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Jerusalem, Israel
10 Tishri 5779 -
? Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Q & A: Kiddush Levana (Part I)

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

Lack of Chizuk (Conclusion)

Special Note: In last week's column I published two letters from disenchanted singles. They expressed their concern, their loneliness, their pain - but more significantly, they blamed family members and friends for lack of chizuk - sympathy, understanding and support. The female writer complained that at family simchas, her suffering intensifies because no one bothers to acknowledge her presence, and she becomes invisible.

Q & A: Yom Kippur Katan

QUESTION: What are the origins and customs of Yom Kippur Katan, lit. "the lesser Yom Kippur?"Ben GlassmanBrooklyn, NY

The Lack Of Chizuk (Part I)

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis; I won't be seeing my husband and children this Shabbos. I won't see them next week either. As a matter of fact, I won't be seeing them next month either. That's because I don't have a husband or children yet.

Q & A: Noy Sukka – Sukka Decorations (Conclusion)

QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?Moshe JakobowitzBrooklyn, NY

Erev Yom HaKippurim Memories

This is a season when memories crowd my mind - so many memories that are bittersweet -bitter, because they are now only memories, and sweet, because just recalling them infuses me with strength. I rush to the cemetery - I pronounce a prayer, I spill out my heart, I wash the grave with my tears, and I depart with an ache in my soul. If only they could be here.... if only I could see their saintly faces and hear their wise gentle voices.

Q & A: Noy Sukka – Sukka Decorations (Part I)

QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?Moshe JakobowitzBrooklyn, NY

Second Guessing G-d

In my last column I wrote of the anguish and sorrow that fills the hearts of our brethren in Israel nowadays, and I wrote of the all-too-real curses that are enumerated in Parashat Ki Tavo. There is one curse however, that at first glance, may be difficult to understand, but if you take a moment to think about it, you will realize how poignantly it speaks to us: "And it shall be, if you will not hearken to the voice of the L-rd your G-d to observe and perform all His commandments and all His decrees that I command you today, then all His curses will come upon you and overtake you" (Deuteronomy 28:58).

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

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)

Have We Turned Into Wood?

Parshas Ki Tavo has come and gone. The tochacha - the curses - were read in our synagogues, but who was listening? Who heard them? If you were among those who did listen, the words had to have a chilling, eerie effect. Alas, they were not far-fetched predictions, but had an all-too familiar ring. We are the generation that can vividly recall the Holocaust. We are the generation that lives with the constant nightmare of yet more carnage. It is with trepidation that we tune into the news from Israel. Who and what will be next?

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

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)

Superstition Or … (Conclusion)

Special Note: In last week's column, I published a letter from a ba'alas teshuva of Russian descent. She wrote that her parents, having been raised in a communist totalitarian society, were atheists. In Russia, her parents were professionals, but here in the United States, they were unable to find employment in their given fields. This made them very bitter, and was the cause of much anger in her home.

Superstition Or… ? (Part I)

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I discovered your book, The Committed Life and I must tell you that it changed my own life. I come from an atheistic background and never gave Judaism a second thought until a Christian friend bought me your book as a gift. Since reading it, I have embarked on a quest to find out more. I guess I'm still not totally observant, but I am definitely heading in that direction. Most recently, I read your new book, The Committed Marriage, and that was an amazing experience. I only wish that I lived in New York City so that I could come to your classes and study with you. In any event, thank you for writing and sharing so much wisdom with us.

Q & A: Tractate Avot

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

Wake-Up Call

A basic tenet of our faith is that there are no random occurrences. The Hebrew word "mikreh" - something that happens coincidentally, also spells the words "karah me'HaShem" - happened by the will of G-d. To be sure, we never know definitive reasons for occurrences - they are beyond the scope of our human minds. But one thing is certain - nothing, but nothing, happens capriciously. It therefore behooves us to at least make an attempt to listen and try to discern the meaning of the messages that HaShem is sending us.

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

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)

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)

Crisis In Faith (Conclusion)

In last week's column, I published letters from two women who complained that they were experiencing crises in faith. One, a single woman in her early forties, an only child of Holocaust survivors, was devastated by the illness and subsequent death of her mother (her father had passed away some years earlier). 'What happened to all my prayers?' she asked.

Q & A: Reincarnation?

QUESTION: I am told that Eliahu was a reincarnation. Who was he?R. GoldBronx, NY

Crises In Faith – Two Letters (Part I)

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I was referred to speak with you by Rebbetzin _________________, wife of the late Rabbi ________________________ of ___________. The rabbi, zt'l, was my spiritual mentor and good friend, and prior to his unfortunate passing at a young age, I found solace and comfort in his wisdom and advice.

Q & A: Sinat Chinam Destroyed Our House

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

Our Only ‘Road Map’

Those of you who have been following my columns will recall that, time and again, I have pointed out that one can always find a correlation between the parsha and events that unfold before our very eyes. And this past week, Abu Mazen's visit to the White House was no exception.

An American Tisha B’Av

A few weeks ago, I published a story entitled "Will Your Grandchildren Remain Jewish?" In that article I reported on a TV program that focused on intermarriage. As offensive as that situation was, nothing quite compared to an article that came to my attention through the good offices of Mr. Andrew Friedman, who is a prominent attorney and a leader of the Los Angeles Jewish community.

Q & A: Sidra Or Parasha?

QUESTION: I have noticed that some refer to the weekly Torah portion as Parashat Hashavua while others refer to it as the week's Sidra. Which is correct?Eliyahu TewelVia E-Mail

A Wake Up Call – More On Yeshiva Girls

Dear Rebbetzin: Thank you for publicizing the very difficult issues facing our young teenage girls. While the at-risk behavior of boys has leveled off somewhat, there has been a dramatic increase in the at-risk behavior of girls. I have some insights into the problem that may be of interest to your readers.

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