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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 468

Taiwan Whisky – Kavalan

Taiwan Whisky - Kavalan Question: Shalom kvod harav, I read about taiwanese whisky.Some of them over 2 processes of maturation. Does it make a difference on the 'heter' of Rav A. Weiss (based on Rabi's Moshe Feinstein Thsuva). Can you provide me contact with a worlwide whisky specialist ? Thanks in advance, Answer: Taiwanese [Kavalan] whiskey seems to be  a product similar to Scotch Whiskey, which would mea ...

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Learning other religions

Question: Hello Is there any issur involved in the study of other religions including Christianity from an academic perspective or if only the person is interested to learn about them. Thank you. Answer: Yes, this may be included in the prohibition of לא תתורו אחרי לבבכם, which Chazal tell us refers to learning heretical ideas. See Rambam Avodah Zara CHapter 2 and Sefer Hachinuch mitzva 387, who explain the ...

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Shabbos – Schita

Question: Is one permitted to use a squeegee mop on Shabbos with a towel around the bottom if he uses only minimal water and places it on the floor first. May on rely on the fact that the mop has a handle and since the is water placed on the floor first it is not different then wiping a spill with a large towel that can absorb all of the liquid (and certainly if only minimal liquid is used ) ? Answer: While ...

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Bracha on Cut Bagel

Question: i order bagels every seudah shilishis and i always first make the bagel before washing, (we do it very casually, especially during summer shabboses) is this allowed? or do i have to first make the bracha on the whole bagel before slicing into it (usually to the point where it completely detaches top from bottom)? Answer: With regards to Lechem Mishna for Seuda Shlishis a complete and whole loaf/br ...

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Awaking Before Davening

Question: The Mishnah Berurah in Siman Alef, seif katan (ט) quotes as follows: יהיה זהיר מאד לקום שעה ולפחות חצי שעה קדם קריאת השמש לבית הכנםת As a matter of practical halacha, what is the time a person needs to be awake before the minyan in order to fulfill this משני ברורה? With tremendous gratitude, Answer: The point of this halacha is to have ample time to prepare one's self for davening with a minyan. S ...

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Donated Sefer Torah

Question: A few years ago I donated a Sefer Torah to a Shul. As I have now moved I would like to take the Sefer Torah with me to my new Shul. Am I allowed to do so or does it need to remain in the previous Shul I donated it to? I would appreciate any mekoros to see this matter inside. Thank you very much Answer: Unless there was some explicit stipulation when you donated the Torah, you may take the Torah wi ...

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Adding to Shemona Ezrai

Question: I grew up in a Jewish home in N.Y. following tradition. Later on I began to study Judaism. I have five married children all following Halacha. My mind has opened and I see Zionism in another light. Zionism can be considered Idolatry in the way it is strictly observed without connecting Zionism with World Unity and Faith. I always have thought of myself as a Jew but it is also important to me that ...

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sefirat haomer customs

Question: Dear Rabbi! In our city like in most cities here in Russia we have a big Chabad community and small our Lituanian one. Which custom of mourning we have to accept at sefirat haomer period: a custom of Arizal or Rama? And if Rama's - which of them? Our Rabbi live in Eretz Israel and have Israeli custom. What about music listening? Answer: Your community is not bound by the practice of the other [Cha ...

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Superstitions – “Knock Wood”

Question: Many people have the minhag to knock gently the table by benching when saying the (individual) Horachamons I have seen this with elderly people too who seem to be Minhag-conscious and have taken presumably from previous generations My assumption is that this is against the Ayin Hara and similar to what people say "Keyn Ayin ora". After a bit of reserach it however seems the source is gentile and n ...

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Hair pulling on Shabbat

Question: I have a disorder called Trichotillomania. Many weeks I find myself pulling out my hair on Shabbos but I cannot control the urges. I have guilt over this constant violation of halacha. Your insight and advice would be appreciated. Answer: The Torah requires one to do whatever they can to perform mitzvos and stay away from aveiros. So you should and surely are doing what you can to heal yourself of ...

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