A Little Clarity – 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.

If you would like my phone number to submit questions, please leave a comment and I will send it to you.

Q: Regarding the Eruv, I was wondering about ownership issues.  Some of the locations of the Eruv hardware are privately owned.

A:  It is true that you cannot position parts of an Eruv on someone’s property without their permission.  The poles you mention, however, all belong to the city (or utility companies etc.), and the Eruv does have their permission to affix attachments to them.

Q: We will be staying in a hotel on Pesach that has complimentary coffee in the lobby each morning. OK to have? Or too bad 😦 ?

A: This would only be allowed in the rare circumstances that you could verify that the urn/pot is only used for regular (non-decafinated), unflavored coffee and is never washed with other equipment/utensils.

Q: Can I sell my apartment to a friend for a dollar as she will be house sitting all of pesach and it count as selling my chametz?

A: Theoretically that would work; but 1. it is better to sell the chametz and only rent the house, and 2. since a halachic sale of chametz is a complicated procedure it is best to have a rabbi be your agent.

Q: Okay. There isn’t a concern that she would have chametz in the place that I live, even though I won’t be there?

A: As long as you don’t own it, chametz can be in your house (Shulchan Aruch 480:3). The only reason to rent a house to a non-Jew is to avoid the obligation of bedikas chametz (checking/searching for chametz) on the house.

Q: Does all decaf coffee need a hechsher before can be used?

A: Decaf coffee and tea need a hechsher for Pesach since the decaffeination process may involve the use of ethyl acetate derived from non-Passover ethyl alcohol however that substance is inherently kosher for year-round use.

Q: Is Earl Grey tea acceptable without a hechsher?

A: Only (for non-Pesach use) if it doesn’t contain Bergamot oil/flavor.



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Filed under Halachic Issues, Holidays, Kashruth, Text Message Halacha

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