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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 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 »

A Lopsided Wedding Ceremony?

 

Question of the Week: 

 

I am getting married in two months from now, and last night we had a meeting with the rabbi who will be conducting the ceremony. Something came up which I am quite uncomfortable with: the issue of only the groom giving the bride a ring, and not vice versa. This essentially represents to me that I am being purchased. The idea that there is a problem with the bride also giving the groom a ring seems absurd to me. Surely I have as much say in the agreement to be married as my husband-to-be?

 

I know I am allowed to give the ring after the ceremony. However, I want to exchange rings… Read More »

Why Are Jews Always in the News?

 

Question of the Week:

  

Why do the Jewish people seem to loom so large on the world stage? The numbers don't add up. Here's a nation less than 0.2% of the world's population, yet we command so much attention you'd think there were billions of us. That's like a room of two thousand people, with one puny guy sitting in the corner who everyone wants to talk to (or pick on).... Why do we always seem to be at the centre of history?

 

Answer:

 

Jews do strange things sometimes. One example is the wide-spread practice of "credit combing." 

 

Many Jews have a habit of combing through the credits at the end of a movie, searching for Jewish names. At each discovery they beam with… Read More »

Do You EVER Get Angry?

 

Question of the Week:

I've had a question for a while now and no one has been able to give me a satisfying answer. I want to know why it sometimes seems that we depict G-d as a tantruming little child. For example, many times in the Torah it says that we should not say or do something that is forbidden since that will make G-d very angry. What am I supposed to make of that? How can I respect a G-d who is on the edge of blowing up if we don't follow what He says?

Answer:

Imagine being married to a man who never gets angry. Ever. About anything. You insult him and he shrugs. You are rude to him and he is nice back to you. You give… Read More »

Why Can't They Die With Dignity?

 

Question of the Week:

  

I visit my 92 year old mother every day in her old age home, and every day I look around at the seniors there and ask myself the same question, why does G-d leave these old people to die without dignity? Every one of them needs either a diaper change, someone to feed them, wash them, or do everything for them. I have faith, but this thing really makes me angry. Why can't they die with dignity?

 

Answer:

 

It is so hard to see a loved one fade after living a vibrant and active life. How we approach this painful stage will depend on our perspective. And the Jewish perspective on the end of life differs greatly to modern secular thinking. To approach life and death with faith, we need… Read More »

The Whole World is a Very Noisy Fridge

 

Question of the Week:

How can a rational thinking person believe in G-d, when there is absolutely no evidence for his existence? Today we have x-ray, radar, satellites, infrared photography, ultrasound imaging, gamma-ray telescopes and CCTV, and yet we still have found no trace of G-d. If he is supposed to be everywhere, why is he nowhere to be seen? My logic says, if you are nowhere, you don't exist...

 

Answer:

 

Being everywhere doesn't make you easy to find. On the contrary, logic says if you are everywhere, it's as if you're nowhere. A bit like our fridge.

As our family grew we needed more fridge space, so we bought an old fridge online. It was a bargain. We soon found out why. After we plugged it in it… Read More »

HE Can't Commit? YOU Can't Commit!

Question of the Week: 

You may find it strange that I am writing to you, rabbi. You know I am not very involved in Jewish life. I am very spiritual, just not religious. But I am turning to you because you know my boyfriend very well. We've been so long together and he still won't commit. He says we are fine as we are and don't need to be married. Maybe you can give him a little nudge and explain that a relationship needs commitment to be real?

Answer:

I would be glad to try and bring him around. You are a great couple and he would be a fool to lose you. But I must say, you can't blame him for not committing. You are doing the exact same thing as he is.

 

When he says, "I love you, but I don't want to marry you,"… Read More »

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