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Around the Jewish Year

Rosh Hashana: Shehechiyanu on a fresh pineapple on the second night

Rabbi Moshe Bloom, Elul 5779

Can I say a Shehechiyanu on a fresh pineapple on the second night of Rosh Hashana?

Nissan: Birkat ha’ilanot on trees grafted in a forbidden manner

Rabbi Yoel Friedemann

Can one say birkat ha’ilanot on trees grafted in a forbidden fashion?

Pesach: Taking terumot and ma'aserot from horseradish with a blessing

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

Do I need to separate terumot and ma'aserot from horseradish (chrain) with a blessing?

Pesach: Working with chametz on Pesach

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

My workplace is not particularly observant, so the religious employees take off on Pesach. The reason is primarily because our work, which involves raising insects (for agricultural research), requires handling a substrate that is possibly chametz. The mixture consists of sugar, yeast, water, a little bit of acid, and bran. Is this actually chametz? What should we do? Some of the employees are resentful that their religious coworkers "can't work" on chol hamo'ed, since this prevents everyone else from taking off during that time. In short: is it permissible to work on chol hamoed Pesach at this place?

Here are answers to clarifying questions:

  • Was the substrate prepared before or on Pesach?  Before Pesach.
  • Is it wet or dry?  Wet
  • Is it edible?  Not in the least. Not even fit for a dog. The larvae (of the flies we cultivate in the lab) feed off of it.
  • What is done with the substrate?  We place the fly eggs in it, and the larvae that develop from them feed off of it.
  • Is the yeast synthetic or from barley?  They are beer preserves.
  • Is the bran free of wheat kernels?  Yes, it consists of parts of the shell of the wheat kernels, but it does not include the kernels at all.

Nissan: Birkat Ha'ilanot on trees that blossom twice annually

Rabbi Yoel Friedemann

I have two questions about birkat ha'ilanot:

  • Can we make the blessing on trees that blossom twice a year (lemon, mango, petango)? What about those that bloom twice but only produce fruit once a year (mango)?
  • Why don't we make this blessing over olive trees?

Pesach: Sprouting legumes (kitniyut) on Pesach

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I'm performing my national service at the Science Garden, and we are planning an activity for Pesach about trees, burning, and renewal. We would also like to hold a workshop on sprouting seeds. Is it possible to sprout legumes (beans, hummus, lentils, peas, etc.)? Are legumes forbidden only to eat, or are all the prohibitions that pertain to chametz apply also to legumes?


Pesach: Eating watermelon and pumpkin seeds on Pesach

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel

Is it permitted to those who avoid legumes (kitniyut) to eat watermelon and pumpkin seeds on Pesach?


Nissan: Birkat ha'ilanot vs. Shekacha lo ba'olamo

Rabbi Ehud Achituv

Whoever sees especially beautiful creations recites the blessing shekacha lo ba'olamo; "Who has such things in His world."
Whoever goes out to fields or gardens in the days of Nissan and sees trees blossoming and budding recites birkat ha'ilanot, the blessing for the trees: "Blessed … who has withheld nothing from His world, and has created in it beautiful creatures and trees for human beings to enjoy.'"  What is the difference between both blessings?

Pesach: What do we do with sheaves of wheat during Pesach

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'artez Institute

We went for a nature hike and the kids gathered sheaves of wheat. Is it permissible to keep these sheaves for decoration, even during Pesach, or is it considered chametz gamur? What should we do with all the sheaves?

Pesach: Selling products with wheat flour or protien

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel

Are we supposed to sell products what include wheat protein or wheat flour (soup mix, for example) with the chametz?