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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

Imagine No Religion

 

Question of the Week

     

I don't want my children to be small-minded and look down at others, so I haven't given them a Jewish education. They have been brought up without any religion; they are free to choose whatever beliefs they like. I try to live by the words of John Lennon:

 

Imagine there's no countries / It isn't hard to do,

Nothing to kill or die for / No religion too,

Imagine all the people / living life in peace...

 

Doesn't that sum it all up?

 

Answer: 

 

I admire your passion and idealism. You have obviously given some thought to your children's moral future, which is a credit to you. But I don't see how the philosophy you have espoused is any less… Read More »

Do We Still Need Second Day Yomtov?

 

Question of the Week

    

Why on earth do we still keep two days of Yomtov outside of Israel? I know the history: in ancient times people didn't have calendars on their phones, because the calendar was not set in advance, but rather month by month. When witnesses saw the new moon they reported it to the rabbis in the Temple, and the rabbis would declare that a new month had begun. It would take a couple of weeks for the message to reach outlying communities, so they could never be sure of the correct date to celebrate the festivals. So the diaspora communities kept two days to be on the safe side. 

 

That made sense back then, but for heavens sake, we have calendars today! Why do we still keep two… Read More »

Why Are We Waiving Branches?

 

Question of the Week

    

Someone asked me why we wave the Lulav in six directions - right, left, forward, up, down, backward. I didn't really know how to answer. Is there a simple way to explain this?

 

Answer:

 

The four species that we bless on Sukkos correspond to the four letters in G-d's Hebrew name. Waving them in all six directions signifies our faith that G-d is everywhere. Specifically, we are saying that on every level, at every stage of life, in all that happens to us, G-d is there.

 

Right and left represent Chesed and Gevurah, the power of love and the power of discipline. G-d, like a parent, can be loving and can also be strict. Sometimes… Read More »

Does a Pregnant Woman Fast?

 

Question of the Week

    

I am five months pregnant and was told that I definitely don't have to fast on Yom Kippur. But then someone told me that I definitely do. So what is it? Do I fast or not?

 

Answer:

 

As a mother to be, you want the best for your baby. You want to do anything possible to give your child everything he or she needs for the future. So if you can, you should at least try to fast.

 

This is what Jewish mothers have been doing for thousands of years. They withhold food from their unborn babies for one day, and then spend the rest of their life over-feeding them to make up for it.

 

Of course, if you have a specific medical condition or there are any… Read More »

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