January 9, 2018
Beis Moshiach in #1101, Halacha 2 Go, Winter

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 


According to some poskim, snow that falls on Shabbos is muktzeh, but if it fell before Shabbos, it isn’t.

Many poskim say that we may not make snowballs on Shabbosno matter when the snow fell.

We may not deliberately cause the snow to melt on Shabbos, but we are permitted to walk in it, since we are not intentionally melting the snow—and it is not a foregone conclusion that by walking in the snow we will cause it to melt. In fact, we may walk on the snow even if the snow will definitely dissolve, since Chazal did not forbid walking in snowy areas, as it is almost impossible to avoid doing so in the winter when the ground is covered with snow. However, it is preferable to take the path with less snow, or no snow at all, if there is an option.

If our clothing got full of snow, we may shake the snow off lightly, but not strenuously.

If there is snow on the sidewalk in front of our house and it poses a danger of slipping, chas v’shalom, we may remove it—if there is an eiruv. Many poskim even permit putting salt on the snow if the snow poses a danger of slipping, chas v’shalom, but only in places where it is permitted to carry. In a place where there is no eiruv, although we may not remove the snow ourselves, we may have a non-Jew remove it in order to prevent people from falling, chas v’shalom.


Although there is a well-known principle of bittul b’shishim (that a lesser substance is considered halachically nullified when mixed into another substance that is sixty times greater in volume), there are a number of limitations to this principle, among them: an ingredient that’s used for adding taste; or a davar hamaamid (an ingredient used to solidify a mixture) such as a coagulant, stabilizer, or thickening agent which, even if added in a minute amount, never becomes nullified due to its significance within the mixture. Moreover, ein mevatlin issur l’chat’chilla (one cannot use the principle of bittul to pre-emptively and deliberately overwhelm a nonkosher ingredient).

There’s a common scenario where a non-Jewish manufacturer without a specific Jewish clientele base includes a minute amount of a nonkosher ingredient in a product, and none of the above limitations are applicable (it wasn’t added for taste, etc.). Nevertheless, it would be inappropriate for a kashrus agency to provide a hechsher (declaration of kashrus) for such a product based on the principle of bittul, and condone its sale to Jews. Moreover, the Rashba is of the view that bittul also doesn’t apply if derech asiyaso b’kach (the nonkosher ingredient is one of the regular ingredients of the product), an opinion which many poskim maintain is the halacha. Accordingly, the product should be considered nonkosher due to the presence of the nonkosher ingredient.


The concept of simcha shel mitzvah is a very important one; the Arizal asserted that his tremendous spiritual accomplishments and insights were the result of exceptional simcha shel mitzvah. The Torah tells us that Yidden will be punished, “Tachas asher lo avad’ta es Hashem Elokecha b’simcha uv’tuv leivav mei’rov kol” (Because you didn’t serve Hashem your G-d when you had an abundance of all good things in life and you were happy), and the Rambam and the Arizal interpret this verse to mean that we should serve Hashem with palpable joy.

One way of arousing a sense of joy when doing a mitzvah is to contemplate how great a z’chus (merit and privilege) it is for us that Hashem has chosen us for this task. Moreover, the knowledge that we are creating a dira ba’tachtonim, causing Hashem to dwell in this world, is surely cause for rejoicing (in simpler terms, it’s the excitement at the prospect of hosting such a special Guest).

Interestingly, the Rama concludes the Orach Chaim section of the Shulchan Aruch with the words “V’tov lev mishteh tamid” (He who has a cheerful heart always has a feast). The context for this statement is a halachic dispute about whether there’s a mitzvah of simcha on Purim Katan (the 14th of Adar I, which occurs only during a leap year); the Rama’s message is that, regardless, it’s always important to be in a state of simcha shel mitzvah. Furthermore, the implication is that we are to be b’simcha even when we are not in the midst of performing any particular mitzvah.


One of the principles of our faith is to believe in Moshiach—and not only to believe in Moshiach, but to anticipate his coming every single day. It is a fundamental tenet of Yiddishkait, and there are numerous references to Moshiach’s coming in the Torah. Indeed, we pray many times a day for his coming.

One of the first questions asked of each departed soul by the beis din shel malah (Heavenly tribunal) is: “Tzipisa l’yeshuah?” (“Have you yearned for the Redemption?”) Some poskim say that believing that Hashem will redeem us through the coming of Moshiach is actually part of the principle of Anochi Hashem Elokecha, believing in Hashem. A person who does not do so is denying a basic tenet of Yiddishkait; therefore, it is crucial to make everyone aware of this basic principle of our faith.

Part of believing in and awaiting Moshiach is not to make any pre-conditions for his coming: for example, we may not say that because Eliyahu HaNavi has not come, therefore Moshiach cannot come yet. Nor may we set a ketz (a specific time) by when Moshiach should come, but rather we should constantly be anticipating his arrival. It is a halacha to yearn and pray for Moshiach every time we think or talk about him.

“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,, or by WhatsApp 347.456.5665.


Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
See website for complete article licensing information.