Question: May someone who desecrates the Sabbath lead the services if he has yahrzeit? If yes, may he replace someone else who has yahrzeit? Hayim Grosz (Via E-Mail)
Living in Staten Island provides us with a certain type of suburban living that is enjoyed and appreciated by most, if not all. We have less congestion of cars, easier parking and more camaraderie, as there are less people than in the other boroughs. We have no alternate parking, and it’s easier to park in all shopping areas. The rabbis know each person individually, and are very familiar with their families and life histories. This is not an advertisement for our neighborhood; it’s simply background to my story.
Last week I published excerpts from a letter written by a suffering mother whose rebellious son had not only turned his back on his family but had also rejected his Jewish faith. This woman’s husband had given up on the young man but she was determined to keep the door open in the hope he would yet come back.
Every year I have a special hope that the Geulah will arrive in Nissan and it appears that once again this year will not be the year. This is why I sigh.
“Ten Steps to Emunah” was the course Hashem gave us in Egypt. Each of the Ten Plagues was meant not only to punish the Egyptians, but also to teach us a different lesson of faith in the Creator. We might think, therefore, that the Torah would have attested to our great level of faith right when we left Egypt.
Taste is everything – ta’am ke’ikar. The taste of forbidden food is treated in halacha as the forbidden food itself and is equally forbidden. If the taste of forbidden food has been absorbed into a cooking vessel, such a vessel may not be used on Pesach unless it undergoes a process known as hechsher or hagalat keilim - popularly referred to as kashering.
One of the daily activities in the Mishkan was taking out the ashes. Chovos Ha’Levavos explains that Hashem commanded Aaron to do this action each day “to lower himself and rid himself of the arrogance in his heart.”
A Gadol’s View Confirmed ‘Majority Rules’ (Eruvin 16a)
Please explain the concept of selling one’s chametz. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to dispose of all of one’s chametz prior to Pesach? Why go through this charade every year? Malka Berg (Via E-Mail)
Question: May one use grape juice for the arba kosos?
The Gemara in Pesachim 58b derives from the pasuk in this week’s parshah, “V’arach aleha ha’olah” that the tamid must precede all other korbanos. The drasha is from the letter “hei” that signifies the known one – in this scenario, the korban that is known to be the first korban.
“If you have children, you are a millionaire. And if all of your children have children, you are a billionaire.”
Based on the response to my recent columns, it seems the problem of parents struggling with rebellious children may be more prevalent than even the pessimists among us had assumed. As we approach Pesach, the great yom tov during which we confront the Haggadah’s four sons –one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask – we need to remember that these sons are in our midst in every generation and that we invite all four to join us at the Seder.
Judaism is less a philosophical system than a field of tensions – between universalism and particularism, for example, or exile and redemption, priests and prophets, cyclical and linear time, and so on.
Hashem's reason for redeeming us from Egypt was not so that we could be free, but so that we could be free to accept the Torah at Har Sinai and service Hashem.
Mr. Lazer ran a successful restaurant. He employed close to twenty people: a chef, cooks and a baker; waiters and waitresses; supply and maintenance personnel; and two cashiers. At the end-of-year accounting, something seemed amiss. There was a small but noticeable discrepancy in the cash receipts of his enterprise. In the following semi-annual account, a similar discrepancy was noted.
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses many different halachos that pertain to korbanos. Regarding the korban olah, the pasuk tells us that the entire animal must be brought on the mizbeach and is burned.
Question: We are ba’alei teshuvah 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
The Kotel And The Mall ‘Sratya u’Platya’ (Eruvin 7a)
Question: Does it matter where one pauses when one recites the daily prayers?
“You must sanctify yourselves and be holy,” the Torah tells us, “for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” The service of God in our lives should simulate the service of God in the Temple. Just as the kohen, the priest, was required to enter God’s Temple in a state of taharah, spiritual cleanliness, we are required to enter God’s world in a state of taharah.
Last week I shared a letter from a troubled mother. Her story is typical of many ba’al teshuvah families who discover the Torah way of life in their middle years only to encounter resentment on the part of their adolescent children. Very often these teenagers become angry at the new restrictions in their home.