Tu b’Shevat Bounty

From: Alison Dear Rabbi, On Tu b’Shevat we celebrate the bounty of the Land of Israel. But If the Land of Israel is supposed to be flowing with milk and honey, why don’t we see that kind of abundance in the Land of Israel today? Dear Alison, First of all, while Israel may not be[…]

On the Button

From: Phil Dear Rabbi, If a button unexpectedly pops off a garment on Shabbat, is it permitted to pick it up in order to save it to sew it back on after Shabbat, or does it become “muktze” and thereby forbidden to handle on Shabbat? I don’t see why it would be forbidden, but a[…]

Joy on Succot

From: Anna Dear Rabbi, Would you please elaborate on the mitzva of rejoicing on Succot? Dear Anna, When the Temple stood, there was a special ceremony of rejoicing called “simchat beit hashoeva” which was associated with the drawing of water for the purpose of the special Succot water-libation and involved dancing by firelight throughout the[…]

Repent While Alive

From: Mattis Dear Rabbi, Nobody’s perfect, but as people get older they get better. Why repent when we’re young and we’re still likely to do wrong? Wouldn’t it be better to wait till we’re older and naturally stop transgressing? Dear Mattis, This reasoning may seem sound, but it’s totally wrong. Firstly, nobody knows when they’ll[…]

U’netane Tokef

From: Phillip Dear Rabbi, There is clearly a lot of trepidation and enthusiasm surrounding the “U’netane Tokef” liturgy in the Rosh Hashana prayer service. I’m wondering what it means and why it seems to be treated with extra special reverence. Dear Phillip, Indeed the U’netane tokef prayer is considered to be one of the more[…]

Response to Ruin

From: Carrie Dear Rabbi, Thank G‑d we are witnessing in our days a great rebuilding of our People and Homeland. Yet, it seems that most of our Holy places are still in ruin or occupied by others. How are we to relate to this “ruin” and why is it continuing? Dear Carrie, Regarding one who[…]

Torah, Milk and Honey

From: Melissa Dear Rabbi, I am hosting my first Shavuot meal this year and I’d like to know what to prepare. I know each holiday has its own special cuisine and featured foods, but I thought the basis for Shabbat and Holiday meals was always meat or poultry. My sister said that Shavuot is different[…]

Temple Service

From: Harry Dear Rabbi, All the recent events regarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have peaked my interest as to what role the Temple played in our past. As the holiday of Passover approaches, could you perhaps describe what it was like in Temple times? Dear Harry, The number of people who went up to[…]

A Tale of Two Cities

From: Allen Dear Rabbi, It seems to me that the ancient Greeks promoted good things like Science, the Arts and Physical fitness. Why does Chanuka “celebrate” the opposition to, and victory against, ancient Greek culture? Dear Allen, The ancient Greeks are viewed as descending from Yafet, the son of Noach. The name Yafet is related[…]