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Weekly Halacha

Rosh Chodesh

Question: If, after davening Mussaf on Rosh Chodesh, one realized that he forgot to recite Ya’aleh v’Yavo during Shacharis, is he required to repeat the Shacharis Shemoneh Esreh?

Discussion: The poskim are divided in their opinions as to whether or not one needs to repeat Shacharis in this case. The proper procedure, therefore, is to repeat the Shemoneh Esreh while stipulating (in advance) that in case this Shemoneh Esreh is not obligatory, then it should be considered a tefillas nedavah, a voluntary prayer[1]. [Although generally we avoid davening a tefillas nedavah due to our deficient kavanah[2], in this case, where many authorities require the Shemoneh Esreh to be repeated, we may make the above stipulation[3]. ]

Question: If one forgot to daven Mussaf (on Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh or Yom Tov) and only remembered to do so in the afternoon, which should he daven first — Mussaf or Minchah?

Discussion: In most cases, Mussaf should be davened first, followed by Minchah. This is because the correct order of the prayers follows the order of the sacrifices that were brought in the Beis ha-Mikdash, and the Mussaf Sacrifice was always brought before the afternoon Korban Tamid, which was the last offering of the day[4].

[The only exception to this halachah is the case of a person who is required to daven Minchah at that particular time, e.g., before partaking in a wedding or a Sheva Berachos meal. In such a case, since one is not allowed to partake of such a meal before davening Minchah, it is considered as if the time of Minchah has arrived and one should not daven Mussaf first[5]. ]

The halachah remains the same even if a man remembered to daven Mussaf so late in the day that he would not have time to daven Minchah any longer. He should daven Mussaf, and then daven Ma’ariv twice, first as Ma’ariv and the second as a tashlumin (“makeup”) for Minchah[6]. If this happened to a woman, however, she should daven Minchah and omit Mussaf, since she is obligated (according to most poskim) to daven Minchah and it is questionable whether she is obligated in Mussaf altogether[7].

Question: Are women obligated to observe the custom of refraining from “working” on Rosh Chodesh?

Discussion: The custom that women refrain from doing certain types of work on Rosh Chodesh — both by day and by night[8] — is an age-old custom, dating back to the days of Moshe Rabbeinu, which is recorded in the Rishonim and Shulchan Aruch and should be upheld by all girls and women[9]. Whenever possible, women should not do “work” on both days of Rosh Chodesh, but if one cannot refrain from doing work on both days, she should do her “work” on the first day and refrain from working on the second[10]. See follow up Discussion for the definition of “work.”

Question: Regarding the custom for women to refrain from “working” on Rosh Chodesh, what is considered “work”?

Discussion: Over the centuries, various customs evolved as to exactly what is considered “work” vis-à-vis Rosh Chodesh[11]. Nowadays, women generally refrain from sewing, crocheting and doing laundry on Rosh Chodesh. Ironing, however, is permitted.

Some poskim hold that using a washing machine is permitted, and only washing by hand is prohibited[12]. Others are more stringent and prohibit laundering in washing machines as well[13].

1. Mishnah Berurah 422:4.

2. Chayei Adam 27:17; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 21:10.

3. Beiur Halachah 107:1, s.v. im. See Yechaveh Da’as 6:6.

4. Based on Mishnah Berurah 286:12; Aruch ha-Shulchan 286:17 and Kaf ha-Chayim 286:35-36.

5. O.C. 286:4.

6. See Mishnah Berurah 286:13; Aruch ha-Shulchan 286:17; Da’as Torah 286:4 and Kaf ha-Chayim 286:36.

7. See Mishnah Berurah 106:4.

8. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shalmei Moed, pg. 11).

9. Beiur Halachah 417:1, s.v. v’ha-nashim.

10. Mishnah Berurah 417:4.

11. Rama, O.C. 417:1; Mekor Chayim, O.C. 417:1 See Da’as Torah, O.C. 417:1.

12. Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shalmei Moed, pg. 11). See also Orchos Rabbeinu, vol. 1, pg. 177, which indicates that in the home of Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky, the women did laundry on Rosh Chodesh but refrained from sewing and crocheting.

13. Harav Y. Kamenetsky (oral ruling, Emes l’Yaakov, O.C. 417:1); Debreciner Rav (Ko Somar l’Beis Yaakov, pg. 70); Harav Y.S. Elyashiv and Harav C. Kanievsky (Mevakshei Torah, vol. 41, pg. 32).

Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and

Rabbi Neustadt is the Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Harabbonim of Detroit and the Av Beis Din of the Beis Din Tzedek of Detroit. He could be reached at



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