Peah 4,2: Opening the Window in the Winter

Peah 4:2: Peah must be left for the poor while still connected to the ground; the owner of the field is not allowed to harvest it and distribute it to the poor. Even if 99 poor people want to have it distributed to them, and one wants to cut it from the ground himself, we listen to the one, since he is saying in accordance with the halacha.

פאה פרק ד’ משנה א-ב’: הפאה נתנת במחובר לקרקע…אפילו תשעים ותשעה אומרים לחלק ואחד אומר לבוז. לזה שומעין. שאמר כהלכה.

R’ Chaim Kanievsky in Shaarei Emunah on this Mishnah writes: “We have heard in the name of Rabbi Yisroel Salanter zt”l that if there are many people in a room and some want to open the window and others want it closed, he ruled that in the summer those who want it open win, even if it is one against a hundred; and in the winter it is the opposite. He brings proof from this Mishnah, but it seems there is no proof, because here it is a Torah law, derived from pesukim, that one must leave the peah connected to the ground, whereas there is it only a question of what is usually done, so if there is a reason to deviate from the usual, it would seem that we follow whatever the majority of the people want.”

In the winter of 2020, when many arguments developed in the shuls between cold, shivering people and people worried about catching the coronavirus, Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein followed Reb Yisroel Salanter’s opinion but with a twist to reflect the current situation: he ruled that the ones wanting the window open always win, even if they are the minority. “Let anyone who is cold buy a heater,” he said.


Kilayim 9,1: Shaatnez on One Part of a Blanket

Kilayim 9:1. If a garment is made of blended camel’s wool and sheep’s wool, if the majority is camel it is permitted [to mix with linen], and if the majority is sheep it is forbidden. Half and half is forbidden.

Yerushalmi: If a large blanket had shaatnez at one end, and that end was lying on the floor, one may still not cover oneself with the other end.

The Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 301:3 brings this halacha, and the Pischei Teshuva explains that the case is when the entire blanket is sheep’s wool, and there is one thread of linen dragging on the floor. However, if the main blanket is another material, and there is a bit of wool and linen together on the edge, then it is debatable whether the entire blanket becomes forbidden. The Rambam would hold ossur, while the Rosh might hold mutar.

כלאים פרק ט, משנה א: צמר גמלים וצמר רחלים שטרפן זה בזה אם רוב מן הגמלים מותר. אם רוב מן הרחלים אסור. מחצה למחצה אסור.

ירושלמי שם: רבי ניחה בר סבה רבי יוחנן בשם רבי זעירא שאם היה בגד גדול קצתו יש בו כלאים ומונח בארץ ומקצתו אין בו לא יכסה בו מצד השני.

Rabbi Yosef Sayagh heard from a rav in Queens that a young couple once came to him for advice about their baby, who was very colicky and cried all night. Their doctor had no solution. The rav suggested that they check the baby’s blanket for shaatnez. It was found that although the blanket was not wool, it had an appliqué pattern with a picture of a teddy bear, and in that picture there was wool and linen. They removed it, and the baby stopped crying.  

Source: Rabbi Yosef Sayagh

[It seems that just as we have a dispute in the laws of kashrus about whether the rule of חתיכה נעשית נבילה –  a piece containing something forbidden becomes complete forbidden – applies only to milk and meat, or even to other forbidden foods (Yoreh Deah 92:4), there is a similar dispute in the laws of shaatnez. Everyone agrees that if the whole blanket is wool, and there is one thread of linen, one may not cover oneself even with the part that is only wool, because חתיכה נעשית נבילה – similar to a piece of meat cooked with milk. But if the garment is made of polyester, and only the corner has wool and linen mixed, there is a machlokes whether the shaatnez status spreads to the entire blanket.]