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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

Superstitions – “Knock Wood”

Question: Many people have the minhag to knock gently the table by benching when saying the (individual) Horachamons I have seen this with elderly people too who seem to be Minhag-conscious and have taken presumably from previous generations My assumption is that this is against the Ayin Hara and similar to what people say "Keyn Ayin ora". After a bit of reserach it however seems the source is gentile and n ...

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Hair pulling on Shabbat

Question: I have a disorder called Trichotillomania. Many weeks I find myself pulling out my hair on Shabbos but I cannot control the urges. I have guilt over this constant violation of halacha. Your insight and advice would be appreciated. Answer: The Torah requires one to do whatever they can to perform mitzvos and stay away from aveiros. So you should and surely are doing what you can to heal yourself of ...

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5 Minim – Oats

Question: What is the Rav's opinion about whether oats are one of the five minim? Should one be concerned that perhaps it is not? Thank you. Answer: Oats are Shiboles Shual, one of the 5 minim. One may rely on this long standing view, accepted by the Gedolei Yisrael. See Rashi Pesachim 35a, Kuntress Halichos Sadeh Vol. 57 essay of Rav Efrati in the name of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Moshe Feinstein. ...

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Tzitzis – Bigdei Shabbos

Question: If one purchased a new pair of tzitzis, and his old one is still kasher. Should he wear the new one on Shabbos to honor the Shabbos, or during the week to fulfill mitzvas tzitzis b'hiddur for the whole week? And if he should wear the new ones during the week, would it be proper to change into the old ones for Shabbos, or he should keep on wearing the new ones? Answer: Being that they are both kosh ...

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Chol Hamoed

Question: A faulty oven was delivered to us and we asked for refund and collection. The (Non jewish) vendors have arranged for this but they have scheduled it for Chol Hamoed. Is it permitted to allow for the collection to take place from our home or does it need to be postponed. Thanks Answer: It would have been permissible for them to come pick up the faulty oven. This does not constitute making a purchas ...

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food in bathroom, shmone esrei, wind storms etc.

Question: 1. Can one bring food into a bathroom? If not, what about a sucking candy? Ideally one should not bring food into a bathroom, including sucking a candy. This is due to the question of ruach raah that is in these places. After the fact or in a case of need one may be lenient to consider our bathrooms as clean and free of this concern.  2. Can one walk passed someone says shemoa esrei is order to ki ...

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Shnayim Mikra

Question: Can one read an English translation to fulfill the targum requirement for shnayim mikra? Does the Halacha differ depending on the age/level? Answer: Ideally one should fulfill this obligation through Rashi or Onkelos. If one is unable to do either of the above an english translation that is based on Chazal and/or Rashi may be used to fulfill one's obligation. See Mishna Brura 285:5 ...

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Ladies jewish name

Question: A baslat tshuva, a yang lady was given a Jewish name at birth. It was almost not used, and she also dislikes it and hates being cold by that name. Now, she wants to take a different name which she likes very much. Her question is, is this appropriate? I also suspect that she might have some slight mental illness, which she would not discuss, and this can be one of the reasons why would she want to ...

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מניעת הריון משום מצב כלכלי

Question: שלום וברכה מה דעת מרן בענין זוג אברכים שכבר קיימו מצות פריה ורביה ויש להם כמה בנים ופרנסתם כעט במצב טוב וגם לעתיד על פי הטבע יהיה להם פרנסה המספיקה לפרנס ולחתן אותם. אך השאלה היא על להביא יותר ילדים שעל פי הטבע לא יספיק להם הפרנסה כי הם בני זוג אברכים ולא יהא פרנסה המספיקה על פי הטבע וכ״ש לחתן אותם יהיה במצב קשה מאד. האם ניתן לקחת בחשבון את זה כדי למנוע מעכשיו הריון או שאמרינן שנסתרים דרכי ה׳ ו א״ ...

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The NW London Eruv

Question: Kvod HaRav, What is the Rav shlita's view on carrying in the NW London Eruv. Many thanks. Answer: The Rav is not familiar with the details of this eruv and can not provide a psak with regards to its use. If there is a specific halachic question about the eruv, please inform. ...

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