Shabbat Candles

Candle Lighting Times - I say that Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown. My son says it begins after lighting the Shabbat candles. Who is right? More »
Husband Lighting - My wife is going to be away for Shabbat in a few weeks. Am I supposed to light in her absence? Is there any difference between a wife and husband lighting? More »
Shabbat Candles & Havdalah on Chanukah - During the Shabbat of Chanukah, which is lit first - the Menorah or the Shabbat candles? And then on Saturday night, which do we do first - the Menorah or the Havdalah service? More »
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Kiddush

Kiddush Without Wine - I am allergic to grapes. Is there an alternative way I can make Kiddush – perhaps on a different beverage? More »
Kiddush – Drinking the Wine - I tend to get dizzy when I drink wine too quickly – though in general I tolerate wine very well. How much of the Kiddush cup do I need to drink? Is it sufficient to take just a few sips – or to drink it... More »
Kiddush – How Much Wine - I own two very nice Kiddush cups – I believe both were wedding presents. One happens to be quite large and the other fairly small. Is there a minimum or maximum size a cup must be? Also, when I use the... More »
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Shabbat Meals

Blessing After Washing for Bread - I noticed that whenever we wash our hands – both in the morning and before eating bread – we make the blessing “al netilat yadayim” after washing. But don’t we always make blessings before doing a mitzvah... More »
Challah – Breaking Bread on Shabbat - Whenever I attend a Shabbat meal, the process of making the blessing (bracha) on the challah and cutting it seems detailed. Can you give me the rundown of how it’s done? More »
Eating Shabbat Morning Before Prayers - In our community Shabbat morning services only begin at 9:00 and the lunchtime meal does not begin till well after 12:00. Can I eat before morning prayers if I make kiddush first? More »
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Shabbat Prayers

Driving to Synagogue on Shabbat - I enjoy attending synagogue services on Shabbat, but the rabbi told me that it's better to pray at home than to violate a prohibition of Shabbat. I couldn't really see how that’s more important than... More »

Havdalah

Repeating Havdalah for Others - We have several older neighbors in our building who ask me to make Havdalah for them. I try to have them come to us in time for Havdalah, but that doesn’t always work. If I’ve said Havdalah already, can I... More »
What to Use for Besamim (Spices)? - Whenever I go to a religious home for havdalah, I notice that they use whole cloves for the blessing on the spices (besamim). Is there some special significance to this, or can any spice be used? ... More »
Women Making Havdalah - I am a single woman and I usually try to hear Havdalah on Saturday night at the synagogue. But sometimes I don’t feel like going out. So when I say Havdalah by myself, should I say all the blessings... More »
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Forbidden Activities

Carrying Keys on Shabbat - I’d like to know if there is any way I can carry my house key to the synagogue and back on Shabbat. The typical trick of hiding it under the mat just doesn’t feel so secure to me (we actually don’t have a... More »
Carrying: Using a Cane on Shabbat - Unfortunately, my legs have been giving me a lot of trouble lately and I am unable to walk unaided. Is there any way I can walk outdoors using a walker or a cane, or is that an issue of carrying on... More »
Musical Toys on Shabbat - My two-year-old often gets ahold of his favorite musical toy on Shabbat and starts banging away at the keys. It certainly disturbs the serenity of Shabbat. Am I obligated to take it away from him? Am I... More »
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Misc.

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 »
Shabbat Hospitality - I bought a plane ticket to fly around the world. The ticket is good for one year. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My concern is how I will find the Jewish community in each place,... More »
Shiva on Shabbat - We are unfortunately sitting shiva for our mother right now. I know that shiva is not observed on Shabbat, but I’m unclear precisely how one goes about observing Shabbat. Are there any differences from an... More »

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