A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

photoDue to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

If you would like my phone number to submit questions, please leave a comment and I will send it to you.

Q: I have a wall that encloses the front of my home, and it has a gate.  It has no top bar crossing over it.  Does it need a mezzuzah?
A: Only doorways with lintels need to have mezzuzos.

Q: One of our doorposts in the house has doorposts and a lintel but the lintel isn’t directly above the doorposts.  Does it need a mezzuzah?

A: No, only if they line up – even if the doorposts don’t actually reach all the way up to the lintel.  In other words, they have to at least potentially reach the lentil if they were taller.  (Chovat Hadar 7:10)

Q: Our roof overhangs the front of our house, and there are a few pillars that support the edge of the roof.  When you enter through the front door, you have to pass through them.  Do they each need a mezzuzah since they have the shape of a doorway?

A: They do not since they are for support/decoration (Chovat Hadar 7:9).

Q: I know you are supposed to start the seven clean days of niddah before sunset of the day before, but I was a couple of minutes late.  Does it still count?

A: First of all, you must verify that it was actually after sunset.  If it was, the vast majority of authorities are strict regarding this issue, but in pressing circumstances according to R. Moshe Feinstein one may be lenient if it is a very short time afterwards.  It is worthwhile to discuss particular circumstances with your rabbi.

Q: I’m making pasta in a parve pot and by mistake used a meat wooden spoon not used in 24 hrs. What is the status of the pasta and the pot. Ty

 A: Both are pareve

Q: Is a vanilla ice coffee from Starbucks kosher?

A: Yes – even though some are strict due to the possible contamination in the dishwasher if the Starbucks location serves non-kosher food, it is customary to be lenient.

Q: How do you usually go about finding out if a kosher symbol is reliable?

A: Unfortunately, determination of reliability is anything but straightforward. The basic question is this: Does an organization follow the (somewhat flexible) baseline set by the big 4 major national kashrus organizations?  Does it have sufficient resources to properly enforce that baseline?  The easiest is to check if cRc recognizes it publicly on their website. But if they don’t recommend a particular symbol, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything – they have very narrow criteria for their list.  You can often get more information by calling them directly or speaking to a kashrus professional.  Hechshers.info is a fantastic resource for identifying obscure symbols – once you know what an organization is called and where it is located, you can research its reliability.  Also you can google the kashrus magazine list of non-Orthodox hechsherim as well which is helpful since in that case you can assume that they wouldn’t follow that baseline in most cases (though there may be some exceptions).  Sometimes I have first-hand experience with an organization from working together with them.  It also depends on the sensitivity of the product in question. I can send you links to a couple of articles if you want that can give you more context.


Source: Rabbi Isaacs Blog

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