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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

I Am Angry

 

Question of the Week:

I guess you could say I am angry at G-d right now. We have been trying to fall pregnant for several years since our oldest was born. Our prayers were finally answered. Well sort of. I am pregnant, but the doctors say my baby has a rare condition with very little chance to survive to term, and even less chance of surviving after birth for more than a few days. I just don't get it. Why would G-d do that to me?
 

Answer:

I have no answers for you. Your pain is real, and your anger understandable. I can't give you an explanation. All I can offer is friendship and support. And I'll tell you a story.

There was a soul in heaven waiting to come down to this earth. Unlike other souls, who need… Read More »

Can You Lockdown a Soul?

 

Question of the Week:

We are enjoying another Melbourne lockdown in all its confinement. I am trying to remember the concept in our religion about the person who has had a more troubled past doing good vs the person who was always well behaved . It reminds me of my feelings towards this lockdown. If we can happily evolve past this hardship, and overcome this wall of difficulty, I feel it is sort of akin to the more troubled person making themselves better…. If you have the time, please would you point me in the right direction?
 

Answer:

You are thinking of the Talmudic quote: The place where a reformed sinner stands, a saint can ever reach.

It's a bit like a bow and arrow. The further back you… Read More »

I Was Scammed. Now What?

 

Question of the Week:

I feel like an absolute idiot. I wanted to give some charity, as I have been a bad boy recently. And I fell for a scam. This guy was supposedly helping orphans who live on the street and I felt so bad for them. But turns out this fellow is living it up off other people's stupidity. People like me. So it seems even when I try to do a good deed it turns out bad. What does that say about me? 

Answer:

This is the best news you could possibly hear right now.  You see, it is important to make sure that your charity goes to worthy recipients. But if by mistake it didn't, then you are the recipient of Jeremiah's curse. Which is a great blessing.

Let me explain. 

The prophet… Read More »

Are Pirated Videos Kosher?

 

We are stuck at home a lot these days, so we end up watching a lot of videos. My parents don't like us watching random YouTubes, and all our DVD's are scratched, so we mostly rent Jewish videos online. But today my friend sent me a link that has heaps of Jewish videos for free! I was so excited that we don't have to rent anymore. But then my father said it might be stealing to watch these videos. I can't see the problem. The videos are there anyway even if we don't watch them. And all my friends do it all the time. So what's the issue? My father said I should ask you.

Answer:

What do your parents have against YouTube? It's free and easy. Why would they spend their hard earned money on Jewish rentals when… Read More »

Is a Soulmate Forever?

 

Question of the Week:

If a widow remarries, what happens when Moshiach comes and the dead come back to life? Will she reunite with her first husband, or the new guy? What if she was happy with one more than the other?  

Answer:

This fascinating question has been asked by many. But the best answer is found in an unusual source: the diary of an 18th century American priest.

Ezra Stiles, a Congregationalist minister in Rhode Island, became close friends with Rabbi Raphael Chaim Yitzchak Carregal, believed to be the first rabbi to set foot on American soil. A question Stiles asked Rabbi Carregal at one of their meetings was this very issue: if a widow remarries, who will she be married to when… Read More »

The Riddle of the Double Naming

 

Question of the Week:

I'm so embarrassed to write this. We have just realised that we named our second son with exactly the same Hebrew name as our oldest son. They are both Chaim Leib! We feel so silly. They are names of two of our late grandfathers and we simply forgot that we already used those names. Is there anything we can do? The younger one is two, and the oldest is already five so I want to fix it before his bar mitzvah!

Answer:

Don't be embarrassed. You are in good company. The great Talmudic sage Rav Chisda had two sons with the same name. They were both called Mar. To differentiate them, one was known as Young Mar and the other, Old Mar.

Here's a Talmudic riddle: Who do you think was older, Young Mar or Old Mar?… Read More »

Did You Get the Hint?

 

Read More »

 

Oops, I made a mistake

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 »

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