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Q & A: Avot Between Pesach And Shavuot

27 Sivan 5764 – June 16, 2004
QUESTION: I have numerous questions regarding Pirkei Avot. First, is there a specific reason that the last chapter is read on the Sabbath before Shavuot, or is this just a quirk of the calendar? Second, in that last chapter we find a listing of qualities that enable one to acquire Torah knowledge, including anava (humility). I find this difficult to believe in light of the Gemara in Gittin that chastises one of the scholars for his anava, which ultimately caused the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.Zvi Kirschner(Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Getting Married During Sefira (Conclusion)

13 Sivan 5764 – June 2, 2004
QUESTION: My friends are getting married on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. I tried to convince them to do otherwise, as many people have a minhag (custom) not to attend weddings until three days before Shavuot. They told me they spoke to rabbis who allowed it. Is this right? May Iattend?Name Withheld by Request

Q & A: Getting Married During Sefira (Part I)

6 Sivan 5764 – May 26, 2004
QUESTION: My friends are getting married on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. I tried to convince them to do otherwise, as many people have a minhag (custom) not to attend weddings until three days before Shavuot. They told me they spoke to rabbis who allowed it. Is this right? May I attend?Name Withheld by Request

Q & A: A Kiddush Meal Without Washing

28 Iyyar 5764 – May 19, 2004
QUESTION: I was at a kiddush recently where a lot of food (hot and cold) was served. Kiddush on wine was made, but no one washed the hands for eating bread. I am sure that most people were unable to eat a seuda afterwards. This seems to be a trend which is far from the kiddushim of the past, when a piece of herring and kichel and shnaps were the fare.As I do not wish to denigrate my hosts, who were so gracious in spite of what I see as doing something incorrect, please omit my name.Name Withheld On Request

Q & A: Birkat Sefirat HaOmer

21 Iyyar 5764 – May 12, 2004
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

7 Iyyar 5764 – April 28, 2004
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)

30 Nisan 5764 – April 21, 2004
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)

23 Nisan 5764 – April 14, 2004
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

9 Nisan 5764 – March 31, 2004
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)

2 Nisan 5764 – March 24, 2004
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)

24 Adar 5764 – March 17, 2004
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)

17 Adar 5764 – March 10, 2004
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

10 Adar 5764 – March 3, 2004
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)

3 Adar 5764 – February 25, 2004
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)

26 Shevat 5764 – February 18, 2004
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)

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)

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