Halachot
  • WHAT IS HALACHA
    • Introduction to What Is Halacha
      • Introduction to What Is Halacha
        Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Leviticus/Vayikra 19:2
         
        Halacha ("The Way To Go" or "Way to Walk") guides proper Jewish behavior in all aspects of life, each day of our lives--not just in civil laws or court situations. Halacha teaches us how to behave with our families, relatives, and strangers as well as how to fulfill our religious requirements between ourselves and God.

        To fulfill our role as a holy people, we imitate God's actions. Examples are visiting the sick, welcoming guests, giving charity, refraining from creative activity on Shabbat, and promoting peace between husband and wife (shalom bayit).

        The true reason for following halacha is because God commanded us to do so.  We observe halacha to please our Creator and to become spiritually close to Him by doing His will and imitating His actions.

        Like the word for the whole body of Jewish "laws," each rule of how to act is called a halacha (plural, halachot).

        Where Do Halachot Come From?


        Although you will find halachot on this site that were born only a few days or a few decades ago, the body of halacha has been around since before creation.  "God looked into the Torah and created the world," says the Zohar, and so we find the Patriarchs followed halacha even before that great law book, the Torah, was given on Mount Sinai four centuries later.
         
        Many halachot are specified in the Written Torah (Jewish Bible). These halachot correspond to fuller and more detailed halachot given orally (Oral Torah) to Moses on Mount Sinai to explain the Written Torah that he received at the same time. Many halachot could not be understood from the Written Torah without the Oral Law (for example, what should be written on a mezuza scroll?) and many common practices such as making kiddush or what tefilin should look like are to be found nowhere in the Written Torah.
         
        Since the Torah applies to all generations, the Torah specifies that there be wise and learned people to decide how to apply halacha to the situations of the day.  Halachot can be found in sourcebooks such as the MishnaGemara, their commentaries, Shulchan AruchMishna Berura, and responsa (questions and answers originally sent by letter and now, occasionally, by email or SMS!) of later rabbis.
         
        Sometimes a custom becomes a halacha, sometimes not.  For example, the original halacha for tzitzit was that a Jewish man who wears a four-cornered garment must have tzitziyot on each corner.  The custom, which has become universally accepted and now has the force of halacha, is that Jewish men wear a four-cornered garment in order to be able to fulfill the commandment of wearing tzitziyot.  An example of a custom that did not become a halacha is that some men and boys wear their tzitziyot outside of their shirts and pants.

        Levels of Halachot

        In halacha, there are three levels of what to follow or observe. They are differentiated on this website by the following terms: 
        • “Must”:  Halachot that are generally non-negotiable except in extreme situations;
        • “Should”:  Customs that have been accepted by the entire Jewish world (or major segments of it) and that may be overridden when necessary, sometimes even if not extreme circumstances; and
        • “Non-Binding Custom”:  Customs that are not universally followed and that do not need to be followed except by people who have the tradition to do so.
    • The First Halachot
      • The First Halachot
        The first commandment given to the Jewish people as a nation was about establishing the new moon. But, there were three commandments given before that (as written in Bereishit/Genesis):
        • P'ru u'rvu (to have children);
        • Brit mila
        • Gid ha'nasheh (not eating the sciatic nerve of animals).
         
    • Concepts in Halacha
      • Commandments (Mitzvot)
        • Commandments (Mitzvot)
          • Precedence of Mitzvot
            A frequently performed commandment generally takes precedence over a less frequently performed commandment, but ONLY:
            • Regarding the order in which they are to be performed, and
            • If there is no specific reason to do the less frequent one.
            If you are only able to do one of several commandments, do the most important one. 
            Example If you can only put on either talit or tefilin, you would put on the tefilin since that is the more important commandment, even though putting on a talit is the more frequently performed one.
            Another Example Friday before sunset when Chanuka will be on Shabbat--lighting Shabbat candles is done more frequently, but we light the Chanuka candles first since if we lit the Shabbat candles first, it would already be Shabbat and we could not light the Chanuka candles at all.
          • How Much Money to Spend on a Mitzva
            You are never required to spend more than 1/5 of your liquid assets on any positive mitzva.
          • How Far To Go To Do a Mitzva
            There is no need to go to different town in order to fulfill a mitzva (a different town can be defined as out of your local business district).
          • Follow National Law as Enforced
            Follow national law as enforced. Halacha requires that national and secular law be obeyed. However:
            • If a law exists but is not enforced, it is not considered by halacha to be a valid law.
            • If a law states one condition but is enforced only in a different condition, the actual enforced law is the valid one.
            Example If a posted speed limit is 60 mph, but drivers are actually allowed to drive up to 70 mph, then 70 mph is the valid speed limit.
          • Unintentional Violation; Receive No Benefit (Psik Reisha...)
            Psik reisha d'la nicha lei (halacha whose violation you don't intend and from which you receive no benefit) is not permitted.
            Example
            You open the refrigerator door on Shabbat and the light comes on.  This is forbidden on Shabbat and Jewish festivals, even if you don't want or need the light. 
            However, you may ask a non-Jew to do an action for you that will be psik reisha d'la nicha lei.
            EXAMPLE
             You may ask a non-Jew to get your jacket from the car on Shabbat or a Jewish festival, even though a light will go on, but only during the daytime; if it is night and the light would be needed to find the jacket, you may not ask.
          • Fence (Syag) around the Torah
            Making a “fence” (“syag”) around the Torah means to avoid activities and situations that might lead to actions that are improper or not allowed by Torah law.
        • Preparation for Doing Mitzvot
          • Intention/Kavana
            Mitzvot that are from the Torah (tzitzittefilinsukka, etc.) require having the intention (kavana) to fulfill that commandment. But with many such mitzvot, it is inherent in doing the mitzva that you are doing it for the mitzva and therefore you do not need to have a special intention (for example, you would not put on tefilin to keep yourself warm).
          • VaYehi Noam, L'Shem Yichud, Yehi Ratzon
            You do not need to say Va'yehi noamL'Shem yichud, or Yehi ratzon before doing commandments.
        • What Is a Mitzva/What Is Halacha
          A mitzva is a commandment.  A halacha is how to do the mitzva.
        • Purposes of Commandments/Mitzvot
          Commandments/mitzvot (plural of mitzva) have three main purposes:
          • Most importantly, to do what we are commanded by God to do;
          • To bring us close to God;
          • To earn reward for us in the future world (olam ha'ba).
      • Halachic Decisions (Psak)
        • Halachic Decisions (Psak): Choosing a Rabbi
          • Asking Multiple Rabbis for Psak
            You may not normally ask multiple rabbis for halachic decisions about different questions, but if you do not have a primary rabbi, you may do so.
          • Shopping Around for Lenient Halachic Decision (Psak)
            You may not generally ask different rabbis for their decisions of halacha in order to get the answer you want.  You may also not ask a specific rabbi a question based on your expectation that he will give you the answer that you are seeking. But if someone asks you to recommend a rabbi, you may refer him or her to a rabbi who will give the answer that he or she would like to receive.
        • Halachic Decisions (Psak): When You Must Follow
          • Following a Halachic Decision (Psak) You Requested
            You must follow the decision you are given if you asked for a psak if the psak is more stringent that what you want to do but if it is more lenient, you may still be more stringent than what you were told to do. If the decision affects anyone other than yourself, you may not be more lenient or more stringent but must follow what you were told.
          • Following a Halachic Decision (Psak) You Overheard
            If you didn't ask for a psak but just heard someone talking about a halachic decision, you may ignore it.

        • Halachic Decisions (Psak): Doubt (Safek)
        • Halachic Decisions (Psak): Mitigating Circumstances
          • Accidental or Intentional
            The ideal and preferred means of observing or fulfilling a halacha is called l'chatchila. Sometimes the halacha's requirements may be fulfilled b'di'avad (after the fact) under less-than-ideal circumstances. 
            You may not intentionally do an action at the b'diavad level if you are able to do it at the l'chatchila level.
          • Shalom Bayit or Honoring One's Parents (Kibud Av Va'Eim)
            The only type of laws that may sometimes be overridden to help with shalom bayit (promoting peaceful family relations) or kibud av va'eim (honoring parents) is rabbinic law, not Torah law. A rabbi should be consulted in these cases.
          • Saving a Life (Pikuach Nefesh)
            Human life is valued in Judaism, unlike in some other religions. The Talmud says that if someone saves one human life (pikuach nefesh), it is as if he or she saved an entire universe. Almost all halachot may be overridden in order to save a life; the main exceptions are for Adultery, Murder, and Idol Worship—see Adultery, Murder, Idol Worship .
            ExampleYou may drive a car on Shabbat or even Yom Kippur in order to take a seriously injured or ill person to the hospital. This includes pregnant women who are about to give birth.
          • Adultery, Murder, Idol Worship
            The Talmud says that a person must allow himself to be killed rather than violate any of three commandments that may not be violated: adultery; murder; idol worship. Note that in Jewish law, not all types or conditions of killing a person are defined as murder.
          • Human Dignity (Kavod HaBriot)
            Although human dignity (kavod ha'briot) cannot override Torah commandments, kavod ha'briot allows violating some d'rabanan laws in order to avoid embarrassment.
            Examples
            • Tearing Toilet Paper
              Situation You need to use toilet paper on Shabbat but none is torn.
              What To Do You may tear some toilet paper using any non-standard method or change from the normal way (shinu'i), such as not using your hand, or dropping something on the paper.
            • Hearing Aid
              Situation You may speak to someone who uses a hearing aid on Shabbat to avoid embarrassing him or her.
        • Halachic Decisions (Psak): New Facts
          • Changes in a Halachic Decision Due to New Facts
            A halachic determination may be voided or changed if factual information is found that contradicts the information on which the halachic determination was made (such as incorrect science or incorrect statement of a condition or situation).  However, you must check with the originator of the psak or the original source of information on which the halacha was based.
      • Halachic Practice
        • Customs (Minhag)
        • Weakening Halachic Observance or Respect for Torah
          • Lowering People's Respect for the Torah (Chilul Hashem)
            You may not do any action that causes other people to lessen their observance of, or respect for, the Torah.
            Example When a person known to be otherwise observant of Jewish law seems to be dishonest in business.
          • Appearing To Not Uphold the Torah (Mar'it Ayin)
            You may not do any action that may cause religious Jews to do something wrong or cause people to think that an observant Jew is doing something forbidden (mar'it ayin). Mar'it ayin is doing something that might lead people to:
            • Violate a Torah law by thinking that an observed action that is permissible under special circumstances may be applied to other cases, or
            • Think that the person doing the action is violating Torah law (since the observer might not know that the action is actually permissible).
            Example When a Jew wears a yarmulke and eats raw, kosher vegetables in a non-kosher restaurant, someone who did not know that only kosher food was being eaten might think that:
            • All of the food in that restaurant is kosher, or
            • The Jew was doing something forbidden (and think badly of the Jew).
            If no one can see you, you may do activities that might look like violations of rabbinic laws. If the action is forbidden by the Torah (d'oraita), you may not even do it in private (but you may not actually violate either type of law!).
        • Hidur Mitzva/Mehadrin
          • Hidur Mitzva/Mehadrin
            Almost all mitzvot may be enhanced by:
            • Making them beautiful (hidur mitzva), or
            • Observing non-required stringencies (mehadrin).
            Hidur Mitzva
            Examples
            • Women baking challa for Shabbat and Jewish festivals (and separating challa as a remembrance of the challa that was given to the priests/cohanim in the Temple).
            • Wearing especially nice clothes and eating special foods on Shabbat and Jewish festivals.
            • Using beautiful fragrances, tastes, textures, colors, and artistry in serving God.
            Beautiful
            Examples
            • Shabbat/Jewish festival table (set with beautiful challa cover, silver, kiddush cups).
            • Havdala set and pleasant-smelling spices for havdala.
            • Sukka and putting your finest things in it.
            • Etrog/etrog case.
            • Shofar.
            • Seder plate, matza holder, and matza cover.
            • Illuminated hagadas (hagadot) and megilas (megilot).
            • Chanuka candle-holder (menora, chanukiya).
            • Torah scroll written with a fine pen and beautiful script and wrapped in beautiful silks.
            • Mezuza covers.
            • Ketuba.
            • Wimple (to wrap baby in prior to brit mila; then donated to hold the two parts of the Torah together).
            • Elijah's Chair/Kisei Eliyahu.
            • Synagogues.
            • Chuppa.
            Mehadrin
            Examples
            • Chalav Yisrael--When consuming milk and milk products, eating or drinking only those items whose production was supervised by religious Jews;
            • Pat Yisrael—When eating bread, only eating bread baked by Jews (not necessarily by religious Jews);
            • Glatt meat—When eating meat, eating only meat that had no lesions on the animal's lungs;
            • Lighting more than one Chanuka candle each night (beginning on the 2nd night) and having more than one person in each house light their own candles.
        • Priority: Chaviv and Chashuv
          • Priority: Chaviv and Chashuv
            Opinions differ in whether you should give priority in eating to what you like the most (chaviv) or what is most important (chashuv).
            Examples
            Situation You like mangoes. Someone serves a platter with mangoes and dates.
            Question Should you first eat a mango (chaviv) or first eat a date (chashuv—due to its being one of the Five Special Fruits)?
            What To Do RMH usually recommends that people begin eating whichever fruit they prefer; that is, chaviv first.

            Situation You want to eat both fruit and cake. 
            What To Do You may eat the fruit first if you prefer to eat it first, even though the cake is more important.
        • Distraction
          • Preparing for an Upcoming Commandment
            You should refrain from any activity that will prevent or distract you from doing a commandment (or make you forget to do it),  from 30 minutes before the time at which you will need to do that commandment.
          • Cessation of Intention (Hesech Da'at)
            “Cessation of intention” (hesech da'at) can occur when you get involved in a different action or activity than what you were doing. It is not time dependent.
  • AGRICULTURE
    • Introduction to Agriculture
      • Introduction to Agriculture
        All of the Jewish festival holidays had an agricultural element to them.
         
        Agricultural laws include Kilayim, Orla, Reishit, Teruma/Ma'aser, Shmita, and Yashan, as well as special laws applying only to fruit trees. Some of these laws still apply today by Torah law (d'oraita) while others, such as First Fruits (bikurim), only apply when the Jerusalem Temple stands and so are not practiced now. Others are observed today as "practice" for when the Temple is rebuilt.
    • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim)
      • Introduction to Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim)
        • Introduction to Forbidden Mixtures/Kilayim
          The limits of kilayim keep:
          • Individual creations true to themselves, in the way they were created by God, and
          • Different, or opposing, spiritual forces governing creation in their own places and within their own bounds.
          In the holiness of the Tabernacle or Temple, where opposites were peaceably and constructively resolved, kilayim in the form of sha'atnez was not only permitted but formed the foundation of all main tapestries and two of the High Priest's garments.
          Note The Shulchan Aruch lists over 120 halachot pertaining to kilayim in planting!
           
          Kilayim-type laws apply today to:
          • Animals (not yoking an ox and donkey together; not interbreeding, say, a horse and a donkey to produce a mule),
          • Food (not eating milk with meat),
          • Clothing - not wearing a garment made of a mixture of linen and wool (sha'atnez), and
          • Plants (interplanting, interbreeding, and grafting different species).
            Note Vineyards in Eretz Yisrael may only be near fruit trees if:
            1. A wall divides fruit tree and vineyard, OR
            2. The vineyard is not a bona fide vineyard. A bona fide vineyard has at least 5 grapevines in at least two rows, with at least two vines in one row and three in the other. 
      • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim): Animals
      • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim): Plants
        • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim): Planting in Earth
          • Kilayim: Planting in Eretz Yisrael
            Do not plant two species of fruit or vegetable plants (and trees) together (“kilayim”) in Eretz Yisrael. The prohibition covers all types of food-producing plants: herbs; vegetables; grains; trees….
            Example In Eretz Yisrael, do not plant a vegetable with a fruit or grain or one type of vegetable with another type of vegetable, one type of fruit with a different type of fruit, and one type of grain with another type of grain.
        • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim): Planting in Pots
          • Kilayim: Planting in Pots in Eretz Yisrael
            Within Eretz Yisrael, you may not plant disparate species in the same pot if the pot:
            • Is made of wood or earthenware, or
            • Has a hole in the bottom, regardless of the material it is made from.
            If the pot does not have a hole in the bottom and if it is made of plastic, glass, or metal, you may plant multiple species together.
          • Kilayim: Planting in Pots outside of Eretz Yisrael
            Outside of Eretz Yisrael, plants in pots are not subject to kilayim laws.
        • Forbidden Mixtures (Kilayim): Grafting
          • Grafting When Kilayim
            You may not:
            • Graft two trees of different species together (grafting a branch or shoot from one tree onto the trunk of a different type of tree).
            • Pay someone else to graft a tree for you, not even a non-Jew.
            Note You may use such a tree if it was already grafted by someone else.
    • Orla
      • Orla: General Questions
      • Orla: How To Calculate
        • Orla Planting Deadline
          Trees planted at least 45 days before Rosh Hashana (that is, by Tu B'Av) are considered to be one year old on that Rosh Hashana.
        • How To Calculate When Orla Is Over
          You may eat tree fruit if the tree's buds appeared after Tu B'Shvat of the fourth year.  This may be a span of only 2.5 years if the tree was planted on or before Tu B'Av (at least 45 days before Rosh Hashana):
          1st  Year  Tu B'Av to Rosh Hashana #1 
          2nd Year  Rosh Hashana #1 to Rosh Hashana #2
          3rd  Year  Rosh Hashana #2 to Rosh Hashana #3
          4th  Year  Rosh Hashana #3 to Tu B'Shvat
          Example A fruit tree planted on Tu B'Av, Aug. 15, 2011, will be one year old 6 weeks later, on Rosh Hashana, Sept. 29, 2011. By Rosh Hashana, Sept. 5, 2013, the tree will have completed three years and it enters its fourth year.  Buds that appear on or after Tu B'Shvat, Jan. 15, 2014, and turn into fruit will be neta revai and may be redeemed and eaten.
        • Orla: Doubt about Tree Age in Eretz Yisrael
          Do not eat fruit from a tree growing in Eretz Yisrael if you are not certain about the age of a tree that might be three years old or less.
        • Orla: Doubt about Tree Age outside of Eretz Yisrael
          You may eat fruit from a tree growing outside of Eretz Yisrael if you are not certain about the age of a tree that might be three years old or less.
        • Orla: Transplanted Trees
          If a tree (whether younger or older than 4 years) is transplanted but did not have enough soil on its roots to live for several years, restart counting orla from zero.
      • Orla: Individual Fruits
        • Orla: Grapes outside of Eretz Yisrael
          Outside of Eretz Yisrael, only grapes (not other types of “tree” fruit) need to be redeemed in the fourth year of their growth in order to eat them.
          Note We are lenient in using commercially grown grapes due to doubt as to the grapevines' ages.
        • Orla: Papayas in Eretz Yisrael
          Papayas grown in Eretz Yisrael may not be usable, since papaya trees don't normally live for four years.
          Note There is a difference of opinion as to the blessing over eating papaya— borei pri ha'eitz or borei pri ha'adama.)
    • Firsts (Reishit)
      • Introduction to Firsts (Reishit)
        • Introduction to Firsts (Reishit)
          Jews thank God for His blessings by giving Him the “first” (reishit) of various products (as well as a tenth/ma'aser of agricultural and other wealth). 
          “First” applies to:
          • First-Born/Petter Rechem
            • First-born male children/petter rechem (redeemed with money; see Introduction to Pidyon HaBein).
            • First-born male kosher domestic animals (calf, lamb, kid)/petter rechem (in Temple times: sacrificed on altar; now, permanent holy status--see Selling Mother Animal before Birth of Petter Rechem.
            • First-born male donkeys/petter rechem chamor (redeemed with sheep/goat; holiness of both the donkey and the sheep or goat then disappears).
          • Dough/Challa
          In Temple times, given to cohen; now, see When To Separate Challa (Hafrashat Challa).
          • First Fruits/Bikurim
          In Temple times, the Jew (man or woman) brought the bikurim fruits to the area between altar and Temple building; only the man said the
          • First Shearing/Reishit HaGeiz
          Portion of sheep's wool (reishit ha'geiz) (given to cohen).
          Note All of the above have holy status except for the wool and the human petter rechem.
      • Reishit: Kosher Domestic Animals
        • Petter Rechem
          • Selling Mother Animal before Birth of Petter Rechem
            Situation The first-born male baby of a female kosher domestic mammal or of a female donkey, if completely owned by a Jew, is a petter rechem (which may not be used for any purpose).
            What To Do Before the mother has her first baby, sell part of her to a non-Jew so the firstborn will not be wholly owned by a Jew and, if male, will not become a petter rechem. Rabbinic guidance is recommended!
      • Reishit: Pidyon HaBein
      • Teruma/Ma'aser
        • Teruma/Ma'aser: Which Produce To Separate
        • Teruma/Ma'aser: Quantity
        • Teruma/Ma'aser: When To Separate
        • Teruma/Ma'aser: How To Separate
          • Procedure for Separating Terumot and Ma'asrot
            • Procedure for Separating Terumot and Ma'asrot
              (from kashrus/kk-medi-terumos.htm">http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-medi-terumos.htm, used with permission)

              Post this document in a conspicuous place.
              Note The coin you are using for the separation must be in front of you (for the ma'aser sheini).
              1. Break or cut off more than one hundredth of the food and set it aside (for teruma and terumat ma'aser).
              2. Say the following (either in Hebrew or English):



                Yoteir me'echad me'me'a she'yeish kahn harei hu teruma gedola be'tzad tzefono. Oto echad me'me'a she'yeish kahn ve'od tish'a chalakim k'moto be'tzad tzefono shel ha'peirot harei hu ma'aser rishon. Oto echad me'me'a she'asitiv ma'aser rishon asuy terumat ma'aser, uma'aser sheini b'dromo, u'mechulal hu ve'chumsho al peruta be'matbei'a sh'yichidita lechilul ma'aser sheini ve'revai. Ve'im tzarich ma'aser ani ye'hei ma'aser ani bi'dromo. Im hu revai ye'hei mechulal hu ve'chumsho al peruta be'matbei'a she'yichidita le'chilul ma'aser sheini ve'revai.

                (Im ma'aser minim harbei tzarich le'hosif) “kol min al mino.”


                Translation
                (If there is a food of one type that requires separation) Whatever is MORE than one hundredth of this food shall be teruma on the north side of the piece that I have set aside. The one hundredth that is left in the piece I have set aside plus nine other pieces the same size on the north side of the food shall be ma'aser rishon. That same one hundredth in the piece I set aside that I have made ma'aser shall be terumat ma'aser.
                Furthermore, I am proclaiming ma'aser sheini to be in effect on the south side of the food, and I am redeeming it and its fifth on a pruta (smallest amount of money recognized by the Torah for most purposes) of this coin which I have in front of me. If this food needs ma'aser ani, the ma'aser ani shall take effect on the south side of the food.
                If this food is subject to the laws of neta revai then it and its fifth shall be redeemed on a pruta of this coin that I have in front of me.

                If there is a food of more than one type, add each type of food for its type.
                 
              3. Wrap the broken or cut-off piece in plastic and discard.
              4. The coin--dime or coin of greater value--must eventually be disposed of in such a manner that it will not be used.
              5. The food may now be eaten.
               
              If you do not want to say the long version, you may say this shorter version, after having separated a piece larger than 1\% of the total food:
              All separations and redemptions shall take effect as is specified in this Star-K document outlining the Procedure for Separating Terumot and Ma'asrot, Tithes and Redemptions, which I have in my possession.

              Whether saying the long or short version, only a little over one hundredth of the food will not be permitted to eat; all the rest may be eaten. Even though the tithes constitute over one fifth of the food, one is permitted to eat most of the tithes oneself, even though he may not be a Cohen or a Levi. Under no circumstances will it suffice merely to break off a piece of the food and throw it away. The aforementioned instructions must be strictly followed. The laws of the tithes apply to everyone, including the Cohen and Levi.

              IMPORTANT
              You must say the blessing lehafrish trumot u'ma'asrot if you know the produce definitely needed to have teruma and ma'aser taken; it was definitely:
              • Grown on Jewish-owned land in halachic Eretz Yisrael and
              • Had not yet had teruma and ma'aser taken from it.
              BUT you must not say the blessing if the produce might have:
              • Not been grown on Jewish-owned land in halachic Eretz Yisrael, OR
              • Already had teruma and ma'aser separated.
              Note The State of Israel is not the same as halachic Eretz Yisrael (that area of Eretz Yisrael owned or conquered by Jews during the Second Temple period). 
            • More on Teruma/Ma'aser
              For more on teruma and ma'aser, including a short form of the text, see kashrus/kk-medi-terumos.htm" target="_blank">Star-K article
            • Teruma/Ma'aser: Bal Tashchit
              Teruma that is separated and destroyed is not considered to be a violation of bal tashchit, since it is done to fulfill a commandment/mitzva.
      • Shmita
        • Introduction to Shmita
          • Introduction to Shmita
            Every seventh year, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes grown in Eretz Yisrael are subject to the laws of “shmita,” which entail letting the land rest.
            Holiness of Shmita Produce
            Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc., grown in Eretz Yisrael holiness.  This holiness determines how we may treat fruit during shmita, including how to eat it and how to dispose of it.
            Which Produce Is Subject to Shmita Laws?
            All fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that grow in Eretz Yisrael are subject to shmita laws.  However, since there is a rabbinic decree that we may not eat vegetables and grains (called “sfichin”) that grow in Eretz Yisrael during shmita year, we will mainly be discussing fruits.
            Note Vegetables, grains, and legumes that are not raised in halachic Eretz Yisrael are never subject to shmita laws.  So if a fruit or vegetable was grown outside the borders of Second Temple period Eretz Yisrael, you may eat that fruit or vegetable with no shmita concerns.  Such areas may include much of the southern part of the State of Israel, including the Arava and southern Negev all the way to Eilat, land south of Gaza, etc.  Some people include the Golan. Many people also include any land currently “owned” by Arabs.
            Plants grown off the ground or inside a house are also not subject to shmita.
            When Is Shmita?
            The next shmita year will be observed beginning Rosh Hashana, September 2014.
        • Shmita: Fruit
          • Shmita: Fruit: Otzar Bet Din
            SituationYou may not sell shmita fruit in the normal manner.

            What To Do An otzar bet din can be set up to distribute fruit and pay the farmer for his work on distributing. The otzar bet din then distributes the fruit to the public and gets reimbursed for the expenses.
          • Shmita: Fruit: Who May Eat
            Shmita produce is ownerless and free for use by anyone.
          • Shmita: Fruit: How To Eat
            You may eat fruit of the shmita year in Eretz Yisrael, but only in the normal way for eating that fruit.
          • Shmita: Fruit: How To Dispose Of
            You may not put shmita peels, cores, and other waste parts into the garbage (unlike teruma, you may not double-bag them and put them in the garbage).  You must put them aside to rot before disposal.
          • Shmita: Canned Fruit from Eretz Yisrael
            You may not buy canned fruit or other produce from Eretz Yisrael (even in later years) if the produce grew during a shmita year (except through an otzar bet din). This may be a problem with exports from Israel.
        • Shmita: Grain and Vegetables
        • Shmita: Plants
        • Shmita: Wine
          • Buying and Using Shmita Wine
            You may not buy wine from grapes grown in Eretz Yisrael during a shmita year unless you buy it from an otzar bet din. Even if you do buy from an otzar bet din, it is not recommended to buy shmita wine since you:
            • May not waste even one drop,
            • Must use it only in the normal way, and
            • May not dispose of the residue in the bottle until it has become unpotable.

             

      • Yashan
        • Introduction to Yashan
          • Introduction to Yashan
            Only yashan grain should be used. Yashan means one of the Five Grains that was planted at least three days before Passover and has now passed the first day of chol ha'moed of Passover.  Grain planted after one Passover that has not passed the first day of chol ha'moed of the following Passover is known as “chadash.”
          • Grains Subject to Yashan
            Wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt are subject to yashan.
          • Where Yashan Applies
            Yashan applies to grain grown anywhere in the world.
            Note Although yashan is from the Torah, some people outside of Eretz Yisrael are lenient about yashan with regard to grain that was grown outside of Eretz Yisrael.
        • Yashan: Halachot
          • When Grain Becomes Yashan
            You may use grain as “yashan” after the first day of chol ha'moed Passover.  "After" means the third day of Passover in Eretz Yisrael and the fourth day outside of Eretz Yisrael.
          • Yashan and Matza
            Matza is normally made from winter wheat and so does not normally have a question of being chadash.
      • Fruit Trees: Special Laws
        • Fruit Trees: Blessing over Blossoms
          • When To Say Blessing over New Fruit Blossoms
            The first time each year that you see blossoms on an edible-fruit tree, say the blessing “shelo chisar ba'olamo davar….” It may be anytime throughout the year, not only in Nisan. If you live in a region in which fruit trees blossom all year round, you should say “shelo chisar”... in Nisan after you see some new blossoms.
            Note You may say the blessing on a single tree, even though the blessing says “trees” (plural).
        • Fruit Trees: Removing
          • Laws on Removal of Fruit Tree
            You may not remove a fruit tree that is still producing fruit, even
            • For lumber,
            • If the tree is diseased,
            • If a replacement tree would yield more fruit. 
            Exception A fruit tree may be uprooted or cut down if it is not producing at least 46 oz. (2 lbs., 14 oz.--about 1.3 kg) of fruit each year.
          • Removal of Productive Fruit Tree
            To remove from your property a fruit tree that produces at least 46 oz. of fruit each year, you must sell the tree to a non-Jew. The non-Jew may then remove it.
             
    • ATTIRE
      • Introduction to Attire
        • Introduction to Attire
          Various types of attire are considered appropriate for men, single women, married women, and children to wear in public.  The standards vary somewhat due to location and era.
      • Attire: Sleeping Covered
        • Sleeping Covered
          A person should be covered with something when sleeping.  This may either by a sheet/other bedding or by a garment that is worn.
          Note This is a good practice and is expected but is not a halacha. It is part of modesty (tzni'ut) between people and God.
      • Attire: Getting Dressed
      • Attire: Blessings/Torah/Prayer
      • Attire: Sha'atnez
        • Attire: Sha'atnez: Sheep Wool with Linen
          You may not wear clothing made by combing/felting, spinning, and/or twisting/weaving lamb's or sheep's wool with linen. You may also not wear a garment made of two pieces—one wool and one linen—that have been sewn together. Even one thread of wool or linen with the other material is forbidden (there is not batel in 1/60th for sha'atnez).
          Note The acronym sha'atnez stands for shu'a, tuvi, nuz—three steps in processing wool and linen fibers.
      • Attire: Women and Men
        • Attire: Women's/Men's (Begged Ish)
          • Attire: Wearing Other Gender's Clothing
            Clothes that are worn by both genders may be worn by either gender, even if they were intended to be worn by just one gender. So women may wear clothes that have been made and intended for men (begged ish) if women wear those garments, too. There are some exceptions--consult a rabbi.
          • Attire: Men Wearing Women's Clothing
                       Men may not wear women's clothing.
          • Attire: Women Wearing Men's Clothes
                       A woman or girl may not wear men's clothes (begged ish), even:
            • if for a different purpose than what men use them for, and
            • if not for the purpose of looking like a man.
          • Attire: Woman Wearing Talit for Warmth
                      A woman should not use a talit to keep warm, even
            • if there is no other garment in the synagogue and
            • if she is listening to a Torah class.
          • Attire: Pistols and Other Weapons
                      Pistols and other weapons are considered to be men's attire (begged ish), but they may be worn or carried by women if in any place where there is danger.
        • Attire: Mixed Swimming
          • Attire: Women
            • Attire: Women: Tzni'ut
              • Attire: Tzni'ut Guidelines for Women
                To dress tzenu'a, women should:
                • Cover torso to elbows and to knees;
                • Cover collarbones (and hair, if married).
                Also, the garments must not cling tightly to the woman's body.
                Note If there are no men nearby (visible), women do not need to wear tzanu'a attire, including when swimming.
                Note It is an act of piety to always dress tzenu'a, and is preferable always to dress tzenu'a when feasible.
              • Attire: Women: Tzni'ut: Lifeguard
                If no female lifeguard is available, a male lifeguard may guard and women do not need to wear special tzanu'a attire. There is no difference between using a Jewish or non-Jewish male lifeguard.
              • Attire: Women: Socks or Stockings
                Women wearing skirts below their knees do not need to wear socks or stockings, unless that is the custom in their community.
                Note Custom is defined by how people who follow halacha dress, not by how non-religious people dress, even if the non-religious are the majority of a community.
              • Attire: Women: Open-Toed Sandals
                Women may wear open-toed sandals if that is customary in their community.
              • Attire: Women's Blessings: Mikva
                When women say blessings in the mikva, their bodies are covered by the water, which takes the place of clothing for that purpose.
            • Attire: Married Women: Head Covering (Kisuy Rosh)
              • Attire: Married Women: Hair-Covering Guidelines
                Married women should cover their hair when they leave their “chatzeir,” which may mean house, yard, or domain. Married women should not appear in public without covering their hair.
                Note It is an act of piety for married women to always cover their hair. (For extenuating circumstances, consult a rabbi for exceptions).
                NoteA married woman may have her hair exposed as long as its area is less than 1 square tefach (3.5” x 3.5”, or about 9 cm x 9 cm). To measure this, add up all exposed hair to get a total area, flattened to two dimensions, as if it were a silhouette.  It is an act of piety for married women to completely cover their hair.
                To measure braided or bunched-up hair or hair in a pony tail, simply measure the cross-sectional area as it is. You do not need to measure the hair as if it were spread out flat.
                When wearing a baseball-type hat, hair may be exposed on all sides, as long as the total exposed hair is less than 3.5” X 3.5.”
                To wear a "kipa sheitl," you may wrap your real hair around the sheitl, but only up to a total of 3.5” x 3.5.”
              • Attire: Married Women: Hair Cuts
                A Jewish woman may have her hair cut by any hairdresser, including men, whether Jewish or not, and there is no problem of his seeing her uncovered hair.
              • Attire: Married Women: Doctors
                A married woman may allow her doctor to see her hair uncovered if necessary for treatment or examination.
              • Attire: Married Women: Hair Covered during Prayer
                A married woman is not required by halacha to have her hair covered when praying alone, but the custom is for her do to so.
                 
