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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

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Question: 

I think I'm too sloppy for organised religion. I try to keep Shabbos, but often make a mistake and turn on a light. I do have a kosher home, but the amount of times I've accidentally put the milk spoon into the meat pot is embarrassing. I read the prayers but my Hebrew is so bad even G-d must have trouble understanding me. I'm not perfect and never will be. So why bother striving for perfection if I know I'll never get there?

 

Answer:

 

You are right. You should not strive for perfection. It's not the Jewish way. Improvement? Yes. But perfection? No.

 

I learnt this truth many years ago. I was just eighteen, studying in a Yeshiva in Israel along with several hundred other students from around the… Read More »

What If You Found Out They're Not Your Children?

 

Question of the Week  

 

I have a dark secret. I have an anger problem. And I never knew it until I became a parent. Because the only people I take my anger out on are my own kids. I never had a temper before, but sometimes when my children misbehave and I am at my limit I just explode and lose control. I don't like myself at those moments and know it is wrong. And yet I haven't been able to control it. Any pointers on how to not lose it with my kids?

 

Answer:

 

Your dark secret is the dark secret of every parent. We all have our weak moments, when a combination of lack of sleep, pressures of life and our imperfect hearts conspire to make us lose it. And who are the poor victims of our fury? Those we… Read More »

Zooming My Father's Funeral?

 

Question of the Week: 

 

My father just passed away in London. I couldn’t fly to be there with him in his last days. I won’t be able to be there for his funeral. My family won’t be able to sit shiva together, as they are all over the world and borders closed. To be honest, I am at peace with his passing. He lived a long and good life. But how can I come to terms with not being there for him at the end? 

 

Answer:

 

It must be so hard to miss your father’s final days. And watching a funeral on Zoom can’t be the same. But perhaps there is some comfort you can find in this difficult time. 

 

During this pandemic we have been forced to connect virtually. We have… Read More »

Do You Remember Your Past Lives?

 

Question of the Week: 

 

If it is true that we are all reincarnated souls and have been here before, why don't we remember our previous lives? Wouldn't it be helpful to know what you were in a past life so you know what to fix in this one?

 

Answer:

 

Personally, I find it hard enough to remember where I put my car keys five minutes ago, let alone what I did in a previous life. But there have been very holy individuals who were aware of their past lives. One example is Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujhely, who said he remembers his past three lives.

 

Previous to his current life as a Rabbi in 18th century Hungary, he said he lived in the times of the first Temple in Jerusalem in 587 BCE. He was the… Read More »

What If I'm Already the Perfect Husband?

 

Question of the Week: 

I keep hearing that during this time of isolation we should be improving our relationships. Thank G-d my marriage of over 15 years is amazing, and I honestly can't see how I can be a better husband than I am already. I'm not boasting and my wife agrees. I treat her like a queen and never raise my voice, even when she upsets me. I listen and do everything to make her happy, which isn't always easy to do. Am I fooling myself or is there a point that you can say you can't do any better?

 

Answer:

 

Sounds like you do all the right things, and say all the right things. That's a credit to you. But there is another layer of relating that you didn't mention. Apart from doing and saying, there is… Read More »

The Pleasures of Home Shuling

Question of the Week: 

 

I'm wondering if you can explain my wife to me. She complained last night that I am not helpful around the house. She claims that yesterday I plonked myself on the couch to relax, leaving her to look after the kids and dinner and everything else. When I pointed out to her that I actually offered to help, she says it wasn't sincere. I am at a loss. What more can I do? Is it my fault if she ignores my offer to help?

 

Answer:

 

You think you are being sincere. And you probably are. But sometimes what you say and what your wife hears are miles apart. You need to appreciate how your words come across. She may be hearing the opposite of what you meant. 

 

So when you say: 

Read More »

History in the Making!

 

CAN YOU BE ALONE IN A CROWD?

There's a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that we need to learn how to be alone when we are in a crowd. Even when we are surrounded by people, we have to be who we are, and can't let outside influences to define us. We need to retain our individuality and stand alone before G-d. Don't blame the people around you for the person you are. Take responsibility for yourself and be you.

 

In these strange times we have been forced to look at just that. Who are we without the crowd around us? What does my life look like when I'm alone? How do I live my life and spend my time when my crowd is taken away from me?

 

But we have… Read More »

Must Admit, This is Impressive

 

Question of the Week: 

 

Do you think this coronavirus crisis strengthens faith in G-d or weakens it? Like is it proving there is a G-d or the exact opposite?

 

Answer:

 

There are only two possible ways of looking at what's happening now.

 

Either there is a G-d and this crisis is a part of His big plan. Or there isn't and it isn't. 

