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Adopted Children – Parents’ Names - I was not raised by my biological parents and was adopted as a baby. For my Jewish name, am I considered the son of (“ben”) my biological parents or my adoptive ones? I’m very close to the latter and feel they are my... More »
Ashkenazi versus Sephardic Jews - Can you explain to me something about the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewry? What exactly do those terms mean and what are the general differences between the two groups? More »
Conversion in Biblical Times - If a person has a Jewish father and was raised Jewish, why are there such strict requirements for him to become Jewish? Abraham was the first Jew and he never converted! Likewise how did Moses marry Zipporah? The Torah... More »
Customs for Waiting Between Meat and Milk - I see that some people wait 6 hours between meat and milk, while some wait 3 and some wait 1. Are all these customs valid? Can someone without an established family custom choose whichever custom he wants?... More »
Delaying Funeral for Relatives to Arrive - This may but hopefully will not be relevant to my family situation. If an older person dies, how long can the funeral be delayed to give the relatives time to arrive? More »
Eating Before Hearing the Megillah - Ta’anit Esther doesn’t end that late, but another hour goes by until the synagogue finishes the Megillah, especially with all the carrying on. This makes the fast much longer and more difficult. Is it possible to eat... More »
Final Judgment on Chanukah - I heard there is a Midrash that the Book of Judgment is open even after the High Holidays, and is not sealed until the last day of Chanukah. Can you explain the idea behind this? More »
Fruit Trees for the First Three Years (Orlah) - We just planted a few fruit trees in our back yard (we recently moved to California). Are there any issues with the fruit of the trees for the first three years? They were delivered as saplings (with the roots in bags... More »
Genizah (Sheimos) – Burial Procedure - I have some printouts with Torah content which I don’t have use for. Do I have to bury them? I don’t live near a synagogue so I would have to do it myself. More »
Hiring More Expensive Relatives - I need some minor repair work done on my roof. I’ve been shopping around for prices and can have it done at a reasonable cost. The issue is, I have a relative who works in the same area and is struggling financially.... More »
How Our Forefathers’ Merit Helps Us - I see we often ask in our prayers that God remember the righteousness of our ancestors and as a result treat us mercifully. I'd like to understand how this works. Just because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were righteous we... More »
Human and Animals Medical Experimentation - I’m wondering what the Jewish view is on animal as well as human medical experimentation. More »
Is There an Obligation to be Happy? - Please explain how God can command us to be happy? Let’s say a person is not happy? What should he do about it? He can’t just turn it on! More »
Jacob Buys the Birthright for Soup - I’m studying the story of Jacob and Esau and I am so bothered by the simple storyline. Imagine the scenario. Two brothers, one is sitting at home studying and the other returns from an exhausting day at work. He asks... More »
Jewish DNA - I did DNA testing recently and was surprised to find that I am partially “Ashkenazi Jewish.” I have always felt an affinity for the Jewish people and this confirms it! Does this mean I am Jewish? Is there anything more... More »
Jewish Holidays and Celebrating our Enemies’ Destruction - I have a coworker who has some pretty anti-semitic views about a lot of things. I’m not Jewish either but I’ve tried my best to defend the Jews against him. Most of his “claims” are patent nonsense and he probably... More »
Joseph Buys the Egyptians and Their Land - I was studying Genesis 47 and I was terribly bothered by the story. Because of the famine, the Egyptians had no food. It was a national emergency. Joseph had spent years storing up grain in anticipation of this. I... More »
Kaddish for Abusive Parent - My father was violent and abusive. He suffered from depression and other psychological disorders, and growing up was very difficult for me and my sister. He died fairly recently. We sat shiva for him and I began saying... More »
King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba - I just watched a program that claims that King Solomon had a child with the Queen of Sheba who was named Menalik. This Menalik was entrusted with the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple which is now hidden in Ethiopia.... More »
Non-Kosher Oven – Kashering - I’m moving into a new house and the oven is included. Is there a way I can make it kosher? More »
Number of Sheva Brachot for Second Wedding - I am God willing to be married in a few months. My fiancé and I are very looking forward to building a proper Jewish home together. Unfortunately, neither of us was religious in our younger years and we have both had... More »
Planting Different Species Together (Kilayim) - I am planning to plant a garden this spring and would like to know what restrictions apply in terms of planting different species together and the like. More »
Psalm 110 – Two Lords - Please explain what this verse means: “The Lord said unto my Lord, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1). Doesn’t this verse imply there is another Lord besides God?... More »
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 repeat it for... More »
Round Versus Square Matzah - What is the difference between the round and square matzot? When I grew up, our family always took square matzot for the Seder, but I see that many use round ones for the Seder, but square for the rest of Passover.... More »
Studying for a Test on Shabbat - I am a college student and I wanted to know if it’s permitted to study for a test on Shabbat. I used to do so, but then became concerned that perhaps it was an issue of preparing from Shabbat to the week. Sometimes,... More »
The Borders of Israel Promised to Abraham - What exactly is the extent of the land promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21? It doesn’t seem to be identical to the Land of Israel God later promised to Israel and outlined in Numbers 34. More »
The Evil of Idolatry - Why does God command us to so utterly destroy idols? We are told for example not only to cut down an asherah tree but to thoroughly uproot it. We may also not refer to idols by name but we give them derogatory... More »
The Purpose of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) - I’ve heard that the Mishkan (Tabernacle) served as an atonement for the Sin of the Golden Calf. But if so, why is it commanded in Exodus before the story of the Golden Calf? It seems like they were going to have the... More »
Uncleanness and Pure Blood After Childbirth - I was studying Leviticus 12 and came across the notion of a woman’s impurity after childbirth. What is the notion of her observing days of “pure blood?” Also, why is it that a woman is impure for a longer period if she... More »
Washing After the Bathroom - How does one wash after going to the bathroom? Is it the same as we wash in the morning? More »
Washing Again During Bread Meal - If I go to the bathroom during a bread meal, do I need to wash and say the blessing on the bread again when I come out? It might be towards the end of the meal when I’m not eating more bread. More »
Washing for Pizza - I’ve heard many different things about the status of pizza. It seems to me the equivalent of bread, yet most people say Mezonot on it and eat it without washing. Can you explain to me what the issue is with it?... More »
What Does a Noahide Actually Do? - I grew up a believing Christian but after years of research I have come to believe in the God of Israel. I view myself today as a Noahide. (There are several reasons why it wouldn’t be feasible for me to convert.) My... More »
What Happened to Dinah After Her Abduction? - What happened to Dinah after she was taken by Shechem? Does the Torah ever tell us anything about her life after? More »
What Happens Right After We Die? - I am very curious to know what happens to the soul after a person dies. Does it remain with the body, or does it go up to Heaven? When my parents died, I was insistent on having a proper Jewish burial (I’m in the... More »
What is the Behemoth? - Job 40:15-24 discusses the Behemoth – a massive, powerful beast. Someone suggested that this is a reference to the dinosaurs. Does the Talmud or commentators explain likewise? More »
What Was the Serpent? - What exactly was the Serpent of the story of Adam and Eve? What it a snake as we think of it? Or was it Satan or some mythical creature? The Torah also teaches us that it was cursed for tempting man to sin. But if it... More »
Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? - I always had the impression that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Ramesses II, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Does the Torah or Talmud shed any light on his identity? More »
Why Can't God Just Reward Us? - I recently read an Aish article which explained quite cogently why God cannot simply reward man and place him in the World to Come. The basic reasoning is because people would be shamed by receiving something they did... More »

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