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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

opening wrapping on Shabbos

opening wrapping on Shabbos Question: Is it permitted on shabbes to tear a sweets wrapping (silver paper), where the letters are not written and not printed on it only pressed inside? Answer: It is not clear what you mean by "pressed inside". If there are no letters it may be torn. If there are letters this should be avoided if possible, but otherwise one may tear a package even if it may tear some letters. ...

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siyum without speaking

siyum without speaking Question: Can one make a siyum if some (or all) parts of the masechta were learned only by reading with the eyes, without verbalizing or hearing from someone else? In the future, should one verbalize the entire Gemara, or is it ok l'chatchila to learn mentally as long as one understands what he is reading? Please provide sources. Thank you. Answer: Learning by reading [without verbali ...

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eating less than kezayit

eating less than kezayit Question: Question connected to previous about eating less than kezait. Can he in that case rely on opinion that kezait is like our olives (3-5 gr.)? Answer: One who must always eat less than a shiur and will not have the opportunity to say bracha achrona may rely on the small shiur close to a present day olive to say a bracha achrona. This should not be at 3-5 gram, but at a minimu ...

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CUTTING DOWN FRUIT TREES

CUTTING DOWN FRUIT TREES Question: SHALOM UVERACHA THERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO ATTEND MY WEEKLY HALACHA SHIUR WHO PLANS ON MAKING ALIYA AFTER CHANUKA BUT BEFORE PURIM BE"H THE PROBLEM IS THIS. WE LIVE IN SOUTH FLATBUSH AND HE HAS VERY GOOD OFFERS FROM SEFARDIM TO BUY THE HOUSE. THE PROBLEM IS THERE IS A FRUIT TREE IN THE BACK WHICH HAS BEEN HOLDING UP THE SALE. AS THE BUYERS ALL WANT TO EXPAND THE HOUSE FURT ...

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Breaking Door on Shabbos

Breaking Door on Shabbos Question: A student asked me the following. A guest got locked in his bathroom on Shabbos and she started to hyperventilate. He and his wife couldn't find the superintendent to take off the door, so he unscrewed the door. He asked me if what he did was correct. I first thought of the Gemara in Yoma about a child locked in the room, and Rashi explains that it is permitted since the c ...

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Brit mila on Shabbos when father is non Jew

brit mila on Shabbos Question: Does everyone agree that a brit is done on Shabbat even if the father is a goy? Thanks Answer: No, this is a dispute among the achronim [halachic authorities of the last 500 years]. The halachic ruling is that we do in fact perform the bris mila on Shabbos. See Derisha Y:D 266:20, Nachalas Shiva [kuntress hamila siman 1], Shu"t Binyan Tzion [Vol. 1:21]. ...

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Chol Hamoed, Esrog

Chol Hamoed, Esrog Question: Sholom 1. Until what age is a child considered a kotton which one is allowed to wash for during Chol Hamoed? There is little discussion in the Poiskim about this. 2. An Esrog which teh Pittom fell off during Chol Hamed - is this called a Chissaron ha`nikkar which the MB say one should avoid or can one be machshir le`brocho? 3. The brown discolouration which develop n the Esrg - ...

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Atzei Asheirah

Atzei Asheirah Question: Is there an amount needed in order to fulfill the mitzvah of burning Asheirah trees? Is a blessing recited upon the burning of an Asheirah tree? Answer: See Sefer Hachinuch mitzvah 436, who implies that the fulfillment of this mitzvah [destroying avodah zara] is fulfilled when the avodah zara is completely destroyed, burnt or broken, to the p0int that it is no longer recognizable as ...

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Refrigerators on shabbos

Refrigerators on shabbos Question: Shalom u'vrachah. What is the rav's opinion regarding using digital refrigerators on shabbos? Answer: Any digital display that is activated by opening the door, keeping it open or closing it should be deactivated for Shabbos. This is similar to a light which goes on when opening the door, which must be deactivated for Shabbos.  Most of these fridges have a bypass option to ...

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Eating Less than a “shiur”

Eating Less than a "shiur" Question: Shalom! If somebody with blood sugar problem has to eat each time small amount (less than kezayit that in our books) of bread or mezonot what to do with blessings after eating? Answer: If he in fact eats less than a kzayis there would be no blessing after eating [bracha achrona]. This scenario is common for people eating "shiurim" on Yom Kippur due to health reasons. The ...

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