By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

A Review of Reshumei Aharon, Part 3. In the July 5 and July 19 issues, we began to review Reshumei Aharon (Vol. I, 92 pages and Vol. II, 45 pages, typeset by Machon Daas Z’keinim in Lakewood), written by Rav Aharon Felder, a talmid muvhak of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt’l. In addition to the remarkable vignettes and halachos from Orach Chaim, as were detailed in the previous articles, halachos from the other parts of the Shulchan Aruch are noteworthy as well.

Yoreh Deah

In regard to the laws of bishul akum, a gentile is not believed to forbid the food by saying that the pilot light was extinguished and he relit it. The food remains kosher and we assume that the fire kept burning unless it is known some other way to be true (p. 34).

Rav Feinstein further ruled that ideally one should not rely upon a Jew having previously lit the pilot light. This should only be relied upon for a short period of time (p. 35). [Rav Felder explained to this author that Rav Feinstein’s concern was that people might forget about bishul akum.]

Potatoes have the status in modern times of an important food and are subject to the strictures of bishul akum (ibid).

Soybeans are not considered an important enough food to be subsumed under the prohibition of bishul akum (ibid).

There is no bittul b’shishim (negation of 1 part in 60) regarding that which is forbidden to eat because of danger, such as a combination fish and meat (ibid). [This is actually a dispute between the Shach and TaZ in Y.D. 95:3. Most poskim (see Chasam Sofer Y.D. 101, Yam shel Shlomo Chulin #15, are lenient like the Shach.]

If someone had adopted a stringency because he believed that this was the opinion of his rabbi, and subsequently was informed that this was not his opinion, there is no need for a hataras nedarim, undoing the oath (p. 60). At a separate time, Rav Feinstein explained that a handshake is like a neder, an oath (ibid).

A person should never take his father or mother to a din Torah (p. 61). [This is also in Sefer Chassidim #584. It would also seem that the same ruling would apply to taking one’s rebbe to a beis din–RYH].

It is forbidden to buy and sell unkosher commodities (p. 36). [Thus pork-belly trading is a no-no.]

If someone wishes to study in Israel and it is a time of perceived danger, he must ask his parents’ permission to study there. Someone in kollel must also ask his in-laws, for even though there is no full obligation to accord them honor like parents, it is forbidden to cause them anguish (p. 61).

When there is a hachnasas sefer Torah, and the sofer really finishes the sefer Torah, but the wealthy donors think that they are writing the letters, there is no deception involved here. The money they have donated is considered to be full tzedakah.

Insurance money paid for a sefer Torah that was destroyed does not have kedushah to it, and may be used for other purposes (p. 65).

It is denigrating to a sefer Torah to take a photograph of it unless there is a good reason to do so (p. 67).

In regard to hilchos pidyon ha’ben (the laws of redeeming a firstborn son), it seems that a typographical error has entered into Rabbi Felder’s text. On page 69, it states that the child of a bas kohein or bas Levi with a gentile does not require a pidyon ha’ben. However, in Shulchan Aruch it states that the child of a bas Levi does not require a pidyon, but the child of a bas kohein with a gentile does require a pidyon ha’ben. There is an obvious error here.

Rabbi Felder clarified the typo and stated that Rav Moshe was ruling on a case where both parents were Jewish, but the mother had become disqualified from marrying a kohein prior to the birth of the child, but after the child was conceived. In that case, Rav Feinstein had ruled that child is still exempt from requiring a pidyon ha’ben.

Back in the laws of family purity, Rav Felder quotes Rav Moshe as forbidding a kesem that was found on colored garments if it was the yom havest (p. 48). [This author (RYH) believes that this is an extremely controversial ruling, as the Shiuri Sheivet HaLevi 190:10:3 “HaYom” writes that only ba’alei nefesh are stringent in this regard, and Rav Elyashiv permits it altogether.]

Even HaEzer

In a kesubah (marriage document), if the word “v’kanina” was left out entirely, one may write the word in, but the witnesses must sign the kesubah again. If, however, the line of the kuf in the word v’kanina was left out, it may be filled in, with no need for the witnesses to sign again (p. 77).

There is no need to separately rent the yichud room, because this is already included in the hall rental. [The husband must take his wife into his own residence owned or rented by him in order to fulfill yichud required for marriage.]

When there is a great need, it is permissible to arrange a get by means of a video–this is preferable to a telephone. This is only on condition, of course, that they are 100 percent certain that it is indeed the husband. [Although Rav Moshe, zt’l, passed away long before Skype, it would seem to this author (RYH) that this leniency would apply to Skype too.]

When there is a great need, one may give a get up until 50 minutes after shekiyah (presumably with the date on the previous day). [In the view of this author (RYH), this ruling seems to be extremely controversial.]

Choshen Mishpat

If someone printed a book without the permission of the owners, it is permitted to purchase it from the publisher while an injunction has not been issued. The reason is that there is an assumption that the owner is not adamant (p. 91).

If a car was sold with the specific mileage on it stated, and the odometer had been tampered with, even if the seller was unaware of it, the sale of the car is invalid. If the seller made no mention of the mileage and the seller was unaware that the odometer was tampered with, the sale is valid (p. 86).

When a charitable institution conducts a raffle and they forgot to place one person’s ticket in it, they are not obligated to refund the money, since his main intent is for charity (p. 86). [It would be a good question as to whether this applies to Chinese auctions as well. In this author’s experience, people’s main intent is the possibility of winning and at the very least it would seem likely that one should ask the person. By the same token, if it is a high-stakes raffle, such as a limited-sales one, and each ticket is $50 or $100, it would seem likely that keeping the money may constitute theft–RYH.]

When parents purchase a car for their child, they still have the right to place restrictions and conditions on its use after they give it to him. The rationale is that it is not a matanah gemurah, a complete gift (p. 87). [Author’s note: One has to wonder how the child could have asked such a question. Were there so many “takers” back in the ’70s when this was asked? Hopefully, it was the parents who posed it as a theoretical question.]

Regarding the laws of mekach ta’us (erroneous sale), if someone sold a house with a faulty boiler and the purchaser was unaware of it, the sale is still valid. The reason is that there is no ona’ah in regard to landed properties. It is, however, forbidden to knowingly mislead a buyer in such a situation (p. 86).

It is permitted to call the police to report a thief who is Jewish, and there is no halachic issue of mesirah. For it is impossible to allow the state to become completely lawless (p. 91).

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All in all, both volumes are extremely fascinating works. The reader will not regret purchasing them. v

The author can be reached at


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