All Questions

3
votes
8answers
467 views

Can you recommend an alternative outer talit bag?

I need to replace my outer talit bag - the one that most people have as a brittle, transparent, zippered bag with gold piping (e.g.). I am tired of having these bags break on me, and I don't have a ...
4
votes
3answers
425 views

How to deal with the parts of the Torah reading that are pre-empted by the congregation

Sometimes, our traditional approach to the reading includes having the congregation recite a short section of the reading aloud before the Torah reader does it, and then he follows. The most ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Obtaining the 7 Species in the U.S

Often on T"u BiSh'vat people like to eat members of the shiv'as haminim - the Seven Species by which the Land of Israel is praised. Some of them, such as grapes and dates, are easy enough to come ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Understanding Rashi's resolution of an ambiguity in Parashat Vayigash

The following is based on a question I wrote in the margin of my chumash about ten years ago. In Yehuda's speech to the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef in disguise) at the beginning of Parashat Vayigash, he ...
8
votes
3answers
246 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
8
votes
1answer
298 views

What went down in 1666 before Shabtai Tz'vi's apostasy?

It seems agreed upon that one or more representatives from Lvov traveled to either investigate, visit or out Shabtai Tzvi in 1666 when he was still claiming to be the mashi'ach. Immediately following ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Naming your child using a dead relative's initial

Is there a Jewish tradition of naming your child using the first letter of the name of a recently deceased relative?
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Picking out the alephs [closed]

How can you quickly pick out all the alephs on a page of Hebrew printed text?
21
votes
4answers
4k views

Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries

Why is it that some people won't set foot in another's sanctuary, even if it was for a non-prayer function? Can an orthodox person be in a reform style temple sanctuary for a lecture or concert? I ...
14
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?
11
votes
4answers
287 views

Why did Yosef's brothers speak freely in the presence of the interpreter?

In Parashat Miketz, Yosef's brothers encounter him disguised as the viceroy of Egypt, and he accuses them of espionage, jails them for three days, and makes a demand that they know their father would ...
17
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
42
votes
16answers
13k views

Is Christianity Avodah Zara?

It is commonly accepted that Islam is not Avodah Zarah (idolatry) since Islam has a clear monotheistic theology with a belief in Allah that parallels our view of "kail" or Hashem. It is even ...
12
votes
4answers
833 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
1k views

When blogging/emailing/etc., do I use “God” or “G-d”?

Is there a religious problem with typing out the name: "G-o-d"?
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
17
votes
5answers
625 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Why must Chata'os Ha-meisos be treated so harshly?

There are certain cases in which an animal designated for a sin offering (Chat'as) could not be brought in the Temple, but was required to be killed ("חטאות המתות"), according to some opinions, by ...
6
votes
1answer
129 views

Third blessing on the second night of Channukah

If someone didn't light Channukah lights on the first night, does he/she then say the third blessing (Sh'hecheyunu) on the next night?
7
votes
1answer
681 views

Moving question: prayer when posting a mezuzah

What prayer do you recite when posting a mezuzah?
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Puzzles on Shabbat

Is it permitted to put together puzzles on Shabbat with children? Does it matter what kind of puzzle it is (jigsaw vs. fit the piece in the wooden hole)? Does it matter if there are words on the ...
14
votes
4answers
322 views

How do we know what the Chazzan should say aloud?

In many siddurim, the text indicates a position, toward the end of each normal paragraph of prayer, where the Chazzan is supposed to start reading aloud, so that everyone knows when it's time to go on ...
15
votes
6answers
368 views

Online tool for minyan management?

If I'm running a small minyan that sometimes has a quorum and sometimes doesn't, and I'd like to only hold the minyan when I know we'll have ten, is there an online tool to help me manage this?
8
votes
2answers
883 views

Mixed Minyan in a Shiva House

What to do when helping make a minyan for mourners in a shiva house when at prayer time they insist on davening conservative style, men and women sitting together?
8
votes
4answers
471 views

Priority of Davening with a Minyan

Is it better to Daven [pray] with a earlier large minyan or better to wait to daven later with a much smaller minyan where I will be needed as the tenth?
7
votes
4answers
115 views

Chanuka Candle Location [closed]

My whole family will be staying at a hotel over shabbos and the hotel management says that we are not allowed to light fires in our rooms. Nobody will be in our home. How can we fulfill the mitzvah ...
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?
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Chanukiah location

What it the ideal place to put a chanukiah for lighting? Is it better to put it in the window, outside or inside? Does it depend on where you live?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Proper use of a blech/plata

What is the proper use of a blech/plata on Shabbat?
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Why isn't the book of the Maccabees part of the Jewish canon?

I believe they are in the Christian canon... why not Jewish?
33
votes
12answers
2k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
9
votes
3answers
906 views

What can I use for schach?

What materials can be used for the top of a Sukkah?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the appropriate use of the shamash on an oil menora?

It seems that with wax candle menoras, the shamash is generally lit first and used to light the other candles, but with an oil menora this is not possible. So should you light the shamash before the ...
15
votes
5answers
928 views

What makes a wine kosher?

Why are some wines kosher and some not?
9
votes
6answers
1k views

How to Resolve Kiddush Levana and Celestial Worship, (Avodas Kochavim)?

In general Kiddush Lavanah has always seemed to me to be akin to "Avodas Kochavim" - so does anyone know of a satisfying answer that works with Occam's razor? More specifically: We say Just as I can ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the best way to make wick-and-oil work for Chanukah?

I've tried lots of fancy fluffy cotton wicks that just burn out. Some people have those little metal holder-thingies to keep the wick in place; some use bobby pins as holder thingies. If your oil ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Are chanukah menorahs lit from the left or the right?

There are different authorities that state the chanukah menora should be lit from the left or the right. Which is correct?
30
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “mi yodeya” mean?

What does "mi yodeya" mean?
4
votes
3answers
167 views

When did the practice of lighting flames for Chanuka begin?

It seems clear from the G'mara that the institution of Chanuka as a holiday began the year immediately following the seminal story - with praising of God and commemorating miracles, but there is no ...
22
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
202 views

How do you get oil residue off of a menora?

When you light olive oil in a metal menora, some of the oil invariably finds its way into the cracks between parts of the menora. How do you remove this residue?
7
votes
4answers
301 views

How do you vet a day school?

How do you go about investigating whether a particular day school is best for your kids? I am most interested in the behavior and attitude of the students and the professionalism of the teachers and ...
12
votes
10answers
465 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
794 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
790 views

What's a good website for asking questions about Jewish life and learning and getting crowd-sourced answers?

What's a good website for asking questions about Jewish life and learning and getting crowd-sourced answers?

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