Summer Vacation

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Brachos on Seas and Mountains

Seas, Rivers

  1. Upon seeing seas, rivers, mountains, hills, or deserts, one should say, “ברוך אתה ד’ אמ”ה עושה מעשה בראשית” (שו”ע או”ח רכ”ח ס”א). This is only if one has not seen them within the past 30 days (מ”ב סק”ב).
  2. Thus, on all seas that have existed since Creation, one says, “עושה מעשה בראשית.”
  3. If one saw one of these sights, left without saying a brachah, and sees them again before 30 days have passed, it could be he can no longer say the brachah (ביה”ל סי’ רי”ח ס”א ד”ה במקום).
  4. On the Mediterranean Sea, the Mechaber holds one should say, “בא”ה אמ”ה עושה הים הגדול,” or in the past tense, “שעשה את הים הגדול” (מג”א וא”ר). However, many Acharonim maintain that one should only say “עושה מעשה בראשית” (מ”ב סק”ב).
  5. On the oceans, [the Atlantic or Pacific], all poskim agree that one should say “עושה הים הגדול” or “שעשה את הים הגדול,” since they encompass most of the world (מ”ב שם).
  6. On the Kinneret, one should say, “עושה מעשה בראשית” (מור וקציעה, הליכות שלמה פכ”ג הכ”ז).
  7. Although the Dead Sea is one of the wonders of the world, it is unclear if it gets a brachah so one should not say “עושה מעשה בראשית.” The reason for this is because it is apparent from Chazal (עי’ רש”י בראשית י”ד עה”פ עמק השידים) that the Dead Sea did not exist since Creation; rather, channels of water flowed to the area, resulting in the Dead Sea (שו”ת שבה”ל ח”ט סי’ מ”ז).

Mountains, Waterfalls

Can you make a Bracha on mountains and hills?
  • The brachah “עושה מעשה בראשית” is also said on extraordinary mountains and hills that reflect the might of their Creator (שו”ע רכ”ח ג’). This is subjective: it all depends if a person is moved, based on how accustomed he is to seeing such mountains.
  • One can say a brachah on the towering Alps (שו”ת אור לציון ח”ב פמ”ו ס”ב), as well as on the mountains that surround Hungary (שלחן הטהור סי’ רכ”ח, נמוקי או”ח סי’ ער”ב).
  • Regarding the mountains next to Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, my rebbi the Kenei Bosem told the Toldos Aharon Rebbe shlit”a that the brachah can be said (היכל הוראה ח”א הוראה ט”ז).
  • The leading rabbanim say a brachah on the Niagara Falls, as it is clear that they have been around since Creation and remain unchanged by human intervention (ויהי בנסוע פי”ד הערה כ”ו).

Barbecues

Tevilas Keilim [see also Issue 93]

  1. The grate of a reusable, stainless steel barbecue that food goes on must be toiveled before its first use if it was made in Chutz La’aretz. However, the compartment that the coals go in does not need tevilah, just as a tripod that a pot sits on does not need tevilah (שו”ע יו”ד קכ ס”ד).
  2. When something needs tevilah, there is no heter to use it without tevilah even one time (רמ”א יו”ד ק”כ ס”ח).
  3. Dishes should only be toiveled in a mikveh that is kosher for deoraisa tevilah and under the supervision of a qualified rav. Hence, one should not toivel dishes in a men’s mikveh without the approval of the rav in charge.
  4. If one is by a sea, he can toivel the grate there and then use it (שו”ע יו”ד סי’ ר”א ס”ה).
  5. A disposable grill does not require tevilah (אג”מ יו”ד ח”ג כ”ג, שו”ת מנח”י ח”ה ל”ב).

Hagalah

  1. If there is a barbecue in a vacation house and one does not know if it is kosher or treif, he can kasher it by cleaning the grate well, then lighting the coals or gas and leaving the grate over the burning coals or gas until it gets extremely hot. If the barbecue has a cover, it is best to cover it. After this, one may use it.

