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Nissan and Pesach “home-bound”

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanNisan 6, 5780
34
Question
Peace and blessing. I live in Israel but am currently home-bound and isolated with my elderly, secular parents in the USA. I have several more questions related to this situation. 1. My father is not aware of any fruit trees in the region of our apartment within walking distance. May I make the blessing on trees on a live camera/computer view/image of tree blossoms? 2. My mother intends to keep non-Pesach items, including actual leaven such as bread, in certain shelves of her refrigerator and freezer. She plans to cover these shelves and plans to sell these sections of her refrigerator and freezer in her sale of chometz. I am unable to persuade her to do otherwise. What is the din as far as it concerns me as well as my mother. 3. My father will most likely lead a Pesach Seder in English. Can I feel free (or perhaps obligated?) to read along in Hebrew in my Haggadah. Or out of respect for my father should I read along in English? 4. My mother would like to have dairy during Pesach. Can I fulfill my obligation of Simchas Yom Tom and Chol HaMoed through drinking wine alone or is it also important that I eat meat every day as well? All the best. Thank you.
Answer
ב"ה Shalom: First and foremost, since this is your third question to me of how to find the balance of respecting your parents and to how follow halacha in a household of parents who are not religious , I think that I and other readers can learn a great lesson of one respecting one's parents in complex conditions. Getting to your questions, I will try to be concise. 1. May I make the blessing on trees on a live camera/computer view/image of tree blossoms? I haven't seen a posek, who allows it. P.S. Rav Hershel Schachter shlit"a, Rosh Yeshiva of RIETS, gave a ruling on this question which was published after I had already answered you. His ruling was as follows: "While it is clear that this bracha is recited only upon seeing an actual tree, and not a picture, it is possible that seeing a real tree live through the internet may qualify. However, since this matter is difficult to resolve conclusively, it should be treated as a safek, and in accordance with the general principle of safek brachos l’hakel, a bracha should not be recited when seeing a blooming tree on Zoom. " 2. Keeping Chametz. in fridge: Although, the situation is not ideal , it is permitted as long as a proper sale of Chametz has been done. This is the case even if it is actual chametz, such as bread, noodles or the like, as opposed to a food product which doesn't have a kosher for Passover label , or a food product which has some Chametz in it as part of a mixture, which are not as severe as outright chametz in regards to the sale of Chametz. 3. 3. My father will most likely lead a Pesach Seder in English. Can I feel free (or perhaps obligated?) to read along in Hebrew in my Haggadah. Or out of respect for my father should I read along in English? There is a special halacha brought down by the Rema, in Shulchan Aruch 473:6 , that the Haggada from the part of "Magid" (the story of the exodus) must be said in a language which is understood, by the listeners. The whole idea is to tell the story of our exodus from Egypt, so it must be understood. As far as reading along in Hebrew, while your father is reading English is something you have to discuss if he feels it disrespectful. 4. Dairy on Chol Hamoe'd: The greater emphasis in Halacha is on drinking wine . (See Piskei Teshuvot (530: 5) There is a mitzvah to eat meat though no obligation. All the best. Be well. חג כשר ושמח
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