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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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Thousands of people enjoy the wisdom and inspiration of Rabbi Moss' weekly emails.

Are Seances Real?

Question of the Week:

 
My family suffered a great loss with the passing of my grandfather almost 2 years ago. Since then, some members of the family have found great comfort and solace in consulting with a psychic medium to get messages from 'the other side'. The psychic is often very accurate and it is chilling how the messages are able to come through.

I worry though what the Jewish perspective is on this all. Does Judaism believe in this practice at all? Is there any harm to her or to ourselves?

 
Answer:
 
Death does not end a relationship. It just changes the mode of contact. The Torah specifies ways that we can connect to souls on high, and ways that we shouldn't.

 
We are forbidden to call upon… Read More »

Does Love Need a Blood Test?

Question of the Week:

 
How can we know 100% that the Torah is true and that G-d exists. I feel that I cannot accept a religion without evidence. Is there any proof of G-d and Torah?
 
Answer:
 
Imagine you could do a blood test to determine who your soulmate is. You would go to a laboratory with a prospective partner and give blood samples, and half an hour later they would tell you whether you will live happily ever after, or better move on.  

 

Sounds amazing? But think about it. Is that an ideal way to start a relationship? It certainly would save a lot of time. But how romantic does this sound: "Listen, the blood test came out positive, so I guess we may as well get engaged."
 
The… Read More »

To Catch a Thief?

 

Question of the Week:

 

I received the following anonymous question exactly as presented here, unedited and in the original:

 

im not a jew but we have somthin the jews might like to buy of us. it is a

scrol made of deers leather with hebru writing on it, i do not no anything

about this religous item and was wondering if you and your jewish

community would be interisted in this, if yes get back in contuct. i have

evidence of this item and was wondering who to turn to if i would like to

sale such an item. thank you

 

I didn't get a good feeling from this question. It seems this guy has found or probably stolen a Mezuzah. It is a holy object, and if he throws it away or defaces it, that would be a serious… Read More »

Had Enough of Waiting?

 

Question of the Week:

 

I make Kiddush over wine every Friday night, but I would like to know a deeper meaning behind it. Is there some mystical ideas you can share that I can meditate on when I say the Kiddush?

 

Answer:

It all goes back to the very first Friday of history. Adam and Eve were created on Friday afternoon, the time when all last minute things get done, like making humanity.

 

On that first day, they were told not to eat from the fruit of one tree, the Tree of Knowledge. The mystics teach that this fruit was a grape vine, a fruit that contains the potential for great good and great evil. Over a glass of wine friendships are made and lost, lives are enhanced and destroyed, hopes are created… Read More »

Do You Know How to Embrace Change?

 

Question of the Week:

 

I am confused. The shul has moved? Where to? What does this mean? I liked the shul as it was.....

 

Answer:

Change can be confronting. The human is a habit forming being, and breaking our habits is unsettling and scary and makes us feel vulnerable. And that's great.

 

Growth comes through shattering our old ways. Only by breaking ourselves and our mould can we become greater. I must at times step out of whatever defined me and find a new self-definition. Even G-d did that. 

 

Before creating the world, G-d contracted His infinite light to make space for existence. He hid away is infinite self to make way for our finite world. From that moment on, the rule is this: if… Read More »

Raining in the Sukkah

 

Question of the Week:

 

 If it rains during Sukkos, we don't have to sit in the Sukkah, correct? So why have I seen people who continue to sit in the Sukkah, even when it is pouring?

 

Answer:

Sitting in the Sukkah is the only mitzvah that if you're bothered by it, you're exempt from it. Usually, even if a mitzvah is hard, you have to do it. Like fasting on Yom Kippur. Some people are bothered by not eating or drinking for 25 hours. But you still have to do it. And yet if sitting in the Sukkah bothers you, like in wet weather, you can leave the Sukkah and eat inside the house. 

Read More »

Are You Pregnant? Me Too...

 

Question of the Week:

 

I was wondering about the Torah readings on Rosh Hashanah. Why do we read about our matriarch Sarah giving birth at age 90? I love that story but I don't see the direct connection to Rosh Hashanah?

Answer:

We are all pregnant. Everyone of us.

Every person has within a life that is waiting to emerge. We have ideas, dreams, ambitions and yearnings within our souls. Some have been there for years and not yet come to the surface.

There are so many reasons why we haven't given birth to our dreams. We lack the confidence in ourselves, or listen too much to the discouragement of others. We tried and failed too many times, or we are scared to change the status quo.

But you can't just stay… Read More »

Am I Just Too Good for You?

 

Question of the Week:

 

Is it possible to be too good? I sometimes think that if I keep on working on myself, I will always stay single because I will be too far ahead of the guys out there. Do I need to limit my self-improvement?

 

Answer:

 

I wouldn't worry about that. You can never be too good. I'd be worried about something else. 

