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Q & A: Birkat Sefirat HaOmer

QUESTION: What if one counted the Omer but forgot to utter the blessing - has the obligation been fulfilled? Why do we recite a blessing for this counting, when we find that for the zayin nekiyim - the seven clean days - there is no such blessing? Is the counting not similar?M. GoldmanMiami Beach, FL

Q & A: The Mitzva Of Maggid

QUESTION: Does a katan (minor) exempt the father or leader of the Seder from having to recite the Mah Nishtanah? The father could continue with Avadim hayyinu, as stated in the Shulchan Aruch (473:7, Hilchot Pesach). The poskim bring proof from Tractate Pesachim (116a), where R. Nachman continued with Avadim hayyinu, as did Abaye and Rava. I put this question to my grandfather, Reb Beryl Ackerman, and he responded that in the margin of the Shulchan Aruch the Chatam Sofer quotes Rambam, who states that the reader of the Haggadah must repeat the Mah Nishtanah. His Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Binyomin Paler, understands Rambam to mean that since a child is not a bar chiyyuva, the father must repeat the Mah Nishtanah, and the cases cited in the Talmud do not deal with a minor. In light of the above, why do certain poskim such as the Mishna Berura state that he does not have to repeat the Mah Nishtanah?Pinchus CynamonBais Medrash of Flatbush

Q & A: The Four Parashiyot (Conclusion)

QUESTION: I would like to know why there are four special readings of the Torah during the period between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of those four Shabbatot by a special name, such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc., which we don't do otherwise?Celia Gluck(via e-mail)

Q & A: The Four Parashiyot (Part I)

QUESTION: I would like to know why there are four special readings of the Torah during the period between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of those four Shabbatot by a special name, such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc., which we don't do otherwise?Celia Gluck(via e-mail)

Q & A: Preparing Home And ‘Kashering’ Utensils For Pesach

QUESTION: We are ba'alei teshuva in the process of becoming more observant. We wish to "kasher" our home and utensils for Passover with minimal expense. Do you have any suggestions? Names withheld by request

Q & A: The Ten Sons Of Haman

QUESTION: 1) Why were the ten sons of Haman hung with their father on the same gallows?2) The listing of the ten names of the sons of Haman has three Hebrew letters printed in smaller size. What does that indicate? These two questions have been bothering me for some time.Yitzchak Green(via e-mail)

Q & A: Joshua Marries Rahab (Conclusion)

QUESTION: I recently attended a lecture where the speaker discussed great Jewish women in history. He specifically singled out the biblical heroine Rahab who, he said, married the great leader and prophet Joshua.I had previously heard that Rahab was a woman of ill repute, a harlot, who surely was not suitable for a righteous person like Joshua. Also, when Rahab is mentioned (Joshua ch. 2), there is no indication that she married Joshua. How do we know it?Sandy Hart(Via e-mail)

Q & A: Joshua Marries Rahab (Part II)

QUESTION: I recently attended a lecture where the speaker discussed great Jewish women in history. He specifically singled out the biblical heroine Rahab who, he said, married the great leader and prophet Joshua.I had previously heard that Rahab was a woman of ill repute, a harlot, who surely was not suitable for a righteous person like Joshua. Also, when Rahab is mentioned (Joshua ch. 2), there is no indication that she married Joshua. How do we know it?Sandy Hart(Via e-mail)

Q & A: Joshua Marries Rahab (Part I)

QUESTION: I recently attended a lecture where the speaker discussed great Jewish women in history. He specifically singled out the biblical heroine Rahab who, he said, married the great leader and prophet Joshua. I had previously heard that Rahab was a woman of ill repute, a harlot, who surely was not suitable for a righteous person like Joshua. Also, when Rahab is mentioned (Joshua ch. 2), there is no indication that she married Joshua. How do we know it?Sandy Hart(Via e-mail)

Q & A: Tu B’Shevat On This Coming Sabbath

QUESTION: This year Tu B'Shevat falls on Shabbat. I recall that you discussed this holiday a while back, but since it falls on Shabbat this year, could you please review the topic again?M. GoldmanMiami, FL

Q & A: The Gabbai’s Dilemma (Conclusion)

QUESTION: If a shul's (or a minyan's) rabbi does not indicate to the sheliach tzibbur to go ahead at the end of the Shema or at the beginning of Chazarat HaShatz, should the gabbai tell him to go ahead, or does he wait until the rabbi finishes? To which should greater consideration be given by the gabbai: kibbud HaRav or tircha detzibbura?Steven LittwinRiverdale, N.Y.

