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the Institute of Halacha
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Insights from the Institute
Rabbi Mordechai Frankel, Director of STAR-K’s Institute of Halacha

The Institute of Halachah is directed by Rabbi Mordechai Frankel, under the guidance of HaRav Moshe Heinemann. Rabbi Frankel received smicha from Rav Yaakov Kulefsky, zt”l, the former Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel. Rabbi Frankel is the Assistant Rabbi at Agudath Israel of Baltimore, where HaRav Heinemann is the Rav.

Shailos may be called into the Institute of Halachah at 410-484-4110 (Ext. 238), or e-mailed to

Below are answers to just some of the hundreds of shailos that Rabbi Frankel has answered, as they appeared in Rabbi Frankel’s "Insights from the Institute"column in the Kashrus Kurrents magazine.


Articles from the Institute
Spring 2015 A Jewish-Owned Store That Did Not Sell Its Chometz To A Non-Jew For Pesach, A Jewish-Owned Store That Sold Its Chometz To A Non-Jew For Pesach, A Store Owned By A Non-Jew Or By A Person That May Or May Not Be Jewish, A Store That Receives Chometz From A Jewish Distributor, and Buying Bourbon?
Winter 2015 It has become common for businesses and stores to have security video cameras which monitor the foot traffic in front of their properties. Similarly, many apartment buildings have video cameras which record anything that enters or exits the building. Is a Jew allowed to walk in front of such a video camera on Shabbos? Can a Jew operate a video camera knowing that other Jews will walk in front of it on Shabbos?
Summer 2014 I have heard that someone who bakes loaves of bread with the intention of giving them to other people does not separate challah with a brocha. Can you explain the parameters of this halacha?
Spring 2014 I would like to send my young children to a backyard camp during the summer. The camp is offering an 'early-bird special' if I register my children now. If I wait until the summer to register, they will charge more. Is there any ribbis issue with registering now and receiving the discount?
Winter 2014 When I say Al Hamichya and make a mistake, I don’t know what to do. Could you give me some guidelines?
Fall 2013 When a person stays in a hotel for Shabbos, does he need to make an eruv chatzeiros to allow him to carry items in the hallways and lobby?
Summer 2013 I am traveling, and there is no keilim mikva in this area. May I tovel new utensils in a lake or river?
Spring 2013 Could you give me some guidelines as to when sheva brochos are recited?
Winter 2013 I am going to Israel and will be visiting the kosel
Summer 2012 Utensils which need kashering through hagalah
Spring 2012 Cutting the hair of the pe'os ha'rosh
Fall 2011 The bracha on hearts of palm, cranberries, sushi, Ezekiel bread and rice cakes
Summer 2011 Halachos pertaining to a kohain entering a museum
Winter 2010 Using a sleep-apnea machine on Shabbos
Fall 2010 Using a succah with canvas walls
Summer 2010 Can a child check eggs for blood spots and lettuce for insects?
Spring 2010 Using a diaper with a color-changing stripe on Shabbos
Winter 2009 Using a warming tray on Shabbos
Fall 2009 Halachos pertaining to yayin nesech
Can one send a package which will be delivered on Shabbos?
Summer 2009 Entering a non-kosher restaurant
Spring 2009 The bracha on a newly flowering tree
Winter 2008 Removing ice from an ice-maker on Shabbos
Using a hot water heater on Yom Tov
Fall 2008 Does bishul akum apply to a microwave?
Does a shed need a mezuzah?
Summer 2008 Making an image of the sun
Can a child do dental work on a parent?

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