Meat and Fish

  1. Lechatchilah meat and fish should not be roasted over a fire at the same time for reasons of sakanah, even if they are not touching. Bedieved they may be eaten as long as they did not touch and no grease went from one to the other (רמ”א יו”ד סי’ קט”ז ס”ב וש”ך שם).

Roasting Liver

  1. To kasher a liver from its blood on a barbecue, one must be an expert familiar with the halachos of roasting liver, as there are many things to know and it can easily become forbidden. [See Issue 229 for all the details at length.]
  2. The liver must be cut and rinsed with water; some salt must be sprinkled on the liver right before it is roasted; it must be roasted until it is edible; and then it should be removed from the grill and rinsed in water three times. Then it may be eaten (שו”ע יו”ד עג ורמ”א שם וסי’ עו ס”ד).
  3. The skewer (רמ”א שם), and according to some, also the grate that the liver was roasted on (דרכ”ת סי’ ע”ו סקל”ח), require libun in a fire if one wants to use them for roasting again.
  4. A liver should not be roasted at the same time as meat (שו”ע סי’ ע”ג ס”ד).

Going to a Pool or Beach

Devarim Shebikdushah

  • In a swimming pool, one may say devarim shebikdushah. Even if the water is heated, it does not have the status of a bathhouse since it is not heated so much that it produces steam and haze. Also, people do not bathe unclothed in a pool (אשי ישראל פנ”ג הכ”ח).
  • A changing room on a beach where people get undressed and dressed does not have the status of a bathhouse even if people also shower there in cold water. Thus, when there is no one unclothed present, one may say devarim shebikdushah there (אשי ישראל פנ”ג הכ”ז).
  • Strictly speaking one may say a brachah wearing only a bathing suit and a head covering even if his chest is bare (שו”ע ע”ד ס”ו). Nonetheless, the Mishnah Berurah writes (שם סקכ”ד) that lechatchilah it is improper to do this.
  • One may speak words of Torah in a bathing suit (הגרח”פ שיינברג הובא בחי’ בתרא) and doing so fulfills the mitzvah of “ובלכתך בדרך,” but his head must be covered (מ”ב סי’ ב’ סקי”ב).

Davening on a Beach

  • One must lechatchilah daven Minchah before going to the beach after midday since going to a beach or pool is one of the activities that may not be started before davening Minchah, just like going to a bathhouse (שו”ע או”ח רל”ה ס”ב). This is to prevent a person from lingering and not davening on time.
  • At beaches [in Eretz Yisroel, at separate beaches approved by rabbanim], there are often Minchah minyanim close to shekiyah. Even so, it is better to daven earlier since these minyanim fulfill several halachos in a bedieved fashion, as will be explained.
  • Based on the posuk, “הכון לקראת אלקיך ישראל,” Chazal derive that when davening, one must act as if he were standing and speaking in awe before a king (שבת י.). Thus, one must be dressed respectably. A ben Torah and yerei Shomayim especially must make sure to always daven with a hat and jacket (שו”ת דברי יציב ח”א סי’ ס’, ושו”ת תשוה”נ ח”ד סי’ כ”ו).
  • Lechatchilah a person’s heart must be covered when davening (שו”ע צ”א ס”א). The Mishnah Berurah (סק”ב) adds that this is true for the entire body. Thus, lechatchilah one should not daven in shorts or short sleeves (הגרש”ז, הליכות שלמה פ”ב סט”ו). One may be meikel when necessary in a place where people commonly wear such attire in public (לקט הקמח החדש סי’ צ”א סק”ט).
  • In a bedieved or oneis situation where one did not have anything to cover himself with and he davened, he is yotzei as long as he covered his ervah (שו”ע שם). However, lechatchilah it is better not to daven at all in such a situation (ביאה”ל סי’ צ”א).
  • Shailah: Is it better to daven with a minyan, wearing a bathing suit and shirt, or by yourself later with a hat and jacket? Answer: The Gaavad of Yerushalayim shlit”a answered that it is better to daven alone with a jacket and hat.