Q & A: The Gabbai’s Dilemma (Part II)

QUESTION: If a shul's (or a minyan's) rabbi does not indicate to the sheliach tzibbur to go ahead at the end of the Shema or at the beginning of Chazarat HaShatz, should the gabbai tell him to go ahead, or does he wait until the rabbi finishes? To which should greater consideration be given by the gabbai: kibbud HaRav or tircha detzibbura?Steven LittwinRiverdale, N.Y.

Q & A: The Gabbai’s Dilemma (Part I)

QUESTION: If the rabbi of a shul (or a minyan) does not indicate to the sheliach tzibbur to go ahead at the end of the Shema or at the beginning of Chazarat HaShatz (the Reader's Repetition), should the gabbai tell him to go ahead or does he wait until the rabbi finishes? To which should greater consideration be given by the gabbai: kibbud HaRav or tircha detzibbura?Steven LittwinRiverdale, New York

Q & A: The Hoopoe

QUESTION: Why is the hoopoe (lapwing) bird, known in the Bible as the duchifat, considered unclean (see Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18)? It does not seem to be a bird of prey or a carrion- eating bird. There's a purpose for everything G-d commanded us and I would like to understand the reason for this law.Robert A. WeilerBlue Grass, IA

Q & A: On The ‘Evergreen Tree’ In A Jewish Home

QUESTION: I am active in kiruv work in a neighborhood where there are many Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, these people were kept ignorant of their Jewish heritage.Lately I've noticed a new phenomenon. At this time of year, many of them seem to be bringing evergreen trees into their homes. They claim that they always did this in Russia in celebration of the "winter festival".What should my attitude be as a kiruv professional?Name WithheldBrooklyn, NY

Q & A: Brit Milah – A Unique Mitzva (Conclusion)

QUESTION: Why did Abraham originally not observe brit milah? I have heard that he observed the whole Torah based on his own understanding.Arye Reed(via e-mail)

Q & A: Brit Milah – A Unique Mitzva (Part II)

QUESTION: Why did Abraham originally not observe brit milah? I have heard that he observed the whole Torah based on his own understanding.Arye Reed(via e-mail)

Q & A: Brit Milah – A Unique Mitzva (Part I)

QUESTION: Why did Abraham originally not observe brit milah? I have heard that he observed the whole Torah based on his own understanding.Arye Reed(via e-mail)

Q & A: A Kohen Traveling By Airplane To Israel

QUESTION: I am a kohen and will soon be traveling to Israel for the first time. I have been told that very often EL AL and other carriers transport remains for burial in Israel, and therefore I must check the flight. Is that so?

Q & A: ‘Tal U’Matar’ When A Person Leaves Israel After The 7th Of...

QUESTION: What does a person do if he left Israel after the 7th of Cheshvan (which was on November 2 this year), where they already commenced saying "Ve'ten tal u'matar," but before they start doing so in the diaspora (typically on December 5, but on December 6 at Maariv this year, since the evening of December 5 is a Sabbath)?Isaac HagerBrooklyn, NY

Q & A: Kiddush Levana (Conclusion)

QUESTION: Why do we say Shalom Aleichem at Kiddush Levana, when we bless the new moon, and why do we do so three times? Is it because we have not seen a new moon for a whole month? Can you explain a little more about this mitzva?Ira WarshanskyPhiladelphia, PA

Q & A: Kiddush Levana (Part I)

QUESTION: Why do we say Shalom Aleichem at Kiddush Levana, when we bless the new moon, and why do we do so three times? Is it because we have not seen a new moon for a whole month? Can you explain a little more about this mitzva?Ira WarshanskyPhiladelphia, PA

Q & A: Yom Kippur Katan

QUESTION: What are the origins and customs of Yom Kippur Katan, lit. "the lesser Yom Kippur?"Ben GlassmanBrooklyn, NY

Q & A: Noy Sukka – Sukka Decorations (Conclusion)

QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?Moshe JakobowitzBrooklyn, NY

Q & A: Noy Sukka – Sukka Decorations (Part I)

QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?Moshe JakobowitzBrooklyn, NY

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