            • Attire: Women: Pritzut
              • Attire: Women: Pritzut Even If Completely Covered
                Pritzut is a deviation from the norm for people's attire, even if completely covered (or not properly covered!).
                Example A woman wearing a leotard and tights may be violating pritzut even if her body is completely covered, depending on where she is.
              • Attire: Women: Pritzut and Neighborhood Customs
                          Deviation from the accepted standard for attire (pritzut) may apply even to customs such as are followed in certain neighborhoods, and visiting women must conform to the local standards while there.
          • Attire: Girls
            • Attire: Girls: Tzni'ut
              • Attire: Girls: Age for Modest Dress
                Girls should dress modestly from the age of gil chinuch, when they can understand the concept of why to dress modestly. This may start at 6 years old but may be older depending on the girl. Consult a rabbi.
                Note The requirement that girls dress modestly from gil chinuch includes girls' wearing bathing suits around adult males.
          • Attire: Men
            • Attire: Men: Tzni'ut
            • Attire: Men: Head Covering (Kisuy Rosh)
            • Attire: Men: Tzitzit
              • Tzitzit: Value
                • Tzitzit: Continuous Mitzva
                  Tzitzit have protective value; wearing them provides a continuous mitzva throughout the day and even at night (but only when wearing a garment which is primarily worn during the daytime).
              • Tzitzit: How To Wear
                • Tzitzit: Hanging Out
                  Wearing tzitzit hanging out of your clothes is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
              • Tzitzit: When To Wear
                • Tzitzit: At Which Age To Wear
                  Boys begin to wear tzitzit as follows:
                       Custom: When the boy is toilet trained and knows how to say the blessing.
                       Halacha: When the boy knows that two tzitzit go in front and two in back.
                • Tzitzit: At Night or While Sleeping
                  Tzitzit should be worn day and night but not during sleep. (The commandment is to wear tzitzit only during the day, but they still provide protection at night.)
                  Note Men (and boys) wear a talit katan even after dark but only on clothes which are primarily worn during the daytime), due to doubt as to whether tzitzit are required at night.
                • Tzitzit: When Hot
                  You do not need to wear a talit katan at any time when you would not wear a shirt, such as if it is too hot or if you are too sweaty. If you wear a shirt, you should also wear a talit katan.
                • Tzitzit: Interference with Activity
                  You do not need to wear tzitzit if they will interfere with an activity such as swimming, scuba diving, or gymnastics (and, for me, hanging upside down on a flying trapeze!).
              • Tzitzit: What To Wear
                • Tzitzit: What To Wear: Which Garments Require Tzitzit
                  A garment or cloth requires tzitzit if:
                  • Worn by a male 13 years old or above,
                  • Contains at least 51\% natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk, etc.), and
                  • Has four corners in which two corners are normally behind you and the other two are normally in front of you while wearing it (A shawl will not normally need tzitzit).
                  Note It is the widespread custom to begin wearing tzitzit at the age of chinuch—typically about three years old but this can vary by child.
                • Tzitzit: Knots and Wraps
                  Tzitzit strings have five knots separating four wraps of strings. This applies to tzitzit whether on a talit katan or talit gadol. The minimum length for tzitzit strings: 
                  From the first to fifth knots--at least 4 inches; 
                  From the fifth knot to the bottom (lower end) of the strings—at least 8 inches.
                  The wraps go around the entire bunch of strings as follows:
                  At top but below the first knot: 7 times 
                  Below the second knot: 8 times 
                  Below the third knot: 11 times, and 
                  Above the bottom knot: 13 times
                  Note The total of the wraps' gematria values (7+ 8+ 11 + 13 = 39) equals the gematria values of Hashem (one of God's names) Echad (is One), as follows:
                  Hashem (spelled: yud, heh, vav, heh) = 26
                  Echad (spelled: alef, chet, daled) = 13
                  Hashem + Echad = 26 + 13 = 39
                • Tzitzit: Shamash
                  The purpose of a shamash on tzitzit is to have a string long enough to make wraps.
                • Tzitzit: Placement
                  Like all tzitzit, tzitzit on a talit gadol should hang over the side edge of the talit and not hang down from the bottom.
                  Note They are still kosher even if they hang straight down, b'di'avad.
                  The tzitzit should hang down along the vertical border (screen left/model's right side)
                  The tzitzit should hang down along the vertical border (screen left/model's right side)
              • Tzitzit: Checking
                • Tzitzit: How To Check
                  • Tzitzit: For What To Check
                    Torn
                    In checking tzitzit, determine:
                    • Are any loops torn?
                    • Are 8 strings visible on each corner?
                    If you cannot see 7 strings due to one or more having been torn off, consult a rabbi.

                    Tangled
                    There is no problem if tzitzit are tangled. However, to untangle them:
                    • Is a superior way to fulfill the mitzva, and 
                    • Allows you to easily check them to see if there are 8 tzitziyot.
                    Frizzy
                    If any tzitziyot are so frizzy that the individual tzitziyot cannot be distinguished, they are invalid (pasul).
                    Note To prevent frizziness during laundering, wrap the tzitziyot tightly in a rubber band before drying them in a dryer, or hang them to dry.
                    Note
                    • If the hanging end of a tzitzit string breaks below the lowest knot, the string is kosher.
                    • If more than one string breaks, or if one string breaks above the lowest knot, consult a rabbi since the tzitzit may not be kosher.
                • Tzitzit: When To Check
                  • Tzitzit Checking: Before Blessing
                    You are not required to check tzitzit on a talit katan or talit gadol each day. 
                    Reason We assume, based on the norm (chazaka), that the tzitzit are OK.
                    But it is a good idea to check them before saying the blessing over them each day.
                  • Tzitzit Checking: Shabbat and Jewish Festivals
                    Do not check tzitzit on Shabbat or Jewish festivals.
                    Reason If there is something wrong, you might untangle them and thereby untie a knot, which is prohibited from the Torah.
              • Tzitzit: Blessings
              • Tzitzit: Kissing
                • Tzitzit: Kissing: Morning Shema
                  When saying morning shema, kiss the tzitzit when saying the words:
                  • tzitzit” in the shema, and
                  • emet” and “la'ad” in paragraph following the shema.
                  These are non-binding customs, not halacha.
                   
                • Tzitzit: Kissing: Night Shema
                  Don't kiss tzitzit when saying the shema at night.
              • Tzitzit: Holding
              • Tzitzit: Preventing Fraying
              • Tzitzit: Disposal
                • Tzitzit: Disposal: How To Wrap
                  To dispose of items used for mitzvot (tashmishei mitzva) such as tzitzit or etrog, you may wrap in one layer of plastic and throw it into dry garbage, or wrap in two layers of plastic and throw it into wet garbage.
                • Tzitzit: Cut-Off End Disposal
                  You may cut off (shorten) tzitzit strings before the first time they are used and throw away the pieces without covering them. Once tzitzit strings have been worn, you must wrap them before disposal as above.
                • Tzitzit: Garment Disposal
                  Garments for talit katan and talit gadol have no special holiness (kedusha).  But once used for a mitzva, the garments—like the tzitziyot themselves--must be wrapped before disposal, as above.
            • Talit Katan
              • Talit Katan: Size
                • Talit Katan: Size
                  The minimum size for the garment of a talit katan is large enough to wrap your torso in, in front and in back: 17 inches (43 cm) wide and 17 inches (43 cm) long, from the top edge to bottom edge and so the total minimum dimensions will be 17 inches wide by 34 inches long. The optimal size is 24 inches wide and 24 inches long on each side (resulting in dimensions of 24 inches by 48 inches. 
                  The minimum  width for a talit katan is 17 inches
                  The minimum width for a talit katan is 17 inches
              • Talit Katan: Material
              • Talit Katan: Marking
              • Talit Katan: Blessings
                • Talit Katan: Blessings: Shema if You Wake Up Early
                  Situation You wake up early and want to say shema (in case you return to sleep and might miss the latest time to say morning shema). 
                  What To Do
                  • You need to wear only a talit katan (not a talit gadol).
                  • Say the blessing al mitzvat tzitzit, even if you normally would later put on a talit gadol and therefore would not normally say that blessing over a talit katan.
                • Talit Katan: Blessings: Shabbat or Jewish Festival Talit Katan
                  Situation You switch to a special talit katan right before Shabbat and Jewish festivals.
                  What To Do You do not need to say another blessing over the special talit katan if to switch:
                  • Is your normal intention (even if you did not specifically intend to switch when you put on your talit katan that morning), or
                  • Is NOT your normal intention but you did intend to switch later that afternoon. 
                  You must say another blessing if to switch:
                  • Is not your normal intention and you also did not intend to switch when you put on the talit katan that morning.
            • Talit (Gadol)
              • Talit Gadol: Description
                • Talit Gadol: Size
                  The minimum size for a talit gadol is so you could put it over your head and wrap your body in it (even though this is not how you must wear it!).
                • Talit Gadol: Material
                  A talit gadol (or a talit katan) must be made from at least 51\% natural fibers.
                • Talit Gadol: Color
                  A talit should be primarily white.  Here are some details:
                  • A talit gadol should be either all white or white with black stripes. Avoid a very colorful talit that makes the white part look insignificant.
                  • Blue stripes used to be used: as with techelet, the blue reminds us of the sky, of God's throne (kisei ha'kavod), and of God.
                  • Even though the talit was originally supposed to have blue stripes, it is not the custom today to use blue stripes.
                  • Black stripes have no significance or importance.
                • Talit Gadol: Tzitzit Placement
                  Like all tzitzit, tzitzit on a talit gadol must hang over the edge of the talit and not hang down from the bottom (see diagram).
                  The tzitzit should hang down along the vertical border (screen left/model's right side)
                  The tzitzit should hang down along the vertical border (screen left/model's right side)
              • Talit Gadol: Why
                • Talit Gadol: Mitzva
                  Men wear a talit as a mitzva (wearing a four-cornered garment in order to wear tzitzit).
                   
                • Talit Gadol: Form of Honor
                  It is a form of honor for the congregation for the leader to dress up (some congregations have the custom of requiring the leader to wear a jacket for mincha for this reason). A talit is usually the form of dressing up for all men during prayer services.
                   
                • Talit Gadol: Humility
                  When a person speaks directly to God, it is very important to demonstrate humility. Since the Talmud says that covering one's head is a form of humility (and that learned Jews/talmidei chachamim used to cover their heads), men who wear a talit for prayer should ideally use it to cover their heads whenever they wear it, but the minimum is during the amida.
              • Talit Gadol: When To Wear
                • Talit Gadol: Amida
                  A talit is required only when saying the amida prayer, but the universal custom (for men who wear talitot!) is to wear the talit during the entire shacharit service.
                  Note A talit is worn for shacharit, musaf, and all day and night on Yom Kippur; it is not commonly worn for mincha or ma'ariv (except on Yom Kippur).
                • Talit Gadol: Prayer Leader during Amida Repetition
                  A prayer leader should be especially careful to cover his head when saying the reader's repetition of the amida.  A hatless prayer leader covers his head with the talit gadol during the private amida (also during the public amida and repetition). If wearing a hat, he does not cover his head with the talit.
                • Talit Gadol with Talit Katan
                  Wear a talit gadol even though you are already wearing a talit katan, as a means of honoring the prayers.
                   
                • Talit Gadol: Married Men
                  Once a man has been married, he must wear a talit when saying shacharit and musaf, even if he becomes widowed or divorced.
                • Talit Gadol: Mincha
                  When wearing a talit at mincha Torah reading--such as for an aliya, hagbaha, or glila--you do not need to wear it until after kedusha, but some people have that custom.
              • Talit Gadol: Blessing
                • Talit Gadol: Which Blessing
                  The blessing over putting on the talit gadol is lehit'ateiph ba'tzitzit.
                • Talit Gadol: What the Blessing Covers
                  Saying the blessing on a talit gadol, while intending to cover all other talitot (whether talit katan or talit gadol), will cover:
                  • All talitot that you already put on.
                  • All talitot that you will put on later that day.
                  • If you go out of whichever building you are in when you say the blessing on your talit, you must say a new blessing if you put on a talit (even the same talit) in a different building.
                  Exception You may intend for the blessing NOT to cover other talitot.
                  Example You say the blessing over your talit gadol on the morning preceding Yom Kippur.  You may intend for your blessing not to cover the talit gadol that you will put on just before Kol Nidrei.

                  Note If you don't have a talit gadol, say al mitzvat tzitzit over your talit katan.

                  Note If you remove your talit gadol, go to a different building, and put the talit gadol on again, you DO say a new blessing.

                   
                • Talit Gadol: Placing Talit on Head
                  Placing the talit gadol over your head while saying the talit blessing is a halacha, but wearing it on your head any other time is a custom.
                • Talit Gadol: Replacing One You Removed by Choice
                  Do not say a new blessing when you replace a talit that you chose to take off, with the intention of putting it back on (such as removing it to go to the bathroom).

                   
                • Talit Gadol: Replacing One that Fell Off
                  Say a new blessing when you replace a talit gadol that fell off your body completely (not just if it slipped off one shoulder).
                • Talit Gadol: Blessing when Borrowed for Aliya/Prayer Leader
                  If you borrow a talit, such as for an aliya or to serve as prayer leader, it is not customary to say a blessing on it.
                  Note If you want to say a blessing on a borrowed talit, ask the owner to “give” it to you as a gift, which you will later give back as a gift.
                • Talit Gadol: Blessing on Loaned or Borrowed
                  Do not say a new blessing when you put back on your talit gadol that you loaned someone if you are at the same prayer service.
                • Talit Gadol: Blessing between Bar'chu and Amida
                  Situation You began shacharit on your way to synagogue and are between bar'chu and the amida when you arrive. You have not yet put on a talit.
                  What To Do
                  • Put on a talit immediately.
                  • Say the blessing on the talit after you finish the amida.
                • Talit Gadol: Blessing over Public Talit
                  You may say the blessing on a public talit gadol available at the synagogue, even though it is not your talit.
                  Reason It is assumed that the talitot at synagogues are there to be used by anyone.
                   
                • Talit Gadol: Blessing Once Married
                  Once a man is married and wears a talit gadol, he stops saying the blessing on tzitzit on his talit katan; it is covered by the blessing on his talit gadol.
                   
              • Talit Gadol: How To Put On
                • Talit Gadol: Putting on in Morning
                  To put on a talit in the morning:
                  • Say the blessing lehit'ateiph ba'tzitzit.
                  • Put the garment over your head and down to your nose.
                  • Gather the two tzitziyot from the right side and the front one from the left side and swing them over your left shoulder (you do not need to bunch up the talit before doing so).
                  • Wait for at least 2 ½ seconds and say the appropriate verses (see a siddur for the text).
              • Talit Gadol: How To Care For
                • Talit Gadol: Folding, Rolling, Hanging
                  You do not need to fold a talit after using it; you may roll it or hang it up. The only requirement is that you take care of it and don't crumple it or treat it disrespectfully.
            • Attire: Belt
              • Belt/gartel with Robes
                You only need to wear a belt/gartel (for saying blessings, prayer services and for studying holy texts) if:
                • You are wearing an open and loose garment such as a robe (or other toga-like garments) and
                • You are not wearing any undergarments.
                Note The belt separates upper from lower parts of your body and this requirement is not normally relevant for Western attire. If it is your family tradition, you should follow that. There may also a kabalistic reason to wear one.
            • Attire: Shoes
              • Leather or Synthetic Shoes in Halacha
                In Jewish law, only leather shoes are considered to be “shoes” for purposes of the Nine Days, mourning, Yom Kippur, shiv'a, or ritual impurity. Non-leather shoes may normally be worn during those periods.

      • BLESSINGS/BRACHOT
        • See All Blessings
        • Introduction to Blessings (Brachot)
          • Introduction to Blessings/Brachot
            Blessings as Thanks
            We say blessings as thanks to God for the good we receive from Him; this is a form of acknowledging and expressing gratitude (hakarat ha'tov).
            Having an appreciation for the physical world and the beauty and goodness in it is a means of relating to God through Creation. People can maintain a continual awareness of, and relationship with, God by saying blessings:
            • Before and after eating,
            • After waking in the morning,
            • At various types of life experiences, and
            • In many other situations.

            Blessings Formulations

            Some blessings begin with Baruch ata adonai only; some blessings continue with eloheinu melech ha'olam.  The shorter blessings come at the end of long (compound) blessings.

            ReasonThere is no mention of malchut at the end of a blessing.

            How To Say Blessings

            When saying blessings or prayers, it is generally best to say the words of the blessing or prayer out loud since doing so can help you to concentrate on what is being said. (The main exception is the amida prayer.)
            Normally, you should stand while saying blessings before doing a mitzva, unless the mitzva is done while seated (in which case you sit when saying the blessing).
            REASON So there is no delay between saying the blessing and doing the mitzva.
            NOTE Although there is not necessarily any need to stand while doing mitzvot, many mitzvot are done while standing due to the nature of the mitzva or for convenience.
            If you find you have made an error in saying a blessing or prayer, you may correct your error without having to repeat any previous parts if you do so within 2.5 seconds of having made the error.
            Note Blessings (brachot) and Prayers (tefilot) are in separate sections in this website, even though prayers have blessings within them.
        • Blessings: Categories
          • Three Main Categories of Blessings
            There are three main categories of blessings:
            1. Enjoyment (birchot nehenin), such as on foods and scents.
            2. Praise and Thanks to God (shevach v'hoda'a), such as when saying she'hecheyanu, on seeing mountains and the sea, or when good happens to us.
            3. Commandments/Mitzvot (birchot mitzva), such as reading the Torah, using the lulav, or lighting Shabbat candles.
        • Blessings: General Rules
          • Blessings: Doubt (Safek) Whether You Said
            • If Doubt Whether You Said a Blessing (except for Birkat HaMazon)
              If you are not sure if you said ANY blessing in ANY category, don't repeat it.
              Exceptions
              • Birkat ha'mazon.
              • You may also include the first blessing over reading the Torah (Asher bachar banu mi'kol ha'amim.)
              Even the blessing for mezonot is not an exception. 
              Reason The only blessing commanded in the Torah is birkat ha'mazon (some say also the blessings on the Torah); all others are from Chazal.
               
            • If Doubt Whether You Said Birkat HaMazon
              Say birkat ha'mazon if:
              • You are not certain that you said birkat ha'mazon, and
              • You were satiated from your meal.
              Note You are considered to be “satiated” after eating food if you no longer have an appetite.
            • If Doubt Whether You Said Blessings on Torah Study
              If you are not certain that you have said any of the morning blessings on studying Torah (from la'asok b'divrei Torah to notein haTorah), you should not say them later.  But when you say “ahava raba” before the morning shema, you may intend it to cover such blessings; then after the amida, you should say some Torah verses (psukim).
          • Blessings: Saying for Someone Else
            • Blessings: For Someone Else: Mitzva/Birchot Mitzva
              You may say any blessing on a mitzva—such as kiddush, hallel, Torah—for another person, even if you have already fulfilled the mitzva for yourself, as long as that other person is required to do that mitzva.
              Example Girls (12 years old and more) and women must fulfill all of the positive commandments of Shabbat including kiddush.  So even after they have already said kiddush for themselves, they may say kiddush for other Jews, including adult men.
              Exception You may not say birkat ha'mazon for someone else.
            • Blessings: For Someone Else: Pleasure/Birchot Nehenin and Praise-Thanks/Shevach V'Hoda'a
              You may say these blessings for someone else only if you also need to say the blessing for yourself:
              • Blessings for Enjoyment (“birchot nehenin”—such as for food or drink), and
              • Blessings of Praise and Thanks (shevach v'hoda'a--such as on rainbows or seeing large mountains)
          • Blessings: Answering Amen
            • Blessings: Answering Amen: What To Hear
              When someone is saying a blessing on your behalf, you may say amen as long as you have heard at least:
              • The first six words of the blessing; and
              • At least a few words of substance in the middle of the blessing; and
              • The complete final line.
              Example For the al ha'michya blessing, you must hear:
              • The first six words,
              • Al ha'michya, and
              • The final blessing line.

          • Blessings: Correcting a Mistaken Blessing
            • Correcting a Mistaken Blessing
              If you make a mistake when saying any blessing or in any prayer, you may correct it within 2.5 seconds by simply saying the correct blessing. 
              Note If you did not correct the blessing within 2.5 seconds, see next halacha:
            • Retracting a Blessing after Third or Fourth Word
              If you start an incorrect blessing:
              • If you have said the third word (God's name), say
                lamdeini chukecha.
              • If you have already said the third syllable of the fourth word (elohei…), say
                Yisrael avinu mei'olam v'ad olam.
              • If you said more than the third syllable of the fourth word, say
                Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
          • Blessings: How Many To Say
            • 100 Blessings on Weekdays
              Try to say 100 blessings a day.  This is easy on weekdays since Ashkenazim say about 89 blessings just in the prayer services.
              NoteSaying 100 blessings each day is a halacha drabanan.
            • 100 Blessings on Shabbat and Jewish Festivals
              On Shabbat and some Jewish festivals, you might want to fulfill some of the quota for making 100 blessings by:
              • Eating extra fruit or other foods,
              • Hearing and saying amen to the blessings over the:
                • Torah reading,
                • Reader's repetition of the amida for shacharit and musaf, and
                • Haftara by the maftir.
               
        • Blessings: Types
          • Blessings: Morning (Birchot HaShachar)
          • Blessings: Food
            • Blessings: Food: General Rules
              • Food When No One Will Bless
                • Food When No One Will Bless: Feeding
                  You should feed a poor Jew, even if he or she won't say a blessing on the food.  If a Jew is not poor, you should not give him or her food unless he or she (or someone else--it could be yourself) says a blessing on it for him/her.
                  Note If someone else says the blessing for the poor person, the person saying the blessing must also eat some of that food.
                • Food When No One Will Bless: Selling
                  You may sell food to Jews even if they will not make a blessing over it (you may of course sell to non-Jews since they are not required to say a blessing on it!).
              • Food Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
                • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): General Rules
                  • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Priorities
                    • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Priorities
                      You must say the blessing which was designed to be said on each type of food. B'diavad, a lower level blessing will still cover the food.
                      From lowest to highest level, here are the food fore-blessings:
                      • She'hakol,
                      • Borei pri ha'adama,
                      • Borei pri ha'eitz (on common fruits),
                      • Borei pri ha'eitz (on the Five Special Fruits)
                      Note You will only say borei pri ha'eitz ONCE to include both common fruits and also special fruits that you will eat at one sitting,
                      • Borei minei mezonot,
                      • Borei pri ha'gafen, and
                      • Ha'motzi lechem min ha'aretz.

                    • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Which Level To Say
                      In general, say the highest-level fore-blessing (bracha rishona) on a food.
                      Note As some foods get processed by cooking or by other means, they qualify for a higher-level blessing.
                      Examples
                      • Raw, rolled oats only merit the fore-blessing of she'hakol. But once the oats are cooked, the blessing of borei minei mezonot applies. 
                        Note Raw oats could get the fore-blessing borei pri ha'adama, since they grow directly in the earth.  But because oats are not normally considered edible when raw, they get demoted to she'hakol
                      • A raw grape or raisin gets the blessing of borei pri ha'eitz.  But once made into wine or grape juice, it merits borei pri ha'gafen.
                  • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Minimum Measurements
                    • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Minimum Quantity
                      • On How Much Food To Say Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
                        Always say one of the six fore-blessings (bracha rishona) before eating, as long as you expect to get enjoyment or benefit from whatever you ate, even when eating:
                        • Less than a minimal quantity (minimal shiur), or
                        • Eating a small (kolshehu) amount of food.
                        Examples
                        • Say a fore-blessing before you taste food you are cooking.
                        • Say a fore-blessing before you taste a tiny amount of honeysuckle nectar.
                        Exception Do not say a fore-blessing on water that you drink with medicine.
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Time Limit
                      • Until When May You Eat without a New Fore-Blessing
                        You may continue eating without saying a new fore-blessing--without a time limit--as long as you are not involved in some other activity that distracts you from eating (hesech da'at). 
                        Example
                        Situation You are eating and take a break to do work for your business or read a magazine article that involves your concentration.  
                        What To Do You may not continue eating unless you say a new fore-blessing.
                        Note This is true whether you became full at any time or not.
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Food Categories
                      • One Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) per Food Category
                        Your fore-blessing covers all other same-category foods that you will eat at the same time (same sitting), if:
                        1. They are in front of you when you say the blessing, OR
                        2. You intend your blessing to cover all other same-category foods that you own and will eat at the same sitting--even if they are not in front of you when you make the blessing.
                          Note You do not need to state your intention out loud, just think it.  If you usually have this intention but you forgot on an occasion, you do not need to say new blessings on the subsequent foods of that type that you already own.
                        Examples in Your Home
                        • You say she'hakol over two kinds of she'hakol foods on your table.  The blessing also covers a third she'hakol food in your refrigerator and a fourth in your pantry that you know you own.
                        • You say she'hakol and are eating an omelette when a visitor brings you a gift of chocolates: you must say a new she'hakol]blessing before eating the chocolates.
                          Note Anytime your spouse is serving you food, it is assumed that your initial fore-blessings will cover all food that you will eat.
                        Examples outside Your Home
                        • Guest at Someone's Home
                          Whenever you are a guest at someone else's house, it is assumed that whatever foods you will eat, will be covered by your initial fore-blessing as long as they are in the same category.
                        • Attendee at Kiddush or Wedding
                          If you say she'hakol over fish at a kiddush or wedding, the blessing covers all she'hakol foods in the room.
                        • Diner in Restaurant
                          If you have made an order in a restaurant, all ordered foods will be covered by your first fore-blessing(s). However, if you later order more food, even if the fore-blessings are the same, you must still say a new fore-blessing.
                    • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): HaMotzi and Desserts
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Identifiable Produce
                      • Which Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) on Identifiable Produce
                        Say borei pri ha'eitz or borei pri ha'adama for foods made of identifiable pieces of fruit or vegetables.
                        Note Even if you know the ingredients in a prepared food--such as grated apples--you must see identifiable pieces in order to say a specific blessing (borei pri ha'eitz, borei pri ha'adama...). If no ingredients are visually identifiable, you must say she'hakol (or possibly borei minei mezonot).
                        Example Say borei pri ha'adama on a potato kugel with coarsely ground potatoes; if the potatoes are pulverized, say she'hakol.
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): When Not Thirsty
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Forgetting
                      • Fore-Blessing If Forgot Whether You Said After-Blessing
                        Situation You ate some food and do not remember whether you had said the after-blessing. Now you want to eat or drink more food:
                        What To Do Depends on if what you want to eat or drink is water:
                        • Not Water:
                          • If the food or drink had been in front of you when you had said the blessing before, do not say it again.
                          • If the food or drink was not in front of you and was also not available to you when you said the first fore-blessing, say a new fore-blessing.
                        • Water (after having drunk water earlier in the same place):
                          If you are not certain whether you had said the after-blessing and even if you definitely did NOT say the after blessing, do not say a new fore-blessing.
                          Reason Water is always considered to be in front of you (in the water pipe).
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Incorrect Blessing
                      • Incorrect Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) If Food Is/Is Not before You
                        Situation You say the incorrect blessing over food in front of you but you also have a food in front of you that does fit the blessing.
                        What To Do You may eat the food covered by your actual blessing, and then say the correct blessing for the food you originally intended to eat.
                        Note You may not go into a different room to find food that qualifies for the incorrect food blessing. You should instead say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed as soon as possible.
                        Note There is no specific time limit beyond which you may no longer say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Changing Location
                      • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Changing Location
                        The fore-blessing (bracha rishona) must be said where you eat.  However, sometimes you may begin eating in one domain and continue eating in another domain. A domain may be any physically limited area (car, house, restaurant, office building) or the outdoors (highway, park, etc.). Once you left the first place, you are considered to have had an interruption of thought (hesech da'at) and are no longer eating that original snack or meal. 
                        Whether you say a new fore-blessing depends on your intention when you said the fore-blessing:
                        • Do not say a new fore-blessing if you had intended to go to the second place, as long as the food at the second place is in the same food categories as what you already blessed on at the first place.
                        • Say a new fore-blessing if you had not intended to continue eating in the second domain, even if you had planned to return to that first place and continue eating.
                          Exception You do not need to make a new fore-blessing if:
                          • You return to the first place and even one person who was eating with you is still there, OR
                          • You had eaten bread or mezonot and then left but had not said the after-blessings of birkat ha'mazon or al ha'michya, even if no one is left from before.
                            Reason Since you are required to say birkat ha'mazon or al ha'michya, you are still considered to be continuing your meal.
                            Note As long as you are under the same roof, do not say new blessings on food at the new place (such as when switching seats or even rooms in a restaurant).
                            Exception Even if you washed your hands and said ha'motzi at the first place, say a new blessing on food that would have required a new blessing at the first place, such as new wine or any dessert other than mezonot.

