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Q. How is the vanity room classified Halachicly?

A. The vanity rooms (with the sink, counter and mirror) leading to the bathrooms at Shabbos House does not have a Mezuzah, as bathrooms do not have a Mezuzah. But its not quite a bathroom either, which is why we … Read the rest

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Q. For now I can only afford one Mezuzah but have several doors. Which door takes precedence?

 A. Hopefully, you can slowly purchase more Mezuzot. (Remember, the cover is mostly for show, and makes the Mitzvah pretty, but the main thing is the handwritten scroll inside). For now, start with the main entrance door. This is providing … Read the rest

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Q. I found my grandfather’s Tefillin. I heard you can tell whether he was a Chassid or not simply by looking at the straps? 

A. The clue is in the knot by the hand-tefillin, not the straps themselves. Most Sephardic Jews and Chassidim wind their Tefillin arm straps outward, while most non-Chassidic Ashkenazic Jews wind their arm straps inward. The inward or outward wrapping … Read the rest

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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. I noticed a few stretched-out letters in the Torah scroll. What’s the significance?

A. Torah columns are justified on right and left, and it’s all done by hand – no computer. The Sofer (Torah Scribe) has a certain amount of leeway to stretch (or squeeze) some letters to make it fit justified evenly … Read the rest

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Q. Why do some Jews wait for marriage to wear a full Tallit during prayer?

A. The Talmud Tractate Kiddushin implies that unmarried men do not cover their heads with a cloth, and many understand this to refer to the wearing of a Tallis, as opposed to a Tallit-Kattan which is only worn on the … Read the rest

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Q. My son wants to wear an old family Tallis, yellowed with age, for his Bar-Mitzvah. Does the yellow come out?

A. Mazal Tov on the Bar-Mitzvah. I’m not a dry-cleaner (they might do a decent job on the material, but be careful, they may ruin the fringes which are important), but I think that yellowed look is there to stay. … Read the rest

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Q. I’m a lapidary, and I’d like to make a Mezuzah Cover for my neighbor. I know a scribe needs to hand-write the scroll, but are there are any laws concerning the outside cover?

A. Not really. It should have an opening within that’s large to properly fit the Mezuzah scroll they will be using. Also many Mezuzahs have the Hebrew Letter Shin on the outside, but this not an absolute requirement. And it … Read the rest

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Q. What happens to old Torahs once they can no longer be used? Is there a Torah Retirement place?

A. Well, at first they can be restored by an expert scribe. Letters fade and crack, but they can be repaired. Sometimes whole sections of parchment can be replaced. But you are right, there comes a time when they can … Read the rest

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Q. What is the difference between a Tallit and Tzitzit?

A. Literally, Tzitzit refers to the fringes themselves, while Tallis is the cloak-cloth part we wear. But in today’s common religious lingo, Tallis refers to the larger outer garment (prayer-shawl), worn over one’s clothing during prayer. Tzitzit refers to a … Read the rest

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