When there is a Will, the Relatives may Complain

  Yonasan, who was originally adopted by non-observant parents, called me with the following shaylah: “My parents, meaning the couple who adopted me, eventually divorced, and later my father remarried, although there was a halachic problem with his second marriage. My adoptive father was a kohen, and his second wife, Martha, was a divorcee. Recently, […]

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What Will the Neighbors Think? – Understanding the Halachos of Maris Ayin

When Yehudah’s friend the Adulami was unable to locate Tamar, Yehudah reacts: "What can I do? This will lead to an embarrassing situation." This sounds like a good week (parshas Va’Yeshev) to study: By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff Question # 1:  My boss asked me to attend a lunch meeting with a new client in a […]

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How Are Tefillin Retzuos Made?

In this week’s parsha, Avraham tells the King of Sodom that he (Avraham) will not keep "even a thread or even a shoelace" from the booty of Sodom, although all of Sodom and its populace are rightfully his property as spoils of war. The Gemara teaches that as a reward for this, Avraham’s descendents were […]

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It’s About Time

Sorry, there are a few corrections to the last article… It’s the same article, the Rav just changed the name, and there were a couple of real corrections. When Noach offered his korbanos after the Mabul, Hashem promised that the days of the earth will never again be changed, and that day and night will […]

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Mezuzah Mysteries — or Is this really a doorway?

Question #1:

Raphael* sent me an e-mail which included an attachment with the layout of his new apartment (see attachment entitled “map”). He wants to know whether he needs to place a mezuzah at the doorway out of the lounge marked “Sofek 1″, and also whether the entrance to the kitchen requires a mezuzah. Both instances are not architecturally proper doorways, but entrances formed by walls.

Click to download Apt map pdf

*Although all questions mentioned here are authentic, names have been changed to protect each individual’s privacy.

Question #2:

Yisroel sent me photographs of his hallway to determine whether he needs to place a mezuzah at its entrance (see attachment entitled “is this a mashkof”).

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Important Eating – The Halachos of Ikar and Tafeil

    Question #1: You made a bracha on a cup of tea and sipped it, and then decided it needed more sugar. Do you need to make a bracha on the extra sugar? Question #2: You cooked a delicious vegetable-barley soup. What bracha do you recite before eating it? Does it make any difference […]

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Shabbos Emergencies

The last sentence of the haftarah we read this Shabbos is the basis for our daily beracha Refa’einu. This provides us with the opportunity to review the laws that we need to know about Shabbos emergencies. I once received the following communication: “As an active member of Hatzalah, but not speaking on behalf of any […]

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Some Shatnez Basics

Question #1: I keep reading about shatnez showing up in strange places: ladies sweaters, children’s clothes, and even baseball gloves. Am I required to take my family’s entire wardrobe to a shatnez laboratory to have everything checked? Question #2: "What does a shatnez tester look for?" Question #3: "The importer told me that the garment […]

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The Milky Whey – The Cholov Yisrael controversy

Shirley mentions to her friend: “I do not understand why some people keep chalav Yisrael today. Do they really think that someone is adding pig’s milk?”

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Observing a Colorful Lifestyle

At one point in my life, when I worked as a “rabbinic field representative” (aka a mashgiach), I once made a surprise inspection of a company that produced juice drinks – let’s call it Generic Juices Inc. I was surprised to discover that the plant was bottling beverages containing carmine red coloring, and other drinks colored with enocianina, a coloring derived from grape skins. Neither of these products was on the lists of approved ingredients, and for good reason. Of course, this created a serious problem for the hechsher, the company, and most of all, the unsuspecting consumer…

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This Torah Article is Dedicated

Leilui Nishmas
Devorah bas Yaakov ע”ה
Olga Simons
By Her Granddaughter

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