Birkat HaMazon over Wine

The Gemara in Pesachim 105b states that Birkat Hamazon requires a cup of wine. However, the Gemara didn`t state under what conditions this is necessary. There are three opinions in the Rishonim regarding this issue: Tosafot and the Tur think that even an individual...

Reciting Birkat HaGomel in an Airplane – 5768

Rabbi Zvi Alon Former Rosh Kollel in Montevideo   The Gemara (BT Brachot 54b) is the source for birkat hagomel (the thanksgiving blessing): “Four [groups] must give thanks – seafarers, travelers in the wilderness, one who was ill and then was cured, and one...

Birkat HaIlanot – 5768

Rabbi Yitzchak Neria Former Rosh Kollel in Montreal   Birkat ha’ilanot (literally, the blessing of the trees), which is recited during the month of Nissan, has great spiritual and halachic significance. This article will discuss the brachah’s laws as well as its...

Loving People and Drawing Them Close To the Torah – 5768

Rabbi Eli Blum Former Rosh Kollel, Cleveland (2007)   This week’s parsha contains Avraham’s noteworthy advocacy on behalf of the people of Sodom. Yet, the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu “confided” in Avraham is even more remarkable: “And Hashem said, ‘Shall I...

The Blessing on a Granola Bar – 5767

Rabbi Yehuda David Former Shlaich in Dayton   1. Introduction 2. Preceding bracha (blessing) – majority and minority 3. Preceding bracha for grains 4. Concluding bracha for grains 5. Conclusion 1. Introduction Since the laws pertaining to brachot...

Seeing the light – Berachot 52b – 5766

Rabbi Yehudah said: “… Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree regarding the havdalah candle and the besamim (spices). Beit Shammai maintains that the blessing over the havdalah candle is recited first, and then the blessing over besamim; whereas Beit Hillel holds that...

You Say Magdil and You Say Migdol – Shabbat 115a – 5766

“The Rabbis forbade reading from Ketuvim1 on Shabbat in earlier times because of neglect of the study hall.” (Gemara Shabbat 115a) Rashi explains that on Shabbat in olden times the Rav would deliver a public discourse that included aspects of practical halachah. In...

Toad in the Hole – Berachot 33a – 5766

It once happened that in a certain place there was an Arod (- a crossbreed of a snake and a toad [1]) that was injuring people; so they came and informed Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa. He said to them: “Show me its burrow.” – They showed it to him and he placed his bare heel...