How and Why Did the Yiddish Language Come To Be?

Dear Jew in the City, How and why did the Yiddish language come to be? Best, Liza   Dear Liza, Thanks for your question. A few months ago, we discussed Ladino (“Judeo-Spanish”), so I guess it’s only fair that we discuss its Ashkenazic counterpart. The Yiddish language is over a thousand years old. Literally meaning “Jewish,” […]

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Why Is There A Mitzvah To Not Free A Slave?

Dear Jew in the City, Why is it a mitzvah not to free a slave? That seems pretty messed up. – Moshe Dear Moshe, Thanks for your question. Before I answer, let me contextualize things for readers.  We previously discussed a question about slavery, specifically how American Jews might or might not have participated in […]

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Why Do Jewish Men Wear Tzitzis?

Dear Jew in the City, What are tzitzit and why do Jewish men wear them? Sincerely, Jack Dear Jack, Thanks for your question. Just a heads-up, you said tzitzit, reflecting the Sephardic pronunciation, but I’m going to use tzitzis, à la the Ashkenazic. The answer to your question is fairly straightforward: we wear tzitzis because […]

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