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.
On this Shabbos, Shabbos Parshas Ha’Chodesh, we bentch the new month of Nissan — referred to in the Torah as Chodesh Ha’Aviv, the month of spring. Rosh Chodesh falls on Yom Shlishi (Tuesday), heralding the start of a new lunar year and commemorating the inception of the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh.
When Bnei Yisrael donated money to build the golden calf all they got was a very small calf. This was despite a very successful fundraising campaign. Yet nobody questioned where all the money went.
Visiting the sick, bikur cholim, is one of the mitzvot listed in the prayer “Eilu devarim she’ein lahem shiur” – “These are the things that have no measure.” According to our sages, the Torah itself stresses the importance of bikur cholim in several places.
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)
Waiting For Kiddush ‘Mazal Bears No Influence…’ (Shabbos 156a)
The Torah specifies that the washbasin in the Mishkan was made of copper taken from the mirrors that the women brought as donations. Rashi explains that by telling us where the copper came from the Torah is teaching a significant lesson.
Question: Must a Jew’s tzitzit strings hang on the outside of his pants?
"Look at this sefer," Yoel said to his friend Menashe. "It's written by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt"l." "I've seen that sefer," replied Menashe. "It's very good. I was thinking of buying it." "That's not all," added Yoel. "Look inside..." Menashe opened the sefer. Inside he saw a signed inscription by Rav Eliyahu. "Wow! How did you get an inscribed copy?" he asked.
The Gemara in Shabbos 49b discusses different options regarding what the 39 melachos correspond to. One opinion in the Gemara holds that they correspond to the 39 times that the Torah uses the word “melachah.”
The start of the school year had already passed. Our youngest son was waiting for community leaders to determine what should be done for the students of his beloved school that had recently fallen apart due to lack of funds. The result turned out to be better than anyone could have ever expected.
After Reb Elimelech had restored the glory of his colleague, Reb Shmelkeh of Nikolsburg, he departed home to Lizhensk. He was en route when a voice descended from Heaven and proclaimed, “In the merit of your helping Reb Shmelkeh you have the privilege of blessing whomever you desire during the next 24 hours. And your blessing will be fulfilled.”
A long drama had taken place. Moses had led the people from slavery to the beginning of the road to freedom. The people themselves had witnessed G-d at Mount Sinai, the only time in all history when an entire people became the recipients of revelation. Then came the disappearance of Moses for his long sojourn at the top of the mountain, an absence which led to the Israelites’ greatest collective sin, the making of the Golden Calf. Moses returned to the mountain to plead for forgiveness, which was granted.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, The letter you shared last week from a troubled wife who became a ba’alas teshuvah, a returnee to religious observance, hit a sensitive spot in my heart. My husband and I have also been struggling with this problem – albeit from a different perspective.
The Gemara says that anything made forbidden by a court must have an explicit permission put forth by another court in order for the prohibition to be removed.