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Q & A: Shemini Atzeret

19 Tishri 5773 – October 4, 2012
Question: I seem to see a lack of uniformity regarding the mitzvah of sukkah on Shemini Atzeret. What is the proper procedure to follow? Menachem Via e-mail

My Machberes

21 Av 5772 – August 8, 2012
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Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part IV)

25 Sivan 5772 – June 14, 2012
Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices? A Devoted Reader (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part I)

17 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012
Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices? A Devoted Reader (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part III)

11 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012
Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment? Zelig Aronson Queens, NY

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part II)

4 Iyyar 5772 – April 25, 2012
Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment? Zelig Aronson Queens, NY

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part I)

27 Nisan 5772 – April 18, 2012
Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so...

Q & A: ‘Ba’arbeh – With Locusts’

14 Nisan 5772 – April 5, 2012
Question: In the Torah’s description of the ten plagues Hashem inflicted upon Egypt, we find the Hebrew preposition “beit” [meaning “in” or “with”] only in connection with the plague of locust: "Neteh yadcha al eretz Mitzrayim ba'arbeh." Why is this so? And why do most of the commentators on Chumash ignore this question. Menachem (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Yotzrot (Part II)

14 Adar 5772 – March 7, 2012
Question: I read The Jewish Press’s Luach of February 17 with much interest. You write, “We daven Shacharis as usual.” I find it difficult to understand why you don’t mention reciting the special yotzrot for Parshat Shekolim. Are yotzrot a relic of history? I’m a senior citizen who remembers saying yotzrot as a child. But now, they seem to have disappeared from Orthodox synagogues. Milton M. Adler Cherry Hill, NJ

Q & A: On Yotzrot (Part I)

7 Adar 5772 – February 29, 2012
The term yotzrot refers to a grouping of special prayers that all fall under the same heading, and are also referred to as piyutim. Rabbi Yosef Grossman discusses this topic at length in his masterful work “Otzar Erchei Ha’Yahadut” ot peh, 377). He writes: “Piyut – these are prayers, poetic refrains, or sanctified songs that entered the liturgy of our special machzorim for festivals and special occasions, for the Days of Awe, as well as those solemn fast days that mark our national tragedies.”

Q & A: Tu B’Shevat: The Hidden, The Revealed

10 Shevat 5772 – February 2, 2012
Question: Why is Tu B’Shevat, known as the New Year for Trees, in the middle of the month and not at the beginning of the month – like all other New Years? Pesach Bernstein (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part II)

26 Tevet 5772 – January 20, 2012
Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Biblical Blue Fringe: Will the Real Chilazon Please...

24 Tevet 5772 – January 18, 2012
In February we conducted a thorough discussion of the mitzvah of techeilet. The following guest piece by Baruch Sterman, marking 20 years since the establishment of the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation (www.tekhelet.com), is a follow up to that discussion.

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part I)

17 Tevet 5772 – January 11, 2012
Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part VI)

4 Tevet 5772 – December 29, 2011
Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part V)

26 Kislev 5772 – December 21, 2011
Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part IV)

20 Kislev 5772 – December 15, 2011
Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part II)

4 Kislev 5772 – November 30, 2011
Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part III)

5 Heshvan 5772 – November 2, 2011
Question: Lately I have seen some young men who though they wear a yarmulke have ponytails or other long unruly hair – I’ve even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous.

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