Festivals & Jewish Calendar

Ask the Rabbi – Doughnut Crisis

The following Q&A is based on a text exchange: Q) Hi Rabbi Simon. I saw that one day this Chanukah customers of a certain Kosher bakery were encouraged to return for a refund any doughnuts purchased that day because the fryer was turned on by a non-Jewish employee. I know the principle that a fire should be started by a Jew –…

Corrective for Signing on Shabbat  

Dear Rabbi Simon Shavua tov. I had a distressing Shabbos. Due to a very unfortunate oversight, I was locked out of my flat on Friday night–with my dog on the inside. With the help of a neighbour, I managed to summon a locksmith to rescue the two of us. However, the tradesman insisted that I sign a form in order…

Alexa and Shabbat

Dear Rabbi Simon If you don’t mind I have a question for you.  On Friday night, my children were in the kitchen chatting and for some reason our Amazon Echo (Alexa) started playing music even though they hadn’t said “her” name!  Rap music was playing loudly until midnight in spite of us smothering Alexa with towels!  Under these circumstances would we have…

Chore or Mitzvah?

Dear Rabbi Simon This may be a stupid question but is the act of taking down the Sukkah also a mitzva or at least part of it? Suki Dear Suki Dismantling the Sukkah would have the status of הכשר מצוה (preparatory to a mitzvah) if taking it down is necessary to enable one to fulfil the mitzvah effectively next year.…

No Sukkah, No Sukkah Invitations

Dear Rabbi Simon The “rule of six” has knocked my Sukkot plans for 6. I have no means of building a sukkah in or around my flat, and sukkah invitations for Ruchie and me are very difficult to come by this year, due to the coronavirus crisis and the Rule of Six . And truthfully, I am uneasy about eating…

Questioning Kaparot

Dear Rabbi Simon, Shana tova. I hope you had inspiring tefillah at Kesher on RH. You may have seen the clips that are going round about the use of chickens for kaparot in New York.  The way in which these chickens are treated is disturbing to me.  Even if the conditions of keeping the chickens would improve, I still think…

Meeting with Royalty

Note: On Rosh HaShanah we feel acutely the Kingship of Hashem. The Talmud teaches that one should seek out an opportunity to see earthly royalty, to gain a faint, symbolic echo of the Divine Kingship. There is even a blessing to be recited on seeing a monarch (king or queen), “Who has given of His glory to flesh and blood.”…

When Does Shabbat End?

Dear Rabbi Simon, I read in the Kesher Connections weekly newsletter that Shabbat Parashat Shofetim (21-22 August 2020) ends at 9.03pm. But there are at least two other times which some people follow as authoritative. There is a slightly earlier end time of 9.00pm, quoted in the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Weekly newspapers and used by the United Synagogue.…

Wearing a Mask on Shabbat

Dear Rabbi Simon Can I wear a mask outside on Shabbos? Mendy Dear Mendy Thank you for your practical and contemporary question. If you are wearing a mask in accordance with widely-accepted public health recommendations, ie to inhibit the inhalation and spread of Coronavirus, there are grounds to allow doing so on Shabbos, even in the absence of an eruv.…

Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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