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Q&A: Standing During Services, and Fleishig Ice Cream Boxes

February 3, 2015

Question: In one shul I daven in, everyone is standing for kaddish, but in another nearby shul, I think a sephardic one, they all sit, except for certain kaddishes when everyone stands. What is the Halacha? Also, how do I know when I have to stand in shul?

Answer: There are indeed many more minhagim about when to stand during the services than we could possibly begin to analyze. Some have made the claim that the Ashkenazi practice is simple: stand for any davar shebiqdusha, i.e., the matters that require the attendance of a quorum of ten men (e.g., qaddish, bar’chu, etc.) but that is obviously not the case. Do you know of anyone who as a matter of halacha stays standing during the entire Torah reading? That is also a davar shebiqdusha, yet no one is always standing for it. Instead, we should start with the basic halachoth as ordained by our sages, and then move on to current practice.

With regards to the prayers, one is obligated to stand for:

1. The amida (hence its name),

2. the leader’s repetition of the amida,

3. and the moving of the Torah to and from from the ark when it is to be read.

Any other instance, be it a qaddish or what have you, is a matter of local custom, so just do what everyone else does. There are certain portions of the prayers where one certainly does not have to stand, where, for some inexplicable reason, many think standing is obligatory: the prayer for the welfare of the state, or the “misheberach” for the sick come to mind, or certain portions of p’suqei d’zimra. It is clear from the writings of Maimonides and the Vilna Gaon that one could very well enter the synagogue in the morning and don his t’fillin, recite the entire p’suqei d’zimra, answer qaddish and bar’chu, and recite sh’ma with its blessings, and only stand once it is time to pray the amida. It is also worth noticing how the Shulhan Aruch presents the laws of qaddish: between p’suqei d’zimra and sh’ma, because in his days, the practice of having two additional qaddishim before p’suqei d’zimra had not started.

Question: Here in Israel, the Ice cream comes in sturdy, reusable plastic boxes. Can I  wash one of those boxes and use it for storing fleishig food?

Answer: It seems to me that if you were to thoroughly wash the box with soap once all the ice cream is finished, then you would be able to use that box for whatever you wish. The reason for this is that the box stays parveh despite the fact that it held ice cream for a prolonged period. According to the standard halachoth, a vessel only absorbs tastes from its contents when either the contents were placed into it when hot, or if the contents were liquid and stayed there for more than 24 hours. However, the way the ice cream is packaged, it is never in either a liquid state or a hot state, and therefore does not transfer any of its taste to the box. Further, much like stainless steel does not absorb tastes, you can see for yourself that if you wash these boxes with warm water and soap, and then fill them with hot water or microwave water within them, the resulting hot water has no tastes of ice cream what so ever, because the new plastics they use for the boxes are not as absorbent of tastes as the materials with which our sages were familiar.

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