July 12, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1076, Halacha 2 Go

Selected Halachos from the “One Minute Halacha” project

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


The mitzvah of pru urvu (having children) is a very important mitzvah; in fact, it is the very first mitzvah mentioned in the Torah. In the words of the Alter Rebbe, the first mitzvah of the Torah is that one Jew should make another Jew. However, unfortunately there are people who face grave challenges in fulfilling this mitzvah, and have great difficulty receiving Hashem’s blessing to have children. It is important to help such people as much as possible and to daven for them on every occasion, especially at opportune times for such t’fillos. The Chafetz Chaim wrote an entire seifer—called Shem Olam— for couples who have not been blessed with children yet. In his seifer he includes words of chizuk, telling them how—despite their tribulations—they can retain their bitachon (trust) in Hashem, confident that whatever Hashem does is for the good, and believe that G-d willing, He will answer them.

It is important for people who are undergoing this challenge to be aware that many fertility treatments involve serious shailos in halacha, and before engaging in any type of fertility treatment or medical tests, a competent rav who is familiar with these matters should be consulted to discuss what to do and how to do it in a proper manner.


Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid writes in his tzavaa that a father-in-law and a son-in-law, and a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law, should not have the same names. Potentially good shidduchim with people who are yerei Shamayim (G-d fearing) that have been suggested are often bypassed due to this issue. One suggestion is to add a name to either of them.

According to numerous poskim, there is no problem as long as one of them has an additional name that is not shared. The Tzemach Tzedek writes that there is no chashash klal uklal (absolutely no problem) in such a case, because if one of them has a name that is not shared, then the names are completely different names.

Adding a name has to be done in a certain way, and one should get the guidance of a rav to ensure that the new name will be a name that is muchzak (established). From the time that a person receives a new name they should use it regularly, either together with their old name or by itself, so that the new name does not become a shem shenishtaka (a name that has fallen into disuse).


A person should wash for bread and make the bracha of hamotzie even if one eats as little as a crumb. However, they should make the bracha of al netilas yadayim only if they will be eating a shiur of a k’beitzah (the volume of approximately one egg). Each k’zayis (approximately the volume of half an egg) of the k’beitzah has to be eaten within k’dei achilas pras (within the amount of time it takes the average person to eat a piece of bread equivalent to approximately three eggs), or within approximately four minutes—the first k’zayis within k’dei achilas pras, and the second k’zayis within another k’dei achilas pras. The two k’zaysim—equaling a k’beitzah—should be eaten directly one after the other with no interruption. However, Birchas HaMazon (bentching, the Grace after Meals) is said only if one eats a shiur of a k’zayis within the timeframe of k’dei achilas pras.


Kashering a microwave from milchigs to fleishigs or from fleishigs to milchigs on a regular basis is not appropriate, since it is a generally accepted custom not to kasher regularly back and forth. However, if inadvertently fleishigs was put into a milchig microwave or vice versa, the halacha is that one should wait twenty-four hours until the microwave is no longer a ben yomo, and then it can be kashered.

There are two ways a microwave can be kashered, and preferably one should employ both methods. One method is to first cover/seal the vent and then pouring boiling water on all of the microwave’s surfaces. The second way is to place a cup of water into the microwave, put it on the highest setting, and let it heat up for a minute or two until the inside of the microwave is full of steam. Since the area under the cup of water did not get kashered, this process should be repeated with the cup placed in a different spot. Many are stringent and maintain that the glass spinning plate should not be kashered.


Poskim address the concept of exercising on Shabbos, and they cite a number of concerns, most of which apply equally on Yom Tov.

First, there is the concept of “Shelo yehei hiluchach b’Shabbos k’hiluchach bechol” (You should not walk on Shabbos the same way you walk during the week), which is why one may not take big steps or run on Shabbos. Exercising can sometimes be a violation of that precept.

Second, there is the concept of menucha, resting and not exerting oneself on Shabbos, which is contrary to the purpose of exercise.

Third, there is the prohibition of being involved in uvdin dechol (weekday activities), as well as the issue of zilusa d’Shabbata, matters that appear to disgrace the Shabbos.

Fourth, according to some poskim, exercise could be considered a form of refua (healing the body) since we are strengthening it through exercise; medical treatment is a problem on Shabbos.

Brisk walking, however, if not done by taking big steps—and without exercise clothing or sneakers—as long the person appears to be walking normally, is permissible.

It is important when one goes shpatziren (taking a walk) on Shabbos that they utilize the time in a holy manner, such as discussing Torah topics, as Shabbos is an especially holy day that should be devoted mostly to matters of k’dusha (holiness).


If a person has the custom of lighting a yahrzeit candle, but forgot to light it before shkiah (sunset) on Friday evening—and this custom is very important to them—they may ask a non-Jew to light it after shkiah, as long as it is still before nightfall. This is because during the time of bein hashmashos (between shkiah and nightfall) it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to do melachos (activities) that are forbidden on Shabbos, even if they are melachos min HaTorah (Biblical prohibitions).

Similarly, if a woman forgot to light Shabbos candles and realizes it only after shkiah, she may ask a non-Jew to light one candle for her (but not more than one), as long as it is still before nightfall; after the non-Jew lit the candle she should cover her eyes, and instead of saying the usual bracha of, “Lehadlik ner shel Shabbos Kodesh,” (To light the candle of the Holy Shabbos) she should conclude the bracha with, “Al hadlakas ner shel Shabbos Kodesh” (On the lighting of the candle of the Holy Shabbos), since she did not light it herself, and is merely benefitting from the light. The same concept applies to all other melachos that are forbidden on Shabbos; if it is very important to a person to have it done they may ask a non-Jew to do it for them, but only until nightfall.

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