Ask the Rabbi: Questions and Answers about Misc. Mitzvot
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Tallit

Blue Tallit Stripes - Why is a particular blue color associated with Judaism? For example the Israeli flag, and the stripes on the tallit. More
Blue Techelet Thread - I was in Israel recently and saw some religious men wearing tzitzit strings with a blue thread. I thought the strings were supposed to be white. What was this blue? More
Tallit - Women - On the issue of women wearing a tallit, I understand that women don't generally wear them because they are not required to attend synagogue services 3 times a day. But is there a law forbidding this? More
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Tefillin

Rashi's Daughters - Is it true that Rashi's daughters wore Tefillin? If so, what is the source? Why could those women wear them and other women not? More
Tefillin - Women - Why have women not traditionally worn tefillin? Can I do so if I desire? More
Tefillin on Top of Bandage - I need to have a minor operation on my left arm next week. It will be bandaged for at least a week afterwards. This is the arm I place my Tefillin on. Am I allowed to place my Tefillin on top of the... More

Kippah

Kippah for a Non-Jew - I have a few Jewish friends who wear kippahs and sometimes when I'm hanging out with them I feel out of place. Even though I am not Jewish, would there be any problem with me wearing a kippah, too? More

Shaving & Haircuts

Electric Shavers - I am becoming more observant and am now ready to “tackle” the mitzvah of not shaving the beard with a razor. Can you give me some guidelines for how this works, and what my options are? More
Peyos - Sidelocks - What is the meaning of the long curls worn by religious Jewish men? More

Clothes

Clothing on Rosh Hashanah - This year I will be attending my first Rosh Hashanah service. Is there anything I need to know about particular clothes to wear? More
Clothing on Yom Kippur - What color clothing should be worn on Yom Kippur? And Why? More
Men's and Women's Clothing - I was in a vintage clothing store and saw a great shirt that looked comfortable. I was about to buy it and the salesperson said, "Is this for you? You know, this is a woman's blouse." I was... More

Tattoos & Cosmetic Surgery

Tattoo - Holocaust - I have a tattoo on my left arm from the German Auschwitz camp. Since the Torah prohibits tattoos, should I get it removed? More
Tattoo Prohibition - My husband wants to get a tattoo, but I said that if he does, he could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Is that true? He wants me to show him proof, and if this is true, he promises not to get one. More
Tattoo: Burial in Jewish Cemetery? - I have a tattoo from my younger days, which I now very much regret. I am debating whether to undergo laser removal surgery, and one of my considerations is whether the tattoo will prevent me from... More

Mezuzah & the Home

Chanukat HaBayit - We just bought our first home and will be moving in another few weeks. We wanted to make a house-warming party. Is there anything like this in Jewish tradition? More
Hamsa - I received a gift from an Israeli friend. It is a beautiful mosaic Hamsa, or Miriam's Hand. I am interested in the Hebrew prayer that appears on the back of it. I am wondering if there is an English or... More
Mezuzah – College Dorm - I’m moving into a college dorm very soon and would like to know if the room requires a mezuzah. I don’t know in advance who all my roommates will be, or if they will all be Jewish. More
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Other

Entering a Church - I am a university student and have a perplexing problem. Our Hillel House is going to be torn down next year, and while it is being built the students will be using a Catholic church for Shabbat dinner... More
Fingernails - I know that Judaism has something to say about every aspect of existence and our lives. But I never imagined there was something to know about fingernails, until my friend said there is a specific order... More
Haman and the Half-Shekel - I read that the Half Shekel that Jews give relates to Haman's offer to pay 10,000 "kikars" to Achashverosh for the right to annihilate the Jews (Esther 3:9). My question: If one kikar equals 3,000... More
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