Judaism/Spirituality

OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

ANCIENT ARKS Question.  Ancient synagogues have been discovered and excavated in Israel. Why do there not seem to be the remains of any ancient Arks? Answer.  Like the Ark of the Ten Commandments that was carried through the wilderness, ancient Arks were portable. The usual term for the Ark was “tevah”, …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – B’har

PROCLAIMING FREEDOM The Torah tells us early in this week’s reading to proclaim liberty, “d’ror”, for everyone who inhabits the land (Lev. 25:10). “D’ror” is a very strange word to use for liberty. The Targum Onkelos renders it as “cherut”, a more usual word for freedom. The sages offer various …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi – Yom HaAtzma’ut.

    PRACTICAL ZIONISM This week we celebrate Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day. As always, the occasion will bring out its philosophers, analysing the meaning of Israel and assessing how far the Jewish State has fulfilled the Zionist ideal. There is something else they often forget to remember. The Torah …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Emor

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. SPEAKING OUT. The portion gets its name from a command to speak out (“Emor”) to the priests concerning their duties. By extension there is an issue concerning Emor which applies to every Jew. When, how and why should a Jew speak out …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.   Rabbi Apple served for 32 years as the chief minister of the Great Synagogue, Sydney, and was Australia’s highest profile rabbi and the leading spokesperson for Jews and Judaism on the Australian continent. He is now retired and lives in Jerusalem. …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – K’doshim.

    THE COMMANDMENT OF SHA’ATNEZ The combination of wool and linen in a garment is called “Sha’atnez” and is prohibited by the Torah (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 22:11). Though tradition regards this as a statute, a Divine ordinance which is a test of human obedience, Nachmanides points out that it …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

  AIR TRAVEL & DIVINE PROTECTION Question.  Can Jews learn anything from the tragedy of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane? Answer.  The search for the missing aircraft raises countless problems including some halachic issues. The Hallel psalms tell us clearly, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord: the earth …

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Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach : חַג כָשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ

What is Pesach and When Do We Celebrate It? Passover or Pesach, as the festival is called in Hebrew, historically commemorates the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and recalls our mass Exodus from Egypt about 3,500 years ago. The Pesach story is recounted within Exodus, Chapters …

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OzTorah: Chol HaMo’ed & 7th Day Pesach.

  HERALDING THE SPRING. In Israel and the northern hemisphere, Pesach is the festival of spring. It falls in that month of Nisan which the Torah calls “Chodesh HaAviv”, the Spring Month. The slumbers of Nature are over: “Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the …

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Torah piece: Shvi’i Shel Pesach

Written and submitted by Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Chief Minister at the St Kilda Shule.     Does Judaism allow for pluralism or is there only one monolithic approach to the service of our Creator? This question will invariably illicit a multitude of answers depending on how we define “Judaism”, “pluralism” …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Acharei Mot

Written and submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. ALL ON YOUR OWN When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, no-one else could be there with him (Lev. 16:17). Human beings are a social race: they know how true are the words of the story of …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. PESUCH ARTICLES.     THE ROLE OF RITUAL. Many people try to squeeze all the rituals out of Judaism. By abandoning Shabbat candles, Yom Kippur fasting, tallit and tefillin, shofar, Megillah, Menorah, sukkah, the Seder and so much else, they proudly announce …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – M’tzora

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THREE NAMES FOR ONE SIDRA Having the name “M’tzora” for this week’s portion might not bother us in our generation, probably because we are used to it. But as the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out, the name was once a subject of controversy, …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.   INTERFAITH PRAYER Question.  Why can’t Jews and non-Jews pray together? Answer.  The prophet Isaiah foresees the day when “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isa. 56:7). If this means that all peoples will share a …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Tazria (HaChodesh)

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THE MOTHER’S OFFERING When a woman bears a child the Torah says she has to bring an offering to the sanctuary (Lev. 12). So far so good, and we would probably interpret the offering as a mark of gratitude to God who …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. A BLESSING ON AN ELEPHANT Question.  There is a b’rachah to say when I go to the zoo, isn’t there? Answer. I don’t know how many people do, but actually yes: “On seeing an elephant, an ape or a long-tailed monkey, one …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Sh’mini (Parah)

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. I NEED TO BE COAXED Moses must have had a reason for summoning Aaron and his sons and the elders of the people on the eighth day. What he had to say was probably not unexpected, that Aaron was entering the sanctuary …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Submitted and written by Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple. THE TEMPLE MOUNT Question.  Is it permitted for a Jew to enter the Temple mount in Jerusalem? Answer.  The Temple mount is the hill on which the sanctuary stood. The Kotel is the surrounding wall on the western side. It extends far …

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Dodging the Draft Because of God?!

Written by Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel – Never in history have religious Jews hidden behind Torah study to evade defending Jewish lives.   I am a platoon sergeant in the IDF. I am a religious Jew. I am a platoon sergeant in the IDF because I am a religious Jew. Days …

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Chag Purim Sameach – The Story of Purim

Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the “pur” (the lot) …

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