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Eating or Drinking Before Kiddush
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  As a general rule, it is forbidden to eat or drink once Shabbat has begun, until one recites or hears kiddush.[1] It is also forbidden to eat or drink before kiddush is recited once one has accepted Shabbat, either by lighting the Shabbat candles or davening ma’ariv.[2] This is true even if one had […]
Waving and Covering the Eyes
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It is customary for women to wave their hands and then cover their eyes when reciting the blessing upon the Shabbat candles. The reason for this is to comply with the halachic principle that a blessing must precede the performance of a mitzva, and not the reverse. Contrary to popular misconception, the lighting of the […]
Tosfot Shabbat
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Related to the previous chapter regarding when one should light the Shabbat candles is the topic of “Tosfot Shabbat” – adding from one’s weekday onto Shabbat. The principle of Tosfot Shabbat teaches that one is required to add on to Shabbat by accepting upon oneself Shabbat earlier than the last possible second, which is of […]
Candle Lighting Time
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Although there are a number of different customs as to when the Shabbat candles are to be lit Friday afternoons, there is no doubt that the custom for women to light eighteen minutes before Sunset is the most widespread.  Regardless of when the candles are actually lit, a woman must formally “accept” Shabbat when she […]
Making Early Shabbat
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One will often find congregations davening ma’ariv on Friday evenings well before the preferred time, which is nightfall. Some congregations even recite ma’ariv before sunset. The Talmud sanctions this practice and notes that there were great sages who regularly did so, especially on Fridays, in order to be able to begin Shabbat a little earlier […]
Gezel Sheina: Stealing Sleep
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To disturb someone who is sleeping or to prevent someone from falling asleep is a violation of gezel sheina.[1] In fact, some sources maintain that stealing sleep is even worse than stealing possessions.[2] This is because one who steals another person’s possessions can usually make restitution by returning the stolen items or reimbursing the owner […]
Kohanim: Airplane Travel
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Dead bodies are routinely flown in the baggage compartments on passenger flights for burial in distant places. Since it is considered very worthwhile and meritorious to be buried in the Land of Israel, this is an especially frequent occurrence on El Al flights. Indeed, over 65 percent of all El Al flights have dead bodies […]
Airplane Travel
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Although it is not widely known, there is a view among halachic authorities that Tefillat Haderech is not recited for airplane travel.[1] This is based on the Talmudic teaching that air travel is something associated exclusively with birds and not with people.[2] According to this approach, the reason Tefillat Haderech is not recited when flying […]
Publicizing the Donors
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Is it proper to publicize the names of donors? The practice of publicizing the names of those who make donations for charitable causes is quite ancient. The Talmud relates that it was publicized that Yosef Ben Yo’ezer made a generous donation to the Beit Hamikdash.[1] In fact, the famous “Nicanor Gate” of the Beit Hamikdash […]
Knock Before Entering!
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Our sages teach that one should not enter any home, even one’s own, without knocking first. As Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai teaches: “There are four things that God hates that I also don’t like…a person who enters his own home suddenly without knocking, and it goes without saying, one who enters his neighbor’s house without […]