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Wednesday
Jan312018

DOES EATING OLIVES CAUSE MEMORY LOSS?

Selected Halachos from the
One Minute Halachaproject

By HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Shlita
Mara D
asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights

DO SINGLE-HANDLE FAUCETS POSE A PROBLEM ON SHABBOS?

Single-handle faucets have lately gained popularity over two-handle ones. Whereas two-handle faucets have dedicated hot and cold water handles that control the hot and cold water, single-handle—or lever-style—faucets control both the hot and cold water flow with the same handle. Turning on the single handle faucets releases a mixture of cold and hot water unless pushed all the way to one direction. This poses a problem on Shabbos.

We may not turn on the hot water on Shabbos since doing so causes additional water to be heated to replace the hot water that was used. There is a greater likelihood of the hot water being turned on by mistake with a single-handle faucet. Some might forget to push the handle all the way to the right; others may not know how a single handle faucet operates. In addition, some models might release hot water even if the handle is pushed all the way to the right.

To avoid these potential problems, a faucet with two handles should be used or the hot water valve should be turned off before Shabbos. When faced with a one-handle faucet in an unfamiliar home, there is room to be lenient and assume that pushing the handle all the way to the right is okay.

EATING OLIVES

The Gemara says, “Haragil b’zeisim kasheh l’shikchah” (one who eats olives regularly is at risk of forgetting their learning), indicating that one shouldn’t eat them regularly. However, in practice we do eat olives, and poskim have given many justifications, as well as limitations:

The Gemara says haragil (regularly), but does not define what is meant by “regularly”. There are those who suggest that eating olives even once a month or once in forty days is considered regularly, whereas others suggest that the Gemara means eating them daily, or perhaps at two or three meals in a row.

Some poskim suggest that there’s a problem only if we eat many olives within a short span of time, but not if we eat a few; adding olives as a secondary ingredient to enhance the taste of food is certainly not a concern. Alternatively, it’s only a problem if olives are eaten as the main component of a meal.

Others state that only plain olives are a problem, and not pickled olives. Many say that if oil has been added to the olives it’s okay to eat them; there are those who say that only salt cured olives are a problem, and yet others who say that only black olives are a concern and not green ones.

The Arizal taught that all of the above applies only to an am ha’aretz (a person unlearned in Torah), but not to a talmid chacham who eats them with the proper kavanos al pi kabbala (kabbalistic meditations)

The common custom is to be lenient regarding eating olives if some oil, particularly olive oil, is added, as noted above.

THE HALACHOS OF THE MITZVAH OF SHILUACH HAKEN

Lately, many people seek out the opportunity of performing the mitzvah of shiluach haken (sending the mother bird away before taking the chicks or the eggs from the nest). The halacha is, in fact, that there is no need to actively pursue this mitzvah, but to do the mitzvah if we happen upon it. Although there are mekubalim who wrote that there’s merit to making an effort to do shiluach haken, there is no historical record of a movement which promoted seeking out this mitzvah until recently.

If one is to do this mitzvah, they must:

ensure that they are sending away the mother bird, and not the father bird; ascertain that the birds are of a kosher species;

be motivated by a desire to keep the eggs or the chicks;

There’s a machlokes ha’poskim (a dispute among halachic authorities) about whether it’s a mitzvah to do shiluach haken if there is no such interest. Many are of the opinion that if in fact there is no interest one would be transgressing tza’ar baalei chayim (causing pain to creatures). However, in practice, if the intent is to follow the stringent opinion and perform the mitzvah even in the absence of such desire, one need not be concerned about tza’ar baalei chayim.

send away the mother bird;

There’s a machlokes whether one meets the requirements of the mitzvah if they do not physically remove the mother bird, but scare her away by making a loud noise, such as banging on an object.

take the eggs or chicks specifically for the purpose of eating, according to some poskim, or at the least the eggs or the chicks must be permissible to be eaten;

Accordingly, the time frame for performing this mitzvah is very limited: either right after the eggs are laid—since after several days when an embryo begins to form the eggs may not be eaten—or several days after the chicks are born, once they open eyes and grow wings and are kosher to be eaten after sh’chita (ritual slaughter). Many poskim, however, reject this limitation to the mitzvah.

the nest has to be chanced upon, not mezuman (prepared).

Therefore, if the nest is on one’s property, such as a window sill, once the mother leaves the nest even once the nest belongs to the owner of the property, and does not qualify as “chanced upon”—and is therefore not eligible for the mitzvah of shiluach haken. Some modern-day poskim maintain that if one declared the nest hefker (ownerless), they may perform the mitzvah regardless. Others suggest having in mind not to be koneh (acquire them) before the eggs are laid. Some argue that none of the above is necessary: the fact that one never intended to take ownership of the eggs or the chicks, as is common nowadays, is sufficient to fulfill the mitzvah.

It should be noted that there is a machlokes rishonim whether a bracha should be made upon performing this mitzvah. Due to the above, and to other doubts regarding this mitzvah, if one is nevertheless determined to do it, they certainly shouldn’t make a bracha.

WHY AREN’T INSECTS BATTEL B’SHISHIM?
DOES GRINDING THE INFESTED PRODUCT SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Since we are forbidden to eat tola’im (insects), many products have to be checked for potential infestation. The question arises why the principle of bittul b’shishim (halachic nullification of a substance if mixed into another which is sixty times greater in volume) does not apply to tola’im.

There are two answers:

First, the rule is that bittul only applies when the lesser amount becomes incorporated into the greater one, and can’t be found; if nikar ha’issur (the forbidden substance remains discernible) within the mixture then it’s considered to exist independently, and is not battel.

Second, the rule is that a whole berya (creature) is never battel.

These answers may lead to another question: If so, why can’t we simply grind the suspect ingredient, thereby addressing both issues?

The reason is that, “Ein mevatlin issur l’chat’chilla” (we may not pre-emptively and deliberately overwhelm a non-kosher ingredient in order to be mevatel it); if we do, it is not battel. However, if produce was purchased for the purpose of following a recipe that calls for blending or grinding the ingredients (for a smoothie, for instance), it’s obvious that our intent is not to nullify the insects, and therefore it’s permissible to blend the produce without checking for bugs. However, this applies only if it’s difficult to check the product for tola’im, and that it isn’t a product that is muchzak b’tolaim (assumed to be infested with bugs).

It should be noted that if a product is muchzak b’tola’im it can be cleaned superficially so that it’s no longer considered muchzak; but since there’s a possibility that some tola’im were overlooked, grinding without the intention of nullifying the issur eliminates any remaining concerns.

 “One Minute Halacha” is a succinct daily presentation on practical Halacha in video, audio, and text formats, and can be accessed by phone at 718.989.9599, by email, halacha2go@gmail.com, or by WhatsApp 347.456.5665.

 

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