Just Asking – Halachic Questions via Text Message

Due to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

Q: Smoked paprika need hechsher?

A: Yes; all smoked spices need a hechsher (cRc).

Q: I read that Mordechai was actually Esther’s husband, not her relative.  Why didn’t they ever teach us that??

A: Probably because the straightforward reading of the Megillah – without the Talmud’s explanation – says that she was his orphaned cousin that he adopted as a daughter.

Q: According to the Talmud, if Esther really was married to Mordechai why does the Megillah say that he adopted her?

A: Just as G-d’s name is omitted from the entire Megillah, there are many other details which seem to be intentionally obscured (another example: Achasveirosh’s antisemitism is heavily de-emphasized, see Torah Nation).  This is perhaps due to the fact that it was a book that was distributed throughout the kingdom – for Jews as well as Non-Jews, and it therefore might be discarded and not treated with the respect due a sacred text (therefore the Almighty’s name is omitted) and it had to be self-censored.  If the humiliating fact that Esther became queen while she was already  married to another man became public, there would be a great threat of Achashveirosh taking retribution on his Jewish subjects.

Q: Food Club Prunes are K-ORC (which is a hechsher I don’t usually use). Only ingredients are plums and potassium sorbate.

A: Prunes are OK even without a hechser (since the potassium sorbate, used to preserve moisture, is either synthetic or derived from berries or grain – and therefore could pose a problem for Passover).


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Filed under Halachic Issues, Text Message Halacha

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