                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) in Vain (Bracha L'Vatala)
                      • Making a Conditional Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
                        To avoid making a blessing in vain (bracha l'vatala), you may intend a fore-blessing to cover all other foods of that category that you will eat at the same time.
                        Note You may make the condition:
                        • Each time you eat, or
                        • Once and intend it to apply to all future instances.
                        Note You then do NOT say new fore-blessings on these new same-category foods.
                    • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Liquid from Foods
                      • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Liquid from Food
                        When you have said a fore-blessing on one type of food, such as borei pri ha'adama on vegetables, you do not need to say she'hakol on the liquid that remains after having eaten the solid vegetables.
                        Reason The fore-blessing covers all components, even if they are not the same classification.
                        Note If you ate the vegetables, said the after-blessing, and then later came back and drank the liquid, you would need to say she'hakol.
                  • The Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Specifics
                    • I. HaMotzi
                      • HaMotzi: Which Foods Get HaMotzi
                        • HaMotzi on Bread Made of the Five Grains
                          Wash the One-Time Method and say ha'motzi on bread made of the Five Grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt), even if you will not eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes.
                          Note Say the blessing al netilat yadayim on washing hands ONLY if you will eat at least 1.9. fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread within four minutes.
                          Note If you eat less than 1.3 fl. oz. of bread of the Five Grains, do not say birkat ha'mazon or any other after-blessing.
                      • Fore-Blessing: Bread-Like Foods
                        • Fore-Blessing: Bread or Mezonot
                          To be halachically considered “bread,” the item must have been baked and have air holes in it. To determine whether a food made of the Five Grains qualifies as bread (ha'motzi) or mezonot (borei minei mezonot), decide whether the food had been made to be eaten as a meal or as a snack.  If it was made to be:
                          • Bread (that is, for a meal), say ha'motzi.
                          • Mezonot (but you will eat a full meal), say ha'motzi.
                          • A snack, say borei minei mezonot.
                          Note Some foods may qualify as either ha'motzi or mezonot (such as pizza).
                          NoteIf at least 20\% of a bread's flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of ha'motzi on the bread (and birkat ha'mazon afterward, if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. within four minutes).
                          NoteWhether the bread/mezonot was made with fruit juice instead of water may not affect its blessing, since the blessing is determined by its intended use. Mezonot rolls on airline flights may still require the blessing of ha'motzi if you eat them as part of a meal.
                          Note Since it does not have air holes, wheat tortillas get the blessing of mezonot and not ha'motzi.
                          NOTE The fore-blessing on stuffing made of bread or a bread kugel is mezonot if none of the pieces are 1 fl. oz. or larger.
                        • Fore-Blessing: Small Amount of Pizza/Other Bread-Like Mezonot
                          Situation You will eat less than 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of pizza or other bread-like mezonot) within four minutes.
                          What To Do Wash your hands using the One-Time Method, but do not say al netilat yadayim. Then say borei minei mezonot.
                        • Fore-Blessing: Sprouted Wheat Bread
                          For the fore-blessing on sprouted wheat bread, say:
                          • Ha'motzi if the grains are more like wheat grains than sprouts.
                            Note If the sprout still has any part of the original grain, excluding the husk, it is still considered to be grain and the fore-blessing is ha'motzi.
                          • She'hakol if the grains were sprouted in water without soil.
                        • Fore-Blessing: Bread/Cakes of Only Rice Flour
                          Bread or cakes made of only rice flour may not be used for any meal requiring eating bread and saying birkat ha'mazon.  The blessing is borei minei mezonot, not ha'motzi.
                        • Fore-Blessing: Bread/Cakes of Rice Flour and Mezonot Flour
                          In a bread containing rice flour, if at least 20\% of the flour is from one of the Five Grains, say the fore-blessing of ha'motzi (after-blessing: birkat ha'mazon).
                          In a cake containing mostly rice flour, if at least 20\% of the flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of borei minei mezonot (after-blessing: al ha'michya).
                        • Fore-Blessing: Unbaked Dough
                          For the fore-blessing on cooked (but unbaked) dough, see Fore-Blessing: Cooked Dough/Pasta.
                        • Fore-Blessing: Bulgur Wheat/Tabouli
                          The fore-blessing on bulgur wheat (such as tabouli) is borei minei mezonot.
                      • HaMotzi: Which Foods HaMotzi Covers
                        • Which Foods HaMotzi Covers
                          Ha'motzi always covers all food eaten as part of a meal, except wine and any non-mezonot desserts such as fruit, on all days (not just on Shabbat or Jewish festivals).
                        • Desserts that HaMotzi Does Not Cover
                          Non-mezonot dessert foods (which often have a sweet taste) are not normally eaten with bread. Say fore-blessings on desserts at a meal (for which you have already said ha'motzi and eaten bread) only on:
                          • Fruit from “trees”(borei pri ha'eitz),
                          • Fruit from the ground (borei pri ha'adama), such as melons and strawberries, and
                          • Specialty items (she'hakol), such as ice cream.
                      • HaMotzi: Washing Hands
                        • HaMotzi: Washing Hands: When To Wash
                          Before eating bread, you must always wash your hands.
                          Note If you do not plan to eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread within four minutes, wash but do not say the blessing al netilat yadayim.
                        • HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Finding Water
                          To find water for washing hands before eating bread:
                          • You must travel or walk up to 18 minutes away to find water.
                          • If you are already traveling, you must continue up to 72 minutes (in the direction in which you are going anyway) to find water.
                          • If you still cannot find water, cover your hands with any type of separation (gloves, sheet of plastic, bag, foil, or some other object) to keep your hands from directly contacting the bread.
                           
                        • HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Finding 4 fl. oz. Container
                          Situation You do not have a washing cup of at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) and you need to wash hands after sleeping or before eating bread.
                          Status You may not substitute a smaller washing container (such as a 2 fl. oz./59 ml cup) and use it twice. 
                          What To Do You must travel up to 18 minutes away to get such a container when needed.
                          Note If you have a spigot that is less than 12 inches above the ground, you may open the spigot and let at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) flow out, close the tap, reopen it, and repeat.
                        • HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Procedure
                          To wash for ha'motzi, use the One-Time Method, see How To Wash Hands the One-Time Method.
                                     
                        • HaMotzi: Being Touched by Unwashed Hands
                          Situation Someone who has not yet washed touches your hand after you have washed your hands, said al netilat yadayim, and dried your hands.
                          Status
                          • If his/her hand is dry, there is no problem of transferring impurity.
                          • If his/her hand is wet, this may have transferred ritual impurity to your hand.
                          What To Do
                          • If his/her hand is wet, touch a normally covered part of your body and then rewash your hands and say the blessing on washing hands.
                            Note If you have already said ha'motzi, don't repeat the ha'motzi blessing.
                        • HaMotzi: Speaking after Washing
                          Situation You washed your hands in order to eat bread. You spoke before saying hamotzi.
                          What To Do You do not need to wash your hands again.
                          You do not need to say the blessing on washing hands again.
                        • HaMotzi: Forgot To Wash
                          Situation You said ha'motzi without having washed your hands first.
                          What To Do Up until the time you say birkat ha'mazon, you must interrupt your meal and wash your hands. 
                          Note Say al netilat yadayim ONLY if you will still eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread afterward; if you will eat less than 1.9 fl. oz., wash without a blessing.
                      • HaMotzi: Lifting the Bread
                      • HaMotzi: Interrupted Meal/Hesech Da'at
                        • Washing Your Hands for Interrupted Meal
                          Situation You said ha'motzi, ate any amount of bread, interrupted your meal and forgot about it, and now wish to resume your meal and eat more bread.
                          What To Do Wash your hands again and say the blessing on washing hands.
                          Note There is no time limit for this; whenever you forget about the meal, you must rewash before eating more bread. However, you do not say ha'motzi if it is within the allowed time to say birkat ha'mazon.
                      • HaMotzi: Shabbat
                    • II. Borei Minei Mezonot
                    • III. Borei Pri HaGafen
                    • IV. Borei Pri Ha'Eitz
                    • V. Borei Pri HaAdama
                    • VI. SheHakol
                      • SheHakol: Which Foods
                        • SheHakol: Which Foods: General Rule
                          Say she'hakol, the most general blessing, over any food or drink that does not fall into a higher category (HaMotzi, Borei Minei Mezonot, Borei Pri Ha'Eitz, Borei Pri HaGafen, and Borei Pri HaAdama).
                          Note One blessing of she'hakol covers both liquids and solids that will be eaten/drunk at the same snack or meal.
                        • SheHakol: Which Foods: Mistaken SheHakol
                          She'hakol may theoretically apply to many foods, b'diavad,--even bread, wine, the Five Special Fruits, and mezonotHowever, we have a principle to say the highest-level food blessing possibleIf you said she'hakol, mistakenly believing it was the correct blessing for a higher-level food, she'hakol does cover the food after the fact and, b'di'avad, you may eat the bread, wine, or other higher-level food.
                        • SheHakol: Which Foods: Unrecognizable Foods
                          You must be able to recognize, from at least one piece, that an ingredient is from the ground or from a tree in order to say borei pri ha'adama or borei pri ha'eitzIf not, say she'hakol.
                          So say she'hakol on:
                          • All foods that did not grow in the ground or on a tree, but also
                          • Foods that you cannot personally identify as having grown in the ground or on a tree—either because it has been finely ground or processed or because you personally do not know what it is.
                          Example Even if you know that a kugel is made with potatoes, unless you can see recognizable pieces of potato, do not say borei pri ha'adama, but rather she'hakol.
                           
                          Examples (Foods that Get SheHakol)
                          • Apple Sauce.
                          • Beer, Cognac, Grape Brandy, and other alcoholic beverages other than wine and grape juice and their derivatives.
                          • Cheese and other Dairy Products (unless they contain grain).
                          • Eggs (plain).
                          • Fish.
                          • Fruits or vegetables whose identity is not recognizable.
                          • Honey.
                          • Ice Cream.
                          • Juice.
                          • Meat.
                          • Mushrooms.
                          • Poultry.
                          • Seaweed.
                          • Soda.
                          • Soup (clear).
                          • Sprouts.
                          • Water.
                      • SheHakol: If You Cannot Eat the Food
                        • SheHakol: Said But Cannot Eat
                          Situation You said the blessing she'hakol, intending to eat some cheese that is in front of you, and then remember that you ate meat shortly before.
                          What To Do You should not eat any of the cheese but, instead, say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
                      • SheHakol: How Often
                        • SheHakol: Drinking Water Once
                          Say the she'hakol blessing on water once for the entire day if you:
                          • Are hiking or doing other outdoor activities, and
                          • Have water with you or know there is water along the way, and
                          • Expect to be thirsty again later in the day and will want to drink water.         
                        • SheHakol: Drinking Water Again
                          Say a new she'hakol blessing if you buy more water along the way while hiking or doing other outdoor activities--even if you said the blessing at the start of your day's activities.
                        • SheHakol: Drinks while in Flight
                          If you intend to continue drinking during a flight, you may say one blessing on beverages (she'hakol) and continue drinking for the entire flight.
                           
                      • SheHakol: When Not To Say
                      • SheHakol: Humorous Reminder Poem
                  • Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Special Cases
                    • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures
                      • General Rules of Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures
                        • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures: Main Ingredient
                          1. Say the fore-blessing (bracha rishona) over the main or most important ingredient in a mixture of foods from various food-blessing categories.
                          2. The blessing on the main food covers all other ingredients in the mixture.
                          Examples Fore-Blessing over Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
                          To eat turkey with cranberry sauce, saying the fore-blessing she'hakol on the more-important food (turkey) covers the less-important food (cranberry sauce). Even if you eat some of the sauce after the turkey is finished, you do not say a new blessing on the sauce.
                          Note If you eat cranberry sauce by itself and not with turkey, say:
                          • Borei pri ha'eitz if it contains identifiable pieces of (or entire) cranberries.
                          • She'hakol if the cranberry sauce has no identifiable pieces.
                        • Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) over Cholent
                          Cholent blessing (if the cholent is not eaten as part of a meal) follows the most important ingredient and is somewhat subjective to the eater.  
                          • German cholent —A variety of wheat is primary; say borei minei mezonot
                          • Hungarian cholent—Barley is primary; say borei minei mezonot.
                          • Polish cholent —Beans are primary; say borei pri ha'adama.
                          • Russian cholent —Potatoes are primary; say borei pri ha'adama.
                          • If meat is most important, say she'hakol.     
                          Note You may need to say more than one blessing (bracha rishona) if there is no one preeminently important ingredient in a mixture of food types in one utensil, such as a casserole or cholent,  but only if:
                          • You especially like more than one ingredient, and
                          • Both (or more than two) of the ingredients can be eaten distinctly. 
                      • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures: Including Five Grains
                        • Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Mixtures with Five Grains: Containing Bread/Mezonot
                          • Introduction to Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): The Five Grains
                            Bread or Mezonot: Intended Use
                            Whether a food made of the Five Grains qualifies as bread (ha'motzi) or mezonot (borei minei mezonot) depends on whether the food was intended to be eaten as a meal or as a snack, as follows:
                            • Bread for a meal: Say ha'motzi.
                            • Mezonot (but you will eat a full meal): Say ha'motzi.
                            • A snack (including bread as a snack): Say borei minei mezonot.
                              Note Some foods may qualify as either ha'motzi or mezonot (such as pizza).
                              Note Whether the bread/mezonot was made with fruit juice instead of water may not affect its blessing, since the blessing is determined by the food's intended use. “Mezonot” rolls on airline flights may still require the blessing of ha'motzi if you eat them as part of a meal.
                              Note Bread that has been cut into small pieces and fried may be reduced in status from bread to mezonot.
                            Bread/Mezonot: Amount of Five Grains Needed
                            In a non-bread food containing a mixture of grains, at least 20\% of the main ingredients must be from one of the Five Grains in order to require the fore-blessing (bracha rishona) of borei minei mezonot (after-blessing:al ha'michya).
                            If at least 20\% of a bread's flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of ha'motzi (and birkat ha'mazon afterward if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. within four minutes).
                            Note If you do not know the actual percent of each grain, such as in cereal, say she'hakol (after-blessing: borei nefashot).  But you should try to determine the actual amounts of the grains.
                            Bread/Mezonot: Mixtures with Other Foods
                            Normally, the fore-blessing for bread (ha'motzi), or for other cooked or baked foods made from flour (borei minei mezonot), will override the remaining foods in a food mixture.
                            Note Bread that has been cut into small pieces and fried may be reduced in status from bread to mezonot.
                            Examples Saying HaMotzi over Bread Mixture
                            Wash and say ha'motzi over bread and bread-mixture foods such as French toast, if at least one piece is more than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) in volume.
                            If no individual piece is at least 1.3 fl. oz., say borei minei mezonot.
                            Reason Being fried changes the French toast's status, even if the total of all of the pieces is more than 1.3 fl. oz.
                            Saying Borei Minei Mezonot over Mezonot Mixture
                            Say borei minei mezonot over:
                            • Cholent whose main ingredient is barley;
                            • Ice cream cone (ice cream + cone)—see “ice cream cone” for further details;
                            • Pie; and
                            • Cheesecake with any kind of crust.
                              Note Cheesecakes are sold in bakeries and not in cheese stores, indicating that the mezonot part is more important than the cheese part as regards fore- and after-blessings.
                      • Fore-Blessings: Fruit Mixtures
                        • Fore-Blessings over Fruit Cocktail
                          For fruit cocktail, say fore-blessings of borei pri ha'eitz (for tree fruits) AND borei pri ha'adama (for pineapple, etc.).
                          Reason Fruit cocktail does not have a main ingredient.
                      • Fore-Blessings: Mixtures with Rice
                        • Fore-Blessings: Stuffed Grape Leaves
                          If grape leaves are stuffed with rice, say borei minei mezonot.
                        • Fore-Blessings: Sushi
                          Say the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot over sushi, since the rice is primary. If you are eating the sushi for the salmon (or other ingredient) in the middle, say she'hakol, too (or whatever blessing is correct for that important ingredient).
                          Note To say fore-blessings over sushi:
                          • Say borei minei mezonot, then take a bite of rice (which may have nori, etc., on it).
                          • Say she'hakol, then take a bite of fish (which may have rice, avocado, etc., stuck to it).
                    • Fore-Blessings: Unusual Fruits and Vegetables
                      • Bracha Rishona: Coconut Water
                        To drink coconut water:
                        • Say borei pri ha'eitz if you drink coconut water directly from the coconut.
                        • Say she'hakol if you pour the water out of the nut into a utensil.
                      • Bracha Rishona: Fiddleheads
                        Say borei pri ha'adama on fiddleheads (unfurled fern tops in early spring).
                      • Bracha Rishona: Hydroponic Vegetables
                        Say she'hakol on hydroponic vegetables, including bean sprouts.
                        Note If you don't know how the vegetables were grown, you are not required to research the source of the vegetables: you may assume that they are not hydroponic and say the fore-blessing of borei pri ha'adama.
                      • Bracha Rishon: Olives
                        There is no separate blessing on eating olives with a meal. If you eat olives by themselves (without other food), say borei pri ha'eitz.
                      • Bracha Rishona: Popcorn
                        Say borei pri ha'adama on popcorn.
                • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
                  • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): General Rules
                    • The Five After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Levels
                      • Levels of After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
                        Like fore-blessings, say the highest level of after-blessing (bracha achrona) that applies.
                        Note Although borei nefashot will cover many foods (at least, after the fact), it does NOT cover bread, wine, or mezonot.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Minimum Measurements
                      • Introduction to After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Minimum Measurements
                        To say any after-blessing/bracha achrona (al ha'michya, al ha'gafen, al ha'eitz, borei nefashot, or birkat ha'mazon), you must:
                        • Eat at least the minimum volume (1.3 fl. oz.--39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of solid food within four minutes, or
                        • Drink at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of liquid within 30 seconds.
                        Note With hot foods, especially liquids, you are unlikely to be able to swallow a minimum amount in the required time in order to qualify for the after-blessing (bracha achrona).

                        If Did Not Eat Minimum

                        Do not say bracha achrona if you did not eat 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml) within four minutes.

                        If Did Not Drink Minimum

                        Do not say bracha achrona if you did not drink 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of any potable liquid within 30 seconds. Note You may not combine the volume of solid food to liquid food or liquid food to solid food that you ate and drank in order to make the minimum volume for an after-blessing.

                        If Did Not Eat or Drink Minimum

                        Size: How To Calculate

                        Ounces: Weight or Volume

                        The minimum quantity for saying after-blessings is based on volume, not weight. If you eat a pack of pretzels whose volume is 1.3 fl. oz., even though the label says it only weighs 0.5 oz., you would say an after-blessing of al ha'michya.

                        Figuring Volume

                        Figuring Volume: Non-Mezonot Foods

                        You may not include the volume of fish or meat or other foods eaten together with bread or matza in order to reach a total volume of 1 fl. oz., which is required for saying the after-blessing of birkat ha'mazon. However, you may combine the volumes in order to say borei nefashot.

                        Figuring Volume: Unswallowed Pits/Seeds

                        When eating foods with seeds or pits (olives, pomegranates, etc.), do not include unswallowed seeds or pits to reach the 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) minimum volume needed to say an after-blessing. You may include only what you have swallowed.

                        D'Oraita Cases

                        For d'oraita cases (halachot from the Torah), such as eating matza at seder or drinking wine for kiddush, we use a more stringent minimum measure:
                        • Eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of solid food within four minutes, or
                        • Drink at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) of liquid within 30 seconds.

                        Timing

                        When To Start Counting

                        You may start counting the period of four minutes (for eating at least 1.3 fl. oz.) or 30 seconds (for drinking at least 3.3 fl. oz.) any time after the fore-blessing as long as it is continuous from when you first swallow until you have swallowed the minimum amount.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits
                      • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits and Satiation Status
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Satiation Status: General Rules
                          After eating or drinking the required amounts, you may say bracha achrona (including birkat ha'mazon) as long as:
                          • You are still satiated after having been hungry and eaten, OR
                          • You were not satiated after eating and it is less than 72 minutes since you finished eating.
                          Reason We say the effects of food last for at least 72 minutes and that 72-minute period overrides becoming hungry again even after having been satiated.
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Satiation Status: Hunger Situations
                          Situation You were hungry.
                          You ate and were satiated.
                          You are not yet hungry again.
                          What To Do You may say bracha achrona without any time limit, until you get hungry again
                          Situation You were hungry.
                          You ate but were not satiated.
                          You are still hungry.
                          What To Do You may say bracha achrona for up to 72 minutes after having stopped eating.
                          Situation You were not hungry, but you ate.
                          What To Do
                          • If you ate enough that you became satiated and now you are hungry again:
                          You can say after-blessing for up to 72 minutes after you finished eating.
                          • If you ate enough to be satiated and are not yet hungry again:
                            You may say an after-blessing for up to 72 minutes OR until you are hungry again, whichever comes later.
                          • If you ate but did not become satiated and are still hungry:
                            You can say after-blessing for 72 minutes after you finished eating.
                      • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits and Falling Asleep
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Falling Asleep for more than 30 Minutes
                          If you fell asleep for more than 30 minutes in the middle of a meal:
                          Step 1: Wash your hands the Three-Times Method to remove the tum'a of your sleep.
                          Step 2a: To Continue Eating
                          To continue eating in this case, since the previous blessings and food are no longer relevant (due to hesech da'at), you may:
                          • Wash again and say ha'motzi again, and then say birkat ha'mazon, OR 
                          • Eat other items with a fore-blessing and after-blessing (since your previous eating is finished).
                          Step 2b: If You Are Finished Eating
                          • Say birkat ha'mazon if you are:
                            • Finished eating, and
                            • Not hungry again, after having been satiated at the meal.
                          • Do not say birkat ha'mazon if you are
                            • Finished eating, and
                            • Hungry again (after having been satiated at the meal), as the original snack or meal is irrelevant to any after-blessing now.
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Falling Asleep for less than 30 Minutes
                          If you slept less than 30 minutes, you do not need to wash; you may:
                          • Continue eating your meal, or
                          • Say birkat ha'mazon (as long as you had already eaten at least 1.9 fl. oz., or 56 ml, of bread within 4 minutes).
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Correspondence with Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona)
                      • Correspondence between Fore- and After-Blessings
                        There is no essential connection between fore-blessings and after-blessings.
                        Examples Rice
                        The fore-blessing is borei minei mezonot, so you might expect the after-blessing to be al ha'michya.  But the correct after-blessing is borei nefashot.
                        Apple
                        The fore-blessing is borei pri ha'eitz, so you might expect the after-blessing to be al ha'eitz.  But the correct after-blessing is borei nefashot.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Incorrect
                      • Correct After-Blessing after Incorrect After-Blessing
                        Situation You ate or drank mezonot, wine, grape juice, or any of the Five Special Fruits.
                        You said the incorrect after-blessing.
                        What To Do You must still say the correct after-blessing after the incorrect one.
                      • Correct After-Blessing after Incorrect Fore-Blessing
                        Situation You said an incorrect or too-general fore-blessing over food (even she'hakol--which does, b'di'avad, cover all foods, including bread, wine, the Five Special Fruits, and mezonot). Or you forgot to say the fore-blessing.
                        What To Do You must still say the more-specific, correct after-blessing, including birkat ha'mazon when appropriate.
                        Reason You must still say the correct after-blessing even though you said the incorrect fore-blessing.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Incomplete
                      • Incomplete After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
                        You must repeat the after-blessing for mezonot, wine/grape juice, or any of the Five Special Fruits if you ate items from more than one of those categories, said the after-blessing for just one of them, and forgot the other. 
                        Example
                        Situation You ate mezonot and some figs, said al ha'michya, and forgot to add the words for al ha'eitz.
                        What To Do You must say the after-blessing al ha'eitz.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Sequential
                      • After-Blessings If Snack, then New Meal
                        If you said a fore-blessing and ate a snack, but then decided to eat bread and a full meal:
                        • If your meal will not contain any foods that have the same after-blessing as your snack--
                          • Say the snack's after-blessing, and then
                          • Wash your hands and say ha'motzi.
                        • If your meal will contain foods with the same fore-blessing as your snack (even the same food as your snack)—
                          • Do not say the snack's after-blessing.
                          • Wash your hands and say ha'motzi.
                        Note Wash and say ha'motzi if you will be eating any amount of bread--even less than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes and even if it will take you more than four minutes to eat it (in which case, although you say ha'motzi, you do not say any after-blessing, including birkat ha'mazon).
                        Note Say al netilat yadayim only if you intend to eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (59 ml) within four minutes.
                        Exception If you have eaten mezonot (and even if you will not eat any more mezonot with your meal), do not say al ha'michya. Just wash your hands, say ha'motzi, and eat your meal.
                    • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location
                      • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Inside to Outside, Outside to Inside
                      • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Bread or Mezonot
                        • After-Blessings: Changing Location: Continuing To Eat Bread or Mezonot
                          Because bread or mezonot REQUIRES you to say an after-blessing at the place where you ate it, you are considered to NOT have had an interruption of thought (hesech da'at ) when you move and eat more bread or mezonot at the new place, and you may say the after-blessing at the new place.
                           
                      • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Traveling
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Traveling
                          When traveling, the proper practice is to:
                          • Finish eating where you begin eating, or
                          • Intend, when saying the fore-blessing, to continue eating while traveling.
                          ExceptionsEven if you did not intend to continue eating along the way, you may say the after-blessing wherever you are if:
                          • You are already involved in doing a mitzva, or
                          • If you will incur a large loss of money, or
                          • By the time you would return to where you ate, it would be past the latest time to say the after-blessing.
                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Food within View

                          SituationYou eat one item outdoors, then eat food from another category inside your car, which is within view of where you ate the first food.

                          What To DoYou may say the after-blessings for both foods while in your car (or both outside of your car), even if it is a food that normally would require you to return to the place at which you ate it.

                        • After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Did Not Intend To Continue Eating
                          Situation You did not, at the time you said the fore-blessing, intend to continue eating along the way. You then ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread or mezonot within four minutes.
                          What To Do When you say the after-blessing, you should return to where you began eating. However, if you continued eating mezonot or bread while traveling, you may say the after-blessing in either place.
                          Note It is the proper practice to say a new fore-blessing (since you did not intend to continue eating along the way when you began eating) in the vehicle in which you are traveling. But even if you did not say a new fore-blessing, you may still say the after-blessing in the vehicle.
                        • After-Blessings: Changing Location: Inside Vehicle, Outside Vehicle, Return
                          Situation You are traveling (driving, riding in a bus, etc.), and you stop and get out of the vehicle in order to eat part of a meal or snack:
                          What To Do
                          • If, when you said the fore-blessing, you had consciously intended to return to the vehicle and continue eating either along the way or at the next stop, you may say the after-blessing wherever you are when you finish eating.
                          • If, when you said the fore-blessing, you had not consciously intended to return to the vehicle and continue eating while traveling, it is assumed that you will continue to eat and you do not need to say a new fore-blessing.
                          • If you intended NOT to continue eating in your car or along the way, you need to say a new fore-blessing in the vehicle.
                  • The Five After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
                    • I. Al HaMichya
                      • Al HaMichya: Type and Volume of Foods
                        • Al HaMichya: Eating Enough
                          Say al ha'michya after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of non-bread foods baked from the Five Grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt) within four minutes.
                           
                        • Al HaMichya: Eating Enough Pie To Say
                          Say al ha'michya if you ate a total volume of crust + filling of at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) or more within four minutes--even if the total mezonot-based crust you eat is less than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup).
                        • Al HaMichya: Or Birkat HaMazon
                          Say birkat ha'mazon instead of al ha'michya if you ate enough bread-like foods (mezonot) or bread-like food combinations (such as crackers with tuna salad) to be the volume of your normal biggest meal of the day. This is true even if:
                          • You had not planned to have a meal (for example, you planned to eat only one slice of pizza but then ate two more), and
                          • Did not wash your hands before the meal.
                           
                      • Al HaMichya: Doubt
                        • Al HaMichya: Doubt If You Said
                          Don't say al ha'michya after eating mezonot if you are not certain whether you said it or not.
                        • Al HaMichya: Doubt If 72 Minutes Have Passed
                          Situation You ate some mezonot. It might be more than 72 minutes since you finished eating but you are not certain.
                          What To Do Doubt about a blessing (safek bracha) does not get a blessing.
                          Note You may not eat one of the Five Special Fruits in order to say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz and include al ha'michya. You could eat fruit and say the al ha'eitz blessing, but you may not include mezonot food in the blessing by adding al ha'michya.
                      • Al HaMichya: Forgetting V'Zachreinu L'Tova
                    • II. Al HaGafen
                    • III. Al Ha'Eitz
                      • Introduction to Al Ha’Eitz
                        • Al Ha'Eitz: Type and Volumes of Fruits
                          Say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup), within four minutes, of the Five Special Fruits:
                          • Olive,
                          • Date,
                          • Grape,
                          • Fig,
                          • Pomegranate.
                          Note The after-blessing of al ha'eitz also covers any non-special fruits that you ate while eating the Five Special Fruits.
                          Situation You ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes of the Five Special Fruits, such as figs, and any amount of non-special fruits, such as walnuts, at about the same time.
                          What To Do Say:
                          • Fore-blessing of borei pri ha'eitz, and
                          • After-blessing of al ha'eitz.
                      • Al Ha’Eitz: Figuring Volume
                        • Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special and Non-Special Fruits Sequentially
                          You may not eat non-special fruits sequentially with or even interspersed with the Five Special Fruits in order to make the minimum volume for saying the after-blessing of al ha'eitz.
                          Situation You ate a date and then ate the remainder of 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of cherries.
                          What To Do Say:
                          • Fore-blessing of borei pri ha'eitz over the date (and cherries).
                          • After-blessing of borei nefashot on all the fruits.
                        • Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special and Non-Special Fruits As a Unit
                          The volume of special and non-special fruits DO combine for the after-blessing if:
                          • They are considered to be one food, AND
                          • The main component is the Special Fruit.
                          Situation You eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes of dates stuffed with almonds.
                          What To Do
                          Say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz over both types of fruits.
                        • Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special Fruits Mixed with Other Foods
                          Situation You say borei pri ha'eitz and eat a few olives, but less than 1.3 fl. oz. Then, you say borei pri ha'adama and eat lettuce mixed with enough olives to constitute the minimum volume when combined with the first olives.  You eat them all within four minutes. It is time to say the after-blessing.
                          What To Do You may not combine all the olives in order to say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz unless the olives remain distinct from the lettuce and you continue to eat them separately.  Say borei nefashot after finishing eating as long as the total food eaten was at least 1.3 fl. oz.
                      • Al Ha'Eitz: Ve'al HaPeirot or Ve'al Peiroteha
                        • Al Ha'Eitz Ve'al HaPeirot or Ve'al Peiroteha
                          Situation You ate some of the Five Special Fruits and they were grown in Eretz Yisrael.
                          What To Do End the after-blessing al ha'eitz with al ha'aretz ve'al peiroteha instead of ve'al ha'peirot.
                    • IV. Borei Nefashot
                    • V. Birkat HaMazon
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Source
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Torah Source
                          The source of birkat ha'mazon is Deuteronomy/Devarim 8:10:  You will eat and be satiated and bless Hashem, your God, for the good land that He gave you.
                        • Birkat HaMazon D'Rabanan: Rabbinic Source
                          Although the mitzva d'oraita is to thank God only when you are satiated from the meal, chazal decreed that we say birkat ha'mazon even when eating only the volume of a k'zayit and even if not satiated. So you must still say birkat ha'mazon after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread within four minutes--even if you are not full.  This is known as birkat ha'mazon d'rabanan.
                      • Birkat HaMazon: How Much Food
                        • Eating Enough Bread To Say Birkat HaMazon
                          Say birkat ha'mazon if you ate a “meal” as defined by halacha—that is, if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread made of the Five Grains within four minutes.
                          Note If you didn't eat the minimal amounts within four minutes, don't say birkat ha'mazon (even if you washed and said ha'motzi).
                        • Eating Enough Mezonot To Say Birkat HaMazon
                          Say birkat ha'mazon after eating mezonot if it constituted a meal—that is, if you ate:
                          • The amount a person would eat for his/her dinner meal, OR
                          • Mezonot in addition to other foods that are normally eaten with bread in a quantity sufficient to be a normal dinner meal.
                          Note In either case, you must eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of mezonot made of the Five Grains within four minutes.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: If You Planned To Eat Minimum Amount of Bread and Did
                          Regardless of how much bread you plan to eat, if you eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes, say birkat ha'mazon.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: If You Planned To Eat Minimum Amount of Bread and Did Not
                          If you planned to, but did not, eat a full meal:
                          • Do not say al ha'michya if you did not eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of foods baked from the Five Grains within four minutes--even if you had washed your hands and said ha'motzi.
                          • Do say the appropriate bracha achrona for any other foods of which you ate the minimum (1.3 fl. oz.--39 ml, or 1/6 cup) quantity within four minutes, even though you did not say an individual bracha rishona (since you were planning to
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Time Limit
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Location
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Location: Switching Seats
                          You should sit down for birkat ha'mazon, but you do not need to sit in your original seat. You may sit anywhere in the room in which you ate, even at a different table.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Location: Eating in Two Places--No Prior Intention
                          Situation
                          • You said ha'motzi.
                          • Ate bread without planning to continue your meal elsewhere.
                          • Then changed your mind and wanted to eat at a second place.
                          What To Do The ideal practice is to:
                          • Say birkat ha'mazon where you are, and then
                          • Start a new meal--wash, make ha'motzi, and eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup)—of bread in the second place.
                          B'di'avad, it is OK to say birkat ha'mazon at the second place, but only if you also ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread at the second place (no additional washing or ha'motzi is needed).
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Location: Eating in Two Places--Prior Intention
                          Say birkat ha'mazon at either place if:
                          • You eat in one place, intending to continue your meal in another place, AND
                          • You ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread at either place.
                          Note If you intend to eat only a snack only at the second place, you do not need to say birkat ha'mazon before you go there; you only need to say whichever fore-blessings are required for the foods you will eat there. You must return to the first place to say birkat ha'mazon.
                           
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Mayim Achronim
                        • Mayim Achronim a Custom?
                          Many people have the custom of using mayim achronim (water to wash hands after a meal). But according to some opinions, to do so is not required by Jewish law.
                          Note According to most opinions, women do not wash with mayim achronim.
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Mezuman and Minyan
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Reason for Mezuman
                          Saying birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman (or a minyan) is important since it gives honor to God.
                           
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Seating for Minyan or Mezuman
                          You may join with other men to make a minyan or mezuman (a mezuman is any group of 3 or more Jewish men 13 years old or older and so a minyan is also a kind of mezuman) for birkat ha'mazon if, while you are eating:
                          • You can see any other tables at which the other men are eating, or
                          • You had the same waiter as the other men, even if you could not see the rest of the group (such as in an L-shaped room). 
                           
