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Ask "Rabbi Y"

Ask "Rabbi Y"


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Did you ever wonder why we Jews do what we do? Get your answers from "Rabbi Y," a veteran of'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.

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What Is Rashi Script and Where Did It Come From?
Can you please explain the origins of this script? Did Rashi have his own unique Hebrew script?
Why Is Impurity Not Observed?
The Torah contains a complex code of purity laws. Why are Jews not careful about these laws nowadays?
Why Sleep With Tzitzit?
I was under the impression that the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit only applies to the daytime. But then I heard that many have the custom to wear tzitzit during the night as well. Can you explain the reason behind this?
Why Say Shema at Bedtime?
Didn't we just say it in Maariv?
Shema is included in the evening service. Yet the Talmud states that before one goes to sleep to sleep, he should recite the Shema. Why?
Didn't we just say it in Maariv?
Why Two Rollers for a Torah and One for a Megillah?
Why does a Torah scroll have two poles or rollers, while the Megillah (Book of Esther), which is also read from a scroll of parchment, only has one rollers (or none at all)?
What Is the Jewish Approach to the Apocrypha?
The 24 books of the Bible were canonized by the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah. Any later works are not considered Divinely inspired.
Matzah on Pesach Sheini: When and Why?
The Paschal lamb was consumed on the evening of Iyar 15, but the custom is to eat matzah on Iyar 14. Why?
Four Holy Cities of Israel: What and Why?
The terms “four holy cities of Israel” or “four lands of life” refer to Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias.
Why Wait Eight Days for the Circumcision?
Although the verse itself does not reveal why we are instructed to circumcise specifically on the eighth day, many possible explanations are offered . . .
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.
Ketav Ivri vs. Ketav Ashurit
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 . . .
The Significance of the Shiv'at Haminim
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 . . .
If yes, how and why does it work?
The Great “Shabbos” vs. “Shabbat” Debate. Who Is Right?
On the difference between Sepharadic and Ashkenazic pronunciation
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.