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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

Selling and Buying on Ebay on Shabbos

Question: SHOLOM IS IT PERMITTED TO SELL/BUY ITEMS ON EBAY WHEN THE SALE DAY IS ON SHABBOS? ONE DOES NOT ACTUALLY PURCHASE THE ITEM, IT IS MERELY A COMMITMENT TO THE OTHER PARTY. THE ACTUAL ACQUISITION WILL TAKE PLACE LATER. I AM REFERREING TO A COUNTRY WHERE THE MAJORITY OF SALES ARE BY NON JEWS. MANY THANKS Answer:  Placing a bid or an item on ebay, which will automatically process on Shabbos, would seem ...

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Question: One of my students has come closer to shmiras mitzvos over the past few months. He is still not shomer shabbos or kashrus. The concept of making brachos speaks to him very much and he has begun making brachos consistently. The problem is he is making barachos on non kosher foods as well. I feel that stopping him will reverse his momentum and perhaps deter him from becoming frum. Can I keep quite a ...

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Feeding Non Kosher Foods

Question: I work as a speech therapist in a non Jewish institution, which also has a number of Jewish patients [non- religious]. My work includes training children to eat, who lost their ability from illness or from a birth defect. This includes feeding them directly and teaching them to chew and swallow properly. The food from the institution is non kosher. May I feed Jewish children the non kosher food? I ...

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Amira L’Akum for Hachana

Question: Can you ask a non-jewish cleaning lady to wash ones dishes on day 1, of a 2 day Yom Tov, if the keilim will not be used for the day 1 anymore? (Same question for washing dishes on Shabbos if one will not need the dishes for shabbos anymore). Is amirah l'akum applicable to the issur of hachanah? Answer: Asking a non-Jew to do something which does not involve any melacha, only preparing for after sh ...

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Geniza for Magazines and Newspapers

Question: What is the proper method to dispose of Jewish magazines and newspapers. Although they are mainly “chulin”, and discuss news and politics etc., very often there are quotes of psukim and divrei torah and hashkafa. Must these be placed in geniza or may they be disposed of normally? Answer: Magazines and newspapers which are intended for news, politics and other secular subjects, do not need to be pl ...

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Removing Mezuzos

Question: Hi, I am moving out of a basement apartment I rented from a Jew [non religious]. He will be now renting it to a non – Jew for the purpose of storage and not to live in it. May I remove the mezuzos when I leave or is it always forbidden to remove mezuzos. Thanks for your help. Answer: When it is clear that after you a non- Jew will be moving in, you may and in fact should remove the mezuzos before ...

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Woman Singing Birkat Hamazon

Question: I often find myself at meals with extended family, where the women sing the benching in the typical tune of Birchat Hamazon. It would be very uncomfortable for me not to bench with them. Is there a problem benching while hearing them chant the benching? Thanks Answer: While this should be avoided if possible, if it is very difficult to avoid [at the cost of embarrassment, insulting others and the ...

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In Vitro Fertilization

Question: It is possible for Jewish couple, with problems to have children, to try In Vitro Fertilization and if so, what should be the Lady's Mikvah schedule . Thank you in advance for your response. Answer: When necessary, IVF is a permissible and even encouraged method to attempt to overcome infertility, in order to perform the great mitzvah of P’ru U’rvu, bringing children into this world. For many reas ...

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Lolav-Shiur of a Heimnek

Question:  What is the shiur of a heimnek. I.e when a lulav has a genuine Heimnek and the tiomes has a `V` shape - from which size is it a psul? A Mashehu? 2 milimetres? More? MANY THANKS ANG GUT YOMTOV!! Answer:  There seems to be machlokes amongst the achronim if hemnek is any slight visible seperation between the 2 leaves, that being the implication if the Chaye Adam. The Maharsham holds there must be a ...

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Make-up on shabbos

Question: According to the Igros Moshe (1:114) one can use non-oil based powder on Shabbos as it is not miskayem at all and therefore no issur derabonon. I understand that many poskim dispute this on various grounds. On the other hand, since this is the norm for the people/friends around us it can be uncomfortable for my wife to refrain. In particular, when leil tevilah is on shabbos there could be an addit ...

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