Brachah on Tzitzis

  • If one took off his tallis, he must make a new brachah when he puts it back on, even if he was planning to put it back on immediately (שו”ע סי’ ח’ סי”ד); some say one should not make a brachah if he was planning on putting it back on (רמ”א שם). The Biur Halachah (שם) wonders why people do not make another brachah on their tzitzis after leaving the bathhouse; he differentiates between a person staying for a long time versus a short time. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (סי’ ח’ כ”ג וכ”ד) writes that “a long time” is two or three hours. Accordingly, someone who stays at a beach without wearing tzitzis for more than three hours should seemingly make another brachah when he puts his tzitzis back on.

Tefillas Haderech

  • When traveling on the road, a person should say “יהי רצון וכו’ שתוליכנו לשלום וכו’” (שו”ע או”ח סי’ ק”י ס”ד).

Listening over a Loudspeaker

  • Most poskim hold that one cannot be yotzei his chiyuv to say Tefillas Haderech by hearing it over a loudspeaker (שו”ת מנח”י ח”ג ל”ח אות ט”ז, שו”ת מנחת שלמה ח”א סי’ ט’ ססק”א). Thus, if it is said over a loudspeaker or microphone, e.g., on a bus, each person should say it along and not be yotzei with the one on the microphone.

Standing or Sitting?

  • Someone riding [an animal] does not need to dismount (שו”ע שם ס”ד). However, he should stop the animal from moving if possible (מ”ב סקכ”ג). Similarly, a person on a wagon does not need to get off but he should stop the horses if possible (מ”ב).
  • Thus, someone traveling in a car does not need to get out but he should stop on the side of the road if possible. A driver does not need to stop for his passengers if he is not saying the brachah (א”א בוטשאטש) since his driving does not distract them.
  • If a person is traveling on a train, bus, or plane and can easily stand, it is best to stand when saying Tefillas Hederech (ערוה”ש סי”א א”ר סק”י, חזו”א מעשה איש ח”ה עמ’ י”א). I saw my rebbi the Kenei Bosem zatza”l get out of the car at the side of the road to say Tefillas Haderech.

Once Per Day

  • One does not need to say Tefillas Haderech more than once a day. Even if a person rests in the city for several hours before continuing, he does not make another brachah (שו”ע שם ס”ה).
  • If one finished his trip and then changed his mind or a new need arose that caused him to travel again, he must say the brachah of Tefillas Haderech again since he had an interruption (שו”ע שם).
  • When it comes to Tefillas Haderech, the night comes after the day. Thus, if one departed by day and continues his trip at night, he does not say the brachah again after tzeis (שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”ח קס”ז).
  • If someone is traveling by day and night with a small break or no break at all, he should say Tefillas Haderech again in the morning without Hashem’s Name or Malchus at the end (מ”ב סקכ”ו). Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach held that in such a case, it is better to insert Tefillas Haderech into Shema Koleinu in Shmoneh Esrei before setting out (הליכות שלמה דבר הלכה אות ו’).

Ship

  • If someone takes a trip on a boat or ship for several days, he should only say the full brachah on the first day. On the other days, he should say it without the ending (שערי תשובה בשם ברכי יוסף סק”ט).
  • Even if the ship has proper places to sleep, it is not the same as a traveler staying overnight since the ship is traveling the whole time (אשי ישראל פ”נ הערה י”ג). However, if the ship docked somewhere for a significant amount of time before continuing on its way, one may say the brachah again.

