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Accidental Carrying on Shabbat - What do you do if you realize you’re carrying something outside on Shabbat, such as if you have something in your pocket you didn’t know about? More »
Aliyah Difficulties - We recently moved to Israel, fulfilling a life dream, but so many things have gone wrong since we arrived – in terms of the lift, our apartment, my job options, and more. I’m hoping the worst of our issues have been... More »
Being Conspicuously Jewish - Please help me understand why Jews continue to identify themselves publicly. With all the violence towards Jews for thousands of years shouldn't we stop making ourselves a target? More »
Buckwheat Bread - What bracha (blessing) is said on buckwheat bread? And let’s say it is mixed with whole wheat flour? More »
Carnivorous Animals - Why did God create the world that some animals are carnivorous – and hunt and kill other animals for their food? Couldn’t the world have been created differently? More »
Damages Done by Children - Our neighbor’s 8-year-old son borrowed a toy and broke it. Should we make an issue of it? Are our neighbors obligated to pay us back? More »
Descent From King David Today - Is there any way to research if you’re a descendant of King David? I feel I really relate to him in so many ways! More »
Determining Relative’s Hebrew Name - Our father passed away recently and we want to determine his Hebrew name for his tombstone. He was entirely secular and none of us know if he even had a Hebrew name. What should we do? More »
Did Judaism Use to Practice Patrilineal Descent? - I just made a bet with a friend for a cup of coffee. He is asserting that Judaism used to be a patrilineal religion in the beginning, and then changed to being matrilineal. I never heard this and find it hard to... More »
Divorcee – Husband’s Customs - I am divorced now. Do I still have to follow the customs of my ex-husband – such as not eating out on Passover? More »
Haftorah – Source for the Custom - What is the source of the custom to read from the Prophets on Shabbat and other occasions after reading from the Torah? Is it a recent custom? More »
Heating up Food in a Non-Kosher Oven - Is there a way I can use the toaster oven at work to heat up food? More »
Hebrew Name – Non-Jewish Father - A new member in our synagogue has a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. I know he is legally considered Jewish. My question is how to call him to the Torah where a person is usually called as X the son of (“ben”) Y.... More »
How to Forgive Ourselves - With the High Holidays approaching, I’m trying to come to terms with a lot of my past life choices and mistakes. One recurring issue is that I live with a lot of guilt over some of my past choices. I’m not talking... More »
Is Seeing a Rainbow Good or Bad? - Is seeing a rainbow a good or a bad thing? On the one hand, it’s a majestic creation of God and a beautiful natural phenomenon. On the other, we are taught that it’s a sign God wants to destroy the world – and is only... More »
Jacob’s Incomplete Name Change - I noticed something very curious. Abraham’s name was changed from Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5) and that’s how he became permanently known. Likewise Sarai became Sarah (17:15). But God changed Jacob’s name to Israel... More »
Jacob’s Possessions and Having it All - When Jacob first meets Esau after having spent years in Haran, he gives him a large gift of animals. At first Esau refuses the gift, but then Jacob convinces him to take it. I know there is a nice lesson derived from... More »
Keturah’s Origins - Who was Abraham’s second wife Keturah? The Torah writes nothing about her background and origin – although if she was a wife of Abraham and mother to six of his children, she must have been a pretty... important person! More »
Man’s Past Powerful Drive for Idolatry - It’s clear from the Bible and our knowledge of ancient history that idolatry was rampant among primitive man all throughout the world, roughly till it began to be replaced by Christianity in Roman times. What did our... More »
Mayim Acharonim – Washing Before Birkat HaMazon - I was reading that the Hassidic practice is to wash one’s hands at the end of a bread meal, before Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals). What is the basis for this and do you recommend I do it? More »
Opening Folding Bed on Shabbat - I live in a small apartment and I want to have guests who may stay overnight. Would I be allowed to open a sleeper sofar for them on Shabbat? (Because my apartment is small, there isn’t room to keep it open the entire... More »
Overcharging – Lemonade Stand - My brother and I opened a lemonade stand and charge $1 a cup. This is actually about three times what each cup actually costs us to make. Is that allowed? More »
Personal Prayers on Shabbat - I’ve heard that we are not allowed to pray on Shabbat except for the standard prayers in the siddur (prayer-book). Is this so, and why? I am recovering from an addiction, and an important part of the program is to pray... More »
Posting Negative Online Reviews - It’s very common to write an online review of any business you patronized, product you purchased, or hotel you visited (on Google, Yelp, Amazon, etc.). How is doing so consistent with the laws against lashon hara –... More »
Psalms about Future Events - If King David authored Psalms, how is it that several of the Psalms talk about events which occurred long after David’s time. Some examples are Psalm 74 which talks about the destruction of the Temple, and Psalm 137,... More »
Sleeping Facing the Door - Is it true that you’re not supposed to sleep with your feet towards the door of your bedroom? Or is this just a superstition? More »
Special Places to Pray for Children, Zera Shimshon - My husband and I have been struggling to conceive for a few years now. We will be visiting Israel this summer. I know there are some places considered the “best spots” for certain types of prayers. Apart from the... More »
Studying History (Weekday and Shabbat) - I’ve heard that some classic Jewish sources write that the study of history is a waste of time and should not be done, in particular on Shabbat. Is this true? More »
Tallit – From What Age? - Beginning at what age does one wear a large Tallit for prayers? More »
The Book of Jasher - Is the Book of Jasher a reliable work? Are the dates and information in it accurate? It looks interesting and I’m wondering if it would be worth my time to study it in depth. More »
The Books of the Maccabees - I’ve been reading about the history of Hanukkah and found that a lot of the material comes from the Book of the Maccabees. What is that work? Is it a sacred work, part of the Torah, or just a work... of history? More »
The Tabernacle’s Construction and the Shamir - When the Children of Israel constructed the Tabernacle, some of the tasks required doing very fine, delicate work – which seems to be beyond the technology that existed in those days. How for example were they able to... More »
Using Diapers (Nappies) on Shabbat - What are the relevant laws I need to know about diapering a baby on Shabbat? I do a lot of babysitting and this will probably become relevant. More »
Visiting a Mosque - I know many people do not enter Churches. Does the same apply to Mosques? More »
Whipped Cream Charger - Are you allowed to use a whipped cream charger on Shabbat? It involves puncturing a canister, and then gas is released into a thick cream which bubbles it up and turns it into foam. More »
Why Do We Celebrate the Torah on Simchat Torah and Not Shavout? - Why do we complete the reading of the Torah and celebrate it on Simchat Torah and not on Shavuot when we received the Torah? Wouldn’t Shavuot make much more sense? What does Sukkot have to do with... the Torah? More »
Year and Date of Aaron’s Death - In what year did Aaron die? Numbers 33:38 writes explicitly that Aaron died in the 40th year in the desert, at the age of 123. But Deuteronomy 10:6 seems to say Aaron died in the second year in the desert, right after... More »
Yearly Parsha (Torah Reading) Cycle - As we come to the end of the cycle of reading the Torah. I am curious as to when and who divided up the Torah into its different weekly sections, and who gave them their names? More »
Yizkor at Home - Our local synagogue is closed because of the coronavirus. How can I say yizkor this year in memory of my father? More »
Zechariah 13:6 – Wounds Between Your Hands - How do Jews interpret Zechariah 13:6? “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your hands?’ And he will say, ‘That I was smitten in the house of those who loved me.’” I have heard Christians see it as a... More »

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