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Q & A: Shir HaShirim On Pesach

Question: Why do we read Shir HaShirim on Pesach? Also, why do we generally read it on the Shabbat of Chol HaMoed as opposed to the first days of Pesach? Finally, why don’t we recite a blessing over the reading of Shir HaShirim as we do for Megillat Esther? Menachem (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: ‘Ba’arbeh – With Locusts’

Question: In the Torah’s description of the ten plagues Hashem inflicted upon Egypt, we find the Hebrew preposition “beit” [meaning “in” or “with”] only in connection with the plague of locust: "Neteh yadcha al eretz Mitzrayim ba'arbeh." Why is this so? And why do most of the commentators on Chumash ignore this question. Menachem (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: The Arba Parshiyot (Conclusion)

Question: Why do we read four special Torah sections between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of the four Shabbatot on which we read these sections by a special name – such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc.? Celia Gluck (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: The Arba Parshiyot (Part I)

Question: Why do we read four special Torah sections between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of the four Shabbatot on which we read these sections by a special name – such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc.? Celia Gluck (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Bibliographical Oddities Regarding Parshas Parah

The Shulchan Aruch (Hilchos Chanukah, 685:7) writes that some authorities maintain that there is a biblical obligation to read Parshas Zachor and Parshas Parah.

Q & A: Yotzrot (Part II)

Question: I read The Jewish Press’s Luach of February 17 with much interest. You write, “We daven Shacharis as usual.” I find it difficult to understand why you don’t mention reciting the special yotzrot for Parshat Shekolim. Are yotzrot a relic of history? I’m a senior citizen who remembers saying yotzrot as a child. But now, they seem to have disappeared from Orthodox synagogues. Milton M. Adler Cherry Hill, NJ

Q & A: On Yotzrot (Part I)

The term yotzrot refers to a grouping of special prayers that all fall under the same heading, and are also referred to as piyutim. Rabbi Yosef Grossman discusses this topic at length in his masterful work “Otzar Erchei Ha’Yahadut” ot peh, 377). He writes: “Piyut – these are prayers, poetic refrains, or sanctified songs that entered the liturgy of our special machzorim for festivals and special occasions, for the Days of Awe, as well as those solemn fast days that mark our national tragedies.”

Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot? (Part III)

Question: Since my daughter in high school started researching the topic of shemot for her school newspaper, I have become more and more confused. Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters? For example, how do you advise I dispose of The Jewish Press? Finally, concerning Hashem’s name, must the name be spelled out fully in Hebrew to constitute shemot? What if it is in English in abbreviated form – “G-d,” for example? Shlomo Newfield (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot (Part II)

Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters?

Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot (Part I)

Question: Since my daughter in high school started researching the topic of shemot for her school newspaper, I have become more and more confused. Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters? For example, how do you advise I dispose of The Jewish Press? Finally, concerning Hashem’s name, must the name be spelled out fully in Hebrew to constitute shemot? What if it is in English in abbreviated form – “G-d,” for example? Shlomo Newfield (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Tu B’Shevat: The Hidden, The Revealed

Question: Why is Tu B’Shevat, known as the New Year for Trees, in the middle of the month and not at the beginning of the month – like all other New Years? Pesach Bernstein (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part III)

Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part II)

Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Biblical Blue Fringe: Will the Real Chilazon Please Stand Up!

In February we conducted a thorough discussion of the mitzvah of techeilet. The following guest piece by Baruch Sterman, marking 20 years since the establishment of the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation (www.tekhelet.com), is a follow up to that discussion.

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part I)

Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part VI)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part V)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part IV)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part III)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part II)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part I)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part IV)

Question: Lately I've seen some young men who, though they wear a yarmulke, have ponytails or long unruly hair. I've even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous. My real problem is that my own nephew and a few of his friends wear their hair in this manner. Even though his parents look upon it as a passing fad, I am at a loss to understand such behavior. Luckily, whether right or wrong, I've held my tongue. I wonder what the proper positive action to take is in this matter. No Name Please

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part III)

Question: Lately I have seen some young men who though they wear a yarmulke have ponytails or other long unruly hair – I’ve even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous.

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part II)

Question: Lately I've seen some young men who, though they wear a yarmulke, have ponytails or long unruly hair. I've even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous. My real problem is that my own nephew and a few of his friends wear their hair in this manner. Even though his parents look upon it as a passing fad, I am at a loss to understand such behavior. Luckily, whether right or wrong, I've held my tongue. I wonder what the proper positive action to take is in this matter. No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Two Adars (Conclusion)

QUESTION: I have a few questions regarding the Jewish leap year. Why do we always add a second Adar as opposed to adding a second Tevet or Iyar for example? Why do we call it Adar Alef? Why is Purim celebrated in the second Adar? And which Adar is the real Adar?Shea Aronovitch(Via E-Mail)

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