Distance that Requires a Brachah

  • Parsah. The brachah is only made if one travels a parsah (שו”ע שם ס”ז) – 3.84 km [Rav Chaim Naeh] or 4.6 km [Chazon Ish] – whether by foot, car, train, or boat. This distance is measured starting from just over 70 amos outside the city of origin (קצות השלחן סי’ ס”ז בדה”ש סק”ד).
  • When to say the brachah. Lechatchilah the brachah should be said in the first parsah outside of the city’s “ibur” [see 56 below] (רמ”א שם).
  • If one forgot to say the brachah, he can still say it until he gets within a parsah of his destination city. Once he is within a parsah of the city, he can say it without the ending (שו”ע שם).
  • The reason for the minimum distance of a parsah is because traveling less than that is usually not dangerous. Accordingly, if one knows he is in a dangerous place, he can say the brachah even if he is traveling less than a parsah (מ”ב סק”ל).
  • Thus, if one passes through a dangerous place, e.g., a neighborhood with Arabs or other dangerous non-Jews, he should say the brachah even if it is within one parsah.

Air Travel

  • Oftentimes one must leave the city to get to the airport. If that is the case, one can already say the brachah when he leaves the city and then he should not say it again on the plane.
  • If one did not need to say the brachah before getting onto the plane, he can say it when the plane begins to pick up speed on the runway since that is when the time of danger begins (אמת ליעקב הערה 13).

Walking Path

  • If one goes walking on a path outside a city or settlement and the path is more than a parsah long [see 45 above for the modern-day equivalent], he must say Tefillas Haderech. People are not aware of this.

Dangerous Animals

  • Even nowadays, when dangerous wild animals are not common, one must include the words “חיות רעות” so as not to change the text that Chazal established. One time, Rav Matisyahu Salomon shlit”a, mashgiach in BMG in Lakewood, was in a car and his driver asked him why we say “חיות רעות” if they are extremely rare. Later on that very same drive, a bee flew into the car and pestered the driver until he nearly got into an accident. The mashgiach remarked that “חיות רעות” are indeed present today. The Gaavad of Yerushalayim shlit”a drily remarked that there is no lack of two-legged “dangerous wild animals on the road” [drivers].”

Eiruvei Techumin

  • People sometimes go to villages, small moshavim, or campgrounds. It is very easy to unknowingly leave the techum when taking a walk or going to daven with a minyan since the techum Shabbos is very small.

Size of the Techum Shabbos

  • The techum Shabbos is 2000 amos (שו”ע או”ח שצח) – 960 m [Rav Chaim Naeh] or 1152 m [Chazon Ish]. This is about a 10-minute walk for the average person on today’s smooth, neat paths. [Although the Shulchan Aruch holds a mil – 2000 amos – is an 18-minute walk (יו”ד סט ס”ו), that was on olden-day paths and roads. For halachos regarding time, we go with the figure of 18 minutes, but for halachos regarding distance, we stick with 2000 amos.] Thus, after walking for about 10 minutes, one already gets into questions about the techum Shabbos.
  • If there is a house within the city limits – i.e., within 70 and 2/3 amos [33.94 m according to Rav Chaim Naeh or 40.73 m according to the Chazon Ish] of the nearest house in the city – it is considered part of the city, and the 2000 amos are measured from that house (שם ס”ה).
  • This house needs to be fit for living, even if no one is currently living there (מ”ב שם סקי”ט). The Chasam Sofer’s (שו”ת או”ח סי’ צ”ה) criterion is that it has to be obligated to have a mezuzah, which includes a horse stable. However, the Biur Halachah (ד”ה והאוצרות) holds that a horse stable is not a dwelling place and does not count. The Chazon Ish also holds this view (או”ח סי’ ק”י סק”כ ד”ה ובחת”ס).
  • Some poskim hold that a factory or industrial area at the edge of the city is not considered part of the city, even if the workers eat there, and the 2000 amos are measured from the end of the residential buildings (חזו”א הנ”ל). However, others hold that factories are considered part of the city, and accordingly, the 2000 amos are measured from them (הגריש”א ושו”ת שבט הלוי ח”א סי’ נ”ט).

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