Questions tagged [how-to]

Questions about the practical advice regarding how to apply Judaism in real life. NOT for questions regarding p'sak halacha (practical halachic advice) -- consult your local Orthodox rabbi (CYLOR) for that.

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45
votes
12answers
2k views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...
37
votes
23answers
9k views

How to tactfully circumvent opposite-gender handshake

Say you're a man in a professional setting, and a woman who isn't used to dealing with observant Jews stretches out her hand to greet you -- but your practice is to avoid shaking hands even in ...
36
votes
25answers
1k views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
32
votes
11answers
1k views

Seder advice when with people who aren't interested?

This may have some things in common with beginner's seder advice, but it's different enough that I'm asking separately. For family-obligation reasons, I sometimes find myself at a seder where most of ...
32
votes
7answers
1k views

How to respond to “but he does”

I mentioned to my coworker that I can't eat Domino's pizza, not even without meat, as it's not kosher. He pointed out in response that a fellow coworker of ours, whom I'll call Josh, and who is ...
31
votes
3answers
1k views

Keeping Kosher at a secular company

How you do deal with keeping Kosher while working at a secular company? It's easy enough to bring my own lunch everyday; what I'm not sure how to handle are events like company lunches and other ...
30
votes
8answers
1k views

How can we get people to stop talking (much, loudly) during minyan?

I know that lots of minyanim have the talking problem; has anybody solved it? I daven with a weekday shacharit minyan that has a noise problem. A couple of people are the main sources of the problem ...
28
votes
12answers
1k views

How can I make a long summer shabbat a delight?

Where I live, shabbat ends at nearly 10PM at the peak of summer, and I find it challenging to get to the end of that without starting to develop some negative feelings. I try to spend most of Shabbat ...
28
votes
10answers
10k views

Men: how do you control your reactions to women in immodest dress if you can't avoid them?

A question on The Workplace from a man uncomfortable with the dress of some of his new, female coworkers got a highly-voted answer saying that you get used to it and he should just wait it out. That ...
26
votes
20answers
7k views

How can I curb my sexual desire?

I am looking for the best and most practical suggestion as to what a man can do to curb his yetzer hara (evil inclination) for sexual desire. Please provide sources for why your answer should be ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

How do you maximize your aravot's period of freshness?

Every Sukkot any aravot that I start the holiday with tend to get dried up by the end of the holiday, if not to the point of being unfit for service, at least enough to be ugly. What do you do to ...
25
votes
4answers
928 views

Maintaining Tzniut in Uncomfortable Social Situations

How can a teenage girl, who recently started practicing the laws of tzniut as well as feasible, balance those laws with the prohibition against embarrassing her family members, who are embarrassed to ...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

First steps for someone considering conversion

I am 25 years old and I am truly interested in converting. I too also only believe in G-d. I live my life to certain rules that others I see aren't strong enough to live by. I want to know what I ...
22
votes
12answers
11k views

Talmud Study, Where to start [closed]

I would like to start to study Talmud, BUT do not know how, where to start. My Jewish training is basically non-existent. I learned how to read the Hebrew words in the Siddur, Machzor, and Chumash - - ...
21
votes
13answers
9k views

How to learn gemara independently

Is there an organized path that a Ba'al Teshuva can follow to learn Gemara and prepare the Daf by himself? I mean after he is able to learn with Artscroll.
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you handle possible Shabbat issues when receiving a jury summons?

The last time I was summoned for jury duty it was mid-week in January, and I made a point of telling the lawyers during questioning that I would have to be home before sunset on Friday. They were not ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you CYLOR after posting on judaism.stackexchange.com?

We recommend CYLOR. How do I: ask the OR a shaaloh that one has already posted on judaism.stackexchange.com. Should I acknowledge its use when asking? introduce the concept of judaism.stackexchange....
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Polite way to break up with a chavrusa?

I've been learning with someone for quite some time, but it just hasn't seem to be working out. There are too many interruptions, he seems to space out a lot, and not much progress is made with the ...
17
votes
10answers
6k views

Method for practicing Torah reading

What is your method for practicing reading a Torah portion and thus memorizing the associated vowelizations and intonations? I'm looking for ideas for maximizing your effectiveness at performing a ...
17
votes
9answers
4k views

Cleaning Tzitzis

What have you found to be the best way to wash tzitzis (i.e. easiest, least likely to invalidate, and most clean)?
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How can you quit a habit of visiting inappropriate websites?

The Torah teaches that, if you're an unmarried man, watching pornography is harmful to your soul. See, for example, this article by Chabad rabbi Tzvi Freeman. (If you're married and need to watch ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How to advise your barber

Men: What is a succinct, clear, Halachically complete line to tell a barber what not to do when cutting your hair?
16
votes
5answers
2k views

How to make Purim more female friendly?

At a recent Shabbat meal the conversation was about how Purim was a "guy holiday" where women felt like second class citizens, especially married women who often found themselves cooking the seuda, ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Best way to explain to my boss that I cannot attend a team summit because it is on Rosh Hashana or any other Jewish Holiday

I have a team summit which unfortunately falls on Rosh Hashanah and I will not be able to attend. It is not mission critical that I be there - it is more for team building but still the team spent a ...
15
votes
3answers
935 views

What's a good technique for a not-so-strong person to do [Ashkenazi] Hagbaha?

I've seen many people shy away when asked to do Hagbaha (‏הגבהה‏), thinking themselves too weak. I know for a fact that it doesn't take that much strength to do it correctly, so I'd love to ...
15
votes
11answers
4k views

How can one kill the habit of speaking profanity?

