Jewish Life

The blessing of “ha-Gomel”

Note: The Mishnah states that one who “descends to the sea” or survives another life-threatening situation, should recite a special blessing of thanksgiving (see Artscroll siddur p. 444), known as ha-Gomel. This blessing is generally recited at the time of the public reading of the Torah. Dear Rabbi Simon, I had a medical emergency a few hours ago. Thank G-d…

New Cooker Advice

Dear Rabbi Simon, We need to replace our cooker (oven and stove top), and I was wondering what the best options are from a kashrut perspective. I know a self-cleaning oven is useful for Pesach, but is a catalytic liner acceptable (as oppose to pyrolytic). I understand that with pyrolytic, the grease builds up on the coating, and gets burns…

Biblical Elders of Israel

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was wondering, besides Abraham & Moses, what are the names of others that would be considered “elders”? Many thanks, Danny Dear Danny, Thank you for your question. I am not certain of the context of your question, but if you refer to the Elders of Israel mentioned in Ex. 4:29, it would seem that we do not know…

Change of Name due to Illness

Dear Rabbi Simon, Can you send me information regarding changing the name of a child who has a severe illness through another family adopting the child. I know that that was done in the past by community rabbis. I read something about it when I was a student 15 years ago. Does my memory serve me? Many thanks, Abi Dear Abi,…

Seasonal Wreath

Dear Rabbi Simon, I am Jewish and live in a sixteen-unit condo complex in Concord, Massachusetts. A neighbor of mine bought evergreen wreaths with red bows for all the units and put them on the exterior wall of every unit. When I saw it, I thought this doesn’t belong on my door and took it down, but then I learned that…

Kashering a Saucepan

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. Sue Dear Sue, 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…

Mezonot or Hamotzi for Roll which is a Meal

Dear Rabbi Simon, If I’m having a piece of mezonot pita, is it proper to nevertheless wash my hands [ritually] and say ha-motzi if I’m regarding it as a meal (even say, breakfast-on-the-go)? In other words, should I treat it as bread? Similarly, on a recent occasion I chose a mezonot sandwich when I met a friend at a bakery…

Yitzchak’s Delicacies

Dear Rabbi Simon, In Parshas Toldos we learn that Yitzchak wants to bless Eisav, and so tells him, “And make for me some tasty food,כאשר אהבתי, like I love.” On a superficial level it would appear that Yitzchak craves the physical pleasure of eating. How can this be for a Tzadik like Yitzchak? Thanks, Tzvi Dear Tzi, Thank you for your question, posed…

Jewish Status Quandary

Hi Rabbi, I have a question about a girl I’m seeing. Her grandmother was born in Russia and during WWII, was left with a family in Portugal. The family was not Jewish but always told her her parents were. Her parents were presumed killed in the war. She was sent to Brazil. The Rabbi’s here in Paris asked, considering she…

How can a Gentile mourn a Jewish loved one?

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was wondering how a Gentile can respectfully mourn a Jewish loved one? If there are no Jewish family members who are able to lead the mourning, how can a Gentile make sure that the deceased is respected and properly mourned according to Jewish customs? Thank you, Deborah Dear Deborah, TY for your sensitive question. Depending on…

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
Events / Calendar