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3 Weeks / 9 Days – Home Purchase - We’re busy looking to buy a new home this summer. Is there any issue with closing a deal on the Three Weeks or Nine Days? What about moving in during that time? More
Adam’s Sin and the Decree of Death - The Torah states that on the day Adam would eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Yet although he was punished when he sinned, he didn’t die on that day, but lived hundreds of... More
Ancient versus Modern Hebrew Script - It’s known that the ancient Israelites wrote in a totally different script of Hebrew than the one used today. Wouldn’t the earlier one have been the original script of Hebrew – the one the Torah was given in? If so,... More
Astrology, Horoscopes - Does Judaism believe in astrology? Is there any validity to it or is it just pagan nonsense – some of which made its way into Jewish teachings? Along the same lines, is there anything wrong with reading one’s horoscope... More
Brushing Teeth on Minor Fast Day - Is one permitted to brush his teeth or use mouthwash on a minor fast day? More
Cheating on Tests – Repentance - I cheated on a school test recently and I feel guilty about it. What should I do now? Should I confess to the teacher? More
Child Attending Parent’s Second Marriage - My parents are divorced and my father is remarrying in the near future. It will be a very small ceremony, and I was told that the children of the first marriage should not attend. Is that true? More
Covenant of Salt - I see the Torah occasionally refers to covenants of salt – such as the covenant of priesthood with Aaron’s descendants and of sovereignty with King David’s family. Why is salt mentioned? What is its significance? More
Cutting Down Fruit Trees - We have a canistel (or eggfruit) tree our backyard which we’d like to get rid of. We do not eat its fruit, and the fruit and leaves make a constant mess. I haven’t found anyone who is interested in its fruit – even to... More
Cutting Tzitzit Strings - I just tied my own tzitzit, but some of the strings came out much too long. Is there anything wrong with just cutting them down with a pair of scissors? More
Dangerous Occupation - Is it permissible to engage in work which carries occupational hazards and even danger to life, such as a firefighter, rescue worker, construction worker, and the like? More
David and Bathsheba - I have been studying the Book of Samuel and I was really shocked when I read the story of David and Bathsheba (II Samuel 11). How could David, King of Israel, take another man's wife like that?! Wasn't he supposed to... More
Davidic Line Today - I’m wondering what happened to the House of David. After the end of the Kingdom of Judah was there any memory what happened to King David’s descendants? Is there any family today which can trace its lineage to David –... More
Early Bar Mitzvah - My son will be turning 13 God willing this winter in mid-December. Having spoken to several of our relatives, it will be much better for everyone if we would schedule his Bar Mitzvah for Thanksgiving weekend – about... More
Early Seder - I want to have a shortened version of the Passover Seder for my elderly father who needs to eat earlier and go to sleep. Can I have a Seder for him before the holiday begins? Can he eat matzah at that time? More
Eve's Creation: Rib or Side? - Exactly what was Eve created from? I always assumed it was one of Adam’s ribs, but I just noticed a translation which said “side.” So which is right? By the way, if Eve was created from a rib God certainly knew what... More
Fasting – Recovering from Heart Attack - I had a heart attack 7 weeks ago. I have thankfully recovered but am still somewhat weakened. Should I fast on the upcoming Shiva Asar b’Tammuz? More
Giving Valuables as Charity - I recently bought several articles of clothing which it turns out I do not need. I was thinking of donating them to a local Jewish clothing charity. Can I count the donation towards the 10% I give as tithe on my... More
Hamentaschen and Haman’s Three-Cornered Hat - Is there a deeper meaning behind Haman’s 3-cornered hat? Why do we eat hamentaschen in memory of that of all things? More
Jephthah Sacrificing Daughter - My Bible class is studying the Book of Judges and we recently covered the story of Jephthah (Judges 11). Jephthah promises to God that if the Amonites would be delivered into his hands, then on his return home he would... More
Kaddish in Aramaic - Unfortunately I am saying Kaddish this year for my mother of blessed memory. I noticed that the text of it is especially difficult to pronounce and understand, and I was told it’s because it’s in Aramaic. Why is it in... More
