With Shiva Asar B’Tammuz arriving on Thursday, signifying the start of the 3 Weeks and the commencement of the summer season in earnest, it’s a good time to review some practical halachos that are highly pertinent to summer and its associated activities.
The summer provides unique opportunities for growth in our Avodas HaShem. During the summer we often can utilize Halacha in ways that do not present themselves during the year. Following are some guidelines from Rav Eliezer Eidlitz shlit”a that may help us to successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of the summer months.
- Tefilas Haderech
- Birkas Hagomel
- Kashrus in Hotels and Rental houses
- Tevilas Kailim
- The Three Weeks
- Tisha B’Av
- Scooters on Shabbos
TEFILAS HADERECH and HAGOMEL
- (Brachos 29B) – Eliyahu Hanavi told Reb Yehudah:
כל היוצא לדרך צריך להתפלל תפלת הדרך. מאי תפלת הדרך? יהי רצון מלפניך ד’ אלקי שתוליכני לשלום ותצעידני לשלום ותצילני מכף כל אויב ואורב בדרך, ותשלח ברכה במעשי ידי, ותתנני לחן לחסד ולרחמים בעיניך ובעיני כל .רואי, ברוך אתה ד שומע תפלה. אמר אביי: לעולם לישתף אינש נפשיה בהדי צבורא
The Gemorah is telling us that while we always need HKBH’s protection, however it is needed even more when we are traveling and warrants a special Tefilah.
- Rashi and the Rashba (Brachos 29b) understand from the Gemora that Tefilas Haderech can only be said up to 1 Parsa from town (a bit under 3 miles) since we are asking permission to travel from one community to another. The Rosh (Brachos 4:18), Behag and Mechaber ( O.C. 110:7) say that we start saying it only after a Parsa and up to 1 Parsa of ending the journey since one still needs HKBH’s extra protection. The trip is considered to have started 70 Amos (120 feet) after the last house of the town, which is defined in Halacha as having “left town”. Mishna Berura (Orach Chaim 110:29) says that it should be said within 3 miles of “leaving town”.
- Taz: We can say Tefilas Haderech at home as soon as we start on the trip. The MB (O.C. 110) says to follow the Mogen Avrohom to wait until we leave The Steipler would say it upon entering a highway.
- Rivavos Ephraim (6:109) says that when traveling on a ship we say Tefilas Haderech as soon as it leaves the dock, and on a plane as soon as it is moving. Rav Ruderman (Mipi Hashmuah) says to wait until the plane is on the runway and is taking off.
- Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky Paskens to say Tefilas Haderech whether we are nervous or not about the trip. He explained that it is a Teffila and not a Bracha, so the rule להקל ברכות ספק does not apply.
- Yabia Omer: (1:13) any mode of travel of 72 minutes or more away from a town requires saying Tefilas Haderech.
- Mishna Berura (O.C. 110:28) Lechatchila we make it a Bracha Ha’Smucha Lechaverta, (connected to another bracha) by first saying a bracha on something else.
- Gem Brachos (30a) – Rav Shaises – says Tefilas Haderech can be recited even while a person is walking. Rav Chisda – only standing still. In a plane or car, a person should sit since it is too hard to concentrate while The Mishna Berura (110:22) says that one should say it in whatever position he will have greater kavanah
- Piskei Teshuvos (110:3) says that preferably each person should say Tefilas Haderech for themselves, but one can be Motzei others if needed. However, a Koton cannot be Motzei a Gadol.. Reb Moshe and Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo 21) say that one can be Yotzei by hearing from another Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emes L”Yaakov OC 110) says that each person should say it.
- MB (110:26) – typically we say Tefilas Haderech once a day, which covers until we sleep in a ilas Haderech is repeated each night a person sleeps a Shainas Keva in a city/hotel etc. sleeping in a campground is the same according to the Minchas Shlomo (2:60:4) and according to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (68:5) it is only a Shainas Arai and does not require a new Teffilas Haderech the next morning.
- Reb Moshe Feinstein would say Tefilas Haderech in the mountains on any trip over a
- The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (968:6) says that a person should be careful to give Tzodoko before starting a trip since it says in Tehilim(85:14) פעמיו לדרך וישם יהלך לפניו צדק
The Gemorah Berachos (54b) says that a person who travelled through an ocean or desert, was released from jail or was healed from a serious illness and is no longer in danger says the Bracha הגומל לחייבים טובות שגמלני כל טוב. This Bracha is said when flying over an ocean as well, such as to Eretz Yisroel. It is said at the conclusion of the trip, not during a stopover.
- Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ((Halichos Shlomo Hilchos Teffilah 23:5) and Reb Moshe Feinstein (I.M. in O.C. 2:59) pasken that a person should say Birkas Hagomel after any flight. However, the Tzitz Eliezer ((11:14) says that the Minhag is to say the beracha only when flying over an ocean.
2. The Mishna Berura (219:6) says that we should say it in a Minyan with the one saying the Bracha counted in the 10.
3. Rivvivos Ephraim (1:156) says that we should be careful to say it standing, and it is usually recited after one is called to the Torah, as the Mishnah Berurah says ((219:2)
ISSUR OF SAKANAH (DANGEROUS SITUATIONS))
חמירה סכנת מאיסורה )חולין ט( ושמרתם מאד לנפשתיכם )דברים ד(
גמרה שבת קצ“ב ויבמות י“ב –אפילו דבר שיכול להיות סכנה אם זה מנהג העולם ודשו בו רבים מותר שזה מגיע ל“שומר פתאים ה“) (
The Gemorah and Poskim explain that we are stricter when it comes to possible danger than for most Issurim in the Torah; However, the Gemorah in Yevamos explains how we evaluate what is dangerous and what is acceptable risk.
.בהם שימות ולא בהם וחי – סכנה איסור On the one hand we are instructed not to endanger ourselves, on the other hand the Gemorah explains that if it is a common risk (see examples below) we can rely on extra protection from HKBH
The following are some examples that Poskim often find Assur due to uncommon danger (סכנה איסור)
- Bungee jumping 2. Parachuting 3. Smoking cigarettes 4. Smoking marijuana 5.Big game hunting 6. Base jumping 7. Car travel without seat belt 8. Any dangerous activity
The following are usually not considered a Sakana:
- 1. Car travel (with seat belts) 2. Skiing 3. Boating 4. Swimming 5. Hiking 6. Donating blood 7. Eating and drinking most foods 8. Playing sports 9. Thrill rides in amusement park 10. Rafting
- Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l didn’t wear a seatbelt when it was not mandatory. Since most people at the time didn’t wear them, he considered it בו דשו רבים, but he was careful to wear a seatbelt when it was the law, and most people did start wearing seatbelts. He said therefore we can eat meat, sugar, coffee etc. in moderation and enjoy HKBH’s protection. However, he said that parachuting for fun, for instance, would be Assur.
- Rav Chaim Kanievski zt”l adds the Posuk in לך השמר רק – ד דברים as the Chiyuv to watch over one’s health.
- אליעזר ציץ – normal everyday events e. freeway travel, rollercoaster riding, etc. are in the category of השם פתאים שומר Hashem protects his foolish one’s, and are allowed. 4 .Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzinski ztz”l, says that the Heter of פתאים שומר – risky behavior – is only when it is a distant and minor concern. Even when swimming one has to be sure it seems safe.
KASHRUS IN A HOTEL OR RENTAL HOUSE
- Metal, glass utensils that normally require Tevila can be used without Tevila if owned by a non-Jew. Typically glasses in hotels and rental houses can be used without Tevila unless the house is known to be owned by a Jew.
- Cold, non-kosher, silverware owned by a non-Jew can be used for cold food that is not sharp, e. a cold non-kosher spoon for kosher cold cereal, when plastic or kosher utensils are not available.
- For Shabbos we need to check if the property is enclosed in order to At hotels this often is not the case for the outside grounds. Inside the room and building one can carry.
- Buying cut up fruit in a supermarket or airport is fine as long it does not contain anything that needs to be checked for insect infestation and is without added
- Unflavored tea or coffee are fine in Kiosks, convenience stores, gas stations,
- Closed containers such as salt and sugar are fine in a rental house (if the owner allows their use) but not open containers.
- It is difficult to kasher a BBQ and better to use a disposable or portable one. If one does need to be kashered, it must be cleaned well with something like Easy Off and turned on for an hour to high. The grates that we put the food on directly need further Kashering by placing burning coals on them and under them until they go out. Great care must be used not to cause a fire or bend the metal rack. Often it is more practical and cheaper to buy and Tovel a new rack.
- A self-clean oven can be turned on and used after the cycle ends. A non-self-clean oven should be inspected to make sure it is clean, wait 24 hours from last use, turn on for an hour to high and The stove tops can be used as follows: if electric, turn on till red (usually about 3 minutes) and it is kashered. Gas should be turned on for 15 minutes with metal over it to reflect the heat down. A disposable aluminum pot works well for this.
