Tag Archives: Rabbi Apple

Oz Torah: Yom Ha’atzmaut features

ISRAEL AT 70. The 70th anniversary of the State of Israel is celebrated this week. Israel is one of the great achievements of modern history. But of course the backers of BDS don’t agree. They can’t be too proud of themselves because they haven’t achieved a thing apart from slogans …

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Oz Torah: Insights on Sh’mini.

8 STRINGS ON THE HARP. The eighth day of the consecration ceremonies of the sanctuary was dedicated to the induction of the kohanim. Logic tells us that the number eight was chosen for this purpose because the previous seven formed the first week in the history of the tabernacle. Yet …

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Oz Torah: A Jewish view of ball tampering – Ask the Rabbi

A JEWISH VIEW OF BALL TAMPERING. Q.  The ball tampering scandal has shaken the cricket world. Is there a Jewish perspective? A.  Cricket has become a religion for some people, but there are moral limits to what bowlers, batsmen and others should allow themselves or be allowed. Better not to …

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Oz Torah: “I was there” – Features for the last days of Pesach.

I WAS THERE. “In every generation a person must see himself as if they had come out of Egypt”. That’s what the Haggadah says. The Pesach story isn’t merely an ancient event involving our ancestors, but a personal experience in which we ourselves took part. We were there. We were …

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Oz Torah: Pesach features.

Pesach features A TIMETABLE FOR THE SEDER? How long should the Seder take? Let me tell you what our family does. We have a timetable for Seder night. The first hour brings us to the meal, then we eat (for which we allocate another hour), then the second part of …

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Oz Torah: Like the bread of affliction – Ask the Rabbi

Ask the Rabbi LIKE THE BREAD OF AFFLICTION. Q. Why do some Haggadot say “Ha Lachma Anya” – “This is the Bread of Affliction” while others say “K’ha Lachma Anya” – “This is *like* the Bread of Affliction”? A. They are indicating that the matzah we use is a replica …

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Oz Torah: Hunting – Ask the Rabbi

HUNTING. Q. Is it true that hunting is against Jewish law? A. Absolutely. We have a duty to emulate God who is tenderly concerned for animals as well as people (Psalm 145:9). The historian William Lecky wrote, “Tenderness to animals is one of the most beautiful features of the Old …

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Oz Torah: The genesis of Purim.

THE GENESIS OF PURIM. The popularity of Purim is taken for granted. As the Jewish carnival of fun and frolic it has a universal appeal. Purim spiels, Purim deals, Purim meals … all are part of the celebration. No-one can imagine the Jewish year without it. In fact it has …

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Oz Torah: The Fast of Esther – Ask the Rabbi.

TA’ANIT ESTHER. The day before Purim is called “Ta’anit Esther”, the Fast of Esther. Despite the popular view, it does not commemorate the three-day fast described in the Megillah (Esther 4:16). Three days cannot be telescoped into one day, and in any case our Fast of Esther is not mentioned …

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Oz Torah: Fur coats – Ask the Rabbi

FUR COATS. Q. What does Jewish law say about wearing fur coats? A. The late Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Chayyim David Halevi, deals with this issue in his volume of responsa (“Mayim Chayyim”, vol. 2, 1995). He reports that a member of the Israeli public approached him after …

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Oz Torah: Whisky on a Yahrzeit – Ask the Rabbi.

      WHISKY ON A YAHRZEIT. Q. Why do Chasidim drink whisky on a Yahrzeit? A. First it must be said that although a Yahrzeit is a German term adopted by Jews in the late middle ages, the notion of commemorating the anniversary of a parent or teacher’s death …

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Oz Torah: : Fallen rabbis – Ask the Rabbi.

FALLEN RABBIS. Q. If a rabbi has lost his credibility do we still follow his rulings? A. Rabbi Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University recently gave a serious analysis of the problem, concluding by basically saying “No”. He pointed out that Malachi 2:7 as expounded by the sages requires a rabbi …

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Oz Torah : The Rich List – Ask the Rabbi.

THE RICH LIST. With the end of a year, many people look back and sum up the events of the past 12 months. For some the major concern is how much money they made or failed to make, whether interest rates went up or did not go up, whether they …

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Oz Torah: The Arizal – Ask the Rabbi

THE ARIZAL. Q. Some Jews say they follow the customs of the Arizal. Who was this? A. Arizal is the name popularly given to Rabbi Isaac ben Shlomo Luria, 1534-1572. Because his ancestry was German, Ashkenazi is often added to his name. Hence “Ari” is the initials of “Ashkenazi Rabbi …

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Oz Torah: The 7 Chanukahs.

LIGHTS INSIDE & OUT. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that the Chanukah lights fulfil a double purpose. They are a source of light within the house, and they also symbolise the duty of bringing light to the world outside. This is suggested by midrashic sources which speak of the Jewish people …

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Oz Torah: A Chanukah Alphabet.

A CHANUKAH ALPHABET. AL HANISSIM – thanksgiving prayer for the Chanukah miracle; inserted in the Amidah and Grace After Meals. ANTIOCHUS – Syrian Greek ruler called Epiphanes (“glorious”) by his admirers and Epimanes (“madman“) by his detractors. BET HILLEL & BET SHAMMAI – rival schools of thought: Bet Shammai ruled …

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Oz Torah: Divinity & the dinosaurs – Ask the Rabbi.

DIVINITY & THE DINOSAURS. Q. How can Judaism say the universe is 5778 years old when science proves that dinosaurs lived long before this? A. There is a widespread view that science and religion are eternal enemies. However, the scientists themselves don’t think so. One scientist after another has pointed …

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Oz Torah: Who needs Mashi’ach? – Ask the Rabbi.

WHO NEEDS MASHI’ACH? Q. Who needs the Mashi’ach? Can’t we just get on with life on earth? A. The basic idea behind the messianic belief is that history has to be going somewhere. For Judaism, that “somewhere” is the age of perfection ushered in and presided over by a messianic …

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Oz Torah: Insights on Sh’mini Atzeret & Simchat Torah.

THE RABBI’S RETREAT. The Rabbi of Sassov, Rav Moshe Leib, used to ask why Sukkot, Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are so different from Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. He said he had found an answer when he saw that the Torah said that Sh’mini Atzeret was “a time of …

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Oz Torah: Insights on Succot.

THE TRUE JOY OF SUCCOT. Succot is called in Hebrew “z’man simchatenu”, “Our Time of Joy”. The Torah is the source of this description. Twice it uses the verb “samach”, to rejoice, in relation to Succot. It says “vesamachta b’chaggecha”, “You shall rejoice in your festival” (Deut. 16:14), and “vehayita …

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