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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Yosef Caro’

Q & A: A Kohen Traveling By Airplane To Israel

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003
QUESTION: I am a kohen and will soon be traveling to Israel for the first time. I have been told that very often EL AL and other carriers transport remains for burial in Israel, and therefore I must check the flight. Is that so?
ANSWER: I can assure you that there is no problem in your traveling by airplane to Israel, as we will explain.This discussion is based on a responsum of my uncle, HaRav Sholom Klass, zt”l, on this very matter.

The Gaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein discusses this subject in Iggrot Moshe (Yoreh De’ah 164:276 [1973]). He considers an airplane to be one large keli, that is, a large vessel or utensil. If a vessel or container is constructed out of the following metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead, it is susceptive to ritual impurity. Thus, if a deceased person is in such a vessel, the uncleanness is passed on to every part of it. He points out, however, that this applies only to these six metals which conduct tum’ah (uncleanness). Since the Torah itemizes only these metals, the implication is that a utensil consisting of other alloys (such as aluminum, plastic, etc.) does not acquire or conduct uncleanness. Today’s airplanes are made out of steel, which is a product of iron, and the floors separating the passenger compartment from the cargo compartment are covered with carpeting. The carpeting is usually made of nylon, which is a product of coal and other ingredients.

The author of the Shulchan Aruch, R. Yosef Caro, discusses the case of a deceased person who reposes in a room of a house (Yoreh De’ah 371:4). Even though all the doors and windows of that room are locked, a kohen is not permitted to enter the house if there is only one entrance to the house. Since the kohen wouldn’t know when the corpse would be carried out, he might be exposed to passing it in the hallway at such a time.But the Rema does not agree and he permits a kohen to remain in the same house, provided that all the windows and doors [of that room] are closed.

If there are two separate entrances in an airplane, one for cargo and one for the passengers, and it is impossible for the passengers and the cargo to cross paths, there would be no problem according to the view of the Rema (see also Gesher Hachayim 6:2).

According to the management of EL AL, the cargo compartment on its planes is a completely separate unit, with its own separate entrance. It is also totally sealed, the passenger compartment having compressed air while the cargo compartment does not. This could be compared to two separate houses, attached to each other, each with a separate entrance and sealed off from each other; this would be permitted to a kohen.

Also, not every flight carries a casket. According to an EL AL official, approximately half of its flights do not carry a deceased person. Therefore the situation becomes a safek, a doubtful case. Moreover, today we classify kohanim as ‘safek kohanim,’ doubtful kohanim. Therefore this becomes a ‘safek sefeka,’ a doubtful doubt – which makes it permissible.

Q & A: Hachana (Part IV)

Friday, July 11th, 2003

QUESTION: Is it halachically permissible to pack on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on the next day?

Moishe Halberstam, Esq.


ANSWER: We began our discussion with the general premise that it is preferable not to pack on Shabbat or a holiday in preparation of a trip to be taken on a subsequently, on a weekday.
Some halachic authorities prohibit doing so. This activity would be categorized as hachana or preparation on Shabbat or a holiday for a need after Shabbat or the holiday, which is prohibited. Items not intended for use on the same day (Shabbat or a holiday) are considered muktzeh, a biblically-based concept (Exodus 16:5, Beitza 2b), the Torah’s frame of reference being food preparation.

In order to be able to prepare food on one day of a holiday for the next day of that holiday or for a Shabbat that immediately follows it, an eruv tavshilin (two types of food set aside as preparation of a meal) is prepared, the reasoning being that food is prepared for that same day and it is the leftovers that are used on the following day. With this reasoning, the prohibition of hachana is avoided in the preparation of food. Though the Torah refers to food only, other
types of preparation are included as well.

We also focused on the issues of hachana as they relate to garments and beds. Garments may be folded after being worn if they will be worn again on Shabbat; if they are folded by just one
person; are new and not laundered yet; are white, and if the person has no other garment to wear. Beds may be made up on Friday night for the Shabbat day, but not on Shabbat in preparation for Saturday night. However, should the unmade bed provide embarrassment (i.e., it is in a room where one will receive guests), the bed may be made, as this is now a need for Shabbat itself. A comment by Mishna Berura (Orach Chayyim 302:3-18) indicates that not to fold at all (on Shabbat or a holiday) is a praiseworthy stringency.

Please Note: Last week’s installment of our discussion should have followed this week’s but was inadvertently printed a week early. We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

* * *

The Machatzit Hashekel (Orach Chayyim 302) cites Eliyahu Rabbah in the name of the Kol Bo, who explains that all the conditions regarding folding are required precisely because such
folding has no lasting effect nor does it fulfill a need. If he has another garment to wear, albeit not as nice, the Acharonim all agreed that in that event it is prohibited to fold. However, when R. Yosef Caro’s remark, permitting folding if ‘he folds it in a manner different from its original folding,’ is accepted by everyone.

