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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

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

Should We Say Thanks for Suffering?

 

Question of the Week

If you believe everything happens for a good reason, should you be thankful for any suffering or trauma you experience?

Answer

The Talmud has an interesting angle on that. 

The Mishna (Brachot 54a) teaches:

Just as we bless G-d for good things, so should we bless Him for bad things.

This seems to say that we should make no differentiation between good news and bad. Whether we just won the lottery or our house burnt down, we should bless G-d in exactly the same way. 

But the Gemara elaborates:

When we hear good news we say, "Blessed are You G-d, King of the Universe, Who is good and does good." 
When we hear bad news we say, "Blessed are You G-d, King of the… Read More »

Why Wave Hands at Candle Lighting?

 

Question of the Week  

When lighting Shabbos candles, why do we wave our hands three times inwards before making the blessing? I saw my mother and grandmother do it, but no one can explain it to me, other than saying we are bringing in the Shabbos energy???

Answer:

Resting takes a lot of work. Many people are great at achieving, but find it hard to stop achieving. They know how to do, but don't know how to just be. Shabbos is the day of rest, and to do it right you need to know what resting means.

Resting is not doing nothing. If it was, there would be no reason to feel rejuvenated after a rest. Not doing may not drain us, but why should it replenish us?

True rest is the ingathering of our soul energies. After… Read More »

Should Spouses Be Inseparable?

 

Question of the Week

Do a husband and wife need to be together 24/7? Is it ok to have a life outside of marriage? I sometimes feel guilty if I spend time alone or with friends, as if I should always include my spouse in everything I do. But then sometimes I feel smothered and need some space. That also makes me feel guilty. I am happily married but not sure what's right here. Any help you can offer?

Answer

Love is like a fire. It can generate a lot of light and a lot of warmth. But to keep any flame alive, it needs to be fed. If you don't keep throwing logs on the fire, it will fizzle out and there will be nothing left.

The logs that fuel love are time spent together, shared experiences, and emotional bonding.… Read More »

Can Israel Haters Celebrate Xmas?

 

Question of the Week

As a believing Christian, I made a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was profoundly disturbed by the Jewish state and its criminal occupation of the West Bank. The international community has condemned this time and time again. How can you justify usurping land that belongs to others?

Answer

You are entitled to your opinion on the matter. But I hope you are consistent in your beliefs.

Being that you oppose a Jewish presence on the West Bank, I assume you will not be participating in any Xmas celebrations during the coming days. According to your view, there is no reason to be merry on December 25.

The Christian holidays celebrate an event that you have named a criminal act - the birth of a Jewish baby… Read More »

Should We Think About Death?

 

Question of the Week

The question I'd like to ask you has to do with preparing to die.  Many of my friends who are in their 70's are making arrangements for their Jewish burials so that the burden won't fall on their children.  Is this appropriate?  Or are we to simply leave our final requests in writing for our family when we are no longer in this world?  

Answer
 
You know the story of the charming husband who bought his wife a burial plot for her birthday. The next year he didn't buy her anything. When she asked why, he responded, "I bought you a gift last year and you didn't use it."
 
It's a horrible joke. But even bad jokes have some truth to them. The sages advised us to… Read More »
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