The Vagaries of S&P Shabbat Times

Dear Rabbi Simon On a recent visit to the Sephardi (S&P) synagogue in Maida Vale (your old neighbourhood from the original JLE days) I noticed that the Shabbat times in the venerable [and soon to be updated] S&P siddur are rounded to the nearest half-hour (not sure whether up or down, or just down, so whether 3.58pm goes to 3.30pm…

Online Fame, Shabbat Dateline

Dear Rabbi Simon I have been asked to be interviewed for an online magazine.  Initially, they wanted to interview me today (Friday) with the intention to publish the online article on Shabbat. I asked them if the interview could be done on Sunday, and now they have agreed to delay the article. However, it is probable (though not sure) that…

Shabbat and Digital Technology

Dear Rabbi Simon I was wondering if one is allowed to wear a digital watch on Shabbat?  If so is one also allowed to wear a Fitbit or similar? Best wishes Dalia Dear Dalia Thank you for your question. Digital watches are permitted on Shabbat, particularly if they have an aesthetic component, ie as an item of jewelry. This heter…

Kiddush Diversion

Greetings, A Shabbos question: Does going to the lavatory after Kiddush but before washing one’s hands for Hamotzi (ie eating the challah), require repeating Kiddush? Shabbat Shalom, Jay Thank you for your Question, Jay. Although it is ideal to eat the seudah promptly after kiddush, there would be no need to repeat the kiddush in the event of the diversion…

Music to my Ears

Dear Rabbi Simon I have a question which has being troubling me since I read an article on the split between Orthodoxy and Liberalism in the Jerusalem Report. The article makes mention that during temple times, musical instruments were permitted on the Shabbat. I have the following questions: Is this correct? If correct, then why cannot we use musical instruments…

More Music to my Ears on Shabbat

Dear Rabbi Simon, Interesting Ask the Rabbi entry in last week’s KC [click Kesher Connections newsletter to see the Q&A]. Would whistling be OK or is this too close to a musical instrument? Peretz Dear Peretz TY for your Q. Always nice to see that people read the KC. Whistling is allowed on Shabbos, including whistling through the agency of one’s fingers…

Shabbat Delivery

Dear Rabbi Simon, I placed an online order on Thursday lunchtime, where it said estimated 2-3 days for delivery. The company is usually efficient and the orders normally arrive on Day 2. This was the case on this occasion, with the parcel being left outside my front door on Shabbat afternoon. Is there any issue with me using/benefiting from the…

When do we Eat?

Dear Rabbi Simon, If Plag haMincha is the earliest we can light candles, daven Maariv and bring in Shabbat, which is about 7.30pm currently, may those of us with young children start Shabbat dinner before then and light candles/daven during a break in the meal? Many thanks, Shabbetai Hi Shabbetai This is a perennial challenge. Some families have dinner for…

Improvised Mechitza: Shabbos Issues

Dear Rabbi Simon, We are making a minyan in a marquee for Jonathan’s bar mitzvah. The caterer (who I believe has experience but is not a halachic authority) has suggested that we can use potted plants to comprise the mechitza [partition to separate the men’s and women’s seating]. Is this acceptable and can we allow the caterer to instruct his…

Shower Pump on Shabbat

Dear Rabbi Simon I have a Shabbat question for you. If a water tap runs with a pump attached to it, is using the tap on Shabbat permitted? I know that in instances where there is an indirect link, it is not breaking Shabbat. I am wondering if opening a tap, which allows water to flow, which activates the pressure…

Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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