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Ask the Rabbi #101

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Ask the Rabbi

23 March 1996; Issue #101

  • Parents with Bread
  • Heavenly Journey
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    Parents with Bread


    Anonymous from Jerusalem wrote:

    I am living with my parents now and they do not keep mitzvot nor Shabbat nor the holidays. They are respectful but they just don't know and can't be bothered to learn.

    Pesach is coming up. I am trying to arrange with them to go out to a kosher Hotel for the first two nights (including the Seder - hope that works out) but as far as cleaning for Pesach I don't know what to do. My parents may/may not want to clean up, and even if we try to, I'm convinced they will bring chametz [leaven] in at some point (knowingly or not).

    Dear Anonymous,

    The Torah prohibits owning chametz on Pesach. This is derived from the verse "Nothing leavened should be seen in your possession."

    This prohibition applies only to chametz which you own. It does not apply to someone else's chametz -- even if it's in your house.

    Assuming that your parents own (or rent) the house and assuming that all the chametz in the house belongs to them, then it is their responsibility to get rid of the chametz, not yours.

    Of course, chametz which you personally own you have to get rid of before Pesach. Also, any of your personal belongings in which you might put chametz require a pre-Pesach search. For example, pockets and knapsacks should be checked for forgotten candy bars or half-eaten sandwiches.

    But since you are a 'guest' in your parents home -- i.e., you have no ownership or legal rights over your room -- you wouldn't say the blessing when searching for chametz.

    I spoke to Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlita, and he said that a child may stay at his parents home for Pesach even if they haven't removed their chametz.

    The best scenario would be if you could agree with your parents to keep the house chametz-free. That way, your parents will be doing a mitzvah, and also, neither you nor your parents will accidentally eat any chametz. But this must all be done in a way that causes no friction between you and your parents and conveys no disrespect to them whatsoever.

    You mentioned 'the first two nights' of Yom Tov. Since you live in Israel, you should consult a halachic authority concerning how many days of Yom Tov to observe.

    Wishing you a Chag Kasher V'Somayach!


    • Exodus 13:17, Tractate Pesachim 5b
    • Chayei Adam 119:18, Chok Yaakov Orach Chaim 436
    • After the Return, Rabbi Mordechai Becher and Rabbi Moshe Newman, p. 80

    Heavenly Journey


    <> wrote:

    There is a version of the Tefillat Haderech [traveler's prayer] for regular travel and a version for flying in an airplane. When you fly are you supposed to say both?

    Dear <> wrote

    Someone who sets out on a journey says Tefillat Haderech -- the traveler's prayer. Tefillat Haderech is a prayer asking Hashem to protect us from 'accidents, wild animals, bandits, and all types of calamities that befall the world.'

    When the Sages composed this prayer, different methods of travel existed -- e.g., travel by foot, coach or ship. Each type of travel had it's own particular perils. Nevertheless, the Sages did not differentiate, composing only one version of the prayer for all the different types of travel.

    The original version of Tefillat Haderech is as relevant to air travel as it is to travel by ship at sea, and therefore there's no need for an airplane version. So although there is a widespread custom to add a supplemental prayer for air travel, there's no need to do so.

    Concerning cars: Someone once asked his rabbi why, in our day, we pray for protection from 'wild beasts' when traveling by car? From which 'wild beasts' do we need protection? "The other drivers," the rabbi answered.

    And speaking of air travel: An 'entrepreneur' chartered a passenger plane to a far away island. "Big Iron Bird will fly you to beautiful land," he told the inhabitants, who climbed excitedly aboard the 'Big Iron Bird.'

    When the plane began experiencing turbulence, he told the frightened passengers, "Iron Bird is hungry! Iron Bird needs gold to eat! Or else Iron Bird will fall down!" He walked up and down the aisle with a sack into which everyone emptied all their gold. Soon the sack was brimming with coins, rings and ornaments.

    One of the passengers sighed as he placed into the sack a jewel-studded necklace worth $300.

    "Jarunx!" said the person next to him, "Such a great loss!"

    "Yeah," said the man. "And just think, British Airways has the same flight for $269 plus mileage perks!"

    • Written by Rabbi Moshe Lazerus, Rabbi Benzion Bamberger, Rabbi Reuven Subar, Rabbi Avrohom Lefkowitz and other Rabbis at Ohr Somayach Institutions / Tanenbaum College, Jerusalem, Israel.
    • General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    • Production Design: Lev Seltzer
    • HTMIL Design: Michael Treblow

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