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Eating for Mezuman
                          Say birkat ha'mazon as a mezuman if:
                          • You don't have enough men for a minyan (see above), AND
                          • Two men wash, said ha'motzi, and ate bread, AND
                          • One or more other men ate any food other than water and salt.
                          Note If the three men's eating overlapped in time with each other, they MAY say birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman
                          If the three men began eating at the same time, they MUST say birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Eating for Minyan
                          You may say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan if:
                          • At least seven men washed, said ha'motzi, and ate bread, with
                          • Enough other men who ate some food (anything other than water or salt) to total 10 men.
                          NoteIf the 10 men's eating overlapped in time with each other, they MAY say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan
                          If the 10 men began eating at the same time, they MUST say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Women's Mezuman and Minyan
                          Women (even if 10 or more) do not make a minyan, only a mezumanSo do not say the birkat ha'mazon's minyan introduction but simply say the mezuman introduction if:
                          • 10 or more women ate together, without men present;
                          • At least two women washed, said ha'motzi, and ate bread; AND
                          • At least one more woman ate some type of food.
                          Note Women are never required to make a mezuman. So when three women are eating together and no men are present, they may say birkat ha'mazon as a mezuman but they are not required to do so.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Until When To Join Mezuman
                          You may join a mezuman by eating any food (except water and salt) up until the leader says “rabotai nevareich.” 
                           
                        • Birkat HaMazon: How To Join Mezuman and Continue Eating
                          To join a mezuman and continue eating:
                          1)  Reply to “rabotai nevareich,” etc.,
                          2)  Say amen after the leader says the first paragraph's final blessing, and then
                          3)  Finish eating and say birkat ha'mazon on your own.
                           
                        • Birkat HaMazon: How Many Men Needed for Baruch Hu U'Varuch Shemo
                          Say baruch hu u'varuch shemo before birkat ha'mazon even if only three men are present; you don't need a minyan
                          Note Only the leader (mezamein) says this, not the other two men.
                        • Birkat HaMazon: Standing Up to Honor God
                          Stand up a little to honor God when you say God's name in the introduction (nevareich eloheinu) if you ate with 10 men. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Table
                      • Birkat HaMazon: When To Repeat
                        • Birkat HaMazon: When To Repeat If Forgot Additions
                          When saying birkat ha'mazon, you must repeat birkat ha'mazon if you forgot:
                          • Retzei on the first two meals of Shabbat.
                          • Ya'aleh v'yavo on the first two meals of any Jewish festival day (women only repeat if they forgot it at the Passover seder).
                          Never repeat birkat ha'mazon if you forgot additions for:
                          • Rosh Hashana (during the daytime) or
                          • Rosh Chodesh.
                      • Birkat HaMazon: Alternate Wordings
                      • Ya'aleh V'Yavo
                        • If You Forgot Ya'aleh V'Yavo
                          Situation
                          You forgot to say ya'aleh v'yavo in birkat ha'mazon for a meal that you were required to eat on a Jewish festival.
                          What to Do
                          If you have already begun the fourth blessing, you must repeat the entire birkat ha'mazon. If you have not yet said the fourth blessing, you may say a special addition that appears in many siddurim.
              • SheHecheyanu
                • Introduction to SheHecheyanu
                  • Introduction to SheHecheyanu: When Obligatory
                    Say she'hecheyanu for:
                    • Acquisitions,
                    • Jewish festivals, and
                    • New fruits. 
                    Note You MUST say she'hecheyanu on Jewish festivals; saying she'hecheyanu on acquisitions is subjective and is only required if you enjoy the possession and it is new (for you) and valuable.
                  • HaTov V'HaMeitiv or SheHecheyanu
                    Say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu when two or more people benefit from or enjoy something. 
                    Examples
                    • If your wife or husband will enjoy and use the new item too.
                    • When wine is already on the table and a second bottle of wine that is as good as, or better than, the first bottle is brought to the table (and more than one person will drink that second bottle of wine).
                    Note When two or more people are eating a new fruit that is in season, each person says the blessings al pri ha'eitz and then she'hechaynu (and not ha'tov v'hameitiv).
                • SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions
                  • SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: Which Items
                    • On What To Say SheHecheyanu
                      Say she'hecheyanu on any item that you acquire through any of the following means, as long as the item gives you pleasure:
                      • Gifts.
                      • Purchases you made. 
                      • Used items that you acquire.
                      Note If the item would be desirable or a luxury to other people, but it is not to you, or if it only has value to you as a useful item, do not say she'hecheyanu
                      NoteFrom Richard Aiken --I said she'hecheyanu on my scuba diving equipment and on my paragliders, the first time I used them.)
                    • Items on Which Women Say SheHecheyanu
                      Women say she'hecheyanu on:
                      • Engagement rings but not on wedding rings.
                      • Valuable candlesticks.
                    • Items on Which Men Say SheHecheyanu
                      Men say she'hecheyanu on a new talit. Do not say she'hecheyanu on tefilin.
                    • SheHecheyanu and Attire
                      The only items of attire that get a she'hecheyanu blessing are those that are worn for enjoyment or importance.  These are both subjective: If you don't enjoy new clothes, don't say she'hecheyanu over them.
                      Note She'hecheyanu is not said on shoes.
                    • SheHecheyanu: House or Apartment
                      Say she'hecheyanu on a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation that you buy. Don't say she'hecheyanu on a house or apartment that you are renting.
                      Note If you are married (or living there with any other family members), say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu.
                  • SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When To Bless
                    • SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When You May Say
                      You may say she'hecheyanu as long as you still feel the exhilaration of having or using the new item (ideally, say the blessing when you purchase the item or receive it as a gift.).
                    • SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When To Bless over New Home
                      If you buy a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation, say she'hecheyanu:
                      • When you buy it, if it is ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself).
                      •  When you move in, if it is not ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself). 
                      Note If you are married, say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu.
                • SheHecheyanu: Jewish Festivals
                  • SheHecheyanu at Candle-Lighting for Jewish Festivals
                    Say she'hecheyanu when lighting candles for:
                    • Both days of Rosh Hashana,
                    • Yom Kippur,
                    • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Sukkot,
                    • Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah,
                    • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or both days of Shavuot, and
                    • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Passover.
                    Note She'hecheyanu is not said on the last day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or last two days of Passover.
                • SheHecheyanu: New Fruits
              • The Great Outdoors
                • Tefilat HaDerech
                • Al Netilat Yadayim or Al Tevilat Yadayim
                  • Al Netilat Yadayim or Al Tevilat Yadayim: Water Fit or Not Fit
                    Say al netilat yadayim even if you wash your hands by immersing them in a river, ocean, or other natural body of water.
                    Note Say al tevilat yadayim if the water is not fit for netilat yadayim (if it smells bad, is salty, a dog would not drink it, etc.). This applies to washing before bread, after sleeping, etc.
                • Blessings: Scents
                  • Blessings: Scents: When To Say
                    Say the blessing if you intend to smell something fragrant; you may, but do not need to, say a blessing if you smell a scent in passing.  If you are outdoors and a pleasant scent of flowers comes to you, even if you did not intend to smell the flowers, as long as you enjoy the scent, you may still say the appropriate blessing.
                  • Blessings: Scents: The Four Blessings
                    Choose the correct smell blessing (Note that these blessings are not said on synthetic scents!): 
                    • Borei minei vesamim Generic; this is the default blessing if you are not certain which category applies; also say this when smelling a mixture of scents;
                    • Borei isvei vesamim  Plants which do not have stiff stems;
                    • Borei atzei vesamim  Trees and stiff-stemmed plants (such as roses); and
                    • Ha'notein rei'ach tov ba'peirot  Fragrant fruits, such as lemons and some etrogs.
                  • Blessings: Scents: Minimum Scent
                    The minimum intensity of scent required to be permitted to say a scent blessing is anything you can smell and that you find pleasant.
                     
                  • Blessings: Scents: Sniffing First
                    Situation You see a flower but do not know whether it has a scent.
                    What To Do You may sniff the flower and, if it does have a nice scent, you may then say borei minei (or atzei or isvei as appropriate) vesamim and then take a big whiff.
                  • Blessings: Scents: All Scents in that Category
                    Situation You are visiting a botanical garden or an outdoor area at which you will see many flowers and blossoms.
                    What To Do You may say the appropriate blessings on pleasant smells once for each category and intend for the blessing to apply to all flowers and blossoms you will smell during that day.
                  • Blessings: Scents: Hesech Da'at
                    If you say borei isvei vesamim or borei atzei vesamim, you should say the blessing again once you have had a lapse of thought (hesech da'at); that is, once you have stopped thinking about smelling fragrances at that time.
                • HaGomel
                  • HaGomel: For Which Events
                    • After What To Say HaGomel
                      Say ha'gomel after:
                      • Crossing the ocean (far enough away that you cannot see the shore);
                      • Crossing a desert by any means except flying;
                      • Getting out of jail; or
                      • Recovering from a serious illness.  
                      In addition, say ha'gomel anytime a catastrophe has been avoided, such as a vehicle crash. Consult a competent halachic authority in these cases.
                  • HaGomel: When To Say
                  • HaGomel: For Whom To Say
                    • For Whom To Say HaGomel
                      Don't say ha'gomel for anyone other than yourself (not even for your spouse or children). Likewise, one person may not exempt the entire congregation for ha'gomel except b'di'avad.  But when an entire congregation says ha'gomel, use “gemalanu.”
                  • HaGomel: Women
                    • Women and HaGomel
                      Women customarily do not say ha'gomel. A woman does not say ha'gomel after childbirth.
                       
                • Blessings: Natural Phenomena
                • Kiddush Levana
                  • Introduction to Kiddush Levana
                    • Introduction to Kiddush Levana: Thanksgiving
                      Kiddush levana expresses our thanks to God for having made the moon, which affects our lives (tides, weather, crops, biological clocks) and provides us benefits in many ways (light at night, basis for determining our calendar and our holidays).
                  • Kiddush Levana: What To See
                  • Kiddush Levana: When To Say
                    • Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Molad
                      Although the traditional time to say kiddush levana is after Shabbat, you may say kiddush levana from the third day (three periods of 24 hours) after the molad until 14 days and 18 hours after the molad.  Ideal is after seven 24-hour periods.
                    • Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Custom not To Say
                      It is customary not to say kiddush levana:
                      • During the Nine Days before and including Tish'a b'Av;
                      • On Friday night, and
                      • On the evening of a Jewish festival.
                      Many people also have the custom not to say kiddush levana during the first 10 days of Tishrei.
                      However, you should do so if you do not expect to see the moon on any other night (due to weather or other factors), rather than miss the chance to say it that month. If you do say kiddush levana on Friday night or the after nightfall of a Jewish festival, say only the blessing, not the Psalms and other phrases that are normally said.
                    • Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Night
                      You may say kiddush levana (blessing on the new moon) only at night, after dark/tzeit ha'kochavim.
                    • Kiddush Levana: When To Say: When No Dark
                      At the high latitudes, you may say kiddush levana during any season when the sky gets dark but not during seasons when the sky does not get dark.
                    • Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Shabbat
                      You may say kiddush levana on Shabbat, if needed.
                      Examples
                      • Shabbat is the last possible night that month to say kiddush levana.
                      • The forecast is for clouds for the other nights until it will be too late that month to say kiddush levana.
                       
                      Note On Shabbat, say only the blessing of kiddush levana, not the psalms or other phrases (psukim).
                  • Kiddush Levana: Who Says
                  • Kiddush Levana: What To Say
                    • Kiddush Levana: Minimum Blessing
                      The minimum you may say of kiddush levana and fulfill the mitzva is the blessing. The psalms and other psukim are customary but are not required.
                • Asher Yatzar
                  • Asher Yatzar: Minimum
                    The minimum amount to urinate or defecate and be able to say asher yatzar is any quantity (kolshehu).
                  • Asher Yatzar: Timing
                    If you did not say asher yatzar immediately after finishing, you may still say the blessing until the next time you feel the need to urinate or defecate.
                  • Asher Yatzar with No Water
                    Say asher yatzar, even when you cannot wash your hands, such as when you do not have any water with you.
                    Note In any case, your hands must be clean; if they are not, you must wipe them off on something before saying the blessing.
                  • Asher Yatzar: Saying for Someone Else
                    You may say asher yatzar for someone else if you need to say it also.
                  • Asher Yatzar or After-Blessing
                    If you are eating and stopped to use the toilet, you may say either asher yatzar or the after-blessing on the food first.
                  • Asher Yatzar Underwater
                    After urinating while scuba diving, say asher yatzar. The water is sufficient as a head covering or, better, you may cover your head with your wetsuit sleeve.
                • Blessing the Children/Birkat HaBanim
                  • Introduction to Blessing the Children/Birkat HaBanim
                    The Blessing for the Children has two parts:
                    1. Introduction
                      For Boys: “Yesimcha Elohim k'Efraim v'chi'Menashe
                      (May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe)

                      For Girls: “Yesimeich Elohim k'Sara, Rivka, Rachel, v'Leah” 
                      (May God make you like Sara, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah)
                      Note The formula asks God to make the boys like Ephraim and Menashe but to make the girls like Sarah, Rivka/Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. We might think that Sara, Rivka/Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah should be paired with their husbands, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob instead of with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yet, while Isaac and Jacob had the advantage of growing up in religious homes and in Eretz Yisrael, all of the fore-mothers as well as Ephraim and Menashe lived righteous lives even though all grew up in bad environments outside of Eretz Yisrael.
                    2. Priestly Blessing/Birkat Cohanim (Numbers/Bamidbar 6:24-26)
                      This is the blessing that the priests (cohanim) use when blessing the Jewish people.  For words to the blessing, please click here and scroll down to "Birkat Cohanim": http://practicalhalacha.com/blessings#B.
                  • Blessing the Children: When To Bless
                    Bless children on:
                    • Friday night,
                    • Saturday night (this is so we start the new week with a blessing), and
                    • Jewish festival nights.
                    Note This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
                  • Blessing the Children: Who Should Bless
                    Who should bless the children:
                    • Anyone may bless children, but it is best for both parents to do so.
                    • Parents may ask any other adult to be their emissary to bless their children. 
                     
                  • Blessing the Children: How To Bless: How To Place Hands
                    You may use one or two hands when giving a blessing, such as when blessing children on Shabbat or Jewish festivals. You may hold your hands over the person's head or actually put your hands on their head--either is OK.
                  • Blessing the Children: How To Bless: From Afar
                    Parents may bless their children by telephone if not nearby. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
          • BRIT MILA
            • Introduction to Brit Mila
              • Introduction to Brit Mila
                Avraham was commanded to circumcise himself and all males in his household. From then on, all healthy Jewish males were to be circumcised when they reached 8 days old.
                If there is any question about the baby's health, the circumcision is delayed or, in rare cases, not done at all.
                The primary obligation to do the circumcision is on the boy's father. Since most people are not skilled surgeons, the actual cutting is usually done by a highly trained expert, called a mohel, who is appointed by the father. A festive meal is eaten after the circumcision.  A minyan is preferred, but not required, for a brit mila.
                 
            • Brit Mila Scheduling
            • Brit Mila: Hatafat Dam
              • Brit Mila: Hatafat Dam
                For a boy who requires an operation six months later (or more) to repair an anomalous condition such as hypospadias or webbing--if the hospital will allow a mohel "hands-on" participation, then the brit mila is done at the time of the operation. 
                If not, after the child heals, a hatafat dam brit mila should be performed.
            • Brit Mila: Who Should Perform
              • Brit Mila: Who Should Perform: Preference
                A father should circumcise his male children (if he knows how to do to the circumcision!) or appoint someone to do so. Order of preference for who should do the circumcision, if competent:
                • Father
                • Other shomer-Shabbat male
                • Shomer-Shabbat woman (if no male is available).
                Note A father (or anyone else) may not perform the brit mila--even just the incision--on Shabbat if it is his first time.
                Note A non-Jew may not perform a brit mila.
                Note If a child was circumcised in the hospital or by anyone who is not shomer Shabbat, consult a rabbi.
            • Brit Mila: Sandak
              • Brit Mila: Choice of Sandak
                Choose the greatest Jewish scholar (talmid chacham) in your town or city as sandak (person who holds the baby for the brit mila), since kabbala says it is a good omen for the boy's soul. A woman may be a sandeket but only if no suitable man is available.  If no Jewish man or woman is available, a non-Jewish person may serve as a sandak or sandeket.
            • Brit Mila: How To Do
              • Brit Mila: How To Do: Metzitza
                When doing a circumcision, metzitza (sucking out some blood) is required.  Metzitza may be done using a pipette or other tube, but the traditional way is by mouth.
                Note Using a gauze pad for metzitza is not traditionally done.
              • Brit Mila: Amount of Metzitza Blood
                There is no minimum amount of blood to draw out for metzitza: any quantity suffices.
                 
            • Brit Mila: Invitation
              • Brit Mila: Announcement or Invitation
                Don't formally invite people to a brit mila meal, just announce it.
                Reason If you invite people and they don't come, they are disrespecting the chance to participate in a mitzva.  
            • Brit Mila: Naming the Baby
            • Brit Mila: Festive Meal
              • Brit Mila Meal: Minimum Requirement
                A se'udat mitzva is required for a brit mila, but the brit mila is still valid even if no meal is held. The minimum requirement for the meal is to eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread within four minutes.
              • Brit Mila: Fast Day
                If a brit mila is performed on Tish'a b'Av or other fast days, the meal (se'udat mitzva) is held after the fast ends. On a delayed fast day, the sandak, mohel, and father of the boy who is having the brit may eat after mincha.
          • CHARITY/TZEDAKA
            • Introduction to Charity/Tzedaka
              • Introduction to Charity/Tzedaka
                The Torah requires everyone to give charity (tzedaka), and even people who are so poor that they receive charity must also give something to charity. The giving of charity engenders consideration for people who have less than we do.
            • General Charity/Tzedaka
              • Charity/Tzedaka: How Much To Give
              • Charity/Tzedaka: On What To Give
                • Introduction To Charity/Tzedaka: On What to Give
                  Introduction To CHARITY/TZEDAKA: ON WHAT TO GIVE
                  Give charity on 10\% of your net, after-tax income or received gifts of money (cash, checks, or equivalent).
                   
                  Items or Material Gifts
                  If you receive or inherit items or material gifts that you use, you do not need to give charity from their value. If the items or material gifts were intended for sale and you sold them, give to charity 10\% of the money you receive.
                   
                  Trusts, Funds, and Securities

                  A trust or other inherited or gifted fund does not pay charity on money it receives or earns. Only the recipients give charity, when get they get any money.
                  If the trusts or funds are intended for sale and you sold them, pay 10\% on the value you received to charity.
                   
                  You do pay 10\% on inherited or gifted securities once you have inherited them, even if you do not intend to sell them. If you do not have enough cash to give 10\% of the securities' value, you should sell 10\% and give that money to charity. The remaining securities do not incur a requirement of owing charity, whether they increase or decrease in value in the future.
                   
                  Heir: Charity on Money or Property for Sale
                  You must give to charity 10\% of the value of an inheritance or gift of:
                  • Money, and
                  • Property, including a building or house, that you to sell (but not if you will keep or use it for yourself, such as to live in). If you do not have enough cash to pay 10\% of the building's value, you may pay it off over time.
                  Note If  you inherit (or will inherit) from a person who died, you are required to pay for (or help pay for) the dead person's burial. You may not deduct this money for burial or funeral expenses from your ma'aser charity.
              • Charity/Tzedaka: What To Give
                • Buying Seforim To Pay Charity/Tzedaka
                  You may use tzedaka (ma'aser) money to buy seforim. Because the books then become public property, you must write in the books that they are ma'aser and anyone may use them. You may only do this if other people who are not in your family will also use them. 
                  Note You may only use tzedaka (ma'aser) money to buy seforim that are not commonly found in Jewish homes; you may not use this money to buy a siddur, chumash, or Talmud.
                • Jewish Education Tuition as Charity
                  Parents may consider as charity any money they spend on the Jewish education of children age 16 and up.  If a child goes to a college and takes secular and Jewish classes, the parent may count any tuition for the Jewish classes as charity.
              • Charity/Tzedaka: How To Divide
                • How To Divide Charity Donation
                  A good split of the total amount to give to charity is:
                  • 1/3 for Jewish education,
                  • 1/3 for poor people, and
                  • 1/3 for humanitarian purposes such as a hospital, mikva, synagogue, or Jewish outreach/kiruv.
                • Charity to Local Jewish Causes
                  When giving charity, you should give at least 51\% of your donations to local Jewish charities, if there are any that need support. After that, donations to Israel have priority over donations to other locations.
                  Situation You have residences in more than one place (for example, you were assigned to work in a new place for a few years) and you need to know which location is to be considered your home for giving charity locally:
                  1. If you kept your first residence and intend to return to it, even after a few years, that remains your halachic home for this purpose (even if you rent out that house to someone else).
                  2. If you do not intend to return to your first residence and you moved to a second city where you earn money, give money to charities in that second city.
                  3. If you made an investment while in that second city and received profits from it while living in a third city, donate to charities in that third city.
                  4. If you donated to a foundation while in the second city but the funds were not distributed until you were in the third city, donate to charities in the third city.
                  Exception If you purchased an investment with money that you were supposed to give to charity, your donation should go to where you were when you earned the money from which you owed the charity.
              • Charity/Tzedaka: Who Should Give
                • One Who Receives Charity, Gives Charity
                  A person who receives charity should still give a minimal amount to charity. Doing so gives him or her the benefit of the mitzva of giving charity and serves as an example to his or her children (who should be made aware that the parents are giving money to charity).
              • Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom
                • Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom

                  Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom: General Rules

                  Charity: Family First

                  Give charity first to family; then to your local or nearby community. Only then may you give to remote communities, especially if the remote communities are in Eretz Yisrael.

                  Who Qualifies To Receive Charity

                  A person may receive charity if he or she has so little money that he or she must worry about having sufficient funds to buy a non-luxury item.

                  An institution is needy if it does not have enough money for basic needs (repairing buildings, maintenance, utilities...).

                  There is no need to donate to people or institutions if their basic needs are covered.

                  Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom: Beggars

                  Charity to a Jewish Beggar for Himself

                  If a Jewish beggar asks for money for him/herself, and you know him/her to be needy, you should at least give something, but it does not need to be much.

                  Charity to a Beggar for Jewish Institution

                  If a beggar asks for money for a Jewish institution, you do not need to give.

                  Charity/Tzedaka: Assumed Beggar at Door

                  If someone knocks on your door and you assume that he or she is a beggar, you do not need to answer the door.

                  Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom: Purim

                  Charity on Purim

                  On Purim, give money to anyone who asks.
                  Note If for an institution, you are not required to give.

                  Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom: Poor Brides/Hachnasat Kalla

                  Charity/Tzedaka: Poor Brides (Hachnasat Kalla): How Much

                  Hachnasat kalla means helping a poor woman pay the expenses to hold a wedding and set up a household for married life. The minimum required is enough so that she is not embarrassed. It does not include paying for an opulent wedding. There is not any absolute amount of money that you should give per guest and even the quality of the food, decorations, and any entertainment are dependent on the individual.

                  Hachnasat Kalla for Women and Men

                  Hachnasat kallaalso applies to a poor man who needs money to pay the expenses to get married.

                  Charity/Tzedaka: To Whom: Non-Sectarian Causes

                  Non-Sectarian Causes and Ma'aser

                  You may give small amounts of money or goods to a non-sectarian charity (hospital, school, etc., that is not affiliated with any religion other than Judaism) and it will count as part of your charity (ma'aser). You may give large amounts of money to non-sectarian charities, but you should not count it as part of your ma'aser.
                  Note A small amount of money is whatever is common in your area as a minimal amount to give to a person or charity.
              • Charity/Tzedaka: From Whom To Take
                • Charity from a Woman
                  A person may receive charity from a woman:
                  • From a single woman: any amount.
                  • From a married woman: a small amount; a large amount only if her husband agrees.
              • Charity/Tzedaka: When To Give
          • DEATH AND MOURNING
            • Introduction to Death and Mourning
              • Introduction to Death and Mourning
                When we hear of a death, we say Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet to acknowledge that even though we are unhappy about a person's dying, we recognize that it is part of God's operation of the world.
                 
            • Close to Death
              • Changing Sick Person's Name
                • Changing Sick Person's Hebrew Name
                  When a person is very ill and is younger than expected to have a deadly illness, the person may change his or her Hebrew name.
                  • If he or she lives (in health, such as able to walk around outside) for at least 30 days after changing his or her name, the person should keep that name (and if the person dies, that changed name should go on the tombstone).
                  • If the person dies in less than 30 days, the person's original name reverts to being the valid name.
              • Confession/Vidui
                • Vidui
                  A very sick person who might die soon should say a special confession (vidui). It is not a problem to say it multiple times during one's life.
                  Note If the person cannot say vidui, someone else says it for the person.
            • Preparation of Body
              • Chevra Kadisha
              • Cleaning before Tahara
                • Blood
                  Any blood should be wiped up and the cloth should be buried with the body.
                   
                • Wet Cloth and Soap
                  The body is cleaned with a wet cloth and soap (if necessary).
              • Tahara
                • No Tahara
                  A dead body that bleeds a lot, such as after being shot or in a car crash, does not get purification (tahara) by water.
                • Three Buckets of Water
                  A ritual purification is performed (“tahara”) by pouring three buckets of water over the body:
                  The body is stood up and water is poured from the head over the body. The subsequent buckets are poured before the previous ones are empty, so that the water from the subsequent bucket overlaps the water from the previous one.
                   
                • Psukim
                  Certain lines from the Torah (psukim) are said during the purification.
                   
              • Dressing
                • Shrouds, Hat, Robe
                  The body—whether male or female--is wrapped in shrouds: shirt, pants, socks (or long pants with the feet sewn up), hat (women who covered their hair while alive get two hats), and robe (kittel) on top of all. The hat covers the face.
                • Talit
                  An adult male is wrapped in a talit but one of the tzitziyot is made invalid/pasul.
                • Child's Dressing
                  A child under bar mitzva or bat mitzva age also gets dressed the same way as an adult, except if less than 7 years old (consult a rabbi in that case).
                   
                • Egg and Wine for Face of Dead Person
                  Some people have the custom of putting egg and wine on the face of a dead person, but this is not halacha.
              • Positioning
                • Arms on Sides, Hands Open
                  The body is placed lying on its back, with arms on the sides and hands open. 
                   
                • Note on Christian Hospitals
                  In many Christian hospitals, as soon as a person dies, the arms are put in the shape of a cross.  After rigor mortis, it is very difficult to move the arms, so if the arms were crossed, they should be uncrossed as soon as possible.
                • Feet First
                  The body is removed from the building feet first. (This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.)
              • In the Presence of the Body
                • Lighted Candle Near Head of Dead Person
                  It is customary to place a lighted candle near the head of a dead person.
                • Put Dead Body on Floor
                  It is customary to put a dead body on the floor, if possible.
                • Shomer To Honor Dead Person
                  A “watcher” (shomer) should stay with a dead body at all times until the burial, if possible, to honor the dead person. The watcher should be close enough to be able to see the body. A non-Jew may be a watcher, but only b'di'avad.
                  Note If the body is being shipped somewhere, it is preferable that a shomer stay with the body, but it is not required.
                • Shomer for Several Days
                  When a person dies on Shabbat or a Jewish festival, a watcher (shomer) should still be present until burial, even if there will be a delay of several days.
                   
                • Woman Shomeret
                  A woman may be a watcher (shomeret) for a dead person.
                  Note Either gender may watch the other, but the custom is to have the same gender where possible.
                • Eating in Room with Body
                  Don't eat in a room in which there is a dead body.
              • From Funeral Home to Cemetery
                • Offspring at Funeral

                  Attending a funeral is a mitzva--that of honoring the dead person--but in attending a parent's funeral, there is the added mitzva of honoring a parent.

                  Adult (at least bar mitzva or bat mitzva) offspring should attend their parent's funeral, unless there is a financial, health, or other significant reason not to attend. There is no requirement for minor offspring to attend a funeral for a parent. RMH recommends consulting a rabbi before having a minor go to any funeral, including for the child's parent.

                  NoteIf both parents are still alive, it is not customary to go to the cemetery for any funeral except for a close relative, but it is a mitzva to attend the eulogies and ceremony beforehand.

                • Accompanying the Body: Jerusalem
                  In Jerusalem, charedim do not allow sons of a dead father to attend their father's funeral (from the funeral home to the cemetery).
            • Burial
              • Burial: Where
                • Burial: Jewish Cemetery
                  • Jews Buried with Jews
                    Jews should be buried with Jews. It is permitted to disinter a body from a non-Jewish cemetery for reburial into a Jewish cemetery.
                     
                  • Non-Jew Not Buried in Jewish Cemetery
                    A non-Jew (including a non-Jewish spouse of a Jew) may not be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
                  • Suicide

                    Someone who commits suicide may not be buried within 8 amot of other Jews in a Jewish cemetery. If the person had emotional problems, consult a rabbi.

                • Burial: Eretz Yisrael
                  • Burial: Eretz Yisrael If Did Not Live There
                    You should not be buried in Eretz Yisrael if you could have lived in Eretz Yisrael but chose not to. If you could not live there or if you had a heter to not live there, it is OK to be buried there.
                    Note The reason to be buried in Eretz Yisrael is for Resurrection of the Dead (techiyat ha'meitim), which will only happen in Eretz Yisrael.  But the entire world will eventually become Eretz Yisrael, so it is only an issue of time.
                • Burial: Near Offspring
                  • Children Visiting Cemetery
                    It is considered comforting to the parent's soul for children to visit the cemetery.  So proximity to children may be a factor in choosing where to be buried (but who knows where offspring will end up living?).
              • Burial: When
                • Same-Day or Delayed Burial
                  A body should be buried the same day as death occurs or as soon as possible afterward, but the burial may be delayed to allow relatives to arrive or for a body to be taken to Eretz Yisrael for burial.
                   
              • Burial: Coffin
                • Coffin Material
                  The coffin should be plain wood (usually pine) without any adornments or fancy features.  It has holes in it.
              • Burial: Specifics
                • Pall-Bearers
                  The pall-bearers usually pause seven times on their walk to the grave.  On days when no tachanun is said, they walk directly to the grave without pausing.
                   
                • Who Shovels
                  It is a mitzva but not a requirement for attendees to shovel some earth into the grave. Women should only do this if no men are present.
                • How To Shovel
                  Do not hand the shovel from person to person. Rather, stick the shovel in the ground.  The next person takes it out, shovels some dirt, and sticks it back in the ground.
                • Depth of Coffin
                  The coffin should be buried with at least 12 inches of dirt above it.
                   
              • Burial: Kaddish
                • Burial: Kaddish: Version of Kaddish

                  Kaddish is recited near the grave but at least 4 amot (7 feet) away from the nearest grave:  

                  • If the son of the dead person is present and the burial occurred on a day when tachanun is normally said, the version of kaddish recited is the same as for a siyum (celebration of completing studying part of mishnayot or other holy books).
                  • If there is no son of the dead person present or if it is not a day when tachanun is said, then the version of kaddish recited is the normal mourner's kaddish.
                • Burial: Kaddish: Having Minyan
                  It is important, but not critical, to have a minyan at the gravesite so the mourner will be able to say kaddish.
                • Burial: Kaddish: Attending Minyan
                  It is a mitzva to attend the minyan at a burial, but no one needs to interrupt his day in order to do so.
              • Burial: Leaving
                • Walking between Rows
                  All non-mourners stand in two rows on the way back from the grave.  The mourners walk between the rows and are greeted with this phrase:
                   Ha'makom yinachem etchem b'toch she'ar aveilei tzion v'yerushalayim.
                  Then, the mourners remove any shoes which contain leather from their feet before walking between the rows of people. (Take other non-leather shoes to the cemetery so they can switch into them after the burial).
                   
                • Stepping on Graves
                  For rules on how to treat graves, see Graves: Stepping on.
                • "Three-Times" Hand Washing
                  After leaving the cemetery, wash hands using the Three-Times Method without a blessing; see How To Wash Hands Using the Three-Times Method. You can take a container of water with you in your car.
            • Mourning
              • Introduction to Mourning
                • Introduction to Mourning

                  Who Is a Mourner

                  A mourner is defined in halacha as someone mourning during the 12-month mourning period for parents or the 30-day mourning period for the other five relatives (spouse, brother, sister, son, daughter). After 30 days, one is no longer a mourner for anyone but one's parents.

                  Mourners' Restrictions

                  If the mourner goes about business as usual, it may show he or she doesn't care about the close relative who died. The mourner should ideally not want to do these things. The mourner honors the dead person by refraining from pampering him/herself and refraining from going about his or her life as usual.

                  Public Meals

                  A mourner may not attend a public meal for any purpose. For example, if the mourner attends a lecture or Torah class at which food is being served, he or she may not eat the food. This only applies to sit-down meals; snacking is permitted.

                  Siyum/Brit/Bar Mitzva

                  After 30 days after a parent's burial, a mourner may:

                  • Attend a siyum or bar mitzva and eat there.
                  • Attend a brit but not eat there.
                  Note If there is music (live or recorded), the mourner must leave.

                  Weddings

                  A mourner may not eat at a wedding and may not even be in the wedding hall after the ceremony took. The mourner may also not hear the music at a wedding.

