Festivals & Jewish Calendar

Holly Leaves as Sechach

Dear Rabbi Simon, I just was wondering if I’m allowed to use holly leaves as my sechach? Thanks David Dear David, Yes you may, if they are real, not the decorative artificial kind popular in December (!). Best to use the leaves that are still attached to the branches or tendrils, as the leaves on their own may dry fairly…

Tobacco Patches on Yom Kippur

Dear Rabbi Simon, As I told you, I am quite a heavy tobacco user. During Yom Kippur I do not smoke, which I realize is forbidden. Can I use the Tobacco patches I told you about, if I put them on before the fast begins? Nick Dear Nick, Yes you may use the patch as described, applying it before YK,…

Can Tashlich be recited on Shabbat?

Dear Rabbi Simon, Are we allowed to say Tashlich (the brief customary New Year ritual recited in the proximity of a body of water) during Shabbat? We did not manage to accomplish this on Rosh HaShanah. Thanks & Shana Tova Mayim Hi Mayim Tashlich is not recommended for Shabbat. However, you can say Tashlich until (and including) erev Yom Kippur,…

Redemption for Dishwasher Error?

Dear Rabbi Simon, I have a halachic question: I have a meat Teflon saucepan that by mistake I washed in a dairy dishwasher. Shall I toss it or keep it? Thank you. Suzy Dear Suzy There is no need to discard your saucepan. I would recommend kashering it by filling it near to the top with water then heating it…

Shabbat Candles when my Wife is Away

Dear Rabbi Simon, My wife is temporarily living in Florida. Do I have to light Shabbos candles in New York if my wife lights in Florida? Ira Dear Ira Thank you for your practical question. The simple answer is yes, you should light in NY even though your wife is also lighting Shabbos candles where she is (in Florida). However,…

Cutting Nails During the “Nine Days”

Dear Rabbi Simon, My wife recently asked me if we are allowed to cut our nails during the Nine Days of Av leading to the Fast of Tisha B’Av. I consulted the book Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks, Tisha B’Av and Other Fasts by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen. On p. 37, it says: “All authorities agree that nail…

Photo Taken on Shabbat

Dear Rabbi Simon, A small Shabbat question Shabbat: If a picture was taken by a Jew on Shabbat, is it verboten to enjoy it and share it with other Jews on a week day? Toby Dear Toby, Strictly speaking in most cases this would be allowed, as the photographer may be presumed to have acted out of ignorance of or…

Shavuot Prayers (Timing)

Dear Rabbi Simon, As Shavuot approaches I have been looking into the issues around early Maariv [ie, before nightfall—close to 10:00pm in London] on the two nights of the festival. It seems to me that there is less of an issue to daven early on the second night, albeit some authorities take a stringent view. For the first night there is…

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,
Tzippy
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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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