Preparations

Eating Restrictions on Friday - We have non-religious relatives staying nearby on vacation and we’ve been trying to invite them for a meal. They have a busy schedule so we’ve been having trouble setting a date and time. Is there any issue inviting them on… More »
Fingernails - I know that Judaism has something to say about every aspect of existence and our lives. But I never imagined there was something to know about fingernails, until my friend said there is a specific order to cut them. What’s… More »
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Shabbat Candles

Shabbat Candles in a Hotel - We will be staying at a hotel for Shabbat in a few weeks. How can my wife best fulfill the mitzvah of lighting candles? I didn’t ask the hotel yet, but it’s very possible they will not allow us to… More »
Husband Lighting - My wife is going to be away for Shabbat in a few weeks. Am I supposed to light in her absence? Is there any difference between a wife and husband lighting? More »
Shabbat Candles & Havdalah on Chanukah - During the Shabbat of Chanukah, which is lit first - the Menorah or the Shabbat candles? And then on Saturday night, which do we do first - the Menorah or the Havdalah service? More »
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Shabbat Prayers

Mincha and Ma’ariv Together; Earliest time for Ma’ariv - Our synagogue says Mincha shortly before sunset and Ma’ariv almost immediately after. I’m wondering if there is any issue doing so. It is only beginning to get dark when Ma’ariv is said. What is the earliest time for Ma’ariv? More »
Yearly Parsha (Torah Reading) Cycle - As we come to the end of the cycle of reading the Torah. I am curious as to when and who divided up the Torah into its different weekly sections, and who gave them their names? More »
Personal Prayers on Shabbat - I’ve heard that we are not allowed to pray on Shabbat except for the standard prayers in the siddur (prayer-book). Is this so, and why? I am recovering from an addiction, and an important part of the program is to… More »
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Kiddush

Shabbat Without Gluten - I am celiac and am allergic to all foods containing gluten. Thus, I never eat bread. What should I do on Shabbat? Do I wash without eating bread? Can I say the grace after meals (birkat hamazon)? More »
Kiddush – Drinking the Wine - I tend to get dizzy when I drink wine too quickly – though in general I tolerate wine very well. How much of the Kiddush cup do I need to drink? Is it sufficient to take just a few sips… More »
Kiddush – How Much Wine - I own two very nice Kiddush cups – I believe both were wedding presents. One happens to be quite large and the other fairly small. Is there a minimum or maximum size a cup must be? Also, when I use… More »
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Shabbat Meals

Cup Used for Washing, Disposable Cups - I live in a location where it is impossible to buy Judaica, so I do a lot of improvising. What do I need to know about the cup used for washing my hands (both in the morning and before eating… More »
Mayim Acharonim – Washing Before Birkat HaMazon - I was reading that the Hassidic practice is to wash one’s hands at the end of a bread meal, before Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals). What is the basis for this and do you recommend I do it? More »
Eating Restrictions on Friday - We have non-religious relatives staying nearby on vacation and we’ve been trying to invite them for a meal. They have a busy schedule so we’ve been having trouble setting a date and time. Is there any issue inviting them on… More »
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Havdalah

Repeating Havdalah for Others - We have several older neighbors in our building who ask me to make Havdalah for them. I try to have them come to us in time for Havdalah, but that doesn’t always work. If I’ve said Havdalah already, can I… More »
What to Use for Besamim (Spices)? - Whenever I go to a religious home for havdalah, I notice that they use whole cloves for the blessing on the spices (besamim). Is there some special significance to this, or can any spice be used? More »
Shabbat Candles & Havdalah on Chanukah - During the Shabbat of Chanukah, which is lit first - the Menorah or the Shabbat candles? And then on Saturday night, which do we do first - the Menorah or the Havdalah service? More »
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Forbidden Activities - Electricity

Pedometer, Fitbit on Shabbat - My family has become very health-conscious lately and we all have our own Fitbits which we wear all the time. It has really helped us maintain our health. Is there any issue with wearing it on Shabbat? More »
Wall Camera on Shabbat - Right now it is not quite Shabbat in Los Angeles. I've have been visiting your Western Wall Camera site daily and find it very informative and "spiritually relaxing." I have actually copied one of the daily pictures and placed it… More »
Kiruv Drive - Is there a possibility to invite someone to our home for Shabbat dinner, if they are not Shabbat observant and will probably drive home after the meal? More »
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Forbidden Activities - Weekday Activities

Studying History (Weekday and Shabbat) - I’ve heard that some classic Jewish sources write that the study of history is a waste of time and should not be done, in particular on Shabbat. Is this true? More »
Whipped Cream Charger - Are you allowed to use a whipped cream charger on Shabbat? It involves puncturing a canister, and then gas is released into a thick cream which bubbles it up and turns it into foam. More »
Giving Gifts on Shabbat - I am invited Shabbat lunch to a local family. Is there any issue with bringing them a gift such as a bottle of wine? More »
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Forbidden Activities - Carrying

Accidental Carrying on Shabbat - What do you do if you realize you’re carrying something outside on Shabbat, such as if you have something in your pocket you didn’t know about? More »
Carrying Child Who Can Walk on Shabbat - Regarding the law that one may carry a child who can walk by himself outside without an Eruv, how well does the child need to be able to walk? Let’s say he walks only with assistance. More »
Carrying Keys on Shabbat - I’d like to know if there is any way I can carry my house key to the synagogue and back on Shabbat. The typical trick of hiding it under the mat just doesn’t feel so secure to me (we actually… More »
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Forbidden Activities - Work & School

Travel Agent – Booking Shabbat Travel for Jews - I work in the travel industry and regularly book flights and reservations for customers. Many of them I’m sure are Jewish but not religious. If a Jew wants to book a flight on Shabbat, am I allowed to do it… More »
Studying History (Weekday and Shabbat) - I’ve heard that some classic Jewish sources write that the study of history is a waste of time and should not be done, in particular on Shabbat. Is this true? More »
Working on Shabbat - I recently started a new job at a child care center and it turns out I need to come in briefly once in a while on Saturdays. Is there any way I’d be allowed to go in? I’m careful to… More »
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Forbidden Activities - General, Misc

Using Diapers (Nappies) on Shabbat - What are the relevant laws I need to know about diapering a baby on Shabbat? I do a lot of babysitting and this will probably become relevant. More »
Opening Folding Bed on Shabbat - I live in a small apartment and I want to have guests who may stay overnight. Would I be allowed to open a sleeper sofar for them on Shabbat? (Because my apartment is small, there isn’t room to keep it… More »
Whipped Cream Charger - Are you allowed to use a whipped cream charger on Shabbat? It involves puncturing a canister, and then gas is released into a thick cream which bubbles it up and turns it into foam. More »
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Misc.

The Shabbos Queen - My Bible class went to visit a synagogue Friday night. At a point during the services, we all turned to face the back of the synagogue while singing. I was told it was to welcome the Shabbat Queen. What is… More »
Shiva on Shabbat - We are unfortunately sitting shiva for our mother right now. I know that shiva is not observed on Shabbat, but I’m unclear precisely how one goes about observing Shabbat. Are there any differences from an ordinary Shabbat? More »
Shabbat Hospitality - I bought a plane ticket to fly around the world. The ticket is good for one year. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My concern is how I will find the Jewish community in each place, especially for Shabbat… More »
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