REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
August 1, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1079, 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

MEZUZAH WHEN RENTING IN CHUTZ LA’ARETZ

When renting a house or apartment in Chutz La׳aretz (outside of Eretz Yisroel), one is not obligated in the mitzvah of mezuzah until 30 days have passed. However, it has become the custom to affix mezuzos right away for any of the following reasons: even if one isn׳t obligated yet to affix mezuzos, he fulfills a mitzvah when he affixes them; according to some opinions, if it’s a long-term rental there is an obligation to affix mezuzos right away; so that the mezuzah should protect the inhabitants from potential harm; or because it’s a spiritual matter not to live in a home without a mezuzah.

The proper procedure is to put up mezuzos upon moving in (whether physically or when moving in one׳s belongings) without a bracha; after 30 days have passed, one mezuzah is removed from a room that requires a bracha. The mezuzah is given to a sofer to check, and then re-affixed. Preferably, it should be replaced with a more mehudar (enhanced) mezuzah. While making the bracha for putting up this mezuzah, one should have in mind (to include) all the other mezuzos that were put up right after moving in. Following this procedure allows for the spiritual protection of mezuzos on all doors right away, as well as the opportunity to make the bracha after 30 days, as required.

The above halacha applies only if renting a house or apartment in Chutz La׳aretz. However, if renting a home in Eretz Yisroel, or if one moves into their own home even outside Eretz Yisroel, all mezuzos have to be put up right away—with a bracha.

HOW MUCH CHALLA SHOULD I BAKE?

Question: Is it preferable to bake challa every week for Shabbos even if it’s less than the shiur (minimum requirement) for taking challa, or to bake a large batch every few weeks in order to be able to be mafrish challa (separate challa) with a bracha?

Answer: Jewish women have the custom of baking challa on Erev Shabbos instead of buying it from the store. There are a number of reasons for this custom:

1) In the olden times there were not many Jewish bakeries, and people ate pas paltar (bread baked by a professional non-Jewish baker), which is permissible according to the strict halacha; but for Shabbos they wished to be mehader (be stringent), and to eat bread baked by a Jew.

2) Jewish women want to honor Shabbos by baking challa themselves instead of buying it.

3) They want to separate challa on Erev Shabbos, since that is the opportune time for fulfilling the mitzvah of hafrashas challa.

Since freezers are readily available these days, a question has arisen among contemporary poskim: If someone does not need enough challa each week for a shiur challa, is it preferable to bake a large batch every few weeks, and to take challa with a bracha, and put the rest in the freezer, or is it better to bake a small batch of fresh challa every week? There are differing opinions among contemporary poskim. The following is an acceptable approach: If the frozen challa (or the challa baked using frozen dough) tastes as good, or almost as good, to the person as freshly baked challa, then it‘s preferable to bake a large batch every few weeks in order to be able to separate challa with a bracha. However, if the person finds that freezing the challa compromises its taste, then it’s preferable for them to bake fresh challa every week.

MAY A PASHRAN (ARBITRATOR) CHANGE HIS P’SAK?

Once a pashran (an arbitrator between two parties in a dispute) has disclosed his p’sak (ruling) to the baalei dinim (disputing parties), he may not change his p’sak by adding to it or subtracting from it. However, before the pashran conveys his p’sak to the baalei dinim, he may change his ruling.

When it comes to interpreting a p’sak, halacha distinguishes between various situations:

If a p’sak is mishtame letrei anpe (it can be interpreted in more than one way), the pashran is entitled to clarify his p’sak. Since the p’sak is ambiguous, it is considered as though no p’sak was rendered.

If the pashran wishes to interpret his p’sak in a manner that is dochek (forced) and not straightforward, there are differing opinions among poskim whether the pashran may do so.

However, if the “interpretation״ is mosif or goreia (adding to or subtracting from) the p’sak, it is no longer considered an interpretation, and the pashran may not alter it.

The halacha varies if a group of dayanim is involved, or if a single pashran is arbitrating; when it is a Beis Din rather than one pashran, there is more room for clarification of the original p’sak.

RECITING BIRCHOS HASHACHAR (MORNING BLESSINGS) UPON AWAKENING

Birchos Hashachar are found in the Gemara, and it says that each bracha should be recited after the activity it alludes to was performed or took place. For example, upon opening our eyes, the bracha of Pokeach Ivrim (Blessed are You … Who opens the eyes of the blind) should be said, upon arising from bed, the bracha of Zokeif Kefufim (Blessed are You … Who straightens the bent) should be said, and so on. It has become the custom, however, to say all of these brachos one after another right after the ritual washing of our hands upon arising and getting dressed. We shouldn׳t delay reciting the brachos beyond this time since the main objective of Birchos Hashachar is to thank Hashem immediately upon awakening; doing so later would be considered tashlumin (making up for it later). In addition, since there are activities that are prohibited prior to reciting Birchos Hashachar, it is important to say them as soon as possible.

