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 I got a non kosher bottle of wine as a gift can I re-gift it to a non-Jew?

A:  There is a difference of opinion if one is allowed to benefit from non-kosher wine but Ashkenazim are strict unless a significant monetary loss is involved.  A gift is considered beneficial for the giver since the recipient feels a debt of gratitude towards him.  This would not be an issue with other rabbinically prohibited foods.


 

Q:  How do you kasher a quartz counter top?  Here’s some info: Their primary ingredient is ground quartz (about 94 percent), combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color. For some designs, small amounts of recycled glass or metallic flecks are added to the mix. The resins also help make these counters stain and scratch resistant—and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. Compare that with granite, the reigning king of high-end counter tops, which typically requires a new protective top coat at least once a year.

A:  Nonporous makes it sound like meikar hadin (according to the letter of the law) there is no non-kosher flavor transferred to the counter in the first place.  It makes sense to me that at least for non-Pesach use, regular irui would be sufficient (it’s made of rock and plastic, both of which may be kashered).  As I’ve written before, counters technically do not need kashering at all since they don’t intentionally come into contact with hot food.  It is nevertheless customary to kasher them in case hot food does touch the counters.


 

Q: What is the rule regarding pouring hot water from a kli sheni into a cup of freeze dried noodle soup like Tradition or Geffen brand on Shabbos?

A: According to R. Moshe Feinstein who allows making tea in a kli shelishi, it would be allowed to pour from a klei sheni into a soup cup containing freeze dried noodles/vegetables and spices since pouring from a kli sheni is considered a kli shelishi.


 

Q: How ‘dry’ does a piece of cooked chicken need to be when placing on a blech for Shabbos lunch? Most chicken has at least a bit of some kind of congealed sauce on it from the night before after it’s been chilled overnight. That sauce will melt on the blech, so are we prohibited from putting it on to warm?

A: Congealed sauce is considered “dry” for the halacha of reheating cooked foods.  Even if there is actual liquid sauce on a food, as long as it is only a small minority of the total food being reheated, it is also OK even according to some of the stricter poskim (halachic authorities).


Q: Can you cover a stroller with a plastic rain cover on Shabbos?  Is it considered like making a temporary tent-like enclosure?

A: It can be used as long as the stroller sun shade is opened first (which is the normal way of using it anyway).


 

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