Preparations

Eating Restrictions on Friday - We have non-religious relatives staying nearby on vacation and we’ve been trying to invite them for a meal. They have a busy schedule so we’ve been having trouble setting a date and time. Is there any... 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 »

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 »
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 »
Giving Gifts on Shabbat - I am invited Shabbat lunch to a local family. Is there any issue with bringing them a gift such as a bottle of wine? 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 »
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Havdalah

Havdalah – Spilled Wine - I was watching a video about Shabbat and the rabbi mentioned a custom to spill some wine out before drinking it. Can you tell me the basis for this? 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... 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 »
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Forbidden Activities

Carrying Child Who Can Walk on Shabbat - Regarding the law that one may carry a child who can walk by himself outside without an Eruv, how well does the child need to be able to walk? Let’s say he walks only with assistance. 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 »
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Misc.

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 »
The Shabbos Queen - My Bible class went to visit a synagogue Friday night. At a point during the services, we all turned to face the back of the synagogue while singing. I was told it was to welcome the Shabbat Queen. What... More »

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