A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

photoDue 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 i sniff a bag of tea to see if i like it, do i make a bracha?

A: Since the tea is made for consupmtion and not for its fragrance, a bracha is not recited (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 216:2).  In addition, just as one does not make a bracha upon tasting food to see if it’s good (see details in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 210), it would seem that the same halacha would apply in this case.


Q: Does Kaitlen Jenner have to wear Teffilin? (If she/he was Jewish)
A: According to R. Chananel (see Ibn Ezra, Lev. 18:22), it appears that Jenner might still have the same halacha as a man but to my knowledge the halachic authorities have not yet completely addressed this issue.


Q: Hi…Oy…a family of people to feed. And a clean dairy bowl was taken from cabinet (unused for days). Hot oil got poured off into it from a meat wok. No chicken in wok at the time. Later, the oil in the dairy bowl got poured, about a tablespoon) back into the hot wok and chicken was then added. What to do about the food, the wok and the clean dairy bowl? Thanks a million

A: Did the wok start off clean? When was it used last?
Q: It was as clean as a wok gets…unused for at least a month
A: Food is ok
Q: Bowl? Wok?
A: Wok ok.  So at the time the oil entered the bowl, there had not yet been any chicken involved?
Q: Right
A: If there was edible grease in the “clean” wok, then the bowl needs to be kashered. If the wok was clean or the grime was not edible (eg, it went through the dishwasher and got soap mixed into it), then it is OK without kashering.

Q: Dear rabbi when does my obligation to prepare for rosh hashana -day of judgement begin?

A: Technically I don’t think there is a specific obligation but the day after Rosh Hashana is not too early to start thinking about it!


Q: Does a “good kosher kitchen” need 2 sets of oven mitts and trivets?

A: Yes – Mitts: Customary and recommended (but it’s useful to keep in mind that if you wash them (with laundry detergent) they can be interchanged) since although no cross-contamination happens through the wall of a pot, pan, or container, the mitts may get soiled by the food and then transfer.  Trivets: Customary


Q: How do you kasher baby spinach
A: If by “kasher” you mean check for insect infestation: The best and fastest way is to wash the spinach, agitate it in a bug wash solution, pour the dirty water through a fine mesh, then examine the mesh for insects by putting it in front of a light source.   If insects are detected, repeat process up to two more times until clean.

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Filed under Halachic Issues, Kashruth, Text Message Halacha

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