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
Comments or questions regarding these answers can be emailed to [email protected] Only generic questions and answers are posted here. All sensitive questions and answers are kept strictly private.
  • Halacha Questions

  • I’ve heard that, strictly speaking, a man may not greet a woman and ask her “How are you”, but in our times when these greetings are mere formalities it is permissible. Nowadays, when I say “Hi, how are you doing?”, I don’t really care how you are doing and don’t expect you to tell me. Also, the majority of women don’t know about this prohibition, and may take it as an insult if you do not greet them or respond to a greeting. Is it completely permitted to greet women nowadays, or is it better to refrain from doing so?
  • Halacha Questions

  • How covered must a person be in a room with sefarim out (for example, on top of a desk)? Can somebody change their clothes in front of sefarim?
  • Halacha Questions

  • I have a yahrtzeit next Friday, and my minhag has been to fast on yahrtzeits. Should I fast on Friday or the Thursday before or the Sunday afterwards?
  • Halacha Questions

  • We are extending and refurbishing our house. We will be moving out of the house during the whole period of refurbishment. We are looking to sign a contract with a non-Jewish builder, and all workers will also be non-Jewish. We will agree on a set price for the job. We will not be directly involved in the building and will not be hiring any workers directly. The council has imposed very strict deadlines which we have to meet. The builder has said that in order to meet these deadlines he has to work on Shabbat. In these circumstances, is this halachically permitted?
  • Star-K – Providing International Kosher Certification for over 50 years.

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