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Q. Why is “Bnei Heichalah” the only one of three Arizal Shabbos songs to make it to most Bentschers?

A. Interesting question actually. Here’s some background for those who might not be familiar: The famous Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, best known as the “Arizal” composed three Kabbalistic songs for each of the Shabbos meals. “Azameir B’Shvachin” is for Friday … Read the rest

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Q. I have no whole Challah available? Can I make Hamotzee on sliced?

A. Yes, you certainly can.

Now, there is something special we do for Shabbos called “Lechem Mishneh” the two loaves of Shabbos, which are supposed to be whole and uncut before the blessing. But if that’s not possible due to … 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 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. Are we required to eat meat or chicken on Shabbat? 

A. The Code of Jewish Law says that we should enjoy the finest foods with which take pleasure in on Shabbos. Meat and wine were (and still are) considered rich foods of pleasure and enjoyment. Back in the day, many … Read the rest

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Q. Snowballs on Shabbos – what’s the verdict? 

A. Without an “Eruv” there’s no carrying outdoors on Shabbos, and throwing is including in carrying, so that would be out. Even within a permissible carrying place, there are some issues with snowball making. Most Rabbinic sources consider intentionally compacting … Read the rest

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Q. Why aren’t we worried about breaking twigs when walking on grass on Shabbos?

A. Two Shabbat rules are in play here. (1) Breaking twigs is not your desired intent as you walk across the grass, the goal is to get from Point A to Point B. (2) It is not absolutely certain that … Read the rest

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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. Do we make Havdalah on Shabbos going into Yom-Tov?

A. What a question! The Talmud (Pesachim) has a 9-way debate on it. All agree that we make a Havdalah (farewell to Shabbat) and Kiddush (welcoming YomTov) combination, but there are 9 varying opinions on the order of the blessings … Read the rest

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Q. I’m an osteopath. I heard there is an indestructible bone in the body according to Jewish tradition?

A. It is called the “Luz” bone. According to the Medrash (Kohelet Rabba 12:5) this bone will be used for the resurrection of the dead. One source has the Luz at the base of the spine, and the other has … Read the rest

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