General

Core Beliefs of Judaism

Dear Rabbi Simon As head of the Jewish affinity group at a major national charity, I will be asked at a forum, “What are the Core Beliefs of Judaism?” I plan to give the answer below.  What do you think? Thanks and regards, Alex [The answer which appears below reflects Rabbi Simon’s editing of Alex’s proposed response.] Dear Alex Nice…

Retribution

Dear Rabbi What punishment can my parents face for neglecting me for decades? What punishment can my cousin face for treating me with extreme cruelty and indecency and thus ruining my life? I would love to see justice and the people responsible for ruining my life pay a price for what they have done to me. Thank you for replying.…

Techelet

Dear Rabbi Simon, The third paragraph of the Shema commands us to place a thread of techeilet on each corner of tzitzit (Num. 15:38). So why don’t we find at least one string with a light blue dye on all tzitziot? These days, as far as I can tell, most tzitzit are all white. Why don’t we dye one strand…

Checking Mezuzot

Dear Rabbi Simon, I have heard that mezuzos should be checked twice every 7 years.  I’m certainly happy to do that if it is required.  But just wanted to check – because it seems to me that at least for those that are inside of the house, if they are correctly written then they should pretty much stay that way…

Covering Hair after Divorce

Dear Rabbi Simon, I recently got divorced after being married for 4 months. My question is this: Do I still need to cover my hair? If I were to move away from the community I currently live in, where the people do not know I was married, do I still need to cover my hair? May I have my hair…

Charity and Degeneracy

Dear Rabbi Simon, I wanted to ask you if it is true that G-d forgives people who commit all kinds of sins and abominations, as long as they carry out acts of kindness, like helping the poor. Some people seem to believe this very strongly. But it seems to me that if G-d forgives them, the world would be full…

Airbnb Buddha

Dear Rabbi Simon, I hope all well. We arrived at our apartment in Jodhpur. There are various shrines and images of the Buddha… Can we stay here? (The whole country is full of Buddhas, actually.) Should we cover them up? Here is an example: Hindy in India Dear Hindy From the photo, it would seem that this is decorative rather…

Digital Sanctity

Dear Rabbi Simon, Can I write G-d’s name electronically and delete it? Regards Dina Dear Dina, Thank you for your practical question. The answer is that you may, as the digital image which appears on a screen does not have the sanctity (or relative permanence) of the written word. However, as a matter of sensitivity I would not encourage writing…

Roman Baths

Dear Rabbi Simon, I am planning a visit next week to Bath, Somerset, the UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Roman-era baths. But when a friend sent me photos, describing “one of the finest religious spas of the ancient world,” I began to wonder if one is actually allowed to visit this particular historical attraction, considering that the religion…

Visiting Hampton Court Palace Chapel

Dear Rabbi Simon, I would like to visit Hampton Court Palace while I’m in London but I’m not sure if, as Jews, we are forbidden to visit the Palace because there is a chapel there. Would it be OK to visit the palace but avoid the chapel? Thank you, Courtney Dear Courtney Thank you for your question. You may visit the Hampton…

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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