                  Exceptions
                  • If the mourner is the parent of someone getting married, the mourner can fully participate in the wedding.
                  • If the mourner is the bride or groom, he or she must normally wait to get married until after shloshim/30 days.
                  Note If it is after shiva, but still during shloshim, consult a rabbi.

                  Kiddush and Shabbat or Festival Meals

                  A mourner may not publicly (noticeably) mourn on Shabbat or festivals so he or she may attend Shabbat or festival meals and kiddushes if he or she would be expected to attend. If the mourner always or routinely invites some person or a lot of different people on Shabbat or festivals, it is still permitted. If the mourner does not routinely invite some person or a lot of different people to a Shabbat or festival meal, then he or she may not, for his or her own enjoyment, invite guests for meals. However, the mourner is permitted to do so for other purposes (for the benefit of the invited person or people), such as kiruv or hachnasat orchim. There is no limit to how many guests the mourner may host.

                  The mourner may attend or host a sheva brachot in his/her home.

                  A mourner should not be invited to meals, even for Shabbat or festivals; but if he/she was invited, he/she may go.

                  Holidays

                  A mourner does eat at a Purim or Jewish festival seuda, since there is no mourning on Purim nor on any festival (except Chanuka).

              • Mourning: Who Must Mourn
              • Mourning: How Long To Mourn
              • Mourning: How To Mourn
                • Being an Onen
                  • Onen Restrictions
                    An onen is prohibited from doing positive mitzvot so as not to be distracted from taking care of the dead body.
                    An onen may not:
                    • Do any positive commandment (no blessings, prayers, shema…).
                    • Eat meat or drink wine (until after the burial).
                    • Work or operate a business.
                    Note Before the relative dies, if possible, the onen should sell his business for whatever days he or she will be an onen and in shiv'a. Otherwise, the owner may have to close the business until shiv'a is over.
                    Note If there will be a large financial loss, consult a rabbi.  A large loss is subjective to the individual's actual wealth and also to that person's perception of what is a large loss. Consult a rabbi for how much constitutes a large loss.
                  • Onen Traveling with Body
                    An onen who accompanies a body to a foreign country for burial may have two extra days (or more) of onenut. If the onen then returns home and joins other mourners in the shiv'a house, the onen may end shiv'a with the other family members. (For more details, see When Shiv'a (and Shloshim) Starts: Normal Days .)
                  • Being an Onen: Saying Kaddish
                    Some communities have the custom of an onen's saying kaddish.
                    NOTE When a person's parent dies on or just before (erev) Shabbat or a Jewish festival, a daughter of any age should not be told until after Shabbat or the festival is over. A son should only be told if he is 6 years old and above and the custom in that community is to say kaddish as an onen.
                • Kri'a: Tearing the Clothes
                  • Kri'a: Who Tears
                    • Children and Kri'a
                      When a parent has died, the children must tear “kr'ia,” that is, tearing any garments that they wear during shiv'a.
                    • Women and Kri'a
                      Women do kri'a. To avoid exposing her body when tearing, a woman may wait until she is in a private place.  After tearing, she might need to pin the torn area closed for tzni'ut (modest attire).
                  • Kri'a: On What To Tear
                    • What To Tear for Kri'a
                      When tearing kri'a, do not tear underwear, a coat or sweater worn for warmth, or talit katan. To avoid ruining good or expensive clothing, you may change to other clothes before doing kri'a.
                      You may tear the same garment more than once if you need to do kriya for more than one dead person or for seeing the Temple mount more than once (in more than 30 days).
                  • Kri'a: When To Tear
                  • Kri'a: How To Tear
                    • How To Tear Kri'a
                      If you are in mourning for a parent, whether you are a man or woman, tear a vertical tear 4 inches (10.2 cm) long on your outermost garments (shirt and jacket, if you wear one) at the neck on the left side. The bulk of the tear must be made by hand, not with scissors or a knife, although you may start the tear with a sharp implement.
                  • Kri'a: How Often To Tear
                    • Kri'a: How Often for a Parent
                      When mourning for a parent, you must tear kri'a throughout the shiv'a week whenever you change shirts, so it is best to change garments as little as possible! You must wear the torn garment during the entire week of shiv'a. Coats do not require kri'a.
                      Note Wearing a torn black ribbon pinned to a garment does not fulfill the requirement of kri'a.
                    • Kri'a: How Often for Non-Parents
                      When mourning for any of the five categories of people other than parents (spouse; son; daughter; brother; sister), tear only one time and only the outermost garment (but not coats) and tear on the right side.
                • Shiv'a
                • Mourner's Kaddish
                  • Kaddish: For Whom To Say
                    • Kaddish for Parents/Exceptions
                      Mourner's kaddish is only supposed to be said for parents, unless no one else is saying kaddish for the dead person. If both your parents are still alive, you may not say mourner's kaddish for someone else unless you get your parents' permission.
                       
                    • Kaddish for Relatives Other than Parents
                      If you wish, you may say mourner's kaddish for family members other than parents, especially during shloshim (the first 30 days after burial), since the first 30 days after death are the most difficult for the dead person's soul. 
                      However, you may say kaddish for anyone even after shloshim ends, if you wish, until the end of 11 months (for a shomer-mitzvot person) or 12 months (for a non-shomer mitzvot person. But in a place where only one person says kaddish, you may not supplant another person who is halachically required to say kaddish.
                  • Kaddish: How Long To Say
                  • Kaddish: Who Should Say
                  • Kaddish: How Often To Say
                    • Kaddish Frequency: Needs of Dead Person
                      Each dead person needs kaddish to be said for him or her:
                      • By at least one person.
                        Note If more than one person who was close to the dead person (such as a relative) says kaddish, it is a merit for the soul of the dead person.
                      • At least once a day. 
                        Note More frequently is commendable, since kaddish relieves a dead person's soul from gehenna.
                    • Kaddish Frequency: Requirements of Sons
                      Each son age 6 and above is required to say kaddish for his dead parent at least once a day.
                      Note “Day” here means from dark until the following sunset. If you say kaddish at mincha and the following ma'ariv, you have covered two days.
                    • Saying Kaddish Multiple Times
                      Even though saying kaddish many times benefits the dead person's soul, there is no need--nor is it the custom--to attend multiple minyans each day in order to say kaddish for a dead person many times.
                  • Kaddish: With Whom To Say
                    • Saying Kaddish in Unison
                      Ideally, only one mourner should say kaddish, whether mourner's kaddish, rabbis' kaddish, etc. Any kaddish said by more than one mourner should be said in unison.
                       
                • Thirty Days of Mourning (Shloshim)
                  • When Shiv'a (and Shloshim) Ends
                    • Shiv'a and Shloshim: Ended by Jewish Festivals
                      Shiv'a ends if a Jewish festival, Rosh Hashana, or Yom Kippur intervenes.
                      Shloshim ends if a Jewish festival, Rosh Hashana, or Yom Kippur intervenes.
                      If two of those holidays occur within the first seven days after burial, the first one will break shiv'a and the second one will break shloshim.
                      Shimini Atseret does not constitute a second day for breaking shiv'a or shloshim (it is considered to be part of Sukkot for this purpose).
                  • Shloshim: Daily Life
                    • Shloshim: Bathing
                      • Bathing during Shloshim
                        For the first 30 days, a mourner should not bathe for pleasure in hot water and should only wash hands (to elbows), face (to collarbone), and feet (to the knees). If sweaty, smelly, or dirty, he or she may wash other body parts even during shiv'a. Lukewarm water may be used after shiv'a ends.
                         
                    • Shloshim: Clothing
                      • Clothing during Shloshim
                        Do not wear newly purchased clothing during the first 30 days of mourning (shloshim).  You may wear new clothing from the end of shiv'a if someone else wears them somewhat before you do. 
                        Note Restrictions on newly purchased clothing end after:
                        • the year of mourning for those mourning for parents, and
                        • 30 days for those mourning for other relatives.

                    • Shloshim: Haircuts
                      • Haircuts during Shloshim
                        Do not get a haircut for the first 30 days of mourning. When mourning for parents, a mourner's hair should grow for three months from the last haircut but not for less than 30 days from the time shiv'a began. This applies to men and women, except if the woman needs to cut her hair for immersing in the mikva.
                    • Shloshim: Kiddush
                      • Kiddush Club during Shloshim
                        A mourner during shloshim (or the rest of the mourner's year) may eat at a kiddush on Shabbat after shacharit if he is expected to be there (for example, if he is a regular member of a “Kiddush Club”) because you may not display mourning in public on Shabbat.
                    • Shloshim: Nail Cutting
                      • Nail Cutting during Shloshim

                        Do not cut your nails for the first 30 days of mourning.

                        ExceptionWomen mourners may cut their nails before going to the mikva.

                    • Shloshim: Shaving
                      • Shaving during Shloshim
                        If you shave regularly (can be every day or a few times each week), you may shave after 30 days but not within 30 even if for non-parent and certainly not for a parent. If you normally grow a beard, you may not shave until 3 months have passed since the last time you trimmed your beard (and as long as it is more than 30 days from the day shiva began for the parent).
                        In case of a large financial loss, consult a rabbi.
                        Note A large loss is subjective to the individual's actual wealth and also to that person's perception of what is a large loss
                    • Shloshim: Getting Married
                • Year of Mourning
                  • Year-of-Mourning: Time Period
                  • Year-of-Mourning: Practices
                    • Year of Mourning: Marrying
                    • Year of Mourning: New Clothing
                    • Year of Mourning: Mourners Leading a Minyan
                      • Mourners Leading a Minyan

                        The dead person benefits if his/her son or sons lead public prayer services, whether during shloshim or the entire year (11 or 12 months). However, if the mourner is uncomfortable leading the minyan or is not a good reader or will be embarrassed, he should not feel obligated to do so.

                         

                        A mourner does not lead a minyan on:

                        • Shabbat;

                        • Jewish Festivals (including chol ha'moed);

                        • Purim;

                        • Rosh Chodesh.

                        Opinions differ concerning Chanuka, so follow your local custom.

                    • Year of Mourning: Public Festivities
                      • Public Festivities for Mourner for Parent

                        A mourner may not generally enter a hall of joyous celebration and may not eat at any public meal. During the year of mourning for parents, you may not join any public festivities (even if it is not a simcha) that have a meal, including any meals celebrating a mitzva (se'udat mitzva) such as for a brit mila, wedding, or redemption of a son (pidyon ha'ben). After 30 days, you may attend a bar mitzva or a siyum meal, since a bar mitzva is similar to a siyum since the child's parent's commandment to educate his/her child in Jewish education has been completed.
                        ExceptionA mourner whose child is getting married, does attend the wedding and does eat at the meal with everyone else, even if mourning for a parent. He or she does not need to leave the room when music is being played. To attend the wedding of anyone other than one's child, regardless of who died, a mourner must eat alone and outside the main dining area.

                        Note An intervening Jewish festival partially truncates the 30 days of mourning and so you may attend a bar mitzva or siyum even before the end of 30 days.
                        NoteIf you work at weddings (caterer, musician, etc.), you may attend weddings even before 30 days are up, but you may not join the meal.
                      • Public Festivities for Mourner for Non-Parent
                        A mourner for the five categories of people other than parents (spouse; son; daughter; brother; sister) may join any celebrations, including the meals, after 30 days (and if any Jewish festivals intervene, that 30-day period is truncated).
                    • Year of Mourning: SheHecheyanu
                      • SheHecheyanu
                        A mourner (avel) is permitted to say she'hecheyanu for himself but should not say she'hecheyanu if required for the congregation.  An avel should say she'hecheyanu on:
                        • Eating a “new” fruit.
                        • Wearing a new garment.
                        • Lighting Chanuka candles at home for the first time that year.
                         An avel should not do the following, since he should not say she'hecheyanu unless it is necessary:
                        • Light Chanuka candles in synagogue.
                        • Read the megila.
                        • Blow shofar on Rosh Hashana.
                    • Year of Mourning: Synagogue Seat
                      • Synagogue Seat When Mourning for Parent
                        Change your normal seat in synagogue during the year of mourning for a parent. (The rabbi is not required to change seats). You should move to a seat further away from the aron hakodesh then your previous seat (since seats further from the aron are considered to be less prestigious than those close to the aron).
                        Reason This is to show humility and that we feel subdued due to the death.
            • Tombstones and Graves
            • Yahrzeit
          • HOLIDAYS
            • Jewish Festivals (Chagim, Yom Tov)
              • Introduction to Holidays/Jewish Festivals
                • Introduction to Holidays/Jewish Festivals/Chagim/Yom Tov
                  Jewish Festivals are listed in the Torah and are of two types: 
                  1. Three pilgrimage festivals (shalosh regalim):
                  • Passover,
                  • Shavuot, and
                  • Sukkot (including Shimini Atzeret).
                  These festivals were celebrated in ancient times by "appearing before God"--by bringing offerings to the Tabernacle or Temple.
                  1. High Holidays
                  • The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana—“Yom Teru'ain the Torah), and the
                  • Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
                   
                  Duration
                  Jewish holidays that were originally one day are now observed as follows:
                  • Rosh Hashana--2 days.
                  • Yom Kippur--1 day.
                  • Shavuot--1 day in Eretz Yisrael or 2 days elsewhere.
                  • Passover has festival days at the beginning and end of the holiday and intermediary days of lesser holiness, which are called chol ha'moed. In Eretz Yisrael, Passover lasts for 7 days in total and the first and last days are festival days. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, Passover lasts 8 days and has two festival days at the beginning and two at the end.
                  • Sukkot has festival days at the beginning and at the end and intermediary days of lesser holiness, which are called chol ha'moed. In Eretz Yisrael, Sukkot lasts for 8 days and the first and last days are festival days (the last day is Shimini Atzeret). Outside of Eretz Yisrael, Sukkot lasts for 9 days and the first two days and last days are festival days (the 8th day is Shimini Atzeret and the 9th day is Simchat Torah).

                  Character
                  Each holiday contributes its own character to Jewish life (Passover--the theme of freedom; Yom Kippur brings atonement, etc.). 

                  Celebrating
                  How to celebrate these holidays is detailed in our Oral Law and halacha books. Jewish festivals as practiced today are similar in holiness to Shabbat. As with Shabbat, the Jewish festival has candle lighting, kiddush at two meals, and havdala.   We eat our best food and wear our best clothing on Jewish festivals (we eat our next-best food and wear our next-best clothing on Shabbat!).
                  The main idea behind eating meals on Jewish festivals is joy (simcha), so you should drink wine and eat meat (only if you enjoy wine and meat).  There is no third meal on Jewish festivals since people used to eat two meals each day (adding a third meal on Shabbat was for enjoyment/oneg).
                   
                  Melachot
                  Any activities or actions permitted on Shabbat are also permitted on the Jewish festivals. Actions that are forbidden on Shabbat are generally also forbidden on Jewish festivals, but there are some leniencies (only if the actions are needed for that festival day).
                  Examples
                  • Lighting from an existing flame,
                  • Cooking and baking for the Jewish festival day, and
                  • Carrying outside the eruv (hotza'a--transferring objects between domains).
                   
                  Grama
                  Grama (indirectly causing an action) is permitted on Jewish festivals (but not on Shabbat). For example, you may advance or delay a timer that will make a light go on or off in the future (the timer must already be plugged in and operating from before sunset of the festival day).
                  Note For an action to be considered indirect based on time, there must be at least 2.5 seconds after the first action is done before the resulting action begins to happen.

                  Psik Reisha Dla Neicha Lei
                  Psik reisha dla neicha lei is forbidden on Jewish festivals, just as it is on Shabbat.

                  D'oraita Restrictions
                  D'oraita restrictions apply world-wide to:
                  • First and seventh days of Passover,
                  • First and eighth days of Sukkot,
                  • First day of Shavuot,
                  • Yom Kippur,
                  • First day of Rosh Hashana.
                  Note The same restrictions apply to all other Jewish festival days but are rabbinical.
                   
                  Women
                  In general, women are not required to perform the positive, time-dependent commandments. Women and girls are not required to eat any Jewish festival meals except the Passover seder meal (but they are not allowed to fast on those days).
              • Pre-Jewish Festival Issues
              • Jewish Festivals: Candles
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Who Lights
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: One Person per Home
                    Like Shabbat candles, Jewish festival candles should be lit only by one person per home. Priority order: wife; then husband; then children.
                    It is customary for each married woman to light candles on each festival even though she is not eating in her own home and even though her hostess is already lighting candles. She may light her candles at her hostess's house or at her own home (but if at her own home, she must see the candles are burning after dark if she lights there).
                    Girls should not be encouraged to light Jewish festival candles except when no parent can.
                    Single people should light Jewish festival candles in their homes if they will eat there.
                     
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Have Others in Mind
                    Whoever is lighting the Jewish festival candles should have in mind all other people who will be eating dinner in that home.
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: When To Light
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Earliest Time To Light
                    You may not light Jewish festival (or Shabbat) candles before plag ha'mincha.  The candles must burn until at least dark (tzeit ha'kochavim) and someone must be there to see the light from the candles after dark.
                    SITUATION  Mincha minyan begins at plag ha'mincha. You cannot light candles at home and still get to mincha minyan on time.
                    WHAT TO DO You may light a candle without a blessing, just so you can have a flame for after the festival has begun. You go to synagogue and after ma'ariv you return home and light the candles from the flame which was burning from before sunset. If you will not have a flame burning from before sunset, you must say mincha on your own (anytime from half an hour after mid-day until sunset). You will light candles after plag ha'mincha but before sunset and not join the mincha minyan. Women should skip mincha and light candles either 18 minutes before sunset or have a flame burning from before sunset and light candles from that flame once the festival has begun (but she may not light from a new flame or a match).
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candle-Lighting Times
                    In most countries, candle lighting time is 18 minutes before sunset. In Jerusalem, many people have the custom of lighting candles 40 minutes before sunset.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Lighting Two Days
                    The custom is to light candles:
                    • Before sunset on the first day of a Jewish festival, and
                    • After dark on the Jewish festival's second day (except when the second day coincides with Shabbat!).
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Lighting after Sunset
                    Men and women may light candles after sunset on Jewish festivals, with these conditions:
                    • You may light only from an already-burning flame.
                    • You may not light Jewish festival candles after sunset on Friday nor on the evening before Yom Kippur begins.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Lighting with Delay until Sunset
                    As on Shabbat, you may say “I am lighting Jewish festival candles but not starting the Jewish festival until sunset” to delay observing the Jewish festival until sunset, but this in only b'diavad.
                    Note As for Shabbat, women should not routinely start Jewish festivals at sunset since the proper time for women to begin Jewish festivals is at candle lighting (typically 18 minutes before sunset).
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Where To Light
                  • Jewish Festivals: Candles: Dinner Location
                    As on Shabbat, light Jewish festival candles wherever you will eat dinner that night.
                    Note If you will be eating away from home, do not light the candles at home unless you will be home for some period of time after dark (in which case you must see the candles burning for at least one minute after dark/tzeit ha'kochavim; otherwise you will have made a bracha l'vatala). This is not the ideal situation, as the ideal is to light where you will eat.
                    Note You do not need to light candles at all if you are not eating at your own home on the Jewish festival (this applies to men and women, even wives and mothers who normally light at their own home) as long as someone else is lighting candles where you will eat. While the basic halacha is that the hostess lights for everyone, it is a widespread custom for any woman who is--or was--married to light at the hostess's home.
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: How Many To Light
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: How Long To Burn
                • Jewish Festivals: Candles: How To Light
              • Jewish Festivals: Yahrzeit Candle
                • Jewish Festivals: Yahrzeit Candle
                  Some people have the custom of lighting a yahrzeit candle for a deceased parent on days when yizkor is said: Yom Kippur, last day of Passover; second day of Shavuot; and on Shmini Atzeret.
              • Jewish Festivals: Mincha Before
                • Jewish Festivals: What Time Is Mincha
                  • Jewish Festivals: Earliest Mincha
                    The earliest permissible time to say mincha before a Jewish festival is one-half hour after halachic midday, as with all mincha prayers including before Shabbat.
                    Note You may begin the second day of any Jewish festival as early as plag ha'mincha. You should ideally say mincha before plag and then say ma'ariv after plag; but if you are praying with a minyan, you may say mincha anytime after plag and then say ma'ariv immediately afterward, just as on Shabbat.
                    Note However, there is nothing gained by saying mincha early before a Jewish festival:
                    • We don't want to start Rosh Hashana (Yom HaDin) early and no one wants to start Yom Kippur early.
                    • You may not start either seder until after dark on Passover.
                    • You could eat in a sukka before dark on either of the first two days of Sukkot, but you would not fulfill the requirement of eating in a sukka since it was not dark.  
                    • Likewise, the first day of Shavuot does not begin until after dark.
                    • Since you may not say the blessing on eating in a sukka on Shmini Atzeret (which you would have to do if you eat before dark), there is nothing gained by saying mincha and ma'ariv early on that day, either.
                    So, as a practical matter, the only days on which saying mincha and ma'ariv early would allow beginning the holiday early are the second day of Shavuot, the second day of Rosh Hashana, and the last days of Passover.

                • Jewish Festivals: Mincha and Candle Lighting
                  • Saying Mincha after Lighting Jewish Festival Candles
                    A woman who has already lit Jewish festival candles may not say mincha for the afternoon before a Jewish festival, even if she lit (after plag ha'mincha) long before sunset time, unless she intended not to begin the Jewish festival when she was lighting the candles (and intending to begin later should only be done in urgent situations, not routinely.)
              • Jewish Festivals: Ma'ariv
                • Saying Ma'ariv at Plag HaMincha
                  You may say ma'ariv before the start of a Jewish festival as early as plag ha'mincha (1 1/4 halachic hours before sunset), even if you did not say mincha before plag (unlike on weekdays when you must say mincha before plag in order to say ma'ariv before sunset). 
                   
                • Answering Kedusha If You Began the Jewish Festival Early
                  If you began the Jewish festival early and you are at a minyan where they are saying kedusha for mincha before the Jewish festival, you should reply to kedusha.
              • Jewish Festivals: Meals
                • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Meals
                  • Introduction to Jewish Festival "Eating a Meal" Requirements
                    We are required to eat two meals on Jewish festivals, each preceded by kiddush, one in the evening and one in the morning. For both meals for each Jewish festival day (and all three meals on Shabbat), say ha'motzi over two complete loaves of bread, each of which is at least 1.3 fl. oz. in volume. 
                    Note Girls and women are not required to eat any meals (that is, including bread or matza) on Jewish festivals except the Passover seder. However, if a woman, or girl at least bat mitzva age, wants to eat bread, she should use two loaves, just as men do. This is halacha, not a custom. Also, girls and women may not fast on any festival day so even if they do not eat bread or matza, they must eat some food.

                    Source of Saying Jewish Festival Kiddush
                    Some kiddushes are commanded by the Torah (d'oraita); the others are from Chazal (d'rabanan), as follows:
                    Kiddush d'Oraita
                    • First night of Jewish festivals
                    • Night of seventh day of Passover
                    • Night of Shmini Atzeret.
                    Kiddush d'Rabanan
                    • First day of Jewish festival
                    • Second night of Jewish festival
                    • Second day of Jewish festival
                    • Seventh day of Passover
                    • Eighth night of Passover
                    • Eighth day of Passover
                    • Shmini Atzeret day
                    • Night and day of Simchat Torah.
                    Source of Jewish Festival Kiddush Location
                    Saying Jewish festival kiddush at the place where you will eat your meal is a rabbinical (d'rabanan) enactment.
                    Jewish Festival Kiddush-Meal Quantities: Evening
                    • For evening kiddush for a first-night (d'oraita) Jewish festival, a minimum of 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) of wine must be blessed on and at least half must be drunk.
                    • For evening kiddush for a second-night (d'rabanan) Jewish festival, a minimum of 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of wine must be blessed on and at least 2.0 fl. oz. must be drunk.
                    • For the evening meal, as on the first two Shabbat meals and for all required Jewish festival meals, a minimum of 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread must be eaten within four minutes.
                    Eating Requirements for Jewish Festival Morning Kiddush
                    There are two separate eating requirements during the daytime. They may be combined (say/hear kiddush and start the main meal right away) but are often done separately (say/hear kiddush and then eat some light foods and beverages; the main meal is eaten later in the day).
                    Note Since eating and drinking requirements on all morning kiddushes (both Shabbat and Jewish festivals) are d'rabanan, the required beverage amount for morning kiddush is only 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) instead of the d'oraita 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) (which is required for kiddushes for Shabbat evening and all first-night Jewish festivals).
                    • Morning kiddush requires a halachically legal “meal” with these elements:
                      • Blessing on a minimum of 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of wine (or other beverage),
                      • Someone's drinking at least half the beverage, followed by
                      • Eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of some type of mezonot within four minutes. 
                        Note If you drink at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of wine within 30 seconds, you do not need to eat mezonot.
                        Note You do not need to drink the wine or other kiddush beverage to fulfill “establishing a meal.” You may hear kiddush and then simply eat the required amount of bread or mezonot. This applies to Shabbat or Jewish festivals, evening or morning.
                         
                      The kiddush “meal” does not have to satiate.
                     
                    • The real meal (kovei'a se'uda) requires eating at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread (or matza during Passover!) within four minutes. It must include enough food to satiate. 
                      Note You can simultaneously fulfill the requirement to “establish a meal” and to “eat a meal” by eating one (the same) piece of bread.


                • Jewish Festivals: Kiddush
                • Jewish Festivals: Two Loaves (Lechem Mishneh)
              • Eating before Kiddush
              • Jewish Festivals: Dinner
                • Jewish Festivals: Blessing the Children
                • Jewish Festivals: Evening Kiddush
                  • Jewish Festivals: Evening Kiddush
                    To fulfill the two requirements for Jewish festival evening kiddush:
                    1. Make Kiddush
                      Say, or hear, the three Jewish festival evening kiddush blessings/segments:
                      1. Borei pri ha'gafen (if on wine or grape juice—preferred option), OR
                        Ha'motzi (on two challot if you have no wine or grape juice, since no chamar medina is allowed for Jewish festival evening kiddush; see Jewish Festivals: Kiddush: Challot for Kiddush) AND
                      2. Asher bachar banu mi kol am.... mekadeish Yisrael v'hazmanim, AND
                      3. She'hecheyanu on all Jewish festival nights, except the last two nights of Passover.  So say she'hecheyanu on:
                        • Both nights of Rosh Hashana (in or outside of Eretz Yisrael),
                        • First two nights of Passover (1 night in Eretz Yisrael),
                        • Both nights of Shavuot (1 night in Eretz Yisrael),
                        • First two nights of Sukkot (1 night in Eretz Yisrael), and
                        • Nights of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah (same day in Eretz Yisrael).
                        Note There is never any requirement on an indvidual to drink kiddush wine (except at the Passover seder), but the kiddush wine must be drunk by one or more persons.
                        Note A woman who had said she'hecheyanu when she lit the Jewish festival candles does NOT say she'hecheyanu again if she makes kiddush for herself, even when making kiddush at the Passover seder.
                        Note There is no need to eat a new fruit after saying she'hecheyanu on the second night of  Shavuot, Passover, or Sukkot. This is not comparable to Rosh Hashana, since the second festival night was instituted due to uncertainty of the actual date of the holiday, while Rosh Hashana is considered to be one single, long day.
                    2. Establish a halachic “meal” (kovei'a se'uda).
                      For how to establish a halachic meal, see Introduction to Jewish Festival “Eating a Meal” Requirements.
                    Note For evening kiddush, the custom is to go straight to the meal without delay (with no mezonot or snacking first).  B'di'avad if you snacked, it is still OK.
                    Note At night on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat), you may not say kiddush at a place where you will not eat your evening meal (even if you will hear or say kiddush again at the place where you will eat the meal).
              • Jewish Festivals: Day
                • Jewish Festivals: Day: Prayers
                • Jewish Festival Lunch
                  • Jewish Festivals: Daytime Kiddush
                    • Jewish Festivals: Daytime Kiddush
                      To fulfill the two requirements for Jewish festival daytime kiddush:
                      1. Say, or hear, at least #b and #c of these Jewish festival daytime kiddush blessings/segments:
                        a) Eileh mo'adei Adonai mikra'ei kodesh asher tikri'u otam b'mo'adam.
                        Note It is not a universal custom to say the above sentence.
                        b) Va'yidaber Moshe eht mo'adei Adonai el bnei yisrael.
                        Note It IS a universal custom to say the above sentence. AND
                        c) Borei pri ha'gafen (if on wine or grape juice), OR
                        She'hakol nihiyeh bi'dvaro (if on other beverage/chamar medina).
                        Note For Jewish festival (or Saturday) lunch and havdala, you may use any beverage (chamar medina) commonly drunk for social purposes (not just for thirst) in the country in which you are saying kiddush (say the blessing she'hakol instead of borei pri ha'gafen where appropriate).
                        Note There is never any requirement on an indvidual to drink kiddush wine (except at the Passover seder), but the kiddush wine must be drunk by one or more persons.
                      2. Establish a halachic “meal” (kovei'a se'uda).
                        You must establish the halachic meal required for kiddush shortly after hearing Jewish festival morning kiddush. See How To Fulfill Eating Jewish Festival Second Meal.
                        Note If you make Jewish festival morning kiddush on any beverage except wine or grape juice, you must also eat mezonot or bread to establish the kiddush meal. If you do not want to eat bread or mezonot, only drinking 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of wine or grape juice within 30 seconds will fulfill all of the requirements for kiddushIf you have not fulfilled the requirements for kiddush, you may not eat other foods, such as fruit or fish at a kiddush.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Second Meal
                    • How To Fulfill Eating Jewish Festival Second Meal
                      You must eat a second meal on Jewish festival (or Shabbat) day with 1.9 fl. oz., or 56 ml, of bread--even if you already said ha'motzi and ate bread at kiddush.
                      Note There is no essential time limit for eating the second meal, but it must be before you get distracted (hesech da'at). Otherwise, you must hear kiddush again and drink wine (or grape juice) or eat bread/mezonot before eating anything.
                • Jewish Festivals: Ending
                  • Jewish Festivals: Ending: When They End
                    • Jewish Festivals: When Is
                      Jewish festivals (and Shabbat) end at “dark”: when three medium-sized stars are visible overhead.
                      Note When stars appear in the west (these are “large stars”), medium-sized stars should be visible overhead and the Jewish festival (or Shabbat) will be over.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Ending: Before Havdala
                    • Jewish Festivals: Ending: Before Havdala: Baruch HaMavdil
                      Say baruch ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'chol (without saying God's name!) if:
                      • It is already “dark” (you can see three medium-size stars--tzeit ha'kochavim), and
                      • You want to end the Jewish festival (and Shabbat) before saying ma'ariv's amida or havdala.
                      Note Saying this formula allows you to do melacha, but you may not eat or drink until you have said or heard havdala.
                      Note Men must still say the amida and men and women must say or hear havdala later even if they said baruch ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'chol. For how late you may say havdala after a Jewish festival, see Jewish Festival Havdala at Night or Next Day.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Ending: Before Havdala: Baruch HaMavdil and Birkat HaMazon
                      Saying Baruch ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'chol after dark at the end of a Jewish festival or of Rosh Hashana does not affect the additions you will then say in birkat ha'mazon.
                      Situation On a Jewish festival afternoon, you washed your hands, said ha'motzi, and started eating.  It is now dark and the end of the Jewish festival.
                      What To Do You may say Baruch ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'chol and do melacha, and then
                      • Continue to eat your meal, or
                      • Say birkat ha'mazon INCLUDING ya'aleh v'yavo and ha'rachaman hu yanchileinu yom she'kulo tov.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Ending: Before Havdala: Ata Chonantanu
                      As on Shabbat, if you forgot to say ata chonantanu after Jewish festivals, you do not need to repeat the amida.  But, if you then ate food before saying havdala, you must repeat the amida including ata chonantanu.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Ending: Havdala
              • Jewish Festivals: Permitted/Forbidden Actions
                • Jewish Festivals: Acquisitions
                  • Jewish Festivals: Acquisitions
                    You may not acquire items (kinyan) on Jewish festivals unless they are needed for that Jewish festival or for a mitzva. The classic example is bringing food or wine to a house for Jewish festival lunch, which the house owner acquires on the Jewish festival for the Jewish festival. Other permissible kinyan on Jewish festivals is giving:
                    • Siddur, machzor, or chumash to use on that day.
                    • Permissible medicine for use on that day. 
                    On bringing mail or a newspaper into your house on Jewish festivals, see Jewish Festivals: Bringing Mail inside House  and Jewish Festivals: Bringing Newspaper inside House.
                • Jewish Festivals: Animals
                • Jewish Festivals: Air Conditioners
                • Jewish Festivals: Bathing
                • Jewish Festivals: Bioluminescence
                • Jewish Festivals: Books
                  • Jewish Festivals: Marking Pages in Books
                    You may mark pages in a book, whether secular or holy, on Jewish festivals by:
                    • Putting slips of paper in the book (but only if the slips were torn before the Jewish festival began), or
                    • Bending the corners.
                • Jewish Festivals: Braiding Hair
                • Jewish Festivals: Brushing Teeth
                  • Jewish Festivals: Water, Tooth Powder, Toothwashing Liquid
                    You may use water, tooth powder, and toothwashing liquid on Jewish festivals.  But, to avoid squeezing the toothbrush bristles, you must put the water or toothwashing liquid into your mouth and not on the brush.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Flossing Teeth
                    You may floss your teeth on Jewish festivals as long as your gums do not bleed.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Cutting Floss
                    You may not cut floss on Jewish festivals, so it is best to cut the floss before the festival starts. 
                    Note Even if you did not cut the floss ahead of time, you may still pull out a length of floss and clean your teeth (but be careful not to cut off the floss when you are finished.)
                • Jewish Festivals: Businesses
                • Jewish Festivals: Children
                • Jewish Festivals: Clothing
                • Jewish Festivals: Coloring (Tzovei'a)
                  • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Coloring (Tzovei'a)
                    Since wool and/or leather was dyed for the Tabernacle in the desert, similar actions are forbidden today on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat). Any action that causes one item or substance to change its color may be forbidden, even if it is not related to dyeing wool or leather.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Coloring (Tzovei'a): Food
                    You may not add a substance, whether food or other, in order to color food on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat). You may add food to other food even if it will cause the other food to become colored as long as that is not your intention.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Coloring (Tzovei'a): Cloth

                    You may wipe a stain off of your face or hands onto a cloth or piece of paper if you do it to clean your face or hands on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat), but not if you want to color the cloth or paper.

