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24 Kislev 5778 -
? Monday, December 11, 2017


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

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

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

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

Just Another Morning

I have often read Lessons in Emunah. When several of my friends told me I ought to submit the following I decided to follow their advice.

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)

Our Readers Respond

Special Note: I have received an unusual volume of mail in regard to my articles on the discovery of Ilan Ramon's diary and the Shabbos prayer he planned to recite which miraculously survived fire and a plunge through space at thirteen thousand miles per hour.

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

From Csenger To Jerusalem

I am interrupting the sequence of my articles to share with you some of my experiences in Europe. During the past few days, I have had the privilege of addressing the members of the Jewish communities of Amsterdam, Budapest, Berlin and London. While each community has its own unique character, there is a common denominator that connects them all, and that is the "pintele Yid," that spark from Sinai that HaShem engraved on the heart of every Jew, which, if ignited, can become a glorious flame of Torah.

Spoiling Our Children – Another Aspect Of The Shidduch Problem

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I believe that my desires are very basic - world peace and good health, a big fridge for Yom Tov and a Passover kitchen (which I feel is a must for every home). So why am I writing you this letter, Rebbetzin?

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)

Look In The Mirror

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I have long been an admirer who has followed your work for many years, but this past week, you really outdid yourself. You were right on the mark!

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)

‘It’s Real Cool’

It is 30 years this month since I spoke in Madison Square Garden and had the zchus (merit) to launch Hineni, our Kiruv-Outreach organization. In those days, the Jewish world was very different. Kiruv - outreach was virtually unknown, so I knew that something different had to be done to awaken our people.

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