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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 Moshe Miller

Rabbi Moshe Miller was born in South Africa and received his yeshiva education in Israel and America. He served as a rosh yeshiva in Israel and subsequently in America. He is a prolific author and translator, with some twenty books to his name on a wide variety of topics. He is a popular lecturer, mostly on Jewish mystical topics. He currently lives in Chicago.


Articles by this author:

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What is the origin of erecting a tombstone over a grave?

The custom of placing a monument over the grave of a departed person is an ancient Jewish tradition. The Book of Genesis 1 records that Jacob erected a tombstone over the grave of his wife Rachel. It is also written 2 concerning King Josiah of Judah: "And he said, 'What is this marker that I see?' And the...

How long after a person’s demise is the unveiling done?

There are different customs as to when the unveiling takes place – some communities erect the stone at the end of the shivah, others schedule this ceremony at the end of the first month of mourning (shloshim), and others do the unveiling on the first Yahrtzeit. What is important is that it be done...

What happens during an unveiling?

The unveiling is a mourning ritual which helps the mourner to achieve emotional and psychological closure, and at the same time honor the memory of the departed. Some communities observe the custom of eulogizing the departed person, or reflecting upon the significance of that person’s life and his or her...

How high must a Mechitzah be?

There are two schools of thought regarding the purpose of a mechitzah: some maintain that its purpose is to prevent men from seeing women. Accordingly, the mechitzah must be high enough to completely block the entire women’s section, and must be made from an opaque material.   Others however maintain that...

How long do I have to grow my Peyot (sideburns)?

The verse states, “ You shall not shave off the hair on the sides of your head .” 1 The Talmud and commentaries 2 explain that this refers in width to the area of the temples and the upper sideburns, between the forehead and the area behind the ear, and in length from that area down to below the ear,...

Do Ashkenazim and Sephardim have any different customs for Purim?

There are four mitzvahs of Purim established by the Rabbis: Reading the Megillah by day and by night; charitable gifts to at least two poor people; a Purim seudah (celebratory meal) during the day of Purim; and sending at least two gifts of food to at least one friend. Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities...

Why do we read the Megillah?

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi declared: “a person is obligated to read the Megillah at night and again during the day.” 1 Rashi comments: “...to commemorate the miracle [that occurred] after they cried out [to G-d] day and night.” The Beit Yosef adds: This is one of seven mitzvahs established by...

Do you have to be a Rabbi to read the Megillah?

One does not have to be a rabbi to read the Megillah. However, the person who is reading for the community – so that they can fulfill the obligation to hear the Megillah reading – must know the text and the cantillation ( trope ) so that he can read it clearly and in the proper tune. Bear in mind that...

What criteria render an event worthy of a Jewish Holiday?

The Short Answer: Surviving a mortal threat, or experiencing a miracle. If the event was related to all Jews, the holiday becomes a universal Jewish holiday. If it took place with an individual Jew or Jewish community, it becomes his/their holiday. The Askmoses Answer:   In addition...

How did Mordechai become the leader of the Jewish people?

Jewish leaders of the caliber of Mordechai – whom our Sages compare to Moses 1 – are not elected, but rather appointed… by G-d. The paradigm of Jewish leadership is Moses; we must therefore understand how Moses was chosen for leadership in order to understand why Mordechai in turn became the...

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