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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?

Is Pig More Unkosher Than Other Animals?
Why do Jews give the poor old pig such a hard time?
Is It True That It's Forbidden to Cut Down a Fruit Tree?
A closer look at a 3,300 year-old environmental protecttion law
Why Do Jews Love Jerusalem?
Why do we focus so much attention on one place? Is G‑d’s presence not found everywhere?
The Kabbalah of the Tallit
The garment surrounds our body; the fringes hang off it. They represent the two aspects of G-d’s being: His true self that is totally beyond our grasp, and the tiny fraction of His being we can experience.
The Beard
I have often wondered why many religious Jews have long hairy beards. Is this, like the kipah, a means of identifying oneself as a Jew or do the beards serve some other purpose?
Shoelaces
I saw the craziest thing in the Code of Jewish Law. It tells you how to tie your shoes!
Why the Jacket and Black Hat?
"What should I wear today - the black jacket or the blue?" How boring! Where's the individuality? Where's the freedom of expression? Do you people have no originality at all?
Can Wine Be Holy?
I am a Muslim. In my religion, wine is forbidden. Does Judaism honestly believe that such a sensual indulgence can be considered holy?
Why do Jewish holidays begin at nightfall?
Why do Jewish holidays begin at nightfall? For example, Purim starts this Monday night, and is over Tuesday night, and that is considered one day.
Wipe Out Amalek, Today?
If the Torah commands the Jewish people to wage an eternal war against the nation of Amalek, why aren’t you seeking out Amalekites to kill?
Services Every Week?!
I go jogging every Friday afternoon and often pass your synagogue. I see you are getting some nice crowds. To be honest I don't see why people go to services every single Shabbat.
The Mind-Heart-Body Connection
I know that we put these black boxes on our head and our arm next to our heart, but other than that, I have no idea what they are about. Do you have an explanation for what Tefillin are?
What Name Should We Choose?
The art of baby naming
Choosing a name is a big deal. A person’s name is not a mere label; it expresses the essence of its bearer . . .
How Do Jews Celebrate Birthdays?
Is there a Jewish way for me to celebrate my birthday?
What is the Origin of the Bar Mitzvah Celebration?
When did Jews start celebrating Bar-Mitzvahs?
What's the significance of the Havdalah ceremony?
That last bear hug is different than its predecessors. Whereas till now the cuddles and hugs assisted in cementing the relationship, the final embrace takes it one step further...
Why Does Judaism Forbid Tattoos?
The human body is G‑d’s creation, and it is therefore unbefitting to mutilate G‑d’s handiwork . . .
Where is the Spark?
When You’ve Lost Your Motivation....
When our behavior is a consequence of intellectual understanding or a strong emotional feeling, it is not completely selfless. It is "I" that understands and "me" that feels.
Animal Sacrifices?
I can see the experiential quality of it all: an ancient temple with heavenly music and mystical song; priests in flowing robes deep in meditation; mesmerizing, choreographed ritual. But why the barbecue?