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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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The Rebbe, the Soldier and the Sikh

 

The Rebbe, the Soldier and the Sikh

in honour of Gimmel Tammuz, 24th anniversary of the passing of the Rebbe

"The beard has to go!"

So an Israeli soldier was told by his commanding officer during the Yom Kippur War. There was a serious fear that the Egyptians were poised to mount a chemical attack against Israel. Long facial hair would obstruct the gas mask that the soldiers would need to wear.

A religious Jew, he knew that in a case of mortal danger one would be allowed to shave off the beard. The commandment to grow a beard is overridden by the commandment to preserve life. But the question was, is this indeed a situation of mortal danger? And if so, is shaving absolutely necessary?

The soldier was given… Read More »

Socrates' Dilemma and Absolute Morality

 

Question of the Week:

I am fascinated by the Euthyphro dilemma asked by Socrates:

"Does G-d want us to do good deeds because they are morally good, or are good deeds morally good because G-d wants us to do them?"

If good is good without G-d, we don't need Him as a source of morality. But if good is only good because G-d says so, then good is not true good, it is merely an arbitrary construct. So either G-d is unnecessary or goodness has no real meaning.

How would Judaism answer this?

 

Answer:

 

Good question. If you know what I mean.

 

Judaism takes a clear position on this dilemma. There is a striking statement in the Midrash that answers it unequivocally:

 

In the beginning of… Read More »

Trust Your First Impressions?

Question of the Week:

I met a lovely girl on a blind date last week. We went to the art gallery and had a wonderful conversation. She has everything I am looking for. But she is not for me. There is nothing wrong with her, but I am a very good judge of character and my intuition can quickly assess people. I know when it is right and this time it just isn't. I would meet her a second time just to be polite, but wouldn't that be leading her on?
 
Answer:
 
There is a popular theory that we can know all we need to know about a person in the first few seconds of meeting them. It is a great theory. There is only one problem with it. It is rubbish.
 
A person is more than meets the eye. We are multi-layered. We have… Read More »

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