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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

Size of kesem

Question: 1. A kessem which has two places o dam (which individually do not have a size o a griss but together they do) which are connected with a Mareh kosher - is it metameh or not? Answer: A kesem which has two parts of blood that are each less than a gris, but are joined together by a mareh tahor, are considered one kesem. Therefore if there is a gris of blood in total, the kesem is tameh. If it is clea ...

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Inviting Non Jews on Yom Tov

Question: In my work in kiruv rechokim, I am often compelled to have non jewish guests on Yom Tov. This includes family members, spouses and other acquaintances of jewish students that I am involved with. Must this be avoided? In many instances, one will not come without the other. Answer: In modern times where much of the cooking for Yom Tov is done before Yom Tov, and it is unheard of to have to prepare a ...

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Causing Cars to Stop on Shabbos

Question: Is one allowed to stand by a `zebra` crossing on Shabbos The law and general expectation for divers is to stop when a person is standing there. The question is therefore twofold. If the driver is a goy there may be an Amira l`nochri question. But more importantly, in an area which has a large percentage of non religious yidden, is there a problem of causing a yid to stop (and consequently drive of ...

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Sale during the nine days

Question: May clothing which is on sale at a very discounted price be purchased during the nine days? Does it matter that it won’t be delivered until after Tisha B’Av? Answer: It is questionable if clothing may be purchased because of a sale during the nine days. If it will not be delivered until after Tisha B’Av one may certainly be lenient. Otherwise one should refrain, unless it involves significant loss ...

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Repainting old furniture

Question: I was told that painting a house should not be done during the nine days. Does the same apply to repainting old furniture? Answer: It would seem that painting furniture is not included in the prohibition of “binyan shel simcha”, and thus would be permitted during the nine days. Never the less, in the absence of a specific need, it would be commendable to refrain from beautifying one’s home during ...

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Alterations during the nine days

Question: May one make alterations on a rented gown during the nine days to be used for a simchah after the nine days? Answer: If it is a minor alteration it is permissible. Major alterations which require taking apart and sewing the gown again, should not be done during the nine days. A chosson and kallah may make alterations during the nine days. מקורות: כל איסור תפירה ותיקון בגדים שמצינו בתשעת הימים הוא ...

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Comfortable non leather shoes on tisha bav

Question: Is it permissible to wear comfortable, non leather shoes on tisha bav [like crocs]. Answer: All non leather shoes are permissible on tisha bav. It is praiseworthy to wear shoes or slippers which diminish ones comfort, hence fulfilling the spirit of the law and not just the letter of the law. מקורות: קי"ל בש"ע סי' תקנ"ד סע' טז' כדעת רוב ראשונים שאיסור נעילת סנדל הוא רק בשל עור, ולא חומר אחר, ולא חי ...

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Rinsing mouth out with mouthwash

Question: May I rinse my mouth out with mouthwash on the morning of Tisha B’av? I suffer from very dry mouth in the morning, and without rinsing it is difficult for me to even speak and daven. Answer: It is permitted to rinse one’s mouth in order to alleviate suffering from extreme dry mouth, and to enable normal speech and davening. מקורות:    בגמ' ברכות יד. איתא שהשרוי בתענית מותר לו לטעום ולפלוט, דבתענית ...

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Tevila for a water urn

Question: I recently purchased a hot water urn, the seller told me not to immerse it in water, it may break and he assumes no responsibility. Am I exempt from tevilas keilim or do I have to return it and purchase a different one that could be immersed? Answer: An urn which could be ruined by tevila, should either be sold to a non jew and borrowed back from him [permanently]. Alternatively, it could be taken ...

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Stitching a wound on Shabbat

Question: I am a surgeon and live in a religious neighborhood. On Shabbat there are commonly children who suffer from lacerations that require stitching. In place of traveling to the hospital and being stuck there for the duration of Shabbat, they come to me and I stitch them up. Is this permissible or are they required to travel to the hospital and have a non jew do the stitching? Answer: It is permissible ...

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