Saying curse words, if I am not mistaken, is in the category of nivul peh. For someone that is used to using curse words, what steps can he take to avoid this transgression?
15
votes
2answers
3k views

I am not Jewish but would like to visit a MO synagogue to pray occasionally on Shabbat. What is the best course?

I have studied Judaism for five years privately but also with the assistance of friends. There isn't a shul in the city where I live so most Shabbats I pray at home. Occasionally I have driven into ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

What can I feed a vegetarian at my Pesach seder?

Wait wait, it's not a question for Seasoned Advice. :-) I have a vegetarian (not vegan) coming to my seder this year. Most of the vegetarian staples (as far as I know) are chametz or kitniyot. For ...
14
votes
2answers
280 views

How do I say vidui in Selichos in a meaningful way?

We say vidui three times in selichos. Many words are uttered in a relatively short time. How can we do this in a meaningful way that is not "vidui peh"? I have heard tell of one of the gedolei ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

How do observant Jews entertain themselves?

I used to be a secular Jew. As with any secular person, I watched tv, went to the movies, hung out with friends, went to bars, etc. After becoming observant, most of these activities had to go. While ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

What do I need to know in order to properly have an aliya?

What things should I know in advance in case I get called up for an aliya during a Torah-reading service?
13
votes
3answers
10k views

Simple Sukkah plans using dimensional lumber from Home Depot?

I'm planning to build a sukkah using dimensional lumber from Home Depot for the frame and some tarp for the sides. It should be big enough to fit 2 adults and 2 small kids, but generally as small as ...
13
votes
1answer
15k views

First trip to the synagogue! Tips and advice please!

I am preparing for my first trip to a synagogue after the High Holy Days. My first visit will be to a Modern Orthodox Synagogue. I have interacted with the Rabbi by email and we will be meeting ...
13
votes
3answers
439 views

Beginners' Seder Advice

I'm going to be at a seder this year with young children who are familiar with the basic structure of the haggadah. Some will likely have some of the classic divrei torah prepared for them to say. I'm ...
13
votes
2answers
437 views

Advanced Seder Advice

I'm going to be at a seder this year with other adults who are all relatively familiar with the text and structure of the haggadah. Most have heard many of the classic divrei torah many times. I'm ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I do the car-door-sukkah trick?

I know in theory, people on the road don't need to eat in a sukkah; at the same time, you're not supposed to go put yourself in that situation on purpose. ("Let's go take a chol hamoed trip -- oops ...
12
votes
10answers
508 views

How do you deal with huge numbers of calls from tzedaka organizations?

We get at least 20 calls per day that show up on the caller ID without a name and with either no phone number or a number with a New York metro area code. We usually don't bother answering such calls ...
12
votes
5answers
352 views

How can I make my Judaism more enjoyable?

I really enjoy being Jewish, most of the time, but let's be honest, sometimes it can be difficult to enjoy Judaism. Sometimes it's the little things, like having to wait those extra minutes to eat ...
12
votes
3answers
308 views

Finding the quiet section of the synagogue

When you enter an unfamiliar synagogue, how do you find a seat in a section that's likely to have the least talking?
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How to keep kosher in a non-observant household

Many Baalei Teshuvah (returnees to Judaism) confront various conflicts regarding their interactions with non-observant family and friends. A big one, which has not been discussed here (AFAIK), is ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How to explain to friends/family that one will not attend an intermarriage

Suppose a friend or family member becomes engaged to a non-Jew. For the sake of this question, also assume that a trusted rabbi has been consulted and he has ruled (after considering any relevant ...
12
votes
4answers
969 views

December greeting responses [closed]

How do you respond when greeted, during the Winter "holiday season" by a non-Jewish acquaintance with each of the following? Happy Chanuka (in proximity to Chanuka) Happy Chanuka (not in proximity to ...
12
votes
4answers
647 views

How to keep bees out of the Sukkah?

Many years (but not all), we have had bee problems in the Sukkah. This is probably caused by the fact that we continue to use honey for dipping the Challah throughout Sukkos. What are some practical ...
12
votes
1answer
658 views

How to identify Yashan

I would like to serve food to a friend who observes the restrictions against eating Chadash grain products, but I don't have access to a guide on identifying Yashan. However, I have heard, that ...
12
votes
2answers
841 views

What do I do when asked to “open the Aron” or “take out the Torah”?

If I'm in synagogue and someone asks me if I can "open the Aron" or "take out the Sefer Torah," what will I be expected to do, and when?
12
votes
2answers
832 views

Is there a way to tell if a Pitom of an Etrog has been broken, or was grown that way?

Is there a way to tell whether the Pitum of an Etrog has been broken off or whether the Etrog had just grown that way (without a pitum)? (I just seem to be a little worried about mine, so any advice ...
11
votes
11answers
842 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]? [duplicate]

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
11
votes
4answers
994 views

What's an elegant way to avoid social contact with untzinius or attractive women?

There's times when women I'm attracted to visit our home or are friends of my wife and I don't feel comfortable completely ignoring them or telling my wife to not invite them. I'm not sure how my wife ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I avoid thirst when fasting?

I started fasting on Yom Kippur as an adult, about 10 years ago. A couple times I had to drink a glass of water either after Kol Nidre or before Shacharit, because I felt completely dehydrated (I did ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

How to tell someone about Shomer Negiah

As I'm sure that many of you have had to "break it" to a coworker or friend that you're Shomer Negiah, have you found a strategy or choice of words that seems most effective? As I wasn't raised frum ...

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