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Yehuda Shurpin

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Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin responds to questions for Chabad.org's Ask the Rabbi service.
During the period when the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms, Elijah the Prophet had a showdown at Mt. Carmel with 450 false prophets of the Baal idol . . .
Long before the ancient Greeks, the Bible recorded that the dove brought an olive branch to the ark.
The sukkah serves to remind us of our humble beginnings as a fledgling nation, when we did not have any permanent dwellings and had to live in simple huts.
On Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat foods with symbolic importance. According to some, these foods serve as cues to help us focus on the agenda of the day: prayer, repentance and resolution to do good. According to others, the physical act of eating t...
Many have the custom to begin the Rosh Hashanah meals with round challahs, often filled with raisins and sweeter than usual. Here's why.
And when do we double them up?
The Torah is split into 54 Torah portions (Parshiyot), and we usually read one Torah portion each Shabbat. However, there are 14 Parshiyot that, depending on the year, can potentially be paired together, so two Torah portions would be read on that Shabbat...
I was reading up about Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement. It seems there were other rabbis called “Baal Shem.” But he was the only one called “Baal Shem Tov.” What is the distinction, and what does it even mean? Reply Let’...
And why doesn’t Chabad wear them?
To the uninitiated, it appears that many chassidim wear round fur hats called shtreimels on Shabbat and holidays, but I must point out that, in truth, there are different hats, with different names. One can often discern which chassidic group one belongs ...
In the 16th-century Shabbat hymn “Lecha Dodi,” we welcome the Shabbat as both a bride and queen. Here’s why . . .
Isn’t this counterintuitive? Shouldn’t we be sad during this time, not seeking out different ways to celebrate and rejoice?
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