Sheimos Guidelines

Updated June 2024

The Torah forbids discarding objects with innate kedusha (holiness) into the trash or recycling bin. Objects which have innate kedusha must be placed in sheimos, which must be buried.

(Objects that acquire kedusha after being used for a mitzvah do not need to be placed in sheimos but do need to be disposed of with special sensitivity. This is discussed further below.)

SHEIMOS: Disposing of Objects with Kedusha

The following objects are included in this category:

Any of the names of Hashem

Sefer Torah or Sefer Torah cover

Seforim, whether handwritten, printed, photocopied, or downloaded and printed (e.g., Chumashim, Siddurim, Machzorim, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, etc.)

Bentchers

Pages of a sefer that became detached or fragments of a sefer, even if there is no writing or print on them

A sefer’s cover that has been removed from the sefer

Binding tape that became detached from a sefer

Printed material primarily intended to quote or explain Torah, even when containing […]

Balsamic Vinegar: Sour Grapes or Sour Sweet Success

Vinegar is one of nature’s most unique and versatile products. Folklore maintains that vinegar was discovered quite by accident, when wine was inadvertently left to sour. This resulted in the first batch of full-bodied wine vinegar. Indeed, the word ‘vinegar’ is derived from the French word vinaigre, which means sour wine. Euphemistically, the Talmud refers to a ne’er-do-well son of a righteous father as a Chometz Ben Yayin, “vinegar son of wine.”
Folklore aside, vinegar was well known in the time of Tanach. The Torah forbids a Nazir to drink wine vinegar or eat other grape and wine products. In Tehillim,1 Dovid Hamelech asked to drink vinegar when he said, “Vlitzmaie Yashkuni Chometz”. In Megilas Rus, Boaz’s workers dipped their bread in vinegar.2
The Hebrew term for vinegar, chometz (pronounced ch-oh-metz), is similar to the word chametz (pronounced ch-aw-maitz), leavened bread products. This etymological similarity underscores the correlation […]

Kashrus in the Workplace

The new food trends that have been embraced by society at large have led to a similar preoccupation with food within corporate America. This development has obvious ramifications for the kosher consumer at the office. The following is a guide to dealing with kashrus issues in the workplace.1 While it is impossible to address all the kashrus issues that may arise, this article provides an overview. As with all halacha, when questions arise, one should consult his rav.

1) Eating in a Cafeteria Shared with Co-Workers Who Eat Non-Kosher – Food on a plate, may’iker hadin, may be eaten even when placed on a non-kosher clean table. The Baday Hashulchan2 notes that today, the general custom is to use a napkin (or a placemat or something of a similar nature) when eating on a non-kosher table, even if it is clean.3 Although, in many cases a “heker” is […]