                • Jewish Festivals: Couriers and Packages
                  • Jewish Festivals: Shipment that Arrives on Festival
                    You may not send a shipment--such as Fedex or another express delivery service--to arrive on Jewish festivals.  However, you may tell the shipper that it is OK with you if it is delivered at night after the festival.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Cut Flowers
                • Jewish Festivals: Doors
                  • Jewish Festivals: Replacing Doors
                    You may not replace a door on its hinges and you may not replace a sliding door onto its track on Jewish festivals.
                    Reason This is due to the melacha of boneh (building).
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Electricity
                  • Jewish Festivals: Turning Off Electrical Devices
                    You may not turn off or disconnect an operating electrical device (such as an alarm, appliance, light, oven, or any machinery) on Jewish festivals, even using a shinui and even if the noise will prevent you from sleeping. You may ask a non-Jew to turn it off, but you may not ask a Jew, not even a child below bar/bat mitzva age.
                    Note If the device catches on fire, you may call the fire department or unplug it. However, there must be an actual danger or actual fire in order for you to disconnect it yourself.  You may not disconnect the device if there is only a chance that it will catch fire, unless an indirect means (grama) is possible (in which case, it would be permissible; consult a rabbi).
                  • Jewish Festivals: Electric Eyes
                    On Jewish festivals, when walking into the path of an electric eye:
                    • You may walk into one that prevents a door from closing.
                    • You may not walk into one that causes the door to open.
                • Jewish Festivals: Elevators/Escalators
                  • Jewish Festivals: Riding Elevators
                    You may ride an elevator on Jewish festivals if:
                    • The elevator stops at all floors, or
                    • A non-Jew pushes the button in order to ride the elevator himself.  But:
                      • You may only get off on the floor he or she has stopped at (he or she may not push a button for a different floor for you).
                      • You must enter the elevator while the door is already opened but has not yet begun to close (since your presence keeps the door open but does not cause it to open).
                    Note You may not ride an elevator at all if a Jew pushes the button to any floor.
                  • Jewish Festival: Riding Escalators
                    You may ride escalators on Jewish festivals if they run constantly and are not controlled by a foot treadle or an electric eye.
                • Jewish Festivals: Exercise
                  • Jewish Festivals: Strengthening
                    You may not exercise on Jewish festivals to strengthen your body. You may exercise on Jewish festivals for enjoyment, for socializing, or other fun purposes if:
                    • No melacha is involved, and
                    • It does not appear to be for healing (refu'a) or health purposes.
                    Example
                    You may run on Jewish festivals if you like to run. You may not run on Jewish festivals if you don't like running but would do it to lose weight or to get in shape.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Trapeze
                    You may swing and fly on a trapeze on Jewish festivals.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Roller Blading
                    You may roller blade on Jewish festivals.
                  • Jewish Festival: Swimming
                    You may not swim on Jewish festivals.
                  • Jewish Festival: Weight-Lifting
                    You may change weights on barbells or on a completely mechanical (no electrical parts; no timers or indicators) weight machine on Jewish festivals but only for enjoyment, not for exercise.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Stretching
                    You may stretch on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat) to make yourself more comfortable but not if it appears that you are doing it as exercise for health.
                • Jewish Festivals: Flashlights
                • Jewish Festivals: Food Preparation
                  • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Food Preparation
                    • Introduction to Jewish Festivals and Food Preparation
                      Food preparation forbidden on Jewish festivals includes these forbidden melachot:
                      • Preparing soil for planting (choreish)
                      • Causing plants to grow (zorei'a)
                      • Harvesting (kotzeir)
                      • Gathering (mi'ameir)
                      • Threshing (dash; such as milking a cow into clean container or squeezing juice for drinking)
                      • Winnowing (zoreh)
                      • Selecting (boreir) (for exceptions, see Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Selecting/Boreir)
                      • Grinding (tochein) (Grinding may be OK with a shinu'i; ask a rabbi for specific cases)
                      • Sifting (merakeid).
                      However, you may do all food preparation necessary for baking or cooking food for that day--from kneading dough (kneading, or lash) to cooking and baking (ofeh) from an existing flame.
                      Note You may not use electric appliances to knead dough and you may not turn on an electric oven.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Checking for Bugs
                    • Checking Product for Bugs on Jewish Festivals

                      You may check produce for bugs on Jewish festivals.  You may remove the bug but not by hand.

                      ExampleYou may rinse a bug off produce.
                      Note You may not kill bugs on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat). To do something that is certain to kill the bug is forbidden; if might not kill the bug, it is OK.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Cooking
                  • Jewish Festivals: Cooking on First Day for Second Day
                    • Jewish Festivals: Cooking on First Day for Second Day
                      You may not cook on the first day of a Jewish festival for the second day. But you may cook enough food for both days in the same pot, even l'chatchila (but not bein ha'shmashot). You must eat at least a normal-sized portion before sunset on the first Jewish festival day.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Eruv Tavshilin
                    • Jewish Festivals: Personal Eruv Tavshilin
                      One person per household should make an eruv tavshilin in order to allow cooking on a Jewish festival for the next day, if the next day is Shabbat.  The person sets aside something cooked and something baked and says a formula (which can be found in most siddurs).
                      Note An eruv tavshilin made by one person covers everyone in that household, including guests staying over for that Jewish festival--even if he or she did not intend it to cover anyone else.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Eating Eruv Tavshilin Food
                      You are not required to eat food set aside for an eruv tavshilin, but the custom is to eat it for se'uda shlishit.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Rabbi's Eruv Tavshilin
                      If you forgot to make an eruv tavshilin, you may rely on the eruv tavshilin said by the local rabbi only once in your lifetime.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Freezing
                  • Jewish Festivals: Grinding
                    • Grinding on Jewish Festivals: How Finely You May Grind
                      You may not grind, grate, or even finely chop or dice food on Jewish festivals. You may not use a garlic press on Jewish festivals.
                      The minimum size before violating the melacha of tochein varies by the type of food. The resulting pieces must be somewhat larger than the size you would normally use.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Salting
                    • Jewish Festivals: Salting Food
                      You may not salt certain foods, whether cooked or raw, on Jewish festivals if the:
                      • Foods have a shell, such as corn kernels (on or off of the cob), beans, peas;
                      • Salt has not been heated previously (such as during salt processing) and the food you are salting is hot (over 120° F, or 49° C); or
                      • Salt will materially change the flavor of the food, especially if it causes a chemical change, as when salting cut or chopped onions or salting tomatoes.
                        Note You may dip the tomato or other food into salt using your hand as long as you eat the food immediately afterwards.
                      Note If the food has oil in it, you may add salt even if the food contains onions or has a shell.
                      Note Even a thin layer of oil will exempt the salt.
                      Note You may pour salt into a liquid or a liquid onto salt, but you may not make a saturated salt solution on Jewish festivals.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Selecting/Boreir
                    • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Selecting/Boreir
                      Issues of boreir are almost always d'oraita, not d'rabanan, and therefore we are stringent in applying restrictions concerning boreir.
                      Unlike on Shabbat (when you must remove some good along with the bad so as not to violate the melacha of boreir), on Jewish festivals you may remove the bad from the good if it is easier to take the undesired food from the desired food.

                      Desired from Undesired
                      You may select desired food from undesired (or inedible) substances if you follow these two rules:
                      1. Cannot Use Specialized Separating Utensil
                          Don't use a utensil--such as a slotted spoon, peeler, or sieve--that is specialized
                          for separating:
                      • Food from other food, or
                      • Food from other substances.
                        Note You may remove dirt from a carrot's surface by scraping the peel with a knife (a tool not specialized for separating food), but not by using a peeler.
                        Exception As on Shabbat, an action necessary to eat a food normally (derech achila) does not violate the prohibition of boreir. So you may peel a food that is normally separated from its peel or shell in order to be eaten, as long as you do not use a specialized instrument to do so.
                      Examples
                      • You may peel an orange by hand, with or without a knife.
                      • You may remove the shells from peanuts by hand.
                      • You may remove the shell from a hard-boiled egg by hand.
                      2. Do This Shortly before You Eat the Food
                         Prepare the food soon before it will be eaten.
                           Note       You may prepare the food as much in advance as you would normally prepare a meal which you will eat--even as much as several hours.
                           Examples     
                      On Jewish festivals, you may:
                      • Remove fish bones from fish while you are eating the fish or just before eating it.
                      • Cut open a melon such as a cantaloupe and remove any seeds normally.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Separating Good Food from Bad in Your Mouth
                      You may separate food inside your mouth while eating, even if you remove the bad from the good, on Jewish festivals (it is not boreir.)
                    • Jewish Festivals: Salt Shaker with Rice
                      You may not, due to boreir, use a salt shaker into which rice has been added (in order to keep the salt dry).
                    • Jewish Festivals: Lemon Seeds
                      You may remove lemon seeds (pits) from food, such as after you have squeezed out some lemon juice, but not with a specialized utensil such as a sieve or slotted spoon.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Washing-Draining Food
                      You may wash and drain olives and other canned fruits and vegetables on Jewish festivals (it is not boreir unless the food in the can is dirty).
                    • Jewish Festivals: Dropping Unwanted Food
                      When you have food mixed with non-desired substances, you may remove the non-desired ones by picking up the entire mixture and letting the non-desired elements fall away.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Separating Challa
                    • Jewish Festivals: Challa Not Separated before Festival
                      On Jewish festivals, you may not separate challa from loaves baked before the festival, as follows:
                      • In Eretz Yisrael, you may not eat bread from which challa was not separated if required (for more details, see Separating the Challa Portion and Challa Separation) until after the Jewish festival ends and you have separated the challa.
                      • Outside Eretz Yisrael, you may:
                        • Leave one loaf until after the Jewish festival,
                        • Eat as much as you want of the remaining loaves, and then
                        • Separate the challa from the loaf after havdala.
                      Note If the bread was baked on a Jewish festival, you may separate challa on the Jewish festival.
                      Note This is true even for loaves that came from dough of more than 2.5 lbs of flour.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Squeezing Juice
                    • Jewish Festivals: Squeezing a Lemon
                      As on Shabbat, on Jewish festivals you may squeeze a lemon (or other fruit) onto solid food—or mostly solid, even wet, food--that you will eat right away, but not into a container or into a liquid.
                • Jewish Festivals: Fans
                  • Jewish Festivals: Moving a Fan
                    You may pick up and move a fan on Jewish festivals if you need it elsewhere.
                    Note You may not plug in the fan or unplug it on Jewish festivals.
                • Jewish Festivals: Fluids on Skin
                • Jewish Festivals: Glasses
                • Jewish Festivals: Grama
                • Jewish Festivals: Hair/Beards
                  • Jewish Festivals: Hair Brushing
                    You may brush your hair on a Jewish festival, but only if the brush bristles bend easily. You may not use stiff bristles or combs since they might pull out some hair. 
                    Note Using a special brush for Jewish festivals (and Shabbat) is recommended but not required.
                  • Jewish Festival: Hair Cuts/Shaving
                    You may not have your hair cut and you may not shave on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat).
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Heaters
                  • Jewish Festivals: Adjusting Heater
                    On Jewish festivals, you may adjust a heater with an analog thermostat:
                    • UP when running, and
                    • DOWN or OFF when not running.
                    Reason This is due to grama, which is permissible on Jewish festivals (but not on Shabbat).
                    Note You may not adjust a digital thermostat.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Moving Electric Heater
                    You may pick up and move an electric heater that is ON on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat) only if:
                    • You need the heat elsewhere, or
                    • You need to use the space where the heater is standing.
                    Note You may not unplug it.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Moving Flame Heater
                    Unlike on Shabbat, you may move a kerosene or other heater that has a flame burning on Jewish festivals.
                • Jewish Festivals: Insects
                  • Jewish Festivals: Insects that May Carry Diseases
                    You may kill mosquitoes and other insects on Jewish festivals if they carry deadly diseases, which makes the insects a danger (sakana). You may kill insects that might carry diseases even if you do not know for certain.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Biting or Stinging Insects
                    If insects such as bees or non-diseased mosquitoes don't carry diseases but they bite or sting you, you may kill them on Jewish festivals, as well as trapping them or chasing them away with bug spray. Unlike on Shabbat, on a Jewish festival you may kill insects that are a nuisance, such as gnats or flies. These halachalot apply to all Jewish festivals unless they fall on Shabbat (or are Yom Kippur).
                • Jewish Festivals: Knots
                  • Jewish Festivals: Permanent Knots
                    You may not tie permanent knots on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat).
                    Note A permanent knot is a knot intended to remain tied for at least 24 hours. Any strings you connect on Jewish festivals must be able to easily come undone, such as a bow.
                    Note Since opinions differ on what constitutes a permanent knot, we do not even tie knots that are intended to be untied, such as a double figure-eight knot.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Double Bows
                    You may not tie a double bow on Jewish festivals.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: LCDs/LEDs
                • Jewish Festivals: Laundry
                  • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Laundry
                    You may not wash or hang up wet laundry on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat).  The halachot for drying laundry depend on whether you use a clothesline or a dryer:
                    Jewish Festivals: Laundry: Clothesline
                    You may only take down laundry on Jewish festivals if it was dry before sunset at the start of the festival, and only if you don't:
                    • Transfer the laundry from one halachic domain to another (hotza'a), or
                    • Give the impression that the laundry had been washed on the Jewish festival (mar'it ayin).
                    If laundry on a clothesline is still wet at sunset before the festival, the laundry is muktza and you may not take it down or use it during the festival. This is different from the case of a dryer.
                    Reason On the clothes line, there is no certainty that the laundry will dry during the festival (it might rain, it might be cold or cloudy...), so the person may not have in mind that it will dry during the festival.
                    Jewish Festivals: Laundry: Dryer
                    Laundry in a dryer (even if it was wet at sunset) that was turned on before sunset beginning the Jewish festival (or Shabbat) is not muktza, even if you do not intend to wear it.  You may remove the dry laundry from the dryer on the Jewish festival as long as no light goes on.
                • Jewish Festival: Lights
                  • Jewish Festivals: Redirecting Lighting Fixture
                    You may redirect a light fixture on Jewish festivals, but only by moving it with a stick or other object, not directly with your hand.
                    Note During Jewish festivals, you may not:
                    • Turn this light on or off, or
                    • Disconnect its plug or light bulb.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Moving Lighting Fixture
                    You may directly move a lamp or other light fixture to where you need the light but you may not:
                    • Plug or unplug the plug from the wall.
                    • Turn the light on or off.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Unplugging Turned-Off Light
                    You may unplug a turned-off light on Jewish festivals if:
                    • You need the space where the lamp is situated, or
                    • The cord is in the way and you want to remove it so someone doesn't trip.
                    Note You may not turn off the light on Jewish festivals.
                • Jewish Festivals: Mail and Periodicals
                  • Jewish Festivals: Bringing Mail inside House
                    Do not bring mail inside the house on Jewish festivals, unless it was delivered:
                    • Open
                    Reason Most mail is muktza on Jewish festivals since it cannot be opened or used without doing melacha, AND
                    • From within techum Shabbat, AND
                    • By a non-Jew. 
                     
                  • Jewish Festivals: Bringing Newspaper inside House
                    You may bring a newspaper, magazine, or other reading material inside the house on Jewish festivals and read it, UNLESS it was:
                    • Printed on Shabbat or a Jewish festival, OR
                    • Brought from outside the techum Shabbat, OR
                    • Delivered by a Jew.
                    If any of these conditions apply, you may not move it or use it in any way during the Jewish festival, even if all of the other conditions permit its use. You may use it once the Jewish festival is over.
                    Note As a policy, you may want to tell delivery services (newspapers, post office, etc.) that you do not need to have the item delivered until after dark.
                    Reason If delivered on the Jewish festival day, it will not be done at your request and, if it is reading material, you may read the material as long as the other conditions permit it--see above.
                    Note If you do not know where the reading material came from, you may not use it on the Jewish festival.
                    Note Although taking possession of the newspaper, magazine, or other reading material is “acquisition” (kinyan), you may do so since you will use it on the Jewish festival.
                • Jewish Festivals: Makeup
                  • Jewish Festivals: Applying Makeup
                    Girls and women may not put on any nail polish or makeup on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat), including mascara and lipstick.
                    Note Regarding makeup that consists only of powder (no oil or liquid ingredients) and that comes off easily, ask your rabbi. Beware of “Shabbat makeup” that stays on longer than normal makeup but is forbidden to be applied on Shabbat or Jewish festivals.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Removing Makeup
                    Girls and women may remove makeup or nail polish on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat).
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Medicines
                  • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Medicines
                    • Introduction to Jewish Festivals: Medicines
                      Jewish Festivals: Medicines: When To Take
                      Medicine generally may not be used on the d'oraita Jewish festival days.

                      Jewish Festivals: Medicine for Chronic Diseases
                      You may take medicine on Jewish festivals (whether d'oraita or d'rabanan) for:
                      • Chronic diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, or
                      • Any disease that affects your entire body.
                      Jewish Festivals: Medicine for Non-Chronic Diseases
                      You may take medicine on Jewish festivals for non-chronic illnesses, if skipping one day will prevent cure.  You may not take medicine for non-chronic illnesses if skipping a day will just delay your being cured (unless the disease affects your entire body--in which case, you may take the medicine).

                      Jewish Festivals: Medicines: When To Take: D'Oraita Festival Days
                      Here are the d'oraita Jewish festivals:
                      • First day of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot
                      • Seventh day of Passover
                      • Shmini Atzeret (8th day of Sukkot)
                      • Yom Kippur
                      • Both days of Rosh Hashana (even though the second day is d'rabanan).
                      On these days, as well as on d'rabanan Jewish festivals, you:
                      • MUST take medicine whenever there is any question of a life-threatening disease or condition.
                      • MAY take medicine for a condition that affects the entire body (illness, weakness, etc.). Consult a rabbi if possible.
                        ExceptionYou may not smear substances on skin UNLESS the illness is life-threatening, in which case even smearing is permitted.
                      • MAY use some medicines if only part of your body is affected by a non-life-threatening disease--consult a rabbi.
                      Jewish Festivals: Medicines: When To Take: D'Rabanan Festival Days
                      You make take medicines for any reason on d'rabanan Jewish festivals--even medicines not allowed on the first day of Jewish festivals--except:
                      • Medicines that you smear on skin.
                      • If the Jewish festival falls on Shabbat (which can only be second day of Shavuot).
                      Note The d'rabanan Jewish festivals are the second day of Jewish festivals except Rosh Hashana (actually, the second day of Rosh Hashana IS d'rabanan but has the status of d'oraita), plus the last day of Passover and Simchat Torah outside of Eretz Yisrael.

                      Jewish Festivals: Squeezing, Dabbing, Smearing
                      As on Shabbat, you may squeeze a tube of cream on Jewish festivals, but you might not be able to use the cream on the Jewish festival for other reasons—consult a rabbi.
                      Note Smearing creams or ointments is permitted only in life-threatening situations. Otherwise, you may not smear cream on skin on a Jewish festival (or Shabbat) even using a shinu'i such as using the back of your hand or a toe.
                      Dabbing is permitted, but only when you are permitted to use medicine. 
                      Example
                      You may use cream on a Jewish festival (and Shabbat) by dabbing (you may ONLY dab--you may not SMEAR cream) for a bee sting if it will affect the entire body. You may not use cream for a mosquito bite, since it is only a local irritation.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Painkillers
                    • Jewish Festivals: When You May Take a Painkiller
                      You may take a painkiller on the first day of Jewish festivals if the pain:
                      • Affects your entire body, or
                      • Keeps you awake.
                      Note This also becomes the criterion for whether to take the pain killer during the daytime: if the pain you feel during the day would keep you awake if you were trying to sleep.
                      Note You may take painkillers without any restrictions on the second Jewish festival day (except Rosh Hashana).
                • Jewish Festivals: Mopping
                  • Jewish Festivals: Mopping
                    You may squeegee a floor--as is commonly done in Israel--on Jewish festivals (or Shabbat)), but you may not push the water onto earth or plants.
                    You may mop up a local spill, but only without squeezing out the rag or mop.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Music
                • Jewish Festivals: Nail Cutting
                • Jewish Festivals: Non-Jews (Shabbat Goy)
                  • Jewish Festivals: Asking a Non-Jew To Do Melacha D'Oraita
                    Although you may not normally tell a non-Jew to do melacha d'oraita on a Jewish festival, even for the purpose of doing a mitzva, the non-Jew is not forbidden from doing melacha if he/she wants to do so.
                    Note To save a life, even a Jew may do melacha d'oraita.
                  • Jewish Festival: Inviting Non-Jews to Meal
                    You may not cook food specifically for a non-Jew on a Jewish festival. You may only invite a non-Jew for a meal on a Jewish festival if you inform him or her ahead of time that you will not cook something special for him or her.
                • Jewish Festivals: Opening/Sealing/Tearing
                  • Jewish Festivals: Bottles
                    • Jewish Festivals: Opening Plastic Bottles
                      You may completely open plastic bottle caps on plastic bottles on Jewish festivals (even if doing so will leave a plastic ring on the bottle), as long as it is theoretically possible to dispense the liquid without completely separating the cap from its seal.
                      Reason Since liquid can be poured with the cap still attached, we have not violated the Jewish festival by making a sealed bottle into a “new utensil.”
                      Note If you will destroy letters that are printed on the cap, you may not open the bottle.
                    • Jewish Festivals: Opening Metal Bottle Caps
                      You may not open metal bottle caps on Jewish festivals if a metal ring will be left after doing so. You may break that ring or simply open the bottle before the Jewish festival (or simply open the bottle and reclose it such that when you open in again, no metal will be broken).  
                      Note If you need the contents for a Jewish festival (such as if it is a bottle of wine), you may ask a non-Jew to open the bottle for you.  But if it is wine that is not cooked/mevushal, the wine will become non-kosher once opened and handled by the non-Jew.
                  • Jewish Festivals: Twist-Ties
                    • Jewish Festivals: Non-Permanent Twist-Ties
                      You may twist or untwist twist ties on Jewish festivals (and Shabbat), but only if you intend them to be a non-permanent seal.
                      Note If you will (at any time in the future—even long after the Jewish festival is over) remove the twist-tie, it is considered non-permanent.
                • Jewish Festivals: Pumps
                  • Jewish Festivals: Well Water
                    You may use water from a well on Jewish festivals (as on Shabbat) via an automatic pump that fills a reservoir once the water level drops. But you may not operate the pump directly and you may not turn the pump on or off.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Refrigerators
                • Jewish Festivals: Room Sensors
                • Jewish Festivals: Secular Studies
                • Jewish Festivals: Soap
                • Jewish Festivals: Sponging
                  • Jewish Festivals: Sponging
                    You may not wash dishes on Jewish festivals with a
                    • Sponge (even if it is on a handle), 
                    • Dish rag, or 
                    • Scrubbing pad (pad that holds water and, when used, the water gets squeezed out).
                    You may use wide mesh or other items that do not normally hold water.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Sunscreen
                  • Jewish Festivals: Sunscreens
                    To use a fluid on skin on Jewish festivals, even sunscreen that may be needed to protect damaged skin, the fluid must flow without lumps and not be more viscous than honey at room temperature. Therefore, apply sunscreen only if fluid (but not a cream or thick liquid).
                  • Jewish Festivals: Diluting Sunscreens before Festival
                    You may dilute sunscreen before Jewish festivals with water or alcohol, but some sunscreens may not become more fluid even with added water or alcohol.
                     
                • Jewish Festivals: Talking
                  • Jewish Festivals: Talking about Weekday Subjects

                    You may talk about weekday subjects on Jewish festivals if what you are discussing already happened, but you may not discuss plans to do activities that involve any type of melacha, even d'rabanan.

                • Jewish Festivals: Taping
                • Jewish Festivals: Tearing
                  • Jewish Festivals: Tearing Paper and Plastic Wrap

                    You may tear paper, plastic, foil, or other wrappers around food in order to eat that food on a Jewish festival.

                    You may tear plastic and foil (but not paper) around napkins, plasticware, etc., that you need on Jewish festival.

                    But you may not:

                    • Do so if you will inevitably tear through any words or pictures on the package.
                    • Use scissors.
                       
                    Except for wrappers for food or eating utensils, do not tear paper, foil, toilet paper, parchment paper, plastic wrap, paper towels, etc., on a Jewish festival.
                    Note If there is a perforation, that makes the tearing worse.
                    Note If you do not have any torn toilet paper, tear it is an unusual way:
                    EXAMPLES
                    • Tear using the back of your hand.
                    • Spread the toilet paper across your knees and then spread your knees apart.
                • Jewish Festivals: Techum Shabbat
                  • Jewish Festival: Item from outside Techum Shabbat
                    You may not use, on a Jewish festival, any item that was outside the techum Shabbat when the Jewish festival began--even if a non-Jew brought it to you.
                    SITUATIONYou arrive on a flight but your luggage is delayed and delivered on Shabbat or a Jewish festival. Or, a package is delivered to you then.
                    WHAT TO DO  If the airport or delivery warehouse is within techum Shabbat, you may use whatever is brought to you. If the airport or warehouse is outside techum Shabbat, you may not use the items until enough time has passed after Shabbat (or the Jewish festival) for them to have been delivered from the airport or warehouse.

                • Jewish Festivals: Telephones
                • Jewish Festivals: Toilet
                  • Jewish Festivals: Toilet
                    Flushing a toilet on a Jewish festival is not a violation of transferring from domains.
                    Reason The pipe is considered too small a space to be a domain.
                    Note If the water comes from a pump-operated well, such as in rural or remote areas, consult a rabbi.
                • Jewish Festivals: Trees
                  • Jewish Festivals: Walking between Trees/Bushes
                    You may walk between bushes or trees on Jewish festivals, even if they are close to each other, and you may use your body to make space for yourself to walk. But you may not push the trunks or branches away using your hand.

                    Reason The trees are muktza.

                • Jewish Festivals: Water (Pool)
                  • Jewish Festivals: Dangling Legs
                    On Jewish festivals (and Shabbat), you may dangle your feet or legs into a pool (or other body) of water up to whatever garment you are wearing. However, you may not let the garment get wet. 

                • Jewish Festivals: Water Filters
              • Chol HaMoed
                • Introduction to Chol HaMoed
                  • Introduction to Chol HaMoed
                    The intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot (between the first and last days, which are festival days) are called “chol ha'moed.”  Passover has four chol ha'moed  days outside of Eretz Yisrael and five days in Eretz Yisrael. Sukkot has five chol ha'moed days outside of Israel and six inside Eretz Yisrael.
                    The restrictions that apply to the Jewish festival days generally do not apply to the chol ha'moed days (see below for exceptions).
                • Chol HaMoed: Expert Work
                  • Chol HaMoed: No Expert Work
                    You may not do “expert” or “professional” work of certain types on chol ha'moed, and some types of expert craftsmen/women may not do their trades on chol ha'moed.
                    Examples
                    • You may sew or lay bricks or other such labors, but not if you are an expert or professional in those fields and you are doing expert work.
                    • Skilled writers and artists may not do their professional writing, calligraphy, or drawing (even for free!) on chol ha'moed. They may not do calligraphy or sofer work (Torah, tefilin, mezuza), but they may write normally.
                    • If you are not a professional writer or expert craftsman/artist, you may write on chol ha'moed but the preferred practice is to use a shinu'i --an altered method of writing, such as:
                      • Using your other hand,
                      • Holding the pen/pencil differently from normal, or 
                      • Writing diagonally across the paper.
                • Chol HaMoed: Shaving and Hair Cuts
                  • Shaving/Hair Cuts and Jewish Festivals
                    You should not shave or cut your hair on chol ha'moed.
                    Reason Chazal made a takana so people would do those types of grooming before each holiday and not wait until chol ha'moed.

                  • Chol HaMoed: Exceptions for Shaving
                    It is best not to shave during chol ha'moed.  You MAY shave if:
                    • You normally shave every day, and
                    • You shaved before the Jewish festival began.
                    Note Even if you only shave 2 or 3 times per week instead of every day, it is still considered as if you shave regularly.
                    Note You may shave during omer if not shaving might cause you to lose your job or otherwise incur financial loss. A large financial loss is subjective to the individual's actual wealth and also to that person's perception of what is a large loss.
                • Chol HaMoed: Cutting Nails
                  • Chol HaMoed: Cutting Nails
                    You may not cut your nails (fingernails or toenails) during chol ha'moed.
                    Exception Women before going to mikva may cut their nails on chol ha'moed.
                • Chol HaMoed: Laundry
                  • Laundry before Jewish Festivals
                    You should not do laundry on chol ha'moed.
                    Reason Due to a takana so people would do their laundry before each holiday and not wait until chol ha'moed.
                    Note If you had already done the laundry before the Jewish festival began and now no clean clothes remain:
                    • You may do laundry for babies and small children (3 years old or less) on chol ha'moed.
                    • You may not do laundry for adults.

              • Rosh Chodesh
                • Introduction to Rosh Chodesh
                  • Introduction to Rosh Chodesh
                    Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish (lunar) month, is a minor holiday of one or two days, depending on whether the previous month was 29 or 30 days.  When the preceding month is 30 days long, the 30th day becomes the first day of Rosh Chodesh and the second day of Rosh Chodesh is the first day of the succeeding month.
                    Rosh Chodesh used to be officially declared in Jerusalem each month by the Sanhedrin, based on evidence from at least two witnesses who had seen the new moon in the western sky.  For the past 1700 years or so, the new moon (and the dates for the entire Jewish calendar) have been determined by a formula prescribed by Hillel HaNasi (then head of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael). 
                • Rosh Chodesh: Molad
                  • Molad
                    The molad (first appearance of the new crescent moon somewhere in the world but using Jerusalem time) is an average molad and may be more than 12 hours off the actual time of the moon's first appearance. It varies somewhat from month to month.
                • Rosh Chodesh: Ya'aleh V'Yavo
                  • Ya'aleh V'Yavo on Rosh Chodesh
                    If you forgot (or are not sure if you said) ya'aleh v'yavo of:
                    Rosh Chodesh Ma'ariv 
                    Don't repeat the amida. This applies to both ma'arivs on a two-day Rosh Chodesh.
                    Rosh Chodesh Shacharit or Mincha 
                    • If you forgot:  Repeat the amida of Rosh Chodesh shacharit or mincha.
                    • If you are not sure:  Repeat the amida with the condition that if you had said ya'aleh v'yavo the first time, the second time is a voluntary prayer (tefilat nedava).
                    Note If Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat and you are not certain whether you said ya'aleh v'yavo at shacharit or mincha, you must repeat the amida without a condition.
                • Rosh Chodesh: Ul'Chaparat Pasha
                  • Shabbat-Rosh Chodesh: Adding Ul'Chaparat Pasha
                    SITUATION It is Rosh Chodesh in a Jewish leap year.
                    WHAT TO DO
                    Add “ul'chaparat pasha” to musaf—from Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan through and including the second month of Adar
                    REASON This blessing usually contains 12 requests--corresponding to the 12 months--and so in a leap year, we add ul'chaparat pasha for the 13th month.
                    NOTE Don't say ul'chaparat pasha on Rosh Chodesh Nisan or after that until the next Jewish leap year.
              • Rosh Hashana
              • Ten Days of Repentance
                • Forgetting Amida Additions for Ten Days of Repentance
                  If you forget a change or addition to the amida during the 10 Days of Repentance (between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), the only one for which you must return or repeat the amida is ha'melech ha'kadosh (third blessing).
              • Yom Kippur
                • Introduction to Yom Kippur
                  • Introduction to Yom Kippur
                    Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. In ancient times, it was more festive than now and unmarried people of both genders would meet and try to find their future spouses.
                    Yom Kippur is a serious but also a happy day, since all Jews who repent (do teshuva) have their sins forgiven on that day.
                    Teshuva has four main parts:
                    • Charata  Regretting what we have done and feeling bad about it.
                    • Vidui  Recognizing and admitting that we have done something wrong.
                    •  Kabala  Resolving not to repeat that mistake.
                    • Azivat hachet  Being in the same situation as before but avoiding doing the sin.
                    The Torah tells us that there is an inherent property to Yom Kippur that causes spiritual purification and removes sins.
                    All Jews can become like angels on Yom Kippur.  In order to imitate angels (which are spiritual beings), we abstain from five activities that are associated with physical beings. We do not wash, anoint our bodies, eat or drink, have intimate relations, or wear leather shoes. To further imitate angels, when we say the shema, we say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed out loud, as opposed to the rest of the year, when we say it quietly.
                    For more on fast days, see Fast Days.
                • Pre-Yom Kippur
                • Yom Kippur
                • Yom Kippur: Ending
                  • Yom Kippur: Ending: Havdala

                    After Yom Kippur, say the full havdala

                    Note You must light a candle from a flame that was burning since before Yom Kippur began. If you do not have one, skip the blessing on the flame.
                    If Shabbat coincides with Yom Kippur, you should light the candle from a flame that was burning from before Shabbat began. If you do not have one, you may light a new flame after Shabbat and Yom Kippur are over. Don't say the blessing on spices.

