Miscellany: F-L (Forbidden Benefit, Jewish Education, Land of Israel...)


What Jews May Not Benefit From

Jews are forbidden from benefiting (asur b'hana'a) in any way from:

  • Bechor (first-born male) of a Jewish-owned goat, sheep, or cow
  • Chametz on Passover
  • Idols
  • Kilei ha'kerem
  • Mixtures of milk cooked with meat
  • Orla
  • Yayin nesech and possibly stam yeinam.


End of Bread Loaf and Forgetfulness

Eating the end of a loaf of bread is permissable and does not promote forgetfulness.

Using Clothing as Pillow and Forgetfulness

You may use clothing as a pillow even though it may cause forgetfulness.


Throwing Out Bread

Bread should never be thrown into trash or garbage. If you have leftover bread (or matza), crumble it and wash it down the sink.  This is not a halacha, it is considered to be good advice.You may also put it next to your compost pile or on top of paper on top of your compost pile.


VaYanuchu Vah

Say va'yanuchuvah” in the Shabbat amida for all three prayer services plus musaf. Some prayer books have “vah” (in her) at night, “voh” (in him) for Saturday morning, and “vam” (in them) for Saturday afternoon.

Elo-ah Pronounce God's name (spelled aleph, lamed, vav, heh) as Elo-ah, not Elo-ha.

HaMagbi-ah The person who lifts up the Torah after it is read is called ha'magbi-ah, not ha'magbi-hah.

Hodo When returning the Torah to the ark in the synagogue, the word is hodo (His glory), not ho-DOO (praise Him).

Yissaschar/Yissachar When reading the Torah, do not pronounce the name Yissachar as it is spelled (Yissaschar).

Note: Some people do read it as spelled but only the first time it appears in the Torah—that it, when he was born.


Shaving the Five Corners of the Beard

Men are forbidden from shaving the five corners of their beards with a razor blade, but since there are many opinions of what constitutes the five corners, razors may not be used at all when shaving.

Note: A razor is defined as a blade that can cut without having an opposing surface against which to cut.

Women and Razor Blades

Women may shave any parts of their bodies using razor blades.

When Haircuts and Shaving Are Forbidden

Here are the times when men and women are forbidden to get haircuts and men are forbidden to shave, including their necks (from most severe restrictions to least):

Most Severe Restrictions

  • Mourner for parents (no shaving for the first 30 days and no haircut until three months after his or her previous haircut).

    Note: If mourning for other relatives, you may get a haircut after 30 days.

  • From Saturday night before Tish'a B'Av until the evening after Tish'a B'Av.
  • Chol ha'moed.

Next Most-Severe Restrictions Shiv'asar B'Tamuz (17th of Tamuz) until the evening after the Shabbat preceding Tish'a B'Av.

Least-Severe Restrictions During 33 of the 49 days of counting the omer (sefirat ha'omer); that is, either from the second day of Passover until Lag Ba'Omer (33rd day of the omer) OR from Rosh Chodesh Iyar until the day before Shavuot, according to your custom.

Note: Conditions that may allow leniency are if you might lose your job or otherwise lose a large sum of money.

Rabbis and Beards

It is traditional for rabbis to grow beards but it is not required.

Cutting Boys' Hair at Age Three

Cutting boys' hair at three years old is a custom (mainly originated through Chasidim) that some people have and is not a halacha.


Saying the Names of Gods of Other Religions

You may not speak the names of the gods of other religions, in any language that is commonly used in the country in which you are currently.

Note: This only applies to gods that are still being worshiped at the present time (so this would exclude ancient Greek and Roman gods unless people are still praying to them in your country!).


Photographs of Sun or Moon

You may not take a photograph of the sun or the moon by itself and for the purpose of having an image of it, but you are not forbidden from having them in a photograph of another subject.

Photographs, Diagrams, and Worship Symbols

You may print photographs or diagrams of gods, items used for worship, or symbols used in those religions, as long as the gods are no longer worshiped (Egyptian gods, the ankh, etc.)


Introduction to Education

Jewish parents are required to give their children a Jewish education. Historically, most children learned what to do by observing their parents in their homes. Now, much Jewish education takes place in schools.

What Is Gil Chinuch

Age of Jewish education (gil chinuch) is when a child is old enough to understand the concept behind whatever halacha or observance is being taught (and not just what to say or what to do).

When Is Gil Chinuch

The age of Jewish education (gil chinuch) is more or less 6 years old but may vary with the intelligence, personality, and maturity of the child and with the particular halachic principle involved.

Who Determines Gil Chinuch

Whoever is teaching is permitted to judge what the child might understand. RMH does not approve of teaching children before they can understand. The only exception is that as soon as children start to speak, they should be taught the first sentence of the shema and “Torah tziva lanu Moshe.…”.


Personal Statement of Why Something Happened

Someone's statement of why they merited something is just their opinion and may not be the true reason.


Definition of Jewish Spirituality

"Jewish Spirituality" means an awareness of God's presence.

LAND OF ISRAEL (Eretz Yisrael)

Mitzva To Live in Eretz Yisrael

It is a mitzva to live in Eretz Yisrael but it is not required.

Non-Jews Living in Eretz Yisrael

Non-Jews are not prohibited from living in Eretz Yisrael as long they do not pray to idols.

Non-Jews Owning Land in Eretz Yisrael

A non-Jew may own land in Eretz Yisrael.  A Jew may not take the land away from the non-Jew, but a Jew may purchase land in Eretz Yisrael from a non-Jew.

Jew Selling Land in Eretz Yisrael to a Non-Jew

A Jew may not sell land in Eretz Yisrael to a non-Jew, under normal conditions.

Leaving Eretz Yisrael

If you live permanently in Eretz Yisrael, you may leave permanently in order to:

  • Get married;
  • Earn a living; or
  • Study Torah.

You may leave for vacations or for short-term trips for enjoyment.

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