Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

What If You Were Born Buddhist?


Question of the Week:

You are obviously very passionate about the Jewish religion. But that is because you were born into it. Had you been born a Hindu, a Muslim, a Catholic or a Zoroastrian, you would be equally as passionate. So how can you take your beliefs seriously, or see them as truth, when really they are no more than an accident of birth?


There are some big assumptions behind your question.

You are assuming that I was born. That is a fair assumption. But you also assume that I am Jewish by accident. That is false. There is no such thing. The very premise makes no sense.

The postulation "what if I would be born someone else" is as absurd as asking what if a tomato was actually a carrot, or an apple was… Read More »

What Makes a Mensch?


There was a sharp thinker who lived in 19th century Poland called Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk. He was known for his short, profound witticisms, among them the following pearl. I will share with you the original Yiddish, and then translate:


A frumer iz a rosho.

A kluger iz an apikores.

A gutter iz a naar. 

Alle drei, a shtickl mensch.


If you're pious, then you're wicked.

If you're smart, you're a heretic.

If you're kind, you're a fool.

But if you're all three, now that's a mensch!


In this pithy little riddle, the Kotzker at once summarises the highest ideals of Judaism, and warns of the pitfalls that lurk on the path of those who try to discov… Read More »

What is Kaddish?


Question of the Week

I am confused by all the different types of Kaddish said in our prayer services. There is the Mourner's Kaddish, Rabbi's Kaddish, Complete Kaddish, Half Kaddish, Discounted Kaddish, Closing-Down-Sale Kaddish. What is going on here?! If Kaddish is supposed to be said in memory of someone, why do we say it throughout the service?


All the various versions of Kaddish do the same thing. With its mystically powerful words, Kaddish transports a soul upwards, from one level to the next. What distinguishes between the different Kaddishes is exactly who is being elevated.  

The Mourner's Kaddish is recited for the departed, to assist in their soul's journey upward. … Read More »

Are Spiritual Healers Kosher?

 Question of the Week:

What's the Jewish position on spiritual healing? I have come across an eastern treatment that looks amazing. It requires me to connect to particular angelic forces and recite incantations in order to activate the healing. As a Jew is there any issue in utilising these healing practices?


Spirituality and healing are deeply intertwined. Modern medicine recognises the power of the mind to help heal the body, and the impact of a patient's spiritual state on the healing process. Any attempt to improve our physical health should be coupled with an upgrade in our spiritual health. On many levels, the body and soul are in parallel.

A medical treatment will only be effective if it is compatible with th… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.
Nefesh Library & Community Centre