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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 501

Covering mirrors in Bet Avel

Question: Must all the mirrors in a beit avel be covered, or only those in the room where there are prayers? Are they left covered on Shabbat? Answer: All of the mirrors should be covered. [Some have the custom to only cover the mirror in the room where there are prayers.] The mirrors may be uncovered on Shabbat. If there are prayers taking place on Shabbat, the mirrors  where they are praying should remain ...

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Pictures in Siddurim

Question: In shulchan aruch siman 90 seif 23 the remo says that one should not print Pictures in siddurim This is undisputed and MB together with all acharaonim dont question this I have noticed however that many publications seem to be lenient in this matter For instance Children siddurim have often many pictures on its pages as well as Benchers and more. Even adults siddurim a times have pictures, such as ...

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Tea on shabbos

Question: Is one able to use a kli shlishi to make tea on shabbos? Answer: This is a matter of debate among poskim. The Mishna Brura requires tea sense be made before Shabbos, yet he himself mentions the leniency of kli shlishi in other places. Igros Moshe allowed kli shlishi. So if you don't have an established custom or psak from your Rav, you should ideally avoid making tea in kli shlishi, and should pre ...

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Fulfilling a shevua with maaser kesafim

Question: Shalom kevod HaRav, I took a shevuah to pay a certain amount of money to tzedaka if I would not fulfill certain things. I did not fulfill them, and thus I am obligated to pay the money by my shevuah. Due to the considerable amount, it is currently difficult for me to pay the money out of extra funds. Can I pay it out of my normal maaser kesafim money? Thank you Answer: No, maaser money may not be ...

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Question: BS"D L'Kavod HaRav Shlita, I recently listened to your shiur about rodeph in parshas Pinchas. It occured to me that your comparison between the gemorra about the donkey being thrown off the boat to save the merchandise and an unborn fetus would imply a surprising leniency. That is to say, if a pregnant women felt her financial or social situation was being threatened by the uber, she might be able ...

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Dogs – follow-up question

Question: Thank you for your prompt response to my question regarding owning pet dogs (// You wrote that "there is certainly no prohibition in owning a pet dog." Seeing as almost all dogs can bark quite loudly, why is there no prohibition because of the concern of the barking causing a miscarriage? (עיין ים של שלמה פרק מרובה סימן מ"ה דסתם כלב מנבח ואסור. ולא הבנתי דהא לפי ...

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Umbrella with no marit ayin

Question: kavod harav, I work for a Jewish old age home in a small Jewish community. Every other Shabbat I lead Shabbat morning services for the Jewish residents of the home. However in order to do this I have to walk over an hour to the old age home and an hour back (all within an eruv). If I don't lead services than it is likely that the residents will not have any davening during Shabbat. Not infrequentl ...

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Question regarding status of a previous marriage

Question: A woman was previously married in a conservative wedding and divorced shortly thereafter. The woman then remarried to another man again conservative. She had 3 children from this marriage and has since also divorced, 2 of these children have grown up to marry and have children of their own. it was discovered in pictures from the wedding that the eidim for the ketubah and chuppah were male and fema ...

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Question: L'Kavod HaRav, My wife and I have been struggling with the issue of vaccinating our newborn. I saw in a previous question that the Rav poskened that there is an obligation to do so. While all of the mainstream medical organizations recommend vaccinations, it does seem that there is at least a minority opinion cautioning certain aspects, with an extreme opinion saying not to vaccinate at all. This ...

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Pet Dogs

Question: Likovod HaRav Shlit"a', Does the Rav allow Jews to own dogs as pets? Does he allow Jews to own pets at all, if there is no pressing need for them (i.e. they are not needed for protection or to serve as a seeing-eye dog, etc.)? Thank You, Answer: There is certainly no prohibition in owning a pet dog. Even if it is not for one of the reasons you mentioned but only for pleasure and recreation, it wou ...

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