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The End of the Shmita Year: An Opportunity to Begin Again
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The desire to live in the Land of Israel is multifaceted. For some of us, it is mainly an outgrowth of our awareness and desire to connect to this land’s history, while for others the excitement of building Israel’s future is the strongest bond. ——————————- Every week, as Shabbat comes to a close, we mark […]
Pruzbol – Ask the Rabbi
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I have a friend who owes me 1,000 dollars.  He told me that once Rosh Hashanah comes, he will not have to pay me back.  Is that true? To answer we have to start from the beginning.  The Torah says in Devarim (Chapter 15, verses 1-2) “at the end of seven years…every creditor should release […]
OU Kosher’s Primer For the Shemittah Year
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“The laws governing the shemittah year were designed to strengthen the Jewish people’s trust in Hashem and to serve as a reminder that as important as our efforts are, ultimately everything comes from above.  It is an opportunity, every seven years, to witness the manifestation of Hashem’s presence in the world.” As we are little […]
In Remembrance of Our Loved Ones
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It is customary on Yom Kippur when Yizkor (the memorial service) is recited, as well as on the Shalosh Rigalim (Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot), to light a candle in memory of loved ones who have passed away.  This practice was referenced as far back as the Talmudic times when it was recorded in Tractate Ketubot 103A that before Reb Yehuda Hanassi passed […]
Swaying During Prayer and Torah Study
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It is a well established custom to sway (shukel) during prayer (teffilah) and Torah study.  The following questions will be addressed on this topic: §     Is shukeling only for teffilah or is it also for learning Torah? §     What are the reasons to shukel? §     What are the reasons not to shukel? §     Assuming one is permitted to shukel, […]
Should One Pray from the Bima or the Amud?
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Over the past number of years it has become increasingly more common to find the shliach tzibur (prayer leader) praying from the bima rather than from the amud. This article will focus on the differences between the bima and amud, their specific functions and locations, which prayer services are meant to be recited from which […]