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Q. Why commemorate the ‘Omer’ when so many worse tragedies followed?

A. During the period between Passover and Shavuot (or until Lag B’Omer) traditional Jews refrain from live music and weddings etc in commemoration of the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died during this time, about 2,000 years ago. True, … Read the rest

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Q. Hey, we now begin the Sabbath while still light out on Fridays?

A. Good point. Now we begin services at 7pm, and the Sabbath begins at sundown which is later this time of year. While we can not end the Sabbath earlier, or start it later – we are allowed to add … Read the rest

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Q. Why is it so important to say the “Aleinu” prayer communally? 

A. You’re right. Even if someone had concluded their prayers earlier and later joined people praying, there are a few portions of prayer that you’d be required to say along with the congregation. Amen for Kaddish, the response to the … Read the rest

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Q. Why 66 days of impurity after the birth of a girl, but 33 days after the birth of a boy? 

A. The greater the gain, the greater the risk. With all great spiritual opportunity and blessing comes the possibility of susceptibility to spiritual danger and impurity. Birth is the greatest such opportunity. With girls the opportunity is even greater, for … Read the rest

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Q. I’m writing a paper on the advantages of Youth, I need a few Torah quotes.

A. For starters here’s a few quotes:
(1) “Those who study AS a child are compared to ink written on fresh paper” – Avot 5:20 (2) “For Israel is young, therefore I love him” – Hosea 11:1 (3) “The studies … Read the rest

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Q. Why is Rashi such a famous Jewish scholar?

A. He wrote a basic, yet brilliant, clear and explanatory commentary on all of the 24 books of the Jewish Bible, as well as almost the entire Talmud. (This by the way before word-processors or even the ball-point pen). His … Read the rest

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Q. What did the Jews do after the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE?

A. They kept it in their hearts. Each synagogue became a mini-temple, each home a sanctuary, and every table an altar. And we’re still around to tell the story, and yearn for its rebuilding.… Read the rest

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Q. What blessing is made on Grapes & Raisins, and Apple Cider?

A. Raisins and Grapes are both Ha’Etz. The unique blessing HaGafen – for the fruit of the vine was only established for wine (or grape juice). (So why call the blessing “fruit of the vine”? – excellent question). Apple … Read the rest

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Q. Why do you switch plates between Fish and Meat?

A. This is included in the Kashrus laws of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law – the tallest set on my bookshelf), yet it is not a Kosher Law. The Rabbis deemed it a safety issue, that it was … Read the rest

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Q. We sing “Al Tirah” after Prayers at Shabbos House, where does it come from?

A. The Purim Story, and is especially relevant today. When Mordechai first heard of Haman’s evil decree to annihilate all the Jews, he was saddened and distraught. Then he saw 3 Jewish kids walking home from school. He stopped them … Read the rest

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