Just Asking – Halachic Questions via Text Message

Due to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

Q: I am not feeling well enough to fast the whole day tomorrow on the Fast of Esther.  Should I fast as long as I can before eating?

A: There is an oral tradition from R. Chaim Solovietchik of Brisk that there is no halachic significance to observing only part of a minor fast day (Moadim Uzmanim, quoting R. Chaim’s son R. Yitzchak Zev).

Q: I am at risk of having a relapse of kidney stones, and my physician told me that it is caused by dehydration.  Am I permitted to drink on the fast day tomorrow?
A: Yes, you should drink freely but it is meritorious not to eat.

Q: How much of my merit am I giving up if I drink maybe 8 or 16 ounces during a minor fast day?

A: You are not giving up any merit since you are exempt from fasting.  There are plenty of other things that you can find to do that will bring you, your family, and your community truckloads of merit!

Q: Does coconut milk need a hechsher?

A: Although some say that it doesn’t, it is best to only buy it if it’s certified.

Q: Why do some people eat chulpshkes (stuffed cabbage) on Purim?

A: Maybe it’s because of the hidden miracles of Purim. Although customs like this are merely a nostalgic/cultural part of the holiday, if they will remind us to think about the hidden miracles that the Almighty performs for us _all_of_the_time_ then it is certainly a worthwhile custom to fulfill.

Q: I’m pretty sure the answer to this is no, but can one’s wife give him a haircut if his wife is a niddah (and according to halachah a couple must avoid physical contact during menstruation)?

A: It would involve touching via another object and usually also direct non-affectionate contact which are both not permitted. It’s recommended to time the haircuts appropriately.

Purim Torah:

Q: I don’t keep kosher out. Does non kosher meat make me fleishig? What about pork?

A: Only milk and meat from kosher animals are included in the prohibitions of mixing milk and meat.  However meat that has not been ritually slaughtered (called “nevilah”) but nevertheless comes from a kosher species is included (Shmuel, Chullin 113b: “meisah”).  So pork would not theoretically be included in the six hour restriction but “treif” cow beef could be.

Q: My wife’s food is terrible. do i need to make a bracha?

A: Only food that is not edible even in extenuating circumstances (e.g. when one has nothing else to eat) does not require a bracha (O.C. 202:2).  Maybe you need to give your wife the night off?

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Filed under Halachic Issues, Holidays, Text Message Halacha

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