddush levanah may recite it at the close of Tishah b'Av, even though that is not yet a time for great joy. Indeed, some specifically recommend reciting kiddush levanah at this time; the text of kiddush levanah speaks of our renewal, and we are taught that Mashiach is born on Tishah b'Av. According to some, one should don shoes and eat first, to remove the influence of mourning. Some refrain from singing and dancing at kiddush levanah on this night.

Some wait to recite kiddush levanah until the Motzaei Shabbat after Tishah b'Av, to associate it with the joy of Shabbat. However, this year that would leave only two nights for kiddush levanah, and cloudy skies could eliminate the mitzvah entirely, so it may be better to recite kiddush levanah earlier in the week.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 426:2, 551:8; Maaseh Rav 159; Shevut Yaakov 2:11, 3:32; Be'er Heiteiv 551:25; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 426:8; Mishneh Berurah 426:8,11; 558:2; Biur Halachah 426 kodem; Siach Yitzchak 195; Mishneh Halachot 11:443; Teshuvot v'Hanhagot 1:206)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rising during a mezuman

Hi,

Some have the practice of rising for the liturgical line that invokes Gd's Name, when participating in a mezuman before birkat hamazon with ten minyan. Within this point of view, this is considered a davar sheb'kedushah, a sanctified ritual that requires a minyan of ten, and warrants standing.

According to Rivivot Ephraim [others disagree; see the disclaimer at the top of this blog], rising is not required, but one may do so.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:140:4)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Monday, July 28, 2014

Going to the cemetery on Tisha b'Av


Hi,

Is it appropriate to visit a cemetery on Tishah b'Av?

The Talmud records a practice of visiting cemeteries on public fast days, and it offers two rationales:
  • The visitor says he is "as though he is dead" in his suffering, and
  • The visitor asks those who are buried there to pray on his behalf.
Commentators offer a third reason: the visitors are reminded that if they do not repent, they will meet the fate of those who are already in the cemetery.

Based on this ancient practice, many Jews visit cemeteries after concluding kinos on Tishah b'Av. For mystical reasons regarding impurity, some stay at least seven feet from the graves, or even refrain altogether.

Halachic authorities warn that people should not go to the cemetery on Tishah b'Av in groups, lest the visit lose the introspective and mournful character appropriate for Tishah b'Av.

(Taanit 16a, Tosafot ibid. Yotzin; Beit Yosef Orach Chaim 559:end; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 559:10, 579:3; Magen Avraham 559:3, 15; Mishneh Berurah 559:12, 41; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 554:18, 559:7; Piskei Teshuvos 559:11)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mayim acharonim for women

Hi,

The Talmud states that one must wash his hands before reciting the birkat hamazon blessing after eating. Two different reasons are presented - one regarding sanctity, and the other regarding a coarse salt in one's food which could endanger one's eyes if he were to touch them. Either way, this applies for men and women alike.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:140:3)

[And of course, the note in the previous post regarding washing in order to have clean hands when reciting birkat hamazon also applies to men and women alike. - MT]

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clean hands for a blessing

Hi,

One must have clean hands when reciting any blessing; therefore, one who has been eating should wash his hands before reciting a blessing.

This is distinct from the practice of mayim acharonim recorded in the Talmud; it is a matter of respect for the blessing.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:140:2)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shir haMaalot on Friday afternoon

Hi,

On festive occasions, it is tradition to precede the birkat hamazon blessing after meals with Chapter 126 of Tehillim (Psalms), Shir haMaalot.

Because Friday afternoon is considered festive, as seen in the omission of tachanun at that time, one should recite Shir haMaalot before birkat hamazon at that time. The same applies for a meal on Saturday night.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:140:1)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai