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Lifnei Ivar with a Gentile

Question: Is a kosher wine store allowed to sell wine to a pastor who says he buys only kosher wine for his religious libation ceremony in his church? Would it be lifnei ivar to sell him the wine since what he's doing may be considered avodah zora? Answer: It would seem this is permissible for a number of reasons. Practicing Christianity for a non Jew is questionable whether this is a violation of Avodah Za ...

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Washing Hands After Having Touched Covered Body Parts

Question: It seems clear from the Mishna Berurah 04:21-22 that if one touches "normally covered body parts," such as above the elbow, one has to wash his hands. How do we deal with this vis-a-vis hanochas tefillin? For the Shel Rosh, it is very easy NOT to "scratch the head," but for the Shel Yad, it is nearly impossible to avoid touching the bicep area. If netilah is required, how can we make the beracha o ...

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Changing Diapers in a room with Seforim

Question: May one change an infant's diaper in a living room or den that conatins seforim? If it is mutar until a certain age, at what point is it no longer mutar? Answer: Changing a diaper in a room with seforim is permissible. One who wishes to be stringent may position himself between the baby and the seforim while changing the diaper. See Shu"t Machaze Eliyahu [siman 5-6] who explains at length that the ...

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Chia Seeds

Question: I read the Rav's teshuva on Quinoa being considered kitniyos on Pesach. What does the Rav hold about Chia Seeds? Answer: Quinoa has traditionally and is still currently used as a staple type food, similar to rice and corn. It is eaten not only as a topping or additive but also as a dish by itself. Chia seeds however have are not used as such. Rather they are generally used a topping or additive, m ...

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Mechikas Shem Hashem on Whiteboard

Question: Shalom, A student of mine, wrote the name "Elokim" on the white board. It was written in Hebrew and contains the actual spelling of the name. I have left it on the board, and have written on top of it in hebrew "do not erase" so that no Jewish staff should have a michshol, although I have not written anything in English. Can I leave it this way, with the possibility of a gentile erasing the board. ...

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Baruch Hu u’Varuch Sh’moi

Question: If the shliach tzibbur for Birchos Hashchar recites the berachos quickly, such that he leaves no or little space in which to respond the four words Baruch Hu u'Varuch Sh'moi, is it better to a) say them fast in a garbled fashion ("b'ch'shmoi") b) say them while the shat"tz is saying the words that follow so that you miss most of the words of the beracha c) skip Baruch Hu u'Varuch Sh'moi altogether ...

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Saying Yaaleh V’yavo Out Loud

Question: I have benefited many times from my neighbors in shul saying Yaaleh V'Yavoh, or V'sein Tal Umatar, out loud in their silent shemona esray, as a reminder to other mispallelim. But I've wondered if this is proper in light of that fact that a silent shemona esray is to be just that. Is this practice according to halacha or not? Answer: Shmoneh Esrei is said quietly in order not to disturb the concent ...

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Additional Bracha at End of Maariv

Question: One who has the minhag not to recite the additional bracha at the end of Mariv [ברוך ה' לעולם] finds himself in a minyan which is sayin it. This is common when someone from Isrel visites abroad. Should he recite it with the minyan? Answer: The minhag not to recite this bracha is to be concerned for the opinion in the rishonim who hold this bracha constitutes a hefsek between geula and tefilla. Tha ...

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Partnership with non Jews

Question: Shalom Uveracha There are three yidden of which two of us are shomrei shabbos and we are partners with two goyim. The yidden in total hold 60% of the shares in the company. The company operates on shabbos as we are in the venting industry of which many events happen through the weekend as well. Baruch Hashem most of the vents happen during the week as we cater mostly for corporate events. What are ...

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Therapy using method with possible Budism origin

Question: Reuven's daughter is in a therapy program which uses art to help her calm herself and train her. The art used is called "Mandala" which according to the therapist is described as follows: "A mandala is a complex abstract design that is usually circular in form. In fact, "mandala" is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". Mandalas generally have one identifiable center point, from which emanates an a ...

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