Prayer - General

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 »
How to Pray Well - How does a person pray well? I understand the Hebrew of the prayers pretty well, but I can’t really get myself excited about saying them. Are there any good ideas for helping a person pray with emotion?... 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... More »
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Daily Prayers

Adding Personal Requests to Daily Prayers - I understand there are places in the Amidah where one can insert personal prayers – apart from the standard prayers it already includes. How do I do this? More »
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 »
Blessing Before Torah Study - I’ve begun studying Torah more regularly and wanted to know if there is some blessing I should say before doing so. More »
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Synagogue & Minyan

Blessing for New Rabbi - I am the cantor's wife and I make the candle blessing before Rosh Hashana. We have a new young rabbi. Do you have a suggestion for a prayer or greeting that would include our new rabbi for me to say along... More »
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 »
Kaddish - Minyan - What should an individual do if he cannot say Kaddish on a regular basis? Is it better to pray from home if you must drive to Shul on Shabbat? More »
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Mourning & Kaddish

Convert – Mourning & Kaddish for Non-Jewish Parent - I am a convert but I still have a good relationship with my parents, who are very decent people and who were very supportive of my religious transformation. Unfortunately, my father is not doing well. In... More »
Grandson Saying Kaddish - My grandmother recently passed away. She only had one son, my father a”h, who passed away a few years ago. She also had two daughters. I am the oldest grandson. Should I say kaddish for my grandmother or... 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... More »
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Torah Reading

Completing a Book of the Torah - I am a lay leader at my temple. Since our rabbi is away, I will be leading this week’s Shabbat service. I have beginner-intermediate skills for chanting Torah. Your pasha page was very helpful.... More »
Double Torah Portion - I enjoy attending synagogue every Shabbat morning. When it comes to the weekly Torah reading, sometimes we read two parshas. Why is that? More »
Mismatched Torah Portions - I flew to Israel last week and on Shabbat they read a different Torah portion than the one they were reading at my synagogue back home. What gives? More »
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Blessings Over Food

Bracha Acharona on Hot Drinks & Soda - I was told that I shouldn’t say a bracha after drinking coffee at work. Is this true and why? More »
Bracha Acharona on Yogurt, Ice Cream, Ices - I heard that we do not say a bracha acharona (after blessing) on yogurt. Is this true and what is the reason? More »
Mushrooms: Kosher Status, Blessing - Mushrooms are fungi. They are not the seed-bearing plants the Torah allows man to eat. If so, how can they be kosher? More »
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Misc.

Blessings on Thunder and Lightning - Yesterday evening a powerful thunderstorm came out of nowhere. I found myself jolted to attention and literally cowering – covering my ears at every blast of thunder. I was curious if the Sages have... More »
Prayer for Taking Medicine - I just began taking an antibiotic for a minor ailment. Is there anything religious I should be doing together with taking the medicine? It seems odd that we turn to doctors for our healing but not to... More »
Praying for the Terminally Ill - I have a friend who is dying from cancer. His condition is terminal and he realizes he only has a few months to live. Is it appropriate to add a request in my prayers that he recovers, knowing that this... More »
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Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

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