Ask the Rabbi

STAR-K CERTIFICATIONrealizes that there is no substitute for a person's own Rav. However, in today's busy and connected world many people have difficulty getting in touch with their Rabbanim when they are needed. In an effort to offer a solution to this challenge, STAR-K launched its Institute of Halachah as a public service. Over the years, the agency's Kashrus Hotline has answered more and more halachic questions beyond the scope of Kashrus information, from consumers the world over, beyond the standard steady stream of inquiries regarding the kosher status of foods and certified Sabbath mode appliances which has made the STAR-K Kosher Hotline famous. The formation of a separate official division within STAR-K testifies to the need for addressing these issues.

The Institute of Halachah is directed by HaRav Mordechai Frankel, under the guidance of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, STAR-K's Rabbinic Administrator. It is an invaluable resource for a diverse array of rabbis to discuss general halachic matters, as well as gain access to source materials for shiurim and answers to congregants' questions.

Shailos may emailed using the form below, or called into the Institute of Halacha at 410-484-4110 x238. Rabbi Frankel or on occasion another STAR-K Rabbi will respond to your email or return your call if you leave a message and phone number.
Previously Asked Questions
  • I have a set of sterling silver flatware which was given to me from a deceased relative's estate. They did not keep kosher, and I am planning to kasher it. I know that they used it, but it looks new - I checked in between the prongs on the forks. May I toivel it first? I'm trying to do as much as possible as early as possible.
  • I have a pinched nerve in my neck. B"H it's not painful, but I was given exercises from the physical therapist to do twice a day to help heal the moderate carpal tunnel syndrome I have. There is a possibility that the pinched nerve is causing the carpal tunnel. Am I allowed to do these neck exercises on Shabbos?
  • I have heard that one should not draw the picture of a complete sun due to a connection with avodah zarah. I was going to make a cake today in the shape of a sun (a circle cake with cookie sticks around it as the sun's rays) and was wondering if that would fall into the same category. Would I be allowed to make such a cake?
  • I have a student with a refrigerator that has a device, both in the refrigerator and freezer, which signals with a beeping noise after the door of one of them is open for 60 seconds or after a certain temperature is reached. Is it permissible to open the refrigerator/freezer for less than 60 seconds (besides a problem of an application of "shema yishkach") or is there an electronic device that starts automatically when the door is open? If there is such a problem, do you know if there is a way for an electrician to fix it? Thank you.
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