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 Q. Can I wear a leather belt or kippah on Yom-Kippur?

A. Yes. The restriction is only against leather shoes. This dates back before Payless and Famous Footwear. A good pair of shoes lasted a long time. And people walked around a whole lot more, and stood on their feet more … Read the rest

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Q. The prophet Ezekiel is addressed as “Son of Man”. Why this unusual title?

A. Here’s a reason from Rashi, the great Biblical commentator. Being that Ezekiel was privy to the most spiritual and esoteric of visions, this title was a subtle reminder that helped him keep perspective and keep it from getting to … Read the rest

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Q. What are some Torah laws regarding a Fence?

A. (1) Most famous is the “Maakeh” roof-top fence in Deut 22:8. This law represents all laws regarding safety and accident prevention. (2) Ethics of our Fathers encourages us to “make a fence around the Torah” which refer to Rabbinic … Read the rest

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Q. I’m an osteopath. I heard there is an indestructible bone in the body according to Jewish tradition?

A. It is called the “Luz” bone. According to the Medrash (Kohelet Rabba 12:5) this bone will be used for the resurrection of the dead. One source has the Luz at the base of the spine, and the other has … Read the rest

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Q. I noticed a few stretched-out letters in the Torah scroll. What’s the significance?

A. Torah columns are justified on right and left, and it’s all done by hand – no computer. The Sofer (Torah Scribe) has a certain amount of leeway to stretch (or squeeze) some letters to make it fit justified evenly … Read the rest

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Q. After a synagogue honor – people shook my hand and said, “Yasher Koach” – what does it mean?

A. It’s Shul-ese for Congratulations, literally: All the more power to you. Or as in Star Wars, May the force be with you. Sephardic Jews have a different expression.… Read the rest

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Q. I can’t believe the family is supposed to shovel dirt on the deceased at the funeral!

A. Jewish tradition considers it a (reluctant) honor and obligation to participate in a burial personally, instead of letting the hired help with the backhoe do it. As much as we would rather never have to do it, burial is … Read the rest

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Q. Why do you need an Eruv-string our back? Isn’t the whole yard private property?

A. It is, and you’re right, we’re allowed to carry in private property on Shabbat. But in a Jewish legal sense, open, unfenced area, while not considered public area, is still not private for the laws of carrying on Shabbat … Read the rest

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Q. I was at a synagogue near home, and the Rabbi said a tissue box there could not be used. Why not?

A. Not being there, I can’t be sure, but it probably was an issue of tearing on Shabbos. If the tissues were connected, there may be an issue of tearing them apart on Shabbos. Some Rabbinic authorities allow tearing tissues/toilet-paper … Read the rest

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Q. Why is there ice in this milk?

A. That’s because our milk comes frozen, or we freeze it when we get it, because we don’t get it often enough, and we didn’t thaw this bottle long enough.

Why does our milk come frozen? That’s because we keep … Read the rest

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