Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple

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: 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: Gambling – Ask the Rabbi

GAMBLING. Q.  Is there any religious problem with Jews gambling? A.  An occasional lottery ticket or card game is no problem, but the professional or compulsive gambler is severely frowned on in Jewish law. The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 3:3) disqualifies the dice-player – “m’sachek b’kuvya” – from being a witness in …

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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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Antisemitism at its finest!

I came across this article I wrote just on four years ago, which was ‘inspired’ by an antisemitic post on the website. I thought it was worthwhile posting again. I thought I’d share this tasty tit-bit of antisemitism with everyone, which I received last week. I suppose it’s part and …

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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: 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: Religious revival – Ask the Rabbi

RELIGIOUS REVIVAL. The days have gone when Bible and religion dominated most people’s lives. Yet, for all the evidence of a weakening of religious commitment, there is at the same time talk of a religious revival. Religion has become almost respectable among intellectuals. Dozens of books, plays, films and radio …

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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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