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What Is The Reason: Havdalah, Skype, & Holy Sins Print E-mail

What Is The ReasonWhat’s the deal with children under bar mitzvah not being allowed to drink of havdalah wine or grape juice after an adult makes a berachah and drinks some of the wine first? Is there such a thing and what’s the source? ML


My grandfather zt”l and father zt”l did not hesitate to have any of us drink from their Havdalah wine. The source is from the Seder Hayom, Inyan Motzei Shabbat. He says that we do not share the Havdalah Kos with anyone so as not to plant the seed of Havdalah/Separation within the family.

I recently read of a rabbi who used Skype to deal with a dybbuk. Can that really work? Can one fulfill an obligation of a blessing that is heard over Skype or the telephone? R.D.

I cannot address the dybbuk question. I find it hard to believe on many levels, but I am not on the level of such a rabbi.

The Rivavot Ephraim (Volume 2) rules that one can recite Havdalah for his wife over the phone, however, she still has to recite her own blessings for the spices and candle for herself. (See too Responsa Divrei Shalom, Volume 5, Dinim: #70)

The Halachot Gedolot (276) rules that one cannot fulfill their obligation of hearing the Megilla on Purim over the phone. The Yerushat Pleita rules that in emergency one can fulfill their obligation over the phone for Megilla, Torah reading, and Shofar. He also rules that Jews in prison may hear the shofar over a radio.

The Minchat Elazar rules that the phone works for the reading of the megilla, but not for shofar.

The Tzitz Eliezer rules that one may use the phone for certain things and only in case of emergency. One should, however, respond Amen to a blessing heard over the phone.

I suspect that Skype is no different, as the sound is still coming through speakers and is not considered live.

We read the story of Yael and Sisera in last week’s Haftarah. Did she have to have the intention of “for the sake of heaven,” when she was with Sisera? C.M.

The Kaf Hachaim, whose Yahrtzeit is this week, (231:10) quotes the Rashbatz in Magen Avot that, even if a person must go against the will of the Creator for an emergency, such as Yael with Sisera, they must have the intention to fulfill the will of their Father in Heaven, and this is called an Aveira lishma.

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