- Countertops are fine to use, but very hot pots should be put on a towel and not directly on the countertop.
- Cold cereal in a hotel continental breakfast often is kosher, but one needs to determine the brand being served for it’s kosher Often the hotel personnel are happy to bring out the boxes and show the Hechscher.
- A waffle maker, popcorn popper, and other cooking utensils need to be considered non-kosher even if at the moment they are using kosher oil and other ingredients.
12. Unflavored coffee or tea from Starbucks is okay, and best from a drive thru or kiosk, but acceptable from the large stores if there is no good alternative. The same is true with coffee from restaurants. Starbucks flavors come from a bottle with clear indication of kashrus that one can verify on the spot.
Coffee is not Bishul Akum – Pri Chodosh and Gilyon Marsha (YD 113:1)
- It is a Mitzvah learned from Bamidbar (31:23) and elaborated on in the Gemorah Avoda Zara (75b) that after Milchemes Midyan we were given the Mitzva to be Tovel the Kailim that were made from gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and all types of Glass (including pyrex or corelle) is in the same category as metal.
2. Wood, Plastic, Rubber, earthenware, do not require Tevilah . China is only Toveled without Brocho as with Teflon coated pans.
3. Rashba (Yevamos 47b) compares Tevilas Kailim to Gairus, converting the Kailim from non- Jewish use to Jewish use. This is also found in the Yerushalmi (Avoda Zara 5:16)
4. Aruch HaShulchan (Y.D. 120:25), Iggros Moshe (Y.D. 2:46), Yechaveh Daas say that we consider it a Mitzvah D”Oraisa for the owner to be Tovel Eating on possibly non Toveled Kailim is an Issur D”Rabbonon
5. Tevilas Kailim is only for “Klai Shulchan” used directly touching food: a blech, can opener, coffee grinder, corkscrew, dish rack, flour sifter, hot plate, immersion heater, knife sharpener, food thermometer, oven racks, all plastic or wood utensils, rolling pin, silicone bakeware, sink rack, trivet, warming tray, do not require Tevila. (Rabbi Heineman)
6. If you borrow Kailim from a Goy no Tevilla is needed Shulchan Aruch, Ramah – (Y.D. 120:16) e.g. vacation home glasses, hotels etc. In cases of great need, such as when a Mikvah is not available, Erev Shabbos, or the Kailim will be ruined by Tevila (Keurig machine etc.) one can give/sell their utensils to a non-Jew and borrow it back indefinitely. The alternative would be to be Mafkir (make ownerless) the utensil in front of 3 people.
7. Iggros Moshe etc: we only make a Brocho if we are sure it needs Tevilla, not on
8. The Kli needs to be Tovelled all at once, without rush and without stickers
9. Reused bottles and cans according to Iggros Moshe (Y”D 2:40)– do not require Tevillah unless they are made to be The same Heter pertains to drinking from a glass soda bottle the first time.
10. Iggros Moshe ( Y”D 3:23) says that disposable aluminum used only once or twice and thrown away does not require Long term use requires Tevilla without a Brocho. Reb Yaakov agrees. Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says we should be Tovel disposables with a Brocho .
11. Chelkas Yaakov (Y.D. 41-43) – Electrical appliances that are connected to the wall with a cord do not need Tevilah, as is the case with an However, Most Poskim disagree. Iggros Moshe says that one needs to be Tovel only the part that touches food.
12. Iggros Moshe: a toaster does not need Tevilah if it will become ruined by Tevilah (Y.D. 1:57) Shevet Halevy (Y.D. 2:57) as well as Rivevos Ephraim (2:172) say that toasters do need to be Toveled. In most cases one can be Tovel them and wait a couple of days until they dry This will not work usually for electronic appliances with a chip and readout.
13. Ba’Er HeiTev ( YD 12)) a person can be Tovel something for the owner if they do not object, even without their A brocho can be made if one can assume that the owner wants it to be Toveled.
14. In most cases one cannot eat or drink in Kailim owned by a Jew that were not toiveled. However, it does not make the food non-kosher and can be transferred to a Toveled plate. If it was cooked in a non Toveled pan and served on Toveled dishes or on paper/plastic most Poskim allow it to be eaten – Romoh (YD 120), Iggros Moshe (YD 2:41). Reb Elyoshiv does not allow one to eat on non Toveled dishes even B”Diavad. Reb Moshe allows B’Diavad if the food does not really need the utensil i.e. plate vs soup bowl. Reb Shlomo Zalman allowed for Kiruv purposes to B’Diavad eat and drink from a Jew’s non Tovelled Kailim.
