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Mitzvot & Jewish Customs

Why do we keep kosher? Why so many "don'ts" on Shabbat? What is the deeper significance of the Tallit? Why do Chassidic Jews wear those long black coats?

Why Wash Hands for Bread?
We create a direct connection between recognizing the true source of the bread and enjoying it.
The Difference Between a Rabbi and a Rav
Are “rav” and “rabbi” not synonyms? And why do I need a personal rav? Isn’t it one Torah for everyone?
What Is a Beit Din?
The beit din still has an important function today.
The Torah Prohibition Against Mixing Seeds or Species
The Torah forbids combining certain species of animals and plants in specific ways.
What Is a Dvar Torah?
9 Steps to Crafting the Ultimate Dvar Torah
The practice of sharing a Torah thought is part of the fabric of Jewish life and an integral aspect of lifecycle events, communal gatherings, and even family get-togethers.
What Is Derech Eretz?
Derech eretz is so important that there is a minor tractate dedicated to the topic.
Why Say
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 Don't Fish Need Shechitah?
Why is there a ritual way of slaughtering and preparing all kosher animals except for fish?
Why Israel and the Diaspora Read Different Parshahs
At times, the Jews in Israel are one portion ahead of the Jews in the rest of the world. How does this come about?
Should I Publicize My Newly Kosher Kitchen?
Would it not be better for me to keep this mitzvah between me and G‑d?
Must I Learn Hebrew?
I have a strong desire to broaden my knowledge of my heritage, but I currently feel inadequate about pursuing these studies. Although I know how to read Hebrew, I do not understand a word of it. Should learning the language of the Torah not be my first priority?
Why is Jewish Law so Petty Minded?
Why the obsession with such insignificant details as how many ounces of matza do I eat, which spoon did I use for milk and which for meat, what is the right way to tie my shoelaces? It seems to me that this misses the bigger picture by focusing on minutiae
Jewish customs: Too many reasons, or none at all!
I find it interesting that when we do have an explanation for a particular custom, there's usually more than one reason. And when we don't have a reason, we nevertheless continue with the tradition...
What’s With the Candles?
When you use something physical, it gets “used up” and diminished. With spiritual things, the very opposite is the case
Why Is Pressing a Button Considered Work on Shabbat?
Rabbi, do you honestly believe that pressing a button to cross the road is considered doing work on the Sabbath? It doesn't seem so strenuous to me...
Day of Rest
I like the idea of a day of rest. But why should I start my day of rest at a prayer service? Aren't there better ways to start my weekend?
The 613 Commandments (Mitzvot)
The Talmud tells us that there are 613 commandments in the Torah; 248 Positive Commandments (do's) and 365 Negative Commandments (do not's). Here's a complete list --as compiled by Maimonides.