Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

What Really Happened to the Firstborn?

Question of the Week: 

I love the Seder, but one thing that irks me every year is the Tenth Plague - the Death of the Firstborn. I understand the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites and I have no sympathy for Pharaoh. But why did their children die? Couldn't that have been avoided? 


The slaying of the firstborn is central to the entire Pesach festival. Until we understand its inner meaning, we haven't grasped the full depth of the story of the exodus. 

What actually killed the Egyptian firstborn? What was their cause of death? The Torah says that it was the Mashchis - a destructive force - that killed them. But what was this destructive force? And why did it kill the firstborns?

For a healthy… Read More »

What's Worse Than a Buzzing Mosquito at 3am?

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?


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 produce anything useful for the world. To take… Read More »

Why Do Jews Read the Credits?

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?


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 pride: 

Look! Assistant Gaffer.......Mo… Read More »

When Tension Pulls You Apart...

Question of the Week:
At Jewish weddings I've seen this dance where people stand facing each other in two lines, and then run towards each other and meet in the middle, then run backwards to their original places, only to do it all over again. Is there any meaning to this dance?

The wedding dance symbolises the rhythm of a healthy relationship. In any loving relationship, a couple experiences moments of closeness and love, as well as moments of distance and tension. It is not possible for two human beings to share intimate space and not go through some rough patches. If a relationship is to be real, it probably won't be smooth.

But this tension is exactly what… Read More »

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