11 Aug HALACHICALLY SPEAKING: SUMMER HALACHOS (PART 5)
Washing Many People’s Hands for a Meal
When large groups of people are going on a trip and need to wash their hands for a meal, one should take a large barrel and wash 20-30 people’s hands at once. All should put their hands one over the other. Harav Yisroel Belsky zt”l did this many times when he went on trips with large groups during the summer.
Eating a Sandwich
Many people eat sandwiches while traveling. However, one should avoid taking more than a k’beitzah of food in his hand at one time, as this is gluttonous behavior. Therefore, it is better not to hold an entire sandwich or slice of pizza in his hands at once. One should also refrain from biting into a fruit in the street and avoid looking like a glutton.
Some say that since it is the practice to eat such sandwiches like falafel or shwarma, it is allowed.
Many camps schedule sports and other activities after lunch or supper. One should make sure that bentching is said slowly. Perhaps all should sing out loud, so that people do not rush through it in order to go the activity.
In a camp it is common to have a barbeque where people eat at separate tables. Since they sat down together they may join in zimun, even if one started eating later than his friend. If they did not have the intention of sitting together then there is no zimun, such as two families at a restaurant. When sitting in a dining room one can join together in a zimun with everyone at his table, or even at multiple tables.
Brachah when Playing Sports
People drink a lot of water while playing sports. Most recite a brachah rishonah at the beginning, and no brachah acharonah is said until after one finishes playing for the day (assuming he drinks the shiur at the end of the game). However, some suggest that when he drinks for the first time he should make a brachah rishonah and a brachahacharonah if he drank the shiur, and not wait for the brachah acharonah until after the game is over. Then when he wishes to drink again during the game a new brachahrishonah is required. The custom does not follow this opinion.
In the summer, kids like to freeze grape juice to make grape ices. Some rule that the brachah on these ices is Ha’etz, since it is frozen. Most make a Shehakol.
Cold Water during the Summer
People drink cold water in the summer months to cool off, even when they are not thirsty. It is questionable if one is required to recite a brachah. He has enjoyment of cooling off, but he is not thirsty at the time.Some poskim suggest to recite a brachah on a shehakol food and exempt the brachah on the water. Others maintain that a brachah on the water itself may be recited. One can rely on the second opinion.
In the summer people tend to suck on ice to cool off. Since they normally do not consume an amount which would warrant a brachah acharonah, one does not make one.
With the prevalence of large trees in a bungalow colony, it is common for extreme winds to bring them down. If one was in the path of the tree as parts of it fell, he would make hagomel without a brachah. The same is true with flying rocks.
One who goes on a trip to a safari but is in his locked car throughout does not say hagomel upon leaving the park.
When traveling on a boat (for more than an hour and fifteen minutes) and one can no longer see the shore, he should recite a hagomel upon his return.
When traveling on the highways on long trips, it is possible to swerve on the rumble strips and almost hit the railing. No hagomel is recited in this situation since one was not in danger.
Preparing Raw Food on Erev
People spend the long Fridays engaged in various sports and other pursuits, and sometimes find themselves in a situation where they have to make a cholent very close to Shabbos. Although we have a blech for food that is already cooked, one should make sure all his food is fully cooked for Shabbos.
There is a concept known as “kedeira chaisa,” a raw dish. Generally, if the food is not fully cooked before Shabbos, we are concerned that one will stoke the coals (or today, raise the flame), so that it is ready for the Friday night meal. However, if the food cannot finish cooking in time for the evening meal (even if it can be ready in a few hours), and will be cooked in time for the morning meal without stoking the fire, there is no concern. Therefore, one can place raw food on the fire right before Shabbos and leave it there as is without a blech.
It is important to mention that the above only applies if the food will reach yad soledes bo near shkiah. If it will reach yad soledes bo beforehand, then it will start cooking before shkiah and it is not a kedeira chaisa. Others mention that as long as the meat is not soft it is considered kedeira chaisa.
Some mention that the entire concept does not apply today since food cooks rather quickly, and by the time the meal is well underway the food may be completely ready. Therefore one may “stoke the coals” and raise the heat. There are those who differentiate between a crock pot and a regular stove top, as a crock pot certainly takes time to cook. According to some, even a hot plate that does not have adjustable settings would have the same status as a crock pot.
Many people eat cholent on Friday night, such as camps that have oneg Shabbos with cholent. Therefore, there is no benefit in adding a raw piece of meat before shkiah, as the food is intended for later on Friday night, and one might adjust the flame.
Tasting Shabbos Food
There is a mitzvah to taste the Shabbos food before Shabbos. During the long summer days, one may wish to drink coffee after sampling the fleishig food to make sure he is awake and alert for the seudah. He may use a non-dairy creamer in his coffee, even if it is labeled dairy. The dairy in the creamer is not batul, but after it is placed in the coffee it is batul. Therefore, he may use the non-dairy creamer.
In the bungalow many people do not have dishwashers and to make it easier they would prefer to use disposable utensils. In addition, it is easier to simply roll up the plastic tablecloth with the utensils when cleaning up. There is no problem with doing so, and it does not show a lack of honor for Shabbos.
Shabbos Meal Alone
In the bungalow colony on Shabbos, children tend to eat at the kiddush and play all day outside and not come in for the meal. Sometimes, the mother stays outside with them as well, and there is nobody to join the father at the meal. Although it is ideal to have the meal with family, one may eat alone as well (obviously his wife would have to be yotzei with Kiddush and wash).
Shabbos – Cruise
During the summer people tend to have more time and wish to take long vacations. Some cruises last for many days, including Shabbos.
The Gemara forbids starting on a journey by boat less than three days before Shabbos. Many say that this means Wednesday and on, while others permit Wednesday. The restriction is limited to situations that are non-mitzvah (reshus), but for mitzvah purposes one may embark even within three days to Shabbos, and even on Erev Shabbos. If the ship docks before Shabbos and remains there during Shabbos, then all agree that it is permitted to go on such a ship before Shabbos.
There are many reasons given for this halachah.
Rabbeinu Chananel and others explain that the reason is related to techumin, since one is not allowed to travel outside of his techum (2,000 amos). The Gemara was referring to a boat that is scraping the riverbed with less than ten tefachim between the bottom of the boat and the ground. If the boat would be in deeper water then there is no issue of techum.
The Rif, Rambam, and Shulchan Aruch explain that leaving within three days of Shabbos will limit one’s enjoyment of Shabbos, as he needs three days to get used to the motion of the boat (when he travels for a mitzvah we ignore this issue, since one who is busy with one mitzvah is exempt from a different one). Others contend that this does not apply today, since our modern ships have stabilizers that greatly reduce the extent of seasickness.