15. The Posuk says that we need to use “Mai Niddah” water that is kosher for a Niddah Natural lakes, wells, ocean etc. are usually kosher.
SCOOTERS/BIKES ON SHABBOS
- The Kaf Hachaim (403:8) raises a concern that bikes/scooters may have an issue of carrying since it cannot stand without our keeping it going and a person may go a distance without realizing and go out of the Techum. In addition, if it breaks e.g. the chain falls off, he might fix it, the same concern we have with musical instruments.
- The Shulchan Aruch in (ג”שכ ח”א) says that this type of activity is דחול עובדין
- Reb Moshe Stern says that there is a difference between לא או לחנוך הגיע and should not be used once a child recognizes that it is Shabbos.
- Reb Ovadia Yosef says that some quote the Ben Ish Chai as allowing bike riding in some circumstances, but most אחרונים do not allow it. (Chazon Ovadya, Shabbos Vol. 4, p. 40)
- Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky (OC 302:339), Reb Moshe (שבת טלטולי ספר), Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (16:18) Reb Ovadia Yosef (Chazon Ovadia 4 page 40) and Tzitz Eliezer ((7:30) allowed tricycles for children below the age of חינוך since it is not a method of transportation and therefore not דחול עובדין but did not allow any type that can be used for transportation for older children.
לפיכך אסור לאדם להלך בחפציו בשבת ואפילו לדבר בהן . ומפני מה נאסרו שנאמר )ישעיה נח( “אם .דרכיך מעשות וכבדתו ונאמר קדשי ביום חפציך עשות רגלך משבת תשיב. We learn from this Pasuk in Yeshayhu that all our actions on Shabbos, even walking, talking, eating, the clothing we wear etc. need to reflect the Kedushah of Shabbos Kodesh.
17 OF TAMMUZ, THE THREE WEEKS, AND TISHA B’AV– Bein Hametzorim
- The following tragedies happened during this time: Luchos broken, Korban Tomid stopped in first M., Pirtzu Hachomos of Yerushalayim, Second B.M. Apostomus Horasha burned Sefer Torah, Menashe put idol in המקדש בית
- Yevomos 43, Ramban, Tur – during this time limit business dealings, construction, and landscaping of Simcha.
- Romoh – no weddings entire Ben Ish Chai – even for Sepharadim. Yabia Omer – many are Matir.
- Vort – Mogen Avrohom – Until Rosh Chodesh Av permitted without music, but a meal is
- Dancing – Mogen Avrohom, Elyah Rabba, Mishna Berura – Some allow at Sheva Brachos
- Haircuts, Shaving – Ashkenazic custom is to assur for the entire 3 S”A , Reb Ovadia– allowed until Shavua Sh’Chal Bo Ben Ish Chai says some Sefardic Minhagim stop allowing haircuts and shaving from Rosh Chodesh.
- Chasam Sofer allows shaving for a person who shaves Preferably only for Shabbos and only until Shvuah Sh’chal Bo. Reb Moshe allows daily shaving until Shvua Sh’Chal Bo if his Parnoshoh could be affected.
- M”B from Chayei Odom – it is ok for young children to get haircuts until Shavuah Sh’chal
- Mogen Avrohom allows cutting fingernails whole Taz and Elyah Rabba only until Shavuah Sh’Chal Bo
- Music – Reb Moshe – all types are assur during entire 3 weeks. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach allows music that is not conducive to Pri Megodim allows for Parnosoh, music lessons etc. until Shavuah Sh’chal Bo.
- Shecheyanu – Arizal says no during entire Sefer Chassidim , M’B, Mogen Avrohom,– allowed on Shabbos only. Taz, Gro – even on weekdays allowed.
- Buying new car – Reb Moshe says for pleasure no but for work Say Shehechiyanu after the 3 weeks. Piskei Teshuvos – if an appliance breaks, we can replace it during the 3 weeks.
