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Q. Why is a “Washing-Cup” needed for the ritual hand-washing?

A. The Temple had a special basin designed for ritual washing (called the KIYOR) and in one of the processes of ritual purification it says “put spring water on it, in a vessel” (Numbers 19:17). There is also a law … Read the rest

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Q. What Kosher product is derived from a non-Kosher animal?

A. Generally, we have a rule: That which comes from Kosher animals is Kosher, and from non-Kosher animals is not. Honey is an exception. Bees are not kosher insects, yet their honey is Kosher, based on how bees process honey … Read the rest

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Q. Why isn’t there a daily Minyan at UAlbany?

A. Not yet. It depends on student interest, which seems to be growing a bit. There have been times when students put together a Minyan once or twice a week in the Hillel Office in Campus Center, but it all … Read the rest

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Q. Is there a difference between the morning ritual hand-washing and the one for bread?

A. Yes – in the morning we wash – 2 or 3 times (depending on custom) – alternatively on each hand. While for bread, we wash 2 or 3 times successively, first on the right hand and then on the … Read the rest

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Q. Can you recommend a good book on the virtues of personal modesty?

A. Here are my two of my favorites: (1) “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore” by Rabbi Manis Friedman (2) “A Return to Modesty” by Wendy Shalit.  #1 is richer, deeper & more thoughtful, while #2 is more in touch with the … Read the rest

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Q. Does a Shadchan (traditional matchmaker) CHOOSE your spouse?

A.  A Shadchan comes up with a good suggestion of someone for you to meet, but the choice is all yours (aside for a few of the very ultra-religious communities). In our personal situation (Raizy and I are Chabad Lubavitch … Read the rest

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Q. Is “Shame” a good trait or a bad trait?

A. Depends what you are ashamed about. Being bashful is “a trait of the descendants of Abraham” (Avot 5:19) and “the shame-faced go to Paradise” (Avot 5:20) stemming from humility. It is a sign of sensitivity to be bashful when … Read the rest

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Q. Is there a problem with being in a lit, heated room on the Sabbath?

A. Not at all! In fact this was one of the significant differences between Rabbinic Judaism or Pharisees (as it was known back then) vs. the Sadducees (who denied much of the Oral Tradition). Lighting Shabbos Candles is one way … Read the rest

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 Q. I need to be in Court as a witness. How do I deal with the Oath on a Bible?

A. You can choose to AFFIRM instead of the Oath, which has the legal ramifications but does not have the same religious implications. This is commonly done. Or, if the issue is the Bible. most Courts will allow you to … Read the rest

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