Posts Tagged 'rabbi michael samuel'

Is there a sequence for lighting the Hanukah candles? Should it be done from right to left, or from left to right?

ANSWER: There are a number of ways of lighting the Hanukah menorah and each method is considered appropriate. R. Israel Isserlein (a.k.a, the “Rema”) indicates that the Rhineland tradition began at the left of the menorah and continued in sequence day by day. On the other hand, he also notes that in Vienna, precisely the opposite sequence was used, and one moved from right to left, in other words, in the fashion of the Hebrew writing.[1] To the best ...

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Hanukah: Celebrating the Gift of Being Different

Today, I conducted a little workshop for the 6th-7th grade classes on the relationship between Hanukah and Christmas. Bear in mind that close to 50% of the children come from intermarried homes; for them, this discussion proved to be quite revelatory. A series of questions were posed to the kids helping them process the awkward feelings families often grapple with whenever this time of the year arrives.

For me personally, these questions are quite familiar; I remember growing up in a ...

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Creating a Religiously Tolerant Society–Avoiding a “Bah, Hambug!” Holiday Attitude

One of the perennial questions that seem to divide Americans is the question whether there is a place for displaying religious symbols on public properties. Advocates for displaying such items claim that religious symbols add toward the holiday festivities—after all the United States has always celebrated its holidays in this manner, why should we break with what has become a true American tradition?

On the other hand, there are those who take a critical view of this issue; they insist that ...

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Is vegetarianism the ultimate ideal for humankind?

With all the commotion being made about laboratory created meat, the new technological development raises interesting ethical questions whether the slaughtering of animals ought to even be continued, since artificial meat is available. Should the practice of kosher slaughter be continued? Obviously, none of us can expect to know the future. Time will tell whether such a meat alternative is even considered healthy for human consumption. That being said, if the technology can truly replicate meat in a safe and ...

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Jacob’s Complicated Love Life and its Halachic implications

Inevitably, the story about Jacob and his complicated love life raises a number of questions regarding the Jewish attitude concerning concubines and polygamy. Do Jews still practice polygamy? Outside Sephardic circles, polygamy has been banned for well over a thousand years, since the time Rabbanu Gershom outlawed it for Ashkenazic Jews.

Historically, there is no evidence of actual concubinage in the Talmud, nor is there any evidence of it in practice during the Middle Ages. In the responsa of Asher b. ...

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