1 678

How Many Candles are Lit and Who Must Light Them?
The basic mitzva of ner Chanuka is ner ish u'beiso (one candle per household). Those who want to put more into the mitzva -- the mehadrin -- light one candle for every member of the household. The mehadrin min hamehadrin add another candle every night of Chanuka. The general practice is that everyone tries to do the mehadrin min hamehadrin. According to the Mechaber, the system of mehadrin min hamehadrin requires only the head of the house to light on behalf of all members of the household. According to the Rama, every member of the household lights an additional candle every night, with the exception of a married woman and, according to some, daughters living at home. The contemporary poskim discuss a case where both the husband and wife are away from home at separate locations. Some poskim hold that the wife should light for herself, while others hold that no matter where she is, her husband's lighting counts for her. The head of the household's lighting exempts the entire family even if they are out of the house, as long as they are together in one group. According to the Rama, a minor child should be educated to light his own candle. According to the Mishna Berura, it is sufficient for him to light just one candle per night without adding a new candle every night. There is an opinion in the Rishonim that exempts a child from lighting since the candles lit by the head of the household cover him; his lighting would only be for hidur. The concept of chinuch does not require training children to perform hidurim.
( שו"ע תרעא, ב, משנ"ב ח-י וביה"ל ד"ה בלילה; ביאורים ומוספים 'דרשו', 27 )

Hilchos Kriyas Shema 61 (page 190)
מסעיף יב עד סעיף כא

Why Baruch Shem is Recited Quietly
If Baruch Shem was Omitted
Repeating Amen Twice After a Beracha

Why Baruch Shem is recited quietly
Before Yakov Avinu passed away, his sons gathered around him and declared the pasuk Shema Yisrael. Yakov responded with the verse Baruch Shem, a special praise to Hashem uttered by the angels. Moshe Rabbenu, however, did not include this verse in the Torah. When Chazal added this line to Shema, they said to recite it quietly, to acknowledge Moshe and to conceal the recitation from the malachim. Aside from Shema, there are other times when this verse is recited (e.g. following Ana B'koach, during Yom Kippur Kotton prayers, and after a beracha is said in vain). The poskim discuss whether it should be recited quietly at these times also.
( סעיף יג וס"ק ל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 22)  
If Baruch Shem was omitted
Baruch Shem is an expression of kabalas ol malchus shamayim and is somewhat of an extension of the previous pasuk. It should be repeated if it was not recited with proper kavana. When reciting Shema, it is proper to pause between Shema and Baruch Shem to demonstrate that the main kabalas ol malchus shamayim is with the first pasuk. One should also pause between Baruch Shem and V'ahavta to differentiate between kabalas ol malchus shamayim and the other mitzvos listed in the parsha. If Baruch Shem was omitted, it should be inserted at the point where the person remembered about it.
( סעיף יד, ס"ק לא, וביה"ל ד"ה אחר; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 20, וראה שם, 24)
Repeating Amen twice after a beracha
One should not answer Amen twice after one beracha. However, someone who hears two berachos at once [or within toch k'dei dibbur of each other] may respond with one Amen to both berachos. Alternatively, he may respond with two consecutive Amens, intending one for each beracha. In this case, it is proper that he add a vav before the second Amen (i.e. Amen v'Amen). If the completion of the two berachos was spaced more than toch k'dei dibbur, two Amens are appropriate. Some poskim permit answering Amen twice after a beracha that contains both a praise and a request (e.g. the beracha of Refaeinu, which praises Hashem's ability to cure and has a request for cure).
( סעיף יב וס"ק כח; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 19)

  • When saying the word echad in the first pasuk of Shema, one must focus on accepting Hashem's sovereignty, understanding that He is One in the heavens above and through all four corners of the earth below.
  • Some have the custom to move the head while uttering the word echad, as focus is placed on Hashem's mastery over the heavens and the four directions of the world. The head is nodded up, down and in each of the four directions as an indication of this focus. The proper manner to wave the head for this custom is to copy the order of placing the blood of the korbanos on the mizbayach-east, north, west and south.
  • It is forbidden to repeat words or even the entire sentence when reciting the first pasuk of Shema, lest one create the impression that he is addressing more than one god. Someone who recited the pasuk without the necessary intention may repeat it softly [in a way that others cannot hear]. If no one else is around to hear, he may repeat the pasuk out loud.

  • Reciting kriyas Shema through shomea k'oneh

  • Enunciating words correctly

  • Fingering the tefillin while reciting Shema



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.