                  • Post-Yom Kippur Meal: Shir HaMa'alot
                    Shir ha'ma'alot should be said after eating a meal that you began after Yom Kippur ended.
                    See Fast Days.
              • Sukkot
                • Introduction to Sukkot
                  • Introduction to Sukkot
                    Sukkot means “huts.” The Jewish festival of Sukkot celebrates and commemorates the shelters in which the Israelites lived for 40 years after leaving Egypt.
                     
                    Symbols

                    The main symbols associated with Sukkot are living in a sukka (eating and, when possible, sleeping in the sukka) and the lulav and etrog.
                     
                    Sukkot is observed at fall harvest time.  When many Jews were feeling wealthy due to their produce, we were commanded to live in temporary shelters--in part, to ward off feelings of arrogance or pride in what we had accomplished in the material world. Instead of thinking or feeling that our hard work or great wisdom has made us wealthy, we are reminded that whatever we have comes from God, and that God will take care of us, even in a flimsy “house.”
                     
                    The lulav and etrog have many meanings.  Here are two:
                     
                    Likening to the Human Body
                    The four components are compared to four parts of the human body:
                    • Palm branch: Spine.
                    • Myrtle leaves: Human eyes.
                    • Willow leaves: Human lips.
                    • Etrog: Human heart.
                    When we hold the four parts of the lulav/etrog together, we are symbolically taking the various components of our bodies together to serve God.
                     
                    Likening to Types of Jews
                    The four components are likened to four types of Jews:
                    • Etrog smells nice and tastes nice--like a tzadik who is knowledgeable in Torah and does mitzvot;
                    • Myrtle smells nice but does not have a good taste--like a person who does mitzvot but is not knowledgeable in Torah;
                    • Palm tree (date palm) has a nice tasting fruit but no scent--like someone who has knowledge but lacks mitzvot;
                    • Willow does not smell nice nor has a good taste--like a person who has neither.
                    By holding them together, we show that all types of Jews are to be consider as one nation.
                • Sukkot: Prayers
                • Sukka
                  • Sukka: Being Inside
                    • Sukka: Being Inside: Requirements
                      There is no requirement to be in a sukka except when eating bread or mezonot, and possibly sleeping in the sukka, but there is some spiritual benefit from being in the sukka at other times.
                  • Sukka: Eating
                    • Sukka: Eating: What To Eat
                       There is no requirement to eat any food other than mezonot or bread (and some opinions say also drinking wine) in a sukka.  Eating other foods in a sukka is considered to be saintly behavior (midat chasidut).
                    • Men: Eating Outside the Sukka
                      Bread: Men may not eat bread or a full meal outside the sukka during Sukkot.
                      Mezonot: Men may not eat more than 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of mezonot (within four minutes) outside the sukka during Sukkot, but they may eat 1.8 fl. oz. or less, wait nine minutes, and then eat another quantity up to 1.8 fl. oz.
                       
                    • Women: Eating Outside the Sukka
                      Women and girls may eat bread or mezonot outside of a sukka.  They do not need to eat any meals in the sukka, but if they do, it is a mitzva and they say leisheiv ba'sukka.
                    • Sukka: Eating: Uncomfortable Weather
                      Except for first night of Sukkot (and also the second night outside of Eretz Yisrael), there is no need to be discomforted at all by rain, cold, or heat. You may eat even bread outside of the sukka without waiting to see if the conditions will become more comfortable. This includes on  Shabbat.
                  • Sukka: Blessings
                    • Sukka: Blessings: When To Say
                      Do not say the blessing leisheiv ba'sukka except when you will eat bread or mezonot. Even drinking wine is not an exception, so do not say leisheiv ba'sukka even for havdala (unless you will also eat mezonot at the same time).
                      Note We do say leisheiv ba'sukka at kiddush, but that is in anticipation of eating bread at the meal to follow.
                    • Sukkot: Blessings: SheHecheyanu
                      First Night: Say she'hecheyanu after saying leisheiv ba'sukka (in kiddush), since she'hecheyanu covers the sukka and the Jewish festival
                      Second Night: Say she'hecheyanu before leisheiv ba'sukka (since it only covers the Jewish festival itself).
                      Note There is no blessing on building a sukka; it is covered by the she'hecheyanu in the kiddush.
                    • Sukkot: When To Say Leisheiv BaSukka
                      When you sit down in a sukka, only say the blessing leisheiv ba'sukka:
                      • If you are going to eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml, or about 1/4 - 1/5 cup) of bread or mezonot within four minutes, OR
                      • Immediately after saying kiddush and before drinking the wine in anticipation of eating mezonot or bread, OR
                      • Before eating any food or beverage (except salt or water) when visiting any other person in his/her sukka.
                    • Sukkot: Blessings: Forgetting Leisheiv BaSukka
                      If you washed hands, said ha'motzi, and ate some bread in a sukka but forgot to say the blessing leisheiv ba'sukka, you may still say that blessing until you have finished your meal; but you should eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) more of bread (within 4 minutes) after saying leisheiv ba'sukka.
                       
                    • Birkat HaMazon If You Ate Sukka Meals Indoors
                      If you ate your meal inside the house on Sukkot, you do not need to go to the sukka to say birkat ha'mazon.
                  • Sukka: Sleeping
                    • Sukkot: Sleeping at Someone Else's House
                      If you sleep at another person's house or sukka during Sukkot, you should consider their sukka as being yours. You do not say the blessing leisheiv ba'sukka except if you eat bread or mezonot there.
                  • Sukka: Building
                    • Sukka: Building or Fixing
                      • Building or Fixing a Sukka on Sukkot
                        A Jew may fix or build a sukka on chol ha'moed.
                        A non-Jew may fix or build a sukka on chol ha'moed or even on the Jewish festival days. A Jew may explicitly tell the non-Jew how to accomplish the repairs or the building of the sukka.
                         
                    • Sukka: Shapes
                      • Permitted Sukka Shapes
                        A sukka may have many sides and may even be circular, but it may not have a pointed top (shaped like a teepee).
                    • Sukka: Dimensions
                      • Sukka: Dimensions: Minimum/Maximum
                        • A sukka must have at least three walls, but one of those walls may be as little as 1 tefach wide.
                        • A round sukka must extend to at least 270 degrees.
                        • Sukka height: More than 10 tefachim (40” or 1 m) high and less than 20 amot (33'4” or 10 m) tall.
                        • Minimum sukka width: 7 tefachim x 7 tefachim (28” x 28” or 71.1 cm x 71.1 cm). 
                        • Maximum wall-to-ground gap for sukka: walls must be within 3 tefachim, or 10 ½” (27 cm) of the ground.
                        • Maximum permissible angle (slope) of a roof on a sukka is less than 45 degrees from horizontal.
                        • Schach: Must cover the sukka so that there is more shade than sun when the sun is directly overhead and must have at least enough space between the schach elements for rain to penetrate.
                    • Sukka: Walls
                      • Sukka: Walls: Tree Trunk
                        You may use the trunk of a tree as part of a sukka, but consult a rabbi about the spacing and curvature of the roots.
                         
                      • Sukka: Walls: Flapping
                        The walls of a sukka must be able to withstand wind without flapping up from the bottom to more than 10.5 inches above the ground.
                      • Sukka: Walls: Bracing
                        The sukka does not need to be freestanding. When setting up a sukka, you may brace the walls with rope, boards, against tree or house... in any way you wish. You may not brace or attach supports to the walls on the festival but you may directly ask a non-Jew to do that work for you.
                    • Sukka: Schach
                      • Sukka: Schach: Timing

                        Sukka: Schach: Timing: Within 30 Days

                        You must put schach on your sukka within 30 days of Sukkot. If you are using a porch that has slats year round as a roof for your sukka, you must lift up and put back the slats within 30 days of Sukkot.
                      • Sukka: Schach: Materials

                        Non-Kli
                        You may not use a
                        kli for sukka schach.

                        A kli is any item created with the intention of being used as a tool or utensil to make an activity easier.

                        Examples

                        • Bamboo if it had been used for any other purpose.

                        • Wooden ladder.

                        • Walking stick.

                        Non-Edible
                        A sukka's covering (schach) must consist of non-edible branches, leaves, or other materials of plant origin such as boards. You may use wooden boards (such as 2” x 4”s) to hold up schach, even though lumber is intended to be used for construction.
                        Size
                        Boards or tree trunks—whether used as schach or used to hold up schach--must be not more than 15 inches (38 cm) wide. A board--whether used as schach or used to hold up schach--more than 15 inches wide invalidates the area below it and you would have to sit under kosher schach in order to fulfill the mitzva. In the case of a board more than 15 inches wide: If the sukka has only three walls, the board may invalidate the sukka. Consult a rabbi.
                        Fresh
                        You may not use branches whose leaves will dry up in less than 8 days, intending to replace the branches with fresh ones during chol ha'moed; the custom is to use evergreen leaves only if you want to use leaves as schach.
                        Fasteners
                        Schach on the sukka must stay by itself without fasteners or connectors, even in a place with normally high wind. Any man-made fasteners--such as plastic, metal, or even hemp cord or rope--will invalidate the schachIf the schach will stay without them, then you may use fasteners or connectors as reinforcements.

                        Year-Round Structures
                        You may use a pergola, gazebo, or other type of awning frame or roof structure that exists year-round for a sukka as long as the other conditions (size, slope, materials, timing, etc.) are kosher. You must first remove any permanent roof coverings before putting on the schach.

                        Note The slope of the sukka roof must be less than 45 degrees from horizontal.

                      • Sukka: Schach: Gap

                        Sukka: Schach: Gap: What Invalidates

                        A gap in schach of 10.5 inches by 10.5 inches or larger will not invalidate the entire sukka, but you may not sit under that part of the sukka when eating or saying the blessing leisheiv ba'sukka. A gap of more than 14 inches wide may invalidate the sukka.
                      • Sukka: Schach: Normal Wind (Ru'ach Metzuya)
                        Ru'ach metzuya is defined as a normal wind for each location and season (this is relevant for schach on Sukkot).
                    • Sukka: Overhangs
                      • Sukka: Overhangs: Vines/Trees
                        Vines or tree branches that overhang even a small part of a sukka may make it not kosher. A tree that overhangs a large part of the sukka invalidates the portion below the tree and may invalidate an entire side or even more. Consult a rabbi.
                      • Sukka: Overhangs: Wood Structures
                        You may not normally use a sukka that has any wood structure such as a pergola/gazebo above the schach, but there are exceptions:  ask a rabbi.
                      • Sukka: Overhangs: Balconies

                        A sukka built under a balcony, even if the balcony is many stories above the sukka, is not kosher.

                        Situation

                        Only part of a sukka is under the balcony.

                        Status

                        To be kosher, the sukka must have a footprint at least 7 by 7 tefachim and must have at least three walls that are not under the balcony.

                        Note If you have only two walls with the overhanging balcony, consult a rabbi.

                      • Sukka: Overhangs: Women and Children

                        Women and children of either gender may sit under an invalidated part of the sukka since they are not required to sit in the sukka at all.  However, if they wish to say the blessing leisheiv baSukka, they must sit under a valid part of the sukka while they say the blessing. They must also eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. of bread or mezonot while under the valid part.

                    • Sukka: Car
                      • How To Make a Car into a Sukka
                        To make a car into a sukka:
                        • Open two doors on the same side of the car and put schach on top/across the doors.
                        • Make sure the doors reach to within 10 ½ inches (26.7 cm) of the ground or curb (so you might need to park at a curb).
                        • Make sure the schach over the doors is at least 40 inches (1 m) above the curb.
                         
                  • Sukka: Intimacy
                  • Sukka: Leaving
                    • Sukka: Leaving: First Night
                      • Sukka: Leaving: First Night: Rain
                        Rain on the first night of Sukkot is only considered a bad omen in Eretz Yisrael.
                        Reason It does not normally rain there at that time of year.
                         
                      • Sukka: Leaving: First Night: Rain, Cold, Bees
                        You may leave the sukka due to extreme cold or heat, rain, or bees. You should not stay in a sukka if it is raining or very cold or will otherwise make people suffer.
                        If it is raining on the first night of Sukkot and the rain is sporadic, wait until midnight before saying kiddush indoors.
                        If it is raining on the first night of Sukkot and the forecast predicts rain all evening, you do not need to wait to see if the rain will stop before saying kiddush. Instead:
                        • Say kiddush in the sukka (without saying leisheiv ba'sukka), even in the rain.
                        • Wash hands and say ha'motzi.
                        • Eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread in the sukka.
                        • Go inside the house and finish your meal inside. 
                        Note You do not need to say birkat ha'mazon in the sukka. If the rain stops, go back outside, say leisheiv, eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) more of bread in the sukka, and finish your meal in the sukka.
                    • Sukka: Shmini Atzeret
                      • Sukka: Shmini Atzeret
                        Outside Eretz Yisrael, you should eat your meals in the sukka on Shmini Atzeret, but do not make a blessing on the sukka.
                         
                • Four Species: Lulav and Etrog
                  • Lulav: Beauty
                    • Lulav: If First Day of Sukkot Is Shabbat
                      You do not need to buy a fancy or expensive lulav and etrog if the first day of Sukkot is Shabbat, since the Torah requirement for the etrog to be beautiful is only on the first day of Sukkot.
                  • Lulav: Sizes
                    • Palm Branch Sizes
                      Minimum length for lulav (palm branch):  Spine must be at least 16" long, not including the length of the leaves. At least 4" of the spine of the lulav must be above the tops of the willows and myrtles.
                    • Myrtle and Willow Branch Sizes
                      Each of the myrtle and willow branches must be at least 12 inches long.
                       
                  • Lulav: Choosing
                    • Lulav: Choosing: Condition
                      A lulav, willow branches, or myrtle branches are only disqualified/pasul if the leaves are so dry that they will crack if you bend them.  Being moldy does not disqualify them.
                       
                  • Lulav: Setting Up
                    • To Set Up a Lulav
                      To set up a lulav: hold with spine facing you, with three myrtle branches (hadassim) on the right and two willow branches (aravot) on the left.  It is customary to put the myrtle and willow branches into a holder made of palm leaves.
                      NOTE Before Sukkot begins, open any sealed plastic bags that contain the willow and myrtle branches, as you may not cut them open on the festival days (the first and second days outside of Eretz Yisrael).
                  • Lulav: Borrowing
                    • Lulav: When You May Borrow
                      You may borrow a lulav on all days of Sukkot except the first day (or first two days outside of Eretz Yisrael). On the first (two) day(s), you may acquire a lulav and etrog by having a friend “give” them to you as a gift, even if you will later “give” them back to your friend, also as a gift.
                      Note If you intended to use someone else's lulav on the first day of Sukkot, it is considered as if the lulav is yours, even without doing the normal acquisition.
                    • Lulav: Husband and Wife
                      A man's wife does not own the lulav with him (and a wife's husband does not own her lulav), but it is assumed that each gives their lulav to the other (on the first and second day of Sukkot) as a gift with a condition that the recipient will give the lulav back to the other spouse as a gift once finished.
                       
                  • Lulav: How To Bless
                    • Lulav: Who Should Bless
                    • Lulav: Where To Bless
                    • Lulav: When To Bless
                    • Lulav: Hold, Bless, Shake
                      • Lulav: Hold, Bless, Shake
                        To fulfill the commandment of lulav and etrog, you must hold them together the way they grow: stems down. But since you fulfill the commandment as soon as you hold the Four Species together this way, you must first pick up the etrog inverted (stem up) and then say the blessing, as follows:
                        • Hold the lulav with the spine facing you and the myrtle on the right, willows on the left, and the etrog with the pitom (opposite the stem) down;
                        • Say the blessings for the lulav;
                        • Turn the etrog right side up (stem-side down) and hold the lulav and etrog together; and
                        • Shake the Four Species together.  
                        Note Waving (or shaking) the lulav is a universally accepted custom with the force of halacha. We show that God is present in all directions by waving the lulav in the four compass directions, plus up and down. There are various customs of the sequence in which to wave the lulav. One common sequence is east; south; west; north; up; down. Wave the Four Species three times in each direction.
                        Note Although the lulav's spine should face you as you hold it, you have still fulfilled the requirement of lulav if the spine was facing away or if the willows and myrtles are on the incorrect sides of the lulav.
                      • Lulav: Hallel at Home or in Synagogue
                        Ideally, take your lulav and etrog to synagogue and say hallel with the minyanB'di'avad, it is OK to say hallel and the blessings and wave the lulav at home.
                         
                      • Lulav: How To Wave During Hallel
                        Wave the lulav in all six directions each time when saying Hodu l'Adonai… and, later, Ana Adonaiand again in the final Hodu in Hallel:
                        • Hold together the lulav and etrog during the entire procedure, pitom up, etrog in left hand.
                        • At each word in Hodu l'Adonai and at each syllable in Ana Adonai, shake the lulav/etrog together three times, advancing through the sequence of east, south, west, north, up, down.
                        For Hodu l'Adonai:
                        • At Hodu, shake three times to the east;
                        • At l'Adonai, don't shake but hold the lulav and etrog up while standing straight;
                        • At ki, shake three times to the south, etc..
                        For Ana Adonai,
                        • At “A,” shake three times to the east;
                        • At “na, shake three times to the south;
                        • At Adonai, stand straight and hold the lulav and etrog up;
                        • At “ho,” shake three times to the west;
                        • At “shi,” shake three times to the north, etc.
                         
                  • Lulav: Storing
                    • Lulav: Storing: Replacing into Water
                      You may put the myrtle and willow branches into water after using them only if they were in water before the Sukkot holiday began. You may not add water on Shabbat, but you may on the other Jewish festival days. You may change the water only on chol ha'moed.
                       
                  • Lulav: Disposing
                    • Lulav: Disposing
                      You may dispose of a lulav in any way that is not degrading. So, you may drop it into a field or put it on a lawn--unless animals might eat it or step on it or if it will be subject to poor treatment before it decays.  Don't dispose of a lulav or etrog directly into the garbage. Burn, bury, or wrap them in a bag or one layer of plastic and you may throw it into normal garbage.
                • Hoshanot
                  • Hoshanot: Joining
                    Hoshanot were done in the Temple in Jerusalem and the community is required to do hoshanot. Individuals are not required to join, but it is the proper practice to join if holding a lulav and etrog.
              • Hoshana Rabba
              • Shmini Atzeret
                • Introduction to Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah
                  Timing
                  In Eretz Yisrael, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are observed on the same day. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, Simchat Torah is the second day of what becomes a two-day festival.

                  Prayers
                  We begin mentioning rain in the second paragraph of the musaf amida of Shmini Atzeret and continue until the first day of Passover.
                   
                  Universal Customs
                  The universal custom is to complete the reading of the Torah and to begin reading it again on Simchat Torah. Dancing and singing with the Torah scrolls is also a universal custom.
                • Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah: What Time To Start: Ma'ariv and Kiddush
                  Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret and on Simchat Torah may be said from 1 1/4 hours before sunset. Kiddush must be said after dark.
                • Shmini Atzeret: Eating in Sukka
                  For whether to eat in your sukka on Shmini Atzeret, see Sukka: Shmini Atzeret.
                   
              • Passover
                • Introduction to Passover
                  • Introduction to Passover
                    Introduction to Passover: Passover Names

                    Passover celebrates the seven or eight days starting with the 14th of Nisan, when God took the Israelites out of Egypt about 3300 years ago. The holiday has several names:
                    • Chag HaPesach--Holiday of "Skipping Over" (reflecting that God passed over the Jewish homes and did not kill the first-born sons, unlike those of the Egyptians);
                    • Chag HaAviv--Festival of Spring (the Jewish calendar is based on the moon and is adjusted to the solar cycle so that Passover always comes in the spring);
                    • Chag HaMatzot--Holiday of Unleavened Bread; and
                    • Zman Cheiruteinu--Time of our Freedom.

                    Introduction to Passover: Passover Observance

                    Passover observance includes removal of chametz, the Passover sacrifice and its reminders, and the Passover seder:

                    Chametz

                    Chametz Gamur and Ta'arovet Chametz

                    The Five Grains, once fermented into items such as bread or beer, are genuine chametz (chametz gamur) and are forbidden on Passover by the Torah (d'oraita).  Ta'arovet chametz (a mixture containing chametz) includes foods such as breakfast cereal and are also forbidden on Passover.

                    Rules for Chametz

                    • You may not own or see (your own) chametz during the entire period of Passover.
                    • You may not benefit in any way from chametz during Passover, whether it belongs to a Jew or to a non-Jew. If the chametz was owned by a Jew during Passover, you may not benefit from that chametz even after the holiday has ended.

                    What To Do with Chametz

                    Ideally, any chametz should be used up before Passover, given to a non-Jew, or destroyed. But if the chametz has significant value, the custom is to sell that chametz to a non-Jew. You do not need to sell kitniyot, but you must sell any genuine chametz and any mixtures of chametz (ta'arovet chametz).

                    Passover and Nullification by 1/60th

                    During the year, 1/60th or less of an undesired substance is considered to be inconsequential and nullified by the other substances. But on Passover, any amount of leaven mixed in food is forbidden.
                    However, the chametz in food acquired before Passover can be nullified before Passover, but ONLY if:
                    • It is 1/60th or less of the total volume of food,
                    • The food is liquid mixed in other liquid, or solid in other solid, AND 
                    • The chametz/non-chametz elements cannot be easily separated from each other.

                    Four Steps To Eliminating Chametz

                    There are four means of eliminating chametz:
                    • Bedika: Searching
                      You try to find any chametz.
                    • Bitul:  Verbal and Intentional Nullification
                      Since you may have overlooked some chametz during bedika, declare that any chametz in your possession is not important to you and has no value.
                    • Bi'ur: Burning
                      By burning and therefore destroying the chametz, we fulfill the Torah
                      commandment of “tashbitu” (making it cease to exist).
                    • Mechira: Selling
                      By changing the ownership, we no longer own chametz on Passover and we create the opportunity to re-acquire the chametz after Passover has ended if the non-Jewish buyer agrees.

                    Chametz Symbolism

                    Fermented grains represent (among other things) arrogance and pride:  the puffing up of fermented grains is symbolic of people puffing up themselves. In Judaism, one way to get rid of a bad personal trait is to utterly destroy it and so we symbolically remove and destroy any fermented grain foods from our houses and ownership.

                    Destroying chametz is not a violation of “do not destroy” (bal tashchit) since it is done to perform a commandment.

                    What Are Kitniyot

                    Kitniyot are foods that look similar to the five chametz grains or that could be ground into a flour that could look like flour from those grains, such as beans, peanuts, rice, corn, mustard seeds, and other food plants that are grown near the Five Grains.

                    What To Do with Kitniyot

                    Kitniyot may not be used on Passover but do not need to be sold or removed from one's ownership. Kitniyot should be stored away from kosher for Passover food.

                    Passover Sacrifice

                    In Temple times, the Passover sacrifice was to be eaten with one's family and possibly with neighbors, depending on the number of people present. The only two instances of kareit (being cut off spiritually) for not doing a positive commandment are for not doing a brit mila and not bringing a Passover offering (in Temple times).

                    Seder

                    The Passover seder (order) was prescribed in ancient times as a means for helping all Jews, of all ages and both genders, to re-experience the transition from having been slaves to becoming free and from having ascended from idol worshippers to being monotheistic.

                • Passover: Cooking and Eating Utensils
                  • Passover: Special Pots
                    You may not use cooking utensils on Passover that have been used for cooking chametz during the year unless they have been kashered. For details, click kashrus/kk-passover-kashering.htm">here.
                    You do not need to sell the chametz that is on the utensils unless it totals more than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup).
                  • Passover: Kitniyot in Passover Utensil
                    Situation Kitniyot were cooked in a Passover utensil. 
                    Situation 1 The kitniyot's volume was less than 50\% of the volume of food cooked in that utensil. 
                    Status The food may be eaten and the utensil may be used on Passover (no need to kasher). 


                    Situation 2 The kitniyot's volume was more than 50\% of the volume of the food cooked in that utensil.
                    Status The food is not permitted to be eaten. 


                    Situation 2a The kitniyot's volume was more than 50\% of the volume of the food cooked in that utensil, and the total volume of the food cooked (kitniyot + non-kitniyot) was less than the normal volume of food which is cooked in that utensil.
                    Status The utensil may be used even without kashering, as long as you wait at least 24 hours after the utensil has been cleaned. 


                    Situation 2b The kitniyot's volume was more than 50\% of the volume of the utensil itself and more than 50\% of the normal volume of food cooked in it.
                    Status You may not eat the food (until after Passover) and must kasher the utensil after waiting 24 hours. 
                    NOTE You may only kasher a utensil on chol ha'moed but NOT on the festival days themselves. 
                • Passover: Foods and Soaps
                  • Passover: Food Items
                    • Cumin
                      Cumin is not used on Passover due to its similarity to kitniyot.  This is a custom.
                    • Flour (raw)
                      Raw flour is suspected of being chametz and therefore may not be owned during Passover.
                       
                    • Frozen Vegetables
                      Frozen vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli, may not be used on Passover unless certified as kosher for Passover.
                    • Matza (Oat)
                      There is no question that oat matza properly made and supervised according to Jewish law is kosher for eating on Passover.
                    • Matza (Unopened)
                      Kosher for Passover matza in unopened packages stays kosher for Passover and may be used in subsequent years.
                    • Quinoa
                      Quinoa is not chametz because it does not ferment without adding yeast and it is not one of the original Five Grains.
                    • Seltzer
                      Plain seltzer (with no additives other than water and carbon dioxide) that has been produced before Passover does not need kosher supervision.
                      If produced during Passover, it might need kosher supervision.
                       
                    • Water (Plain)
                      Plain water (in the USA) never needs kosher supervision, not even for Passover.
                    • Yeast
                      Yeast is not normally chametz but may not be used on Passover.
                  • Passover: Soap/Toiletries
                    • Dish Soap
                      Dish soap made from kosher ingredients but without Passover supervision may still be a problem on Passover due to possible alcoholic ingredients.
                    • Chametz Soap
                      You may not use (including you may not ingest even tiny amounts of) soap that contains chametz on Passover. But since it is not fit for a dog to eat, you do not need to sell it. 
                       
                    • Toothbrush
                      You do not need a new toothbrush for Passover as long as it is clean.
                       
                    • Toothpaste for Passover
                      Toothpaste does not need to be specially made kosher for Passover
                       
                    • Laundry Starch
                      You may use non-chametz starch on clothing during Passover but not on tablecloths, napkins, or other items that might contact food.
                      Reason The starch might be kitniyot.
                • Passover: How To Prepare
                  • Passover: Getting Rid of Chametz
                    • Passover: Cleaning
                      • Passover: Preparing for the Search
                        Clean the house before searching for chametz.  Mark off the cleaned areas as you work. (This is just a suggestion, not a requirement!)
                      • Passover: What Chametz To Remove
                        You must remove significant chametz when cleaning for Passover.  But you do not need to remove small crumbs unless they may be inadvertently eaten during Passover--if they are on a kitchen counter, a table, etc.
                        Note It is the custom to remove all chametz from the house.
                      • Passover: When You Do Not Need To Clean
                        You do not need to clean your house if you will:
                        • Leave your house 30 days or more before Passover, and
                        • Will not return to your house until after Passover has ended, and
                        • Have sold your chametz before the holiday begins.
                    • Passover: Searching for Chametz (Bedikat Chametz)
                      • Passover Chametz Search: Who May Search
                        One member of each house must search for any chametz (bedikat chametz) on behalf of the entire household. This may be a man, woman, or even a minor child, as long as he or she is sufficiently responsible to conduct the search in all of the details.
                         
                      • Passover Chametz Search: When To Search
                        Search your house for any leavened food or crumbs the night before first seder night. If the first seder begins Saturday night, you must search for chametz on Thursday night.
                         
                      • Passover Chametz Search: Where To Search
                        You must look for chametz (leavened foods) in any place where food might have been carried. If you have small children, you must search your entire house. However, you do not need to search in any place where no food was brought, nor in any closets that will be locked during Passover and the leavened food in them sold.
                      • Passover Chametz Search: Whether To Search
                        If you are staying in someone else's house for Passover and the owner is away for the holiday, you must do bedikat chametz for the house--even if the owner has not been there for more than 30 days and even if you will not be eating in that house. The same rule applies for any place that you have rented for any part of Passover and that does not have a resident owner who has done the bedika there.
                        Exception If you are staying in a hotel or other accommodation that is thoroughly cleaned before Passover, you do not need to do bedika chametz.
                      • Passover Chametz Search: Putting Out Chametz To Find
                        Before beginning the official chametz search, put out 10 pieces of chametz wrapped to prevent crumbs from falling off.
                        Note The entire procedure of putting out chametz is a non-binding custom.
                      • Passover Chametz Search: Which Blessing To Say
                        Before searching for chametz, say the blessing al bi'ur chametz.
                         
                      • Passover Chametz Search: How To Search
                        While the search for chametz is traditionally done by candlelight, you may use a flashlight. You should not use a normal room light.
                        Reason The idea is to use a directional light source, which will highlight any chametz.
                         
                    • Passover: Nullifying Chametz
                      • Passover: Nullifying Chametz: Which Language for Kol Chamira
                        The kol chamira formula, in Aramaic, is said to nullify any leaven that was missed during the search. If you do not understand the Aramaic, you should also read the translation in English (or whatever your own language is).
                      • Passover: Nullifying Chametz: Who Says Kol Chamira
                        Everyone at bedikat chametz, including guests who will be there for the holiday, says the kol chamira formula for nullifying any chametz that they own.
                        Note A similar nullification is said the next morning (morning of the day before Passover), when the chametz from the search is burned.
                    • Passover: Burning Chametz
                      • Passover: Burning Chametz: What To Do with Chametz
                        If you own any chametz, you must burn some of it in order to fulfill the commandment of burning chametz: this is a mitzva from the Torah
                        Note If you have too much chametz to conveniently burn, you may throw some of the chametz into the garbage (but not into your own garbage can, only a public one--where permitted).
                        You must throw the chametz into the garbage before you burn the remainder. You may, alternatively, throw the chametz into a public area or pond (if permitted by the owner or by law).
                      • Passover: Burning Chametz: Wife Covered by Husband
                        At the burning of the chametz before Passover, a wife is covered by her husband's saying kol chamira and burning chametz, unless she has chametz of her own.
                      • Passover: Burning Chametz: Husband Covered by Wife
                        It is preferable for a husband to say kol chamira.  However, he is covered by his wife's saying kol chamira, as long as he has asked his wife to do so.
                        Note If the wife burns the chametz, she should inform her husband at the time she actually burns the chametz (she may inform him by phone and does not have to do so in person).
                    • Passover: Selling Chametz
                      • Passover: Selling Chametz: Different Countries for You and Your Chametz
                        If you live in one country and go to another country for Passover, you must sell your chametz so that the chametz in each country is sold and re-acquired at the correct time based on where you are located but also on where your chametz is. Consult a rabbi.
                         
