Questions & Answers


Rabbi Daniel Myers



Unveilings on Channukah


Q. Naomi Ackerman: Is one allowed to do Hakamat Matzaiva (unveiling) on Chanukah?


A. First of all, it is interesting to note that the concept of a Matzaiva (monument) is already found in the Torah (Gen. 35:20) when Yaakov set one up on Rachel’s grave - and in the Mishnayot (Shekalim 2:5). Regarding the time to set up the stone, there are various Minhagim, ranging from immediately after Shiva until after Yud Bait Chodesh. (See Pnai Baruch 36:2) Technically, there is nothing wrong with simply unveiling the monument on Channukah. However, the Minchat Yitzchak (3:51) writes that since the custom is to eulogize the deceased at the time of the unveiling, one can not set up the stone on a day when eulogies are prohibited, such as Channukah and Purim. He adds that one cannot even publicly read the monument on such days, since that too is a form of eulogy.




Errors Reciting V’tain Tal Umatar


Q. Moshe Hadas: Why is the Halacha regarding one who omits V’tain Tal Umatar in the winter different then the Halacha regarding one who omits V’tain Bracha in the summer?


A. Good question! Before we answer your question, let us first review the Halachot of Baraich Alainu:

1. If one says V’tain Tal Umatar in the summer and he did not yet complete Shmoneh Esrai (S”E), he must return to the beginning of Baraich Alainu. (S”A 117:3, M”B 14)

2. Even if he realizes his mistake immediately, he must still return to the beginning of Baraich Alainu. (Implication of the Biur Halacha 117:3: “Im Shaal”) B’dieved, if he did not finish Baraich Alainu and returns to V’tain Bracha, he is Yotzai. (Ibid. It is difficult to understand why Toch K’dai Dibbur (immediate correction) does not help L’chatchila by V’tain Tal Umatar, while it is effective by Hamelech Hakadosh (582:2), Birchat Hanehenin (209:2) and Amida L’regalim. (487:1) Maybe it is effective L’chatchila only when the mistake is limited to the Chatima of the Bracha; here, however, since the mistake is by the main text of the Bracha, it is best to Mitakain the whole Bracha by beginning it again. Tzarich Iyun.

3. If he completed S”E, he must repeat the whole S”E. (S”A 117:3)

4. If he says V’tain Bracha in the winter and did not yet say Shma Kolainu, he must request Matar in Shma Kolainu. (S”A 117:5)

5. If he passed Shma Kolainu, he must return to Baraich Alainu. If he completed S”E, then he must repeat the whole S”E. (Ibid) The question is: Why is there no option in the summer to rectify the mistake in Shma Kolainu? I think the difference is that one who mistakenly said V’tain Bracha in the winter did not request anything negative; he simply asked for a Bracha and did not ask for rain. Therefore, he can simply request rain in Shm a Kolainu. However, one who asked for rain in the summer actually requested a curse in the Bracha of Baraich Alainu, since rain is usually undesirable in the summer. Therefore, he must return to the very Bracha and correct it.