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Why Do We Need Selichos Anyway?

Dear Jew in the City- What’s the history of Selichos? Why did it come about? Best, Mark Dear Mark- Thanks for your question. As far as the liturgy goes, Selichos are fairly contemporary. By that I mean that they are measured in mere centuries, rather than millennia. Some of the prayers we recite, like Shema, […]

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Why Do We Say a Blessing on Trees?

  Dear Jew in the City- I heard something about blessing the first buds of a tree. That’s really neat. But when and why are we supposed to do this? Sincerely, Tree Hugger   Dear Tree, The Sages instituted brachos (blessings) to be recited for a number of reasons. We recite brachos when performing mitzvos, […]

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Why Do We Have Bonfires and BBQ’s On Lag BaOmer?

The little-known Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer starts tonight and goes through tomorrow. This day of late-spring fun interrupts a period of national mourning for the Jewish people. How did this annual pre-Memorial Day festival come to be? Two thousand years ago, the great Torah sage Rabbi Akiva, who was considered to be the best teacher of […]

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