Meat After the Flood - Why was man permitted to eat meat after the Flood (Genesis 9:2-3)? Does the fact that at his creation man was not allowed to eat meat indicate that this is the ideal state of man? But if so, what changed after the... More
Missed Bar Mitzvah - I am an adult who unfortunately never had a Bar Mitzvah. I’ve been told that having one requires studying for a year and chanting in front of a congregation. But I’m embarrassed to say that this seems beyond me at the... More
Mourning Adoptive Parent - How do the laws of kaddish and mourning apply to an adopted child? My father is unfortunately not doing well. To me he is a father in every way, but I do know that my sister and I are not their biological children.... More
Nine Days – Home Repairs - Is it permitted to have work done in the house by a contractor, such as a painter, if he's in the middle of a job in the 9 days? More
Passover – 14th or 15th? - Why is it that Passover is celebrated worldwide beginning on the night of the 15th of Nisan? The Torah states a number of times that the Passover celebration falls on the 14th day of the first month (e.g. Exodus 12:6,... More
Paying Babysitter for Shabbat Work - We’d like to hire a babysitter to watch our kids on a regular basis Shabbat morning, so we can go to synagogue. Is there a problem with arranging her to work on Shabbat and to pay her for it? More
Pedometer, Fitbit on Shabbat - My family has become very health-conscious lately and we all have our own Fitbits which we wear all the time. It has really helped us maintain our health. Is there any issue with wearing it on Shabbat? More
Pidyon HaBen – No Father, Non-Jewish Father - I have a firstborn four-year-old son who would seem to qualify for the mitzvah of pidyon haben. He unfortunately was not redeemed as a baby since neither I nor my non-Jewish ex-husband knew anything about the... More
Plague of Blood – Magician’s Imitation - The Torah states that after God turned the water to blood, the Egyptian magicians performed the same feat. But doesn’t the Torah state explicitly that all the water of the kingdom was turned to blood (Exodus 7:19)?... More
Prayer at Graves of Righteous - I often receive emails from different organizations offering that a rabbi will pray for me at this or that great rabbi’s grave. Does it really make a difference where one prays? Isn't praying to a dead rabbi for... More
Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin - I had recently brought in my Tefillin to be checked. For those few days that I didn’t have them, I wore an old pair in the house which used to be my grandfather’s. They are Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin. Afterwards, someone... More
Rebellious Son (Ben Sorer U’Moreh) Punished for Future - In reading last week’s Torah portion, I was very disturbed by the section on the rebellious son (ben sorer u’moreh; Deuteronomy 21:8:21). The Torah basically says that a child is stoned to death for not listening to... More
Repentance – Accepting for Future - Every year as Yom Kippur approaches and I try to improve my ways, I feel like a liar. I know one of the conditions of repentance is that we must accept not to repeat the sin in the future. But how can I honestly claim... More
Restrictions on Minor Fast Days - Besides eating and drinking, are there any additional restrictions on the minor holidays, such as bathing, shaving, or listening to music? More
Roasted Foods at Seder - I know we’re not supposed to eat roasted meat at the Seder. What about other foods such as chicken or potatoes? Also, is pot roast okay? More
Samson – Contact with Dead - I’m trying to understand something. Shimshon (Samson) was a nazir (Nazarite), which is why he didn’t cut his hair or drink wine. But isn’t one of the restrictions of a Nazarite not to come in contact with the dead... More
Sons of God – Bnei Elohim - The start of Genesis 6 states that the sons of God took wives from the daughters of men and had giant children. Who are these sons of God – angels? Does this agree with the Christian notion of rebellious, fallen... More
Swimming on Fast Days, Dangerous Activities - Is there any prohibition with swimming on a minor fast day, such as the upcoming Shiva Asar b’Tammuz? More
Wearing Red Thread - On our recent trip to Israel we noticed at several sacred locations that there were ladies selling red threads, to be worn on one’s wrist. I believe it was claimed to ward off the “evil eye”. I tend to be skeptical of... More

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