Miscellany: A-D (Angels, Bar Mitzva, Chazaka, Doormats...)


Asking Angels for Help

You may ask angels to intercede, as is done in Shalom Aleichem, in which people ask the angels to ask God for the help that they want. But you may not ask angels to help you directly.


Bar Mitzva and Adar 2 Birthday

If a boy born in Adar 2 will be bar mitzva in a year with only one Adar, his bar mitzva is in Adar, not in Nisan. If a boy born in Adar 1 will be 13 years old in a year with two Adars, his bar mitzva will be in Adar 2.


A bedroom should have enough light to see a person if you sleep alone. Any detectable light is sufficient.


Owning Business that Violates Torah Law

Owning a business that has any violations of Torah laws is forbidden.


Own a non-kosher restaurant that sells food containing meat and milk that have been cooked together.

Own or operate a business that is open on Shabbat or Jewish festivals.

NOTE: You may sell your business to a non-Jew for Shabbat and Jewish festivals, but consult a rabbi for details.

Stockholder in Business that Violates Torah Law

You may be a minority owner or shareholder in a business that violates Torah law, but not if the majority of the business is owned by Jews (even if they are not shomer Shabbat Jews). Consult a rabbi for details and exceptions.


When To Separate Challa 

You must separate a small portion of dough for the cohanim/priests whenever you make bread, rolls, or pizza of the five grains in certain quantities. This separated portion is called “challa.”

NOTE: Since there is no Temple at present, we burn the portion of dough.

The requirement to separate challa applies to dough baked at home or commercially (such as a pizza shop), whether for eating on weekdays or for Shabbat/Jewish festivals.


Any action that is done three times consecutively is assumed to be a promise (neder)/permanent habit unless you determine ahead of time that it should not be (you do not need to say so out loud, just think it).

NOTE: The principle that doing something three times is considered a neder only applies to a good custom (“minhag tov”) or to a mitzva.


Contraception is generally not permitted for men (contraceptives, vasectomy, etc.); for women, consult a rabbi.


Non-Jew Must Violate Shabbat

A non-Jew is not permitted to observe Shabbat completely. He or she must do at least one violation. This is relevant for people who are in the process of converting to Judaism.

Minor Child Convert

A minor child who has converted to Judaism is considered to be Jewish even though he or she is permitted to decline to stay Jewish once reaching 12 (for girls) or 13 (for boys) years old. He or she may handle uncooked wine once he/she has converted.

Minor Child: How To Convert

A minor child is converted to Judaism the same way as an adult: immersion into a mikva and, for a boy, circumcision (which must be done before immersion in a mikva).

NOTE: A child may not be converted against the will of the child's parent or guardian.

Bet Din

A bet din (religious Jewish men constituting a court of Jewish law) is needed for a conversion at the mikva and also for a brit mila for the purpose of conversion.


Beginning of Jewish Day

For all practical purposes, the Jewish day always starts at or near sunset (Yom Kippur starts slightly before sunset).

Halachic Day

A halachic “day” is usually from sunset of one day to nightfall of the subsequent day regarding: cutting nails; kaddish, etc.


Shalom Doormat

You should not own nor step on a doormat that says “Shalom.”

REASON: This is one of God's names.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their website for more information.