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: If the Torah considers a non-Jewish man and woman’s separation from each other as their halachic divorce, for how long must they be separated for it to take effect?

A: It seems that if the separation is permanent, then it is instantaneous; if it is not permanent, then they are still considered married indefinitely. BTW the source for this definition of divorce is Maimonidies, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 9:8.

Q: Does the Torah require a Bracha for chewing gum or chewing tobacco?

A: A Bracha is said on chewing gum even though the gum itself is not swallowed just as the Shulchan Aruch says to make a Bracha when sucking sugar canes even though the plant itself is not ingested. I have answered before that a Bracha is not recited on chewing tobacco, with one reason being that one intends to taste but not swallow it, which would distinguish it from chewing gum.

Q: Rabbi… halacha says that your not allowed to carry anything on shabbes but what if u see a woman who is struggling with bags?

A: If there is an Eruv, then you should definitely help her. If there is no Eruv, you can let her take some home while you guard the rest until she returns. According to the Torah, it is so important to acknowledge the Almighty as Creator that we must sometimes forgo even good and very important things for something that is even better.

Q: Can a Jew enlist the services of a broker – either a Jew & or non Jew – to lease or sell his buildings when they might try and do so on Shabbas and Yom Tovim?

A: It is permitted; if the broker is a non-Jew, it would not included in the prohibition of asking a non-Jew to do work for you since he would be showing it on Shabbos for his own convenience. If it would be a Jew, it would not be included in the prohibition of Lifnei Iver (placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person) – causing another Jew to sin, perhaps for a similar reason.

Q: Is smearing (oil, lotion, etc.) forbidden on Shabbos?

A: Only if it is so viscous that it is not pour-able, or if it is done to relieve minor ailments.

Q: Can one exercise on Shabbos?

A: If it is strenuous enough to induce sweating, it is included in the rabbinic restriction on remedies – unless it is done to relieve a sore muscle, back, or neck pain that is severe enough to prevent normal functioning.  Simple stretching exercises to relieve morning stiffness, however, is permitted (for further details, see

Q: What is the שרש (three letter root) of the word להבין – to understand?

A: According to the Radak in Sefer Hashorashim, the shoresh of lehovin is beis, yud, nun (which makes it irregular from both the 2nd and 3rd shoresh letters). That is also identified as the shoresh by Dr. Barkali in the Complete Hebrew Verb Chart published by Reuven Mass.








Leave a comment

Filed under Halachic Issues, Text Message Halacha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s