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What is "chad gadya" really all about?

Why do we sing "chad gadya" at the pesach seder? What is it supposed to be about? Also, as a side question, is it "d'zabin aba" or "dizvan aba"?
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
9 votes
2 answers
163 views

How do I bake my own matza?

I'd really like to bake matza by hand. I know that it's impractical and inadvisable to try doing it on my own, but I hear that groups of people go to matza factories to do it. How do I find such a ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
4 votes
3 answers
435 views

Kitnios on Pesach

Why and when did the minhag start that allows Sephardim to eat Kitnios (Legumes)but not Ashkenazim?
Ken's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
561 views

Who hides the afikoman?

Is the leader of the seder supposed to hide the afikoman so that the kids can find it, or are the kids supposed to hide it so that the leader can find it? And what is the point of this hide-and-seek ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

When do you eat the charoset?

During the seder, are you really not supposed have any charoset left on your maror when you eat it? Why is this? When do people actually get to eat the charoset?
Sam's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
378 views

Is it inappropriate to be overdressed for prayer (davening)?

I know that for prayer (davening), you're supposed to be dressed "appropriately", e.g. not in your pajamas; the rule of thumb I'd heard was "as you normally would when seen in public." (Rabbi Enkin ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
8 votes
5 answers
456 views

What happens to all those kvitlach?

We've all seen the thousands of tiny papers that get shoved in between the bricks of the Kotel. And periodically someone comes around, brushes out the more protruding ones, and sweeps up the mess of ...
WAF's user avatar
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4 votes
8 answers
2k views

Anyone know anything about Shlomo Kluger Yeshiva?

A friend of mine said his great-grandfather taught at a yeshiva in New York called Mesivta/Yeshiva Shlomo (Solomon) Kluger. I've heard of Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, and assume this institution was named in ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
4 votes
2 answers
174 views

Why did God invite Moshe to stand on "*the* rock"?

In Parashat Ki Tisa, during the atonement for the Golden Calf, God says to Moshe (Exodus 33:21): הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי; וְנִצַּבְתָּ, עַל-הַצּוּר Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Jewish definition of a charity

I know that Jews are supposed to give 10% of their income to charity, but what constitutes a charity? I know that Shuls, Jewish schools and poor people in your community count, but what about secular ...
Ken's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
5k views

What are the essential books which every Jew should own? [closed]

What Jewish religious books should one consider when starting a Jewish Library in their home? A set of Shas (Talmud) and the Shulchan Orech (Code of Jewish Law) are the obvious ones, What else should ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 3,824
15 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is being vegan "kosher"?

Is being a vegan completely okay according to halacha? Even if a vegan is not eating anything traif (non-kosher), perhaps it's not truly correct because you are not following the commandments to ...
JoshV's user avatar
  • 629
14 votes
7 answers
4k views

Should I wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed?

If I don't have a known family minhag regarding this, how should I decide whether to wear tefillin during Chol HaMoed? Which communities generally follow each option, and what are the reasons behind ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Second day of Yom Tov outside of Israel

Can someone living outside of Israel ask a visitor from Israel to do a melacha for them on the second day of Yom Tov if the visiting Israeli is only keeping one day of Yom Tov?
Ken's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
13k views

Putting on tefillin late

For whatever reason, I was unable to put on tefillin while davening shacharit this morning. However, I have access to tefillin now, and the sun has not yet set. After I put on the tefillin, what ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
27 votes
7 answers
3k views

Halakhic International Date Line issues

According to halakha, where is the international date line? More specifically, I have heard that some people say you should observe Shabbat on Sunday in Japan & New Zealand and/or on Friday in ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
12 votes
1 answer
772 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 ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
17 votes
4 answers
6k views

Oops, I just missed the siyum for Fast of the Firstborn

I am a firstborn. Suppose I wake up late on Erev Pesach and walk into shul right after they finish the siyum. Can I still partake in the post-siyum meal, or am I too late? More precisely, what are ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Do bananas make the best karpas?

For karpas at the seder, one is supposed to eat a food on which the blessing "borei pri ha'adama" is made. However, many of the most commonly used food items for karpas (e.g. parsley, raw onion, raw ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Doctors working on Shabbat

What are some general guidelines regarding the halakhic permissibility for Jewish doctors to work on Shabbat? I know that saving lives generally overrides Shabbat, but I am curious about less black-...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Reading multiple versions of words in Megilla and Zachor [closed]

I have two main questions, followed by some bonus questions. 1) The pronunciation of the word "זכר" in Parshas Zachor Why do many Ashkenazic congregations repeat (at least a portion of) the last ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 3,968
18 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why do we honor Charvona, specifically?

The song we sing after reading the Megilla on Purim, "Shoshanat Yaakov," concludes with "and may Charvona also be remembered favorably." According to the Megilla (Esther 7:9), all Charvona did was, ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

What's the best thing to use for Marror?

What's the best thing to use for Marror (bitter herbs) for Seder, taking into account Halacha, ease, availability, etc?
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?

Are the names Akiva and Ya'akov related?
WAF's user avatar
  • 23.8k
23 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why are there colored splotches on the pages on many Jewish texts?

