Israel’s Independence Day 2017

Question: When is Israel’s “Independence Day” this year? Also, what is it called in Hebrew and how is it celebrated? AskTheRabbi.org answered: I assume you’re referring to the State of Israel’s date of declaration of independence in 1948. This date was on May 14, 1948 when Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s [...]

By | 2017-04-26T15:23:06+00:00 April 26th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Israel’s Independence Day 2017

What is Sefirat Ha’omer?

Question: I've heard of Sefirat Ha'omer - counting the Omer. What is this? AskTheRabbi.org answered: The Torah emphasized the link between Passover and Shavuot, the very beginning of the redemption from Egypt and its culmination, through the commandment of Sefirat Ha'omer. We count the days and weeks from the second day of Passover until the [...]

By | 2017-04-19T04:26:25+00:00 April 19th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on What is Sefirat Ha’omer?

Why All the Questions?

Question: What would you say is the most important aspect of the Seder? AskTheRabbi.org answered: More so than any other festival, the Seder-night is dedicated to children, because the Torah dictates that we must tell the history of the Exodus to our children on this night. The Haggada directs us to do many unusual things [...]

By | 2017-04-13T07:52:22+00:00 April 13th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Why All the Questions?

The Passover Haggadah

Question: What is the Haggadah? AskTheRabbi.org answered: The Haggadah is a book that Jews read on the first night of Passover - and on the first two nights outside of Israel. It tells about our slavery in Egypt and the miracles God did for us when freeing us. The word haggadah means "telling," which comes from [...]

By | 2017-04-04T05:45:44+00:00 April 4th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on The Passover Haggadah

Appreciation and Applause

Question: Hi Rabbi, I have a question for you. I recently went to a class about the “Portion of the Week”, and when the Rabbi concluded the lesson I felt that I should clap my hands to applaud in appreciation for the very interesting class. However, the other attendees didn’t clap, so I decided not [...]

By | 2017-03-30T04:56:47+00:00 March 30th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Appreciation and Applause

The Kindness of Human Diversity

Question: I have always wondered how from Adam and Eve came all the different races and colors of the people in the world. I appreciate your insights and appreciate your “Just Ask” service. Thanks. AskTheRabbi.org answered: Thank you for your kind words and you’ve posed a really great question! The Talmud deals with the diversity [...]

By | 2017-03-20T14:00:13+00:00 March 20th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on The Kindness of Human Diversity

Why Don’t I See Any Miracles?

Question: I was reading my son Bible stories and he asked a simple, “child-like” question: "Why doesn't God punish bad people the way he did in the Bible, such as what happened in Egypt in the Passover story? I was flustered for an answer as to why we don't see God's great powers the way [...]

By | 2017-03-15T16:00:13+00:00 March 15th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Why Don’t I See Any Miracles?

Shabbat of Blessing – Shabbat Mevarchim

Question: I recently started going to the Synagogue on Shabbat and noticed this past week that the congregation said a special prayer called “Blessing of the New Month”. Would you please tell me more about this blessing? Thanks. AskTheRabbi.org answered: Good question. On the Shabbat before the new Jewish month begins (except for the Shabbat [...]

By | 2017-02-28T13:03:59+00:00 February 28th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Shabbat of Blessing – Shabbat Mevarchim


Question: Why do many people sway back and forth while praying?  I’ve seen others who do not and this seems more respectful to me. Is either way the correct way or the better way? AskTheRabbi.org answered: Both are correct and acceptable. The deciding factor is which way helps a person to have better concentration on [...]

By | 2017-02-22T15:10:31+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on Shakesprayer

“Mazel Tov” & Energy from Above

Question: Hi Rabbi, a friend just had a baby and everyone keeps telling him “Mazel tov”. It sounds like they’re wishing the parents congratulations and good luck. But is that really what “Mazel tov” means? Thanks. AskTheRabbi.org answered: Although “Mazel tov” is used almost universally as a phrase of congratulations and a wish for good [...]

By | 2017-02-14T01:26:14+00:00 February 14th, 2017|JustAsk|Comments Off on “Mazel Tov” & Energy from Above