The Magen Avraham (Hilchot Tzitzit), however, as we noted, is strict regarding Shabbat, opining that we do not fold at all [and in all fairness, the Magen Avraham is consistent since he does not cite here the Mechaber's lenient view in regard to folding that is not done following the original folding creases].

The Machatzit Hashekel suggests that since there are those who are more strict, and since the Mechaber himself cited this stricter view at the outset, and only concluded with a lenient position, according to which he ruled, the Magen Avraham therefore added in Hilchot Tzitzit that one who takes his friend’s tallit on Shabbat need not fold it because even though it will sustain a small loss (the creases), we apply here the rule that it is accepted that one is content when his fellow fulfills a mitzva with his possessions.

The Aruch HaShulchan (O.Ch. 302:10-12) cites the Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 22:22): ‘An individual may not fix [press] sleeves of clothes and set the creases in the manner of repair done during the week when one washes them; likewise, one does not fold clothing on Shabbat in the same manner that one does on weekdays when one washes them. However, if one has no other garment to wear, one may fold it and straighten it out and then wear it in order that he derive pleasure from it on Shabbat. But it must be a new, white garment because in such a case it gets creased and soiled quickly, and when he folds it he should do so alone, without
the assistance of a second person as that is forbidden.’

The Aruch HaShulchan explains that we see from Rambam’s words that he would forbid this act because of tikkun (repair). And such is the case only when it involves the sort of tikkun that is considered ma’aseh umman – professional work. Rambam rules likewise (Hilchot Shabbat 23:7) regarding making beds on Shabbat - also because of tikkun.

The Ravad (O.Ch. 23:7) disagrees, and rules that the reason for forbidding making the beds [in preparation] for Motza’ei Shabbat is tircha (painstaking labor).

The Aruch HaShulchan then goes on to explain the difference between these two reasons – tircha and tikkun. According to Rambam, who doesn’t consider tircha a prohibited activity, it
would thus be permitted to fold our clothing in a simple manner where there is no tikkun to the garment, even [though its next use will be] for a weekday.

The Ravad, however, would forbid such ‘preparation’ from Shabbat to weekday because it engenders tircha.

The Aruch HaShulchan comments that according to Ravad the folding of clothing for weekdays would be prohibited if it engenders tircha even though it would not cause tikkun. And he cites as proof to that view the Tosafot (Shabbos 113a) which we quoted at the outset: ‘From here we derive that it is forbidden to fold tallitot of the synagogue [on Shabbat, at the conclusion of the tefilla] because their being folded is a need for tomorrow.’

The Aruch HaShulchan clarifies [Tosafot] as regards a tallit according to what we now understand. There is no possibility of tikkun keli (repairing the garment) resulting from the manner we fold it but it is rather a problem of tircha.

And he adds: But to throw the garment (the tallit) without folding it at all is not proper accepted behavior, and thus the reason for the prohibition [according to Tosafot and Ravad] is a specific meticulous type of folding, but our folding, which is not really perfect, even he [Raavad] would agree to permit.

He then cites the Mordechai who quotes an early source that confirms that if one folds, but not in the normal manner, even where there is no further need for that item, such as a tallit after
the synagogue prayer service, one would be allowed – even according to Tosafot and Ravad – since it entails no tircha.

However, the overwhelming view - Rashi, Rambam, Tur, R. Yosef Caro, the Kol Bo - is that tircha is not a concern, but rather tikkun - and when we fold not in the original manner, there is no tikkun.

The Aruch HaShulchan states that based on this view ‘many today fold their tallitot [on Shabbat].’

The Aruch HaShulchan also points out the curious absence of hatza’at hamitot (making the beds) from the Mechaber’s ruling.

Indeed, the Aruch HaShulchan clearly considers hatza’at hamitot and kippul (folding) to be one and the same. And he notes, as we quoted, ‘to throw the garment (the tallit) without folding it at all is not proper accepted behavior.’ Just imagine what our synagogues would look like after the prayer service for the rest of the day if we were not to neatly fold our tallitot and put them away. (The same applies to putting away siddurim, chumashim and other sefarim.)

Surely this is the same reasoning to permit making the beds on Shabbat. As the Chayyei Addam states (Klal 60), we [do] make the beds for the need of beautifying the house, but not for the need of Motza’ei Shabbat. As we noted earlier, our beds are usually in rooms that we use and see in the course of Shabbat. Thus we would permit their being made on Shabbat, even though their next use will be on Motza’ei Shabbat.

(To be continued) 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/q-a-hachana-part-iv/2003/07/11/

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