Judaism/Spirituality

OzTorah: Torah reading – Vayikra

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. WAIT UNTIL THE TIME COMES. Though the siddur looks forward to the reinstitution of the sacrifices which are set out in such detail in Parashat Vayikra, Franz Rosenzweig and some other modern thinkers advise us to wait until the moment of redemption …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.   BEING DEAF Question.  The Mishnah has a very negative attitude towards the “cheresh”, the deaf person. Does this apply in modern times when such good hearing aids are available? Answer.  The “cheresh” spoken about in rabbinic literature is a deaf-mute who …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – P’kudei

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple Torah reading:   P’kudei TABERNACLE OF THE TESTIMONY The Torah reading gives us a careful accounting of the income and expenditure involved in erecting the mishkan, which is given the unusual name of “mishkan ha-edut”, the Tabernacle of the Testimony. Rashi quotes …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. A “GOOD SAMARITAN” Question. Where do we get the phrase, “A Good Samaritan?” Answer. The original Samaritans were descendants of the northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh with an admixture of foreign colonists brought in by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, after the …

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OzTorah: Torah reading –Vayakhel

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple THREE HEARTS The word “heart” punctuates this sidra.  In building the Tabernacle, the people had to have their hearts in the right place. Three categories of heart are mentioned in Ex. 35 – generous, wise and uplifted. The ideal person combines all …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple BOILS & PROSELYTES Question.  Is it true that the Talmud says that converts are like boils? Isn’t that an insult? Answer.   The saying is in Yevamot 47b. Possibly it reflects the negative view in an ancient rabbinic cleavage of opinion about …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Ki Tissa

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. GOD IN THE LEAD In Chapter 33 of Sh’mot, God says to Moshe, “My Presence shall go with you” (verse 14). The Hebrew for “My Presence” is “panai”, which is literally “My face”. The Greek Septuagint says, “I Myself shall go”. The …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. WEAPONS IN SHULE Question. Is there any religious problem with bringing a weapon into a synagogue? Answer. The stones of the Temple altar in Jerusalem were not hewn with metal implements: the sages say that the altar symbolised peace and metal symbolised …

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When good people do bad things

Orthodox communities all over the world continue to struggle with the wave of child sexual abuse accusations coming forth. While there are certainly challenges with any close-knit community dealing with the fallout from public accusations, one would think that once the courts have ruled, the matter would be settled. Yet …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – T’tzavveh

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THE MISSING MOSES Moses is not mentioned in T’tzavveh, nor is God is mentioned in the M’gillah. The reasons for both omissions are debated in a sheaf of studies. Actually they are less of a problem than it seems. Even when Moses …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. Question. Was Jesus really a rabbi? Answer. The title “rav” is found in the Bible as a leader or authority. It was a title of honour, but not until the early Common Era did it indicate a person learned in Jewish tradition, …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – T’rumah

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. A PRISONER IN THE SYNAGOGUE. In this week’s sidra the command to build the sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) is not what we would expect. Instead of saying, “Let them build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in its midst”, God promises, “…and …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi on black hats

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. MARRYING ON TUESDAY Question.  Why is it considered good to get married on a Tuesday? Answer.  The Creation story has the constant refrain that when God saw what He had made, He said it was good. On the third day, however, He …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Mishpatim

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple DAMAGES & PIETY People who look for spirituality generally seem to have no patience for this week’s reading. What does the sidra deal with? Crimes and torts, dangers and damages – not the eternal soul and spirit, but the earthly body. All …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple. KABBALAH: FOR OR AGAINST? Question.  Are you in favour of Kabbalah? Answer.  Kabbalah (literally “tradition”) is the metaphysical aspect of Judaism. Those who prefer a rationalist approach find it difficult. The kabbalists themselves make a distinction between “sit’rei kabbalah”, “the secrets of …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Yitro

OzTorah submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.                                                          IT JUST CAN’T HAPPEN! The Ten Plagues. The Ten Commandments. Both are miraculous. The miracle of the plagues was brought about by God. The miracle of the commandments will be brought about by man. If anyone had been told that water would …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Ask the Rabbi: Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THE CHUPPAH. Question.  At marriages I have seen the “chuppah” situated either indoors or outside. Is there any preference as to where it should be? Also, why do the bride and groom to have a few minutes together in …

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OzTorah: Torah reading: B’shallach

Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. FORCING THE HOUR The departure of the Israelites from Egypt began the long saga of Jewish history. A people that had endured common suffering and shared a common dream of salvation were finally able to leave Egypt and weld themselves into the People of …

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Ask the Rabbi on a “virtual reality” minyan

A VIRTUAL REALITY MINYAN Question.  If a shule has problems with a minyan, how about a “virtual reality” minyan? Answer.  A minyan, a quorum of ten males of the age of Bar-Mitzvah or over, is needed for Kaddish, K’dushah, Bar’chu and the Torah reading. The ten, who may include the …

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OzTorah from Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.. POOL PARTIES Question. At this time of year some people in my block of apartments have social gatherings round the pool which are annoying with their noise and loud music. What does Jewish teaching say about neighbours and privacy? Answer. Jewish ethics …

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