April 1, 2020
Q: If an aveil who is a bechor is in shiva on erev pesach and shiva will stop at chatzos what should he do in terms of siyum and fasting if he still has an issur talmud torah in the morning?
A: In the sefer Kitzur Divrei Sofrim (Perek 42:80) he suggests that one should attend a Siyum made on a Mesechta that ends with aggadata which is mutar for an avel to learn.
Q: Sefiras haomer related- If people are isolated and there is a concern of depression and overall sadness then does it make sense to allow listening to music if it will cheer them up? Can we make it as a general rule for the klal?
A: Many feel that there is not prohibition of listening to music even for a real avel. Most have a custom to be strict even for sefira. This year one who wants to be lenient may do so and does not need hataras nedarim (Dagul Meirevavah Y”D 214, Shach S”K 2)
Q: Reports state that facial hair is a risk factor for getting COIVD-19. Should we allow shaving during sfirah?
A: If is is a sakana, for sure it is OK. I have not heard that it is a sakana.
Q: Does Freeze Dried Fruit (only thing listed in ingredients is the name of the fruit) need special KFP supervision?
Q: Rav Willig mentioned we don’t need new spices for pesach. Does this mean the spices do not need to have kosher for Pesach certification?
Can someone explain why we generally need new KFP spices?
A: Whole spices do not need special certification. Ground spices do because the anti- caking agent may contain chametz.
Q: Is there any issue regarding the alcohol based hand sanitizers over Pesach?
A: It is nifsal mikelev and mutar.
Q: Re: Rav Schachter’s Psak that we can rely on foods that are KFP Me’ikar Hadin. Would this apply to 100% pure almond butter?
A: If from plain almonds OK. If roasted, not OK.
Q: Can someone point me to an explanation why our poskim disagree with the notion of saying mourners Kaddish via zoom (like rav melamed suggests) or a private medieval Kaddish like from rav yehuda hechassid?
A: It is not a minyan.
Q: To add to the question. Many poskim are not recommending the Kaddish d’yachid. And rather tell people to learn Mishnah.
A: I recommend saying the Al hakol that we say when we take out the sefer torah on shabbos and yom tov. It has been pointed out that the words are very similar to kaddish.
Q: If an aveil is in the middle of shiva on erev pesach does he get up at chatzos?
A: The avel gets up at chatzos.
Q: If an aveil is past shiva and now in shloshim for a parent and erev pesach comes and interrupts shloshim can he shave on erev pesach (he looks unkempt and usually shaves daily)?
A: It is a big machlokes (Pischei Teshuva 390:4 and Mishneh Brurah 548:34). I think it is permissible v’ein kan makom lha’arich (you can find more in my sefer Am Mordechai).
Q: I know we are no longer reciting Avinu Malkeinu and of course Tachanun- but additional Tehillim 121, 142…. still recommended?
A: That is great. We are saying what the Rabbonim recommended from the beginning- 20, 121, 130.
Q: According to this, Shoel Umeshiv 1:78, shared with me by Elli Fischer, we should cancel all shiva observances until people can again make in-person shiva calls. I have heard of one pesak telling someone not to shiva, but otherwise the Orthodox world as a whole collectively seems to be accepting phone/video/Zoom shiva visits as “enough” or otherwise rejecting this shitah. Further insights would be appreciated.
Addendum: The Rema YD 374:11 seems to say that this isn’t the common minhag. He says ושמעתי קצת נהגו כן, which implies most do not follow this. And since the Rema personally lost his mother and wife in an epidemic, it strongly implies that he himself sat shivah during an epidemic.
Although see Shu”t Chasam Sofer YD 342 where he discusses a case of someone who didn’t sit shivah because of an epidemic, without remarking on whether it was proper or not. Which makes sense given the different minhagim mentioned by the Rema.
A: The custom is that the avel does sit shiva, but, if he feels it is dangerous, he should not do it.
Q: To clarify, in the case a couple has already gotten married in small ceremony and would like to, after this pandemic ends be”h, have a wedding party. Would it be permissible (as long as as it’s within the first year) to recite sheva brachos during bentching?
Q: What are peoples thoughts as pesach gets closer on PUBLICIZING zoom sedarim – some people will obviously choose – whatever we tell them – to zoom or Facetime families…I actually have members who don’t really have any family. Assuming that some people are indeed planing on doing ‘public’ zoom sedarim, do we bring that information to the attention of people who might want to join, even though we would encourage them not to? or do we not ‘engage’ with the issue at all…I am really struggling here, especially because of Rav Schachters psak that for some people it is indeed a very large tzorech gadol…
A: Rav Willig- It is prohibited unless it is literally pikuach nefesh. People should do the seder before Pesach.
Q: I have for Rav Schachter- according to his opinion (as cited here https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/do-lipstick-and-toothpaste-need-to-be-kasher-lpesach/2018/03/21/) that toothpaste is nifsal me’achilas kelev and therefore does not require special pesach certification, does the flavor factor into that? Do children’s toothpastes (which are flavored like “food” items and not like strong mint) have a different din?
A: All toothpaste is permissible.