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Q & A: The Gabbai’s Dilemma (Part I)

19 Shevat 5764 – February 11, 2004
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

12 Shevat 5764 – February 4, 2004
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

5 Shevat 5764 – January 28, 2004
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)

13 Tevet 5764 – January 7, 2004
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)

7 Tevet 5764 – January 1, 2004
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)

29 Kislev 5764 – December 24, 2003
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

22 Kislev 5764 – December 17, 2003
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...

15 Kislev 5764 – December 10, 2003
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)

8 Kislev 5764 – December 3, 2003
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)

1 Kislev 5764 – November 26, 2003
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

24 Heshvan 5764 – November 19, 2003
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)

17 Heshvan 5764 – November 12, 2003
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)

10 Heshvan 5764 – November 5, 2003
QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?Moshe JakobowitzBrooklyn, NY

Q & A: ‘Bal Tosif’ And The Shofar Blasts (Conclusion)

3 Heshvan 5764 – October 29, 2003
QUESTION: I do not understand the practice of blowing so many extra blasts of the shofar, as is done in most synagogues on Rosh Hashana. Is that not in violation of the command bal tosif, as stated in Deuteronomy (13:1), "You shall not add to [G-d's commandments]"?Elliot Solomon(Via E-Mail)

Q & A: ‘Bal Tosif’ And The Shofar Blasts (Part I)

26 Tishri 5764 – October 22, 2003
QUESTION: I do not understand the practice of blowing so many extra blasts of the shofar, as is done in most synagogues on Rosh Hashana. Is that not in violation of the command bal tosif, as stated in Deuteronomy (13:1), "You shall not add to [G-d's command-ments]"?Elliot Solomon(Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Tractate Avot

12 Tishri 5764 – October 8, 2003
QUESTION: Why is Avot prefaced with a mishna from another tractate? Also, why do we refer to this tractate as Avot, meaning "fathers"?Shlomo FeivelsonCoconut Creek, FL

Q & A: How To Treat A Ger (Conclusion)

5 Tishri 5764 – October 1, 2003
QUESTION: The Rambam unequivocally states that a Jew by choice should be treated as an equal to any other Jew in all respects. In our synagogue we had a serious rift regarding this issue and many members left the synagogue. What happened was that a proselyte, a ger, ran for the position of president of the congregation. He had served as the secretary of the congregation and he was respected and liked by the members of the congregation. The rabbi of the congregation ruled that since he was not a Jew from birth, he could not run for the position of president of the congregation or occupy a position as an officer of the congregation. I would like to know, from your perspective, what the halacha is on this important issue.Name withheld by request(Via E-Mail)

Q & A: How To Treat A Ger (Part I)

20 Elul 5763 – September 17, 2003
QUESTION: The Rambam unequivocally states that a Jew by choice should be treated as an equal to any other Jew in all respects. In our synagogue we had a serious rift regarding this issue and many members left the synagogue. What happened was that a proselyte, a ger, ran for the position of president of the congregation. He had served as the secretary of the congregation and he was respected and liked by the members of the congregation. The rabbi of the congregation ruled that since he was not a Jew from birth, he could not run for the position of president of the congregation or occupy a position as an officer of the congregation. I would like to know, from your perspective, what the halacha is on this important issue.Name withheld by request(Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Reincarnation?

13 Elul 5763 – September 10, 2003
QUESTION: I am told that Eliahu was a reincarnation. Who was he?R. GoldBronx, NY

Q & A: Sinat Chinam Destroyed Our House

6 Elul 5763 – September 3, 2003
QUESTION: Our Sages strongly condemned sinat chinam - yet at times, good resulted from it. For example, when the sons of Yaakov went down to Egypt many years after selling their brother, they were treated royally.Shlomo FeivelsonCoconut Creek, FL

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