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Q. What happens to Shabbat when Yom Kippur falls on Saturday?

A. Yom Kippur overrides it. The Torah considers Yom-Kippur “The Great Shabbat” and therefore it supersedes Shabbat. We do not make Kiddush on Friday Night, eat Challah or any of that. We do however mention the Shabbos numerous times in … Read the rest

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Q. The Chametz-Sale form says to wait an hour after Passover. Why? Is Chametz forbidden for a short window after the holiday ends?

A. No it isn’t. But you have to give the Rabbi enough time after the holiday to repurchase the Chametz back from the non-Jew he sold it to on your behalf. The form says one hour just to be sure … Read the rest

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Q. Why do some people only eat certain types of Kosher Meat – special Shechitas?

A. “Shechita” literally translates as Kosher/ritual slaughter, but can also cover the entire Kosher meat/poultry preparation process. I can think of 3 reasons for preference or insistence on specific Shechitas (you may see “Chassidishe Shechita” or “Lubavitcher Shechita”  or “Shechitas … Read the rest

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Q. Why do we begin the Torah cycle again anew each year at Simchat Torah? 

A. The Jews originally received the Torah in May/June during the festival of Shavuot. Moses spent 3 sets of 40 days up on the mountain (the first time around, the 2nd set was to get the Jews forgiven for the … Read the rest

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Q. Do you think “Gen-Eds” are important? Why?

A. Of course they are. Today the trend is to hyper-specialize, which creates super-experts in particular fields or skills, but it’s also important to be as well-rounded as possible, with exposure to a variety of areas of learning and knowledge. … Read the rest

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Q. The title “Maggid” – does that indicate a Chassidic or non-Chassidic group?

A. The title means preacher. It’s rarely used nowadays, but was more common in Eastern Europe in the 200 years leading up to the Holocaust. It can go either way.

Rebbe Dov Ber, the successor to the Baal Shem Tov … Read the rest

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Q. I saw in your newsletter pictures of the Shabbos tables… do you allow photos to be taken on Shabbos?

A. Of course not! In fact, on Shabbos Chanukah we had to kindly ask a reporter/photographer to leave and come back on a weeknight. Those pictures were taken before Shabbos, of the set-up or arrangements. Usually we indicate that in … Read the rest

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Q. Why don’t you use a “Yad” (hand-pointer) when you read the Torah? 

A. I do sometimes. First of all, from what I’ve seen, it’s not used in the Chabad community (not sure why not at this time). Secondly, on a personal level, holding out an extended object for a length of time … Read the rest

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Q. Why do you have to take the Cholent (Shabbos Stew) off the Crockpot in order to serve it?

A. On Shabbos we’re not allowed to stir food cooking “on the fire” because that assists with the cooking process. If we’d leave the Cholent “on the fire” (in the hot crockpot base) everytime we’d stick the ladel inside to … Read the rest

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Q. Is it possible that Bar-Mitzvah boy would read the story of the Binding of Isaac? When would that have been in 1991?

A. Of course it is possible, if his Bar-Mitzvah reading falls in the portion of Vayera, where this story is told. It’s usually read in November. In 1991 it was read on October 26th. www.Chabad.org/Calendar is a much more comprehensive … Read the rest

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