Reviewed by Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Rav Dovid Feinstein, zt’l (1929–2020), was the leading posek in the United States since his father Rav Moshe, zt’l (1895–1986), passed away. Rav Moshe, zt’l, answered thousands of halachic queries each year and left an entire legacy of responsa. Rav Dovid answered thousands of halachic questions every year as well, but until now we did not have a written record of his rulings. This new sefer of Rav Dovid’s ruling will sell out in no time.
Rav Yitzchok Frankel, shlita, the rav of Agudath Israel of Cedarhurst, is one of the leading talmidim of both Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt’l, and his son Rav Dovid Feinstein, zt’l. Fortunately, Rav Frankel kept meticulous records of the she’eilos that he and others had posed to Rav Dovid.
Baruch Hashem, Rav Dovid’s rulings on four sections of Shluchan Aruch have now been printed in a beautiful two-volume work titled, “She’eilos U’Teshuvos Yad Dodi” with footnotes from Rabbi Frankel. (Volume I has 282 pages, Volume II has 252 pages, and there are 96 pages in the index.)
There are some fascinating rulings in the sefer, including the following:
One only needs to make a zecher l’Churban if he is building a new house or expanding his home, not if he purchased a home from an eino Yehudi. If someone did not make a zecher l’Churban when he should have, he should do so now.
On Rosh Hashanah, Rav Dovid, zt’l, held that one should eat the simanim after one has washed on challah (not like the Mateh Efraim 600:6, but in accordance with the MB 583:3).
On Rosh Hashanah we should not daven for personal things except for what is in the Machzor already.
If something contains vinegar but the sour taste is not detectable it is permitted to eat on Rosh Hashanah. We do eat lemon, but no vinegar, mustard, or chrein.
Rav Dovid held that it is fine for a shul to arrange for Selichos after 11:00 p.m. at night.
Breadcrumbs (for chicken or fish) must be pas Yisrael during the 10 days of Repentance. The same with bagels.
Yeshivos have building funds that parents are instructed to pay—it is maaserable.
One cannot blow up an inflatable mattress on Shabbos or yom tov.
One may not put pickles back in the pickle juice on Shabbos.
Rav Dovid held that there is no problem of sechitah when using a toothbrush without toothpaste.
There is also an entire section on weddings and sheva berachos.
Rav Dovid held that a chassan and kallah may take pictures together before the chuppah.
“Woodmere” is spelled with three consecutive vavs, a dalet, a mem, a yud and a reish. It doesn’t matter whether one writes Spring Valley or Monsey for the Atrium.
There are three rulings for diabetics.
If someone has low blood sugar on Shabbos and needs to drink orange juice, he drinks it without making Kiddush first, as it is too dangerous to wait for Kiddush.
A diabetic who cannot drink wine and cannot tolerate coffee should use tea for Havdallah.
A diabetic should consult with a doctor regarding fasting on Yom Kippur; most of the time he or she can fast.
As an aside, Reb Dovid was once asked how Hatzalah organizations should rule in regard to a dispute between the Mishnah Berurah and the Aruch HaShulchan. The issue is in a case of pikuach nefesh, a life-threatening matter, but it is not exactly an emergency—in other words, there is plenty of time to deal with the situation and no one is in a state of panic. Do we attempt to minimize the Shabbos violation in such a case? Should we try to do it through a gentile, or to perform what needs to be done in a manner that only involves a rabbinic violation?
When there is plenty of time, and there is no concern of danger of any sort if there is a delay, the Rema rules (OC 328:12) that we do attempt to minimize the Shabbos violations. While the other view (that of the Beis Yosef and the Rambam 2:11) is that no minimization is required, Ashkenazic Jewry has followed the custom that we do minimize Shabbos violation when no delay or confusion will be incurred on that account. This is the view of the Raavya cited in the Ohr Zaruah, the Shiltei Gibborim, and the Maggid Mishnah (Hilchos Shabbos 2:11 citing the Ramban) and is cited by the Rema as the authoritative halachah. This also seems to be how the Mishnah Berurah rules. The Aruch HaShulchan adopts the Beis Yosef’s view.
Rav Dovid answered that the question cannot be answered across the board—each posek of each Hatzalah branch should pasken in accordance with his community. However, Rav Dovid stated that he would pasken like the Aruch HaShulchan.
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