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Q. May I listen to slow music during sefiras ha’omer?
A. Music should not be listened to during sefira whether it is fast or slow, even though slow music is less prone to stimulate one to dance. Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim I:166) questions whether one may listen to music for enjoyment throughout the year, and concludes that although throughout the year there are lenient opinions, but during the period of sefira one must be strict. If one was in a state of moodiness or discontent, Rav Belsky zt”l was of the opinion that even during sefira he may lift his spirits with slow music, provided he does not listen excessively. (See פסקי הלכה, Volume One, p. 106)
Q. May a Chassan who is getting married the night of Lag B’Omer shave earlier in the day, on the 32nd of the Omer, before shekiah? What is the halacha concerning relatives and other guests attending the wedding?
A. The prevalent custom is that one may get married on the night of Lag B’Omer. The halacha in general regarding shaving is to wait until after sunrise on the morning of Lag B’Omer. Rav Belsky zt”l ruled that the chassan and the fathers of the chassan and kallah may shave on the 32nd day of the Omer before shekiah. Other family members and guests should not shave before shekiah. Rav Belsky zt”l did permit them to bring a shaver to the wedding and shave there after shekiah. (See פסקי הלכה, Volume One, pages 109 – 110)
Q. What beracha acharona does one recite on a granola bar?
A. Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 208:4) writes that if one were to eat raw or toasted kernels of the five grains there is a question as to what beracha acharona should be recited. Tosfos (Berachos 37as.v. Ha’koseis) cites an opinion that a special beracha acharona, “al ha’odama v’al pri ha’adoma,” should be recited. However, the consensus of the poskim is that we do not recite this blessing, but rather borei nefashos is said instead. Nevertheless, Shulchan Aruch says that lichatchila (to be meritorious) one should avoid eating a kezayis of raw or toasted oats in the time span of k’dei achilas pras (according to Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:41, this would be 4 ½ minutes). On a practical level, if one eats only 1½ Nature Valley granola bars (there are 2 bars to a package), he will have eaten more than a kezayis of granola and other ingredients in total, but less than a kezayis of oats. Accordingly, he would recite a borei nefashos according to all opinions. If one wants to eat more than 1½ granola bars, he or she may eat 1½ bars, pause, continue eating, and then recite a borei nefashos, provided that no more than 1½ bars are consumed in any given 4 ½ minutes time-frame. Bidieved (after the fact), if one ate more than 1½ bars in a span of 4 ½ minutes, a borei nefoshos would be recited in any event.
Q. What beracha rishona does one recite on a granola bar? (A consumer’s question)
A. Rav Belsky zt”l held that the beracha rishona on a granola bar is ha’adoma. Granola bars are made with rolled oats and syrups. Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 208:4) writes that the beracha for raw, toasted, or cooked grains (including oats) is ha’adoma, so long as the grains do not break apart and become sticky (in which case, the appropriate beracha would be borei minei mizonos). The oats in a granola bar do not break down and fuse together during the processing. Rather the oats are merely stuck together with syrup. If one were to wash or melt away the syrup, one would find that the oats remain separate and distinct. Therefore, the beracha on granola bars is ha’adoma. (The beracha acharona will be discussed in the next Halacha Yomis.)
Rosh Kollel Mikdosh Sholom HaGaon HaRav Shalom Tanji Shlita, a well-known talmid chacham who lives in the Har Nof neighborhood of Yerushalayim is in need of the tzibur’s tefilos. The rav returned from a visit to Argentina six weeks ago where he traveled to deliver his inspirational Torah to the various communities. It appears he contracted a potentially deadly virus in S. America and is now battling for his life.
The rav complained of back pain a few days following his return and visited his HMO where the family doctor did not detect the potentially fatal virus. A few days later the rav departed for Chicago, where he collapsed suddenly and was transported to a local hospital, diagnosed with meningitis and arthritis. The rav’s condition deteriorated and he lost consciousness and was listed in life-threatening danger.
The rav was moved to a larger medical facility where doctors succeeded in stabilizing his condition. Last week he was flown back to Israel, still listed in serious/stable condition and remains in an intensive care unit in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, sedated and on a respirator.
Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita has added the name “Chai” to the rav due to the seriousness of his condition. The family urged the tzibur to be mispallel for Meir Shalom Chai ben Rachel bsoch kol cholei am yisrael.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
THE SISTER OF A CHICAGOAN, LIVING IN ISRAEL, IS IN NEED OF TEFILOS DUE TO THE SUDDEN ONSET OF A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION THAT HAS LEFT HER DEBILITATED. PLEASE DAVEN FOR A REFUAH SHLEMA FOR ANNA MALKA BELLA bat SARA. MAY WE HEAR BESOSOROS TOVOS.
Q. Does a rice-milk beverage require bishul Yisrael (Jewish participation in the cooking process)?
A. Foods that are not edible in a raw state and are oleh al shulchan melachim (suitable for a royal banquet) when cooked, require bishul Yisrael. Cooked rice meets these two criteria and requires bishul Yisrael.
In contrast, the rice-milk beverage is not oleh al shulchan melachim. Furthermore, there is no prohibition of bishul akum for drinks, where water is the main component (see Tosfos Avoda Zora Daf 31B d.h. Vitarvayhu, Pri Chodosh YD end of siman 112 and Aruch Hashulchan YD siman 113:22, 23.)
Although the rice used to make the rice-milk beverage is first cooked in a solid state, there is no issue of bishul akum. This is because the rice-milk beverage is made in one continuous process by cooking rice with enzymes under intense pressure at high temperatures. The cooked rice phase is an interim stage and therefore has no halachic significance.
Q. What is the Beracha for gluten-free bread?
A. Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 208:7-9) writes that on bread made from beans, corn, and/or millet flour, one recites Shehakol before eating and Borei Nefashos after. However, if one bakes bread using rice flour, one would recite Mezonos beforehand and Borei Nefashos after. If bread is made from a mixture of rice and corn flour, then one follows the majority: If there is more rice flour, the beracha would be mezonos. If there is more corn flour, the beracha would be shehakol. If one adds gluten-free oat flour for taste, (and not just for consistency), then the Beracha becomes Hamotzi, since oats are one of the five special grains which require Hamotzi. However, in order to be able to recite the full Bentching afterwards, one must eat a kezayis of oats. For example, if the bread is made with two cups of corn flour and one cup of oat flour, it would not be enough to eat one kezayis of bread in order to Bentch. Instead, one would need to eat three kezaysim (the volume of one and a half eggs) of bread, lichatchila in under 3 minutes (see Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:41).
Q. Are crisped rice cereals subject to bishul akum?
A. Crisped rice cereal is not considered a fancy food that would be served at a banquet. Therefore, it should not be subject to the prohibition of bishul akum. However, before the cereal enters its finished form, it goes through a stage as plain cooked rice which would be subject to the prohibition of bishul akum. Nonetheless, Rav Belsky zt”l ruled that since crisped rice is produced in one continuous process—moving from cooked rice into pellets and then being shot through a puffing gun to become an item that is not fit to be served at a banquet—it is viewed throughout the process as a non-fancy food which is not subject to the prohibition. It should be noted, that since the rice is cooked and formed into pellets, the beracha on crisped rice cereals is mezonos.