“What’s With The Sidelocks?” – Hairdos and Tzedekah in Jewish Thought

“What’s With The Sidelocks?” – Hairdos and Tzedekah in Jewish Thought

Some of the content of this was inspired by Rabbi Marc Fitzerman, head rabbi of B’nai Emunah in Tulsa, OK. I frequently get asked by people outside of Judaism, “Hey Ken, what’s with the sidelocks?” I actually also get asked this by people within my own Jewish circles from time to time because wearing longer “payot” are not necessarily a minhag (custom) of many of […]

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Podcast: Episode 5 – Beards, Payot and Tattoos in Torah

Podcast: Episode 5 – Beards, Payot and Tattoos in Torah

Transcript: Shalom and welcome to another episode of The Okie Hebrew Podcast – this is episode 5. This will be the first of a series of episodes I like to call “mitzvah misconceptions” where we’ll be tacking certain aspects of Torah and Jewish life that have been misunderstood. Most of these misconceptions are an attempt to explain some aspects of observant Jewish life (or a […]

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Leviticus 19 Misconceptions: Tattoo Teshuva & Patchy Piety

Leviticus 19 Misconceptions: Tattoo Teshuva & Patchy Piety

Have you ever seen an observant Jewish person with tattoos on their arms? How about a observant Jewish man with no beard? Though these types of things may seem odd to you, they’re no cause for alarm. They’re actually fine according to both Torah as well as various oral traditions. Misconception: Having a tattoo is against Torah.  I’ve heard far too many horror stories about […]

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How My Beard Makes Me Look Stupid & Why That’s The Point – Beards In The Bible

How My Beard Makes Me Look Stupid & Why That’s The Point – Beards In The Bible

(This post is a revised version of another piece I wrote a year ago almost to the day.)  ךנקז תאפ תא תיחשת אלו םכשאר תאפופקת אל “You shall not shave around the sides of your heads, neither shall you disfigure the corners of your beard.” – Leviticus 19:27 This passage is one of the most misunderstood verses of the entire Hebrew Bible, but this is not […]

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I Still Miss Pork Rinds

There are many rabbis I’ve heard talk about how we should make our will conform to the Torah. I’ve heard Christian pastors say similar things about believers. While I see some value in keeping organizations together, I find that this kind of thinking makes it where the Torah isn’t that much different from the world. It doesn’t feel as fresh. If the Torah’s laws are […]

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A Kosher Tattoo?

There was a post on Facebook today being spread around by some friends that sparked a little bit of conservation between a fellow Karaite brother and myself. First off, here is the picture:  While I agree that getting a tattoo about the abominable nature of homosexual bedroom behavior is hilarious because tattoos themselves are forbidden by the same book of the Bible, the discussion that my […]

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The Kosher Mohawk

As many of you know, I am a big James Harden fan. If you don’t know who James Harden is, he is probably the only guy you’re going to see playing basketball with giant beard unless you’re watching the Haifa Heat. Known even more for his skills as a shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder than for this facial hair, Harden is also known […]

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