Jewish Life

Beracha for Gluten-Free Matza

Dear Rabbi Simon I have a box of kosher for Passover Manischewitz gluten free matzo style squares at home. On the box, it says it is not a replacement for seder matzo. It was one of the post-Pesach bargains I picked up this year. Its listed ingredients are potato flour, potato starch, potato flakes, tapioca starch, palm oil, vinegar, egg…

Ma’aser Questions

Dear Rabbi Simon I hope you are well. I have a couple of ma’aser question if you don’t mind. I recently donated to the Hendon Evening Beis’ charity campaign and I just wanted to check that this donation would be included as ma’aser money? Also, is one able to give a donation from a salary that one has not been paid yet? As…

Toivelling Slow Cooker Pot After Use

Dear Rabbi Simon Thank you for getting back to me last week regarding my Slow Cooker question. However, to my dismay, I just realised something: I never toivelled (ie immersed in a mikveh) the ceramic pot! My questions: 1) Even if the ceramic pot wasn’t toivelled, the food heated in it is still kosher – is my assumption correct? 2) Does…

Consuming Blood

Dear Rabbi Simon I know that it is forbidden to eat human blood. I realized that I had a cut on my thumb while flossing and it was actually bloody. I don’t think that it actually got in my mouth but it may have touched my lip. I did not swallow it. Is this a problem? Nicky Dear Nicky You…

Milky Pan, Meaty Lid

Dear Rabbi Simon I’d appreciate your help please. I heated up some parev pasta sauce in a milk saucepan although one which has never had milk it. Without thinking, unfortunately I used a meat saucepan lid.  As far as we recall we never have used meat in the saucepan that the lid should be used for. Can the lid and saucepan…

The Power to Bless

Hello Rabbi Simon I am very excited about completing my conversion process through immersing in the mikveh this week. I type that last sentence with so much hakaras hatov [gratitude] that my appointment is going ahead despite the contagion. I was wondering about what I should have in mind during immersion. I understand that the day of conversion is a very…

‘Tis the Season

Note: This Q&A is based on a recent text message exchange. Dear Rabbi Simon It is the time of year that I send out cards and gifts for work to buyers at businesses that I supply. I am never quite sure if I need to just write ‘seasons greetings’ which always feels wrong for those that I know celebrate Christmas.…

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 –…

Dinah and Shechem: Blaming the Victim?

Note: This parshanut (Torah interpretation) Q&A relates to last week’s Parashah (VaYishlach). We are sharing it here for the interest of our learned readers. Dear Rabbi Simon, Please see Gen. 34:1. Rabbeinu Bechaye quoting Midrash Tanchuma presents the view that women should stay at home and that Dinah was at fault for going out. Does this not transpose the victim…

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
***
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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