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Q. I noticed that some people raise a pinky toward the Torah when it is raised. Why the pinky?

A. The verse recited when the Torah is raised says, “THIS is the Torah..” and on a similar expression on another verse the Midrash comments, “THIS means – show it with your finger and say THIS is it!”. For those … Read the rest

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Q. Why do some Jews wait for marriage to wear a full Tallit during prayer?

A. The Talmud Tractate Kiddushin implies that unmarried men do not cover their heads with a cloth, and many understand this to refer to the wearing of a Tallis, as opposed to a Tallit-Kattan which is only worn on the … Read the rest

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Q. How did Pickles become part of the Jewish tradition?

A. There’s no religious significance to the pickle, but you’re right, along with herring, pickles and other pickled products have an important place in our cultural tradition (at least for Jews with Eastern European heritage). Back then in cold countries … Read the rest

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Q. Do you guys set up appointments, if I have something personal to chat about?

A. Of course! We live here, so we’re here most of the time, and you can either come by to talk, or call ahead and we can set-up a good time that works for both of us. We may not … Read the rest

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Q. Where do these cool themed & textured Kippahs come from?

A. Marshall H. (Class of 2004) did some promotional and website work for “KrazyKeepas” (www.krazykeepas.com) and he sent us up a variety of their creative Kippah designs. Their website goes beyond Kippas actually. You can get matching ties … Read the rest

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Q. What is this I hear about saving the Lulav and Etrog until Passover? 

A. The idea of keeping the Lulav until Passover is to burn it together with the Chametz, this way we continue its use in another Mitzvah, acting as fuel for the fire of burning the Chametz. This is a custom … Read the rest

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Q. Where did you get so many bamboo poles for the Sukkah? 

A. Bernie Saul (obm) owned and operated “Saul Equipment” a restaurant supply business in downtown Albany. His shop near where the Times Union Center (formerly The Perpsi and before that the Knick Arena) was a landmark of sorts (its actually … Read the rest

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Q. I’ve become more religiously observant than my family. I go out of my way to be sensitive, but now they’re asking me to compromise way more than I ought to?

A. Here’s what we’ve found. There are three types of people in your situation:

(1) They never budge, never accommodate.

(2) Forever compromising, forever giving in.

(3) Always sensitive, accommodating as much as and when possible, but firm and unwavering … Read the rest

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Q. Suppose everyone in the congregation was a Kohen. Who would do the Priestly Blessing?

A. If there are more than a Minyan, all aside for ten go up to do the blessing. If there’s a tight minyan of exactly ten Kohens, they ALL go up to do the priestly blessing which benefits not only … Read the rest

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Q. Psalms 19:7 reads: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” How do souls convert?

A. They don’t. My translation reads differently than yours. “The law of G-d is wholesome, returning the soul.”… Read the rest

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