Askmoses-A Jews Resource
Is there any source for the Ten Sefirot in the Bible or in Midrash?
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  11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90  

In Havdalah, we bless “He who creates the illuminations of fire.” Why is "illuminations" plural?

Actually there is an opinion in the Mishnah, Beit Shammai, that says that the blessing should be “he who created the illumination of fire.” The version that we use is that of Beit Hillel. The Talmud explains that the plural “illuminations” alludes to the various colors of fire....

Why do we recline to our left side during the seder?

Well, the reason we recline altogether is because such was the manner of kings. The aristocratic way to recline is on the left side. In the words of the Talmud (Pesachim 108a): “Lying on one’s back [or stomach, according to Rambam’s translation; cf. Tosafot] does not constitute reclining; and...

Why do we wash our hands before karpas without the usual blessing?

The Talmud says that before eating a food that is dipped in a liquid, one must wash one’s hands (Pesachim 115a). The reason for this is very complicated. To put it simply, liquid is more susceptible to and is a more potent “carrier” of ritual impurity. However, there is a disagreement among the...

What are the various Hebrew names for the holiday of Passover?

Passover has three names: 1. The Holiday of Matzot. This is the primary name used by the Torah to describe the holiday. 2. The Season of our Freedom. This is how the holiday is called in the special prayers and kiddush for Passover. 3. Pesach. Pesach means to “skip” or “leap,” referring...

Why don't we say the blessing Shehecheyanu on the matzah?

[Shehecheyanu is a blessing that is recited whenever a mitzvah is performed for the first time each year or when a fruit is eaten for the first time each season or when you get a new suit that you’re really excited about (and other times). The blessing expresses thanks to G-d for sustaining us and bringing us...

Why is there a different number for the matzot and cups of wine?

At the Seder table, we have three matzot and four cups of wine. Here’s one explanation: The four cups of wine correspond to the four expressions of redemption that G-d uses in describing the Exodus (Ex. 6:6-7): 1. “I will take you out...” 2. “I will save you...” 3. “I will...

Why do we tell the wicked son, “had you been in Egypt, you would have been left behind”?!

Actually we're telling him that had he been in EGYPT he would have been left behind—what we’re implying is that nowadays it’s different: nobody gets left out. What’s the difference? The difference is that the exodus took place before the giving of the Torah. So at that time, if you were...

Is there spiritual significance to the Jews making bricks in Egypt?

There are two basic materials used in building: stone and brick. The difference between them is that stones come ready-made, while bricks have to be manufactured; stones are made by G-d, bricks by people. Spiritually, stones represent those materials in our lives and world that are ready to go; they’re holy...

What does the Cup of Elijah signify?

During the Passover Seder we drink four cups of wine (or grape juice). There is a custom to pour a fifth cup, and this cup is known as the "Cup of Elijah." This cup is poured in honor of Elijah the Prophet who comes to visit every seder. The first mention of this (as far as I know) is in the Chok...

Why must a Kohen pronounce the Tzaraat -- “leprosy” -- impure?

There is actually a very important lesson that we learn from this. Often when we see an imperfection in our fellow man or woman, we are tempted to rebuke them for it—to pronounce them impure. But we have to reflect on where that impulse is coming from. Are we trying to help that other person heal or are we...

prev  11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90