Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple

OzTorah: Torah reading – Korach

MACHLOKET MAKERS. When Korach mutinied, Moses “fell on his face” (Num.16:4). Says Rashi, “Because of ‘machloket’ (disputes)”. We know that when scholars discuss and debate the Torah they put forward a range of interpretations. Sometimes their arguments become heated and noisy. Unpleasant scenes take place. Ugly things are said. What …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

OTHER WORLDS Question. Does Judaism accept the possibility of other worlds? Answer. We constantly make a distinction between “olam hazeh” – this world – and “olam haba” – the World to Come. But I don’t think this is what you are asking. Your question is more likely to be whether …

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Oz Torah: Ask the Rabbi.

THE AGE OF THE WORLD. Question.  How can we square Jewish tradition, which says the world is 5774 years old, with the scientific view that posits a vastly longer period? Answer.  There is definitely a problem, which was already recognized in Tanach itself, especially in the Psalms. It was widely …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi – Shavuot

THE CINDERELLA OF THE FESTIVALS. It’s a shame for Shavu’ot. Rosh HaShanah has its shofar, Pesach its matzah, Purim its Megillah – but Shavu’ot has no special mitzvah to make it colourful and popular, and Jewish opinion seems to have decided that it is a non-event. Further, every yom tov …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

    THE DYING PATIENT. Question.  As a doctor I face human crises at both ends of life. One of the hardest challenges is treating the dying patient. Does Judaism have any advice for me? Answer. Unlike some Christians, we do not regard death as greater than life nor feel that …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

VEGETARIAN & KOSHER Question.  Is all vegetarian food kosher? Answer.  Unfortunately, supposed vegetarian food is sometimes not even vegetarian. Restaurants, pizza shops and fast food outlets which focus on meat (obviously t’refah) often purport to offer vegetarian options but there is no guarantee that the ingredients really are vegetarian and …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – B’chukkotai

YOUR OWN BREAD What a wonderful promise: “You shall eat your bread to satiety and you shall dwell in safety on your land” (Lev. 26:5). Note that the verse does not say, “You shall eat bread – ‘lechem’” but “you shall eat *your* bread – ‘lachm’chem’”. What is it that …

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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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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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