                      • Passover: Selling Chametz: Selling by Mail
                        Appointing the rabbi (if the rabbi agrees!) as an agent to sell your chametz does not require an acquisition and may be effected through the mail.
                         
                      • Passover: Selling Chametz: Selling Animals and their Food
                        You must sell dog (or other animal) food, if it contains any chametz, for Passover to a non-Jew. 
                        Note You may sell your dog (or other animal) to a non-Jew for Passover (in order to allow the animal to eat chametz on Passover), but not to the same person to whom you sold the food.
                    • Passover: Acquiring Chametz during Passover
                      • Passover: Getting Rid of Chametz: Acquiring Chametz during Passover
                        If you inadvertantly buy chametz on Passover, you must burn it.
                        If chametz was brought to you, such as by mail delivery service, DON'T accept it. Consider it as ownerless/hefker. You may not bring it into your house or yard. If it is still there after Passover has ended, you may take it for yourself.
                        Note If  you inadvertantly bought kitniyot during Passover, just put it away until Passover has ended and then you may eat it.
                    • Passover: Kashering
                      • Passover: Dishes and Pots
                        See Passover: Special Pots.
                        For more details on kashering for Passover from the Star-K, click here.
                        NOTE On Passover, gender and chametz status DO get transferred through a stream of hot liquid back into the pouring container.
                      • Passover: When To Finish Kashering
                        When kashering an oven or utensils for Passover, you may kasher:
                        • By Libun
                          Anytime, including on chol ha'moed (but not on Jewish festivals or Shabbat).
                        • By Hag'ala
                          Until one hour before halachic midday on Passover eve (but b'di'avad it is OK until
                          just before sunset of Passover eve).
                         
                      • Passover: Kashering Pots and Utensils To Change from Milk to Meat (or vice versa)
                        You may make certain utensils kosher for Passover if they were chametz or non-kosher. For a list of materials that can be kashered, see the sections entitled "Items/Materials that Can Be Kashered" and "Items/Materials that Cannot Be Kashered" here: Introduction to Food Nullification: Utensils (Kashering).
                        Note You may not change utensils that are already kosher directly from milk to meat or meat to milk. Rather, you must:
                        • First make the utensil non-kosher (or chametz), and then
                        • Kasher it.
                        Once kashered, the utensil will usually be neutral/pareve as far as gender and you may choose to make it dairy or meat.

                      • Passover: Kashering an Oven
                        To kasher an oven for Passover:
                        • Clean it completely, including any hard deposits, and
                        • Heat the oven for 40 minutes at its highest temperature.
                      • Passover: Kashering an Oven: Cleaning
                        To determine whether an oven is clean: 
                        If there are black or brown spots, scratch them:
                        • If the substance crumbles, the spots are OK.
                        • If the spots do not crumble, consider the oven NOT clean.
                        Note If you use the oven's self-clean cycle, you do not need to remove the hard deposits from the oven before kashering.
                        If the oven is not self-cleaning, you must remove (clean off or burn off) any deposits on the walls, racks, and window. If the stains or deposits do not come off after two cycles of using a strong oven cleaner such as Easy Off, the oven is considered sufficiently clean. Weaker oven cleaners that do not remove deposits may not be relied on.
                      • Passover: Kashering an Oven: Temperature
                        The order of preference for the heat settings is
                        • Self-cleaning (if possible) on the self-cleaning cycle.
                        • Next choice is broil or the highest heat setting.
                        For more details on kashering for Passover, see
                        kashrus/kk-passover-kashering.htm">http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-kashering.htm
                         
                • Passover Eve: What To Stop Doing When
                • Passover Night(s)
                  • Passover Night(s): Ma'ariv
                    • Timing of Ma'ariv on Seder Night(s)
                      • Ma'ariv on the first night of Passover may begin at sunset.  But since the seder may not be started until after dark, the custom is to begin ma'ariv a little before dark.
                      • The second seder may also not be started until after dark.  Ma'ariv on the second night of Passover may be said from plag ha'mincha, 1 1/4 hours before sunset.
                      • Ma'ariv on the seventh and eighth days of Passover may be started as early as plag ha'mincha, 1 1/4 hours before sunset.
                    • Hallel after Ma'ariv
                      People who have the custom of saying hallel after ma'ariv on the first night of Passover also say hallel on the second night (outside of Eretz Yisrael).
                    • HaMapil on Passover
                      On the first two nights of Passover, before going to sleep, just say shema and the ha'mapil blessing.
                      Reason The first night (two nights outside of Eretz Yisrael) is considered to have special Divine protection, so we omit the extra paragraphs in the final parts of the prayer.
                       
                  • Passover Night(s): Eating Matza
                    • When Eating Matza Is Obligatory
                      The only time when matza must be eaten to fulfill the commandment of eating matza is on seder night(s). There may be a mitzva to also eat matza on the other days of Passover (but there are conflicting opinions about that).
                      However, men must eat matza in order to fulfill the commandment of eating two meals a day on each of the festival days.
                       
                • Passover: Seder
                  • Seder: Principles
                    • Seder: Purpose
                      It is praiseworthy to tell the story of Passover even if you know all the details and interpretations (as did the great rabbis of the Talmud), because of the principle of “in order to remember” (lema'an tizkor): that we should remember everything God did for us when taking us out of Egypt.
                      The Three Discussion Points
                      The most important part of the seder is discussing:
                      • Passover offering (Pesach),
                      • Unleavened bread (matza), and
                      • Bitter herbs (maror).
                      These three segments should be read from the Passover hagada in the Hebrew.  If anyone does not understand the Hebrew, these paragraphs and the concepts they express must be explained in whatever language he or she can understand.
                      Children at the Seder
                      Children are an integral part of the sederWe try to get children to ask questions and then we teach them the answers.  The Torah says to do this!
                      Acknowledging God's Miracles
                      We acknowledge God's miracles in sending the plagues against the Egyptians and their gods and in taking the Children of Israel out of slavery and Egypt.
                      Telling Our History
                      We tell our history beginning with Jacob (Yaakov) and Laban (Lavan) and on to slavery and, finally, to achieving freedom.
                       
                  • Seder: Practices
                    • Seder: Practices: Halachot
                      • Leaning to the Left
                        Every male (13 years old and above) at the seder is required by halacha to lean to the left side while:
                        • Drinking each of the four cups of wine.
                        • Eating matza for each of these mitzvot: motzi, matza, koreich, afikoman.
                        Ideally, lean onto something to your left, such as a chair or couch. A pillow is nice but optional.
                        Note Women and girls are not required to lean at any time during the meal.
                    • Seder: Practices: Customs
                      • Seder Customs
                        Here are some seder customs:
                        1. Have someone else pour the water over your hands for washing before karpas.
                        2. Have someone else pour your wine for you.
                  • Seder Plate
                    • Five Foods of the Seder Plate
                      Seder plate consists of five foods: 

                      Shank Bone
                      Shank bone, meat, or a neck represents the Passover lamb offering.
                      Note Any part of any kosher animal or bird may be used for this purpose except liver. You may even use roasted lamb, but you may not eat it.

                      Egg
                      Egg represents the holiday offering (chagiga).

                      Bitter Herbs
                      Bitter herbs (maror), such as romaine, horseradish, or endive, represent the bitterness of slavery.

                      Charoset
                      Charoset (sweet mixture of nuts and fruits) reminds us of the mortar the Jews used to build the Egyptian storage cities.

                      Vegetable
                      Vegetable such as parsley or potato (karpas). The vegetable does not represent anything and is there to motivate the children to ask questions.
                       
                  • Seder: Three Matzas
                    • Introduction to Three Matzas (Matzot)
                      The seder table also has a stack of three matzas (matzot), representing, among other meanings:
                      • Cohen-Levi-Yisrael:  The three divisions of Jews
                      • Abraham-Isaac-Jacob:  The three forefathers
                      These matzot are used later in the seder for the steps of Motzi and Matza (top and middle matzas); the middle matza becomes the “Afikoman.”
                  • Seder: Steps
                  • Kadeish: Four Cups of Wine
                    • Kadeish: Making Kiddush
                      • Passover Kiddush
                        Passover, like all Jewish festivals, is differentiated from weekdays by saying kiddush.
                         
                      • Everyone Must Drink at Seder
                        At the Passover seder, all Jews above the age of bar mitzva or bat mitzva (including women--unlike on other Jewish festivals) must drink wine for kiddush and for the other three times in the seder when the borei pri ha'gafen blessing is said.
                        Note On the other Jewish festivals, only one person needs to drink the wine when kiddush is said, and that will cover and fulfill everyone else's requirement for that kiddush.
                        Note Only children and people who will get sick if they drink alcohol are permitted to drink grape juice at seder.
                      • Alcohol Content of Seder Wine
                        You may dilute the seder wine to a minimum of 4\\% alcohol.
                      • Red Wine or White for Seder
                        If you have equally good red wine and white wine, the red is preferred for the four cups at the seder. If your white wine is better or if you prefer white wine, use that.
                         
                      • Drinking More

                        You may drink more wine between the first and second cups, between the second and third cups, but not between the third and fourth cups.

                         

                    • Kadeish: Four Cups, Four Roles
                      • Four Cups, Four Roles
                        Each of the four cups has a different role:
                        • First Cup: Kiddush to sanctify the holiday.
                        • Second Cup: Sanctifying the hagada.
                        • Third Cup: Sanctifying Birkat ha'mazon.
                        • Fourth Cup: Sanctifying Hallel.
                    • Kadeish: Four Cups, Four Expressions
                      • Four Cups, Four Expressions
                        The four cups of wine relate to the four expressions God used when telling what he would do to bring the Israelites out of Egypt:
                        • V'hotzeiti   I will send them out.
                        • V'hitzalti    I will save them.
                        • V'ga'alti     I will redeem them.
                        • V'lakachti  I will take them.
                    • Kadeish: Fifth Cup
                      • Fifth Cup
                        The fifth cup of wine at seder, for Eliyahu (Elijah) the prophet, symbolizes v'heiveiti--“I will bring them.”
                        Reason In the future, everyone will drink five cups of seder wine. (Some say the term v'heiveiti is not part of the redemption and some say it is a stage that has not happened yet.)
                        The cup of Eliyahu (which is not intended to be drunk by Eliyahu) should be used for kiddush the next morning. Various customs dictate when to fill Eliyahu's cup; it may be filled anytime from the beginning of the seder.
                    • Kadeish: How Much To Fill and Drink
                      • Four Cups: Minimum Quantity To Fulfill Mitzva
                        Minimum wine to fulfill the seder mitzva:
                        • Each person must drink four cups of wine at the seder;
                        • Each cup must hold at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml);
                        • For each blessing on the wine, you must drink at least 2 fl. oz. (59 ml) within 30 seconds of when you begin to drink each cup.
                      • Majority of the Cup/Rov Kos
                        The seder is the only time in the year that you must drink most of your cup (rov kos) of kiddush wine. (For kiddush on Shabbat and Jewish festivals, you need drink only 2 fl. oz., or 59 ml).  So if you have a cup larger than 4 fl. oz. (119 ml), you may have to drink a lot of wine--more than half of each cup for four cups! 
                        Note You may drink other liquids between the first and second cups of wine at the seder, but it is not recommended.
                    • Kadeish: Leaning To Left
                  • U'rchatz: Wash Hands (No blessing)
                    • U'rchatz (No blessing)
                      Wash hands from a cup of water but do not say a blessing on washing.
                      Reason We are about to eat food that is wet and Jews may not eat wet food if their hands have spiritual impurity (tum'a).
                  • Karpas: Eat the Vegetable
                    • Karpas Blessing
                      Dip the karpas in the salt water and say the blessing borei pri ha'adama; keep in mind that this blessing will also apply to the bitter herbs you will eat later in the seder.
                    • How Much Karpas To Eat
                      Eating any amount of karpas fulfills the mitzva of eating karpas at seder, but you may not eat more than 0.6 fl. oz. (17 ml, or 1/12 cup).
                  • Yachatz: Break the Matza
                    • Breaking the Middle Matza
                      Break the middle of the three matzas and hide the larger part.
                      Reason As with most of the actions we do at the seder, this is to evoke curiosity in children. It also represents the idea that poor people can't afford a whole loaf of bread or might save some food for the next day.
                  • Magid: Tell the Story
                    • Four Questions
                      The Four Questions are actually only one question and that question is:

                      Why is this night different from all other nights?
                    • Seder in Bnei Brak
                      The teachers in Bnai Brak were so engrossed in telling the Passover story that they did not notice that it was after sunrise.
                      Reason They may have been in a windowless room since they were risking their lives by celebrating Passover, against Roman law.
                    • Like 70 Years Old
                      Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya says he is “like 70 years old” because even though he was only 18 years old, his hair turned white overnight as if God approved his appointment as Sanhedrin head.
                    • Four Sons
                      Only three of the Four Sons' questions are mentioned in the Torah (which all related to the Passover sacrifice), since the fourth (smallest) child cannot ask questions. Regarding this child, the hagada says, "Aht p'tach lo" (in the feminine).
                      Reason  The mother is supposed to be a child's primary teacher while the child is young.
                      There is a difference in attitude between the wise son and the evil son: The wise son says "Eloheinu" (OUR God); he is asking a question and seeking and answer. The evil son makes a statement (sort of a rhetorical question), instead of asking a question for which he seeks an answer.
                      Why is there a “wise” (chacham) son and not a “righteous” (tzadik) son, which would be the logical counterpart to the “evil” (rasha) son? 
                      We don't know who is a tzadik. We cannot be sure by external appearance or even by seeing certain behaviors. We can tell who is a chacham by hearing him speak or by discussing Torah with him.
                      Yet, regardless of the sons' level of observance, it is a commandment to teach them about going out of Egypt.
                    • Calculating the End (of Slavery)
                      God told Avraham (Abraham) that his children would be living in “lands not their own” and would be enslaved for 400 years, Yet the Torah states that the Israelites were in Egypt for 210 years.  So we say God “calculated the end” (chisheiv et ha'keitz) of the enslavement: He started the counting from the birth of Avraham's son, Yitzchak (Isaac), until the Exodus (a total of 400 years), as follows:
                       
                      Time from Birth of Avraham's Son to Going Down to Egypt
                      • Yaakov (Jacob) was born when Yitzchak was 60 years old.
                      • Yaakov told Par'o (Pharoah) (when he and the rest of his family entered Egypt) that he was 130 years old.
                      • 60 + 130= 190 years before going down to Egypt
                       
                      Time in Egypt
                      210 years in Egypt
                       
                      Time from Birth of Avraham's Son to Exodus
                        190 Before going down to Egypt
                      + 210 In Egypt
                      = 400 years from Yitzchak's birth to the Exodus.
                      Note Yitzchak and Yaakov did not yet “own” Eretz Yisrael. Since the Israelites were not given Eretz Yisrael until after the Exodus, Avraham's offspring were living in “lands not their own” for 400 years.
                    • V'Hi She'Amda and Lefichach
                      When we lift up our wine cups at v'hi she'amda and at lefichach, we cover the matza.
                      Reason So the matza won't feel “embarrassed,” since bread/matza is more important than wine.
                       
                    • Let Us Deal Cleverly (Hava Nitchakma)
                      Hava nitchakma (let us deal cleverly) was an attempt at a clever way to keep the Israelites as slaves.
                      Reason The Egyptians were afraid the Israelites might join the Egyptians' enemies in a war.
                       
                    • Ten Plagues
                      Each of the plagues was against one of the Egyptian gods, to show that they were actually powerless.
                       
                    • Spilling Drops of Wine
                      We spill 10 drops of wine when reading the list of plagues.
                      Reason Wine symbolizes happiness and so we drink less wine to show that we are sad that the Egyptians suffered.
                       
                    • D'Tzach-Adash-B'Achav
                      In "the plague of the first-borns" (makat bechorot), did the first-borns suffer by dying or did their families suffer more?
                      In Rabbi Yehuda's abbreviations of the ten plagues, d'tzach-adash-b'achav, the abbreviation ends with the Hebrew letter “vet” for bechorot (first-borns), implying that it was the families who suffered, since if it ended with a “mem” for makat bechorot, it would have been the first-borns who suffered.
                    • Dayenu
                      In dayenu, we say that at each level of what God did for us, it would have been enough. Since we didn't get the Torah until one of the last stages, this seems incorrect, since of what value is money, wandering in the desert, and all of the other details if we don't have the Torah?
                      The answer is that we need to be grateful to God for each miracle that we received, and that at each stage, we owe praise and thanks to God.
                      Also, in one sense, we already had the Torah (in some version, even though not in the form in which Moses/Moshe wrote it later).
                    • Pesach, Matza, and Maror
                      Pesach, matza, and maror should be read and explained with special attention.
                      Reason They are the main parts of the seder and of the commandment to have a seder.
                       
                    • In Every Generation
                      The hagada tells us that in every generation, a person must see himself as if he had personally gone out of Egypt.  If so, why didn't our Sages suggest how to visualize or recreate the experience?
                       
                      It is not possible to actually see ourselves as having left slavery. Rather, we should feel our obligation to do the mitzvot (commandments) as the Israelites felt when they left Egypt, as they switched from being slaves to serving Hashem. We can be freed (b'nei chorin) from physical or spiritual slavery.
                    • Why Matza and Not Bread

                      Question: Why didn't the Israelites bake bread (the Torah says that they did not have time for the dough to rise)? They knew 14 days ahead of time (on Rosh Chodesh Nisan) that they would be leaving, and they knew it would be middle of night (since God said that is when they would leave).
                      Answer: The Israelites did not do anything to prepare, except what God told them to do: the Passover offering and putting blood on their doorposts.

                  • Rachtza: Wash Hands (With a blessing)
                    • How To Wash Your Hands for Rachtza
                      To wash hands for rachtza:
                      • Fill the washing cup with at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of water.
                      • Pour enough water (may be as little as 1.3 fl. oz.--39 ml, or 1/6 cup) from the washing cup to completely cover your entire first hand (either hand may be first, but it is the custom to wash your right hand first).
                      • Pour enough water to completely cover the second hand.
                      You do not need to pour more than once per hand and you do not need to break up the revi'it into more than one pour for each hand.
                       
                    • Handwashing Blessing
                      Say the blessing on washing hands, ending in al netilat yadayim.
                       
                  • Motzi Matza: Bless on/Eat Matza
                    • Matza: Why
                      • Matza: Meaning
                        Matza represents:
                        • Food of poor people, and
                        • The unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when leaving Egypt.
                        Note A pun reflects this dual meaning of poor bread plus the story of leaving Egypt, since “lechem oni” may mean “bread of poor people” or “bread of (many) answers.”
                    • Matza: What Kind
                      • When Shmura Matza Is Necessary
                        The only time you must use shmura matza is for the four commandments of motzi, matza, koreich, and afikoman.
                        Note You may use any other kosher for Passover matza, even for the rest of seder. There is no need for using shmura matza for the other days of Passover.
                      • Hand Shmura Matza or Machine Shmura Matza
                        Hand shmura matza has some advantage in that it was made with the intention of being for a mitzva, but machine shmura matza has the advantage of being less likely to become chametz since it is automated and not touched by human hands.
                         
                    • Matza: How Much
                      • How Much Matza To Eat
                        Motzi, Matza
                        For motzi and matza together, you must eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of matza within a 4-minute period from when you begin eating.

                        Afikoman
                        For afikoman, you must eat another 1.9 fl. oz of matzab'di'avad, at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) is sufficient. 
                        Note This amount is about 1/2 of a machine shmura matza, or 1/3 of a hand shmura matza
                        Note If your mouth is too dry to eat that quickly, you may drink water with the matza.
                    • Motzi/Matza: Blessings
                      • Why Two Blessings over Matza
                        We say two blessings over the matza: ha'motzi lechem min ha'aretz and al achilat matza.
                        Reason The blessing on motzi is one of enjoyment (nehenin); the blessing on matza is a blessing on a commandment (mitzva).
                      • How To Do Motzi and Matza
                        The seder leader says the blessing “ha'motzi” while holding the three (which are now 2 1/2) shmura matzas, drops the bottom one, and says the next blessing, al achilat matza.  Everyone takes a small piece from the two top matzas and eats it, along with enough additional shmura matza to fulfill the minimum requirement.
                         
                  • Maror: Eat Bitter Vegetable
                    • Maror: What To Eat
                      The ideal bitter vegetable for maror at the Passover seder is horseradish. Horseradish for maror:
                      • Must be fresh enough to be sharp.
                      • Should be ground (if ground ahead of time, it must be stored in a covered container until the seder).
                      • Must not have liquid (horseradish with beets added is not suitable for use as maror).
                      Note Many people have the custom to use romaine lettuce for maror (be careful to check for bugs on the romaine).
                    • Maror: How Much To Eat
                      The minimum amount to fulfill the mitzva of eating maror at seder is 0.65 fl. oz. (19 ml), or about the volume of 1/3 of an egg.
                      Note If you choose to use romaine instead of horseradish for maror, the minimum amount is about 2-3 stems (depending on their size), or enough leaves if crushed to make up 0.65 fl. oz.
                      Note It is even better to eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup).
                    • Maror: How To Eat It
                      Say the blessing “al achilat maror.”
                      Dip the maror into the charoset and shake off all but a little bit of the charoset.
                      Do not lean when eating the maror.
                      Note The blessing for maror was included in the borei pri ha'adama blessing, which was said on the karpas earlier in the seder.
                  • Koreich: Eat the Sandwich
                  • Shulchan Oreich: Eat the Festival Meal
                    • Lamb and Other Meat at Seder
                      Don't eat roasted meat of any kind at the seder, including roasted poultry.
                      Reason So it will not be confused with the Passover offering.
                      Note You may eat lamb as long as it is not roasted.
                       
                    • What Constitutes Non-Roasted Meat at Seder?
                      Meat is not considered to be roasted if, when the baking began, there was at least 1/4" of liquid in the cooking utensil with the meat.
                  • Tzafun: Hidden (Afikoman)
                    • When To Finish Afikoman
                      You should ideally finish afikoman by midnight at the Passover seder, but you may eat it later than midnight if you have not finished (or even started!) your meal by then. 

                       
                    • Eating or Drinking after Afikoman
                      After eating the afikoman on Passover, you may not eat again until daybreak, but you will still drink two more cups of wine and you may drink water anytime through the night.
                  • Bareich: Say Birkat HaMazon
                    • Forgetting Afikoman
                      If you said birkat ha'mazon at the seder but had forgotten to eat the afikoman, you must:
                      • Wash your hands,
                      • Say ha'motzi,
                      • Eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of matza,
                      • Say birkat ha'mazon again, and then
                      • Drink the third cup of wine.
                  • Opening the Door/ Sh’foch Chamatcha
                    • Sh'foch Chamatcha
                      Open the door at this point.
                      Reason To show our trust in God to protect us, since the first night of Passover is called a night of watching (leil shimurim), when God provides special protection for the Jewish people. 
                      Note You should open the door unless you are in an unsafe neighborhood. If the neighborhood is dangerous, it may be forbidden by Jewish law to live there at any time.
                  • Hallel: Saying Hallel Psalms
                    • Hallel Divided at Seder
                      At the seder, hallel is divided into two parts. The first two psalms, read before the meal, deal with the exodus from Egypt. The remaining psalms, read after the meal, concern other miracles and the future of the Jewish nation.
                    • Hallel at Night at Passover Seder
                      There are many opinions as to why we read hallel at night: most are related either to praising God for saving the Jewish people or to accompanying the Passover sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem.
                  • Nirtza: Accepted
              • Passover: Chol HaMoed and Ending Day(s)
              • Post-Passover
                • When You May Buy Chametz Food Again
                  • Store Owned by Jew Who Owned Chametz
                    You may buy chametz food from a store owned by a Jew who owned chametz during Passover as long as two weeks or more have passed since Passover ended.
                    Reason It is assumed that the old chametz has already been sold by then.
                    Note If you are certain that chametz in the store was there at any time during Passover, you may not buy it.
                  • Store Owned by Someone Who Did Not Own Chametz
                    You may buy chametz from a store owned by non-Jews (or by Jews who did not own chametz during Passover) as soon as the holiday has ended.
              • Omer
                • Introduction to Omer
                  • Introduction to Omer
                    Omer is counted for 49 days, from the second day of Passover to the day before ShavuotOmer connects the two holidays both physically and spiritually.  In Biblical times, an omer (a specific measure of volume) of barley was brought as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem on the second day of Passover.  Once the barley offering had been brought, all grain changed status from “chadash” to “yashan” and could be eaten.
                    Due to tragedies that occurred during the omer period, especially the death of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva during the second century, we observe a semi-mourning period during 33 days of the 49 days of the omer.
                • Omer: Counting
                  • Halacha and Custom in Counting Omer
                    The only halacha of “counting the omer” is to say the blessing and then count the omer.  Anything else is custom. 
                     
                  • "Counting the Omer" Blessing
                    The blessing over counting the omer is “al sefirat ha'omer.”
                     
                  • How To Count Omer before Dark
                    The ideal time and way to count the omer is to wait until dark, stand up, say the blessing, and then count the omer for that day.
                    SITUATION You want to count the omer before dark (as is often done in synagogues at the end of ma'ariv).
                    STATUSSince the correct practice is to count the omer after dark, you should:
                    • Count again with a blessing sometime after dark, or else 
                    • Count during the following day (but before sunset) without a blessing.
                    WHAT TO DO  Do the counting without saying the blessing and make a condition (mentally or verbally, either is OK) that if you remember to count the omer again after dark, the first time you counted, does not count (!) Then, if you do remember after dark, say the blessing and count the omer for that day a second time.

                     
                  • If You Forget To Count Omer at Night
                    Situation You forgot to count omer at night.
                    What To Do
                    • Count the next morning/daytime without a blessing. Then,
                    • Resume saying the blessing the subsequent night.
                  • If You Do Not Count Omer before Next Day Sunset
                    Situation You forgot to count omer at night and didn't count the following day before dark.
                    What To Do Do not say the omer blessing any more that year, but do continue to count the omer without the blessing.
                • Omer Period
              • Pesach Sheni
              • Shavuot
                • Introduction to Shavuot
                  • Introduction to Shavuot
                    Shavuot (Yom HaBikurim in the Torah) celebrates and commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai.
                    Beginning with the second night of Passover, the Israelites who left Egypt underwent 49 days of spiritual improvement and purification until they were ready to receive the Torah from God (Shavuot ends this 49-day “omer” period).  We can undergo a similar process of spiritual development each year during these 49 days (how to do that is beyond the scope of this website). According to our tradition, the Israelites in Egypt had sunk to the 49th level of spiritual impurity (tum'a). The Israelites had to raise themselves in 49 daily stages to be worthy of receiving the Torah.  Several books and siddurs portray the 49 days of the omer as corresponding to the Seven Sefirot embedded in the seven weeks.  This awareness can help us work on and maximize the power inherent in each day of the omer to fix that particular sefira in ourselves. We thus relive this transition from slavery to freedom and the service of God each year as we try to perfect our midot (personal characteristics) to again be worthy of receiving the Torah on Shavuot.

                     
                    Symbolism of the Shavuot Offering
                    In the Temple in Jerusalem, the only communal sacrifice of leavened bread was on Shavuot. Leavening in dough is compared to arrogance in humans (people puff themselves up to look more important than they actually are). During Passover we destroy, and refrain from eating, leaven--just as we try to destroy/remove arrogance from our personalities. After Passover, we continue to work on our personal traits (midot) until we reach Shavuot, when we celebrate receiving the Torah.  At Shavuot, we Jews have a right to feel important, since we are spiritually elevated by virtue of having been given the Torah.
                     
                    Shavuot: Universal Customs
                    The universal custom is to eat at least one dairy food during Shavuot.
                    Possible reason  At the time the Israelites received the Torah, they did not have any kosher meat (they had not been required to eat kosher until then) and so the only food they were permitted to eat was dairy food.
                    Another universal custom is to stay awake all night (if possible) studying Torah.
                     
                    Shavuot: Symbols
                    Unlike other Jewish festivals, Shavuot has no concrete symbols and no specific unique commandments/mitzvot, other than sacrifices that were brought in the Temple in Jerusalem.
                • Shavuot: Prayer Services
                  • Shavuot: Timing of Ma'ariv
                    On the first night of Shavuot, ma'ariv may not be started until dark. On the second night, ma'ariv may be said from 1 1/4 hours before sunset.
                     
              • Isru Chag
              • Jewish Festival Checklist
                • Preparing for Jewish Festivals
                  Here are some suggestions (they are NOT halachot!) of what to prepare in advance of Jewish festivals. Add or delete to suit your needs!
                    
                  Candle Lighting
                  • Check candle lighting time
                  • Set the candles in their holders (and have matches nearby)
                   
                  Set the Table
                  Set the table, including the challa and its cover
                   
                  Kitchen Preparation
                  • Sharpen knives
                  • Tear paper towels
                  • Refrigerator: Turn off or unscrew lights; disconnect any LEDs or fans
                  • Turn on blechstove, oven, etc., for whatever you will need
                  • Set up hot water urn
                  • Turn off stove, oven, if needed
                   
                  Food Preparation
                  • Thaw frozen meat, fish, and other food that might take hours to defrost before being cooked
                  • Cook whatever can be cooked ahead of time
                  • Squeeze lemons; do any other boreir-type preparations
                  • Chill wine
                  • Open bottles and cans that will be needed on the Jewish festival
                   
                  Cleaning
                  • Make beds
                  • Sweep or vacuum
                  • Dump garbage
                   
                  Clothing
                  • Do laundry
                  • Empty pockets of muktza
                  • For men, set out Jewish festival talit
                   
                  Muktza
                  Check that nothing you will need is beneath a muktza item
                   
                  Personal Care
                  • Cut hair and nails, if needed
                  • For men, shave or trim beard and mustache, if needed
                  • Tear dental floss
                  • Tear toilet paper or put out tissues in bathrooms
                  • Open any new boxes of tissues
                   
                  Electronics
                  • Set heat or air conditioning
                  • Turn on or off lights, or set timers for them
                  • If desired, turn off or disconnect:
                  • Alarms 
                  • Cellphones and phones
                  • Computers
                  • Microwave detectors
                  • Other electronics
            • Rabbinic Holidays
              • Chanuka
                • Introduction to Chanuka
                  • Introduction to Chanuka
                    Chanuka commemorates the miracle of God's saving the Jews during the time of the Greek empire. The Greeks wanted to destroy Judaism and Jewish practices and have the Jews follow the Greek culture and religion. A small group of Jews defeated the Greek army, which was the world's greatest military force at the time. Contrast Chanuka with Purim (on Purim, the Jews' physical lives were in danger while on Chanuka, their religion was being threatened).
                • Chanuka: Background
                  • Chanuka: Main Miracle
                    The main miracle of Chanuka was in defeating the Greeks; the oil's burning for eight days was secondary.
                  • Chanuka: Why Eight Days
                    Eight days were required for the people who had contact with dead people to become ritually pure in order to make new olive oil.
                  • Chanuka: Why Asher Kidshanu
                    Chazal have the authority to make laws, so we say “Who sanctified us with His mitzvot and commanded us” (asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu) for Chanuka blessings and other purposes that Chazal instituted after the Torah was given.
                • Chanuka: Customs
                  • Chanuka: Customs: Foods
                    It is a non-binding custom to eat potato pancakes (latkes) on Chanuka; in Israel, it is also a non-binding custom to eat jelly-filled doughnuts (sufganiot).
                • Chanuka: Candles
                  • Chanuka Candles: Meaning
                  • Chanuka: Candles: What To Light
                    • Chanuka: Candles: What To Light: Menora Shape
                      All eight candle holders of a chanuka menora must be on the same level. The menora itself may be curved horizontally.
                      The shamash must be slightly raised or lowered or to the side of the menora or in the center, as long as it clearly is not part of the other eight candles.
                      Note You may put oil lights directly onto a windowsill or other level surface, but candles must be in or on some type of holder.
                  • Chanuka: Candles: How Many To Light
                    • Chanuka: Candles: One per House
                      The basic commandment is for one Chanuka candle to be lit per house per night. The extra candles (matching the number of days in Chanuka) and having every male light his own menora is an enhancement and a custom.
                      Note Having every male in the family light his own Chanuka candles is a universally accepted but non-binding custom among Ashkenazi Jews.
                    • Chanuka: Candles: One Shamash per Area
                      You only need one service (shamash) candle for any amount of Chanuka candles/oil lamps (menorot) in the same area.

                  • Chanuka: Candles: Who Should Light
                    • Chanuka: Candles: Who May Light
                      Anyone in the household who has reached bar or bat mitzva age can light Chanuka candles, thereby fulfilling the halachic requirement that one candle per household per night must be lit.
                       
                    • Chanuka: Candles: Light for Yourself
                      Light Chanuka candles for yourself, even if there are no other people around. If there are other people asleep in the house who have not fulfilled the mitzva of lighting Chanuka candles, you should wake them so they can see the candles. Do not wake children below