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: Should I be making a bracha when i see Niagara Falls for the first time?
A: Make it on the Canadian side only. (Based on an article by a Rabbi Mordechai Hochheimer from Rochester, NY, who discovered that a geological survey on the American falls may have been the delayed cause for a subsequent rock slide from the face of the falls – which would mean that they are perhaps no longer a virgin “work of Creation” as the text of the bracha reads since they have been altered by man.  In a situation of doubt, the rule is that berachot are not recited.  The Canadian side, however, seems to have never been altered.)
Q: Can spring roll wrappers be used without a hechsher?
A: Whether they are made from tapioca starch or flour, they customarily require supervision due to potential shared production equipment (Star-K).
Q: Is canned corn with a hechsher I don’t normally use OK?
A: Even according to some of the stricter national kashrus organizations, Del Monte, Kirkland (Costco), and Walmart canned vegetables with a Triangle-K may be used, as long as they have no natural flavors, tomato products, asparagus, potatoes, spinach, and beets.

Q: Hi Rabbi, if a kli [utensil] is left in an office shared with people who don’t keep kosher for a year or so (and I haven’t really been in the office for that time), is there an issue with using it again (ie is there chashash [a concern] that someone used the kli)? If so, would it depend on what the kli is made of?

A: Hi. What type of keli? Is it typically used with heat?
Q: A French press. One is glass, one plastic (the press is steel). The water used is hot, but it doesn’t go over a fire 13 min

I don’t think they were used, they were in the same spots I remember leaving them, but still thought I’d ask
A: Did anyone have permission to use it? Also, isn’t it just used with coffee?
Q: Nobody had permission. Yeah, coffee or tea, but there are non kosher flavorings for each as well
A: It is permitted since it is a case of doubt in a rabbinic prohibition (using a utensil that was used with non-kosher food more than 24 hours ago) with multiple positive factors: no-one had permission to use it, it doesn’t look like it was used, and even if it was used, the vast majority of flavored coffees and teas are actually kosher.
Q: We have someone who passed away during the second Adar and I’m trying to figure out when the yortzeit is (I’m an eager beaver).  Next year (5775) there is only one Adar.  Is the yortzeit during Adar or Nissan.
A: It’s observed in Adar.
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Filed under Halachic Issues, Kashruth, Text Message Halacha

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