Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

Who Is Adina?


Question of the Week:


My name is Adina. I have always been proud of having a Hebrew name, and I love its meaning ("delicate"). But someone asked me who the original Adina was. And I had no idea what to answer. Is it a biblical name? I don't remember hearing of an Adina in the Torah. So where is my name actually from?




You may be surprised to learn the origins of your name. The first Adina was none other than the wife of Lavan the Aramean. That is Lavan the famous fraudster, sorcerer and crafty crook, about whom we read in the Haggadah on Pesach: "Lavan wanted to destroy everything." 


Lavan was not known for his good moral values. And yet, this piece of work was… Read More »

Who Invented Chess?


Question of the Week:


I once heard that the game of chess was invented by King Solomon. Does it say that somewhere?




There is a legend that King Solomon came up with the game of chess to keep the minds of his military commanders sharp. And nobody could beat him at his own game.


He often played against Benayahu, his chief of staff. And the king always won. Always, that is, except once. 


Benayahu was once playing against the king, and things looked like he was about to be checkmated. Frustrated at always losing, Benayahu took advantage when King Solomon left the game for a moment to investigate a commotion happening out the window. Benayahu surreptitiously removed Solomon's… Read More »

Deja Vu All Over Again?


Question of the Week:


I often get deja vu, the sensation that I have already lived this moment before. It has happened when I am travelling to new destinations with people I have never met, and I feel that I have been here in this place, with the same people, hearing this very conversation before. Is there a Jewish explanation for this?




Some say that deja vu is a sign of reincarnation. You feel you were here before because you were, in a previous life. Others explain that you had a predictive dream of the scene before it happened, and now you are seeing your dream materialise.


Maybe. There is a more mundane explanation. In my personal experience, I only get deja vu when my brain is a littl… Read More »

Why Do We Cover Mirrors?


Question of the Week:


Can you shed some light on the custom to cover the mirrors in a house of mourning? I was told that after the funeral of an immediate relative we cover all mirrors in the home for the seven days of mourning. One explanation offered is that we are not supposed to adorn ourselves while mourning. But I am looking for any deeper explanation you may have...




There is a more spooky reason for covering mirrors in a house of mourning. This may sound a bit way out, but on reflection it actually makes a lot of sense.


The Kabbalists write that all types of evil spirits and demons come to visit a family in mourning. When a soul leaves this world, they leave a void, an emptines… Read More »

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