September 6, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1084, Halacha 2 Go

Selected Halachos from the One Minute Halachaproject
By HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Shlita, Mara Dasra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights


Making sushi on Shabbos can potentially violate any of the following five melachos (forbidden acts on Shabbos):

Mevashel (cooking): Hot rice might cook the raw fish and vegetables; however, sushi is generally made with rice that has cooled off, eliminating this problem.

Tochen (grinding): Cutting the vegetables very thinly would violate this melacha; however, this problem can be avoided by preparing the vegetables before Shabbos.

Boneh (constructing): Although one is generally permitted to put various ingredients together to create a dish on Shabbos, making sushi involves forming it into a particular shape—usually used for decorative purposes—an act that is included in Boneh and therefore forbidden.

Makeh B’patish (putting the final touch to something): According to a minority view, this applies to ochlin (foodstuffs) as well, and making sushi would therefore be a violation of this melacha.

Tofer/Medabek (sewing/attaching): According to some poskim, wetting the seaweed and attaching it to the rice may violate this melacha.


The permissibility of reading secular newspapers, particularly on Shabbos, has been discussed extensively by poskim. In reply to a letter inquiring about his position on the subject, the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote, “One should avoid reading secular material, even of a benign nature [presumably due to bittul Torah and/or the secular outlook and worldview]; even worse are those newspapers that contain material that Shulchan Aruch, as per a p’sak din mefurash (an explicit ruling), deems totally forbidden.”

The Rebbe’s citation of Shulchan Aruch is in reference to a discussion in hilchos Shabbos concerning which material may be read on Shabbos. The Shulchan Aruch states that material of a vulgar nature is not only forbidden on Shabbos, but is prohibited throughout the week as well. The reasons given are: moshav leitzim (engaging in vulgarities), al tifnu el ha’elilim (turning to something in conflict with the Torah spirit), and megareh yetzer ha’ra b’nafsho (arousing one’s evil inclination). In fact, some poskim posit that forbidden newspapers have a halachic status of tzo’ah (excrement and similar repulsive waste), and one may not daven when they are present. Of course, all of the above applies equally to any medium, whether in print or in digital format, such as the websites and applications of today.


Dental and foot implants are often the product of human remains (allograft). This is potentially problematic on two halachic counts: issur hana’ah mimeis (the prohibition of benefiting from a corpse), and the mitzvah of kever (burying the dead).

However, the mitzvah of kever applies only to Jews, and, considering that Jews are a minority among the general population, it’s safe to assume that a random implant did not originate in a Jewish body.

With regards to issur hana’ah, there are several opinions which temper the severity of the prohibition:

Some authorities maintain that this prohibition as well applies only to bodies of Jews (and we can therefore make the same assumption about the non-Jewish origins of the implant).

Others argue that in the case of non-Jewish remains, it’s only an issur miderabanan (rabbinic prohibition) and not an issur d’Oraisa (biblical prohibition).

Even if we assume that the issur hana’ah applies equally to non-Jewish remains, some poskim are of the opinion that this issur doesn’t apply—or is only an issur miderabanan—where the benefit derived is shelo k’derech hana’ah (benefit not derived in the regular manner). It can be argued that using an item for medicinal purposes is considered shelo k’derech hana’ah.

As a rule, when faced with a medical need, there is room for relying on minority lenient opinions. There is similarly room to be lenient when the issur is only miderabanan.

Therefore, in view of the above, if there is no other option, human implants may be used. Otherwise, it’s preferable to use bovine implants whenever possible.


It is the widespread custom for men to don two pairs of t’fillin: one with the four parshiyos (the selected portions of the Torah written on scrolls of parchment) in the order prescribed by Rashi (i.e. the portion of Shema before V’haya im shamoa), and the other pair in accordance with the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam (V’haya im shamoa before Shema).

The t’fillin shel rosh (placed on the head) are easy to tell apart as there are hairs protruding on the front of the bayis (the box encasing the parshiyos) to the right of the parsha containing V’haya im shamoa: On the Rashi t’fillin that is between the third and fourth sections of the bayis, and on the Rabbeinu Tam t’fillin it is between the second and third sections (i.e. in the middle).

However, the t’fillin shel yad (bound on the arm) are indistinguishable on the outside. Some poskim mention the custom of making the bayis of the t’fillin d’Rabbeinu Tam slightly smaller in order to tell them apart; however, that is not the common practice. In order to avoid confusing the two, it’s advisable to make some kind of indication on the protective box which covers the t’fillin shel yad, or to cut the end of one of the retzuos (t’fillin straps) in a way that will differentiate them. Of course, no mark should be made on the t’fillin themselves.


We recite a series of brachos known as Birchos Hashachar (the morning brachos) every morning upon awakening. One of them is Elokai Neshama, praising Hashem for returning our neshama to us when we awaken. We also say Birchos HaTorah, the brachos recited prior to the mitzvah of Torah study, which cover all of the Torah studied throughout the rest of the day.

If we forgot to say Birchos Hashachar before davening, we should say them afterwards—with the exception of Birchos HaTorah. The reason is that the second bracha preceding Shema, Ahavas Olam, also speaks of Torah study, making Birchos HaTorah redundant. However, some Torah must be studied immediately after davening so that Ahavas Olam should serve as the bracha preceding that mitzvah.

There is an opinion in poskim that the bracha of Mechayeh HaMeisim in Shmoneh Esrei—which praises Hashem for reviving the dead—also makes Elokai Neshama superfluous. Elokai Neshama should l’chat’chilla (ideally) be recited before davening to avoid this issue.

If we forgot to say Birchos Hashachar, but realize after saying Baruch She’amar, then Elokai Neshama and Birchos HaTorah should be recited between the end of Yishtabach and beginning the bracha of Yotzer Ohr—which is the best point during davening for making absolutely necessary interruptions. In fact, some poskim say that if we realize in the middle of P’sukei D’Zimra that we haven’t said Birchos HaTorah, we should say them at once, so that no more p’sukim (verses) of Torah are said without being preceded by Birchos HaTorah.


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