- We should be careful not to go to dangerous places during 9 days תשובות פסקי (551:46)
- Swimming is allowed until Rosh Chodesh Av תשובות פסקי (ibid)
- The Minhag is not to wear freshly laundered clothing from Rosh Chodesh Av. It should be slightly worn or places on the floor in Underwear does not have this restriction. פסקי תשובות (551:17)
- We do not do laundry during the 9 days (even thru a non-Jew) other than for young children and for great necessity. Piskei Teshuvos (551:3) אברהם מגן
- One can buy shoes for 9 B’Av during the nine ח”א משה איגרות( 3:80)
- We are allowed to purchase from a “sale” since it is Davar Ha’Avud..ח”א תשובות פסקי ( 551:27)
- We are allowed to buy weekday clothing during the three weeks until the nine days ( unless we need them immediately). Clothing for camp should be bought before Rosh Chodesh ברורה משנה (551:7)
- Some do not cut their nails after אב ח”ר. All agree that it is allowed for 551 ברורה משנה
- One is permitted to shine their shoes L’Kovod Igros Moshe (3:80)
- The custom is that the restrictions of the Nine days (including bathing, cutting hair, doing laundry, listening to music, making a beracha of Shehechiyanu, eating meat, drinking wine) continue until Chatzos on the Tenth of Av .ברורה משנה (558:1)
- Siyum 9 days: MB (OC 551:73) brings from Elya Rabba that a person should not accelerate or delay a Siyum to the 9 days in order to eat Reb Moshe says from the 7th of Av until the 10th one should not eat meat even with a Siyum due to the main Churban happening during that time
HALACHOS OF 9 B’AV
- One may not wear shoes or sneakers made (even) partially of leather
- One may not eat from Sunset on Erev Tisha B’Av until nightfall after the (With regard to the elderly, sick, pregnant or nursing women, generally we follow the stricter guidelines applicable to Yom Kippur. One must discuss this with a Rov.)
- One may not wash or (For Netilas Yadayim in the morning or after using the bathroom one should wash only until the knuckles).
- One should sit on the floor or on a very low seat (like an Avel c’v) until Chatzos on Tisha B’Av day. (Elderly people, pregnant women, and women who recently gave birth are not required to sit on the floor).
- The Peroches should be removed from the Aron
- Many have the custom not to do any work or business until Chatzos on Tisha B’Av
- Generally, one may not learn Torah on Tisha B’Av. One may study Megilas Eicha, Iyov, Churban Beis Hamikdash, and Hilchos Tisha B’Av.
- One should not greet another person on Tisha B’Av all If one unknowingly greets you, answer curtly but courteously.
- The Minhag is to not wear Tallis and Tefillin at Shachris, only at
- The custom is that one should not kiss his tzitzis at
- One should preferably not smoke on Tisha B’Av. If one is unable to refrain, he should wait until after Chatzos and not smoke in public.
- Some have the minhag to sleep in an uncomfortable (e.g. on the floor, or without a pillow, or with 1 pillow instead of 2).
- When 9 B’Av falls on Thursday we are allowed to wash clothing and take haircuts Thursday night as it is in honor of שבת (ח”תקנ סימן ב”מ) Music and swimming are allowed Friday afternoon.
- Another difference of a Thursday 9 B’Av is that we do not say לבנה קידוש until ק”מוצש
Airline meals need to be unopened when received. Many airports, in particular in the tri state area, have kosher meals available in the concessions. Milk and eggs are more challenging when purchased from a farm or roadside stand. The eggs likely will be fertilized and often contain blood spots. In small farms the milk may be Cholov Akum and not allowed by Reb Moshe’s Teshuva. Fruit from farms and roadside stands often contain a great deal of insects. When flying out of Ben Gurion airport or in any other part of the world we need to remember that the name alone does not mean that it is the same product that we are used to in the U.S. It often has a Hechscher and is kosher in one country but in another it is not. Most products such as Hershey etc. are not kosher in the Ben Gurion airport.
If a person goes fishing with non kosher bait, care must be taken to remove the head before cooking. If it is filleted on board a deep sea fishing boat one has to watch it to make sure the knife is only used for this type of fish, that it is clean, and that one receives the fish that they gave in.
GOING ON VACATION
In general, while vacationing can be an extremely beneficial time, we want to make sure it is a נופש – time to rejuvenate, and not ו”ח the opposite.
In Sefer Devorim (14:18 ראה פרשת) the Torah singles out the pig as one of the animals that personifies not kosher. A common Yiddish idiom is “Chazer Fissel” that something we are doing may appear “kosher” but in reality it is not something that the Torah really approves of. Whatever we do and wherever we go we want to be careful that the situation meets our Torah standards that we have set for ourselves.