 

If it is, then you have to be impressed. Within the space of a few weeks, the world has changed forever. Every single person on the planet has had to pause, stop the way they've been living their life until now, re-evaluate their priorities and what's really important, spend more time caring for their loved ones and less time in empty pursuits. 

Read More »

My Wedding Plans Out the Window!?

 

Question of the Week: 

 

We were so excited about our wedding. We had picked a date that seemed perfect, but before we could plan any further this pandemic hit. Now we have a tough choice: to hold a small gathering of just very close family sooner, or postpone for who knows when and have the whole celebration. To me both seem like second best. How can I look at this positively when I won't have the wedding I planned, on the date I chose and with the guests I wanted?

 

Answer:

 

I have news for you. You never chose the date of your wedding. Nobody does.

 

A wedding is too holy for mere mortals to plan. It is decreed in heaven whom you marry. It is also decreed in heaven when your wedding will take… Read More »

LOCKED UP FOR A SEDER?

 

LOCKED UP FOR A SEDER?

 

The saintly Rabbi Aryeh Levin was known as the Father of the Prisoners. In the 1930's, when Israel was under British rule, the prisons were full of Jews, many of them members of the Jewish underground organizations. They all knew that this kindly Jerusalem rabbi would regularly visit them, offering support and strength, a listening ear and a soft word of encouragement. Even the most hardened criminal would warm to his gentle nature and sincere love for his fellow.

 

One time during Pesach, Rabbi Aryeh went to visit his beloved inmates. They greeted him warmly and he asked, "Tell me friends, how was your seder?"

 

One of the prisoners replied, "We had a fantastic Seder! We… Read More »

Would You Leave a Grandmother Alone?

 

Question of the Week: 

 

I am a grandmother in my 80's and am being told I have to celebrate the Seder alone at home, without my children and grandchildren. I can't do that. It would be the most heartbreaking night of my life. I have a better idea. Let's delay Pesach for a couple of months, until this whole thing blows over, and we can then do a Seder together with our families. Can the rabbis get together and cancel Pesach this year?

 

Answer: 

 

I feel for you. The pain of not being with your family this year must be devastating. But I beg you, please make a Seder. It could be the most powerful evening of your life. It could even change the world. 

 

Every year at the Seder we proclaim… Read More »

Live Stream Seder?

 

NOTE: The answers below reflect the current positions of halachic and medical authorities in Sydney, Australia. Opinions may vary from place to place. Refer to your local authority before making any conclusions. 

 

LIVE STREAMING THE SEDER?

 

Question: Is it true that rabbis have allowed Seders to be live streamed this year so elders can see their family?

 

Answer: In a word, NO. Live streaming is forbidden on Shabbos and Yomtov. There are certain specific circumstances when an exception is made, where life is in danger. If you think that applies to you or anyone you know, ask your rabbi.

 

CAN WE GO PESACH SHOPPING?

 

Question: We are a young couple and we need to do our Pesach… Read More »

The CoronaShabbos Message

 

WHO AM I?

 

I move fast, and news of me spreads even faster.

 

I grab the attention of the entire world like no one else can.

 

I affect you, even if you don't believe in me.

 

I come from one place in the world, but I reach every corner of the world. 

 

I started with one nation, but I take over all nations and all religions. 

 

Because of me, you will change everything you do. All of your habits and routines will be disrupted. You will have to rethink your entire day, and change all of your plans. 

 

Families will become closer because of me. Communities will become tighter because of me. 

 

I will make you less selfish and more sensitive. You will care… Read More »

What's More Contagious than COVID-19?

 

Question of the Week:

 

This coronavirus thing has really thrown me. I feel like I've lost all sense of certainty. No one knows what will happen next. How do we stay sane when we don't know what's lurking around the corner? 

 

Answer:

 

It is not that we have lost our sense of certainty. We have lost our illusion of certainty. We never had it to begin with. This could be majorly unsettling, or amazingly liberating. 

 

This tiny virus of 125 nanometres* has sent the entire world into chaos. All of our plans are up in the air, markets are going crazy, entire countries shutting down, and we have no clue what the future holds. 

 

But that is always the case. We never know what the… Read More »

Are You Willing to Bow?

 

Question of the Week:

 

In the Purim story, Mordechai the Jew refuses to bow down to the wicked Haman. As a result, Haman enacts a decree to annihilate the entire Jewish nation. Did Mordechai do the right thing? Technically, bowing to a dignitary is not forbidden by Judaism. So even if Haman thought he was god, shouldn't Mordechai have bowed down to him rather than risk the lives of the entire Jewish people?

 

Answer:

 

In my youth I attended a non-Jewish school. Jews made up about ten percent of the student body, and we felt quite comfortable there. But sometimes we stood out.

 

It wasn't a particularly religious school, but on occasion they did hold prayer services, in a big hall with a huge cross… Read More »

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