There are many communities, though, who have the custom of reciting these blessings in shul for the benefit of those who do not know how to say them on their own; those people can fulfill their obligation by hearing others reciting these brachos and answering amein. Nonetheless, Birchos HaTorah should be recited at home upon arising right after ritual hand-washing, since it would be inevitable for a person to refrain from saying words of Torah from the time they awaken until they arrive in shul.

MONEY AWARDED BY A SECULAR COURT WHEN SUING A JEW

Suing another Jew in arka’os shel goyim (a non-Jewish court) is a very serious aveira (transgression), unless one has received explicit permission to do so from a Beis Din in accordance with the guidelines of Shulchan Aruch. A holech l’arkaos (an individual who goes to a non-Jewish court) may not be a shliach tzibbur (lead the prayers in shul) nor receive an aliya (be called up to the Torah). The Torah states about such people, “Kimat she’einam nimnin b’adas Yisroel.” (It’s almost as if they are not counted in [considered a part of] the Congregation of Israel.) Even if the defendant chooses a Beis Din that they are not entitled to use, it still does not justify the plaintiff taking another Yid to arkaos shel goyim.

Any monetary compensation that the secular court orders the defendant to pay—unless payment is in accordance with the Torah ruling—is considered geneivah (theft). In case a person uses that money to be mekadesh (betroth) a woman, she is not considered mekudeshes (betrothed). Furthermore, the plaintiff is required to reimburse all of the defendant’s expenses, including hotzaos hameilitz (attorney’s fees). If the defendant did not hire an attorney, and perhaps lost the case because of that, the plaintiff may not say, “Well, you should have hired someone to defend you.” Regardless of the circumstances, a plaintiff who goes to secular court without permission from a Beis Din has to pay all of the expenses incurred by the defendant.

TEVILAS EZRA

Ezra HaSofer instituted Takanas or Tevilas Ezra. According to this takana (institution), men who are in a state of impurity may not engage in learning Torah until they have purified themselves by toveling in the mikva. Later on this rule was extended to davening as well.

Although Tevilas Ezra does not apply nowadays from a halachic standpoint, it has become the accepted custom. Some Rishonim maintain that the original takana is still in effect in regard to davening, but the accepted halacha is that it is not. Nevertheless, all poskim agree that, “HaT’filla mekubeles yoseir im hatevilah״ (One׳s prayer is more readily accepted On High if one has toveled), and that it׳s certainly a praiseworthy act with many spiritual and material benefits. Toveling in the mikva is a form of sanctification, and is in keeping with the mitzvah of “Kedoshim tihiyu״ (You shall be holy).

In case a person is running late and may miss davening with a minyan by going to the mikva, according to many poskim he may miss davening with a minyan in order to do Tevilas Ezra. If one is in need of Tevilas Ezra, it׳s best to refrain from saying brachos until after going to the mikva; however, brachos that cannot be delayed, such as Asher Yatzar and Hamapil, should be said before going to the mikva.

ARE WE OBLIGATED TO REPORT WHAT WE SAW?

If a person sees someone damaging another’s property—and the owner is not aware of it—they are obligated to let the owner know what they saw. If need be, they are also obligated to testify in front of a Beis Din. Even if the individual who sustained the damage does not ask the witness who the perpetrator was, they still have an obligation of letting the victim know, so that they can collect damages. In the event that the victim is halachically permitted to take the case to secular court, it’s the witness’ obligation to assist the victim in their court case. This is part of the mitzvah of “Lo sa’amod al dam rei’echa” (Do not stand by idly while your friend’s blood is being spilled). This mitzvah is not limited to a situation where blood is actually being spilled, but includes helping a fellow Jew if they are being harmed, or if their property is being damaged. If one does not disclose what they saw, they may also be transgressing, “V’raah … ve’im lo yagid v’nasa avono (If he saw, and if he doesn’t tell, he will be guilty of a sin). Assisting the victim is also considered a fulfillment of the mitzvah of hashavas aveida (returning a lost object to its owner).

This is not considered lashon ha’ra (speaking evil), since the information is given l’toeles (to benefit another). Of course, the information should not be given in such a way that it would cause machlokes (discord). The witness should ask the victim not to report their source of information to the perpetrator. However, if the witness knows in advance that the victim will act improperly when they hear who the perpetrator was, they should withhold the information.

“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.

 

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.