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Ask "Rabbi Y"

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Did you ever wonder why we Jews do what we do? Just ask "Rabbi Y," a veteran of Chabad.org's acclaimed Ask the Rabbi team, who answers another "why" question every week. No question is too obscure, and no area of Jewish life is off-limits. Of course, we cannot promise to publish all questions received, but we do try to bring you the most interesting, important, and enlightening ones every week. Click here to receive “Ask Rabbi Y” every week by email, and join our growing group of learning, enlightened Jews.

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For Real, How Rare Is a Red Heifer?
A heifer is simply a fancy name for a young cow that hasn’t yet borne a calf. And the red is not ruby red.
Why Was Non-Kosher Dye Used to Build the Mishkan?
How could they use impure animals for the holiest of places?
What Is the Authentic Hebrew Script?
Ketav Ivri vs. Ketav Ashurit
I recently read about some ancient writings that were in a script called Proto-Hebrew, which the Jews supposedly used to write in before the current Hebrew script.
What Is So Special About the 7 Species of Fruit With Which Israel Was Blessed?
The Significance of the Shiv'at Haminim
This isn’t just a flowery verse. These seven species are specifically connected to the Land of Israel . . .
Why Get an Aliyah (or Maftir) Before a Yahrtzeit?
Before addressing this question, let’s recount a story that underscores the importance of a mourner reciting Kaddish and reading the haftarah throughout the year of mourning.
Do Jews Believe in Magic or Witchcraft?
If yes, how and why does it work?
The answer seems simple enough: The Torah itself references witchcraft . . .
The Great “Shabbos” vs. “Shabbat” Debate. Who Is Right?
On the difference between Sepharadic and Ashkenazic pronunciation
Why Is Hallel Sometimes “Whole” and Sometimes “Half”?
The Talmud explains that as a very general rule, Hallel is recited on days that are called a mo’ed (holiday) in the Torah . . .
7 Jewish Classics Originally Written in Arabic
Although current relations between Jews and some Arabic-speaking countries are a bit strained, to say the least, it was not always so.
Why Insist on Depicting a Straight-Branched Menorah?
Despite the depiction of the Temple menorah on the Arch of Titus, Chabad makes a point of depicting the menorah with straight, diagonal branches. Why?
Is It OK to Wear a Mezuzah Necklace?
There are records of people using mezuzot as amulets since ancient times.
Why Do We Face East When Praying? Or Do We?
How to calculate mizrach
Even when our compass or map shows that Jerusalem is to the east of our location, we still may end up facing another direction. Sounds confusing? Let’s start from the beginning.
Why Say L’Dovid Hashem Ori (Psalm 27) During the Month of Elul?
The earliest mention of the custom seems to be the work Sefer Shem Tov Katan, published in 1706.
Why (and When to) Give Charity Before Prayer?
Says the Talmud, Rabbi Eleazar used to give a coin to a poor man and immediately begin to pray.
Why Pray With Our Feet Together?
The Talmud tells us that when we pray, we should resemble the angels, about whom it is said, “Their legs were a straight leg . . .”
Why Write B”H or BS”D at Head of a Letter, and What Does It Mean?
The habit of peppering our ordinary conversation with thankful mentions of G‑d was even displayed by our forefather Jacob.
Why Say "Bli Neder," and Does It Help?
I have a friend who, whenever he says that he will or will not do something, always adds the disclaimer bli neder (lit. “without an oath”). What’s up with that?
Why Sing Eishet Chayil on Friday Night?
Although I have not seen it documented, it seems that this originated with the mystics of Safed.
Why Hold Tzitzit for Baruch She'amar?
I understand why we hold the fringes during the Shema, which mentions the mitzvah of tzitzit, by why for Baruch She’amar?
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Discussion (7)
February 28, 2017
Why not let people know the name of G-D
Vernard Latham
77328
December 23, 2016
Ezekial
In chapter about 3 G D had Ezekial lay on his left side for 390 days ?? was that all day for 390 days?
Phil
Greer S.C.
October 5, 2016
3 fasting before your bar mitzvah
R Y, i have a question: Do children fast? And what about boys who are 2 months before their Bar Mitzvah (Hanachas Teffilin)? And is it not true that 3 fasts before ones Bar Mitzvah he should fast? Is it also not true that one should practice before his Bar Mitzvah to fast Yom Kippur? Please send an answer. - Anonymous.
Anonymous
Brooklyn, NY.
June 17, 2016
Lyama?
Lyama I have more answers than questions?
Anonymous
January 18, 2016
Does being Kosher make you closer to God?
James Yorio
Floral Park
June 23, 2015
Why Did God Choose Us?
I have always been fascinated by this question, because I always wonder why did god choose to spread his message through one group of individuals. Why did god not spread his message to everyone?
Anonymous
May 6, 2015
typo
typo
Ask Rabb Y Your Question
Anonymous
uruguay