QUESTION: Should a sheliach tzibbur pause between berachos when
DISCUSSION: A sheliach tzibbur must pause between the berachos of
Esrei for at least as long as it takes the majority of the congregation to
answer amen to that berachah.(1) Unfortunately, some people who serve as
sheliach tzibbur are unaware of this requirement and rush into the next
berachah immediately upon finishing the previous one, without giving the
congregation any chance to answer amen.
This halachah is not just a mere advisory; it is only permitted to answer
amen to a berachah of chazaras ha-shatz if the sheliach tzibbur did not
yet begin the next one. Once the sheliach tzibbur begins the next
berachah, one is no longer permitted to answer amen to the previous
The same halachah applies to kaddish. A sheliach tzibbur or a chiyuv who is
reciting kaddish must wait for the majority of the congregation to finish
answering amen yehei shmei rabah before continuing on with yisborach
QUESTION: If one finished eating, forgot to bentch, and left the
must he return to where he ate in order to recite birkas ha-mazon?
DISCUSSION: If, by the time he remembers to bentch, the food has
started to become digested, i.e., he no longer feels full,(4) then he can
no longer recite birkas ha-mazon.
But one who remembers to bentch before the food has begun to be digested is
obligated to bentch even though he is no longer at the premises where he
ate. The Rishonim, however, disagree on whether or not the halachah
requires him to return, to where he ate in order to bentch, or whether he
may bentch at his present location. Whenever possible, therefore, one
should make every effort to quickly return to the place where he ate and
bentch [even if this will cause him to miss tefilah b'tzibur(5)]. But
under extenuating circumstances one may rely on the lenient opinions and
bentch wherever he finds himself at the time he remembered to
There are two exceptions to the above rule:
If, by the time he will return to the place where he ate, more than
minutes will have passed from the time he finished eating, he should
bentch immediately and not go back.(7)
If there is bread available at the place where he presently finds
himself, he need not return to the place where he ate originally. Instead,
he should wash his hands [without reciting al netilas yadayim(8)], recite
ha-motzi,(9) eat [at least] a small amount of bread(10) and then recite
QUESTION: If one finished eating cake [or any other mezonos foods]
or fruits of shiva'as ha-minim, forgot to recite Al ha-Michyah, etc., and
left the premises, must he return to where he ate in order to recite Al ha-
DISCUSSION: If he can return to where he ate without undue delay,
should do so. Otherwise, he may be lenient and recite Al ha-Michyah in his
However, when one eats foods whose berachah acharonah is borei nefashos,
he need not return to where he ate if he left without reciting a berachah
acharonah;(12) he recites borei nefashos at his present location.
QUESTION: Is it permitted to put cooked kishke, kugel, rice, etc.,
in plastic bags or aluminum foil into the cholent before Shabbos?
DISCUSSION: Some poskim(13) hold that it is prohibited because it
the Rabbinic injunction of Hatmanah. Usually, Hatmanah means to insulate a
pot of food so that its heat is retained or even intensified [depending on
the type of material used for insulation].(14) But in the opinion of the
Taz, quoted by the Mishnah Berurah,15 to submerge a vessel containing food
into another vessel containing food is also a form of Hatmanah.(16) Thus,
a plastic bag containing kishke or a foil-wrapped kugel which is submerged
in a larger pot of cholent, may be considered a violation of Hatmanah.
Other poskim, however, do not consider this a form of Hatmanah.(17) They
maintain that this is a case of two separate foods - cholent and kugel -
that are being kept warm on a fire; it is not a case of the main food
(cholent) maintaining the heat level of the lesser food (kishke, kugel).
(18) Still other poskim suggest that a foil or plastic wrapping is not
considered a "vessel" normally used for "insulation."(19)
But all poskim permit placing wrapped kishke or kugel in a cholent -
before Shabbos - if one of the following conditions is met:
If the kishke or kugel is not completely cooked before it is placed
the cholent, and it is being put into the cholent to finish cooking.(20)
This is permitted because the purpose of putting the bag or foil into the
cholent is not to insulate the kishke or kugel. Rather, the bag or foil is
merely holding food that requires further cooking, which is permitted.(21)
If the bag or foil is left partially open, or if it is punctured.(22)
This way, one is permitted to submerge the bag or foil in the cholent,
even if its contents are fully cooked, because one would never insulate
food in an open or punctured container. Obviously, the foods were placed
in the cholent in order to absorb its taste.(23)
Note: Some people who cook cholent in a Crock-Pot place the cholent
ingredients in a bag and then put the bag in the pot. This is permitted
according to all views, since the purpose is not to "insulate" the food
but to keep the pot as clean as possible.(24)
QUESTION: If a Jewish-owned corporation declares bankruptcy, does
halachah require the shareholders to pay the suppliers and creditors from
their personal funds?
DISCUSSION: Generally, no. A corporation, by definition, means that
shareholders are not held accountable for the debts of the corporation.
The halachah recognizes this as well,(25) since the suppliers and lenders
are aware that they are doing business with a corporation, and that the
shareholders are not personally liable.
In the atypical case where the suppliers or lenders were unaware that they
were doing business with a corporation but were under the mistaken
impression that they were lending money or selling goods to a private
partnership or to the shareholders as individuals, then the halachah may
be different. A rav or a beis din must be consulted.
Another case where the shareholders could be personally liable for the
corporation's debts is if the shareholders abused their trust and illegally
deposited company money in their personal accounts. Technically speaking,
the money which is in their personal accounts is not "personal" at all; it
is still the corporation's money, and the creditors or suppliers should
receive their due. A rav or a beis din must be consulted.(26)
1 Mishnah Berurah 124:37.
2 Sha'arei Teshuvah 124:5, quoted by Mishnah Berurah, ibid.
3 Mishnah Berurah 124:37.
4 Although many poskim mention 72 minutes as the time when digestion
begins, in reality, this time frame depends on each individual's digestive
system and on the amount of food that he ate. Thus a better method to
determine the onset of digestion is when one no longer feels full from the
previous meal and is ready to eat again.
5 Harav C. Kanievsky; She'alas Rav, pg. 276.
6 Mishnah Berurah 184:7.
7 Mishnah Berurah 184:3.
8 Beiur Halachah 178:2, s.v. tzarich.
9 Beiur Halachah 178:2. s.v. im heisiach.
10 Even if it is less than a k'zayis; Mishnah Berurah 184:9.
11 Based on Aruch ha-Shulchan 184:3.
12 But l'chatchilah he should not leave the location where he ate until
after reciting borei nefashos; Mishnah Berurah 178:36.
13 Aruch ha-Shulchan 258:3; Minchas Yitzchak 8:17; Shevet ha-Levi 3:47.
See Igros Moshe O.C. 4:74 (Hatmanah 3), who prohibits placing kugel
completely wrapped in aluminum foil on top of the cholent pot cover.
14 Insulating a pot which is left on the fire - even prior to Shabbos - is
prohibited because the Rabbis feared that if one were to find on Shabbos
that the insulation failed to heat the food sufficiently, he would
inadvertently adjust the temperature of the fire.
15 258:2 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 6. [Chazon Ish O.C. 37:32 disagrees with
the basic ruling of the Taz and does not consider a submerged vessel as a
violation of Hatmanah.]
16 This ruling is based on the argument that when an item is submerged, it
is in fact being "insulated," since the submersion causes the temperature
of the submerged item to be retained or intensified.
17 Note that the case that the Taz discusses involves a bottle of cold
liquid being submerged in a bowl of hot water which is not on a fire. Our
case involves a food being submerged in a food which is on a fire. The
cases are not comparable for several reasons.