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Q. I know the Manna did not fall on Shabbos. Did it fall on Holidays?

A. It isn’t clear. Rashi seems to say that it did not. Tosefos commentary on Talmud Beitzah 2b quotes conflicting Medrash on this question.… Read the rest

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Q. How do Yeshivas decide which tractate of Talmud to study in a given year?

 A. There’s a cycle of tractates, usually an eight-year rotation. Most Yeshivas study the 3 Bavas: Bava Kamma (damages) Bava Metziah (monetary disputes & doubts) and Bava Basra (real-estate, property disputes, zoning and inheritance). Also commonly learned are marital tractates … Read the rest

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Q. I’m having a hard time getting a read on King Ahasuareus. Was he wicked or fickle? Was he just a party animal? 

A. The Talmud asks the same question. He’s a complex character and different Rabbis of the Talmud read him differently.… Read the rest

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Q. Did Adam die in the Great Flood?

 A. No. Adam died in the Jewish year 930 (or 2831 BCE) and the Flood happened in the Jewish year 1656 (or 2105 BCE).
BTW – BCE stands for Before the Common Era, which is how we designate secular dates … Read the rest

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Q. The Ashrei Prayer is alphabetical, why is it missing the letter Nun?

A. The Talmud (Brachos 4b) asks the same question and explains that Nun stands for Nofel (fallen) which is something David (author of Ashrey) wanted to avoid. But you asked further – aren’t there other Hebrew letters that stand for … Read the rest

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Q. Is it OK to pray the evening prayer in Boxers? 

A. Well, here’s the official answer from the Code of Jewish Law, we’re supposed to dress-up for prayer – say like we would to greet a king or more likely the way we would dress for a formal job interview. … Read the rest

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Q. How late can I pray the evening service? Does 3am work? 

A. Technically, you can pray the evening service until slightly before dawn (which isn’t the same as sunrise), which can be anywhere from around 4am-7am depending on the time of year. But the Rabbis in the very first Mishna of … Read the rest

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Q. My son’s Bar-Mitzvah Parsha is all about animal sacrifice. What relevance would this have in today’s world?

A. Here’s one idea. There’s a beautiful Chassidic insight based on an interpretation of the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad, that aside for the physical animal (and especially nowadays without the Temple) one would have to make a “personal sacrifice” … Read the rest

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Q. Where can I read up more about the special spirituality of the Jewish woman?

A. www.JewishWoman.org is a great website with lots of material. The Rebbe often spoke about the unique advantages of feminine spirituality and strongly encouraged the empowerment of women and their vital involvement in Jewish life. One aspect of this was … Read the rest

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Q. Is there a source for Moses ascending a mountain to see all the Land of Israel?

A. There sure is! See Deuteronomy 3:27 where G-d tells Moses, “Ascend to the top of the mount and raise your eyes westward, northward, southward and eastward, and see with your eyes, for you will not cross this Jordan.”… Read the rest

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