A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

Due 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 bought a grill pan that says it was pre-seasoned with vegetable oil… Do you think that’s ok to use

A: Since we customarily treat vegetable oil as a product that needs a hechsher (since some processing facilities also produce animal-based oil), the pan needs to be kashered before use. It’s ideal if you have a pot big enough to immerse it in, or it can be dipped in the boiling water in parts. Keep in mind that since cast iron cookware is typically thick, you must keep it immersed until the heat penetrates it fully, i.e. until the water returns to a boil after its insertion. You don’t need to wash it beforehand (R. Dovid Cohen of the cRc in Sapirim).

Q: Just confirming that as I understand rabbi Lamm’s book, I cannot attend even a Sheva bracha.

A: It’s considered more of a simcha (happy) occasion than other celebrations and an avel (mourner) therefore cannot attend until after the first yahrzeit.

Q: If I make a soft hot pretzel out of the same dough that I use to make bread, is the bracha still borei minei mezonot?

A: Yes, since soft pretzels are not typically eaten as a meal but rather as a snack, the bracha is mezonot.

Q: If there is skin left on the fish at a fish counter but the scales have been removed, is it still kosher?

A: As long as you are able to ascertain (from prior experience, etc) that there were definitely scales, it is OK

Q: I am writing a quote in my notebook, and it has the word “G-d” in it.  Can I write it without the dash?

A: It is written with a dash when there is a concern that it will be discarded with trash – which would be disrespectful.  If you will always be keeping this notebook, that would not be a concern.

Source: Rabbi Isaacs