 

It is sometimes easy to confuse being righteous with being self-righteous. But in fact the two are worlds apart. A righteous person always sees the good in others. A self-righteous person can't get over their own goodness. I'm sure you can imagine which of the two is better company.

 

That's why the great Chassidic master, the Chozeh of Lublin, said… Read More »

What's Wrong with Lefties?

 

Question of the Week:

 

The word 'sinister' is Latin for 'left-handed.' Many ancient cultures saw left-handedness as a handicap, and would try to "convert" lefties to righties. What does Judaism have to say about being left-handed? 

 

Answer:

 

There is clear proof from the Torah that being left-handed is not an imperfection, and on the contrary can even be an advantage.

 

There was a judge who served in the high court in Jerusalem for eighty years. His name was Ehud ben Gera. The Book of Judges (3:15) describes him as being left-handed. The reason this personal detail is mentioned is that it is relevant to a fascinating story told there.

 

The Israelites were being oppressed at the… Read More »

Is There Family Without Religion?

 

Question of the Week:

  

I am an atheist. I dropped my faith a while ago. To be honest, I don't feel I am missing anything with G-d out of my life. If anything I am more free. It has made me wonder, if I lose my religion, have I really lost anything worthwhile?

 

Answer:

 

People often make the mistake of thinking that if you take away religion, you just get rid of G-d. This is not true. You lose much more than G-d when you drop religion. Something else you lose when you drop religion is the idea of family.

 

Family is a concept that cannot be taken for granted. The family is built and sustained on a belief system, a set of values, a worldview that sees marriage as a sacred covenant and parenthood… Read More »

Why Can't My Husband TELL ME He'll be Late?

 

Question of the Week:

 

My husband just doesn't seem to get it. He came home over an hour late last night without so much as calling to tell me that he won't be on time. This is the fifth time he has done this and we are only married three months! It may seem petty but it upsets me greatly. I don't want him to see me as a nagging wife. What should I do?

 

Answer:

 

There is something you need to know about men. They are loners. Being in a relationship is unnatural to them. They do not automatically think about how their actions affect someone else. The default emotional state of a man is loneliness.

 

This is not true of women. A woman has an innate sense of relationship, of connection to others. A woman… Read More »

Can I Miss My Soulmate?

 

Question of the Week:

 

A friend and I have been going back and forth in regards to dating. She is in no rush to get married, but feels pressured to "get out there" lest she miss out on her soulmate. I say what will be will be, and if it is meant to happen then it will. Can one's soulmate be "stolen" if they don't act in haste?

 

Answer:

 

It is most certainly possible to miss out on your soulmate. 

 

The Talmud discusses certain times of the year when Jewish law does not allow weddings to take place. One of them is during a festival, like Pesach, as we do not want to mix celebrations together. However the Talmud says that while you can't perform a wedding during a festival, you… Read More »

Mission Fulfilled, Now What?

 

Question of the week:

 

I have a fear of dying. But it expresses itself in a weird way. I have read stories of people doing one mitzvah and then dropping dead, because that one good deed was their life mission. So now every time I do something good, I think maybe this is my last. This freaks me out and it isn't good. Should I try not to fulfill my mission so I can live, or do good deeds and die?

 

Answer:

 

There are two types of workers: employees and contractors. A contractor is there to do their job, and that's it. As long as I have completed the tasks given me, as long as the items on my to-do list are all ticked off, I have done my bit and I can go home.

 

But an employee has to work not until the… Read More »

Lessons from the Mighty Mosquito

 

Question of the Week:

 

I am emailing you at 3:30am because I can't sleep. Nothing very dramatic, but there is a mosquito in my room that keeps buzzing in my ear and driving me crazy. So I got thinking, why did G-d create mosquitos? What possible purpose could they serve other than annoying people when they are trying to sleep?

 

Answer:

 

Be careful who you call annoying. That mosquito may deserve more respect than you think.

 

Indeed, the Talmud has some harsh words for mosquitoes. It says that while all creatures contribute to the grand scheme of nature, the mosquito is one exception. It is a consumer, but not a giver. It survives by sucking the blood produced by others, but doesn't itself… Read More »

Baby Naming Rights?

 

Question of the Week:

 

Our baby is now almost six weeks old, but we haven't officially named her. We have a problem. I always wanted to name her after my grandmother. But my wife doesn't like that name because she says it sounds ugly. She wants some other name which is nice, but I think it lacks any real meaning for the family. Doesn't it say somewhere that the father has the right to choose the firstborn's name?

 

Answer:

 

I'm not sure you want to know the answer to that.

 

There is indeed a custom in some communities of alternating the right to name a child between the parents. According to one Ashkenazi custom, the mother names the firstborn child, the father the second and so on. But some Sefardi… Read More »

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