Askmoses-A Jews Resource
How do I eliminate strange thoughts during prayer?
Browse our archives

Scholars

Askmoses scholars are carefully selected to bring the best of Jewish knowledge to you. Each scholar studied Judaism, Jewish History, Jewish Culture and is a recognized communicator and teacher in his or her community. Many are world-class authors and lecturers as well as practicing rabbis. The scholars live all over the world and express their knowledge to you from their point of view, 24/6. Get to know our scholars by reading their backgrounds.


Rabbi Yossi Marcus

Rabbi Yossi Marcus, a native (southern) Californian, is a writer and translator of Jewish literature. He is a contributor to AskMoses.com, Kabbalaonline.org and Farbrengen Magazine. His most recent book is a new commentary on Ethics of our Fathers, published by Kehot. Rabbi Yossi is the director and spiritual leader of Chabad in S. Mateo, CA.


Articles by this author:

prev  1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80  

Why do we bless the One Who “sanctifies the *Jewish People* and the holidays”?

True. In the Shabbat prayers we say “He Who sanctifies the Shabbat,”  whereas on the holidays we bless the One Who: “Sanctifies the Jewish People and the holidays.” The date for Shabbat is set. It’s every Saturday no matter what. So the sanctity of the day is created by...

What are the names of the Jewish months?

Although the Jewish New Year is on the first of the Jewish month Tishrei (around September), the Torah refers to the Jewish months as beginning from Nissan (around March), the month in which the Jewish people left Egypt. So here they are beginning from Nissan: 1. Nissan (March/April), contains the holiday...

Why is the Shabbat before Passover called Shabbat HaGadol (the Great Shabbat)?

Because it commemorates a “great” miracle that happened on the Shabbat before the Exodus. Some background: The Israelites in Egypt were heavily steeped in the idolatry of Egypt. Before they would merit redemption, G-d wanted them to disclaim the idolatry of Egypt. Now one of the major Egyptian...

Why is the miracle commemorated by Shabbat Hagadol called a “great” miracle?

The miracle of Shabbat Hagadol was the fact that the Egyptian firstborn rebelled against the Egyptian authority and a civil war ensued, during which many of the enemies of Israel were destroyed. Now the definition of a miracle is something that shatters the rules of physical nature. A “great” miracle...

Why isn't the miracle of Shabbat Hagadol celebrated on the 10th of Nissan?

The miracle is celebrated on the Shabbat before Pesach because the 10th of Nissan is the day that Miriam, sister of Moses, passed away and it was established as a fast day. (This fast is not commonly observed.) That’s the simple reason. If you go a little deeper the idea is that commemorating the Egyptian...

Why was a fast day established for the day of Miriam’s passing?

The 10th of Nissan is observed by some as a fast day, in commemoration of Miriam's demise on that date. The death of Miriam indirectly led to the death of her brothers (in the desert) as well: It was in the merit of Miriam that the Israelites were accompanied throughout their desert trek with a water-spewing...

What does Kabbalah say about the sense of smell?

Smell is considered the loftiest and most transcendent sense. Arizal—father of modern Kabbalah—says that when the sin of Adam brought lust into the world it affected all of the senses except for that of smell. The sense of smell remained unaffected. (Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi once received a...

What is the kabbalistic view on chametz?

Well, the difference between chametz and matzah is that chametz is bloated, which signifies arrogance, while the matzah is flat, signifying humility. So chametz gets a pretty bad rap. The Zohar makes a pretty radical statement in saying that eating chametz on Passover is like bowing to idols, probably because...

Why is chametz only forbidden on Passover?

The exodus from Egypt was the beginning of our birth as a nation at Sinai. So in our spiritual service during Passover we are at the beginning of our trip. In the beginning, the most important thing is to rid oneself of arrogance. If you’re full of yourself there’s no way you’re going to absorb...

Why is it important to discuss how many (sub) plagues were included in each plague?

Question: What is the significance of the debate in the Haggadah about how many plagues were included in each plague (4 or 5)? I think it is Rabbi Eliezer who says four and Rabbi Akiva who says five. Thanks, plagued Answer: Yes. That is correct. In addition, there is Rabbi Yose Haglili who says that each...

prev  1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80