The Holy Writ

From: Vicky Dear Rabbi, As we approach the holiday of Shavuot commemorating the receiving of the Torah, would you please explain how and when the first Torah scroll was actually written? Dear Vicky, The Talmudic Sages (Gittin 60a) actually differ about this point. In the view of one opinion, the Torah was written on separate[…]

Wining, Dining, and Reclining

From: Russell Dear Rabbi, Would you please discuss the mitzvah of reclining at the Seder meal? Dear Russell, While partaking of the four cups of wine, and the matza at the beginning of the meal, and the korech “sandwich” (of matza, maror, and charoset), and the afikomen matza at the end of the meal, one must do so in a reclining position. This may[…]

Feminist Purim

From: Rivi Dear Rabbi, Am I correct in noticing that Purim features the role of a woman, Esther, as heroine more so than other Jewish holidays? If so, why might this be and what is the message? Dear Rivi, Purim is not the only holiday which features a female protagonist. The holiday of Pesach which[…]

New Teshuva

From: Netanel Dear Rabbi, I became a ba’al teshuva years ago. Since then, I did teshuva on all my sins, and haven’t done any serious new ones. So what should I be focusing on during this whole period of repentance spanning Elul, Rosh Hashana, the Ten Days of Teshuva and Yom Kippur? Dear Netanel, As[…]

Summer Camp

From: Aviva Dear Rabbi, I have been appointed “activities director” of my shul’s summer camp. I’m supposed to come up with a theme for the camp which will fuse exciting activities with Jewish content. So, I was wondering if perhaps you had some ideas for a camp, or maybe just some approach one could use[…]

Tammuz, Av and the Zodiac

This is a continuation of: Tammuz, Av and Divine Names From: Rodney Dear Rabbi, Since the months with holidays are considered “good months”, are the months of Tammuz and Av considered “bad months”, since they have days that commemorate the destruction of the Temple? Dear Rodney, In the previous installment, we explored the permutations of[…]

Tammuz, Av and Divine Names

From: Rodney Dear Rabbi, Since the months with holidays are considered “good months”, are the months of Tammuz and Av considered “bad months”, since they have days that commemorate the destruction of the Temple? Dear Rodney, Since you ask about multiple months, and since there is a lot to discuss, and since the discussion is[…]

Prophets of Passover

From: Felice Dear Rabbi, Moses, Aaron and Miriam play such a central role in the Exodus. Are they featured in any way in the Haggada? Dear Felice, You are correct that all three siblings – Moses, Aaron and Miriam – brought about the Redemption from Egypt. This is as in the verse, “For I brought[…]

Facade of Fury

From: David Dear Rabbi, I have learned that the reason for the decree against the Jews in the Purim story is that they partook of the feast of Achashverosh. Yet, I have also learned that the king had kosher food and kosher wine served for the Jews at his feast. If so, what was the[…]