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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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Ma Nishtana - Questions or Answers?

 

Question of the Week:


My favourite part of the Seder is when the kids sing the famous Four Questions, Ma Nishtana. But I always wondered why we call it the Four Questions. Look at the text, they are actually four statements:


Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat chometz (leaven) or matzah. On this night we eat only matzah. 
On all other nights we eat any type of vegetables. On this night, we eat maror (bitter herbs).
On all other nights we are not required to dip even once. On this night we dip twice.
On all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining. On this night, we all recline.


So are they questions or answers?


Answer:


Sometimes, the question is the answer.… Read More »

Meditating on your Belly Button

Question of the Week:

 

Can you explain my children to me? I have dedicated my life to looking after their every need. But if I ask one of them to get me a glass of water they moan and groan as if I have asked them to run a marathon for me. Why is it that one parent can raise four kids, but four kids can't look after one parent?

 

Answer:

 

We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, the first human beings. We have inherited from them the basic ingredients of human nature.

 

One thing made Adam and Eve very different to the rest of us. They didn't have parents. They were created as adults by G-d, not born as babies to parents. They had no umbilical cords. They probably didn't even have belly… Read More »

Can Intermarriage be a Good Thing?

 

Question of the Week:

   

I have always felt an affinity to Queen Esther from the Purim story. Just like me, she married a non-Jew. And because of it she saved the Jewish people. Isn't the message that intermarriage can be good for the Jews?

 

Answer:

 

Esther is a tragic hero. Unlike the common misconception, she was not happy to be queen. She was dragged away from her family and people, against her will, and forced to marry a grotesque and uncouth tyrant, the king of Persia, Achashverosh.

 

This was no romantic courtship. Having executed his previous queen for not obeying his wishes, Achashverosh ordered that every woman in the kingdom present herself before him. Esther, a sweet Jewish girl… Read More »

Do You Love Me?

 

Question of the Week:

  

I have come to shul a few times now and quite enjoy it, but I have an issue with some of the prayers. I feel like a liar saying things when I don't know if I believe in them. How can I exclaim, "love G-d with all your heart" when I am not sure He even exists?

 

Answer:

 

You have been married a few years now, and I am sure that you love your wife dearly. But have you ever woken up one morning with a sense that you've lost that loving feeling?

 

Perhaps after a moment of tension between you, or maybe you have been feeling down for other reasons, or for no apparent reason at all, you just feel that your heart is cold and the love you once felt has… Read More »

Is Academic Antisemitism Surprising?

 

Question of the Week:

 

I am shocked by the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the world. When Jew-hatred comes from backward extremists and street mobs, it isn't so surprising. But when university educated, well-read westerners, who know history and have access to the facts, are able to demonize Israel and the Jewish people, something is wrong. Has the world gone mad?

 

Answer:

 

The academics who single out Israel for contempt are guilty of ignoring the facts. But those who are shocked by it are also guilty of ignoring the facts.

 

History has shown that being educated has nothing to do with being moral. Some of the most cultured people have also been the most evil.

 

The Holocaust was committed by… Read More »

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