Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

Do Your Candles Help the World?


Question of the Week:


I had this debate with my sister. We are both trying to raise proud Jewish families, so I was surprised to hear that in her home, they do not light Chanukah candles. She says rituals aren't necessary for Jewish identity. Her words: "It's very cute and quaint to light candles with the kids, but how does that help the world?" I feel she is wrong but couldn't explain why. It does seem a bit silly to say that lighting candles is such a big deal. So, how can I convey that rituals are important?




Imagine you had never seen fire before in your life, and I showed you a flame on a candle. Then I asked you, do you think you can make a fire like this?


You would not… Read More »

Is G-d Out of the Miracle Business?


Question of the Week: 


You know why I don't pray? I don't see the point. G-d seems to be out of the miracle business for the last 2000 years. Like Chanukah is the Festival of Miracles, when G-d saved us from the ancient Greeks. But what have we seen since? Where are the miracles today? Why pray to a G-d who closed up shop 2000 years ago....



You really need to spin a dreidel. 


The dreidel is a spinning top used for a game we traditionally play on Chanukah. There are intricate rules for this game, but for your purposes we can keep it very simple.


Look at a spinning dreidel. Can you see any letters… Read More »

Why Don't We Exchange Rings?


Question of the Week: 


I am getting married in two months from now, and last night we had a meeting with the rabbi who will be conducting the ceremony. Something came up which I am quite uncomfortable with: the issue of only the groom giving the bride a ring, and not vice versa. This essentially represents to me that I am being purchased. The idea that there is a problem with the bride also giving the groom a ring seems absurd to me. Surely I have as much say in the agreement to be married as my husband-to-be?


I know I am allowed to give the ring after the ceremony. However, I want to exchange rings during the ceremony. Gender equality is a very important issue to me. I am a highly educated woman, and I also… Read More »

How to Fix Your Daughter-in-Law


Question of the Week:


So my son just got engaged to a wonderful girl. We love and adore her, she is so good to him. But one issue, she has zero interest in Judaism. She thinks it's 'mostly rubbish,' but I know this is out of ignorance. I go to classes at shul and ask her if she wants to join, but she never does. She eats ham and cheese sandwiches! How can I show her, involve her, embrace her in without being the revolting jam-down-your throat type. I want to explain to her how easy keeping kosher is, how wonderful it is to keep a Jewish home, how it adds to your life and does not detract etc etc... What do you think I can say to turn her around??




The best thing you can say to her is… Read More »

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