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Q. Why are Mezuzahs placed at a slant?

A. Actually, it is an old argument between Rashi and Rabbeynu Tam (both French Rabbis at start of the Millennium) if they should be paced vertically or horizontally at the doorpost. The consensus is (and therefore the Halacha) that we … Read the rest

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Q. Why is coarse salt called “Kosher Salt”?

A. All salt is kosher. Coarse salt is used in the koshering process for meat and poultry, to drain it of excess blood, which the Torah forbids. This is an important part of the Kosherization process. Years ago this would … Read the rest

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Q. Why doesn’t Egyptian history record the Biblical story of Exodus?

A. Maybe it is like modern, state-sponsored newspapers in Arab states who wrote that the Mossad (Israeli CIA) arranged the attacks on 9/11. Polls conducted in those countries show that many subscribe to those views. No other early nation recorded … Read the rest

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Q. I heard that there’s a Star of David somewhere on a Dollar bill. I can’t find it!

A. On back, inside The Great Seal, the 13 stars are arranged in the shape of the Star of David. I once heard that this may have been a tribute to Haym Solomon who helped finance the Revolutionary War. I … Read the rest

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Q. We want to name our daughter Sophia, what would be a Hebrew equivalent?

A. Phonetically Sarah (Abraham’s wife, meaning Princess) or Shifra (another name for Moses’ mother, known for soothing and nurturing the Jewish newborns in Egypt). In terms of meaning – Sophia means Wisdom, and Binah is a Hebrew name for Understanding.… Read the rest

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Q. Is it proper to allow ourselves Joy, when there is so much sadness around us?

A. Tanya (end of chapter 34) quotes the Zohar “Joy is lodged in one side of my heart, and tears in the other”. We are capable of two (even) opposite emotions, as long as they are for different reasons. We … Read the rest

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Q. Can I say Kaddish for my grandfather? My parents are both living.

A. Some Sefardic communities say that’s OK. Ashkenasic communities only OK it with your parents consent and express wishes, otherwise an elder family friend or charitable organization can be asked to say Kaddish. Many Jews feel uncomfortable saying Kaddish with … Read the rest

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Q. What makes Jewish martydom different?

A. Many things: (1) We must give our own lives rather than take the lives of another. (2) Though we do believe in the spiritual Afterlife, and the World to Come, the ultimate Jewish opportunities and Torah’s Mitzvahs are to … Read the rest

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Q. Who was Nebuhadnezzer?

A. King of Babylon (today’s Iraq), who conquered Israel and destroyed the First Temple. He is mentioned in the Tanach (Bible). Yeh, I hear its also the name of a ship in the Matrix films.… Read the rest

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Q. Do the Bride and Groom say a blessing before breaking the Glass?

A. They listen to 7 Blessings, recited by honored guests and family, answering Amen to each.… Read the rest

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