On many editions of the Chumash, Talmud, and even many more-modern books, you look at the side of the book (opposite the spine) and there are random colored splotches printed on the pages. (For ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
10 votes
8 answers
586 views

What would you really, actually like to receive (give?) for Mishloach Manot on Purim? [closed]

Let's put it this way: what would you actually like to receive in your Mishloach Manot on Purim? (I'm trying to figure out what to put in there would actually be most appreciated?) I feel like ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
22 votes
12 answers
13k 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 - - ...
user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
3k views

Preferred method for providing hot water on Shabbat [closed]

I'd like to have hot water available for making tea and the like on Shabbat. What is your preferred method for this, and why? Do you use an electric urn? If so, what brand and features? Is it durable?...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where can I find Hebrew etymologies? [closed]

In what reliable source can I look up the etymology of English (or other) words stretching all the way back to Semitic languages, especially Hebrew? I often have suspicions that certain words might ...
WAF's user avatar
  • 23.8k
8 votes
1 answer
388 views

Shaking a no-battery flashlight on Shabbos

What is the problem with shaking one of the no battery/shaking flashlights which is on on shabbos?
Bas613's user avatar
  • 3,089
2 votes
1 answer
81 views

Communal commandment sources?

What are some good (preferably authoritative) sources that explain the concept and legal ramifications of mitzvos tziboriyos - obligations that fall upon the public as opposed to the individual? I am ...
WAF's user avatar
  • 23.8k
10 votes
3 answers
17k views

"How long is a Jewish funeral?"

A non-Jewish co-worker who was invited to a Jewish funeral asked me how long they typically are. I told her that, thank God, I hadn't been to many, but my understanding is that they probably vary a ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
15 votes
2 answers
558 views

Do our sources address "strategic loan defaults"?

In the most recent episode of NPR's Planet Money Podcast, they interviewed a real estate lawyer in Arizona who talked about the large numbers of her clients who have been asking for advice about doing ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

Attending non-frum event

Is it permissible to attend a non-frum event, such as a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah of a family member or friend?
user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
7k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to pray in public places?

If you're stuck in a public place (e.g. airport, mall) and need to daven (pray) -- usually it's Mincha, right before sunset: what's the best way to do it?
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
30 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes
2 answers
220 views

Rashi's unusual phrasing of the four sons

At the end of Parashat Bo (Exodus 13:14), Rashi enumerates the Four Sons of the Passover Seder: דברה תורה כנגד ארבעה בנים, רשע ושאינו יודע לשאול והשואל דרך סתומה והשואל דרך חכמה The Torah ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
5 votes
2 answers
326 views

What if a specific avoda zara looks just like avodas Hashem?

Let us assume there is at least one conventional way to serve any given false deity. Let us also assume that there is a prohibition against serving false deities in the manner that they are ...
WAF's user avatar
  • 23.8k
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

Best practices for praying in public with talit and tefilin

I just learned that a flight out of New York was diverted because a flight attendant saw a passenger putting on tefilin and freaked out, thinking that he was strapping on bombs. So, do you have any ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
6 votes
1 answer
315 views

Must I warn people about an untrustworthy restaurant?

What is my obligation to warn fellow kosher observant people about a Restraurant that is claiming to be "Glatt" Kosher, when in fact it has no Rabbinic Supervision at all and the owner's religious ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 3,824
7 votes
1 answer
760 views

Question about a 'Jewish proverb'

A [secular Jewish] Facebook friend posted the following as his status: "Commit a sin twice and it will not seem a crime. - Jewish proverb." I am unsure about what he thinks this means, and more ...
Dave1's user avatar
  • 71
10 votes
7 answers
11k views

Is there a problem with women wearing red clothing?

I've heard that red clothing is forbidden for women to wear because it's immodest. Some recent psych research confirmed that men are more attracted to women in red. So that means it's prohibited, ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 134k
3 votes
3 answers
730 views

Do you have to close the window if someone's cold?

The LinkedIn FrumNetwork user that I recently corresponded with about the wisdom of the crowd brought up an interesting bit of conventional wisdom that she claims is at least partly apocryphal: For ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are women exempt from Tachanun and discouraged from saying it?

My brother heard from someone that she heard that women are exempt from saying Tachanun and therefore discouraged from saying it. Is this so? If so, why? Do you know sources for this? UPDATE: I ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why still keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel?

Why do we continue to keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel? The reason for two days was revelant during the temple era as we needed two witnesses to see the new moon. But today, with no Temple ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 3,824
7 votes
5 answers
527 views

"Moshe cried out" - really?

In Parashat Va-eira, Pharaoh, plagued with frogs, asks Moshe and Aharon to "entreat" God to remove the plague and says that he'll respond by releasing the Israelites. Moshe agrees, and then ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes
1 answer
209 views

Searching for Chumatz before Passavor

If someone is going to be away for Passover, how many days before Passover can one search his home for Chumatz?
Ken's user avatar
  • 3,824
4 votes
4 answers
580 views

Breakfast cereal brachot

Is there a reliable on-line source for finding the brerachot for commercially prepared breakfast cereals?
Bas613's user avatar
  • 3,089
13 votes
1 answer
689 views

Does a cholent bag/aluminum foil take away the need to tovel the pot?

If no food touches it, does it need to be toveled (immersed in mikvah)?
cube's user avatar
  • 993

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