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Q. Why do some Jews prefer woolen Tzitzit? Isn’t cotton more comfortable, especially summertime?

A. See Talmud Menachos which has different opinions whether a non-wool garment is obligated in Tziztit from a Biblical or Rabbinic standpoint. Bottom line is that a woolen garment is certainly Biblically obligated in Tzitzit according to all opinions, hence … Read the rest

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Q. Are we supposed to sit Shiva for grandparents?

A. Obviously grandchildren participate in the Shiva House, and its mood, both to honor the memory and loss of their grandparent, and in respect of their parent who is sitting Shiva, but there are no Shiva obligations for the next … Read the rest

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Q. Is there a reason why you guys always serve “Saratoga Water”? Is it sponsored?

 A. Saratoga Water is not (yet) a corporate sponsor of Shabbos House. Why do we serve it? When we searched around for a distributor to deliver cases of water and soda (now seltzer, since we stopped serving soda on a … Read the rest

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Q. You said, “Let’s Bench!” and then we did grace after meals. What does “bench” mean?

 A. Oh, bentsch is Yiddish for bless, hence Bentscher is Yiddish for the booklet of blessings we use after the meal.… Read the rest

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Q. Why the shuffling of feet before that important part of prayer?

A. You must be referring to the 3 steps forward and 3 steps backward before and after the standing Amidah prayer. The Code of Jewish Law explains this ritual to be “entering and leaving the presence of the King (G-d).” … Read the rest

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Q. Does “Shmurah” mean whole-grain?

A. No, it doesn’t. It means “watched” – for the grains, flour and process of Shmurah Matzah is carefully watched in preparation for Passover use. In practice, most Shmurah Matzah contains some whole-wheat, and some varieties are made entirely of … Read the rest

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Q. Is double-wrapping in a non-Kosher microwave Kosher for Passover?

A. If it is entirely & properly sealed, yes. It’s best that the microwave interior be visually clean as well. Providing, of course, that the product itself is Kosher for Passover. Holiday-wise electronic microwaves would only be OK on the … Read the rest

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Q.  I’m tied up on the Seder Night, and can only spare a few minutes with no nearby Seder. What’s the basic minimum I can do?

A. Wish you could hook up with a nearby Seder, see Chabad.org – there are Chabad Seders all over the world even in some remote locations. Let us know if you need our help with that. But if there”s nothing … Read the rest

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Q. Why is Romaine Lettuce considered a “bitter herb” – most of it is actually quite sweet!

 A. The Egyptian Bondage didn’t happen all at once. The Jews were not enslaved overnight. It was a gradual process that started off with lots of carrot and ended up with all stick. Romaine Lettuce (or endive) represents that – … Read the rest

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Q.  I read the Jewish royal year resets in the month of Nissan. Is that the month of the Exodus? Why celebrate royalty then?

A. Talmud Rosh Hashanah 2b learns it from a juxtaposition of Shlomo’s royal reckoning and the reckoning from the Exodus. Rabbeynu Nissim explains this is because there would never be a Jewish King if we hadn’t left Egypt. In the … Read the rest

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