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Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot (Part I)

Question: Since my daughter in high school started researching the topic of shemot for her school newspaper, I have become more and more confused. Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters? For example, how do you advise I dispose of The Jewish Press? Finally, concerning Hashem’s name, must the name be spelled out fully in Hebrew to constitute shemot? What if it is in English in abbreviated form – “G-d,” for example? Shlomo Newfield (Via E-Mail)

My Life, Your Decisions?

A friend of mine recently came back from visiting her son and his family in Israel. As a bunch of her friends joined her for coffee and an update – several of them also have children who made aliyah - she shared with us her frustration at not being able to communicate with her school-age grandchildren.

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

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)

Thoughts On Bridging The Great Jewish Divide

We recently observed the 10th of Teves, which, historically, represents the beginning of the siege of Yerushalayim by Nebuchadnezzar. It was this siege that began a string of calamities that resulted in the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash.

Dear Dr. Yael

Dear Dr. Yael: As a husband and longtime admirer of your column, I respectfully submit that your answer to A Sleep-Deprived Wife (The Magazine, 12-23-2011) missed the mark. Your response begins as follows:

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

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)

Dear Brother: Who Are You?

Hey Yankel, how are you doing? Thanks for the pics you sent me. You and your son really look well fed and robust. However, since you asked me how I am doing, I have no choice but to be honest.

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part VI)

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)

Help! I Am Losing Sleep!

Dear Dr. Yael: My husband recently started davening in a vasikin (sunrise) minyan. Our problem is that I am a light sleeper, and he sleeps right through his alarm. I realize that while he is not trying to be cruel by intentionally leaving on his radio in the middle of the night just to hear what is going on in the world, my patience is extremely thin at 4 a.m.

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part V)

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)

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)

Neglecting The Shul

Once a regiment of Austrian soldiers visited the city of Rimanov. Lacking pro­per facilities to house the troops, the com­manding officer decided to use the main shul in the city for their quarters.

The Chassidim Of Germany

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the struggle between chassidim and their opponents, the misnagdim, reached its peak. In many cases, chassidim were barred from areas where the misnagdim were the majority. Certainly it was unheard of for a city to choose a chassidic adherent as its rav.

Donating Money For Aliyot

Question: Is it proper for a synagogue to establish a policy that no one is to donate money for receiving an aliyah to the Torah?

Torah Is The Greatest Treasure

The inhabitants of Simonia once came to Rav Yehuda HaNasi (also known as Rebbe) and asked him to recommend a scholar to serve as their rav, dayan, teacher and sofer. Rebbe sent them Levi ben Sisi.

Which Nusach Should One Use?

Question: What should a person who davens nusach ashkenaz do during kedushah in a shul that davens nusach sefard? Should he use his own nusach or that of the shul he’s in?

Iran’s Threat And The Messianic Era

According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97), Mashiach will arrive before the Jewish year 6000. This means the full range of spectacular prophecies and supernatural events associated with the End of Days must occur within the next 228 years.

A Chuppah Tale

Are there any coincidences? I don't believe so. Everything that happens is preordained by Hashem.

A Life Of Triumph: Mrs. Irene Klass

When Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch started dating his wife, they realized she was four years his senior. She, being a good German woman, suggested that maybe they call if off because she was older than him. He looked at her and said, "Lady, for what I have planned I need a mature woman."

Measuring Your Net Worth

In our quest to be spiritual entities it is incumbent on us to learn Judaism's definition of a spiritual person.

No Tears For Former Klansman Byrd

Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, died recently. The other day I saw a clip of him singing "Amazing Grace." The sincerity in his voice was unmistakable. And why not? That hymn is his only saving grace. For Byrd found his faith in the Baptist church, which teaches that all sin can be washed away "in the blood of Christ." It is divine grace and not good works that rights the wrongs perpetrated against one's fellow human beings.

Questions Need To Be Welcomed, Not Disparaged

I was apprised of the fact that a renowned rav and posek in Flatbush dedicated his Shabbos morning drasha to the plight of a young lady who was recently dismissed from her Brooklyn Bais Yaakov. It seems she vexed the administration because she asked her teacher incisive questions about the nature of Gan Eden. Thankfully, due to the intervention of this prominent rav, she was reinstated to her school.

Should Newlyweds Hold Off Having Children?

I know that just the title of this article is going to cause an uproar in some circles, and I know that some people might be aghast at how I can even ask that question. To some it is obviously halachically unacceptable to postpone starting a family. After all, the Jewish people are exhorted to pru urevu - to be fruitful and multiply. So, let me say at the onset, this is something every engaged couple should discuss with their rav. Getting a heter - even for a few months- just might be a lifesaver.

Courage And Guts

It takes courage and guts for a well-known person in the Orthodox world to write a memoir, a personal account sharing chapters of her life, which include how she became frum. On May 11 in New York, Leah Kotkes, a beloved writer among her readers, will release her first book, a candid, friendly, page-turner: The Map Seeker: One Woman's Quest.

Courage And Guts

It takes courage and guts for a well-known person in the Orthodox world to write a memoir, a personal account sharing chapters of her life, which include how she became frum. On May 11 in New York, Leah Kotkes, a beloved writer among her readers, will release her first book, a candid, friendly, page-turner: The Map Seeker: One Woman's Quest.

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