Ask The Rabbi

Ask the Rabbi #123

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Ask the Rabbi

26 October 1996; Issue #123

  • Bristle Fashion
  • Vowel-up Follow-up
  • Answer to Yiddle Riddle
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  • Bristle Fashion

    Jack wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Shalom: I had a quick question for "Ask the Rabbi": I recently bought a new hair brush. After purchasing it in a hurry, I noticed that the package boasts the fact that it's bristles are made of 100% BOAR HAIR!! So, my question is, is there something inherently "unkosher" about brushing my hair with such a brush?? Is there a restriction about possessing non-edible pig products ? Thanks!!

    Dear Jack,

    About oinkers, The Torah says "You shall not eat of their flesh." The Sages explain that the Torah prohibits eating the flesh only. But the hoofs, hair and bones (excluding the marrow), you are allowed to eat.

    Certainly, then, your 100% boar's-hair brush is 100% kosher! (But I don't advise that you eat it.)

    Speaking of animal-products:

    Two cats are watching a tennis match. After a while, one cat turns to the other and says, "My father was in that racquet."
    • Leviticus 11:8
    • Torat Kohanim 4:8

    Vowel-up Follow-up

    In 'Ask the Rabbi' issue #121, Case E. Krell asked why there are no vowels written in the Torah.

    We offered a few answers, including the idea that the Torah's words can be understood in many different ways. Writing the vowels would limit the different ways the Torah can be read.

    Since then, Rabbi Zev Rosen directed me to a very interesting source describing the 13 Torah scrolls that Moses wrote. At the end of his life, Moses wrote 13 Torah scrolls. He gave one scroll to each of the twelve tribes, and the thirteenth was placed in the Holy Ark. According to some, this thirteenth scroll was indeed written with vowels and accent marks.

    [Please see "Ask the Rabbi" Issue #121 for more details. See also Rabbeinu Bachya, Devarim 7:2, and Bereishit 18:3. (Thanks to Yaakov Schwartz for this source.)]


    • Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Handbook of Jewish Thought, Ch. 7 footnote 136 citing Tzafanat Pa'aneach, Devarim 31:9. He adds, "This may be supported by Bahir 115, which speaks about the "vowels in the Torah of Moses."

    Answer to Yiddle Riddle

    Question: On Tisha B'Av morning, everyone sits on the floor as a sign of mourning. However, one person in every synagogue publicly sits down on a chair. Who is this person?

    Answer: The person honored with 'hagbah' - lifting the Torah after it is read. This person lifts the Torah from the 'bima' and sits in a chair. Then the Torah is bound and covered, and the person remains sitting until the Torah is returned to the Holy Ark.

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