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:  Do I need a reliable kosher certification on mozzarella cheese -since no Rennet is added
A: While it is true that microbial rennet is most commonly used today rather than animal rennet, cheese still requires kosher supervision due to a rabbinical law requiring some level of Jewish participation in the cheese making process.  Even soft cheeses like cottage and cream cheese that do not, according to common custom, require Jewish participation still typically require certification to ensure that all ingredients are kosher.

Q:  Can i make an “oseh maaseh b’raishis” if i see amazing fish and coral reefs? What if I am underwater when I see them and I have a snorkel in my mouth. Can i just think the bracha?
A: The bracha of “oseh ma’aseh bereshit” is said upon seeing non-living natural phenomena.  Upon seeing beautiful or otherwise exceptional living phenomena (including plants) the bracha “she’chacha lo ba’olamo” is recited.  Although many are unaware of or hesitant to recite this blessing it is nevertheless entirely appropriate if one is impressed by an exceptional sight (Sefer Penini Halacha).  Tropical fish and coral reefs (as long as they are strikingly beautiful or otherwise exceptional) would definitely fit into that category.  Thinking the bracha while snorkeling is meritorious even though it is not considered a bona fide bracha recitation (M.B. 185:2 & 206:13  since although brachot only ideally have to be recited audibly, they at least have to be recited orally at some level whenever possible).


 

Advanced:


Q:  Baruch Hu uvaruch shmo when is it said
A:  “Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shmo” should not be said 1- anytime that one is reciting a prayer that cannot be interrupted by talking [from the beginning of the bracha Baruch She’amar until after the personal Amida (M.B. 51:8, or until after Hallel, when recited (M.B. Dirshu 124:21)) – since it’s not mentioned in the Talmud (M.B. 51:8) or because it’s laudatory but not obligatory and is no better than other mitzvah speech like verbalized Torah study (Igrot Moshe O.C. II:98)] OR 2- when listening to a bracha or prayer that is being recited on one’s behalf [e.g. the bracha of Shofar, Megillah, or Kiddush (M.B. 124:21) and some also include the brachot recited before and after an aliyah during the Torah reading and the Haftorah (see M.B. Dirshu ibid.) and I think I read in Nefesh Harav that R. Soloveitchik applied this to the Chazan’s repetition as well.  If it was said during this type of bracha (i.e. bideved), M.B. (ibid.) is lenient that it doesn’t interfere with the validity of the bracha since one opinion allows it even ideally, but Iggrot Moshe (ibid.) writes that the bracha is invalid and must be repeated].
When these two limitations do not apply (M.B. ibid.), Shulchan Aruch writes that it should be said “on any bracha that one hears, in any place” (O.C. 124:5, based on Tur), Iggrot Moshe (ibid.) records that common practice is not to recite it on individuals’ personal brachot (since it’s not obligatory), and the Vilna Gaon objected to its recitation in the context of any bracha (since he believed that it interferes with the necessity for Amen to refer to the entire text of the bracha – [Tos. Ma’aseh Rav 14, Keter Rosh 26), and for other reasons as well (see Ma’aseh Rav 43 regarding during the chazan’s repetition and Peulat Sachir 1)].

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