Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Third Year Anniversary

It's hard to believe that this week , my blog will have been up for 3 years. Althoough I have slowed down recently , looking at my old posts has inspired me to try and be more on top of it. (The key word being "try").

Also, Mazal Tov to my daughter who officially was Bas Mitzvah yesterday, 3 Teves.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Parshas Vayeishev:Using Treife Food For The Menorah

I discussed an interesting question, whether one is allowed to use non kosher food as oil or candles for the Chanuka menorah.

This question can be divided into 2 groups; one group would be issurei ha'na'ah like basar b'chalav or orlah. The 2nd group would be your regular run of the mill treife food like candles made from pig fat. I'd like to focus on this second group first.

Shittas Magen Avraham

The issue starts with a Magen Avraham in Hilchos Shofar Siman 586. The Rema paskens that one can not use a shofar from a non kosher animal. The Magen Avraham explains that in Shabbos 28b the gemara learns that tefillin must be made from a kosher animal ("min hamutar sheh bificha"). Furthermore, the gemara in Kiddushin equates the mitzva of tefillin to the other mitzvos in the torah to prove that women are patur from z'man grama. Therefore, the Magen Avraham says that this hekesh between tefillin and other mitzvos can also be applied to the halacha that the item used in the mitzvah must be from a kosher animal. (ayin Machatzis HaShekel who understands the Magen Avraham this way). It would come out that according to the Magen Avraham, the neiros of Chanuka must also come from a kosher source.

Poskin who disagree

Not all poskim hold that this Magen Avraham applies to ner Chanuka.

1) The Beis Yitzchak writes that this halacha only applies to cheftzei mitzva which are still around. The Yerushalmi in Sotah has a machlokes whether megillas sotah can be written on a non kosher animal. The opinion who holds you can't says the reason is because maybe the sotah will not want to drink the water. The Beis Yitzchak asks, why don't we say the reason is because we need "min hamutar sheh bificha". He answers that this halacha only applies cheftzei mitzva which are still around and since the klaf of the sotah is erased you don't need "min hamutar sheh bificha". The Beis Yitzchak then says the same sevara applies to ner chanuka, since the oil/candle is burned it can come from a non kosher animal

2) The son of the Noda B'Yehuda discusses this issue in a teshuva in the Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Siman 3. He is m'chaleik between tashmishei kedusha (tefillin) and tashmishei mitzvah. Since ner Chanuka are only tashmishei mitzvah there is no problem. One of his proofs is from the chilazon used in the techeiles which according to some shittos is from a non kosher animal. We see for tashmishei mitzva you can use a non kosher animal.

3) Rav Shlomo Kluger in Shnos Chaim writes there might be a problem of miyus. But if you are mesupak if it is not kosher or you don't know about it it is not miyus and you can use the candles

more later on issurei ha'na'ah

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parshas VaYeitzei:Hosafos to Ma'ariv when Davening Early: Part 2

To answer why one would say Ya'aleh V'Yavo even when davening early, the Mishnas Ya'avetz(Siman 2) has an interesting chiddush. I also found this idea in the Shut Mishnah Halachos. The halacha is that if you forget ya'aleh v'yavo at night you don'trepeat shemoneh esrei because we are not m'kadeish the chodesh at night and really one does not need to say ya'aleh v'yavo at night. However, why then do we see it? The Mishnas Ya'avetz says that we say it in reference to the next day which has kedushas Rosh Chodesh. It comes out that even when we daven ma'ariv after nightfall we are saying ya'aleh v'yavo because of the next day. Therefore, what difference does it make if we say it before tzais or after tzais-it is not a tefilla dependent on the night.

Regarding Al HaNisim, I saw in the Rivivos Ephraim that Rav Moshe held if one says Al HaNisim during mincha before Chanuka it is not a hefsek. The reason is that erev chanuka is also the z'man of commemorating the neis of winning the war. If this is so, then kal v'choomer one who davens ma'ariv early could say Al HaNisim. The Rivios Ephraim also quotes Rav Ovadiah Yosef who says this as well.

For V'sein Tal U'Matar I didn't find a clear reason why you would say it. The Ishei Yisroel just say swe do and he brings to sources but it is not clear why.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Parshas VaYeitzei:Hosafos to Ma'ariv when Davening Early

It's been awhile and I apologize to my legions of fans who have been anxiosly awaiting my next post.

I spoke abount an interesting shaylah this week. We paskin that one can daven ma'ariv starting from plag hamincha,like shittas Rabbi Yehuda in Berachos 26a. (whether this is l'chatchila or b'dieved is not nogeia this discussion). What happens if one davens ma'ariv early on Rosh Chodesh, does one say ya'aleh v'yavo? How about davening ma'ariv early on the 1st night of Chanukah or on December 3rd, when one would add v'sein tal u'mattar.

The halacha is we do add the various hosafos even when davening early. The question will be why.

The gemara in Berachos 27 says that one can daven ma'ariv for Shabbos early. The question is why. Most Rishonim hold that since there is a mitzvah of tosefes Shabbos, once you are m'kabeil Shabbos you can now daven a Shabbos shemoneh esrei before it is night. The Rambam however does not hold of tosefes Shabbos and he learns it is a special kulah in ma'ariv since ma'ariv is only a reshus not a chiyuv.

According to teh Rambam we can apply this chiddush of ma'ariv being a reshus to any ma'ariv and therefore that is why we add the hosafos despite davening early. The problem is the other Rishonim who learn the sugyah based on tosefes Shabbos. By these other hosafos there is no tosefes. We need to come up with other reasons why we add the hosafos before nightfall.

More to come...